Monday, May 25, 2015

I Hate The War

So yesterday, the US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter states the obvious and uncontested truth.

Secretary Ash Carter:  What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. Uh, they were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. And yet they failed to fight they withdrew from the sight and uh that says to me and i think to most of us that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and  defend themselves now we can give them training, we can give them equipment, we obviously can't give them the will to fight.

For the third time, let's note that a Kurdish Peshmerga commander told  Rudaw that Haider's Special Operations forces not only bailed but did so before Ramadi fell and that he personally told Haider what was happening but Haider looked the other way:

Two days prior to the ISIS attack we had accurate information that the Special Operations had packed up and abandoned their base in Ramadi.
I personally relayed the information through the chain of command and contacted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
I informed him of the photo and video evidence and location of hundreds of army vehicles and Humvees of the Special Operations forces assembled and about to abandon Ramadi.
I explained to PM Abadi the exact location of the forces on the map. It was 4am. They flew a plane to the place I told them and took photos of the assembled vehicles. They learned that the intelligence was correct and that indeed the forces were getting ready to withdraw.
Later that day more than 200 army vehicles abandoned their posts and their withdrawal led to the defeat of all other forces that were in Anbar to fight.
Why did the Special Operations act this way? I personally think there was a political reason behind it.
As a military commander, I don’t think PM Abadi or the Ministry of Defense have any authority over the Special Operations. Or it could be that the Shiite forces close to Maliki committed this act in order to embarrass and bring down Abadi’s government.

That's pretty clear cut.

But we're in a world of play time and pretend.

I don't know who's more pathetic right now -- Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi or US Vice President Joe Biden?

The White House issued the following today:

Readout of Vice President Biden's Call with Prime Minister Al-Abadi of Iraq

Vice President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi today to reaffirm U.S. support for the Iraqi government’s fight against ISIL. The Vice President recognized the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces over the past eighteen months in Ramadi and elsewhere. The Vice President welcomed the Council of Minister’s unanimous decision on May 19th to mobilize additional troops, honor those who have fallen, and prepare for counter-attack operations. The Vice President pledged full U.S. support in these and other Iraqi efforts to liberate territory from ISIL, including the expedited provision of U.S. training and equipment to address the threat posed by ISIL’s use of truck bombs.

To be clear, the White House should have only been issuing statements today on the topic of Memorial Day.

And on no day in history does the world ever need a statement from non-Catholic Barack Obama about his thoughts on the Beatification of Oscar Romero.

You're not a Catholic so just close your mouth and sit your ass down.

This White House overreaches constantly to make sure they never miss the most mundane moment -- in doing so, they waste time they should devote to issues that actually matter.

Repeating, Barack isn't a Catholic.  The process by which a Catholic moves towards a saint is really beyond his scope and he really needs to learn to just shut his mouth.  Every event in the world does not require a statement from Mr. Vanity.  Events will pass just fine without any remarks from him or the White House.

But here's Joe rushing to reassure Haider.

If you're not getting that the statement from the White House is about Ash Carter, let's move over to Deutsche Welle which notes:

On Sunday, Carter questioned whether Iraqi forces had the "will to fight." Abadi has since told the United Kingdom's BBC that the defense secretary "was fed the wrong information." Carter's remarks, Iraq's indignation and Biden's apologetic efforts come after IS took Ramadi over a week ago.

So on Memorial Day, a day supposedly about honoring the US armed forces, Joe Biden rushes to distance himself from the Secretary of Defense?

Is no one else rolling their eyes over that?

I'm really sorry that little puppet Haider gets his tiny little boy feelings hurt when the truth is noted.

If you don't get what a little bitch Haider is, please note in April began threatening the press publicly -- Joe didn't call him up then -- eternal coward Joe Biden -- because the press was reporting the failures of the Iraqi forces.

Haider can't bully Ashton Carter.

But he can go crying like the whining little bitch he is to Joe Biden.

Oh, that mean Ash!  He said true things!  It hurt my little feelings!  I'm not sure I can stay in the post you've installed me in!  I'm crying!  Wah!  Wah!

