Sunday, November 15, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Sunday, November 15, 2015. Chaos and violence continue, Hillary spins on Iraq, one of her supporters spins and lies, the KRG's flag flies in Sinjar, and much more.

Iraq War veteran Matt McLaughlin reflected on the Iraq War and politician's responsibilities this week in a column for the Somerville Journal which included the following:

This moment was not very significant at first, but after two tours in Iraq and every year since, I asked myself “if that drill sergeant knew we would be there for years, why didn’t our elected officials? If he knew the truth, and 21-year-old Matt McLaughlin knew enough to ask questions, why didn’t the most informed people in the nation?”
The truth is they did know better. The politicians who voted yes to Iraq did so because it was politically expedient. Republicans and Democrats made a rare bipartisan decision to give Bush unlimited war powers. But they were not a united voice. One hundred and thirty-three members of Congress voted against the war. Their courage serves as a historical rebuttal to the idea that Iraq was a simple mistake based off bad information.
[. . . ]
I can forgive individuals for their trespasses, just as I hope I’m forgiven for my mistakes. But I will never willingly let such individuals make life and death decisions again. They already proved they would choose their political life over someone else’s death. I can forgive, but I will never forget. I will always remember. Army veteran Matthew McLaughlin served two tours in Iraq.

That's some honest truth.

So few people can offer it.

Take professional liar Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman.

At Huffington Post this week, he rushed in to defend Hillary on, of all topics, Iraq.

He 'forgot' to inform readers that he was part of her 2008 campaign.

The same way he forgot to tell readers he was tied to the corrupt no-bid contracts in Iraq that the US government 'rewarded' certain big donors with.

He especially forgets -- as does Huffington Post -- forget to tell you that this "Obama administration official" sered in the Bully Boy Bush administration as well.  In 2004, for exaple, his title was Assistant General Counsel for Government Contracts at the US Agency for International Development.

For his embarrassing defense of the Bully Boy Bush administration's corrupt and no-bid contracts see the defense of it he offered in 2003 entitled [PDF format warning] "USAID'S Iraq Procurement Contracts:Insider's View" (and don't e-mail to tell me that the capital "S" after USAID should be lower case -- it's his typo).

But the liar's back to offer more lies when he should probably be issuing an apology for those no-bid contracts -- possibly issuing from a federal prison cell.

Is it any surprise a whore for Bush and Barack would show to whore for Hillary as well?

DC's little more than a gan of thieves these days.

It's a corrupt sewer waiting for someone to drain it.

Instead we get Marburg-Goodman serving up his version of fan fiction erotica, "Re-Examing Iraq: Is Hillary Really a Hawk?"

Let's look in on Marburg-Goodman's crap-trash:

Here are the facts: on October 11, 2002, Clinton joined a strong majority of Democrats, including liberal and left-center Democrats like John Kerry, Tom Harkin, and Joe Biden in voting "yes" on the Resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.
While that resolution did indeed authorize President Bush, under strict requirements of the 1973 War Powers Act, to use force, it remains largely forgotten that Clinton's vote authorized using such force only as "necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq," and to do so only upon the President certifying to Congress that "diplomatic or other peaceful means" would be insufficient to defang Saddam. 

That's the sign of a really bad liar -- not even able to come up with a new lie.

Talk about lazy.

We've heard this lie before.

Elizabeth Edwards trotted this out to defend her husband John Edwards.

It was at the same time she was castigating Hillary in the press for being married to a . . . cheater.

Remember that?

Remember how Edwards not only had a mistress but he had a pregnant mistress who gave birth to his child.

But liar Elizabeth Edwards had the gall to attack Hillary for Bill's affairs?

So the liar today wants you to know Hillary voted "yes" for war -- but "yes" for another war, you understand.

Not the war that still ravages Iraq and has left over one million Iraqis dead, killed around 5,000 US military personnel, left wounded many more, not that war.

No, no, no.

Hillary voted for another Iraq war.

It reminds me of a scene in "The feminist film classic of the 90s," the Sandra Seacat directed comedy classic IN THE SPIRIT from a screenplay by Jeannie Berlin and Laurie Jones, starring Marlo Thomas and Elaine May. In the scene noted below, Reva (Marlo) and (Marianne (Elaine) pretend to be hookers to get prostitute and porn actress Lureen (Melanie Griffith) to open up to them about murder victim Crystal.

In The Spirit

Lureen: I better quit drinking. I've got to go do The Robin Byrd Show in an hour.

Reva: Oh really? Are you an actress?

Marianne: Yeah.

Lureen: You know Karl Percy, don't you? From Albany?

Reva: Oh yeah.

Marianne: Yeah.

Reva: We, uh, we worked for him.

Lureen: You're kidding. Which movies?

Marianne: The early ones.

Reva: Yeah, the early ones.

Lureen: You mean like Finger Licking Good? 20 Laps?

Mariann: Yeah, that's right.

Lureen: Wow.

Reva: No, I-I wasn't in 20 Laps.

Lureen: Oh.

Reva: I had another part.

Lureen: Oh.

Reva: In a musical.

Lureen: You're kidding!

Marianne: She is.

Lureen: You know, Crystal was so good in Hot Sausages --

Reva: Uh-huh.

Lureen: -- but she just never followed through. She had no ambition.

Marianne: I think that she was very dumb to get mixed up with Chuckle.

Lureen: Yeah, well, Crystal was dumb. And Chuckles is smart. He is real smart. He is too smart. I get scared of guys who are that smart. You know, and he really gets off on showing you just how smart he is -- like a really mean cat with a bird.

FYI, Marlo's currently winning raves for another superb comedic performance in the play CLEVER LITTLE LIES now playing at New York's Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street).

But that's what the dreadful Huffington Post column, insisting Hillary voted for the Iraq War but, you understand, a different Iraq War reminds me of: Reva insisting she made porn but not 20 LAPS, instead she was in a musical.

 Hillary voted for the war.

So did John Kerry.

So did many other cowards.

One thing to Hillary's credit, she hasn't attempted the lie that Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman does.

Marburg-Goodman also offers:

When Hillary Clinton was challenged on her Iraq war vote at last month's Democratic debate, the front-running candidate pointed to President Obama's 2008 selection of herself as Secretary of State as affirmation of his continuing confidence in her judgment on matters of war and peace.

Oh, Barack's Iraq judgment?

The same Barack who chose Joe Biden as his running mate?

Biden also supported the Iraq War.

The same Barack who chose John Kerry for Secretary of State?

John supported the Iraq War -- he was for it before he was against it -- remember that 2004 howler?

The same Barack who found Iraq War cheerleader Samantha Power several spots in his administration?

The same Barack who found Iraq War cheerleader Susan Rice a spot?

As we have long pointed out, Ann Wright -- who resigned from the State Dept over the Iraq War -- wasn't given a post in the administration.

But those who supported the war were littered throughout Barack's administration.

His choosing Hillary was perfectly in keeping with his choosing all those other Iraq War supporters -- including Victoria Nuland who, as we noted in 2004's "When NPR Fails You, Who You Gonna' Call? Not the Ombudsman," was Dick Cheney's right hand:

What is Kagan's conflict of interest appearance? (An issue NPR has still not addressed.) It's not that he writes an op-ed for The Washington Post. Dvorkin does toss out the "hawk" issue but without ever addressing it. But he also doesn't address a very important fact: who is Robert Kagan married to?

He's married to Victoria Nuland. For all I know, she's a wonderful person. But that's not the issue. The issue is who Ms. Nuland works for. Want to take a guess on that?

Did you guess Dick Cheney? If you did, you may be more informed than Dvorkin or Montagne because possibly they are unaware of that fact. Possibly, they haven't done the basic work required -- Montagne to know about the "guest" she is introducing; Dvorkin to address the issue of Kagan as a commentator/interpreter of John Kerry's remarks.

