Monday, October 24, 2011

Iraq snapshot

Monday, October 24, 2011.  Chaos and violence continue, spinning and lying as well with many 'news' outlets providing fictions, yeah, we're back to 'withdrawal,' and more.
The enigma today is Michael S. Schmitt.  Is he being ironic?  Tongue in cheek?  An idiot savant? Or just so busy whoring he doesn't even realize what he's writing?  Maybe he's channeling?
I can't decide
I don't know
Which way to go?
The more you learn
The less you know
Which way to go?
Some follow blind
And never know
Which way to go?
To lead you need some place to go
Which way to go?
-- "Fiction" written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Dog Eat Dog album
Fiction.  It sold the illegal war, it kept it going and even now it abounds.  Are they all that stupid or they just dirty whores who were to ugly to work the streets so they took to newsrooms?  The Honolulu Star-Adviser embarrasses itself with an editorial claiming the end is in sight for all but 150 or so "soldiers" who will "secure the American Embassy in Baghdad" -- will come back to that number later in the snapshot.  Amy Goodman's been lying for years -- this is the 'journalist' who sold tickets to the Barack inaugural bash to raise money for her show, so much for any pretense of objectivity or even distance from the loud mouth who loved to quote I.F. Stone on not getting too close to those in power.  In her headlines, she's less than honest.  Then she puts a Gulf War veteran (90s Iraq War) on to lie about the Iraq War. He's with Occupy Lousiville and, if anything, the so-called 'leaderless' spirit of OWS is demonstrating there are a lot of people who require an education center in these encampments.  They're far from alone.  Is there a reason for Harvard's Nieman Foundation to exist?
Gilbert Cranberg's post argues that it shouldn't.  Cranberg feels the need to pretend to bark about the war at Nieman's Watchdog Blog to . . . ask the serious and needed questions about the current White House presentation? 
No, to drop back nine years to 2002 and 'cover' what was already covered some time ago and covered in depth.  Why do governmetn lie?
Because they know they can get away with it.  When you think of all the little whores on the left who've pretended they respected I.F. Stone and yet you see the work they produce, you're left with the impression that it must be some sort of 'I respect I.F. Stone, I just don't want to be like I.F. Stone.'  Message received.
And the reasons governemts lie is because they know they'll get away with it.  The current administration, for example, knows that 'brave' watch doggery today will be people dropping back to 2002 and listing the lies of the previous administration.  Barack says the Iraq War is over and that all US forces are coming home.  The press runs with that without examination and ignores his own comment indicating negotations continue -- a comment made clear on Friday in the second White  House press conference, the one Denis McDonough spoke in.
Elusive dreams and vague desires
Fanned to fiery needs by deadly deeds
In falling empires
Fiction of the diplomat
Fiction of the critic
Fiction  of the Pollyana and the cynic
Fiction of the coward
Fiction ofthe hero
Fiction of the monuments reduced to zero
 -- "Fiction" written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Dog Eat Dog album
The New York Times' Michael S. Schmidt wants you to know that he used to cover sports and, in sports, you either win or lose.  And he just doesn't understand why it's not the same with his current assignment.
Okay, let's bite.  If you were covering sports, Schmidt, and you were covering performance ehancement drugs in sports -- a beat you were familiar with -- if it was announced that all US baseball players were no longer taking drugs and you knew better, what would the hook of your story be?
Schmidt knows the truth and mentions it as an aside in paragraph 12 ("both countries said they would continue to discuss training options") but goes on for 17 more paragraphs without ever again mentioning it.
Maybe Schmidt should be less concerned about whether officials admit to wins or losses and more concerned that the average American news consumer has no clue that negotiations are not over?  Maybe, in fact, that would make for an actual report?  Again, if he needs to drop back to sports, if the impression was that steroid use stopped because of remarks by the Commissioner of Baseball declared so or gave the impression that was so and Schmidt knew otherwise, seems like that would be his big story.
We could do nothing but link to all the outlets and gas bags claiming that negotiations ended and are no more and blah, blah, blah and that could be the entire snapshot.  Strange that reporter Schmidt doesn't consider that a narrative in need of correction.
Again, the mistaken belief that negotiations have ended has been promoted by the press.  It's out there and so many people -- some misguided, some natural idiots, some dirtly little whores -- are repeating it.  And Niemen's Watchdog Blog wants to whine to us about lies from 2002?  Really?
That's why governments lie.  They know they'll get away with it.  They know gas bags will either be whores or cowards and refuse to call out the current lies.  Maybe, like Michael S. Schmidt, they'll mention it as a tiny aside -- a partial sentence in a 29 paragraph report -- or maybe they'll just vanish it completely.  And in the process the public will be ever less informed.
That's journalism?
That's what the role of the press is supposed to be?
They should all be ashamed of themselves. A press that, as Rebecca rightly points out, confuses itself for a public relations agency, isn't really a functional press -- let alone an accurate one.
Over the weekend, Nouri al-Maliki spoke publicly about ongoing negotiations.  Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) reported that Nouri spoke Saturdayy about how excited he was that "all" US troops would be leaving Iraq and how US "trainers" are needed by Iraq and that discussions will continue on that. Like the White House, Nouri's always drawn a false line between "trainers" and soldiers. So Nouri expects a "full" withdrawal of US soldiers and he's also expecting to be able to include US "trainers" after the end of 2011.  Al Sabaah quoted him stating that it's "natural" to have US trainers in Iraq. How will the number be determined? He says by the weapons purchasing contracts Iraq signs. Dar Addustour reports that Nouri claims he and Barack did not discuss the issue of the US Embassy "and immunity" on their tele-conference (it's Nouri, meaning they may have or they may not have) but tha the US embassy will be similar to other embassies in Iraq. Yeah, right. Where's a flying shoe tossed in Nouri's direction when you need it? While declaring the Status Of Forces Agreement dead, he noted that the Strategic Framework remains alive and "open" and that it can be altered and modified. Where's the US coverage of that?  Oh, why do we even ask at this late date.  The US press clearly exists to misinform.  Too many lies and distortions for it to be accidental.

The article quotes Moqtada al-Sadr declaring that he has learned the US Embassy in Baghdad plans to increase its employee numbers from 5,000 to 15,000. And Al Mada reported Moqtada called Saturday for the Parliament to hold an emergency session to address withdrawal and what's taking place (he doesn't appear to believe that is withdrawal). This morning  Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reported Moqtada got his wish and the special session would be taking place today. A statement from Speaker of Parliament Osama Najaifi's office notes that the session is at the request of the al-Sadr bloc but avoids other details. The National Alliance's Rafie Abdul-Jabbar states that the issues will include Barack Obama's speech on withdrawal (al-Sadr doesn't see it as withdrawal, which is why he called for the session), the drop in the price of oil, oil revenues being allocated for the people and the bombing of Iraq by Turkey.

Over the weekend, John Glaser ( notes, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will continue negotiating with the US on a deal to keep a contingent of troops in Iraq, despite President Barack Obama's announcement on Friday that all troops would be withdrawn in December." And he notes, "Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta also mentioned continuing talks to decide on a new role for US troops inside the country, again, despite Obama's announcement." Both the White House and Nouri are using a sleight of hand wherein US soldiers who will be "trainers" are not soldiers. It's a little game both parties have been playing for months now. I predicted last night that those US journalist who were punked or punked others wouldn't get honest today.  No surprise, they didn't.  If you want honesty in independent media on the status of the Iraq War, you can count on and that's it.  Democracy Now?  Nope.   The Progressive? Forget it. The Nation?  Uh-uh. 
It's a fraud perpetrated against the American people. Al Rafidayn reports that the National Alliance shares Moqtada's concerns regarding 'withdrawal.' They also are aware that "withdrawing troops" does not mean the end to negotiations for so-called "trainers" (in the article, trainers is in parenthesis). An unnamed senior National Alliance official states that the speech Barack Obama gave was to manage US public opinion and that he was delivering what he had promised his followers (what I'm translating as "followers" in the article might actually be better translated as "fans" but we'll go with "followers"). National Alliance officials are clear that they have no idea what the outcome of the negotiations will be but that the negotiations for trainers are still ongoing.
Along with, there's another outlet that's tried to report news: NPR. Saturday on All Things Considered (NPR), host Guy Raz and James Fallows breifly discussed Iraq:

Guy Raz: Jim, let's move to Iraq. The president announced a full US withdrawal by the end of the year. His take is that this is a fulfillment of a campaign promise but there's a bit of spin there, isn't there?

James Fallows: Oh sure. It's not at all the way he expected to fulfill the promise. The reason there's going to be this complete -- or near complete withdrawal-- of US troops by the end of this year is not so much the commitment of the US government to wind things down as the view on the Iraqi side that they are not willing to keep US forces in their country any longer than the end of this year and the reason for that of course is the disagreement about whether US uniformed troops and also contractors would be subject to Iraqi law for things that went wrong while they were serving in that country.

Not only did NPR listeners learn that "all" are not leaving, but they also learned that, no, it's not really what Barack promised as a candidate.  Today on NPR's Morning Edition (link has audio and text), Kelly McEvers reported from Iraq.
Major General DAVID PERKINS: We are handing over control and responsibility to the government of Iraq, to the Iraqi security forces. Here on this base, it is going to be the Iraqi Air College, their air force academy. The United States will have a small amount of trainers here.
MCEVERS: Those trainers would mostly be private contractors. They come as part of the package when Iraq buys American fighter jets and tanks. The U.S. and Iraq are talking about finding a way to bring back some uniformed soldiers next year, mainly to train Iraqis on how to use those fighter jets and tanks in combat situations.

Setting aside the issue of  contractors and the issue of the ongoing negotiations over "trainers," how many US troops will remain in Iraq?  Elaine asked "What about the Air Force? " Friday.  How many will?  160 is the number tossed around for US soldiers the US Embassy in Baghdad will oversee.  An equal number will be present for "arms sales" -- see Friday's snapshot.  Without even counting the AIr Force, that's already 310.  How many Air Force?  And since everybody ignored it Friday (this is what I said in Friday's snapshot that we'd pick up on today), a new word entered the US government speak on troops remaining in Iraq: Marines.
We long ago noted that Marines are what guard the Embassies around the world.  Marines are not soldiers.  They are vocally not soldiers.  They are among the reason that the press used "troops."  The government knows this.  So with Friday's acknowledgement by the White House that Marines would also be under the command of the US Embassy, how many is that adding to the count?
Jason Ditz ( explains, "Panetta was quick to insist the US is going to continue to keep massive numbers of combat troops in the region, including tens of thousands in tiny Kuwait."  And how many in Jordan? 
These are questions the US press should be pursuing but notice that the bulk of them are too busy selling the lies of "ALL" US troops out of Iraq and "home" and negotiations for 'trainers' ending.  So many fictions brought to you by supposed news outlets.

America's war in Iraq is over.  The last U.S. troops will leave by year's end, "with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops."  So sayeth President Obama.

A "sham of a mockery of a sham," is what Groucho would call Obama's announcement and he would be right. 

For several reasons Mr. Marx would be much closer to the truth than Mr. Obama.

1)            Even with "all" troops pulled out…well…who knows about Special Forces since their presence in a country never seems to really equal a "troop presence."  But even if all the "non-combat" combat troops leave and even if we don't count the Marine Corps' standard complement of guards at the world's largest embassy, 5,000 armed mercenaries will remain indefinitely.  The State Department, not the War Department will be responsible for them, but a killer for hire is not likely to become a diplomat at the stroke of midnight on December 31.

Nouri's coming to the US shortly.  To take part in face to face discussions about trainers with the White House.  Barack extended that invitation on Friday.  Nouri accepted.  I haven't found one outlet that's made mention of that.  But it's not a secret.  Wonder how the press will portray that visit or Joe Biden's to Iraq -- as noted, Friday, that visit is still on.

Don't worry, about the US reporters, they find things other than truth to busy themselves with.  Take Tom Cohen (CNN) who can't stop raving that Barack is a War Hawk and what great news that is for (War Hawk) Democrats.  Little Tommy didn't think to to interview anyone who might find that upsetting but when you're a whore you go with who pays you and perform the acts you're paid to perform.  And when you're a whore you tend to write crap like this:
The "soft on war" legacy for Democrats continued in 2004, when Kerry came under fierce, privately funded attacks that accused him of falsifying his account of a battle that earned him a Silver Star as a Swift boat operator, as well as making false claims about misconduct by other U.S. forces in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The campaign against Kerry coined the phrase "swift-boating" in reference to an acute, partisan and not necessarily truthful political attack. It also turned what should have been a benefit for Kerry -- his war record compared to the non-service in Vietnam by Republican incumbent George W. Bush -- into a controversial issue. Kerry lost the election.
Why in the world, at this late date, would you print that slander against John Kerry and not note that the charges were false?  Oh, that's right, because you had trouble in 2004 noting it was false as well.  In other words, you have trouble doing the job you're paid to. Especially when providing the truth about John Kerry's record might mean Barack Obama was less 'super' and that the actual problem was indeed the press.  This afternoon, Michael Muskal (Los Angeles Times) reported, "The Obama administration is finding some new political cover by invoking the Bush administration after Republican presidential hopefuls stepped up their attacks on the president's announcement that the United States would withdraw its troops from Iraq by year's end."   I think Isaiah captured it best last night in his comic where he had Valerie Jarrett explain of Barack, "He campaigned as the Anti-Bush but continues to try to prove himself on Bush terms."
US House Rep Dennis Kucinich issued the following statement on 'withdrawal':
As one of the first Members of Congress to oppose the war in Iraq, I welcome the President's announcement that he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of the year. The U.S. has spent over $806 billion on a war that was based on lies. The war in Iraq has cost the lives of over 4,421 U.S. troops and an estimated 1 million innocent Iraqis.
Yet today's announcement fails to acknowledge that we will simply be replacing one U.S. occupation with another. Under the State Department's current plans to take the place of the Department of Defense as the main U.S. force in Iraq post-military withdrawal, we are still maintaining a massive presence there, now with the State Department and its heavily armed private security contractors. And it is the presence of armed U.S. contractors that is the problem. It will continue to foment instability and violence in Iraq and the region. We need to get out now, not just trade uniforms and personnel. It is reasonable to ask whether the people of Iraq will notice any change.
We are also guaranteed to continue to see billions of dollars go unaccounted for. According to the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Congress will need to dedicate even more resources to support State's increased contracting and personnel costs. At the same time, the Commission warns that the U.S. has already lost between $31-60 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan. At an absolute minimum, Congress must heed the warnings of the Commission and implement significant reforms to the U.S. government's acquisition process to ensure proper oversight of U.S.-taxpayer dollars and the 8,000 - 17,000 private security and service contractors that will be operating in Iraq.
Still on US members of Congress, Mary Stegmeir (Des Moines Register) reports US House Rep Ron Paul told a town hall yesterday that the US isn't walking out of Iraq anytime soon, "I predict we will be very, very much involved in Iraq. I think it will be unstable for a long time to come, and we will continue to spend a lot of money in Iraq." Ron Paul is running for the GOP presidential nomination. He is the only one in the GOP field who can claim to have been against the Iraq War. Matched up against Barack Obama, he would be able to claim that, he, unlike Barack, never voted to continue the war. While Barack arrived in the Senate to late to vote on the 2002 authorization (Ron Paul voted against it), Barack did manage to vote to continue the Iraq War over and over and over. Ron Paul's also called for the US to leave Afghanistan. He's opposed Barack's illegal Libyan War. Barack's a War Hawk. At present, of those seeking the presidential office, Ron Paul's the only one with a voting record that demonstrates he is not a War Hawk.
Violence continued in Iraq today.  Reuters notes a Baghdad suicide bombing claimed 1 life (plus the life or the bomber) and left seven others injured, 4 people were shot dead in Baghdad, a Baghdad roadside bombing injured four people, a second Baghdad roadside bombing injured five people, two more Baghdad roadside bombing which injured another five people, a Mosul grenade attack which left three people injured and, yesterday, a Balad mosque bombing (three bombs) "destroyed the mosque."  Of the mosque incident, the Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "After the mosque bombing in Salahuddin, gunmen blow up a hysainiya south of Saladin. An eye witness said that 'an American force was located inside the husainyiah' asserting that 'the explosion occured two hours after the force left'."  They also report, "After leaving it, the American occupation forces burned down Saad base east of Baquba as soon as they evacuated."
We'll close with an excerpt from Cindy Sheehan's important new column "United Rogue States of America" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):

Wow, I thought Bush was bad and that we had sunk about as low as we could go during those insane years, but Obama is excavating new territory.
Just since the Occupy movement began, the Obama regime has (among other things): 1) assassinated several US citizens in Yemen, (without due process) including a 16 year old having dinner with his buddies; 2) Sent "advisors" to Vietnam (oops, I meant Uganda; 3) aided and abetted the assassination of a leader of a sovereign state.
Not a bad month for a Rogue President still in his first term, eh?