Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Hate The War

I'm a scared, I'm a scared!

Is that the response we're supposed to have to the killing of David Haines?

The British journalist is the third beheaded by the Islamic State in the last weeks.

Unlike the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Haines hasn't captured the media attention.

In the US, the release of a video of the murder resulted in, for example, NBC sending a no-star from the junior division to do a live set-up in front of the White House as a ghoulish Lester Holt peppered her with questions that repeatedly led no where.

Haines' greatest handicap is that he's not American.

Sotloff's Israeli citizenship could be 'managed' (hidden, discounted, overlooked) and he could be sold solely as an American.

But an obviously British victim?

Well the American media just can't relate.

I'd like to believe it was something more than just that.

I'd like to believe that the country's shaking off the nonsense of the last few weeks which allowed Barack and the media to turn Foley and Sotloff into Helen of Troy -- a reason for war.

Losses happen all of the time.

They aren't usually used as a reason for war, a justification.

But that's what's been done with Foley and Sotloff, they've been used by the White House and the US media to whip up a frenzy for war.

The same White House that, apparently has so little respect for Sotloff  that they're entering into a public dispute with his family.

They'll pretend to care about him -- at least until the  moment comes that they have to attack his family.

There's a war to sell and all, who has time to be polite or mannered?  Let alone respectful of the dead?

Not the White House.

But while Barack can't play into the inherent vanity of the American press with the death of David Haines, maybe something else is at play?

Even if just in part?

Maybe the fear tactic got overplayed.

The endless cycle of the beheadings -- video and media chatter -- was not that different from the 9-11 coverage.

It was endless, it was mindless, it was geared toward the gut because logic could let allow it to flatten quickly.

And maybe Americans got tricked for a little bit but have come around to the reality that the death of one reporter or two or three or more really is not justification for war.

The United States did not declare war on the IRA, for example.

Maybe bits of history, bits of memory, are flooding the American conscious and they realize they're being manipulated by the White House?

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4491.

The e-mail address for this site is


Friday, September 12, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Friday, September 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack's speech implodes, and a little more.

US President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday about Iraq.  By Thursday, the speech was a joke.

Stephen Colbert was Tweeting:

Obama brought back the Iraq War AND Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix!?! It's a miracle!

As Betty pointed out, "it has already fallen apart."  Trina noted her encounters with The Cult of St Barack and how it appears "there's no more hopium to smoke."  And Susan Jones (CNS News via Information Clearing House) explains:

NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel, reporting live from Kurdistan in northern Iraq Wednesday night, said U.S. troops are on the ground in Iraq and avoiding reporters.
"I know there are already American boots on the ground where I am now," Engel told MSNBC. "They are not necessarily firing their rifles or kicking down doors, and we're not going on embeds with these troops.

"They are troops who are staying away from reporters, they are embedded with local fighters trying to guide in air strikes, gathering intelligence -- the kind of thing you would have thought the Green Berets would have done many years ago, and which are now being done by Navy SEALS and Delta Force and other Special Operations Forces.

At today's Pentagon press briefing, spokesperson Rear Adm Jack Kirby attempted to push back against the reality of what US troops were doing in Iraq:

Q: Admiral, thank you. On the strategy, specifically, do military commanders really believe that ISIS can be defeated or destroyed with U.S. airpower alone and without sending U.S. combat troops or U.S. troops in the field to lase these targets, to find these targets? Because one of the criticisms is you can't rely on others to do it. And without having these men in the field, you're not going to have an accurate picture of the targets.

REAR ADM. KIRBY: The short answer to your question, Justin, is yes, but now let me try to explain what I mean by that. We've said all along -- Secretary Hagel has been very clear -- that there's not going to be a purely military solution to the threat that ISIL poses in the region, specifically inside Iraq. There's not going to be a military solution here.

We have been conducting airstrikes now for a number of weeks. I think we're up over almost 160 of them. They have helped provide some space and support to Iraqi security forces on the ground, as well as Kurdish forces up north. But military measures are not going to be enough.

And so the other thing that I would say is, it's -- we've been able to do these very effective and -- and we know we're having a tactical effect on ISIL, and we've been able to do that without, quote, unquote, "combat boots on the ground."

Q: Now you're doing more of them. You have -- you've said you're going to ramp up the airstrikes, so...

REAR ADM. KIRBY: We're going to -- I think you can expect that we will be more aggressive going forward, but we've been pretty aggressive so far, nearly 160, all very effective, and effective without needing U.S. troops in a combat role on the ground in Iraq. The commander-in-chief has been very clear, we're not going to do that and that's not part of the mission going forward.

The other point -- and I think it's -- and we need to consistently make this -- is that the destruction of ISIL and their capabilities is going to require more than just airpower. We've been very honest about that. And it's going to require partners on the ground to take back and hold the territory that this group has tried and -- and it has tried to obtain and maintain.

It also is going to take the ultimate destruction of their ideology. And that -- that also can't be done just through military means alone. That has to be done through good governance, both in Iraq and in Syria -- we've talked about that -- and in a responsive political process, so that the people that are falling sway to this radical ideology are no longer drawn to it. So that's -- I mean, that's really the long-term answer.

Q: I think people would be surprised, though, to hear you say that there is no military solution, given the nature of ISIS. I mean, this is primarily a military strategy, is it not?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: What is primarily a military strategy?

Q: To defeat and destroy ISIL has to be done militarily, doesn't it?

Uh-oh, logic entered the room and left Kirby scrambling.

If Kirby's going to sell this latest phase of the Iraq War, he's going to have to work harder.  Maybe borrow one of those eye-sore jumpsuits Victoria Clarke wore when she was spinning the start of the war?

The clothes change, the people change, but the war just drags on.

The State Dept's not even trying.

They're the 10th grader who grabs a sister's old paper, types a new cover sheet and pretends work has been done.  For example, the State Dept's Catherine Russell attempted today to sell this phase of the ongoing, illegal war on the backs of Iraqi women:

Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL.  Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are attacking their own women and girls.
While captive, these women and children have been tortured, raped, given to ISIL thugs as “brides,” or kept as sex slaves. Some have committed suicide to avoid sexual enslavement. Others have been forced to watch as ISIL beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam. Some have simply been executed. Hundreds of women and girls have been taken from Iraq to ISIL camps in Syria and never heard from again.
We cannot allow these voices, these lives, to be silenced. All of us must stand up for those who are defenseless.
Reports indicate that ISIL has abducted between 1,500 to 4,000 women and girls, mainly from Iraq’s religious community of Yezidis and other minority groups. Girls as young as 12 or 13 have been forced to marry extremists or sold to the highest bidder -- like cattle at an auction.  These are young girls, mothers, and sisters facing imminent rape, trafficking, and forced marriage.  These are women and girls who pleaded to be killed in airstrikes rather than be brutalized by ISIL.

A lot of people have said this or that was happening to Yezidi women.

No one's really been able to prove it, but they do say it, don't they?

PFrance 24's Wassim Nasr and Djamel Belayachi noted last week:

Photos of women allegedly sold as slaves

Citing an Iraqi parliamentarian, several websites claimed that hundreds of women from the Yazidi community had been sold as slaves after the capture of Sinjar at the beginning of August. One photo showing women chained and veiled spread on social networks and was taken as proof of the claim. It turns out that this image was taken during a Shiite procession in the town of Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, in 2013.

The fake photo of 'enslaved women' circulating on social media networks.
Already at this time, the same photo had been published online by websites claiming it showed the jihadist organisation’s treatment of women in Syria.

They have plenty of other examples in their report.

And isn't sad that the best the State Dept can offer is a 'people say' kind of foot noting?

The State Dept's recent interest in women is touching.

Where were they when Iraqi women and girls were being falsely imprisoned and tortured and raped?

Where was the concern for women then?

This was one of the main underlying issues which led to over a year of continuous street protests.

But the State Dept didn't say 'boo' about it, did they?

When Nouri al-Maliki was overseeing rape and torture, they didn't object once.

Back then, they were more than happy to stay silent.

Ali Younes (Arab Daily News) notes some problem with Barack's plan or 'plan:'

The key to Obama’s objective however, is not just to try to degrade and destroy ISIL a tall order by on its own, but rather to try to end the sectarian divisions in Iraq and compel the Iraqi Shia establishment to treat the Iraqi Sunnis as partners.
To start with the new Iraqi government needs to have a new beginning by including the disfranchised Sunnis in the government, the army and other governmental and security agencies. Iraqi Sunnis argue that the 8 years of Al Maliki’s sectarian rule has left them alienated and created so much hatred and division in Iraq.

The illegal war is not ending but the administration seems unable to sell it (or anything else) with any real enthusiasm.

How bad is it?

The State Dept held a lengthy press briefing today.

Spokesperson Marie Harf acted as moderator.

However, Iraq wasn't on her mind.

And it wasn't on the minds of any reporters attending either.

Two days ago Barack sold the latest phase of the Iraq War.

Yet the State Dept can't even be bothered with addressing the topic?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, September 11, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, an editorial board turns itself into a joke, some speak out, some stay silent, and much more

The editorial board of the Macon Telegraph weighs in on Iraq -- apparently to demonstrate their brains are as soft as an overripe Georgia peach.

All must come together and support US President Barack Obama's plan, declares a body determined to sport their ignorance.

There is no plan -- just more of the same.

Dissent is the hallmark of democracy.

How sad but telling: Journalists who rush to give up freedom and to censor and bully others.

They grow 'em mighty pathetic at the Telegraph.

Most of all, the scared little puppies can't stop wimpering -- such as here: "We need our lawmakers to act and act quickly. This is a case of national security. We would caution the president about making statements about what we won’t do. As the evolving situation in Syria and Iraq has shown, there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when more American boots are needed on the ground fighting next to Iraqis and Kurds."

You sort of picture them cowering in their own filth, don't you?

What national security?

Do the morons not even know how to listen?

In the speech, Barack declared, "While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies."

Where's the threat?

In the horror porn fantasies of those who work for the Telegraph.

Barack's unveiled plan turned out to be the same thing he was already doing but on a little bit wider scope.

And how's that been working out?

One sign of the failure of Barack's action would be membership in the Islamic State increasing.

AP notes CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani declared today that there had been rapid growth in IS membership since June and that they now have "between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, up from a previous figure of 10,000."

Not only have Barack's actions not reduced membership in the Islamic State, they also have increased it -- at a rate that not even Nouri managed.

Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) grasps what the Telegraph's editorial board can't:

Another President who fails to recognize how counterproductive war can be.
In Iraq, there are 6 million Sunnis who, with every bombing against ISIS, will be pushed more and more into the extremists' arms, as they see the United States waging war against fellow Sunnis.
In Syria, 60 percent of the country is Sunni, and bombing ISIS is likely to have a similar effect, further tearing that country apart. And if somehow the bombing "degrades" ISIS, it will serve to solidify Assad in power.

Barack had a chance to offer something new and didn't.  What he's planning to do is the same things that have allowed the Islamic State to significantly increase their own membership.

Even Ruth Conniff is dismayed.  And I believe she is (I know Matt is).

But over at The Daily Warren -- excuse me, The Nation.  It just feels like The Daily Warren.

There's something really sick about a political magazine grabbing onto politicians with all the desperation of a Jimmy Page groupie and running from one celebrity crush to another like a 12-year-old.

If only Elizabeth Warren had a third nipple -- like Harry Styles! -- the staff of The Nation could serenade Warren with "What Makes You Beautiful."

Instead, we're stuck with Leslie Savan and her tired horse face.

Oh, I'm sorry.

Is that the 'optics' Leslie rails against?

Well you know what I don't like?

I don't like the useless -- whether their name is Ralph Nader or Leslie Savin, I don't like 'em.

And you're useless if, like Leslie, you whine that Barack's speech was reduced to 'optics.'  No, she doesn't know what she's writing about.  Some believe they have an excuse to avoid doing the work.

Which is what she did: avoided doing the work.

First,   the press did not dub Barack's suit 'tan.'  

The tan suit -- I have no idea if it's tan or not nor did I obsess over it -- check the archives -- came from Twitter and other social media as Barack was delivering his speech.

The press even reported on that.

Leslie missed it.

She misses a great deal.  Such as, repeating someone else's criticism -- huge chunks of it -- is not doing any of your own work.

She's so useless that she's written (and copied and pasted) a huge number of words whining about Maureen Dowd and others and how they covered the speech.

