Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, February 11, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, War Hawk Hillary Clinton continues to be pushed on her vote for the Iraq War, her War Hawk buddies also becomes an issue, and much more.

Let’s start with the ongoing Iraq War .  Specifically, let’s start with the decision to support it to begin with.

Yesterday, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Iraq, Syria and Libya.  Appearing before the Committee was President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy Brett McGurk.  The original decision to support the Iraq War was raised.  First . . .


US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: You know, frankly, we Republicans made a mistake when we backed our president when he said: “We have to get rid of Saddam Hussein.”  And frankly it looks like to me that all of this chaos and confusion that you’re describing today that is unfortunately in your lap to  try to correct started when we made a mistake [that] ‘we have to get rid of Saddam Hussein because he’s a bad guy and he’s committing crimes against his own people and that’s destabilizing the whole area.’ [. . .]  

Secondly . . .


US House Rep Gerry Connolly:  I certainly want to concur with my friend from California and his critique of the mistake by Republicans in supporting the reckless foreign policy of George W. Bush.  And I certainly want to associate myself with those remarks.

US House Rep Dan Rohrbacher: Absolutely. 

Those darn Republicans, supporting, in 2002, the move to go to war on Iraq.

Darn Republicans.


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    . wise vote against War is one reason why endorsed him over

What?

Oh, right.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War.

And she’s not a Republican — not anymore, right?

She was on stage tonight in Milawukee (wearing another ridiculous outfit — is ‘business professional’ just beyond her understanding?).  It was the Democratic Party debate, the latest one.  This one hosted by PBS and THE PBS NEWSHOUR with news anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff actings as moderators while Hillary debated Senator Bernie Sanders.

Wouldn’t you know it?  Iraq was an issue.

Specifically, Hillary’s vote for the United States to go to war with Iraq.

This is from the transcript provided by THE WASHINGTON POST (which is annotated online).



SANDERS: Let me just say this. What a president of the United States has got to do — and what is his or her major, I think, responsibility — is to, A, make certain that we keep our people safe, that we work with allies around the world to protect…
… president of the United States has got to do, and what is his or her major, I think, responsibility, is to, A, make certain that we keep our people safe. That we work with allies around the world to protect democratic values. That we do all that we can to create a world of peace and prosperity.
I voted against the war in Iraq because I listened very carefully to what President Bush and Vice President Cheney had to say and I didn’t believe them. And if you go to my Web site, berniesanders.com, what you find is not only going to help lead the opposition to that war, but much of what I feared would happen when I spoke on the floor of the House, in fact, did happen in terms of the instability that occurred.
Now I think an area in kind of a vague way, or not so vague, where Secretary Clinton and I disagree is the area of regime change. Look, the truth is that a powerful nation like the United States, certainly working with our allies, we can overthrow dictators all over the world.
And God only knows Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator. We could overthrow Assad tomorrow if we wanted to. We got rid of Gadhafi. But the point about foreign policy is not just to know that you can overthrow a terrible dictator, it’s to understand what happens the day after.
And in Libya, for example, the United States, Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, working with some other countries, did get rid of a terrible dictator named Gadhafi. But what happened is a political vacuum developed. ISIS came in, and now occupies significant territory in Libya, and is now prepared, unless we stop them, to have a terrorist foothold.
But this is nothing new. This has gone on 50 or 60 years where the United States has been involved in overthrowing governments. Mossadegh back in 1953. Nobody knows who Mossadegh was, democratically-elected prime minister of Iran. He was overthrown by British and American interests because he threatened oil interests of the British. And as a result of that, the shah of Iran came in, terrible dictator. The result of that, you had the Iranian Revolution coming in, and that is where we are today. Unintended consequences.
So I believe as president I will look very carefully about unintended consequences. I will do everything I can to make certain that the United States and our brave men and women in the military do not get bogged down in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.


(APPLAUSE)


CLINTON: If I could just respond. Two points. One, Senator Sanders voted in 1998 on what I think is fair to call a regime change resolution with respect to Iraq, calling for the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
He voted in favor of regime change with Libya, voted in favor of the Security Council being an active participate in setting the parameters for what we would do, which of course we followed through on.
I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It’s very important we focus on the threats we face today, and that we understand the complicated and dangerous world we are in.
When people go to vote in primaries or caucuses, they are voting not only for the president, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. And it’s important that people really look hard at what the threats and dangers we face are, and who is best prepared for dealing with them.
As we all remember, Senator Obama, when he ran against me, was against the war in Iraq. And yet when he won, he turned to me, trusting my judgment, my experience, to become secretary of state.
I was very honored to be asked to do that and very honored to serve with him those first four years.


(APPLAUSE)


SANDERS: Judy, if I can, there is no question, Secretary Clinton and I are friends, and I have a lot of respect for her, that she has enormous experience in foreign affairs. Secretary of state for four years. You’ve got a bit of experience, I would imagine.
But judgment matters as well. Judgment matters as well. And she and I looked at the same evidence coming from the Bush administration regarding Iraq. I lead the opposition against it. She voted for it.
But more importantly, in terms of this Libya resolution that you have noted before, this was a virtually unanimous consent. Everybody voted for it wanting to see Libya move toward democracy, of course we all wanted to do that.


SANDERS: That is very different than talking about specific action for regime change, which I did not support.

“I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016,” Hillary grumped.

Nor is saying “I made a mistake” owning your destructive vote.

Hillary has refused to address the needs of the Iraqi people.

Yet again, she insisted she was a champion of women — those who didn’t claim to sleep with her husband, to be raped by her husband or to be harassed by her husband.

Well no woman from Iraq has ever claimed Bill Clinton made unwanted advances so what’s Hillary’s excuse for do nothing to help the women of Iraq?

She’s the woman who calls herself a champion of women.  She’s the woman who now says her vote for the Iraq War was a mistake.

A mistake?

Wearing that ugly canary yellow top that looked like it was from the Chairman Mao collection to a professional debate was a mistake.

The birth defects in Iraq?  That’s not a mistake.  That’s a tragedy brought on by a crime.

What’s Hillary going to do about that?

Nothing,

For nearly 8 years now, she’s given lip service to “I made a mistake” but she’s never once explained how she would correct that mistake, what she’s doing to atone for it.

We’re all supposed to be thrilled that Hillary can now call her vote to endorse a criminal war of aggression was a “mistake.”

Hillary’s a neocon.

It’s why she made Victoria Nuland the spokesperson for the US State Dept and why she made Nuland’s husband Robert Kagan an advisor.

Here’s Leslie Kelb writing at DEMOCRACY JOURNAL:


Robert Kagan, the neoconservative extraordinaire, sees this shift as an opportunity to change the political center of gravity and is trying to shape the new consensus. In his latest book, The World America Made (2012), and other writings, he is reaching across the decades-old political abyss to tempted Democrats. And there, he has found Hillary Clinton, the unannounced Democratic nominee for President, among others, carefully reaching back. This potential embrace on international matters is not beyond the means of such experienced players. Foreign-policy alignments have shallower roots than domestic policy differences, and historically, the parties have enjoyed considerable overlapping of hawks and doves, activists, and de facto isolationists. Moreover, these positions can change on a dime.
Kagan’s courtship of Clinton has been quite open. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” he told The New York Times in June. “[I]t’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” He himself tellingly prefers the term “liberal interventionist.”
Kagan has his reasons for saying this publicly, not least the shifting sands of his own Republican Party. The Obama years have bared new conflicts among conservatives, particularly between the majority that still backs strong U.S. military responses to terrorist threats in the Mideast and a vocal minority of self-styled Tea Party libertarians who share left-wing Democrats’ disdain for foreign military entanglements. Accordingly, Kagan is hedging his bets by trying to fashion a new home, virtually constructing it himself—a de facto coalition of activist Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans in this ad hoc group are unlikely to campaign for Clinton, but they will be careful about attacking her foreign-policy views and will be well positioned to support her national-security positions if she wins.
[. . .]
For much of this period of neoconservative ascendance, Robert Kagan has been their intellectual tribune. This is why his courtship of Clinton is so interesting. Kagan’s open flirtation with Clinton has been coyly accepted and even reciprocated. While continuing to clutch the liberals’ new priorities like women’s rights, democracy, and climate change in her left hand, she is extending her right hand to the hawks. Few failed to notice when she selected Kagan to sit on her bipartisan State Department advisory group or when she picked his wife, Victoria Nuland, a very accomplished diplomat in her own right, as her spokeswoman. And it’s no accident that the much-admired former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, a friend to the Clintons and Kagans, keeps Kagan on at the venerable Brookings Institution as a senior fellow.

She calls her vote a ‘mistake’ yet she continues to pal around with and seek the counsel of those who advocated for that ‘mistake.’

Hillary’s a liar.

And who she hangs with says a great deal about her lack of ethics.

Back to tonight’s debate:



SANDERS: Judy, one area very briefly…


WOODRUFF: Just a final word.


SANDERS: Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate — and I believe in her book — very good book, by the way — in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.

(APPLAUSE)

I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

(APPLAUSE)


IFILL: Secretary Clinton? 


CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.


SANDERS: Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure.


CLINTON: That’s fine. That’s fine.


(LAUGHTER)


You know, I listen to a wide variety of voices that have expertise in various areas. I think it is fair to say, whatever the complaints that you want to make about him are, that with respect to China, one of the most challenging relationships we have, his opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America.


(APPLAUSE)


So if we want to pick and choose — and I certainly do — people I listen to, people I don’t listen to, people I listen to for certain areas, then I think we have to be fair and look at the entire world, because it’s a big, complicated world out there.


SANDERS: It is.


CLINTON: And, yes, people we may disagree with on a number of things may have some insight, may have some relationships that are important for the president to understand in order to best protect the United States.


(APPLAUSE)


SANDERS: I find — I mean, it’s just a very different, you know, historical perspective here. Kissinger was one of those people during the Vietnam era who talked about the domino theory. Not everybody remembers that. You do. I do. The domino theory, you know, if Vietnam goes, China, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. That’s what he talked about, the great threat of China.

And then, after the war, this is the guy who, in fact, yes, you’re right, he opened up relations with China, and now pushed various type of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. The terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship he warned us about, now he’s urging companies to shut down and move to China. Not my kind of guy. 

Henry Kissinger made have played footsie with the likes of Gloria Steinem (another Hillary supporter) but he’s better known for being a caged American citizen.

By which I mean that Henry is not free range.

He can’t travel to this country or that country for fear that they might extradite him and he might go on trial at the Hague for War Crimes.

His War Crimes are too numerous to offer even a sweeping overview.

Instead, we’ll just focus on Chile.

In 1998, he faced criticism for his War Crimes.  Bill and Hillary stood by him.

Here’s Martin McLaughlin (WSWS):


If Augusto Pinochet deserves detention, trial and punishment for mass murder, then what about his American controllers–Henry Kissinger, then-CIA director Richard Helms and other US government officials who inspired, directed and supported the 1973 military coup in Chile?
The official American reaction to the detention of Pinochet has been sympathetic to the former dictator. The Clinton administration is opposing his extradition out of concern that a public trial in Spain would bring to light the extensive involvement of US intelligence agencies in Pinochet’s bloody deeds.
Pinochet’s seizure of power on September 11, 1973 was the product of a protracted US campaign of political manipulation and destabilization in Chile. In 1964 the Johnson administration poured tens of millions of dollars into a covert campaign to insure the election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei as president, over the Socialist Party candidate Salvador Allende.
In 1970, with Frei ineligible to succeed himself and Allende the favorite to win the next election, Chile became a problem for the Nixon administration. The super-secret 40 Committee, a high-level body chaired by Henry Kissinger, with representatives from the State Department, CIA and Pentagon, decided that a massive electoral intervention would likely spark a backlash. US Ambassador Edward Korry urgently recommended a CIA covert operation to prepare a preemptive military coup.
Kissinger declared, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” But he and CIA Director Helms blocked the proposed pre-election coup as unworkable. More time was needed, they argued.
Allende won the election on a reformist program, but his victory sparked a mass movement of the working class and poor peasants which had immense revolutionary potential. Allende and his Stalinist backers in the Chilean Communist Party spent the next three years restraining, discouraging and disorienting the mass movement, blocking any decisive challenge to the Chilean ruling class and American imperialism, while the right-wing and fascist elements prepared their counterattack. During this period there were six unsuccessful right-wing coup attempts, most of them with direct American aid.
The US involvement in coup planning began even before Allende’s election victory, under the codename FUBELT, with action plans prepared for Kissinger’s consideration. One group of officers working under CIA direction carried out the assassination of General Rene Schneider, a pro-Allende officer, in an unsuccessful attempt to spark a full-scale coup before Allende could take office.

A CIA cable from October 16, 1970, released under the Freedom of Information Act, spells out US government objectives: “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup…. We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and -American hand be well hidden.”

In 2002, Jonathan Franklin and Duncan Campbell (GUARDIAN) noted:


Henry Kissinger may face extradition proceedings in connection with the role of the United States in the 1973 military coup in Chile.
The former US secretary of state is wanted for questioning as a witness in the investigation into the events surrounding the overthrow of the socialist president, Salvador Allende, by General Augusto Pinochet.
It focuses on CIA involvement in the coup, whether US officials passed lists of leftwing Americans in Chile to the military and whether the US embassy failed to assist Americans deemed sympathetic to the deposed government.
Chile’s Judge Juan Guzman is so frustrated by the lack of cooperation by Mr Kissinger that he is now considering an extradition request to force him to come to Chile and testify in connection with the death of the American film-maker and journalist Charles Horman, who was killed by the military days after the coup.
Horman’s story was told in the 1982 Costa-Gavras film, Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.
Judge Guzman is investigating whether US officials passed the names of suspected leftwing Americans to Chilean military authorities. Declassified documents have now revealed that such a list existed. Sergio Corvalan, a Chilean lawyer, said that he could not divulge the “dozens” of names on the list.
At the time of his death, Horman was investigating the murder of Rene Schneider, the chief of staff in the Chilean army whose support for Allende and the constitution was seen as an obstacle to the coup.

Time and again, Hillary sides with the wrong people — Kagan, Kissinger, Mad Maddie Albright.

It’s a pattern with her.

She repeatedly befriends people whose actions demonstrate contempt for human life and for participatory democracy.

Her addiction to regime change is rooted in the belief system she shared with Albright, Kagan and Kissinger.

.

In tonight’s debate, she insisted, “I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It’s very important we focus on the threats we face today, and that we understand the complicated and dangerous world we are in.  When people go to vote in primaries or caucuses, they are voting not only for the president, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. And it’s important that people really look hard at what the threats and dangers we face are, and who is best prepared for dealing with them.”

Now she’s claiming she’s fit to be commander-in-chief?

She who would send US troops into any war at a moment’s notice, without reading intel or carefully vetting a decision of what is the best option?

And should she become president and send thousands more US troops to their deaths, will she blame that “mistake” on Bully Boy Bush as well?

The Iraq War she endorsed and sought continues to this day.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced/claimed/asserted/bragged:



Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 13 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

— Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel.

— Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL assembly area.

— Near Ramadi, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker and denied ISIL access to terrain.

— Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck inoperable coalition equipment, denying ISIL access in support of coalition operations.


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.






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It’s Hillary week?

It’s Hillary week?

Is it Hillary Clinton week or something?

With all the lies this week, I thought maybe people were emulating her.

Take this nonsense.

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    That’s John Kerry, Ash Carter & now Brett McGurk that have on the record said Baghdad has never withheld any military or supply aid to KRG.

Not content to lie (or just play the fool?) in a Tweet, Hadad has also written an article.

But here’s reality, Brett, Ash and John have all said on the record that the Baghdad-based government has withheld military and supply aid to the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.

The two with the State Dept tend to portray as a thing of the past — and sometimes get called on that spin when before Congress.

But, yes, all three have testified to Congress that the Baghdad-based government has withheld military and supply aid.

And when, during a Congressional hearing, members of Congress then begin stressing the need to independently supply the Kurds (or Sunnis in Anbar), the three will insist that it’s being addressed, they’re speaking with the Iraqi government about it, blah blah blah.

But, hey, it’s Hillary Clinton week, so just lie, lie, lie.

It’s not like you’ve done any real work.

It’s not like you’ve actually sat in the hearings taking notes.

Just say whatever the hell you want and pretend like it’s true.

Shi’ite thugs with Twitter account will reTweet your lies.

Hadad squirts in his shorts over Haider al-Abadi’s claim that he’s going to shake up his Cabinet.

That does tend to excite the stupid and/or hateful.

The rest of the world has long ago seen through these statements by Haider and grasped that this is about further marginalizing non-Shi’ites in Iraq.

When Nouri al-Maliki would make noises like this, many would point out that this was an attack on the protections built into the system to safeguard minorities.

Hadad, of course, never spoke out then.

Not about that.

Not about the abuse and rape of Sunni women and girls in Iraqi prisons and jails.

He never decried the false arrests and imprisonments.

It’s like the propaganda push going on domestically in the United States where a great deal of money is being spent to mislead students about Iraqi Christians.

The Islamic State, they insist, is committing genocide against Iraqi Christians.

Problem is that the purge of Iraqi Christians pre-dates the Islamic State.

And was carried out by Shi’ite militias.

No one cared.

Brett didn’t appear before Congress, as he did yesterday, insisting that this might be genocide but that they needed to study it more before applying the term.

Iraqi Christians were just targeted, killed, forced to flee, etc.

In 2017, the US will have to get a little more honest about Iraq.

But far now, with Barack playing kick the can, it’s clear that far too many want to just pretend that if the Islamic State is destroyed, Iraq is roses and ice cream.

The Islamic State is a terrorist organization.

Some Sunnis oppose it (and always did).  Some looked the other way.  Some embraced it.

The last two categories?

With the government persecuting Sunnis, there was little reason for them to get involved in a fight between the Baghdad-based government and the Islamic State.

Every member of the Islamic State could die tomorrow — and Brett thought he looked so tough (he just looked like he needed Rogaine) yesterday insisting the US was happy to help them out on that — but that would not resolve any of the issues.

These issues led Iraqis to protest in the streets for over a year.

These issued led to the massacre the online Shi’ite thugs never want to Tweet about.

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri’s federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk’s Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

This was an attack on the Sunni people.

Not the only one.

But certainly one of the most infamous ones.

If you could magically remove ISIS from Iraq today, these issues would still be in place and in play.

Although, if like online thug Haidar Sumeri, you just embrace lies and call for violence, you’re probably just going to keep lying in the best Hillary Clinton fashion.

Hillary and Bernie Sanders take the stage tonight for another debate.

Maybe someone will have the guts to ask her at what point would she have to drop out?

The FBI has made clear that they are indeed investigating her.

At what point does she drop out?

Or does she plan to just keep changing her story and stay in the race regardless of the risk she’s putting the entire Democratic Party at?

Imagine it’s September and Hillary’s indicted.

Not only does that hurt the top of the ticket, you damn well better believe it hurts the races lower down.

Even those who try to keep their distance from her would be hurt.

So what is the threshold that has to be reached for Hillary to consider dropping out?

It would be great if that question were asked.

But, of course, no one would expect an honest answer from Hillary.

The following community sites updated:

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

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Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, February 10, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Hillary Clinton continues to embrace destruction and death, Brett McGurk spins to Congress, and much more.

Starting with US politics, yesterday Hillary Clinton suffered a stunning loss in New Hampshire as voters in that state’s Democratic Party primary overwhelmingly chose Senator Bernie Sanders while rejecting her to be the party’s presidential nominee.
Among her problems with voters?  Her 2002 vote for the Iraq War.
While Hillary eventually would term the vote a “mistake,” that only created more problems for her.
When most people were taught by parents and/or guardians about mistakes, they were taught not only to admit to their mistake but to make some good faith effort to fix the mistake.
Hillary keeps insisting she has some fabled foreign policy knowledge.
But if her vote for the war on Iraq was a mistake — and if she’s so smart — where is the effort to make good on her mistake?

Abandoned buildings, schools & makeshift camps, these are the places thousands of kids call home in today.

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She’s done nothing to help or advocate for the children pictured above.
She has, however, used her own status — recent status — as a grandmother to campaign on.  It bit her in the ass when she was insisting she’s just like an “abuela.” She’s also repeated used her status as a grandmother to insist she’d be a better leader.
Adam Carlson (PEOPLE) quoted Hillary stating, “It will affect my being, not just my thinking. [. . .] Having that next generation right there and thinking about everything you want to do both personally but in our cases, publicly and professionally, to give that child the best chance in life to be all he or she can be, that is profoundly moving to me.”
Is it profoundly moving to her?
It’s a tiny and limited sort of ‘profound,’ one that doesn’t go beyond her own family.
A mistake, she insists, she made but she’s not doing anything to help the children in Iraq with birth defects.
“Findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases,” says a recent scientific report on the incidence of birth defects in Fallujah [Dr Samira Alani]

That’s from Al Jazeera.

 This is from Justice for the Babies of Fallujah:

Another male born in FGH 2 days ago with multiple gross congenital anomalies in addition to CHD , he is the 1st baby to 2 young healthy couples with no previous history of any anomaly

In 2014, Dahr Jamail (TRUTH OUT) reported on the increase in birth defects and how “Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists” argue this is the result of the US using Depleted Uranium:

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.
Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.
The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases.

Frederick Reese (MINT NEWS PRESS) also reported on the tragedy:

According to Iraqi government statistics, the rate of cancer in the country has skyrocketed from 40 per 100,000 people prior to the First Gulf War in 1991, to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.
The culprit behind all of these health issues is depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment. With a mass fraction a third of what fissile uranium would have, depleted uranium emits less alpha radiation — up to 60 percent less than natural uranium, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This “relative” safety offered a rationale for many nations — particularly, the U.S. — to put the waste material to use.

Hillary insists she made a mistake and should be forgiven for that mistake.

But she’s made no effort to make good on her mistake.

She insists she’s fueled in her motivation by being a grandmother but she has no concern for the children of Iraq.

Her “mistake” cost lives.

She’s given lip service to the issue of Iraq, she’s made no real effort to make amends for her vote.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama continues bombing Iraq to bring about ‘peace.’  Today, the US Defense Dept announced/claimed/bragged:

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

— Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL supply cache.

— Near Huwayjah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb and two ISIL vehicles.

— Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit.

— Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 15 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL checkpoint.

— Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun position, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and cratered an ISIL-used road.

— Near Sinjar, three strikes destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and suppressed two separate ISIL mortar positions.


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.

Barack’s been bombing Iraq from the air since August of 2014.

Nothing’s really changed.
Before he started bombing Iraq, Barack was stating that the only answer to Iraq’s crises was a political solution.
However, the US has done damn little to ease the government of Iraq towards a political solution.
It just been bomb, bomb and bomb again.
And the persecution of the Sunni people in Iraq by the government has continued.
The simple fact is that there’s a huge population of Sunni Arabs in particular who’ve been totally abandoned by the political regimes of Mesopotamia. In Iraq, Shiites have consolidated power in Baghdad, while Alawites and other Syrian minorities have hunkered down in the regime-controlled portions of Syria. Meanwhile Kurds on both sides of the border have coalesced into their own quasi-autonomous regions.
And today in DC, US House Rep Eliot Engel declared, “I have one final question.  I have been having discussions — in fact, the Chairman and I have been having discussions — with some of our Sunni Arab friends and they express to us frustration at the United States not being more of a player that’s deeply involved, that we seem to be reluctant to be — to be involved.  They paint a picture of the fact that they’re ready to come forward, if we come forward, if we lead, they’re ready to do it.    They describe a reluctance on the part of the United States to get involved.”
He was speaking at the House Foreign Relations Committee to Barack’s Special Envoy Brett McGurk.  Engel is the Ranking Member of the Committee, US House Rep Ed Royce is the Chair.
Brett’s generic non-response to Engel’s question isn’t worth noting.
Instead, we’ll note this exchange from today’s hearing.
 
US House Rep Ron DeSantis: Mr. McGurk, you just said that there will still be a global jihadist problem and I agree with that [if the Islamic State is defeated].  And I notice that in your written testimony, that there was not any reference explicitly to either Iran or Hezbollah — particularly with respect to the destabilizing role they both play in Iraq and in Syria.  You know, they’ve murdered Sunni civilians and Assad obviously drives people, Sunni Arabs, who if the choice is between a militant Shi’ite force or government backed by Iran or ISIS — which is at least Sunni — many of them are driven to ISIS.  So is the exclusion of Iran’s contribution to the problem deliberate or is it just something that you omitted?
 
 
Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  No, certainly not.  Let me — uh, let me take it on directly.  Uhm, you now when-when Mosul fell in the summer of 2014, Grand Ayatollah [Ali al-] Sistani in Najaf issued a fatwa saying ‘everybody rise up and protect the country.’  And it was a really critical moment and had he not done that, I think that it would have  been very hard  to check what ISIL was doing because they were on a rampage and  caused a massive panic in the country.  You had about 80,000 volunteers kind of rise up and join the ranks to defend Iraq. Most of them in those early days are Shia from the south, most of them are nationalists, they answer to the government.  But there is a segment of them — you know, maybe 10 to 15,000 —  who are actually answerable to militias who are better  controlled by Iran. And this is a huge concern for us, it’s a huge concern for the government of Iraq and it’s a huge concern for prime minister [Haider al-] Abadi.  Prime Minister Abadi, when he was here in Washington, said publicly that if Iran is operating a militia on Iraqi soil outside the command of the Iraqi government that would be a hostile act against Iraq.  So he has been very clear about this. When we see abuses and violations of human rights, the government of Iraq has acted.  Most recently, there were reports of some Shia militia violence in Diyala Province — which has always been a hotbed of extremism on both sides of the sectarian divide.  Prime Minister Abadi went to the site twice.  Just last week, they arrested nine individuals from some of these militias as part of that investigation.  So this is a serious problem, it’s something that we’re focused on all of the time.  But we don’t want to paint all of these volunteers, many of whom are Shi’ite, in the same brush because that simply wouldn’t be true — 
 
 
US House Rep Ron DeSantis:  Well what about something like in Al Anbar Province?  Yeah, there’s been — the administration has touted some of the advances in places like Ramadi but my understanding is that is powered a lot by Shi’ite forces — including some of the Iranian backed forces. And so what are you doing to empower the Sunni tribal forces and the Sunni elders?  Because it seems to me that driving ISIS out of places like Ramadi is obviously something that’s desirable but the notion that those Sunni Arabs are going to be happy living under forces or a government that they see as being dominated by Iran and Shia?  That’s going to probably be a tough sell.
 
Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  So — very much agree with you.  So when it came to Ramadi, it was the government of Iraq’s decision to ensure that that operation was conducted by the Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi counter-terrorism forces, and local Sunni tribal fighters — 
 
US House Rep Ron DeSantis:  So they were integrated with the security forces —
 
Special Envoy Brett McGurk: They were integrated in the campaign and the Popular Mobilization Forces [Shi’ite militias] from the Shi’ite side of the street were not a part of that campaign.  And, uh, that was very important because we wanted to show that the Iraqi security forces can do that and because what’s so important — Sunni or Shia — is that local forces who know their territory and know their neighborhood and who know what it’s like, who know the streets and alleys, you’ve got locals invested in the fight.  So you’ve got locals now, we’ve got about 10,000 of these tribal forces, they’re invested in the fight, they’re getting paid, I gave figures earlier in my testimony.  But you know — but we have full support from the new government in Iraq and Prime Minister Abadi.  We have full support from the governor of Anbar Province, Governor [Sohaib] al-Rawi — and they’re working closely with us.  And we’ve got two platforms in Anbar province.  One at al-Asad airbase and one at al-Taqaddum air base where we’re working every day with the Iraqi security forces and these fighters to get them in the fight.  And, you know, they’re making real gains.  They were just on defense, now they’re on offense, they’re doing operations, so it’s-it’s — they’re moving the right way.
Not everyone agreed with Brett’s fairy tale spin today.
For example . . .
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

phoebe snow (Rebecca)

phoebe snow

that’s the late phoebe snow singing ‘if i can just get through tonight.’

i always liked phoebe – and not just her breakthrough ‘poetry man.’

her voice was so amazing that i really loved everything she did.

if you’re looking for where to start, i’d suggest 2008’s ‘phoebe snow live.’

PhoebeSnow2

it contain’s ‘if i can just get through the night’ and many other amazing tracks.

and kat reviewed it here.

‘if i can just get through the night’ was a huge adult contemporary hit in 1989 and it’s got a classic phoebe snow vocal.

let’s close with c.i.’s ‘Iraq snapshot:’

Wednesday, February 3, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government admits there are more US troops in Iraq than they have previously disclosed, Barack Obama is breaking the law by supporting the Baghdad-based regime, and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced/bragged/claimed:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

— Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

— Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

— Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket rail and an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed seven ISIL weapons caches, three ISIL assembly areas and 14 ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and an ISIL logistics facility.

— Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL recruiting station, four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL assembly area and denied ISIL access to terrain.

— Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

— Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

— Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and 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.

Another day and more of the same.

But isn’t that the story always?

Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) reports, “Iraq said Tuesday it is building a wall and trench around Baghdad in an effort to secure the city from terror attacks.”

As Aretha Franklin sings, “Here we go again, it’s the same old song.”

Doubt it?

From Edward Wong’s September 16, 2006 “Iraqis Plan to Ring Baghdad With Trenches” (NEW YORK TIMES):

The Iraqi government plans to seal off Baghdad within weeks by ringing it with a series of trenches and setting up dozens of traffic checkpoints to control movement in and out of the violent city of seven million people, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Friday.
The effort is one of the most ambitious security projects this year, with cars expected to be funneled through 28 checkpoints along the main arteries snaking out from the capital. Smaller roads would be closed. The trenches would run across farmland or other open areas to prevent cars from evading checkpoints, said the ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.
“We’re going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly,” he said in a telephone interview. “The idea is to get the cars to go through the 28 checkpoints that we set up.”

Ten years later and it’s time to trot out the same old thing and pretend it’s a new idea.

Of the ‘new’ proposal, AP adds:

The interior ministry’s spokesman, police Brigadier General Saad Maan, told the Associated Press that work began this week on a 100km (65-mile) stretch of the wall and trench on the northern and northwestern approaches of the capital.
The wall will be three metres (10 feet) high and partially made up of concrete barriers already in use across much of the capital, he said. He declined to specify the measurements of the trench.

And BBC NEWS notes:

The barrier will also have a two-metre deep trench running alongside it, Al-Sumariyah news website reported. Surveillance cameras, explosives detection devices and towers will also be installed.
Many parts of the capital are surrounded by concrete barriers. Some of these walls will be taken out of the city’s streets and re-installed as part of the new barrier, Mr al-Shammari said. 
The Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, said work began this week on a 65-mile stretch of the wall and trench around the capital, the Associated Press reported. The wall will be 10-feet high and partially made up of concrete barriers, he said.”

Let’s drop back to yesterday’s snapshot for a moment:

In the age of Barack, we’re all supposed to politely bite our tongues.
Barack’s also a War Criminal.
At his most laughable, Gregory types, “The first step would entail convincing key regional players to pursue the requisite policies to achieve the designated goal. The Iraqi government would be an enthusiastic partner but would need to demonstrate its inclusiveness and ability to unite the country’s diverse ethnicities and religious sects.”
I guess that’s one way to put it.
Not accurate but who needs accuracy when, like Gregory, you’re arguing for more war.

Seth J. Frantzman (NATIONAL INTEREST) notes:

 In addition to the abuses against non-Sunni minorities in Mosul by Islamic State, the Sunni residents who make up the city told local reporters and human rights organizations in 2014 that Iraqi security forces executed prisoners before withdrawing. Human Rights Watch relayed stories of more than a dozen men executed after being removed from the Counterterrorism and Organized Crime prison.
This sense of persecution at the hands of Nuri al-Maliki’s Shia-led government prompted many to support ISIS when it arrived.

And the abuses continue under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s rule.

Saturday, Human Rights Watch noted:


Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. None of those responsible have been brought to justice.
Two consecutive bombings at a café in the town of Muqdadiya, in Diyala province, some 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, on January 11, killed at least 26 people, many of them Sunnis, according to a teacher who lives near the café. ISIS claimedthe attacks, saying it had targeted local Shia militias, collectively known as Popular Mobilization Forces, which are formally under the command of the prime minister. Members of two of the dominant militias in Muqdadiya, the Badr Brigades and the League of Righteous forces, responded by attacking Sunnis as well as their homes and mosques, killing at least a dozen people and perhaps many more, according to local residents.

“Again civilians are paying the price for Iraq’s failure to rein in the out-of-control militias,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Countries that support Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces should insist that Baghdad bring an end to this deadly abuse.” 



Can you grasp that?

If you can, grasp this:  It is illegal for the US government to support a regime or government that attacks its own people.  It is against domestic US law and it is against international law.
Barack’s a War Criminal.
Maybe because he wants to be, maybe because he’s lazy (and would rather just continue the same instead of transform it into something different), who knows why he is how he is?
But a War Crime is taking place and he is the War Criminal.

Concerned Reader e-mails, “There is no such law.  Even if there were, you are holding President Obama to a higher standard than you would any other leader.  No White House would ever threaten Iraq with losing funding or support because their government forces were attacking the people.  No one.”

No one?

Refer to the front page of the September 30, 2006 NEW YORK TIMES which featured Richard A. Oppel Jr.’s “U.S. May Cut Aid to Iraqi Police Cited in Abuses” which explained:

American officials have warned Iraqi leaders that they might have to curtail aid to the Interior Ministry police because of a United States law that prohibits the financing of foreign security forces that commit “gross violations of human rights” and are not brought to justice.

So I’m expecting too much from Barack when I expect him to follow the law?

And I’m also expecting too much from Barack when I expect him to at least do the bare minimum on human rights that Bully Boy Bush did?

That’s really lowering the bar.

Barack said in 2014 that his Iraq ‘mission’ or ‘plan’ would not put US boots on the ground.

Wrong.

AFP reports:

But the Pentagon on Wednesday quietly increased that official accounting to 3,850 troops. Then, Baghdad-based military spokesman Col. Steve Warren said it was “fair to say” there are hundreds more troops than even that number.

And more planned to be sent in.

But apparently for some — like Concerned Reader — holding Barack to his word is unfair.

Changing topics . . .


                    Liked 137 times
For 100 years they’ve tried to make this country [] work. It doesn’t work b/c it is built on the wrong foundations via  .

Masrour Barzani’s father is Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

REUTERS reports, “Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region should hold a non-binding referendum on independence, its president said on Tuesday, despite the numerous crises it is facing.  Massoud Barzani has previously called for a referendum but set no timetable for a proposed vote.”

Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) ‘covered’ the issue of the KRG:


Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has called for a non-binding referendum on Kurdish independence. Kurdistan’s finances, however, are so poor thatPeshmerga fighters are abandoning the fight against the Islamic State over unpaid wages.

That’s covering the issue . . . poorly.

If Griffis is your primary or sole knowledge, you’re probably highly uninformed.

Why are they not being paid?

Griffis repeatedly misses the point and leaves readers uninformed.

The federal government out of Baghdad is still not dividing up the revenues.

RUDAW reports of the meet-up:


A high-level meeting between the Kurdish Prime Minister and his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad on Sunday ended with an agreement to form a joint committee to continue talks between both sides to seek a solution for their budgetary dispute.
A Kurdish delegation led by PM Nechirvan Barzani met Iraqi premier Haider Abadi in Baghdad to discuss the unpaid Peshmerga funds as part of Iraq’s defense system as well as Kurdistan’s share of the fedral health budget.

This is not a new development. 

It’s been going on for years now.

It’s why, a few weeks ago, the KRG sent representatives to DC to see about financial assistance.

It’s also why Brett McGurk met with them on Monday in Baghdad — and why they were in Baghdad to begin with.

The State Dept’s doing its best to play dumb on the McGurk visit but that was the primary focus of the conversations the KRG reps had with McGurk — what is the status on the financial aid request, what can the US do to help get Iraqi funds from Baghdad flowing, etc.

On McGurk’s end, he was seeking more commitment on the battle against the Islamic State and more options for US troops to be stationed in the KRG.

Fact that no one wants to explore: 3,700 US troops are in Iraq (not counting special ops) and there are a lot more in the region — especially in Kuwait.

The hope on the part of the White House is to take some of the thousands in the region and move them into the KRG, to use the KRG as a staging area.

Turning to US politics, Hillary Clinton who voted for war on Iraq ‘won’ Iowa’s caucus.  Former US House Rep and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney Tweeted on the outcome:

  • </div>

    </div>
    ” data-follows-you=”false” data-has-cards=”true” data-item-id=”694522164846972928″ data-name=”Cynthia McKinney PhD” data-permalink-path=”/cynthiamckinney/status/694522164846972928″ data-screen-name=”cynthiamckinney” data-tweet-id=”694522164846972928″ data-user-id=”18572546″ data-you-block=”false” data-you-follow=”false”>

    I don’t care what Hillary says, She lost in her first outing. 6 coin tosses do not a victory make! 

Cynthia may seek the 2016 Green Party nomination. 

In the meantime, Hillary goes up against Senator Bernie Sanders again in New Hampshire which will be the first actual primary in the Democratic Party’s race to select a presidential nominee.  Sanders’ campaign notes:

A family making $50,000 would save $5,807 a year under my Medicare-for-all plan.

Embedded image permalink




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She has a plan (Cedric)

She has a plan

BULLY BOY PRESS  CEDRIC’S BIG MIX — THE KOOL AID TABLE

CRANKY CLINTON STEPPED IN IT AGAIN.

THE E-MAIL SCANDAL WILL NOT DIE.

AND IT COULD DERAIL HER CORONATION.

AND JEFF COHEN SEES A FUTURE FOR CRANKY AS A STAND UP COMIC.

THIS DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE’S NOT PARTICULARLY KNOWN FOR HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR.

AND OTHERS SUGGEST SHE CONSIDER A CAREER IN THE SEX INDUSTRY — OR ANYTHING BUT THE PRESIDENCY.

THIS ALL GOES TO THE FACT THAT SHE IS SO DEEPLY UNPOPULAR.

REACHED FOR COMMENT, CRANKY DISMISSED THE LOATHING AS SHE INSISTED, “ONCE I’M PRESIDENT, I WILL MAKE IT A LAW THAT EVERY AMERICAN HAS TO LOVE ME.  AND WORSHIP ME.  ALWAYS.”

FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) reports, “Iraq said Tuesday it is building a wall and trench around Baghdad in an effort to secure the city from terror attacks.”

As Aretha Franklin sings, “Here we go again, it’s the same old song.”

Doubt it?

From Edward Wong’s September 16, 2006 “Iraqis Plan to Ring Baghdad With Trenches” (NEW YORK TIMES):

The Iraqi government plans to seal off Baghdad within weeks by ringing it with a series of trenches and setting up dozens of traffic checkpoints to control movement in and out of the violent city of seven million people, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Friday.
The effort is one of the most ambitious security projects this year, with cars expected to be funneled through 28 checkpoints along the main arteries snaking out from the capital. Smaller roads would be closed. The trenches would run across farmland or other open areas to prevent cars from evading checkpoints, said the ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.
“We’re going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly,” he said in a telephone interview. “The idea is to get the cars to go through the 28 checkpoints that we set up.”

