I see NSA-whistle blower Ed Snowden as a hero. Some do not see him as such. I think he did the country (and the world) a great service by exposing the illegal spying. Again, some don't feel the same.
Today, when an NBC friend e-mailed me Geoffrey Cowley's long article kind-of about Iraq, I immediately thought of Ed Snowden's whose sacrificed so much to tell the truth. I thought of him as Cowley tried to turn "Skip" Burkle (Dr. Frederick Burkle) into a hero. Burkle was over Iraqi health in 2003 and has a great deal to say.
Today when it doesn't really matter one damn bit. Today when Bully Boy Bush's image and reputation is so destroyed that Cowley can do a 'serious' news piece that basically mocks Bush.
Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal. But the US press won't note that. Like little cowards, they won't note it, but, like little cowards, they'll stick their tongues out at him.
So Iraqi health was a failure and Burkle resigned from USAID as desired by the 2003 White House and now, ten years later, we're supposed to be impressed that he's telling (what he says is) the truth?
I'm not impressed. Ed Snowden blew the whistle. Coward Burkle? He waited until Bush was out of office and a public relations disaster to come forward.
In other words, while Iraqis suffered, and he knew they were suffering, he refused to speak. As Pat Benatar sang:
It's a little too little
It's a little too late
I'm a little too hurt
And there's nothing left that I got to say
You can cry to me baby
But there's only so much that I can take
It's a little too little
It's a little too late
Cowley wants to snicker (behind a straight face) about Bully Boy Bush's lies. He's sort of like a 17-year-old just realizing "I'm coming" can be interpreted in many ways while his peers stare at him amazed that he's only just now caught on to that.
If there's a reason to write about broken promises in 2013 -- broken promises with regards to Iraq -- one reason would be the Ashraf community who disarmed at the request of the US government and were promised protection (and were protected people under Geneva) but whom, since Barack came into office, have been attacked repeatedly. As Betty noted earlier this week at her site:
The US government gave its word to the Ashraf community.
And now it doesn't want to keep its word.
But it has not had the guts to say that.
Maybe if, when Barack was sworn in back in January 2009, he'd announced that the promise was now broken, the Ashraf community would have had a heads up?
Instead, they've been left with false hopes (and no protection).
He wants to write about "the brain drain" in terms of the medical situation:
Unfortunately, the wars that spawned Iraq’s myriad health challenges have also robbed it of the capacity to address them. The country has lost more than half of its physicians since 2000 (20,000 out of 34,000), and though 1,500 to 1,800 Iraqis are now completing medical degrees each year, a fourth of them are leaving the country. Dr. Nabil Al-Khalisia, an Iraqi physician who fled to the United States in 2010, has since surveyed others in Iraq and around the world, and his findings aren’t encouraging. As he told the Lancet in an interview published last week, more than half of the doctors he surveyed in June 2011 said they had been threatened. Of those still working in Iraq, 18% had survived assassination attempts and nearly half said they still planned to leave the country.
What a stupid idiot.
I hope he loathes Bully Boy Bush because, otherwise, there's no point to his article.
Doctors are killed in Iraq all the time. He can't tell you that. Not even that, six days ago, a doctor was shot dead in Mosul.
He pretends he's interested in the medical but can't tell you that and seems unable to utter the word "nurse." No where are Nouri's failures in the last seven years more clear than with regards to nurses. He's importing nurses into the country -- a country with an unemployment rate around 30% (unofficial). Nouri's importing nurses and has been over seven years. A nursing degree -- an RN -- is a two year program. He's had seven years to fast track Iraq's large pool of unemployed workers into a nursing program that would do away with the need to import 60,000 nurses every few months.
Most of all, if you're going to write about Iraq today you need to note reality on the ground -- especially when you open your 'report' with this 2003 quote from Bully Boy Bush:
The Iraqi people can be certain of this. The United States is committed to helping them build a better future. We will bring Iraq food and medicine and supplies, and most importantly, freedom.