What  Leslie never did?

Write about the damn speech.

We did.  We wrote about it last week when he gave it in the 'tan' suit or whatever.

We wrote about it and we critiqued it.

It's a week later and all useless Leslie and her ugly horseface can do is whinny in the words of others.

Whether you agreed with Maureen Dowd or not, she's always one up on Leslie because Maureen puts her own thoughts in.

Doing a slightly better job than Leslie is Zoe Carpenter who asks "Is the War on ISIS Illegal?"

Zoe never took the time to weigh in herself -- an opinion writer at an opinion journal who can't share her own thoughts?

Patrick Martin (WSWS) shares these thoughts:

In pursuing its objectives in the Middle East, Obama’s pledge not to resort to “boots on the ground” has zero credibility. Already, hundreds of US troops and advisors have been dispatched to the region. Even before Obama went on national television, his secretary of state, John Kerry, was telling a Baghdad press conference that US combat troops would not return to Iraq unless “obviously, something very dramatic changes.” As former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, a fixture in the foreign policy establishment, observed, “That’s a loophole a mile wide.”
As always, decisions that effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people have been decided behind closed doors, by a small cabal, with plans drawn up in advance presented as a fait accompli to be rubber stamped by Congress and sold by the media on the basis of lies.

And that's how it went.  What should have been a discussion with the American people never took place.

It should have been demanded.

But our big brave 'leaders' instead were focused on Hobby Lobby and other 'pressing' issues.

Justin Raimondo has a column on the topic of Barack's speech here.

have gone to mush faster than an overripe


By Sherwood Ross
Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children, were “exterminated” by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent international legal authority says.
The slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W. Bush.
The U.S. and U.K. “obstinately insisted” that their sanctions remain in place until after the “illegal” Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W. Bush and UK’s Tony Blair in March, 2003, “not with a view to easing the over decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children” but “to better facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people,” Boyle said.
In an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K. actions as follows:
# The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War I.
# The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister Blair.
#  The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis “as a direct result” of the genocidal sanctions.
Boyle’s class-action complaint demanded an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq; criminal proceedings for genocide against President George H.W. Bush; monetary compensation to the children of Iraq and their families for deaths, physical and mental injury; and for  shipping massive humanitarian relief supplies to that country.
The “grossly hypocritical” UN refused to terminate the sanctions, Boyle pointed out, even though its own Food and Agricultural Organization’s Report estimated that by 1995 the sanctions had killed 560,000 Iraqi children during the previous five years.
Boyle noted that then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, in response to a question by Leslie Stahl if the price of half a million dead children was worth it, and replied, “we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it.”
Albright’s shocking response provides “proof positive of the genocidal intent by the U.S. government against Iraq” under the Genocide Convention, Boyle said, adding that the government of Iraq today could still bring legal action against the U.S. and the U.K. in the International Court of Justice. He said the U.S.-U.K. genocide also violated the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocol 1 of 1977.
Boyle, who was stirred to take action pro bono by Mothers in Iraq after the economic sanctions had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August, 1990, in response to pressure from the Bush Senior Administration.  He is the author of numerous books on international affairs, including “Destroying World Order” (Clarity Press.)                                    #

(Sherwood Ross is a columnist, broadcast commentator and public relations consultant “for good causes.” He formerly reported for major dailies and wire services and is the author of “Gruening of Alaska”(Best). Reach him at )


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, September 10, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack speaks, Barack spins and, yes, Barack lies about Iraq, and much more.

US President Barack Obama blathered on tonight as only he can.  Was he attempt to convey something or put the world to sleep.

At one point, he declared:

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

Oh, baby had his first yellow cake moment.  Blow out the candles, Barack, and wish for something other than yellow cake uranium.

"While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies."

No "specific plotting" but, hell, why let that slow down or, heaven forbid, stop the march to illegal war?

But these threats?

Might they include the one Michael Daly (Daily Beast) reported in June:

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.
The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S.  detention camp in Iraq in 2009.

“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.

That's the leader of the group Barack's using to justify war.

Who was president when he was supposedly released?

That would have been Barack.

Well, he had no threats with which to argue the Islamic State was a clear and present danger to the United States.  Guess they don't do messaging at the White House anymore.

Okay, so the reason the US needs to attack -- 'supervise' an attack -- on Iraq sort of crumbled as Barack spoke but surely this wordy speech did present a plan, right?

After months without a plan, Barack finally defined what success would be, what would be done if success wasn't achieved, what the options were, right?


US President Barack Obama:  Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.  But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.  Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.

So the plan is . . . keep doing the exact same thing?


He had to wait how many weeks to 'figure out' his 'answer' was to keep doing what he was already doing?

Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. 

You've killed civilians, Barack, you forgot to note that, didn't you?

These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.  But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. 

But that's exactly what Barack's doing.

He's propping a government that doesn't even care.

I loathe Nouri al-Maliki, he's a thug.

But I'm not talking about Nouri.

He's thankfully out as prime minister.

He is a member of Parliament and one of three Vice Presidents of Iraq.

I am talking about the Parliament.

Barack didn't talk about them either, did he?

That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. 

That has not happened, stop lying.

There is nothing to boast of with regards to the new Iraqi government.

Yet again, the country has no Minister of Defense nor a Minister of the Interior.

The Minister of Defense is like the Secretary of Defense in the US.  The Minister of the Interior is over the federal police.

Supposedly, these two spots will be filled in a week.

But the same thing was said when Nouri started his second term.

Nouri ended his second term and guess what?

Those posts were never filled.

That a new prime minister has left those posts vacant for even a day should disturb everyone.

Barack has repeatedly said that 'as Iraq stands up' the US will provide more assistance.

Saying you have formed a government while leaving the two key security posts vacant is not standing up.

In fact, Barack's very foolish to reward this nonsense.

For four years, Iraq's security ministries were empty at the top.  Nouri did that intentionally.

By not nominating people for those posts he could (unconstitutionally) take over the posts.

That was four years Nouri short changed Iraq security.

And now, with the Iraqi government begging for US military help, they still can't get it together enough to get behind filling these posts?

If it seems like I'm saying 'government' and avoiding calling out Haider al-Abadi, I am.

He had choices, he had nominees.

