Saturday, December 26, 2015

I Hate The War

"'You will stay here until you die': one woman's rescue from Isis"?

Who needs this pornography?

Women in Iraq and Syria have been ignored repeatedly throughout the never-ending Iraq War -- and that includes by THE GUARDIAN newspaper.

The only exception has always been when they can be used as pawns to justify the never-ending war.

When, in Iraq, they were the victims of Nouri al-Maliki's government -- falsely arrested, imprisoned without appearing before a court, beaten and raped in prisons -- THE GUARDIAN and other outlets weren't interested in reporting on it.

They'd run an occasional column but that was really it.

This was happening, it was documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  The Iraqi Parliament's investigation found these abuses and crimes -- and many others -- were taking place.

And Iraqis took to the streets to protest this.

And protested non-stop for over a year.

But THE GUARDIAN didn't see fit to cover that.

Or when any woman fights back.

That's not of interest.

But when they can do their little war porn -- and damage the lives of women while (and by) selling further war -- suddenly, they're interested in women.

Back in June, Samira Shackle (NEW STATESMAN) noted:

Anyone who has been following coverage of the conflict in Syria and Iraq will know that the region has seen a major rape crisis. Much of the media coverage has focused obsessively on the horrendous violence against Yazidi women and girls escaping from Isis captivity, with details sometimes bordering on the salacious about slave markets, forced marriage, and multiple rapes. Is it possible that this is doing more harm than good?
A group of scholars argued last year in the Washington Post that the coverage risks being counterproductive: “To scholars of sexual violence, these media narratives look typical in three related ways: They are selective and sensationalist; they obscure deeper understandings about patterns of wartime sexual violence; and they are laden with false assumptions about the causes of conflict rape.”

It's shameful, the way women are used as pawns.

It's shameful the way news outlets' cover (miscover) what's going on.

They've had no interest in the refugee crisis or how it's forced many women into sex labor -- especially in Syria. When countries 'welcome' refugees from Iraq but refuse to allow them to work legally, how do they really expect women to support themselves and their families?

They don't.

But THE GUARDIAN's never been interested in that story.

Nor have they cared to cover the sex work taking place in refugee camps.

Or, for that matter, the violence that so many female refugees live with.

But if they can scream "ISIS! ISIS! ISIS!" -- and, just by chance of course, also further sell war -- then they are all over it.

When Karen Hughes and others used women as pawns to sell war on Afghanistan, they only succeeded because the press was more than willing to help -- serving up 'reporting' that played out like the worst Lifetime movie.

This crap doesn't just happen.

Let's be really clear, in one of its final issues, OFF OUR BACKS covered Iraq and managed to so from a feminist perspective.  They were also able to report on the bordellos in Baghdad.  Bordellos, please note, which were ignored by the corporate press -- bordellos which were ignored for over ten years before they made it into some corporate reporting as an aside.

Using women to sell further war is ghastly.

It's also a convenient cover up -- as one press outlet after another presents the Islamic State in Iraq as the problem for women when, in fact, the problems started long ago with the US-invasion, the imposing of Shi'ite thugs (exiles) on the Iraqi population, the efforts of these theocrats (with the help of the US government) to strip women of their rights, and so much more.

The elimination of the Islamic State will not improve the lives of women.

The Islamic State is only one factor harming women in the region.

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] 4497.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and NPR music -- updated:


    The e-mail address for this site is

    Bipartisan Omnibus Big Win for Wisconsin Veterans

    Tammy Baldwin

    Senator Tammy Baldwin (above) is a US Senator from Wisconsin.  Her office issued the following this week:

