Saturday, February 13, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Saturday, February 13, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Hillary War Hawk Clinton remains under fire for her lies and blood lust, it appears that the Kurds are about to get sold out by the US government again, the Iraqi government continues to persecute the Sunnis, and much more.

Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State and forever War Hawk Hillary Clinton are facing off against one another for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.   Bernie notes that he voted against the Iraq War in 2002.  A defensive and hostile Hillary tries to insist that was years ago and no answer to what is taking place today.

But that vote had long lasting effects.

As did Hillary Clinton's defense of and support for the Iraq War.

That vote isn't even a 'mistake' in her eyes until she's seeking the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination.

James Zogby (HUFFINGTON POST) lists the consequences of that illegal war and notes:

One final "unintended consequence" of the war was not only the growth of extremist currents in the Arab world but the unleashing of an emboldened Iran on the region. With Saddam and the Taliban defeated, Iran was able to expand its influence in Iraq and project its claim to be the leader of the "resistance against the West".
As Bernie Sanders correctly notes, it wasn't just the Bush Administration that supported this disastrous war. The Democratic-led Senate passed the resolution that was used to justify the invasion. And so, dear critics and cynics, before suggesting that Sanders lacks the wisdom to conduct foreign policy, pay attention to the judgment and foresight he demonstrated in what he has rightly termed the most critical decision Senators were called on to make in this century.

In bringing up his opposition to the war, he is not only distinguishing himself from Hillary Clinton, who supported the invasion, he is also correctly laying the predicate for a more thoughtful realist-based foreign policy grounded in respect for international law and institutions, cooperation with partners, and diplomatic engagement.   

Hillary and he spinners try to reduce the Iraq War vote as a minor blip when, in fact, it goes to exactly who she is and what she believes in.

None of their spin or justifications have managed to refute the basic points Stephen Zunes raised in "The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq."  Unable to refute those points, they just ignore them.

Instead, they offer garbage like "Hillary Clinton has finally found a good answer on her Iraq vote."  No, her snippy little comment that a 2002 vote doesn't address the Islamic State today is not a good answer for anything.

If anything, it should underscore the fact that she herself has no plan for addressing the Islamic State and that, while she was Secretary of State, the US government played footsie with Nouri al-Maliki.

In April of 2008, she publicly called Nouri a thug.

And last month, at a debate, she insisted, "If there is any blame to be spread around, it starts with the prime minister of Iraq, who sectarianized his military, setting Shia against Sunni."

Nouri lost the 2010 elections.  So how did he end up with a second term as prime minister?

The US brokered a legal contract -- The Erbil Agreement -- which overturned the election and overruled the Iraqi people.

Hillary was Secretary of State at that time.

She doesn't appear to want to talk about that.

Maybe she's lucky so many people just focus on her 2002 vote?

Gloria La Riva (CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX) weighs in on Hillary and Mad Maddie Albright:

In 2003, Senator Clinton supported invasion and occupation of Iraq. In 2011, as Secretary of State, she was chief advocate in the Obama administration in calling for the bombing war that killed, wounded and displaced unknown numbers of Libyans and devastated the country.
After the torture and murder of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, Clinton laughingly told a CBS interviewer: “We came, we saw, he died.
Albright and Clinton thus share much in common both with each other and their far more numerous murderous male counterparts in the top levels of the U.S. imperialist state machine. That they who have worked to destroy the lives of so many millions of women would now presume to lecture young women on “feminism” and attempt to shame them into supporting Clinton is a despicable travesty.

Maria Bustillos (LOS ANGELS TIMES) sums up where she stands on the candidates:

Sanders voted against the Iraq war resolution, while then-Sen. Clinton allied herself with the Bush regime and voted for it. For this reason, she personally bears a small part of the responsibility for hundreds of thousands — perhaps over a million — avoidable deaths in a stupid war that brought nothing but grief to that unfortunate country, and our own. I do not care whether Clinton is a woman or a space alien: I cannot and will never support a Democrat in a primary who did not speak out forcefully against invading Iraq at the time.
That is a deal-breaker — I can hardly believe that my party has seen fit to put a pro-Iraq war candidate on our ticket at all — but there are a lot of other reasons I don't support Clinton.

Ralph Nader (DISSIDENT VOICE) offers:

But it is in the area of foreign and military affairs that “Hillary the hawk” is most vulnerable. As Secretary of State her aggressiveness and poor judgement led her to the White House where, sweeping aside the strong objections of Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, she persuaded President Obama to bomb Libya and topple its dictatorial regime.
Gates had warned about the aftermath. He was right. Libya has descended into a ghastly state of chaotic violence that has spilled into neighboring African nations, such as Mali, and that opened the way for ISIS to establish an expanding base in central Libya. Her fellow hawks in Washington are now calling for U.S. special forces to go to Libya.
Whether as Senator on the Armed Services Committee or as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton has never met a war or raid she didn’t like, or a redundant, wasteful weapons system she was willing to aggressively challenge. As president, Hillary Clinton would mean more wars, more raids, more blowbacks, more military spending and more profits for the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower so prophetically warned about in his farewell address.
So when Bernie Sanders properly chided her for having as an advisor, Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, she bridled and tried to escape by asking Sanders to name his foreign policy advisors.