They were shot down.

I don't understand how you address what you claim is both an external and internal threat to Iraq without a Minister of Defense or a Minister of Interior.

I don't understand how a US president asks Americans for more sacrifice in the alleged aim of securing Iraq when the Iraqi government doesn't even care enough about security to fill the security posts.

"Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIL," declared Barack, "through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy."

That doesn't sound like a plan.

It doesn't even sound like a wish list.

Is it a vision board?

Is the White House using vision boards?

What was clear, what is always clear, is that Barack's only 'answer' is always: Send more troops into Iraq.

So it was no surprise when Barack declared that "we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq."

As always, Barack insisted that these troops would not be used in combat.

But . . .

Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the possibility Wednesday that U.S. troops might be committed to ground operations in Iraq in extreme circumstances, the first hedging by an administration official on President Barack Obama’s pledge that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground to battle the Islamic State."

Read more here:

Let's move over to Phyllis Bennis.  I like Phyllis.  That's never gotten her a free pass her.  When it's time to offer negative criticism, we've done it.  We've also noted it when she gets it right.

Foreign Policy in Focus offers her "Six Steps Short of War to Beat ISIS" which includes:

Third, ISIS has support from Sunni tribal leaders—the very people President Obama says he wants to “persuade” to break with ISIS. But these are people who have suffered grievously—first during the U.S. invasion, and then especially under the U.S.-backed, Shi’a-controlled sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki. They were demonized, attacked, and dispossessed by the government in Baghdad, and many of them thus see ISIS at the moment as the only force they can ally with to challenge that government. And many of them control large and powerful militias now fighting alongside ISIS against the government in Baghdad.
Fourth, ISIS has support from ordinary Iraqi Sunnis, who (being also largely secular) may hate what ISIS stands for, its extremism and violence, but who suffered terribly from the Maliki government’s arrests, torture, extra-judicial executions, and more. As a result they also are willing to ally with ISIS against Baghdad, at least for now.
So, weakening ISIS requires eroding the support it relies on from tribal leaders, military figures, and ordinary Iraqi Sunnis. The key question is how do we do that?

Step One: Stop the airstrikes. Because what we in the U.S. see as “hooray, we got the bad guys” is seen by many in Iraq, especially the very Sunnis the president wants to persuade to break with ISIS, as the U.S. acting as the air force for the Kurds and the Shi’a against the Sunnis. Thus the airstrikes defeat the important goal of ending popular support for ISIS, and instead actually serve to strengthen the extremist organization.

I'm not going to pick on Phyllis for offering this the day of the speech.

At least she offered something.

Myself, I've put a medical issue on hold because of the need to speak out against this latest march to war.  That's why other sites didn't post Tuesday night.  I got the good news health wise at 4:30 pm and advised everyone of it and that after I was done with the teach-in we were attending -- well after midnight -- I'd be blowing off steam and partying.  I said I might do a snapshot, I might not (I did do one).  I wasn't in the mood to make yet another commitment.  (And, to be clear, no one was asking it from the community sites.  Mike had announced  at his site that there would a theme post and that was in case the news was bad because I'd stated I would actually be doing more here if the news was bad.)

But my point here is where the ___ was everyone?

Another C-scare and I'm giving my all to this website and to speaking to one group after another to try to stop war and where the ___ were the peace movement leaders?

Can someone please tell me that?

Can someone please tell me what the ___ purpose Ralph Nader serves?

Have you read his garbage this summer?

Has he once called out the march to increased war on Iraq?

He's not a peace leader but he certainly feigned interest in the illegal war in the past.

He's so useless.

And he's far from the only one.

And let's not forget bloggers.

Iraq brought bloggers to prominence.

But these days they don't give a damn -- or worse, they feature the 'truth' stylings of noted Sunni hater Patrick Cockburn.  Or maybe, like Prashant Rao -- how embarrassing, they're back to reTweeting the paranoid crazy.

I try to be nice, I do.  But come on, people.

The lunatic invented this fantasy where the State Dept was out to get him, the FBI, the CIA, the . . .

That's crazy.

If he wants to come back from crazy, first step in showing you want to change would be owning what you did, how you enable Nouri al-Maliki throughout his second term, how you made excuses for him, how you pretended to know the law (you don't know a damn thing about the law and you never studied it)

If he merely kept his nose down and concentrated on his own work, I'd temper my remarks.  But he's back to offering 'analysis' and it's as wrong now as it was then.

The real difference?

Back then when I called him out, we didn't know he was a delusional paranoid, one whose own parents would -- by his own admission -- beg him to seek help.

The circle jerk shares in the responsibility for the current state of Iraq.

They lied.  They whored.  They misrepresented.

They better grasp things have changed.

And reporters are going to have to start paying attention to the (mis)treatment of the Sunni community.

Kareem Fahim, Azam Ahmed and Kirk Semple (New York Times) report:

A group of Iraqi Sunni refugees had found shelter in an abandoned school, two families to a room, after fleeing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They were gathered in the school’s courtyard last week when the Iraqi Air Force bombed them.
The bombing, in Alam District near Tikrit, may well have been a mistake. But some of the survivors believe adamantly that the pilot had to know he was bombing civilians, landing the airstrike “in the middle of all the people,” said Nimr Ghalib, whose wife, three children, sister and nephew were among at least 38 people killed, according to witnesses interviewed last week, as well as human rights workers who detailed the attack on Wednesday.

That report does more than any section of Barack's speech -- or, in fact, Barack's entire speech itself -- to illuminate the realities in Iraq today.  And while Barack spoke of 'success,' Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) was left to report that violence claimed 30 lives today just in Baghdad.

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, September 10, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, reality continues to look bad, but Barack just knows he can spin it, and much more.

Wednesday night, US President Barack Obama gives an address on Iraq.

He will most likely note the aerial bombings the US and Iraq have carried out.

He may boast of alleged leaders killed -- leaders of the Islamic State -- but he won't note the civilian deaths.  He most likely won't note last Saturday's bombing of the hospital in Hawija.

Or the dead from that bombing.

Well the babies were premature.

Maybe Barack thought he was killing premature terrorists?

Barack won't note it.

He likely will ignore the points Reuters makes today as well:

  Kurdish and Shi'ite fighters have regained ground, but Sunni Muslims who fled the violence are being prevented from returning home and some have had their houses pillaged and torched.

Rather than help keep the nation together, the air strikes risk being used by different factions for their own advantage in Iraq 's sectarian and ethnic conflicts.

The fallout also risks worsening grievances that helped Islamic State find support amongst Iraq 's Sunnis, and allows the militant group to portray the U.S. strikes as targeting their minority sect. That may make it more difficult to bring Sunnis on side and convince them to fight the militants.

The bombings will most likely be presented as a 'strategy' and part of a 'mission' or 'plan.'

But they've been going on for some time and pretty much did what many feared.

Bobby Ghosh of Time magazine was the first one I heard point it out.  He was making the cable rounds back in June and he pointed out one of the problems with the US bombing anywhere in Iraq was that certain people could use the bombings as a means to destroy their rivals.

In Afghanistan in the early years of the Afghanistan War, the US government used to be so proud of how many terrorists they detained.

But they were usually farmers or herders, they weren't terrorists.

The same 'logic' that filled US overseas prisons and black ops with innocents is now being used to kill.

Barack won't admit that.

He probably will avoid the frankness Robin Wright (The New Yorker) offers:

Yesterday, more than four months after Iraq’s national elections, the country’s leaders finally formed a new government. Secretary of State John Kerry heralded it as a “major milestone,” with “the potential to unite all of Iraq’s diverse communities for a strong Iraq.” He said that the United States now stands “shoulder to shoulder with the Iraqis.” President Obama called to congratulate the new Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, after his government was sworn in.

The process almost imploded, however, when disgruntled Kurds threatened a last-minute boycott over Baghdad’s failure, since January, to provide the Kurds with their agreed upon seventeen per cent of Iraq’s oil revenues, leaving northern Kurdistan unable to pay provincial salaries or its peshmerga fighters. The government is also short of the two positions most pivotal to national security, since the squabbling factions can’t agree on a minister for defense or for the interior.

And that's the thing.

If Barack talks like John Kerry?

Some in the US may buy it but many outside the US will be laughing.

People say -- some people -- that next week will find Iraq filling the posts of Minister of the Interior and Minister of Defense.

Of course they said that in January 2011.

And Nouri didn't appoint anyone.

Went his whole term with both those posts (plus Minister of National Security) empty.

We stood alone in pointing that out.

We stood alone in noting that if the violence was increasing, maybe you fill the position of Minister of Defense.

It's not that complicated.

But Nouri was in the midst of a power grab and the White House saw their role as running interference for Nouri.

Barack probably won't discuss that in the speech either.

But Tim Arango did.  Monday, in an online discussion, this exchange took place.

Q. How do you rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq? — eragon38

[Tim Arango]:  It’s not my job to rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq. But I will tell you that after 2011, the administration basically ignored the country. And when officials spoke about what was happening there, they were often ignorant of the reality. They did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left Iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012, as violence was escalating, I wrote a story, citing U.N. statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s national security guy, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor saying that violence was near historic lows. That was not true. Even after Falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about Mr. Maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. So there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of Mosul — that Iraq was collapsing.

Also noting Nouri's role in today's crises is the editorial board of The National Newspaper, "ISIL were given a toehold in Iraq because the previous prime minister targeted Sunnis and refused to allow them a fair stake in the country. That will have to change. While Iraqi Shia are the majority, they cannot ostracise the largest minority. Mr Al Abadi will have to prove he can offer them real power in government as well as a real role in a nonsectarian Iraqi army."

Don't expect Barack to bring that up in his speech either.

Larry Mendte (Philly Mag) offers:

In many ways, ISIS fed on the President’s inattentiveness. It started with the Red Line in Syria that wasn’t. That emboldened ISIS to seize territory in Iraq that is larger than the state of Indiana. The President claims he was caught off guard, but there are reports the CIA warned him of this threat a year ago. And then, in between the beheadings of Americans, the President announced that he didn’t yet have a strategy to deal with ISIS.
However, it does seem now that the President is getting his act together.

'Getting his act together,' for Larry, means Barack's getting ready to put more US 'boots' on the ground.

Though Larry's giddy, others shouldn't be.

You can be against war, like me, and look on with dismay.

You can also grasp that if a country can't even pick someone to be their Secretary of Defense, are they really showing 'progress' that justifies US troops being used as pawns and clay pigeons yet again?

At Tuesday's State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Marie Harf attempted to spin:

QUESTION: Just on the question of the government formation, as of yesterday, when Secretary Kerry came out and spoke about it, two major members of the cabinet had not yet been selected, the defense minister and the interior minister. I just wanted to ask what, if any, concerns the Secretary has about the fact that these two positions have not yet been filled.

MS. HARF: We’re not concerned about it. Prime Minister Abadi said he will appoint these two in the next few days. We expect that he will do so. That will happen soon. It’s important that the security ministers reflect a general consensus. We commend the prime minister for continuing to work with all the political blocs to gain this consensus. So again, not a lot of concern on our part on that regard.

Kristina Wong and Martin Matishak (The Hill) report

Senate Democrats who initially expressed concerns about the expansion of the U.S. military mission in Iraq and Syria are now holding their breath ahead of the president's speech Wednesday night. 
Several Democrats over August recess called for President Obama to come to Congress for a vote to authorize military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but on Tuesday said they would wait and see.

Former US House Rep Paul Findley tells RIA Novosti, "If the president orders acts of war without congressional approval, he risks impeachment. If Obama wishes lawfully to order airstrikes in the territory of Iraq or Syria, he must first secure a resolution of approval from Congress."

