Thursday, October 09, 2014

F**k you, Alex Kane, you damn liar

Alex Kane is only the latest in a long line of liars to try to explain away the whorish peace 'leaders' in the US.  In an article at Information Clearing House, Kane offers:

          “It’s always hard in the beginning of a war when you have all of the hype about how awful the enemy is, and the enemy is always awful. and certainly ISIS is no different–it’s horrible just like Saddam Hussein was horrible, just like Al Qaeda is horrible and the Taliban is horrible,” said Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of CODEPINK, a group that has been visibly active against the new U.S. bombing campaigns. “The beheadings are particularly impactful on people’s sense of outrage.”
Adding to the anti-war movement’s difficulties is that “this is a different fight than the ones we’ve had before…it’s a much more complicated situation, it requires much more public education, much more understanding the issue,” said Stephen Miles, the advocacy director of Win Without War, a coalition of about 40 progressive groups.
Organizers also say that media outlets have played a big role in encouraging support for war. Some prominent figures like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews have voiced skepticism and opposition about American intervention. But that’s more the exception than the rule. “War time is when TV screens are full of former generals and hawkish politicians, and reporters are busy transmitting official claims,” wrote Peter Hart, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s activism director, in a September blog post criticizing media coverage of the intervention against ISIS.
Compounding these obstacles for the anti-war movement is that the election of President Obama in 2008 deflated activism in opposition to Middle Eastern wars. CODEPINK’s Benjamin said that the decrease in peace activism can be attributed to a focus on domestic issues, frustration at the inability to change U.S. foreign policy, Democratic support for the president and Obama’s opaque drone wars. “We’ve never been able to have a big demonstration, anti-war demonstration, ever since Obama came into office. So that’s number one–the whole peace movement is really a shadow of what it was under Bush,” she said.

Trashy whore Medea's been offering excuses forever and a day.

But her whore ass and David Swanson TV dinners and all the other whores are the problem.

For two years now, I've called out Medea's 'protest' literature on The Drone War for slamming this or that person but never Barack Obama.  There are articles she's written condemning The Drone War that don't even mention Barack.

She's a dirty whore.  She was just in Latin America a few months back saying we in the US had to worry because the next president might be worse than Barack.



We're spied on, he kills people with drones, he's apparently after Julian Assange and Ed Snowden, he's started one war after another.

If there's not a movement in the US -- and there really isn't -- that's on the heads and asses of whores like Medea who've spent the last six years applauding Barack and refusing to call him out.

Alex Kane is a worthless piece of human s**t.

If that upsets Kane or anyone else, too damn bad.

Some of us take peace seriously.

Medea doesn't, to her it's just a way to elect her personal faves.

But some of us aren't cheap whores.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, October 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  Barack's 'plan' continues to fail, another helicopter is shot down in Iraq, Americans are unimpressed with the 'plan,' Jimmy Carter joins Leon Panetta in criticizing the 'plan,' the State Dept struggles to find success with the 'plan,' Brett McGurk ignores the lack of success by Tweeting about the US military, apple polisher Michael Cohen attacks Panetta, Save The Children calls for attention to the possibility of civilian casualties, A.N.S.W.E.R. organizes a protest for October 10th, and much more.

If you're a cross-eyed loser with a douche goatee, you learn to lie to yourself daily.  But that still doesn't excuse Michael Cohen lying to the rest of us.  In a column for The Daily Beast, Little Mikey attacks because that's what fat bitches do when the objects of their lust are in trouble.  That's how Michael came to blame not Barack but the American people for Barack's lie that "If you like your health care you can keep your health care."  I really don't like overgrown children who masturbate in public and pretend like they've made a logical argument.

Like an incontinent beast, Cohen just sprays all over the floor:

When Panetta became CIA director in 2009, he was demonstrably unqualified for the job. He had no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security. His most apparent and highly-touted skill was that he understood his way around bureaucratic Washington.

I'm sorry, a member of the US military has no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security?

A First Lieutenant in the Army has no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security?

I'm sorry what was Leon Panetta doing at Fort Ord?

Oh, that's right, intelligence.

Cohen's such a sad little man.

Panetta dared to criticize Barack Obama and that's too much for Cohen.

So he damns Panetta for . . . advocating for a big budget for the Defense Dept when he headed the Defense Dept and for advocating for a bigger budget for the CIA when he headed the CIA.

These are not shocking developments but the natural aspect of the job.

Cohen lies throughout and deliberately distorts Panetta's remarks and statements.

The reason for that is, Cohen's point is to ensure that no one explore what Panetta's arguing.

Cohen wants to shut him down, wants to destroy him.

People like Cohen do the world no good at all.

He can string together words but he can't actually write and his plodding prose is an embarrassment.

He can't present ideas or even repeat them.

His thinking is simplistic and infantile.

Panetta favors US troops in Iraq.

I don't.

Panetta believes that US troops on the ground will assist Barack's (thus far faltering) military operation.

I've seen this before, we all have, Bully Boy Bush did it with the 'surge.'

With the 'surge' -- as with Barack's 'plan' -- the focus was on the toys not on the work.  Both men see/saw the US military as toy soldiers to be played with.

Both men swore a political solution was the answer but couldn't stop playing war games and do the damn work required to get to a political solution.

Putting US troops on the ground in Iraq -- and, yes, they already are -- is putting their lives in danger.


For a political solution that the administration wants but can't define and refuses to work towards?

US troops will do their mission -- they did during the surge -- and it will be for naught because Barack's got no plan for how a political solution comes about.

Troops will be used, as they were by Bully Boy Bush, to defocus from the real issues.

That's misusing the military.

I'd argue it's grounds for impeachment.

Panetta would argue that US troops on the ground will make a difference because you'll not just be causing scattering by bombing but you'll have forces on the ground to fight, round up, capture, etc in the aftermath of bombing.

And I'll gladly allow Panetta's points may be accurate.

Yet none of that provides a political solution for Iraq.

And so why is the US military being (mis)used?

There is no military solution in Iraq -- even Barack admits to that.  Barack repeatedly states the situation requires a political answer.

So how about you figure out how that comes about?

Instead, Barack wastes time getting more nations to agree to bomb Iraq.

John Pilger (Independent of Australia) observes, "As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty."

If bombing is the point, the US military can bomb Iraq over and over for years.  There's no need to round up other nations.

I can take on Leon's points.  (And can and have done so face to face -- I know and like Leon.)

Cohen can't.

And won't.

Because he exists solely to worship Barack Obama.

There is nothing more disgusting than a teacher's pet and that's only more true after the age of 20.

Tomorrow, Michael Cohen will probably work on attacking the American people (again) and attacking Jimmy Carter.  Justin Sink (The Hill) reveals the fairy tales are losing their luster with the American people:

Some 51 percent of respondents in the CBS News poll released Wednesday said they disapprove of the job the president is doing with the radical jihadist group, while just four in 10 approved. Those numbers are slightly worse than a month ago, when 48 percent disapproved of how Obama was approaching the situation.

Among those disapproving?  Former US President Jimmy Carter.  Cheryl K. Chumley (Washington Times) explains, "Former president Jimmy Carter took a harsh jab at President Obama this week, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the commander-in-chief dragged his feet on confronting Islamic State terrorism."

Carter's disapproval appears to be primarily over dropping bombs on an inhabited land without having trained people on the ground to call in those strikes.  He and Panetta both argue, in different ways, that Barack is not properly using the military or engaging the military command.
Today at the Pentagon, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby declared, "This afternoon, as you know, President Obama will also be coming to the Pentagon to meet with the senior DOD leadership, including the combatant commanders. I know Secretary Hagel is very much looking forward to hosting the Commander-in-Chief here in the building. There will also be a full meeting of the president's national security team here this afternoon to provide the president with an update on the campaign to degrade and destroy ISIL."
From that press briefing:
Q: Another question on the president's meetings today at the Pentagon. Do you think those meetings could result to a change in the strategy against ISIL? Can we see -- can we expect more U.S. advisers going to Iraq soon?

ADM. KIRBY: The purpose of today's meeting is to update the commander-in-chief on our progress across a wide variety of fronts. Yes, he'll be updated by General Austin on the campaign against ISIL. He'll get an update from General Rodriguez on what we're doing with Ebola. And the other combatant commanders will have a chance to speak, as well, for their regions and what they're doing.

It'll be a -- it'll be a global update. Clearly those two very hot topics will be discussed. I won't -- I can't speak for the president and what he will or won't decide as a result of the updates he's getting. We're not expecting any change to our strategy as a result of today's meetings.

Over two months after the start of bombing, it's news that Barack finally gets his ass to the Pentagon.

Carter has previously noted the possibility of civilian casualties.  It's a reality most refuse to acknowledge. Save The Children notes:

As Australian fighter jets drop their first bombs over Iraq, aid agency Save the Children stresses that military action by all must remain in line with humanitarian law and prioritise the protection of children and other civilians.
Aram Shakaram, Save the Children’s Program Director in Iraq said: “Children are already the innocent victims bearing the brunt of this war. Traumatised by the brutality of fighting even before the latest bombing, children are also at risk of being injured or killed as these air strikes are scaled up. It is the responsibility of all parties involved to make sure children and other civilians are kept safe.”
The children’s aid agency is particularly concerned about the on-going use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including Fallujah and Kirkuk, which have seen constant bombardment and fighting for weeks. This is the largest contributor to the killing and maiming of children in conflict.
“Air strikes, artillery fire, mortars and shelling are being used in towns and villages and risk killing innocent children. The impacts of these explosive weapons are indiscriminate: they kill and maim children and destroy hospitals and schools. The lethal nature of these deadly weapons prohibits our teams from delivering life-saving aid to children and families that need it,” Mr Shakaram added.
Save the Children has been working in Iraq for 23 years and was already supporting thousands of Syrian refugees in the country before the latest fighting erupted. The aid agency has launched a large-scale emergency response to support hundreds of thousands of the 1.8 million people who have been forced to flee their homes because of the conflict. More than 200,000 people have fled in recent months, many forced to live in abandoned or unfinished buildings, churches, mosques and schools.
“On the ground we’re seeing a dire situation – every day more people are forced from their homes fleeing brutal violence and fearing for their lives. Families are crammed into already-packed classrooms in schools being used as makeshift camps or living in unfinished buildings, completely unprotected from the elements. They are running out money and harsh winter weather is just around the corner. Yet, in some ways those that have escaped are the lucky ones – those left behind face even greater dangers as the fighting escalates.”
Save the Children is calling on the Australian Government to use all of its relevant diplomatic and advisory powers to ensure that all parties to the conflict and those considering military interventions to make the following commitments:
· Not to target civilians or civilian objects, including schools and hospitals
· Not to use explosive weapons in populated areas
· Not to use children in any role in armed groups or forces, including non-combat roles
· Not to use schools or hospitals as military assets
For interviews with Aram Shakaram call Olivia Zinzan on 0416 355 851

 Among many realities most refuse to acknowledge.   From this morning:

In other reality-based news, All Iraq News notes an Iraqi helicopter went down in Baiji. IANS adds:

Technical malfunctioning during landing apparently caused the chopper to crash while it was flying over al-Seiniyah area, just west of the refinery city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The crashed chopper was one of the three carrying food and ammunition to an army force stationed at the besieged oil refinery outside Baiji. The besieged troops have been fighting the Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS), inside the vast refinery area for months.

Iraqi Spring MC notes rebels are saying they downed the helicopter -- and they were in the area bombing a Baiji refinery.

Downed by mechanical failure or by an attack, it's a possible outcome that really hasn't been addressed.  Last Friday an Iraqi helicopter was shot down.  If that happens to a US helicopter, I guess the media will finally be interested in exploring possible outcomes.

So what did happen to the helicopter?

This evening, Kirk Semple and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report:

Insurgents from the Islamic State militant group shot down an Iraqi military helicopter on Wednesday near a refinery town, Baiji, killing two onboard, Iraqi military officials said.
It was the second time in less than a week that the militants had shot down an Iraqi helicopter, raising the stakes for the Iraqi forces and the United States-led coalition fighting the group, which have dominated the sky during a campaign of airstrikes.

Barack's 'plan' is a failure.

Attacking Panetta won't change that.

At the State Dept today, spokesperson Jen Psaki made another attempt at defining success:

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry acknowledged today there were some setbacks and some successes with the Iraqi Security Forces. You were going to discuss yesterday some of the successes that --

MS. PSAKI: Sure, I talked about a few of them. And I think, obviously, there have been – as he said today, there have been some successes and there have been some areas where we know more work needs to be done. And we’re continuing to work with the Iraqi Security Forces to strengthen them. As you know from the assessment that we’ve done, we’ve assessed that there are certainly some that need more training, there are some that are fully prepared to fight. And so we’re working within those constraints. But let me just give you a few.
I think I mentioned these yesterday, but just in case you weren’t there for it, we’ve already seen Iraqi Security Forces retake and hold land at the Mosul Dam, Amirli, and push back ISIL forces around the Haditha Dam. They’ve also refortified around Baghdad. We’ve seen reports, as I mentioned yesterday, that Kurdish forces, with the support of Sunni tribes, retook the Iraq-Syria border crossing at Rabia last week, which fell to ISIL in June. This is an encouraging development as it will make it harder for ISIL to operate across the border.
And there were also reports within the last week that Iraqi Security Forces, working in conjunction with Sunni tribes, have pushed back ISIL in the town of Dhuliya. And so those are some of the areas where we’ve seen some successes. But obviously, we’re not naive of – about this and there’s much more work that needs to be done, which is why we’re working closely with them.

Well that's not impressive.

More to the point, what does any of that have to do with a political solution?

Not a damn thing.

For the State Dept, Brett McGurk is the lead on the diplomatic effort for Iraq.

But you'd never know it to follow him on Twitter.  Today's Tweets included:

What does any of that have to do with reaching a political solution in Iraq?

Not a damn thing.

But the State Dept, like the White House, can't point to any real accomplishments in Iraq.

In 2003, Barack's efforts -- done by Bully Boy Bush -- would have been called out loudly by the peace movement.  Today?  Not so much.   While so many are silent in the US, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is calling for action:

At his fundraiser with SF’s “elite”, let’s tell President Obama: No War!

Date: October 10, 2014
Time: 4:00 - 7:00 pm
Location: "W" Hotel
3rd and Howard Sts.
San Francisco, California
Contact: ANSWER Coalition at or 415-821-6545              
Join us to demand:
• Stop bombing Syria and Iraq!
• U.S. out of the Middle East!
• End U.S. aid to Israel!
• Money for jobs, housing, healthcare,  education, not war and occupation!

President Barack Obama is coming to San Francisco to raise tens of millions of dollars for the Democratic Party’s “war chest” and upcoming elections, as the peoples of the Middle East suffer a new U.S. bombing war, this time expanding into Syria and deepening in Iraq. The Pentagon generals are demanding “boots on the ground” in Washington’s quest for total domination of the oil-rich region. Gaza is still under rubble and blockaded by Israel, due to both Democrats’ and Republicans’ military aid to Israel. We urge everyone to come and protest Obama’s visit, to say: Stop bombing the people of the Middle East, U.S. Out! Money for Jobs and Housing, Not War!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Barack's failing 'plan'

Today, AP offers an analysis of Barack's 'plan' which shouldn't surprise readers of The Common Ills.  AP opens with, "After two months, the U.S.-led aerial campaign in Iraq has hardly dented the core of the Islamic State group's territory."

Nor will it.

It's not a plan, it's idiotic and it's costly.  Over a billion dollars -- US taxpayer dollars -- were spent in the last two months alone on this 'plan.'

What's the end date and can I get a sticker price on this wave of the Iraq War Barack wants to buy?

The 'plan' is idiotic.

How sad that only C.I. has been able to point that out at The Common Ills.

Now others, AP and Robert Fisk to name two, emerge.  But C.I.'s been calling this out since the start.

She's had to do the heavy lifting while our peace 'leaders' were silent.

I see today that Jane Fonda did  blog post . . . on an article mentioning her at the Los Angeles Times.

But Iraq, Jane?

Do you have anything to say there?

Guess not.

As a result, I have no reason to watch your Netflix attempt at The Golden Girls.

Jane has no idea what a backlash she's creating for the show.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, October 7, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, US officials betray the Constitution with remarks that goes against democratic principles, Barack's 'plan' gets more criticism, AP's Matt Lee asks the State Dept if they can point to a success, a new US Ambassador to Iraq has arrived in Baghdad, and much more.

There seems to be some confusion over this part of yesterday's snapshot:

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has taken public many criticisms that he made in real time privately to the administration.  They can't deny these charges, so the administration has tried to attack Leon.  I know Leon and I like him.  I also know and like Vice President Joe Biden.  But . . .

I don't think Joe's ever said anything as idiotic as what Jason Ditz quotes him as saying:

Vice President Joe Biden was quick to criticize Panetta, although not on the content of his hawkish comments. Rather, Biden said it was “inappropriate” for Panetta to criticize Obama at all, on anything, until after 2016, and that he should “at least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”

A friend was joking over the weekend that "Uncle Joe" should run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination with the slogan Free Flow Joe to note that Joe lacks any filter or self-censorship.

And he's said many dumb things but to insist that Leon or anyone is unable to criticize Barack for two more years is so deeply stupid and so deeply offensive that Joe, who doesn't have a real shot at the presidential nomination, should go ahead now and announce he won't be seeking it.

I like John Kerry and I supported his 2004 run.  When he had an incident that was just too destructive, I noted here he should give up plans to seek a second run in 2008.  Joe's remarks are the same type of offensive.  You really can't come back from that.  It doesn't go away and it undermines you at every step.

That's far from Joe's only problem remarks of late. As Alsumaria reported, Joe spent the weekend working the phones with the UAE and Turkey after he publicly declared that the two governments supported terrorism.

A number of e-mails maintain that I stated (stated, not wrote, the snapshots are dictated) Joe had blown his shot at the presidency due to his remarks about the UAE and Turkey.

That's not what I said.

That error was glaring because you don't say what Joe said -- whether it's true or not -- about Middle East countries who are assisting you with your 'plan' to destroy the Islamic State -- especially when you're trying to shore up support in the region.

At today's State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki noted:

Okay. I have two items for all of you at the top. General Allen and Ambassador McGurk are in Amman today, where they met with tribal leaders and sheikhs who have bravely resisted ISIL in Iraq. General Allen and Ambassador McGurk praised their courage and affirmed that those who stand against ISIL will continue to be supported by the international coalition. They also discussed our support for Prime Minister Abadi’s vision of a united Iraq and a united Iraqi National Guard that both empowers local populations to protect their communities and incorporates those forces within the formal national security structure.
Tomorrow, General Allen and Ambassador McGurk will meet with the King of Jordan and other Jordanian Government officials. They will also travel tomorrow to Cairo and then will be in Ankara October 9th and 10th. And we’ll have, of course, further readouts of their meetings there as the week continues.

Joe's remarks threw a monkey wrench into the efforts of reaching out to other MidEast countries.

The remarks were poorly timed and diplomatic efforts had to come to a sudden stop in order to address the situation Joe created.

I stated Joe's criticism of Leon Panetta was the problem.

Joe can be as stupid as he wants to be but while he's the Vice President of the United States, he needs to defend the Constitution -- in fact, he took an oath to do so.

Free speech is not aided by Joe's ridiculous and undemocratic barriers.

And that's not an open society or democracy -- one in which people must wait until an elected official is out of office for him or her to face any criticism.

Leon Panetta does not just have a legal right to speak out, he has a duty to as a member of a democracy.  And open society only exists when people can speak freely.

Anyone -- including Joe -- can disagree with what Leon says.

But if Leon feels it's important to democracy, he has a duty to speak out.

Joe makes many silly comments -- he also makes his share of wise ones -- but that wasn't the problem with the issue Jason Ditz was reporting on.

The problem was that Joe Biden argued Leon should be quiet until Barack was out of office.

That goes against the Constitution, it goes against free speech, it goes against democracy and open societies.  Someone who expresses that sort of belief -- a fleeting one or a firmly held one, it doesn't matter -- should not run for the US presidency.

I know there are many things going on in the world and that Joe says his share of stupid things; however, I am surprised that the media failed to pick up on the statements, specifically the undemocratic nature of them.

Joe's not the only one saying stupid things.  Democratic member of the House of Representative Dutch Ruppersberger has added his voice to the cry for more war and US boots (officially) on the ground in Iraq.  Peter Sullivan (The Hill) reports the House Intelligence Committee's Ranking Member appeared on Erin Burnett's CNN program last night and noted he was open to (more) US troops on the ground in Iraq.  He observed, "We have boots on the ground right now but they're not out there fighting."  Ruppersberger apparently wants them to be but frets that this would be announced ahead of their entering combat because, he says, "The only thing I'm concerned about, you don't tell the enemy what you're going to do."

Uh, yeah, you do.

You declare a war, Dutch.

Do you not know how it works, are you that stupid?

Maybe you are.

It's one thing not to offer battle plans to the enemy or 'enemy.'

But saying, "X will lead to combat" -- or saying "We are declaring war" -- those are basic statements.

Again, a war is supposed to start with a declaration.

Maybe Dutch should stop flapping his gums and brush up on the US Constitution?

One of the reasons declaring war is not hidden?

Because in a democracy citizens are supposed to weigh in.

In a democracy, citizens are over the officials.  The officials work for the citizens.

Dutch seems to struggle with that concept.  It's a shame people in his district can't give him two years off via the November election so he could take some time to learn about civic participation and other elements of an open society.

The bombing of Iraq is disturbing, the ongoing illegal war is disturbing.

But so are undemocratic statements made by elected officials who betray the Constitution with their guttural
expressed remarks that embrace totalitarianism and deception.

 US President Barack Obama has no plan.  By Dutch and Joe's 'educated' opinions, I should be silent about that.

No, I'm an American citizen and I can offer my opinion and should.  And so should all voices in a democracy.

Barack not only doesn't have a plan, he's repeating Bully Boy Bush (yet again!).

Bully Boy Bush knew the way to save Iraq from violence was (a) send a huge infusion of US troops into Iraq and (b) this military might would create the space -- fostered by US diplomatic officials -- for a political solution.

Barack knows he can save Iraq by (a) sending in us planes and helicopters over Iraq to bomb and (b) this military might will create the space -- fostered by US diplomatic officials -- for a political solution.

As with Bully Boy Bush, Barack got distracted playing war and forgot about the need for a political solution.

The surge failed because part (b) never took place.  The US military did their part.  The US diplomatic effort was a joke.

And that's what's happening with Barack's 'plan' today.

If you're not getting what a failure at diplomacy Barack has been, you may have missed yesterday's snapshot.  It closed with a transcript of a US press conference in Baghdad from last Friday.

Think about the issue of diplomacy as we note the key passage:

AMBASSADOR JONES:  Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the American Embassy.  It is great to see you here. So, welcome to the Embassy, it is great to have you here.
My name is Stuart Jones.  I had the honor yesterday of presenting my credentials to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Iraq.  And so I am now very pleased to be here to replace my good friend and colleague, Steve Beecroft.  And, on this, my third day of work, it is also a great honor to present to you my good friend and colleague, General John Allen, who, as you know, is the President's special envoy to building the coalition against Daeesh.

In the midst of a diplomatic mission and focus, Barack is yet again switching US Ambassadors to Iraq.

In his six years as president, Barack has had four Ambassadors to Iraq:

1) Chris Hill
2) James Jeffrey
3) Robert S. Beecroft
4) Stuart Jones

Where is the consistency?

Maybe a stronger Iraq would be possible if the White House wasn't forever changing the lead US diplomat in Iraq.

Chris Hill was an utter failure, no question.

But Jeffrey was competent and Beecroft was competent and energetic.

How is there a consistent message to the government of Iraq or consistent support for it when they should be expecting every US ambassador to disappear within 16 months.

On Barack's 'plan,' Walter C Ladwig (Irish Independent) offers:

The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated that air power and other forms of long-range precision strikes can be devastatingly effective against relatively unskilled opponents, such as the 2001-era Afghan Taliban or Iraqi army conscripts in 2003. 
However, the same weapons have proved to be far less effective against relatively more skilled opponents, such as al-Qa'ida's foreign fighters, who have the ability to employ cover and concealment, build effective fighting positions, and otherwise adapt to the circumstances on the battlefield. .
Despite the startling advances in sensor technology in the past 20 years, it is still very hard to find targets to strike with air power in complex terrain, be it natural or man-made. Although Iraq is devoid of detection-disrupting forests, the critical landscape is its urban areas, which contain vast amounts of cover, not to mention innocent civilians that must be distinguished from legitimate military targets. Conducting effective air strikes in these circumstances against an opponent who knows how to exploit the terrain for their protection is not an easy task.

Ladwig goes on to argue that US troops are needed on the ground in Iraq.  And that really appears to have been the point of Barack's plan.  The planes were the early pregnancy of this wave of the Iraq War.  Now, at the start of the second trimester, he's adding helicopters.  Like a pregnancy, the war will continue to grow and increase in size.

You can object to the bombings without calling for more US troops to be sent into Iraq.  Last night, Mike noted  Robert Fisk (Indpendent) pointing out how limited Barack's plan actually is:

Is there a “Plan B” in Barack Obama’s brain? Or in David Cameron’s, for that matter? I mean, we’re vaguely told that air strikes against the ferocious “Islamic State” may go on for “a long time”. But how long is “long”? Are we just going to go on killing Arabs and bombing and bombing and bombing until, well, until we go on bombing? What happens if our Kurdish and non-existent “moderate” Syrian fighters – described by Vice-President Joe Biden last week as largely “shopkeepers” – don’t overthrow the monstrous “Islamic State”? Then I suppose we are going to bomb and bomb and bomb again. As a Lebanese colleague of mine asked in an article last week, what is Obama going to do next? Has he thought of that?

After Alan Henning’s beheading, the gorge rises at the thought of even discussing such things. But distance sometimes creates distorting mirrors, none so more than when it involves the distance between the Middle East and Washington, London, Paris and, I suppose, Canberra. In Beirut, I’ve been surveying the Arab television and press – and it’s interesting to see the gulf that divides what the Arabs see and hear, and what the West sees and hears. The gruesome detail is essential here to understand how Arabs have already grown used to jihadi barbarity. They have seen full video clips of the execution of Iraqis – if shot in the back of the head, they have come to realise, a victim’s blood pours from the front of his face – and they have seen video clips of Syrian soldiers not only beheaded but their heads then barbecued and carried through villages on sticks.

Barack's 'plan' is a failure.

The Associated Press' Matt Lee underscored that at today's State Dept press briefing:

QUESTION: Jen, you said that the President had laid out a clear and comprehensive strategy for dealing with this. Is it not at all distressing to the Administration that this clear and comprehensive strategy thus far has seen ISIL make gains rather than driving – than retreat?

MS. PSAKI: Well, in fact, I would disagree with that, Matt. There have been certainly gains made by the Iraqi Security Forces in Iraq. I can go through some of those for you if that would be useful.
We’ve said from the beginning and the President has said from the beginning that this would be a – an – would not be overnight, that this would be a long-term effort. And certainly, I outlined – as I just outlined, there are some strategy objectives that we’re focused on. We’ve gone after refineries. We’re going after strategic locations. And let me just tick through these and then we can go to your next question – some of our successes we’ve seen on the ground by the Iraqi Security Forces. One moment. Sorry. Well, I’ll find these.


MS. PSAKI: Sorry, I wanted to highlight them --

QUESTION: Does that mean there aren’t any? (Laughter.)

MS. PSAKI: That does not at all mean that, Matt. There have been – the Iraqi Security Forces have pushed back and regained territory, and I just wanted to list through those. But I’ll find them before we end the briefing.
Go ahead.

QUESTION: Okay. But you say, clearly it’s – this isn’t going to be an overnight campaign, regardless of whether it’s clear and comprehensive or not. But overnight Kobani almost fell and by tomorrow may be in ISIL’s hands. And so I just don’t know how – is there not any concern at all that you’re not doing – that the clear and comprehensive strategy the President has laid down is not – isn’t working yet?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think --

QUESTION: Or do you think that the successes --

MS. PSAKI: -- the reason why I outlined our objectives here and what are the deliberate and focused campaign is, is to outline and highlight the fact that it’s been focused militarily on command and control structures, destroying ISIL’s critical infrastructure, and attacking sources of ISIL’s fuel and financing. And certainly, we’re undergoing airstrikes in a range of places, including in the neighborhood.

Iraq has so many crises and Barack's 'plan' does not appear to address any.

The United Nations News Centre notes:

The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq is more than a crisis of food and shelter, it is a “crisis of spirit” that requires urgent action from the international community, the Deputy United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq said today.
Briefing reporters in New York via video-link from Erbil, Kevin Kennedy said that currently there are some 1.8 million people displaced in the country, mostly in Kurdistan and Anbar Province.
Over 860,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have arrived from Anbar, Mosul and Sinjar in the last several months as the situation has deteriorated in all those regions, he noted.
In August alone, 650,000 people arrived in Kurdistan seeking shelter, security and safety. Many of them have been staying with friends and relatives. Most of the refugees arriving now are seeking shelter in schools. This has caused the start of the school year to be delayed for months, Mr. Kennedy said, adding that it is uncertain when schools will reopen.
The IDPs are also dispersed, with about 400,000 of them in Anbar Province, which is not controlled by Iraqi Government forces. On top of that, Iraq is also hosting some 220,000 Syrian refugees and another one million people displaced since the start of the 2003 war.
“The people who are here came here to seek refuge. They are very traumatized having seen things they did not want to see,” said Mr. Kennedy, recalling a recent visit to Tikrit, where he met an elderly man who said that he could not account for his 41 family members.

As distressing as that is, it's October.  This is a time when cholera often becomes a serious issue in Iraq.  With all the fighting, if there is another serious cholera outbreak, it will probably receive little to no press coverage.

The waves of cholera result from a lack of potable water -- water which can be drank without causing illness, safe drinking water.  Iraq has a problem with that due to the decaying infrastructure.  Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister from 2006 until this past summer.  Eight years and he failed to address water and sanitation issues.  The water in many areas is unsafe to drink.

If you don't boil it or use purification tablets in it, you will likely get ill.

For eight years, Nouri was allowed to ignore this while claiming to represent the Iraqi people.

The water and sanitation issue may also be an issue this month if heavy rains emerge.