Michele Norris' husband worked for the Kerry campaign. (Warning: we're going down a very basic road here. But apparently, it's not one that NPR can navigate by themselves so let's move slowly to allow them to keep up.) Since Norris' husband is involved with attempting to get what we will call "team A" into the White House, Norris has the appearance of a conflict of interest and her reporting duties can not include commenting or covering the campaigns. That's a simple path to follow whether you agree with it or not.

But with Kagan, the path has a huge u-turn and veers off to God knows where. Kagan's wife works as Cheney's deputy national security adviser. That's Ms. Nuland' s title. So in effect, Ms. Nuland's employed by "team B" -- she's apparently not working on team B's campaign, but she works for team B. Potentially, Kagan has a vested interest in the outcome of the 2004 election.

It was so laughable to watch the stooges rush to Nuland's defense over Benghazi.

They didn't know a thing about Benghazi or, for that matter, Victoria herself.

Only when she was caught on tape regarding the Ukraine in 2014 did the toy left activists suddenly discover what a freak show Victoria was and then they learned of her connections to Cheney.

Ten years prior, we'd told you what NPR wouldn't or couldn't.

But the toy left, too scared to call out Barack or stand up, couldn't say a word until ten years later.

It's a little like when Davey D was on KPFA in the summer of 2008 whining about poor little Samantha Power -- or, as he stupidly and repeatedly called her, "Samantha Powers."  She was a poor, innocent, peace loving person -- forced out of Barack's campaign by the evil Hillary.

No, she resigned because the BBC interview was about to start airing -- she resigned hours before it did and, check the archives, we called it out in real time unlike Tom Hayden who only wrote about it four months after the fact -- where she revealed that Barack's promise to end the Iraq War was not a promise he intended to be held to.

But there was Davey D rushing to defend a War Hawk -- one that we had identified as such -- as had Keith Harmon Snow, Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman and a few others.

But members of the toy left are never saddled with such add-ons as truth, they roll off the line with the factory standard spin, lie and whore options.

Those options were being test driven during Saturday's Democratic debate or 'debate' hosted by CBS News' John Dickerson.

All right, thank you, governor, thank all of you. The terror attacks last night underscored the biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States. At a time of crisis the country and the world look to the president for leadership and for answers. So Secretary Clinton, I'd like to start with you, hours before the attacks, President Obama said, "I don't think ISIS is gaining strength." 72% of Americans think the fight against ISIS is going badly. Won't the legacy of this administration which is-- which you were a part of-- won't that legacy be that it underestimated the threats from ISIS?

Well, John I think that-- we have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network. It cannot be contained, it must be defeated. There is no question in my mind that if we summon our resources, both our leadership resources and all of the tools at our disposal, not just military force which should be used as a last resort, but our diplomacy, our development aid, law enforcement, sharing of intelligence in a much more-- open and cooperative way-- that we can bring people together.
But it cannot be an American fight. And I think what the president has consistently said-- which I agree with-- is that we will support those who take the fight to ISIS. That is why we have troops in Iraq that are helping to train and build back up the Iraqi military, why we have special operators in Syria working with the Kurds and Arabs so that we can be supportive. But this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential.

But-- Secretary Cli-- Clinton, the question's about what-- was ISIS underestimated. And I'll-- I'll just ask-- the president referred to ISIS as the JVU in a speech, the council in foreign relations in June of 2014 said, "I could not have predicted the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq." So you've got prescriptions for the future. But how-- how do we know if those prescriptions are any good if you missed it in the past?

