Thursday, May 21, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, May 21, 2015. Chaos and violence continue, politicians continue lying about Iraq, Haider al-Abadi goes off on a whirlwind trip to Russia, Barack insists that the Islamic State is not winning in Iraq, and much more.

Throughout this week, I've repeatedly stressed that the only politician with a national profile who can tell the truth on Iraq is former Senator Mike Gravel.  No one else can.

Today, Fritz comes along to prove me . . . right.

Former Senator Ernest F. Hollings comes along to prove that, while a train can whistle, a politician can only lie.

"Why America invaded -- and failed in -- Iraq," finds Fritz name dropping ("my old desk partner, Joe Biden"), envious of other countries ("What does Mossad say about Iraq?") but mainly just lying.  Lying to himself and others.

Fritz insists he was against the Iraq War . . . before he was for it.  See speaking to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, sharp as a tack Fritz noticed Rumsfeld didn't answer him when he asked Donald, "What does Mossad say about Iraq?"  So Fritz knew he had to vote against the 2002 war on Iraq resolution.  Bully Boy Bush goes on TV making the case for starting war without provocation by declaring, "We cannot wait until the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud."  Then Fritz "knew" (his term) that the CIA told Bully Boy Bush that Iraq had WMD.

How did he know it?

I think he spread his legs while Peatsy Hollings, noted music hater, whispered in the vicinity of his anus, "Real men start illegal wars."

That makes about as much since as anything else in his long lie of a column.

Personal favorite?

This passage:

I remember debating a PNAC Resolution on Iraq in 1998. We finally agreed under Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, to a resolution on Iraq by a voice vote so long as the last paragraph was worded: “Under no circumstance does this permit military action against Iraq.” At that time, we wanted to stir dissent and have Iraq headed for a democracy but under no circumstance invade.  

Yes, in the world of civil disobedience, no one has done more than the US Congress.  He wanted "to stir dissent"?

Again, politicians lie.

And then they lie again.

Fritz isn't just lying, he's also stupid.

It's a generational stupid on his part.

Fritz spends his retirement writing these columns and gets all excited when they're printed.  Not since Peatsy railed against the Prince-written Sheena Easton hit "Sugar Walls" has either spouse had an encounter with the modern world so many of us live in today.


Only an old fool who didn't grasp the internet would type that he voted for the resolution only after its last paragraph included "Under no circumstance does this permit military action against Iraq."

Only an old fool who didn't grasp the internet would type that claim.

Click here.

It's the resolution that passed the Senate (identical to what passed the House, by the way).

Where's the statement, Fritz?

It's not in the bill.

  2d Session
                                S. 2525

  To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.



                           September 29, 1998

   Mr. Lott (for himself, Mr. Kerrey, Mr. McCain, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. 
Helms, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Brownback, and Mr. Kyl) introduced the following 
  bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign 


                                 A BILL

  To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Iraq Liberation Act of 1998''.


    The Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 
        eight year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against 
        Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.
            (2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish 
        civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, 
        killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.
            (3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against 
        Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, 
        killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth 
        defects that affect the town today.
            (4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a seven month 
        occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses 
        against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait's oil wells 
        ablaze upon retreat.
            (5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 
        28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire 
        conditions specified in United Nations Security Council 
        Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other 
        things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its 
        weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term 
        monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.
            (6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to 
        assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14-
        16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.
            (7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near 
        the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed 
        invasion of or attack against Kuwait.
            (8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its 
        opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the 
        seat of the Kurdish regional government.
            (9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to 
        deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special 
        Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and 
        documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe 
        operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel 
        in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and 
        concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass 
        destruction programs.
            (10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with 
        UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring 
        activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and 
            (11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public 
        Law 105-235, which declared that ``the Government of Iraq is in 
        material and unacceptable breach of its international 
        obligations'' and urged the President ``to take appropriate 
        action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws 
        of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its 
        international obligations.''.


    It should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the 
regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the 
emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.


