Thursday, February 04, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, February 4, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Hillary Clinton's laughable plan for the Islamic State is no plan, Fred Kaplan lies for Hillary and America chants "Take the shame!" to Hillary.

As always, the US government dropped bombs on Iraq today and then boasted of it in a news release from the Defense Dept:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL vehicles and four ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and denying ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 16 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL assembly area, ISIL engineering equipment and an ISIL checkpoint.
-- Near Qayyarah, six strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL command and control nodes, six ISIL vehicles, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL mortar tube, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed ISIL engineering equipment, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL tactical vehicle, eight ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL rocket-propelled-grenade systems, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL recoilless rifle, an ISIL staging area and 11 ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed an ISIL front-end loader.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL fighting position.

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 one 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.

The Iraq War never ends.

And those responsible for starting it may try to escape responsibility but it's not that easy.

Senator Bernie Sanders, in 2002, voted against the Iraq War.  He's running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and so is Hillary Clinton.

Today, Bernie Tweeted:

                    Liked 2,044 times

Experience is important, but so is judgment. And back in 2002 one of us voted the right way on the Iraq War. The other didn't.

The ridiculous -- always ridiculous -- Fred Kaplan (SLATE) tries to rewrite history:

In response, Clinton acknowledged, as she has on previous occasions, that she’d made a mistake. But she also offered an explanation for her vote, something she has rarely done in the past. President Bush, she told the audience, had made a “very explicit appeal” that “getting this vote would be a strong piece of leverage in order to finish the inspections.” In other words, a resolution to use force would prod Saddam Hussein into readmitting U.N. inspectors, so they could continue their mission of verifying whether or not he had destroyed his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons sites. In other words, Clinton was now claiming she voted the way she did in the interests of diplomacy; the problem was that Bush went back on his word—he invaded before giving the inspectors enough time.

Listening to her rationale Wednesday night, I didn’t know whether she was telling the truth. I had written many Slate columns about the Iraq debate and the ensuing war, but I couldn’t remember the details of then-Sen. Clinton’s position. Looking up those details now, I have come to a conclusion about the rationale she recited at the New Hampshire town hall: Hillary was telling the truth.

Poor Fred Kaplan, nothing sadder to see than an old and aging whore.

Reality on this was noted last week.  Last week.  By Stephen Zunes:

“Hillary Clinton’s vote wasn’t for war, but simply to pressure Saddam Hussein to allow UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq.”
At the time of vote, Saddam Hussein had already agreed in principle to a return of the weapons inspectors. His government was negotiating with the United Nations Monitoring and Verification Commission on the details, which were formally institutionalized a few weeks later. (Indeed, it would have been resolved earlier had the United States not repeatedly postponed a UN Security Council resolution in the hopes of inserting language that would have allowed Washington to unilaterally interpret the level of compliance.)
Furthermore, if then-Senator Clinton’s desire was simply to push Saddam into complying with the inspection process, she wouldn’t have voted against the substitute Levin amendment, which would have also granted President Bush authority to use force, but only if Iraq defied subsequent UN demands regarding the inspections process. Instead, Clinton voted for a Republican-sponsored resolution to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq at the time and circumstances of his own choosing.

In fact, unfettered large-scale weapons inspections had been going on in Iraq for nearly four months at the time the Bush administration launched the March 2003 invasion. Despite the UN weapons inspectors having not found any evidence of WMDs or active WMD programs after months of searching, Clinton made clear that the United States should invade Iraq anyway. Indeed, she asserted that even though Saddam was in full compliance with the UN Security Council, he nevertheless needed to resign as president, leave the country, and allow U.S. troops to occupy the country. “The president gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to avoid war,” Clinton said in a statement, “and the world hopes that Saddam Hussein will finally hear this ultimatum, understand the severity of those words, and act accordingly.”
When Saddam refused to resign and the Bush administration launched the invasion, Clinton went on record calling for “unequivocal support” for Bush’s “firm leadership and decisive action” as “part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.” She insisted that Iraq was somehow still “in material breach of the relevant United Nations resolutions” and, despite the fact that weapons inspectors had produced evidence to the contrary, claimed the invasion was necessary to “neutralize Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

Someone needs to ask Fred Kaplan if it hurts to be so damn stupid?

If you're not getting how stupid he is, the Institute for Public Accuracy issued this press release today:

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics & coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. He recently wrote the piece “The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq.” Zunes is currently in Philadelphia and will be in New York City on Friday.

Zunes said today: “Hillary Clinton did not vote to authorize the Iraq war in order to bring UN inspectors back in, as she claimed in last night’s [CNN] “Town Hall” meeting. She voted against the Levin Amendment, which would have authorized the use of force if Iraq refused to fully cooperate with UN inspectors. Instead, she voted for the Republican-sponsored resolution which gave President Bush the authority to invade and occupy Iraq at the time and circumstances of his own choosing. Hans Blix did not support the latter resolution, as she also claimed. Nor did Sen. Clinton object when Bush launched the invasion anyway five months later despite Iraq having been fully cooperating with the returning inspectors during that period.”
Clinton stated in her address on her Iraq war authorization vote on the Senate floor on Oct. 10, 2002: “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al-Qaeda members. … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well, affects American security.” See video.

Just last week, Hans Blix had an interview with Al Jazeera’s “UpFront” program in which he talked about the U.S. invasion altering the security landscape of the Mideast, see: “The former UN weapons inspector says ‘it is doubtful’ ISIL would exist if it were not for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.”

As for Hillary?  Take the shame, Hillary, take the shame.

John Wagner (WASHINGTON POST) reports on remarks Bernie made today:

“Sometimes it’s easy to apologize for a bad vote 15 or 20 years later when the tide has changed,” Sanders said at a rally here. “It is a lot harder to stand up … and cast the right vote. That’s what leadership is about, not having to apologize for standing up and fighting for what’s right.”

Tonight, Hillary and Bernie faced off in a debate.

As usual, after each break, Hillary looked better.

Let's be clear, she's overweight and she has jowls.

That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the reason she was late from the bathroom the first time.

She's having make up applied throughout the debate.

She can smear all the crap on her face she wants and she'll still be ugly.

Just like she can trot out every lie and distraction and she'll still be guilty of supporting the Iraq War.

By the time Iraq came up, Hillary looked like -- at best -- a painted clown.

Lisa Hagen (THE HILL) recaps what Cranky Clinton said in response to being called out for supporting the Iraq War:

Clinton replied: "We did differ. A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS.”
"We have to look at the threats that we face right now and we have to be prepared to take them on and defeat them," she continued.

Sunday, January 17th, there was a Democratic Party debate.  In that debate Hillary made claims regarding the Islamic State and her plans:

CLINTON: Absolutely not.
I have a three point plan that does not include American Ground forces. It includes the United States leading an air coalition which is what we're doing, supporting fighters on the ground; the Iraqi Army which is beginning to show more ability, the Sunni fighters that we are now helping to reconstitute and Kurdish on both sides of the border.

As we noted in the January 18th snapshot:

At her website?
You can find this:

  • Defeating ISIS. ISIS and the foreign terrorist fighters it recruits pose a serious threat to America and our allies. We will confront and defeat them in a way that builds greater stability across the region, without miring our troops in another misguided ground war. Hillary will empower our partners to defeat terrorism and the ideologies that drive it, including through our ongoing partnership to build Iraqi military and governing capacity, our commitment to Afghanistan’s democracy and security, and by supporting efforts to restore stability to Libya and Yemen.

  • Is that her three-part plan?
    That's all she's got at her website and it's a tiny paragraph in the midst of her national security page.

    It's rather tiny, isn't it?

    Possibly as a result, her website features the tiny 'plan' with 'enhancements' -- videos of Hillary doing that annoying head bob while she speaks.

    We can defeat global terrorism.

    1. We need to crush ISIS on its home turf. 

    We can’t just contain ISIS—we need to defeat it. That means going after the group in Syria, Iraq, and across the Middle East. And it means ramping up airstrikes and making sure local and regional ground troops have what they need to go after ISIS and create safe spaces.

    2. We need to disrupt and dismantle terrorist infrastructure—on the ground and online.

    Old school tactics aren’t going to cut it when it comes to defeating a terrorist group that has mastered the art of online propaganda. ISIS and global jihadists are recruiting, training, and inciting violence on social media—breeding a growing network of terrorists around the world. The U.S. needs to work with our partners around the world to be just as savvy.

    3. We have to protect America and our allies.


    We need better coordination and information-sharing all around to break up terror plots and prevent attacks—between European governments and law enforcement, between Silicon Valley and Washington, and between local police officers and the communities they serve.

    And, for the record, that plan's as idiotic as she is.

    Let's again point out the obvious.

    The Islamic State got its hold in Iraq why?

    Because of the persecution of Sunnis in Iraq which intensified under Nouri al-Maliki's second term (2010 through 2014).

    This persecution is why US President Barack Obama insisted in June of 2014 that the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.

    But the US has instead focused on bombing and training.

    And there's been no movement towards a reconciliation.

    We say that over and over here.

    And maybe that's not good enough for some.

    So let's quote BBC News' Jim Muir who offers this today:

    The IS fighters were able to lodge so easily in the Sunni Arab heartlands because the people there had been largely alienated by the sectarian policies and practices of the Shia Arab-dominated Baghdad government under Nouri al-Maliki, who was finally prised out of the prime minister's office in August 2014.
    Precious little has been done since then to foster national reconciliation and make the Sunnis, a powerful minority under Saddam Hussein, feel they are full partners in a national project. 
    Legislation to empower the Sunnis by devolving security and financial responsibilities to the provinces has not happened.
    Nor have measures to reverse the persecution of former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, or the random arrests, detentions, and to assuage other Sunni grievances.
    While slow progress is being made to drive IS back, many argue that military victory alone is not enough.
    "Unless there's political reconciliation, we'll have IS back again five years down the line," a senior diplomat warned.

    It happened before, so the historical lesson is there, and not so long ago. 

    Hillary's plan does not acknowledge this reality.

    Hillary's plan does not address this.

    There is no real plan.

    Hillary seems unable to think beyond kill-kill-kill.

    Hillary was wrong on Iraq in 2002 and she was wrong in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 . . .

    She's still wrong today.