Where's the freedom issue in your overly long article?
No where to be found.
Following the 2005 elections, Iraqi MPs wanted Ibrahim al-Jafaari to be prime minister (to continue in that post). He had rubbed the Bush administration the wrong way and they demanded it be Nouri al-Maliki. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, Nouri's State of Law came in second meaning the Iraqi people were finally free of him.
Except the Barack Obama White House wanted to keep him on. So they overroad the votes of the Iraqi people, they overrode the Iraqi Constitution, they overroad the rules and spirit of democracy, went around all of that to broker a legal contract that gave Nouri a second term.
That contract is why Iraq has had an ongoing political crisis for over three years.
And when Iraqis try to protest, Nouri's forces attack them. The most infamous example is the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from Nouri's federal forces storming in. Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk) announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault. AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured)."
Marcia wrote about the attacks on protesters last night and she noted an August 31st report by Aswat al-Iraq:
A number of casualties were reported in mid of Nassiriya city following clashes between SWAT forces and hundreds of demonstrators.
The security forces used live bullets to disperse them, as reported to Aswat al-Iraq.
Civil activist Bassam al-Jabiri told Aswat al-Iraq that 10 persons were injured for "unjustified use of force by SWAT forces".
Marcia concluded, "People need to be aware of this and they especially need to be aware of it with Nouri coming to the US to meet Barack in about two weeks. He is attacking the Iraqi people. Our government doesn't need to schmooze him, they need to hold him accountable."
Can NBC explain how you open with a 2003 quote about democracy in an article about failed promises to Iraq and never note the attacks on protesters? Or how about how this article about Iraq 'today' can't mention Barack Obama who has been president for over the last four years of 'today'?
Like most Americans in 2000, I didn't vote for Bully Boy Bush. I didn't vote for him in 2004. Starting in February 2003, I spoke out against him, calling him out for war on Iraq. I still speak about war on Iraq every week. Bully Boy Bush isn't really my focus. He is thankfully out of the White House. NBC's filed something today.
While they pretend it's a report on Iraq, it just reads to me like a lot of Bush hatred. And I'm not going to defend Bully Boy Bush from that but I'm also going to pretend like it's got much to do with what's going on in Iraq today despite the lie in the subheading of "What are their lives like today?"
What their lives are like today would include the Sunni vice president. From the December 19, 2011 snapshot:
CNN reported this afternoon that an arrest warrant had been issued for Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi by the Judicial Commitee with the charge of terrorism. Omar al-Saleh (Al Jazeera) terms it a "poltical crisis" and states, "The government says this has nothing to do with the US withdrawal, that this has nothing to do with the prime minister consolidating his grip on power. However, members of al-Iraqiya bloc, which Hashimis is a member of, say 'No, [Maliki] is trying to be a dictator." Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) observes, "The arrest warrant puts Mr. Maliki on a possible collision course with the Kurds, who run their own semiautonomous region in the north and participate in the central government but have longstanding disputes with Baghdad over oil and land; and with Sunni Arabs in provinces like Anbar, Diyala, Nineveh and Salahuddin who have pressed in recent weeks for more autonomy from Baghdad with the backing of the Kurds."
They were questionable charges to begin with and al-Hashemi could not get a fair trail in Baghdad. In fact, the Baghdad judges declared him guilty in February 2012 at their press conference and while one judge was stating that he had been threatened by al-Hashemi. (The judge actually claimed to have been threatened by 'supporters' of al-Hashemi -- he can't even make the claim if press for proof that it was by a bodyguard of al-Hasehmi.) That was before the trial ever began. Before hearing any evidence, the judges made clear that al-Hashemi was guilty.
Moving on to the March 22, 2012 snapshot:
That's how Nouri gets rid of his political enemies. (Tareq's biggest 'crime' may have been repeatedly highlighting abuses in Iraqi prisons.)
Before the arrest warrant was issued, Tareq had traveled to the KRG where he was briefly a guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and then he became the guest of KRG President Massoud Barzani (after Jalal buckeled to pressure and refused to stand up to Nouri). He has been living in Turkey.
Violating the Constitution, al-Hashemi was tried for 'terrorism.' Even worse, it took place in absentia. Even worse, people were kidnapped and tortured (and at least one person killed) by Nouri's forces to try to get them to testify that al-Hashmie was a terrorist. For all the nonsense, al-Hashemi is still a Vice President. Parliament never stripped him of his title. Nouri wanted them to but Nouri didn't have the votes.
Today, al-Hashemi was supposed to participate in a human rights conference in Brussells. Nouri's State of Law went into a tizzy. All Iraq News quotes State of Law MP Salman al-Musawi insisting, "The participation of the convicted Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashimi, in a Human Rights Conference held by the European Union violates the sovereignty of Iraq." Then the outlet reports the Iraqi embassy bragged that they had forced the cancellation of a press conference today by Tareq al-Hashemi. NINA notes:
It is mentioned that a statement from the Office of Tareq al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death in absentia, said he has arrived to Brussels yesterday afternoon , at the invitation of the EU.
The statement added that al-Hashemi will attend today's formal meeting in the European Parliament, which will listen to his speech on the challenges facing Iraq. According to the statement.
The Vice President been sentenced to death by Nouri's court flunkies. He has nothing to fear at present. After the new Parliament is seated, he may have something to fear. Until then, he remains a government representative and, per the Iraqi Constitution, Nouri's trials against him were illegal so, therefore, the verdicts have no legal standing.
Reporting on 'freedom' in Iraq would also require noting, as Fakri Karim (Al Mada) does, the corruption and dealings of Nouri's son Ahmed. Maybe you even note Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq. Or he's supposed to be. Can you be the president of a country you're not in? Last December, Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke. The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital. Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany. He remains in Germany currently. For all nine months of 2013 so far, Jalal has been out of Iraq. Last month Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi revealed he had attempted to meet up with Jalal during a visit to Germany last spring but was rebuffed. Earlier this week, All Iraq News noted that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called out Jalal Talabani remaining president of Iraq, said a delegation needed to be sent to determine his status (and competency) and that the people of Iraq deserve a president. All Iraq News today quotes Assyrian Christian MP Yonadim Kana saying that Jalal's post depends on what an expected medical report says.
Bombings went off throughout Iraq today. The one getting the most attention is near Mosul. National Iraqi News Agency reports a suicide truck bombing took place in Muwafaqiya Village, a Shabak village, which claimed 15 lives and left sixty people injured. Zaid al-Sinjary, Raheem Salman and John Stonestreet (Reuters) quote former Mosul provincial council member Qusay Abbas stating, "At 6 am this morning, a suicide truck bomber detonated himself amidst the houses of my village. There are still some people under the debris of their houses." AFP informs, "The 30,000-strong Shabak community mostly live near Iraq's border with Turkey. They speak a distinct language and largely follow a faith that is a blend of Shiite Islam and local beliefs, and are periodically targeted in attacks by militants." Rafid Jaboori (BBC News) explains:
The Shabak people have lived for hundreds of years in and around the city of Mosul. But the absence of a proper census in post-Saddam Iraq means little is known about their numbers, and facts about the religious and ethnic identity of the community remain confusing.
Early religious documents indicate that the Shabak were part of a Shia sect, with Sunni Muslims among them. However, after the fall of Saddam Hussein's secular but Sunni-dominated regime, the Shabak are regarded as mainstream Shia.
Samer Al Bassam (CNN) reports the death toll has risen to 17 and includes seven children.
Though it is the press focus, it's only one of today's bombings or acts of violence.
