Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I fear what comes next

I am going to toss it out there.

If what happened to J.F.K. happens to Donald Trump, a lot of people are going to feel bad.

I do not mean his voters who will of course feel bad for him.

But I mean a lot of people who have taken no position.

And if this unspeakable act should take place, you better believe the left will be blamed. 

Of course, it is not really the left.

It is the Democratic Party which is centrist.

But people better start owning their actions and remarks.

This is from COUNTERPUNCH:

Andrew Smolski: What do you make of the recent New York Times story that Trump aides have had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence? Is it because of the insults toward US intel agencies? Or are they genuinely that motivated for a war with Russia? Is this just incompetence on the part of Trump and Co.?

Joshua Frank: Honestly, I think it has less to do with Russia and more to do with their dislike for Trump. Russia is the excuse, not the cause.

AS: Why less do with Russia? Hasn’t the US been pushing further and further towards Russia’s border with more provocative military maneuvers?

JF: That’s been ongoing for sometime now and certainly military and intelligence agencies in the US have been pushing for more confrontation with Russia, whether over their actions in Crimea or Syria. This is a continuation of that, no doubt. Then there’s the allegations of Russian hacking of our elections, with no hard proof mind you – but allegations don’t need to be totally true to do real damage. That said, to the CIA’s credit, they do know a thing or two about manipulating the outcome of foreign elections. But I think in the case of Trump, Russia is more of a convenient enemy than a legitimate one.

AS: Then in terms of partisan politics, that is just collaterally lucky for Democrats, or the intelligence community genuinely would rather them in power?

JF: In ways yes, but this also benefits the McCain wing of the Republican party. I think it’s less about partisanship than it is about Trump himself, who seems to defy party affiliation.

What the C.I.A. is doing especially worries me.

I was just starting college when President Kennedy was assassinated.

It ripped the country apart.

And it would again.

I wish people would be a little more mature.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017.   Chaos and violence continues, MEDIA MATTERS remembers the Iraq War, the so-called Center for American Progress becomes as hawkish as John McCain and oh, so much more.

That broken clock MEDIA MATTERS manages to get just a few things right:

As NBC News faces growing questions about moving to the right, the network’s chairman, Andrew Lack, announced that Noah Oppenheim, a Today show producer who was an outspoken supporter of the Iraq War and has a lengthy history with conservative media, will be the new president of NBC News.
During 2003 and into 2004, Oppenheim was a pro-Iraq War pundit on MSNBC. On July 19, 2003, four months after the invasion, Oppenheim appeared on MSNBC Live to respond to a firestorm stemming from President George W. Bush’s false assertion in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraq’s supposed nuclear weapon capabilities. Oppenheim defended the Bush administration for misleading the public in order to make the case for war by saying that that intelligence business “is not an exact science” and you have to “make educated guesses.” 

It's important to note the piece is written by John Whitenhouse and Timothy Johnson.  I'll state next time you write a piece in 2017 and are note tolls, don't use a piece from 2015 and pretend like you're noting current tolls.  Other than that, they're young and not part of the institutional mess that is MEDIA MATTERS so we'll move on except to note that lovely Eric Boehlert uses Iraq as a political football as we've long noted.  Proof again as his outlet's Iraq article is written by two young men and not old and gray Eric.

Why is MEDIA MATTERS mentioning Iraq?

There's a Republican in the White House!!!!

Barack Obama has left the building and all the Democratic Party house organs can now remember Iraq.

They couldn't when Barack was in office.

They didn't want to offend.

But the so-called Center for American Progress does slap Barack in the face with their recent nonsense entitled "6 Steps the Trump Administration Should Take in Iraq."

Before we get into that piece, remember the claim that electing War Hawk Hillary Clinton would help all women?

Something about a rising tugboat lifting everyone?

That's not how women's rights have ever worked and if you doubt that, Hillary's love slave Neera Tanden is now in charge at the Center for American Progress.  In fact, she's the president!

And yet, please note, their 'think' piece is written by three men.

Three White men.

Where's the diversity at CAP?

War Hawk Neera took her deadly vagina all the way to the top and I don't see any more women at the house organ -- let alone any women writing 'important' think pieces.

Neera is a fraud.

