Thursday, September 11, 2014

How much money do they need?

So I'm at Barnes and Schnobels (as my friend Trish calls them) and I see Charlotte's Web in hardcover.

I'm a parent of a young child so I grab it.  I don't look at the price.

It's Charlotte's Web -- that's a priceless book.

But later, looking at the sack, I find the receipt.  $20 bucks?

For Shakespeare's complete plays they only wanted $7.99.

(The comparison fits because they're both in the same type of bound edition.)


Twenty bucks for Charlotte's Web?

My child will have a nice bound edition.

But at 20 bucks a copy, a lot of other kids may have to take a pass.


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


Wednesday, September 10, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack speaks, Barack spins and, yes, Barack lies about Iraq, and much more.


US President Barack Obama blathered on tonight as only he can.  Was he attempt to convey something or put the world to sleep.

At one point, he declared:

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.


Oh, baby had his first yellow cake moment.  Blow out the candles, Barack, and wish for something other than yellow cake uranium.

"While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies."

No "specific plotting" but, hell, why let that slow down or, heaven forbid, stop the march to illegal war?

But these threats?

Might they include the one Michael Daly (Daily Beast) reported in June:


When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.
The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S.  detention camp in Iraq in 2009.

“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.


That's the leader of the group Barack's using to justify war.

Who was president when he was supposedly released?

That would have been Barack.

Well, he had no threats with which to argue the Islamic State was a clear and present danger to the United States.  Guess they don't do messaging at the White House anymore.

Okay, so the reason the US needs to attack -- 'supervise' an attack -- on Iraq sort of crumbled as Barack spoke but surely this wordy speech did present a plan, right?

After months without a plan, Barack finally defined what success would be, what would be done if success wasn't achieved, what the options were, right?

Wrong.


US President Barack Obama:  Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.  But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.  Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.



So the plan is . . . keep doing the exact same thing?

Wow.

He had to wait how many weeks to 'figure out' his 'answer' was to keep doing what he was already doing?


Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. 

You've killed civilians, Barack, you forgot to note that, didn't you?

These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.  But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. 

But that's exactly what Barack's doing.

He's propping a government that doesn't even care.

I loathe Nouri al-Maliki, he's a thug.

But I'm not talking about Nouri.

He's thankfully out as prime minister.

He is a member of Parliament and one of three Vice Presidents of Iraq.

I am talking about the Parliament.

Barack didn't talk about them either, did he?



That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. 


That has not happened, stop lying.

There is nothing to boast of with regards to the new Iraqi government.

Yet again, the country has no Minister of Defense nor a Minister of the Interior.

The Minister of Defense is like the Secretary of Defense in the US.  The Minister of the Interior is over the federal police.

Supposedly, these two spots will be filled in a week.

But the same thing was said when Nouri started his second term.

Nouri ended his second term and guess what?

Those posts were never filled.

That a new prime minister has left those posts vacant for even a day should disturb everyone.

Barack has repeatedly said that 'as Iraq stands up' the US will provide more assistance.

Saying you have formed a government while leaving the two key security posts vacant is not standing up.

In fact, Barack's very foolish to reward this nonsense.

For four years, Iraq's security ministries were empty at the top.  Nouri did that intentionally.

By not nominating people for those posts he could (unconstitutionally) take over the posts.

That was four years Nouri short changed Iraq security.

And now, with the Iraqi government begging for US military help, they still can't get it together enough to get behind filling these posts?

If it seems like I'm saying 'government' and avoiding calling out Haider al-Abadi, I am.

He had choices, he had nominees.

They were shot down.

I don't understand how you address what you claim is both an external and internal threat to Iraq without a Minister of Defense or a Minister of Interior.

I don't understand how a US president asks Americans for more sacrifice in the alleged aim of securing Iraq when the Iraqi government doesn't even care enough about security to fill the security posts.

"Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIL," declared Barack, "through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy."

That doesn't sound like a plan.

It doesn't even sound like a wish list.

Is it a vision board?

Is the White House using vision boards?

What was clear, what is always clear, is that Barack's only 'answer' is always: Send more troops into Iraq.

So it was no surprise when Barack declared that "we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq."

As always, Barack insisted that these troops would not be used in combat.

But . . .

Roy Gutman (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the possibility Wednesday that U.S. troops might be committed to ground operations in Iraq in extreme circumstances, the first hedging by an administration official on President Barack Obama’s pledge that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground to battle the Islamic State."

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/09/10/239391_kerry-says-us-troops-might-deploy.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy


Let's move over to Phyllis Bennis.  I like Phyllis.  That's never gotten her a free pass her.  When it's time to offer negative criticism, we've done it.  We've also noted it when she gets it right.

