Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The laughable 'debate'

Screw Martin O'Malley.

I was interested in his campaign until the debate when he failed to challenge Hillary Clinton's lies regarding her e-mail scandal.

He was not as bad as Bernie Sanders, but who could be?

As POLITICO notes:

Watching the Democratic debate Tuesday night, you’d never know Hillary Clinton had the slightest troubles with her emails.
The 2016 Democratic front-runner got off easy on the issue that's dogged her campaign for months. It received less than five minutes of attention. Her Democratic rivals were a big help, especially Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who had one of the night's most memorable lines. The American people, he said to roaring applause, “are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Anderson Cooper was a lousy moderator.

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the cholera cases increase, Hillary Clinton's war mongering continues to haunt her, and much more.

Wearing a ridiculous outfit that made her look alternately like a Puritan as well as someone who forgot her witch's hat, Hillary Clinton snarled and bellowed throughout tonight's Las Vegas debate.  The pan collar was a ridiculous as her responses.

The debate was a huge joke as Anderson Cooper (moderator) played favorites and allowed Hillary to set the agenda repeatedly.  He was her water boy and she ordered him around throughout the debate.  That's not going to help her image or his.

At the heart of her failure in tonight's debate was not her 2002 vote for the Iraq War but her refusal to ever take accountability for it.

You saw a liar supreme, the equivalent of a cheating spouse who feigns remorse when caught but intends to keep on cheating.

Hillary voted for the illegal war and continued to support it until the majority of the American people had turned against it.

She's never apologized for that vote.  She's offered mealy mouthed words and, when offered in person, she's done so in a rude and dismissive manner.

The Iraq War continues to this day.

To this day she continues to refuse to take accountability.

At the debate, her rivals for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination refused to allow her to wall off the topic the way she generally does.

So Hillary was left to resort to pre-planned sound bytes.


That became obvious as she introduced her latest 'defense' for her lousy 2002 vote: Barack picked her anyway!

"Well, I recall very well," she huffed, "being on a debate stage -- I think about 25 times with then-Senator Obama debating this very issue.  After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State.  He valued my judgment and I spent a lot of time with him in the Situation Room going over some very difficult issues."

What a liar.

Barack selected many War Hawks for his administration.

Why did he select Hillary?

To keep his enemies close.

He might not have been re-elected in 2012 if Hillary had made a run for the nomination that year -- it might have left him wounded.

He knew the best way to shut her (and Bill) up was to offer her a role.

He knew the best way to stomach her was to give her a role that would keep her out of the country as much as possible.

If he trusted her judgment on Iraq, he wouldn't have removed Iraq from her and made Joe Biden and Samantha Power the leads on Iraq.

Equally true, she left the State Dept with a lengthy  travelogue but no serious accomplishments.

The story of her life, she always pushes her way to the front when cameras are around but she never can point to any accomplishments.

We're going to note a lengthy section of the debate -- this is the Washington Post's transcript:

COOPER: I want to go to Dana Bash. Dana?

BASH: Governor Chafee, you were the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Iraq war. You say Secretary Clinton should be disqualified from the presidency because she voted in favor of using force in Iraq. She has since said that her vote was a mistake. Why isn't that good enough?

CHAFEE: Well, we just heard Senator Sanders say that it's the worst decision in American history. That's very significant, the worst decision in American history, I just heard from Senator Sanders.
So, as we look ahead, if you're going to make those poor judgment calls, a critical time in our history, we just finished with the Vietnam era, getting back into another quagmire -- if you're looking ahead, and you're looking at someone who made that poor decision in 2002 to go into Iraq when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- I know because I did my homework, and, so, that's an indication of how someone will perform in the future. And that's what's important.


BASH: Secretary Clinton, he's questioning your judgment.

CLINTON: Well, I recall very well being on a debate stage, I think, about 25 times with then Senator Obama, debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State.
He valued my judgment, and I spent a lot of time with him...

(APPLAUSE) the Situation Room, going over some very difficult issues.
You know, I -- I agree completely. We don't want American troops on the ground in Syria. I never said that. What I said was we had to put together a coalition -- in fact, something that I worked on before I left the State Department -- to do, and yes, that it should include Arabs, people in the region.
Because what I worry about is what will happen with ISIS gaining more territory, having more reach, and, frankly, posing a threat to our friends and neighbors in the region and far beyond.
So I think while you're talking about the tough decision that President Obama had to make about Osama bin Laden, where I was one of his few advisers, or putting together that coalition to impose sanctions on Iran -- I think I have a lot of evidence...


BASH: Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, I want to bring you in here. My question for you is, as a congressman, you voted against the Iraq War. You voted against the Gulf War. You're just talking about Syria, but under what circumstances would a President Sanders actually use force?

SANDERS: Let me just respond to something the secretary said. First of all, she is talking about, as I understand it, a no-fly zone in Syria, which I think is a very dangerous situation. Could lead to real problems.
Second of all, I heard the same evidence from President Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld about why we should overthrow Saddam Hussein and get involved in the -- I would urge people to go to, hear what I said in 2002. And I say, without any joy in my heart, that much of what I thought would happen about the destabilization, in fact, did happen.
So I think... 

BASH: All right.


SANDERS: I think the president is trying very hard to thread a tough needle here, and that is to support those people who are against Assad, against ISIS, without getting us on the ground there, and that's the direction I believe we should have (inaudible).

COOPER: But, Senator Sanders, you didn't answer the question. Under what -- under what circumstances would you actually use force?

SANDERS: Well, obviously, I voted, when President Clinton said, "let's stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo," I voted for that. I voted to make sure that Osama bin Laden was held accountable in Afghanistan.
When our country is threatened, or when our allies are threatened, I believe that we need coalitions to come together to address the major crises of this country. I do not support the United States getting involved in unilateral action.

(UNKNOWN): You're at work with our allies.


COOPER: I'm gonna bring you all in on this. Governor -- Governor O'Malley, Secretary Clinton...

SANDERS: I don't believe that any...


COOPER: Secretary Clinton voted to authorize military force in Iraq, supported more troops in Afghanistan. As Secretary of State, she wanted to arm Syrian rebels and push for the bombing of Libya. Is she too quick to use military force?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, no president -- no commander in chief -- should take the military option off the table, even if most of us would agree that it should be the last option.
What disturbed people so much about -- and I would agree with Senator Sanders on this -- leading us into Iraq under false pretenses and telling us, as a people, that there were weapons of mass destruction there was -- was one of the worst blunders in modern American history.
But the reason why people remain angry about it is because people feel like a lot of our legislators got railroaded in a war fever and by polls. And I remember being at a dinner shortly before that invasion. People were talking at -- and saying, "it'll take us just a couple years to rebuild democracy," and I thought, "has this world gone mad?"
Whenever we go -- and contrary to John Quincy Adams' advice -- "searching the world for monsters to destroy," and when we use political might to take a -- at the expense of democratic principle, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our (inaudible).

COOPER: Does she -- does she want to use military force too rapidly?

O'MALLEY: I believe that, as president, I would not be so quick to pull for a military tool. I believe that a no-fly zone in Syria, at this time, actually, Secretary, would be a mistake.
You have to enforce no-fly zones, and I believe, especially with the Russian air force in the air, it could lead to an escalation because of an accident that we would deeply regret.
I support President Obama. I think we have to play a long game, and I think, ultimately -- you want to talk about blunders? I think Assad's invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, just for the record, on the campaign trail, you've been saying that Secretary Clinton is always quick for the -- for the military intervention. Senator -- Secretary Clinton, you can respond.

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I...

WEBB: Anderson, can I come into this discussion at some point?

COOPER: Well -- yes, you'll be coming in next, but she was directly quoted, Senator.

WEBB: Thank you. I've been standing over here for about ten minutes, trying.


WEBB: It's just -- it's gone back and forth over there.

COOPER: Secretary?

CLINTON: Well, I am in the middle, here, and...


Lots of things coming from all directions.

WEBB: You got the lucky (inaudible).

[I'm taking out Hillary's flapping gums and will explain why in a second . . . ]

COOPER: Senator Webb, you said as president you would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was, in your words, "inevitable." Should Secretary Clinton have seen that attack coming?

WEBB: Look, let's start -- I've been trying to get in this conversation for about 10 minutes -- let's start with why Russia is in Syria right now. There are three strategic failings that have allowed this to occur. The first was the invasion of Iraq, which destabilized ethnic elements in Iraq and empowered Iran. The second was the Arab Spring, which created huge vacuums in Libya and in Syria that allowed terrorist movements to move in there. And the third was the recent deal allowing Iran to move forward and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon, which sent bad signals, bad body language into the region about whether we are acquiescing in Iran becoming a stronger piece of the formula in that part of the world.
Now, I say this as someone who spent five years in the Pentagon and who opposed the war in Iraq, whose son fought in Iraq, I've fought in Vietnam. But if you want a place where we need to be in terms of our national strategy, a focus, the greatest strategic threat that we have right now is resolving our relationship with China. And we need to do this because of their aggression in the region. We need to do it because of the way they treat their own people.

COOPER: Senator...

WEBB: And I would say this. I've been waiting for 10 minutes. I will say this.

COOPER: You're over your time as of now.

WEBB: I will -- well, you've let a lot of people go over their time. I would say this...

COOPER: You agreed to these debate rules.

What rules, Anderson?

That the subject is Iraq and Hillary switches it to Syria and you don't redirect her or challenge her?

That you let her run the debate?

Others don't get to speak and you're providing her even more air time?

That was embarrassing.

Anderson Cooper and CNN should be embarrassed.

Hillary did what cheap liars always do when they're caught, try to change the subject.

And Anderson let her.

Where was her plan for Iraq?

She has none.

The cheap trash from Illinois helped destroy Iraq.

Pressed on her vote for war, she changes the topic to Syria and Anderson too entranced with his own reflection on a monitor to insist she stay on topic and answer the question.

If you're not getting (a) what a failure Anderson was or (b) what an avoider Hillary was, let's note this section:

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, on the campaign trail, Governor Webb has said that he would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was inevitable. Should you have seen that attack coming?

CLINTON: Well, let's remember what was going on. We had a murderous dictator, Gadhafi, who had American blood on his hands, as I'm sure you remember, threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people. We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, "We want you to help us deal with Gadhafi."
Our response, which I think was smart power at its best, is that the United States will not lead this. We will provide essential, unique capabilities that we have, but the Europeans and the Arabs had to be first over the line. We did not put one single American soldier on the ground in Libya. And I'll say this for the Libyan people...

COOPER: But American citizens did lose their lives in Benghazi.

CLINTON: But let -- I'll get to that. But I think it's important, since I understand Senator Webb's very strong feelings about this, to explain where we were then and to point out that I think President Obama made the right decision at the time.
And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy. Because of the Arab Spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed.
But unless you believe the United States should not send diplomats to any place that is dangerous, which I do not, then when we send them forth, there is always the potential for danger and risk.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?

WEBB: Can I...


"I'll get to that"?

Anderson says, "But American citizens did lose their lives in Benghazi."

And the liar Hillary responds, "I'll get to that."

She never does.

Yet again Anderson Cooper fails.

This is classic Hillary.

She and only she was Secretary of State.

State refused requests for beefed up security.

Four Americans died -- she can't even name them.  Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens.

Actually, in some public appearances, Hillary indicates more than four died.

At any rate, she says she'll get to the dead Americans -- in tonight's debate -- but never does.

Because it's not about the dead Americans to Hillary, it's about her will to power (Nietzsche, "A living being wants above all else to release its strength; life itself is the will to power."), it's about her struggle to make herself front and center on everything.

Four dead Americans matter to her as little as the Dallas police officer that died protecting her in 2008 while she campaigned for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

She's never bothered by these deaths, she's never haunted by them.

The 'lessers' must give their lives for inevitable coronation.

And that's why the people of Iraq and the foreign soldiers sent into Iraq (some of whom died, some of whom left injured) never matter to her.

It's all about the road to Hillary's success.

And that's the churlish aspect she presented on the stage throughout tonight's debate.

The War Whore Clinton was quick to insist that whistle-blower Ed Snowden "face the music" during the debate while yet again making clear that she believes she herself is above both criticism and the law.

She is Richard Nixon reincarnated, nothing less and certainly nothing more.

Throughout the debate, she did something weird with her mouth -- a health problem or a manifestation of her inner rage -- and repeatedly used a finger pointing gesture -- neither of which made her look rational or sane.

It's little surprise that Slate's online poll currently finds 78% of voters declaring Senator Bernie Sanders the winner of the debate while only 18% felt Cranky Clinton won.

Over a million Iraqis dead as a result of the illegal war Hillary supported and the violence never ends.  Today?  Alsumaria reports 1 person was shot dead in front of his central Baghdad home,  3 corpses were fished out of the Euphrates River while a woman attempting suicide by drowning in the river was grabbed by police, 1 person was shot dead in eastern Baghdad, and 1 person was shot dead in Tuz.  NINA adds that the Iraqi military announced they killed 6 people in an Anbar Province airstrike, a PUK source states that 6 members of the Islamic State were killed in a Sinjar battle, 1 corpse was discovered dumped in the streets of Baghdad and 1 person was kidnapped in Tuz.

In other developments, Dave Boyer and Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times) report:

Iraq has begun bombing Islamic State fighters with the help of a new intelligence center operated by Russia, Iran and Syria, a cooperation that is raising concerns in Washington about the threat to U.S. interests in the region.
The center has been operational for about a week and already has provided intelligence for airstrikes on a gathering of middle-level Islamic State figures, Hakim al-Zamili, the head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, told Reuters on Tuesday.

In a possible response to that news, Xinhua reports that US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declared today, "We [the Pentagon] are not able to associate more broadly with Russia's approach in Syria, because it is wrongheaded and strategically shortsighted."

Elsewhere, Outbreak News Today notes that there are now 1,263 confirmed cases of cholera spread out in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces and that the ways of addressing the epidemic include "distribution of bottled water, water kits, hygiene kits, bleaching powder and chlorine tablets; establishment of water distribution points [. . .]"  Rudaw notes that figure, 1,263 confirmed cases, was updated today by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Ahmed Rideni, who announced, "Up until the night of Monday, October 12, the number of infections of cholera in Iraq reached 1,430, out of which one person died."

Lastly, we've been noting the fading influence of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for some time now (most recently, September 25th). The International Crisis Group's Joost Hiltermann has an interesting essay at The New York Review of Books entitled "Iraq: The Clerics and the Militias."  In it, he notes various factors and the result:  "Sistani's ability to influence the direction of the country is tenuous." And a friend at The Nation asks that we highlight Andrew J. Bacevich's "Iraq and Afghanistan Have Officially Become Vietnam 2.0."