    For Immediate Release
    Tuesday, December 22, 2015
       (202) 224 – 6225

    Bipartisan Omnibus Big Win for Wisconsin Veterans
    As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Baldwin secured several bipartisan provisions for Wisconsin veterans and their families
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement after President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which included several provisions Senator Baldwin championed on behalf of Wisconsin veterans and their families:
    “I was proud to usher in this legislation which rolls back devastating budget cuts to veterans and includes many reforms that I have fought for and support. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I fought to include provisions in this legislation that would improve transparency of VA Office of Inspector General reports, strengthen protections for whistleblowers, and provide stronger oversight of the VA’s prescribing practices. These are significant reforms that take a serious step in the right direction to ensure we address underlying challenges at the VA.”
    Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed an updated version of Senator Baldwin’s Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act, a bill aimed at providing safer and more effective pain management services to our nation’s veterans. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said Senator Baldwin’s bill would be viewed as one of the “great accomplishments” of the committee.
    As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin championed the following provisions in the new law:
    Opioid Drug Abuse Prevention Funding
    Senator Baldwin is a strong supporter of increased funding for opioid and prescription drug abuse prevention, treatment and research programs. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin led a call to strengthen federal investments to combat the growing prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic in America, including support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Prevention for States program. As a result of Senator Baldwin’s advocacy, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes robust funding for opioid abuse prevention efforts at the CDC and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), including $70 million for CDC’s prescription drug abuse overdose prevention and monitoring activities. This investment allows CDC to strengthen and expand its prevention program to all 50 states and to continue to develop safe opioid prescribing guidelines.
    VA Inspector General Transparency Improvements
    Senator Baldwin, along with Appropriations Subcommittee on MilCon/VA Chairman Mark Kirk (R-IL), authored a provision regarding increasing transparency at the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG).  Based on an amendment Senator Baldwin included in S.579, the Inspector General Empowerment Act, the joint Baldwin-Kirk amendment would amend current law to ensure that when the VA OIG completes a report, it is promptly shared with the VA Secretary, Congress, and the public. This bill language would help address failures of transparency and agency oversight by requiring recommendations made by the VA OIG during investigations, audits or other reports to be sent directly to the VA Secretary. In addition, these recommendations would be available to the public and submitted directly to relevant Congressional oversight committees. Lastly, if the Inspector General initiated an investigation based on information provided by an individual, the recommendations would also be shared with that individual.
    Drug Diversion at Veterans Health Administration Facilities
    As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin successfully worked to include language in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 that urges the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to maintain open communication with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and treat investigations of drug diversion in VHA facilities as a priority. DEA shall report to the Committee within 90 days after the enactment of this act on its drug diversion investigations involving VHA facilities and to report on the status of investigations on a quarterly basis thereafter.
    The initial report shall include: the number of ongoing DEA drug diversion investigations into VHA facilities, the number of DEA drug diversion investigations into VHA facilities concluded in the prior year, an analysis of trends in DEA and VHA drug diversion investigations over the past 10 years, the number of investigations that resulted in indictments, a review of factors that may be leading to drug diversion including VHA prescription drug prescribing practices, and recommendations or best practices to prevent drug diversion from VHA facilities.
    Whistleblower Enhancement for VA Medical Professionals
    Closes an existing legal loophole that harms VA medical professionals who have experienced whistleblower retaliation in the form of a negative personnel evaluation. Currently, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) cannot investigate these types of retaliation because VA medical professional personnel evaluations are governed by Title 38; while OSC’s relevant investigatory power is limited to personnel evaluations governed by Title 5. Senator Baldwin’s provision would address this inconsistency in the law by including personnel reviews governed by Title 38 within the scope of potential retaliatory personnel actions that OSC can investigate.
    Update of Joint VA and DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines
    To help address the prescription drug abuse and overdose epidemic, Senator Baldwin included a provision requiring the VA, working with DoD, to update the joint VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for the Management of Opioid Therapy (OT) for Chronic Pain, which has not been updated since 2010. In addition, to ensure prescribers have the most up-to-date science, VA will be required to adopt the safe opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic, non-cancer pain in outpatient settings currently being developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    Expanded Access to Opioid Receptor Antagonists
