Saturday, November 08, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, November 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack wants to send more US troops -- even more -- into Iraq, Iraq's government declares the move "too late,"  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani rebukes corruption, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tries to act important, and much more.

He waited until after the mid-term election to announce it, but US President Barack Obama is sending more US troops into Iraq.  CBS News notes, "White House officials said the timing wasn't driven by the political calendar but that the request came from the Iraqi government and was refined over the last several weeks."

Yesterday, the White House issued the following:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Deployment of Additional U.S. Military Personnel to Iraq

One of the pillars of the United States’ counter-ISIL strategy is building the capacity of local forces to take the fight to ISIL. We have been providing this support for Iraqi Security Forces through advise and assist programs; through the provision of weapons, equipment, and intelligence; and through airstrikes with our coalition partners to enable our Iraqi partners’ success. As a part of our strategy for strengthening partners on the ground, President Obama today authorized the deployment of up to 1500 additional U.S. military personnel in a non-combat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces. The President also authorized U.S. personnel to conduct these integral missions at Iraqi military facilities located outside Baghdad and Erbil. U.S. troops will not be in combat, but they will be better positioned to support Iraqi Security Forces as they take the fight to ISIL.
The President took these decisions at the request of the Iraqi Government and upon the recommendation of Secretary Hagel and his military commanders based upon the assessed needs of the Iraqi Security Forces. This mission will be undertaken in coordination with multiple coalition partners and will be funded through the request for an Iraq Train and Equip fund that the Administration will submit to Congress.

In recent weeks ISIL has suffered a series of defeats in Iraq against the Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga, with the support of U.S. and coalition air strikes and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, as well as U.S. military advice. The United States and its coalition partners will continue to confront the threat of ISIL with strength and resolve as we seek to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism campaign. The President values the dedication and valor of the American servicemen and women whom he asks to carry out this mission on behalf of the American people.

Again, Barack waited until after the mid-term election on Tuesday to announce his decision.

Possibly, he was fearful of a backlash in the United States?

If so, he was mistaken, sadly.

Peace groups or 'peace' groups have bent over backwards for the baby boy they whored for in 2008.

They've refused to call him out as he's carried out more wars than Bully Boy Bush, carried on the worst policies of Bully Boy Bush and proven to be one of the worst presidents of all time.

To their credit, for a change CodePink had neither their head in the sand or a case of laryngitis and actually noted their opposition to the move:

Equally true, though, they're part of a campaign to call Hillary a "bitch."  (Little Denny Trainor Junior's campaign -- which won't make him man, but nothing else has either.)

To call her a "bitch" or the c-word or worse.

They think it's 'cute' and 'antiwar.'

And maybe it would be if just one damn time they called Barack a bastard (which, linguistically speaking, he is).

But they can't and they won't call Barack mean names.  They can barely bring themselves to object to his war making.

And that is definition of sexism.

If their approach to protesting war was calling people curse words, then that would be their approach.

And we could examine it or amplify it or critique it or condemn or whatever.

But that's not their approach with men.

It's only how they treat women.

And when you have a double standard, that's the definition of sexism.

Since 2008, they've protested Hillary, heckled her, called her mean names and attacked everything about her.

During this time?  Barack Obama has spent six years as US President.

And they've never called out the precious little baby boy.


They've applauded and cheered and said, "Look, Barack made stinky in the toilet all by himself like a big boy!"

They've applauded and cheered his every baby step towards further destruction and death.

When they look back on the last years, they'll see they've vilified a one-time US Secretary of State while letting the most powerful person in the world, a sitting US president, get away with, yes, murder (see The Drone War for the first of many examples).

Beyond issues of ethics and fairness, their past actions matter because Barack hasn't started another wave of the ongoing Iraq War in a vacuum.

He's done it because the so-called 'left' in the United States hasn't had the backbone, ethics, what have you to call him out.

If only he were a Republican (or a woman), he could be vilified by what passes for a peace movement in the United States.

Instead, so-called 'leftists' still rush to lie that Barack has 'ended' the Iraq War.

Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports the proposal Barack's making comes with a $5.6 billion price tag and Congress is expected to begin considering it next week. Missy Ryan (Washington Post) observes, "The new training mission in Iraq echoes a much larger effort that the United States initiated after its invasion of Iraq in 2003. That years-long endeavor, which rebuilt Iraqi forces­­ largely from scratch, cost the United States more than $20 billion."  And yet Barack's rushing to spend more billions at a time when he has repeatedly attacked the safety net programs in the US (see, for example, Andre Damon's "Obama budget slashes Social Security, Medicare" at WSWS last year).

Spencer Ackerman and Tom McCarthy (Guardian) report, "Barack Obama has authorized the doubling of US troop levels in Iraq for the war against Islamic State (Isis) militants, further straining his pledge against 'boots on the ground'."  And the press, with the exception of Ackerman and McCarthy, agree to pretend there are no boots on the ground and that US pilots dropping bombs in Iraq are not flying combat missions.

 BBC News reports (link is video) on a reaction to the news today:

Russell Trott:  Despite the lack of security on the streets of the Iraqi capital, some see the announcement of the deployment of   1,500 non-combat US troops as a fresh occupation of their land

Hamd Al Mutlaq (Iraqi Sunni law-maker): The US has sent thousands of soldiers and invaded Iraq and failed to impose security and stability in the country.  What gives us security and stability is the unity of the Iraqi people.  What is needed from the US is for it to help bring the Iraqi people together.

Russell Trott: More bomb blasts in Kobani a border town under siege for more than 40 days now despite the bombardment by US led aistrikes on Islamic State positions, they still control large areas of Iraq and Syria.  In Kobani, they're up against [. . .] and in Iraqi Kurdistan where their own battle with the Islamic State continues, the announcement of more US troops is welcomed but not unconditionally.

Ari Harsin (Defence Comm Head, Kurdish Regional Govt): I hope that they can effectively take part in the battle and, especially, because we need the ground troops.

Russell Trott: That is something Washington has so far resisted.  Three months after  US forces  first launched airstrike, the Pentagon believes Iraqi forces are better prepared to take on Islamic State militants on the ground thanks in part to the training they have received.  

Barack is selling this as a response to a request from the Iraqi government (made weeks ago, did he only now get the message?).  So it's interesting to read All Iraq News:  "The Iraqi Government assured on Saturday 'the decision of sending more international troops into Iraq is welcomed despite the fact that it is too late step'."

It is too late?

Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time 
There's something wrong here, there can be no denying 
One of us is changing 
Or maybe we just stopped trying 
 And it's too late, baby, now it's too late 
Though we really did try to make it 
Something inside has died 
And I can't hide and I just can't fake it
-- "It's Too Late," written by Carole King and Toni Stern, first appears on Carole's Tapestry album

It's too late -- the hymn to the White House.

And, though the western press is ignoring the remarks of the Iraqi government, let's note that they fall under the category of "slap in the face" and not "gratitude."

Three months, over three months, Barack's 'plan' has been carried out and it's accomplished nothing.

So what he does he propose?

More of the same.

That's not a strategy for success.

That's a sign of a highly ignorant person refusing to own their mistakes and learn from them.

Stephen Collinson (CNN) offers, "To date, Anbar province and Taji district have been considered as two likely locations for operations centers outside of Baghdad and Erbil. CNN reported last week that the military was preparing plans to deploy U.S. advisers to Anbar, much of which is under the control of ISIS."

Last Saturday, UNAMI underplayed the death toll yet again.  Here are the totals according to UNAMI, October saw 1506 violent deaths and 2594 people injured in violence.

By playing games in their own press release, the United Nation is (repeatedly) able to downplay and mislead with regards to the violence in Iraq.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's two terms will end with him never having defended the Iraqi people but instead as a rubber stamp for any actions sought by the US government.  Never before has the United Nations suffered from such a lack of leadership or courage.  Even Kofi Annan found the courage to call out the US government's actions when he was Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon, by contrast, looks like a pet, a dog, on a US leash being led around by his betters.

Why he ever took the position is a mystery to all because he's done nothing with it.

All Iraq News reports Ban Ki-Moon declared today, "Every day, ISIS, Al Qaida, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations are threatening innocent civilians in seemingly new and more gruesome ways. I am deeply disturbed that these dangerous groups continue recruiting members of our societies, including mostly young people.  I am consistently addressing concerns about terrorism in my discussions with leaders around the world."

Having now taken the 'brave' stand to come out in opposition to terrorism, Ban next plans to take a hard hitting stand against littering and, time permitting, gingivitis.