So was Hillary.

And so is the Center for American Progress.

In "Cole's dead wrong," Mike educated a misinformed youth who was saying the Republican Party was to blame for the Iraq War.

This overlooks the Democratic house organs that had supported the war and the many Democratic politicians who had supported it (including four who made it onto the Democratic Party's presidential ticket: John Kerry and John Edwards, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton).

If people like Cole didn't get the point before they should check out the so-called Center for American Progress' nonsense which includes:

After rectifying his early unforced errors, the single most pressing decision facing President Trump on Iraq is whether to keep U.S. soldiers in the country for a follow-on mission after the defeat of IS. The U.S. military presence in Iraq has expanded incrementally since mid-2014, and now includes more than 6,000 personnel at Al Asad and Taqaddam air bases in Anbar; Qayarrah Air Base near Mosul; and Joint Operations Centers in Baghdad and Erbil.8 The overall mission has also expanded to include close air support, fire support, logistical assistance, high-value targeting, and embedded U.S. forces behind the frontlines.
Even after IS is pushed out from Iraqi cities, much of this U.S. military support will still be needed to help provide enduring security. Two years ago, the Iraqi army suffered the most stunning collapse of any modern military force in recent memory.

You may need to take a second to go back and re-read that excerpt one more time.

First, let's note it's a slap at Barack.

Cowards that they are, they can't repudiate him by name.

But that's what it is.

We slammed Barack all the time here -- but then we're not anyone's house organ.

When Barack was elected, before he was sworn in, it was advocated here -- and Ava and I also advocated it to friends on Barack's transition team: Get out of Iraq now!

Why immediately?

The 2008 vote was a for that.

The longer you stayed, the more your impulse to tinker, the grander your image of yourself and the belief that you could save things.

Announce -- as he campaigned on -- a withdrawal beginning immediately, say the American people have spoken and then whatever happened -- and it was and will be ugly when Iraq's left to stand on its own -- was the responsibility of the Iraqi people.

By keeping a toe in the pool, you took responsibility for it.

And now CAP is taking the right-wing position that Barack should not have pulled US troops.

(He did a drawdown, he didn't do a withdrawal.  Check all DOD statements on the matter.  It was a drawdown.  As Ted Koppel reported in December 2011 -- his first report for NBC and, really his last -- and he also covered it on NPR -- all US troops did not leave Iraq.  In addition, many were moved to Kuwait.  In September 2012, less than a year later, Barack would send more Special Ops into Iraq -- even THE NEW YORK TIMES reported that though all other outlets ignored it.)

Now CAP is calling for eternal war.

How very John McCain of them.

Let's drop back to CNN, 2008:

 This week, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama both took McCain to task for the comments, saying that if he's elected he would continue what they call President Bush's failed policies in Iraq.
"It's not a matter of how long we're in Iraq, it's if we succeed or not," McCain said to CNN's Larry King.
"And both Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal -- that means chaos, that means genocide, that means undoing all the success we've achieved and al Qaeda tells the world they defeated the United States of America.
"I won't let that happen."
[. . .]
 "He said recently he could see having troops in Iraq for 100 years," Clinton said at an Arlington, Virginia, rally last week in a line she's repeated on the campaign trail. "Well, I want them home within 60 days of my becoming president of the United States."
Obama took a similar tack.
"Sen. McCain said the other day that we might be mired for 100 years in Iraq -- which is reason enough not to give him four years in the White House," Obama has said on several occasions. 

The Center for American Progress and John McCain?

Apparently, that's the house organ's new title.

Grasp how low we have sunken on the left and so-called left: A Democratic Party house organ is calling for US troops to stay in Iraq.

Neere, you're strap on war penis is showing.

War, war and more war.

That's apparently a Democratic Party position.

Well it's not a left position.

So we'll reject it.

It's not a Libertarian position so hopefully they'll also reject it.

Hopefully, most sensible people will.

There's no sensibility at CAP.

Just a blind worship of war and a strong desire to lap at the crotch of the military.

One of their talking points for this hideous article is "Treat Iraqis fighting IS with respect and reassure the Iraqi government of continued U.S. commitment."

You can't do that.

If you treat them with respect, you hold them accountable to the law.  Both US law and international law demands the US government pull support from Iraq.