In fact, Kissinger and Clinton do have much in common about projecting the American Empire to brutal levels. Kissinger was the “butcher of Cambodia,” launching an illegal assault that destabilized that peaceful country into the Pol Pot slaughter of millions of innocents. She was the illegal “butcher of Libya,” an ongoing, unfolding tragedy whose blowbacks of “unintended consequences” are building by the week.

With a record with so little to praise, Hillary and her supporters have turned to smearing Bernie Sanders.  Not everyone's going along with the Clinton attacks. At POLITICO, Lawrence Korb reflects on Bernie and foreign policy:

Sanders has demonstrated these principles in Congress. Before the 2016 campaign, I briefed him once, in 2006, when we discussed a foreign policy paper I had coauthored about how the United States could begin a strategic, phased withdrawal from Iraq. Unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, who characterized our plan as cut-and-run, Sanders supported it. He recognized that Iraq was not the most critical front in the war against terror; that America’s involvement there was creating more terrorists in the region and around the globe than we were capturing or killing; and that the Iraq War was diverting attention and resources from the necessary war in Afghanistan.
Sanders’ military restraint extends to spending, too. Since coming to Congress, he has argued forcefully and repeatedly for eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Pentagon so that we can reduce defense spending. There is no need for the United States to spend more than the next seven top-spending countries in the world combined, several of which are our allies, and more in real dollars than we spent annually on average during the Cold War. As President Obama has pointed out, while America has many challenges in the world, we are not in the midst of World War III.

The Iraq War continues with the US Defense Dept bragging/announcing/claiming the following today:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed four ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Fallujah, a strike denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL front-end loader.
-- Near Makhmur, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL staging areas and an ISIL bed down location and suppressing an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions.
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.

Month after month, US President Barack Obama has presented a 'plan' and nothing is accomplished.  

The US government and the Iraqi government have refused to address the core issues which include the persecution of the Sunnis. 

Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) reports:

When Iraqi ground forces and American aircraft began assaulting the city of Ramadi more than a month ago, Ghusoon Muhammed and her family fled to the government’s front line, as did many other Sunni Arab families who had been trapped for months. Soldiers sent her and the children one way, and her husband another, to be interrogated in a detention facility.
She has not seen him or heard from him since.   She and her children, who will most likely not be able to go home to Ramadi for months given the destruction, have been left to wait in a ramshackle tent camp here in Anbar Province.  She is desperate, and adamant: "The innocent people in jail need to be released!" she said.
Standing nearby on Sunday was another woman, Karima Nouri.  Her son an auto mechanic, was also taken away by the authorities, and she has had no word about him for weeks.  Ms. Nouri said the government considered civilians who remained in Ramadi to be sympathizers of the Islamic State.

When this is taking place -- again taking place -- don't pretend that anyone's addressing anything.

Liar and Barack's special envoy Brett McGurk appeared before Congress this week.

Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  We will not put a timeline on when Mosul will be liberated, but shaping operations to lay the groundwork for isolating ISIL inside the city have now begun. Kurdish Peshmerga forces two months ago liberated Sinjar, cutting off a highway that feeds Mosul from Syria. This operation was launched simultaneously to the SDF taking al Hawl, and began the bifurcation of northern Iraq from Syria – making it harder for ISIL to move material and supplies. These constricting operations will continue, and set the stage for political efforts to organize and coordinate liberation operations. My visit to Baghdad last week focused on ensuring close cooperation between political leaders, as well as Iraqi Security Force and Peshmerga commanders. Thanks to the great efforts of our Department of Defense colleagues, and our Ambassador in Baghdad, Stu Jones, there is now a joint command center established east of Mosul to synchronize all of these efforts going forward. Mosul will not be a D-Day like assault. Nor will we announce when key events are to take place. But ISIL will feel increasing pressure inside this city -- day-to-day and week-to-week. This slow and steady suffocation is now underway. We are killing ISIL members inside Mosul every week. We are also uprooting their sustainment network and have destroyed the cash storage sites used to pay, recruit, and train their fighters.

In June of 2014, the Islamic State seized Mosul.

The Baghdad-based government has been in no hurry to rescue the citizens or liberate the city.

On the global stage, Baghdad has sported its cowardice for all to see.

McGurk was appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.  We covered some of the hearing in Wednesday's snapshot and in Thursday's snapshot.

We'll note this exchange.

US House Rep Paul Cook: Picking up on that question of the Turks and the Kurds, point blank, is there any hope for a separate homeland for the Kurdistan?  I don' think geography favors it.  But we've disappointed the Kurds so many times and after all of their fighting and everything else, particularly with the pressure with the Kurds -- I just don't . . . I think we're going to betray them once again.  Can you comment on that?

Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  Well the Kurds -- and I've dealt with my friends, the Kurds, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for almost a decade now.  And you're right, there's a historical memory of what happened to the Kurds after WWI which is something I think we all have to recognize and be sympathetic to.  Uhm, the Kurds in northern Syria we've developed a relationship with over the last 18 months or so in the counter-ISIL campaign.  I was able to go into northern Syria last week and meet a number of them.  And they have the same -- it's a very similar historical narrative.  Uhm, however, at this moment in time, creating new, independent states is not something that I think would be particularly stabilizing.  So when it comes to northern Iraq, and the Kurds, as I mentioned, I think before something like that can be discussed in a serious manner, first you have to get ISIS off the southern border, it's all jihad-istan on the entire southern border of northern Iraq and the Kurdistan region.  Second, the economic situation has to stabilize.  And, third, the political situation has to stabilize.  So right now, I think the Kurds of northern Iraq, uh, and recognize this.  Nobody is trying to do the impossible and create a unified Iraq that is a glowing democracy.  But a federal Iraq, which is defined in their constitution, which empowers local leaders, empowers the Sunnis in the provinces, empowers the Kurds in northern Iraq, empowers the Shia in southern Iraq is something that's realistic, is something that is in Iraq's constitution and something that we support.

For those paying attention, it appears the Kurds are about to get stabbed in the back yet again.  And, for the record, the Iraqi constitution also has a measure for independence but when provinces attempt to utilize that the US government suddenly has no interest in defending the country's constitution.

Winding down,  David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration.  This is from Bacon's "An Intentional Homeless Community" (EAST BAY EXPRESS):

Michael Lee started living on the streets of San Francisco last May. He had traveled to the city from Las Vegas to seek medical treatment. When he arrived, he searched for cheap, temporary housing in some of San Francisco's most affordable neighborhoods, but he had seriously underestimated the cost of living in the nation's most expensive city.

"I was under the impression the rent was $300 a month, and I brought the resources for sixty days," he said in an interview. "I was going to go back to Las Vegas afterwards and go back to work. But the first place I walked into, they told me it was $300 a week. The next was $400 a week, and then $500. People were laughing at me - $300 a week is actually cheap on Skid Row. So I wound up living on the streets."

Lee soon heard of a large encampment in Berkeley that homeless activists had set up to protest the US Postal Service's plan to sell Berkeley's historic downtown post office building. So he moved across the bay and quickly became a leader of the Berkeley camp. He advocated for a plan to transform the old post office building into a community resource: "A homeless contact center run by homeless people," he said.

"Why [were] homeless people the main defenders?" Lee asked rhetorically, referring to the post office.  "Without community resources we can't get a hand up. There's just no place to go. This is where we live, unfortunately - on the sidewalks. We don't want to live in a community where private developers, the One Percenters, have everything."

The following community sites updated:

Isakson Talks Veterans’ Health Care, VA Accountability on C-SPAN Newsmakers


Senator Johnny Isakson (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following yesterday: 


Friday, February 12, 2016

Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
Lauren Gaydos, 202-224-9126

Isakson Talks Veterans’ Health Care, VA Accountability on C-SPAN Newsmakers
‘If a man or a woman in the United States of America… serves in harm’s way to protect each and every one of us, they deserve every benefit that we have promised to them’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will be featured on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” this Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 10:00 ET and 6:00 p.m. ET.
In light of the release of the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, Senator Isakson will discuss the proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the importance of meeting the needs of veterans while also being responsible stewards of taxpayer money. He also talks about what the committee is doing to expand the Veterans’ Choice Program to further ensure that all veterans have access to timely and quality health care.
“If a man or a woman in the United States of America volunteers to serve in our Armed Services and serves in harm’s way to protect each and every one of us, they deserve every benefit that we have promised to them and one of those benefits is health care,” says Isakson in the interview. “We should not shortchange our veterans who risked their lives for us… We are going to continue to have increased demand [for health care], and increased demand is going to increase the amount of money we have to pay out. But the better the quality [of health care], the more timely the quality and the maximization of the private sector by using Choice will take pressure off the cost of the VA.”
Isakson also discusses efforts by the committee to ensure that leadership at the VA has the authority to hold bad actors at the agency accountable. Recently, the Merit Systems Protection Board overturned the VA’s disciplinary actions against three executives, proving that the VA is incapable of holding its employees accountable.
“We have to have the ability to hold employees accountable and we have to have the ability to reward employees when they’re doing a good job,” Isakson continues. “We want to make sure the secretary has the ability to discipline within the department, those that are disciplined have the ability to appeal but in a timely basis, and people can be held accountable… Those people who are doing well can be rewarded [and] those that are not can be terminated. I am working to make sure that is… a lasting medal of our committee in terms of what we accomplish this year.”
You can watch Senator Isakson’s interview online now, or live on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” on Sunday, February 14, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. ET and 6:00 p.m. ET.
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.

Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Haider al-Abadi sells Iraq's future to the highest bidders

Years from now, will the Iraqi people look back and see Haider al-Abadi as the person who sold them into financial slavery?

Or will they just see nonsense like this and think, "Good for Haider"?

 9 retweets 5 likes

  •  How sweet.

    Germany and Angela Merkel are offering Iraq aid, a gift, of $566 million.

    Uh, no.

    Link to headline article

    It's a loan.

    Part of the reason Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani may have made his recent announcement that he will no longer be using Friday sermons to comment on the political situation in Iraq?

    Because no one listens.

    No one in the government anyway.

    He has long (and vocally) opposed Iraq getting into debt with the IMF but Haider's gotten cozy there.

    Now Haider wants to take more money that will have to be paid back.

    The Iraq War was about oil and it was about markets.

    It was about grabbing the oil, yes.  It was also about destroying the state oil machine and freeing the various elements of Iraq's oil industry up to international corporations.

    And it's been about turning it away from a state economy.

    Why the hell does it matter to the US government if some Iraqi man or woman is getting some free rice, tea and milk from the Iraqi government each month?

    It shouldn't.

    But damned if the US government hasn't tried to destroy that aid repeatedly.

    And as Iraq takes on more and more debt, it also takes on dictates, commands, about how it must alter its economic structure.

    Haider's destroying the country.

    On aid for reconstruction?

    He could shame the international community into doing what's needed with donations that never need to be repaid.

    He could also learn to tighten the belt -- starting with the perks the officials receive.

    Iraq's financial situation is not dire.

    They are not Ethiopia or another country that struggles constantly.

    They have oil.

    Even now, they make billions each month.

    And so much money is wasted on items that are not needed.

    Case in point, Gareth Jennings, London (IHS JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY) reports, "Iraq is considering the procurement of 'a small number' of MiG-29 'Fulcrum' aircraft to augment its fixed-wing combat capabilities, Russian media disclosed on 10 February."


    Is the Islamic State flying around Iraq in combat helicopters?


    So this goes to what?

    How cowardly Iraqi forces are?

    Or their generals?

    To 'storm' Ramadi, they needed what, ten times the number of Islamic State forces estimated to be in the city?

    And bombs dropped by the US?

    How weak are they?

    And Mosul?

    Seized in 2014 and still controlled by the Islamic State?

    How pathetic are you?

    You're going to let a terrorist group seize a city and control it for two years?

    How pathetic are you?

    Now, please note, once the forces go in the Shi'ite militias are suddenly 'brave' enough to terrorize the civilians.

    Because that's what cowards do -- puff out their chests and threaten the innocent.

    Cowards just don't take on terrorists.

    It's past time that the world stops babying Iraq and saying, "Oh, good forces, you're almost ready, you're almost ready."

    Get ready.

    Stop being so damn pathetic and so damn useless.

    Mosul's been held by the Islamic State for almost two years.  The Iraqi government should be ashamed of itself.

    It has left the citizens of Mosul at the mercy of terrorists for nearly two years.

    In what way is that cowardly and pathetic government -- made up mainly of exiles who fled the country when Saddam Hussein was in charge because they were too cowardly to take on Hussein -- in what way is that cowardly and pathetic government serving the citizens?

    It's not.

    The following community sites -- plus Dissident Voice, Latino USA, Pacifica Evening News (love the headline, even though they mean "Clinton") and Jody Watley -- updated:


    The e-mail address for this site is


    Thursday, February 11, 2016

    Iraq snapshot

    Thursday, February 11, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, War Hawk Hillary Clinton continues to be pushed on her vote for the Iraq War, her War Hawk buddies also becomes an issue, and much more.

    Let's start with the ongoing Iraq War .  Specifically, let's start with the decision to support it to begin with.

    Yesterday, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Iraq, Syria and Libya.  Appearing before the Committee was President Barack Obama's Special Envoy Brett McGurk.  The original decision to support the Iraq War was raised.  First . . .

    US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: You know, frankly, we Republicans made a mistake when we backed our president when he said: "We have to get rid of Saddam Hussein."  And frankly it looks like to me that all of this chaos and confusion that you're describing today that is unfortunately in your lap to  try to correct started when we made a mistake [that] 'we have to get rid of Saddam Hussein because he's a bad guy and he's committing crimes against his own people and that's destabilizing the whole area.' [. . .]  

    Secondly . . .

    US House Rep Gerry Connolly:  I certainly want to concur with my friend from California and his critique of the mistake by Republicans in supporting the reckless foreign policy of George W. Bush.  And I certainly want to associate myself with those remarks.

    US House Rep Dan Rohrbacher: Absolutely. 

    Those darn Republicans, supporting, in 2002, the move to go to war on Iraq.

    Darn Republicans.

  • . wise vote against War is one reason why endorsed him over

  • What?

    Oh, right.

    Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War.

    And she's not a Republican -- not anymore, right?

    She was on stage tonight in Milawukee (wearing another ridiculous outfit -- is 'business professional' just beyond her understanding?).  It was the Democratic Party debate, the latest one.  This one hosted by PBS and THE PBS NEWSHOUR with news anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff actings as moderators while Hillary debated Senator Bernie Sanders.

    Wouldn't you know it?  Iraq was an issue.

    Specifically, Hillary's vote for the United States to go to war with Iraq.

    This is from the transcript provided by THE WASHINGTON POST (which is annotated online).

    SANDERS: Let me just say this. What a president of the United States has got to do -- and what is his or her major, I think, responsibility -- is to, A, make certain that we keep our people safe, that we work with allies around the world to protect...
    ... president of the United States has got to do, and what is his or her major, I think, responsibility, is to, A, make certain that we keep our people safe. That we work with allies around the world to protect democratic values. That we do all that we can to create a world of peace and prosperity.
    I voted against the war in Iraq because I listened very carefully to what President Bush and Vice President Cheney had to say and I didn't believe them. And if you go to my Web site,, what you find is not only going to help lead the opposition to that war, but much of what I feared would happen when I spoke on the floor of the House, in fact, did happen in terms of the instability that occurred.
    Now I think an area in kind of a vague way, or not so vague, where Secretary Clinton and I disagree is the area of regime change. Look, the truth is that a powerful nation like the United States, certainly working with our allies, we can overthrow dictators all over the world.
    And God only knows Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator. We could overthrow Assad tomorrow if we wanted to. We got rid of Gadhafi. But the point about foreign policy is not just to know that you can overthrow a terrible dictator, it's to understand what happens the day after.
    And in Libya, for example, the United States, Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, working with some other countries, did get rid of a terrible dictator named Gadhafi. But what happened is a political vacuum developed. ISIS came in, and now occupies significant territory in Libya, and is now prepared, unless we stop them, to have a terrorist foothold.
    But this is nothing new. This has gone on 50 or 60 years where the United States has been involved in overthrowing governments. Mossadegh back in 1953. Nobody knows who Mossadegh was, democratically-elected prime minister of Iran. He was overthrown by British and American interests because he threatened oil interests of the British. And as a result of that, the shah of Iran came in, terrible dictator. The result of that, you had the Iranian Revolution coming in, and that is where we are today. Unintended consequences.
    So I believe as president I will look very carefully about unintended consequences. I will do everything I can to make certain that the United States and our brave men and women in the military do not get bogged down in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.


    CLINTON: If I could just respond. Two points. One, Senator Sanders voted in 1998 on what I think is fair to call a regime change resolution with respect to Iraq, calling for the end of Saddam Hussein's regime.
    He voted in favor of regime change with Libya, voted in favor of the Security Council being an active participate in setting the parameters for what we would do, which of course we followed through on.
    I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It's very important we focus on the threats we face today, and that we understand the complicated and dangerous world we are in.
    When people go to vote in primaries or caucuses, they are voting not only for the president, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. And it's important that people really look hard at what the threats and dangers we face are, and who is best prepared for dealing with them.
    As we all remember, Senator Obama, when he ran against me, was against the war in Iraq. And yet when he won, he turned to me, trusting my judgment, my experience, to become secretary of state.
    I was very honored to be asked to do that and very honored to serve with him those first four years.


    SANDERS: Judy, if I can, there is no question, Secretary Clinton and I are friends, and I have a lot of respect for her, that she has enormous experience in foreign affairs. Secretary of state for four years. You've got a bit of experience, I would imagine.
    But judgment matters as well. Judgment matters as well. And she and I looked at the same evidence coming from the Bush administration regarding Iraq. I lead the opposition against it. She voted for it.
    But more importantly, in terms of this Libya resolution that you have noted before, this was a virtually unanimous consent. Everybody voted for it wanting to see Libya move toward democracy, of course we all wanted to do that.

    SANDERS: That is very different than talking about specific action for regime change, which I did not support.

    "I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016," Hillary grumped.

    Nor is saying "I made a mistake" owning your destructive vote.

    Hillary has refused to address the needs of the Iraqi people.

    Yet again, she insisted she was a champion of women -- those who didn't claim to sleep with her husband, to be raped by her husband or to be harassed by her husband.

    Well no woman from Iraq has ever claimed Bill Clinton made unwanted advances so what's Hillary's excuse for do nothing to help the women of Iraq?

    She's the woman who calls herself a champion of women.  She's the woman who now says her vote for the Iraq War was a mistake.

    A mistake?

    Wearing that ugly canary yellow top that looked like it was from the Chairman Mao collection to a professional debate was a mistake.

    The birth defects in Iraq?  That's not a mistake.  That's a tragedy brought on by a crime.

    What's Hillary going to do about that?


    For nearly 8 years now, she's given lip service to "I made a mistake" but she's never once explained how she would correct that mistake, what she's doing to atone for it.

    We're all supposed to be thrilled that Hillary can now call her vote to endorse a criminal war of aggression was a "mistake."

    Hillary's a neocon.

    It's why she made Victoria Nuland the spokesperson for the US State Dept and why she made Nuland's husband Robert Kagan an advisor.

    Here's Leslie Kelb writing at DEMOCRACY JOURNAL:

    Robert Kagan, the neoconservative extraordinaire, sees this shift as an opportunity to change the political center of gravity and is trying to shape the new consensus. In his latest book, The World America Made (2012), and other writings, he is reaching across the decades-old political abyss to tempted Democrats. And there, he has found Hillary Clinton, the unannounced Democratic nominee for President, among others, carefully reaching back. This potential embrace on international matters is not beyond the means of such experienced players. Foreign-policy alignments have shallower roots than domestic policy differences, and historically, the parties have enjoyed considerable overlapping of hawks and doves, activists, and de facto isolationists. Moreover, these positions can change on a dime.
    Kagan’s courtship of Clinton has been quite open. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” he told The New York Times in June. “[I]t’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” He himself tellingly prefers the term “liberal interventionist.”
    Kagan has his reasons for saying this publicly, not least the shifting sands of his own Republican Party. The Obama years have bared new conflicts among conservatives, particularly between the majority that still backs strong U.S. military responses to terrorist threats in the Mideast and a vocal minority of self-styled Tea Party libertarians who share left-wing Democrats’ disdain for foreign military entanglements. Accordingly, Kagan is hedging his bets by trying to fashion a new home, virtually constructing it himself—a de facto coalition of activist Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans in this ad hoc group are unlikely to campaign for Clinton, but they will be careful about attacking her foreign-policy views and will be well positioned to support her national-security positions if she wins.
    [. . .]
    For much of this period of neoconservative ascendance, Robert Kagan has been their intellectual tribune. This is why his courtship of Clinton is so interesting. Kagan’s open flirtation with Clinton has been coyly accepted and even reciprocated. While continuing to clutch the liberals’ new priorities like women’s rights, democracy, and climate change in her left hand, she is extending her right hand to the hawks. Few failed to notice when she selected Kagan to sit on her bipartisan State Department advisory group or when she picked his wife, Victoria Nuland, a very accomplished diplomat in her own right, as her spokeswoman. And it’s no accident that the much-admired former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, a friend to the Clintons and Kagans, keeps Kagan on at the venerable Brookings Institution as a senior fellow.

    She calls her vote a 'mistake' yet she continues to pal around with and seek the counsel of those who advocated for that 'mistake.'

    Hillary's a liar.

    And who she hangs with says a great deal about her lack of ethics.

    Back to tonight's debate:

    SANDERS: Judy, one area very briefly...

    WOODRUFF: Just a final word.

    SANDERS: Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate -- and I believe in her book -- very good book, by the way -- in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.


    I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger's actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.


    IFILL: Secretary Clinton? 

    CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.

    SANDERS: Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger. That's for sure.

    CLINTON: That's fine. That's fine.


    You know, I listen to a wide variety of voices that have expertise in various areas. I think it is fair to say, whatever the complaints that you want to make about him are, that with respect to China, one of the most challenging relationships we have, his opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America.


    So if we want to pick and choose -- and I certainly do -- people I listen to, people I don't listen to, people I listen to for certain areas, then I think we have to be fair and look at the entire world, because it's a big, complicated world out there.

    SANDERS: It is.

    CLINTON: And, yes, people we may disagree with on a number of things may have some insight, may have some relationships that are important for the president to understand in order to best protect the United States.


    SANDERS: I find -- I mean, it's just a very different, you know, historical perspective here. Kissinger was one of those people during the Vietnam era who talked about the domino theory. Not everybody remembers that. You do. I do. The domino theory, you know, if Vietnam goes, China, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. That's what he talked about, the great threat of China.

