Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The death toll rises and Jay Carney spins

Yesterday, Iraq was slammed with bombings.  This morning, AP notes that the death toll from Monday's attacks "has risen to 115."  Reuters notes the increase and credits it in part to a Baghdad bombing and a Baquba bombing "late on Monday" which claimed 9 lives and thirty-one injured.

No name was given to yesterday -- long gone are the days of "Bloody Monday," "Bloody Tuesday," etc what with all the days having been labeled that repeatedly. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes, "The level of violence Monday was reminiscent of some of the bloodiest days of the Iraq war, when random and targeted attacks routinely killed scores of people a day."  Reuters quotes White House flack Jay Carney declaring, "The fact that there remains violence in Iraq is certainly the case, and we condemn these attacks, but it is also the case that the Iraqi security forces have been trained up and do have the capacity to handle their own security,"  Really?  Is that a "fact"?  Because if it is, I'd love to know when the administration decided it was one.  As someone who sat through one Congressional hearing after another in the fall of 2011 and winter of 2011 about the billions the administration was asking for in Iraq, I'd love to know when the White House decided it was a "fact" that Iraqi  security forces have been trained up.

From the December 1, 2011 snapshot:

"Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the program?" asked US House Rep Gary Ackerman yesterday. "Interviews with senior Iraqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter disdain for the program. When the Iraqis suggest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States, I think that might be a clue."
That was Ackerman's important question yesterday afternoon at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia hearing on Iraq.  US House Rep Steve Chabot is the Chair of the Subcommittee, US House Rep Gary Ackerman is the Ranking Member.  The first panel was the State Dept's Brooke Darby.  The second panel was the Inspector General for the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen and SIGIR's Assistant Inspector General for Iraq Glenn D. Furbish.  [. . .]
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: When will they be willing to stand up without us?
Brooke Darby: I wish I could answer that question.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: Then why are we spending money if we don't have the answer?
[long pause]
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: You know, this is turning into what happens after a bar mitzvah or a Jewish wedding. It's called "a Jewish goodbye."  Everybody keeps saying goodbye but nobody leaves.

So if they're fully trained, Jay Carney, why did the State Dept send Brooke Darby, at the end of 2011, to lobby for funds for a training program?  And, Carney, care to explain why that money got wasted?  (Because the Iraqis didn't want to train on the US facility and the State Dept couldn't guarantee the protection of trainers if they trained at a neutral location.  Also true, as Ackerman pointed out, the person Nouri made 'acting' Minister of Interior -- no such post -- was stating back then that they didn't want training from the US and that the US should spend the billions in the United States.)  But after begging for money and wasting the money, Jay Carney wants to talk about  a 'fact'?  I wish someone would ask him when no need for training became a fact.

Carney can take comfort in the hope that when the evening rolls around, we'll have other things to focus on.  Specifically his boss.

Barack spoke to the VFW yesterday.  Michael A. Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey (Los Angeles Times) quote him stating,  "Well, when you're commander in chief, you owe the troops a plan. You owe the country a plan, and that includes recognizing not just when to begin wars but also how to end them."  I don't believe most people who voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 general election did so with the belief that he would drop the Iraq plan that he had campaigned on to instead follow the SOFA negotiated by the Bush administration.  But that is what happened.  We dealt with that in yesterday's snapshot and I thought that was the stupidest thing he said.

I was wrong.

In a separate article, Memoli reports, "He never mentioned Romney by name, but referred instead to unnamed critics who have questioned his handling of a drawdown of forces in Iraq and a transition of the mission in Afghanistan. He also indirectly challenged Romney to offer more specifics."

Coming from Barack, a challenge for "specifics" is pretty stupid.  From March 9, 2008, "Kamikaze Sammy."


And here's the description that ran below the comic:

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Kamikaze Sammy." Samantha Power swoops down declaring, "You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in." Her comments to the BBCa 'pledge' to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months is nothing but pretty words that the campaign cannot and does not intend to live by.

As noted in the March 7, 2008 snapshot, that's what Samantha Power told the BBC while she was still with the Barack campaign.  She quit before the BBC interview made the news cycle:

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House.  So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?
Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009.  We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth.  He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

When Barack and his campaign idiots ask for a plan from Romney on Afghanistan, it would be karma if they'd reply with Samantha Power's 2008 statement.  Maybe preface it with, "As President Obama well knows . . ."

So that was dumb.

There was a lot of dumb.  There was really stupid too.  And the VFW should have booed that single line.  They didn't in part because the news media has refused to report on the issue seriously.  We've been calling it out since the middle of 2009.

And we'll make room to call it out in today's snapshot.  It's a shame I'm not seeing anyone calling it out already.  But that's a reflection of how little coverage this important issue has received.

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh, Reporters Without Borders, Black Agenda Report, Dissident Voice, The Pacifica Evening News and The Diane Rehm show -- updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.