Well, John, look, I think that what happened when we abided by the agreement that George W. Bush-- made with the Iraqis to leave-- by 2011 is that an Iraqi army was left that had been trained and that was prepared to defend Iraq. Unfortunately, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, set about decimating it.
And then with the revolution against Assad-- and I did early on say we needed to try to find a way to train and equip moderates very early so that we would have a better idea of how to deal with Assad because I thought there would be-- extremist groups filling the vacuum.
So, yes, this has developed. I think that there are many other reasons why it has in addition-- to what's happened in the region. But I don't think that the United States-- has the bulk of the responsibility. I really put that on Assad and on the Iraqis and on the region itself.

Okay, Governor O'Malley would you critique the administration's response to ISIS? If the United States doesn't lead (UNINTEL)?

John, I would-- I would disagree with-- with Secretary Clinton, respectfully, on this score. This actually is America's fight. It cannot solely be America's fight. America is best when we work in collaboration with our allies. America is best when we are actually standing up to evil in this world.
And ISIS, make no mistake about it, is an evil in this world. ISIS has brought down a Russian airliner. ISIS is now attacked the western democracy in-- in France. And we do have a role in this. Not solely ours. But we must work collaboratively with other nations. The great failing of these last ten or 15 years, John, has been our failing of human intelligence on the ground. Our world in the world is not to roam the globe looking for new dictators to topple. Our role in the world is to make ourselves a beacon of hope, make ourselves stronger at home.
But also our role in the world, yes, is also to confront evil when it rises. We took out the save haven in Afghanistan but now there is undoubtedly a larger safe haven. And we must rise to this occasion in collaboration and with alliances to confront it. And invest in the future much better human intelligence so we know what the next steps are.

Senator Sanders, you said you wanna rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous date you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?

Absolutely. In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say you're gonna see countries all over the world-- this is what the C.I.A. says, they're gonna be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops. And you're gonna see all kinds of international conflict.
But of course international terrorism is a major issue that we've got to address today. And I agree with much of what-- the secretary and-- and the governor have said. Only have one area of-- of disagreement with the secretary. I think she said something like, "The bulk of the responsibility is not ours."
Well, in fact, I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely. And led to the rise of Al Qaeda-- and to-- ISIS. Now, in fact, what we have got to do-- and I think there is widespread agreement here-- 'cause the United States cannot do it alone. What we need to do is lead an international coalition which includes-- very significantly-- (UNINTEL) nations in that region are gonna have to fight and defend their way of life.

Quickly just-- let me ask you-- follow up on that, Senator Sanders, when you said the disastrous vote (?) on Iraq-- let's just be clear about what you're saying, you're saying Secretary Clinton-- who was then Senator Clinton-- voted for the Iraq war. And are you making a direct link between her vote for that or-- and what's happening now for ISIS? Just so everybody--


Oh I don't think any-- I don't think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now.


I think that was one of the worst foreign policy plunders in the modern history of United States.

All right, let's let Secretary Clinton respond to that.

Thank you, John, well, I think it's important we put this in historic context. United States has unfortunately been victimized by terrorism going back decades. In the 1980s it was in Beirut, Lebanon under President Reagan's administration and 258 Americans, marines, embassy personnel and others were-- murdered.
We also had attacks on two of our embassies in-- Tanzania and Kenya-- when my husband was president. Again, Americans murdered. And then of course 9/11 happened which happened before there was an invasion of Iraq. I have said the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. But I think if we're ever gonna really tackle the problems posed by jihadi extreme terrorism we need to understand it and realize that it had-- ans-- and (UNINTEL) to what happened in Iraq and we have to continue to be vigilant about it.

Senator Sanders, let me just follow this line of thinking. You've criticized then Senator Clinton's vote. Do you have anything to criticize in the way she performed as secretary of state?

I think we have a disagreement. And-- the disagreement is that not only did I vote against the war in Iraq, if you look at history, John, you will find that regime change-- whether it was in the early '50s in Iran, whether it was toppling Salvador Allende in Chile or whether it was overthrowing the government Guatemala way back when-- these invasions, these-- these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences. I would say that on this issue I'm a little bit more conservative than the secretary.

All right.

And that I am not a great fan of regime changes.

Here, let me go--

John, may I-- may I interject here? Secretary Clinton also said that we left the h-- it was not just the invasion of Iraq which Secretary Clinton voted for and has since said was a big mistake, and indeed it was. But it was also the cascading effects that followed that.
It was also the disbanding of-- many elements of the Iraqi army that are now showing up as part of ISIS. It was-- country after country without making the investment in human intelligence to understand who the new leaders were and the new forces were that are coming up. We need to be much more far f-- thinking in this new 21st century era of-- of nation state failures and conflict. It's not just about getting rid of a single dictator. It is about understanding the secondary and third consequences that fall next.

All right, Secretary.

Well, and-- and of course each of these cases needs to be looked at individually and analyzed. Part of the problem that we have currently in the Middle East is that Assad has hung onto power-- with the very strong support of Russia and Iran and with the proxy of-- Hezbollah-- being there basically fighting his battles.
So I don't think you can paint with a broad brush. This is an incredibly complicated region of the world. It's become more complicated. And many of the fights that are going on are not ones that the United States has either started or have a role in. The Shia-- Sunni split, the dictatorships that have suppressed people's aspirations, the increasing globalization without any real safety valve for people to have a better life. We saw that in Egypt. We saw a dictator overthrown, we saw Muslim Brotherhood president installed and then we saw him ousted and the army back. So I think we've got to understand the complexity of the world that we are facing and no places more so than in the Middle East.

Now let's examine the above a little.

HILLARY CLINTON:Well, John, look, I think that what happened when we abided by the agreement that George W. Bush-- made with the Iraqis to leave-- by 2011 is that an Iraqi army was left that had been trained and that was prepared to defend Iraq. Unfortunately, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, set about decimating it.

Is that what "we" did?

Hillary's such a little whore these days.

What Barack did was try to renegotiate the Status Of Forces Agreement and failed.  But the administration continued to try in November of 2011, December of 2011, January of 2011 and a little bit more.  That's public record.

Excuse me.

That should be public record.

I was at the hearings.

We covered it here.

Where was the press?

Oh, that's right whoring as they always do.

No wonder they love Hillary -- she's a whore just like they are.

Let's zoom in on this:  "by 2011 is that an Iraqi army was left that had been trained and that was prepared to defend Iraq. Unfortunately, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, set about decimating it."

Well, Hillary, you were in charge then, remember?

The State Dept took over the mission.

You had billions for training?


And US facilities that you ended up giving away to the government of Iraq.

They didn't want training.

Remember that too?

It was in the report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Maybe you don't remember because you're not on the record.

Maybe America needs to be talking about that.

Maybe the whorish press needs to be talking about your refusal to tell Congress the State Dept's plan for Iraq?

Your refusal to answer questions?

At the end of 2011, the State Dept was put in charge of the US mission in Iraq.

It did not go well.

Hillary doesn't want to talk about that today.

Nor does she want to address the real issue of training.

Let's drop back to the February 8, 2012 snapshot: (and for any who don't remember, she was the Secretary of State at the time):
We covered the November 30th [2011] House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the MiddleEast and South Asia in the December 1st snapshot and noted that Ranking Member Gary Ackerman had several questions. He declared, "Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the [police training] program?  Interviews with senior Iaqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter didain for the program.  When the Iraqis sugest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States. I think that might be a clue."  The State Dept's Brooke Darby faced that Subcommittee. Ranking Member Gary Ackerman noted that the US had already spent 8 years training the Iraq police force and wanted Darby to answer as to whether it would take another 8 years before that training was complete?  Her reply was, "I'm not prepared to put a time limit on it."  She could and did talk up Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior Adnan al-Asadi as a great friend to the US government.  But Ackerman and Subcommittee Chair Steve Chabot had already noted Adnan al-Asadi, but not by name.  That's the Iraqi official, for example, Ackerman was referring to who made the suggestion "that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States."  He made that remark to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.
Brooke Darby noted that he didn't deny that comment or retract it; however, she had spoken with him and he felt US trainers and training from the US was needed.  The big question was never asked in the hearing: If the US government wants to know about this $500 million it is about to spend covering the 2012 training of the Ministry of the Interior's police, why are they talking to the Deputy Minister?
In that same House Foreign Relations Committee hearing, it was also established that the State Dept had no real plan.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: When will they be willing to stand up without us?
Brooke Darby: I wish I could answer that question.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: Then why are we spending money if we don't have the answer?
[long pause]
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: You know, this is turning into what happens after a bar mitzvah or a Jewish wedding. It's called "a Jewish goodbye."  Everybody keeps saying goodbye but nobody leaves.

Again, a non-whorish press would be demanding answers from Hillary on Iraq.

And when she dared to bring up Nouri al-Maliki -- as she did in the debate -- a real press would challenge her with the fact that Nouri lost the 2011 elections to Iraqiya but the White House refused to back Ayad Allawi for prime minister and instead backed Nouri and negotiated The Erbil Agreement which went around the Iraqi voters and the Iraq Constitution to give Nouri a second term as prime minister.

But a whorish press just wants to lie for War Hawk Hillary.

Her representative -- Brooke Darby -- appearing before Congress was not willing to "put a time limit" on how long training would take.

Isn't it past time that Hillary herself was asked for a timeline?

It's been twelve years.

How much training do Iraqi forces need?

How many years?

When's the press going to ask Hillary that?

Let's note Hillary again for this:

Thank you, John, well, I think it's important we put this in historic context. United States has unfortunately been victimized by terrorism going back decades. In the 1980s it was in Beirut, Lebanon under President Reagan's administration and 258 Americans, marines, embassy personnel and others were-- murdered.
We also had attacks on two of our embassies in-- Tanzania and Kenya-- when my husband was president. Again, Americans murdered. And then of course 9/11 happened which happened before there was an invasion of Iraq. I have said the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. But I think if we're ever gonna really tackle the problems posed by jihadi extreme terrorism we need to understand it and realize that it had-- ans-- and (UNINTEL) to what happened in Iraq and we have to continue to be vigilant about it.

Terrorists attacks.

Anybody notice anything there?

She wants to talk Paris, she wants to talk 9/11, she wants to Tanzania and Kenya, even Beirut.

She doesn't bring up Benghazi, does she?

Of course, she doesn't.

And no one wants to bring up who the US supports in Iraq or their persecution of the Sunnis.

  • Hillary failed on Iraq all those years ago as a Senator, she failed as Secretary of State and she's still failing today.

  • Bernie: I don't think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq lead to what we see now. YES YES HILLARY

  • Still on Hillary, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary's Got A Funny Bone" went up Saturday morning.

    In Iraq, the battle for Sinjar is apparently over.  Xinhua reports:

    Iraqi Kurdish forces on Friday freed the town of Sinjar in the northern province of Nineveh from Islamic State (IS) militants, a Kurdish security source said.
    The troops, known as Peshmerga, entered the town which located some 100 km west of the IS-held city of Mosul, from three directions and managed to seize all the neighborhoods of the town, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

    As we noted Friday in "The no-win win:"

    If Sinjar is liberated, it's very humiliating for Iraqi forces who can't take Ramadi.

    In addition, Sinjar is disputed territory.

    It was claimed by both the KRG and the Baghdad-based Iraqi government.

    Who really has claim to it now?

    If the Peshmerga liberated it, in the eyes of the world, the KRG now has dibs.

    If the Baghdad-based government couldn't or wouldn't take on an effort to liberate the city what right do they have to it?

    So this Tweet from Reuters' Isabel Coles is not at all surprising:

  • PM Abadi says Sinjar liberated w/ Iraqi assistance & flag of must fly over the town. Barzani says only flag will be raised