Haider Ali Hussein Mullick (The Diplomat) insists today, "However, given that international terrorist organizations can -- and have -- threatened our livelihood, the United States can’t wish away counterinsurgency." Actually, it could and it should. But war addicts like Haider Ali Hussein Mullick are idiots and/or fools. There is no proof that counter-insurgency has done a damn thing to protect the United States. If you look at the root cause of 9-11 -- which all these years later, we still aren't supposed to -- counter-insurgency would fall into exactly the sort of actions that cause the hostility and resentments at the root of the 9-11 attacks. Outside of the US there were wide discussions on the causes. For example, September 29th, 2011, Arundhati Roy weighed in at the Guardian noting:
For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.
America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.
Those conversations couldn't take place in the US. When people tried they were demonized. Susan Sontag wrote three paragraphs on 9-11, they were three well written paragraph, they were basic in logic, and for that the likes of tub of trash Andrew Sullivan demonized her. He can pretend to be sorry about Iraq today all he wants, but he has never apologized for the way he demonized people in the years leading up to the start of the Iraq War. He was a fat and ugly bully then and he's a fat and ugly bully now. How did the US end up in the Iraq War? Fat ugly bullies like Andrew Sullivan. Here's Sontag's first paragraph:
The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards.
Let's clarify that. It's not just that she didn't do the investigative report, it's that it didn't cost her. British public television and England's Guardian newspaper paid for it. Goody put it this way, "As we continue to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, we turn today to a shocking new report by The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic detailing how the United States armed and trained Iraqi police commando units that ran torture centers and death squads."
A shocking new report? We'll we're in. Oh, wait. She was talking about James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq -- the documentary we covered in "TV: The War Crimes Documentary" two weeks ago.
14 days late and playing it cheap, Goody decided to kind-of, sort-of get serious.
Or as serious as a Class of '79 Harvard Whore can.
We were tipped off by a friend at The Guardian that the paper's Maggie O'Kane was asked not to use the term "counter-insurgency" during her appearance on Democracy Now!
If you've seen the documentary, you know that counter-insurgency is what the documentary's all about.
[. . .]
Counter-insurgency is at the heart of the British documentary. It's a policy. Goody wanted to reduce it to random acts of torture with no real American fingerprints on the crimes. To hear Goody tell it and offer selective edits of the documentary, James Steele trained some bad guys and that's really all.
Harvard's connection to counterinsurgency ensures that Goody won't talk about counter-insurgency. But others talk about. For example, last week it was the topic of a Foreign Policy roundtable, and the participants were all COIN enthusiasts including Eliot Cohen who explained:
The first thing is just to remind us all, counterinsurgency is a kind of military operation. There's an American style to counterinsurgency; there was a German style to counterinsurgency; there's a Soviet or Russian style to counterinsurgency. It's just a kind of operation that militaries do, and I think particularly in the popular discussion there's this tendency to call counterinsurgency the kind of stuff that's in the manual.
[. . .]
And finally, having played a very modest role in helping get the COIN manual launched, I've got two big reservations about it. Actually three. One is a technical one, which is it underestimated the killing part of counterinsurgency and particularly what Stan McChrystal and his merry men were doing [with special operations]. I think that is a large part of our counterinsurgency success. We killed a lot of the people who needed to be killed, or captured them, and that's not something you want to talk about. You'd rather talk about building power plants and stuff, but the killing part was really important, and I think we have to wrestle with that one because it's obviously problematic.
Does that sound like it's helping? Does Barack Obama's Drone War help? As Cedric and Wally noted this morning, the chorus against The Drone War just added a choir. Dan Merica (CNN) reports priests, rabbis and reverends have made a "video [which] criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences. The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions. According to the religious leaders in the video, titled “Drones and Religion,” the drone program fails to meet several of these criteria." The group is known as Brave New Foundation and they note:
Brave New Foundation has the honor of releasing a video to accompany a seminal report by human rights law experts at Stanford and New York University law schools. The report, entitled Living Under Drones presents chilling first-hand testimony from Pakistani civilians on the humanitarian and security costs of escalating drone attacks by the United States. The report uncovers civilian deaths, and shocking psychological and social damage to whole families and communities – where people are literally scared to leave their homes because of drones flying overhead 24 hours a day.
The report is based on nine months of research, including two investigations in Pakistan. The Stanford-NYU research team interviewed over 130 individuals, including civilians who traveled out of the largely inaccessible region of North Waziristan to meet with the researchers. They also interviewed medical doctors who treated strike victims, and humanitarian and journalist professionals who worked in drone impacted areas.
As U.S. citizens, we feel a responsibility to know the real impact of the policies of our government. We hope you will join us at www.WarCosts.com to be part of this fight for a more humane and just world.
Dan Merica (CNN) notes, "The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences. The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions." Bully Boy Bush said Just War Theory didn't matter when it declared illegal war on Iraq. That's why Pope John Paul II made clear the war was illegal January 13, 2003 (two months before it broke out) with remarks which included:
War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity. And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than 12 years of embargo? War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations.
"War is not always inevitable," declared Pope John Paul II but Haider Ali Hussein Mullick insists that counter-insurgency can't be wished away? The conceptual limitations of him and his ilk ensure that war will continue. As Pope John Paul II also noted in that speech, "Yet everything can change. It depends on each of us. Everyone can develop withing himself his potential for faith, for honesty, for respect of others and for commitment to the service of others."
And we can make a change -- even the Haider Ali Hussein Mullicks -- if we can be honest with ourselves.
Lt Dan Choi knows about honesty. Speaking to Adam Kokesh on Adam vs. the Man last week, he explained serving under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Dan Choi: Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a violation of the Constitution, I thought. But it prevented me from telling the truth about who I was even though the West Point honor code said, "You will not lie or tolerate those who do." And I never really thought that it was a lying issue, I never really thought that it was an honor or integrity issue because I said, "This is the rule, this is what I signed up for, I knew that was part of the contract." And it wasn't until I fell in love for the very first time -- I was 26-years-old. And I never had a girlfriend. Never had a boyfriend. Never expressed love. Never felt that somebody else was that important to me, that would be more important to me than myself. And when I did fall in love, and I had come back from Iraq, that's when I realized that it really was lying. When you have to lie about the person that supports you no matter what, when you put them in the closet, it then became an intensely selfish thing, Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And I know a lot of soldiers are out there, and I used to think the same way, that it's a very noble thing to suffer. That's a very common soldier-military mentality. And then I realized because you're forcing someone else to go into nonexistence for your own career, or for your own status or paycheck or rank, that's not anything that I signed up for. I never got promised that I would be a one-star general, four-star general. That's not what service was about. So I looked down the barrel of possibly of giving up everything in order to live a life of real truth. And it was because of love that I found out what the honor code really meant.
In March 2009, Dan went on MSNBC and came out publicly. He also became active in demanding US President Barack Obama honor the campaign promise he made to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Getting active meant speaking out and taking part in protests. In 2010, that meant three times chaining himself to the White House fence. That's what he was on trial for today. August 31, 2011, Dan was appearing before Judge John Facciola who put the case on hold after, as Jessica Gressko (AP) reported, noting "Choi has shown, at least preliminary, that he is being treated differently because of the subject of his protests, the nature of his speech or what he said."
Dan's case was much weaker today as a result of a decision another judge made. Ann E. Marinow (Washington Post) notes, "But Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that the magistrate judge could not consider the issue of how Choi came to be prosecuted in reaching a verdict." Why he was being prosecuted wasn't an issue? What a sad day for justice. Alice Ollstein filed a report for Free Speech Radio News.
Alice Ollstein: Approaching the steps of the DC district court, Lt Dan Choi and his supporters sang a message to Justice Dept attorney Angela George who has been the lead prosecutor against Choi. Wearing his full dress military uniform, Choi gave a short statement on the people's mike to his friends and supporters who came for the final day of testimony.
Dan Choi: We are here for justice. We will not we will not leave this place until we get justice.
Alice Ollstein: Over the last two year's Choi's legal team has argued that the government's charges should be dismissed because they were selective and vindictive. Jim Ietrangelo, an attorney and fellow gay rights activist who represented Choi at the DC Superior Court gave the example of the crowds hanging on the fence at the White House the night the president announced the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Jim Pietrangelo: None of those people were arrested and none of them were convicted. On a daily basis, there are people in front of the White House engaging in free speech and doing exactly the same thing or almost the same thing as Dan Choi but they're not arrested simply because their message is pro-government. Dan criticized the government, he criticized the president.
Alice Ollstein: Pietrangelo added that even most people protesting the US government government in that spot are only fined $100 or less for violating a White House ordinance. But in 2011, the Justice Department used a rare tactic called a Write of Mandamus to prevent Choi from using selective prosecution as a defense. Choi appealed the order but lost. District Judge John Facciola had to remind him of the Mandamus Write several times during Thursday's trial, cutting him off whenever he tried to argue that he was targeted for arrest because of the content of his speech. Choi who was representing himself in court and did not have a lawyer was also reprimanded by the judge many times for raising his voice in the courtroom, using casual language like "dude," "freaking" and "bt dubbs" and interrupting the prosecutor and witnesses. He also broke down crying several times, as did many of his friends in the courtroom. Before he took the podium to argue his case, he also asked the federal marshals to make sure to have a paramedic on hand, just in case, Choi called and questioned several witnesses including African-American civil rights leaders and members of the Park Police who participated in his multiple protest-related arrests. He also questioned his fellow arrestees and others dismissed from the military because of their sexuality. One of them, Staff Sgt Miriam Ben-Shalom expressed frustration before the trial that no representatives from major LGBT rights groups were present.
Meriam Ben-Shalom: Where are the people that say they represent us? Where are the blue blazer, regimental tie and khaki bunch? They ain't here. The people are here.
Alice Ollstein: Now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed, this trial is the only obstacle to Choi re-enlisting in the military -- which, he told the judge, is all he wants. But he rejected the judge's suggestion that he file a motion saying that the government can't prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he failed to obey the US Park Police. Choi thanked the judge for looking out for him but said his future soldiers wouldn't respect him if he took that legal path for his own benefit. A judgment could be handed down at any time and a decision finding Choi guilty of the criminal misdemeanor could land him in jail for a maximum of six months. Alice Ollstein, Free Speech Radio News, Washington.
The Advocate notes that the judge fined Choi $100. Since the fine could have been as high as $5,000, the one hundred dollar fine should be seen as something of a victory for Choi. Should he choose not to pay it, he could face six months in prison. Sara Haile-Marriam (Huffington Post) shares, "Dan is one of the bravest, strongest, best people I know. He's got a whole lot of guts and passion and love, and watching him as he literally crafts his own defense, arguing for his very dignity in a country that he risked his life to serve, has been one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life. He deserves better than this."
While it was a victory of sorts for Dan due to the fine, it wasn't a victory for the people in terms of the larger issue. As he explained to Adam Kokesh last week:
The federal law does not just apply to the White House. It applies to every federal land where the Park Police have jurisdiction to arrest people. And so the consequences of case law, precedent that comes out of this, case law if the judge makes an opinion that says, "All you need to do is fail to obey" -- usually you have fail to obey with some kind of safety concerns, some violence, some kind of complaint, some kind of damage -- there was nothing. There was not an iota of evidence so far, just the obedience and hypotheticals.
In Iraq today, the Parliament attempted to hold a session. Alsumaria reports it was tabled due to the lack of a quorum and that they will try again on Sunday. Alsumaria reports on other 'progress,' the Ministry of Electricity announced today that this will be the last summer that Iraqis have to resort to generators for electricity in their homes. Of course, these promises have been made before and been forgotten.
Meanwhile some are arguing that there is progress on the protest issue. But those arguing it don't appear to be speaking to the protesters. Iraqi Spring MC -- the official voice of the protesters -- Tweeted three hours ago that there can be no negotiations with Nouri's government until the punishment of the killers of the innocent protesters in Falluja and Mosul -- and this was declared by the Anbar Tribal Sheiks speaking before the protesters today.