    (a) Authority To Provide Assistance.--The President may provide to 
the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations designated in accordance 
with section 5 the following assistance:
            (1) Broadcasting.--(A) Grant assistance to such 
        organizations for radio and television broadcasting by such 
        organizations to Iraq.
            (B) There is authorized to be appropriated to the United 
        States Information Agency $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 to 
        carry out this paragraph.
            (2) Military assistance.--(A) The President is authorized 
        to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of 
        the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department 
        of Defense, and military education and training for such 
            (B) The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of 
        the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided 
        under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.
    (b) Humanitarian Assistance.--The Congress urges the President to 
use existing authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to 
provide humanitarian assistance to individuals living in areas of Iraq 
controlled by organizations designated in accordance with section 5, 
with emphasis on addressing the needs of individuals who have fled to 
such areas from areas under the control of the Saddam Hussein regime.
    (c) Restriction on Assistance.--No assistance under this section 
shall be provided to any group within an organization designated in 
accordance with section 5 which group is, at the time the assistance is 
to be provided, engaged in military cooperation with the Saddam Hussein 
    (d) Notification Requirement.--The President shall notify the 
congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign 
Assistance Act of 1961 at least 15 days in advance of each obligation 
of assistance under this section in accordance with the procedures 
applicable to reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.
    (e) Reimbursement Relating to Military Assistance.--
            (1) In general.--Defense articles, defense services, and 
        military education and training provided under subsection 
        (a)(2) shall be made available without reimbursement to the 
        Department of Defense except to the extent that funds are 
        appropriated pursuant to paragraph (2).
            (2) Authorization of appropriations.--There are authorized 
        to be appropriated to the President for each of the fiscal 
        years 1998 and 1999 such sums as may be necessary to reimburse 
        the applicable appropriation, fund, or account for the value 
        (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act if 
        1961) of defense articles, defense services, or military 
        education and training provided under subsection (a)(2).
    (f) Availability of Funds.--(1) Amounts authorized to be 
appropriated under this section are authorized to remain available 
until expended.
    (2) Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are in 
addition to amounts otherwise available for the purposes described in 
this section.


    (a) Initial Designation.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the President shall designate one or more Iraqi 
democratic opposition organizations that satisfy the criteria set forth 
in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
    (b) Designation of Additional Groups.--At any time subsequent to 
the initial designation pursuant to subsection (a), the President may 
designate one or more additional Iraqi democratic opposition 
organizations that satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as 
eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
    (c) Criteria for Designation.--In designating an organization 
pursuant to this section, the President shall consider only 
organizations that--
            (1) include a broad spectrum of Iraqi individuals and 
        groups opposed to the Saddam Hussein regime; and
            (2) are committed to democratic values, to respect for 
        human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors, to 
        maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, and to fostering 
        cooperation among democratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein 
    (d) Notification Requirement.--At least 15 days in advance of 
designating an Iraqi democratic opposition organization pursuant to 
this section, the President shall notify the congressional committees 
specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of his 
proposed designation in accordance with the procedures applicable to 
reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.


    Consistent with section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization 
Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-138), House Concurrent 
Resolution 137, 105th Congress (approved by the House of 
Representatives on November 13, 1997), and Senate Concurrent Resolution 
78, 105th Congress (approved by the Senate on March 13, 1998), the 
Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to 
establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of 
indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi 
officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, 
and other criminal violations of international law.


    It is the sense of Congress that, once Saddam Hussein is removed 
from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq's transition 
to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian 
assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition 
assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by 
convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response 
to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.

"Under no circumstance does this permit military action against Iraq"?

No, it's not in the resolution.

Well there was other action in the Senate, on Iraq, in 1998.

Maybe it was in another Iraq resolution?

It wasn't in this one.  Or this one.  Or this one. Or this one.

Now maybe Fritz isn't lying.

Maybe his mind is gone?

Or maybe in real time Trent Lott put one over on him and tricked him into believing the phrase was in a bill on Iraq in 1998 when it wasn't?

Again, find me a politician with a national profile who's not lying about Iraq.  Other than Mike Gravel, you really can't.

They lie.

US President Barack Obama's in the news cycle for his interview with The Atlantic where he declares of Iraq, "I don't think we're losing."

