Thursday, October 09, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, October 9, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, World Can't Wait calls out the continued Iraq War, Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq is shot down across the political spectrum, 'trend stories' aren't news, 'trend stories' are frequently insulting to women, there's no such thing as a heroic or good suicide bomber, one country's media whores may have to find real jobs (yes, I wish it were the US but it's not) and much more.

Let's start with The World Can't Wait this is from their most recent statement where they point out the problems were not caused by the drawdown of US forces at the end of 2011:

The U.S. withdrawal left what had been a relatively secular country split along sectarian lines, with a weak puppet government, and a huge opening for Islamic fundamentalists to push for religious rule.
No party in this fight, not Islamic militias, not the new Iraqi government — paid for by the U.S. — and certainly not the war machine of the U.S. itself, has "right" on its side. Tomahawk missiles fired from US carriers in the Persian Gulf, drone strikes and bombs can only bring unimaginable suffering to the Iraqi people.
We in the U.S. must speak out against any U.S. attacks on Iraq & Syria. By exposing and standing against the lies and crimes of our government, whether by Bush or Obama, we can make a difference in how people see what's going on.
Months of cable "news" repeating Pentagon press releases, has created a situation where people in the U.S. are  supporting more war on Iraq - and now on Syria - based on lies.   Huge numbers -- enough to elect a Democrat as president in 2008 -- had come to oppose the Bush regime's unjust and immoral war on Iraq.
But now too many people are drawn back into accepting new wars, on the basis that "something has to be done about ISIS."
The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is both a response to U.S. occupation of the region, and also literally, in some cases, was created by torture in U.S. prisons in Iraq; by billions of dollars in U.S. arms strewn about the region; and funded by close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, societies where people also have scarcely any rights.  The Islamic State offers a disastrous future for the people, and is no damn good.
But U.S. occupations, bombs, economic exploitation, and support of every reactionary regime in the region have done more damage, by far, than any Islamic fundamentalist group in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was the Bush regime that sold the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq — countries which never attacked the U.S. — on the basis of defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda, only to have strengthened the basis on which they operate.
The U.S. military cannot do anything to stop the violence of ISIS. NOTHING good can come from U.S. bombing, and we need to say so immediately and widely. Join us.

Download PDF (half-page, double-sided).


Good for World Can't Wait -- and I mean that.

Too many people are silent, a fact Elaine noted in her last post:

For two years now, I've called out Medea [Benjamin]'s 'protest' literature on The Drone War for slamming this or that person but never Barack Obama.  There are articles she's written condemning The Drone War that don't even mention Barack.
She's a dirty whore.  She was just in Latin America a few months back saying we in the US had to worry because the next president might be worse than Barack.
We're spied on, he kills people with drones, he's apparently after Julian Assange and Ed Snowden, he's started one war after another.
If there's not a movement in the US -- and there really isn't -- that's on the heads and asses of whores like Medea who've spent the last six years applauding Barack and refusing to call him out.

And Elaine's right.

And when others refuse to speak it pushes the work off onto those of us who will and we're already doing all we can.

I'm tired and I'm tired of being online.

But good news, I don't have to be.

No, a man e-mailed today to inform me that, "since you claim to be a feminist," I have to write about Nicholas Vinocur and Pauline Mevel (Reuters) report which opens:

Foad, a French truck driver of Moroccan origin, traveled alone through Syria to rescue his 15-year-old sister from an Islamist group she said was holding her captive. But when they finally stood face to face, in tears, she would not leave.
Foad is convinced that his sister Nora, whom he described as an impressionable teen who loved Disney movies before leaving for Syria one afternoon in January, stayed on because she was threatened with execution by the French-speaking commander, or emir, of the group she joined.

The former high school student is among dozens of European girls, many of them her age, living with such groups in Syria. It is an aspect of the conflict that is beginning to worry European governments previously more focused on the flow of young men to join the ranks of Islamic State and others.

Do I have to write about that?

Well it's good to know I can step down and hand off the baton, or at least the curling wand, to a man so capable and knowing that he knows what I must do as a feminist.

Except I don't see the feminist value in that story.

I guess you can argue that it proves women can be into destruction and killing but is that really a newly emerging detail?  Did we miss all of human history as well as Hillary Clinton's 'diplomatic' efforts in and out of office?

There's nothing a woman can't do -- whether it's doing good or doing bad.

The Reuters story?

It's the sort of 'trend' story Susan Faludi's documented so well in Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.

It's heavy on anecdotes and it's short on facts.

More to the point though, it's one of those It Sings stories.

They don't celebrate women, they don't note women.  The hook of these stories, the very narrative, is, "Look at what it can do" (or has done).  Women are "it."  Or maybe it's our vaginas are "it."

We've ignored two similar stories.

A female peshmerga went into an Islamic State area in Iraq and blew herself up.

She completed a suicide mission.

I don't get where I applaud that.

There were many people -- men and women -- e-mailing that this 'heroic' act had to be celebrated.

My own feelings about suicide would be if that's what someone wants to do, it's what they want to do and some of us carry more pain or handle it worse or whatever.  I'm not going to condemn anyone who's taken their own life.

But I'm also not going to celebrate suicide bombing as heroic.

If it's heroic for one side to do it, it's heroic for another side to do it.

I don't want to live in a world where suicide bombing is applauded or considered heroic.

Had the woman fought to the death, it wouldn't have surprised me.  Many women throughout history have.  However, I would have agreed that could be heroic.

But I don't want suicide bombers all over the world because some nut jobs in the peshmerga think this is a cool way to kill.  There's nothing cool about it and if we applaud it in Iraq, we'll need to applaud it in the United States and elsewhere.

There was nothing heroic about what the woman did.  I wouldn't even call her a "human bomb" -- she was divorced from humanity when she took part in that effort.

And that has nothing to do with her gender, I'd feel the same way if it was a man.

I'm very bothered that the press tried to present her actions as glamorous or brave because if a suicide bomber goes off in Denver, it won't be glamorous or brave.

The other one we ignored was women fighters and how they may terrify the Islamic State.

We've covered women fighters before.  We may be the only who regularly noted the Daughters of Iraq. And we noted them and treated the development as something serious.  But then, repeatedly, the Daughters of Iraq popped up and disappeared based on whether or not they could be packaged as a 'trend story.'

We use "police officer" or "police member" here.  We realize the power of words and we know in spite of all the women in Iraq who had been part of the police force prior to the start of the illegal war in 2003, there was an effort to make it a job only men could do as Iraq was controlled by fundamentalists like Nouri al-Maliki.

And make no mistake, when you can't appoint women to your Cabinet, when even your Minister of Women's Affairs is a man, you're a fundamentalist.  You're actually much worse than that but we'll keep it clean.

My plan was to avoid these awful recent stories because at least women were getting recognized and the real story of Iraq reporting in the last eleven years is how western reporters have repeatedly ignored women and presented the story of Iraq as taking place in men's prison.  But this repeated nonsense in the e-mails where some drive-by insists this or that 'trend story' is about feminism or women's advancement is grating.

I don't know how to explain it with any more clarity but, no, feminism is not turning yourself into a walking bomb.

Now I am a feminist voice, not the feminist voice, but I'd be more than happy to have an exchange with any feminist that thought becoming a walking bomb was feminism -- mainly due to hearing just how they could shore up such a weak argument.

Speaking of weak arguments, Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq.

It's being called out across the political spectrum.

RIA Novosti quotes former Russian Ambassador to Libya Veniamin Popov stating, "Airstrikes alone are not enough to win against the Islamic State organization.  This is the US that lifted the lid, because they actively tried to overthrow [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and thought that all means are good. So that, they directly or indirectly supported the terrorist organizations [in Syria]. And they got what they created."

In the US, Bill Van Auken (World Socialist Web Site ) notes yesterday's meeting Barack had with US military officials and explains, "As the meetings took place, there was further evidence that American policy in the region is in a state of disarray, beset by the immense contradictions in US policy, which had backed Islamist militias in the war for regime change in Syria, and is now attempting to curb the largest of these sectarian-based armed groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after its overrunning of roughly a third of Iraq’s territory. American policy is further roiled by the conflicting agendas of the so-called “international coalition” that Obama has assembled to support the US-led war."

The Washington Examiner's editorial board weighs in noting, "Even where the casual deployment of air power can tip the balance of a war, it cannot establish a just or stable peace afterward. The best possible outcome of this strategy in Iraq and Syria might well be prolonged war among most of the same parties, but with a different balance in terms of their relative strength and odds of victory."


The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal offers:

A senior Obama Administration official headlined a leading story in Wednesday’s New York Times about American frustration with Turkish “inaction” in Syria. “There’s growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border,” this anonymous official said. “This isn’t how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone’s throw from their border.” The charge was repeated in other media outlets.
It’d be nice to know why the White House thinks a public spat with a crucial NATO and Middle Eastern partner helps the war against ISIS. The U.S. “angst” over “dragging its feet” applies far better to what the French and British, the Arab Gulf allies, Jordan and above all Turkey have thought about American inaction on Syria while hundreds of thousands died and an Islamist ISIS army emerged to take huge chunks of territory.

Outside of the ever shrinking Cult of St. Barack, questions are being asked about the 'plan' and how it even qualifies as a plan.  On the issue of Turkey, Karen DeYoung and Liz Sly (Washington Post) report:

In a sign of their reluctance to directly antagonize Turkey on the eve of a key diplomatic meeting, U.S. officials sent mixed signals on Ankara’s demand that the United States establish a protected buffer zone along Turkey’s border with Syria.
“It is not now on the table as a military option that we’re considering,” said Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

Separately, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the idea of a buffer zone was “worth looking at very, very closely” and that it would be discussed when retired Gen. John Allen, coordinator of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, holds high-level meetings in Turkey on Thursday.

The paper's Liz Sly Tweets:

Back to DeYoung and Sly's report, if the administration isn't sending mixed signals, they're antagonizing allies or would be allies.

They're also antagonizing the Iraqi people.  All the propaganda in the world can't hide that.  Yes, CENTCOM notes:

In Iraq, an airstrike south of Sinjar destroyed an ISIL bunker and ammunition cache and a small ISIL unit. Another airstrike, south of Sinjar Mountain, destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle and a small ISIL unit. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed attack aircraft deployed to the Centcom area of operations. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.

 The strikes were conducted as part of President Barack Obama's comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL.

Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports:

In Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, more than 20 people were killed and some 30 others wounded in the morning air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition against buildings believed to be IS headquarters in the eastern part of the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km of Baghdad, an official from the security committee of Nineveh's provincial council told Xinhua.

Which is a polite way of saying the US just bombed civilians (again).  Still on violence, NINA notes a Baquba car bombing left 9 people dead and ten more injured and an Abu Dshir roadside bombing left 2 people dead and eight more injured.

Of course, today's Iraq news wasn't all bad.  Ibrahim Saleh (Niqash) reports:

Media organizations that fostered close links with and, some say, published or broadcast propaganda, for Iraq’s former Prime Minister are finding that their funding has dried up. Analysts and other suitably qualified individuals who used to defend al-Maliki in the media are having the same problems.

While his bosses searched for a new investor, young Iraqi journalist Hussein Aslawi was forced to resign. As the search for extra funding went on, the satellite TV channel Aslawi worked for had decided to cut down on its number of staff.

“And I tendered my resignation because things just are not the same anymore,” explains Aslawi, who worked as a news editor. “All of this is happening because the channel’s administrators have strong links to [former Iraqi Prime Minister] Nouri al-Maliki. So this is the result of his election loss,” Aslawi notes.

The media organisation’s administrators had pinned all their hopes – and the future of their operating budget - on al-Maliki winning a third term. “And despite our warnings, they didn’t do anything to protect themselves in case al-Maliki lost,” Aslawi says. “That’s why things have gotten so bad.”

Shortly before the last general elections in Iraq, held at the end of April this year, Aslawi says the satellite channel, whose name he did not want to reveal for fear of repercussions, received a lot of money from al-Maliki and his allies from out of a special campaign budget. “The money was paid on the condition that the channel changed its policies and supported al-Maliki,” says the young journalist, who adds that he and his colleagues were all shocked when they heard about the deal.  

“The channel became like al-Maliki’s spokesperson,” Aslawi says. “And it stayed that way up until Haider al-Abadi [the new Iraqi prime Minister] was assigned to form a government.”

At that stage, the channel was forced to stop broadcasting for almost two weeks. “And today its fate lies in finding somebody to finance it,” Aslawi notes. “But that seems very unlikely to happen.”

Whores forced out of their jobs?  Forced to work real ones or starve?

It could happen here!

Pacifica Radio could be taken down -- largely because of the waste and theft at WBAI throughout the '00s  and because All Media Whore Amy Goodman scammed Pacifica and walked away with millions.  The Nation has the coffers filled enough to continue online but print is iffy by the financial projections they hope no one leaks to the media.  (Will I or won't I? -- that is the question.) Others are even more worse off.

And should be.

Your loyalty should be to your listeners and readers.  You shouldn't whore yourself out for the powerful.  When someone's in the Oval Office, they have not just the Secret Service but also a team of rabid attack dogs to defend them.  They don't need the so-called press whoring to protect them.

But democracy does need a real press.

And Panhandle Media has failed the country and if dried up and disappeared what would we really miss?

Not much at all.

They don't report, they don't do much of anything except explain how awful Republicans are (or anyone who criticizes Barack) and look the other way.

They don't deserve to be on the air and they certainly don't deserve your money.

In Iraq, whores are being sent packing.

Too bad we can't say the same for the United States.

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Tribunal Takes Up Mexico's Migrant 'Hell'" (The Progressive):

MEXICO CITY (10/8/14) -- Just before judges heard testimony on migration at the Permanent People's Tribunal in Mexico City last week, the Mexican government announced a new measure that might have been deliberately intended to show why activists brought the Tribunal to Mexico to begin with, three years ago.  Interior (Gobernacion) Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told the press that the speed of trains known by migrants as "La Bestia" (The Beast) would be doubled.

Photos of "La Bestia" have become famous around the world, showing young migrants crowded on top of boxcars, riding the rails from the Guatemala border to near the U.S. It's a slow train, but many boys and girls have lost arms and legs trying to get on or off, and wind up living in limbo in the Casas de Migrantes -- the hostels run by the Catholic Church and other migrant rights activists throughout Mexico.  Osorio Chong said Mexico would require the companies operating the trains - a partnership between mining giant Grupo Mexico and the U.S. corporation Kansas City Southern - to hike their speed to make it harder for the migrants.

In the Tribunal, young people, giving only their first names out of fear, said they'd see many more severed limbs and deaths as a result, but that it wouldn't stop people from coming.  Armed gangs regularly rob the migrants, they charged, and young people get beaten and raped.  If they're willing to face this, they'll try to get on the trains no matter how fast they go.  "Mexico is a hell for migrants already," fumed Father Pedro Pantoja, who organized the Casa de Migrantes in Saltillo.