It's day 66 of the Mosul slog.
James Cogan (WSWS) reports:
Barack Obama is the first two-term American president to have presided over war every day of his tenure in office. He bequeaths to a Trump administration ongoing operations in Afghanistan, continuing drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, the consequences of the 2011 destruction of Libya, the instigation of civil war in Syria, US sponsorship of the brutal Saudi interventions in Yemen, and the civil conflicts in Ukraine, the Caucuses and across Africa.
Obama’s blood-soaked legacy, however, is most graphic in Iraq. There is a bitter irony in this, given the fact that he was elected in 2008 largely on the basis of claimed opposition to the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of the country, and his boasts, after continuing the war for nearly three more years after his inauguration, to have ended it with the formal withdrawal of US forces in December of 2011.
Obama launched new military attacks in Iraq following ISIS’ June 2014 capture of Mosul, where one of the most criminal episodes in over 25 years of US violence against Iraq and its people is currently unfolding.
The northern Iraqi city is under siege by tens of thousands of US-led Iraqi Army forces, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) troops and sectarian Shiite militias. The objective is to take back control of the city from the Sunni extremist Islamic State, which was able to capture Mosul and other Iraqi cities from the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad only because of the weaponry and recruits it had gained in Syria by serving as a proxy for the US and its allies in the war for regime change against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
The Obama administration seized upon this blow-back from its own policy to resume large-scale American operations in Iraq and directly intervene in the war in Syria. Uncounted numbers of Iraqis and Syrians have paid with their lives as a result. The majority Sunni cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in western Iraq have already been effectively destroyed and depopulated as a result of the campaign to evict ISIS. Now, the same destruction is being inflicted to “liberate” Mosul—Iraq’s second largest city with a population of some 1.5 million.
After two months of the US-led assault, reports from Mosul testify to large-scale civilian casualties, mass displacement, the wholesale destruction of infrastructure and housing, and horrific human suffering.
That's real news.
Want to talk about fake news, talk about the filings in print and on airwaves that treat this massacre as something noble and needed. This isn't helping the people of Mosul.
But then again, if helping the people of Mosul was the point, Hayder al-Abadi wouldn't have let the Islamic State hold Mosul for over two years before sending in troops.
If Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) e-mailed to say he gets some moments in his coverage, I wouldn't disagree. Nor would I slam him. He does get bits and moments of coverage in.
He's the only reporter, after all, who reported on when Barack Obama sent US troops back into Iraq:
Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.
"Big deal," some yawn, "we all know Barack sent troops over in 2014."
Tim Arango (New York Times) reported that at the end of September 2012,
In plenty of time for the question to be raised at the October 2012 presidential debates.
But no one said a word.
And that no one goes beyond the corporate press.
That includes Panhandle Media -- you know the ones always begging you to send money -- like tele-evangilists, begging you always.
The beggars of Panhandle Media walked away from Iraq.
"The Ten most disappointing 'left' pundits of the last 8 years" offers a list of ten of them.
They were committed to pimping propaganda for Barack.
That meant ignoring Iraq.
Let's do a little flashback.
Before we hop on the time machine, let me offer my own excuse.
I was out of the country.
During a great deal of the 90s. I traveled and I also did volunteer work outside the US.
I also left the US to avoid being brought into the big scary (Starr).
Gossip flies quickly and I wasn't going to be ordered to appear. (I like Bill but I did not have an affair with him. I did overhear something -- not sexual related -- and not any of Starr's business or anyone else's.)
I was a Clintonista.
Bill was in the White House, he'd take care of it -- whatever it was at the moment, I could go on about my life.
We're all stupid from time to time.
I certainly was.
But let's hop that flashback machine now.
Lesley Stahl interviews Madeline Albright.
That moment embarrasses a lot of people today. And it should.
And a lot of lefties like Laura Flanders have gone to town on it in recent years.
But here's the reality, they've all been silent as the same thing happened again.
Like good cult members, they've refused to raise issues that questioned the sainthood of their leader Barack.
There will probably be many Lesley Stahl-like interviews in the near future.
Most likely, it will come from overseas reporters. There aren't a lot of people today with the guts Lesley demonstrated.
But even though the US pundits have blocked out on Iraq, even though our 'heroes' have been silent, in the Arab world, they already know.
