Sunday, October 05, 2014





Former US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill has told a pack of lies.

Those lies smear Hillary and Barack.  If they were personally smeared -- Hillary or Barack said to be gay in Hill's efforts to court homophobia, for example -- I wouldn't waste time on the issue.  But this is about Iraq and that's what we cover.

Chris Hill is responsible for what went wrong in Iraq and for where Iraq is today.  He's not solely responsible.  Barack's responsible, for example, for nominating him, for trusting him for far too long and for a few other things.

But Hill's nonsense at POLITICO -- where else does nonsense go -- oh, right, Salon! -- is nothing but lies and spin.

Hill betrayed Barack's nomination and trust by doing a half-assed job and repeatedly lying to the administration about what was taking place in Iraq.

Hill betrayed Barack.  Not the other way around as Hill tries to paint it in his bad essay.

Hill insists that Hillary gave him no support when she was Secretary of State in 2009, she made one trip to Iraq and she left him alone and whine, whine, whine.

Hillary wasn't over Iraq. 

She might have liked to have been but Barack wasn't going to put her over Iraq.

Two reasons were Samantha Power.  She was Barack's advisor when he was in the Senate and she's had his ear ever since.  Power did not want Hillary in the administration (she can spin that if she wants but she didn't want Hillary in the administration at all -- however, once the two had to work together, they did get along -- Hillary can win people over and Power saw that she had misjudged Hillary and could own that reality).  That's reason one.  Reason two, which Power used to ensure Hillary wasn't in charge of Iraq, was that Hillary supported the Iraq War at the start.  Power said that judgment was fatal to moving forward in Iraq.  (Power herself supported the illegal war -- a fact she's denied and one that the press, in 2008, was eager to help her bury.)

Power was personally against Hillary and Hillary had supported the war and was notorious for that support.

Those are two reason which carried weight with Barack.

Here's the third:

During my last visit to Iraq in January, I expressed my reservations about the ability of the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Maliki, to make the tough political decisions necessary for Iraq to resolve its sectarian divisions. Since my visit, Iraqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power, modify the de-Ba'athification laws, pass an oil law, schedule provincial elections, and amend their constitution. During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on which I serve, confirmed that the Iraqi Government’s failures have reinforced the widely held view that the Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement, because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders.
I share Senator Levin’s hope that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks. 

That statement was released by then-Senator Hillary Clinton in August of 2007.

I happen to agree with her -- and with Carl Levin. 

I think history and events since certainly demonstrate how accurate her publicly expressed hope was -- that the Parliament would vote Nouri out of office -- it would have been a no-confidence vote (which was attempted in the spring of 2012 but blocked by the White House via Jalal Talabani).

But here's was the thing for Barack -- how could Hillary be Secretary of State and interact with Nouri?

She couldn't. 

So she was not the lead on Iraq.

That's why she traveled, she had a lot of time to fill.  Unlike her predecessor Condi Rice, Hillary was not a lead on Iraq.

She can rightly step away -- to some degree -- from the chaos in Iraq now because she was not a lead on this issue. 

Nouri al-Maliki was notoriously paranoid.  We explained that here and how the State Dept had documented it and some wanted to scoff but, years later, the WikiLeaks Iraq State Dept cables demonstrated we were right and the term "paranoid" is applied to Nouri in them.

Nouri could not have worked with Hillary in any form because of her statements.  The White House knew that and addressed that.

 For those late to the party, Nouri al-Maliki was only booted out as prime minister over the summer.  His reign of terror ran from 2006 to 2014.

So for Chris Hill to lie and claim that Hillary wasn't there for him -- his snide remark about her ability to charm included -- is just a pack of lies.  And he was not her nominee.

He was Barack's nominee. 

Let's note another liar, CIA contractor Juan Cole.  The day after Hillary issued her statement we noted above -- a week after Carl Levin made his (Carl's statement was a joint statement with Senator John Warner)  -- Juan 'discovers' a rumor that there is a plot to topple Nouri.  It turns out, Juan insists, Bully Boy Bush wants to get rid of Nouri.

These lies were then spread by venereal disease carrier Daily Kos which reposted Juan's 'proof' that Ayad Allawi was going to be the new pm because -- among other things -- Allawi penned a column for the Washington Post!

How sinsister!!!!

Juan just makes s**t up -- or maybe follows CIA orders, who knows.

But Bully Boy Bush was not walking away from Nouri and you can say, "Well, C.I., sure, we know that now but back then --"

Back then, we knew it too.

Hillary's statement that we quoted?

A response for Bully Boy Bush's praise of Nouri to the VFW just before she released her statement.  Her statement was in response to Bully Boy Bush's comments.

From the White House transcript of that August 22, 2007 speech to the VFW:

Bully Boy Bush: Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job, and I support him. And it's not up to politicians in Washington, D.C. to say whether he will remain in his position -- that is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy, and not a dictatorship. (Applause.) A free Iraq is not going to transform the Middle East overnight. But a free Iraq will be a massive defeat for al Qaeda, it will be an example that provides hope for millions throughout the Middle East, it will be a friend of the United States, and it's going to be an important ally in the ideological struggle of the 21st century. (Applause.)  

The next day, at his (un)Informed Comment, Juan Cole was spreading lies that Bully Boy Bush was walking away from 'poor' Nouri.  Cole hadn't read the speech and, as usual, didn't know a damn thing.

Back to Hill,  Barack made a mistake in choosing Chris.

In his article, Chris wants to paint Barack as disengaged and uninformed.

On some topics, that is true of Barack and his presidency.

But no one was more disengaged from Iraq and uninformed than Chris Hill.

At the start of his presidency, Barack cared a great deal about Iraq because it was how he won the White House.  He wrongly agreed to back Nouri in 2010 and that was based in part on Samantha Power insisting US forces would not be able to drawdown at the end of 2011 without the "stability" (the term she used) Nouri provided the country.

In 2010, Ayad al-Allawi won the elections. 

Power felt Allawi as prime minister was a question mark and she noted his "populist leanings" (again, her term) and how this could be a problem for the US because Nouri had no desire to represent the Iraqi people and was more inclined to ignore the will of the Iraqi people.  (Which does sum up his two terms as prime minister, on that Power was correct.)

Barack ultimately bears responsibility.  He is president and he made the decision.

But would he have made it if he received accurate reports? 

If the administration received accurate reports, I doubt even Samantha Power would have backed Nouri.  I think she would have smelled the stench wafting off him and how damaging he could be to her image of "Never Again!" and argued that Barack shouldn't support him for a second term.

Chris Hill was unsuited for the job he was nominated to perform.

He did not speak Arabic.  He had no knowledge of the Middle East and was an idiot when it came to Iraq.

We covered his confirmation hearing (see the March 25, 2009 snapshot and the March 26th snapshot) and, despite weeks of briefing, he still didn't understand what was going on, what the issues were or what the facts were.  (He also showed up at the confirmation hearing with his hair needing to be combed and a food stain on his shirt.  Was he applying for night manager at Denny's or US Ambassador to Iraq?)

Recommended: "Iraq snapshot"