"This is John Smith, reporting live from the beaches of Normandy, where Allied troops have launched a massive invasion aiming to defeat the Axis."
"John, this is Bob Brown back in the studio. When does General Eisenhower think the first Allied troops can start to come home?"
"What the . . . ?"
OK, the surge isn't D-Day. But surely an important part of what we are looking for in General Petraeus's report today is his assessment of the prospects for success in Iraq, right? Wrong -- if by "we" you include CNN. According to it's 9 A.M. EDT preview of the report, the only thing "everyone" cares about is the timing of withdrawal:
CNN Newsroom anchor Heidi Collins interviewed Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon correspondent.
HEIDI COLLINS: Barbara, what are we expecting to hear today from General Petraeus?
BARBARA STARR: Well, I think everyone is going to be watching for those key words, Heidi, what General Petraeus will recommend about when the first troops can come back home from Iraq. There's about 160,000 U.S. troops there, 30,000 of them are the so-called surge forces, the extra forces that have been in Iraq since February. When can some of those 30,000 start coming home? What everyone will be looking for will be General Petraeus's recommendations on when the first brigade, the first 4,000 or so forces, might be able to return to the United States. There's two schools of thought right now, and he might recommend perhaps in the December-January timeframe, security is good enough right now that he can do without them, let them come back early, send that signal. The other school of thought is, no, he will wait and say they cannot come home till April. April is a key month on the calendar because no matter what the surge begins to run out at that time; there aren't enough troops to go in past the spring of '08. So everyone will be looking at the calendar when he starts to talk; December-January timeframe, and then the April timeframe. It's all about when those first troops will be able to come home, Heidi.
COLLINS: Yeah, it sure is.
Yeah, it sure is all about withdrawal for CNN. For that was the end of CNN's Petraeus report preview. Not one word about the prospects for success.