The decaying public infrastructure also means that sewers which would normally drain water remain out of commission and rains lead to flooding as the water stands.  It's now common for heavy rains to result in water up to the knees in parts of Sadr City.  (Sadr City is a section of Baghdad where some of cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's followers live.)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is a non-partisan group. They have released a voters guide for the upcoming mid-term elections.

Ahead of Election Day, IAVA Releases Voter Guide for Veterans’ Issues

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or

Ahead of Election Day, IAVA Releases Voter Guide for Veterans’ Issues
Issue guide will help Americans cast smart votes to support new veterans on November 4th

Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2014) – In advance of midterm elections, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, has released a guide to help voters assess candidates on their support for vital veterans’ issues. The 2014 IAVA Veteran Voter Guide focuses on policy issues for: combating suicide among troops and veterans; ending the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims backlog; improving support for female veterans; combating effects of burn pit exposure; defending veterans’ education benefits; and lowering the veteran unemployment rate. The guide includes issue summaries and a checklist to help every American evaluate a political candidate’s platform and talking points.

To read the full 2014 IAVA Veteran Voter Guide, click here. Also included in the nonpartisan guide are questions voters can ask directly to candidates running for office; techniques to use when raising veterans issues at town halls and political events; and a tear-away Call to Action page.
IAVA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and does not endorse any candidates for office or support any political party.

“This election year, IAVA wants to make sure that every veteran’s voice is heard loud and clear by candidates across the country,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. "This is a pivotal year for the military and veteran communities, as 22 veterans die by suicide each day and our country marks 13 years in Afghanistan. We expect more than yellow ribbons and campaign speeches from our lawmakers. Thousands of servicemembers will be returning home this year and our country isn’t yet capable of meeting their needs. From increasing mental health care access to modernizing VA services for the unique needs of women, each American’s vote will get us one step closer to improving the lives of the new greatest generation.”

IAVA and its supporters want to see smart policy and tough decisions from leaders of both sides of the aisle on six critical issues:

1. Combating suicide among troops and veterans: According to the VA, 22 veterans die by suicide each day. Combating veteran suicide has been IAVA’s top priority in 2014 with the “We’ve Got Your Back: IAVA’s Campaign to Combat Suicide.” In July, House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) introduced the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention For American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act), H.R. 5059. Once passed, the bill will combat veteran suicide and improve access to mental health care. IAVA is urging for bipartisan support for H.R. 5059.

2. Ending the VA disability claims backlog: Although the VA has made significant changes to meet its goal of reaching backlog zero by FY 2015, there is still work to be done. Currently, more than 230,000 veterans are stuck in the disability claims backlog. IAVA continues to call on the VA to create an infrastructure that allows the disability compensation system to protect future needs and adapt to a growing population of new veterans and even more complex injuries.

3. Improving support for female veterans: Women are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. Similar to their male counterparts, women are facing challenges with unemployment, suicide and accessing mental health care.  According to the latest data from the VA, 57.4 percent of female veterans are enrolled in VA health care. However, the VA health care system is not designed to support the unique needs and experiences of female veterans with a lack in even the most basic VA services. IAVA is urging the VA to modernize its health care system for our women warriors.

4. Combating effects of burn pit exposure: According to IAVA’s 2014 Member Survey, 76 percent of respondents were exposed to burn pits while deployed and 54 percent of those exposed feel they have symptoms associated with that exposure. IAVA urges Congress to pass the Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act (H.R. 2510) to help improve health outcomes for veterans exposed to burn pits.

5. Defending veterans’ education benefits: The Post-9/11 GI Bill (or New GI Bill) has been the best investment our country has made in its veterans since World War II. However, GI Bill benefits are under attack. Due to the “90/10 loophole,” some for-profits are targeting the New GI Bill to line their pockets with taxpayer money by aggressively and deceptively recruiting veterans while failing to deliver the high-quality education and career opportunities they promised. Congress should pass legislation to close the 90/10 loophole that causes veterans to be unfairly targeted by some predatory for-profit schools.

6. Lowering the veteran unemployment rate: Post-9/11 veterans have consistently experienced a higher unemployment rate than their civilian counterparts. According to IAVA’s 2014 Member Survey, 10 percent of respondents are currently unemployed. While veteran unemployment rates have gradually declined in the last few years, there are still populations of veterans that are struggling more than most. IAVA calls on Congress to pass legislation to translate military skills into equivalent certifications.

Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership about pressing veterans issues during the 2014 midterm election cycle. 

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Gloria Steinem sells out women again

Gloria Steinem was on The Good Wife Sunday night.

I find that appalling.

For so many reasons, including the old whore can self-promote herself (she played herself on the show) but can't speak out about the bombings the US government is carrying out in Iraq?

Oh, CIA Gloria, go away, just go the hell away.

For those who don't get how offensive the show is . . .

"TV: The Good Wig, The Bad Show" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):

Most viewers would pin the ruin on season four where Archie Panjabi's Kalinda saw the emergence of her estranged husband Nick (Marc Warren) showed up.   The storyline was disgusting.  Hana Riaz (Southern Discomfort) summed it up in one sentence, "She also falls prey to a shocking portrayal of domestic violence as so unbelievably hyper sexualized in season 4, they had to axe the story due to public discontent."

A strong woman was reduced to not only a victim but one who got turned on by being abused and was sexually attracted to her attacker.

As the backlash built, show runners Michelle and Robert King rushed to TV Guide in October 2012 to insist the story would be wrapping up but their remarks really didn't indicate that they grasped what was offensive.

Were you surprised about the reaction to Kalinda's story line?

Robert King: Speaking for myself, I was and looking back at it now, I probably shouldn't have been. I think I was because I always feel like Kalinda is this thing we can go out on a limb with. I think a) people just don't want Kalinda to go there, which I think is a worthy response that I never thought of and b) I think that it was pushing buttons that are not really healthy buttons to push, which are about domestic violence and dominating men and things like that. I thought it would come across as Kalinda was giving as good as she got, but it's not coming across that way.

Michelle King: Speaking for myself, I was surprised that there was resistance to the story line. The part that did not surprise me is that no one is saying negative things about Marc Warren's performance. Everyone is agreeing that he's doing a fantastic job portraying character, in fact maybe so fantastic that people are upset that Kalinda would be connected to that.

Yeah, look for the silver lining, the domestic abuser was liked for his acting.

Robert showed more awareness than his wife but note that he reduced the glamorizing and sexualizing of domestic violence to the "b" point when, in fact, it is what outraged viewers.

Six months later, the show runners still refused to face reality when Jace Lacob (Daily Beast) interviewed them t the end of the season and raised the Kalinda storyline:

Given the backlash to that storyline, did you read that at all as a suggestion that perhaps operatic plots don't work well within the show's narrative framework? And did that reaction shade the way you approached the back half of the season in terms of tone?

Michelle King: I don't think it was about it being operatic. I think it was very specific to not wanting to see the Kalinda character seem vulnerable or taken advantage of, rather than a tonal issue.

Robert King: My answer would be yes, there were tonal issues. With some of it, Michelle is right and the other part is the operatic thing. We used that as a fake-out in the second year, where you think this could be an operatic solution to Kalinda, but it turns out to be something very prosaic, which is that she slept with Peter. We didn't give ourselves the same kind of fake-out here. It was diving into the operatic headfirst and that may have been a mistake. I think we pursued theme over plot, and that was probably a mistake.

Again, the storyline glamorized and sexualized domestic abuse.  Domestic abuse is widespread in this country and The Good Wife -- a series whose show runners see themselves and the show as leftist and progressive -- was sending a message to men, "Beat up the woman in your life and she will be turned on, you will have hot sex and she will feel bonded to you."

Gloria Steinem turns into a media whore in her final years -- so desperate for attention, she'll guest star on a show that promotes domestic violence as foreplay.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, October 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack's spent over a billion tax payer dollars on his bombing 'plan' in two months alone, the 'plan' faces more criticism, a bombing kills civilians in hit, the Pentagon insists they know of no civilian deaths, the Islamic State takes another city, the Pentagon insists the problem is not the taking of the city but the media coverage it has received, and much more.

It is now months since US President Barack Obama sent the first wave of 'advisors' into Iraq to determine what was needed.  The 'advisors' were US military in one form or another.

So is it really that surprising that what Barack's so-called 'plan' ended up being was a military action?

Barack has repeatedly (and rightly) insisted that what Iraq needs is a political solution, that only such a solution will provide stability and ease the tensions at the root of Iraq's multiple crises; however, his 'advisors' sent in to determine how to address the crises were not experts in politics or diplomacy.

Had they been, Barack might have had some sort of political aspect for his 'plan.'

Cokie Roberts and Steven V. Roberts (Bemidji Pioneer) note in their syndicated column:

The president has set out two clear principles. The first is to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” the extreme jihadist movement also known as ISIS and Islamic State that now occupies large swaths of Iraq and Syria. The second is to accomplish that goal without deploying American combat troops.
“As your commander in chief,” he told soldiers based in Tampa, Fla., “I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
But what if those two principles are not compatible? What if the resources Obama is prepared to commit — American airpower and advisers, working with local military assets — are not sufficient to accomplish the mission of crippling ISIL? Then what?

Then what indeed?

Yesterday, Barack added to the military 'plan' of endless bombing by putting US Apache helicopters into the mix.  Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) explains:

The United States escalated its involvement yesterday, sending helicopters into combat against targets west of Baghdad — the first time low-flying Army aircraft have engaged in President Obama’s new campaign in Iraq, despite promises it would not include “boots on the ground.”
Until yesterday, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq had involved Air Force and Navy jets and drones. The use of the low, slow-flying helicopters also suggests the security situation in Iraq’s Anbar province is deteriorating. Last week, the Islamic State terrorists overran numerous Iraqi bases and towns.

Dan Lamothe (Washington Post) explains, "Using Apaches introduces considerably more risk to the U.S. troops involved, however. While fighter jets and bombers might have to contend with mechanical malfunctions, they can operate in Iraq unimpeded by rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons that can be used to target low-flying aircraft. Helicopters have been shot down over Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia in the last 25 years."  And an Iraqi helicopter was shot down days ago by the Islamic State, "AP reports the Islamic State 'shot down an Iraqi military attack helicopter' near Baiji on Friday. NINA adds both pilots were killed in the crash."

Of the helicopters, RT observes, "Their use in aggressive bombing of areas controlled by Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) could signal mission creep for the US military, which US President Barack Obama has said will not take part in ground-force operations."  Jason Ditz ( points out, "The eventuality of such a shootdown is likely to mean US ground troops sent on rescue missions to try to recover the downed pilots. This could end up being the pretext for launching a ground operation against ISIS, and such an incident seems only a matter of time."  Ben Farmer (Irish Independent) echoes that point, "Though they are known for their formidable battlefield firepower, they are also more vulnerable to ground fire than the attack jets and bombers that have so far led the air campaign."

Of the air campaign, right-wing  Kimberly Kagan and her husband Frederick (Foreign Policy) are unhappy with the level of war Barack is providing and they want ground troops and they want them now:

The U.S. has hit about 334 mostly tactical targets in both Syria and Iraq in the intervening 50-odd days. To put that number in perspective, the 76-day air campaign that toppled the Taliban in 2001 dropped 17,500 munitions on Afghanistan. Those bombs directly aided the advance of thousands of Afghan fighters supported by U.S. special operators capable both of advising them and of identifying and designating targets to hit. There are no U.S. special operators on the ground in Iraq or Syria, no pre-planned or prepared advance of Iraqi security forces, and no allies on the ground in Syria. This is not an air campaign.

It's also not a 'plan' but you probably have to be concerned about Iraq, and not getting sexually aroused by the killing, to notice that.

Barack's plan is getting attention today -- for so many reasons.  Reasons like the bombing in Hit which has resulted in 42 people being injured and 24 killed.

: مقتل(24)مدنيا، وإصابة 42 آخرين بجروح -في حصيلة أولية-؛ جراء قيام الطيران باستهداف سوق شعبي وسط قضاء هيت. .

What you can see above with your own eyes and what medical sources in Hit report isn't good enough for the US military command.  Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell (Los Angeles Times) quote CENTCOM spokesperson Major Curtis J. Kellogg insisting, "We have seen the media reports alleging civilian casualties in Hit, Iraq.  However, based on our current assessment, we believe them to be false and have seen no evidence to corroborate these claims. I can assure you that prior to any mission, every precaution is taken to ensure we do not harm civilians or civilian facilities. However, we take all such reports seriously and look into them further."  By all means, look further at the photo and maybe take some time to speak with the local hospital.  You know Kellogg is just hoping there's no serious media interest -- like last week when US bombings in Mosul resulted in the deaths of 4 Iraqi civilians.  He's hoping there's no interest and, if that's the case, in a week or so you can expect CENTCOM to quietly release a minor statement acknowledging the 'regrettable' deaths and pretending that such deaths happen in spite of Barack's 'plan' as opposed to because of Barack's 'plan.'

The 'plan' is a failure.  The decision to send in US helicopters is an acknowledgment of that.  But it doesn't alter the 'plan,' it only feeds into the worst parts of the 'plan' and the overall failure of the 'plan.'

Lyse Doucet (BBC News) points out, "Depending on how you calculate the percentages, IS fighters still hold anywhere from a quarter to a third of Iraqi territory.  Hundreds of Western and Iraqi air strikes since 8 August have not fundamentally altered the new map although many say it would look even worse if the aerial campaign had not been unleashed."

It's been two months and the White House still can't admit that the 'plan' is a failure.

Instead, the answer is to add more US forces hoping that can somehow fix a failing plan.


It's not going to.

Political leaders make this mistake repeatedly and the result in loss of lives.

Instead of having the courage to admit they've made a mistake, they grow stubborn and throw more lives onto the battle.  It's not their lives so they're not too concerned.  They're more concerned about their own egos.  So the 'answer' becomes send more and more troops in and pretend that the 'plan' itself is sound.

And that's always what's behind 'mission creep' -- another reality few wish to be honest about.

The 'double down' is never about 'saving' a supposed victim but instead about attempting to salvage their own reputation.

At what cost?

For starters, Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports the Pentagon has announced the US war against the Islamic State has resulted in US war planes having "dropped roughly 185 munitions, including 47 cruise missiles" and that at least $1.1 billion had been spent so far.

That's a lot of money spent on a failing 'plan.'  Xinhua reports:

The Islamic State (IS) militants captured three neighborhoods in the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria on Monday, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The IS attacks on the neighborhoods of Kani Araban, Industrial City, and Maqtala al-Jadeeda in the eastern part of Kobane came after the terrorist group's intense clashes with the Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Unites, or YPG, according to the Observatory.

And the US government's response to this latest setback -- humiliating setback?  To claim that this is an issue inflated by local media.  Holly Yan, Michael Pearson and Ingrid Formanek (CNN) note:

And the Pentagon, the [unnamed "senior military"] official said, believes there's a media outcry about the situation in Kobani because reporters are there. Many other towns have fallen to ISIS without TV crews present, the official said.

Oh, it's the fact that "TV crews [were] present," that's the problem -- not that Kobani was taken.  In other words, if an Iraqi city falls in the forest when no one is around, it doesn't make a sound.

In a similarly stupid vein, the White House and administration officials have argued that the problems include a poorly trained military -- this despite all the years and billions the US spent training the military.

