Friday, December 11, 2015

That posturing and preening Senate Armed Services Committee

Okay, I was able to go to Wednesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing (only the second Congressional hearing I've attended in my life).

Thank you to Ava's mom who watched my child (as well as Ava's and Mike and Elaine's).

I took a few notes st the hearing but they were largely useless.

I'd look at them and wonder, "Wait, what was said around this?  I don't remember . . ."

C.I. basically does an entire transcript of the hearing.

In her own personal shorthand.

So I reviewed a translation of that and I guess one thing bothered me the most (I was bothered by the entire hearing and the senators ready embrace of more war).

At the very beginning, Senator Jack Reed made a statement.

I'm not talking about his opening statement.  He's Ranking Member so the Chair (John McCain) makes an opening statement, then the Ranking Member does and then the witnesses make their opening statements.

After the witnesses are done, the questioning begins.

It starts with the Chair, then moves to the Ranking Member and then rotates between Republicans (who control the Committee) and Democrats.

So in his opening line of questioning, Reed declares, "It is also clear that a sustainable outcome will only be possible by a more inclusive government by the Abadi government in Baghdad."

Abadi is Haider al-Abadi, whom the US government installed as prime minister in the fall of 2014.

Now al-Abadi has not created an inclusive government by any means.

But what really struck me was how this is in the early minutes of the hearing but throughout the rest of the hearing, no one wants to explore that: how Iraq gets an inclusive government, how the US can aid in that.

Empty lip service is all the Committee offered.

Posturing and preening.


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


Thursday, December 10, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept's John Kirby attempts to humiliate and attack a woman in a briefing today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter inadvertently explains how fear of the 'alternative' leads the US government to support despots, and much more.




Let's start with bitchy.

US State Dept spokesperson John Kirby flaunted his own stupidty when he unleashed his bitchy at today's State Dept press briefing and launched his attack on RT [RUSSIA TODAY].


State Dept. dodges RT’s question about Turkish troops in Iraq, gets personal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
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Gayane Chichakyan is the RT journalist who dared to ask a question.

It was a basic question and John Kirby turned into a full on bitch.

As shameful as he was, equally shameful was REUTERS whose 'reporter' rushed in to change the subject and rescue the State Dept.

Let's jump in to where Chickakryan attempts to get answers to her questions.



QUESTION: I have one more question on Turkey, please.

MR KIRBY: Okay, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. Well, you were saying that it’s up to Turkey and Iraq to figure out the situation with the uninvited Turkish troops. But the U.S. does take upon itself to invite forces from other countries into Iraq and in Syria. Ash Carter was telling Congress yesterday that he personally reached out to 40 countries asking them to commit special ops for the fight and other support. The Iraqi parliament is concerned that their country is becoming this ground where different countries do what they want. The Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee is calling for the review or cancelation of the U.S. security agreement with Iraq. What does the U.S. do to address their concerns?


MR KIRBY: Address whose concerns?


QUESTION: The Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee that is now calling to review or cancel the agreement with the U.S.


MR KIRBY: I haven’t seen those reports, ma’am. We continue to work with the Iraqi Government. The troops that Secretary Carter referred to, that decision was done in full coordination and cooperation with the Iraqi Government. If you’re trying to suggest that somehow U.S. military assistance against ISIL is untoward or being done without full coordination with the Iraq Government, it’s just a completely baseless charge. And I don’t think it’s worth having any more discussions about it.


QUESTION: But you’re saying – are you saying that you’re not aware of the Iraqi parliament’s – this Security and Defense Committee’s initiative that they want to --


MR KIRBY: I haven’t seen that, no. I haven’t seen that.


QUESTION: Okay. What – the situation where the U.S. invites forces --


MR KIRBY: I’m going to give you just one more, honestly, and then that’s it. Okay?


QUESTION: Sure.


MR KIRBY: Go ahead.


QUESTION: The situation where the U.S. invites forces to Iraq and the U.S. is leading this coalition, but when something goes wrong, the U.S. says it’s none of our business, like with the Turkish troops. Let – you have to figure it out between yourselves. Should it be of no concern to Iraq?


MR KIRBY: Should what be of no concern? I love these questions that are 10 minutes long then I’m supposed to get the grain of it out of there. Should what be of no concern?


QUESTION: The fact that when something – you have this cooperation, you have this agreement, but when something goes wrong, the U.S. says it’s none of our business, like with what’s happening with the Turkish troops.


MR KIRBY: Oh, come on. Again, another ridiculous question. When have we ever said it’s none of our business?


QUESTION: You are saying that about the Turkish troops.


MR KIRBY: What I’m – no. No, I’m not. I’m saying that – I’ll say it again, okay? We want this to be worked out bilaterally between Turkey and Iraq. And the way you’re trying to twist all of this around to make it look like we’re doing something nefarious or that we’re – we’ve got some sort of inappropriate relationships here, I mean, it’s just so silly. And I can’t believe --


QUESTION: Well, am I really twisting it? You – have you --


MR KIRBY: I can’t believe, honestly, that you aren’t embarrassed to ask these questions. You have to be looking at these questions and almost laughing to yourself, don’t you? I mean, they’re absolutely crazy.


QUESTION: So --


MR KIRBY: So we are working very closely with the Abadi government, right. We are working inside a coalition of 65 nations – 65 nations that have signed up to go after ISIL in Iraq and in Syria – let me finish. You’ve had your moment. Sixty-five nations. And what we have said from the very beginning – I said it when I was at the Pentagon in uniform – is that we want any action against ISIL inside Iraq, specifically, to be done with full cooperation and coordination with the Iraqi Government and with their sovereign permission. That hasn’t changed one whit. Now there’s this dispute between Turkey and Iraq over the presence of a small number of troops, okay?


QUESTION: Should --


MR KIRBY: And we – I’ve said – I said it over the last several days and I’ll say it again: Nothing’s changed about our position about the sovereign nature of Iraq and the fact that troops operating against ISIL inside Iraq needs to be done with the Iraqi Government’s permission. And we’ve stated that publicly, we’ve stated that privately, to every member of the coalition. Nothing’s changed about that.


QUESTION: Sir --


MR KIRBY: And we want Turkey and Iraq to work this out, and they are. You are trying to find a way to make this some big divisive issue, and even the Turks and the Iraqis know that it’s not and they’re working their way through it. So let’s let them work their way through it and let the rest of everybody keep focusing on ISIL, which is what we should do, and which, by the way, the Russians aren’t doing.


QUESTION: If I may – if I may – if I may --


QUESTION: Is it – I’m sorry, should I not – should I not ask --


QUESTION: If I may – if I may --


QUESTION: Should I not be asking what the U.S. assessment of Turkey’s actions is?


MR KIRBY: You – ma’am – I’m going take this one, Arshad, then I’m going to come to you. You can – you can --


QUESTION: Should I not be asking that question? Exactly which question should I be embarrassed about, sir?


MR KIRBY: You can ask me whatever you want. I’m just stunned that you’re not embarrassed by some of the questions you ask. And I notice that --


QUESTION: Exactly which question?


MR KIRBY: I notice that RT very rarely asks any tough questions of their own government. So you can ask whatever you want. That’s the beauty of this setting, right, here at the State Department. You can come in here and ask me whatever you want, and you can be as – just as challenging as you want to be and accusatory in your questions – some of those today, absolutely ridiculous. You can do that here in the United States, but I don’t see you --


QUESTION: Which question was ridiculous, sir?


MR KIRBY: I don’t see you asking those same questions of your own government about ISIL in Syria.


QUESTION: Which of my questions was ridiculous?


MR KIRBY: And I would love to see those questions get asked.

Arshad.


QUESTION: I’d like to switch to just saying one quick word about Barry Schweid.



First, way to go Arshad Mohammed.  You're a little suck ass, aren't you?

Arshad is periodically selected as the go-to when the State Dept wants to leak and Arshad, like a declawed house tabby, earns those leaks (billed as "exclusives" and "scoops") by refusing to ever press the State Dept or practice actual journalism.


Now let's go to John Kirby's stupidity.  One more time:


QUESTION: Thank you. Well, you were saying that it’s up to Turkey and Iraq to figure out the situation with the uninvited Turkish troops. But the U.S. does take upon itself to invite forces from other countries into Iraq and in Syria. Ash Carter was telling Congress yesterday that he personally reached out to 40 countries asking them to commit special ops for the fight and other support. The Iraqi parliament is concerned that their country is becoming this ground where different countries do what they want. The Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee is calling for the review or cancelation of the U.S. security agreement with Iraq. What does the U.S. do to address their concerns?

MR KIRBY: Address whose concerns?


QUESTION: The Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee that is now calling to review or cancel the agreement with the U.S.


MR KIRBY: I haven’t seen those reports, ma’am. We continue to work with the Iraqi Government. The troops that Secretary Carter referred to, that decision was done in full coordination and cooperation with the Iraqi Government. If you’re trying to suggest that somehow U.S. military assistance against ISIL is untoward or being done without full coordination with the Iraq Government, it’s just a completely baseless charge. And I don’t think it’s worth having any more discussions about it.


QUESTION: But you’re saying – are you saying that you’re not aware of the Iraqi parliament’s – this Security and Defense Committee’s initiative that they want to --


MR KIRBY: I haven’t seen that, no. I haven’t seen that.





Is he unable to do his damn job?

He hasn't seen the reports?

As of Thursday afternoon, he knew nothing of this?



Wednesday morning at 7:56 a.m., we posted "Turkey's invasion of Iraq continues" which included:

SPUTNIK reports:

The Security and Defense Committee of the Iraqi Parliament has called for a review or cancellation of an agreement with the United States on security over Washington’s lack of a clear reaction to the worsening situation in the country, committee member Hamid al-Mutlaq told Sputnik on Wednesday.


Wednesday morning, we were aware of this.

Thursday afternoon, the US State Dept is still ignorant of it?

John Kirby looks like a stupid fool.

His ignorance does not speak well for himself or for his department.

How can they counter terrorism or practice diplomacy if they can't even follow the news cycle?  If 32 hours after a major bit of news makes it into the cycle, they still don't know what's going on, what does that say about their knowledge base or their efforts to carry out their core job functions?


John Kirby should curb his inner bitch and instead apply himself towards following the news cycle.

Not only was it in the news Wednesday morning, it is major news that the State Dept should have been following:  A member of the Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Committee is stating that the Committee is going to review the security agreement with the US and the State Dept is unaware of that?

This is further proof that the State Dept is unable to carry out their diplomatic mission in Iraq because they've mistaken themselves for an annex of the Defense Dept (Kirby, after all, is the former Pentagon spokesperson -- so much for rewarding diplomacy or career diplomats at State).

Whose war on women?

John Kirby decided to go full on bitch and, it's worth noting, he's never done that to a man.

But, on the State Dept payroll, he thought he had the right to attack and attempt to humiliate a journalist for asking a question.

That sort of sexism certainly applied at the Defense Dept which -- all these years later -- still can't honestly address violence against women, let alone harassment.

What a wonderful way to be an ambassador to the world: Kirby's attack on Gayane Chichakyan and attempt to humiliate her -- and to use humiliation to try to silence her -- on the world stage with the whole world watching.

That's not diplomacy.

It's also unacceptable.

There is also the issue of the revived tensions between the US government and the Russian government.  In that environment, the world doesn't need a bitchy US spokesperson attacking a Russian reporter.

Before we close this topic out, let's zoom in on this part of the exchange:


QUESTION: The situation where the U.S. invites forces to Iraq and the U.S. is leading this coalition, but when something goes wrong, the U.S. says it’s none of our business, like with the Turkish troops. Let – you have to figure it out between yourselves. Should it be of no concern to Iraq?

MR KIRBY: Should what be of no concern? I love these questions that are 10 minutes long then I’m supposed to get the grain of it out of there. Should what be of no concern?


QUESTION: The fact that when something – you have this cooperation, you have this agreement, but when something goes wrong, the U.S. says it’s none of our business, like with what’s happening with the Turkish troops.


MR KIRBY: Oh, come on. Again, another ridiculous question. When have we ever said it’s none of our business?



She's not wrong at all.

The US has done that repeatedly.

The State Dept has been one of the worst offenders.

Oh, we don't want to get into the oil disputes in Iraq -- but the central government out of Baghdad is right!!!!!!

Do you now how many times Victoria Nuland pulled that crap when she was spokesperson for the State Dept?

(To Nuland's credit, she never tried to shame a reporter -- or serve her up for public ridicule -- just for asking a question.)


Or how about the Hawaija massacre?

On one hand, you had peaceful demonstrators staging a sit-in.

On the other hand, you had the forces Nouri al-Maliki sent in to surround the square and attack the protesters.


For those who've forgotten (or maybe never knew to begin with), The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

The State Dept's response?

To call for both sides to be civil.

Both the unarmed protesters practicing civil disobedience and the thugs who murdered them.

And, go to the archives, the Sunday before the slaughter, I wrote about the State Dept contacting me with their concerns.  They knew where this was headed: Violence.

And they did nothing.

Remember that, because we're coming back to that topic as we go into a Congressional hearing below.


Yesterday's snapshot covered some of Wednesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and the testimony offered by the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs Gen Paul Selva and by the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.  We also covered the money issue in "Turkey's invasion and occupation of Iraq continues..." and Mike's "So now attack helicopters" covered the hearing as well.

As noted yesterday, the White House is now offering Iraq attack helicopters and the US forces to pilot them.

Secretary Ash Carter:  Turning to northern Iraq , Pe shmerga units, with the help of U.S. air power and advisers, have retaken the town of Sinjar, cutting the main line of communication between Raqqa and Mosul, the two largest cities under ISIL’s control. To move people and supplies, ISIL now must rely on b ackroads, where we will locate and destroy them. Elsewhere in Iraq, we have about 3,500 troops at six locations in support of Iraqi Security Forces, or ISF. There, we’ve been providing increased lethal fire and augmenting the existing training, advising, and assisting program. And we’re prepared to do more as Iraq shows capability and motivation in the counter-ISIL fight and in reso lving its political divisions. After a frustratingly long time, we are starting to see some movement in the operation to re capture Ramadi. Over the past several months, the coalition has provided specialized training and equipment – including combat engineering techniques like in-stride breaching and bulldozing, and munitions like AT-4 shoulder- fired missiles to stop truck bo mbs – to the Iraqi Army and counter- terrorism service units that are now beginning to enter Ramadi neighborhoods from multiple directions. In fact, in the last 24 hours, the ISF retook the Anbar Operations Center on the northern bank of the Euphrates River across from Ramadi’s city center. This is an important step, but there is still tough fighting ahead. ISIL has counter- attacked several times , but thus far the ISF has shown resilience. The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi Army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisors, if requested by Prime Minister Abadi.



US President Barack Obama never ended the Iraq War and, after a low intensity breather, is now publicly expanding it yet again.


Let's note an exchange from Wednesday's hearing.



Senator Bill Nelson:  So go over to Iraq.  Is that anti-sectarianism?  Is it working with the forces on the ground that we're supporting from the air?


Secretary Ash Carter:  Well first of all, uh,  Prime Minister Abadi, I've spoken to him frequently.  I'll have the opportunity to speak to him in the coming days uuhhhh when I-I too will be visiting our-our troops in theater.  Is-is  committed  precisely to that kind of vision for Iraq.  I believe him.  I've talked to him.

Senator Bill Nelson:  Do you think that's working?


Secretary Ash Carter: Whether he can pull it off in Baghdad, that is obviously a difficult matter for him.  We are supporting him in that regard because we, uh, believe that the alternative -- which is further sectarian division, civil war, cleansing and so forth.  We've seen that before.  And if he can keep his vision of an Iraq which as he called it  is decentralized.  So it's not everybody under the thumb of Baghdad because he knows the Sunni and the Kurds won't go fot that.  But still the ability to retain an integral state that keeps peace within its borders -- that's what he's committed to --

Senator Bill Nelson:  Right.

Secretary Ash Carter (Con't):  -- that's the end state we also want in Iraq.

Senator Bill Nelson:  Right.  So it's possible with Assad leaving Syria, you could get Syria under control but everything could go haywire in Iraq?

Secretary Ash Carter:  There are two separate dynamics.  They're different dynamics.  There's one thing I'll-I'll mention that I mentioned to you when I was with you six-six weeks ago and has subsequently come to pass.  I was talking about the importance of getting the town of Sinjar.  You're talking about The territory but-but a lot of that territory is empty it's the towns that matter.  The critical crossing of Sinjar.  Now what is Sinjar?  Sinjar is a place in between Mosul and Raqaa.  And to cut ISIL into it's Syrian branch and stop from cross-feeding is a, uh, the objective, uh, of taking Sinjar.  And so in the end the political end states are different for Syria and, uh, Iraqi absolutely.



That exchange should alarm for so many reasons.

But chiefly due to Carter's insisting of Haider al-Abadi:


 We are supporting him in that regard because we, uh, believe that the alternative -- which is further sectarian division, civil war, cleansing and so forth.  


Yeah, that belief allowed the White House go overrule Iraqi voters and give Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister in 2010.

And Nouri al-Maliki took Iraq to the brink of destruction in his second term.


While the US government went along with him because of their fears of "the alternative."  Ruled by fear, the US government joined Nouri in corruption and persecution.


This week, Emma Sky addressed this period in a column for CNN:


What went wrong?
The turnout for the 2010 elections was high. Polls showed belief in the political process and optimism that the country was moving beyond the sectarianism that had bedeviled it.
Iraqiyya, a coalition led by Ayad Allawi (a secular Shia), campaigned on a platform of "no to sectarianism," and "Iraq for all Iraqis." It attracted support from Iraq's Sunnis, secular Shia, and minorities. And it won the most seats in the elections.
However, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki refused to accept the election results. He called for a recount and used Debaathification to try to disqualify Iraqiyya candidates and to annul their votes. When that failed to give him victory, he further intimidated his rivals and pressured the judiciary, underscoring his determination to remain in power.
[. . .]
Secure in his seat, al-Maliki accused Sunni politicians of terrorism, and drove them out of the political process. He also reneged on his promises to tribal leaders who had fought against al Qaeda in Iraq, arrested Sunnis en masse, and subverted the democratic institutions that were supposed to keep a check on his power. Sunni protests were violently crushed. All the while, the White House kept silent.
It was clear to anyone who followed Iraq closely that politics were breaking down -- not "breaking out" as a White House official claimed -- as al-Maliki became increasingly authoritarian and moved closer to Iran. Furthermore, the capacity and willingness of Iraqi society to contain al Qaeda in Iraq was being eroded through the assassination, detention and flight of Sunni Awakening leaders, as well as the increasing politicization of the Iraqi security forces as al-Maliki replaced leaders who he suspected of being close to the United States with ones personally loyal to him.


Earlier this year, Emma Sky's book  THE UNRAVELING: HIGH HOPES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAQ   was published.


Ash Carter's insisting that Haider must be supported because of the fear of the 'alternative' is also important in terms of  a Congressional hearing last week.

We covered last week's hearing in the Tuesday December 1sts snapshot  and the Wednesday, December 3rd snapshot and in "Ash Carter spun wildly to Congress," additional reporting: Cedric's "Hank Johnson's sexual obsession with Barack" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HANK HIS JOHNSON!" covered US House Rep Hank Johnson wasting everyone's time to profess his strangely sexual obsession with Barack and Carter and Gen Joe Dunford refusing to indulge Johnson,  At Rebecca's site, Wally reported on Ranking Member Adam Smith  in "Even House Democrats are criticizing Saint Barack.(Wally)," at Trina's site Ava reported on the obsession with oil that was at the heart of the hearing in "It's still about the oil," Mike reported on US House Rep Niki Tsongas offering some realities about the so-called coalition in "US Armed Services Committee hearing offers a little bit of reality," Ruth reported on US House Rep John Kline's questioning which established that there was no cap on the number of US troops that could be in Iraq "Iraq still matters,"  Kat took on the surreal aspect with "The US just declared war on everyone but Santa," Elaine covered one time anti-war US House Rep Jackie Speier making an idiot of herself in statements and dress with "The idiot Jackie Speier" and Dona moderated a roundtable at Third on the hearing with "Congress and Iraq."


From that hearing, we'll note this exchange.



US House Rep Beto O'Rourke:   There's so much in those countries -- I'll just use Iraq as an example -- that we do not control, cannot control and will not be able to predict when it comes to the political outcomes and so when we say we are going to set conditions on our aid, when we say we are going to set conditions on our military presence, do we really mean that?  Is that a viable threat?  Will we really walk away from Iraq if the government there doesn't meet those conditions?  And I think that's an important question because if, in fact, we will not, then I wonder what the motivation is there for the Iraqi government to take the very important and very difficult steps to integrate these other minorities -- whether they be Kurds, whether they be Sunnis -- into a functioning government -- decentralized or otherwise?


Secretary Ash Carter: Uh, first of all with respect to the first part of your question, uhm, the -- It -- The -- Your point gets back -- is exactly the military and the political going together.  In addition to the -- The only end state that involves the lasting defeat of ISIL is one in which there are -- whether there is local governance that cannot be once again supplanted by ISIL.  That's why once again the political and the military go together -- that's the heart of the strategy and that's why enabling committed, capable forces who can make victory stick is the other part of the definition of victory, critical --


US House Rep Beto O'Rourke:  Yes.


Secretary Ash Carter (Con't):  -- to the strategy. With respect to the leverage, I'll start there in Baghdad but the leverage involves offering to do more for those who are pursuing the same objectives and withholding our support from those who are taking a different path or not going down the path they're supposed to.  So we find alternatives, we find people that can act.  If-if-if the people 
that we're dealing with are not capable of -- because we have to act and we will find such forces that are capable. 





Nouri al-Maliki was rewarded by the White House with a second term when he'd done nothing to bring Iraq together.  And after Barack Obama gave Nouri a second term in 2010, Nouri went on to further persecute the Sunnis.


When the Hawija massacre took place in April 2013?

The US State Dept and President Barack Obama were both too interested, too vested in supporting despot Nouri.

Nouri was allowed to use Iraqi forces to kill innocent civilians -- over 50 of them -- including children! -- and that was because Barack feared the 'alternative' to Nouri.



While so much of the press ignored the massacre, others stepped up.   BRussells Tribunal carried a translation of one activist who was an eye-witness to what went down:



 


I am Thamer Hussein Mousa from the village of Mansuriya in the district of Hawija. I am disabled. My left arm was amputated from the shoulder and my left leg amputated from the hip, my right leg is paralyzed due to a sciatic nerve injury, and I have lost sight in my left eye.
I have five daughters and one son. My son’s name is Mohammed Thamer. I am no different to any other Iraqi citizen. I love what is good for my people and would like to see an end to the injustice in my country.

When we heard about the peaceful protests in Al-Hawija, taking place at ‘dignity and honor square’, I began attending with my son to reclaim our usurped rights. We attended the protests every day, but last Friday the area of protest was besieged before my son and I could leave; just like all the other protestors there.

Food and drink were forbidden to be brought into the area….

On the day of the massacre (Tuesday 23 April 2013) we were caught by surprise when Al-Maliki forces started to raid the area. They began by spraying boiling water on the protestors, followed by heavy helicopter shelling. My little son stood beside me. We were both injured due to the shelling.

My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.

Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.



I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.


 


That's reality.

And that's what Barack tolerated and embraced out of fear of the 'alternative.'

US House Rep Beto O'Rourke was right to ask if there is anything that will make the US government withdraw its support?

Ash Carter stammered through a lot of words but he never could provide a real answer to the question.


In the same hearing, US House Rep Adam Smith (Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee) noted how there's little difference for Iraqis with Haider al-Abadi replacing Nouri as prime minister (in the fall of 2014).


But Ash Carter wants to pretend otherwise.

Let's move to another exchange from this week's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.


Senator Mazie Hirono:  What does defeating ISIS look like?


Secretary Ash Carter:  In Iraq and Syria, which I said is-i-is necessary but not sufficient, but necessary?  It means destroying their organization, their leadership, their ability to control territory, their ability to have a source of revenue and their ability to claim that they are anything but a bunch of barbaraians.  That's what eliminating them means -- that's the end state that we're seeking in Iraq and Syria.  Of course, to get that to stick brings us back to what others -- to what others have been talking about: the political dimension of it.  But for the military dimension of it, that's the point of view, that's the objective.



No one's talking about the political dimensions.


If a senator or House representative happens to ask about it, the administration avoids the issue.



From last week's House Armed Services Committee hearing:


US House Rep Loretta Sanchez:  You said that we are arming the Kurds.  The last time I spoke to [KRG President Mahmoud] Barzani, he suggested that they needed heavier duty weapons versus light arms.  And so my question -- my first question -- would be what are we arming them with?  I mean, is this really for the battlefield that they find?  Secondly,  I'd like you to address this whole issue with respect to the Iraqi army and the inability for us to get integrated -- or for Iraq's government to get it integrated.  I remember back in the -- under the Constitution and the whole issue of, for example, having a vote on the Kurd area being an independent entity, for example.  That was something that I continued to ask our military leaders at the time who were overseeing Iraq and the reality was they kept saying, 'That's the hardest part, that's the hardest part, we're going to get to it.'  And we never got to it before we were gone.  Now we see the fruits of that in that we are still not able to have a military that -- or police force -- that's very integrated.  So what do we do about that?   Uhm, so we've been taking back territory in Iraq and one of the issues that we had is it always takes additional -- I mean, we need to leave troops there or we need to leave somebody there in order to hold onto it. Otherwise, we end up losing that territory.  So what is our strategy to do that?  And the recruitment effort.  I would like -- and I'm sure that it would be not within the public realm, but I would love to get briefed on the cyber issues and how we're countering the recruitment with respect to ISIS, ISIL, whatever you want to call them. these days, from a global perspective.  But in particular are we doing anything that you can talk about in this setting with respect to the recruiting effort in the region itself?  And lastly, DIME -- Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economic.  You know, it's not just military that we need here.  So, Secretary, if you could speak a little to what are some of the other efforts we're doing to counter-act what is really something we need to eliminate which is ISIS.  Thank you.

Secretary Ash Carter: Uh-uh, Congresswoman Sanchez, I'll touch two of the points and ask-ask the Chairman especially with respect -- with-with respect to arming the Kurds -- if you don't mind, Mr. Chairman -- and-and-and generally the Iraqi security forces.  Uhm, you talk about DIME?  Absolutely, it is essential that we recognize even though we -- uhh-uhh, I believe this is absolutely true -- are the center of the campaign because there must be a military defeat of ISIL.  And I also believe that, uh, Iraq and Syria since it is the heart of ISIL, we have to defeat it there.  That said, this is a global fight, it's a multi-dimensional fight, it's in the intelligence sphere, it's in the homeland security sphere, it's in the law enforcement sphere.  And I'm not going to [have] much more to say about that except that I have begun to convene, uh, with Secretary Kerry -- and I appreciate his cooperation, in this regard -- all of the agencies and going through what we're all doing -- making sure that the right hand knows what the left is. So in cyber, you're right I can't talk about it here.  I'm happy to come give you a classified briefing.  But we are linked up.  That's very important.  The FBI.  Jim Comey. Homeland Security.  The intelligence community.  Uh-uh and-and our DoD people.  Last thing I'll say is you ask, we thought about a hold force, a-uh-ugh necessity for a hold force is at the root of our strategy. Our strategy is to find, identify and enable forces that can not only take territory but hold territory because we are -- we know from the last fourteen years that that's the tricky part.  The hard part about getting victory to stick is to find people who can hold territory and govern it decently so that the likes of ISIL don't come back.  And-and as I said, they're hard to find.  They do exist but they're hard to find.  And we're going to try to make a snowball and get more. 


DIME's important, Carter insists.

But no time and effort is being expanded on it.

All the talk is of bombing, all the focus is on military.

Over the next 12 months, let's pretend the US war planes could bomb every member of the Islamic State to death.

Then what?

Because the Islamic State would continue to multiply -- and will continue to multiply.

Until you address the reasons it got a foothold in Iraq to begin with (primarily the persecution of the Sunni people), you aren't defeating the Islamic State and you're not preventing it from multiplying.


Meanwhile, Robert Burns (AP) reports on Barack's plans to send a new group of US forces into Iraq and notes:

Even the name — "specialized expeditionary targeting force" — is a bit of a riddle.
The main point is that the force is intended to ratchet up pressure on Islamic State militants by using a small group of special operations troops — possibly fewer than 100 — to more aggressively use intelligence information, including capturing and killing the group's leaders. In theory, this would generate even more and better intelligence, feeding what the military calls a "virtuous cycle" of intelligence-driven air and ground operations.


We'll close with this from the US Defense Dept:


Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and wounded two ISIL fighters.

-- Near Qaim, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Fallujah, one strike destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Kisik, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL checkpoint.

-- Near Qayyarah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL boats, five ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL weapons caches, and four ISIL command and control nodes.

-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL fighting position, and two ISIL vehicles.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.












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