The Iraqi forces are documented abusing civilians, beating them, killing them.

Domestic and international law forbids the US government from supporting the government as a result.

These are not isolated cases (though the law makes no exception based on frequency), this is an established and documented pattern -- documented by human rights organizations and recognized by the US State Dept.

So if we're going to respect them, then we follow the law.

But CAP doesn't mean respect, they mean 'respect.'

The three men wants to lay on their backs and spread their legs or maybe take it doggy style from the Iraqi military whose brute force so turns them on.  Neera, hand out condoms, your boys should always play safe.

As a think tank, they should be condemning War Crimes.

Good little house Nazis, they go right along with the Iraqi government in trying to render this atrocities invisible.

The current unrest in Iraq does not result from the Iraq War.

You can still bash Bully Boy Bush.  But you also need to bash Barack.

Following the BBB surge, violence was down.  Over 100,000 US troops were in Iraq for the surge.  They were there to address the violence.

While they were doing that, Bully Boy Bush was supposed to be doing a diplomatic surge via the State Dept.  The military was to address the violence and provide space for the politicians to work on reconciliation.

Never happened.

The surge was a failure.

(Not because the US military didn't do their job -- they did their job -- but because the US diplomatic corps did not do their job -- or were tasked with a job that was impossible.)

There was no reconciliation.

And things got worse and worse in Iraq.

So in the March 2010 elections, Nouri al-Maliki was defeated in his bid for a second term as prime minister.

Iraqiya -- a mixed political slate attempting to represent all Iraqis -- won.

And they won for a unification message.

The Iraqi people were tired of the fundamentalist zealots.

But Nouri refused to step down.

After eight months of no Iraqi government, Barack caved and gave Nouri a second term.

He had the State Dept negotiate The Erbil Agreement which gave Nouri a second term (and overturned the Iraqi votes).

It was supposed to do more than that but Nouri never lived up to the contract and, after seizing office, declared it unconstitutional.

In his second term, Nouri's persecution of the Iraqi people (mainly Sunnis, but all suffered from his paranoia) intensified.

This is why Iraq is such a mess right now.

The people voted.

Their votes were disrespected.

They then appealed to their elected leaders in Parliament.

These leaders followed the Constitution and drew up a petition for a no-confidence vote to oust Nouri.

The petition had to be presented to Parliament by the President of Iraq.

This was strictly ceremonial.

But the White House, specifically Vice President Joe Biden, pressured President Jalal Talabani not to present it.  And he announced that he wouldn't and fled to Germany under the excuse of life threatening surgery being required.  (A lie.  He had elective knee surgery. And that lie would come back to haunt him at the end of the year when he had a stroke and was then taken to Germany.)

The people had used the ballot box.  It failed.  They had used their leaders.  That failed.

So they took to the streets and protested for over a year -- while the western media largely ignored it.

They ignored it as Nouri attacked the protesters.

They ignored it as Nouri had the protesters killed.

They ignored 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).

At the start of 2014, Nouri begins daily bombing residential areas in Falluja -- killing and wounding hundreds of civilians including children.  War Crimes.

Only in the sixth month of these War Crimes does Barack begin to realize that Nouri cannot remain prime minister.  Two months later, the US will install Hayder al-Abadi as prime minister.

Nouri the thug didn't just kill protesters or civilians in Falluja, he had his enemies (and their families) rounded up and disappeared.

His crimes were right there for the world to see but they chose not to, they chose to look the other way.  Which is why he may stand a good chance, in 2018, of again becoming prime minister.

But history will explore Nouri's War Crimes.  They will see him as a tyrant.

Someone who attacked the homes of political rivals with the Iraqi military, someone who intimidated political rivals by having their homes circled by military tanks.

Someone who grew rich as prime minister by stealing from the Iraqi people.

That's on Bully Boy Bush (who selected him in 2006 for prime minister because the CIA analysis on Nouri noted his deep paranoia and how the US could use it to manipulate him -- specifically with regards to keeping US troops in Iraq) and it's on Barack (who overturned the 2010 Iraqi vote and gave Nouri a second term no one wanted).

CAP thinks the divisions can be healed at the local level via local control.

While that might help some, the reality is that's not an answer if a Nouri is back in power.

Nouri did not respect the local level powers -- whether it was governors or whether it was city councils.  Stop thinking in the abstract and start looking at what went down and learn from it.

At the very end of their 'answers,' CAP offers this:

Finally, the administration may need to condition continued U.S. assistance on Iraqi progress on implementing the Iraqi government’s formal reconciliation agenda. To facilitate these efforts, the U.S. Department of State should bolster its presence in Iraq, including through multiple diplomats of ambassadorial rank.

Might they need to do that?

Google "diplomatic toolbox" and "The Common Ills."

You'll get a small idea of how many times -- and how many years -- we've been insisting on that.

And we've done so not as a "finally" or as a "may need to" but as a do it now.

As it should have been done.

Neera's Center for American Progress And John McCain will keep US troops trapped in Iraq forever if they have their way.

A position, please remember, which the Democratic Party denounced in 2008 -- when John McCain was serving it up.

Feb 15 2003 – Over 25 million people in 100+ countries protest Pres George W Bush’s plan to wage war in Iraq.

That's 14 years ago.

Some of you may have been too young to have participated in a rally around the world.

Some of you might have been sold on the lies the media served up back then.

But a huge number of us did stand up around the world.

I don't know about your groups but I didn't see Democratic politicians at the rally I attended beyond state reps in the assembly.

Didn't see Neera either.  Or Joan Walsh.  Or any of the many useless who self-misrepresent as voices of the left.

Doubt they'll object to Depleted Uranium either.

It was used in Iraq in the early years of the war.  It's one of the reasons for the many birth defects in contaminated areas.  The Russian government has stated that the US has used Depleted Uranium in the bombings in Iraq and in Syria (in the Iraq bombings, they're referring to the ones Barack ordered in August of 2014 that have continued daily ever since -- and continued under Donald Trump).

RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCY TASS quotes US CENTCOM spokesperson Josh Jacques stating, "I can confirm the use of depleted uranium.  The combination of Armored Piercing Incendiary (DU) rounds mixed with High Explosive Incendiary rounds was used to ensure a higher probability of destruction of the truck fleet ISIS was using to transport its illicit oil."

So how long before they admit to using it (again) in Iraq?

It's day 121 of The Mosul Slog.

TRT WORLD notes:

Around 750,000 people are trapped in western Mosul with no means of safe exit ahead of Iraq’s military offensive that could be launched any day, Oxfam warned in its report on Tuesday, calling on the Iraqi-led coalition to prioritise protection of civilians.
Mosul is Iraq's second-largest city which fell to [the Islamic State] in 2014. In October, the Iraqi-led coalition launched a major military offensive to drive out [the Islamic State] from the city.
The report said humanitarian conditions in western Mosul have worsened due to the supply routes being cut off following the recapture of the city’s east in November.
It raised concerns for the families trapped in the city’s west, particularly those living in the narrow streets of the old city which could turn into “death traps” once the military operation begins.
Despite the Iraqi prime minister’s commitment to prioritise civilians safety, around 2,000 civilians were killed or injured in the first three months of the offensive to retake Mosul from [the Islamic State], the report said.
"Over 190,000 people fled their homes, although around 30,000 have now returned," it said.

The international agency urged all the armed forces to avoid use of heavy weapons in the populated areas. It also called for provision of safe exits to avoid civilian casualties.


As thousands of families began fleeing Mosul, Relief International’s medical teams raced toward the crisis.
United Nations officials estimate that up to 200,000 people could flood newly liberated areas, leading to what they predict will be the largest humanitarian crisis in recent months. As many as 1.5 million people ultimately could be affected.

Relief International has been assisting displaced Iraqis since they began escaping from Mosul in July 2016. As one of the organizations best positioned to respond, RI mobilized quickly when the military campaign to retake the northern Iraqi city began in mid-October. RI teams are expanding into newly critical areas to provide individuals with frontline medical services, including first aid and immediate trauma relief.

Please remember, Mosul was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.  Hayder became prime minister in August of 2016.

No attempt was made to liberate Mosul until October of 2016.

He had over two years to plan it.

And still civilians are dying and at risk.

The Mosul Slog.

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:


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