NINA notes 4 Wadi Hajar homes blown up (all belonged to police officers) resulting in 4 deaths and leaving two children injured, Hamid al-Hayes' al-Bothiab home was attacked with mortars (he heads the of Anbar Salvation Council), a Tuz Khurmatu suicide bomber ("explosive belt") took his own life and the lives of 4 other people while leaving twenty more injured, 10 Baghdad car bombings left 13 people dead and eighty-seven injured, 1 police officer guarding the home of a police officer in Kirkuk was injured when assailants shot at him, 1 police officer was shot dead in downtown Ramadi, and an armed attack on a Falluja police checkpoint left 1 police officer dead and another injured.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein and POLITICO'S Glenn Thrush are in a debate.
Apparently I said Ryan's dead in '16 cos of his 'no' on default. Always a pleasure to straw-man for my pal
@ezraklein http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/17/the-shutdown-probably-wont-matter-in-the-2014-election-it-definitely-wont-matter-in-2016/ …
I'm not that interested but a marker was called in (asking me to weigh in) so I have to. Thrush thinks the 2016 elections -- yes, he's crystal ball gazing -- could find a shutdown vote Paul Ryan made this month destroying his chances. Klein disagrees and thinks 2016 will have other issues.
Who's right? Who's wrong?
Klein is the bulk of his argument is correct. Thrush ridiculously likens the shutdown to the Iraq War. Some journalists are so stupid, aren't they? A few weeks of a (semi) government shutdown is the same as years of war that left people dead on all sides? That left the country trillions in debt?
Glenn Thursh over-reached and didn't have the brains to say he was wrong. "I was wrong." It's three words. He should learn to say them. I say them all the time. Smart people do. Stubborn people don't.
Thrush insists that Barack Obama's in the White House because of Hillary Clinton's 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq War. On that, he's correct.
He's especially correct because "Democrat: Name To Be Determined" was going to win the 2008 general election. The only real contest was in the Democratic Party primary. (The country was against the war, against the illegal spying, against Bully Boy Bush, etc.)
But his claim to have spent so much time with Hillary's camp and Barack's camp?
Losers rarely know why they lose. It takes real honesty and objectivity which few have. I heard, for example, John Kerry rationalize away his 2004 loss. His argument was filled with justifications. I heard Al Gore offer a penetrating look at how he lost. The Supreme Court gifted Bully Boy Bush with the 2000 election. Gore didn't word it that way or dwell on that aspect. He talked about where he made mis-steps. Al Gore is uncommon. Most people are more like Kerry when it comes to self-analysis.
So I really don't see what you'd learn from Team Hillary.
Their leader learned nothing, certainly.
Thursh may feel an affinity to Hillary because she also struggles with the words "I was wrong." If she'd said them about her 2002 vote, Barack's 'issue' would have died there. But she was too smug and too scared to say those words. (Two people quit her campaign -- big election players -- in 2007 when it became clear she was not going to apologize for her vote and say she was wrong.) Few candidates have ever been so stubborn (or so stupid). Thrush is not arguing that Paul Ryan would suffer the same stubborn streak, he doesn't even acknowledge that aspect.
Hillary's vote did not kill her chances. John Edwards had the same vote for the war. It didn't kill his chances. And cowardly lefties like Susan Sarandon lined up behind Edwards. They still insist today that he would have been great. It wasn't the vote, it was her refusal to say it was wrong loudly and clearly. She never apologized for it, she did have an event where she addressed it in a snippy and defensive manner and that was it.
The other thing is Hillary was the victim of sexim.
"Racism's just as bad." Robert Parry and his ilk were the ones turning it into, as one of them called it, The Oppression Olympics.
No, in 2008, racism wasn't 'just as bad.'
The Democratic Party primary was not a 'hotbed of racism.' Democrats, Socialist, Communists and assorted other flavors turned out for the vote. These were not racist people. Many had spent decades fighting racism. Some of them (wrongly) saw Barack as part of the Civil Rights Movement (helped by his lie that he was only born due to the march on Selma -- a march that took place years after he was born). From the takedown of Republican George Allen over a racist remark through Don Imus, the '00s were repeatedly filled with members of the Democratic Party calling out racism. The same cannot be said of sexism. In fact, Don Imus proves that point. As Ava and I wrote in 2007:
Referring to the Rutgers' women's basketball team, he called them "nappy headed hos" as part of an exchange with a fellow pig (who had offered that they were "hos") in the midst of an infantile, "your mother" type exchange. What followed that was pressure from various groups for MSNBC and CBS to declare whether they stood with Imus or against him. Sponsors begn pulling their ads. (Proctor & Gamble was among the first to pull.) In the early days, a two week suspension was announced by MSNBC and CBS. This was followed by MSNBC's decision to no longer carry a televised version of the radio program and, then, by CBS cancelling the radio program.
If you were late to the party and you've just absorbed all the above, take a deep breath, you'll need it.
Imus and his piglets were White males. They were of the opinion that they were natural and universal and that anyone not like them was not merely "different" but had a bulls eye painted on.
Where do you go from there? We thought FAIR but then we looked. This FAIR media advisory tells you that Imus had a "racial outburst." And sadly, this was true of much of the coverage. Women of all races were insulted in the exchange, African-Americans of both genders were insulted in the exchange. This goes to the issue of what we address (over and over) in the TV commentaries: "White male is not universal." White Straight Male is not universal. FAIR, in that action alert, wanted to tell you that it was a "racial outburst."
Calling a group of young women athletes "whores" is a "racial outburst"? FAIR only made it worse using CounterSpin to promote the lie that women's groups had ignored what happened -- Kim Gandy had issued a lengthy statement and she was then the president of NOW. But CounterSpin wasn't interested in interviewing her about the issue. Or any woman. They went with an African-
American male who lied and lied again. Women had been objecting but the way the Don Imus played out in left media, women had been silent. CounterSpin issued no correction, FAIR issued no apology. In fairness, when you're meekly confronted about your error by feminist 'leaders' you may not feel the need to issue a correction. You had cowards acting as leaders including that idiot who cried in the halls of Congress, Kate Michelman.
Kate Michelman is a gender-traitor and has always been one. Weak elements of the feminist movement and a whole lot of men painted her as a 'leader' in the '00s. She's never been a leader, she's a weak little back stabber and it's really telling of how little women's writing is valued that the most talked about book of the 90s was forgotten in the '00s. I'm referring to Susan Faludi's Backlash. (Not Carol Gilligan book that Jane Fonda continues to praise and looks like an idiot for doing so. The book sold on sexism and Jane looks like an idiot for still praising that bad book In A Different Voice. Gilligan used sexism to sell that book.) Kate's in Backlash. It's not pretty. If people had paid attention, we wouldn't have been the only ones mocking Good Girl Katie. She sold out women and did it because she wanted to be in Congress. She played the Good Girl and when the opportunity finally came, the men in the Democratic Party did not stand by their promises to her and they backed a man and squeezed her out. All the more embarrassing for NARAL Kate when the man is Bob Casey Jr. whose history (and that of his father) is not seen as strong on women's rights (including on abortion rights).
Kate was among the 'leaders' who couldn't stand up for women prior to 2008. So why was anyone surprised that Kate attacked Hillary's run? Or that, in 2007, she endorsed John Edwards? And when Edwards dropped out 'feminist' Kate then endorsed Barack? Being a feminist did not require supporting Hillary but it is telling that these Queen Bees started off with Edwards and ran to Barack when Edwards dropped out.
Time and again in the '00s, it was very clear that the left didn't give a damn about sexism. That's why Amy Goodman with publishing regularly in Hustler magazine during this period. Sexism didn't matter. When it was time for 'feminist' issues on the left, the '00s were all about looking outside the country and ignoring what was going on in the US.
