Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ishmael Reed calls out hairy back Dave Zirin and Melissa Harris Lacewell Parry

Betty usually notes Ishmael Reed.

He's a writer that we generally do not agree with but he is an African-American voice and we think he has a right to be heard.

She's covering something else tonight and called me about Reed's latest and I said I'd note it here.

Reed's noting the smear campaign of Floyd Mayweather, the boxer, in an effort to promote the disgusting Manny Pacquiao:



The Post reported on Pacquiao’s antifeminist, antigay views on the day before the fight, views that weren’t covered by Melissa HarrisPerry during her and David Zirin’s fight day rant against Mayweather. Zirin is one of these guys who has become a volunteer black feminist, joining in on the bashing of black men, but ignoring the abuse of women who belong to his own ethnic group, in this case the abuse of many Jewish women in American households and Israel (He is also silent about the embrace by MSNBC’s catholic clique of Cardinal Dolan, who has been accused of shielding priests accused of pedophilia). This abuse has been documented by Jewish feminists. Even Gloria Steinem, whose accusations against black men are often vitriolic, has covered up this kind of misogyny. She told The New York Times that she’s embarrassed when a person of her background is caught in a scandal, yet she rages, bitterly against living black male writers and also dead ones, like Jean Toomer and Langston Hughes. She and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (1), who has been disgraced, are responsible for black male writers becoming pariahs in the marketplace (2). Although Gates cast me and other black writers as misogynists, the hacking of emails belonging to the Sony Corporation revealed that he begged Sony’s CEO Michael Lynton to give an award to his friend Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment by an Italian model (3).
But even if Zirin decided to discuss misogyny in the Jewish community, Mrs. Harris-Perry’s white feminist producers, who feed her the lines that single out black men for crimes against women, wouldn’t go for it. Neither would their boss, Brian Roberts, who supports Stand Your Ground and Voter Suppression. The two, Zirin and Melissa Harris-Perry, concentrated on Mayweather, even though public figures who, like Pacquiao, hold views about birth control and gays that are called out each week by Mrs. Harris-Perry. He opposed a bill that would increase the government funding for contraception and family planning services, according to USA Today in 2011. The boxer is also adamantly against abortion, which is illegal in the Philippine Constitution. “God said, ‘Go out and multiply.’ He did not say, just have two or three kids,” Pacquiao said. He also believes “It’s sinful to use condoms and commit abortion.”
During a 2013 interview with the National Conservative Examiner, Pacquiao discussed President Obama’s support of marriage equality. Pacquiao was quoted as saying, “God’s words first… obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man. God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other. It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah…” David Zirin called Mayweather a coward on the same show. He has every right to criticize Mayweather and ignore the offenses committed against women by men belonging to his own background, but as far as I know Michael Jordan and Pele aren’t abusers. He has an itch in his groin about them, too.



I would love to see more writers call out the hairy backed Dave Zirin who always pretends he's our friend. 

(Our being the African-American community.)

He's not our friend as he has proven time and again.

I will add that there is something vile and disgusting about The Progressive and The Nation printing Jewish Dave Zirin on sports when they could have hired a person of color instead.

Zirin crowds out other voices and if he really cared about race, he'd shut his mouth and promote writers of color.

As for Melissa Harris Lacewell Perry, how interesting that the woman who denied her White mother publicly is now attacking African-American men.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


 
Saturday, May 23, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, USA Today's editorial board lies for Barack Obama, an insider's account of the fall of Ramadi emerges, Haider al-Abadi is again refusing to allow Sunnis to enter Baghdad, why you shouldn't believe 'truthy' Mike Morrell, we again review the attacks on Jean Seberg, and so much more.


The lies about Iraq never end.  USA Today's dim-witted editorial board fashioned a series of hogwash statements that they hope idiots will applaud -- idiots on my side (the left) because it's little more than self-stroking.  And that the editorial board of any supposed objective paper thinks they can get away with lying demonstrates that the crisis in journalism which helped sell the Iraq War continues to this day.  Case in point:


Obama's policies have indeed made things worse. But in arguing that he should have kept troops in Iraq longer, his critics skip over the inconvenient fact that he pulled out on a schedule negotiated by Bush.


No, that's not a fact.

Here's a fact for the lying whores of USA Today's editorial board: The SOFA was a three year contract.  That's all it was.  It was not the end of the US occupation of Iraq.

I'm sorry that you're too damn stupid or too dishonest to tell that truth.

However, we told it in real time the day the White House released the SOFA -- Thanksgiving Day, 2008 -- look it up in the archives -- we published the SOFA in full and I wasted my Thanksgiving night reading and analyzing it.


I went on to repeatedly explain that this was the replacement for the yearly United Nations mandate.  That wasn't a controversial call and it had been made in the April 10, 2008 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing by then-Chair Joe Biden and by then-US Senator Russ Feingold among others.


It did not mean that the US left at the end of 2011.  It only gave coverage for 2009, 2010 and 2011.  A new contract could replace it.

For noting that reality, I endured three years of e-mails telling me I was wrong, I didn't know what I was talking about, the SOFA meant it was the end, blah blah blah.

At one point, I got very irritated and pointed out here that everyone who's broken a contract with a multi-national but managed to keep the seven-figure salary, keep standing.  Oh, what, only me?

Yeah, so just stop talking, stop pretending you know a thing about contract law unless, like me, you've walked out on a contract and did so with no legal consequences because you were smart enough to read and comprehend the contract and see where the wiggle room was.

Who was right?  The thousands e-mailing with their 'expertise' or me?

In 2011, Barack Obama began serious discussions about a new SOFA with the Iraqi government.  In 2010, he backed Nouri al-Maliki -- who had lost the 2010 elections -- because Nouri had promised he would allow US troops to stay on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011.  Vice President Joe Biden declared it was a "sure thing" with Nouri as prime minister.

And it could have been. But Barack wanted a smaller number than Nouri did.

Nouri feared a military coup.

Only a military coup.

He terrorized the Iraqi people -- with the Iraqi military and other forces -- and didn't fear them.

The politicians?

The US government had a way of keeping them in line -- a method former Iraq Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi described to Iran's Press TV in 2008 "as a matter of blackmailing" and "political blackmail."

That just left the Iraqi military whom Nouri encouraged to break the laws and disobey the Constitution.  And if they'd so quickly do that, why wouldn't they also launch a coup against him?

Nouri wanted thousands of US troops to protect him from a coup.

US Senator John McCain has repeatedly accused Barack of tanking the SOFA talks.  The reason he makes that charge is because McCain was repeatedly in Iraq including in 2011 when he spoke to various leaders about what was needed to get a new SOFA through Parliament?

Like Nouri, they wanted more US troops.  (Nouri also conveyed that to McCain but McCain was not relying solely on Nouri's stated needs.)

To put this before the Parliament (the 2008 one went before the Parliament and 'passed' -- it didn't pass, there weren't enough votes for it or members present), they needed to have a sizable force or it just wasn't worth the political risk they'd be taking (the risk being the backlash from the people as well as from Moqtada al-Sadr and his movement which represented the largest and most sustained element in Iraq calling for all US troops and officials to leave the country).

