Tuesday, March 19, 2019

McCain the unmissed War Criminal

I do not always agree with President Donald Trump.  But when I do agree with him, I try to note it.

In the CNN video above, he is stating, "I never was a fan of McCain, I never will be."

I cry, "Support!"  I never cared for War Hawk John McCain and I never will.  I know his fat daughter on THE VIEW has tried to make her father a hero but he is not and never will be. 

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2019.  16 years and counting.

We're about fourteen hours away from the 16th anniversary of the start of the ongoing Iraq War.

The ongoing and never-ending war.

Where are the leaders in Congress?  Barbara Lee?  You make me laugh.  This is a woman whose first lie starts with the events of her birth.  Barbara gave up on the Iraq War long, long ago.  When Barack Obama was first elected president, she did pretend to still care about the Afghanistan War and good, golly, gosh and for real if Barack hadn't pulled US troops out of Iraq in ten or so months, Babsie Lee was going to get serious and put on her frowny face.  She made that promise over and over throughout the eight years of Barack's presidency and she never did a damn thing.

SHE NEVER DID A DAMN THING could be an honest title for a book about Babsie.

Benchmarks?  We don't need no stinking benchmarks!

House National Security Chairmen and Ranking Members Joint Statement on Iraq Security

March 18, 2019

WASHINGTON—House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX); Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA); and Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) today made the following joint statement:

“After years of American and Iraqi citizens struggling and sacrificing side by side, the United States must remain committed to supporting a sovereign and democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors and safe for its citizens, regardless of their religion, sect, or ethnicity. Continued American engagement will be essential to ensuring future stability and security for Iraq.

“At the request of the Iraqi government, American trainers and advisors have helped lay the groundwork for a safe, democratic Iraq, including the training of more than 89,000 soldiers of the Iraqi Army and the Regional Guard Brigades. But we need to make sure this stability is sustainable. The Administration should continue these joint efforts, such as training and replenishing Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service after the punishing counter-ISIS battles. These and other initiatives will allow Iraq to defend itself and provide security for its people and will prevent Americans from fighting the same battles of the past.

“Beyond security assistance, the United States should continue efforts to help nearly two million internally displaced persons to safely and voluntarily return home. That will require closer coordination with international NGOs and multilateral partners including the UN, European allies, and Arab Gulf countries. The Administration’s commitment of nearly $340 million to help Iraq’s religious and ethnic component communities recover from the ISIS genocide is a good step. But all of Iraq’s people, including Iraq’s Sunni population, will need assistance to guarantee the defeat of ISIS and return to full participation in civic life.

“The United States must also help promote new opportunities for Iraqi trade and investment. Unemployment is high and the infrastructure degraded, but Iraq has a strong workforce teeming with potential and ability. Only through ongoing diplomatic engagement, in Baghdad and beyond, can we help Iraq meet these political and developmental challenges.

“At this critical point, it would be a mistake to pull back from Iraq as it seeks to preserve its sovereignty from both internal and external threats and grow into a thriving, vibrant democracy. We call on the Administration to continue to engage with Congress to ensure a stable future for the Iraqi people.”

Bipartisanship that can carry us all to the grave!  War Pig Eliot Engel has been supporting the Iraq War from day one.  He can't get enough of it.  Of course, eh's not there.  But, given the chance, the noted Zionist will gladly give the lives of other Americans to keep the Iraq War going.  Eliot is the prime example when people complain that there's not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans.

He wants the US to remain in Iraq.  He insists that this is what the puppet government wants.

Indeed, the puppet government does want this.  They are installed by the US government and have no real standing in Iraq.  Without US forces, tey could fall.  Any time that's been even a possibility, the US government has rushed to prop up the puppet government.  For example, the Bremer walls that went up and the surge that followed because the Iraqi people -- not militias -- almost breached the heavily fortified Green Zone in Nouri al-Maliki's first term as prime minister.  Or take Barack Obama sending so many back into Iraq.  Was that because Mosul was seized?  No.  Mosul was seized and the US government didn't bat an eye -- remember, Barack called them "junior varsity."  But when the media was trembling that Baghdad might fall?  Send US troops! Send more US troops!  Send more!

Te Iraqi government has no legitimacy.  And the White House, whomever occupies it -- from whichever party -- can argue that the people of Iraq can't vote.  Remember, Iraq's only 16 at this point.  Maybe in two years, when it's the 18th anniversary, they'll have voting rights and be able to use them.

In 2006, Bully Boy Bush named Nouri prime minister.   Why?  The CIA evaluation of Nouri argued that his paranoia was so immense, he would be easily to manipulate.

In 2010, the Iraqi people, in some mistaken belief that their country belonged to them, ignored threats and turned out in huge numbers to vote -- specifically to vote Nouri out of office.  As a result of their votes, Ayad Allawi and Iraqiya were the winners.

Now Ayad's term as prime minister was marked by?

Not a damn thing because he didn't get to be prime minister.  Thug Nouri refused to honor the results of the election.  Please note, US Gen Ray Odierno had seen this coming.  He had warned ahead of the elections.  But war monger Chris Hill dismissed it.  He knew, from all those daily naps on the job, that this would never happen.  As usual, idiot Chris was wrong.

The Iraqi people voted thug Nouri out.  They'd already seen the damage he was doing.  The secret prisons and torture centers -- you know, the sort of thing that the US government insisted Saddam Hussein had done -- but, for Nouri, they looked the other way.

Grasp what a moment this was.  Iraqiya was not Shi'ite, it was not Sunni.  Iraqiya was a party for a united Iraq.  It welcomed all Iraqis -- including women.

The US government, in the immediate aftermath of the US-led invasion of 2003, stripped the rights of Iraqi women by putting cowardly thugs in power.  The US war has destroyed the rights of women in Iraq.  And every time Iraqi women fought back, the US government offered no support -- regardless of who was sitting in the Oval Office.

But in the lead up to the 2010 elections and in the aftermath of them, there was one woman on the national stage: Maysoun al-Damalouji, the spokesperson for Iraqiya.

Why did people show up to vote despite warnings and threats?  Because Iraqiya represented a new path in post-invasion Iraq.  It was a path that would bring Iraqis together, reject sectarianism, pave the way to a united future.

For those reasons alone, it was important for the US government to support the results of the election.

Equally true, with the US government insisting it wanted democracy in Iraq and that it wanted it in Iraq because then it would spread across the region, they should have supported the results.

But they didn't.

They backed Nouri for the eight months (and several weeks) that he brought the government to a standstill by refusing to step down.  They went further, they brokered the contract known as The Erbil Agreement.  In return for agreeing Nouri would be prime minister for a second term, The Erbil Agreement offered the various political entities what they wanted.  On paper, they offered that.  In reality?  It would never arrive.

November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement is signed.  November 11, 2010, the Iraqi Parliament has their first real session in over eight months and finally declares a president, a Speaker of Parliament and Nouri as prime minister-designate -- all the things that were supposed to happen in April of 2010 but didn't.

March 7, 2010, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August 2010, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality."

The US press largely avoided what took place.  No one -- especially not the Jill Abramson controlled NEW YORK TIMES -- wanted to report what was actually taking place.  Since this is still new news to so many, let's again note the August 2015 broadcast of Kevin Sylvester's THIS SUNDAY EDITION (CBC) which featured Emma Sky discussing Iraq:

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Sylvester:  Chris Hill.

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

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

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


We covered the above in real time.  It wasn't hard to. You just had to pay attention.  And it wasn't hard to see that Nouri, a thug, was only going to get worse.

Joe Biden needs to answer for Iraq.  Barack put him in charge.  Joe now wants to be president of the United States.  Fine, Joe, then explain to us how your actions helped the Iraqi people?  Because they didn't.  Your actions gave Nouri a second term, your covering for him led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

Things could have been so different.  If the US had backed the Iraqi people, imagine where their government might be now.  If the US hadn't tossed aside their votes with the illegal Erbil Agreement, imagine how much better things could be.

And it was illegal.  Even Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged that.  Of course, he waited until after the contract gave him a second term as prime minister.  Then he had his attorney tell the Iraqi press that the contract was illegal and he wouldn't honor it.  That meant he would -- and did -- use it to get a second term but all the promises that he made to the political blocs in the contract in exchange for that second term?  He wouldn't honor those.

Joe Biden's got a lot to explain.

So do pigs like Eliot.

Eliot chose to co-issue that statement.  And does anyone notice what it's saying?  The US needs to remain on the ground to train the Iraqis.

Over and over, this argument has been made.  Over and over, this training has taken place.

Once upon a time, when the US media covered Iraq, the Democratically-controlled Congress insisted that these remarks about doing the same thing over and over weren't cutting it.  They demanded benchmarks for success.  If the Iraqi government couldn't meet those benchmarks, Democratic leaders like then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted that the funds to Iraq would dry up.

Guess what?

They never met those benchmarks.  Even now, eleven years after the benchmarks were put in writing, they've never met the benchmarks.  But they keep getting money.

Let's be clear, the Iraqi government keeps getting money.  Not the Iraqi people.  The Iraqi government is one of the most corrupt governments in the world per Transparency International.  A government installed is never going to feel it owes anything to the people.

So the thieves keep getting money.

The Iraqi people keep suffering.

 Benchmarks for success?  There are none.  It's just do the same thing over and over and pretend that somehow it will be different this time.  It's the turned corner that leads you in a circle.

The Iraq War has destroyed Iraq and done great harm.  It has not spread democracy.  Joe Biden should be hanging his head in shame, not attempting to launch a presidential campaign.  He didn't just vote for the war, he actively subverted democracy in Iraq once the war started.

There's a pretense of caring about Iraq on the part of the US Congress.  But last year, President Donald Trump nominated Matthew Tueller to be the Ambassador to Iraq.  Iraq has no US ambassador currently, no lead for any diplomatic effort.  March 6th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did finally hold a hearing on the nomination.  But there's still been no vote.  Watch the US Congress pretend again to give a damn about Iraq while actually making it very clear that they don't.

In several hours, the Iraq War reaches the 16 year mark.  War is over, if you want it.

The following sites updated: