Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Hate The War

In today's snapshot, we noted some of the weapons announcement and we're going to start with some (not all) of those. For a reason. See if you don't get the point while reading over the excerpt:

DSCA announced: "On Dec. 9, the Dfense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 36 AT-6B Texan II Aircraft as well as associated support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 400 M1126 STRYKER Infantry Carrier Vehicles as well as associated equipment. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.11 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 20 T-6A Texan aircraft, 20 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $210 million."

"The total value, if all options are exercised, could be . . ." Did you notice that? What does that mean. It means that two parties are entering into an agreement and that along with the basics of the agreement, there are options. Think of the US treaty masquerading as the Status Of Forces Agreement. The way it is set up, it runs one year. That's because the cancellation clause requires one year's notice. Either side can cancel but they have to give one year's notice. So it's a one-year contract with the options of 2010 and 2011. If all options are exercised, the treaty can run through 2011.

The fact that it could run that long does not mean that anything in the treaty is binding beyond 2009. The treaty allows the parties to change details. So to cover the treaty by pretending it is a binding, three-year contract that cannot be cancelled and cannot be changed is to lie. To insist that it means a US withdrawal in 2011 is to lie really big.

Let's turn to Crazy Ass Patrick Cockburn who scribbled about Iraq today at CounterPunch. Cockburn lies from the beginning insisting that the Iraqi Parliament passed the treaty "by a large minority" when that's simply not the case. There are 275 members of Parliament. Some chose not to show up for the vote, some did. 149 MPs voted for the treaty. That is not "a large majority." The fact that Cockburn cares so damn little about the truth demonstrates how out of touch he currently is. And it may remind many of his 'reporting' on the woman being hanged (when she was stoned) not all that long ago.

He goes on to repeat all the usual lies about how "150,000 American troops in Iraq will withdraw from cities, towns and villages by June 30, 2009 and from all of Iraq by December 31, 2011. [. . .] There will be no US military bases left behind when the last US troops leave in three years time and the US military is banned in the interim from carrying out attacks on other countries from Iraq." What a liar. What a fool. What a Cockburn.

He continues by calling the treaty masquerading as a SOFA "categorgical and unconditional." If it seems like Cockburn's just tossing out words and hoping something sticks, that's because he is doing that.

Everything in the treaty is conditional after 2009. Will the treaty run through 2010? That's conditional on whether it's cancelled or not. It can be cancelled. Cockburn's been crazy for months now. He's been seeing a New World Coming through his Barack lusting eyes for some time now.

He embarrasses himself further:

So many spurious milestones in Iraq have been declared by President Bush over the years that when a real turning point occurs people are naturally sceptical about its significance. The White House was so keen to limit understanding of what it had agreed in Iraq that it did not even to publish a copy of the SOFA in English.

Today Patrick Cockburn wants to claim that the White House hasn't published a copy? How stupid is this whack-job nut? As McClatchy pointed out before the Parliament vote, the White House planned to publish it after the vote and only after the vote. And, pay attention Cockbum, the White House did that. The vote took place Nov. 27th (Thanksgiving) and the White House immediately posted it. From that day's snapshot:

"Iraqi lawmakers today approved a pact allowing U.S. forces to stay in the country through 2011 after winning support from skeptics by promising a public referendum on the plan," explain Raheem Salman and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) and they go on to note that "[a]ccording to the agreement" troops out in 2011! Which agreement? The Arabic one the puppet government thinks is final or the English one the White House refuses to release because, as Adam Ashton, Jonathan S. Landay and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes." This was noted last week in a Congressional hearing as well so it's really past time to stop speaking of the agreement singular. Salman and Susman do a better job explaining this:

The pact, while not explicitly stating that an extension can be sought, allows for amendments if both sides agree to them.
U.S. officials have indicated that they interpret that as permitting a possible extension, if security conditions in Iraq are deemed too shaky to leave Iraqi security forces in charge. "There is a provision for extension, by agreement of both sides," one U.S. official said in discussing the pact.

Yeah, it's a one-year agreement. Only 2009 cannot be changed or cancelled. Everything else that the White House says is set-in-stone is actually a conditional option that can be wiped away by either side. Today the White House finally released the agreement in English. We'll jump in at Article 30 The Period for which the Agreement is Effective:

1) This Agreement shall be effective for a period of three years, unless terminated sooner by either Party pursuant to paragraph 3 of this Article.

Get it? Paragraph three: "This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect." Meaning only 2009 is set in stone. It is too late for either party (US or Iraq) to give one year's notice and cancel it in 2009. They can give notice to cancel in 2010 or 2011. The second clause is also worth noting because it weakens the strength of any agreement as well: "This Agreement shall be amended only with the official agrement of the Parties in writing and in accordance with the constitutional proceudures in effect in both countries." That's the aspect that allows for a change and all the 'flowery' respect for Constitutional procedures is hog wash. The Iraqi Parliament needed to have two-thirds of all members (not just members present) to pass the treaty today. They did not have that. According to their Constitution and their laws, that's what was needed. In the US, Congressional approval is needed over all treaties and we know that has not take place. We further know that Barack Obama -- alleged Constitutional scholar -- doesn't give a damn about the Constitution. He show boated and did his little pretty words number while campaigning but despite all his insisting that the treaty would have to come before the Congress -- including becoming one of thirteen co-sponsors on Hillary Clinton's Senate bill insisting upon that -- he shut his corporate mouth and put his tiny tail between his legs to slink off like the disgusting, cowering trash he is. He's not going to stand up for the Constitution 'later.' He couldn't stand up for it right now.

