Thursday, April 21, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, April 21, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Hillary lies about Iraq again, the US government approves the deaths of more civilians in Iraq, Barack Obama laments the lack of a political solution, and much more.

Hillary Clinton appeared on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA this morning to make clear that she is not just a liar, she's a supreme liar.

Was Bill Clinton sincere in his public remarks?

Who knows?

He appeared to be.

Hillary just comes off calculating and insincere.

Because she can't act so the world is left with the real Hillary.

Which is so very unimpressive.

Asked by Nora Miller of San Francisco what her greatest regret was, Hillary stumbled along:

Well, I guess my-my greatest regret, uhm, was, uh, voting to give President Bush authority in Iraq.  Uhm, it did not turn out the way I thought it would based on what he had said, uh, and I regret that.  I've said it was a mistake and, uh, obviously, uh, it's something I-I wish hadn't turned out the way it did.

Stumbled along.

The media has, as usual, cleaned up the quote of a War Hawk to make them sound more decisive.  They've taken out her "uh"s and "uhm"s.  They did the same for another former Secretary of State -- Colin Powell when discussing his blot.

To Hillary's 'regret,' one response would be:  What difference, at this point, does it make?

Another response would be to point out, as Rebecca Savransky (THE HILL) does, that Hillary has a pattern of changing her greatest regret:

"I regret we didn't get healthcare [reform] back in 1993 or '94, because we'd really be much further down the road," she said, according to
She also previously named the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
“My biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi. It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans — two diplomats — and now it’s public, so I can say two CIA operatives,” Clinton said, according to Politico.

She says whatever she thinks will save her own skin.

She's a liar, a compulsive one, apparently.

Another way to respond to the latest lie?

Note last month's photo op of Hillary with the man she says caused her "greatest regret."

Thanks Hillary for your vote on Iraq! U & 28 other Democrats. Ah, those were the days! Bi-partisanship (pic:3/11/16)

Does it look like she's regretting anything in that photo?


Hillary Diane Clinton:  Well, I guess my-my greatest regret, uhm, was, uh, voting to give President Bush authority in Iraq.  Uhm, it did not turn out the way I thought it would based on what he had said, uh, and I regret that.  I've said it was a mistake and, uh, obviously, uh, it's something I-I wish hadn't turned out the way it did.

She says he's the reason for her greatest regret and yet just last month she was all over him as though she were in heat.

She's a liar with a long, long history of lying.

Stephen Zunes took on her lying back in Janaury:

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.”

As late as February 2007, Clinton herself refused to admit that her vote for the war resolution was a mistake. “If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake,” she said while campaigning for president, “then there are others to choose from.” She only began to acknowledge her regrets when she saw the polling numbers showing that a sizable majority of Democrats opposed the decision to go to war.

She is a liar, struggling against Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  On one side, Hillary who voted for the Iraq War and endorsed it and applauded it for years.  On the other side?  Bernie who voted against it.

Or maybe you prefer to divide them up as one who can only see things as they are as opposed to someone who can see things as they could be?

Yeah, Hillary suffers from George HW Bush's 'vision thing.'

It's a point US Vice President Joe Biden made today:

“I like the idea of saying, ‘We can do much more,’ because we can,” Biden told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday.
Clinton, a former Obama administration official, has criticized Sanders on the trail for his bold proposals, suggesting that his policies aren’t pragmatic.
“I don’t think any Democrat’s ever won saying, ‘We can’t think that big — we ought to really downsize here because it’s not realistic,’” Biden said. “C’mon man, this is the Democratic Party! I’m not part of the party that says, ‘Well, we can’t do it.’”

Meanwhile, the President of the United States was making news today.   Dave Boyer (WASHINGTON TIMES) reports:

The Obama administration confronted setbacks Thursday in its efforts to defeat the Islamic State, with reports that Russia is moving more military equipment into Syria to support President Bashar Assad as a truce collapsed, and President Obama acknowledging that political paralysis in Iraq is impeding U.S.-led efforts to defeat the militant group.

President Barack Obama spoke with the press today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the Diriyah Palace.

Inside of Iraq, there are understandable concerns about Iranian influence in the Iraqi government at a time when the Iraqi government is also critical for us fighting ISIL.  It was very important I think for us to describe our assessment that Prime Minister Abadi is in fact effectively fighting against ISIL and trying to reach out to Sunnis inside of Iraq, while acknowledging that there are significant problems in terms of government stability inside of Baghdad.  And that’s a reason for us not to withdraw, but rather to get more involved in helping to stabilize areas like Anbar, where we’ve not cleared out ISIL but the towns that they were governing have been left devastated.  If we want Sunni communities to be able to rebuild themselves and to get back into the lives they were leading before ISIL took over, then we’re going to have to help the Iraqi government respond.  

We’ve been able to secure additional commitments with respect to the counter-ISIL campaign more broadly.  With respect to direct help to the Iraqi government, what I recommended was that we wait to assess how the current government turmoil in Iraq plays itself out over the next couple of weeks before we make final decisions about how useful particular offers of assistance will be.  Although, already what we’ve seen is, for example, the government of Kuwait over the last year has deferred payments that were required under the U.N. resolution between Iraq and Kuwait.  That’s worth a couple of billion dollars to the Iraqi government.  And we described our efforts to make sure that in addition to the military assistance that we’re providing Iraq, that we’re also focusing on these stabilization functions.

And there was this.

But frankly, right now in Baghdad, there’s some big challenges in terms of Prime Minister Abadi forming a new government -- or a new cabinet.  Until that’s settled, I think it’s important for us to make sure that any additional stabilization dollars that are put in are going to be effectively spent.

Let's repeat that second part:

But frankly, right now in Baghdad, there’s some big challenges in terms of Prime Minister Abadi forming a new government -- or a new cabinet.  Until that’s settled, I think it’s important for us to make sure that any additional stabilization dollars that are put in are going to be effectively spent.

We'll also note this section.


Q    I was going to ask, since you just spoke about Prime Minister Abadi, how concerned are you about his hold on power?  Are there things that the GCC partners can do to help solidify his government?  And then, did you guys talk about a plan B in Syria if the cessation of hostilities falters?  And then lastly, I was just going to ask, have you contemplated adding additional Special Forces in Syria to bolster the counter-ISIL fight?  And what might it take for you to make that decision?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good.  On the first item, I'm concerned.  I think Prime Minister Abadi has been a good partner for us.  But interestingly enough, right now in Baghdad, the challenges within the government don't fall along the usual lines of Kurdish-Sunni-Shia.  There's actually significant dissension and disputes even among the Shia power blocks.

Obviously, ultimately it's up to the Iraqis to make these decisions.  It's not up to us, it's not up to the Iranians, it's not up to GCC countries.  It's up to the Iraqi people to determine the government that they form.

We do think, however, that it is vital for the health and stability of Iraq that the cabinet and the makeup of government is finalized and stabilized.  And we've been urging them to get the job done.  And we have contacts with all the various factions and parties, saying to them they have to take the long view and think about the well-being of the country at a time when they're still fighting Daesh, Mosul is still under ISIL control; at a time when, because of low oil prices, they've got challenges with respect to their budget.  There's a dam that needs to be fixed.  They've got a lot on their plate.  Now is not the time for government gridlock or bickering.  

AP explains the remarks this way:

Obama, in meetings with Saudi King Salman, the ruling emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and others, appealed for more financial and political support to help Iraq. Yet the leaders appeared reluctant to invest until Iraq’s government overcomes a political crisis and better integrates Sunnis into the process.
In a shift in tone from just a day earlier, Obama said the U.S. and its Gulf partners should wait to see whether Iraq can resolve the crisis before committing more aid. He warned that the paralysis is impeding U.S.-led efforts to defeat the Islamic State group and reconstruct war-damaged Iraq.

Though he wants to see political reconciliation -- or he claims he does -- Barack only pushes for bombing and more bombing.  Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery and conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, five strikes struck three separate ISIL staging facilities and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb and damaged an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Rutbah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.

-- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bed-down location.

-- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL tunnel system.

-- Near Hit, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 27 ISIL boats and three ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Mosul, six strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed seven ISIL assembly areas, three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL supply cache and an ISIL command-and-control node.

-- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL machine gun, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL assembly area.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL rocket rail.

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. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

On these never ending bombings, Thomas Gaist (WSWS) reports:

Since last fall, without any public acknowledgment by the US government and military, US warplanes have been bombing civilian areas in Iraq and Syria under loosened rules of engagement, the US Defense Department announced Wednesday.
Under the new rules, US forces may attack any area considered to have a “non-combatant value” of 10, that is, a likely fallout of fewer than 10 civilian deaths.
Given the current volume of airstrikes, the expanded rules of engagement imply that the Pentagon may murder thousands of civilians every month.

This March alone, US warplanes dropped nearly 2,000 bombs on Iraq and Syria, an increase over the 1,700 bombs dropped by US forces during the previous March. Last November, the US-led coalition set a new record for a single month, dropping nearly 3,300 bombs.

Let's go back to US politics.

Earlier this week, Betty wrote:

Jill Stein is running to be the Green Party's presidential candidate.
Maybe she'll get it, maybe she won't.
But she presents herself as a peace candidate.
So what about Iraq, Jill?
How are you going to defeat the Islamic State?
That's not sarcasm.
They can be defeated.
With diplomacy, mainly.
And Jill could argue that point.
And should.
But she's silent on Iraq.
And that's why I don't take her seriously as a candidate.
For goodness sake, even Donald Trump is speaking out against the Iraq War.
Even Donald Trump.

And Mike wrote:

Jill Stein wants to be the Green Party's presidential candidate.
She was the 2012 candidate.
I didn't support her in 2012.
She was too weak.
I don't see any strength implant having taken place since then, but I thought I'd explain how she could win my vote (providing she gets the party's presidential nomination).
Talk Iraq.
That's what she should do first.
Talk Iraq.
The Iraq War is the greatest crime of the 21st century.
Does she really want to let Donald Trump be the only one calling out the Iraq War?
Jill needs to talk Iraq.
She needs to talk universal tuition and student loan forgiveness via the money spent on Iraq.
We can't afford universal tuition and student loan forgiveness?
Well look how much we are spending on the never ending war on Iraq.
She needs to talk about the need to follow the Constitution.
She can connect that to Iraq.
The Iraq War was illegal.
Barack's latest phase takes place without Congressional authorization.
We must follow the Constitution.
Jill needs to talk Iraq.

Today, Jill Stein finally noted Iraq:

  • The War in initiated an incredible & ongoing series of catastrophes. Being appointed SecState doesn't vindicate Hillary's decision.

  • Whether it's a first step for Jill or not remains to be seen.