Thursday, June 04, 2015

Iraq: Failed follow ups and whining that bombs aren't being dropped quick enough

Speaking to Melissa Block (All Things Considered, NPR -- link is audio and transcript, Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs, stated, "Again, because of my experiences there, I would suggest to you that I have a pragmatic assessment of what's achievable and over what periods of time in a place like Iraq that is suffering from those intersecting challenges that I described. And so, you know, from the very beginning, if anyone were to go back and look at anything I've said about ISIL and about security and stability in Iraq, they would've heard me describe it in terms of multiple years."

The obvious follow up to that would be: And if Iraqi forces stopped fleeing the fight, would it still take years?

Because they fled in Mosul a year ago, they fled during parts of the month long battle to retake Tikrit and they fled when they outnumbered the Islamic State in Ramadi.

Melissa Block didn't ask that follow up.

When Ramadi fell, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter noted that the Iraqi forces didn't have the will to fight.

This issue had already come up during the start of the interview and Dempsey stated:

The real question, I think, that Secretary Carter was contemplating was, what do they have the will to fight for? In other words, for what will they fight, not, do they have the will to fight? And that's an important distinction.  And I think it gets at the state of Iraq today, where you've got three things that are kind of converging. One is that the - that governance is being established very slowly. They have not yet achieved a national unity government. There is this Sunni-Shia rivalry going on. And then - and internal to Islam, there's a definite - let's call it rivalry or competition between moderate elements and radical elements. And all three of those things, as they intersect, make for an environment which would test the resolve of any security force.

By his own remarks, Dempsey is an official (one of the few in the administration) who notes the resolution is not just military but political as well.

And while he is not tasked with the political, Melissa Block should have followed up there as well but (yet again) she didn't.

She should have asked him about the national unity government.

Instead, she was a little wind up doll who showed up for the interview with a set of questions, asked one, let her mind wander through his answer and, when he stopped speaking, she asked another.

This is NPR on autopilot.

And it serves no one.

Nor does Russ Wellen's latest insta-expertise where he knows everything thanks to a Mitchell Prothero article.

Wellen repeats this:

“Requests for air support,” Prothero continues, “which already go through an overly cumbersome process before the U.S.-led coalition will act—went unnoticed or ignored, and most of the units in Ramadi were unable to coordinate with one another because of deep-seated distrust among units composed of soldiers from different sects.”

And you know he thinks it's awful because he adds "Even worse" immediately after.

Did you ever think you'd see the day where Foreign Policy in Focus would publish an article whining that bombs were not being dropped fast enough on a country?

First off, Iraq is not an empty field.

It's an occupied country.

The process should be "cumbersome."

These air strikes have killed civilians.

They could kill many more if they were less "cumbersome."

Second, they have to be "cumbersome" because otherwise -- as Congress and the administration have both noted -- the US bombings could be used by various Iraqis to take out their political rivals.

It really is appalling that Foreign Policy in Focus has published an article bemoaning a process for bombing that they find too rigorous.

But I guess when a Democrat's in the White House a number of supposed activists let their inner whores work the street corner.

Which is a good time to note Margaret Kimberley's observations this week at Black Agenda Report:

Most people who call themselves progressives or who protested the war in Iraq didn’t really want fundamental change. They don’t have the stomach to challenge the assumptions upon which American aggressions are based. That is why they so quickly forgot their supposedly antiwar sentiments and clung so fiercely to Barack Obama. They want to wrap themselves in the flag or in being on a winning team but that means being a part of America’s horrendous tale of conquest, race based terrorism and numerous other oppressions.
The siren song of American superiority is strong. How often did antiwar activists or other progressives claim that a particular atrocity or outrageous act was “un-American.” Of course enslavement and genocide were very American so the claim always rang hollow, but the urge to want to be the good, patriotic American is still there and very, very strong.
Exceptionalism is a concept that is rarely questioned. Manifest Destiny and the violence that comes with it are still considered not just acceptable but noble and benevolent. That explains why Obama’s wars are accepted by the same people who protested against Bush.

It can be difficult to remain in opposition to the American state. It requires an ability to oppose not just war, or economic policy, but a desire for inclusion in a rotten system. The yearning for freedom expressed in the liberation movements was often little more than a yearning to be accepted or to have a seat at the table.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Iraq Inquiry Digest, Dissident Voice

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