An agreement built upon a systematic disrespect for the rule of law does not suddenly develop one. An agreement built upon lies does not suddenly embrace honesty. The treaty is built on lies and they include the lies to the American people. Why is the US pursuing this treaty? The White House keeps talking about these 'recent' gains in Iraq. Today is November 27th of 2008. Recent would, for most of us, go back no further than the end of spring. But Article 25 explains Nouri al-Maliki and Condi Rice notified the United Nations that the Security Council's mandate would be cancelled at the end of this year . . . last year. al-Maliki's letter was dated December 7th, Rice's December 10th. 'Recent' events?

The agreement the White House has released may not be the official agreement or the final one. It is the one that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari signed November 17, 2008. The note above their signatures states: "Signed in duplicate in Baghdad on this 17th day of November, 2008, in the English and Arabic languages, each text being equally authentic."

That version is published online by the White House in PDF format (
click here). The Bully Boy of the United States released the following statement today: "Earlier today, in another sign of progress, Iraq's Council of Representatives approved two agreements with the United States, a Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement, often called a Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA. The Strategic Framework Agreement sets the foundation for a long-term bilateral relationship between our two countries, and the Security Agreement addresses our presence, activities, and withdrawal from Iraq. Today's vote affirms the growth of Iraq's democracy and increasing ability to secure itself. We look forward to a swift approval by Iraq's Presidency Council. Two years ago, this day seemed unlikely -- but the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament. The improved conditions on the ground and the parliamentary approval of these two agreements serve as a testament to the Iraqi, Coalition, and American men and women, both military and civilian, who paved the way for this day."

The White House published an English language version of the treaty on Thanksgiving day. There is no excuse for Patrick Cockbum to lie or flaunt his stupidity. Regardless of which it was, it goes to how little care or concern there is over the truth at CounterPunch that the piece just posted automatically.

This was all known in real time and as embarrassing as Patrick Cockbum's ignorance would be coming from, say, Norman Solomon or Matthew Rothschild or any others of that ilk, Patrick Cockburn is a journalist, allegedly trained, and he is one assigned to cover Iraq by a daily newspaper. Meaning that while we could have a good laugh at these comments coming from Solomon or Rothschild, there's a world of difference from there being unaware (ignorant) of details that they missed while they weren't playing check-in on the Iraq War and with Cockbum -- assigned by a daily paper to cover Iraq -- not knowing the details.

And poor Patrick.

Of all the days and all the outlets to act like a sick fool, he had to pick today.

Sing it again, Reuters, "Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said some U.S. forces could be needed for 10 years but told reporters that the terms of any extended presence would be negotiated between the next Iraqi and U.S. governments." Golly. al-Maliki's spokesperson, his mouth piece, just too a wizz in Patrick's breakfast cereal. What does it mean when al-Maliki spokesperson explains that "US forces" might "be needed" for another ten years? It means there's no withdrawal agreed to at this point, it means the puppet will ask for the extension and that the things Patrick applauded in the treaty were nothing but sop tossed out by the US to make al-Maliki appear 'strong.' (Which means you should now question those al-Maliki is "strong!" articles popping up everywhere. Were reporters that foolish or were they working with the US military?)

Now that's not a surprise, the above statement by al-Dabbagh. Though Patrick and others couldn't pay attention a joint-press conference in Baghdad, US military and Iraqi, revealed that the Iraqi air force wouldn't be up and running by the time the treaty ended.

But everyone either missed it or wanted to pretend it didn't happen. Let's drop back to the November 4th snapshot:

There's no rush to leave Iraq or even a desire. That needs to be grasped. Iraqi General Nasier Abadi made that pretty clear during Sunday's press conference in the Green Zone. Questioned by the Washington Post's Mary Beth Sheridan as to when the Iraqis would be able to handle "their own internal security . . . how many years are you away from reaching that goal," Abadi tried to distract by listing duties before declaring, "We have no duties or missions to protect the air on the borders of the country. But in case we have this responsibility, there is a brief that -- to the minister of defense, if he ask us to -- task us with that, a reportw ent also to the Prime Minister, what are the capabilities and the army's specifics to do those duties?" Asked how many years again, he responded, "Building an aerial force, building an Army is not easy, but it's still easier than building naval and air force. The naval force, as I said before, that the first ship will come in 2009 and the fourth will arrive in . . . at the end of 2011. In regard to 200- . . . Air Force, the first aircraft we will receive in 2011 until 2015. And that depends on the support and the help that the coalition forces can secure to Iraq so we can be able to maintain and defend our airspace and territories. Without that, there will be also agreements with the neighboring countries on the security of Iraq. But it's possible that we will go with those missions without having an air force or naval force because this is a common battle, it's not just an army's duty." Setting aside the naval force and focusing only on the air, if the period they'll be taking possession of aircraft will last from 2011 through 2015, how likely is it that they will be prepared to handle their own airspaceby the end of 2011?

Not likely at all and that was always known. (Or damn well should have been. This wasn't 'classified' information. It was out there in the public for anyone who gave a damn and attempted to find it.)

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4209. Which is the number it remains this week. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,297,997 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war, up from 1,288,426.

Reuters notes: "Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to portions of a report released on Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee."
The e-mail address for this site is

jonathan s. landay
mcclatchy newspapers
nancy a. youssef
adam ashton
the los angeles times
tina susman