No one will ever accuse Ban of exceeding expectations.

The violence never ends in Iraq.  Some of today's violence?  All Iraq News notes a southeastern Baghdad car bombing left 2 people dead and nine more injured and an Amen car bombing left 6 people dead and thirty-four more injured.  National Iraqi News Agency adds that a Sadr City car bombing left 6 people dead and thirty-five injured, a Musayyib Village roadside bombing left 1 woman and her two children injured "while they were herding sheep," and 49 corpses were discovered in Kirkuk (said to "unidentified suicide bombers whose relatives have not received their bodies").

Friday, Raheem Salman (Reuters) reported major news:

Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric said on Friday that corruption in the armed forces had enabled Islamic State to seize much of northern Iraq, criticism that will pressure the government to enact reforms in the face of an insurgency.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has become increasingly critical of Iraqi leaders since Islamic State's lightning advance created Iraq's worst crisis since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

al-Sistani could determine elections, so great is his influence.  And he's a key figure the United States government seeks out whenever they attempt (half-assed or fully) an effort in Iraq.

While he remains politically neutral for the most part, he can remain pointedly politically neutral.

By 2011, it was clear al-Sistani was done with Nouri al-Maliki.  The protesters' demands were being ignored and that appeared to bother al-Sistani a great deal.  By the time the spring of 2012 rolled around and with Nouri facing real trouble, al-Sistani pointedly sat out on the issue of a no-vote in Parliament.  Though he was asked to weigh in and call for the proposal to be set aside, he pointedly refused to comment one way or another allowing the measure to move forward.  (Then-Iraqi President Jalal Talabani would kill the effort at the end of May 2012.)

His remarks today are significant in the timing.  While many others say similar things privately (Ammar al-Hakim, to name but one), al-Sistani is going public and doing so very early in Haider al-Abadi's tenure as prime minister which can be seen as al-Sistani putting the new government on notice that it needs to get its act together and do so quickly.

The Grand Ayatollah wasn't the only one making statements today.  All Iraq News reports, "The Religious Authority represented by Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalayi, called Authority called politicians to understand their huge responsibility at current critical stage."

In the United States, this coming Tuesday is Veterans Day. The American Legion issued the following:

As it gets closer to Nov. 11, everyone from local American Legion posts to the national organization is preparing to observe Veterans Day across the country. 
In and around the nation's capital, American Legion National Vice Commander William Bryant will represent the Legion at the White House during its Veterans Day breakfast, as well as at ceremonies at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Verna Jones, the new executive director of the Washington office, will appear on C-SPAN to discuss veterans issues.
A group of Legion family members will march in New York City's "America's Parade," while another group will march in the San Diego parade.
Home Depot and Post 77 of St. Louis will conduct a rebuilding event in the city.
Veterans Day observances will not be limited to face-to-face interaction, either. The American Legion Amateur Radio Club will host a special on-air tribute with the opportunity to check in from anywhere and speak to fellow veterans. Read more details here.
All these events and more will be covered over the next week. The Legion has a dedicated Veterans Day page that also includes a Veterans Day speech; black and white and color special ad slicks; a list of discounts and offers courtesy of; and more. Visit for ongoing Veterans Day coverage.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following:

Veterans Week 2014: Vets Rising

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or

New York, N.Y. (November 7, 2014) – This Veterans Week, post-9/11 veterans and supporters will participate in events across the country, bringing all Americans together to highlight the sacrifices and strengths of the new greatest generation of veterans. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will participate in New York City’s annual Veterans Day parade, The Concert for Valor hosted by HBO, Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase in Washington, D.C., the Veteran's Day Breakfast at the White House, and will be on the ground in more than 30 cities and towns across the country, including:

·      Events in California, including the Los Angeles, San Fernando, Palm Springs, San Francisco, and San Diego Veterans Day parades;
·      A service project in the Bronx, N.Y.;
·      A meet-and-greet with the band O.A.R. in Asheville, N.C.; and,
·      Parades in Atlanta, Ga., Raleigh, N.C., Milwaukee, Wisc., Dallas, Texas, Phoenix, Ariz., Portland, Ore., Grand Rapids, Neb., and Nashville, Tenn., among others.

Additional events can be found at Veterans can RSVP or create their own events through the website.

Veterans and supporters are encouraged to post pictures throughout the day that demonstrate the power of America's veterans on their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages along with the #VetsRising hashtag.
IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff will attend the White House breakfast on Veterans Day.

“Veterans Day is the most important time for our community,” said Rieckhoff. “This year, IAVA is celebrating the fact that veterans are not just meeting today's challenges, they're rising above them. Our veterans are not charity. They are leaders making a difference in their communities across the country. 

Veterans Day is every day, and IAVA will continue to engage with our members every day to highlight the sacrifices and successes of the New Greatest Generation!”   

IAVA Marches in the 2014 America’s Parade 
WHAT: IAVA will march the 2.5 miles up 5th Avenue in the 2014 New York City Veterans Day Parade.
WHO: IAVA members and families
WHEN: Tues., Nov. 11, 2014, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Flat Iron Plaza, 949 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10010 

IAVA’s Annual Heroes Gala Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary
WHAT: IAVA will host the IAVA’s Annual Heroes Gala Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary, a night to honor those who have made a unique and lasting contribution to IAVA’s mission to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
WHO: IAVA will present the 2014 IAVA Veterans Leadership Award to Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the 2014 IAVA Civilian Service Award to Travis Kalanick, CEO and Co-Founder of Uber. Willie Geist, co-anchor of NBC’s “TODAY” show and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald will also be speaking at the event.
WHEN: Thurs., Nov. 13, 2014, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 
Press check-in: 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.  (Cipriani 42nd Street)
Sponsor Reception: 5:30 to 6:30pm (Cipriani 42nd Street)
Cocktail Reception: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Cipriani 42nd Street)
Dinner and Award Presentation: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. (Cipriani 42nd Street)
WHERE: Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017

Note to media: Please contact if you would like to cover a Veterans Day event or IAVA’s Heroes Gala. We can also connect you with a veteran.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

# # #

Many food establishments will be honoring veterans on Monday or Tuesday.  Golden Corral will hold it's 2014 Military Appreciation Monday "thank you" dinner Monday from 5 pm till 9 pm. That's for veterans and active duty -- as are the other events we're noting.  Maybe you're a fan of pancakes?  Tuesday, IHOP will be serving free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 am to 7 pm to "the brave men and women who have served, or are serving, in the United States Military."  Sizzler will be serving lunch on Tuesday, "Until 4 p.m., guests with proof of military service may choose a free entrée of either a six-ounce Tri Tip Steak, a single
Malibu Chicken or a half dozen Fried Shrimp. Coffee, iced tea or a fountain drink is included."  Maybe you're really busy Tuesday and not sure when you can eat?  Hooters will be serving a free entree to veterans and service members on Tuesday and click here for locations.  On The Border (except in Nevada -- and only in limited locations in California) will be serving veterans "a free Create Your Own Combo entree ('Choose 2' or 'Choose 3')" at these locations.

There will be many others but we highlight those who sent a press release or announcement to the public e-mail.  In addition to those establishments,  Great Clips will also be honoring Veterans Day:
On Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, customers who come in for a haircut at any U.S. Great Clips salon will receive a free haircut card to give to an active/inactive/retired military member of any branch, including the National Guard. Military members can also come in on Veterans Day for a free haircut or to pick up a free haircut card to use, with proof of service, any day before Dec. 31, 2014.

“Most of us know at least one veteran we would like to thank on that day,” says Great Clips CEO, Rhoda Olsen, who is married to a Vietnam veteran.  “We invite everyone to come into a U.S. Great Clips salon on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) to purchase a service and pick up a free haircut card. Give the card to a veteran in your family, a neighbor or just someone you notice is a veteran to thank them for serving our country. It’s a simple, yet meaningful, way for more people to show appreciation to veterans with the help of Great Clips.”

How It Works:

• Customers come into any U.S. Great Clips salon on Nov. 11 and, with the purchase of a service, receive a free haircut card to give to a veteran.
• Limit one card per customer (while supplies last).
• The free haircut cards are redeemable by veterans at any U.S. Great Clips from Nov. 11–Dec. 31, 2014 with proof of service. The promotion applies to veterans only.
• Veterans who visit Great Clips in the U.S. on Nov. 11 receive either a free haircut that day or a free haircut card to redeem by Dec. 31. After Nov. 11, veterans must have a free haircut card to get the free haircut.


missy ryan