Barack wouldn't budge on the number and it wasn't worth it politically to Nouri who was also getting promises from Tehran that if he didn't extend the US occupation of Iraq, he could count on Iranian forces to suppress any attempted coup which might take place.


USA Today insists, "But in arguing that he should have kept troops in Iraq longer, his critics skip over the inconvenient fact that he pulled out on a schedule negotiated by Bush."

USA Today is the one skipping over inconvenient facts such as the one where Barack Obama attempted to get a new SOFA.  Here's Tim Arango and Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) reporting in October of 2011:

President Obama’s announcement on Friday that all American troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year was an occasion for celebration for many, but some top American military officials were dismayed by the announcement, seeing it as the president’s putting the best face on a breakdown in tortured negotiations with the Iraqis.
And for the negotiators who labored all year to avoid that outcome, it represented the triumph of politics over the reality of Iraq’s fragile security’s requiring some troops to stay, a fact everyone had assumed would prevail. But officials also held out hope that after the withdrawal, the two countries could restart negotiations more productively, as two sovereign nations.


The tens of thousands is what Nouri stated he would back.  When McCain accuses Barack of tanking the talks, he's making that accusation based on the fact that it was known 5,000 was unacceptable to Nouri.

That doesn't make McCain's accusation true but that's the basis for his charge.


That's too confusing for the editorial board of USA Today.


So let's really underscore that Barack Obama sought to extend the SOFA.  This is from one of Barack's rare press briefings (this one is June 19, 2014) and he's speaking with CNN's Acosta.

Q    Just very quickly, do you wish you had left a residual force in Iraq?  Any regrets about that decision in 2011?


THE PRESIDENT:  Well, keep in mind that wasn’t a decision made by me; that was a decision made by the Iraqi government.  We offered a modest residual force to help continue to train and advise Iraqi security forces.  We had a core requirement which we require in any situation where we have U.S. troops overseas, and that is, is that they're provided immunity since they're being invited by the sovereign government there, so that if, for example, they end up acting in self-defense if they are attacked and find themselves in a tough situation, that they're not somehow hauled before a foreign court.  That's a core requirement that we have for U.S. troop presence anywhere. 

The Iraqi government and Prime Minister Maliki declined to provide us that immunity.  And so I think it is important though to recognize that, despite that decision, that we have continued to provide them with very intensive advice and support and have continued throughout this process over the last five years to not only offer them our assistance militarily, but we’ve also continued to urge the kinds of political compromises that we think are ultimately necessary in order for them to have a functioning, multi-sectarian democracy inside the country.


Samantha Power has stated to various friends that Nouri was willing to give on immunity if Barack would increase the number of US troops and, when he wouldn't budge, Nouri wouldn't either.



But right there, Barack saying he was trying to get an agreement.


So USA Today needs to learn how to be factual and how to tell the truth.

The problem the press has is that they suck up to whomever is in office.

They're little whores to the powerful.


FAIR used to make that point but fell silent when Barack took the White House.

It's why they're useless and why everyone can laugh when a Republican is in the White House again and suddenly FAIR is aghast over the press worship and over the amount of money spent on inaugural balls -- when it was Bully Boy Bush occupying the Oval Office, FAIR thought it unseemly -- at a time of war -- to be holding these lavish balls.



I've been talking to several friends -- high up in the Democratic Party -- about the sudden interest in WMD.

It's been explained that this is how Hillary wins.

If the entire Iraq War is about WMD then Hillary can play the "I'm just a little girl who misunderstood intelligence.  I'm only a little girl."

So that's why we've suffered through this talking point for nearly two weeks.

Let's be really clear on something here, if Iraq had WMD, if nuclear weapons had been discovered in Iraq in April of 2003, it wouldn't have made the Iraq War "right," "legal" or "ethical."

WMD is a distraction.

That's all it was in real time.

It was a fear based talking point meant to silence debate and discussion and distract from the illegal nature of attacking a country that has not attacked you.

Hillary's not a little girl.

She's rather heavy and dumpy -- even for her age.  And she's a woman, not a girl.

Most of all she was an attorney.

She has a functioning knowledge of the law -- it's how she so often skirts it successfully and semi-successfully.

Even if the delicate flower was misled by intelligence -- she wasn't -- she still knew Just War theory -- it was very big when she was in college due to what was taking place in Vietnam.  So she needs to be asked about the Iraq War.  Not about the distraction of WMD, but about how someone who knows the law could support illegal actions, a war of aggression.

A lot of people are getting damp panties and jizz in their briefs over the latest 'revelations' from Mike Morrell.

Why?

Do you think he's telling the truth?

What are you basing that on?

That's his mouth's moving and words are coming out?

If so, you're really stupid and I'm not in the mood to sugar coat it.

You're pretty damn stupid.

Anything Morrell's saying he is pre-approved by the CIA to say.

His book has already been vetted by the CIA and they've removed anything they don't want him to say.

Now some truth may be coming out.

It may not be.

But what is known is that every word he's saying is permitted by the CIA.

Do Morrell's words indict the CIA in any way for the Iraq War?

No.

They exonerate the CIA.

Since there are so many dumb people so quick to swallow Morrell as the standard bearer of truth, let's walk through that slowly.

Morrell is making a case in public that the CIA is good, noble and accurate and was misused by Bully Boy Bush.


Every word and story Morrell shares has been submitted to the CIA ahead of time and received CIA approval to be repeated.

You really want to put your faith in Mike Morrell?

Well if you want to be that stupid, go for it.

On the left, anyway, we used to be a lot smarter about the CIA.

Yes, we had name 'academics' on the left who were really recruiting tools for the CIA.

As I've shared before, I know that from personal experience when, in college, the CIA attempted to recruit me.  And that professor is still alive.  And continued to work with the CIA while being seen as a left hero.  (Someone's going to be sweating over this snapshot -- and should.  I get really bitchy when I'm surrounded by liars.  Right now, I'm flicking my Bic lighter and determining whether or not I'll burn the left playhouse down.)

We also had 'reporters' like David Corn who were always, by coincidence surely, breaking favorable stories for the CIA.  In fact, if you remove the CIA from Corn's work, his body of work pretty much is non-existent.  'Reporters' like Corn have always served as mouth pieces of the CIA -- and The Nation and other magazines have gladly embraced that.

Today, ridiculous people like Amy Goodman present CIA contractor John Cole (alias Juan Cole) as a trusted voice.

The CIA has learned from the FBI which long sought out the entertainment industry to portray them in a flattering light.  And too many people will watch, for example, Jennifer Garner's Alias and say, "That whole Rambaldi's tomb and eternal life is fiction" while failing to grasp that the fiction also includes the portrayal of the CIA.

The spy agency that was never to operate on US soil against American citizens is always protected by the press.  We've for years noted it was the CIA and Newsweek (of course, Newsweek which was always a cover for CIA agents throughout the world) who destroyed Jean Seberg.

And we've noted the cover up.

We've decried it here since 2005 repeatedly.

As a result the lie that Joyce Harber destroyed Jean Seberg has been modified.

Modified, not corrected.

Here's Crapapedia:

In 1970, the FBI created the false story, from a San Francisco-based informant, that the child Seberg was carrying was not fathered by her husband Romain Gary but by Raymond Hewitt, a member of the Black Panther Party.[23][24] The story was reported by gossip columnist Joyce Haber of The Los Angeles Times.[25] and was also printed by Newsweek magazine.[26] Seberg went into premature labor and, on August 23, 1970, gave birth to a 4 lb (1.8 kg) baby girl. The child died two days later.[27] She held a funeral in her hometown with an open casket that allowed reporters to see the infant's white skin which disproved the rumors.[28] Seberg and Gary later sued Newsweekfor libel and defamation and asked for US$200,000 in damages. Seberg contended she became so upset after reading the story, that she went into premature labor, which resulted in the death of her daughter. A Paris court ordered Newsweek to pay the couple US$10,800 in damages and also ordered Newsweek to print the judgement in their publication plus eight other newspapers.[29]


They reference a book in their footnotes.  Did they read the book?

I've got that book, I've had it for years and I know the author.  David Richards does not say what they say his book said.

But at least Newsweek is now included in the official account.

As we've gone over repeatedly -- and we always will because I  made a promise decades ago and I keep my promises -- Joyce Harber printed a blind item in May of 1970.  A blind item is when a gossip columnist floats something.  When Miguel Estrada was taken down as a Bully Boy Bush nominee, for example, Media Whore Online was doing blind items that suggested someone a lot like him was gay and trolling an infamous DC park after hours.  Was the item true?  Probably not.

Which is why they didn't name Miguel.  But they made sure anyone reading would think it was Miguel.

Joyce was handed the item by her editor (who got it from the FBI though he's repeatedly lied about that fact and for years lied that he had supplied it to Joyce until he was confronted with a photo copy of the original note where he passed it on to Joyce).  She ran it.

Jean Seberg was a friend.  I liked Jean, I will always defend her.

But most people reading Joyce's column didn't know who the hell she was talking about and probably would've assumed it was Jane Fonda.  Jean was a huge star in France.  She really wasn't a star in America.  She was famous.  But if you were thinking some actress was impregnated by a Black Panther leader, you'd think Jane Fonda because (a) she was working with the Panthers and (b) she was the biggest name in film during that time period with the possible exceptions of Elizabeth Taylor and Barbra Streisand.

Joyce's blind item in May of 1970 did not name Jean (nor did The Hollywood Reporter's blind item in July: "Hear a Black Panther's the pappy of a certain film queen's expected baby, but her estranged hubby's taking her back anyway.").  It was Newsweek, months later, that printed Jean's name -- not a blind item -- and declared that even though she was still married, the father of her child was actually a Black Panther.


This was humiliating on many counts including the fact that she and Romain were publicly a couple, were going to raise the baby as their own and Romain had standing in France that this rumor did not help.  It was also a lie.  She was not carrying the child of any American.  The father was a Mexican activist.

Here she was a woman struggling to have a film career in America and she'd just been branded a "whore" by Newsweek -- that's what saying that this pregnant wife of Romain Gary's is if she's married to him and carrying another man's child.  Ingrid Bergman's film career ended for much less.
 
Here's what Newsweek printed:

Can a small-town girl from Iowa find happiness in Paris?  It seems so, despite the ups and downs of her marriage.  "It's wonderful," smiled movie actress Jean Seberg, 31, when reporters looked in on her in a hospital in Majorca, where she was recuperating from complications in her pregnancy.  "We are completely reconciled -- ironically just when our divorce pages are finally coming through."  She and French author Romain Gary, 56, are reportedly about to remarry even though the baby Jean expects in October is by another man -- a black activist she met in California.


Our so-called left press and leaders had lied for decades about reality.

They had glommed on a gossip columnist (Joyce) and used her to trash the FBI.

The FBI had nothing to do with the Newsweek article.

And only Newsweek named Jean Seberg.

Their entire paragraph is a lie.

The quote from Jean was made up.  She didn't tell Newsweek that.  Even the 'reporter' (Edward Behr) who filed the 'report' noted he had not been able to speak to either Jean or Romain.  He was in Paris so he also couldn't observe her smiling in Majorca -- not even with a really long telescope.  He was in Paris and his source (one of his two sources) was CIA.

He was doing the bidding of the CIA which is what Newsweek always did in that time.  Newsweek's editor Kermit Lansner then ordered that the 'report' be beefed up and included in Newsweek's gossip column "Newsmakers." (Kermit's interaction with the spy community began when he served in Navy intelligence, just FYI.)

Which part of that seems normal?

Leave out the made up quote.

In what world does a supposed news magazine publish the 'news' that a pregnant woman is having the child of someone other than her husband of someone other than who she says the father is?

In what world does that happen when the woman is already in the hospital for complications to her pregnancy?

Find me the journalist ethic that backs up any of that -- there is none.

The FBI wanted Jean destroyed.  They were inept at best.  The CIA took over the operation and Jean lost the child.

We know (some) of what the FBI did to destroy Jean.  We know far less of what the CIA did.  Jean made her life in France, she was harassed constantly.  But a FOIA won't reveal what the CIA was doing to Jean (driving her insane).

The CIA works very hard to shape their image with the entertainment industry.

Next time we cover this, we'll probably tell the tale of how the CIA 'nudged' (blackmailed) an actress to prevent a film bio on Jean Seberg from being made.



Some may say, you've covered this topic before (see this for our first in depth mention here).

But to me this is very important for a number of reasons.

Jean was a friend.

Her son ended up an orphan (Romain took his own life in 1980).

The Nixon administration used the FBI and the CIA and Navy intelligence and other military intelligence to spy on and harass Jean.  Even after 1970.  And, in fact, the harassment continued after Nixon resigned in disgrace so someone might want to pursue whether Gerald Ford continued those policies or whether the agencies continued them without presidential authorization.

It's not a minor story.

It's a very significant story that goes to the government can tear a citizen apart and get away with it and even be assisted by the so-called free press.

When we started calling these lies out online, Steve Rendall and FAIR and the Beacon Hill Press and others were glad to omit Newsweek -- which is the most damaging -- it proves CIA involvement and Newsweek was the only one that printed Jean's name.

So that we've been able to move the conversation to the point where at least Newsweek's actions are noted (if still underplayed)?  I'll take it as a win.

And with the spying going on today, the story of Jean Seberg is more important than ever.

So if Bob Somerby can waste a week (hiding from Benghazi -- the Susan Rice apologist hasn't been so disgraced since he attacked former US diplomat Joe Wilson) yammering away about whether or not a football was deflated and pretending that passes as serious work, we can once again cover Jean Seberg.


