Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mia Love?


Mia Love got elected, Tuesday, to Congress.

Donna Brazille is among the Democrats who've given Mia a (non-partisan) shout-out since the election.

An e-mail asked me what I think?

I agree with Donna.

It's good that there's another African-American in Congress.

She's a Republican.

As a Green, don't see a big difference between the duopoly parties anyway.

But, yes, it's good that an African-American woman won.

And hopefully she will inspire many people to run.

Not just women of color but everyone.

She was mocked and ridiculed but she ran and she won.

So good for her.

Doesn't mean I'll agree with her politics.



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


Thursday, November 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack tosses more US taxpayer dollars down the drain as he repeats Bully Boy Bush's mistake, the State Dept manages to yack and Tweet but fails to do their job, Iraq's president says something worth saying, and much more.


AFP reports, "United States President Barack Obama will ask lawmakers on Friday for an additional US$3.2 billion (S$4.14 billion) to pay for the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including funds to train and arm Baghdad government forces, officials said on Thursday."

Why?

Not: "Why does AFP report it?"

AFP reports it because it's news.

Why does Barack want to waste more billions on the Iraq War?

It's not his money.

He works for the taxpayer so the why is blowing their money?

It's not his to blow and it's not Congress' to blow.


In yesterday's snapshot, we noted:


Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report on the budgets (2014 and 2015) today and also on the conflict between the KRG and Baghdad while getting it right -- something few do -- about what came first (Nouri's withholding the 17% of the federal budget the Kurds are entitled to) in this economic battle.  As the 2014 budget continues to elude the Iraqi government, new prime minister Aider al-Abadi is making weapons and violence his spending priority and slashing everything else:



Mr. Abadi’s cuts have pushed budget expenditures this year down to 137 trillion Iraqi dinars ($117.9 billion) from a projected outlay of 171 trillion ($147.16 billion).
The cuts have been painful. Plans were scrapped to hire some 37,000 new government employees—including doctors and teachers—and raises were delayed for existing ones. The government has also postponed plans for new student loans and scholarships, said Majda al-Tamimi, who represents the government-allied Sadrist bloc on the finance committee.
There’s even talk in parliament of cutting spending on orphans and on elementary-education projects, according to some lawmakers.


That helps no one, that's nonsense and it's outrageous but set aside the ethical issues.
It's also stupid politics.
Deeply stupid.
Iraqis need jobs.  Iraq needs doctors and teachers.
The inability to create jobs in the recent past in Iraq led to what?
Oh, that's right, Sunnis joining al Qaeda in Iraq.
Gutting student loans and scholarships?
Exactly what the hell is al-Abadi doing.
And let's stop lying that he's protecting the country.
Getting foreigners to bomb your own country from airplanes -- and tossing a few of your war planes into the air -- is not providing safety or addressing any issues.



That's how Iraq has to suffer due to their inept government.


What is with all this money wasted on bombs?

Do Barack and Haider al-Abadi really think people are that stupid?

It's money wasted.

It's money wasted ethically, yes.

It's money that could be spent elsewhere, yes.

But it's money wasted in the most basic sense.

Bombs from the air are not going to stop the Islamic State.

The only thing that will is a political solution.

But in terms of military actions?  Bombing from the air is a waste of time.


Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports:

The Iraqi government asks foreign counties for military support, including equipment and training of security forces, but the country does not want foreign troops in its territory to fight the Islamic State (IS), Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.
"Only Iraqi people will fight in territory of Iraq," al-Jaafari, who is paying a visit to Turkey, said at a conference in the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara.


Only Iraqi people will fight.

Some say:  If only Iraqi people would fight.

The Sunnis have been targeted, hunted down and killed.  And this took place for four years, throughout Nouri al-Maliki's second term.  (It also took place in the first term but that's a reality few wanted to face.  The press called ethnic cleansing a "civil war" and as millions of Sunnis were displaced, pretended it wasn't happening.)

The Sunnis have no reason to "buy in" on a government that's hunted them and killed them and imprisoned them.

But as usual the press misses that point.

The point about the Sunnis?

We've been making it here for years even if most western outlets only picked it up earlier this year.

When Nouri attacked Basra in 2008, the press played up a 'coward' angle on the Iraqi military.

The ones leaving, weren't cowards.

They're the same ones who didn't fight in Mosul.

And elsewhere.

The press ignores that fact.

The White House insists that the answer is training.

How stupid are we and how stupid do we want to remain?

No, Shi'ites aren't targeted by the Iraqi government the way that Sunnis are.

But the government hasn't served them either.

It's not cowardice that makes them say, "It's not worth it."

They walk away because they have no investment in the government because the government hasn't done a damn thing for them.

Barack and spend a billion a day 'training' the Iraqi military, it doesn't mean a damn thing.

Are Iraqis willing to die for their government?

Many are not and the reason's simple: It's not their government.

It's a bunch of fat cats who've gotten rich since the start of the illegal war.

It's largely a bunch of cowards who fled Iraq until after the US military sent Saddam Hussein running from Baghdad.  Then the cowards came back.

(Being officials, they are 'protected' by the press which will immediately call an Iraqi soldier a "coward" but won't dare apply the term to an official.)

Iraq was not empty land.

The US efforts to install these exiles into the government are not just an insult, they make the Baghdad-based government seem foreign.

And while Shi'ites, Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, et al are at risk daily, the politicians live in the Green Zone.  While so many Iraqis live in poverty, the Green Zone politicians live high on the hog.

As you and your family struggle and the government does nothing for you, why would you be willing to die for it?

It's a government with no real standing.

Again, the Shi'ites haven't been targeted and hunted by it the way that the Sunnis have.  But the average Shi'ite also hasn't been served by the government.

Training isn't the issue.

A government worth fighting for is what's needed and what Baghdad has failed to provide Iraqis with.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign troops -- US, UK, etc -- had to spend years on the ground to give the government a chance to do something, a chance to prove it was legitimate.

It failed repeatedly.

Now Barack's making the same mistake Bully Boy Bush made.  Time and again, the focus was going to be political.  The 'surge'?  Remember that failed effort?

Bully Boy Bush said the increased number of US troops sent into Iraq would provide the Iraqi government with space to work towards political solutions.

But it never happened.

The 'surge' was a failure.

Not because of the US military.  The military did all it was asked.

But it did that, in Bully Boy Bush's own words, to create a space for Iraqi politicians to move forward on issues facing the country.


Barack has wasted over a half billion dollars bombing since August 8th and there's nothing to show for it.

There's no political solution.

Barack's wasting the money of the US taxpayer.

He's wasting in on war, yes.

But he's wasting it on idiotic, stupid moves.


The US State Dept is supposed to be over diplomacy.

But they apparently don't know how to do their job or else they're to busy trying to become the Defense Dept.

At another useless State Dept press briefing, the talk was all about the Islamic State.

Not a thing about political solutions, not a thing about diplomacy.


NINA reports:

President Fuad Masum said on Thursday that reconciliation is not a goal but a means to peace, which is an important necessity.

He said in his speech in "the Middle East forum for dialogue and reconciliation" today that unfortunately, reconciliation was formerly a recruitment mission to visit some provinces and meet some of the tribal leaders and staff, then it ends.

He added that "all the world is interested in supporting Iraq in the face of the IS organization, and even countries that did not participate the international alliance against terrorism interested in helping Iraq, but we as Iraqis, are we ready for this confrontation? adding I think we have not yet reached this level because of a old divisions and sensitivities.

The president called to "reconsider some of the laws and procedures," and urged people to take advantage of the experiences in South Africa and Ireland.



That's exactly the message the US State Dept should be fostering, should be advancing.


When not partaking in edging (shhhh, no one's supposed to talk about the sexual controversy in his present, only in his past), Brett McGurk loves to Tweet.


He didn't Tweet about what Iraq's President said, did he?

No.

But he did Tweet today:





Maybe all that time edging drains too much blood from Brett's brain?  That might be why he forgets that his titles are: Ambassador, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (Iran and Iraq).












Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WTF is wrong with Hollywood?

The Kennedys killed Marilyn Monroe.

Whether she was murdered or she committed suicide, they killed her.

They're a sleazy, trashy family.

And you'd think the entertainment industry would side with Monroe, one of their own.


So imagine my shock to read this at The Hollywood Reporter:

His campaign finance report read like a list of Oscar attendees. Among the donors: Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, J.J. Abrams, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jimmy Iovine, Warren Beatty, Jessica Alba, Chris O'Donnell, Rob Lowe, Larry David, Ted Danson, Joan Cusack, Harvey Keitel and Michael Douglas.
But just before 4 a.m. L.A. time, Shriver was officially defeated by onetime TV star Shiela Kuehl, now a veteran Sacramento lawmaker whose campaign was heavily supported by organized labor. Shriver got just more than 47.2 percent of the vote, compared to his opponent's nearly 52.8 percent. His loss was a sort of coup de grace for Hollywood's political efforts this season.


Shiela Kuehl was a TV star when my parents were children -- she was a breakout character, Zelda, on The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis (a show Warren Beatty was also on).  She was supposed to get a spin off but CBS suits chickened out because they were afraid the public would find out she was a lesbian.

And that alone should make the Cusaks and Beattys support her.

But f-no.

Labor supported her but not good enough for the list above.

No, they want to pretend they are Kennedys.




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


Wednesday, November 5, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack wants to talk Iraq, there's talk of trying to get Congress to authorize his bombing of Iraq,  Haider al-Abadi looks ever weaker, the Iraqi people will suffer greatly under his proposed budget and much more.


In DC today, US President Barack Obama held a rare (and brief) press conference.


President Barack Obama: Ed Henry.  I missed you guys.  I haven't done this in a while.

Q    I know, I’ve missed you.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I haven't heard you say a specific thing during this news conference that you would do differently.  You’ve been asked it a few different ways.  I understand you’re going to reach out, but you’ve talked about doing that before.  It’s almost like you’re doubling down on the same policies and approach you’ve had for six years.  So my question is, why not pull a page from the Clinton playbook and admit you have to make a much more dramatic shift in course for these last two years?
And on ISIS, there was pretty dramatic setback in the last few days with it appearing that the Syrian rebels have been routed.  There are some Gitmo detainees who have rejoined the battlefield, helping ISIS and other terror groups, is what the reports are suggesting.  So my question is, are we winning?



THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s too early to say whether we are winning, because as I said at the outset of the ISIL campaign, this is going to be a long-term plan to solidify the Iraqi government, to solidify their security forces, to make sure that in addition to air cover that they have the capacity to run a ground game that pushes ISIL back from some of the territories that they had taken, that we have a strong international coalition that we’ve now built, but that they are on the ground providing the training, providing the equipment, providing the supplies that are necessary for Iraqis to fight on behalf of their territory.


I understand what Barack means when he says "long-term plan to solidify the Iraqi government," but I understood him when he was talking about how the only answer was a political solution.

So my question is, is he sincere or lying?

If he's sincere, it would those supposedly working with him or either stupid or working to subvert his aims.

Barack held today's press conference in an attempt to move the focus off away from Tuesday's election results which saw wins for the Republicans and losses for the Democrats with debate as to how much Barack impacted the Democrats' losses.

How bad were the election returns seen for Barack?

So bad that he wanted to talk Iraq.

We'll join him in moving the focus to Iraq here.

Tuesday morning, we noted:

Word is the Kurds have about had it with al-Abadi.
But you don't see that in the press do you?
Last week, not covered in the US or western press, former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent a delegation to Baghdad to speak about serious issues and how the rift between the KRG and the central government out of Baghdad was again widening.  Among the issues resurfacing are the failure of al-Abadi to pass a budget for 2014 or 2015 (he inherited the failure to pass the 2014 budget) and the attempts to prevent the Kurds from selling their own oil.
At a time when the KRG is denied federal funds and when the KRG's fighters (the Peshmerga) are carrying a heavy load, Talabani's delegation expressed the opinion that now is not the time to be pursuing Nouri's failed politics.
Though pleasantries were exchanged, the delegation wasn't stupid enough to be mollified by pretty words.  If the rift widens, look for things to get even worse in Iraq -- and who would have thought that was possible?



Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report on the budgets (2014 and 2015) today and also on the conflict between the KRG and Baghdad while getting it right -- something few do -- about what came first (Nouri's withholding the 17% of the federal budget the Kurds are entitled to) in this economic battle.  As the 2014 budget continues to elude the Iraqi government, new prime minister Aider al-Abadi is making weapons and violence his spending priority and slashing everything else:


Mr. Abadi’s cuts have pushed budget expenditures this year down to 137 trillion Iraqi dinars ($117.9 billion) from a projected outlay of 171 trillion ($147.16 billion).
The cuts have been painful. Plans were scrapped to hire some 37,000 new government employees—including doctors and teachers—and raises were delayed for existing ones. The government has also postponed plans for new student loans and scholarships, said Majda al-Tamimi, who represents the government-allied Sadrist bloc on the finance committee.

There’s even talk in parliament of cutting spending on orphans and on elementary-education projects, according to some lawmakers.


That helps no one, that's nonsense and it's outrageous but set aside the ethical issues.

It's also stupid politics.

Deeply stupid.

Iraqis need jobs.  Iraq needs doctors and teachers.

The inability to create jobs in the recent past in Iraq led to what?

Oh, that's right, Sunnis joining al Qaeda in Iraq.

Gutting student loans and scholarships?

Exactly what the hell is al-Abadi doing.

And let's stop lying that he's protecting the country.

Getting foreigners to bomb your own country from airplanes -- and tossing a few of your war planes into the air -- is not providing safety or addressing any issues.

It's actually both stupid and cowardly.

It's the Chicken Hawk way for War Hawks to cowardly to fight on the ground.

You want to run the 20,000 or 30,000 people out of country with over 30 million people?

You don't need bombs falling from the skies.

You need people on the ground willing to rebuke, forget fight, the Islamic State.

In 2010, the Iraqi people cast votes to stand for a national identity and that's still possible.

But that embarrassing budget won't do a damn thing to pull the country together.

If the US government, if Barack wanted to help, he would have a US diplomatic delegation in Iraq explaining how to utilize the budget in a manner to pull the country together.


Equally true, the Iraqi government needs to be going after Nouri al-Maliki and Nouri's son whose theft of public monies is an open secret and Iraqis suffering in poverty aren't going to embrace further poverty measures while thieves like Nouri remain unpunished.

He doesn't just remain unpunished, he remains in the presidential palace despite not being prime minister.  He refuses to leave.

If Haider al-Abadi had any sense, he's send the military to force Nouri out and you better believe Iraqis would cheer him on.

When Haider can't even reside in the prime minister's housing because former prime minister Nouri won't leave, he looks weak and inept.

He's looked weak and inept since his September 13 announcement that he had ended the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- since he made the announcement and the bombings continued.  NINA notes 9 civilians were killed today and twenty-three more ("including women and children") were left injured from the security forces' bombings.


Let's go back to Barack's press conference.  Here Phil Mattingly is asking a question.


Q    Also if it is your feeling that you have the power to implement any type of agreement that's reached without any action from Congress?  And then, also I just wanted to quickly touch on the AUMF that you mentioned earlier.  Is that going to be more of a codification of the limits that you've put in place for the mission up to this point?  Or what should we be looking for on that when you send it to the Hill?  Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT:  On the AUMF, the leaders are going to be coming here on Friday.  It will be an expanded group, not just the four leaders, but a larger group who all have an interest in the issues we're discussing today.  And I’m actually going to invite Lloyd Austin, the CENTCOM Commander, to make a presentation about how our fight against ISIL is proceeding and I think to answer questions and assure that Congress is fully briefed on what we're doing there.
With respect to the AUMF, we’ve already had conversations with members of both parties in Congress, and the idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights. 
In 2001, after the heartbreaking tragedy of 9/11, we had a very specific set of missions that we had to conduct, and the AUMF was designed to pursue those missions.  With respect to Iraq, there was a very specific AUMF.
We now have a different type of enemy.  The strategy is different.  How we partner with Iraq and other Gulf countries and the international coalition -- that has to be structured differently.  So it makes sense for us to make sure that the authorization from Congress reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward.

And it will be a process of listening to members of Congress, as well as us presenting what we think needs to be the set of authorities that we have.  And I’m confident we're going to be able to get that done.  And that may just be a process of us getting it started now.  It may carry over into the next Congress.



US House Rep Adam Schiff supports Barack's continued war on Iraq and today's Schiff's office issued the following:




Washington, DC –Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee and author of legislation providing a limited and narrow authorization for use of military force against ISIL, sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner calling on him to schedule a debate and vote on a new war authorization against ISIS during the lame duck session after the midterm election.  During his press conference today, President Obama called for Congress to approve a new authorization for use of military force against ISIS.
The letter is below:
Dear Speaker Boehner:
As you prepare for the session that will close out the 113th Congress, I urge you to schedule time for consideration of an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL.
As you know, American forces have been engaged in combat against ISIL since early August with operations currently underway against targets in both Iraq and Syria.  President Obama has made repeated reports, as required by the War Powers Resolution, detailing these operations.  Now, after three months of presidentially-directed airstrikes and other activities undertaken to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” ISIL, Congress must meet the obligations of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution by deciding whether to grant the president the power to conduct this new war in the Middle East.
The use of the 2001 AUMF as legal justification for current the military action requires an extraordinarily broad and problematic reading of that measure. While ISIL may share al Qaeda’s hatred for the United States and the West, the group did not exist in 2001 and had no role in the 9/11 attacks. Nor is ISIL affiliated with or aiding al Qaeda, having been expressly repudiated by the Zawahiri leadership, and, despite reports of talks between the two groups, little evidence of an alliance between them.   
Vehement opposition to Bashar al Assad’s brutal government in Syria and the harshly sectarian policies of Nouri al Maliki in Iraq, not 9/11 or allegiance to Osama bin Laden, has fueled the rise of ISIL and allowed it to capture a huge swathe of territory in those two countries.  From this redoubt, ISIL threatens tens of millions and the group’s extreme violence and barbarity, including the recent mass murder of a Sunni tribe in Iraq’s Anbar province, cannot be underestimated.
I believe that the threat to core American foreign policy interests and our national security from ISIL is sufficient to warrant military force as an element of a multifaceted campaign.  But, I also believe that no President has the power to commit the nation’s sons and daughters to war without authorization from Congress.  This is not a decision that can or should wait until 2015; this action was begun during the sitting of the 113th Congress and it well within our ability to authorize it properly before adjourning sine die. 
In September I introduced a draft Joint Resolution (HJ Res 125) that provides for an 18 month authorization for continued airstrikes and limited special operations activities in Iraq and Syria and against ISIL.  While I believe that my proposal merits consideration, whether it, or some other  form of authorization, is ultimately taken up, the most important thing is for us to do our duty to American people and the Constitution.  I look forward to working with you on this most important issue.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

In Iraq, an airstrike near Mosul destroyed ISIL-occupied buildings, including one housing a generator used for oil production and another used to manufacture explosive devices. Three airstrikes near Bayji struck two small ISIL units, destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL-occupied bunker and an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery piece.

 Also in Iraq, an airstrike near Fallujah struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle. Three airstrikes near Ramadi damaged an ISIL vehicle and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.


Didn't stop any of the (other) violence but violent responses only breed further violentce. National Iraqi News Agency reports Shiekh Abdul Rahman Abboud Shabib was shot dead as he left a mosque in Muqdadiyah, the Islamic State "kidnapped /46/ members of the Albu Nimr tribe, mostly women and children, west of Ramadi," a Kut bombing left four people injured, rocket and mortar attacks in Baiji Village and Sada Village left 11 people dead (including two children) and four more people injured, and a Baiji suicide car bomber left 4 Iraqi soldiers dead and seven more injured.   Dropping back to Tuesday, Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 141 violent deaths with sixty-nine people left injured.



Finally, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America note:

***Media Alert*** IAVA to Hold 10th Anniversary Heroes Gala on November 13th

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org
Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Will Receive Awards; Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald to speak, NBC and MSNBC co-anchor Willie Geist Will Emcee
WHAT: On Thursday, November 13th, 2014, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will hold IAVA’s Annual Heroes Gala Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Taking place for the eighth year in a row, and when U.S. troops are still at war, this year’s Heroes Gala will honor those who have made a unique and lasting contribution to IAVA’s mission to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
WHO: IAVA will honor Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the IAVA Veteran Leadership Award, and Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick with the IAVA Civilian Service Award. Willie Geist, co-anchor of NBC’s “TODAY” show and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” will host the event. 
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald will also be speaking at the event.
Veterans and supporters will attend, as well as representatives from leading sponsors Victory Motorcycles (Hero Sponsor); TriWest Healthcare, Turner Broadcasting, and USAA (Dinner Sponsors); Robert Cohn, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, HBO, JPMorgan Chase, Miller High Life, Uber, Western Asset Management, Wheel's Up, and WME/IMG (Support Sponsors). Southwest Airlines, IAVA's official airline partner, will also be in attendance. 
New York City Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Loree Sutton, Lone Survivor director Peter Berg, actress Michelle Monaghan and more will also be in attendance. 
WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 2014 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
          Press check-in: 5:15 - 6:15 p.m.  (Cipriani 42nd Street)
          Sponsor Reception 5:30 - 6:30pm (Cipriani 42nd Street)
          Cocktail Reception 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Cipriani 42nd Street)
          Dinner & Award Presentation: 7:30 – 9:30pm (Cipriani 42nd Street)
WHERE: Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
Livestream the gala at http://new.livestream.com/newvets
Note to media: A mult box will be provided at the venue. Please RSVP by emailing press@iava.org if you would like to cover the Gala.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.
###















Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Was Mindy on?

If The Mindy Project aired tonight, I missed it.

Sorry.

I was watching something much funnier.

My Democratic Party husband freaking out as we watched the election coverage.

I don't think he believed the Republicans would take control of the Senate.

As a Green, I know the whole thing's a joke so I was able to chuckle at his horror.

On the plus, maybe the Dems will dump Harry Reid and pick someone else to be leader (Senate Minority Leader now)?

That would be a good thing.

I'm sorry.

Dems didn't represent America.

Republicans won't either.

It's hard for me to get to worked up about it.

Especially when I think of so many Democratic whores who looked the other way as Barack kicked off another wave of the Iraq War or continued the illegal spying or whatever.

We need a national third party.

I don't see my party as one, sorry.  We're too weak and fail to do much to win votes.

The whole thing's a joke.




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



Tuesday, November 4, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq is not a political football, one US citizen makes a fool of himself while trying to prove he's smarter than his political opponents, US veterans clean up in the midterms, FAIR calls out those who cheered on the Iraq War except when the cheerleaders work for Mother Jones, Ava and I called it on Wendy Davis (yeah, I waited 8 months to say, "We told you so"), and much more.




Today is election day in the United States, the midterms.  All seats in the US House of Representatives are being voted on and 1/3 of the Senate seats.  Many citizens will choose to vote -- some will have early voted.  Some will be wise, some will be smart, some will be average and some will be really stupid.

Wanting to grab the title of "really stupid," Dave Mills writes the editorial board of the Lansing State Journal wanting to set "right wing nuts" straight but only embarrasses himself and, sadly, the rest of us on the left by association:


 Obama got Bin Laden, ended the war in Iraq, will be ending our involvement in Afghanistan. The direct cost of the two wars is $3 trillion, the indirect cost is $5 to $6 trillion.

He didn't end the war in Iraq.

You damn well need to stop lying or sporting your stupidity.

You're a moron.

You need to sit your stupid ass down.  You have nothing to share.

There are problems with pretty much everything you say.  But we focus on Iraq here.

You don't know what the hell you're saying and you need to sit your dumb ass down.

When Americans made statements like this last year, it was racist and xenophobic because the US didn't end the Iraq War, Barack just ended (most) direct US involvement in the war.

The war went on.

And Americans looked really stupid insisting the war was over.

But things changed last month.







That's Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal (photo from Facebook).   We noted his death in October 25th snapshot.



That's Cpl Jordan Spears (photo from Marine Corps).  Last week, he was reclassified as the first death in 'Operation Inherent Resolve.'


When not one but two American service members lost their lives last month, don't claim the Iraq War ended. It never did for the Iraqis and, as the two deaths demonstrate, it hasn't for Americans either.


I'm really sorry that you're so damn stupid.


I don't know that this claim -- "if Sadam Hussein was still alive, there would be no Islamic States (ISIS)" -- can be backed up.  First off, the Islamic State is also in Syria.  Second, Saddam Hussein ruled over a secular state, the Islamic State is fundamentalist and there's no proof that they wouldn't have targeted Iraq.  (You can argue it would be harder for them to take root in Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power but that neglects the reality that the Islamic State does a form of social services which is another way they endear themselves.)

But I do know Iraq is not your political football.

I say that over and over.

It's not my political football either.

It is a country that has been attacked and betrayed repeatedly by the US government.

Those attacks and betrayals predate Barack Obama being sworn in as US President and they continue after he becomes president.

Iraq is a country filled with people -- millions even now despite the US-led wars having turned so many people into refugees.

Iraq is not a political football and people look stupid and ignorant when they forget that fact and attempt to 'spike' what is a global tragedy and a global crime.


Another thing, telling your opponents this also makes you look really ignorant, you "are entitled to your opinions, but not the facts."

Everyone's entitled to the facts.


Saying someone's not entitled to the facts defeats your own argument.

What you were trying to say -- but were too stupid to say -- was "you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts."

Someone who trots out Iraq, tries to spike it like a political football and doesn't know 2 US service members died in the ongoing war just last month?

A real moron who needs to slink off silently.  There's nothing to left to say.  Just close your mouth and go, you've done enough damage.


On elections, my state's polls won't close before this goes up but Texas did close.  And I mention that because a number of e-mails (Ty stopped counting at 100) came in declaring how wrong in our March 2, 2014 "TV: Another idiot for the idiot box" for writing the following:


Texas women are strong and proud and they go about their lives as best they can.  Like women everywhere, they know a thing or two about discrimination.  But they keep going.
Where Texas is different than many other states is that you will see Democratic and Republican women pull together for strong women -- especially strong women who have persevered despite sexism, despite setbacks.  Hillary was that in 2008.  Ann was that when she ran for governor.
It's not just that Wendy Davis' resume is so light or that's she backed away from the stance that brought her national attention.
It's mainly that the national media created a narrative that would play on the national stage but won't play in Texas.
Davis is poorly trailing Greg Abbott currently.
That could change, the election is way off.
But unless Abbott implodes, he will likely beat her because she and her campaign don't know what the hell they're doing.
She can be strongly pro-choice and win Republican women in Texas -- they're not all anti-choice.
But Wendy Davis' big problem isn't her positions (except for backing off from them).
It's that she's a superstar.
She's a winner.
She's so very many things, crowned by the media.
Ann Richards?
Like many other successful Texas female politicians, Ann Richards was a fighter who battled.
She got knocked down and she got back up, over and over.
Did any woman take the failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment more personally than Ann did?
They might have taken it as personally but it's hard to think they could have taken it more personally.
Ann fought and fought and fought again.
A minority of her supporters tried to dub her Queen Ann.  (This move was led in particular by a man named Dennis -- does Cecile even know this story, does she even know her mother?)  Ann very nicely told the group not to call her that.  She was governor, she explained, and she was so happy to be that. Dennis then suggested governor and queen.  And Ann lost the glowing smile she was famous for and used terms like "buster" and a loud voice to make clear that she didn't see being called a "queen" in a democracy as a compliment and that she had fought hard for every elected office she had held so don't insult her by calling her the "queen" of Texas.
Ann was never crowned.
Women -- Democrats and Republicans -- gave Ann the boost her campaign needed and she became governor and she's the last Democratic governor Texas has had.
Do not compare Ann to Wendy Davis.
If Wendy's got any real strength, she's yet to show it.
Texas women will bandy together around a female candidate if the woman reminds them of themselves or their mothers.  Because they are bonding over hardships and setbacks.  They will cross party lines if the woman reminds them of themselves.
Davis needs to lower the stardom and demonstrate how she can be a work horse.
She needs to lose the ridiculous hair, she's not Donald Trump's ex-wife, and either pull it into a ponytail (which Texas women relate to) or get it cut.
She needs to tone down the make up as well.
She's a little too 'starish' currently for Texas.
And Greg Abbott?
Greg Abbott is in a wheel chair.  He has been since 1984.  From that wheel chair, he's been on the state supreme court and successfully and repeatedly run for attorney general.  That's the kind of can-do spirit that Texans admire.
Cecile Richards is deeply stupid.
Making Wendy Davis a media star only made her a vapid blond with big hair.
If Cecile knew a damn thing about Texas politics, she would have already realized that Greg Abbott's not going to be beaten by a glossy 8 x 10 photograph.


Sorry, Ava and I were right.

And I have no desire to rescue Barack but the Texas election was not really about Barack (yes, I know the Abbott campaign -- especially in East Texas -- did heavy ad buys saying Barack was on the ballot).  I have no idea what happened elsewhere in the country but when people say I'm wrong -- and I can be wrong -- I pay attention to the race.  Wendy Davis lost it all on her own.  She was a media creation with no real courage or guts and, in the last month, she's yet again attacking Abbott for being in a wheel chair.  It was low and it was disgusting.  Equally true, she forgot the Howard Dean rule of: campaign everywhere.  She thought she could cobble together a victory by focusing solely on big metro areas like Dallas-Fort Worth.  She completely ignored the East Texas media market -- large cities like Tyler and Longview just written off as well as smaller cities and towns in the area.    When I say she completely ignored that market, I mean she didn't buy any ads from October 1st forward in that market.

She never gave people a reason to vote for her other than that she was a celebrity created by the national media, one who went fundraising in California which always has a backlash in Texas.  Sally Field is beloved by many but even she, when she campaigns for her friend US House Rep Lloyd Doggett, knows she has to walk a line -- it's partly a distrust of the entertainment industry, it's partly a rivalry between two of the biggest states in the union.

On other races, Stars & Stripes Leo Shane Tweets:





  • Now at 10 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans in Congress, 9 GOP & 1 Dem. At least two more guaranteed (head-to-head races)



  • And Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's Paul Rieckhoff Tweets:







  • Barack may impact other races or he may not.

    I haven't followed them.

    But he is not responsible for Wendy Davis loss.  She lost it all on her own. (And Abbott's campaign commercials struck a chord -- his late in the campaign ad featuring his Latina mother-in-law tested off the charts with all races and ethnicities.  People found her warm, touching and truthful.)

    And her problems were all evident in March of this year if anyone wanted to go beyond the gloss and pay attention.



    Barack has his own problems.  Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reports, "The Pentagon has denied that the US strategy against Islamic State (Isis) is in disarray after a series of setbacks as the war known as Operation Inherent Resolve stretches into its fourth month."

    The argument that Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby made today was that the Syrian government, particularly Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is not benefiting from the 'focus' the US government is placing on Iraq.

    Focus?

    As Akerman points out:

    US military officials frequently describe their strategy as “Iraq first”, reflecting what some in the administration suggest is a more realistic ambition, compared to the complexity of the neighbouring Syria conflict. The US has renewed its mentorship of the Iraqi military it built during the 2003-2011 occupation. But the administration is signaling that a counteroffensive to oust Isis from Iraq, led by the Iraqis and backed by US airpower and Iranian-supported Shia militias, will not proceed until spring 2015


    Until spring of 2015?


    Barack plans to keep bombing and pretending that's a 'plan'?

    Long after Barack leaves the White House, Iraqis will have to rebuild.

    And what Arabic social media is noting, though the western press has avoided, it is the Sunni areas that are being destroyed with these bombings.  When the bombing finally ends, it is the Sunnis who will be living in destroyed, shelled neighborhoods.  There are many Arabic commentators on social media who don't feel this is an accident but part of the continued persecution of the Sunnis.


    Changing topics . . .

    Who in the world do you think that you are fooling?
    Well I've already done everything that you are doing
    -- "Two Kinds of Love," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on her Rooms On Fire

    The always laughable (and always sexist) Kevin Drum wags his tiny cock-lette at Iraq and figures out there's no 'plan.'  Did the universe just offer a collective "Duh!"  How many weeks, how many months have we been pointing that out?

    I was going to be kind and ignore David Zucchino's nonsense for the Los Angeles Times.

    But his ridiculous report is what 'enlightened' Kevin Drum.

    So let's note that it's a miserable 'report' that's ahistorical and embarrassing.

    The article fails to address that the military has been without a head.  In the US, we call it the Secretary of Defense (currently Chuck Hagel).  In Iraq, they call it the Minister of Defence.  And from 2010 until his ouster this summer -- four long years, Nouri al-Maliki refused to nominate anyone to head the Ministry of Defence (it was a power grab -- Ayad Allawi was the first to rightly call it that).

    So for four years they had no one.

    But, even more importantly, the Los Angeles Times has reported on the Defense and Interior Ministries (Interior is a security ministry, it is not parks and wildlife -- Nouri also refused to nominate anyone to head that ministry).

    Ned Parker -- often on his own, often with others -- repeatedly reported on the corruption and crime in the ministries.  He did spectacular reporting, in fact, on one particular floor in the Interior, the corruption there.


    With all that to build on, Zucchino's article was disappointing.

    He's a strong reporter and he'll do strong reporting again, I'm sure.

    But Kevin Drum finds a stitched together article that fails to get at the realities -- which includes ignoring Nouri not wanting training from the US (for those who've forgotten, Barack was told to find other uses for the money the White House planned to spend training the Iraqi police in 2012) -- wonderful and inspiring.

    Kevin would, wouldn't he?

    He did, after all, cheer on the Iraq War.

    Which makes you wonder why Mother Jones keeps trying to turn him into a star (he's too ugly for TV), why two women running the magazine and website are bound and determined to turn an elderly White man into a media star instead of devoting those resources to men of color or women?

    Related, every now and then FAIR and others will gripe about how those people who were wrong about Iraq in 2003 continue to be respected voices in the media.  But they never have the guts, do they, to point out all the 'left' voices (like Drum) who cheered on an illegal war and yet are employed by left sites like Mother Jones?

    If FAIR's really worried about accountability, they need to call on Mother Jones to ditch Kevin Drum who helped sell the illegal war.

    Just last June, FAIR was whining about CNN bringing back on pundits who cheered on the Iraq War -- so when does FAIR find the guts to call out Mother Jones for hiring Drum?

    Until they do, they look like whiny, little hypocrites.

    There should be much more anger that a supposed left publication like Mother Jones is providing a forum for these pundits who got it wrong than the supposedly 'neutral' or 'mainstream' or 'middle' CNN.

    Not everyone's ahistorical.  Ellen Knickmeyer Tweets:




  • Man, had his eye on the ball. 2009 story behind Iraq prison says was birthplaceof ISIS


  • In other developments, Deborah Haynes and Michael Evans (Times of London) report England is planning to send troops into Iraq while Nick Perry (AP) reports that New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key announced today he was open to sending troops into Iraq to help 'train.'

    National Iraqi News Agency reports today's fatalities include shoppers at a market, "A security source told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / An Iraqi warplane bombed the Qai'm market amid the district, which resulted in the killing of five civilians and wounding / 35 / others, pointing out that this is a preliminary outcome due to the intensity of the shelling."  The expected massacre of Shi'ite pilgrims by the Islamic State did not take place today.


    Christiane Amanpour interviewed the State Dept's Brett McGurk on Amanpour (CNN) and we'll note it tomorrow.






    iraq

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Arun tells a few truths

    First up, be sure to read Kat's "Kat's Korner: There's a reason Ronstadt won more G..." and "Kat's Korner: Neil Young brings the love" which continue a hot streak of Kat contributing two strong music reviews every Sunday.

    However, she says this third week in a row is her final one.

    Arun Gupta is not someone I have a lot of respect for but I don't dislike him.  (I may have friended him on Facebook.  I don't remember.)  But if he wrote like he does at CounterPunch today, I'd be his biggest fan:

    The six years of Obama’s presidency are exhibit A in the case. During his winning campaign in 2008, Obama presented himself as a blank slate promising amorphous “hope and change.” His campaign encouraged voters to see Obama as a transformational candidate who would wind down bloody U.S. wars, revive the economy with a Green New Deal, open space for labor organizing, resolve the immigration crisis, and take bold steps to alleviate climate change.
    Instead, Obama has bombed seven countries (more than Bush), deported record numbers of immigrants, killed immigration reform through neglect, undermined climate change accords in Copenhagen in 2009, attacked teachers unions, abandoned “card-check” legislation that would aid union drives, and offered little more than rhetoric on raising wages.
    Obama, however, spared no effort to rescue the sinking yachts. In October 2009 the New York Times noted that the bailouts begun a year earlier were fueling a “new era of Wall Street wealth.”

    That will shape his legacy: the real unemployment rate is still at 12 percent, and since 2008, 5.5 million more Americans live in poverty and the median household income has declined 4.6 percent. Corporate profits are at their highest level since record-keeping began in 1929, the effective corporate tax rate is lower than any point since Hoover was president, and workers are taking home the smallest share of national income in 65 years.


    Some of us have called out Barack from day one.

    So I should point out that as we enter the last two years of his presidency, you'll see a number of left writers suddenly 'discover' that he's done real damage.

    They'll 'discover' that because whoring for Barack has to come to an end for them to be able to whore for the next Democrat.

    If they keep whoring for Barack even after reality has set in (check the polls, the people know Barack's a fraud), they risk damaging their own 'brand.'

    I hope Arun's calling Barack out because Barack needs to be called out and not just to save his own ass.


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



    Monday, November 3, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the Islamic State carries out several massacres, the Iraqi forces carry out a massacre in a Sunni mosque, sh-don't-tell but the State Dept is easing towards exploring a diplomatic response in Iraq, and much more.


    Poor Jen Psaki, being a smart flunky in a stooge department.  The State Dept spokesperson noted at today's breifing, a the top, "Following the statement we released on Friday on ISIL executions in Anbar province, we saw additional reports this weekend of ISIL’s brutality, including that they may have massacred hundreds of members of the Albu Nimr tribe, including scores of women and children. This also coincides with reports of indiscriminate killing of other Sunni tribe members and the senseless attack on Shia pilgrims preparing for the commencement of Ashura. This proves once again that ISIL does not represent anything but its warped ideology and provides more evidence, if any were needed, why our coalition partners, including Iraqis from every background, must work together to defeat these terrorists."

    You might think this led to questions about Iraq.

    No.

    Matt Lee, Elise Labot and others had to joke and waste time and blah blah blah.

    They really are useless, the press corps covering the State Dept.  Giggling like schools boys over whether a US official has a superhero costume and other bulls**t.

    It was in the final moments of the press conference that this finally took place.





    QUESTION: Can I go back to the massacre in the Anbar province?


    MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.


    QUESTION: One of the tribal leaders is saying that he made repeated requests to the Shiite-led government for weapons and they didn’t provide them to them. Is that accurate? Do you think that they should be providing weapons to the Sunni tribal leaders to fight ISIS?


    MS. PSAKI: Well, it’s hard to analyze off of one anecdote, but what I will convey is that obviously we know that there has been a history of ineffective workings between the Iraqi Central Government and the tribal leaders – the Sunni tribal leaders. That’s something that was obviously needed to be addressed with the new leadership in the government. And Prime Minister Abadi just recently – last week – met with tribal leaders. He stressed he took responsibility for the protection of all Iraqis, regardless of religion or sect. He emphasized that ISIL has killed more Sunnis than Shia.

    This will – is not the end. This is not – there will be many more meetings and – but this is an effort that will be ongoing. It’s one that the United States is certainly supportive of and involved in to the degree it’s useful. But in terms of what their needs are and what assistance or material will be provided, that’s something that will have to be discussed between the parties.



    What's happened is huge news but you'd never know it from the briefing.

    Fortunately, smarter members of the press exist outside the briefing room.





  • Polly Mosendz (The Atlantic) reports:

    Western Iraq saw more brutal bloodshed this weekend after the Islamic State massacred 322 people of the Albu Nimr tribe, a Sunni group, including women and children. The Iraqi government confirmed the attack in the Anbar region, which began on Saturday and continued into Sunday, and was described as "systematic killings."

    The tribe had been working to fend off ISIS militants, but began to run low on ammunition, food, and fuel last week. Sheik Naeem al-Ga'oud, a tribe leader, had according to Reuters "repeatedly asked the central government and army to provide his men with arms but no action was taken." Al-Ga'oud noted the killings were execution-style and included high schoolers and college students who tried to escape ISIS militants.


    Odai Sadik, Chelsea J. Carter and Todd Leopold (CNN -- link is text and video) explain how the recent slaughter began, "They were taken from their homes, some pulled from their beds, in the middle of the night. They were fathers, brothers and sons, members of the U.S.-allied Albu Nimr tribe -- the Sunni clan considered among the last holdouts against ISIS in Iraq's western desert."

    It's horrifying.

    AP adds, "Islamic State group militants shot and killed 36 Sunni tribesmen, women and children in public Monday, an Iraqi official and a tribal leader said, pushing the total number of members slain by the extremists in recent days to more than 200."  EFE notes, "The bodies of 30 men, four women and two children who had been shot by IS jihadists were recovered Monday from an area in Al-Anbar province, between Al-Tharthar and Hit, a source in the tribal community told Efe."

    Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:


    The Islamic State’s message to the other Anbar tribes was horrifyingly clear: Don’t fight us.
    But that’s exactly what the Obama administration envisions in its plan to crush the Islamic State – the Albu Nimr and other Sunni tribes rising up against the Islamic State, just as they did during the 2006-7 U.S. troop surge against the Islamic State’s forerunner, al Qaida in Iraq. This time, however, the Anbaris would be incorporated into a newly established national guard, armed by the Iraqi government and advised by the United States.
    Yet the new national guard won’t be ready for at least six months – too long, say the Anbar sheikhs. The Shiite-led government in Baghdad remains deeply divided over sending weapons in the interim to Sunni tribes that many Shiites consider to be their rivals. And U.S. officials say they won’t provide training until the Baghdad government is providing the weapons.
    “We need to expand the train-advise-and-assist mission into the Al Anbar province,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged to reporters at the Pentagon last week. “But the precondition for that is that the government of Iraq is willing to arm the tribes.”

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/11/03/245528_slaughter-of-anbar-tribesmen-shows.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy


    US President Barack Obama has no plan.  He keeps calling doing the same thing (bombing from the air) a 'plan' but it's not a plan.

    It fails to adapt, it fails to address.

    It's just violence responding to violence.

    Your latest clue is the inability of the State Dept to utilize what is taking place.


    Want to get Sunnis on board with the government?  Give them a reason.

    Especially give them a reason when the actions of the Islamic State are prompting revulsion.

    I've noted before, over and over, that new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi needs to make grand gestures to the Sunni community in order to make clear that the targeting they experienced under Nouri al-Maliki is a thing of the past, that they are welcome and wanted in the government and the country.

    This is where you do it.

    When the Sunni community is reeling from what is supposed to be a 'message sent' from the Islamic State, a warning not to cooperate with the government, that is when you have the best chance to make your case for a new Iraq.

    But the State Dept can't do it and Haider al-Abadi is proving to be incredibly inept.  In the face of the above killings, he announced he would increase bombings.

    That does nothing to help the Sunni community.

    It does physically destroy the land they call home but it doesn't help them.


    And while he had a public comment on the massacre carried out by the Islamic State, he had none on the massacre carried out by his own forces.


    Sunday, Human Rights Watch released an alert which opened:

    Victims of a massacre in a mosque in Diyala province by Iraqi pro-government militias and security forces recognized the attackers and knew them by name. The Iraqi government should promptly make public any investigation of the attack on the Musab Bin Omair mosque on August 22, 2014, which killed 34 people, and bring those responsible to justice.

    According to accounts by five witnesses, including one survivor of the attack, armed men, some wearing civilian clothes and others in police uniforms, attacked the mosque at midday in the village of Imam Weiss in Hamreen, Diyala province, about 50 kilometers northeast of Baaquba, the provincial capital. The attackers shot to death 32 men, one woman, and one 17-year-old boy, all of whom witnesses said were civilians who were attending Friday prayer when they were killed, with PK-type and AK-47 Russian-made automatic weapons, the witnesses said. All of the witnesses said they recognized the attackers and knew them by name.

    “Pro-government militias are becoming emboldened and their crimes more shocking,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “Iraqi authorities and Iraq’s allies alike have ignored this horrific attack and then they wonder why the militant group Islamic State has had such appeal among Sunni communities.”

    Witnesses, all of whom asked Human Rights Watch not to reveal their identities for their protection, said the shooting began at about 12:10 p.m., during the imam’s Friday speech. A survivor, who was inside the Sunni mosque, said he saw a man enter wearing the dark green T-shirt, pants, and headband typically worn by militiamen affiliated with Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq, a pro-government militia. He was carrying a PK-type automatic weapon.

    “He shouted, ‘Do not move. No one leave!’” the witness said. “He aimed his first shot at the sheikh [imam], and then he continued shooting at the rest of us. When I heard the first gunshot I dropped to the ground.”

    The gunman continued shooting at random, the witness said. ”People were on the ground screaming and crying, saying, “Allahu akbar [God is great], La ilaha illa Allah [there is no God but God].”

    Three of the witnesses entered the mosque after this first attack. They said they saw eight armed men leaving the mosque. When they entered, they saw about 10 people who appeared to be already dead and about 30 more injured. “What I saw was indescribable, inhuman,” one said. “Most of the people were injured, not dead, and were crying out for water and for help with their injuries. I saw a man whose left side of his head was completely blown off.”

    Two witnesses said they had begun carrying the wounded into the garden in front of the mosque when, after about 10 minutes, they heard more shooting as a second group of between 20 and 30 armed men headed toward the mosque. The witnesses fled, leaving the wounded behind. Another witness who was watching from his house about 100 meters away confirmed this account.

    All of the witnesses said they then heard screams and more gunshots. The second round of shooting lasted approximately 15 minutes, they said.

    The witnesses told Human Rights Watch that all of the 34 dead except one were from the Beni Weiss, a Sunni tribe in Diyala. None of the witnesses knew the reason for the attack, but one said he believed it was in retaliation for an attack with an improvised explosive device earlier that day about 20 kilometers north of Imam Weiss that killed five militiamen. The witnesses all said there were no fighters in or around Imam Weiss at the time of the attack.

    The witnesses said there was an army checkpoint about 200 meters from the mosque and a police checkpoint about 150 meters from the mosque, but that no security forces responded to the attack even though the shooting was broadcast over the mosque loudspeaker and could be heard from at least 600 meters away, where one witness heard the shooting from his home.

    Two witnesses said they called for army assistance and for an ambulance, but none arrived until nearly an hour later. At about 1:30 p.m., they said, soldiers from the 5th brigade of the army’s 20th division arrived in an army ambulance and a cargo truck, which carried the dead to the hospital morgue in Muqdadiyya, 15 kilometers away.



    Hadier al-Abadi either can't or won't control the military.  September 13th, he ordered them to stop bombing the residential neighborhoods of Falluja.

    The bombings have not stopped.

    In fact, Iraqi Spring MC notes the latest results of these War Crimes (bombing civilian areas are defined as War Crimes): 4 civilians dead and three injure.

    In the face the continued bombings of Falluja, in the face of the slaughter carried out by the Iraqi forces, why should Sunnis believe in a buy-in of the new government?

    They shouldn't and they don't.

    al-Abadi looks like a fool or a liar.

    NINA reports Sunday saw him insisting that the rights of all minorities were protected in Iraq -- all Christian minorities.  And yet he's silent on the attack on the Sunni mosque, the attack carried out by his own forces.

    Per Iraqi law, those security forces should be put to death.  Execution is what Iraqi law requires.  But, as the Sunni community has noted, they're the ones who face execution.  And that hasn't changed since thug Nouri al-Maliki was forced out as prime minister.  The executions continue, despite international outcry, but they target one segment of the population.

    And the thugs that make up the Iraqi security forces get away, literally, with murder.

    Tirana Hassan (Foreign Policy) reports from Yengija Village:



    Despite being almost completely unaccountable to any official ministry, the Shiite militias have been tasked by the government with a key role in the war against the Islamic State. Yet what we saw in Yengija laid bare the costs of relying on these groups. Beyond the main road, an entire neighborhood of two-story homes was razed and flattened, with concrete slab roofs heaped atop piles of rubble. Personal belongings, children's toys, and furniture peeked out from under the debris, a poignant reminder of the Sunni Arab families who, until recently, had lived there. All these families had fled in August when the militia started battling the Islamic State fighters in the surrounding area.
    The destruction was overwhelming. The only houses that remained standing shared one common feature -- blackened exterior windows showing where the militia had set fire to them in their efforts to destroy whatever they could not loot. 
     Families that had been driven from their homes told us that when the militia arrived, they destroyed the families' homes. Former residents told us that those who have tried to return are accused of being Islamic State members or sympathizers; some were held by the militia for days, blindfolded, questioned, and beaten -- or simply disappeared. In the Peshmerga-controlled city of Kirkuk, we met Hamad, a government worker from Yengija. He told us that he had snuck back into the village undetected two weeks earlier to try to collect some of his family's belongings after being told by neighbors that his home was undamaged. But when he arrived, he found his house emptied of its valuables and his neighborhood torched.
    The militia had made no effort to conceal its crimes, but instead advertised their destruction by spray-painting "Khorasani" and Shiite slogans on the walls that were still standing.  



    That's Haider al-Abadi's Iraq and it's not going to change anything in Iraq until the government changes itself.


    AFP worries what happens when the pilgrims begin their journey.  That's a what, a 24-hour concern?  A 48-hour one?

    Does anyone think longterm?


    Obviously not, where's that political solution Barack used to speak of?

    No where to be found.

    And when efforts are made, the US government can't even promote them.

    They built up suspense for their meet-up of defense ministers but did you know that there is a diplomatic counterpart?

    The administration doesn't consider it worth mentioning.  The State Dept doesn't bother to mention it in briefings.  In fact, were it not for Brett McGurk's Twitter feed, it might receive no attention at all:






    Sarah Chayes was often the lone sane American voice on the topic of Afghanistan.  She's weighed in on the need for a political answer in Iraq:


    When a prime minister, whose corrupt and sectarian practices prompted repeated warnings from U.S. commanders, replaces well-trained officers with cronies on the take, the collapse of the security force should be predictable. When a formerly ruling minority is stripped not just of power, but of access to power or resources or the redress of grievances, or even protection from death squads, its willingness to fight for those things should be predictable. 

    After all, ISIS is not fighting alone in Iraq. Without support from thousands of Sunnis, including community leaders and seasoned military officers, the militants could never have achieved what they have.

    So the first element of a strategy must be to assign significant intelligence assets to the task of understanding the motivations and drivers of violent resistance to Baghdad.  How was the military being de-structured in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal? What functional roles in the capture of revenue streams were occupied by which members of the Maliki network?  How are these changing under Abadi? What grievances or aspirations are motivating most Sunnis? 


    Then, alongside efforts to dissuade people from joining the violent resistance, must come a parallel effort to modify offensive Iraqi government structures and practices that are driving them into its arms.   







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