Does he understand the concept of losing?

He does.  He's still enraged, for example, that Bobby Rush kicked his ass in 2002. [Wrong: 2000 is when Barack lost to Bobby Rush -- my apologies.  Adding this correction 25 minutes after this originally posted.]

So he lies.

And what's especially sad is he went on and on while campaigning for president (the first time) about how the answer wasn't to play "kick the can."  He was, he insisted, someone who took action and made decisions.

But his Iraq action is nothing but kick the can.

Every day, you can picture him praying, "Just semi-hold together until January 2017, just semi-hold together until January 2017."

The whole point of his (minimum) three year action on Iraq that he started in mid 2014 was that he wouldn't be the one left holding the bag at the end.

So he grits his teeth and lies, "I don't think we're losing."

Jason Ditz ( reminds, "Obama began the ISIS war after the fall of the city of Mosul to ISIS, and expanded the war to Syria in September. Since then, ISIS has increased its territory in Iraq, including taking virtually the whole of the Anbar Province, Iraq’s largest. They also hold over 50% of Syrian territory now."  AFP adds, "Even with sustained US airpower, many observers are skeptical the Iraqi army can win the war against the well trained and highly motivated Islamic State group."

Syndicated Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson doesn't see 'victory' or even 'not losing' in Iraq.  He notes:

The simple truth is that if Iraqis will not join together to fight for a united and peaceful country, there will be continuing conflict and chaos that potentially threaten American interests.
We should be debating how best to contain and minimize the threat. Further escalating the U.S. military role, I would argue, will almost surely lead to a quagmire that makes us no more secure. If the choice is go big or go home, we should pick the latter.

I'm glad Robinson's covering Iraq and I think a solid argument is made in 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?

Margaret Griffis ( counts 69 violent deaths across Iraq today.

Ramadi has fallen to the Islamic State but, not to worry, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declares they have Ramadi surrounded and will soon retake it.

Of course, he made that statement not from Ramadi or even Baghdad.

But from Russia.

Alsumaria reports he also declared that some foreign powers called on him not to go to Russia.

Who could he be speaking of?

It's highly doubtful Iran has any problem with his visit to Russia.

What country might have the biggest problem?

Who could that be?

Right, the United States government.

Did they?

And did they encourage him to not to go to Russia?

No one knows based on the public record but Haider clearly wants to stand on the national stage and imply.

This right after he's gotten US President Barack Obama to hastily deliver missiles.  BBC News reports, "The US military says it is sending 1,000 anti-tank missiles to the Iraqi government following the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State (IS) forces."  Missiles, which, no doubt, the Iraqi military and militias will leave on the ground of a contested city as they rush to flee (based on past performance).

So off he goes to Russia and insults the US.

No doubt, he'll rush to clarify that he was speaking of a super power, but not the US.  He meant this other super power, one that no one's ever heard of and that he can't, of course, name.

Should he be in Russia today?


In the Iraqi press for the last three weeks, one report after another has featured one Iraqi official after another insisting that Iraq needed to secure an alternative country for weapon supply.

So you could argue that this visit was needed.

But even if you argued that, it's still difficult to argue that Haider himself should be out of the country glad handing when the still-not-on-the-run Islamic State is seizing more areas.

Of course the visit wasn't just about weapons, it was also about oil.  Alsumaria notes that, while in Moscow, Haider met with the heads of Soyuz Group Oil and Gas, LUKoil and Gazprom.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Spring MC notes that the Iraqi Center for Documentation of War Crimes is stating they will file an appeal with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over the actions of the militias and Baghdad's SWAT forces as well as the indiscriminate shelling which has injured and killed thousands of Iraqis.

The bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods carried out by the Iraqi government and now having existed for 16 continuous months -- leaving many civilians wounded or dead.

September 13, 2014.  That's the day Haider stood before the press and proclaimed that these bombings (which are War Crimes) were over.  No more.  He had stopped them.

September 14, 2014.  That's the day the bombings continued.

And still continue.

And Haider's off in Russia when he needs to be seeing that his (empty) promises are kept.

More weapons -- from the US and from Russia -- are not the answer to the political crises in Iraq.