On a related note, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty.  When you make a docudrama, you're always at risk of your sources being wrong.  Kathryn's film is probably very wrong.  It is not, however, pro-torture.  It is also not now a bad film.  Only if you're an idiot who believes the CIA tells the truth, did you take the film as factual.  It's a gorgeous film and it's a moving film.  It tells a story.  I've never claimed that it told the truth and Kathryn's never pretended that her biggest sources weren't CIA -- so I never expected it to tell the truth.  It's a thriller and a little bit more reality based than that awful Matt Damon film The Green Zone which worked so hard to rewrite reality including making the Judith Miller character a reporter for the Wall St. Journal and not the New York Times. Seymour Hersh, "The Killing of Osama bin Laden" (The London Review of Books) is probably closer to reality of what actually happened and, on that, you should be paying attention to those who attack Hersh.  Not question, attack.  For example POLITICO's Dylan attacked.  He wrote a 'summary' of the article calling out Sy for points Sy didn't make.  When things like that take place, you should ask yourself who a 'reporter' is really working for?  Again, people can question Sy Hersh, they can even disagree with him.  But if they're making a point to lie about what he said, you need to ask yourself who they're working for.


Meanwhile, Nour Malas and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report:


While some of his Sunni kinsmen in Anbar province set about working with Shiite militias on a strategy to oust Islamic State, Emad al-Jumaili was making a very different kind of plan.
The tribal elder was busy preparing to guard his home and family from those same militias.

“I have always said I would much prefer to be killed by a Sunni terrorist organization than a Shiite terrorist organization,” said Mr. Jumaili.


And that's where it stands.

Not surprising at all.  In June of 2014, Barack declared Iraq's crises could only be resolved by "a political solution."  But there has been nothing more than empty words provided.

There's been no effort at including Sunnis.  Haider al-Abadi may be the new prime minister but he's operating out of Nouri al-Maliki's old playbook where Sunnis are (at best) treated as second-class citizens.


Dropping back to Wednesday's snapshot:














  • Refugees were totally expected.

    Are we really supposed to believe that Haider al-Abadi was again -- again -- taken by surprise?


    Because it is also very easy to read this as yet another example of the targeting of the Sunnis.

    When Haider pulled this earlier, there was great outcry from all Iraqis -- including Shi'ites.  It was noted that Baghdad belonged to all and that Haider's actions were discrimination and possibly illegal.

    And yet, weeks later, he's doing it again.


    At today's US State Dept background briefing on Iraq, McClatchy Newspapers' Hannah Allam raised the issue:


    HANNAH ALLAM: Okay. First of all, on the refugee issue, what are you – what are the discussions with Abadi about letting people in? I mean, you’ve got thousands of people stranded, four days, they can’t go back, they get killed, they won’t let them in even with a sponsor now.


    SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So I understand – again, I’ve been told as of this morning that the bridge has been open for refugees with a sponsor with a place to – what that means is that they need a place to go in Baghdad because you can’t just have a – otherwise, you just have a really chaotic situation which can quickly get out of control. So the bridge has been open to refugees with a sponsor in Baghdad. And the UN, again, who is doing just heroic work, is working to set up facilities for those who are on the other side of the bridge. That’s what’s happening as we speak, so hopefully, I’ll have a little more for you in the next 24 hours or so.



    Allam's report on the briefing can be found here.



    Was the bridge opened?


    Briefly.

    Hannah might want to try reporting on that.


    AFP notes Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Deputy Prime Minister in Iraq and a Sunni, held a press conference today decrying the closing of the Bzeibez bridge and stating, "Preventing citizens from entering their capital is a crime.  The constitution does not allow anyone to forbid a citizen from entering any province."  BBC News adds, "There are reports of children dying of dehydration in the heat, UN Deputy Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq Dominik Bartsch told the BBC. It is unclear why the Bzebiz bridge was closed, though there have been concerns that militants could mingle with the displaced and infiltrate Baghdad."


    Children are dying of dehydration.  That's who Barack's slipped into bed with this time, Haider al-Abadi.

    This is why Haider isn't trusted.  Things either never happen or that happen only long enough for a photo op.

    The whole point of installing Haider as prime minister -- and he was installed by the White House -- was to give Iraq a fresh start or even the hope of one.

    But he's turned out to be as bad as Nouri al-Maliki.

    No one wants to read the writing on the wall.

    They want to offer excuses.

    They want to claim that he needs to be indulged and shouldn't be held to rules of accountability.

    Remember that?

    When they made the same argument about Nouri al-Maliki?

    And how that indulgence led to the current crises?

    So, yeah, that's a winning 'strategy' -- doing the exact same thing that led to the crises to begin with.

    Reuters maintains, "Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a Shi'ite, sent Shi'ite paramilitary groups out to Anbar to try to retake Ramadi despite the risk of inflaming tensions with the province's aggrieved, predominantly Sunni population.  But he had little choice given the poor morale and cohesion within government security forces."

    A Kurdish Peshmerga commander tells  Rudaw that Haider's Special Operations forces not only bailed but did so before Ramadi fell and that he personally told Haider what was happening but Haider looked the other way:


    Two days prior to the ISIS attack we had accurate information that the Special Operations had packed up and abandoned their base in Ramadi.
    I personally relayed the information through the chain of command and contacted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
    I informed him of the photo and video evidence and location of hundreds of army vehicles and Humvees of the Special Operations forces assembled and about to abandon Ramadi.
    I explained to PM Abadi the exact location of the forces on the map. It was 4am. They flew a plane to the place I told them and took photos of the assembled vehicles. They learned that the intelligence was correct and that indeed the forces were getting ready to withdraw.
    Later that day more than 200 army vehicles abandoned their posts and their withdrawal led to the defeat of all other forces that were in Anbar to fight.
    Why did the Special Operations act this way? I personally think there was a political reason behind it.
    As a military commander, I don’t think PM Abadi or the Ministry of Defense have any authority over the Special Operations. Or it could be that the Shiite forces close to Maliki committed this act in order to embarrass and bring down Abadi’s government.






     Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 25 violent deaths across Iraq on Friday.

















    Friday, May 22, 2015

    Tuesday


    1. My current fascination: Tuesday Weld. So gorgeous it hurts.


    My favorite Tuesday Weld film is Pretty Poison.

    But I love Play It As It Lays as well.


    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


     
    Thursday, May 21, 2015. Chaos and violence continue, politicians continue lying about Iraq, Haider al-Abadi goes off on a whirlwind trip to Russia, Barack insists that the Islamic State is not winning in Iraq, and much more.



    Throughout this week, I've repeatedly stressed that the only politician with a national profile who can tell the truth on Iraq is former Senator Mike Gravel.  No one else can.

    Today, Fritz comes along to prove me . . . right.

    Former Senator Ernest F. Hollings comes along to prove that, while a train can whistle, a politician can only lie.

    "Why America invaded -- and failed in -- Iraq," finds Fritz name dropping ("my old desk partner, Joe Biden"), envious of other countries ("What does Mossad say about Iraq?") but mainly just lying.  Lying to himself and others.

    Fritz insists he was against the Iraq War . . . before he was for it.  See speaking to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, sharp as a tack Fritz noticed Rumsfeld didn't answer him when he asked Donald, "What does Mossad say about Iraq?"  So Fritz knew he had to vote against the 2002 war on Iraq resolution.  Bully Boy Bush goes on TV making the case for starting war without provocation by declaring, "We cannot wait until the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud."  Then Fritz "knew" (his term) that the CIA told Bully Boy Bush that Iraq had WMD.

    How did he know it?