The last word will go to Senator Patty Murray's office which issued the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, September 09, 2014                                                         (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Questions New VA Secretary on Department’s Culture and Accountability
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, attended a hearing with Secretary Robert McDonald and Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin focusing on the state of health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Senator Murray discussed the long wait times for primary and specialty care within the Puget Sound Health Care System as well as the wait times for new mental health care patients in Spokane.
WATCH Senator Murray question Secretary McDonald and Acting Inspector General Griffin.
Senator Murray’s full opening remarks:
“Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.
“I would like to start by thanking Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin and the Department’s Office of Inspector General for all the work they did in conducting this review.
“Your investigators and staff put together an incredibly important report on what happened at Phoenix. 
“Completing the other investigations, at nearly 100 medical centers, is an enormous task. 
“So I want to thank the OIG for the incredible dedication it will take to get the job done. 
“After many years of making critical contributions to veterans care and benefits, the IG rightly has a reputation of being objective, reliable and thorough in their work.
“Your findings will be vitally important to ensuring veterans across the country get the care they demand and deserve.
“I appreciate how Secretary McDonald has hit the ground sprinting in his new role and have taken immediate steps to get veterans off of wait-lists and into care.
“And while the VA’s latest data continues to show patient accessibility improving across the Department, I am still concerned about some of the facilities in my home state of Washington.
“Veterans receiving primary and specialty care within the Puget Sound Health Care System continue to wait longer than national averages for primary and specialty care…
“At Spokane, new mental health care patients wait over twice as long – 75 days – for their appointments.
“This must change.
“As VA continues to focus on providing veterans with timely access to care, it must also ensure veterans receive the highest quality of care.
“And as the IG’s report showed, that was all too often not the case at Phoenix.
“The IG found that the Phoenix Health Care System struggled with many basic quality of care issues like leaving routine physical examinations and evaluations incomplete or failing to conduct them at all; releasing mental health care patients before their medications were properly stabilized; and struggling to provide dedicated mental health care providers to patients.
“When we are talking about caring for our nation’s heroes and their families, we expect excellence.
“And as I have said repeatedly -- as transparency and accountability increase at the VA, so will the investigations and reports of additional concerns requiring even more action from the VA, the Administration, and Congress.
“So today, I want to hear how VA will address the findings of the IG, the VA access audit, and the White House’s review. 
“In addition, I’d like to hear how the VA will implement the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act. 
“Yesterday, we heard the Secretary speak about VA recommitting itself to its core values. 
“Today, we need to know how the Secretary will turn those commitments into real action, and to improved care for our nation’s heroes.”
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834
@PattyMurray | @SenateBudget | @MegRoh

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The media exists to sell war

As the US government prepares to sell the latest round of war on Iraq, Dan Balz and Peyton M. Craighill (Washington Post) report on a new Washington Post - ABC News poll and observe "the nation's increasingly hawkish mood" at a time when US President Barack Obama falters in public opinion and "over half the country says his presidency has been a failure."

On Iraq, Balz and Craighill write:

Today, 71 percent of all Americans say they support airstrikes in Iraq — up from 54 percent three weeks ago and from 45 percent in June. Among those who say Obama has been too cautious, 82 percent support the strikes; among those who think his handling of international affairs has been about right, 66 percent support them.

Do they?

Do they support airstrikes?

Looking over the questions, the poll has numerous problems.

71% cannot be said to support anything.

The results demonstrate an absence of knowledge on the part of the public and push polling on the part of ABC and the Washington Post.

Q: As you may know, a group of Sunni insurgents called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, has taken control of parts of Iraq and Syria. How much, if at all, do you see ISIS as a threat to the vital interests of the United States?

**NET Serious threat**
Very serious
Somewhat serious
**NET Not serious threat**
Not so serious
Not serious at all
No opinion

Q: Do you support or oppose U.S. air strikes against the Sunni insurgents in Iraq?


Q: Do you support or oppose the United States providing arms and ammunition to the Kurdish military forces, who are opposing the Sunni insurgents in Iraq?

Support NET 58% 
Oppose NET 32%
No opinion


That 91% of the American public rate the Islamic State a serious threat to the US is a reflection of the fear the media's peddled as well as the media's own self-interest in US journalist.  They didn't and don't give a damn when it's an Iraqi journalist or any Arab journalist killed.  But let an American die and we've got weeks and weeks of coverage.

Having defined the Islamic State, check their wording, they then want to ask about actions.  We'll go into the problem there later in tonight's snapshot.

But 91% have been frightened by the media and the pollsters yet only 58% support arming the Kurds?

Doesn't appear anyone knows what's going on from the poll results.

But the pollsters know how to agitate an audience and get results, don't they?

This was not a neutral poll.

It used charged language and it used it in a manner to push results.

The real news here is how quickly, the enthusiasm for war fades within the poll itself.

That's it for this morning, I'm not in the mood.

If you want a laugh, click here and look for the ridiculous phrase.  Depending upon whether I'm feeling nice tonight (right now, I don't) I may or may not go into how crackpots allowed Iraq to fall apart -- like the one who blogged about being persecuted in libraries by the FBI, NATO and, I would assume, Mary Kay cosmetic sales women.


  • The e-mail address for this site is

    Monday, September 08, 2014

    Iraq snapshot

    Monday, September 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a UN official seems confused as to how Iraqi children die (Nouri could explain it to her, the executioner usually knows all), Haider al-Abadi has become the new Prime Minister of Iraq, a number disgrace themselves trying to scare the American people, and more.

    Ban Ki-moon is the United Nations Secretary-General.  Today, his office issued the following statement:

    The Secretary-General welcomes today’s announcement of the formation of a new inclusive Government in Iraq and congratulates Haider al-Abadi on his confirmation as Iraq's Prime Minister. At this challenging moment for Iraq and the region, today's decision by the Iraqi Council of Representatives is a positive step towards political stability and peace in the country.
    The Secretary-General calls on all Iraqi political leaders to build on the current momentum of collaboration to ensure that a decision is made without delay on the pending appointments of Minister of Defence and Minister of Interior.

    The Secretary-General hopes that the ministerial programme approved today will be implemented in a timely manner, taking into account the needs of all Iraqi communities. The Secretary-General pays tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for his leadership in this time of transition. The United Nations looks forward to working with the new Government of Iraq in its efforts to serve all Iraq's communities while confronting major challenges.

    Also weighing in was US Secretary of State John Kerry.  His statement included (click here for statement in full and to stream video of it):

    SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. Tonight we mark what is unquestionably a major milestone for Iraq, and what President Obama has made clear will be a cornerstone of our efforts against ISIL.
    Just a few hours ago, overcoming the obstacle of ethnic and sectarian divides, the Iraqi parliament approved a new and inclusive government, one that has the potential to unite all of Iraq’s diverse communities for a strong Iraq, a united Iraq, and to give those communities the chance to build the future that all Iraqis desire and deserve.
    Now is the time for Iraq’s leaders to govern their nation with the same vision and sense of purpose that helped to bring this new government together in the first place. And in that effort, they should know the United States will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iraqis as they implement their national plan to overcome the longstanding political and economic grievances that have for too long divided their country.

    Tonight Iraq has a unity government. Tomorrow I will travel to the Middle East to continue to build the broadest possible coalition of partners around the globe to confront, degrade, and ultimately defeat ISIL.

    Anyone who's read this site for even a little bit should know that thug and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is someone who I feel did great harm to Iraq and bred the current crises in the country.

    So I'm thrilled Nouri's gone -- officially.   And here's another opinion on Nouri, Tim Arango of the New York Times:

    The U.S. basically chose Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, whose sectarian politics alienated many Sunnis, creating the fertile ground for ISIS to sweep into these areas. And many of those Maliki policies that have pushed aside the Sunnis were started by the Americans. Excluding Sunnis from political life? That has its origins in the American de-Baathification policy. Mr. Maliki’s security policy of conducting mass arrests of Sunni men in the name of fighting terrorism? The U.S. did that too. So at every turn in the Iraq story now, you see the American legacy at play.

    That's from an online conversation Tim Arango did with Reddit.  Click here for full conversation.

    While I'm glad Nouri is officially out,  it's sad that the Iraqi Constitution has yet to be honored.

    Haider al-Abadi's done better than anyone so far -- well, better than Nouri in 2006 and Nouri in 2010.   But he didn't form a Cabinet -- that would mean a full Cabinet.

    There is no Minister of Defense.  There is no Minister of the Interior.

    EFE notes that "the Defense and Interior portfolios will remain vacant due to disagreements regarding the candidates, said Al-Abadi, who will make new proposals to fill the posts to Parliament in a week."

    That's not a full Cabinet.

    The Constitution has one rule for how a person moves from prime minister-designate to prime minister: Form a Cabinet in 30 days.

    Not a partial Cabinet.

    People can pretend all they want.

    I'm thrilled Nouri is not prime minister.  But I'd be a hypocrite if I pretended the Constitution was being followed.

    Credit to Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) for noting that the Cabinet is missing two posts:

    But Abadi put off until next week a vote on the two top security posts after members of parliament complained that they knew little about his proposed defense minister, Khalid al Ubaidi, a Sunni who is a former military officer but about whom little else was known.
    Abadi’s nominee as interior minister, Hadi al Ameri, also is likely to prove controversial. Ameri heads the Badr Organization, a Shiite militia group with close ties to Iran. When it was known as the Badr Brigades, the group fought alongside Iran in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, and Ameri’s presence in such a sensitive position _ the Interior Ministry is responsible for Iraq’s police forces _ is likely to rankle many Sunnis.

    The inability to successfully name people to the two posts wasn't surprising.  Over ten hours before the 8:00 pm (Baghdad time) vote, Alsumaria reported a spokesperson for the Sadr bloc  had announced that no vote would  take place on the nominees for Minister of the Interior and for Minister of Defense.

    Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is the head of the Sadr bloc.  When they make an announcement, it's always worth listening to.  But if anyone doubted their power, on Sunday they blocked  Ahmed Chalabi from becoming the Minister of Municipalities and Construction.

    US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, treated the following:

  • At crucial time, new govt is opportunity for stronger, more united that's vital to defeating ISIL & giving all Iraqis stake in future.

  • Congratulations to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the people of in their approval of a new, inclusive government today.

  • Let's deal with Nouri.

    We noted last week that he was up for one of the three posts of Vice President of Iraq.  Over the weekend, a flurry of rumors insisted he was refusing the nomination -- some rumors even insisted his health was causing him to refuse.

    When has Nouri ever refused a position of power?

    Even so, Sunday found an unnamed "source" telling All Iraq News that Nouri "rejected to be within the governmental formation and also rejected to be within the three presidencies."

    Nouri didn't refuse the nomination and, today, he was voted into office.  National Iraqi News Agency reports the Parliament voted -- majority vote -- to name Nouri, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi to be the three vice presidents of Iraq.

    In other news from today, National Iraqi News Agency reports former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was named Foreign Minister.  He's a Shi'ite.  Hoshyar Zebari held the post for two terms.  He is a Kurd and, this go round, he's now a Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.

    Let's move from the Iraqi Parliament over to the US Congress which will no doubt rush to provide legal cover for Barack's actions in Iraq.  Patricia Zengerle and David Lawder (Reuters) report:

    U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to pursue a military campaign against Islamic State without seeking special congressional authority now but lawmakers said on Monday they would probably approve any request he made for extra funding.
    They said there was widespread support in Congress for attacks to stop the advance of the Sunni Islamist militant group, especially after the videotaped beheading of two American journalists by the Islamist group in the last three weeks.

    Robert Costa and Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) add, "Top House Republican aides said Monday night that based on conversations with White House aides, they do not expect Obama to seek formal authorization. Top House GOP leaders also do not expect to be bringing any such legislation to the floor in the coming days, said the aides, who asked to remain anonymous because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter."

     The White House issued the following statement today:

    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary

    Letter from the President -- War Powers Resolution Regarding Iraq

    Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
    As I reported on August 8 and 17 and on September 1, 2014, U.S. Armed Forces have conducted targeted airstrikes in Iraq for the limited purposes of stopping the advance on Erbil by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), supporting civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar, supporting operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam, and supporting an operation to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the town of Amirli, Iraq.
    On September 6, 2014, pursuant to my authorization, U.S. Armed Forces commenced targeted airstrikes in the vicinity of the Haditha Dam in support of Iraqi forces in their efforts to retain control of and defend this critical infrastructure site from ISIL.  These additional military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this threat and prevent endangerment of U.S. personnel and facilities and large numbers of Iraqi civilians.
    I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.  These actions are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the Iraqi government. I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the
    Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148).  I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.


    Congress, if the record of the last sixty or so years hold, will vote to back Barack if asked to do so.  There would be some criticism but most would go along.

    The way Dianne Feinstein always does.  Kristina Wong (The Hill) reports:

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wrote in an op-ed published Monday that the United States "must lead an aggressive, international effort to confront and eliminate" the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that includes sustained airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
    The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote in USA Today that the threat posed by ISIS to the U.S. "cannot be overstated."

    Oh, Dianne, I think it can be overstated and, clearly, it can even be overstated by you.

    Just last week, someone who presumably would know the power and reach of the Islamic State offered a different assessment than Dianne.  RIA Novosti reported:

    Speaking at a Brookings Institution Intelligence Project event, US Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen said this Wednesday that despite the growing strength of ISIS, there is no evidence of a direct threat to the continental United States.
    “At this point, we have no credible information that ISIS is planning to attack the United States,” Olsen told attendees.
    Olsen noted that despite the IS’s growing threat to US interests, Al-Qaeda remains the most serious terror threat, given its global presence. 

    If someone could stop Dianne from running in circles and re-attach her head to her body, she might grasp what Olsen was saying.

    Crazy Dianne should be in a rest home enjoying her final years.  Instead, her faltering memory and diminished capacities go unnoticed by most of the public and won't be remarked on by the media unless/until she angers one of the big money lobbies she has made her career bowing too.

    Not everyone's so stupid.  Senator Mark Udall told the truth.  His thanks?

    CNN's Ashley Killough reports he's had to apologize for a statement:

    In his statement Monday, Udall said his "intent was to emphasize the importance of taking the right next steps as we confront this serious threat."
    Udall, who sits on the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, also has received criticism for arguing that ISIS is not "an immediate threat to the homeland."
    His views are at odds with a majority of the country. According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, seven in 10 Americans believe ISIS has the resources to launch an attack against the U.S.

    I can't endorse Mark for re-election because my rule is I don't endorse anyone I can't vote for.  I live in California so Colorado really doesn't need to know who I'd vote for.  They'll make up their own minds as they should.

    But I can say, on the apology, that's nonsense.  It's a nonsense issue being used to attack Mark.

    And in Colorado or outside of Colorado, you can applaud Mark Udall for telling the truth. He tells the truth when so few even try.

    CNN cites a poll about how Mark's views are at odds with the general public.

    Would that be the case had CNN (and others) not spent hour after hour with alarmist propaganda passed off as news?

    If the media hadn't enlisted in the fear campaign, those numbers wouldn't have shot up.

    So people who care about the truth in the United States should be applauding Mark Udall.  For those who live in Colorado, doesn't mean you have to vote for him.  Should, however, mean you make a point to defend him.

    It's rare for anyone in the US right now -- in or out of Congress -- to point out that the Islamic State is not Napolean's army, let alone Nazi Germany.

    Instead, we get 'experts.'

    Sudden experts apparently.

    Former US House Rep Jane Harman offers a column at CNN which opens,  "President Barack Obama has properly decided to go to Congress and then the American people this week to reveal his strategy to degrade and destroy ISIS. To paraphrase former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, this is a crisis the President should not waste. How individual members of Congress respond to this call should matter and should be a 2014 election issue -- the duck and blame game stops here."

    Is Jane like a chicken with her head cut off?

    No, Jane's just a War Hawk that never met a war she couldn't get to at least third base with.

    It's really hilarious that Jane wants to insist today that members of Congress should be held accountable by how they vote -- if there's a vote -- on Iraq.  That certainly wasn't her position when she sat in Congress.  Harman voted for the Iraq War and being a Democrat from California, she spun madly to justify that vote when the war went so bad that even most members of the media could no longer pretend that things were great, really great.

    Like Jane, the editorial board of the Washington Post never met a war it didn't cheer on which explains this evening's editorial:

    We are glad that the president has come around to a more sober view. But if he is truly committed to the group’s defeat, certain things must follow from that determination. First, the objective — victory — must determine the strategy, tactics and schedule. Heretofore, Mr. Obama has had an unfortunate tendency to do things the other way round: to view military conflict as something to be carried out according to a schedule, whereby U.S. forces must be withdrawn on a particular date, whether their goals were lastingly achieved or not. He has described his country as tired of war, and, in multiple instances, ruled out certain means — ground forces especially — before anyone has even asked for them. He wishfully mused that the tide of war had “receded.” Now, if Mr. Obama believes that the destruction of the Islamic State is essential to U.S. security, he must commit to that goal and fashion whatever strategy is necessary to achieve it.

    Equally ridiculous, the remarks of Leila Zerrougui.  AFP reports:

    Islamic fighters in Iraq have killed hundreds of children including in summary executions and used some as suicide bombers, the top UN envoy on children and armed conflict said Monday.
    "Up to 700 children have been killed or maimed in Iraq since the beginning of the year, including in summary executions," Leila Zerrougui told the UN Security Council.

    What is the rate for whoring?

    I hope Leila was paid well.

    Nouri's government has been killing children for some time -- UNICEF even established that Iraqi forces killed 8 children in the massacre in Hawaija last year.

    And just this weekend, Hawajia was back in the news.   Margaret Griffis ( reported civilians were killed in airstrikes in Abbai, Tal Ali and Hawija.  Hawija found the Iraq and US military -- and let's be clear, it's both -- bombing a hospital resulting in 18 deaths -- "Eight of the fatalities were newborns housed in a premature baby wing that collapsed due to the strike."

    Iraqi Spring MC Tweeted the following Saturday.

    مقتل الطفل(أنس العباسي)وإصابة(2)بجروح في العباسية شمال سامراء؛ نتيجة لإطلاق نار عشوائي من قبل الجيش ولحشد الشعبي. .

    The young boy in the photo?  Anas al-Abbasi.

    He was killed in Samarra by the Iraqi army  when they fired into a crowd of civilians.

    Two other children were left injured.

    This is why so few people take the United Nations seriously.

    You get some fat, lying, hypocritical ass blathering on about some group, some minor group, while refusing to call out the crimes against civilians carried out by a government.

    It's craven and it's cowardly and it's, sadly, become the hallmark of the Ban Ki-moon era of the United Nations.  His second term will soon be over and it's been a term with little bravery and little accomplishment.

    He's not the only leader on the world stage who should be embarrassed.

    Wednesday, US President Barack Obama is finally supposed to explain his plan or 'plan' for Iraq to the American people.

    Iraq War veteran and March Forward activist Mike Prysner raises a very pertinent question.

  • I wonder if Obama's "3 years to defeat ISIS" Iraq war strategy will be as successful as Bush's "months, not years" Iraq war strategy