    Opioid receptor antagonists, such as naloxone, are drugs that reverse the effects of opioids, including respiratory depression, and, in certain cases, can prevent death. Indeed, the VA’s year-old Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) program, which dispenses take-home naloxone kit prescriptions to at-risk veterans, has been credited with saving 33 lives by reversing opioid overdoses. Senator Baldwin included a provision to expand this program, ensuring every VA medical facility is equipped with opioid receptor antagonists, as well as to improve provider and pharmacist education on overdose prevention strategies.
    Joint Executive Council Working Group on Opioids and Pain Management
    Senator Baldwin authored a provision to create a new joint VA-DoD working group to focus on patient pain management and opioid therapy.  This working group would be established within the DoD-VA Joint Executive Council—an existing forum for senior leadership at both Departments to develop policies and programs to address overlapping priorities—and would cover, at minimum, opioid prescribing practices, acute and chronic pain management, complementary and integrated health, and the concurrent use of opioids and prescription drugs for mental health issues, including benzodiazepines. The working group would help combat the VA’s continued overreliance on opioids for pain management; limit instances of VA providers prescribing opioids for mental health treatment, which is non-compliant with joint VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines; and improve patient care during the DoD-VA transition.
    Enhancing VHA Opioid Safety Efforts
    VA has had some success improving the safe use of opioids to treat pain, including through the Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) and the use of the Opioid Therapy Risk Report tool.  However, capability gaps exist in these initiatives, and more needs to be done. To help reduce rates of opioid addiction and fatal overdose, it is critical that real-time data is available at the individual prescriber and pharmacist level as well as the pharmacy management level to prevent inappropriate prescribing before it occurs.
    Senator Baldwin included a provision that directs the VA to develop and deploy mechanisms for including real-time patient information on existing opioid prescriptions within VHA as well as patient controlled substances prescription information in the state prescription drug monitoring programs.  The mechanisms must also alert a provider or pharmacist in real-time that an opioid or benzodiazepine prescription would be inappropriate and protect against “double-prescribing” when an in-patient continues to receive take-home opioid prescriptions despite being treated with opioids at a VA facility.  The provision further directs VA to submit information on controlled substances prescriptions to state prescription drug monitoring programs.
    GAO Audit of VA Opioid Therapy
    According to the CDC, in 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. This drastic increase has also been seen in local VA facilities, including the Tomah VAMC in Wisconsin. To strengthen oversight of VA opioid prescribing practices, Senator Baldwin included a provision directing the Government Accountability Office, in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to report to Congress on the effectiveness of the VA Opioid Safety Initiative and overall opioid prescribing practices throughout the VA system. This report shall include recommendations on improvements to the Opioid Safety Initiative, deaths involving veterans prescribed opioids, overall opioid  prescription rates and indications at all VA facilities, including facilities and prescribers that are among the top ten percent in the nation regarding the percent of their patient population receiving opioids and the average dose per patient. In addition, the report shall note the use of benzodiazepines and opioid concomitantly and their prescription rates and indications along with facilities and prescribers that are among the top ten percent in the nation regarding the percent of their patient population receiving opioids and the average dose per patient.
    VISN Pain Management Boards and Complementary and Integrative Health
    To further help reduce the inappropriate use of opioids and improve treatment for chronic pain such as through the use of complementary and integrative health, Senator Baldwin included a provision that encourages the VA to establish a pain management board within each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) comprised of health care professionals and—to give veterans a greater role in their care—veteran patients and/or family members of a veteran patient. The pain management boards would serve as a resource for the region’s facilities, patients, and family members; provide best practices recommendations for pain management to the VA facilities within its region, including patient, family member and medical perspectives; provide an annual report to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs about pain management practices within its region, which would then be sent to Congress.
    GAO Report High Risk List
    In 2015 GAO placed VHA on its annual High Risk List, identifying VHA programs as high-risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. Accordingly, Senator Baldwin included language to require the VA Secretary to issue to Congress quarterly progress reports on Department action to address GAO findings and recommendations.
    Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH)
    The bill includes a provision authored by Senator Baldwin requiring the AFRH to report on actions taken to implement recommendations made by the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) in a July 2014 report. 
    View an online version of this release here.