The military problems might not be an issue if, for example, the US government hadn't demanded the military be purged of Ba'athists back in 2003 and the years that followed.  It might also not be a problem if former prime minister and forever thug of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki hadn't brought Shi'ite death squads into the Iraqi military (Tim Arango broke that story in the fall of 2013).  But, as Mustafa Habib (Niqash) reports, those are hardly the only problems with the Iraqi military:

The Iraqi army is suffering badly from what locals describe as the “astronaut phenomenon”. That is, soldiers who pay money to superior officers so they can leave the world of the military and stay out of danger, far from the battle field. This means that sometimes when a general sends a battalion to fight, only half the soldiers are there. And recently, with attacks by extremists, this phenomenon has been getting worse.  

Last week a confidential meeting was hosted by Iraq’s Parliamentary committee on security and defence and one of the guests was Rasheed Flaih, the Lieutenant General who is in charge of the Iraqi army’s operations in the province of Anbar.  

At the September 27 meeting the military men and politicians discussed the ever-increasing absence of soldiers from their units in the province.  

“Participants in the meeting discussed the number of different sieges of the Iraqi army in the Anbar area and how many soldiers were being killed by members of the terrorist organisation, the Islamic State,” one of those who attended the meeting told NIQASH on condition of anonymity.

“Also discussed was the fact that there had been an increase in the number of Iraqi soldiers who were leaving areas where they could expect to see action – such as the provinces Anbar, Salahaddin and Diyala. This means that there are fewer than expected soldiers on the battlefields,” the source said.  
The stupidity of the White House never fails to stun.  Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has taken public many criticisms that he made in real time privately to the administration.  They can't deny these charges, so the administration has tried to attack Leon.  I know Leon and I like him.  I also know and like Vice President Joe Biden.  But . . .

I don't think Joe's ever said anything as idiotic as what Jason Ditz quotes him as saying:

Vice President Joe Biden was quick to criticize Panetta, although not on the content of his hawkish comments. Rather, Biden said it was “inappropriate” for Panetta to criticize Obama at all, on anything, until after 2016, and that he should “at least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”

A friend was joking over the weekend that "Uncle Joe" should run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination with the slogan Free Flow Joe to note that Joe lacks any filter or self-censorship.

And he's said many dumb things but to insist that Leon or anyone is unable to criticize Barack for two more years is so deeply stupid and so deeply offensive that Joe, who doesn't have a real shot at the presidential nomination, should go ahead now and announce he won't be seeking it.

I like John Kerry and I supported his 2004 run.  When he had an incident that was just too destructive, I noted here he should give up plans to seek a second run in 2008.  Joe's remarks are the same type of offensive.  You really can't come back from that.  It doesn't go away and it undermines you at every step.

That's far from Joe's only problem remarks of late. As Alsumaria reported, Joe spent the weekend working the phones with the UAE and Turkey after he publicly declared that the two governments supported terrorism.

The White House fails repeatedly at diplomacy.  Today, at the US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to focus on diplomatic efforts in Iraq:

Over the weekend, General Allen and Ambassador McGurk traveled to Erbil where they met with Kurdistan Regional Prime Minister Barzani, other senior KRG officials, provincial leaders, and tribal sheiks. Noting important recent victories by joint Sunni-Shiite tribal fighters and with Peshmerga forces – excuse me -- and Arab tribes joining to retake the vital border crossing at Rabia. General Allen and Ambassador McGurk conveyed our strong support for all Iraqis coming together as a national front to defeat ISIL, including through the formation of integrated national guard units that would work in concert with a restructured Iraqi army.
General Allen and Ambassador McGurk confirmed that the United States and other international partners are prepared to support these security reforms in a manner consistent with Iraq’s constitution, sovereignty, and independence. They also discussed the urgent need for the coalition to support the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, which is a critical line of effort in the comprehensive campaign to degrade and defeat ISIL.

In their meetings with KRG officials, General Allen and Ambassador McGurk affirmed the historic relationship with the Kurdistan region of Iraq and its people and underscored our full commitment to that relationship.

I don't have a great deal of confidence in those efforts but I could be wrong -- and I hope I am.  We'll close with the October 3rd press conference Allen held in Baghdad (and we'll pick up on that tomorrow).

AMBASSADOR JONES:  Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the American Embassy.  It is great to see you here. So, welcome to the Embassy, it is great to have you here.
My name is Stuart Jones.  I had the honor yesterday of presenting my credentials to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Iraq.  And so I am now very pleased to be here to replace my good friend and colleague, Steve Beecroft.  And, on this, my third day of work, it is also a great honor to present to you my good friend and colleague, General John Allen, who, as you know, is the President's special envoy to building the coalition against Daeesh.
So, General Allen has been here now since yesterday.  He is here with Deputy Special Envoy Ambassador Brett McGurk, who, as you all know, is also no stranger to Iraq.  And so, I will just ask General Allen to make a few brief remarks, and then he will take a couple questions.  Thank you.

GENERAL ALLEN:  Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Mesah Al-Kheir, and it is a pleasure to be back in Iraq, and see so many familiar faces.  And I would like to, in advance of this moment, wish all of you a very hearty Eid Mubarak.  I want to thank the great team here at the embassy here in Baghdad for the support that has been rendered to my team, to assist me in having access to so many of the leaders and the individuals within the Iraqi Government.  And I particularly appreciate Ambassador Jones's welcome to our team, and to the hospitality that he has shown here, as we have arrived in Baghdad.
This is the first of many trips that I anticipate making to the region.  And it was important that the first trip that we took to the region would be to Baghdad, particularly in my new capacity as a Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.
That Ambassador McGurk and I have come to Iraq for our first international trip speaks volumes about the importance that we place on our partnership with Iraq as we go forward with the intent, ultimately, to degrade and to defeat ISIL over time.
Now, before I read out our meetings thus far, let me first say that the United States strongly condemns the terrorist attacks across Iraq this week that took scores of innocent lives, including women and children.  This kind of wanton violence against innocents, especially during the holy period of Eid, underscores ISIL’s utter absence of respect for the sanctity of human life. 
From January forward, the U.S. has focused on strengthening the Iraqi Security Forces, because that is the desire and the request of the Government of Iraq, and because enabling partners to take on this fight is a critical part of the strategy to defeat ISIL.
Ambassador McGurk and I met last night with Prime Minister Abadi and National Security Adviser Al-Fayad, where I conveyed the strong, ongoing U.S. support for Iraq in our shared fight against ISIL.  And we are continuing to meet with a broad range of actors from across the Iraqi political and military spheres.
As President Obama said in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Abadi has committed his government to addressing the issues that led to past failures in the security ranks, and has already been replacing commanders and reaching out to all of Iraq’s diverse communities.  The United States, like Prime Minister Abadi, believes in a vision of an inclusive Iraq, in which Sunni, Shia, Kurds are all able to come together to peacefully iron out their differences to achieve prosperity and peace for all Iraqis.  All Iraqis. We have great respect for the Prime Minister’s vision of the necessary reforms, and strongly support his efforts to reach out to Iraq’s neighbors and to work with them on this shared challenge of degrading and defeating ISIL.
In all of our meetings, I am emphasizing our strong support for Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity.  And we are committed to working in close support of Iraq regaining territory that ISIL has currently taken over, and making sure that the new government is able to control its territory once ISIL is pushed back. 
President Obama and Prime Minister Abadi have been clear: We must build Iraqi capacity to take on the fight. That is why the U.S. will not send combat troops to Iraq, but instead continue our support for Iraqi security forces through military advisers, training, and capacity building.  The fight will not be easy, and there will be an ebb and flow on the battlefield as time goes on, particularly as Iraqi leaders appoint new commanders,
reconfigure their formations on the ground, and restore the capacity of their forces. This will take time and will require patience.
To that end, we also discussed how the international coalition can help bring to life Prime Minister Abadi’s vision for an integrated National Guard program. We have appreciated the opportunity here in Baghdad to hear about the Iraqi Government’s work with the provincial and tribal leaders as this plan moves forward from concept to reality, and we applaud this broad-based conversation amongst the Iraqis.  The U.S. and some of our international coalition partners will continue to work closely to support that vision, as well.
While naturally the military piece of this is very important, and in all our meetings we are discussing coalition contributions, we also put emphasis on the other lines of effort for the strategy, not just the military support, which obviously gets a lot of attention today, but we also talk about the stopping of the flow of foreign fighters, cutting off ISIL revenue and access to financing, providing humanitarian assistance, and, very importantly, fighting ISIL’s messaging, the idea of ISIL.
And I would like to talk a bit more about that last portion, that last of the five components, because it is something that goes right to the heart of how ISIL will eventually be defeated.  As President Obama said before the UN General Assembly a few weeks ago, “The ideology of ISIL will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day.”  So we strongly encourage and we support those voices here in Iraq and in the region articulating what ISIL is, which is an un-
Islamic terrorist entity, spreading a message of hate, undertaking violence and nihilism.
But it is incumbent on all of us in this fight against ISIL to work together, and to offer an alternative vision for the future.  ISIL turns frustrated young people into potential agents of terror.  To resist ISIL’s lure, these young people have to believe in a different future, one of inclusivity, one of tolerance, and one of economic hope.  That is why the United States so strongly supports Prime Minister Abadi’s continued outreach to all Iraqis, and his efforts to build an inclusive Iraq that offers hope and promise for all Iraqis, for all your people.
As President Obama and Secretary Kerry have said, this is ultimately a fight that the Iraqi people will have to win.  We cannot win it for you. And it will take time. A single round of airstrikes will not defeat the enemy.  That is why we are going after ISIL not just in the battle space, but we are attacking ISIL in the financial space and in the information space, as well. 
We can and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Iraq in this fight.  You have suffered greatly at ISIL’s hands. We are here to help you fight back, and to make sure that, once ISIL is defeated, it can never regroup and terrorize the Iraqi people again.
Shukran Jazeelan.  With that, I will be happy to take a couple of questions.

MODERATOR:  Questions?

QUESTION:  (Via translator) There is this impression, General, that the American (inaudible) environment is not that effective right now, and they are ignoring many of the leads that are given to them by the informant and by the Iraqi Government.  Do you think that there is a different way to do this?  My first question.
Second question is regarding the headquarters of this international coalition.  Don't you think that the headquarters should be in Iraq?  But we heard a few days ago that it is going to be in Kuwait.  Don't you think that would reduce its efficiency, if it was away from the field of operation?

GENERAL ALLEN:  I will answer the second one first.  I am not going to comment on the operational locations of the headquarters or the command and control.  I know we are still building out the force, I know we are still consolidating the coalition.  And so I think we need some more time, obviously, to determine where the final location of that will be.  There will be, certainly, representatives of the headquarters that will be inside Iraq that will be located -- collocated with your security force leadership.  And whether the overall headquarters is ultimately in Kuwait or Iraq, that is a decision that I am not a party to at this particular moment.  But I know we will consider all of those locations.
With respect to the first point, I would dispute the contention that the airstrikes to this point have not been effective.  In fact, many airstrikes have slowed the momentum or halted the momentum of ISIL as it has moved across the ground.  Some of the airstrikes have supported, for example, the retaking of the Mosul Dam, the maintenance of Iraqi governmental support or Iraqi control of the Haditha Dam.  Airstrikes have supported counter-attacks, local counter-attacks by Iraqi security forces.
But your point is a good one, and is one that we should continue to try to refine, and that is the information flow to our forces which conduct the airstrikes needs to be closely coordinated.  We need to be talking to the Iraqi leadership and the sources of the information on targets, with the idea that we can be the most effective we possibly can be in applying the aerial fire power to support both the Iraqi people, but very importantly, the Iraqi security forces.  And that is a process I think we will continually re-evaluate to ensure it is as efficient and as agile as it can be. 
Thank you very much, a good question.

QUESTION:  (Via translator) (Inaudible) you are the presidential envoy to the -- for the Coalition to Combat ISIS.  Do you think that the international coalition intends to completely eliminate ISIS?  This is my first question.
The second question, we have some information that (inaudible) is going to be supportive, as well, in training, in arms, and in some advanced weapons.  Can you tell us a little bit about some of the advanced weapons that are going to be given to Iraq, and also the training that is going to be provided?  Is it going to be provided to the elite forces only, or to the general Iraqi Army?

GENERAL ALLEN:  Give me the first part of the question again, please.

QUESTION:  (Via translator) Well, the first part is you are the presidential convoy to the Coalition to Combat ISIS.  Do you think that the international coalition really intends to completely eliminate ISIS?  This is the first question.

GENERAL ALLEN:  That is a really important point.  The defeat of ISIS, which is the intent, will occur in several ways.  And I think it is useful to consider the environment in which ISIS operates. 
The traditional environment that we consider is that ISIS operates in the physical space.  It takes ground, it holds infrastructure, it dominates populations, it operates in the physical space.  Defeating ISIS in the physical space will require a counter-offensive in which we will help to train those forces which will be part of that counter-offensive.  We will help with the application of air power in support of those activities in the counter-offensive to liberate terrain, to liberate people. 
Coming in right behind those military actions will be a strong humanitarian assistance, as well, to rescue the populations from the oppression of ISIS, to provide relief to the people that have suffered so much. 
And the successful portion of the campaign, as it relates to Iraq, will be that, ISIS, as an identifiable organization, will cease to exist inside Iraq.  That doesn't mean that every single member of ISIS has been eliminated.  But the organization has ceased to exist.  There are no safe havens, there is no capacity to challenge Iraqi security forces and, ultimately, to dominate the people.  That is in the physical space.
But ISIS operates in several other spaces, as well.  It operates in the financial space, and it generates a lot of revenue.  And while the counter-attack against ISIS in the physical space is underway, there is going to be a very concerted international effort to attack ISIS in the financial space also, to try to deny it the revenue that it generates every single day that gives it the oxygen that it breathes to give it some effectiveness.  And we want to choke off its finances, to choke off that oxygen, to cause it to begin to wilt from within.
Your point is even more important when you think about the other space in which it operates.  It operates in the information space.  And in some cases ISIS is much less effective in the physical space than it is terrorizing in the information space.  And it achieves great effect in the information space.  And we not only want to compete with ISIS in the information space, in the space of ideas, we want to contest that space.  We want to deny that space to ISIS by a broad-based consensus of the participants in the coalition and, more broadly, the international community that what ISIS stands for is something that is so reprehensible and so odious, that the global community repudiates the very idea of ISIS.
So, as the physical attack is occurring, as the financial attack is occurring, we are attacking the very idea that gives life to ISIS as an ideology.
But it is broader than ISIS.  It is more broadly-based than ISIS.  It is about terrorism.  It is about extremism.  It is about attacking those issues, ultimately, that have given rise to ISIS.  So that is a really important question, and I hope I have given you some thoughts in that regard.
The other piece of this is the training that will -- we will undertake.  It is not just for the special operators, your special forces.  And, by the way, your special forces are some of the best on the planet; they are very, very good.  This is about restoring the capabilities of the Iraqi Army.  And as we work closely with your government, and work closely with the Iraqi Army to determine the size of that army and its organization, there will be decisions that will be made on the means to move that army -- in other words, how it will be transported across a battle space, some of which will be in wheeled vehicles, some of which will be in armored vehicles -- and the weapons systems that will be made available to that Iraqi Army, that refurbished Iraqi Army, so it is a competent, capable, and credible combined-arms force.
Now, I can't go into the details with you on that, because decisions are still being made.  But we are committed to doing that.  And thank you for that question.

And I think that does it?  Okay.  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.  Thank you.


the los angeles times