Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We could have had President Bernie

Poor pathetic Hillary.

Just a liar and a War Hawk.

Loved this Tweet.

  1. The argument that "Hillary Clinton warned us about Donald Trump" ignores something quite serious. Her campaign purposely elevated him:

That's right.

She elevated Trump.

Wanted him to win the primary because she knew she could beat him.

How'd that turn out again?

Oh, right.

She lost.


We could have President Bernie Sanders right now if it weren't for her.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, August 22, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the US Secretary of Defense visits Iraq, Masrour Barzani weighs in on the referendum scheduled for September 25th, THE WASHINGTON POST again distorts reality, and much more.

FOX NEWS ALERT: Sec. Mattis arrives in Baghdad to discuss ISIS strategy

AFP reports, "Mattis flew in for talks with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other top officials, as well as Massud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, saying he wants to help keep the regime focused on eradicating ISIS jihadists."  Robert Burns (AP) quotes Mattis stating, "You see, Isis is now caught in-between converging forces.  So Isis's days are certainly numbered, but it's not over yet and it's not going to be over any time soon.”

So Mattis is in Iraq.

In the US, the lies and whoring never ends.

We've fact-checked Trump's criticism of the 2011 Iraq withdrawal, which he once supported.

You dumb, stupid ass.

Shame on anyone who applauds that crap.

It's so much more than just false.

You can call for the war to end but still be against the way someone ended it.

Same with withdrawal or drawdown.

And, for the record, the Pentagon called it a "drawdown" -- not  a withdrawal.

Barack pulled most -- but not all US troops out of Iraq.  Some were then stationed in Kuwait.  As he did so, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was noting that the US was still in negotiations with Iraq about keeping troops on the ground and that -- in fact, regardless -- US troops would still be in Iraq (as they were -- hence the term "drawdown" used repeatedly by the Pentagon).

Let's again do the work that so-called press outlets like THE WASHINGTON POST refuse to do.  From the November 16, 2011 snapshot:

Senator Joe Lieberman:  Let me, Secretary Panetta, pick up from that point. I've heard from friends in Iraq -- Iraqis -- that Prime Minister Maliki said at one point that he needed to stop the negotiations -- leave aside for one moment the reasons -- but he was prepared to begin negotiations again between two sovereign nations -- the US and Iraq -- about some troops being in Iraq after January 1st.  So that's what I've heard from there. But I want to ask you from the administration point of view. I know that Prime Minister Maliki is coming here in a few weeks to Washington. Is the administration planning to pursue further discussions with the Iraqi government about deploying at least some US forces in Iraq after the end of this year?

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are.  Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotations.  We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there.  But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?

I'm sorry you're such a damn liar or so f**king dumb that you don't know this all these years later, but we were there in real time at the Congressional hearings and we know what was happening.

At one point, it was decided that DoD Memo of Understanding could cover a continued US presence in Iraq so that's what replaced a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement).

Let's spoonfeed the tragically stupid.  Dropping back to the April 30, 2013 Iraq snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

The MoU allowed another Special Ops unit go into Iraq and the end of the 2012. From the December 11th snapshot:

In yesterday's snapshot, we covered the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America.  Angry, dysfunctional e-mails from Barack-would-never-do-that-to-me criers indicate that we need to go over the Memo a little bit more.  It was signed on Thursday and announced that day by the Pentagon.   Section two (listed in full in yesterday's snapshot) outlines that the two sides have agreed on: the US providing instructors and training personnel and Iraq providing students, Iraqi forces and American forces will work together on counterterrorism and on joint exercises.   The tasks we just listed go to the US military being in Iraq in larger numbers.  Obviously the two cannot do joint exercises or work together on counterterrorism without US military present in Iraq.

This shouldn't be surprising.  In the November 2, 2007 snapshot -- five years ago -- we covered the transcript of the interview Michael R. Gordon and Jeff Zeleny did with then-Senator Barack Obama who was running in the Democratic Party's primary for the party's presidential nomination -- the transcript, not the bad article the paper published, the actual transcript.  We used the transcript to write "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq'" at Third.  Barack made it clear in the transcript that even after "troop withdrawal" he would "leave behind a residual force."  What did he say this residual force would do?  He said, "I think that we should have some strike capability.  But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."

This is not withdrawal.  This is not what was sold to the American people.  Barack is very lucky that the media just happened to decide to take that rather explosive interview -- just by chance, certainly the New York Times wasn't attempting to shield a candidate to influence an election, right? -- could best be covered with a plate of lumpy, dull mashed potatoes passed off as a report.  In the transcript, Let-Me-Be-Clear Barack declares, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities."

So when the memo announces counterterrorism activies, Barack got what he wanted, what he always wanted, what the media so helpfully and so frequently buried to allow War Hawk Barack to come off like a dove of peace.

Please note, that MoU is what governs the US military presence in Iraq currently -- there is no SOFA.

Now the above alone contains many elements that someone could object to.  Sadly, we're not done.  We could go on and on forever.  We'll note one more.

As part of the drawdown, the US mission in Iraq went from the Defense Dept to the State Dept (October 2011).

This is where you end up with buildings that eventually are just handed over -- to the objection of Congress when they learned of it after the fact.  More to the point, there is a huge waste of money and the 'training program' for Iraqi forces that falls apart.

As the take over of various cities by the Islamic State in 2014 demonstrates, the Iraqi forces needed additional training.  It was the State Dept that was supposed to follow up on that but failed.

Again, there's so much to object to.

Here, we offered Barack should immediately withdraw US troops in his first months as president.  We argued that the withdrawal would bring about its own problems (largely because the US had created and propped up an unpopular government) and that the smart thing to do was to cite the 2008 election as a mandate from the American people, end the Iraq War immediately and it would not have been Barack's 'fault' -- whatever happened.

But that's not what Barack did.

He couldn't keep his hands out of it and his ego told him he could 'improve' on it.

So he overturns the 2010 election results with a legal contract (The Erbil Agreement) which provides Nouri al-Maliki with a second term he didn't win.

Again, I'm sorry you're so f**king stupid and write about a topic -- for a so-called news outlet -- that you clearly do not grasp.

It's appalling that you are allowed to pass your ignorance on to the people.

It's disgusting as well that after all these years, you're still promoting binary thinking -- where it's either/or exclusively.  But, hey, if THE WASHINGTON POST couldn't practice xenophobia, they wouldn't be able to file any stories at all, right?

And the war goes on . . .

IS conflict: Iraqi forces enter outskirts of Tal Afar

Today, the UNHCR notes:

Telafar city, in Ninewa province, some 65 kilometres north-west of Mosul, fell under the control of extremist armed groups in 2014. Its pre-conflict population was thought to be around 200,000. Since April this year, more than 30,000 people fled Telafar district, many living in camps sheltering other displaced families mainly from Mosul.
Humanitarian agencies have been without access to Telafar since 2014, but it’s estimated that thousands of people could still be in the city. Conditions are said to be very difficult, with food and water running out, a lack of electricity and diminishing health facilities. People are said to have been surviving on unclean water and bread for the past three to four months. 
Those families who have managed to flee the area have done so at great personal risk. Many talk of seeing dead bodies along the way, and there are reports that some were killed by extremist groups. Others appear to have died due to dehydration or illnesses.

People leaving Telafar are walking long distances to reach safety, without food or water, at times for up to 20 hours and in scorching heat. Temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius. They are often forced to leave behind their most vulnerable (children, elderly, disabled) who are unable to undertake the arduous journey.

September 25th, the KRG is scheduled to hold a referendum that will determine their future.  As usual, the US government is attempting to derail the vote.  Masrour Barzani is the head of security for the KRG.  He is also the son of KRG President Massoud Barzani.  On Twitter this morning, he weighed in on the topic.

Replying to 
independence is announced. The only solution is to live alongside each other as neighbors in two newly defined independent states.
Replying to 
After the referendum dialogue with Iraq is necessary to negotiate terms through peaceful means. Iraq's position will determine how/when...
Replying to 
Iraq in its current form won't succeed; a united Iraq doesn't exist. It's polarized along sectarian lines and already practically divided.
Replying to 
Iraq was built on wrong foundations against the wishes and aspirations of its peoples. Forced-existence leads only to enmity and conflict.
Replying to 
Subordination for us is catastrophic. At a time of great peril, incl genocide and use of chemical weapons, no one came to our assistance.
Replying to 
This vote is for the people of Kurdistan, incl religious groups & nationalities. In an independent Kurdistan their rights will be protected.
Replying to 
Our neighbors must recognize that Kurdistan isn't a threat. We've proven so over the last two decades, focusing instead on economic trade.
It's wrong to postpone the referendum. The people of Kurdistan - not others, must determine the right time- MB.

The following community sites -- plus DISSIDENT VOICE -- updated:

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