    I think he spread his legs while Peatsy Hollings, noted music hater, whispered in the vicinity of his anus, "Real men start illegal wars."

    That makes about as much since as anything else in his long lie of a column.

    Personal favorite?

    This passage:

    I remember debating a PNAC Resolution on Iraq in 1998. We finally agreed under Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, to a resolution on Iraq by a voice vote so long as the last paragraph was worded: “Under no circumstance does this permit military action against Iraq.” At that time, we wanted to stir dissent and have Iraq headed for a democracy but under no circumstance invade.  

    Yes, in the world of civil disobedience, no one has done more than the US Congress.  He wanted "to stir dissent"?

    Again, politicians lie.

    And then they lie again.

    Fritz isn't just lying, he's also stupid.

    It's a generational stupid on his part.

    Fritz spends his retirement writing these columns and gets all excited when they're printed.  Not since Peatsy railed against the Prince-written Sheena Easton hit "Sugar Walls" has either spouse had an encounter with the modern world so many of us live in today.

    Meaning?

    Only an old fool who didn't grasp the internet would type that he voted for the resolution only after its last paragraph included "Under no circumstance does this permit military action against Iraq."

    Only an old fool who didn't grasp the internet would type that claim.

    Click here.

    It's the resolution that passed the Senate (identical to what passed the House, by the way).

    Where's the statement, Fritz?

    It's not in the bill.




    105th CONGRESS
      2d Session
                                    S. 2525
    
      To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.
    
    
    _______________________________________________________________________
    
    
                       IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
    
                               September 29, 1998
    
       Mr. Lott (for himself, Mr. Kerrey, Mr. McCain, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. 
    Helms, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Brownback, and Mr. Kyl) introduced the following 
      bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign 
                                   Relations
    
    _______________________________________________________________________
    
                                     A BILL
    
    
     
      To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.
    
        Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
    United States of America in Congress assembled,
    
    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    
        This Act may be cited as the ``Iraq Liberation Act of 1998''.
    
    SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
    
        The Congress makes the following findings:
                (1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 
            eight year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against 
            Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.
                (2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish 
            civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, 
            killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.
                (3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against 
            Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, 
            killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth 
            defects that affect the town today.
                (4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a seven month 
            occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses 
            against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait's oil wells 
            ablaze upon retreat.
                (5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 
            28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire 
            conditions specified in United Nations Security Council 
            Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other 
            things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its 
            weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term 
            monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.
                (6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to 
            assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14-
            16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.
                (7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near 
            the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed 
            invasion of or attack against Kuwait.
                (8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its 
            opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the 
            seat of the Kurdish regional government.
                (9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to 
            deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special 
            Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and 
            documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe 
            operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel 
            in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and 
            concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass 
            destruction programs.
                (10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with 
            UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring 
            activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and 
            UNSCOM.
                (11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public 
            Law 105-235, which declared that ``the Government of Iraq is in 
            material and unacceptable breach of its international 
            obligations'' and urged the President ``to take appropriate 
            action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws 
            of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its 
            international obligations.''.
    
    SEC. 3. POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES.
    
        It should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the 
    regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the 
    emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.
    
    SEC. 4. ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT A TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ.
    
        (a) Authority To Provide Assistance.--The President may provide to 
    the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations designated in accordance 
    with section 5 the following assistance:
                (1) Broadcasting.--(A) Grant assistance to such 
            organizations for radio and television broadcasting by such 
            organizations to Iraq.
                (B) There is authorized to be appropriated to the United 
            States Information Agency $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 to 
            carry out this paragraph.
                (2) Military assistance.--(A) The President is authorized 
            to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of 
            the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department 
            of Defense, and military education and training for such 
            organizations.
                (B) The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of 
            the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided 
            under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.
        (b) Humanitarian Assistance.--The Congress urges the President to 
    use existing authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to 
    provide humanitarian assistance to individuals living in areas of Iraq 
    controlled by organizations designated in accordance with section 5, 
    with emphasis on addressing the needs of individuals who have fled to 
    such areas from areas under the control of the Saddam Hussein regime.
        (c) Restriction on Assistance.--No assistance under this section 
    shall be provided to any group within an organization designated in 
    accordance with section 5 which group is, at the time the assistance is 
    to be provided, engaged in military cooperation with the Saddam Hussein 
    regime.
        (d) Notification Requirement.--The President shall notify the 
    congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign 
    Assistance Act of 1961 at least 15 days in advance of each obligation 
    of assistance under this section in accordance with the procedures 
    applicable to reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.
        (e) Reimbursement Relating to Military Assistance.--
                (1) In general.--Defense articles, defense services, and 
            military education and training provided under subsection 
            (a)(2) shall be made available without reimbursement to the 
            Department of Defense except to the extent that funds are 
            appropriated pursuant to paragraph (2).
                (2) Authorization of appropriations.--There are authorized 
            to be appropriated to the President for each of the fiscal 
            years 1998 and 1999 such sums as may be necessary to reimburse 
            the applicable appropriation, fund, or account for the value 
            (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act if 
            1961) of defense articles, defense services, or military 
            education and training provided under subsection (a)(2).
        (f) Availability of Funds.--(1) Amounts authorized to be 
    appropriated under this section are authorized to remain available 
    until expended.
        (2) Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are in 
    addition to amounts otherwise available for the purposes described in 
    this section.
    
    SEC. 5. DESIGNATION OF IRAQI DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION ORGANIZATION.
    
        (a) Initial Designation.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
    enactment of this Act, the President shall designate one or more Iraqi 
    democratic opposition organizations that satisfy the criteria set forth 
    in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
        (b) Designation of Additional Groups.--At any time subsequent to 
    the initial designation pursuant to subsection (a), the President may 
    designate one or more additional Iraqi democratic opposition 
    organizations that satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as 
    eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
        (c) Criteria for Designation.--In designating an organization 
    pursuant to this section, the President shall consider only 
    organizations that--
                (1) include a broad spectrum of Iraqi individuals and 
            groups opposed to the Saddam Hussein regime; and
                (2) are committed to democratic values, to respect for 
            human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors, to 
            maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, and to fostering 
            cooperation among democratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein 
            regime.
        (d) Notification Requirement.--At least 15 days in advance of 
    designating an Iraqi democratic opposition organization pursuant to 
    this section, the President shall notify the congressional committees 
    specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of his 
    proposed designation in accordance with the procedures applicable to 
    reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.
    
    SEC. 6. WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR IRAQ.
    
        Consistent with section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization 
    Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-138), House Concurrent 
    Resolution 137, 105th Congress (approved by the House of 
    Representatives on November 13, 1997), and Senate Concurrent Resolution 
    78, 105th Congress (approved by the Senate on March 13, 1998), the 
    Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to 
    establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of 
    indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi 
    officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, 
    and other criminal violations of international law.
    
    SEC. 7. ASSISTANCE FOR IRAQ UPON REPLACEMENT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN REGIME.
    
        It is the sense of Congress that, once Saddam Hussein is removed 
    from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq's transition 
    to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian 
    assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition 
    assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by 
    convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response 
    to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.
                                     


    "Under no circumstance does this permit military action against Iraq"?

    No, it's not in the resolution.

    Well there was other action in the Senate, on Iraq, in 1998.

    Maybe it was in another Iraq resolution?

    It wasn't in this one.  Or this one.  Or this one. Or this one.


    Now maybe Fritz isn't lying.

    Maybe his mind is gone?

    Or maybe in real time Trent Lott put one over on him and tricked him into believing the phrase was in a bill on Iraq in 1998 when it wasn't?


    Again, find me a politician with a national profile who's not lying about Iraq.  Other than Mike Gravel, you really can't.


    They lie.

    US President Barack Obama's in the news cycle for his interview with The Atlantic where he declares of Iraq, "I don't think we're losing."

    Does he understand the concept of losing?

    He does.  He's still enraged, for example, that Bobby Rush kicked his ass in 2002.

    So he lies.

    And what's especially sad is he went on and on while campaigning for president (the first time) about how the answer wasn't to play "kick the can."  He was, he insisted, someone who took action and made decisions.

    But his Iraq action is nothing but kick the can.

    Every day, you can picture him praying, "Just semi-hold together until January 2017, just semi-hold together until January 2017."

    The whole point of his (minimum) three year action on Iraq that he started in mid 2014 was that he wouldn't be the one left holding the bag at the end.

    So he grits his teeth and lies, "I don't think we're losing."

    Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) reminds, "Obama began the ISIS war after the fall of the city of Mosul to ISIS, and expanded the war to Syria in September. Since then, ISIS has increased its territory in Iraq, including taking virtually the whole of the Anbar Province, Iraq’s largest. They also hold over 50% of Syrian territory now."  AFP adds, "Even with sustained US airpower, many observers are skeptical the Iraqi army can win the war against the well trained and highly motivated Islamic State group."

    Syndicated Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson doesn't see 'victory' or even 'not losing' in Iraq.  He notes:

    The simple truth is that if Iraqis will not join together to fight for a united and peaceful country, there will be continuing conflict and chaos that potentially threaten American interests.
    We should be debating how best to contain and minimize the threat. Further escalating the U.S. military role, I would argue, will almost surely lead to a quagmire that makes us no more secure. If the choice is go big or go home, we should pick the latter.


    I'm glad Robinson's covering Iraq and I think a solid argument is made in his column.

    But since Barack declared last June that the only answer for Iraq was a "political solution," maybe that should be factored in?

    Specifically, the US government's refusal to aid the Iraqi government in working towards this or to use Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's need for aid or weapons by demanding concessions from him to move the political process along.

    We focus here on the mistreatment of the Sunnis very often because -- under Haider and Nouri al-Maliki before -- the Sunnis have been targeted with violence.  But let's not pretend that life's wonderful in Iraq for a Shi'ite civilian who doesn't hold office.

    Robinson's correct that the Iraqi military collapses over and over.

    But might that be due on some level to the fact that there's nothing in Iraq for the Iraqi people.

    Billions of dollars flood in via oil sales but potable water remains a dream in Iraq.

    You can't get out of the faucet.

    You can boil your water on the stove before drinking it -- as many Iraqis do.

    Where is the improvement in their lives?

    Where is any indication that the government intends to serve them?

    It's a government of exiles, hidden behind the walls of the Green Zone.

    Who wants to risk, let alone give, their life for something like that?

    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 69 violent deaths across Iraq today.


    Ramadi has fallen to the Islamic State but, not to worry, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declares they have Ramadi surrounded and will soon retake it.

    Of course, he made that statement not from Ramadi or even Baghdad.

    But from Russia.

    Alsumaria reports he also declared that some foreign powers called on him not to go to Russia.


    Who could he be speaking of?

    It's highly doubtful Iran has any problem with his visit to Russia.

    What country might have the biggest problem?

    Who could that be?

    Right, the United States government.

    Did they?

    And did they encourage him to not to go to Russia?

    No one knows based on the public record but Haider clearly wants to stand on the national stage and imply.

    This right after he's gotten US President Barack Obama to hastily deliver missiles.  BBC News reports, "The US military says it is sending 1,000 anti-tank missiles to the Iraqi government following the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State (IS) forces."  Missiles, which, no doubt, the Iraqi military and militias will leave on the ground of a contested city as they rush to flee (based on past performance).

    So off he goes to Russia and insults the US.

    No doubt, he'll rush to clarify that he was speaking of a super power, but not the US.  He meant this other super power, one that no one's ever heard of and that he can't, of course, name.

    Should he be in Russia today?

    Maybe.

    In the Iraqi press for the last three weeks, one report after another has featured one Iraqi official after another insisting that Iraq needed to secure an alternative country for weapon supply.

    So you could argue that this visit was needed.

    But even if you argued that, it's still difficult to argue that Haider himself should be out of the country glad handing when the still-not-on-the-run Islamic State is seizing more areas.


    Of course the visit wasn't just about weapons, it was also about oil.  Alsumaria notes that, while in Moscow, Haider met with the heads of Soyuz Group Oil and Gas, LUKoil and Gazprom.


    Meanwhile, Iraqi Spring MC notes that the Iraqi Center for Documentation of War Crimes is stating they will file an appeal with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over the actions of the militias and Baghdad's SWAT forces as well as the indiscriminate shelling which has injured and killed thousands of Iraqis.


    The bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods carried out by the Iraqi government and now having existed for 16 continuous months -- leaving many civilians wounded or dead.

    September 13, 2014.  That's the day Haider stood before the press and proclaimed that these bombings (which are War Crimes) were over.  No more.  He had stopped them.

    September 14, 2014.  That's the day the bombings continued.

    And still continue.

    And Haider's off in Russia when he needs to be seeing that his (empty) promises are kept.

    More weapons -- from the US and from Russia -- are not the answer to the political crises in Iraq.





     

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    The spoiler?

    John Halle has an interesting article at CounterPunch which concludes:

    The Democrats are more aware than anyone that the goods they have been selling for generations have passed their “sell by” date. They will continue in business only for as long as they are able enforce their monopoly. The spoiler charge is their main weapon in maintaining it. It is high time that the left recognize the spoiler charge for the exercise in empty sloganeering which it has long since become.

    It's a really fascinating article about how "spoiler" was used this decade to describe Ralph Nader running as a third party candidate but is now being used to describe anyone attempting to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination other than Hillary.

    Apparently, the nomination is owed to her and anyone standing in her way must be cut down.

    It's not a proud moment for either the Democratic Party or Hillary.


    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


     
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the WMD issue or 'issue' continues to obscure larger points on the Iraq War, Baghdad again refuses refugees, the Pentagon continues to maintain all is well and much more.



    In yesterday's snapshot, we noted how, excepting former US Senator Mike Gravel, no US politician with a national presence tells the truth about Iraq.

    They all tend to repeat the comforting lies about how the US 'helped' Iraq and how a 'gift' was given (at gun point) and it's always noble and wonderful -- on the side of the 'giver.'  Very little attention is ever given to those that the 'gift' was imposed upon.

    Damon Linker, non-politician, attempts to grapple, all these years later, with whether or not Bully Boy Bush and others lied about believing former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was sitting on Weapons of Mass Destruction.  At The Week, Linker notes this belief (or stated 'belief') was held by many Democrats in the five or so years leading up to the Iraq War:

    I read or listened in real time to most of the statements quoted in this useful Larry Elder column from 2006. Bill Clinton in 1998 and 2003; Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in February 1998; Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger in 1998; Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 1998; General Wesley Clark in 2002; Sen. John Rockefeller in 2002; French President Jacques Chirac in 2003 — all of them, and many more, expressed the overwhelming consensus of the Washington elite of both parties that Saddam Hussein was hiding WMD and that this made him a serious threat both to our allies in the region and the United States itself.



    And Linker concludes:


    Twelve years later, rather than doing the hard work of figuring out why so many Democrats (including the party's presumptive presidential nominee in 2016) made the unwise decision to support the invasion, liberals have decided to go easy on themselves by treating the Bush administration not as foolish but as sinister, conniving, evil. What a relief it must be to exonerate oneself from complicity in a catastrophic mistake by portraying oneself as an innocent victim of a diabolical plot.


    It's an interesting column, one worth reading and I applaud the effort.

    I started speaking out against the Iraq War publicly in February 2003 (one month before the war started).

    To me, today's discussion is b.s.

    Whether it's a little government monkey like Mike Morrell making statements that no one should believe or the continued other nonsense, it doesn't really matter.

    I didn't base my objection on WMD being present or not being present.

    Apparently, there are a lot of idiots or, in fairness, a lot of people who were silent when it mattered that now want to pretend they were brave.

    Brave would never having been declaring that the Iraq War had to be fought or not fought based on WMDs.

    WMDs couldn't be proven or disproven short of the United Nations weapons inspectors being allowed to do their job.  (Bully Boy Bush did not allow them to do their job.)

    I am never gong to build an argument around something I can't prove or disprove.

    I don't know anyone in the early days against the war who was going around saying, "Saddam doesn't have WMDs!"  I'm sure some people some where did that.  But those of us that were speaking out -- especially on the college lecture circuit -- were not making that claim.

    And I really find it dishonest that these Democratic partsians are today trying to pretend that WMD was the issue.

    WMD was the side show.

    I spoke out against the illegal war because it was illegal.

    Just War theory didn't spring up in the last five days of 2002.

    Its roots go back to Saint Augustine and Thomas of Aquin -- and even pre-date that if you pull in The Mahabharata.  Centuries of legal theory, centuries of ethical exploration resulted in the Just War theory.

    Bully Boy Bush was trashing that.

    There is no go-it-alone justification unless you are attacked.

    The US was not attacked by Iraq.


    There was no legal justification to go to war with Iraq.  There was no ethical justification.

    What Bully Boy Bush did was upend the law, upend tradition and insist that there was a new justification for war:  You could now legally go to war with a country because you suspected that at some point in the near or distant future they might decide to attack you.

    There was no imminent threat nor was the US responding to an attack that had taken place.

    The Iraq War was a war of choice.

    The choice being made -- not by the people of America, not by the people of Iraq -- was going to have long lasting implications.  For Iraq, the most immediate implication would be the tragedy of lives lost both during combat and in the immediate years following.  For the US, it would mean our government was not just embracing its inner thug, it was now fondling its inner thug in public.

    There would be no more efforts to pretend -- and there haven't been.

    Libya?

    We bombed it.

    I beliee Hillary Clinton's argument is: We did it because we could.

    There is no more pretense that the US government follows the law.

    It just acts as a big bully doing whatever it wants.

    Now the uni-polar system doesn't last for long.

    In part, that's due to the fact that bullies breed hostility.

    Whether a multi-polar system will come into being or a bi-polar system will return (Russia versus the US again?), something will take its place.

    But WMD is nonsense and b.s.

    And not noting how certain Republicans and Democrats felt that the uni-polar system meant the US could (and should) do whatever it wants?

    I'm really not into stupidity.

    I feel like I'm watching five-year-olds trying to explain rain.

    Only with five-year-olds, they're cute.

    There's nothing cute about adults basing arguments 12 years after the start of the Iraq War on whether or not it was known that Iraq had WMD before the Iraq War started.

    When the US government was moving towards going to war on Iraq and doing so without even the cover of a United Nations authorization, when they were doing it with no attack from Iraq and no imminent attack, they were upending the rules of engagement and destroying the traditions that engagement were based upon.

    Generally, when rulers act as the US government did in 2003, they're not seen well in history.  Nazi Germany didn't feel the need to follow international law, didn't feel the need to embrace Just War theory.

    The actions were criminal.

    And when one country does it, you can't then scream that others can't.

    So when the US government was giving up even the public pretense of Just War, it had a huge effect.

    In 2003, I would say, if asked, that I didn't believe the case had been made that Iraq had WMD.  But, I'd add, that was my belief and I didn't know for a fact.

    I did build my opposition to the Iraq War on WMD.

    And to go even further, I honestly believed -- belief, not fact -- that after the war started, if Iraq didn't have WMD then Bully Boy Bush would plant them in Iraq.

    So I stayed away from that topic.  It was a non-issue because I couldn't say one way or another whether Iraq did or did not have WMD.

    If you're interested in this topic for whatever reason, the only thing of value I think you'll find to back up your case that Bully Boy Bush and others were lying?

    On the eve of the war, then-US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (a Republican) wrote a column insisting that US troops needed better suits and protection when they went into Iraq.  What was she talking about?

    The WMDs that they were going to be greeted with.

    And she was actually right.

    Think about it.  Bully Boy Bush is arguing Iraq has chemical weapons and WMDs and needs to be taken out for that reason.

    But Bully Boy Bush wasn't arming, equipping and outfitting US troops sent into Iraq to face that.

    I would assume that the senator was honestly concerned and had bought the notion that Iraq had WMD -- the notion Bully Boy Bush repeatedly sold.

    But if Bully Boy Bush believed it, why wasn't he ensuring the protection of the troops?

    There are two possible answers: He didn't give a damn about US troops or he knew there were no WMDs.  He should be presented with those two options by the press and asked to explain which it was?  I don't find either answer as a 'win' for him -- and I doubt history will either.

    So if the WMD debate is what you're focused on, trying to pursuing that angle.

    But wars have been justified on lies throughout history -- not just Gulf on Tonkin.

    No one else has been so eager to publicly destroy the agreed upon structure and rules as Bully Boy Bush.

    And this is because of the collapse of the Soviet Union which led the neocons (and some neoliberals as well) to begin arguing in the late 90s -- in one academic article after another -- that the world was a uni-polar system now with the US in charge and the US needed to seize that moment to leave its imprint.  International politics on the college level suddenly had introductory books and collections and readers where these arguments were being made.  And on the college level back then, you would have pushback from many sides -- including conservatives -- because these claims were pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic.  But the die hards stuck to them and, with Bully Boy Bush administration and the aftermath of 9-11, they were able to present their ridiculous claims (on world order, on war, etc) as part of a 'new world,' a post-9/11 world and, with fear overrunning the country, they got what they wanted.

    I spoke out because there were serious implications here, long lasting ones.  Again, a friend had booked a college campus tour and then she had a larger tour offered where she could reach more people.  (Neither she nor I made any money off of this, we were donating our time.  To this day, I have never made  a penny off the illegal war and never want to do so.)  With the bigger tour and the chance to reach more people (and hopefully use that to stop the impending war), she needed to take that tour.  But she couldn't just leave the earlier one unfilled.  So I told her I'd grab the dates she'd already agreed to on the smaller tour.  And that's what I did.

    But it never ended for me.  I'm still speaking out against the (still) ongoing Iraq War.

    And I want my life back.  I don't want to be online with 'new content' every damn day as has happened since this site started.  I don't want to spend every year -- my final years? -- talking about Iraq.

    And I'm aware those are selfish comments and that's why I haven't stopped yet.

    How lucky am I, an American citizen in the US, to be able to stop thinking about Iraq.

    Iraqis -- both in Iraq and those who've been forced to flee -- don't have that luxury.

    They will never be able to stop thinking about what has happened to their country.

    The only ones today who can stop thinking, the only Iraqis who can?

    Those are the ones who've been killed in this illegal war.

    So I will whine -- I'll will drive my BMW loudly through the public square (Bitch Moan and Whine) -- but I will continue to try give time to this topic for a little while longer.

    Even so,  I don't have the patience or the spirit to indulge liars or partisans hacks who want to distort the history, the reality of the illegal war.


    I've seen and done things I want to forget
    I've seen soldiers fall like lumps of meat
    Blown and shot out beyond belief
    Arms and legs were in the trees 
    I've seen and done things I want to forget
    coming from an unearthly place
    Longing to see a woman's face
    Instead of the words that gather pace
    The words that maketh murder
    -- "The Words That Maketh Murder," written by PJ Harvey, first appears on her album Let England Shake



    The politicians lie.  Barack included. The Iraq War is an illegal war.  US troops were misused and treated disgracefully (both in being sent over there and in the way they were treated by the US government after -- and, by the way, where's the parade?  I though Barack's excuse was that troops were still in Afghanistan but in 2012 there would be a parade.  Where's that parade?).

    I do not attack any service member who was deployed to Iraq.  They did what they were trained to do and what they were ordered to.  They are not the criminals.  In some cases, they are heroes -- yes, an illegal war can have heroes.  Abby Martin's made a spectacle of herself with her idiotic and tasteless t-shirt ("F**k Chris Kyle").  She has nothing to contribute to the conversation.  She's spoiled little girl throwing a tantrum and being indulged by some.


    The Iraqi people were victimized by an out of control US government (also by a British government and an Australian one).  Easily a million have been killed in the Iraq War.  And as we've repeatedly maintained here, the dead are the lucky ones when you consider the alternative of being injured and living in combat.  A bomb -- market bomb, bomb dropped from a US war plane, whatever -- takes off you leg?   Life was hard for you in Iraq already and now you have to navigate a never-ending combat zone without a leg?

    The western press has always treated the injured as a class better off.  By contrast, the Iraqi press has always tended to lump the totals together.

    Along with the immediate victims, the use of various illegal chemicals -- by the US government -- means that birth defects have skyrocketed in Iraq and that these birth defects are not a transitional element of the Iraq War but one of its longest lasting effects -- one that will be felt for decades.


    These are the truths and they are the truths that are avoided as politicians rush to dress their War Crimes up in nobility rags.


    The never-ending Iraq War has gone on for so long that so many western journalists have now covered it for multiple outlets -- Leila Fadel, Sam Dagher, Dexter Filkins, Ned Parker, Liz Sly, Alice Fordham, Missy Ryan, etc.  Nancy A. Youssef covered Iraq for Knight Ridder Newspapers and then for McClatchy Newspapers and now for The Daily Beast.  She Tweets today:






  • Overheard at the Pentagon: "We've been exaggerating the strength of the Iraqi Army since the '80s. What else is new?"






  • Aaron Mehta (Defense News) reports Pentagon spokespersons are insisting there will be no change in "stragegy" (there's no strategy, only tactics) with Col Pat Ryder boasting/insisting, "I think our record speaks for itself."

    It does.

    But it's not saying anything to boast about.  Joshua Keating (Slate) observes:

    U.S. commanders have been describing ISIS as having “peaked” or being “on defense” in statement after statement since the fall of 2014—but a lot of anti-ISIS progress has been ambiguous at best. After Ramadi, reading Vice President Biden’s confident early-April proclamation that “ISIL’s momentum in Iraq has halted and in many places has been flat-out reversed,” it’s hard not to be reminded of his predecessor assuring the country that the Iraqi insurgency was in its “last throes” in 2005.


    Hassan Hassan (Foreign Policy) reminds, "The Islamic State’s recent advance did not take the world by surprise, as it did when the group captured Mosul and other areas across Iraq last year. This time, the United States said it conducted seven airstrikes in Ramadi, in an effort to prevent its fall, in the 24 hours before the city was lost. Local officials in Ramadi, meanwhile, had repeatedly warned that the city would be overrun if they did not receive urgent reinforcements. But the international and Iraqi support that arrived was simply insufficient to hold the city."  Hugh Naylor (Washington Post) points out, "The fall of Ramadi amounts to more than the loss of a major city in Iraq’s largest province, analysts say. It could undermine Sunni support for Iraq’s broader effort to drive back the Islamic State, vastly complicating the war effort."



    This is a point that Shadi Hamid makes clear in a Tweet:



  • Iraq's circular loop --> The more ISIS gains, the more Iraq needs militias. The more Iraq uses militias, the more Sunni support ISIS gets.




  • The fall of Ramadi has added to Iraq's already existing refugee crisis.










  • Refugees were totally expected.

    Are we really supposed to believe that Haider al-Abadi was again -- again -- taken by surprise?


    Because it is also very easy to read this as yet another example of the targeting of the Sunnis.

    When Haider pulled this earlier, there was great outcry from all Iraqis -- including Shi'ites.  It was noted that Baghdad belonged to all and that Haider's actions were discrimination and possibly illegal.

    And yet, weeks later, he's doing it again.


    At today's US State Dept background briefing on Iraq, McClatchy Newspapers' Hannah Allam raised the issue:

    HANNAH ALLAM: Okay. First of all, on the refugee issue, what are you – what are the discussions with Abadi about letting people in? I mean, you’ve got thousands of people stranded, four days, they can’t go back, they get killed, they won’t let them in even with a sponsor now.


    SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So I understand – again, I’ve been told as of this morning that the bridge has been open for refugees with a sponsor with a place to – what that means is that they need a place to go in Baghdad because you can’t just have a – otherwise, you just have a really chaotic situation which can quickly get out of control. So the bridge has been open to refugees with a sponsor in Baghdad. And the UN, again, who is doing just heroic work, is working to set up facilities for those who are on the other side of the bridge. That’s what’s happening as we speak, so hopefully, I’ll have a little more for you in the next 24 hours or so.



    Allam's report on the briefing can be found here.

    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 151 dead across Iraq in today's violence.







    nancy a. youssef

    antiwar.com