As noted, I'm on vacation. This week (starting today), we're all at C.I.'s in the Bay Area:
- The Common Ills
- Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
- The Third Estate Sunday Review
- Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man
- Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
- Mikey Likes It!
- Like Maria Said Paz
- Cedric's Big Mix
- The Daily Jot
- Ruth's Report
- Oh Boy It Never Ends
- The World Today Just Nuts
I read Marcia's writing about C.I.'s place back in 2008 which I loved and I remember Elaine explaining in 2006 (at her site) that she and C.I. were working on issues years ago and visiting the Bay Area when C.I. saw this place and said she'd live there some day. Now she does.
I'm tired. Big party tonight with a lot of people and a lot of fun. But I'm ready to fall out.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, July 2, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces deaths, Turkey drops bombs on northrn Iraq, the Pope calls for Iraqi Christians to be protected, new documents released by the Iraq Inquiry do not translate as 'good news' for Tony Blair, Amy Goodman whores for Harvard and counter-insurgency, and more.
Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD – Two U.S. Soldiers have died in unrelated non-combat incidents. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/. The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incidents are under investigation." If that's not the most s**t poor announcement USF/MNF has ever made, I don't know what is. When did the two die? Where did the two die? Why are those details not being supplied? Does anyone supervise these press releases? The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the Iraq War to
Deaths don't happen in a vacuum. Deaths create mourners. Yesterday Katy Clark (PRI's The World, link has transcript and audio) spoke with two widows.
MICHELE NEFF HERNANDEZ: One of the things that they have in common is that moment when they heard the words that changed their lives, "We regret to inform you."
CLARK: That's Michele Neff Hernandez. She's President and Executive Director of the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. It's a national support network for anyone grieving the loss of someone they love. The group holds its second "Camp Widow" next month in San Diego. Hernandez says the age of many military widows can make their plight more difficult.
HERNANDEZ: So many of them are very young and they also share the experience of having their grief set aside by people who assume that their age means they couldn't possibly be that affected by the loss of this love because certainly there's time for another. And there's nothing like being dismissed when you're grieving because it makes it seem as if what you're feeling doesn't matter. And if you want to take that one step further then does that mean that the death of this soldier doesn't matter because there is a family left behind grieving that loss no matter what age he was when he died.
CLARK: I'd like to introduce Taryn Davis. Her husband Michael was a combat engineer in the Army. He was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in May 2007. Taryn, how long had you and Michael been together and were you sort of this typical military wife we're talking about?
TARYN DAVIS: I wasn't the typical military wife while we were together for about 7 years, married for less than a year and a half when he was killed in Baghdag, Iraq. Besides the way that our husbands lose their lives which are very sudden and tragic ways. IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, I mean, the age is a huge aspect of it. I believe that the average age of a soldier killed right now in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars is around 26 or 27 and half of those serving are married. We're looking at a very young age as far as these widows go. I was 21 when Michael was killed and we had lived on a military base while he was stationed in Alaska, but I moved back home to finish school while he was deployed in Iraq and so I didn't really have that military community around me. Michael was signed on for three years in the military and honestly I was one of those people that thought he would die of old age. He would come back and if anything maybe it would be a freak accident like a car accident. I didn't think that his 22 years of life, that his vehicle would be hit by improvised explosive devices, killing himself and two other soldiers that day.
CLARK: For you, how did other military wives react to your news? Those wives whose husbands were still serving. You know, perhaps their worst nightmare you were living out.
DAVIS: You get different reactions. Those that are really supportive and want to be there and like with time kind of fade away. There's those that, you know, kind of feel like you're cursed and they don't want to be around you and fear that that might be their future. And so I mean the reactions are different.
Turning to London where the Iraq Inquiry continued today. The witnesses were Bruce Mann (Director General Financial Management, Ministry of Defence, 2001 to 2004), Tom McKane (Director General Resource & Plans, Ministry of Defence, 2002 to 2006) and Trevor Woolley (Director General Resource & Plans, Ministry of Defence, 1998 to 2002; Financial Director, Ministry of Defence, 2003 to 2009) and the link goes to the video and transcript options. Chair John Chilcot noted at the start that the witnesses were testifying "in a joint session."
Of interest to US audiences should be this section.
