Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Again reselling the Iraq War

US troops in Iraq?

AP has a piece by Lolita C. Baldor that pretends to answer some questions on the issue.

Q: How many American forces are in Iraq?

A: There are about 2,840 U.S. forces in Iraq, participating in Operation Inherent Resolve. Of those, 450 are trainers who are instructing Iraqi units in five secure locations around the country. Twelve advisory teams, comprising 200 troops of 15-20 per team, move around the country working with Iraqi brigades and headquarters units, and about 800 others are providing security for the U.S. presence. The rest are providing other support, including intelligence, surveillance and logistics.

Q: Where are they?

A: The 450 trainers are at five sites around the country: al-Asad Air Base in Anbar province, Irbil in the north, Taji just north of Baghdad, Besmaya just south of Baghdad, and a training center for special operations forces near Baghdad. Other forces are at joint operations centers in Irbil and Baghdad, or are providing support for U.S. and coalition troops around the country.

Special-Ops aren't noted in Baldor's count.  Nor are the US Marines who protect the US Embassy and its staff (and US consulates) in Iraq.

The only person in US journalism who ever tried to be honest about US troops in Iraq was Ted Koppel who filed a report for NBC News when all the other outlets were reporting (wrongly) all US troops had left Iraq in December 2011.

MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.

Again, that's what Koppel was able to report while everyone else went with the lie of US withdraws!

Sadly, that was reported on a NBC show that is no more.  Ted Koppel also reported on this for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

It's also no more.

Clearly if you lie or you get it wrong -- like Lolita and AP -- you get to go on and on.

Get it right, like Knight Ridder Newspapers, and you vanish.

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry will be among those testifying to Congress and he'll probably (again) demand US troops on the ground in Iraq be in any AUMF.

That's what Barack wants, it's what the military wants.

We noted an exchange in yesterday's snapshot from the Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.  We'll zoom in on one aspect of that exchange:

Senator Lindsey Graham:  Do you agree with me that the best way that you guarantee that you destroy and degrade ISIL is that you have some American ground forces to help the regional forces?

Gen Joseph Dunford Jr.: Senator, uh, right now, uh, I think it's critical that we provide US support.  And I think, as you know, we're waiting for Gen [Lloyd]  Austin to make a recommendation as to exactly what that support would be.

Lloyd Austin is who everyone's going to hide behind.

The plan currently is for Barack to announce, with regret, that the military advisors have examined the situation, and he needs to send US troops into combat.  He'd hoped, he will say, it wouldn't come to that.  Whether or not he should acknowledge his June promise to the American people that it wouldn't come to that is still being debated within the White House.  But the decision will be blamed on the advisors.

And yet we don't focus on what's coming, we don't focus on trying to prevent.  No, on the left we act like braying asses and allow ourselves to be distracted.  I'm referring to the nonsense over Iran which we may have to address in the snapshot today.  We may also make time to go over Hillary Clinton's lies because I'm so sick of that nonsense as well.

CBS and AP report that, today, the Baghdad - Tehran led assault on Tikrit has finally reached Tikrit.

Of course, so many were wrongly reporting that yesterday, remember?

(CBS wasn't wrongly reporting it.  In yesterday's snapshot, we noted Holly Williams's report for Tuesday's CBS Evening News which did not make the false claim that so many other outlets did.)

The Christian Science Monitor did its part to lie and whore for the Iraq War before it started.  So it's no surprise that Howard LaFranchi is now whoring (again) for war.

He tells you "polls" show the US wants ground troops in Iraq.

A sure sign of a war whore is having plenty of time to note and link to said polls but refusing to do so.  Another sign is ignoring the actual questions and the actual responses.

Now might be a good time to again note the US 'surge' -- and we'll probably note it when we note what a liar Hillary Clinton is in today's snapshot.

Those of us who were opposed to the 'surge' -- not Hillary, remember she was just posturing -- were opposed to it because what was the point?

US troops would go into Iraq at greater numbers to 'stabilize' Iraq.

And then what?

Boots on the ground were not the issues inciting violence.

Boots on the ground were not the answer to addressing those issues.

And it's the same today.

Boots on the ground are not going to solve Iraq's issues.

And clearly Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has no interest in solving the issues.

We've noted the laughable 'oil deal' and then we've left it alone.  You can only note a lie so long.

But the State Dept keeps pimping this as evidence of Haider's non-Nouri al-Maliki-ness and as proof that he is solving Iraq's problems.  In what may be the week's most important reporting on Iraq, Ari Mamshae (Rudaw) reports:

The financial dispute between Erbil and Baghdad that started last year appears to be continuing. This crisis has several dimensions: a financial crisis in Baghdad, a Shiite centralization policy and lack of trust.

The illegal decision by former Iraqi premier Nouri Maliki to cut the entire budget of the Kurdistan Regional Government in early 2014 was aimed at both the Kurdish people and the KRG itself. The rulers in Baghdad want the Kurdistan Region to remain in crises in order to push the Kurds into rethinking their policy towards Baghdad and to forego their ambitions of greater autonomy and independence.

Although both governments reached a deal in December, Baghdad is finding excuses not to implement the deal. When the last KRG delegation visited Baghdad, it was told that the government literally has run out of money.

Iraq’s Premier Haidar Abadi’s inauguration was accompanied by a sharp decrease in the price of oil, on which Iraq relies heavily. That made a significant impact on Iraq’s revenue. However, prior to that, Maliki had plundered all the wealth of the country and his reign was rigged by an extremely high degree of corruption.

Throughout his eight-year rule, he wasted hundreds of billions of dollar. From 2004 to 2014, Iraq has had revenues of over $750 billion, in addition to all those billions of international contributions. After deducting the Kuwaiti compensation fund, government primary expenditures and a small portion of its investment budget -- all approximately and on average totaling 70 percent of the budget -- at least $200 billion has disappeared.

Touring around Iraq, that huge amount of revenue is nowhere to seen.

A month before Maliki left office, there were $18 billion in the Development Fund for Iraq at the New York Federal Reserve Bank, plus the KRG’s share of 2014’s budget. When Abadi was sworn into office, there was only $1 billion left. Sadly, the rivalry between the Shiite groups as well as the ongoing sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites prevents holding the former Iraqi premier and its officials accountable for all the corruption. 

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