Saturday, August 20, 2011










As Tina Turner sings
We don't need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond
And we didn't need to invent a 'hero.' We just needed honesty. Underscored by events of today.
Because so many liars were such pathetic liars, the Iraq War goes on. And I'm not talking Judy Miller or George W. Bush. I'm talking the really pathetic: Amy Goodman, Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Matthew Rothschild, Barbara Ehrenreich, Naomi Klein, John Nichols, Naomi Wolf, go down the damn list. Go down the list of all the people who swore that Barack Obama would end the Iraq War, that US troops would no longer occupy Iraq, that US troops would be gone. They lied and then they lied again. Over and over.
Spoiled brats unable to grow the hell up and deal with reality. Teeny boppers playing at politics. They dressed Barack as a god and today their false god appears to have broken the promise that they pimped so hard.
Kevin Baron (Stars & Stripes) notes that the Iraqi response is that they have not agreed to trainers but US Secretary of Defense "Leon Panetta said Friday that Iraq has already said yet to extending noncombat U.S. forces there beyond 2011, and that the Pentagon is negotiating that presence [. . . that] there is unanimous consent among key Iraqi leaders to address U.S. demands. Those demands include that Iraqis begin negotiating internally what type of U.S. training force they would like, begin a process to select a defense minister, craft a new Status of Forces Agreement and increase operations against Iranian-backed militants." Reid J. Epstein (POLITICO) refers to a transcript and quotes Panetta stating, "My view is that they finally did say yes, which is that as a result of a meeting that Talabani had last week, that all of the, it was unanimous consent among the key leaders of the country to go ahead and request that we negotiate on some kind of training, what a training presence would look like, they did at least put in place a process to try and get a Minister of Defence decided and we think they're making some progress on that front." Adam Entous (Wall St. Journal) adds:
Pentagon spokesman George Little said later that Mr. Panetta was not predicting the outcome of negotiations with the Iraqi government.
"The secretary was asked if there had been progress in our discussions with the Iraqi government since his visit six weeks ago," Mr. Little said. "He made clear that the Iraqis have said yes to discussions about the strategic relationship beyond 2011, and what that relationship might look like."
For those who have forgotten (and those who pretend to forgot -- I'm sure that's going to include a lot of people this weekend), Iraq was a major issue in 2008. Falling back to September 26, 2008, the first debate between GOP presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama -- independent candidate Ralph Nader and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney were shut out of the debates due to the inability to lie and pander. PBS NewsHour's Jim Lehrer is the moderator. From the transcript.
LEHRER: All right. Let's go another subject. Lead question, two minutes to you, senator McCain. Much has been said about the lessons of Vietnam. What do you see as the lessons of Iraq?
MCCAIN: I think the lessons of Iraq are very clear that you cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict. Our initial military success, we went in to Baghdad and everybody celebrated. And then the war was very badly mishandled. I went to Iraq in 2003 and came back and said, we've got to change this strategy. This strategy requires additional troops, it requires a fundamental change in strategy and I fought for it. And finally, we came up with a great general and a strategy that has succeeded. This strategy has succeeded. And we are winning in Iraq. And we will come home with victory and with honor. And that withdrawal is the result of every counterinsurgency that succeeds. And I want to tell you that now that we will succeed and our troops will come home, and not in defeat, that we will see a stable ally in the region and a fledgling democracy. The consequences of defeat would have been increased Iranian influence. It would have been increase in sectarian violence. It would have been a wider war, which the United States of America might have had to come back. So there was a lot at stake there. And thanks to this great general, David Petraeus, and the troops who serve under him, they have succeeded. And we are winning in Iraq, and we will come home. And we will come home as we have when we have won other wars and not in defeat.
LEHRER: Two minutes, how you see the lessons of Iraq, Senator Obama.
OBAMA: Well, this is an area where Senator McCain and I have a fundamental difference because I think the first question is whether we should have gone into the war in the first place. Now six years ago, I stood up and opposed this war at a time when it was politically risky to do so because I said that not only did we not know how much it was going to cost, what our exit strategy might be, how it would affect our relationships around the world, and whether our intelligence was sound, but also because we hadn't finished the job in Afghanistan. We hadn't caught bin Laden. We hadn't put al Qaeda to rest, and as a consequence, I thought that it was going to be a distraction. Now Senator McCain and President Bush had a very different judgment. And I wish I had been wrong for the sake of the country and they had been right, but that's not the case. We've spent over $600 billion so far, soon to be $1 trillion. We have lost over 4,000 lives. We have seen 30,000 wounded, and most importantly, from a strategic national security perspective, al Qaeda is resurgent, stronger now than at any time since 2001. We took our eye off the ball. And not to mention that we are still spending $10 billion a month, when they have a $79 billion surplus, at a time when we are in great distress here at home, and we just talked about the fact that our budget is way overstretched and we are borrowing money from overseas to try to finance just some of the basic functions of our government. So I think the lesson to be drawn is that we should never hesitate to use military force, and I will not, as president, in order to keep the American people safe. But we have to use our military wisely. And we did not use our military wisely in Iraq.
LEHRER: Do you agree with that, the lesson of Iraq?
MCCAIN: The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not. The next president of the United States is going to have to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind. That's the decision of the next president of the United States. Senator Obama said the surge could not work, said it would increase sectarian violence, said it was doomed to failure. Recently on a television program, he said it exceed our wildest expectations. But yet, after conceding that, he still says that he would oppose the surge if he had to decide that again today. Incredibly, incredibly Senator Obama didn't go to Iraq for 900 days and never asked for a meeting with General Petraeus.
LEHRER: Well, let's go at some of these things ...
MCCAIN: Senator Obama is the chairperson of a committee that oversights NATO that's in Afghanistan. To this day, he has never had a hearing.
LEHRER: What about that point?
MCCAIN: I mean, it's remarkable.
LEHRER: All right. What about that point?
OBAMA: Which point? He raised a whole bunch of them.
LEHRER: I know, OK, let's go to the latter point and we'll back up. The point about your not having been...
OBAMA: Look, I'm very proud of my vice presidential selection, Joe Biden, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as he explains, and as John well knows, the issues of Afghanistan, the issues of Iraq, critical issues like that, don't go through my subcommittee because they're done as a committee as a whole. But that's Senate inside baseball. But let's get back to the core issue here. Senator McCain is absolutely right that the violence has been reduced as a consequence of the extraordinary sacrifice of our troops and our military families. They have done a brilliant job, and General Petraeus has done a brilliant job. But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war. And so John likes -- John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong. And so my question is . . .


LEHRER: Senator Obama . . .
OBAMA: . . . of judgment, of whether or not -- of whether or not -- if the question is who is best-equipped as the next president to make good decisions about how we use our military, how we make sure that we are prepared and ready for the next conflict, then I think we can take a look at our judgment.
LEHRER: I have got a lot on the plate here...
MCCAIN: I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. But the important -- I'd like to tell you, two Fourths of July ago I was in Baghdad. General Petraeus invited Senator Lindsey Graham and me to attend a ceremony where 688 brave young Americans, whose enlistment had expired, were reenlisting to stay and fight for Iraqi freedom and American freedom. I was honored to be there. I was honored to speak to those troops. And you know, afterwards, we spent a lot of time with them. And you know what they said to us? They said, let us win. They said, let us win. We don't want our kids coming back here. And this strategy, and this general, they are winning. Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq.
OBAMA: That's not true.
MCCAIN: They just passed an electoral . . . .
OBAMA: That's not true.
MCCAIN: An election law just in the last few days. There is social, economic progress, and a strategy, a strategy of going into an area, clearing and holding, and the people of the country then become allied with you. They inform on the bad guys. And peace comes to the country, and prosperity. That's what's happening in Iraq, and it wasn't a tactic.
LEHRER: Let me see...
OBAMA: Jim, Jim, this is a big . . .
MCCAIN: It was a stratagem. And that same strategy will be employed in Afghanistan by this great general. And Senator Obama, who after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
OBAMA: Jim, there are a whole bunch of things we have got to answer. First of all, let's talk about this troop funding issue because John always brings this up. Senator McCain cut -- Senator McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable, because he didn't believe in a timetable. I opposed funding a mission that had no timetable, and was open- ended, giving a blank check to George Bush. We had a difference on the timetable. We didn't have a difference on whether or not we were going to be funding troops.
And on and on it went. We could quote in full. They aren't done yet. Because Iraq was a huge issue in 2008. Democrats used it the same way they used in 2006 to take back Congress. They used it and then they ignored it.
And Barack likes to pretend that the Iraq War ended August 31, 2010. Strange, though, the DoD counts 57 dead since that date. [PDF format warning, click here. Operation New Dawn is the name Barack gave to the post-August 31, 2010 Iraq 'adventure.'] 57 dead and he wants to pretend the Iraq War is over and that he kept his campaign promise.
57 dead and today so many whores in this country play footsie with him.
Much earlier in 2008, Barack Obama was glomming on a remark McCain made. John McCain made a comment regarding remaining in Iraq for 100 years. Back in 2008, Brian Montopoli (CBS News -- link has text and video) reported on it, noting that McCain had stated in January "Make it a hundred" to the suggestion that Bush wanted to keep US troops in Iraq for fifty years. And McCain added, "We've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." Montopoli made this call, "McCain appears to be talking about maintaining a presence in Iraq, not continuing the type of war America is now fighting." Alone among the left press, Zachary Roth (CJR) noted Barack's had lept on the "100 years" and "in doing so, Obama is seriously misleading voters -- if not outright lying to them -- about exactly what McCain said. And some in the press are failing to call him on it." Barack, as Roth points out, couldn't stop weighing in on McCain's remark. "We are bogged down in a war that John McCain now suggests might go on for another hundred years," Barack insisted and at another time, "(McCain) says that he is willing to send our troops into another hundred years of war in Iraq." And yet again, "We can't afford to stay in Iraq, like John McCain said, for another hundred years." As Roth noted, when called on it, Barack began to stop using the term war. But he continued to criticize John McCain for keeping US troops in Iraq . . . the very thing that Barack will now be doing.
People who voted for Barack thought they were voting to end the Iraq War. Remember the tent revivals, Barack yelling, "We want to end the war! And we want to end it now!" He was so fond of that moment, he used it in commercials in over 34 states during the 2008 primaries (that number may be higher, I could only confirm 34 states this evening with a friend who worked on the campaign).
And people might have known better, might have known what a liar Barack was, if the whores hadn't been out in full force. 2008 was The Year of Living Hormonally. And let's recall how that year went down because it's forgotten and unknown history for some:
Elements of the left were always going to side with Barack early on because there was a lie -- produced by fringe radicals on the left (hello, Carl!) -- that Barack was secretly a Socialist. Barack was and is a Corporatist War Hawk. I also wrongly thought that any elements of the left (other than Carl) would quickly grasp that reality after the wave of hype susided. I was wrong there too since this summer found an agitated Philip Maldari floating just that ['Barack is a Socialist!'] on KPFA thereby proving that only the dumb die hard.