Committee Member Roderic Lyne: Something that has been described, I think, elsewhere, as the "engine having to run on hot for a long period" and also with negative impact on training as well as on rest, recuperation and indeed family life.
Trevor Woolley: Absolutely.
Tom McKane: I think the training point is certainly right. There was a real concern that the extent of the commitment would have meant that other forms of collective training, which would have been normally undertaken to prepare for other operations, weren't being done to the extent that they would otherwise have been.
Stretched too thin -- as were US forces. A large amount of the hearing -- especially questions by Committee Member Lawrence Freedman -- addressed economics and planning budgets. It was arcane and largely uninteresting. Hearings resume on Monday. Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) ignores today's testimony to zoom in on released documents, "The Inquiry has published two new declassified documents today, relating to this morning's session on MoD resources. One is a small section of a letter sent jointly from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to Tony Blair on 19 March 2003 (a day before the invasion) on the issue of "Iraq: UK military Contribution to post-conflict Iraq". James Kirkup (Telegraph of London) explains:
In the letter, the ministers told Mr Blair that the British deployment would have to be scaled down quickly.
"It will be necessary to draw down our current commitment to nearer a third by no later than autumn in order to avoid long-term damage to the armed forces," the letter said. "Keeping more forces in Iraq would be outside our current defence planning assumptions.
Iraq yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from its cities. By the end of this summer, only 50,000 U.S. troops will be left in the entire country a country that now finds itself at a crossroads. While violence is down from the levels of 2006 and 2007, many Iraqis say the U.S. is leaving behind a nation that is at best a work in progress," declared Michele Norris on Thursday's All Things Considered (link has text and audio) in the lead in to a report by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But Iraq is a country with little to show for the billions of dollars spent and the lives lost, says Iraqi politician Mahmoud Othman. Four months after parliamentary elections, Iraq's fractious political parties are still negotiating over the formation of a government. It's an acrimonious and sectarian process. And Othman says the players seem to have little sense of anything other than their own narrow interests.
Mr. MAHMOUD OTHMAN (Politician, Iraq): They are not in touch with the people, these people. You look at them, where they are living. They are isolated from people. That's why I don't think they are moving. They don't feel the responsibility.
What has changed in all the years of the Iraq War? What's been improved? Not a damn thing.
The northern border of Iraq continues to be a hot zone of/magnet for violence. Reuters reports that Turkish military aircraft has again bombed northern Iraq with the target being the PKK and that today's bombings follow a clash in which 17 people died. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Six fighter aircraft violated Kurdistan region airspace early Friday, and bombarded three villages in Pishdar district, causing great material damages to homes, farms and livestock, without claiming human lives, said security authorities. The villages that were targeted lie on the shoulders of Mount Qindeel, where the members of the militant Kurd Labour Party, the PKK, take refuge."
The PKK is a rebel faction which fights (sometimes with similar groups of Kurdish rebels) for a Kurdish movement whose ultimate goal is a Kurdish homeland. The Kurdish issue in Turkey has always been problematic to put it mildly. Not only does the government not wish to turn over sovereignty to a region of Turkey primarily composed of Kurds, they do not wish to see any other country create an autonomous Kurdish region. The KRG in Iraq was thought to be more than the Turkish government would tolerate; however, they learned to. This 'adjustment' has not stopped them from conveying to the US that they would not tolerate a breaking up of Iraq that created a Kurdish country (i.e. made the KRG an independent country and not part of Iraq). Some MidEast observers believe that if and when the Palestinian homeland issue is resolved, the Kurdish question would/will be the driving issue for the region.
The Bush administration made statements that a peace was being brokered, being worked on, blah blah blah. Months would pass, the statements forgotten, then violence would break out again. Suddenly the Bush administration would insist they were planning a new way to address the issue. The Obama adminstration has not done a better job on the issue. Which is why a columnist for Hurriyet is already questioning the 'value' of the recent face-to-face meeting between US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kadri Gursel (Hurriyet) wonders if NATO needs to be brought in? The US government shares 'intelligence' with the Turkish government which includes surveillance video of the mountains in northern Iraq (where the PKK has set up base camps). Though bombings from above have gone on for years now, last month saw the Turkish military repeatedly enter Iraq in violation of the country's sovereignty. If Nouri al-Maliki, acting prime minister, gave permission for the invasion, he's been silent on that fact -- no doubt realizing that such an admission would destroy any chance he had at continuing as Iraq's prime minister. Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports, "Families in the dusty mountain border town of Cukurca have grown used to waking every night to the booming sound of artillery shelling and mortar fire echoing in the surrounding hills as troops and separatist guerrillas trade fire."
Nouri's efforts to remain prime minister coincide with further targeting of various groups in Iraq and that includes Sahwa -- also known as the "Awakenings" and "Sons Of Iraq." Yesterday on Morning Edition (NPR), Isra Alubei'i reported (link has text and audio) on the targeting of Sahwa: "Across this Iraqi province, officials, religious leaders and ordinary Iraqis say they are furious over what they say are signs that Iraq's Shiite-led government has been targeting Sunnis. The most recent incident: At least six Sunni detainees died while in custody in Baghdad. The government's version is that they suffocated while being transferred in a poorly ventilated bus. But the families of the victims say the men were clearly subject to torture and abuse. At the wake in Fallujah, Valliv Jamabi(ph) clutches the prisoner ID of his son, Mushtak(ph). Valliv says on the very day he was told his son would be released, a second message arrived informing him that his 35-year-old son, a father of two kids, had died in custody. Valliv says marks on his body clearly showed that the government's contention that he died of suffocation was a lie."
Among the many other at risk populations in Iraq? Iraqi Christians. Today Iraq dispatched their Ambassador to the Vatican, Mohammed Hadi Ali al-Sadr, to see the Pope Benedict XVI. Vatican Radio reports:
Speaking specifically to the plight of Christians in Iraq, Pope Benedict noted that, although they are a small minority of the country's population, they have a valuable contribution to make to its reconstruction and economic recovery through their educational and healthcare apostolates, while their engagement in humanitarian projects provides much-needed assistance in building up society. If they are to play their full part, however, Iraqi Christians need to know that it is safe for them to remain in or return to their homes, and they need assurances that their properties will be restored to them and their rights upheld."
In conclusion, Pope Benedict said it is his earnest hope that Iraq will emerge from the difficult experiences of the past decade as a model of tolerance and cooperation among Muslims, Christians and others in the service of those most in need.
Catholic News Agency quotes the Pope stating that "All Iraqis have a part to play in building a just, moral and peaceable environment." Catholic Culture adds, "In closing his remarks, the Pontiff reminded the Iraqi envoy that the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops will be devoted to the situation in the Middle East, and the prospects for peaceful cooperation among the religious groups of the region."
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded three people, a Baghdad sticky bombing targeting new MP Abdulkereem Muhammed (of Iraqiya) which left him wounded, Reuters notes that Sunni cleric Imam Abdul Aleem al-Saadi was shot dead in Ramadi today.
Meanwhile Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) interviews the top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno. Odierno's talking points have all been heard before. They're also incredibly facile and show a total lack of understanding with regards to terrorism. You kill one terrorist, you make many more. You don't combat terrorism with violence. You may be able to use violence as a stalling tactic, but in a longterm picture, violence and only violence just fuels further terrorism.
Which is why Odierno's pronouncements and the similar ones that Petraeus made before him ever year, never turn out to be true.
Odierno wants the world to know that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia faces financing hardships -- apparently, they'll be holding a telethon shortly? No, they don't face anything. You kill off one backer or arrest another, more sprout in their place. The reasons for terrorism are not addressed via violence. The reasons terrorism breeds are not addressed in violence.
Whether Odierno grasps that or not, I have no idea. But his statements are not encouraging to anyone thinking the US government might know how to 'combat' terrorism. Nor does this DoD press release.
Turning to Rolling Stone. How much of a dumb ass is Amy Goodman? Dumb ass or tool, let's face it, the little whore's not going to take on Harvard. She doesn't have any real guts as she repeatedly demonstrated when publicly lapping up CounterTerrorism guru Samantha Power and then raving and panting -- as though she was masturbating on air -- after the interview during a never ending fundraiser for WBAI about how Power would be and should be the next Secretary of State. As Goody found out, jerk-off fantasies make bring jollies but they rarely pan out in the real world. Yesterday she had Michael Hastings on her increasinly pathetic program that soaks up way too much Pacifica money for what is a cheaply made show. (Most of the money hits Goody's bank account.) We're not linking to the trash. You can Google Democracy Now! and find Thursdays show. The little whore Goody isn't going to take on anything that matters. This is the whore who trashed NPR for refusing to carry the commentaries of a death row prisoner and then . . . stopped carrying the commentaries because she was going to be pulled from NPR stations.
So the little whore offered a gossip session: 'Mikey, what do you really think of Lara Logan? You know she's pretty and I'm ugly so I hate her.' Barack dumped Stanley McCrystal (then top US commander in Afghanistan) as a result of Michael Hastings' article. There are two ways you can go with that. Barack -- as he did with Jeremiah Wright -- dumped McCrystal because he will accept nothing less than unquestioning devotion. An argument can be made for that. It may be why McCrystal was fired. But it's also true the big story of the article included something else:
From the start, McChrystal was determined to place his personal stamp on Afghanistan, to use it as a laboratory for a controversial military strategy known as counterinsurgency. COIN, as the theory is known, is the new gospel of the Pentagon brass, a doctrine that attempts to square the military's preference for high-tech violence with the demands of fighting protracted wars in failed states. COIN calls for sending huge number of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation's government -- a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve. The theory essentially rebrands the military, expanding its authority (and its funding) to encompass the diplomatic and political sides of warfare: Think the Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps. In 2006, after Gen. David Petraeus beta-tested the theory [C.I. note, Hastrings is wrong,it's a "hypothesis" -- when you don't get science right you aid in the creationinst battle, I didn't enlist to fight against science, Petraeus had a hypothesis, he did not have a theory. Evolution is a theory, it's is not a hypothesis. It has been repeatedly tested. People need to learn the difference between theory and hypothesis and chose the words carefully] during his "surge" in Iraq, it quickly gained a hardcover following of think-tankers, journalists, military officers and civilian officials. Nicknamed "COINdinists" for their cultish zeal, this influential cadre believed the doctrine would be the perfect solution for Afghanistan. All they needed was a general with enough charisma and political savy to implement it.
Enter Petraeus. Now the above excerpt is not buried in the long article, nor is that the only mention of counter-insurgency. It's been spelled "counter-insurgency" for a long, long time. Check the history books. The latest Nazi War Criminals promoting it thought they'd make it one word without the hyphen. It was used to attack the Vietnamese, it was used to attack the Native Americans in what is now the US. In Avatar, James Cameron exposed the hypocrisy and foolishness of the destructive strategy.
He exposed it and that's why Thomas E. Ricks pissed his panties in public and then stuffed down his own mouth. Thomas E. Ricks couldn't take the reality of what his whoring (he's no longer a journalist) and the whoring of others is doing. As they whore and promote counter-insurgency, they promote death and destruction. It's always been that way and it's why each generation has condemned counter-insurgency in the US. However, it's been able to get by with very little criticism for the last years. Partly because whores like Amy Goodman won't question it. The Iraq War passed the seven year mark in March and Whore Amy Goodman has never, EVER, done a report on counter-insurgency.
You think that's an accident. Hell no. The whore won't take on Harvard. Harvard -- specifically the Carr Center -- is where the destruction comes from. It's where Samantha Power and Sarah Sewall and all the other little whores of counter-insurgency tend to spring from. To those who embrace counter-insurgency and those who look the other way, I have no pity for you, I have no sympathy for you. I know that your actions are making the personal hell that you will be confined to and I am very happy about that because, throughout the ages, counter-insurgency has always been found to be unethical. You can pretty it up, you can tart it up, it's still a crime against a people and it always will be.
Goody likes to cover her Guantanamo psychologists, doesn't she? But whore won't go after COIN. In the case, of the Guantanamo doctors, there's no question that crimes took place; however, what really matters is that Goody knows she doesn't have to go up against any powerful institution. Harvard, however, scares Amy Goodman. So the whores who plot the murders and deaths of civilians and cultures get away without their crimes without any tut-tuting from Amy Goodman. The little whore spent twenty minutes -- TWENTY MINUTES -- with Michael Hastings and never asked about counter-insurgency. She did have time to ask about Lara Logan. What a whore. Last week, Timothy Hsia's "Rolling Stone Article's True Focus: Counterinsurgency" was up at the New York Times website:
The Rolling Stone profile on Gen. Stanley A. McChyrstal has made civil-military relations a national debate. But an equally important question raised by the article is the limitations of counterinsurgency, or COIN. The article by Michael Hastings article should not be read simply as a profile of a general but also as an indictment on counterinsurgency and the growing dissatisfaction inside the military with COIN theory and its practice in war (though General McChrystal's replacement on Wednesday, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the leading proponent of counterinsurgency, seemed to indicate there would be no immediate shift away from the strategy).
