Sunday, January 17, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

The Iraq Inquiry is an ongoing exploration of the Iraq War chaired by John Chilcot and taking place in London. On Tuesday, they heard from Alastair Campbell who had been the spokesperson for then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. As Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) notes, Campbell has now provided a "clarification" for his testimony:

He appeared, he said, to be suggesting that the then prime minister could have claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction "beyond doubt" even if intelligence chiefs disagreed.
"This is clearly not correct," he said in a written memo to the inquiry which had grilled him about the Government’s controversial 2002 dossier which was used to justify the invasion.

Andrew Gilligan (Telegraph of London) adds:

It's just not how a leading professional communicator should be treated, is it? Alastair Campbell tonight faces a demand from the former Lib Dem leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, that he be recalled to the Chilcot inquiry after I spotted that the former Spin King had written to Chilcot, "clarifying" his evidence.
Campbell decided he needed a second go at saying what he really meant over an issue which is emerging as a key area of interest for the enquiry. It is the claim, written by him in the WMD dossier, and repeated by Tony Blair, that the "assessed intelligence" had established continued Iraqi WMD production "beyond doubt." But the intelligence, of course, established nothing of the sort, as both Blair and Campbell must have known.

While that's sorted out, the Inquiry's public hearings continue today. (It's already Monday in London). Jack Straw is scheduled to testify Thursday and Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports on a letter Straw wrote Blair ten days before Blair met with Bush at the latter's Crawford ranch (April 2002): "Jack Straw privately warned Tony Blair that an invasion of Iraq was legally dubious, questioned what such action would achieve, and challenged US claims about the threat from Saddam Hussein, it was revealed today ."

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4373. Tonight it remains 4373.

Turning to some of the reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left four more people wounded.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "around thirty men dressed in military uniforms" executed 3 members of the Mjamma's tribe in Diyala Province.

Anyone expected clear-eyed appraisals from the UK, especially the Socialist segment, will be grossly disappointed in Ken Olende's "A year of Obama: compromise, crisis and capitulation" (Great Britian's Socialist Worker) whose only pearl is this: "The most extreme example of this was the US anti-war movement – United for Peace and Justice effectively closed itself down once 'its' president was elected." Among the many problems with the article is that Olende wrongly assumes Barack -- while not coming up through a movement -- came up as a candidate. No. He was sold. He was marketed. Astroturf campaigns were utilized repeatedly. Paid campaign staff took to blogs constantly. (Ava and I noted this back when Barry lost the ABC debate and how the rollout was for the campaign to swarm the news blogs with comments.) What happened was that Barack appeared to be popular -- he never had any popularity that he actually learned -- and appeared to be riding a wave (a mirage) so people did what they usually do when they see a craze: Jump on board.

If there was ever a consolidation of popular support for Barack that was reflected by the never ending hype (including the press), Team Obama wouldn't have had to fight so hard to eek out a win. They did that with a large portion of uninformed voters who's sole knowledge was when to vote and where to vote. The uninformed can't be tricked into believing in Barack again. The economic crisis is not something he can ride into popularity again.

Barack had no popular support. He had Whores -- Laura Flanders, Norman Solomon, et al -- but he didn't have real support. After the election (immediately after), the best thing the Whores could have done for Barry was lower the support, lower the expectations. Instead they wrongly thought they could hook the polyglot 'progressive-ism' onto Barack's hype. So they entwined the two even more so than during the election. And the result is hype peters out. Always. You can only hype the public for so long. But the hype drove Barack to popularity and approval no one had ever seen and now he faces the comedown, the reality. And the reality is that he's not a natural leader, he's not a liberal, he's not concerned with the people and he's not a person of peace.

On the latter, Ken Olende embarrasses himself the most: "His war policy increasingly resembles George Bush's, and his surge in Afghanistan has gained praise from US right wingers." You stupid, stupid ass. It doesn't "increasingly resemble" -- it is. And if Olende hadn't intentionally avoided the issue of Iraq, we could have addressed that. Someone might want to ask why the Socialist Worker is avoiding Iraq? The Iraq Inquiry takes place in London. Why the hell is the periodical ignoring it?

Olende ignores it. Barack was awarded a "Peace" prize that he shares with Bush -- even though that's unacknowledged. His Iraq 'plan' is to follow Bush's SOFA. He is Bush. That's reality. There's no difference.

Reality is also that he hasn't done a damn thing for LGBT rights -- despite Olende trying to toss him scraps.

There are more than enough apologist on the left in the US for the Corporatist War Hawk Barack. The world doesn't need to hear from the British branch. Olende's article would have qualified as 'strong' or 'hardhitting' only during the inauguration. Today, it's just pathetic.

And considering how Barack rode Iraq (with non-stop lies) to steal the nomination, shame on any 'surveyor' who 'forgets' to offer Iraq in any evaluation.

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