    Republicans and Democrats, Debate This! How To Stop Terrorism and Improve Economy (David DeGraw)

    David DeGraw questions the drum beat:

    Are you ready for Clinton Vs. Trump?

    Hey, Republicans and Democrats, Debate This! Here’s How We Can Stop Terrorism and Improve The Economy

    Here we are… racking up debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck in propaganda-induced panic and fear, while political candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are serving up our future to the war profiteers. +Read More

    Let me know your thoughts,

    twitter facebook

    Reporting, Rebelling, and Truth-Telling

    Ms. magazine notes:

    Dear Common Ills,

    It’s only with the support of dedicated individuals – like you – that Ms. can remain fiercely independent. Remember, Ms. is sustained by its readers and supporters – not by advertisers.

    Because Ms. doesn’t take advertisements from corporate special interests, you never have to worry that we will shy away from telling it like it is. From shocking Supreme Court decisions allowing bosses to decide their women employees’ birth control, to campus sexual assault, to the War on Women, Ms. is the leader in reporting our lives.

    This next year will be pivotal in the fight for women’s full equality. So we can move forward stronger than ever before in 2016, please make a special tax-deductible, year-end contribution to support Ms.

    With your support Ms. will remain a trusted source of news and analysis, ideas and inspiration for feminists – here and worldwide. We will continue to raise awareness and inspire our audiences to action, resulting in real and permanent change. 

    Your tax-deductible contribution helps ensure Ms. continues to grow, inspire and educate as it renews and empowers each one of us.

    Wishing you a feminist Happy New Year!

    Kathy Spillar
    Executive Editor

    Don't You Dare Give This Book As A Holiday Gift

    Jonathan Tasini notes his new book:

    This Book Isn't For YOU or Your Friends...
    Because if you buy this book as a holiday gift:
    • Someone reading it will believe in a political revolution, not the status quo;
    • Your mother might start thinking crazy thoughts like every person deserves free health care from cradle to grave;
    • Your spouse will start thinking we should break up the big banks;
    • Your best friend will say we need to guarantee every person the right to tuition-free college, and demand that that be paid for by Wall Street;
    • Everyone you send this book to will start marching in the streets for a $15-an-hour minimum wage;
    And all sorts of other crazy ideas. So, be clear: if you'd rather not spread these ideas to your friends and family, do not buy this book as a holiday gift!  

    But, okay, if I haven't convinced you yet that this is a very dangerous book to buy as we head into the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses, go ahead, buy it here.

    (If you'd prefer something other than Amazon, here are other options)

    It's 95 percent Bernie's words! The ultimate organizer's tool to spread #FeelTheBern!
    Doing Teevee For Bernie
    I've been doing a bunch of media as a surrogate for Bernie, including this one just the other day on CNN's New Day with Chris Cuomo.
    Bulk Discounts As Well!

    45% for 10-59 copies
    50% for 60-180 copies (60 books = one case)
    55% for 181-600 copies
    60% for 601+ copies
    Name | Company | Phone | Email | Website

    Friday, December 25, 2015

    Moving Forward

    I'll note this press release but I can't go along with the pretense that Afghan women's lives have improved.  For reality, you can check out this 2015 page at about Sarah Chayes, and you can read this 2014 article Chayes wrote for POLITICO, and this 2015 interview Chayes did with Tim Lewis (GUARDIAN).  You can also refer to Arghand for one of the few efforts at success and change.  Eleanor Smeal spins on Afghanistan because, in case you missed it, she came out endorsing continued war on Afghanistan earlier this year.   I also need to be very clear that the silence from Feminist Majority on the attacks on women's rights in Iraq -- attacks that have continued throughout the US-led war on Iraq and the occupation of it -- is shameful.

    Dear Common Ills,

    Don’t let the year end without taking advantage of the last opportunity to make a tax-deductible, special gift to the Feminist Majority Foundation.

    We just released a major digital advertising campaign asking: “When did the Right to Life Become the Right to Harass, Intimidate, and Terrorize Abortion Provides?” We are determined to expose anti-abortion extremism and violence, and we need your help to do it!

    Our last Clinic Violence Survey revealed 51.9% abortion clinics—up from 26.6% in 2010— reported facing targeted threats and intimidation tactics, including pamphlets and WANTED-style posters targeting providers, home picketing, and stalking of doctors and staff.
    FMF’s National Clinic Access Project has been on high alert all year working to protect and assist targeted clinics in FL, CA, AL, MS, NC, KS, CO, NE, MD, and VA, to mention just a few.

    We're constantly fighting to block right-wing attacks on women’s rights in the United States. 

    We are investing in the future by conducting the largest women’s rights campus program in the nation, now with groups in 44 states and D.C! In 2016, we will mobilize student voters, especially young women, with our Get Out Her Vote campaign.

    Globally, since 1997, we have been working to help Afghan women and girls as they fight for equality. They are making impressive strides in education, health care, and employment advancement.

    And if all of this is not enough, we are entering our 14th year of publishing Ms. Magazine, both digitally and in print. Ms. Facebook now engages 65 million people yearly!

    In good times and bad, we are moving forward for women’s rights and lives. So please give a generous, end-of-year, tax-deductible contribution. Thank you for all you do to support equality and women’s rights. Together we are making—and will continue to make—a historic difference.

    Happy holidays!

    For women’s lives and equality,

    Connect with us!

    If I Were President (David DeGraw)

    David DeGraw ponders being president:

    The backbone of my political platform ;-)

    If I Were President…

    I would focus military operations on deploying sustainable technologies in service to national and global security, as a defense against terrorism and instability, while also significantly improving everyone’s quality of life. +Read More

    Happy Holidays & Happy New Year to You and Your Family!
    Get Ready For Paradigm Shift 2016!!

    ~ David

    twitter facebook

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, December 25, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Christmas is observed in parts of Iraq, international law is ignored by the US State Dept, and much more.

    Today, RT Tweets the following information:

    Link to headline article

    The tensions between the two governments is only increasing.

    Thursday, the Arab Leauge weighed in on a matter that's caused controversy throughout this month: Turkish troops in Iraq.  TODAY'S ZAYMAN brings everyone up to speed:

    Earlier in December Turkey sent a contingent of additional forces to bolster its military presence in the Bashiqa camp near Mosul to train local forces in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The move prompted a backlash in Iraq, sparking a diplomatic spat between Ankara and Baghdad. Last week, the Iraqi government brought the issue to the UN Security Council to demand the unconditional and full withdrawal of Turkish troops.
    At first, Ankara said it deployed forces in coordination with the central government in Baghdad. The Iraqi authorities said they had never invited such a force and it happened without its approval and knowledge. To defuse tension, Ankara partially withdrew its forces from the camp and re-stationed them further north in the Kurdish region.
    Unsatisfied with that, Baghdad pressed for the withdrawal of all Turkish troops, a demand yet to be met.

    And yesterday?  SPUTNIK reports, "Turkey must withdraw immediately all its troops from Iraq without any preconditions, a statement unanimously adopted by members of the Arab League said Thursday."  AFP notes:

    The Turkish deployment "is an assault on Iraqi sovereignty and a threat to Arab national security," they said in an Arab League statement after meeting at the pan-Arab bloc's Cairo headquarters.
    Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Heli read out the statement at a press conference, in which he added that the Turkish troops "increased tumult in the region."

    Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari reports SPUTNIK, told the Arab League, "We are not threatening for now. But if our security and integrity is continued to be threatened, I will use all legal means to respond to the attack. Every option is on the table."

    The issue had been raised most recently at the US State Dept's Monday briefing moderated by spokesperson John Kirby.

    QUESTION: Iraq, John? On the situation in Bashiqa. Last Friday --

    MR KIRBY: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Last Friday, the President Obama made a phone call with Turkish President Erdogan on this issue again. And according to the readout, the U.S. side urged the Turkish side to withdraw all its forces from Iraq. Do you have any update on this? Is – the withdrawal is achieved over the weekend, according to your --

    MR KIRBY: If what was achieved?

    QUESTION: The withdrawal of the Turkish forces is achieved?

    MR KIRBY: I don’t have an update on Turkish military movements. I think you should – I would refer you to the Turkish Government for specifics on that. What we have said is we’re encouraged by the dialogue between the two countries, and we’ve seen the reports of Turkey’s intent to withdraw. We welcome that, because the third point I’d say – we’ve always made this clear – is that whatever military activity is going on inside Iraq needs to be done with the approval of the sovereign Iraqi Government. And so our view is we want this worked out bilaterally between the two countries. We’re encouraged by the dialogue that they’ve had and the progress they seem to have made. But I can’t give you a up-to-date tick-tock on exactly where Turkish troops are right now. I don’t know.

    QUESTION: Yeah, but the Iraqis brought this issue to UN Security Council also. It’s not anymore a bilateral issue. So as a chairman of the council – I mean this month, U.S. – what is the U.S. position on this issue? Is there any timeframe for the withdrawal, for example, or I mean – because the Iraqis are – I mean, it’s said that – Foreign Minister Jafari – they will carry on the process until the full withdrawal is achieved.

    MR KIRBY: I understand. And they have every right to pursue their sovereign ends the way they believe they need to pursue them. Our view is that we would prefer to see this worked out bilaterally. It appears that that is what is happening, and we want to see that continue.

    QUESTION: No. If there will be no withdrawal until a specific time, there will be a condemnation from the council, for example? Any specific --

    MR KIRBY: I’m not going to speculate about an action the council hasn’t taken yet. And I don’t speak for the UN. I know we’re the president, but I speak for the State Department and for Secretary Kerry. Our view is we want this resolved bilaterally. They continue to have discussions and talk through this, and we think that’s the right approach. But as exactly where Turkish troops are right now, you’d have to talk to the Turkish Government.

    QUESTION: Yeah. Last one on this. One of the arguments that the Turks raised on this issue: If the Turks will withdraw from the region, ISIL is – will be replacing the Turkish forces in the region. Is it a reasonable argument, do you think? I mean, can ISIS, for example, fulfill the gap in the region after the withdrawal?

    MR KIRBY: As I understand it – and again, I’m not going to speak to Turkish military activities. But as I understand it, it’s a training presence that they have there. And I don’t know of any – of any training mission that ISIL’s taken on with respect to forces in northern Iraq, so I don’t see how you can compare the two. But again, you’d have to talk to Turkey about what they’re doing with their troops and on what timeframe.

    We continue to want to see the sovereign integrity of Iraq respected and for military activity inside Iraq to be done with the full approval of the Abadi government, as ours is. And we want these two countries to work this out between themselves. Again, they appear to be doing that and we’re encouraged by that. Okay?

    John Kirby lies on behalf of the State Dept -- there's no polite way to put it.

    When Turkey began bombing northern Iraq (again) this year, Iraq's government objected and the US State Dept -- and Kirby himself -- gave Turkey a pass.  They did more than that.  Kirby went on record stating Turkey had a right to bomb northern Iraq in order to 'protect' and 'defend' itself.

    That was Turkey's "right," according to Kirby and the US State Dept but Iraq does not appear to have the right to insist Turkish troops leave Iraq -- not in the eyes of the State Dept.

    This should not be a 'both sides' issue.

    Does a nation-state have the right to demand foreign troops leave its territory or not?

    If it does have that right -- and the history of law and treaties says it does -- then the only answer is for the US government to support the legal right of Iraq's government to demand that Turkish troops leave Iraq.

    This is not a gray area.

    This is established law that's been in place for centuries.

    And it seems like the US government has been bombing Iraq for centuries but the latest wave of bombings only began in August 2014.  It continues with the US Defense Dept noting yesterday:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and 24 ISIL rockets.

    -- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, nine strikes struck seven separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 24 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL assembly area.

    - Near Ramadi, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, five ISIL command and control nodes, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL bed-down location, an ISIL artillery site, cratered five ISIL-used roads and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    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.

    December 25th is Christmas, celebrated throughout the world -- including in Iraq.

    Yesterday, ALSUMARIA reported that the Chaldean Church in Kirkuk held mass.  NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY adds that Ayad Allawi issued a statment congratulating the Iraqi people and Muslims and Christians throughout the world on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed and on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ while hoping  that the coming year finds Iraq free of the "scourge of war" and terrorism and that the country -- and the world -- can strive towards the teachings of tolerance in Islam and Christianity.  He declared that attempts to purge the region of Christians should be seen as an attack on Muslims as well and the unity of the entire community.

    ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that Christmas services were held in Baghdad today.

    mass in the mountains of .
    Embedded image permalink

    ALSUMARIA offers a photo essay of Christmas service in Baghdad.