Those in favor of continued resolve in Afghanistan argue that counterinsurgency is a manpower intensive strategy which requires broadened time horizons, and that it is the approach that will finally correct previous missteps made in Afghanistan. Hastings writes, "COIN … is the new gospel of the Pentagon brass, a doctrine that attempts to square the military's preference for high-tech violence with the demands of fighting protracted wars in failed states."
And Revolution magazine (via World Can't Wait) tackled the real issues in "The Firing of a War Criminal.... And the Criminal War in Afghanistan :"
COIN is meant to address these problems. This strategy, modeled on the genocidal U.S. war in Vietnam, relies more on massive ground troops, in conjunction with air strikes. It involves taking and occupying large swaths of territory, killing insurgents, and then trying to form alliances with reactionary local forces in order to establish pro-U.S. governance. It aims to "win the hearts and minds" of civilians -- hoping they will not aid, abet and join the forces fighting the United States. It is billed as a "kinder, gentler" occupation, but in reality it is no less brutal and murderous -- and NOT in the interests of the people.
COIN is supposed to minimize civilian casualties. But in reality this has hardly been the case. In fact, in 2009, civilian casualties in Afghanistan climbed to their highest number since the start of the war. (UN Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 2009)
A basic contradiction here is that the U.S. military is an occupying army -- its mission by definition is brutal and murderous and the more it bombs, murders, tortures, etc., the more it alienates the people. A central goal of the U.S. war in Afghanistan is subduing -- by any means necessary -- a population in which most don't want to be under foreign domination. Thousands of people in Afghanistan have experienced the brutality and murder of the U.S. troops and they distrust if not hate the American occupiers and the Afghani flunkies the U.S. put in the government. Night raids, special operations, covert assassinations, extrajudicial killings, drone strikes, the use of military contractors, massive detentions and torture, and all-around terror are embedded in the nature of this imperialist occupation. And every U.S. bombing of a wedding, every massacre of civilians, only fuels anti-U.S. sentiment -- no matter how hard the U.S. tries to "win hearts and minds" by building a few schools.
Last Friday, brought the good news of the possible replacement for US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill. Laura Rozen (Politico) reports today that Hill will be going to Denver and be the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at Denver University. It's the perfect post for Hill, he's a mere figurehead and it allows him to continue the tradition Mad Maddie Albright's father started of infecting everyone with Blood Lust. It's a lust, it must be noted, that has taken over the US Congress. In the 2006 campaigning, they said, "Give us one house of Congress, we'll stop the Iraq War." They got both houses, control of both houses and the wars continue to drag on. Andrew Aylward (San Francsico Chronicle) reports the US House of Representatives just voted on YET ANOTHER SUPPLEMENTAL, this one pouring $33 billion more into the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. War Hawk and War Whore David Obey spread for $16.7 billion in domestic spending -- that's what his vote cost. Though we all know David Sirota we'll thump his sunken chest in defense of his mentor and whatever else they were to one another. Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan is no War Hawk and she's gearing up for more peace action:
Last week, when I was preparing to go to New Orleans for the Emergency Meeting for the disaster in the Gulf, my youngest daughter, and mother of my two precious grandbabies, said:
"Mom, why do you all keep doing this stuff when it doesn't work?"
All I had to do was look at my innocent and darling grandbabies -- as darling as this little Afghan baby -- to know why I keep "doing this stuff."
Life is so precious and tenuous and it seems like US foreign policy is becoming more demented as the Gulf of Mexico is being destroyed by greed, incompetence and criminal negligence. And, like the president said at a recent press conference in Toronto, Canada–I am "obsessed" with ending the wars, and I might even add that I have a compulsion to do everything I can to make that happen.
Now, I am getting ready to head back across the country for 16 days of protest in the capital of the Empire.
JUST ADDED: July 3th (Saturday): END THE FED! DC Federal Reserve Building
INDEPENDENCE FROM OIL DAY!!!