Haider's forces have failed.


This is not in dispute.

Instead of comforting him, the White House should be encouraging him to face reality.

Joe Biden thinks he's being a peace maker.

He's not.

He's been an enabler.

A dysfunctional government is being presided over by a liar who refuses to face the truth and instead of providing him with cold, hard truth, Joe Biden rushed over to massage Haider's shoulders and tell him everything would be alright.

No, it won't be.

Haider needs to get his act together.

He's the reason the forces are falling apart.

Let's drop back to Thursday's snapshot (and Robinson is Eugene Robinson and click here for his column):

But since Barack declared last June that the only answer for Iraq was a "political solution," maybe that should be factored in?
Specifically, the US government's refusal to aid the Iraqi government in working towards this or to use Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's need for aid or weapons by demanding concessions from him to move the political process along.
We focus here on the mistreatment of the Sunnis very often because -- under Haider and Nouri al-Maliki before -- the Sunnis have been targeted with violence.  But let's not pretend that life's wonderful in Iraq for a Shi'ite civilian who doesn't hold office.
Robinson's correct that the Iraqi military collapses over and over.
But might that be due on some level to the fact that there's nothing in Iraq for the Iraqi people.
Billions of dollars flood in via oil sales but potable water remains a dream in Iraq.
You can't get out of the faucet.
You can boil your water on the stove before drinking it -- as many Iraqis do.
Where is the improvement in their lives?
Where is any indication that the government intends to serve them?
It's a government of exiles, hidden behind the walls of the Green Zone.
Who wants to risk, let alone give, their life for something like that?

Haider's continued the targeting of Sunnis -- an idiotic move that the White House should be calling him out on -- but he's also not offered anything for the Shi'ite civilians.

Who would want to fight for this corrupt government to survive?

We're talking about a government that Transparency Organization ranks as the 170th most corrupt country out of 175 countries.

They offer a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for Iraq of $82.15 billion.  That should be more than enough to ensure that all 32 million Iraqis remain out of poverty.

But they don't.

1% of the GDP would be $820,000,000.

Half of that would still be enough to make every Iraq a millionaire several times over.

Yet so many Iraqis live in poverty and basic services are still not being provided by the government.

Nouri al-Maliki is a thug and a criminal.

Barack stood by him, insisted Nouri get a second term in 2010 (even though Nouri lost the elections) and when Nouri's thuggery finally threatened to tear Iraq apart, Barack demanded Nouri go.

Good move.

Up until he picks Haider al-Abadi -- Nouri's friend and a member of Nouri's Dawa party -- as the replacement.

Why not Ammar al-Hakim, for example?

He's a Shi'ite.

He has standing.

And up until he felt Barack stabbed in the back (fall of 2014), he was on good terms with the United States government.

He's now openly hostile to the US government.

He's encouraging that among the many he leads as the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.

And Barack's -- as usual -- got his thumb up his ass and isn't paying attention to what's going on.

Reality: You can't have cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and Ammar al-Hakim both against the United States government and still have any sway in the country.

Ammar's anti-American comments are hostile and deeply personal.  They speak to the hurt he feels.  So where's the diplomacy on healing that rift -- one that's growing with every week?

No where to be found.

Barack's Posse Don't Do No Diplomacy, you understand.

Instead, the State Dept apes the Defense Dept and goes around gas bagging over bombs dropped from airplanes instead of doing their own damn work, the work the US tax payer pays them to do.

Joe Biden's nonsense today should come with a federal rebate and an apology to every American taxpayer.

If Haider's feelings are hurt by the truth, to damn bad.

Stop shielding your puppet from reality.

At The Atlantic today, Matt Schiavenza offers his take on the problems with the Iraqi forces:

What accounts for the Iraqi military’s failure? Many problems stem from the Bush Administration decision to disband the existing Iraq military in 2003 and build a new one from scratch. Intended to rid the institution of officers linked to Saddam Hussein, the move instead left thousands of armed men unemployed and embittered. This contributed to a security vacuum within Iraqi society and fed a vicious anti-U.S. insurgency. Many high-ranking officials who served under Saddam have now become senior commanders with ISIS.
The Iraqi army is also notoriously corrupt, a legacy of Nouri al-Maliki’s years as prime minister. Fearful that a strong military would pose a threat to his power, al-Maliki replaced top commanders with political patrons drawn from his Shia sect, undermining any attempt to establish a merit-based system of promotion. So-called “ghost battalions” draw salaries despite never reporting for duty, and the forces who do remain are no match for fanatical ISIS fighters. “Military training, no matter how intensive, and weaponry, no matter how sophisticated and powerful, is no substitute for belief in a cause,” William Astore, a former U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, wrote last year in the American Conservative.

But the main problem with the Iraqi military is the problem with Iraq as a whole—the country effectively no longer exists as a unified state. Kurdistan, for all intents and purposes, acts as an independent country. Much of the Sunni population lives in territories controlled by ISIS. The rump Iraqi government, meanwhile, operates in close cooperation with Iran, who funds Shia militias that act as a paramilitary force. The Iraqi military, then, is less a cause of the country’s failures than a reflection of them.

That's one take.  You can agree with it or not -- agree with it in part or in full.

But the reality is the Iraqi forces are not fighting, they are repeatedly fleeing.

My take, again, is why risk your life for a government that fails to serve you?

But you can go with whatever belief you want as to why the forces keep fleeing.  DW's Kersten Knipp offers his overview of the forces which includes:

The Shiites have been just as relentless in the persecution of the Sunnis as the IS terrorists have been with their opponents. In a UN human rights report from the summer of 2014, the Shiite militia stands accused of "torture, kidnapping, and displacement." And in a report from March of this year by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the organization referred to thousands of cases of displacement. HRW also said that Sunni homes were routinely being destroyed. The radical Sunni devil is being driven out by the radical Shiite Beelzebub, or so it seems. It's hardly a stretch to assume that Sunni soldiers are unlikely to be highly motivated in the face of such crimes against their people.

I agree with Knipp.  But, again, it's not a cakewalk to be a Shi'ite civilian in Iraq either.  You're probably not going to be targeted but you're also not going to be served by the government that's supposed to be working for you.   Today, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told  Frederik Pleitgen on CNN's Amanpour (link is text and video),  "It's not clear for us why such a unit, which was supposed to be trained by the Americans for years, and supposed to be one of the best units in the army, would withdraw from Ramadi in such a way. This is not the army that we are willing to see or we are expecting to see."

I fail to see how Joe Biden's embarrassing contact with Haider today serves anyone.

It doesn't serve truth.

It doesn't light a fire under Haider to actually start doing a job representing all Iraqis.

It doesn't accomplish anything except to soothe Haider's delicate feelings.

And to reward Iran, let's not forget that.

AP reports,  "Iraq and Iran pushed back Monday against U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter's criticisms over the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with an Iranian general going as far as saying America had 'no will' to fight the extremists."

So every time Iran criticizes a US official, Joe Biden will now rush to apologize for the US official's statements?

This White House just looks more pathetic with each passing day.

If Hillary wants a shot at the White House, she's really going to have to start decrying these weak responses from the administration.  She needs to address -- you better believe the GOP will -- the White House undercutting the Secretary of Defense -- and doing so to appease Iran and soothe the feelings of Haider al-Abadi.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4496.

On the number, use the link.  The latest five are from "Inherent Resolve" which is the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria.  The two countries border one another, IS travels back and forth.  We'll count the five as part of the Iraq War deaths. 

New content at Third:

Ava and I want to note that the first TV piece on the list (we write the TV pieces for Third) was a list.  This was supposed to be the list edition -- every feature was going to be a list.

That didn't work out.  At the last minute, we had to transform our list into an actual piece.  

We're noting that here because we're never again doing a list piece.  Third may or may not attempt a list edition.  If it does, we'll work on those pieces but we'll never again waste our time writing a list piece only, at the very last minute, to be forced to redo it somewhere around 3:30 a.m. on a Monday morning.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Buffy Sainte-Marie's unwelcome return" went up earlier.  Isaiah's latest goes up after this.

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