And the discrimination wasn't just in the general public. For example, a much passed around e-mail written by Gail Collins to a JW (I know the name, I'm protecting the person) found JW calling out then editorial page editor Collins because Maureen Dowd was on vacation -- the only female columnists -- and Collins felt that meant bring in more men. In response, Collins flew off the handle in a dirty and inappropriate e-mail which included that she didn't think it was necessary for women to be represented on the op-ed pages of the paper. This is a fairly infamous e-mail among feminists. So imagine our distress when, mere months later, Ms. magazine elected to applaud Collins. (And they've done it repeatedly since. Collins can't write. If she wasn't able to pretend to be a feminist, she'd have no book deals and no press coverage at all.)
This is how 'leaders' behaved in the '00s. Instead of calling Collins out for that e-mail, they covered for her. Instead of calling FAIR out over the Imus lies, they looked the other way. In 2006, at Third, we asked the question "Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?" and, if you were a man, you likely were. When we wrote it, FAIR had just published a report on PBS' The NewsHour's lack of diversity in guests. Guess what we found? CounterSpin (FAIR's radio program) had a 1:3 ratio of female-to-male guests compared to The NewsHour's 1:4 ratio. This is how little feminism mattered in the '00s. CounterSpin had an awful record on booking women but got away with calling out PBS for the same awful record.
Then there was the leading magazine of the left (in terms of circulation), The Nation magazine. Headed by a woman, Katrina vanden Heuvel (pictured below with her staff!) (that's really not Katty we just felt it summed her up).
And, in 2008, Katty van-van would start writing about "the women of The Nation" as they attempted to steer women to Barack. It was laughable. Christmas 2007, our gift to Katty was "The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many were women?" The year-long study we had done at Third found 491 male bylines to 149 female bylines.
And this was at the 'leading' magazine for the left, this was at a magazine with an editor and publisher (Katty) who was a woman and who would brag the very next year (repeatedly) about how she and Betsy and assorted others were the dominating force of the magazine.
Robert Parry, in 2008, felt he could openly mock women and felt no one had a right to point out that women were invisible at his site. He apparently knew none nor wanted to.
Or take Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive, giggling over a group whose initials were a four-letter word that started with a "c" and rhymed with "runt." They were anti-Hillary and he loved it so much that the man in charge of the so-called progressive linked to the right-wing (and neocon) The Weekly Standard to promote the group.
In 2008, race was not an issue for the Democratic Party primaries. Gender was.
Gender played into how Hillary was seen issue including Iraq. CODESTINK swore they were against the Iraq War (having failed to object to Barack's sending Special Ops into Iraq in 2012, clearly they aren't against the war). And they were going to bird dog to end the war!
But really all they did was hector Hillary. They weren't against Barack's Iraq votes. (He voted to continue to fund the war repeatedly -- he was not in Congress in 2002 when the authorization vote took place.) Of course, when they launched the campaign against Hillary, they 'forgot' to reveal that CODESTINK leader Jodie Evans was a bundler for Barack's campaign. Revealing that might have revealed too much. In 2011, Jodie Evans also got honest about her support for Barack in a few interviews where she declared, "I wanted to support a Black man for president." (Barack is bi-racial.) Strangely, however, she supported no African-American woman into leadership at CODESTINK -- going to the fact that while the left will support African-Americans in power, there's not a real push to help grassroots African-Americans into power.
Sexism was a huge part of the reaction to Hillary. Is Thrush saying sexism will play into the way Paul Ryan's vote will be seen?
It's a stupid analogy and Thrush should have backed off of it immediately. It's insulting. As for Ezra Klein's claims about immediate issues? That's what elections are about. I loathe the way The Nation and others on the left have used fear tactics repeatedly but notice they want you to be scared of the now, not of what happened ten years ago. Elections have a sense of immediacy about them. This is not novel or new. Klein's correct.
national iraqi news agency
samer al bassam