Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, May 20, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the liars never stop lying about Iraq or treating it as a political football, Hillary still can't talk about her grave error (fobbed off as a "mistake" in today's comments), the White House appears to flip flop on the arming of Sunnis, and much more.

We're going to start with a  quick round of Name That Republican! 

December 1, 2009, US President Barack Obama declared "we are bringing the Iraq War to a responsible end."

Name the Republican, desperate for glory, who quickly added:

That we are doing so is a testament to the character of the men and women in uniform.  Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people. 

The US gave Iraq something, did they?

Those damn Republicans always so full of themselves, seeing tragedy and crimes as a gift.  Shame on them, may they rot in --


Oh, that was Barack.

Yeah, Barack's repeatedly lied about the Iraq War.

Most infamously he lied in his March 26, 2014 speech -- so much lying we needed the March 26, 2014 snapshot and the March 27, 2014 snapshot to cover it.

You can use those links for our comments but let's note reaction from others to that hideous speech.

William Rivers Pitt (Truthout) declared:

Truthout does not forget. We were at the forefront of the struggle against that disastrous war, and we will not stand idly by as an alleged "good guy" slaps a coat of paint over it to cover up the blood on the walls. President Obama sounds for all the world like a used car salesman trying to peddle a lemon, and that will not happen on our watch. 

DS Wright (Firedoglake) noted:

Yesterday President Barack Obama tried to claim that the United States government’s actions in the 2003 Iraq War were legal and different than Russia’s actions in Crimea because the US had “sought to work within the international system.” Apparently merely seeking to work within the international system is some kind of get out of jail free card. If one follows Obama’s logic then Russia need only to have “sought” a doomed UN resolution justifying the annexation of Crimea before doing so, this would have made their actions legitimate under Obama’s standard.

 The Voice of Russia offered:

Matt Howard and Ross Caputi, members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, spoke with Common Dreams by phone and said that the president's narrative on the events that led up to the Iraq invasion, inside or outside the context of Ukraine, was simply "not grounded in reality." "We went from one lie, which was weapons of mass destruction, to another lie which was liberation and freedom," said Howard. "This idea that Iraq is somehow better off or that the US waged a so-called 'Good War' is ridiculous."

Grasp the above.  And there are two points here.

The first, a lot of people -- usually stupid people -- but some are also whores -- are glomming onto remarks by candidates for the GOP's presidential nomination to insist that this person or that person isn't fit to serve.

Now Jeb Bush brings his own problems on himself.

No one forced him to pick one position and then, after the press kicks him around the room for a day or two, rush to pick another position.

That's something worthy of comment -- it's probably killed his career, in fact.

But this nonsense of jumping on remarks?

Okay, let's do that.

But let's do that honestly.

In which case, there's Mike Gravel and who else?

Who besides former US Senator Mike Gravel has told the truth about Iraq?  The whole truth, not the half truth?  What politician?

Not Ralph Nader.

Ralph Nader's made himself useless and needs to find a rocking chair in an old folk's home.  Bernie Sanders?  Bernie's lied for years.  Yes, he voted against the war in 2002 but he never did join the Out of Iraq Caucus while he as in the House and he never really did anything to stop the illegal war after it started.

US House Rep John Conyers had no power and had to hold hearings in a basement room -- but he held hearings there.  What did Bernie Sanders ever do?

The same media that's all over this GOP politician or that?

They mocked John Conyers for holding hearings.  They mocked him, they laughed at him, they ridiculed him.

So I'm not really in the mood to get behind them today even though I don't particularly care for the people they're targeting.

I do care about fairness.

Barack's remarks have been dishonest and disgusting.

Pretty much every national politician -- of both parties and of Bernie's laughable Democratic Socialist party -- has lied about Iraq.

Which brings us to part two of this.

Elderly poindexter Paul Krugman got praised this week when he shouldn't have been.

In 2008, Paul was for Hillary and against Barack and, back then, he could be honest about Barack.  But we all saw how quickly Paul could whore.  No one whores like an elderly whore locked away in academia.

In his ridiculous column, Paul declared:

1) the Iraq War "was worse than a mistake, it was a crime."