In January Goody [Amy Goodman] brought the Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford on the program to discuss Barack and that was a good thing because, strangely, there had never been someone publicly critical of Barack brought on as a guest to the five times a week, hourly program. But while Barack supporters were all over the show and on solo segments or segments with other Barack supporters, bringing on Glen Ford required Goody pair him with the Barack Cultist Michael Eric Dyson. That was strange also due to the fact that, throughout 2007, Amy Goodman offered a plethora of Hillary Haters who never required 'balance' and she continued to do so as January began.

In that month alone, prior to Glen Ford, she'd already offered Robert Parry, apparently enroute to the padded room he now inhabits, insisting that 'evil' Hillary would do just what her husband did because wives behave exactly like their husbands. If, indeed, that's the case, better get the Thorazine ready for Mrs. Parry. There was never an effort made by Goody to stop the foaming at the mouth Parry and say, "Hold on a second. You have spent this decade and the bulk of the nineties writing one article after another in defense of or in praise of Bill Clinton. Why are you suddenly so scared that your deranged fantasy of Hillary being just like Bill will come true?"

You don't ask those questions. To you or me, those questions may seem basic. It's not every day, for instance, that journalist Robert Parry morphs into nutty Christopher Hitchens. But what you're forgetting is that adolescence is all about recreation. It's all about finding another identity. New hair styles are tried, new clothes, new friends, it's all about reinvention. And who but a sane person would attempt to deny Bobby Parry his shot at a second adolescence? And there were so many more important questions to ask.

Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let's ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
By the way, where'd you meet him?
I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)
-- "The Leader of the Pack," written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Shadow Morton

Goody had another Drooling Over Barack Teeny Booper in January: Allan Nairn. Nairn wanted the whole world to know that, if asked, he would gladly be pinned by Barack but he would even settle for Barack's letterman's jacket. Here's the moment that resulted in Allan becoming a 2008 homecoming nominee:

[Allan Nairn]: He actually doesn't need to finance his campaign, to go to the hedge funds, to go to Wall Street. But he does anyway. And he does, I think, because if he doesn't, they wouldn't trust him. They might think that he's on the wrong team, and they might start attacking him. He is someone who, in terms of the money he needs for his campaign, he could afford to come out for single-payer healthcare, for example, but he doesn't. He doesn't need money from the health insurance industry, that's wasting several percentage points of the American GDP in a way that no other industrial rich country in the world does, yet he chooses not to do that, because he doesn't want to be attacked by those corporations.

This was back when everyone (except The New York Times) was lying about Barack and pretending he was being made by small donors. He was a corporatist even then and, hopefully for Allan, the blood of East Timor (Barack
buddy Dennis Blair) will wash off the white formal he wore as a duchess to the Barack Ball.

Some of you are going to be upset because this is big news and I'm basically recycling. About six hours ago, I learned what Panetta said in the interview. My rage has not subsided. Were we speaking face to face, I'd say, "Let me let it rip, but let me warn you about the language." At Trina and Mike's Iraq War Study Group this evening, my presentation on this would have made Redd Foxx blush. Even now what I really want to say is to all these lying whores of the left who had no ethics at all, what I want to say is: "May you rot in eternal ___ing hell for what you have done to the children of Iraq."
And to be very clear for those late to the party, that is not a blanket attack on Barack supporters. I am talking about leaders who knew better and lied, who gamed the system and cheated and whored. I have friends who didn't rank Iraq high on their list or even at all and they voted for Barack for other reasons. That's fine. Your vote is you vote. The people I am talking about, for example, went on KPFA to provide 'debate analysis' of the debate between Barack and Hillary and all 'forgot' to reveal on air that they were for Barack. They enjoyed telling you that Hillary "cackled" because sexism is so needed on the left, apparantly. They just didn't want to tell you that they had rigged the 'analysis' and 'debate' by only inviting Barack supporters to the program. Laura Flanders and Tom Hayden and that ugly man with the little prissy girl voice and all the rest. They lied, they whored. And it is the children of Iraq who suffer for it. You will note not one of them has yet to apologize for their actions.
Scott Horton (Harper's, not Antiwar Radio's Scott Horton) was on Law & Disorder Radio this week pretending he had always known reality about Barack. You don't have to take my word for it, go back and read his 2008 ravings, check out his media appearances from that year. These are the people with blood on their hands, with the blood of Iraqi children on their hands. If they had played fair and stuck to the ethics they espoused, that would be one thing. (And some supporters of Barack did in fact do that. I'm not referring to those supporters or calling them out.) But that's not what these whores did.
And you don't want to read me dictating "whore, whore, whore" over and over. (We are a work safe site and that is one of the rare curse words we can use here.) (I have a very foul mouth and have never pretended otherwise. We are work safe so that people can read it at work without getting written up.)
So I will pick this topic up again but I can't do it right now. All I've wanted to do for the last six hours is act out Rebecca De Mornay's amazing scene as Peyton in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, where she goes into the bathroom, grabs the plunger and tears the bathroom up. That has been my level of rage for the last six hours.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011







Turning to the Iraq War, Scott Horton (Antiwar Radio) discussed it with's Jason Ditz. Excerpt:
Scott Horton: Let's talk about the Iraq War. I know it's the summer of 2011 and as far as most people are concerned there's no such thing anymore. But I know better than that and I was wondering if you could give us the latest. I saw that there were a string of bombings over the weekend, right?
Jason Ditz: Right we had one of the deadliest days in over a year in the war and we've had bombings pretty much on a daily basis and the Obama administration is still talking about how they're open to the idea of staying if only they're asked which is a somewhat disingenuous comment because they've been demanding to be asked for several months now.
Scott Horton: Yes, as we've covered on the show. And now help me understand exactly where we're at in that process because it seems like Nouri al-Maliki had said, 'Okay, you can keep some trainers because I can give you that without turning it over to the Parliament first.' Did that stick?
Jason Ditz: It seems like that much has stuck but it looks like there's still a push for more. And whether they get more or not remains to be seen.
Scott Horton: And now when they say some trainers, how many is that? Do you know?
Jason Ditz: We don't know. It's not been clear at all how many they're talking but it's a lot.
Scott Horton: Well now I wonder if Maliki making that decision himself is what Ryan Crocker the now Ambassador to Afghanistan was talking about in these WikiLeaks cables when he was saying that Maliki is turning towards dictatorship. This was written up by John Glaser at the Blog. He had some WikiLeaks here, did you see this?
Jason Ditz: Yeah and that could be part of it but I think that Maliki made a much broader grasp for power than that. He's still the acting Defense Minister, the acting Interior Minister, he's also the Public Security Minister. He's kept all of the ministries that have any control over any armed forces or law enforcement group. So he's very much been consolidating power for awhile and the effort to cut Parliament out of the decision on the US troops is one more step along the way.
Scott Horton: Well now and so what kind of noise is the Parliament making about whether they're going to go along with inviting more troops? Or would they really have to? I mean, they do have to go to the Parliament on that, don't they?
Jason Ditz: Theoretically they should have to go to the Parliament but it's not clear if they would or not. Of course, in the US, when the Status Of Forces Agreement was passed in 2008, there was a little bit of a question of whether or not President Bush should go to Congress about it and he just decided, no, he wasn't going to and that was pretty much the end of that. So it seems like there hoping to go the same way with the Iraqi Parliament and just cut them out of the process --
Scott Horton: They never held a referendum.

Jason Ditz: Right. The 2008 vote was narrowly passed with the promise of a referendum within six months bringing the question to the Iraqi people and that referendum, years later, never happened. So it was a pretty ugly battle at the time and it's probably going to be a much uglier battle this time around.
Scott Horton: Yeah, well, you know it's really too bad that we can't read Nouri al-Maliki's mind. I wish I could but it seems to me like there's at least a good chance that he's more or less playing the same script that he played in 2008 which is 'okay, okay, I'll try to convince them to let you keep all these bases, I'll do my very best' then by the end of the year, time is up, you gotta' sign and they sign a deal no bases and everybody out by the end of the year 2011. And I'm kind of thinking this is maybe what's going on here he's playing smart politics and telling the Americans, 'You know, I'm doing my very best to oblige you, I'm trying to get permission out of these guys but so far I'm having trouble.' But then again, I guess, it's not hard to imagine that he needs our help
Jason Ditz: Certainly and the US troops are going to be there largely to prop him up. So it's not hard to imagine that he would see that as a good thing
On the topic of withdrawal or not withdrawal, The Boston Globe's editorial board concludes, "Billions of dollars and thousands of lives later, the story of the war in Iraq is not yet in the history books. The war continues, and this week's news is a reminder that the notion of mission accomplished is no better understood today than it was in 2003." And possibly this lack of clarity for the board is why they can't call for an end to the war? The lack of clarity, no doubt, also explains why they aren't able to count. 15. Not fourteen. 15 US soldiers died in the Iraq War in the month of June (they are each noted in the editorial we did at Third, use the link). Unlike the Boston Globe, Courtney Kube (NBC News) gets the number of US soldiers who died in June from the Iraq War correct and Kube notes the dangers are still present in Iraq:
The continued danger to U.S. military men and women deployed in Iraq was brought home to an NBC News team at the beginning of this month. Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, cameraman Jim Long and I were at Victory Base in Baghdad when insurgents began launching rockets at the complex. As the sirens blared and an announcer warned of "Incoming!" an enlisted soldier ran by and said, "Here we go again." He later explained that the enemy has been "peppering" Victory with rockets lately and showed off several places where shrapnel had pocked blast walls and shattered windows.
NBC News also notes that Sgt Mark Cofield's death July 17th was the most recent US military Iraq War death and quotes his sister Sara Cofield saying, "Mark was my rock. He was my brother, he was my world. He raised me." In July, Alyssa Chin (KKTV -- link has text and video) reports that the fallen's father and brother are also serving and she spoke with family and friends of Mark

Alyssa Chin: This is a man who was promoted to sergeant just 18 months after training.

Sara Cofield (Sister): You never thought it would be you. You always thought you were the lucky one to have all three of them come back. So . . . [whisper] that was hard.

Alyssa Chin: Friends and family are left wondering exactly what happened overseas to Sgt Mark Cofield, a man they watched grow up?

Suzi Dixon (family friend): This just comes so close to home and it just hits your heart and it makes it all real.

Liz Cameron (neighbor): There's going to be such a hole in this community's heart because Mark was all about love.

Alyssa Chin: According to those who knew him best, the 25-year-old excelled at everything. A hockey player for most of his life, he competed for Rampart High School. While in Iraq, he started running marathons and even won a few.

Samantha Wolf (family friend): Mark had one of the biggest hearts of anybody I've ever met.

Ester Mabry (family friend): He had the strength and compassion that normally you don't see together.