And Saleh al-Mutlaq? Who attended Wednesday's Cabinet meeting? Not quite the hero he thinks or tried to present. al-Mutlaq's always been a question mark to many? Al Mada reports he did not consult with Iraqiya before attending and that Iraqiya is calling on him to review his actions and decide whether he stands with the Iraqi people or not.
Saleh al-Mutlaq's disloyalty is popping up in social media with many pointing out that Iraqiya stood by him twice. First, when he was disqualified by the Justice and Accountability Commission (called a "Ba'athist") and removed from the list of candidates in 2010, Iraqiya did not walk away from him. Ayad Allawi demanded (and got) al-Mutlaq and others cleared. Then in December 2011, Nouri targeted him and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. Iraqiya stood with both and defended both -- even while al-Mutlaq rushed to stab Tareq in the back. Saleh al-Mutlaq's being called assorted names all over Arabic social media.
In related news, NINA notes that Iraqiya MP Wahda al-Jumaili states that there are some in the Iraqiya bloc who have been bought off by crooked politicians using public money. No names are mentioned by al-Jumail but the outlet notes Saleh al-Mutlaq, Mohammed Tamimi (Minster of Education) and Ahmed Karbouli (Minister of Industry) attended the Council meeting Wednesday "despite a boycott by the Iraqiya coalition." Ali Abel Sadah (Al-Monitor) reports more on the tensions:
Sunni politicians of the Iraqiya list, led by Ayad Allawi, have deemed Saleh al-Mutlaq, head of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, a traitor, particularly since he shifted his stance on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, recently decided to return to the cabinet, and held ministerial seats that once belonged to the rest of the Iraqiya factions.
Probably al-Mutlaq shouldn't have tried to present himself as the voice and hope of the protesters. Today the response is verbal attacks. The last time he tried to do this, protesters threw things at him. He's not really popular. And even within his National Dialogue Front, he's said to be losing influence.
That's what friendship with Nouri al-Maliki will do for you. Daoud al-Ali (Niqash) feels it might do other things as well -- specifically get Saleh al-Mutlaq appointed Minister of Defense if he and Jamal al-Karbouli embrace Nouri:
Should the two men choose to join al-Maliki, their move would cause an even greater split in the Iraqiya party, which is already plagued by inner conflicts. "MPs who return to the Cabinet are making decisions that are contrary to the stand taken by the Iraqiya bloc,” one Iraqiya MP Hamza al-Kartani told NIQASH. “They are rebels. But their actions are outside of our control.”
Whatever does happen, it seems that there will be one main winner in this political contest of wills and brinkmanship: the Prime Minister, al-Maliki. Currently his ruling coalition is teetering – currently there are almost two dozen absent Ministers.
If al-Mutlaq returns to the Cabinet, rumours have it that he might get the plum job of Minister of Defence, a position currently held by al-Maliki himself. In terms of this though, there are apparently still disagreements about what kinds of powers al-Mutlaq would have in this job, especially when compared to power held by the commander of the Iraqi armed forces.
The Daily Star carries Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi's column today:
Iraq’s last general election, in 2010, brought hope of recovery in the form of a power-sharing agreement among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, which was supposed to ensure that the country did not revert to dictatorship. The Al-Iraqiyya bloc, which I lead, was the largest electoral bloc to emerge from that vote. But, despite our success, we agreed to give up the leadership position afforded by the constitution in the belief that a power-sharing system and respect for the rights of all Iraqis was the only formula for governing the country democratically. These hopes, however, soon vanished, as Iraq’s two-term prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, subsequently reneged on the agreement.
Today, the very human rights that were guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution are being violated, with a politicized judiciary routinely abused and manipulated in order to justify the actions of the prime minister. Instead of keeping the Maliki government in check, the courts only facilitate its quest to accumulate ever-greater power.
Making matters worse for Iraqis, public services have deteriorated to a dismal level, and unemployment is rising sharply, despite public expenditure in excess of $500 billion over the seven years of Maliki’s rule. Sectarianism and racism have become a regular feature of the political landscape. Corruption is rampant, and Baghdad is now considered one of the worst places in the world to live.
If Iraq continues along its current and disastrous path, the inevitable outcome will be mayhem and civil war, with dire consequences for the entire Middle East. Yet Iraqis continue to hope for a better future.
The advent of a new electoral cycle, which begins with local elections in April, may provide another opportunity to put the country on the right path. But that can happen only if the voting is free and the counting is fair.
The current government, however, is unable to supervise free and fair elections. Significant measures must be taken, including the active involvement of neutral international agencies and observers to keep the government in check and ensure that voters can have their say. We are hopeful that Iraqis, who have had their fill of sectarian political parties, will be allowed freely to choose candidates who embrace a nonsectarian and nonracist agenda.
The month ends Monday. Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 367 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month. Today National Iraqi News Agency reports a Mosul sticky bombing has left three people injured, 1 Border Protection force was shot dead on the border Iraq shares with Syria, 1 army officer was shot dead in Tikrit, a Mosul bombing left two police officers and four civilians injured, and 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul. Meanwhile AFP reports, "Turkish forces fired artillery shells into north Iraq, apparently in a bid to intimidate Kurdish rebels with whom Ankara is in peace talks, security sources and rebels told AFP on Thursday. " Yes, a ceasefire is supposed to be in place currently with the PKK and the Turkish government after years of fighting. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." KUNA notes of today's attack, "It is the first attack by the Turkish army against PKK targets following the call by the PKK leader for his followers to stop fighting Turkish forces and withdraw from Turkish territories.
In other news, UNAMI is one of the sponsors of a new contest for Iraqi women:
Contest: Women journalists, the voices of Iraqi women
The UN in Iraq rewards Iraqi Women Journalists
Be the voice of Iraqi women : raise an issue faced by Iraqi women and write an inspiring story about it .
UN Iraq journalism contest
All over the world, women are facing different types of challenges . Whether at home where they face domestic violence, or in their professional lives where they struggle to have their competencies fully recognize d, or even in public life where they are not considered as equal to men, difficulties are still numerous for women in 2013 . Unfortunately, Iraqi women are no exception.
You are invited to write a news article about Iraqi women who are trying to make significant changes to improve women’s rights in Iraq. You are asked to choose one (1) challenge faced by Iraqi women in their daily life and write about how women are addressing it to make things better for them selves, and their communities . UNAMI is look ing for experienced journalists with excellent writing skills to share inspiring news story about women who are working to make a difference in Iraq.
The winning news stories will be those reflecting best the issue (only one) faced by women in Iraq , taking into account the content and the quality of the language. All news stories will be evaluated anonymously by a UN panel.
To participate, please send an email including the following :
- Name, age, nationality ;
- Current employer (or Iraqi medi a for which you freelance regularly) ;
- A copy of your story ;
- A copy of your CV ;
The email should be sent before 31 March 2013 to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the title: UNAMI WOMEN JOURNALISM AWARD
Terms and conditions
1. Participants must be women journalists working (or freelancing) for an Iraqi media in Iraq (Iraqi citizens only);
2. Only one story per person;
3. Stories can be written in Arabic, English or Kurdish;
4. All stories must be received before 23:59 Baghdad time on Saturday 31 March 2013;
5. UNAMI will accept original news stories as well as items that have already been published.
MORE INFORMATION WILL BE SENT SOON ABOUT THE JUDGING PANEL, AND PRIZES!!!!
Lastly, Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports, "The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers between $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher [Linda J. Bilmes]." Danielle Kurtzleben (US News and World Reports) adds:
Of the nearly 1.6 million troops that have been discharged from the wars, over half have received Veterans' Affairs medical treatment and will also receive benefits for the rest of their lives. Those costs will stack up as more troops are discharged and need benefits. The study finds that providing medical and disability benefits to vets will eventually cost over $836 billion.
This long tail of spending follows a well-established historical trend, writes Bilmes: disability spending on World War I veterans hit its peak in 1969, and spending on World War II veterans was at its highest in the late 1980s.
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