Once a week -- at least once a week -- I try to note President John F. Kennedy who became president when I was in college and who was assassinated while I was in college.
Tonight, I am going to note a 60 MINUTES segment. This is from Australia's 60 MINUTES.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, April 19,2021. Bully Boy Bush gets rehabbed by CBS, Robin Wright and THE NEW YORKER insult veterans with injuries, Mustafa al-Kadhimi is such a joke that he doesn't even know the Iraq flag, and much more.
Starting with the International Red Crescent:
While the Iraqi women continue to suffer one of the criminals responsible gets celebrated on television.
The man who invaded Iraq on a pack of lies, launching a war that killed over a million human beings, wants to lecture us about compassion.
The Iraq War -- and the Afghanistan War -- has had serious consequences. I like Robin Wright, who was back at THE WASHINGTON POST when the Iraq War started, but reading her latest article at THE NEW YORKER, I realized I liked the truth more than I like Robin Wright:
In March, General Kenneth (Frank) McKenzie, Jr., an Alabama-born marine who commands U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, took a whirlwind tour of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon—America’s most volatile theatre of operations. Some legs of the trip were made on a C-17, a cavernous aircraft that can hold a hundred and thirty-two caskets, arranged in three rows and stacked on pallets four atop one another, the crew told me. Seven thousand American troops have been killed, and another fifty-four thousand have been injured, in the post-9/11 wars. When President Joe Biden took office, the U.S. troop presence in the four countries was down to just two per cent of peak deployments, and, technically, these troops are no longer fighting. Their missions are largely limited to helping equip local allies, map strategy, share (or get) intelligence, occasionally provide airpower, and support local peace processes. Yet this last phase of America’s military engagements may be the most confounding. As things now stand, the U.S. can’t “win” in any country. Its allies are still weak militarily. Its adversaries have adapted or even gained strength. And the political morass in each place is as bad—and often worse—as when the U.S. first got involved.
54,000 have been injured? 54,000?
Don't give that nonsense, I'm not in the damn mood.
PST and TBI (Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury) are the two signature wounds of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. 54,000? That doesn't even cover the veterans with TBI. As for PTS:
Estimates of PTSD prevalence rates among returning service members vary widely across wars and eras. In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5% of deployed and nondeployed veterans screened positive for PTSD,12 while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20% to 30%.5,13 As many as 500,000 U.S. troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.14
How the hell am I supposed to trust you, Robin, when you're so wrong in your first paragraph?
Wrong and, yes, insulting.
"And another 55,000 have been injured"? No.
That's wrong and that's insulting.
Jay Rey (BUFFALO NEWS) reported in 2007:
An estimated 20 percent of all Americans have experienced some level of hearing loss, but there is one particular portion of the population in which that number is significantly higher – veterans, particularly those who’ve served in war zones. Among troops who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most common service-related disabilities are hearing loss and tinnitus.In 2011, over 800,000 veterans received disability benefits; of those, 18% received these benefits as the result of tinnitus or hearing loss, compared with 5.3% who received similar benefits as the result of suffering PTSD.
In the real world, veterans have enough problems getting their wounds recognized and their disability ratings upgraded. I'm not going to pretend like it's okay that an article for THE NEW YORKER -- long fabled for their fact checking staff -- includes such an insulting and obvious lie in its opening paragraph.
This is not minor. Veterans are reduced to haggling with the VA over and over to try to get their disabilities recognized -- disabilities that derive from missions the US government sent them on.
I'm not a fool, I get what Robin Wright means. She means the obvious injuries like loss of limb. But she's the fool if she thinks that, in 2020, she can write an article for THE NEW YORKER as if it were 1944 and not be called out for it.
In other news, ARAB WEEKLY notes:
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi paved the way for his own political project at a meeting with Shia and Sunni clerics over an iftar dinner, where he hinted that the era of sectarian quotas has ended.
Kadhimi surprised members of the clergy representing sectarian factions who were in attendance by likening sectarianism to Zionism, calling on the clerics to adopt a moderate discourse.
He said, “Sectarianism is just like Zionism. It makes no difference. They all build their values on racism and the sowing of discord.”
Kadhimi’s escalation of his political narrative about the importance of the civil state, in what seems to reflect likely support received from Arab countries, puts him on a collision course with the religious party forces that have ruled Iraq since 2003.
Among such parties in particular is the Dawa Party, which now seeks new alliances, especially with the Sadrist movement. The Dawa party seems to be acting on the principle, established by its current leader and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, according to which there is no relinquishing of Shia rule in Iraq.
Maliki had indicated on a previous occasion in Iraqi dialect, “We shall not give it”, meaning we will not give up Shia rule.
An Iraqi analyst said, “Kadhimi is responding to the Hashed (Population Mobilisation Forces) and to Iran in their own language. They accuse him of being a lackey of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel, and he responds by describing them as Zionists. ”
Kadhimi draws support from moderate forces in Iraq, and has clear support from Iraqi President Barham Salih, but observers say that time is running out for the Iraqi prime minister before Iraqi elections scheduled for next fall.
His entire term has been one of disappointment. . MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has sparked controversy on social media platforms after he appeared in photos painting the Iraqi flag upside down on kids' faces at an Iftar feast organised for orphans in the Green Zone Palace, Baghdad.
Al-Kadhimi appeared in photos playing with children in the garden of the government palace. Social media users shared photos and videos of the prime minister painting the Iraqi flag upside down, launching a wave of criticism on social media platforms.
Iraqi Twitter activist Hamad Al-Maliki published a picture of Al-Kadhimi and captioned it: "The flag of the country has different colours; red is above and black is below. Thank you for your love for the children of your country whose flag you do not know how to paint. I pray sincerely that this picture is photoshopped, otherwise this is a scandal."
Another Twitter user Ali Al-Kadhimi posted: "A prime minister who does not know the order of colours of the flag of the country he rules."
Heaven King Tweets:
Mustafa was supposed to be the great hope for Iraq. Before him it was Hayder al-Abadi that was the great hope. There's always some US and Iran puppet that's going to be the one to deliver but like the press promoted forever 'turned corner,' nothing ever changes.
Slowly, people outside of Iraq are catching on to Mustafa's failures. Heyrsh Abdulrahman (JERUSALEM POST) reports:
[. . .]
As Mustafa fumbles and tumbles, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr hopes to profit. The one-time Shia leader continues to command his cult that has settled on living in slums and not making demands on their supposed leader. But that's all he's had of late. He was mocked and ridiculed by Shi'ites throughout 2020. Despite that, he sees an opportunity. Though the attempted assassination of Moqtada's representative Hazem al-Araji last week in Baghdad as "Armed men in two BMWs opened fire near Araji and hit a member of his personal bodyguard, which led to an exchange of fire between Araji’s bodyguards and the militants" might be seen as a message to Moqtada. ARAB WEEKLY notes:
An Iraqi source familiar with the movement’s internal discussions said, “The time for propaganda against American occupation is gone after the Sadrist movement had a taste of power. It has benefited from the quota system through the appointment of cabinet members in various positions and subsequently gained a level of influence within Iraqi state institutions that is similar to that wielded by the Dawa Party.”
He added that, “The leader of the movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, realises that the options of the United States are limited. There is no way to deal with the PMF, which is almost completely under the thumb of the Iranian Quds Force, nor with the Dawa Party, whose fortunes are eroding and which stands accused by many of its followers of corruption, nor with the smaller Shia groups that enjoy more popularity in the media than among political activists. The Sadrist movement has become the ‘moderate tendency’ despite all that happened during the past few years.”
On Monday, Iraqi President Barham Salih signed a decree to hold early elections on October 10.
Despite the endeavours of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to co-opt a large segment of the Shia electorate within the civil state, the Sadrist movement is betting on its popularity among the poor in major popular neighbourhoods of Baghdad, in addition to segments of the population in the central Euphrates and southern Iraq regions that are dissatisfied with the government.
Always one desperate to hold on to power, former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki is sniffing around Moqtada once again. Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has offered
reconciliation with influential Shiite cleric and political leader
Muqtada al-Sadr, hinting about his hopes of returning to power again.
Speaking to al-Shariqyah TV on Thursday, Maliki said that he is ready to reconcile with Sadr.
"My hand is open to everyone who wants to reconcile with me. I do not want rivalries, and I do not want disputes to continue, neither with Muqtada al-Sadr nor with anyone else," said the current leader of the State of Law coalition.
Sadr leads the Sairoon coalition, the largest bloc in the Iraqi
parliament, which has recently began speaking explicitly about its
desire to head the next government.
The Shiite cleric is Maliki’s most prominent opponent. Maliki also faces resistance from Iraq’s Shiite religious figures, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who supported his removal from power in 2014.
Maliki confirmed that the Will movement, led by former MP Hanan al-Fatlaw, will ally with the State of Law in the upcoming elections, but he is "afraid” of international supervision on the upcoming elections.