Jane Fonda's reputation is in tatters in the Arab world.
Too bad. Don't promise to speak out against the Iraq War publicly and then fall silent.
She was a good whore for Barack, she was lousy for the Arab people.
And now she's destroyed.
Who's going to defend you, Jane?
Your silence on Iraq is disgusting. And the Arab world will never let the world forget it -- nor should they.
So as you're seen as a xenophobic in the Arab world and the right wing in the US pretty much all sees you as a bitch already, who's going to step up for you?
I was probably one of your last defenders.
You've destroyed your reputation.
Maybe you'll be like Luise Rainer -- someone addicts of old movies recognize the name of. She won two Best Actress Academy Awards too. But most Americans today wouldn't even be able to identify her profession if you tossed her name out.
Jane had a Twitter feed, had WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER, had countless interviews where she promoted books, her NETFLIX show, Richard's health problems, etc. None of those were used in the last eight years to note what was being done -- being done by the US government -- in Iraq.
She is so despised on Arab media.
And they're right to despise her.
She presented herself as their friend, as their protector, the woman who's finally found her voice (yet again!). And after the speech, she did nothing.
(There's also the issue of her attitude towards the Palestinians as well as the xenophobia of ROLLOVER.)
Laura Flanders, John Nichols, all the pundits have been silent.
And as the Iraqis living in the US government-created disaster begin telling their stories to the world -- as children living surrounded by death daily grow up -- it's not going to be pretty. And those who whored their voices to protect Barack Obama will be seen as the cheap whores they are and, most importantly, not trusted.
They betrayed peace, they betrayed people.
And they did it to protect someone who was the most powerful person in the world.
Not to protect the innocent or the downtrodden, to protect the powerful and a corrupt system.
There's no excuse for that.
Mosul is a slog.
And we're the only ones who reported on the October 26th US State Dept press briefing where a reporter called it a slog and CNN's Elise Labott insisted "NO!" It wasn't her turn to speak but she was there attacking another reporter for using the term "slog." It was so embarrassing and unprofessional that State Dept spokesperson John Kirby tried to turn it into a joke by asking, "Elise, do you want to come take the podium?"
If a reporter had done that when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, we would have slaughtered her/him. Elise, though, frequently found protection in the last years from FAIR.
Or take Gina Chon. She should have been slammed. THE WALL ST. JOURNAL rightly fired her.
But her husband (latest husband) was Brett McGurk who was Barack's nominee at the time to be US Ambassador to Iraq.
So when it was revealed that married Gina began sleeping with married Brett while they were both in Iraq during Bully Boy Bush's term and that, as lovers, Gina felt she needed to not only share her copy with Brett (who worked for the White House) but also needed to let him vet the copy in advance of her editors, that was outrageous.
It was a breach of every journalistic ethic.
And if it had been exposed in 2008, they would've torn Gina and Brett apart.
But now Brett was a Barack nominee.
So instead of demanding standards, the left 'watchdogs' ignored it.
The one brief bit of coverage?
A 'watchdog' was shamed into it.
Martha and Shirley write their yearly look at books: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.
Martha, of course does so much more than that. She should do her own site. But she does so much and that includes attempting to get coverage of Iraq.
Here's Erika Fry at CJR:
Earlier this week, I wrote about media coverage surrounding the “racy emails” that led to Des Moines, IA, school superintendent Nancy Sebring’s resignation. Sebring’s emails—I’d classify them as “really really embarrassing” before I’d call them “racy”—received attention on the Web from outlets around the world. They all gleefully cast her as their very own 50 Shades of Grey character.
A concerned CJR reader, Martha, commented that we were ignoring a more important racy email story. A Wall Street Journal reporter resigned on Tuesday after a flirty email exchanges with a US official—a source at the time, now her husband—were made available on the Internet. Sigh.
We get that sex sells, but the press would be well served by some soul searching on how much is too much—and how to report these stories with a little humanity. Some things are just not the public’s business.
Gina Chon, the Journal reporter, made an obvious ethical lapse in 2008 when she entered into a relationship Brett McGurk, a US official in Iraq, the country she was covering and failed to disclose it. She made another, arguably bigger one when she showed him her stories before they were published.
That's our Martha. Praise for Martha for shaming CJR into writing about. Even if Erika Fry dismissed it.
A reporter covering a story is having an affair with a source -- bad enough. The source is a government employee working on the story she's covering -- even worse. This is not disclosed to her editors -- appalling -- and she's letting him vet her copy -- firable.
And she was fired. She was informed in the meeting, and I knew she would be ahead of the meeting because we were the first ones to cover this story and I pulled in every favor I could to ensure that this was not swept under the rug at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, that there was no discussion, "we will take your resignation now."
She was fired.
A Bush official used his cock to influence coverage and a reporter gladly agreed to it and yet FAIR, Norman Solomon, Amy Goodman and all the rest stayed silent.
Because they suddenly loved Bully Boy Bush?
Because Brett was now Barack's nominee.
And they didn't want to embarrass St. Barack.
That's how they played every issue and every angle for the last eight years.
The Iraqi people have lived with death and destruction daily.
But these people didn't give a damn.
They were too busy protecting Barack.
Remember how Norman and Amy and Laura and all the rest loved them under Bully Boy Bush?
But we're the only ones who regularly said Barack should pardon them.
Their so-called champions didn't want to embarrass Barack by putting any demands on him.
Which is why two terms later, Jeremy Hinzman, Kyle Snyder, Andre Damon, et al are not pardoned and face either prison or exile.
And let's not let off the celebrity 'activists.' The Alyssa Milanos and Debra Messings. They are so deeply concerned about Syria and the 'rebels' -- so concerned.
Where's your concern for the children of Iraq? The US government destroyed Iraq. As US citizens, you're responsible (so am I -- why do you think I haven't been able to shut down this site I only planned to exist for four years). Where your Tweet for them?
Amnesty International notes this morning:
The desperate plight of a generation of children is in the balance as the bloody battle for the city of Mosul threatens to become a humanitarian catastrophe, Amnesty International said today following a field investigation.
On a visit to the region this month, the organization met children of all ages who had suffered terrible injuries after being caught in the line of fire between the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) and government forces, who are backed by a US-led coalition.
“Children caught in the crossfire of the brutal battle for Mosul have seen things that no one, of any age, should ever see. I met children who have not only sustained horrific wounds but have also seen their relatives and neighbours decapitated in mortar strikes, torn to shreds by car bombs or mine explosions, or crushed under the rubble of their homes,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who returned from a 17-day mission to northern Iraq.
“War-wounded children then find themselves in hospitals overflowing with patients, or in camps for displaced people, where dire humanitarian conditions make their physical and psychological recovery even more difficult. Many others remain trapped in areas where the fighting is raging. There is an urgent need for the Iraqi authorities and their international partners in the battle for Mosul to set up better care, rehabilitation and protection systems for affected civilians. Looking after civilian victims, particularly the most vulnerable, should be an absolute priority - not an afterthought.”
Human Rights Watch notes this morning:
Armed groups in Iraq affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have recruited boys and girls, Human Rights Watch said today. In two cases the armed groups abducted or seriously abused children who tried to leave their forces. The groups should urgently demobilize children, investigate abuses, pledge to end child recruitment, and appropriately penalize commanders who fail to do so.
Human Rights Watch documented 29 cases in northern Iraq in which Kurdish and Yezidi children were recruited by two armed groups, the People’s Defense Forces (Hêzên Parastina Gel, or HPG) and the Shingal Resistance Units (Yekîneyên Berxwedana Şingal, or YBŞ). The HPG is the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is known by its initials, the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê). The YBŞ, a militia from the Yezidi religious community, is also affiliated with the PKK.
Where are the Tweets for the children of Iraq?
And why not concern for all of the population?
We are responsible, in the US, for what has happened to Iraq.
Our government started the illegal war (2003), our government denied the Iraqi people their vote (2010 -- they voted Nouri out of office but Barack went around the people and their vote and created The Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract that gave Nouri a second term).
Even Barack finally had enough of Nouri in 2014 and forced him out.
But this on the US government, our government, and how dare we spend 8 years looking away.
And how dare we then take our empty heads to Twitter to pretend we're calling for protection of Syrian children when all we're calling for is yet another Middle East war.
The stupid are always with us -- and the damage they do is tremendous.
In Iraq today:
BREAKING: Iraq's Defense Ministry says car bombs in east Mosul market kill at least 15 civilians, 8 police.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated: