Saturday, September 14, 2019

The question Joe Biden needs to be asked about Iraq

We're returning to the Democratic Party's presidential debate on Thursday night to expand the Joe Biden focus to include Bernie Sanders.  We covered the immigration issue/crisis and the press' racist response to Julian Castro holding Joe Biden accountable in Friday's snapshot.

Those are the two biggest issues though some idiots are trying to pretend otherwise -- VOX, we'll get to you in a moment. As I pointed out at the start of August, the Democratic Party has used the immigration issue/crisis to whip up anger against President Donald Trump.  And they seem to think that, if elected, they can then blow off the issue -- the way they did the Iraq War following the 2006 mid-terms.  This is not the Iraq War.

The immigration issue/crisis directly impacts people on US soil.  Whether the media covers it or not, the issue won't go away.  It's not the Iraq War which vanished from many people's radars when the US press withdrew in large numbers at the end of 2008.  Remember how ABC was going to cover it after that?  By using reports from the BBC -- that's what they announced.  And they helped the country pretend that the war was over.

That won't happen with immigration.  Deportations are happening on US soil.  The people being deported have friends and family in the US.  The Democratic Party -- a segment of which supported the Iraq War -- used the war to demonize Bully Boy Bush and turn out voters.  Then they did nothing.  Today, they use the immigration issue/crisis to demonize Donald and to turn out votes.  But if you pay attention, very few Democrats in Congress have offered any leadership on this issue nor will they following the 2020 election.  In fact, for all the pretense of opposition to the wall, it's not that different, what Donald's trying for, then what Hillary Clinton and others have proposed in the past.

So that makes it the biggest issue of the debate.  It effects the lives of so many and the Democrats are promising to fix the issue but that fix is not coming.

The racism directed against Julian Castro?  We are seeing a punditry use racism while they castigate Donald a s a racist.  That's a major story.  The Anglo White man was challenged by the Anglo Latino and the press -- which spends so much time posing as 'woke' -- has responded with a racist attack on Julian Castro.

Let's turn to Iraq.  We're using the NBC NEWS transcript.

MUIR: Mayor Buttigieg, thank you.
I want to turn to Vice President Biden, because the concerns about any possible vacuum being created in Afghanistan, if you pulled the U.S. troops out, has been heightened by what we've seen in recent days on the ground in Iraq.
When you were vice president, President Obama turned to you to bring the troops home from Iraq. You have said on the campaign trail, quote, "I made sure the president turned to me and said, Joe, get our combat troops out of Iraq." There was a major drawdown of U.S. troops, and then ISIS seized by some estimates 40 percent of the territory in Iraq. You then had to send thousands of troops back in. Was it wrong to pull out of Iraq that quickly? And did the move actually help ISIS take hold?

BIDEN: No, it wasn't wrong to pull out. But I want to answer your Afghanistan question. I've been in and out of Afghanistan, not with a gun, and I admire my friend for his service. But I've been out of Afghanistan I think more than anybody on this -- and it's an open secret, you reported a long time ago, George, that I was opposed to the surge in Afghanistan.
The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was to not have a counterinsurgency, meaning that we're going to put that country together. It cannot be put together. Let me say it again. It will not be put together. It's three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties -- the three provinces in the east. They're not any part of -- the Haqqanis run it. I will go on and on.
But here's the point. The point is that it's a counterterrorism strategy. We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases -- insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to air lift from and to move against what we know.
We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home. And Joe Dunford's a fine guy, but this has been an internal argument we've had for eight years.
With regard to -- with regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that, you know, I should have never voted to give Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do. The AUMF was designed, he said, to go in and get the Security Council to vote 15-0 to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons. And when that happened, he went ahead and went anyway without any of that proof.
I said something that was not meant the way I said it.
I said -- from that point on -- what I was argued against in the beginning, once he started to put the troops in, was that in fact we were doing it the wrong way; there was no plan; we should not be engaged; we didn't have the people with us; we didn't have our -- we didn't have allies with us, et cetera.
And it was later, when we came into office, that Barack turned -- the president turned to me and said, "Joe" -- when they said we've got a plan to get out, he turned to the whole security and said, "Joe will organize this. Get the troops home."
My son spent a year in Iraq, and I understand. It made -- and we were right to get the combat troops out. The big mistake that was made, which we predicted, was that you would not have a circumstance where the Shia and the Kurds would work together to keep ISIS from coming -- from moving in.

MUIR: Mr. Vice President, thank you.
I want to turn to Senator Sanders on this. Because the concern over Afghanistan is very similar to what we saw in Iraq when the troops came out. ISIS filled that vacuum.
What do you make of people out there who are worried that if we pull out U.S. troops too quickly from Afghanistan, it will create safe haven all over again, like the plotters of 9/11?

SANDERS: David, let me answer that, but let me just comment on something that the vice president said.
You talked about the big mistake in Iraq and the surge. The truth is, the big mistake, the huge mistake, and one of the big differences between you and me, I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq...


BIDEN: You're right.

SANDERS: I voted against the war in Iraq


... and helped lead the opposition. And it's sad to say -- I mean, I, kind of, you know, had the feeling that there would be massive destabilization in that area if we went into that war.
As the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I want to pick up on what Pete said. We cannot express our gratitude to all of the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend them -- defend us, who have responded to the call of duty. But I think, also, I am the only person up here to have voted against all three of Trump's military budgets.


I don't think we have to spend $750 billion a year on the military when we don't even know who our enemy is.


I think that what we have got to do is bring this world together -- bring it together on climate change, bring it together in fighting against terrorism. And make it clear that we as a planet, as a global community, will work together to help countries around the world rebuild their struggling economies and do everything that we can to rid the world of terrorism. But dropping bomb on Afghanistan and Iraq was not the way to do it.

MUIR: Senator Sanders, thank you.

Bernie Sanders voted against the Iraq War.  History has demonstrated that this was the correct position.  Bernie was right.  That deserves applause, that deserves recognition.  And it should be pointed out that, for many who voted for the Iraq War, it wasn't about getting it wrong, it was about making a political calculation.  Bernie could have done that.  Voting for war in 2002 was supposed to be the safe move.  Bernie didn't just do the right thing, he did the brave thing.  That needs to be recognized especially by the Democratic Party.

Every ticket since the war started has had at least one person on the ticket who voted for the Iraq War.  In 2004, the ticket was John Kerry and John Edwards -- both voted for the Iraq War.  In 2008, it was Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- Joe voted for the Iraq War.  In 2012, it was also Barack and Joe.  In 2016, it was Hillary Clinton and the instantly forgettable Tim Kaine -- Hillary voted for the Iraq War.

Every ticket since the war started in 2003 has had at least one person who voted for the Iraq War.  Not once has a Democratic Party presidential ticket since 2003 offered anyone who voted against the Iraq War.

The same media that refused to do their job when covering the Iraq War -- both before it started and after -- refuses to cover this topic.  Indicting the leadership of the Democratic Party for this would require admitting their own errors and lies.

Joe Biden has been a serial liar on Iraq.  Let's put his statements below:

BIDEN: With regard to -- with regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that, you know, I should have never voted to give Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do. The AUMF was designed, he said, to go in and get the Security Council to vote 15-0 to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons. And when that happened, he went ahead and went anyway without any of that proof.
I said something that was not meant the way I said it.
I said -- from that point on -- what I was argued against in the beginning, once he started to put the troops in, was that in fact we were doing it the wrong way; there was no plan; we should not be engaged; we didn't have the people with us; we didn't have our -- we didn't have allies with us, et cetera.
And it was later, when we came into office, that Barack turned -- the president turned to me and said, "Joe" -- when they said we've got a plan to get out, he turned to the whole security and said, "Joe will organize this. Get the troops home."
My son spent a year in Iraq, and I understand. It made -- and we were right to get the combat troops out. The big mistake that was made, which we predicted, was that you would not have a circumstance where the Shia and the Kurds would work together to keep ISIS from coming -- from moving in.

The lies never end with Joe.  He voted to authorize war.  He still can't be honest about that or stop pretending that Bully Boy Bush tricked him.  He still can't take responsibility. 

From his latest series of lies (above), he's still not able to tell the truth that the war was wrong.  He's now showing his disgusting neoliberal core, 'It was fought wrong.'  Oh, b.s. It was an illegal war based on lies.  Joe can't get honest and the media has the same damn problem.

Zach Beauchamp offers at VICE:

I’ve spent a while pondering this last line — “the big mistake that was made, which we predicted, was that you would not have a circumstance where the Shia and Kurds would work together to keep ISIS from coming” — and I can’t make heads or tails of it.
The Shia majority and ethnic Kurdish minority are ISIS’s bitter enemies, given that ISIS is a Sunni jihadist group. I think Biden is trying to say that they should have cooperated on counter-ISIS efforts between 2011 and 2014, but didn’t. But lack of Kurdish-Shia coordination isn’t really what led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq (there were a lot of other causes). 

I am so sick of the lies and liars.  At the end of the excerpt above, Zach links to an earlier piece he wrote poorly.

In the earlier piece, he tries to discuss ISIS and fails repeatedly.

It is a lie to state, suggest or imply that most Sunnis embraced ISIS.  That never happened.  We covered it in real time and repeatedly noted that the attitude was a pox on both their houses.  The Sunnis did not figure it was their fight.  They were being persecuted by the Iraqi government -- Zach acknowledges a tiny portion of that persecution in the article he's linked to -- and they weren't going to defend that government.  ISIS was an extremist organization that they weren't going to support either.  It wasn't their fight.  That's what we noted in real time from the start, that's what NPR reported months into the rise of ISIS.  That's what reality was.

Zach never notes that Iraqi women and girls were being raped and tortured in Iraqi jails, prisons and secret prisons.  He never notes that the outrage grew so intense that Nouri had to do a for show production where he pretended the women were being released.  (Iraqi media reported that after that press conference, families stated their female relatives were not returned home.)  The Iraqi Parliament called out these actions.

This is not minor and Zach disappears it.  I'm sick of you f**king liars.  We called this out in real time and we did so because it mattered.  Stop your damn lying.  Zach,, I'm sorry you were too stupid to see what was happening but own your mistakes.  We all make mistakes.  That includes me.  I'm wrong all the time.  And I will own those mistakes.

We're not going to get anywhere until people start getting honest.

Zach also fails to note that Nouri's tactics including grabbing Iraqi journalists on the streets and torturing them.  NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST both reported on that.  (THE NEW YORK TIMES turned it into a joke.) 

These are not minor issues.  Nouri intimidated the press repeatedly to get them to stop reporting news.

What Nouri did is the public record. 

But the reason for the rise of ISIS has always been that Barack Obama and Joe Biden gave Nouri a second term as prime minister in 2010.  In March of 2010, Iraqis went to the polls and voted for a new future and for the Iraqiya coalition.  Nouri refused to step down.  For eight months, the loser refused to step down.  Barack and Joe overturned the vote via The Erbil Agreement -- when is Zach going to write about that.  Ned Parker had already reported on Nouri's secret prisons for torture before Joe and Barack gave Nouri a second term.

He was a danger to the Iraqi people which is why they voted him out.

Nouri's second term gives rise to ISIS and Zach can minimize and lie all he wants but that is the reality and Barack admitted himself publicly.

We documented it here over and over in real time.  Emma Sky has written about it in  THE UNRAVELING: HIGH HOPES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAQ.  Let's again note the
August 2015 broadcast of Kevin Sylvester's THIS SUNDAY EDITION (CBC) which featured Emma Sky discussing Iraq:

Emma Sky: And that [2010] national election was a very closely contested election. Iraqis of all persuasions and stripes went out to participate in that election.  They'd become convinced that politics was the way forward, that they could achieve what they wanted through politics and not violence.  To people who had previously been insurgents, people who'd not voted before turned out in large numbers to vote in that election.  And during that election, the incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, lost by 2 seats.  And the bloc that won was a bloc called Iraqiya led by Ayad Allawi which campaigned on "NO" to sectarianism, really trying to move beyond this horrible sectarian fighting -- an Iraq for Iraqis and no sectarianism.  And that message had attracted most of the Sunnis, a lot of the secular Shia and minority groups as well.

Kevin Sylvester:  People who felt they'd been shut out during Maliki's regime basically -- or his governance.

Emma Sky:  Yes, people that felt, you know, that they wanted to be part of the country called Iraq not -- they wanted to be this, they wanted Iraq to be the focus and not sect or ethnicity to be the focus.  And Maliki refused to accept the results.  He just said, "It is not right."  He wanted a recount.  He tried to use de-Ba'athification to eliminate or disqualify some Iraqiya members and take away the votes that they had gained.  And he just sat in his seat and sat in his seat.  And it became a real sort of internal disagreement within the US system about what to do?  So my boss, Gen [Ray] Odierno, was adamant that the US should uphold the Constitutional process, protect the political process, allow the winning group to have first go at trying to form the government for thirty days.  And he didn't think Allawi would be able to do it with himself as prime minister but he thought if you start the process they could reach agreement between Allawi and Maliki or a third candidate might appear who could become the new prime minister. So that was his recommendation.

Kevin Sylvester:   Well he even calls [US Vice President Joe] Biden -- Biden seems to suggest that that's what the administration will support and then they do a complete switch around.  What happened?

Emma Sky:  Well the ambassador at the time was a guy who hadn't got experience of the region, he was new in Iraq and didn't really want to be there.  He didn't have the same feel for the country as the general who'd been there for year after year after year.

Kevin Sylvester:  Chris Hill.

Emma Sky:  And he had, for him, you know 'Iraq needs a Shia strongman. Maliki's our man.  Maliki's our friend.  Maliki will give us a follow on security agreement to keep troops in country.'  So it looks as if Biden's listening to these two recommendations and that at the end Biden went along with the Ambassador's recommendation.  And the problem -- well a number of problems -- but nobody wanted Maliki.  People were very fearful that he was becoming a dictator, that he was sectarian, that he was divisive. And the elites had tried to remove him through votes of no confidence in previous years and the US had stepped in each time and said, "Look, this is not the time, do it through a national election."  So they had a national election, Maliki lost and they were really convinced they'd be able to get rid of him.  So when Biden made clear that the US position was to keep Maliki as prime minister, this caused a huge upset with Iraqiya.  They began to fear that America was plotting with Iran in secret agreement.  So they moved further and further and further away from being able to reach a compromise with Maliki.  And no matter how much pressure the Americans put on Iraqiya, they weren't going to agree to Maliki as prime minister and provided this opening to Iran because Iran's influence was way low at this stage because America -- America was credited with ending the civil war through the 'surge.'  But Iran sensed an opportunity and the Iranians pressured Moqtada al-Sadr -- and they pressured him and pressured him.  And he hated Maliki but they put so much pressure on to agree to a second Maliki term and the price for that was all American troops out of the country by the end of 2011.  So during this period, Americans got outplayed by Iran and Maliki moved very much over to the Iranian camp because they'd guaranteed his second term.

Kevin Sylvester:  Should-should the Obama administration been paying more attention?  Should they have -- You know, you talk about Chris Hill, the ambassador you mentioned, seemed more -- at one point, you describe him being more interested in putting green lawn turf down on the Embassy in order to play la crosse or something.  This is a guy you definitely paint as not having his head in Iraq.  How much of what has happened since then is at the fault of the Obama administration?  Hillary Clinton who put Chris Hill in place? [For the record, Barack Obama nominated Chris Hill for the post -- and the Senate confirmed it -- not Hillary.]  How much of what happens -- has happened since -- is at their feet?

Emma Sky:  Well, you know, I think they have to take some responsibility for this because of this mistake made in 2010.  And Hillary Clinton wasn't very much involved in Iraq.  She did appoint the ambassador but she wasn't involved in Iraq because President Obama had designated Biden to be his point-man on Iraq and Biden really didn't have the instinct for Iraq. He very much believed in ancient hatreds, it's in your blood, you just grow up hating each other and you think if there was anybody who would have actually understood Iraq it would have been Obama himself.  You know, he understands identity more than many people.  He understands multiple identities and how identities can change.  He understands the potential of people to change. So he's got quite a different world view from somebody like Joe Biden who's always, you know, "My grandfather was Irish and hated the British.  That's how things are."  So it is unfortunate that when the American public had enough of this war, they wanted to end the war.  For me, it wasn't so much about the troops leaving, it was the politics -- the poisonous politics.  And keeping Maliki in power when his poisonous politics were already evident was, for me, the huge mistake the Obama administration made. Because what Maliki did in his second term was to go after his rivals.  He was determined he was never going to lose an election again.  So he accused leading Sunni politicians of terrorism and pushed them out of the political process.  He reneged on his promises that he'd made to the tribal leaders who had fought against al Qaeda in Iraq during the surge. [She's referring to Sahwa, also known as Sons of Iraq and Daughters of Iraq and as Awakenings.]  He didn't pay them.  He subverted the judiciary.  And just ended up causing these mass Sunni protests that created the environment that the Islamic State could rear its ugly head and say, "Hey!"  And sadly -- and tragically, many Sunnis thought, "Maybe the Islamic State is better than Maliki."  And you've got to be pretty bad for people to think the Islamic State's better. 

Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, in ENDGAME, also called out the refusal of Barack and Joe to support the winner of the 2010 election and instead give thug Nouri a second term.

The US government overturned an election.  The only two Cabinet members who argued against this?  Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton.  Give Hillary her due, she knew this would harm the Iraqi people.  She knew Nouri was a thug -- she'd called him that publicly in April 2008 Senate hearing.

Iraq would be better off today if the will of the Iraqi people, their votes in a democratic election, had been honored. 

As long as Zach and everyone else lies, Joe's never going to be asked the important question:  What gave you the right to overturn a democratic election?

That's the question he needs to be asked.

The following sites updated:

The people stand up to the media and Joe Biden's racism

  1. I truly don’t understand how people are shocked about Julian Castro when Joe Biden’s answer about institutionalized racism was by far the problematic answer. Especially for someone who is the front runner of the Democratic Party.
  2. Please sign if you agree that we need Julián Castro at the next debate. The way he stands up to Joe Biden regarding immigration systemic racism and healthcare are important.

  1. Finally, the media coverage we’ve been waiting for to call out Joe Biden’s racism, which was on full display last night. Of course, it had to be done by an African American media outlet....
  2. I have no problem with what Julian Castro and Cory Booker said about Joe Biden. This is a conversation about the issue. White liberals in Moderat do not want to confront racism in the Democratic Party. They want you to shut up and vote for Joe Biden.
  3. post-debate pundits went after Julián Castro by misinterpreting a comment during a heated exchange about policy as an attack on Joe Biden’s age — & they said nothing about Joe Biden addressing systemic racism by saying poor minority families should play more records/music at home

  1. Replying to   and 
    Also, until I see these same people discussing their concerns over Joe’s very insensitive, steeped in bigotry, answer to the racism question, I take none of these Castro “misinterpretationists” seriously.
  2. I need to get off this website today. White political twitter castigating Julián Castro whilst crowning Joe Biden as a success and not even mentioning his racism is about to give me an aneurism. ✌🏽

  1. Replying to 
    I do not always support you reviews but when you’re right you’re right. It sure you the racism from white liberal Democrats. We will be out rage for Julian Castro. Silence about Joe Biden racism No outrage.
  2. I just told a black voter who didn't watch debate about Joe Biden and his ridiculous answer on racism and talking about a record player. Julián Castro did voters a favor! Biden had more unforced errors that too many white folks and old pundits are trying to cover up. Too late!
  3. Replying to 
    The punditry at large is so blind to everyday casual racism they didn’t see flailing and inflaming on race yet were quick to jump on and call him ageist for pointing out the obvious Biden did not win
  4. This is such an important read about bias and : Post-Debate Analysis: Joe Biden Is a White Man, the Media Are Racist Against Julián Castro and Black People Are Out of Their Goddamn Minds via
  5. Replying to  
    I think it’s that. I also think it’s that everyone can see that Joe Biden is not well and almost everyone universally is enabling him to continue when he should drop out. Castro wasn’t playing along and called Biden out on his cognitive decline as much as his racism.

  1. Institutional racism is real. The media has been unfair to . A brown man calls out a white man and the media and middle America have a meltdown.
  2. Replying to   and 
    White gays do it to PoC who are challenging their racism. Cis men of color do it to white women calling out their sexism. Hetero women do it to gay men calling out their homophobia.

  1. Replying to   and 
    What research is that? Are you claiming that there is research showing that the best way to repair the legacy of racism is to send social workers and psychologists into black homes? Because that’s what Biden appeared to say.
  2. I dont blame for asking The media, & centrists coming out against Julian is pure and simple racism, institutional white supremacy. If Joe called out Julian in exactly the same issue, all above would be applauding.
  3. I’ve seen more tone policing towards than outrage over the fact that is still running and it’s really indicative of people’s politics. Joe’s history of institutional racism, sexism, and overall mediocrity is more palpable than... 1/2

  1. Replying to   and 
    Man. On CNN they are avoiding the fact that when pressed about his past dismissive comments on legacies of racism, Biden responded with poor people don't know how to raise kids. "We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children."
  2. It's pretty telling the white fragility that pops up any time one of candidates of color criticize Biden. It wasn't mean. It's called differentiating between the plans. Anyone who saw that as mean needs to examine some latent racism. First Harris, then Booker, now Castro.

Search results
  1. Replying to   and 
    If political discourse is too “mean” for you. Maybe you should try knitting
  2. A lot of the mainstream media is lying about Julián Castro to defend Joe Biden. Joe Biden said people would have to opt in to his healthcare plan. Chris Matthews has to read the line where Joe said “buy in” and STILL said Castro was lying when the transcript was right there.

  1. Replying to   and 
    If Biden can’t handle something this mild, he should drop out now.

  1. It's interesting how much the media is tearing into for pointing out what literally every voter who doesn't support mentions EVERYDAY: HE IS TOO OLD! Only the news media thought it was a cheap shot.
  2. Replying to   and 
    I was also watching live and reacted similarly to Castro. The fact that we all have to interpret what Biden meant -- at multiple points in the debate-- is a huge problem. His policies are subpar and he does not appear mentally fit.