Foreign Policy in Focus offers her "Six Steps Short of War to Beat ISIS" which includes:

Third, ISIS has support from Sunni tribal leaders—the very people President Obama says he wants to “persuade” to break with ISIS. But these are people who have suffered grievously—first during the U.S. invasion, and then especially under the U.S.-backed, Shi’a-controlled sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki. They were demonized, attacked, and dispossessed by the government in Baghdad, and many of them thus see ISIS at the moment as the only force they can ally with to challenge that government. And many of them control large and powerful militias now fighting alongside ISIS against the government in Baghdad.
Fourth, ISIS has support from ordinary Iraqi Sunnis, who (being also largely secular) may hate what ISIS stands for, its extremism and violence, but who suffered terribly from the Maliki government’s arrests, torture, extra-judicial executions, and more. As a result they also are willing to ally with ISIS against Baghdad, at least for now.
So, weakening ISIS requires eroding the support it relies on from tribal leaders, military figures, and ordinary Iraqi Sunnis. The key question is how do we do that?

Step One: Stop the airstrikes. Because what we in the U.S. see as “hooray, we got the bad guys” is seen by many in Iraq, especially the very Sunnis the president wants to persuade to break with ISIS, as the U.S. acting as the air force for the Kurds and the Shi’a against the Sunnis. Thus the airstrikes defeat the important goal of ending popular support for ISIS, and instead actually serve to strengthen the extremist organization.


I'm not going to pick on Phyllis for offering this the day of the speech.

At least she offered something.

Myself, I've put a medical issue on hold because of the need to speak out against this latest march to war.  That's why other sites didn't post Tuesday night.  I got the good news health wise at 4:30 pm and advised everyone of it and that after I was done with the teach-in we were attending -- well after midnight -- I'd be blowing off steam and partying.  I said I might do a snapshot, I might not (I did do one).  I wasn't in the mood to make yet another commitment.  (And, to be clear, no one was asking it from the community sites.  Mike had announced  at his site that there would a theme post and that was in case the news was bad because I'd stated I would actually be doing more here if the news was bad.)

But my point here is where the ___ was everyone?

Another C-scare and I'm giving my all to this website and to speaking to one group after another to try to stop war and where the ___ were the peace movement leaders?

Can someone please tell me that?

Can someone please tell me what the ___ purpose Ralph Nader serves?

Have you read his garbage this summer?

Has he once called out the march to increased war on Iraq?

He's not a peace leader but he certainly feigned interest in the illegal war in the past.

He's so useless.

And he's far from the only one.

And let's not forget bloggers.

Iraq brought bloggers to prominence.

But these days they don't give a damn -- or worse, they feature the 'truth' stylings of noted Sunni hater Patrick Cockburn.  Or maybe, like Prashant Rao -- how embarrassing, they're back to reTweeting the paranoid crazy.

I try to be nice, I do.  But come on, people.

The lunatic invented this fantasy where the State Dept was out to get him, the FBI, the CIA, the . . .

That's crazy.

If he wants to come back from crazy, first step in showing you want to change would be owning what you did, how you enable Nouri al-Maliki throughout his second term, how you made excuses for him, how you pretended to know the law (you don't know a damn thing about the law and you never studied it)

If he merely kept his nose down and concentrated on his own work, I'd temper my remarks.  But he's back to offering 'analysis' and it's as wrong now as it was then.

The real difference?

Back then when I called him out, we didn't know he was a delusional paranoid, one whose own parents would -- by his own admission -- beg him to seek help.

The circle jerk shares in the responsibility for the current state of Iraq.

They lied.  They whored.  They misrepresented.


They better grasp things have changed.


And reporters are going to have to start paying attention to the (mis)treatment of the Sunni community.

Kareem Fahim, Azam Ahmed and Kirk Semple (New York Times) report:


A group of Iraqi Sunni refugees had found shelter in an abandoned school, two families to a room, after fleeing fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They were gathered in the school’s courtyard last week when the Iraqi Air Force bombed them.
The bombing, in Alam District near Tikrit, may well have been a mistake. But some of the survivors believe adamantly that the pilot had to know he was bombing civilians, landing the airstrike “in the middle of all the people,” said Nimr Ghalib, whose wife, three children, sister and nephew were among at least 38 people killed, according to witnesses interviewed last week, as well as human rights workers who detailed the attack on Wednesday.


That report does more than any section of Barack's speech -- or, in fact, Barack's entire speech itself -- to illuminate the realities in Iraq today.  And while Barack spoke of 'success,' Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) was left to report that violence claimed 30 lives today just in Baghdad.














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