2) the lies were "actually obvious even at the time"

And I can agree with that.

I can even agree that there was a campaign of "insinuation" where charges were stated or inferred but there was never any proof provided.

Insinuation is also my biggest problem with the column.

Paul claims he stands for truth -- no whore stands except maybe on their head and that's only if the john paying for it is into that.

But he tells you about Bully Boy Bush and the White House and blah blah blah.

But that's not the truth, not the full truth.

It is the "fool truth" and many fools rush to embrace it and amplify it.

Paul's insinuations all go to the Republicans.

"Democrat" never pops up nor do any of the Democrats who supported the war -- not the ones who did so with the 2002 vote nor the many votes which followed after.

Paul's not providing the full truth.

Frances A. Boyle's not a politician.  Maybe that's why he can provide the full truth?

But he and Ramsey Clarke, former US Attorney General, can both provide the truth about the craven nature of Democratic politicians and operatives (John Podesta).

It wasn't just the 2002 vote that so saw many Democrats embrace the Iraq War.

On the eve of war, John Conyers assembled Democrats in Congress for a presentation on how the war could be stopped by impeaching Bully Boy Bush.

Boyle and Clarke made that presentation.

And did so convincingly.

Then Podesta spoke about how supporting the Iraq War could keep you in office.

So let's not be Paul Krugman.

Let's not be dishonest whores.

Democrats and Republicans supported the illegal war.

Pretending otherwise allows this garbage to appear:

I find it maddening people act like there were no opponents to Iraq war; esp weird since 1 of them is sitting in WH

What a little whore.  It would be funny if so many weren't dead or wounded from the illegal war that Neera thinks she can use to lie with.

I'm tired of the liars.

Barack was against the war for about five seconds in 2002 when speaking to less than a dozen people.

When he was running to become a US Senator -- as we've noted forever  -- Elaine and I were invited to a fundraiser by friends.  It was a big money fundraisers for Barack.  And we went and intended to max out on our donations to his campaign.

The problem was he opened his mouth.

During our face time with the antiwar senator, Elaine noted how glad she was to support a candidate who wanted to end the Iraq War.  At which point, Barack insisted to us that the US was now in Iraq so opposition to the war no longer mattered.

What no longer mattered to us was donating to his campaign.

Let me be really clear here because there's a lot of confusion.

I like Jeri Ryan.  She's not a friend. But I do know her and I do like her as a person (and I think she's a solid actress).

When Barack's dirty tricks embarrassed her, when it put private details into the public sphere so that now even a 10-year-old was forced to learn things about his parents that he never should have -- that no one should have?

There's no way in hell I would've gone to one of Barack's fundraisers after that.

My point being, this fundraiser wasn't 2004.

By late 2003, Barack was already arguing that opposition to the illegal war no longer mattered.

It doesn't matter to Neera, she's a cheap little liar.

She's trash.

If that reality escapes you, ask yourself what she was doing 2007 and 2008?

She was the policy director for Hillary's presidential campaign -- covering foreign affairs and other issues.  The Iraq War didn't matter much to Neera then, did it?

No, it did not.

If you look at her writing 'career' -- or 'writing' career -- you quickly discover Iraq doesn't matter at all.

In fact, in her one apparent piece (partially) on the Iraq War, December 2005's "Campaigns Are Destiny" for the American Prospect, she complained that Bully Boy Bush had made Iraq "dangerous" -- in fact, "more dangerous."

The problem?

"So he has stayed the course in Iraq despite ample evidence that this has made the occupation more dangerous for U.S. soldiers."

The only smart thing Neera ever did was lose that ridiculous mushroom cap hairdo that made her face look like a shriveled up slug.  But even that wasn't 'brave' and it had nothing to do with Iraq.

Neera's a cheap, tawdry whore who will use Iraq as a political football despite the fact that she's never called out the illegal war and her only expressed concern ever was about US troops.

She's never expressed sorrow or regret for the Iraqi people -- those killed, those wounded or those living in the nightmare the US government created.

Emma Sky is the author of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.  And Iraq certainly continues to unravel.  We'll again note this from her "Iraq Shows That 'Tactics Without Strategy Is the Noise Before Defeat" (New York Times):

Politicians try to use the situation in Iraq for political advantage, without much consideration of Iraqis themselves; Democrats blame Republicans for invading Iraq in the first place, and Republicans blame Democrats for not leaving troops there. The U.S. military blames U.S. government civilians for not doing enough; and the latter blames the former for trying to do too much. We need to honestly examine what took place there so that we learn how and when to respond to instability in the world.

Neera and others think they can use the Iraq War.

They don't give a damn about the Iraqis.

They're not arguing for the US to accept more refugees -- or for Barack to honor the promise he made to the late Ted Kennedy on the refugee issue -- they're not interested in any issue pertaining to Iraq.

But they do want to lie and whore and pretend like the Republicans are the ones who created the illegal war and that the Republicans did so all on their own.

Neera wants you to see Barack as 'anti Iraq War.'

But forget the story that Elaine and I've been telling since long before Barack was president.

If Barack was so against the Iraq War, wouldn't his administration -- now in its seventh year -- have made room for people against the war -- especially in key positions?

John Kerry voted for the Iraq War (and deserves more laughs than even Jeb Bush due to John's infamous "I was for it before I was against it" statement -- as does John's 2004 statement that he'd vote to authorize the war all over again if given the chance).  He's Secretary of State.

Hillary had that post and she also voted for the Iraq War.

Chuck Hagel was Secretary of Defense and he too voted for the Iraq War authorization in 2002.

Had grabby hands John Edwards not been revealed as human sewage, he would have been in Barack's administration and, yes, he too voted for the 2002 authorization.

Former army colonel and diplomat Ann Wright resigned from the State Dept in March 2003 over the Iraq War and did so with a public letter.

Barack didn't appoint Ann to any post.

He's found several posts for Samantha Power and Susan Rice -- women who supported the Iraq War.

Barack's not against the Iraq War.

He wouldn't be continuing it if he were against it.

He wouldn't have sent troops into Iraq in 2012 after his drawdown in November 2011 if he were against it.

In September 2012, Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

That wouldn't have happened if Barack was against the Iraq War.

No national politician -- other than Mike Gravel -- has told the truth about Iraq.

They've all lied.

They all continue to lie.

They lie for their 'side' and their side is never the Iraqi people.

Their interest is never in the outcome for the Iraqi people.

Their 'side' is also never the side of the truth.

Paul Krugman can fool a few people into believing he wrote a truthful column.

But it's just a whine -- a one-sided whine at that -- where he's also working an old grudge that has nothing to do with Iraq but everything to do with the New York Times over-ruling him on his use of the term "lie."

But let's all pretend not to notice that as well.

We are becoming a deeply stupid people and that's because we're far too eager to embrace comforting lies than to seek out the truth.  And far to eager to hail half-truthers like Paul Krugman as heroes.

Hillary needs to be asked about Iraq today.  (All the candidates do, but let's focus on her due to her 2002 vote for the Iraq War.)

She needs to be asked what she learned from her vote.

She needs to be asked how she would address Iraq today?

They get that, don't they?  The whores like Paul Krugman who write of violence in Iraq as if it's past issue?  As though Iraqis aren't dying daily?

If Hillary were a natural campaigner like Bill (she's not, which is why she avoids the press), she wouldn't have to be asked about that vote.

Adam B. Lerner (POLITICO) notes of her comments today:

"I made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple. And I have written about it in my book, I have talked about it in the past,” Clinton told reporters at an event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, adding that “what we now see is a very different and very dangerous situation.”

No, it's not a mistake.

It's a stupid action.

John Cassidy (New Yorker) rushes to rescue Hillary -- like the liar and idiot that he is.  He also praises Krugman's idiotic and dishonest column while insisting Paul was "one of the few commentators in the mainstream press who expressed skepticism in the run-up to the March 2003 invasion" -- was he?

I seem to remember Maureen Dowd.  Much more widely read then and now.

I seem to remember, for example, her March 9, 2003 column entitled "The Xanax Cowboy" -- where, unlike Krugman, she got in "fudged" (he failed at "lie") to apply to Bully Boy Bush -- and she was referring to his lies about Iraq.

