Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another broken promise

"US prepares for 'generational' war in the Middle East" (Peter Symonds, WSWS):


At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey set the stage for a massive and protracted expansion of US military operations in Iraq and Syria.
“This will require a sustained effort over an extended period of time. It is a generational problem,” Dempsey told the committee.
In his opening testimony, Dempsey contradicted President Obama’s pledge last week that there would be no American troops engaged in combat in Iraq or Syria. “To be clear,” he stated, “if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] targets, I will recommend that to the president.”



C.I. covers the hearing at length in the snapshot below, so I'll just note my take on the above.

The White House is pretending Dempsey went rogue.

No.

Dempsey's prepared testimony was cleared by the White House.  His prepared testimony (written testimony submitted to the Committee over 24 hours before the start of the hearing) included him noting how he might recommend boots on the ground in combat in Iraq.

I think this is a rollout.

I think this is to slowly prepare us for the fact that, in a month or two, Iraqi soldiers will be joined on the battlefield by US soldiers (and Barack's promise will be broken -- yet again).



"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, September 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the Senate hears about Iraq, US Gen Martin Dempsey provides a laundry list of what would make him call for US boots on the ground in combat in Iraq, all that and Jethro Tull.


This morning in DC, the US Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the issue of Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State which they insist upon calling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  They shorten it to "ISIL" which they insist upon pronouncing as a word making it sound as if they're referring to a renegade von Trapp family member, one who goes around singing "Sixteen Going On Seventeen."

The hearing opened with a small number of protesters declaring "No more war!" and other statements before Committee Chair Carl Levin brought down the gavel and called the hearing to order.

Once the hearing started, CodeStink's Medea Benjamin would attempt to grab some headlines by yelling at the top of her lungs.

Chair Levin would ask her to take a seat or leave -- repeatedly.  It was hard to tell what offended Carl more, Medea's screeching or her visual frightmare of her camel toe and exposed muffin top (her shirt rode up because she was holding a sign which read "MORE WAR = MORE . . . EXTREMISM").

As she was escorted out of the room, Carl Levin offered, "Thank you for leaving and thank you, good-bye."

Fake Ass Medea was the topic of Isaiah's comic on Sunday and, in "TV: Barack's Delusional Love Slaves," Ava and I noted her ridiculous and craven whoring for the White House which found the alleged peace activists (reality, she's just an attention seeker) insisting:

I think President Obama has been hounded by the media, by the war hawks in Congress, mostly from the Republican side but also from the Democrats, and is going into this insane not only bombing in Iraq, but also talking about going into Syria, at a time when just a couple of months ago the American people had made it very clear that we were very tired of war.


Poor little Barack.  President of the United States, bullied by those mean members in the press, putting ice on the bruises left by Maureen Dowd's printed punches, oh, poor Barack on the ropes again.  Poor baby.  If only he had power, if only he had a spine and a mind and . . .

Medea's continued crap is racism.

It's real racism.

It strips a person of their own agency, of their own action.

Barack is one of the most powerful people in the world right now.

If he does something, it's because he wants to.

Medea wants to argue that Barack is stupid or that he's too weak to stand up for himself.  She's basically Stepin Fetchit-ing Barack.  He's a grown up, he's educated and he's the President of the United States. Medea's patronizing attitude is insulting and is racist.

Mommy Medea needs to face the fact that her little one is all grown up.


Medea can make up all the excuses and offer the perverted fantasies she can think up.

That won't change reality.

Nor did her screeching in a Congressional hearing manage to do a damn thing.


 After she was escorted out, a man shouted and was removed from the hearing as the witnesses returned to reading from their prepared remarks.

Later, during questioning, a woman would shout, "Senator McCain, you have no authority to speak on this issue."

Oh, CodeStink.

How you've grown to be an embarrassment for those of us on the left.

I don't like John McCain.  I wouldn't suggest that he has no authority to speak.  I believe the citizens of Arizona voted him into office, first of all.  Secondly, every American -- even CodeStink members -- have the "authority to speak."  That's what it means to live in a democracy.

How sad that CodeStink has to resort to tired lies and falsehoods when they should fostering democracy and democratic principles.



While Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stumbled repeatedly as he read his opening statement out loud, Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, managed to read from his prepared remark with considerable ease -- even when his remarks were shocking.

Gen Martin Dempsey:  At this juncture, our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and the actions to match it. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President. 

This was not stated in response to a question.  This statement was not uttered in surprise.


It was part of Dempsey's prepared remarks, submitted in writing before the start of the hearing and read out loud at the start of the hearing.

The fact that it rejects Barack's insistence that there will be no US 'combat' troops in Iraq did not appear to phase Dempsey or, for that matter, Hagel who sat next to him as Dempsey made the statement -- and made the statement mere minutes after Hagel was declaring


To support Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish forces, the President announced last week that we would deploy an additional 475 American troops to Iraq.  Part of that number includes approximately 150 advisors and support personnel to supplement forces already in Iraq conducting assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces. This assessment mission is now transitioning to an advise-and-assist mission, with more than 15 teams embedding with Iraqi Security Forces at the headquarters level to provide strategic and operational advice and assistance.  The rest of the additional 475 troops include 125 personnel to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions out of Erbil and 200 personnel to increase headquarters elements in both Baghdad and Erbil . . . helping us better coordinate military activities across Iraq.  By the time all these forces arrive, there will be approximately 1,600 U.S. personnel in Iraq responding to the ISIL threat. But, as the President said last week, "American forces will not have a combat mission."


From Hagel repeating Barack's claim of "American forces will not have a combat mission" to Dempsey declaring, "To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President."

All before a single question was asked.

And these prepared statements?

They're not only delivered in writing ahead of time to the Congressional Committees, they're distributed throughout the administration.

The White House signed off on Dempsey's remarks.

It is their trial balloon?

Or their cover-your-ass moment where Barack can come back later, after US troops are fighting (there are credible reports already that they are fighting alongside the Kurdish peshmerga) and say, "Well we told Congress it was a possibility"?


Certainly, Iraq's news outlets treated the remarks by Dempsey as news.  All Iraq News filed multiple stories noting the remarks, "The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Martin Dempsey, hinted Tuesday that he would consider recommending a more direct involvement of US ground troops in the military's ongoing campaign against the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL)," "Dempsey, who has long been reluctant to re-introduce US forces into Middle Eastern wars, signaled that some of the 1,600 US military “advisers” Obama deployed to Iraq since June may directly fight Isis, despite Obama’s frequent public assurances that US ground troops will not engage in combat," and "The US head of the US Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey,  stated that the US advisors might accompany the Iraqi security forces in their military operations."
Sidebar, Dempsey was never "reluctant."
I don't know where All Iraq News is getting that.
We were at the 2011 hearing where Dempsey, sitting next to then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, was chomping at the bit for US forces to remain in Iraq.
You may remember that because we covered it here.  I believe only the New York Times bothered to cover it elsewhere.
But in the years that followed, people have called Senator John McCain a liar for his version of the drawdown backstory.  He's not been lying or even misinformed and we've defended him on that.
It'll be interesting to see if anyone notes what Dempsey said in the hearing, during McCain's questioning, after Hagel begged off answering.  Dempsey returned to that 2011 hearing testimony.  Again, it'll be interesting to see who covers that or ignores it.
Dempsey didn't just raise the point of US forces being in a combat role in Iraq once.
He raised it repeatedly in the hearing.  For example, in response to Chair Levin's questions in the opening round, Dempsey would declare, "As I said in my [opening] statement, however, my view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward.  I believe that will prove true.   But if it fails to be true and if there are threats to the United States then I would of course go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces." 
Another example?  Ranking Member Jim Inhofe asked about the issue in his round of questioning.
Ranking Member Jim Inhofe:  In your opinion, let me ask you two questions, Gen Dempsey.  In your opinion, are the pilots dropping bombs in Iraq -- as they're now doing -- a direct combat mission?  And, secondly, will US forces be prepared to provide combat search and rescue if a pilot gets shot down?  Will they put boots on the ground to make that rescue successful?

Gen Martin Dempsey: Yes.  And yes.
 
Are you following it?
Dempesy says he'd recommend ground forces if things got more violent.
And if a US pilot was shot down.
And?
We'll note this exchange from the hearing.

Senator Jack Reed: Gen Dempsey, we've had a debate going on and on about some boots on the ground, no boots on the ground, no boots on the ground but military personnel on the ground.  It might help us all if you could clarify precisely what our forces are doing in Iraq today.  And you've also suggested that if the situation changes, you might recommend -- or come to us with recommendations that they would enhance their mission or change their mission.  Can you clarify what they're doing? 

Gen Martin Dempsey: I can.  Thanks for asking, Senator.  The -- First of all, I think everyone should be aware when we talk about "combat forces," that's all we grow.  When we bring a young man or woman in the military, they come in to be a combat soldier or a combat Marine or a combat -- We don't bring them in to be anything else other than combat capable.  But that's different than how we use them.  And in the case of our contributions in Iraq right now, the airmen, as the Chair -- as the Ranking Member mentioned, are very much in a combat role.  The folks on the ground are in a very much advisory role. They are not participating in direct combat.  There is no intention for them to do so. I've mentioned, though, that if I found that circumstance evolving that I would, of course, change my recommendation.  An example, if-if the Iraqi security forces and the peshmerga were ready to retake Mosul a-a mission that I would find extraordinarily complex, it could very well be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission.  But for the day to day activities that I anticipate will evolve over time, I don't see it to be necessary right now.
 
So he'll also recommend US forces on the ground in combat if he feels the Iraqi military is undertaking a "complex" mission?
Dempsey appears to be preparing reasons/excuses for US forces to go into combat -- in fact, thus far, everything short of an unprovoked sneeze would appear to result in Dempsey calling for US troops on the ground in combat.
But it's not a war, remember that.  The White House doesn't want to call it a war.
Monday, Nick Gillespie (Reason) noted US Secretary of State John Kerry had finally used the term "war" to describe the US and the Islamic State.  In today's hearing, Chuck Hagel also used the term, noting, "We're at war with ISIL as we are with al Qaeda." Gillespie explained of Kerry's usage:
By claiming ISIS is an al Qaeda affiliate, Kerry and the Obama administration is weasel-wording its way around not going to Congress for a new authorization to use military force (AUMF) or outright declaration of war. The White House is claiming that any action against ISIS is justified under the 2001 AUMF that sanctioned any actions against those responsbile for the 9/11 attacks (meaning al Qaeda). But ISIS and al Qaeda are at war with each other, so that's a tough sell out of the box. It's like claiming that, I don't know, despite being marketplace rivals, Puma and Adidas are affiliates because the Dassler brothers started the competing firms.
That explanation is true of Hagel's use of the term today as well.  Amy Davidson (The New Yorker) has also explored war and it's literal meaning:

That prospect -- an engaged military, a disengaged public -- is part of the reason that the name we give this fight matters. Under the War Powers Resolution, the President is required to get congressional approval within sixty days of going to war. (Counterterrorism, by contrast, is something that even local police departments can undertake.) Obama said that, while he would “welcome congressional support for this effort,” formal approval was not necessary: “I have the authority to address the threat.” By way of justification, he and his aides have referred to Article II of the Constitution, which designates him Commander-in-Chief. Like some of their predecessors, they hold that the President has a great deal of leeway to act on his own in matters of “national security,” as Obama put it in a letter to Congress last month, or in “protecting our own people,” as he said on Wednesday. That’s well and good in certain emergencies, but if “national security” is defined too broadly it would follow that the only wars in which Congress has a role are those which somehow don’t pose any danger to Americans.


Back to the hearing which contained a lot of garbage.  Can you find the laugh line in the following?


Secretary Chuck Hagel:  The $500 million request the President made in June for this train and equip program reflects CENTCOM’s estimate of the cost to train, equip, and resupply more than 5,000 opposition forces over one year. The package of assistance that we initially provide would consist of small arms, vehicles, and basic equipment like communications, as well as tactical and strategic training. As these forces prove their effectiveness on the battlefield, we would be prepared to provide increasingly sophisticated types of assistance to the most trusted commanders and capable forces.


As they prove their what on the what?


The Iraqi military may have demonstrated something in the last few days -- that they won't listen to the prime minister.

From yesterday's snapshot:


Real reporting from Iraq would focus on real issues such as the question of was an order given or not?
Because if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to obey it, there would be no reason for the US government and others to come to the 'aid' of government.
Third's "Editorial: The bombing of civilians continues in Iraq" noted Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered an end to the military bombing civilian targets on Saturday.
That's what al-Abadi declared publicly.
Yet on Sunday,  Falluja General Hospital was bombed and, in addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted the bombings of residential neighborhoods in Falluja also continued with 6 civilians left dead  and 22 more injured.
Was al-Abadi lying on Saturday?
Or did the Iraqi military ignored orders given by the prime minister?
If it's the latter, if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to follow it, there's no point in any foreign government 'helping' at this point.



Was an order given or not?

The question remains pertinent.

National Iraqi News Agency reports today that military bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods resulted in "4 civilians killed and 21 other wounded, including women and children."

If the new prime minister of Iraq gave an order on Saturday to end these bombings then the Iraqi military is in open defiance of him and of civilian control.

If that is the case, the US government is legally forbidden from training and supplying the Iraqi military.

This isn't a minor point and the failure of the press and of the Congress to raise this issue is appalling.


Equally true, Hagel and Dempsey insisting repeatedly in the hearing that the Iraqi military and government are standing up?

They did that on the same day that the Iraqi Parliament has refused to confirm the nominees for Minister of the Interior and Minister of Defense. Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports, "Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi put forward Sunni lawmaker Jaber al-Jabberi as his candidate for defense minister, and Shiite lawmaker Riyad Ghareeb as his pick for interior minister. Parliament, which could confirm the nominees with a simple majority, voted 118-117 against Ghareeb, and 131-108 against al-Jabberi."

At a time when the Iraqi government -- if not the Iraqi people -- are asking for various foreign fighters and weapons, they can't even get it together to fill the heads of the security ministries?

Anyone remembering US President Barack Obama's talk about how the Iraqi government would have to demonstrate this and that to get US military support?

Let's go back to the hearing to note this:

Gen Martin Dempsey: If we were to take Basher Assad off the table, we'd have a much harder time forming a coalition but I think what you'r hearing us express is an ISIL first situation.  I don't think we'll find ourselves in that situation --

Senator John McCain: You don't think that the Free Syrian Army is going to fight against Bashar Asad who has been decimating them?  You think these people you're training will only go back to fight against ISIL?  Do you really believe that, General?

Gen Martin Dempsey:  What I believe, Senator, is that as we train them and develop a military chain of command linked to a military structure that we can establish objectives that defer that challenge into the future, we do not have to deal with it now.

Senator John McCain:  That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire concept and motivation of the Free Syrian Army. 


Let's turn to the ongoing violence that Barack's bombings are/were supposed to solve.

National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command declared they killed 2 suspects in Mahmudiyah and that they killed 4 people who they hope were terrorists via a Halabsah air strike, a US military aerial bombing in Mosul resulted in 12 deaths, Ibrahim Jihad Hamad ("Associate Director of the Integrity Commission in Kirkuk") was shot dead outside his home, a Tikrit mortar attack left 4 people dead,
Babylon Operations Command announced they killed 15 people via an air strike, a Baghdad bus bombing killed 1 person and left seven more injured, a Tuz Khurmato bombing left 1 person dead and eight more injured, an armed clash in al-Siger left 4 rebels dead, 9 people were killed in mortar attacks "south of Dhuluiya," while, in Dhuluiya, a rocket attack killed 3 women, 2 children and 3 men, and 1 corpse was discovered dumped in the streets of Baghdad.



And that's just some of today's violence.

The State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted the following today:




The photo?  This White House press release covers it:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Readout of the President’s Meeting with General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Ambassador Brett McGurk, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy


The President met today at the White House with General John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and Ambassador Brett McGurk, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy. The President underscored the importance of maximizing coordination with allies and partners to build a strong coalition with broad international participation. The President stressed that the comprehensive approach to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL requires a wide range of political, diplomatic, military, economic and other efforts. He also expressed his deep appreciation for the work and sacrifices of U.S. servicemen and women as well as diplomats engaged in the struggle to counter ISIL. The President thanked General Allen for his many years of service in uniform and for continuing, since his retirement, to serve his country in a civilian capacity.



Let's go out with music.



The rock band Jethro Tull has a lasting place in musical history.    Ian Anderson was a lead singer and guitar player in the band.  October 5th, Ian will be donating his time and talent with a concert in Richmond, Virginia:



Join the Global Campaign against IED’s on Sunday, October 5, 2014 for a special night with Ian Anderson to honor our veterans, first responders, and to raise awareness of the global threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
All proceeds from the concert go to support programs helping our heroes and responding to the threat from IEDs.
There will be a pre-show VIP reception, special guests, and other events honoring our heroes. You can even snap a photo with “the man himself” after watching the show from your private backstage box if you enter and win “The Ultimate Fan Experience with Ian Anderson”!
You can also attend a special “Dinner in the Dark” to honor war blinded veterans on October 4, 2014 in Richmond. For special advanced reservations for the show and all related events and to enter the Ultimate Fan contest, follow this link (www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/Tull) – even if you can’t attend the show, please consider donating to support this worthy cause.

“We don’t always ask our leaders to take us into war, but we all seek to help bring democratic freedoms and human rights – especially for women and children – to troubled nations throughout the world. On behalf of the brave young men and women of our troops abroad, I urge you to support the victims of IED madness, now in need of rehabilitation and care. For them and their families, please support the Global Campaign against IEDs.” – Ian Anderson











Tuesday, September 16, 2014

That sad Medea Benjamin

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Peace Fake" went up last night.




Let's pair that comic featuring fake ass Medea Benjamin with the following.

"TV: Barack's Delusional Love Slaves" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):

 Can you imagine anyone showing up for rallies against the Iraq War in 2003 if peace movement 'leaders' had gone around (lying) that Bully Boy Bush was being forced into waging war, that the media was twisting his arm?

No, we can't imagine it either.

The refusal to call out Barack, to hold him responsible for his actions, goes a long way towards explaining the state of the peace movement in the United States today.

If you're not calling him out, you're part of his harem and you're selling war.  

Under Bully Boy Bush, Medea and CodeStink appeared to be about opposing war.

Since Barack's been sworn in as president, Medea's railed in column after column against The Drone War -- most of these columns never named Barack let alone called him out, she's insisted US forces remain in Afghanistan and now she's telling people that Barack is the victim.

If you're still not getting how she's the problem, you may be part of the problem as well.  

Us?

We're damn sick of Barack and his harem of love slaves.

It's time to demand accountability -- Barack must be held accountable and so must so-called 'leaders' of the peace movement.


Medea Benjamin has become a sad and dirty joke.

The punchline to empire and war.

The peace movement needs real leaders.


"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, September 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a big meet-up in Paris plots how to bring more violence to Iraq, Barack continues to fumble, and much more.


A lot of talk about Iraq is passed off as reporting in today's spin cycle.

Real reporting from Iraq would focus on real issues such as the question of was an order given or not?

Because if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to obey it, there would be no reason for the US government and others to come to the 'aid' of government.


Third's "Editorial: The bombing of civilians continues in Iraq" noted Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered an end to the military bombing civilian targets on Saturday.

That's what al-Abadi declared publicly.

Yet on Sunday,  Falluja General Hospital was bombed and, in addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted the bombings of residential neighborhoods in Falluja also continued with 6 civilians left dead  and 22 more injured.

Was al-Abadi lying on Saturday?

Or did the Iraqi military ignored orders given by the prime minister?

If it's the latter, if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to follow it, there's no point in any foreign government 'helping' at this point.


And if the issue is a politician who lied?

That's damaging in its own way.  Alice Fordham (Sunday Weekend Edition, NPR -- link is text and audio) spoke with US Col Derek Harvey about the Sahwa -- mainly Sunni forces who were instrumental to reducing violence and who were among those targeted by the recently former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:

FORDHAM: Harvey thinks as many as a quarter of them [Sahwa]  fought alongside the Islamic State this year. He says that everything depends on the new government led by new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who will have...

HARVEY: ...To work and legitimize local defense forces and empower Sunni-Arab political leaders of all stripes in these provinces.



FORDHAM: Abadi's been in power for almost a week now and is making all the right promises. But political wrangling has stopped the appointment of an interior or defense minister. And Harvey says this plan won't work until there's tangible political progress here. Alice Fordham, NPR News, Baghdad.


And then there's that issue, noted as an aside:  The country still has no Minister of the Interior or Minister of Defense.  There were none in Nouri's second term and the new prime minister has faced resistance and hostility to his nominees for the post -- resistance and hostility from Parliament.

This is no time for these positions to be empty.

Barack likes to say the government of Iraq (that the US installed) wants 'our help' but how can you help someone who repeatedly refuses to fill the posts that would protect their own country?

The press isn't pursuing that question -- or any others -- because they're too busy rushing to support and encourage war.

John Irish and Jason Szep (Reuters) note, "World powers backed military measures on Monday to help defeat Islamic State fighters in Iraq, boosting Washington's efforts to set up a coalition, but made no mention of the tougher diplomatic challenge next door in Syria."


This was the big takeaway from the meet-up in France today.  Cassandra Vinograd (NBC News) reports Francois Hollande, the President of France, presided over a meeting of various world officials -- including US Secretary of State John Kerry -- in Paris in which they will supposedly address issues in Iraq.
The only issue for them was the Islamic State and how to combat it with violence.  And while they talked, violence continued.  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes, "Diplomats from 30 countries met in Paris today to discuss the Islamic State situation in Iraq. The Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry held its own meeting with representatives from seven countries. Attacks and battles left at least 86 dead and 22 wounded."

Reuters quotes Hollande asking, "What is the threat?"

Any notion that this was going to address real issues quickly vanished as it became obvious Hollande was not asking for input but being rhetorical.  Answering his own question, he declared, "It is global so the response must be global... Iraq's fight against the terrorists is also our fight. We must commit ourselves together -- that is the purpose of this conference."  All Iraq News notes he insisted the Islamic State is a "threat to world peace."  This despite the fact that, unlike France, the Islamic State has confined its war actions to Iraq and Syria while France has pretty much spun the globe.

For years, the world has allowed things to worsen in Iraq until an Islamic State could be built and fostered.  Now they want to 'address' the product and not the conditions that produced it in the first place.
That's never an answer.


Among those representing Iraq at the conference is Iraqi President Fuad Masoum.  All Iraq News notes he and Hollande held a joint press conference today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports on a speech he gave:

Masum said in his speech in the International Conference on peace and security for Iraq, in the French capital Paris that: "Iraq needs more military support to eliminate terrorism, especially after the qualitative transformation in terrorist operations, from scattered criminal operations to the establishment of a terrorist state" stressing: "The occupation of the Islamic State to the safe areas did not exclude religion or sect or nationality and its crimes affected women, elderly and children."

He added: "The goals of the terrorists and their danger became clear now through their speeches, to occupy all the areas under their control, and the presence of foreign fighters within the (IS) and using modern technologies and passed traditional thought in its work, represents a new threat to regional and international powers," adding: "the terrorists are still using the policy of "with us or against us" and through this way and curriculum killed thousands of men, women, children and elderly in areas they had controlled. "

He continued: Dozens of families are still suffering from the control and influence of this terrorist organization since months after they prevent them from immigration, and have committed genocide in the areas under their control by the so-called Sharia courts, stressing that the terrorist organization violated holy sites and places of worship and civilization has existed since thousands of years in areas they had controlled. "


Let's pretend for a moment.  In our little exercise, the aims of Barack and others to kill every member of the Islamic State worked.  It's never happened before but in our exercise/pretense it did.
Does that mean it's over?
No.
Because the conditions that allowed the Islamic State to rise up and take root continue to exist.
Instead of bombing anything, it would make more sense to address those conditions.
Doing so would rob IS of popular support.
Doing so would mean many in IS would be leaving it, turning against it.
The bombing and killing?
You better be prepared to do that for decades and to wipe out everyone.
Because otherwise, some people are going to grow up feeling wronged and those people are going to want justice.
Already the bombing campaign is angering old foes of the US in Iraq.  For example, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is objecting to the outside 'interest' in Iraq's affairs.  National Iraqi News Agency reports he issued a statement:

Sadr said in a statement carried his signature and stamp today, " The / Black House / decided to launch attacks on Iraqi territory and this American decision perhaps came after its remorse to its fake withdraw."
He added: " if you came back again we will back."
Sadr added, "the government should not get help from the occupier whatever, even under the pretext of (the Islamic State), which is not exist except in the imagination, but is a creature of Americans."

Moqtada is not a minor figure.  He is popular exactly because he gives voice to the thoughts of many.  

Tom Vanden Brook and William M. Welch (USA Today) report, "The United States launched airstrikes in Iraq on Monday in what defense officials said is the start of an expanded action against Islamic State extremists. The U.S. military's Central Command said both fighter and attack aircraft conducted separate airstrikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi forces southwest of Baghdad and near Sinjar, Iraq."
Moqtada was speaking as this change was taking place.  For those who don't grasp what's changed, Eyder Peralta (NPR) explains:

In an August interview with The New York Times, President Obama vowed that "the United States had no intention of 'being the Iraqi air force.'"
But, then in a prime-time speech to the American public, Obama announced a broader mission against the Islamic State, saying the United States ultimately wanted to "destroy" the Sunni militant group.
Of today's bombing, AFP notes, "They bring the number of US air strikes across Iraq to 162."
So Barack's 'plan' is to carry out 1,620 air strikes?  Or 16,200 air strikes?  
What's the magic number that suddenly makes bombing an answer?
There is no magic number.  There is just bombing.  And Barack's not going to be able to kill every member of IS but these bombings certainly will result in the birthing of new members of the Islamic State. 
The United Nations News Centre noted:
      14 September 2014 – Sustained funding and support will be vital if the United Nations and its partners are to continue assisting the millions of Iraqis affected by the ongoing crisis in the country, particularly as winter approaches, the world body's top humanitarian official said on Sunday.

Addressing reporters in Baghdad, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos highlighted the very serious humanitarian crisis resulting from the surge in violence between armed groups and Government forces which has left 1.8 million people internally displaced and hundreds of thousands in need of assistance.

“Some families have been displaced multiple times and have been left terrified by what has happened to them,” she stated. “Winter is fast approaching and there is a huge amount of work needed to ensure that families have protection from the cold.”

During her visit to the country, Ms. Amos visited the Khanke camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dohuk, one of the largest in the country.

