CNN's Dobbs, Daily News' Goodwin expressed incredulity that Pelosi would "giv[e] the Iranians the credit," but her comments echoed CNN's own reporting

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou Dobbs and Michael Goodwin cited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments about Iran negotiating an end to fighting in Basra, Iraq, to accuse her of being unwilling to give credit to U.S. troops and being "invested in failure" when, in fact, CNN itself reported that Iran had played an integral role in brokering a cease-fire in Basra, as did numerous other media outlets.

During the June 2 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs and guest Michael Goodwin, a columnist for the New York Daily News, cited comments that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made about Iran negotiating an end to fighting in Basra, Iraq, to accuse her of being unwilling to give credit to U.S. troops and being "invested in failure" when, in fact, CNN itself reported on March 31 that Iran had played an integral role in brokering a cease-fire in Basra. Dobbs asserted that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears unwilling to give our troops the credit they deserve for progress in Iraq. Instead, Pelosi is now praising Iran." Citing Pelosi's May 28 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Dobbs stated: "Speaker Pelosi said, quote, 'Some of the success of the surge is the goodwill of the Iranians. They decided in Basra when the fighting would end.' The speaker added, 'They negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians.' " During a subsequent discussion, Goodwin stated, "I mean, you saw earlier -- you reported about Nancy Pelosi basically giving the Iranians the credit," and later asserted: "[W]hen people say the Democrats are invested in failure, Nancy Pelosi is exhibit A. That sort of statement means she will not give credit to the American military, to the American strategy. She's so invested in criticizing it that she can't accept it." In addition to the March 31 CNN report, numerous media outlets have credited Iran with playing an instrumental role in brokering a cease-fire in Basra.

During the Chronicle editorial board's interview with Pelosi, a reporter asked her, "When you were in Iraq, you said it -- basically, your position that you've held all along is steadfast: that this war was a mistake; that it's not working. Did you see some -- the administration wants to claim some success from the surge. Do you think it had some impact in a positive way?" Pelosi responded:

PELOSI: Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space -- time -- for the political change to occur, to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn't happen. Whatever the military success, any progress that may have been made of the surge didn't accomplish its goal, which was to change the -- and even [Gen. David] Petraeus says that it has to be a political solution. You cannot have just a military solution in Iraq. And some of the success of the surge is at the goodwill of the Iranians. They decided in Basra when the fighting would end. They negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians.

Notwithstanding Dobbs' and Goodwin's incredulity that Pelosi would "giv[e] the Iranians the credit," during the March 31 edition of CNN Newsroom, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson reported, "Well, it does appear as if a huge amount of pressure was put on the Shia cleric Moktada al-Sadr to get his militia, the Mehdi Militia, to stand down and cooperate with government forces." Robertson continued:

A group of Iraqi politicians from the Shia United Iraqi Alliance -- that is the bloc of the main Shia political parties here, the prime minister's political party, his allies, Moktada al-Sadr's political party -- all went to Iran over the weekend, with the help of Iranian officials negotiated an end to the fighting.

And if you remember, back in the beginning of the weekend, Moktada al-Sadr was telling his militia to continue the fight. Twenty-four hours later, under what appears to be huge and heavy Iranian pressure, he has backed down, told his fighters to cooperate with the Iraqi government.

Robertson concluded his report by saying that "it does appear to be the Iranians, through negotiations, who have gotten Moktada al-Sadr to back off and go along with the cease-fire." Two March 31 articles on CNN.com also reported on Iran's "integral" role in brokering a cease-fire. In addition:

  • An April 4 Washington Post article reported, "[I]t was Iran that helped broker an end to the clashes, enhancing its image and illustrating its influence over Iraq's political players."
  • An April 2 Chicago Tribune article reported, "During the latest hostilities, members of the Dawa Party and Badr Organization traveled to Iran, where an agreement to end the fighting was reportedly brokered by a senior official of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed by Sadr."
  • A March 31 USA Today article, headlined "Iranians help reach Iraq cease-fire," reported that "Iranian officials helped broker a cease-fire agreement Sunday between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to Iraqi lawmakers."