    And then, after the war, this is the guy who, in fact, yes, you're right, he opened up relations with China, and now pushed various type of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. The terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship he warned us about, now he's urging companies to shut down and move to China. Not my kind of guy. 

    Henry Kissinger made have played footsie with the likes of Gloria Steinem (another Hillary supporter) but he's better known for being a caged American citizen.

    By which I mean that Henry is not free range.

    He can't travel to this country or that country for fear that they might extradite him and he might go on trial at the Hague for War Crimes.

    His War Crimes are too numerous to offer even a sweeping overview.

    Instead, we'll just focus on Chile.

    In 1998, he faced criticism for his War Crimes.  Bill and Hillary stood by him.

    Here's Martin McLaughlin (WSWS):

    If Augusto Pinochet deserves detention, trial and punishment for mass murder, then what about his American controllers--Henry Kissinger, then-CIA director Richard Helms and other US government officials who inspired, directed and supported the 1973 military coup in Chile?
    The official American reaction to the detention of Pinochet has been sympathetic to the former dictator. The Clinton administration is opposing his extradition out of concern that a public trial in Spain would bring to light the extensive involvement of US intelligence agencies in Pinochet's bloody deeds.
    Pinochet's seizure of power on September 11, 1973 was the product of a protracted US campaign of political manipulation and destabilization in Chile. In 1964 the Johnson administration poured tens of millions of dollars into a covert campaign to insure the election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei as president, over the Socialist Party candidate Salvador Allende.
    In 1970, with Frei ineligible to succeed himself and Allende the favorite to win the next election, Chile became a problem for the Nixon administration. The super-secret 40 Committee, a high-level body chaired by Henry Kissinger, with representatives from the State Department, CIA and Pentagon, decided that a massive electoral intervention would likely spark a backlash. US Ambassador Edward Korry urgently recommended a CIA covert operation to prepare a preemptive military coup.
    Kissinger declared, "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." But he and CIA Director Helms blocked the proposed pre-election coup as unworkable. More time was needed, they argued.
    Allende won the election on a reformist program, but his victory sparked a mass movement of the working class and poor peasants which had immense revolutionary potential. Allende and his Stalinist backers in the Chilean Communist Party spent the next three years restraining, discouraging and disorienting the mass movement, blocking any decisive challenge to the Chilean ruling class and American imperialism, while the right-wing and fascist elements prepared their counterattack. During this period there were six unsuccessful right-wing coup attempts, most of them with direct American aid.
    The US involvement in coup planning began even before Allende's election victory, under the codename FUBELT, with action plans prepared for Kissinger's consideration. One group of officers working under CIA direction carried out the assassination of General Rene Schneider, a pro-Allende officer, in an unsuccessful attempt to spark a full-scale coup before Allende could take office.

    A CIA cable from October 16, 1970, released under the Freedom of Information Act, spells out US government objectives: "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup.... We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and -American hand be well hidden."

    In 2002, Jonathan Franklin and Duncan Campbell (GUARDIAN) noted:

    Henry Kissinger may face extradition proceedings in connection with the role of the United States in the 1973 military coup in Chile.
    The former US secretary of state is wanted for questioning as a witness in the investigation into the events surrounding the overthrow of the socialist president, Salvador Allende, by General Augusto Pinochet.
    It focuses on CIA involvement in the coup, whether US officials passed lists of leftwing Americans in Chile to the military and whether the US embassy failed to assist Americans deemed sympathetic to the deposed government.
    Chile's Judge Juan Guzman is so frustrated by the lack of cooperation by Mr Kissinger that he is now considering an extradition request to force him to come to Chile and testify in connection with the death of the American film-maker and journalist Charles Horman, who was killed by the military days after the coup.
    Horman's story was told in the 1982 Costa-Gavras film, Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.
    Judge Guzman is investigating whether US officials passed the names of suspected leftwing Americans to Chilean military authorities. Declassified documents have now revealed that such a list existed. Sergio Corvalan, a Chilean lawyer, said that he could not divulge the "dozens" of names on the list.
    At the time of his death, Horman was investigating the murder of Rene Schneider, the chief of staff in the Chilean army whose support for Allende and the constitution was seen as an obstacle to the coup.

    Time and again, Hillary sides with the wrong people -- Kagan, Kissinger, Mad Maddie Albright.

    It's a pattern with her.

    She repeatedly befriends people whose actions demonstrate contempt for human life and for participatory democracy.

    Her addiction to regime change is rooted in the belief system she shared with Albright, Kagan and Kissinger.


    In tonight's debate, she insisted, "I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It's very important we focus on the threats we face today, and that we understand the complicated and dangerous world we are in.  When people go to vote in primaries or caucuses, they are voting not only for the president, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. And it's important that people really look hard at what the threats and dangers we face are, and who is best prepared for dealing with them."

    Now she's claiming she's fit to be commander-in-chief?

    She who would send US troops into any war at a moment's notice, without reading intel or carefully vetting a decision of what is the best option?

    And should she become president and send thousands more US troops to their deaths, will she blame that "mistake" on Bully Boy Bush as well?

    The Iraq War she endorsed and sought continues to this day.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced/claimed/asserted/bragged:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 13 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker and denied ISIL access to terrain.

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

    -- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck inoperable coalition equipment, denying ISIL access in support of coalition operations.

    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.

    It's Hillary week?

    Is it Hillary Clinton week or something?

    With all the lies this week, I thought maybe people were emulating her.

    Take this nonsense.

  • That's John Kerry, Ash Carter & now Brett McGurk that have on the record said Baghdad has never withheld any military or supply aid to KRG.

  • Not content to lie (or just play the fool?) in a Tweet, Hadad has also written an article.

    But here's reality, Brett, Ash and John have all said on the record that the Baghdad-based government has withheld military and supply aid to the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.

    The two with the State Dept tend to portray as a thing of the past -- and sometimes get called on that spin when before Congress.

    But, yes, all three have testified to Congress that the Baghdad-based government has withheld military and supply aid.

    And when, during a Congressional hearing, members of Congress then begin stressing the need to independently supply the Kurds (or Sunnis in Anbar), the three will insist that it's being addressed, they're speaking with the Iraqi government about it, blah blah blah.

    But, hey, it's Hillary Clinton week, so just lie, lie, lie.

    It's not like you've done any real work.

    It's not like you've actually sat in the hearings taking notes.

    Just say whatever the hell you want and pretend like it's true.

    Shi'ite thugs with Twitter account will reTweet your lies.

    Hadad squirts in his shorts over Haider al-Abadi's claim that he's going to shake up his Cabinet.

    That does tend to excite the stupid and/or hateful.

    The rest of the world has long ago seen through these statements by Haider and grasped that this is about further marginalizing non-Shi'ites in Iraq.

    When Nouri al-Maliki would make noises like this, many would point out that this was an attack on the protections built into the system to safeguard minorities.

    Hadad, of course, never spoke out then.

    Not about that.

    Not about the abuse and rape of Sunni women and girls in Iraqi prisons and jails.

    He never decried the false arrests and imprisonments.

    It's like the propaganda push going on domestically in the United States where a great deal of money is being spent to mislead students about Iraqi Christians.

    The Islamic State, they insist, is committing genocide against Iraqi Christians.

    Problem is that the purge of Iraqi Christians pre-dates the Islamic State.

    And was carried out by Shi'ite militias.

    No one cared.

    Brett didn't appear before Congress, as he did yesterday, insisting that this might be genocide but that they needed to study it more before applying the term.

    Iraqi Christians were just targeted, killed, forced to flee, etc.

    In 2017, the US will have to get a little more honest about Iraq.

    But far now, with Barack playing kick the can, it's clear that far too many want to just pretend that if the Islamic State is destroyed, Iraq is roses and ice cream.

    The Islamic State is a terrorist organization.

    Some Sunnis oppose it (and always did).  Some looked the other way.  Some embraced it.

    The last two categories?

    With the government persecuting Sunnis, there was little reason for them to get involved in a fight between the Baghdad-based government and the Islamic State.

    Every member of the Islamic State could die tomorrow -- and Brett thought he looked so tough (he just looked like he needed Rogaine) yesterday insisting the US was happy to help them out on that -- but that would not resolve any of the issues.

    These issues led Iraqis to protest in the streets for over a year.

    These issued led to the massacre the online Shi'ite thugs never want to Tweet about.

    The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

    This was an attack on the Sunni people.

    Not the only one.

    But certainly one of the most infamous ones.

    If you could magically remove ISIS from Iraq today, these issues would still be in place and in play.

    Although, if like online thug Haidar Sumeri, you just embrace lies and call for violence, you're probably just going to keep lying in the best Hillary Clinton fashion.

    Hillary and Bernie Sanders take the stage tonight for another debate.

    Maybe someone will have the guts to ask her at what point would she have to drop out?

    The FBI has made clear that they are indeed investigating her.

    At what point does she drop out?

    Or does she plan to just keep changing her story and stay in the race regardless of the risk she's putting the entire Democratic Party at?

    Imagine it's September and Hillary's indicted.

    Not only does that hurt the top of the ticket, you damn well better believe it hurts the races lower down.

    Even those who try to keep their distance from her would be hurt.

    So what is the threshold that has to be reached for Hillary to consider dropping out?

    It would be great if that question were asked.

    But, of course, no one would expect an honest answer from Hillary.

    The following community sites updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is