Saturday, April 17, 2021

Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig? I feel so sorry for her. She's a good comic actress. But she doesn't seem to know what she's doing. BRIDESMAIDS was the kind of huge hit that smart people consolidate by doing similar films. She blew her chances by doing a 'variety' of roles -- all bad and THE GIRL MOST LIKELY was the worst of the worst. She also produced that one so that's really on her.

By the time she teamed up with Melissa McCarthy for that hideous GHOSTBUSTERS reboot it was all over. One bad film after another ensured she wasn't a movie star. GHOSTBUSTERS ensured a lot of people didn't like her.

GHOSTBUSTERS could have been funny. It needed tweeking but a few reshoots here and there and the film could have worked. Leslie Jones worked in the film and I would have added her a little more with reshoots. I would have cut back a lot of Kate McKinnon. She's not very good in the film. Is it the writing? Maybe but a lot of it is her. She's like Jane Lynch or Oliver Platt -- a little goes a long, long way. I would have added a strong, physical comedy scene with just Kristen and Melissa because the film lacked that, a strong centering scene that made you appreciate that the two were friends and what they could do as friends. And I would have reshot Chris Hemsworth's scenes. Pretty much all of them. I think he played his role very well -- and he played it better than written, read the shooting script -- but he was playing it as the ultimate himbo and no one seemed aware of that. Or else they were cheating his performance for whatever reason. I would have had wardrobe work up barely there costumes to fit into the himbo he was playing and kept his character on display in them. And maybe in the only action sequence he's in, the third act, have one of his little outfits split as he's in motion or rip off and go to Melissa for a close up with some smart remark.

I really think after humor was let down, the next thing let down was Chris Hemsworth's performance. That was a real performance and it should have been framed better and costumed better. I think the film also could have used a better soundtrack. It was a little too 'light' when it needed to be something with really heavy and slamming drums.

Kristen had a shot at movie stardom but, post-BRIDESMAIDS, she made about 13 terrible films. I can't think of anyone in comedy who made that many awful films that they starred in. I hoped WONDER WOMAN 1984 would give her a lift but that character was nothing and that movie was even worse. So now? Now she's going to be playing an evil step-sister in a live action CINDERELLA film. It really is over for her in terms of starring in a movie.


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

 Friday, April 16, 2021.  There is no win in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan -- is there a reason Australia's msm can discuss that but the US msm can't?

Starting with this from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: 

April 14, 2021

New York, NY – In response to President Biden’s decision to fully withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) released the following statement:

“Over the last 20 years, the veteran community has grown by millions of American servicemembers, seen 20,722 injured on active duty, and 2,488 die serving their country in Afghanistan. These are the men and women IAVA fights for,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of IAVA. “While there are no perfect solutions to the conflict, there are solutions to protect and support the millions of veterans left in its wake. The Warfighters Act, a bipartisan bill that establishes new VA benefits for veterans suffering health conditions caused by toxic exposures, is an example of one such solution that IAVA is fighting for everyday. 

“In addition to supporting our veterans who face health challenges due to toxic exposures, the post-9/11 generation of veterans faces the highest proportion of suicides and mental health challenges due to their service. This is why IAVA urges quick and effective implementation of the Hannon Act, which is the most comprehensive piece of legislation addressing veteran suicide and was passed into law last year.” 

“Finally, IAVA stands with the Afghan and Iraqi citizens who seek visas under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The US partnered with these brave men and women for years and we must ensure that the SIV program is used to its fullest potential and that we keep our promises to our allies overseas.

We hope the Biden Administration will prioritize efforts like the Warfighters Act and continue to find other ways to protect those who have served in Afghanistan as it considers its withdrawal plan. IAVA remains ready to support the administration and work alongside Congress and the VA in its efforts to do so.”

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at


And let's note Melanie's "Till They All Get Home."

Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
I knew when we woke up
You would be leaving
You knew when you left me
It might be too long
That kiss on your shoulder
It's me looking over
Close to your heart
So you're never alone
Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home

-- "Till They All Get Home," written by Melanie (Safka) and first appears on Melanie's Crazy Love.

Patrick Martin (WSWS) notes:

Biden is the third American president to promise to end the war in Afghanistan. Even if the last 3,500 or so American soldiers leave the country, there will still remain thousands of CIA operatives, mercenaries and paratroopers propping up the puppet government of President Ashraf Ghani. And the Pentagon will continue to drop bombs and fire missiles more or less at will at whatever the US claims are “terrorist” targets. A renewed deployment of combat troops, as in Iraq, is entirely possible.

But Biden’s announcement provides an occasion for drawing a balance sheet of the longest war in the history of the United States, one which has produced incalculable suffering for the people of Afghanistan, squandered vast resources and brutalized American society.

By official figures, more than 100,000 Afghans have been killed in the war, no doubt a vast underestimation. The US waged this war through the methods of “counterinsurgency,” that is, through terror: bombing wedding parties and hospitals, drone assassination, abductions and torture. In one of the crowning atrocities of the war, in 2010, US aircraft carried out a half-hour long attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people.

Biden’s brief remarks announcing the military withdrawal made no reference to the dire conditions in the country, for which American imperialism bears the principal responsibility.

The war, based on the deliberate misrepresentation of the US’s real aims, was sold to the American population as a response to the events of September 11, 2001, which have never been the subject of a serious investigation. It was, in reality, an illegal war of aggression, aimed at dominating and subjugating a historically oppressed population in pursuit of the predatory interests of US imperialism.

No one has been held accountable for the crimes perpetrated by the US military in Afghanistan, including the officials in the Bush administration, who launched it, and the Obama administration, who perpetuated it. George W. Bush is (lately) praised as a statesman because he is less openly crude and dictatorial than Donald Trump.

Barack Obama is treated by the media as a celebrity although he is the only American president to have waged war every day he was in office. Top aides, from Donald Rumsfeld to Hillary Clinton, enjoy millionaire retirements. Obama’s vice president now occupies the White House. This criminal war was supported by every section of the US political establishment, Republican and Democrat, including Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted for it.

Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) observes

In his April 14 speech, President Joe Biden made the point that should have long been evident: that Washington could not “continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result.”  As if to concede to the broader failure of the exercise, “the terror threat” had flourished, being now present “in many places”.  To keep “thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders.”

For such a long stay, the objectives have been far from convincing.  The US presence in Afghanistan should focus “on the reason we went there in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again.  We did that.  We accomplished that objective.” A debacle is dressed up in the robes of necessity, the original purpose being to “root out al Qaeda” in 2001 and “to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States planned from Afghanistan.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is marshalling European leaders to aid in the withdrawal effort.  “I am here,” he stated at NATO’s Belgium headquarters, “to work closely with our allies, with the secretary general, on the principle that we have established from the start, ‘In together, adapt together and out together’.”  There have been few times in history, perhaps with the exception of the Vietnam War, where defeat has been given such an unremarkable cover.

Little improvement on this impression was made at a meeting between Blinken and Abdullah Abdullah, chair of the Afghanistan High Commission for National Reconciliation.  According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the secretary “reiterated the US commitment to the peace process and that we will use our full diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian toolkit to support the future the Afghan people want, including the gains made by Afghan women.”

At the US embassy in Kabul, Blinken made an assortment of weak assurances about “America’s commitment to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan and the Afghan people.”  Despite the troops leaving the country, the “security partnership will endure.”  There was “strong bipartisan support for that commitment to the Afghan Security Forces.”  There would be oodles of diplomacy, economic investment and development assistance.  And, as for the Taliban, joyfully lurking in the wings to assume power, Blinken had this assessment: “It’s very important that the Taliban recognize that it will never be legitimate and it will never be durable if it rejects a political process and tries to take the country by force.”

A better, and more accurate sense of attitudes to Kabul could be gathered in the remarks of a senior Biden official, as reported in the Washington Post.  “The reality is that the United States has big strategic interests in the world…. Afghanistan just does not rise to the level of those other threats at this point.”  Afghanistan, in time, will be discarded like strategic refuse.

Critics invariably assume various aspects of the imperial pose: to leave the country is to surrender a policing function, to encourage enemies, to reverse any gains (shallow as they are), to lay the grounds for the need for potential re-engagement.  An erroneous link is thereby encouraged linking US national security interests with the desperate ruination that has afflicted a State that has not seen peace in decades. For its part, the US contribution to that ruination has been, along with its coalition allies, far from negligible.

Bra-less celebrity Barack Obama issued a Tweet  accompanied by a statement:

After nearly two decades in Afghanistan, it’s time to recognize that we have accomplished all that we can militarily, and bring our remaining troops home. I support @POTUS’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.

Aging starlet Barack needs to grasp that he is not the president, he's the former president."  It really is a slap at Joe Biden.  So nice of Barack to take time away from pretending he knows how to create content to issue a lie.

Sarah Abdallah hits back at Barry with:

You bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.

Just some of the reality Barack wishes he could avoid.  Coddled and cuddled by the US press, he really serves no national interest today and reality will break through.  Thing about being a young president?  You have many, many years left during which you will be held accountable for your crimes.

That's Australia's SKY NEWS discussing lessons from the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War.  Australia.  No connection being made in the US corporate media.  

The Iraq War has not improved the lives of the Iraqi people, it has not provided them with a responsive and representative government.  It has accomplished nothing.  Paisley Dodds (THE NEW HUMANITARIAN -- link is text and audio) notes that even the 'helpers' in Iraq don't have clean hands:

Unaddressed claims of misconduct by Oxfam staff weren’t confined to the Democratic Republic of Congo, five whistleblowers have told The New Humanitarian, revealing that complaints also piled up in Iraq before 12 workers finally filed a joint grievance last year.

The Iraq claims, coming hot on the heels of misconduct allegations in Congo earlier this month, point to persistent and enduring questions around the transparency of Oxfam’s dealings with its staff, the whistleblowers said.

The revelations also raise questions about the extent to which Oxfam made changes after its 2010 sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti: The Charity Commission for England and Wales called for a 100-point action plan a year after the Haiti scandal was uncovered in 2018, noting bullying and a “failure to consistently hold people to account for poor behaviour”. 

“What happens in Iraq, stays in Iraq,” one whistleblower who spoke with The New Humanitarian recalled a senior manager saying on learning that misconduct allegations had been raised. The former Oxfam worker alleged that the aid charity turned a blind eye to the manager’s behaviour for years because the person had been successful at raising donor funds. Two others said they also heard the manager use the same phrase.

[. . .]

The same whistleblower who worked in Iraq said senior managers repeatedly skirted procedures and tried to discourage people from taking complaints forward.

“He also bragged to me and others about having been investigated and coming out with little consequences,” another said. “There was this feeling of impunity.”

The toxic environment led many national staff to quit, a third former Oxfam staffer said, noting that many expressed fears of going to the field when tensions were flaring: “[The manager] would say, ‘If they can’t handle the job, they can leave.’ As a result, we never had motivated staff. National staff were not prioritised, and many of the community programmes lacked permanence and community ownership.”

Results of some local partnership programmes were also inflated, one former worker said, adding that the numbers were aimed at donors and self-promotion but not grounded in reality. 

Another whistleblower said the work was hard enough, trying to build trust within Iraqi communities and working to help people on the ground, adding: “We didn’t need to be bullied on top of this.”

Oil, as Alan Greenspan, former Fed Chair, noted (and then walked back under pressure), was the main reason the US invaded Iraq.  Oil is also one of the main reasons Iraq suffers.  Despite the efforts of the country to move to solar, they'll be carbon based for some time and that causes problems.

Bel Trew (INDEPENDENT) reports:

On the bad days, when the chimneys roar so intensely that the windows shake, families say thick soot appears in the air, killing plants and dusting everything a volcanic grey. For the inhabitants of Nahran Omar, a town in southern Iraq perched next to several oil wells, the flames rising from the towers, belching toxic chemicals into the air, are their daily reality.

This controversial practice of flaring – burning excess gas produced during the extraction of oil – is a major contributor to the climate crisis, experts say, but also a deadly threat to those who live nearby. The pollutants released have been linked to asthma, lung and skin diseases, and cancer.

Iraq is one of the biggest offenders in the world for flaring, and Basra – the province in which Nahran Omar is located – is the country’s worst-affected area. 

Funded by our Supporter Programme, The Independent spoke to inhabitants who warn the practice is killing children and the elderly, the weak and the fit. Though it’s hard to prove a direct link between specific illnesses and the flares, there has been a 50 per cent spike in cancer rates over the last decade, according to the town’s mayor, who says there are as many as 150 cases within the 1,600-strong community.

Muhammed Hassan, 43, whose 14-year-old has bone marrow cancer, tells The Independent: “When I went to the doctor with my son, whose spine was curved and skin was pale, he asked me where I live. I said, ‘Nahran Omar,’ and he said, ‘You don’t need to say any more. I understand this is because of the pollution.’”

Iraq has oil and the US government has ensured it has a non-responsive government that won't protect the people.  Oil is very, very cheap when no safeguards are ensured to protect the people.  Just part of the continued war on the Iraqi people.

Which brings us to the latest let's-celebrate-war video game.

What took place in Falluja?  War Crimes.  I don't know why anyone would ever think it was something to turn into a game.  Hopefully, those who do play the game are at least smart enough to grasp that.

We noted Sarah Leah Whitson's essay on Iraq yesterday but she's Tweeted about it so we'll use that as an excuse to note it again:

My reflection on 30 years of working on #Iraq starting with the First Gulf War, for those who remember it. In short, US has made things catastrophically worse.

If you haven't read it yet, you should make a point to, it's a major piece.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Do I offend thee, WSWS, do I offend?

Are John Burton and the WSWS outraged by a Supreme Court decision? Are they expecting me to join them in outrage? Burton writes

 The US Supreme Court has for the fourth time barred local authorities from requiring religious gatherings to abide by the same general COVID-19 mitigation measures that apply to everyone else, having reversed course after the rushed confirmation of Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett last October that solidified a new five-vote, extreme right-wing majority. Indoor religious gatherings are among the most serious COVID-19 “superspreader” events, as crowds from different households greet each other and then sit close together for an extended period, often in poor ventilation, and sometimes singing or chanting. Before the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last September, the four moderate justices, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, twice declined to exempt indoor church services from broad regulations enacted to curtail the pandemic, which also limited theaters, sporting venues, nightclubs, concert halls and similar locations. Starting in November, however, by votes of 5-4 or 6-3 (with Roberts sometimes joining the extreme right) the Supreme Court has issued four extraordinary late-night injunctions exempting religious gathering public health measures in New York and California, the most recent coming shortly before midnight last Friday. 

 Am I supposed to be outraged? I'm not. Consider me just another church going African-Americans who believes in God. You could also consider me a citizens of the United States who believes in Freedom of Religion. I'm not sure which of those beliefs so offends WSWS but they really piss me off on both counts. That they think they're too 'evolved' to have faith wouldn't surprise me nor that they look down on people like myself who attend Black churches -- even though, historically, it's the Black churches in America that have moved mountains when it comes to societal change -- not the WSWS. If it's the Constitution being followed that has so upset them, they might want to check themselves. Or they could also just spend more time writing their deranged Donald Trump articles. Donald's been out of the White House for four months but they can't let him go, they need the clicks, they need the daily outrage. It's people like WSWS that empowered Donald to begin with. 

 And let's not forget that they empowered Joe Biden The War Hawk by allowing their SEP candidate (SEP is WSWS' political party) for president Joseph Kishore to cease his campaign in late September, early October. They pretend to be different than Jacobin and the DSA but, in the end, they really aren't. I'm a Green and I supported Howie Hawkins. Here's Howie and Angela's latest weekly video.



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

 Thursday, April 15, 2021.  Joe Biden speaks, will he deliver?

US President Joe Biden lied to the American people yet again in a speech broadcast last night.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes:

US President Joe Biden announced Wednesday afternoon that the remaining American troops in Afghanistan would begin pulling out on May 1 and that all of them would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.

The choice of a final withdrawal date was intended to reinforce the longstanding lie by Washington that its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan were in response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. In reality, the attack on Afghanistan was in preparation well before that date, and the invasion was aimed at accomplishing long-term strategic aims for American imperialism.The televised statement from the White House and the accompanying media buildup, however, could not dispel the atmosphere of futility and failure that surrounds the withdrawal—if, indeed, the final pullout takes place on schedule.

Biden reportedly rejected pleas by Pentagon and CIA officials that any pullout should be “conditions-based,” i.e., conditional on some sort of agreement between the Taliban insurgents and the Kabul puppet regime established by the United States. By one account, citing an unnamed “senior administration official,” Biden viewed such an approach as “a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

While warning the Taliban not to attack American forces or their NATO allies during the withdrawal period, Biden indicated that there were no circumstances in which he would reverse his decision. He only left open the threat that US military force could be employed against any possible terrorist threat to the United States, a warning that applies to virtually every country in the world.

While there are officially 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan and another 6,500 from other NATO countries, press reports indicate that the actual number of American soldiers is 3,500. This does not count thousands of other American personnel, from CIA agents to mercenaries to Special Forces paratroopers, who are likely to continue operations in that country as long as Washington feels it necessary to prop up the Kabul regime, which has no other base of support.

[. . .]

In his remarks Wednesday, Biden referred to the 2,300 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan, the tens of thousands of wounded and $2 trillion expended on 20 years of war. He made no reference whatsoever to the catastrophic impact on the Afghan people and on Afghanistan as a society, one of many destroyed by American imperialism over the past two decades, along with Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and large parts of northern Africa.

Similarly, there has been virtually no mention in the US media of the damage and the colossal loss of life inflicted by American forces. Instead, there were crocodile tears about the savagery of the Taliban and the likelihood of severe setbacks for women’s rights should the fundamentalist religious group come to power again in Kabul.

One of the most cynical efforts to portray Biden’s decision as a humanitarian and even progressive action came from David Sanger, the designated recipient of leaks from the CIA and Pentagon at the New York Times. He wrote that Biden was pulling out troops at least in part because “he wants the United States focused on a transformational economic and social agenda at home,” adding that in Biden’s view “the priorities are fighting poverty and racial inequities and increasing investment in broadband, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and 5G communications—not using the military to prop up the government of President Ashraf Ghani.” He concluded, “In the end, the argument that won the day is that the future of Kenosha is more important than defending Kabul.”

The resources squandered by American imperialism in Afghanistan will not go to rebuild deindustrialized cities in the Midwest, however. They will be redeployed against the major targets of Washington, in Russia and China.

The war on Afghanistan did not start because of 9/11.  The Taliban did not attack the United States on September 11, 2001.  They were asked to hand over Osama bin Laden and others in al Qaeda.  Their reply was they wanted to see some evidence of a connection to the crime.  That's really not uncommon.  When one country wants another country to hand someone over (think Julian Assange who continues to be persecuted by the US government), they present a case and some backing information that they believe justifies extradition.  The US government refused to provide any.  Bellicose and belligerent, the Bully Boy Bush regime conveyed through then-Secretary of State Collie The Blot Powell that they would provide their supporting evidence after -- after -- the extraditions took place.  Some will or have read that to mean that the US had no proof connecting Osama bin Laden to the 9/11 attack and that might be (FBI judgments in the early '00s would fuel that belief) but it also likely that the refusal to provide support for the demand was just the usual US government looking down on other countries and try to bully others into getting their way.

Joe connected it to 9/11 without explaining that the Taliban had stated they needed supporting evidence to do the deportation.  The refusal to deport is what led to the war on Afghanistan.

Like the Iraq War (and Iraq wars), the Afghanistan War accomplished nothing but death and destruction.  All these years later, there's still a non-functioning government in place, a corrupt government, an abusive government.  Again, just like Iraq.

At THE AMERICAN PROPSECT, Sarah Leah Whitson offers:

Thirty years ago, some classmates and I took a break from our studies at Harvard and set out on a self-appointed mission. We traveled to Iraq to investigate the true devastation caused by the U.S.-led coalition’s bombardment. Little did we know that the 1991 war would be remembered as a blip in America’s Iraq adventures, now merely called the First Gulf War, to be followed by decades of far greater devastation: 22 years of sanctions and air strikes, a Second Gulf War, military occupation, and what’s now just another one of our global endless wars.

Today, the country remains in shambles, and the Iraqi people are left holding the bag. Purveyors of American empire and Iraqi desperation never tire of offering up fresh justifications to give the U.S. just one more go at a fix. But it really is time for the U.S. to step aside, as it’s been promising to do for far too long. For those focused on the welfare of the people of Iraq, but still driven, despite the overwhelming evidence of three decades, to seek help from the U.S. government, it’s past time to come to terms with the reality that U.S. policies have never helped the Iraqi people.

[. . .]

And so again, our group returned to Iraq, just before the war in January 2003, this time in a bid to bring Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter to the country to negotiate a last-ditch resolution to the conflict. We failed. Instead, Bush pursued the calamity of the U.S. war, with strong bipartisan support, as prominent Democrats fell over themselves to establish their war-hawk credentials: Then-Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted for the war, as did then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, with stacked-deck hearings lasting less than two days, engineered by then–Senate Foreign Relations Committee Director Tony Blinken. The war soon became laden with even creepier mission creep than the prior Iraq war: the overthrow of Hussein and calamitous dismantling of Iraqi government institutions, a two-year occupation replete with notorious torture prisons and military contractors run amok, and the installation of a hand-picked Shia-dominated, Iran-influenced government facing ever-emergent Sunni resistance militias. The war and the government system established by the U.S. solidified the notion of the country as split between Sunnis and Shias.

One corrupt and brutal sectarian administration after another tried to quash new uprisings by Iraqis aggrieved by their rule, particularly in the Sunni provinces, bolstered with what became permanent U.S. military forces providing “essential” military support for their survival. The U.S. spent tens of billions more on advisers to new Iraqi governments, providing advice on constitution drafting, governance, and reconstruction, even, of course, rebuilding the electrical plants we destroyed in 1991; estimates of the cost of the war and its aftermath run to $2 trillion. Much if not most of the money was spent in military aid to bolster Iraq’s security forces. Even after the formal “withdrawal” of U.S troops in 2011 under President Obama, over 5,000 defense contractors and 20,000 embassy and consulate personnel, all with diplomatic immunity, remained in the country to service over $10 billion in arms deals and “train and advise” Iraqi security forces. The U.S. also continued to determine fateful political outcomes for the country, most disastrously with then–Vice President Joe Biden tipping the scales to ensure Nouri Al-Maliki’s re-election as prime minister, despite warning bells that Maliki had become increasingly sectarian, violent, and authoritarian.

Sadly, the post-occupation Iraqi security forces emerged as unjust and brutal as their predecessors, as mountains of human rights reports attest. There was a time when an Iraqi or Kurdish security official would be embarrassed when confronted with evidence of torture, mass executions, massacres, burning of homes, and razing of villages, unfavorably comparing them to the tyrant under whom they themselves had suffered. But with time, the shame faded and only the repression remained. By 2013, following the Maliki government’s multiple massacres of Sunni protesters, I warned that a civil war was imminent.

Read in full.   Wonder why the US remains in Iraq.  

B-b-b-ut Joe said troops were coming out of Afghanistan!!!!

He says a lot of things  Donald Trump said some things from time to time.  He promised to end the Iraq War when campaigning in 2016.  But he didn't.  He did (finally) reduce the troop level a little.  Take a look at how we covered it -- with skepticism and noting it wasn't what was promised or what was needed.  

We didn't fall for Barack Obama's lies either.  

Joe's lies?  As Vice President, he was over Iraq.  Sarah's condensing a huge time period in her article because it's a huge time period to cover.  Most of the sentences in her essay could be developed into three to four paragraphs or even individual papers.  

But let's note two things Joe-related.

In 2010, Iraq held elections.  She notes Joe backed Nouri al-Maliki:

The U.S. also continued to determine fateful political outcomes for the country, most disastrously with then–Vice President Joe Biden tipping the scales to ensure Nouri Al-Maliki’s re-election as prime minister, despite warning bells that Maliki had become increasingly sectarian, violent, and authoritarian.

Again, that's 2010.  And Nouri's thuggish ways were already well known.  For years.  In fact, Joe Biden was in charge of Iraq because Nouri's ways were well known.


Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State in 2010.  The drawdown (passed off as a "withdrawal") would see the State Dept put over Iraq -- DoD handed off to them.  But Joe would continue to be the one over Iraq.


Because in an open hearing in 2008 (April of 2008, we covered it) ,Hillary Clinton noted that Nouri was a thug.  She used the term "thug."  It was an accurate description.  But it was a very well covered hearing, the press was out in full force.  You had David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker spending the week appearing before various Congressional committees to resell the Iraq War.  They brought press attention.  Also bringing press attention?  Senators Hillary and Barack.  They were both running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  So the press was out in full force.

Well -- not full force.  Spencer Ackerman had decided that 'reporting' meant lying for his candidate of choice (Barack) and refusing to cover Hillary in the hearing where she was so much stronger and more forceful than Barack who arrived late but got to jump ahead of the line because Chair John Kerry always thought Barack was cute and dreamy -- bromance?  More like brolust.  Spencer was watching the hearing via TV or internet and 'live blogging' it but he missed out on Hillary's 20-plus minutes and insisted he had lost his signal.  No, he'd lost his marbles and was reaching around in his briefs in desperation because Hillary outshined Barack in that hearing.  

So in that hearing, Hillary called Nouri a thug.  Which he is. She wasn't the only one to make that call.  Among the others making the call that week?  Then-Senator Barbara Boxer.  

Because of that moment, Hillary could not be over Iraq, not when Nouri was prime minister (2006 through 2014).  So Barack put Joe over Iraq.  

What few realized was that Joe called Nouri a thug as well.  But it was the least reported on hearing that week (we covered it).  The press was apparently exhausted from the weeks worth of House and Senate hearings on Iraq and they didn't even show for the hearing.  It was a good hearing and both Joe and Senator Russ Feingold made important points in it.  

Nouri lost the 2010 election.  It was a shock to many -- including a lying male reporter' on NPR who called the election for Nouri -- stated he won, not that he was calling it, but that Nouri won -- the day after the election when they didn't even have a third of the votes counted or figures released.

It shouldn't have been a shock.  Joe was tight with Chris Hill -- because idiots run in packs?  Chris was US Ambassador to Iraq at the time.  Ahead of the 2010 election, Chrissy had a hissy.  The press was covering Gen Ray Odierno and not Chrissy!!!!  Chrissy was a pompous ass who said nothing of news value whereas Odierno offered quotes that the press loved to run with.  Odierno also didn't put on airs.  In addition, he was accessible to the media (while Chrissy was famous for being unavailable during working hours because he was napping -- on the job, on the American taxpayers' dime).

So Chrissy whined to Joe and Joe ran to Barack and Ray Odiero was told not to be speaking to the press because Chrissy never got enough validation as a child and this was a trigger incident for him -- why, oh why, couldn't Iraq just be a safe space for Chrissy!

This pulled Ray out of the decision making he should have been in on.  Ahead of the elections, he saw that it was likely Nouri would lose the election (we did too) because bribing people with ice and water right before the elections really doesn't make up for the terror you have inflicted upon them with sectret prisons and torture centers.  Ray stated there was a good chance Nouri would lose and his fear was that Nouri would then refuse to step down.

Which, please remember, is exactly what happened.

He would have to be looped back into the conversation by Hillary and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.  And Chrissy would leave Iraq before the year was out and leave in disgrace.


Joe said troops out of Afghanistan!  

And he also said, in 2010, that the US would respect the will of the Iraqi people in the election.  But they didn't.  Nouri lost to Ayad Allawi.  And the democratic process should have been bye-bye Nouri.  But then Joe and others (including Samantha Power) decided that the US needed Nouri for 'stability' and because if he was in place, he would agree to troops remaining in Iraq, and because . . .

Votes didn't matter.  The Iraqi people didn't matter.  All that mattered was keeping Nouri in place.  

So Joe oversaw The Erbil Agreement.  This was a legal contract that the various political heads in Iraq signed off on.  It would give Nouri a second term -- something the voters didn't do.  In exchange, the contract gave the various political blocs things they wanted.

Joe put his stamp of approval on.  And it meant nothing -- Joe's word meant nothing.

Nouri used The Erbil Agreement to get his second term and then ignored it until a few months later his spokesperson announced the contract was illegal and Nouri would not be bound by it.  For any confused on the timeline, this is before Nouri's son gets involved in the corrupt Russia deal that requires Nouri turning on the same spokesperson and the spokesperson fleeing the country.

Now the day Nouri was named prime minister-designate -- over 8 months after the election -- Ayad Allawi walked out of the Parliament.  And guess who got on the phone with him?  

Barack Obama.

Most Americans don't even know the name Ayad Allawi.  But he was important enough for the president of the United States to call him.

On that phone call, Barack begged him to get his party back into the Parliament and swore that The Erbil Agreement had the full backing of the US government and would be implemented.

Iraqi leaders learned the hard way what the "full backing of the US government" means = nothing.

Not one damn thing.

Nouri refused to implement the provisions in the contract and the US government refused to pressure him to do so.

Joe said some words last night.  I'm not going to get overly excited.  I regularly shake my head hear at the Kurdish leaders who keep buying the US government's word and keep getting betrayed.  Not only has this happened throughout the ongoing Iraq War, referencing and quoting the Pike Report, we've traced that constant and intentional betrayal back to the administration of Richard Nixon.

Now if I castigate the Kurdish leaders for never learning, I damn well better learn.  And I have learned.  Words are very easy for the US government, action's a lot harder.

Kentucky's WAVE 3 offers the thoughts on local Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans on Joe's remarks.


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