Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, July 17, 2019.  Joe Biden lies about Iraq while a US Senate Subcommittee holds a hearing on Iraq.


"If you noticed, when I was Vice President, the President gave me all the easy jobs. (laughter) Like, take care of getting all our troops out of Iraq, which we did. Take care of it etc."


That's Joe Biden speaking on the campaign trail.  Bently Elliott (GRABIEN NEWS) notes he's lying.  At least he didn't use "withdrawal" again.  Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey had real problems with him tossing out that word back in the day.  It wasn't a withdrawal, it was a draw down.  And about the only reporter who got that right in real time was Ted Koppel who reported on at NBC (on their quickly cancelled program ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS) and on NPR (primarily on the also cancelled TALK OF THE NATION).  We covered it in real time.

Joe's lying again.  All US troops never left Iraq -- that's why it was a "draw down" and not a "withdrawal."  And more were sent back in.  Now Joe's bragging about his accomplishment in Iraq and he's lying so it's time for the press to get serious about Joe and Iraq.  Will they?  Probably not.  They've lied so long, they don't know what the truth is.

The Iraq War started with lies and it's needed lies to keep it going. 

Apporva Mittal (MILITARY TIMES) offers:

To counter Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, the U.S. must maintain a strong diplomatic and military presence in neighboring Iraq, experts from the State Department and the Pentagon said at the first Senate hearing on Near East subcommittee Tuesday.
Over the years, Iran has expanded control in the Middle East region by investing heavily in Iraq, according to Joan Polaschik, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department.

The U.S. spent $20 billion between 2003 and 2011 on the Iraqi military, but it wasn’t enough to stop the rise of the Islamic State group and its attacks against Iraq, which required spending another $5 billion, Michael P. Mulroy, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He noted that expenditure on U.S. troops in Iraq had gone down from $150 billion years in 2008 to $15 billion in 2019.


Yesterday afternoon, the hearing took place and was entitled "Iraq: A Crossroads of US Policy."

Near East Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The Subcommittee Chair is Senator Mitt Romney and the Ranking Member is Chris Murphy.  Appearing before the Subcommittee was the State Dept's Joan Polaschik (Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs) and the Defense Dept's Michael P. Mulroy (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East).

Getting to the point of the war, Mitt early on lamented, "We note that Iraq has significant natural resources but it fails to exploit them."  He also lamented that a $53 billion deal made with ExxonMobil "was placed on hold."  He was back to lamenting the ExxonMobil deal in his first question as he offered that the deal would have been "a major connection between our nations."  Mitt Romney, the Senator from ExxonMobil.


Let's note that Senator Chris Murphy admitted, "ISIS is not fully defeated."  The press lied about that.  We didn't lie here.  When 'victory' was being proclaimed by every US outlet, we said ISIS wasn't gone.  It took US President Donald Trump attempting to take a victory lap on ISIS' 'defeat' for the press to finally tell the truth.  

Let's note that Barack sent more US troops back into Iraq because the US 'had' to defend Iraq from ISIS.  ISIS has been the latest lie/excuse/cover for US troops being in Iraq.  This hearing was a 'pivot' where the 'need' is now to prevent Iranian influence in Iraq.

Prevent Iranian influence in Iraq?  Maybe Donald can 'build that wall' between Iraq and Iran because they are neighbors who share a border -- and that was sarcasm.

Ranking Member Chris Murphy:  Of course there can't be any enduring victory over ISIS in Iraq without political stability.  The Iraqi government will need to rebuild decimated cities and help millions of civilians that are displaced. The Iraqi government will need to resolve territorial and resource disputes with the Kurdistan Regional Government. They need to tackle corruption, improve service delivery, diversify the economy, integrate militia groups. If this sounds like a familiar prescription for success, it's because it is.  The political mission inside Iraq is the one that America has unfortunately failed at over and over. The military successes, they come a little bit easier. We’ve spent a lot of money in Iraq, averaging about $1.2 billion annually in recent years to train and equip Iraqi security forces and billions more in economic assistance, humanitarian aid, and lines of credit.  But, looking back on the trends of U.S. assistance to Iraq, there's a pattern. Huge spikes in military and non-military assistance levels in response to outbreaks of violence in the country. And then dramatic drop-offs once victory is declared, only to see this cycle repeat.


