Thursday, September 25, 2014

The failures of the press, the failures of the White House

LeAnn Rogers (Gannett's Hometown Life) reports four-year-old Coraline McAffrey got a surprise at preschool yesterday when her father, Sgt Levon McAffrey, surprised her at St. Damian Catholic School.  The two had not been together for a year due to her father being stationed in Iraq for the last year.

And we note it at the top because it matters for many reasons including the important reunion and the safe return but also including liars like Tom Hayden who have ridiculed the notion that US troops were in Iraq prior to Barack's resending them in June.  Barack has kept US troops in Iraq.

And to pretend otherwise is insulting to the friends and families of service members like McAffrey who don't stop worrying about their loved ones because Tom Hayden lies and insists there are no US troops in Iraq.

It was a "drawdown," not a "withdrawal."  There is a difference and the Pentagon repeatedly used the term "drawdown" because of that difference.

Staying with the topic of pretense, let's move over to efforts to sell the product no one's interested in.  Karen Tumulty (Washington Post) notes how a planned photo op, self-promotion, attempt to sell the book no one's buying effort by Hillary Clinton went wrong when CNN's Sanjay Gupta veered from the planned topic of babies to Iraq.

Bob Somerby will most probably zoom in on Tumulty's use of "swanky" and shred the report for that reason while then doing a five day report on Tumulty's digs, what she buys at the grocery store and what he thinks her annual salary is.

None of those pursuits will change the fact that Clinton shouldn't be given easy press.  She's out there campaigning, trying to see if she could win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  She doesn't want to be twice rejected because that would be truly humiliating.

So she's going around trying for easy press.

Tumluty notes:

The exchange underscores the perilous road ahead politically for Clinton as she decides how much to say, and what to say, about the unfolding campaign against Islamic State. There are many questions she has yet to address at all.

Among them: Should the nation be prepared to commit ground troops if the bombing campaign does not achieve the desired result? Should Congress repeal or rewrite the broad 2001 authorizations upon which Obama is relying as justification for U.S. actions in Iraq and Syria? Should Americans be troubled by the fact that strikes against Islamic State extremists could help Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad maintain his hold on power — the very thing that she wanted to undermine by arming the rebels earlier? And should the United States become resigned to the prospect of long-term war in Islamic world?

That she hasn't addressed these issues goes to the press refusal to make her address them.

Hillary trying to sell the book that no one wants to read -- let alone purchase -- really isn't news.

If she's going to continue her self-promotion tour, which is trying to sell her experience and knowledge, then she needs to be answering these questions.

And if she's not, there's really nothing to write about.

Failed authors aren't uncommon.  Every year, millions of writers pen  books no one wants to buy.

In yesterday's snapshot, we discussed the failure of the White House and the new prime minister of Iraq to focus on political solutions in Iraq.  Aziz Alwan, Zaid Sabah and Khalid Al-Ansary (Bloomberg News) report on the failure of the new Iraqi government thus far to produce a Sunni buy-in:

Iraq Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi assumed power earlier this month promising to build an inclusive government, and has promoted the idea of a national guard that could incorporate Sunni militias. So far, Shiite lawmakers have rebuffed Abadi’s proposed Sunni candidate for defense minister. The national guard plan has also yet to materialize.
“Significant doubts linger over whether Abadi has the political wherewithal to achieve genuine unity,” Jordan Perry, an analyst at U.K.-based risk forecasting company Maplecroft, said by e-mail. 

I don't support Barack's bombings but whether you do or not, the fact is that even a successful military option would be a failure if the political solution wasn't there and wasn't being worked.

Right now?  It's just not happening.  And there is a very tight window of time on demonstrating to the Iraqi people that the new prime minister is not another Nouri al-Maliki.

The press should be focusing on this and should be hammering away on this.

They largely avoid the topic.

UNAMI issued the following this morning:

Thursday, 25 September 2014 07:09

UN Envoy Condemns Public Execution of Human Rights Lawyer, Ms. Sameera Al-Nuaimy

Baghdad, 25 September 2014 – “The public execution of well-known human rights lawyer and activist, Ms. Sameera Salih Ali Al-Nuaimy, in Mosul, is yet another of the innumerable sickening crimes committed against the people of Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)”, said the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, on learning of the unspeakable way Ms. Al-Nuaimy was seized from her home, tortured and murdered. “My heartfelt condolences are extended to Ms. Al-Nuaimy’s family and to the thousands other victims of ISIL’s brutality,” he added. 

UNAMI has learned that Ms. Al-Nuaimy was seized from her home by the ISIL group on 17 September 2014, reportedly following posts on her Facebook page that were critical of their destruction of places of religious and cultural significance. She was convicted by a so-called “Shari’a court” for apostasy. She was then held for a further five days during which she was subjected to torture in an attempt to force her to ‘repent’, before she was executed in public. 
“By torturing and executing a female human rights’ lawyer and activist, defending in particular the civil and human rights of her fellow citizens in Mosul,  ISIL continues to attest to its infamous nature, combining hatred, nihilism and savagery, as well as its total disregard of human decency”, Mr. Mladenov underlined. “ISIL has repeatedly targeted the weak and defenseless in acts of brutality and cowardice that are beyond description, bringing about unfathomable suffering to all Iraqis regardless of their gender, age, religion, faith or ethnicity”, the SRSG continued. 
“I call on the Government of Iraq and the international community to resolutely face the life-threatening danger to peace, safety and security of Iraq and the Iraqis from the ISIL and to do all they can to ensure the perpetrators of such crimes are held to account”, Mr. Mladenov concluded. 

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ms. magazine's blog, Susan's On the Edge and -- updated:

  • Iraq
    7 hours ago

  • The e-mail address for this site is