Sunday, November 08, 2015


Deb Richman (AP) reports, "The U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria is creeping forward, putting more pressure on Congress to vote on a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It would be the first war vote in Congress in 13 years."

US House Rep Tom Cole's office issued the following on Friday:

Nov 6, 2015

Washington, D.C. – A broad, bipartisan coalition of 35 House lawmakers called on Speaker Ryan today to schedule and debate an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as quickly as possible following the recent announcement by President Obama of a deepening entanglement in Syria and Iraq.
The letter to Speaker Ryan is led by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Tom Cole, (R-OK), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Lewis (D-GA). 
“Last week, the president announced [that] the U.S. will deploy a U.S. Special Operations contingent into northern Syria to be embedded with and to advise opposition militant forces in that region; and U.S. military advisors and special operations forces already in Iraq will be embedded with Kurdish and Iraqi forces on the front lines of combat,” the lawmakers wrote, calling the move part of “a significant escalation in U.S. military operations in the region” that places “U.S. military personnel on the front lines of combat operations.”
“We do not share the same policy prescriptions for U.S. military engagement in the region, but we do share the belief that it is past time for the Congress to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution and vote on an AUMF that clearly delineates the authority and limits, if any, on U.S. military engagement in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region,” the lawmakers added. 
“Congress can no longer ask our brave service men and women to continue to serve in harm’s way while we fail in carrying out our constitutional responsibility in the area of war and peace,” the lawmakers concluded. “As long as the House fails to assert its constitutional prerogatives and authority, the Administration may continue to expand the mission and level of engagement of U.S. Armed Forces throughout the region. We strongly urge you, Mr. Speaker, to bring an AUMF to the floor of the House as quickly as possible.”
Other Members signing the letter are Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Michael Burgess (R-TX), David Cicilline (D-RI), John Conyers (D-MI), Joe Crowley (D-NY), John Abney Culberson (R-TX), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), John Garamendi (D-CA), Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Richard L. Hanna (R-NY), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Daniel Kildee (D-MI), Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Bill Posey (R-FL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Mark Sanford (R-SC), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Ted S. Yoho (R-FL), and Ryan K. Zinke (R-MT).
The full letter, sent today, can be found here.

If they were to vote, it would be the first authorization for war Congress had voted on since 2002 when they voted to authorize the Iraq War.

Though some, like con man John Edwards, would later claim they were misled, tricked into voting, the reality is that those voting for the Iraq War (which included Hillary Clinton and John Kerry) were adults who all knew what they were doing.

US House Rep Maxine Waters did not sign the open letter.

I'm told that's because she doesn't want a vote.

Some don't want a vote because they don't want to go on the record.

Certainly, politicians have learned (or re-learned) that there are consequences when you vote in favor of unneeded war.

But I'm told Maxine doesn't want a vote for fear that something might pass which would further commit US forces overseas.

That's a valid fear.

Despite world outcry, the US went to war on Iraq.

And continues war on Iraq.  The US Defense Dept issued the following today:

Strikes in Iraq

Bomber, fighter, attack, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed eight ISIL buildings and an ISIL command and control node.

-- Near Mosul, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.

-- Near Qayyarah, one strike struck an ISIL staging area.

-- Near Ramadi, four strikes destroyed an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL building, suppressed movement of five ISIL tactical vehicles, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, eleven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas, 21 ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL light machine guns, and three ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.

I understand where Maxine's said to be coming from but my own opinion is they'll do whatever anyway so they might as well do it openly.

And maybe, just maybe, if they choose to support war, they can face accountability?

Michael Jansen is a reporter we've often noted.  She's noting the passing of Ahmed Chalabi in her latest piece (for Gulf News):

Chalabi survived as a figure on the Iraqi political scene although his credibility collapsed when the promised weapons were not found and he was spurned by Washington for leaking information to Iran. He was charged with circulating old currency meant for destruction and accused of appropriating state assets. A short month after the fall of Baghdad, Chalabi’s members of entourage were accused of involvement in hijacking luxury cars and exporting them through the Kurdish region in northern Iraq to Turkey and beyond.

When the US-backed government under Nouri al-Maliki put him in charge of rooting out outlawed Baath party members from the administration, he expelled experienced civil servants, particularly Sunnis, who had simply joined the ruling party to obtain employment. He was in charge of the commission that banned 500 Sunnis from standing for parliament in the 2010 election. The exclusion and persecution of Sunnis by the Shia-fundamentalist regime led to the rise of al-Qaeda and its off-shoot Daesh.

If Junior Bush administration worthies had bothered to check out Chalabi’s career, they would have known they were dealing with a figure widely seen as a “conman.”

He was charged with false accounting and embezzlement at Jordan’s Petra Bank, founded in 1977 and liquidated in 1989, with a loss of $200 million which the cash-strapped Jordanian government was compelled to refund to depositors. Chalabi fled the country in the boot of a friend’s Mercedes. He was subsequently accused of being involved in the collapse of Lebanon’s Mebco bank and its various branches. He was wanted in Jordan, Lebanon and Switzerland.

In the 1990s, Chalabi attempted to raise a Kurdish revolt against Saddam Hussein; it was crushed and the insurgents killed. Chalabi escaped. The $100 million given to him for the INC has never been properly accounted for.

Chalabi did great harm in Iraq.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4497 (plus 10 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 1 Iraq War fatality).

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