Hillary's  writing about her 2002 vote  -- ghost writing, let's be honest -- in a book is not taking accountability for it in public.

She failed to do so in 2008 and she's failing to do so today.

She'd be saying, "Yes, I voted for the war -- what a stupid thing to do and I regret it.  But here's what I would do with regards to Iraq today -- a country I feel an obligation to because of that 2002 vote. . . ."

Equally true, Jeb and company could be replying to reporters, "Yes, I would vote for the war if it were 2002.  But it's 2015 and let's talk about what we need to do today to help the Iraqi people."  With the exception of Senator Rand Paul, no one's taking a firm stand, on the GOP presidential candidates' side, against the war.

Rand Paul has taken a stand against the Iraq War and he's also someone who has offered thoughts on what to do today.

The media doesn't want to 'glom' on that because it doesn't allow them to play the self-righteous card.

Not all of the media is self-righteous.

Or useless.

Trudy Rubin has long covered the Iraq War (she's with the Philadelphia Inquirer and her column is nationally syndicated).  She didn't walk away from the topic when the rest of the media deserted.  I've noted I don't always agree with her but I respect her work and focus.  She surveys Iraq in her latest column and finds fault with Bully Boy Bush's actions and Barack Obama's.  We'll focus on the Barack aspect because (a) he's in the White House now and (b) she's noting the harm of 2010 which so few ever want to mention or acknowledge:

None of this absolves Obama from responsibility for his role in ISIS' emergence. Most glaring was the strong U.S. support for Maliki after he lost a close election in 2010. U.S. officials should have tried harder to help the winner, Iyad Allawi, form a government. As a secular Shiite, Allawi was far more skeptical of Iran and he might have allayed the Sunni resentments that helped fuel ISIS. I also believe Obama should have pushed much harder to keep a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

But to blame the rise of ISIS only on Obama requires a blatant rewriting of recent history. The seeds of ISIS were planted when Bush's policies empowered Shiite religious parties and militias. Bush opened the door to massive Iranian influence in Iraq as the ayatollahs rushed to support fellow Shiites, which scared some Sunnis into supporting the jihadis.

Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 61 violent deaths across Iraq today.

Meanwhile, Dexter Filkins has a long piece at The New Yorker on the fall of Ramadi:

When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the White House last month, American officials were so encouraged by the progress that they bestowed another two hundred million dollars or so on the Iraqi government. (The U.S. has spent about $1.9 billion on military operations and hardware in Iraq and Syria in the most recent operations.)
What happened in Ramadi over the weekend revealed just how misplaced any optimism about Iraq really is. The town, dominated by members of Iraq’s Sunni minority, was largely being held by the Iraqi Army, which has proved to be a deeply fractured and incompetent institution. Last June, when ISIS first swept out of Syria and into northern Iraq, large parts of the Iraqi Army largely disintegrated. Since then, the focus of American efforts has been to rebuild the Army and turn it into an effective fighting force. Even by American assessments, this is a long-term project. The disaster in Ramadi proved just how difficult the challenge is.

And then there is the loss of Ramadi itself. Without it, most of Anbar’s populated areas are now in ISIS’s hands. (Fallujah has been under ISIS control since last year.) The big airbase at Al Assad, which was the center for much of the Iraqi Army’s (and American) operations, is now cut off in the desert. “The fall of Ramadi is a game-changer,” Jessica Lewis McFate, the head of research at the Institute for the Study of War, which released a detailed report on the war just before Ramadi’s fall, said. “Whatever confidence remained the Iraqi security forces is likely to collapse.”

In the aftermath of the Islamic State seizing Ramadi, AFP reports:

US President Barack Obama is considering faster training and more arms supplies for Iraqi tribes, while eying a rapid counteroffensive to retake Ramadi from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a US official has said.


I'm confused.

Isn't that what the Defense Authorization Act the House proposed (and passed) argued for and didn't the White House publicly condemn it?  Didn't Vice President Joe Biden personally call Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to assure him the bill didn't have the White House's support and that it would not pass?

Well Joe's a liar on two counts.  It did pass the House last week.

And turns out it does have the White House support.

the new york times