Ten years later and it’s time to trot out the same old thing and pretend it’s a new idea.

Of the ‘new’ proposal, AP adds:

The interior ministry’s spokesman, police Brigadier General Saad Maan, told the Associated Press that work began this week on a 100km (65-mile) stretch of the wall and trench on the northern and northwestern approaches of the capital.
The wall will be three metres (10 feet) high and partially made up of concrete barriers already in use across much of the capital, he said. He declined to specify the measurements of the trench.

And BBC NEWS notes:

The barrier will also have a two-metre deep trench running alongside it, Al-Sumariyah news website reported. Surveillance cameras, explosives detection devices and towers will also be installed.
Many parts of the capital are surrounded by concrete barriers. Some of these walls will be taken out of the city’s streets and re-installed as part of the new barrier, Mr al-Shammari said. 
The Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, said work began this week on a 65-mile stretch of the wall and trench around the capital, the Associated Press reported. The wall will be 10-feet high and partially made up of concrete barriers, he said.”

Let’s drop back to yesterday’s snapshot for a moment:

In the age of Barack, we’re all supposed to politely bite our tongues.
Barack’s also a War Criminal.
At his most laughable, Gregory types, “The first step would entail convincing key regional players to pursue the requisite policies to achieve the designated goal. The Iraqi government would be an enthusiastic partner but would need to demonstrate its inclusiveness and ability to unite the country’s diverse ethnicities and religious sects.”
I guess that’s one way to put it.
Not accurate but who needs accuracy when, like Gregory, you’re arguing for more war.

Seth J. Frantzman (NATIONAL INTEREST) notes:

 In addition to the abuses against non-Sunni minorities in Mosul by Islamic State, the Sunni residents who make up the city told local reporters and human rights organizations in 2014 that Iraqi security forces executed prisoners before withdrawing. Human Rights Watch relayed stories of more than a dozen men executed after being removed from the Counterterrorism and Organized Crime prison.
This sense of persecution at the hands of Nuri al-Maliki’s Shia-led government prompted many to support ISIS when it arrived.

And the abuses continue under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s rule.

Saturday, Human Rights Watch noted:


Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. None of those responsible have been brought to justice.
Two consecutive bombings at a café in the town of Muqdadiya, in Diyala province, some 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, on January 11, killed at least 26 people, many of them Sunnis, according to a teacher who lives near the café. ISIS claimed the attacks, saying it had targeted local Shia militias, collectively known as Popular Mobilization Forces, which are formally under the command of the prime minister. Members of two of the dominant militias in Muqdadiya, the Badr Brigades and the League of Righteous forces, responded by attacking Sunnis as well as their homes and mosques, killing at least a dozen people and perhaps many more, according to local residents.

“Again civilians are paying the price for Iraq’s failure to rein in the out-of-control militias,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Countries that support Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces should insist that Baghdad bring an end to this deadly abuse.” 



Can you grasp that?

If you can, grasp this:  It is illegal for the US government to support a regime or government that attacks its own people.  It is against domestic US law and it is against international law.
Barack’s a War Criminal.
Maybe because he wants to be, maybe because he’s lazy (and would rather just continue the same instead of transform it into something different), who knows why he is how he is?
But a War Crime is taking place and he is the War Criminal.

Concerned Reader e-mails, “There is no such law.  Even if there were, you are holding President Obama to a higher standard than you would any other leader.  No White House would ever threaten Iraq with losing funding or support because their government forces were attacking the people.  No one.”

No one?

Refer to the front page of the September 30, 2006 NEW YORK TIMES which featured Richard A. Oppel Jr.’s “U.S. May Cut Aid to Iraqi Police Cited in Abuses” which explained:

American officials have warned Iraqi leaders that they might have to curtail aid to the Interior Ministry police because of a United States law that prohibits the financing of foreign security forces that commit “gross violations of human rights” and are not brought to justice.

So I’m expecting too much from Barack when I expect him to follow the law?

And I’m also expecting too much from Barack when I expect him to at least do the bare minimum on human rights that Bully Boy Bush did?

That’s really lowering the bar.

RECOMMENDED:  “Iraq snapshot
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phoebe snow
Carly Simon ‘Make Me Feel Something’
PJ Olsson and “Visine”
Aretha’s ‘Sweet Bitter Love’
Driving All Night with Joss Stone
Donna Summer “There Will Always Be A You”
Stevie Nicks ‘Lady’
Ashford & Simpson’s “High Rise”
When We Two Parted
THIS JUST IN! WHAT’S THAT WHITE STAIN ON THE CLOTHING, HILLARY!
The secret relationships between Hillary and Donald revealed

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Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, February 4, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Hillary Clinton’s laughable plan for the Islamic State is no plan, Fred Kaplan lies for Hillary and America chants “Take the shame!” to Hillary.

As always, the US government dropped bombs on Iraq today and then boasted of it in a news release from the Defense Dept:

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

— Near Habbaniyah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL vehicles and four ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and denying ISIL access to terrain.

— Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 16 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL assembly area, ISIL engineering equipment and an ISIL checkpoint.

— Near Qayyarah, six strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL command and control nodes, six ISIL vehicles, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL mortar tube, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

— Near Ramadi, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed ISIL engineering equipment, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL tactical vehicle, eight ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL rocket-propelled-grenade systems, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL recoilless rifle, an ISIL staging area and 11 ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed an ISIL front-end loader.

— Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL fighting 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.

The Iraq War never ends.

And those responsible for starting it may try to escape responsibility but it’s not that easy.

Senator Bernie Sanders, in 2002, voted against the Iraq War.  He’s running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and so is Hillary Clinton.

Today, Bernie Tweeted:

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Bernie Sanders Verified account @BernieSanders 23m23 minutes ago

Experience is important, but so is judgment. And back in 2002 one of us voted the right way on the Iraq War. The other didn’t. #DemDebate

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The ridiculous — always ridiculous — Fred Kaplan (SLATE) tries to rewrite history:


In response, Clinton acknowledged, as she has on previous occasions, that she’d made a mistake. But she also offered an explanation for her vote, something she has rarely done in the past. President Bush, she told the audience, had made a “very explicit appeal” that “getting this vote would be a strong piece of leverage in order to finish the inspections.” In other words, a resolution to use force would prod Saddam Hussein into readmitting U.N. inspectors, so they could continue their mission of verifying whether or not he had destroyed his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons sites. In other words, Clinton was now claiming she voted the way she did in the interests of diplomacy; the problem was that Bush went back on his word—he invaded before giving the inspectors enough time.

Listening to her rationale Wednesday night, I didn’t know whether she was telling the truth. I had written many Slate columns about the Iraq debate and the ensuing war, but I couldn’t remember the details of then-Sen. Clinton’s position. Looking up those details now, I have come to a conclusion about the rationale she recited at the New Hampshire town hall: Hillary was telling the truth.

Poor Fred Kaplan, nothing sadder to see than an old and aging whore.

Reality on this was noted last week.  Last week.  By Stephen Zunes:

“Hillary Clinton’s vote wasn’t for war, but simply to pressure Saddam Hussein to allow UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq.”
At the time of vote, Saddam Hussein had already agreed in principle to a return of the weapons inspectors. His government was negotiating with the United Nations Monitoring and Verification Commission on the details, which were formally institutionalized a few weeks later. (Indeed, it would have been resolved earlier had the United States not repeatedly postponed a UN Security Council resolution in the hopes of inserting language that would have allowed Washington to unilaterally interpret the level of compliance.)
Furthermore, if then-Senator Clinton’s desire was simply to push Saddam into complying with the inspection process, she wouldn’t have voted against the substitute Levin amendment, which would have also granted President Bush authority to use force, but only if Iraq defied subsequent UN demands regarding the inspections process. Instead, Clinton voted for a Republican-sponsored resolution to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq at the time and circumstances of his own choosing.

In fact, unfettered large-scale weapons inspections had been going on in Iraq for nearly four months at the time the Bush administration launched the March 2003 invasion. Despite the UN weapons inspectors having not found any evidence of WMDs or active WMD programs after months of searching, Clinton made clear that the United States should invade Iraq anyway. Indeed, she asserted that even though Saddam was in full compliance with the UN Security Council, he nevertheless needed to resign as president, leave the country, and allow U.S. troops to occupy the country. “The president gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to avoid war,” Clinton said in a statement, “and the world hopes that Saddam Hussein will finally hear this ultimatum, understand the severity of those words, and act accordingly.”
When Saddam refused to resign and the Bush administration launched the invasion, Clinton went on record calling for “unequivocal support” for Bush’s “firm leadership and decisive action” as “part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.” She insisted that Iraq was somehow still “in material breach of the relevant United Nations resolutions” and, despite the fact that weapons inspectors had produced evidence to the contrary, claimed the invasion was necessary to “neutralize Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

Someone needs to ask Fred Kaplan if it hurts to be so damn stupid?

If you’re not getting how stupid he is, the Institute for Public Accuracy issued this press release today:


STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics & coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. He recently wrote the piece “The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq.” Zunes is currently in Philadelphia and will be in New York City on Friday.

Zunes said today: “Hillary Clinton did not vote to authorize the Iraq war in order to bring UN inspectors back in, as she claimed in last night’s [CNN] “Town Hall” meeting. She voted against the Levin Amendment, which would have authorized the use of force if Iraq refused to fully cooperate with UN inspectors. Instead, she voted for the Republican-sponsored resolution which gave President Bush the authority to invade and occupy Iraq at the time and circumstances of his own choosing. Hans Blix did not support the latter resolution, as she also claimed. Nor did Sen. Clinton object when Bush launched the invasion anyway five months later despite Iraq having been fully cooperating with the returning inspectors during that period.”
Clinton stated in her address on her Iraq war authorization vote on the Senate floor on Oct. 10, 2002: “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al-Qaeda members. … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well, affects American security.” See video.

Just last week, Hans Blix had an interview with Al Jazeera’s “UpFront” program in which he talked about the U.S. invasion altering the security landscape of the Mideast, see: “The former UN weapons inspector says ‘it is doubtful’ ISIL would exist if it were not for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.”

As for Hillary?  Take the shame, Hillary, take the shame.

John Wagner (WASHINGTON POST) reports on remarks Bernie made today:

“Sometimes it’s easy to apologize for a bad vote 15 or 20 years later when the tide has changed,” Sanders said at a rally here. “It is a lot harder to stand up … and cast the right vote. That’s what leadership is about, not having to apologize for standing up and fighting for what’s right.”

Tonight, Hillary and Bernie faced off in a debate.

As usual, after each break, Hillary looked better.

Let’s be clear, she’s overweight and she has jowls.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the reason she was late from the bathroom the first time.

She’s having make up applied throughout the debate.

She can smear all the crap on her face she wants and she’ll still be ugly.

Just like she can trot out every lie and distraction and she’ll still be guilty of supporting the Iraq War.

By the time Iraq came up, Hillary looked like — at best — a painted clown.

Lisa Hagen (THE HILL) recaps what Cranky Clinton said in response to being called out for supporting the Iraq War:


Clinton replied: “We did differ. A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS.”

“We have to look at the threats that we face right now and we have to be prepared to take them on and defeat them,” she continued.

Sunday, January 17th, there was a Democratic Party debate.  In that debate Hillary made claims regarding the Islamic State and her plans:


CLINTON: Absolutely not.
I have a three point plan that does not include American Ground forces. It includes the United States leading an air coalition which is what we’re doing, supporting fighters on the ground; the Iraqi Army which is beginning to show more ability, the Sunni fighters that we are now helping to reconstitute and Kurdish on both sides of the border.

As we noted in the January 18th snapshot:

At her website?
You can find this:


  • Defeating ISIS. ISIS and the foreign terrorist fighters it recruits pose a serious threat to America and our allies. We will confront and defeat them in a way that builds greater stability across the region, without miring our troops in another misguided ground war. Hillary will empower our partners to defeat terrorism and the ideologies that drive it, including through our ongoing partnership to build Iraqi military and governing capacity, our commitment to Afghanistan’s democracy and security, and by supporting efforts to restore stability to Libya and Yemen.

Is that her three-part plan?
That’s all she’s got at her website and it’s a tiny paragraph in the midst of her national security page.

It’s rather tiny, isn’t it?

Possibly as a result, her website features the tiny ‘plan’ with ‘enhancements’ — videos of Hillary doing that annoying head bob while she speaks.

We can defeat global terrorism.

1. We need to crush ISIS on its home turf.

We can’t just contain ISIS—we need to defeat it. That means going after the group in Syria, Iraq, and across the Middle East. And it means ramping up airstrikes and making sure local and regional ground troops have what they need to go after ISIS and create safe spaces.

2. We need to disrupt and dismantle terrorist infrastructure—on the ground and online.

Old school tactics aren’t going to cut it when it comes to defeating a terrorist group that has mastered the art of online propaganda. ISIS and global jihadists are recruiting, training, and inciting violence on social media—breeding a growing network of terrorists around the world. The U.S. needs to work with our partners around the world to be just as savvy.

3. We have to protect America and our allies.

We need better coordination and information-sharing all around to break up terror plots and prevent attacks—between European governments and law enforcement, between Silicon Valley and Washington, and between local police officers and the communities they serve.

And, for the record, that plan’s as idiotic as she is.

Let’s again point out the obvious.

The Islamic State got its hold in Iraq why?

Because of the persecution of Sunnis in Iraq which intensified under Nouri al-Maliki’s second term (2010 through 2014).

This persecution is why US President Barack Obama insisted in June of 2014 that the only answer to Iraq’s crises was a political solution.

But the US has instead focused on bombing and training.

And there’s been no movement towards a reconciliation.

We say that over and over here.

And maybe that’s not good enough for some.

So let’s quote BBC News’ Jim Muir who offers this today:


The IS fighters were able to lodge so easily in the Sunni Arab heartlands because the people there had been largely alienated by the sectarian policies and practices of the Shia Arab-dominated Baghdad government under Nouri al-Maliki, who was finally prised out of the prime minister’s office in August 2014.
Precious little has been done since then to foster national reconciliation and make the Sunnis, a powerful minority under Saddam Hussein, feel they are full partners in a national project. 
Legislation to empower the Sunnis by devolving security and financial responsibilities to the provinces has not happened.
Nor have measures to reverse the persecution of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, or the random arrests, detentions, and to assuage other Sunni grievances.
While slow progress is being made to drive IS back, many argue that military victory alone is not enough.
“Unless there’s political reconciliation, we’ll have IS back again five years down the line,” a senior diplomat warned.

It happened before, so the historical lesson is there, and not so long ago. 

Hillary’s plan does not acknowledge this reality.

Hillary’s plan does not address this.

There is no real plan.

Hillary seems unable to think beyond kill-kill-kill.

Hillary was wrong on Iraq in 2002 and she was wrong in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 . . .

She’s still wrong today.

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Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, February 3, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government admits there are more US troops in Iraq than they have previously disclosed, Barack Obama is breaking the law by supporting the Baghdad-based regime, and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced/bragged/claimed:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

— Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

— Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

— Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket rail and an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed seven ISIL weapons caches, three ISIL assembly areas and 14 ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and an ISIL logistics facility.

— Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL recruiting station, four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL assembly area and denied ISIL access to terrain.

— Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

— Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

— Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and 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.

Another day and more of the same.

But isn’t that the story always?

Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) reports, “Iraq said Tuesday it is building a wall and trench around Baghdad in an effort to secure the city from terror attacks.”

As Aretha Franklin sings, “Here we go again, it’s the same old song.”

Doubt it?

