Friday, August 30, 2013

One outlet sets the standard

Bill Van Auken (WSWS) covers the latest on U.S. President Barack Obama's desire to attack Syria:

The Obama administration indicated Thursday that it was moving ahead with preparations to attack Syria, despite the absence of any legal sanction from the United Nations, and even without the participation of its closest allies. It is doing so in the face of overwhelming hostility not only from the masses of the Middle East, but also the American people.
President Barack Obama’s drive to war against Syria compares unfavorably even to the criminal operation mounted by the Bush administration against Iraq a decade ago. Now, even the “coalition of the willing” is being dispensed with, as the parliament of Washington’s closest ally, Britain, voted Thursday against military action. The US president is barely going through the motions of selling the war to the American public.
In a PBS television interview Wednesday night, Obama made his incoherent case for a US military attack on Syria. Both his answers and the interviewers’ questions underscored the fact that for the US government and the American media there is no lie too stupid or contradiction too glaring in manufacturing a pretext for war.

I would say Mr. Van Auken captured that amazingly well.

I would further argue it is shameful that so many other left outlets cannot speak with such clarity.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Thursday, August 29, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept alienates and (yes) insults Iraqi to the point that the White House should consider suspending Facebook privileges, Barack loses England (for now), Barack tables an attack on Syria (for now), and more.

Hnery Chu (Los Angeles Times) report, "A sharply divided British Parliament on Thursday rejected the immediate use of force as a response to suspected chemical attacks in Syria, putting Washington on notice that it would be deprived of the assistance of its most trusted ally if it launches a strike on Damascus in the next few days."  Robert Winnett (Telegraph of London) calls it "an embarrassing defeat" for UK Prime Minister David Cameron with the 285 votes against an attack on Syria and 272 for it. Winnett points out, "The Prime Minister had played a leading role in persuading President Obama of the need for action against Syria -- with Britain tabling a draft United Nations resolution – and the Parliamentary vote may also undermine Mr Cameron’s international reputation."  Annabelle Dickinson ( offers, "In what is thought to be an unprecedented parliamentary reverse over British military action, Tory rebels joined with Labour to inflict a humiliating defeat on the Prime Minister."

Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew Osborn (Reuters) report UK Prime Minister David Cameron is being forced to take the matter to Parliament, "After imploring the world not to stand idly by over Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons, Cameron was forced into an awkward climbdown on Wednesday when the opposition Labour party and lawmakers in his own party said they wanted more evidence before voting for military action."

The Labour and Conservative revolt was actually started by MP Diane Abbott who made clear her opposition earlier this week.   Rowena Mason (Guardian) reported:

 Diane Abbott may be forced to quit Labour's frontbench if Ed Miliband supports military action in Syria, as one of several MPs who are weighing up whether to support their party leaders over the anticipated intervention.
[. . .]
"I voted against the Iraq War. At the moment, I can't see anything that would make me vote for intervention in Syria," she said.
"Essentially it's a civil war. What Libya and Egypt have taught us is that these situations in the Middle East are complex. It's not good guys in white hats and bad guys in black hats."

But this apparently isn't Tony Blair's Labour anymore.  Abbott was not ostracized, strong-armed or stigmatized.  Instead, as George Eaton (New Statesman) noted yesterday, Ed Miliband stood up and showed real leadership:

 He announced on Twitter that the party would table an amendment to the government's (then non-existent) motion requiring Cameron to return to the Commons to consult MPs after the UN team had reported on the Ghouta massacre. He added: "Parliament must tomorrow agree criteria for action, not write a blank cheque." Labour sources subsequently briefed that were the amendment not accepted, the party would vote against the motion.

As Ed knows,  the move also further draws a line between Labour and Tony Blair -- something desperately needed if Labour is going to return to power in the near future.  It draws a line because Iraq and Syria are tied together by comparisons and it draws a line because Tony Blair has mistakenly thought he had a voice the world need to hear and has spent the last days demanding an attack on Syria.

Melanie Hall (Telegraph of London) notes 'prophet' Tony sees a "nightmare scenario" coming.  Andy Wells (Daily Star) noted:

After the long and painful campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand every impulse to stay clear of the turmoil, to watch but not to intervene, to ratchet up language but not to engage in the hard, even harsh business of changing reality on the ground.
But we have collectively to understand the consequences of wringing our hands instead of putting them to work.

At his website, Blair has even posted a column he wrote this week for the Times of London calling for action on Syria:

  People wince at the thought of intervention. But contemplate the future consequence of inaction and shudder: Syria mired in carnage between the brutality of Assad and various affiliates of al-Qaeda, a breeding ground of extremism infinitely more dangerous than Afghanistan in the 1990s; Egypt in chaos, with the West, however unfairly, looking as if it is giving succour to those who would turn it into a Sunni version of Iran. Iran still — despite its new president — a theocratic dictatorship, with a nuclear bomb. Our allies dismayed. Our enemies emboldened. Ourselves in confusion. This is a nightmare scenario but it is not far-fetched.

People wince, actually, at the thought of Tony Blair giving advice.  Even those who would not call for him to be tried for War Crimes re: Iraq remember his lie that Iraq had WMD and they could be launched on England within 45 minutes.  As Glenn Greenwald revealed in 2009 while at Salon:

The British are conducting an actual public investigation into the litany of false claims made by their government to justify the attack on Iraq.  Even for those who have long known it, the disclosures are underscoring just how truly criminal this deceit was:
An Iraqi taxi driver may have been the source of the discredited claim that Saddam Hussein could unleash weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a Tory MP claimed today.
Adam Holloway, a defence specialist, said MI6 obtained information indirectly from a taxi driver who had overheard two Iraqi military commanders talking about Saddam’s weapons.
The 45-minute claim was a key feature of the dossier about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that was released by Tony Blair in September 2002. Blair published the information to bolster public support for war.
Other disclosures reveal that Blair was making claims that his own intelligence services were vehemently rejecting.

But for many Labour voters Blair's greatest crime was the way he degraded and destroyed Labour.  That's his 'New Labour' neoliberal policies, his war crimes and so much more.  Gordon Brown's biggest problem as prime minister was attempting to fix a few of Blair's errors without calling them errors.

Simon Hoggart (Guardian) points out:

A spectre hung over the prime minister's speech. Like most phantoms, the spectre wasn't corporeally present – it has been holidaying on a millionaire's yacht – but Tony Blair was there in spirit all right. Cameron said carefully over and over again that this was different from Iraq. "I am deeply mindful of previous interventions," he said. Thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan, the well of public confidence had been poisoned.

Had Brown broke with Blair publicly, Labour might have been able to start the rebuilding process that Ed Miliband has been stuck with.  Some wrongly assume Blair can be 'rehabbed' or note that his polling is not as awful as it could be.  Blair's inability to apologize for his actions(he still maintains he was right -- even with his lies revealed) make image rehab impossible.  And when you look at his polling, you find out just what a liability he is to the future of Labour -- the younger you go, the more he's hated.  40 and under have less tolerance for him.

Blair's support for an attack on Syria probably helped motivate protests like the one Sarah Ensor reported on in "'Don't Bomb Syria' protesters block Whitehall" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Up to 1,000 people blocked Whitehall and stopped traffic in central London yesterday evening, Wednesday, against David Cameron’s threat to bomb Syria.
The Stop the War Coalition (STW) called the protest at short notice once the British and US governments looked set for an immediate attack Syria. The current crisis began with a chemical weapons attack in Damascus last week.

The British parliament has been recalled for today, Thursday, to discuss an attack. The degree of hostility to intervention is so high that Cameron has had to retreat from voting on an immediate attack.

Obi, a student from London, was on her first demonstration. She told Socialist Worker, “This is a very flammable situation and the West could escalate it. Intervention won’t help the situation—we’ll just add fuel to the fire.”

Front bench Labour MP Diane Abbott addressed the crowd, saying she wanted to put it “beyond doubt” that she would vote against an attack.

Stop the War chair Jeremy Corbyn MP also spoke. Other speakers included Steve Hedley from RMT the transport union—who called for civil disobedience—and Mark Campbell, chair of Kurdish Federation in Britain.
This does not mean US President Barack Obama will not still launch an attack on Syria.  It does mean he has lost the fig leaf he needed.  The United Nations Security Council is very unlikely to approve an attack.  This would make a US attack illegal.  By having England (again) stand side-by-side (as they did with the attack on Iraq) would give the appearance to many that the attack was legitimate (as with Iraq, this crowd would dismiss international law).   Without England at his side (at least currently), Barack is left stranded.  France (as noted this morning when I discussed what 2 White House friends were saying) is not thought to have the same impression for Americans that England would carry -- in part because 2002 and 2003 saw US officials and the US press attacking France publicly and repeatedly.

He is also facing a Congressional critique has been led by Senator Rand Paul.  Alex Pappas (Daily Caller) notes that Paul has argued an attack on Syria is without any US "national security" rationale. And as in England, it's taking only one person to stand (and survive a flurry of attacks) for others to start questioning.  Michael O'Brien and Tom Curry (NBC News) report:

A growing minority of lawmakers in both parties are demanding that President Barack Obama seek approval from Congress before launching an attack against Syria.
Most senior leaders in Congress appear content with the administration’s efforts to keep lawmakers abreast of what appears to be a fast-approaching military response to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against opponents in that country’s protracted civil war.
But ahead of any possible military action, a chorus of voices is calling for at least a Congressional debate, if not an explicit vote authorizing the use of force. 

David Lightman and William Douglas (McClatchy) add, "House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Wednesday wrote a lengthy letter to the president, asking about the administration’s objectives. It came after a day of mounting concern among lawmakers anxious for an explanation for the possible action against Syria."  And Rebecca Shabad (The Hill) reports, "More than 100 lawmakers, including 18 Democrats, have signed a letter that says President Obama would violate the Constitution by striking Syria without first getting authorization from Congress.  A total of 116 lawmakers had signed the letter as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, highlighting bipartisan interest and growing momentum in ensuring a role for Congress in any decision to use force in Syria."  AP reports that Iraq War veteran and US House Rep Tammy Duckworth has come out today against a US strike on Syria.  Speaking in Thailand at a Bangkok college, Duckworth voiced her concerns about US military being used to assist people who may be part of al Qaeda.
On Democracy Now! (link is audio, text and video), Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez moderated a debate between the great intellectual Tariq Ali and Steve Clemons who wore a severe hair do that appeared to suggest he'd just visited Mr. Kenneth.  Excerpt.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to Tariq Ali in London. You spoke at a rally against an attack on Syria. Your response to what Steven Clemons is saying?
TARIQ ALI: Well, I think the main evidence which has been supplied is from an ally, certainly, but the name of the ally is Israel. Israeli intelligence has supplied the signals intelligence to the United States. It should be made public so we can judge it for ourselves. But virtually no one who knows the region believes that these attacks were carried out by the Syrian government, or on its orders. It’s crazy, if you think about it. They let the inspectors in, and then in a hotel barely 10 miles from—in a location barely 10 miles from where the inspectors are staying, there’s a chemical attack. And what good does it do the Syrian government to actually open fire on these inspectors? They want them there. So, I think it’s slightly incredible. And given that citizens in the United States and Europe were lied to in the run-up to the Iraq War—simple, straightforward lies—it’s very difficult to take the West seriously when it cries wolf again. So, 'til the evidence is there, it's impossible to take this at face value.
Secondly, the country that has of course used chemical weapons is the United States, which used white phosphorus in Fallujah. No red lines were drawn them, except the red lines of Iraqi blood.
Thirdly, why is the United States wanting to do this? And I think the reasons are to do with the situation on the battlefield in this awful, ugly, depressing civil war, which is that the opposition to the regime had been losing out, and, effectively, the West wants to improve the relationship of forces on the field. They’ve sent in more arms to the opposition—whoever it may be, and it’s dubious in many cases. And now they want to punish the regime, once again, to push it back. Meanwhile, the civil war continues. You know, no one is really pushing for talks. In Geneva, the opposition refused to come and participate in these talks. And what is required is a political solution; otherwise, you have endless war. And this policy of Obama, we’re not going in for regime change, I think he’s right about that. He’s not—he’s not misleading us. But we are basically wanting to weaken the regime so the civil war continues. What other option is there?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Tariq, I’d like to ask you—Tariq, I’d like to ask you about the—what the potential impact is of yet another U.S. military attack on another Arab country, especially in view of the fact that Syria has a mutual defense pact with Iran. And what would be the possible repercussions of such an attack?
TARIQ ALI: Well, I think the Iranian regime has made a very strong statement—whether it’s pure bluff, we don’t know—saying that if Syria is attacked, they will retaliate as they see fit. And this is a regime which has been recently elected, the new government, which people said was going to be very different from Ahmadinejad, and yet is saying exactly the same things as the prior government was saying to this, that an attack on Syria will be taken as an attack on Iran because of their defense pact. And they have the possibility, of course, of escalating in Iraq, of escalating in Lebanon and escalating in Afghanistan—three battlefield areas where the United States are involved, which I think is one reason that there has been a lot more caution in the Pentagon and from British military officers, who’ve been on television screens—you know, recently retired, who were involved in Iraq—saying that there is no justification for this war.
People are extremely worried about the consequences. I mean, in Britain, we have 70 Conservative members of Parliament, the ruling party, from the coalition, saying they will not vote for a war. Eighty percent of the population is opposed to it. So, of course, the United States can push it through, and probably the British government, which, you know, is a sort of vassal state-type outfit, will go along with it, but against the will of a huge majority of its people.

[. . .]


AMY GOODMAN: Steven Clemons, you said that you became convinced by the signal information, in speaking to intelligence officials in the United States. What exactly is that?
STEVEN CLEMONS: Signals intelligence—you know, one of the unfortunate realities is we do have in the United States today a many—much infrastructure that’s part of a security-obsessed national security state. And we’re listening—
AMY GOODMAN: Well, as we’ve learned in all the NSA scandal stuff. But what—
STEVEN CLEMONS: Yeah, we’re listening to—well, every—no, but everything that—
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, what exactly is the information?
STEVEN CLEMONS: I’m sorry, how did I get the information?
AMY GOODMAN: Yeah—no, what exactly is that information that has convinced you?
STEVEN CLEMONS: What is—so, from the moment this began to unroll—one of the areas I report on and work on is in the intelligence sector. And when there were attacks, low-level attacks, reported previously, and they were popping up here and there in Syria, it seemed to me natural, given the many months we talked about red lines, that the opposition would be the biggest winner if those were crossed. And so, I went at the time to people that I knew had access to and that were close to what’s called signals intelligence, electronic and digital eavesdropping, if you will, of which there are enormous, not just Israeli interceptors, but lots of other states that are essentially picking up communications inside Syria and filtering that. The NSA’s raison d’être is this. And at that time, there was no evidence whatsoever that there was command staff authority or Assad. There was speculation, but it just didn’t exist. And I got a very clear read from intelligence sources that we just had no evidence at all at that time of this lower chemical weapons usage that it was there.
This time I went in, and said, "Steve, it is—it is definitive, and it’s definitive that members of the command staff of the Syrian army are responsible." There may be factions, and subsequent—you know, reported in the press by Foreign Policy magazine, have reported that there was dismay and shock in some part of the command staff and a panic call to other elements of that. That’s the tip of the iceberg of the communications material we have. But it seems that a portion of the Syrian army, this time, communicated strongly enough that these attacks were held. And so, that intelligence is held there. I agree it should be made public. I think it should be put out into the public.
AMY GOODMAN: So you haven’t seen it, but they told you that this is what it said.

 Steve Clemons, the Ethel Mertz of the global village.  From one national joke to another: Marie Harf.  Laugh as the State Dept's own Minnie Pearl can't handle a basic question, enjoy the way Said Arikat (Al Quds) runs circles around herl.

QUESTION: Does the United States State Department have a definition of what constitutes a war by one country over another?

MS. HARF: A war?


MS. HARF: I’m –

QUESTION: What constitutes a war of one country over another?

MS. HARF: I don’t have a specific definition in front of me, Said. What is the crux of the question that you’re asking?

QUESTION: The crux of the question is that the President is saying that whatever action is taken in Syria, which is obviously alluding to some sort of bombardment, perhaps, by cruise missiles and so on –

MS. HARF: Well, he hasn’t made a decision yet.

QUESTION: No, I understand. But he says accountability – they want to hold with accountability.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I want to ask you: Does lobbing off cruise missiles, whether there are 10 or 90 or 100, does that constitute an act of war on another country, especially if Country B that is being attacked has not provoked any kind of belligerence towards the United States of America?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to define hypothetical actions that haven’t been decided to be taken yet. I will point to a couple points the President made in his interview last night. He talked at length about the national security interest for the United States that are wrapped up in any indiscriminate use of chemical weapons – I think he made that point very clear – and that we need the Assad regime to understand that they’re not only breaking international norms by using chemical weapons, but they’re creating a situation – and I’m quoting directly here – where U.S. national security interest are threatened.

QUESTION: Okay. So Syria – you concur that Syria at the present time presents an imminent threat to the national security of the United States of America?

MS. HARF: I didn’t use that term, Said.

QUESTION: Okay. But do you feel that Syria should be held accountable because it does compromise the national security of the United States of America?

MS. HARF: The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons –


MS. HARF: -- against their own people –


MS. HARF: -- presents a situation where, yes, U.S. national security interests are threatened. It’s in our interest – in our national security interest, but in the world’s security interest –


MS. HARF: -- to not allow this use – these use of chemical weapons to go un-responded to.

QUESTION: Could you explain to us how the use of chemical weapons, whether at this scale that we have seen last Wednesday or before, how does that in any way or directly affect the national security of the United States?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Well, I think I talked a little bit about this yesterday. Clearly, we have an interest – a national security interest in upholding an international norm against the use of chemical weapons. There’s a reason that 98 percent of the world’s peoples live in countries that have said these weapons should not be used.

We'll come back to the State Dept in a moment.  This was a good day for peace, it was not a great day.  Even if you reduce it only to the possible Syrian attack, it was still only a good day.  Good for the British lawmakers and citizens who said no but grasp that Barack is still angling for an attack.  Today appears to be just a setback or temporary delay.  Julie Pace (AP) explains that.

There are people who have expressed disappointment in e-mails that I have no position on Syria (other than foreigners don't need to attack).  We do the "Iraq snapshot," try to grasp that.  We have Iraqis in the US and in Iraq who are part of the community.  Some are Sunni, some are Shi'ite, some are Kurds, and we have 2 religious minorities as well.

I am not Syrian, it is not my job to stick my big nose into their civil war to begin with.  But even more than that, we can't treat all segments in Iraq equally if I'm pulling for a side in Syria.

Iraq shares a border with Syria.  Passions run high in Iraq on the issue with the various groupings tending to support their own ethnic group in Syria.

Were I to take a side, it would discredit everything else we do here.  It would upset at least two of the three major groups in Iraq.  I completely understand that.

Does the US State Dept?

This morning, we noted the US Embassy in Baghdad and the State Dept's silence on the worst attacks (judged by death toll) this month in Iraq.   Adam Schreck and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report 80 died yesterday in Baghdad alone.  All Iraq News notes:

The British Government condemned the car bombings that took place in Baghdad on last Wednesday.

A statement by the British Embassy in Iraq received by AIN cited “The British Government condemns the terrorist attacks that took place across Baghdad yesterday morning. My thoughts are with the families of those who were killed and injured.”
The statement quoted the British Ambassador to Baghdad as saying “I offered my condolences to Foreign Minister Zebari yesterday afternoon, and affirmed the United Kingdom’s solidarity with the Iraqi government in its efforts to combat terrorism.”

And they note:

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (UNAMI), Jaclyn Babcock, strongly condemned the series of recent terrorist explosions that took place in Baghdad and resulted in killing and wounding many innocent people.
UNAMI quoted Babcock as saying ''These terrorist operations can not be justified by any political goals or sectarian rancor where these operations are killing innocent  people continuously without any mercy.''

But due to silence, they couldn't note any statement from the US State Dept or the US Embassy in Baghdad.  I pointed out that the US Embassy in Baghdad posted a lot of nonsense on their Facebook page yesterday.  And let's point out that there is worse than "nonsense," there is "harmful."  The US Embassy in Baghdad is like a pre-teen that really shouldn't be left alone on Facebook.

MLK?  He's an international inspiration, one of the world's all time greats.  By all means, note him and the 50th anniversary.  But why in the world would you decide to post those speeches by Secretary of State John Kerry to the US Embassy in Baghdad's Facebook page?  We'll share one example:

‫شاهدوا معنا التسجيل الكامل و المترجم لبيان وزير الخارجية السيد جون كيري حول سوريا، 26 آب/2013
Remarks of Secretary of State Kerry on Syria, 26 August, 2013‬
  • Tareq Al Wady انا ضد الاسد ولكن امريكا بلد لايهتم بالشعوب وانما همهم الوحيد هو اسراءيل نحن العراقيين ذقنا من الويلات مالم يراها بشر غيرنا ومازلنا نتجرعها وذلك بفضل امريكا انظروا المشهد العراقي كل يوم نزيف دم للابرياء والحكومه العراقيه تتفرج وتقتل بالسنه والشيعه وتعتقل السنه فمن جاء بالحكومه العراقيه انها امريكا لكن نحن شعب نوءمن بالله واقداره فنحمد الله على كل حال لان الله مولانا وانتم لامولا لكم وحسبنا الله ونعم الوكيلSee Translation
  • Holy Diamond God curse America

"God curse America"?  Not a surprising comment when you consider how divisive the Syrian civil war is in Iraq.  It was outrageous for that Embassy to post that speech.

Don't give me the crap that it's a speech by the US Secretary of State.  Kerry recently gave a speech on LGBT rights.  You know how many Embassy Facebook sites posted that video (I do, I know the actual number).  Among the many not posting that speech?  The US Embassy in Iraq.

I didn't rip them a new one here.  I was disappointed but they're supposed to be doing diplomacy and I could write off a decision I didn't agree with by noting they did not want to antagonize.

But if you don't want to antagonize, why the hell are you posting John Kerry taking sides and calling out one group in Syria?

  • Nadheer Mahmoud هل الأسلحة التي استخدمت في العراق من قبل الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والتي تحتوي اليورانيوم المنضب والتي يعاني العراقيين من آثارها من حصول التشوهات الخلقية للمدنيين الأبرياء لا يحاسب عليها القانون الدولي وان القتل هو واحد مهما اختلف نوع السلاح والفضل لأمريكا بنشر ثقافة العنف من قبلكم من خلال تقسيم المجتمع في البلدان العربية على أساس عرقي أو ديني أو عقائدي والذي كان يعيش في أجواء أخوة

Nadheer Mahmoud replies to the Kerry post by rightly noting the US used chemical weapons on Iraq.  Nadheer is elequent and to the point -- there's nothing alarming or shocking in his words. From Monday's snapshot:
Today, US Secretary of State John Kerry idiotically made a declaration (link is text and video):

 What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.

 I like John Kerry but he needs to learn to shut his mouth and stop trying to lead the administration.  He wants war on Syria, I don't.  That's not the issue.  The issue is the State Dept is over US efforts in Iraq currently.  That's where Kerry's in charge.  With that reality in mind, let's look at that statement one more time:

What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.
If those words really mean anything, Iraqis have every right to expect Kerry to speak out for them, especially when the WHO report is finally issued.  You never, as Secretary of State, paint yourself into a corner.  The Secretary now has painted himself into a corner and, in doing so, painted his Dept and the administration into one.   The State Dept is supposed to practice diplomacy which is another reason John Kerry should be a lot less quick on the draw and a little more concerned with dialogue.

The reaction taking place on Facebook is not shocking or surprising.  The fact that the State Dept is less intelligent than I am is highly disappointing.  I don't expect genius, I do expect better than me from them.  If I saw the fall out potential, they should have.  But they're so repeatedly stupid, they can't see a thing and destroy chances of goodwill over and over.

Read through the comments -- I'm going by the Arabic ones but you can just read the English ones -- this is nightmare.  How could the US Embassy have been so stupid to post that speech?

Were they trying to inflame Iraqis?

Are they so stupid that they don't grasp it's not just Moqtada al-Sadr's movement calling for the "occupiers" to go home.  This is a feeling that's probably around 52% (at least) currently in Iraq.  And that was before the idiots at the State Dept and the Embassy couldn't be bothered with a message of condolence for the victims of Wednesday's violence and before they were stupid enough to post John Kerry's speech.

The stupidity needs to stop immediately.  If it can't, the US needs to close all embassies and consulates in Iraq.  Not just because they're wasting billions of US taxpayer dollars with their stupidity but also because their stupidity is putting diplomatic staff in Iraq in jeopardy.   If nothing's being accomplished except for painting big targets on the backs of American there, the Iraq mission needs to stop and all those dollars can be spent on programs in the US.

In Iraq, violence continues.  NINA reports a 1 police officer and 1 Iraqi soldier were shot dead in Mosul, 1 person was shot dead in Basra, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and 2 civilians, 1 Shabak was shot dead near his Mosul home, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left three people injured, and a Hilla bombing claimed 1 life and left two more people injuredMohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports, "The deadliest attack was in Samaeea, where 16 people died when a car bomb exploded in an outdoor market" with twenty-seven left injured.  He counts 23 dead today.

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 823 violent deaths in the country so far this month.  AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

  1. So far this month, at least 633 killed and 1,682 wounded by violence in Iraq - tally:

amy goodman