Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, September 7, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, SLATE continues to embarrass itself, did you hear -- no, why didn't you hear about the presidential ticket where one member is saying Barack Obama is acting unconstitutionally, and much more.

In one of the most laughable claims made so far in the election, Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party presidential nominee, claimed she was running a campaign of ideas and not destruction.

And now we have this official Tweet.

"I think I've made a lot of sacrifices." —Trump's response to the parents of Humayun Khan, who died serving in Iraq

First, I'm sure Donald Trump does know more about the Islamic State than US generals do.  US generals are not sociologists nor are they gods.  They serve civilian leadership.  It's amazing that Hillary, while her campaign attacks retired general Colin Powell, wants to also act as though Donald Trump said something outrageous when he claimed to know more about ISIS than US generals.

The military plan being carried out against the Islamic State is a failure.

That's only in debate if you're an idiot.

It's a failure in every way -- including what's it is doing to the civilians.

If Mosul is ever retaken -- if -- it will still be a failure.

Wow, you've turned it back to 2014!!!!  Way to go!!!! You didn't run the Islamic State off, you just took away their ability to govern!!!!!

Their ability to 'govern' was actually losing support for them.

I'm not just referring to within Iraq -- but, yes, it was there too.

I'm talking about in terms of recruiting.

When they initially seized Mosul, there was celebration among factions outside of Iraq.  And then came the realities.  And suddenly the Islamic State didn't seem to be a new way.

So going back to 2014?

That's what they do best, bomb and kill and terrorize.

And the plan or 'plan' Barack's overseen hasn't done a damn thing to address that.

Nor has anything Hillary Clinton's offered.

(In fairness to Hillary, no presidential candidate of any party has offered a way to address that.)

You want to destroy the Islamic State, you take away the reason for its existence in Iraq.

You end the persecution of the Sunni population, you take away its driving force.

Instead of dropping bombs daily since August of 2014, Barack should have ordered a major diplomatic surge.

Instead of handing over this weapon or that weapon or this huge amount of money or that, Barack should have made every step conditional upon results.  "You want this shipment of F-16s?  First, we want to see . . ."

Barack has not taken away the reasons for support of the Islamic State.

He can bomb this or bomb that but he's accomplished nothing.

Hillary's Tweet is getting attention.

At the hotel we're staying at, two women in their 50s were laughing about it as they checked their phones.  Hillary, one insisted, knew more about sacrifice than Donald.

After all, the one told her friend, it was Hillary who repeatedly crawled into bed with Bill Clinton after each affair was exposed.

"What some women won't do for power," the other nodded laughing.

And what some people won't do to avoid reality . . . .

The untold story of the Iraq war’s disastrous toll on the city of New Orleans:

Oh, goody, another story about how the Iraq War destroyed . . . the US.

Let's avoid the real victims, right, SLATE?

Did I blink and miss your expose on the birth defects in Iraq?

RT's repeatedly covered the topic and here's one example from earlier this year:

JESSICA DESVARIEUX: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

A new investigative report titled, Irradiated Iraq: The Nuclear Nightmare We Left Behind, looks at the U.S. legacy of deadly radiation in Iraq. This exposé writer Barbara Koeppel studies how America's use of Uranium missiles and explosives has negatively affected the health of veterans as well as Iraqis. With dramatic increases of cases of leukemia and breast cancer, as well as an increase in infant mortality.

Joining us now in our Baltimore studio to talk about her piece is Barbara Koeppel, she's a Washington D.C. based investigative reporter. Thank you so much for joining us Barbara.

BARBARA KOEPPEL: Thank you for having me.

DESVARIEUX: So Barbara, first people are going to think Nuclear weapons comes to mind when we think about radioactive weapons. Not these Uranium weapons that you described that are technically conventional weapons is that right?

KOEPPEL: Right, which is how they get away with it because they're not called nuclear. However, they are radioactive because they contain uranium and uranium is a radioactive element. They also contain very toxic chemicals and so in theory they are not nuclear but they are radioactive because of the uranium concentrations and they have the same effect. They create birth defects, the way you had after Chernobyl. They create all sorts of leukemia's as you said. But huge amounts not just a little bit but spikes.
[. . .]

DESVARIEUX: Yea let's talk about that, 2003. What did we find?

KOEPPEL: So we now invade Iraq and the numbers which had already spiked took another huge leap. So that by 2008 one interesting number, I hate to just delude you with numbers because they can get confusing. But there was something like 40 cancers out of 100 thousand population. By 2005 or 2008 it was up to 16 hundred new cancers. Again a 38% increase in leukemia, a 10% increase in breast cancer. It had an infant mortality rate that was 8 times higher than it's neighbor Kuwait. So you have these numbers, one scientist took samples of the women who had, usually the children die at birth because they're so badly deformed. They have one eye in the center of their head or their brains are inside out or their stomachs are inside out or they have no hands and feet. I mean they're really grotesque and they don't tend to live but a few hours or a few days. The researchers have studied that and they put together the numbers. But the U.S. doesn't admit to that.

DESVARIEUX: What about the Iraqi government? I'm sure they're being..

KOEPPEL: It's very interesting that you ask that. They did study around 2009 remember we invaded in 2003. And basically the last of the troops or most of the last of the troops left in 2011. And in 2009 because they were getting so much flack; they did a study that proved that not only did they not have an increase in birth defects, and leukemia, and general cancers. They had less than developed countries. But they didn't use hospital records. They only did a door to door survey and ask people do you have cancer or something like that. And you have to say well, why? Oh and then the Lancet, which is a very highly respected British medical journal, wrote an editorial or maybe some people wrote an article, saying we think you need to revisit these numbers. And the WHO also concurred, that's the World Health Organization. So you have to ask yourself, why would the Iraq Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization which people respect a lot, why would they have concurred?

Well Iraq gets most of it's money from the United States and as long as it depends on the United States for it's budget they're not going to put out information that the United States doesn't want out. Similarly WHO, all UN agencies get the biggest part of their budget from the U.S. Even though it doesn't pay what it's suppose to pay. It still is the largest part of their budget. So it's pretty clear why they take these lines. The Lancet said, do another study, this is really crazy. These numbers make no sense.

DESVARIEUX: And then like you said they can't actually do real testing because they're not actually doing real funding so you're sort of caught in this caught 22. We have all this evidence that there's smoke but no one really wants go investigate if there's a fire. You're saying that we certainly need to be questioning this more.

KOEPPEL: And their websites keep putting out the lie that there's not one cancer or that there were also burn pits. For those that don't know what a burn pit is, when the U.S. invaded and they got thousands and thousands of service people there, they have to put them somewhere. So they have bases. Some can be as small as 20 men or women. Some can have 90 thousand. How do you dispose of your waste? You have to dig a big hole in the ground and they're called burn pits. They dump everything. Whether it's human waste, plastic bottles, which when they're burned that's illegal by the way according to U.S. policy but they burn them anyway. That produce dioxin which is the main ingredient in Agent Orange.

They burn these round the clock. They put in unexploded weapons, hospital waste, batteries, lithium batteries, everything. Which is incredibly toxic. So our troops who were stationed usually for a year, a term would be. They would breathing this and some of them got and are terribly sick right now. But the Iraqis were breathing them for years and years and years not one year terms are even sicker. The wife of one, a captain who breathed in the smoke from the burn pits, started an organization called; I'm confessing there might be another word in there, to get support for these veterans.

DESVARIEUX: I was going to say that. Is there anything on the side of the Iraqis? Is there any sort of legal remedies for them?


DESVARIEUX: Nothing is going on to..

KOEPPEL: No, no, zero. And even for the Americans, some of the veterans have launched a suit. But they're, I don't know, this is probably going to take 10 years through the courts. But even there the U.S. didn't want to admit it because when this woman's husband Captain Torres came back and couldn't breathe the VA diagnosed him with some unknown problem. Then more and more of his other soldiers and marines had the same problem. So the DOD sent 200 of them to Vanderbilt University Medical School and the head of the pulmonary division biopsied them which the VA didn't do, they just X-rayed them. I spoke to Dr. Miller who said we biopsied them and we saw this very debilitating lung disease which is only going to get worse and worse. And he stopped getting veterans and DOD, the Defense Department and the VA stopped sending him veterans to study because they were very unhappy that he biopsied them. Because he said you can't see it unless you biopsied their lungs. So there are all these people that are terribly sick but the DOD, the Defense Department, the VA doesn't want to admit it.

DESVARIEUX: And why don't they want to admit it?

KOEPPEL: Well liability. If you admitted that you exposed 200 thousand troops to this you can imagine what the liability would be.

DESVARIEUX: And what would the liability be for places like Raytheon or Lockheed Martin.

KOEPPEL: I don't know it's a good question. Because they're the ones, Raytheon has a patent for uranium. For weapons where uranium is an option. That patent's been around for maybe 15 years and one other corporation too. But they don't say that they're in these weapons. They just say no, no they're conventional but in fact they are radioactive.

And have the same effects that you have from Chernobyl when the reactors blew. Or that you have from Hiroshima, you know you just keep getting generation after generation of mutated genes and mutated children and adults. But the dust maybe has settled. So there's perhaps not as much dust now. But for the people that were living there, in the 2000's, it's in their lungs, it's in their bodies. 

On the effects of a country where the population is so young -- due to all the deaths -- and they are neglected and ignored?

AL BAWABA reports:

Young Iraqis, Sunni and Shia alike, agree there's little to look forward to in a country where poor service provision, corruption, and daily violence is the stuff of private conversation and public protest.
Politicians pay lip service to reform, but talk of reducing the age of candidacy and other appeals to young voters are dismissed as electoral pandering ahead of important provincial polls in 2017 and parliament elections the following year. It will take a lot more than Facebook pages to convince young Iraqis that their future is anything but grim.
By UN count, 473 Iraqi civilians were killed in acts of terrorism, violence, and armed conflict in August alone, 231 in Baghdad governorate. Nearly 3.4 million Iraqis have been displaced since the conflict with IS began in 2014. And last week Human Rights Watch alleged that forces aligned with the Iraqi government have been recruiting children to this struggle.
Young men who have grown up since the fall of Saddam Hussein have few options. Job opportunities are few. Salaries are low. As the ICG report highlights, Iraqis effectively must find a way into employment via a government patronage system, join a militia, or leave the country – nearly 149,000 Iraqis applied for asylum in Europe in 2015.
As Iraq's government and the wider international community focuses on the fight against IS, they ignore their young men – not to mention their young women – at their peril.

On how a country of refugees adds to the crisis?

Yesterday, the United Nations News Centre noted:
6 September 2016 – The United Nations food relief agency has delivered urgently-needed aid to more than 30,000 people in and around the northern Iraqi town of Qayyarah in the past week, reaching an area that has been under siege and inaccessible for more than two years.
“The people of Qayyarah had been living under siege for two years and are suffering extreme hunger with scarce access to food supplies. Reaching them with life-saving food assistance is a very positive step forward,” the UN World Food Programme (WFP)’s Country Director, Sally Haydock, said in a news release.

With military action turning towards retaking Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the UN Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had warned that displacement may worsen “dramatically,” and announced preparations to ramp up operations and set up additional camps.

By all means, let's make the Iraq War about Hurricane Katrina because, here in America apparently, we can never stop having our heads up our asses.

Next up. SLATE reveals the real victims of the Holocaust: The US fast food industry!

We don't focus a great deal on running mates.  It's a ceremonial post.

That said, we were always going to have to focus on Tim Kaine -- mainly because we knew the press wouldn't do their job.

Michael A. Memoli (LOS ANGELES TIMES) writes:

Speaking in North Carolina on Tuesday in what Hillary Clinton’s campaign billed as a major national security address, the Virginia senator performed the customary role of a running mate, seeking to dismantle Trump’s qualifications to lead the nation on the world stage while praising Clinton’s.
Kaine said the issue of national security is personal to him, with a son deployed overseas with the Marines. While he trusted Clinton with decisions that directly involved his family, the prospect of Trump as commander in chief “scares me to death,” he said.

That is a line crossed.

In an election where a sitting Supreme Court justice has forgotten her role and shot her dumb mouth off, it's hard to believe things could get worse.

Enter Tim Kaine.

Donald Trump could win the presidency.

I'm not voting for him but others are and it may be enough for him to win.

The country does not need Tim Kaine's garbage.

If Tim wants to make those type of comments, he needs to drop out of the race.

As someone running to represent the country, he needs to watch his words.

To suggest what he's suggesting is harmful and offensive.

It crosses a line in campaigning and it is not helpful to the United States.

He needs to apologize and he needs to stop making these types of remarks (unless he drops out of the race and speaks as a private citizen).

What scares Tim?

A great deal actually since he's such a coward.

Yeah, that's the story the press doesn't want to tell you.

Tim Kaine is in the US Senate.

He's got Jim Webb's old seat -- so you know it's dirty.

And Tim's spent nearly two years now blustering about something being unconstitutional.

So what's he doing?

Just blustering.

He's a US senator and could be putting holds on nominations, etc, to force something to happen.

Instead, he's all talk.

The US Defense Dept announced yesterday:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, and attack aircraft conducted seven strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Beiji, a strike destroyed an ISIL rocket rail and a cave entrance.

-- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two tunnel entrances, an observation post and a rocket firing position.

-- Near Mosul, four strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an assembly area, a fighting position, a vehicle and a headquarters building.

-- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed a rocket system.

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.

And these daily bombings are in addition to the thousands of US troops Barack has sent into Iraq since 2014.

If you're confused, we're still on Tim Kaine.

These are the actions that Senator Tim Kaine has repeatedly called unconstitutional.

And since he was doing that before Hillary chose him as her running mate and since she's not issued any statement saying she disagrees with him, we have a Democratic presidential ticket stating that a Democratic president is acting unconstitutional.

That's a story.

That's a legitimate and needed press story.

Where's the story?

Where's the coverage?

And if you want to be legal and logical, if any president acts in a manner that is unconstitutional, that meets the criteria of high crimes and misdemeanors -- impeachment.

So Hillary and Tim should be asked if they're saying Barack Obama's actions in Iraq warrant impeachment?

Tim Kaine has appeared in multiple Iraq snapshots here.

Because he's anti-war?


Because, since 2014, he's repeatedly stated Barack's actions are unconstitutional.

How did the corporate press miss it?

Oh, that's right.

They don't really report.

They don't really investigate.

They just jaw bone.

On issues that actually matter, Omar Sattar (AL-MONITOR) reports, "The idea of forming the Iraqi Supreme Strategic Policy Council has re-emerged nearly six years after first being put forward. Back then, the idea was part of what was called the Erbil Agreement in 2010, upon which the second government of Nouri al-Maliki was formed."

Don't get too excited though, Nouri is giving lip service to support it in talks with the Kurds.

Nouri supported it in talks with Barack Obama in 2010, he supported it while in the Parliament in November 2010 waiting to be named prime minister-designate and, of course, supported it the day before that when he was signing off on The Erbil Agreement.

He lies a lot when he wants to get people to rally behind him.

He just never keeps his word.
Internal business:  People are asking about THIRD.  I almost did a note here last night.  But it would have been rude.  I will leave it at this: Ava and I wrote our TV piece and then, on Monday, we rewrote it (we were asked to make it longer).  With Ty, we also did the Q&A piece on questions about the TV piece on voting.  With Betty, Elaine and others, we did a quick piece on Stevie Nicks.  And we did a short piece.  We did not participate in an editorial or anything else.  We expected stuff to go up on Sunday.  When it did not, we rewrote our TV piece.  That stuff should have gone up on Monday.  It did not.  It is now Wednesday.  We do not have anymore time -- Ava and myself -- to spend this week on THIRD.  They can post that on this coming Sunday -- what was completed.  And we can do some new stuff or not.

But this is why Jess walked out.  "Exactly why," he stated when we were griping to him about this.

It should have gone up Sunday.  It did not.  Ava and I had done our part and then some.

The community newsletters are never late.  If they don't have enough, Gina, Krista, Hilda, Polly, Miguel, Francisco, Maria, etc will just put out a short version of their newsletter.

I do not have time to keep going back to something that should have been published on Sunday.  It's Wednesday, life has moved on.

I've said that as nicely as I can.