From the June 2 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears unwilling to give our troops the credit they deserve for progress in Iraq. Instead, Pelosi is now praising Iran. In comments to the San Francisco Chronicle, Speaker Pelosi said, quote, "Some of the success of the surge is the goodwill of the Iranians. They decided in Basra when the fighting would end."

The speaker added, "They negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians." Well, Madam Speaker, we should point out Basra was never included in the surge. British and Iraqi troops are responsible for security now in that part of Iraq, and none of the additional U.S. combat brigades sent to Iraq in the surge were stationed in Basra.

[...]

DOBBS: I get the feeling that [Democratic strategist] Mr. [Robert] Zimmerman is not ready to give any -- any -- glimmer of acknowledgment to the progress, at least at this point, to the war in Iraq. What is your answer to the same question, Michael?

GOODWIN: Well, look, there's no question it does help McCain. But I think more than that, it's good for America, and I think that's the problem for Democrats.

DOBBS: Well, no, we understand that. But my question was, what does it mean for the Democratic candidate?

GOODWIN: Well, I'm -- I think it's terrible for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is, if things continue. I mean, you saw earlier -- you reported about Nancy Pelosi basically giving the Iranians the credit.

DOBBS: What was that about? I mean, I don't even understand what she was trying to say.

GOODWIN: Well, I think when people say the Democrats are invested in failure, Nancy Pelosi --

DOBBS: By the way, I want to give equal time here. I haven't understood what this president has been trying to say for years now. So --

GOODWIN: Well, but --

DOBBS: -- this should not be taken as a --

GOODWIN: But when people say the Democrats are invested in failure, Nancy Pelosi is exhibit A. That sort of statement means she will not give credit to the American military, to the American strategy. She's so invested in criticizing it that she can't accept it.

From the 1 p.m. ET hour of CNN Newsroom on March 31:

BRIANNA KEILAR (anchor): For the first time in almost a week, guns fall silent in parts of Iraq. How did this cease-fire come about? And, of course, is it going to hold? From the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has more on Iran's role in all of this.

ROBERTSON: Well, it does appear as if a huge amount of pressure was put on the Shia cleric Moktada al-Sadr to get his militia, the Mehdi Militia, to stand down and cooperate with government forces.

[begin video clip]

A group of Iraqi politicians from the Shia United Iraqi Alliance -- that is the bloc of the main Shia political parties here, the prime minister's political party, his allies, Moktada al-Sadr's political party -- all went to Iran over the weekend, with the help of Iranian officials negotiated an end to the fighting.

And if you remember, back in the beginning of the weekend, Moktada al-Sadr was telling his militia to continue the fight. Twenty-four hours later, under what appears to be huge and heavy Iranian pressure, he has backed down, told his fighters to cooperate with the Iraqi government.

The militia off the streets today, not in evidence. People back out on the streets. The curfew's lifted. Shops are reopening.

It does raise the question of, if Sadr's militia controlled large areas of Basra and some of the suburbs, the Sadr suburb of Baghdad, controlled those large areas over the weekend, how can the government be in a position, as it says it is now, of being in charge and in control? The government says it will continue its operations until it has rounded up all the criminals. It says it hopes it will do that by the end of the week.

It has called into question Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's judgment in going up against an enemy, in Moktada al-Sadr, that he couldn't win militarily. He had appeared to become bogged down in a stalemate, whereby there were areas of Basra, areas of Baghdad, he militarily couldn't push the Iraqi security forces into, couldn't take control. So it's calling into question Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's judgment.

As well, U.S. forces have supported the prime minister with aerial bombing, with some ground forces, to rout out the Mehdi Militia, rout out the criminal element, as the government was describing them. But despite that bombing, despite the U.S. bombing and the U.S. support of the prime minister, it does appear to be the Iranians, through negotiations, who have gotten Moktada al-Sadr to back off and go along with the cease-fire.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Lou Dobbs, Michael Goodwin
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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