It does sound familiar, Chris, and it has taken place over and over.  The 'surge' is only one infamous example.  Bully Boy Bush sent more US troops into Iraq.  They were supposed to address the instability -- this was actually ethnic cleansing -- which would allow the Iraqi politicians to address the issues that needed addressing.  And, of course, to meet those benchmarks.  Remember the benchmarks?  No more US funding if the Iraqi government didn't meet those benchmarks.

They never met them.

The US military did provide 'stability' or whatever but the military push was not matched by Iraqi government movement or a diplomatic push.

So the 'surge' was a success in terms of the military but a failure in terms of its overall intent.

That has happened over and over.

And what about those benchmarks? 

Iraq's never met them.  To this day.  Why are we still funding that corrupt government -- let alone providing US troops to protect it?

What is success in Iraq?  What ends this war and allows US troops to return home for good?

If you think Chris Murphy is going to provide any solution, you're kidding yourself.

Ranking Member Chris Murphy:  Listen, I opposed the Iraq war. But I also understand that we have a moral obligation as a country to help fix a nation that we played a leading role in breaking. So we need to reassure the Iraqis that we're invested in their long term stability and success.

We're back to that nonsense? 


Back in December of 2004 (in "SHOULD THIS MARRIAGE BE SAVED?"), we were addressing that nonsense.  We'll use the shorter comparison instead of going into that again.  You come to my home for a party and you spill red wine on my white carpet.  You then try to 'fix' it and only succeed in making the stain worse.  I don't want you to stay, I don't need your 'help.'  I want you out of my home and out now. 

Chris Murphy is an idiot.  We are what has prevented any resolution in Iraq.  Nouri al-Maliki and all the ones after him know that the US will protect the prime minister and the puppet government he surrounds himself with.  Because of that, they refuse to address the needs of the Iraqi people.

These are not leaders the Iraqi people has selected, grasp that.  In no country would people vote over and over to be ruled by cowards who fled their country.  That's all Iraq's had for prime ministers. 

Chris wants to talk "moral obligations" when he can't even be honest.  What a liar.

Where are the benchmarks?

They were never met.  They were put in place to justify continued support for Iraq.  But they were never met.

Joe Biden and other idiots are saying we can't have Medicare For All in the US. 

Medicare For All should be a right.  Joe wants to offer nothing but the past and his plan doesn't work and doesn't protect.


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  • People like Joe say there's not money for Medicare For All.  Well where's the money going? Americans pay taxes.  Where's the money going?  At yesterday's hearing, Chris Murphy noted that up to 2011, the US government spent 20 billion on training the Iraqi military and "Since 2014, we've spent another five billion dollars."

    That's just for training the Iraqi military.  That doesn't count billions given to the corrupt government -- billions that never benefited the Iraqi people.


    "So the logical question is what are we doing differently?" Chris asked.  He should be demanding measures for success.  That's what led to the benchmarks that were never met.  To this day, they have not been met.  Why are we still funding this nonsense?


    And why are US troops still in Iraq?  When do they get to leave?  The closest thing to an answer was provided by Mulroy who insisted that once Iraq has "economic development that lasts" that will mean they are "not so dependent upon US military support."

    We'll probably cover more of the hearing later this week.  If you hear that the US has only 15 State Dept "staffers" in Iraq, note that the number was repeated over and over in the hearing but Polaschik refused to confirm that or any other number in an opening hearing -- she cited safety concerns.  The number of State Dept staff has dropped in Baghdad -- how much it has dropped was not established on the record.

    Before we leave the topic of Iraq, we'll note this violence in breaking news.

    BREAKING: Three Turkish diplomats killed in Iraq's Erbil - security sources


    Turkish diplomat killed in shooting in Iraq's Arbil: police

    BREAKING — 1 Turkish diplomat was killed, 2 others wounded in an armed attack at a restaurant in Iraq's Irbil: Anadolu Agency
     



    Joe Biden is one of 25 candidates seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  With all the billions the US government has spent on Iraq and the billions it continues to spend, this is not a minor issue.

    It's a shame that press continues to treat it as a minor issue.  Joe Biden needs to be asked serious questions about what he did on Iraq -- especially on the decision to overturn to the vote of the Iraqi people in 2010 and especially on all that followed as a result of that decision.  Yes, that includes the rise of ISIS but that's not all that it includes. 


    Even JACOBIN's recent look on Joe and Iraq did not go far enough.


    Joe Biden didn’t just vote to invade Iraq — he worked hard alongside George W. Bush to persuade the public to back it.


    The following sites updated: