Dave Lindorff weighs in on the election results:
The blame is being placed on President Obama for this drubbing, and he richly deserves it. Basically, his presidency has been one long string of disappointments to and outright betrayal of those who voted for him “hoping for change,” as Obama has caved on or compromised away virtually every progressive promise he made during his two campaigns.
As a constitutional scholar, he had promised to restore respect for the law to the presidency, and instead has made end runs around every law imaginable, refusing to prosecute the war criminals of the Bush/Cheney presidency, the CIA, and the military, refusing to prosecute the FBI for violating the Patriot Act, refusing to prosecute the bankers whose crimes brought the US and the global economy to a grinding halt and left the US crippled going on six years now.
He has run the most secretive administration in history, even employing the 1917 Espionage Act against leakers and whistleblowers, and threatening journalists with jail for publishing those leaks. Under his watch, too, the Homeland Security Department secretly orchestrated the nationwide crushing of the Occupy movement by local police departments, while the White House, all the while, offered homilies about the sanctity of the right to protest. (His HSD’s Office of Threat Assessment actually labelled this publication a “threat” for publishing an article exposing that role — a discovery which we now proudly display on our masthead above.)
That's a lot more honesty than the hideous Katrina vanden Heuvel can offer or can deal with.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
AFP reports, "United States President Barack Obama will ask lawmakers on Friday for an additional US$3.2 billion (S$4.14 billion) to pay for the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including funds to train and arm Baghdad government forces, officials said on Thursday."
Not: "Why does AFP report it?"
AFP reports it because it's news.
Why does Barack want to waste more billions on the Iraq War?
It's not his money.
He works for the taxpayer so the why is blowing their money?
It's not his to blow and it's not Congress' to blow.
In yesterday's snapshot, we noted:
Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report on the budgets (2014 and 2015) today and also on the conflict between the KRG and Baghdad while getting it right -- something few do -- about what came first (Nouri's withholding the 17% of the federal budget the Kurds are entitled to) in this economic battle. As the 2014 budget continues to elude the Iraqi government, new prime minister Aider al-Abadi is making weapons and violence his spending priority and slashing everything else:
Mr. Abadi’s cuts have pushed budget expenditures this year down to 137 trillion Iraqi dinars ($117.9 billion) from a projected outlay of 171 trillion ($147.16 billion).
The cuts have been painful. Plans were scrapped to hire some 37,000 new government employees—including doctors and teachers—and raises were delayed for existing ones. The government has also postponed plans for new student loans and scholarships, said Majda al-Tamimi, who represents the government-allied Sadrist bloc on the finance committee.There’s even talk in parliament of cutting spending on orphans and on elementary-education projects, according to some lawmakers.
That helps no one, that's nonsense and it's outrageous but set aside the ethical issues.
It's also stupid politics.
Iraqis need jobs. Iraq needs doctors and teachers.
The inability to create jobs in the recent past in Iraq led to what?
Oh, that's right, Sunnis joining al Qaeda in Iraq.
Gutting student loans and scholarships?
Exactly what the hell is al-Abadi doing.
And let's stop lying that he's protecting the country.
Getting foreigners to bomb your own country from airplanes -- and tossing a few of your war planes into the air -- is not providing safety or addressing any issues.
That's how Iraq has to suffer due to their inept government.
What is with all this money wasted on bombs?
Do Barack and Haider al-Abadi really think people are that stupid?
It's money wasted.
It's money wasted ethically, yes.
It's money that could be spent elsewhere, yes.
But it's money wasted in the most basic sense.
Bombs from the air are not going to stop the Islamic State.
The only thing that will is a political solution.
But in terms of military actions? Bombing from the air is a waste of time.
Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports:
The Iraqi government asks foreign counties for military support, including equipment and training of security forces, but the country does not want foreign troops in its territory to fight the Islamic State (IS), Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.
"Only Iraqi people will fight in territory of Iraq," al-Jaafari, who is paying a visit to Turkey, said at a conference in the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara.
Only Iraqi people will fight.
Some say: If only Iraqi people would fight.
The Sunnis have been targeted, hunted down and killed. And this took place for four years, throughout Nouri al-Maliki's second term. (It also took place in the first term but that's a reality few wanted to face. The press called ethnic cleansing a "civil war" and as millions of Sunnis were displaced, pretended it wasn't happening.)
The Sunnis have no reason to "buy in" on a government that's hunted them and killed them and imprisoned them.
But as usual the press misses that point.
The point about the Sunnis?
We've been making it here for years even if most western outlets only picked it up earlier this year.
When Nouri attacked Basra in 2008, the press played up a 'coward' angle on the Iraqi military.
The ones leaving, weren't cowards.
They're the same ones who didn't fight in Mosul.
The press ignores that fact.
The White House insists that the answer is training.
How stupid are we and how stupid do we want to remain?
No, Shi'ites aren't targeted by the Iraqi government the way that Sunnis are.
But the government hasn't served them either.
It's not cowardice that makes them say, "It's not worth it."
They walk away because they have no investment in the government because the government hasn't done a damn thing for them.
Barack and spend a billion a day 'training' the Iraqi military, it doesn't mean a damn thing.
Are Iraqis willing to die for their government?
Many are not and the reason's simple: It's not their government.
It's a bunch of fat cats who've gotten rich since the start of the illegal war.
It's largely a bunch of cowards who fled Iraq until after the US military sent Saddam Hussein running from Baghdad. Then the cowards came back.
(Being officials, they are 'protected' by the press which will immediately call an Iraqi soldier a "coward" but won't dare apply the term to an official.)
Iraq was not empty land.
The US efforts to install these exiles into the government are not just an insult, they make the Baghdad-based government seem foreign.
And while Shi'ites, Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, et al are at risk daily, the politicians live in the Green Zone. While so many Iraqis live in poverty, the Green Zone politicians live high on the hog.
As you and your family struggle and the government does nothing for you, why would you be willing to die for it?
It's a government with no real standing.
Again, the Shi'ites haven't been targeted and hunted by it the way that the Sunnis have. But the average Shi'ite also hasn't been served by the government.
Training isn't the issue.
A government worth fighting for is what's needed and what Baghdad has failed to provide Iraqis with.
Hundreds of thousands of foreign troops -- US, UK, etc -- had to spend years on the ground to give the government a chance to do something, a chance to prove it was legitimate.
It failed repeatedly.
Now Barack's making the same mistake Bully Boy Bush made. Time and again, the focus was going to be political. The 'surge'? Remember that failed effort?
Bully Boy Bush said the increased number of US troops sent into Iraq would provide the Iraqi government with space to work towards political solutions.
But it never happened.
The 'surge' was a failure.
Not because of the US military. The military did all it was asked.
But it did that, in Bully Boy Bush's own words, to create a space for Iraqi politicians to move forward on issues facing the country.
Barack has wasted over a half billion dollars bombing since August 8th and there's nothing to show for it.
There's no political solution.
Barack's wasting the money of the US taxpayer.
He's wasting in on war, yes.
But he's wasting it on idiotic, stupid moves.
The US State Dept is supposed to be over diplomacy.
But they apparently don't know how to do their job or else they're to busy trying to become the Defense Dept.
At another useless State Dept press briefing, the talk was all about the Islamic State.
Not a thing about political solutions, not a thing about diplomacy.
President Fuad Masum said on Thursday that reconciliation is not a goal but a means to peace, which is an important necessity.
He said in his speech in "the Middle East forum for dialogue and reconciliation" today that unfortunately, reconciliation was formerly a recruitment mission to visit some provinces and meet some of the tribal leaders and staff, then it ends.
He added that "all the world is interested in supporting Iraq in the face of the IS organization, and even countries that did not participate the international alliance against terrorism interested in helping Iraq, but we as Iraqis, are we ready for this confrontation? adding I think we have not yet reached this level because of a old divisions and sensitivities.
The president called to "reconsider some of the laws and procedures," and urged people to take advantage of the experiences in South Africa and Ireland.
That's exactly the message the US State Dept should be fostering, should be advancing.
When not partaking in edging (shhhh, no one's supposed to talk about the sexual controversy in his present, only in his past), Brett McGurk loves to Tweet.
He didn't Tweet about what Iraq's President said, did he?
But he did Tweet today:
UK Defense Secretary Fallon confirms enhanced support to0 replies 47 retweets 14 favorites
#Iraq in fight against #ISIS after visiting Baghdad/Erbil: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-provide-further-support-to-forces-fighting-isil …
Maybe all that time edging drains too much blood from Brett's brain? That might be why he forgets that his titles are: Ambassador, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (Iran and Iraq).