Saturday, January 30, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, January 30, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US death toll continues, Hillary Clinton continues trying to minimize her support for the Iraq War, and much more.

The never-ending Iraq War continues.  Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Asad, one strike destroyed two ISIL bomb-making facilities.

-- Near Baghdadi, one strike destroyed three ISIL rocket rails.

-- Near Ar Rutbah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Habbaniyah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area and an ISIL vehicle and suppressed an ISIL fighting position and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 10 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns, and an ISIL weapons cache.

-- Near Ramadi, one strike destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node and denied ISIL access to terrain.

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

-- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is a strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

No one questions how these bombings -- this continued war -- makes America safer.  It certainly doesn't make Iraq safer.

They can talk of how many more US troops to send to Iraq, they just can't talk about what is the point?  Where is the success?  What is the end game?

Dropping back to Thursday's snapshot:

The continued talk of sending more US troops to Iraq comes as there's yet another US death in Iraq.
STARS & STRIPES reports, "A coalition servicemember supporting operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria died of a noncombat-related injury in Iraq, the Combined Joint Task Force in charge of Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement."
Back in November, Pvt Chrisopher J. Castaneda died at Al Asad Air Base from a "non-combat related incident."
These are deaths in Barack's endless wars.
His endless and illegal wars.

Yesterday, DoD identified the fallen:

The Department of Defense announce today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, 30, of Glendale, California, died Jan. 28, at Al Asad Airbase, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his armored HMMWV was involved in a roll-over accident. The incident is under investigation.
Stifter was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the 1st Infantry Division public affairs office at 785-307-6744.

Ryan Fonseca (LOS ANGELES TIMES) notes, "Stifter is survived by his wife, daughter, mother and father, the Army statement said."

Why was he deployed to Iraq?

All these years later, why are any US troops in Iraq?

There is no strategy, there is no logic, there is only continued death and destruction.

Which is why it does matter that Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War.

In 2002, she was a US Senator and she chose to vote for the Iraq War.

She chose to support it for years after.

It's only in 2008 that she can call it a 'mistake' publicly and then, this week, she insisted it was a 'mistake' only because Bully Boy Bush had prosecuted the war wrongly.

She's a liar.

As a US Senator, as a First Lady, as a Secretary of State, she's a liar.

But she thinks she deserves the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Other are less likely to agree.  Take Angela Ross of Eugene, Oregon who writes a letter to the editor of THE REGISTER GUARD explaining:

Many of my women friends favor electing Hillary Clinton as our next president because she’s a woman, but I can’t base my vote on gender.
Because Clinton voted to support the Iraq war while in the U.S. Senate, I can’t in good conscience vote for her for president. If she’d argued against invading Iraq (as Sen. Bernie Sanders did), it would have shown leadership. Instead, she went along with the Bush-Cheney program.
[. . .]
I not only will vote for Sanders, I’ll also work hard participating in the democratic process his campaign engenders. He has 21st century ideas, whereas the ideas of Clinton and other establishment figures are from the 20th century.

Hillary may have foreign policy experience, but when push came to shove, she showed an extreme lack of judgment on the most important foreign policy decision in a generation. As in 2008 when she was running against Obama, it casts serious doubt on whether she's the Democrats' best presidential nominee.
Hillary voted for the Iraq War either out of rank political opportunism, because as a prospective presidential candidate, she feared that an anti-war vote would make her look weak. If so, she voted to send thousands to their deaths to further her political career.
Or she voted for the war out of a sincere belief in the benefits of American military intervention in the Middle East and the good that could come from regime change. If so, her beliefs showed an extreme lack of foreign policy judgment.
I'm not sure which is worse: voting for a needless and destructive war out of political opportunism or out of poor judgment. In either event, the Iraq War vote remains a big black mark on Hillary's claim that her foreign policy experience makes her the best choice to be Commander in Chief on Day 1.

Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon spoke out against the Iraq War.  While Hillary used support of the Iraq War to increase her own profile, Susan opposed the war and was verbally attacked for that.  She saw a charity event cancelled because she supported peace.

As Gregory Favre (POYNTER) explained March 28, 2003:

This week, the folks at United Way of Tampa Bay, in their infinite lack of wisdom, canceled an event because the actor Susan Sarandon was to be the speaker. This decision was made the day after she flashed the peace sign during the Academy Awards telecast.
How dare she have an opinion, much less express it.
So the $75 a plate dinner was sacrificed. (In the interest of full disclosure, Sarandon's fee was being paid by the St. Petersburg Times, which is owned by The Poynter Institute, my employer. And my boss, our dean, Karen Dunlap, was scheduled to interview her as part of the program.)
It had nothing to do with Sarandon's views, a United Way spokesperson said. It's just that her presence would have been divisive.
But isn't this kind of heavy-handed response to dissent happening all over this country? Just listen to the violence of the language aimed at those who may raise questions. Are we back in the '50s and '60s of the last century?

And it didn't end there.  Roger Catlin (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reported the following month:

Last week, she and her partner, Tim Robbins, were told by Baseball Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey, a former assistant press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, that he was canceling a 15th anniversary celebration of their film "Bull Durham." Petroskey said the couple's antiwar stance "ultimately could put our troops in even more danger." Earlier, Sarandon's appearance at a United Way event in Florida was canceled.

Hillary didn't just speak out for the war, she voted for it.  Despite the fact that she was supposedly representing the state of New York which gave her no mandate to support the Iraq War.

She voted for in direct opposition of the will of the citizens she represented.

So she attacked democracy and logic to embrace illegal war.

In an attempt to bury the issue before her planned run for the 2016 Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Hillary 'addressed' the issue in her ghost-written, poor selling book entitled HARD CHOICES.  Lesley Clark (MCCLATCHY NEWS) noted in 2014:

Democrats such as Clinton believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat, a belief they said was fed by their own research beyond the word of the Bush White House, all of which later proved to be wrong.
Clinton said in the book that she’d voted to authorize war “after weighing the evidence and seeking as many opinions as I could inside and outside our government, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

But as Stephen Zunes (FPIF) pointed out earlier this week:

“Her vote was simply a mistake.”
While few Clinton supporters are still willing to argue her support for the war was a good thing, many try to minimize its significance by referring to it as simply a “mistake.” But while it may have been a terrible decision, it was neither an accident nor an aberration from Clinton’s generally hawkish worldview.
It would have been a “mistake” if Hillary Clinton had pushed the “aye” button when she meant to push the “nay” button. In fact, her decision — by her own admission — was quite conscious.
The October 2002 war resolution on Iraq wasn’t like the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing military force in Vietnam, which was quickly passed as an emergency request by President Lyndon Johnson when there was no time for reflection and debate. By contrast, at the time of the Iraq War authorization, there had been months of public debate on the matter. Clinton had plenty of time to investigate the administration’s claims that Iraq was a threat, as well as to consider the likely consequences of a U.S. invasion.
Also unlike the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which was disingenuously presented as an authorization to retaliate for an alleged attack on U.S. ships, members of Congress recognized that the Iraq resolution authorized a full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation and a subsequent military occupation. Clinton had met with scores of constituents, arms control analysts, and Middle East scholars who informed her that the war was unnecessary, illegal, and would likely end in disaster.
But she decided to support going to war anyway. She even rejected the advice of fellow Democratic senator Bob Graham that she read the full National Intelligence Estimate, which would have further challenged some of the Bush administration’s claims justifying the war.

It was not, therefore, simply a “mistake,” or a momentary lapse of judgment. Indeed, in her own words, she cast her vote “with conviction.”

She made a decision and it wasn't based on the will of the citizens, it wasn't based on the law, it wasn't based on facts.  She made a decision that started the Iraq War and all the destruction that followed -- all the destruction that continues.

This is no mere 'mistake.'

This goes to a serious lack of judgment and leadership.

Susan Sarandon is supporting Senator Bernie Sanders -- who, in 2002, voted against the Iraq War authorization.  She Tweets:

Read more here:

  • This campaign is about a political revolution - millions of people standing up and saying enough is enough.
    Embedded image permalink

  • Retweeted
    If we stand together on Monday night, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. :

  • Retweeted
    Brothers and sisters: Now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same-old establishment politics.

  • For many Democrats, 2016 is boiling down to a question of do you support a liar (Hillary) or a leader (Bernie)?

    The people of Iowa will be the first to weigh in when they caucus on Monday.

    The people of Iraq get no vote but then they really get no vote in their own country either.

    Haider al-Abadi is prime minister because Barack Obama wants him to be.  The US President made the decision in the summer of 2014 -- not the Iraqi people.

    Before Haider al-Abadi was prime minister of Iraq, the position was held by thug Nouri al-Maliki.

    Nouri was installed as prime minister in 2006 not by the Iraqi people but by Bully Boy Bush.  In 2010, the Iraqi people went to the polls.  One of the things they were deciding was whether to keep or ditch Nouri as prime minister.

    Nouri lost.

    He refused to step down as prime minister.  For eight months, he refused.

    In the end, he didn't have to.


    Barack had US officials negotiate a contract, The Erbil Agreement, which went around the will of the Iraqi people and democracy to give Nouri a second term.

    Please note that State of Law lost the 2010 election to Iraqiya.

    Yet, in 2014, when Barack replaced Nouri, he didn't go with a member of Iraqiya but again with the loser State of Law.

    The following Tweet best represents the attitude of the Iraqi officials to the Iraqi people they are supposed to serve.

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