From Edward Wong’s September 16, 2006 “Iraqis Plan to Ring Baghdad With Trenches” (NEW YORK TIMES):

The Iraqi government plans to seal off Baghdad within weeks by ringing it with a series of trenches and setting up dozens of traffic checkpoints to control movement in and out of the violent city of seven million people, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Friday.
The effort is one of the most ambitious security projects this year, with cars expected to be funneled through 28 checkpoints along the main arteries snaking out from the capital. Smaller roads would be closed. The trenches would run across farmland or other open areas to prevent cars from evading checkpoints, said the ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.
“We’re going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly,” he said in a telephone interview. “The idea is to get the cars to go through the 28 checkpoints that we set up.”

Ten years later and it’s time to trot out the same old thing and pretend it’s a new idea.

Of the ‘new’ proposal, AP adds:

The interior ministry’s spokesman, police Brigadier General Saad Maan, told the Associated Press that work began this week on a 100km (65-mile) stretch of the wall and trench on the northern and northwestern approaches of the capital.
The wall will be three metres (10 feet) high and partially made up of concrete barriers already in use across much of the capital, he said. He declined to specify the measurements of the trench.

And BBC NEWS notes:

The barrier will also have a two-metre deep trench running alongside it, Al-Sumariyah news website reported. Surveillance cameras, explosives detection devices and towers will also be installed.
Many parts of the capital are surrounded by concrete barriers. Some of these walls will be taken out of the city’s streets and re-installed as part of the new barrier, Mr al-Shammari said. 
The Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, said work began this week on a 65-mile stretch of the wall and trench around the capital, the Associated Press reported. The wall will be 10-feet high and partially made up of concrete barriers, he said.”

Let’s drop back to yesterday’s snapshot for a moment:

In the age of Barack, we’re all supposed to politely bite our tongues.
Barack’s also a War Criminal.
At his most laughable, Gregory types, “The first step would entail convincing key regional players to pursue the requisite policies to achieve the designated goal. The Iraqi government would be an enthusiastic partner but would need to demonstrate its inclusiveness and ability to unite the country’s diverse ethnicities and religious sects.”
I guess that’s one way to put it.
Not accurate but who needs accuracy when, like Gregory, you’re arguing for more war.

Seth J. Frantzman (NATIONAL INTEREST) notes:

 In addition to the abuses against non-Sunni minorities in Mosul by Islamic State, the Sunni residents who make up the city told local reporters and human rights organizations in 2014 that Iraqi security forces executed prisoners before withdrawing. Human Rights Watch relayed stories of more than a dozen men executed after being removed from the Counterterrorism and Organized Crime prison.
This sense of persecution at the hands of Nuri al-Maliki’s Shia-led government prompted many to support ISIS when it arrived.

And the abuses continue under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s rule.

Saturday, Human Rights Watch noted:


Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. None of those responsible have been brought to justice.
Two consecutive bombings at a café in the town of Muqdadiya, in Diyala province, some 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, on January 11, killed at least 26 people, many of them Sunnis, according to a teacher who lives near the café. ISIS claimed the attacks, saying it had targeted local Shia militias, collectively known as Popular Mobilization Forces, which are formally under the command of the prime minister. Members of two of the dominant militias in Muqdadiya, the Badr Brigades and the League of Righteous forces, responded by attacking Sunnis as well as their homes and mosques, killing at least a dozen people and perhaps many more, according to local residents.

“Again civilians are paying the price for Iraq’s failure to rein in the out-of-control militias,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Countries that support Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces should insist that Baghdad bring an end to this deadly abuse.” 



Can you grasp that?

If you can, grasp this:  It is illegal for the US government to support a regime or government that attacks its own people.  It is against domestic US law and it is against international law.
Barack’s a War Criminal.
Maybe because he wants to be, maybe because he’s lazy (and would rather just continue the same instead of transform it into something different), who knows why he is how he is?
But a War Crime is taking place and he is the War Criminal.

Concerned Reader e-mails, “There is no such law.  Even if there were, you are holding President Obama to a higher standard than you would any other leader.  No White House would ever threaten Iraq with losing funding or support because their government forces were attacking the people.  No one.”

No one?

Refer to the front page of the September 30, 2006 NEW YORK TIMES which featured Richard A. Oppel Jr.’s “U.S. May Cut Aid to Iraqi Police Cited in Abuses” which explained:

American officials have warned Iraqi leaders that they might have to curtail aid to the Interior Ministry police because of a United States law that prohibits the financing of foreign security forces that commit “gross violations of human rights” and are not brought to justice.

So I’m expecting too much from Barack when I expect him to follow the law?

And I’m also expecting too much from Barack when I expect him to at least do the bare minimum on human rights that Bully Boy Bush did?

That’s really lowering the bar.

Barack said in 2014 that his Iraq ‘mission’ or ‘plan’ would not put US boots on the ground.

Wrong.

AFP reports:

But the Pentagon on Wednesday quietly increased that official accounting to 3,850 troops. Then, Baghdad-based military spokesman Col. Steve Warren said it was “fair to say” there are hundreds more troops than even that number.

And more planned to be sent in.

But apparently for some — like Concerned Reader — holding Barack to his word is unfair.

Changing topics . . .


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Masrour Barzani Verified account @masrour_barzani Feb 1

For 100 years they’ve tried to make this country [#Iraq] work. It doesn’t work b/c it is built on the wrong foundations via @HBO #VICEonHBO.

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Masrour Barzani’s father is Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

REUTERS reports, “Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region should hold a non-binding referendum on independence, its president said on Tuesday, despite the numerous crises it is facing.  Massoud Barzani has previously called for a referendum but set no timetable for a proposed vote.”

Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) ‘covered’ the issue of the KRG:


Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has called for a non-binding referendum on Kurdish independence. Kurdistan’s finances, however, are so poor that Peshmerga fighters are abandoning the fight against the Islamic State over unpaid wages.

That’s covering the issue . . . poorly.

If Griffis is your primary or sole knowledge, you’re probably highly uninformed.

Why are they not being paid?

Griffis repeatedly misses the point and leaves readers uninformed.

The federal government out of Baghdad is still not dividing up the revenues.

RUDAW reports of the meet-up:


A high-level meeting between the Kurdish Prime Minister and his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad on Sunday ended with an agreement to form a joint committee to continue talks between both sides to seek a solution for their budgetary dispute.
A Kurdish delegation led by PM Nechirvan Barzani met Iraqi premier Haider Abadi in Baghdad to discuss the unpaid Peshmerga funds as part of Iraq’s defense system as well as Kurdistan’s share of the fedral health budget.

This is not a new development.

It’s been going on for years now.

It’s why, a few weeks ago, the KRG sent representatives to DC to see about financial assistance.

It’s also why Brett McGurk met with them on Monday in Baghdad — and why they were in Baghdad to begin with.

The State Dept’s doing its best to play dumb on the McGurk visit but that was the primary focus of the conversations the KRG reps had with McGurk — what is the status on the financial aid request, what can the US do to help get Iraqi funds from Baghdad flowing, etc.

On McGurk’s end, he was seeking more commitment on the battle against the Islamic State and more options for US troops to be stationed in the KRG.

Fact that no one wants to explore: 3,700 US troops are in Iraq (not counting special ops) and there are a lot more in the region — especially in Kuwait.

The hope on the part of the White House is to take some of the thousands in the region and move them into the KRG, to use the KRG as a staging area.

Turning to US politics, Hillary Clinton who voted for war on Iraq ‘won’ Iowa’s caucus.  Former US House Rep and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney Tweeted on the outcome:

Cynthia may seek the 2016 Green Party nomination.

In the meantime, Hillary goes up against Senator Bernie Sanders again in New Hampshire which will be the first actual primary in the Democratic Party’s race to select a presidential nominee.  Sanders’ campaign notes:

Bernie Sanders@BernieSanders 4h4 hours ago

A family making $50,000 would save $5,807 a year under my Medicare-for-all plan. #DemTownHall

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