“I heard horrendous stories of violence and brutality from 'Da'ash' on ordinary children, women and men,” she said, using another name for the armed group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

She added that as the international community works together with the Government to tackle the rising levels of conflict and brutality across Iraq and also Syria being meted out by 'Da'ash' and other armed groups, it is important to also remember the humanitarian impact.
That's a way to address some of the conditions in Iraq, by focusing on aiding those in need.
Sadly, the War Hawks in the administration are only focused on killing.
All Iraq News reports John Kerry boasted in Paris today that many countries are offering "to send troops into Iraq."  That's diplomacy?
Sounds like stupidity.
How does he think statements like that play out in Iraq to the Iraqi people?  
He doesn't.
But Iraq suffered sanctions -- US-imposed -- in the 90s and is still in the midst of the war that began in 2003 by the US-led invasion.  What the US-installed government is calling 'help' can look a lot like another form of occupation to the Iraqi people.
A working State Dept would grasp that.
But Kerry's too busy playing War Hawk and stroking the War Machine to register reality.
At the State Dept press briefing today, moderated by spokesperson Marie Hart, the world got a look at just how dysfunctional it had become.  Excerpt.


MS. HARF: Good afternoon. Happy Monday, everyone. Welcome to the daily press briefing. I have a few items at the top, and then open it up for your questions.
First, Secretary Kerry will travel to New York on Friday, September 19th to chair a ministerial debate of the United Nations Security Council on Iraq as part of the U.S. presidency of the council for the month of September. Secretary Kerry will convene the council to demonstrate broad and unified international support for the new Iraqi Government and emphasize the need for broad political inclusivity as the new government pursues its agenda on behalf of the Iraqi people. In addition, the council session will also provide a platform for the international community to underscore its support for Iraq’s new government as it fights against ISIL and responds to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that ISIL is spreading. Lastly, the council session will highlight support for Iraq’s further reintegration into the region and the international community. The debate will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday. Secretary Kerry will return to New York on Sunday, September 21st, to begin his UNGA schedule, which we’ll have more details on later this week.
Second item at the top: The United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the so-called regional and local elections in Crimea on September 14th and will not acknowledge their outcome. Our position on Crimea remains clear: The peninsula remains an integral part of Ukraine. The United States continues to condemn the Russian Federation’s occupation and purported annexation of Ukrainian territory and its violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in breach of its obligations and commitments under the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and its military basing agreements with Ukraine. We call on Russia to return Crimea to its rightful status as part of Ukraine. We are also concerned about wide-scale reports of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea being forced to give up their Ukrainian passports for Russian passports and reports of routine human rights abuses against Crimean Tatars and other minorities and pro-Ukrainian activists, such as killings, disappearances, detentions, and raids on private homes and businesses. These abuses are unacceptable and we call for an immediate end to such practices.
And finally, a trip update. Secretary Kerry is in Paris today participating in the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq. Additionally, he will – had or has already had – obviously, the schedule’s ongoing – bilateral meetings with French Foreign Minister Fabius, the Lebanese foreign minister, the Dutch foreign minister, Iraqi President Masum, and Qatari Foreign Minister al-Attiyah.
That is it.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Get us started.

QUESTION: Okay. Let’s start with Iraq.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: And just first with a logistical question about the meeting on Friday.

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Is that – is it your expectation that that will foreign ministers, all foreign ministers, or you’re not --

MS. HARF: I can check on participation. I know that’s still being worked out, obviously. He’s chairing it, but we can check on specific participation and at what level.

QUESTION: Okay. And then related to that – so he will leave New York, or he will definitely not have any schedule on Saturday until --

MS. HARF: In New York.

QUESTION: -- Sunday – sometime on Sunday? Is that correct?

MS. HARF: Correct. Yes. We don’t want people to think he’s up there Friday for the duration.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. So on Iraq and the coalition and Secretary Kerry’s travels, I realize that this has been – there was a lengthy discussion of this at the White House, so I think that a lot of questions have been answered or they’ve been --

MS. HARF: Great. I will always let them go out to the podium first. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Right. But I – you saw this – these reports from Iran with the Supreme Leader. He said when he left the hospital that both your ambassador in Baghdad, Ambassador Beecroft, and the Secretary made direct outreaches, made outreaches to Iranian – well, the ambassador to the Iranian ambassador and Secretary Kerry to Foreign Minister Zarif – about the situation in Iraq. Is that --

QUESTION: About the situation where?

QUESTION: In Iraq.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: With ISIL. Is that – one, is that true? And two, if it is – even if it isn’t true, can – have there been – what kind of contacts have there been other than the ones that you have already spoken to between Deputy Secretary Burns and others on the side of the P5+1?

MS. HARF: Well, we don’t outline every diplomatic discussion publicly that we have. We’ve said we’ve talked about it on the sidelines of the P5+1 talks, as you mentioned. We’ll be continuing these talks on the nuclear issue starting this week at UNGA, so there may be additional opportunities for conversations. We’re not going to outline every discussion we have, but to be very clear, we are not coordinating with, we do not want to coordinate with, we are not planning to coordinate with Iran in any way on Iraq, period. So obviously, we’re open to having a discussion with them. We won’t always outline all of those discussions. But in terms of the content of what those discussions might look like, we are not coordinating with them.

QUESTION: And there has been no approach to them either in – there’s been no approach to them in Baghdad through the ambassadors?

MS. HARF: I’m not confirming one way or the other any reports of contact. As we’ve said, there are a variety of ways we can talk, but again, don’t always outline all of those publicly.

QUESTION: But what you’re saying is that any contact that you have had and may have in the future will 
not be an ask of Iran; is that right?

MS. HARF: Correct, absolutely correct.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Wait a minute. Not coordinating is different from not asking them something.

MS. HARF: Well, he was – but the reports were about asking to coordinate.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: Correct? So that’s what I was referring to.

QUESTION: The Secretary of State personally asks Zarif and he rejected the request.

MS. HARF: So I was --

QUESTION: So it says nothing that Iran – there’s nothing – in these meetings they haven’t been set up so that Iran – you’re expecting a response, yes or no, from Iran; is that correct?

MS. HARF: We’re certainly not discussing coordinating with them because we’re not going to be coordinating with them.

QUESTION: Well, there’s a question – is there anything for the Iranians to say no to?

MS. HARF: I have – I mean, I don’t even know – I’m sure they could say no to something.

QUESTION: Well, they say – I mean he says no, we said no – right from the start, the U.S. asked through its ambassador whether we would cooperate against Daesh.

MS. HARF: And I just said we are not going to cooperate --

QUESTION: Not. So there --

MS. HARF: So obviously, that would follow that we haven’t asked them to.

QUESTION: Okay. So there is nothing for the Iranians to say no to?

MS. HARF: Well, not necessarily. If we say hypothetically, as I said publicly, we’d like you to support the inclusive government --

QUESTION: Oh, okay. All right.

MS. HARF: I guess then --

QUESTION: As far as you understand --

MS. HARF: -- technically that could be a yes or no question.

QUESTION: But the Iranians – as far as you know, the Iranians have at least gone along with supporting an inclusive government?

MS. HARF: I haven’t heard otherwise.

QUESTION: All right. Sorry, Arshad.

MS. HARF: Yeah, I just wanted to be clear on that for you, so --

QUESTION: What is – can you explain what you’re talking to them about? If you’re not talking about coordinating against IS, what are you – and you’re not asking them to do anything, what are you talking to them about?

MS. HARF: Well, I’ve actually said publicly that we’re asking every country in the region to support the new – including Iran – to support the new inclusive government in Iraq, to channel any assistance to the Iraqi security forces, not to militias or others. Again, I’m not saying these are actual things we’ve said privately to the Iranians; but in general, what I’ve said publicly is that is our message to the Iranians.

QUESTION: So – but then what are you asking them? If that’s your message to the Iranians, are you not saying that to them in private, too?

MS. HARF: Well, I’m not going to outline our private discussions with them from the podium.

QUESTION: So you can’t tell us what you’ve actually discussed with them privately; all you can say is that you’re not going to coordinate with them and you’re not asking them to coordinate?

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: But there’s a lot you could do other short of coordinating with them.

MS. HARF: Like what?

QUESTION: Well, I mean, you outlined some of it. You talked about even if you’re not coordinating with them, you’re asking them not to fund Iraqi militias. Is that coordination or is that not coordination? I guess in your definition it’s not coordination?

MS. HARF: Well, I didn’t say we were asking them that privately. I said in general, what I’ve said publicly is our message to the Iranians is everyone in the region should support this new government. That’s not a secret.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: That everyone should funnel their support to the Iraqi security forces. I think the report Matt is referencing is a report about coordinating military action, which we have been very clear we are not going to do. And we’re not coordinating with the Iranians on activities inside of Iraq. We’re making clear privately what we say publicly, and they can make their own decisions.

QUESTION: So – okay, so you are making clear privately what you’ve said publicly and what you just referenced about what you’ve said publicly about your desire that they not fund – that nobody fund --

MS. HARF: I’m not getting into specifics, but that we think every country should support the Iraqi security forces if they’re going to private support in this fight here.

QUESTION: But you’re not willing to admit that you’ve said that privately even though you just said we’re saying to them privately what we’re saying publicly?

MS. HARF: I just said, Arshad, that I’m happy to say we are telling everyone we talk to, including the Iranians, that any support should be given to the new government and to the Iraqi security forces.

QUESTION: And --

MS. HARF: That is as detailed as I’m going to get about what we say privately to the Iranians.

QUESTION: If the report is wrong that they have rejected your entreaties or your floating the idea of some kind of cooperation --

MS. HARF: Because we haven’t.

QUESTION: -- so why not try to give people some understanding of what you’re trying to get from them?

MS. HARF: Because we don’t think the way to handle this diplomatically is to talk about our private discussions publicly.

All that time wasted and why?
Because Marie and the State Dept want to split hairs over what sort of relationship they are or are not creating with Iran currently.
That's the sort of thing that they focus on, they that obsess over.

Meanwhile Al Arabiya News reports France has now joined England in sending spy planes into Iraqi air space to carry out "surveillance flights."

So you have other countries now aping the already questionable behavior of the United States.

When the Iraqi people register their offense over these attacks -- and they will -- will they be listened to?

Or will it be like the most recent round where for years they called for all foreign troops to leave their country and, after 8 years, most had left?

If there's a way to improve things, the White House will stumble past it and focus on something else.  Which may be why US President Barack Obama suffers so badly in the polls.  The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page reminds, "A USA Today-Pew Research Center poll later in August found 54 percent of Americans thought Obama was 'not tough enough.' A Washington Post-ABC poll released Friday similarly found Obama’s approval rating on foreign affairs slipping to a new low of 37 percent among women, almost matching his 38 percent among men."

















  • Friday, September 12, 2014

    Power ballads, story songs and Cher's blown opportunity

    When the power ballad works best, it requires more than just a great voice.

    Ann Wilson of Heart took "Alone" to record heights, yes, but she was soaring with a well written song.

    Cher.

    The new album's not done well.

    Cher's never really done well with disco.

    Not in terms of album sales.

    She did disco first with the Take Me Home album which wasn't a flop but wasn't really a hit.  (The title track was a big hit for Cher -- I'm talking about album sales.)

    She then followed it up with another disco attempt and another flop.

    As a solo artist, she wouldn't find success again until her self-titled 1985 album.

    "Believe" was a monster hit single and helped sell the album.  But the follow up?

    It barely went gold in real time.

    So now she's released her first solo album since then (studio solo album of new material) and, yes, her remarks have hurt her but it's also the wrong project.

    She needed power ballads.

    She offered a dance album.

    Cher needs the power ballads.

    The power ballads are a natural to her and to Bono.  They need to have the big anthem, the universal, because of their own vocal styles.

    If you grasp that the power ballads are the cousins of the story-songs, Cher's been with the genre her whole career.

    The story-songs made her a name in the 60s ("Where Do You Go," et al) and in the 70s ("Half-Breed," "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," "Dark Lady," etc.), they returned her to musical success in the 80s ("We All Sleep Alone," "Heart of Stone," "If I Could Turn Back Time," etc).

    So Cher blew it and has no one to blame but herself.

    I think she was especially stupid not to cover Steve Grand's "All American Boy."  There were many online calling for her to cover the song. She also had friends telling her to record it.

    She should have.

    I think she would have taken it to number one.

    For decades, she's blamed Sonny for turning down "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia."  She has no one to blame but herself for missing the chance to climb the charts with "All American Boy."

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Commmon Ills):
    Thursday, September 11, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, an editorial board turns itself into a joke, some speak out, some stay silent, and much more

    The editorial board of the Macon Telegraph weighs in on Iraq -- apparently to demonstrate their brains are as soft as an overripe Georgia peach.


    All must come together and support US President Barack Obama's plan, declares a body determined to sport their ignorance.

    There is no plan -- just more of the same.

    Dissent is the hallmark of democracy.

    How sad but telling: Journalists who rush to give up freedom and to censor and bully others.

    They grow 'em mighty pathetic at the Telegraph.

    Most of all, the scared little puppies can't stop wimpering -- such as here: "We need our lawmakers to act and act quickly. This is a case of national security. We would caution the president about making statements about what we won’t do. As the evolving situation in Syria and Iraq has shown, there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when more American boots are needed on the ground fighting next to Iraqis and Kurds."

    You sort of picture them cowering in their own filth, don't you?

    What national security?

    Do the morons not even know how to listen?

    In the speech, Barack declared, "While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies."


    Where's the threat?

    In the horror porn fantasies of those who work for the Telegraph.

    Barack's unveiled plan turned out to be the same thing he was already doing but on a little bit wider scope.

    And how's that been working out?

    One sign of the failure of Barack's action would be membership in the Islamic State increasing.

    AP notes CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani declared today that there had been rapid growth in IS membership since June and that they now have "between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, up from a previous figure of 10,000."

    Not only have Barack's actions not reduced membership in the Islamic State, they also have increased it -- at a rate that not even Nouri managed.

    Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) grasps what the Telegraph's editorial board can't:

    Another President who fails to recognize how counterproductive war can be.
    In Iraq, there are 6 million Sunnis who, with every bombing against ISIS, will be pushed more and more into the extremists' arms, as they see the United States waging war against fellow Sunnis.
    In Syria, 60 percent of the country is Sunni, and bombing ISIS is likely to have a similar effect, further tearing that country apart. And if somehow the bombing "degrades" ISIS, it will serve to solidify Assad in power.


    Barack had a chance to offer something new and didn't.  What he's planning to do is the same things that have allowed the Islamic State to significantly increase their own membership.

    Even Ruth Conniff is dismayed.  And I believe she is (I know Matt is).

    But over at The Daily Warren -- excuse me, The Nation.  It just feels like The Daily Warren.

    There's something really sick about a political magazine grabbing onto politicians with all the desperation of a Jimmy Page groupie and running from one celebrity crush to another like a 12-year-old.

    If only Elizabeth Warren had a third nipple -- like Harry Styles! -- the staff of The Nation could serenade Warren with "What Makes You Beautiful."

    Instead, we're stuck with Leslie Savan and her tired horse face.

    Oh, I'm sorry.

    Is that the 'optics' Leslie rails against?

    Well you know what I don't like?

    I don't like the useless -- whether their name is Ralph Nader or Leslie Savin, I don't like 'em.

    And you're useless if, like Leslie, you whine that Barack's speech was reduced to 'optics.'  No, she doesn't know what she's writing about.  Some believe they have an excuse to avoid doing the work.

    Which is what she did: avoided doing the work.

    First,   the press did not dub Barack's suit 'tan.'

    The tan suit -- I have no idea if it's tan or not nor did I obsess over it -- check the archives -- came from Twitter and other social media as Barack was delivering his speech.

    The press even reported on that.

    Leslie missed it.

    She misses a great deal.  Such as, repeating someone else's criticism -- huge chunks of it -- is not doing any of your own work.

    She's so useless that she's written (and copied and pasted) a huge number of words whining about Maureen Dowd and others and how they covered the speech.

    What  Leslie never did?

    Write about the damn speech.

    We did.  We wrote about it last week when he gave it in the 'tan' suit or whatever.

    We wrote about it and we critiqued it.

    It's a week later and all useless Leslie and her ugly horseface can do is whinny in the words of others.

    Whether you agreed with Maureen Dowd or not, she's always one up on Leslie because Maureen puts her own thoughts in.




    Doing a slightly better job than Leslie is Zoe Carpenter who asks "Is the War on ISIS Illegal?"

    Zoe never took the time to weigh in herself -- an opinion writer at an opinion journal who can't share her own thoughts?

    Patrick Martin (WSWS) shares these thoughts:

    In pursuing its objectives in the Middle East, Obama’s pledge not to resort to “boots on the ground” has zero credibility. Already, hundreds of US troops and advisors have been dispatched to the region. Even before Obama went on national television, his secretary of state, John Kerry, was telling a Baghdad press conference that US combat troops would not return to Iraq unless “obviously, something very dramatic changes.” As former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, a fixture in the foreign policy establishment, observed, “That’s a loophole a mile wide.”
    As always, decisions that effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people have been decided behind closed doors, by a small cabal, with plans drawn up in advance presented as a fait accompli to be rubber stamped by Congress and sold by the media on the basis of lies.


    And that's how it went.  What should have been a discussion with the American people never took place.

    It should have been demanded.

    But our big brave 'leaders' instead were focused on Hobby Lobby and other 'pressing' issues.

    Justin Raimondo has a column on the topic of Barack's speech here.






    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Time

    My pet peeve?

    I don't know.  Rebecca and I were into this topic Monday.

    Then came the good news (C.I.'s fine health wise) and I just don't know.

    I guess my pet peeve is the shortness of life and how it's lived in such a way that we'd be better off if we could travel back.

    We accumulate so much knowledge so long after we could have really used it.

    I'm not one of those people who want to live forever.

    I'm also not filled with huge regrets.

    But I lost my parents at a young age.  I loved them.  I know it has effected the way I see time and the way I see relationships.

    Let's just say I really feel the Pretenders' song "Time The Avenger."



    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Wednesday, September 10, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack speaks, Barack spins and, yes, Barack lies about Iraq, and much more.


    US President Barack Obama blathered on tonight as only he can.  Was he attempt to convey something or put the world to sleep.

    At one point, he declared:

    So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.


    Oh, baby had his first yellow cake moment.  Blow out the candles, Barack, and wish for something other than yellow cake uranium.

    "While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies."

    No "specific plotting" but, hell, why let that slow down or, heaven forbid, stop the march to illegal war?

    But these threats?

    Might they include the one Michael Daly (Daily Beast) reported in June:


    When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.
    The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S.  detention camp in Iraq in 2009.

    “He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.


    That's the leader of the group Barack's using to justify war.

    Who was president when he was supposedly released?

    That would have been Barack.

    Well, he had no threats with which to argue the Islamic State was a clear and present danger to the United States.  Guess they don't do messaging at the White House anymore.

    Okay, so the reason the US needs to attack -- 'supervise' an attack -- on Iraq sort of crumbled as Barack spoke but surely this wordy speech did present a plan, right?

    After months without a plan, Barack finally defined what success would be, what would be done if success wasn't achieved, what the options were, right?

    Wrong.


    US President Barack Obama:  Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.  But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.  Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.



    So the plan is . . . keep doing the exact same thing?

    Wow.

    He had to wait how many weeks to 'figure out' his 'answer' was to keep doing what he was already doing?


    Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. 

    You've killed civilians, Barack, you forgot to note that, didn't you?

    These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.  But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. 

    But that's exactly what Barack's doing.

    He's propping a government that doesn't even care.

    I loathe Nouri al-Maliki, he's a thug.

    But I'm not talking about Nouri.

    He's thankfully out as prime minister.

    He is a member of Parliament and one of three Vice Presidents of Iraq.

    I am talking about the Parliament.

    Barack didn't talk about them either, did he?



    That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. 


    That has not happened, stop lying.

    There is nothing to boast of with regards to the new Iraqi government.

    Yet again, the country has no Minister of Defense nor a Minister of the Interior.

    The Minister of Defense is like the Secretary of Defense in the US.  The Minister of the Interior is over the federal police.

    Supposedly, these two spots will be filled in a week.

    But the same thing was said when Nouri started his second term.

    Nouri ended his second term and guess what?

    Those posts were never filled.

    That a new prime minister has left those posts vacant for even a day should disturb everyone.

    Barack has repeatedly said that 'as Iraq stands up' the US will provide more assistance.

    Saying you have formed a government while leaving the two key security posts vacant is not standing up.

    In fact, Barack's very foolish to reward this nonsense.

    For four years, Iraq's security ministries were empty at the top.  Nouri did that intentionally.

    By not nominating people for those posts he could (unconstitutionally) take over the posts.

    That was four years Nouri short changed Iraq security.

    And now, with the Iraqi government begging for US military help, they still can't get it together enough to get behind filling these posts?

    If it seems like I'm saying 'government' and avoiding calling out Haider al-Abadi, I am.

    He had choices, he had nominees.

    They were shot down.

    I don't understand how you address what you claim is both an external and internal threat to Iraq without a Minister of Defense or a Minister of Interior.

    I don't understand how a US president asks Americans for more sacrifice in the alleged aim of securing Iraq when the Iraqi government doesn't even care enough about security to fill the security posts.

    "Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIL," declared Barack, "through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy."

    That doesn't sound like a plan.

    It doesn't even sound like a wish list.

    Is it a vision board?

    Is the White House using vision boards?

    What was clear, what is always clear, is that Barack's only 'answer' is always: Send more troops into Iraq.

    So it was no surprise when Barack declared that "we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq."

    As always, Barack insisted that these troops would not be used in combat.

    But . . .

    Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the possibility Wednesday that U.S. troops might be committed to ground operations in Iraq in extreme circumstances, the first hedging by an administration official on President Barack Obama’s pledge that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground to battle the Islamic State."

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/09/10/239391_kerry-says-us-troops-might-deploy.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy


    Let's move over to Phyllis Bennis.  I like Phyllis.  That's never gotten her a free pass her.  When it's time to offer negative criticism, we've done it.  We've also noted it when she gets it right.

    Foreign Policy in Focus offers her "Six Steps Short of War to Beat ISIS" which includes:

    Third, ISIS has support from Sunni tribal leaders—the very people President Obama says he wants to “persuade” to break with ISIS. But these are people who have suffered grievously—first during the U.S. invasion, and then especially under the U.S.-backed, Shi’a-controlled sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki. They were demonized, attacked, and dispossessed by the government in Baghdad, and many of them thus see ISIS at the moment as the only force they can ally with to challenge that government. And many of them control large and powerful militias now fighting alongside ISIS against the government in Baghdad.
    Fourth, ISIS has support from ordinary Iraqi Sunnis, who (being also largely secular) may hate what ISIS stands for, its extremism and violence, but who suffered terribly from the Maliki government’s arrests, torture, extra-judicial executions, and more. As a result they also are willing to ally with ISIS against Baghdad, at least for now.
    So, weakening ISIS requires eroding the support it relies on from tribal leaders, military figures, and ordinary Iraqi Sunnis. The key question is how do we do that?

    Step One: Stop the airstrikes. Because what we in the U.S. see as “hooray, we got the bad guys” is seen by many in Iraq, especially the very Sunnis the president wants to persuade to break with ISIS, as the U.S. acting as the air force for the Kurds and the Shi’a against the Sunnis. Thus the airstrikes defeat the important goal of ending popular support for ISIS, and instead actually serve to strengthen the extremist organization.


    I'm not going to pick on Phyllis for offering this the day of the speech.

    At least she offered something.

    Myself, I've put a medical issue on hold because of the need to speak out against this latest march to war.  That's why other sites didn't post Tuesday night.  I got the good news health wise at 4:30 pm and advised everyone of it and that after I was done with the teach-in we were attending -- well after midnight -- I'd be blowing off steam and partying.  I said I might do a snapshot, I might not (I did do one).  I wasn't in the mood to make yet another commitment.  (And, to be clear, no one was asking it from the community sites.  Mike had announced  at his site that there would a theme post and that was in case the news was bad because I'd stated I would actually be doing more here if the news was bad.)

    But my point here is where the ___ was everyone?

    Another C-scare and I'm giving my all to this website and to speaking to one group after another to try to stop war and where the ___ were the peace movement leaders?

    Can someone please tell me that?

    Can someone please tell me what the ___ purpose Ralph Nader serves?

    Have you read his garbage this summer?

    Has he once called out the march to increased war on Iraq?

    He's not a peace leader but he certainly feigned interest in the illegal war in the past.

    He's so useless.

    And he's far from the only one.

    And let's not forget bloggers.

    Iraq brought bloggers to prominence.

    But these days they don't give a damn -- or worse, they feature the 'truth' stylings of noted Sunni hater Patrick Cockburn.  Or maybe, like Prashant Rao -- how embarrassing, they're back to reTweeting the paranoid crazy.

    I try to be nice, I do.  But come on, people.

    The lunatic invented this fantasy where the State Dept was out to get him, the FBI, the CIA, the . . .

    That's crazy.

    If he wants to come back from crazy, first step in showing you want to change would be owning what you did, how you enable Nouri al-Maliki throughout his second term, how you made excuses for him, how you pretended to know the law (you don't know a damn thing about the law and you never studied it)

    If he merely kept his nose down and concentrated on his own work, I'd temper my remarks.  But he's back to offering 'analysis' and it's as wrong now as it was then.

    The real difference?

    Back then when I called him out, we didn't know he was a delusional paranoid, one whose own parents would -- by his own admission -- beg him to seek help.

    The circle jerk shares in the responsibility for the current state of Iraq.

    They lied.  They whored.  They misrepresented.


    They better grasp things have changed.


    And reporters are going to have to start paying attention to the (mis)treatment of the Sunni community.

    Kareem Fahim, Azam Ahmed and Kirk Semple (New York Times) report:


    A group of Iraqi Sunni refugees had found shelter in an abandoned school, two families to a room, after fleeing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They were gathered in the school’s courtyard last week when the Iraqi Air Force bombed them.
    The bombing, in Alam District near Tikrit, may well have been a mistake. But some of the survivors believe adamantly that the pilot had to know he was bombing civilians, landing the airstrike “in the middle of all the people,” said Nimr Ghalib, whose wife, three children, sister and nephew were among at least 38 people killed, according to witnesses interviewed last week, as well as human rights workers who detailed the attack on Wednesday.


    That report does more than any section of Barack's speech -- or, in fact, Barack's entire speech itself -- to illuminate the realities in Iraq today.  And while Barack spoke of 'success,' Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) was left to report that violence claimed 30 lives today just in Baghdad.