Alyssa Chin: While gathered in the Cofield home, stories and memories of Mark overflow with smiles, love, and warmth. But his sister Sara will remember him most for the times they shared together.

Sara Cofield: I'm proud to say that my brother served, that's a good thing. He not only was a soldier and served our country and will be missed as a part of it but he'll be missed as a brother, and as a son, and as a friend.

In the face of such losses, you'd hope news outlets could at least be honest but that's apparently too much to hope for. ABC6 News notes, "159 soldiers from Minnesota are getting ready to head to 'deployment training' before being sent to Kuwait. The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry are heading overseas to help with the troop drawdown from Iraq. This group of soldiers are part of the second largest deployment of National Guard troops since World War 2." Really? For the withdrawal? The one supposed to take place December 31, 2011? Then they'd only need to deploy until then, right? Matt Peterson (Austin Daily Herald) adds, "Though Spc. Trevor Kolb of Austin has been enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard for two years, he's going to find out a lot more this fall. Kolb, along with the second largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II, is going to Kuwait for one year." For a year? So it's not about a December withdrawal. Imagine that. In fact, it's about using Kuwait as a holding tank -- which was discussed in a 2008 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Did no one pay attention? Apparently not.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011







Turning to Iraq, a day after everyone's reported on Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, commenting on the US government's desire to keep US troops in Iraq beyond 2011, the Defense Department issues a press release. A Tweet AFP's Prashant Rao highlighted actually said it all.
Mina Al-<span class=Oraibi" src="" height="48" width="48">
AlOraibi Mina Al-Oraibi
by prashantrao
In addition, click here for Xinhua's text and audio report of the Clinton and Panetta Road Show/Eye Sore. Barbara Starr (CNN) reports on another US official making remarks about continuing the Iraq War, US Maj Gen Jeffrey Buchanan, "Buchanan also confirmed the United States is informally talking to Iraq about a continued U.S. troop presence in the country after the end of this year. He didn't rule out that troops could find themselves in combat in a new arrangement, but emphasized the expectation is Iraq will ask for help with training its troops."
Though The Nation and The Progressive are either unwilling or unable to inform their niche readers about the serious discussions taking place to extend the war, Bill Van Auken (WSWS) lays down some hard truths today:
Washington is determined to continue pursuing the aims that motivated the invasion of 2003: domination of Iraq and its oil wealth and the use of Iraqi territory to project US military power throughout the region. Increasingly, US control over Iraq has been severely undermined by Iran's substantial influence as well as by growing economic interests of other powers, including Turkey and China.
This is why the Pentagon and the Obama administration -- Obama's campaign pledges about ending the US war in Iraq notwithstanding -- are determined to maintain a military grip over the country.
Whether or not the Maliki government is able to secure a negotiated deal for extending the stay of US troops, Washington has worked to assure itself a continued military role. In eight years of occupation, the US has deliberately limited the capacities of the Iraqi military, leaving it without an air force or a navy and consequently the ability to protect the country's borders. US air power will continue to control the Iraqi skies no matter what decision is taken by Iraq's parliament.
Also exploring what's taking place currently is CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin (OpEdNews):
"If we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do," he thundered in the fall of 2007. "I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."
But don't count on cashing that check. The Washington Post brings the unsurprising news that Iraqi leaders have agreed to
begin talks with the U.S. on allowing the foreign military occupation of their country to continue beyond this year -- re-branded, naturally, as a mission of "training" and "support." The move comes after an increasingly public campaign by top White House and military officials to pressure Iraqi leaders into tearing up the Status of Forces Agreement they signed with the Bush administration, which mandates the removal of all foreign troops by the end of 2011.
As with any relationship, saying goodbye is always the hardest part for an empire. The U.S. political establishment has long desired a foothold in the Middle East from which it could exert influence over the trade of the region's natural resources. Remember, Iraq has lots of oil, as those who launched the invasion of the country in 2003
were all too aware . They aren't too keen on giving that up.
And as is to be expected when one maintains the most powerful -- and expensive -- military in world history, there are strong institutional pressures within the Pentagon for maintaining the status quo. Peace may be good for children and other living things, but it's boring for generals -- especially politically ambitious ones -- and bad for bomb manufacturers.
And extension or withdrawal was seriously addressed yesterday on TV thanks to The NewsHour (PBS -- link offers audio option, video and text). Excerpt:

MARGARET WARNER: Do they think it [violence] is related to the fact that, just two weeks ago, on Aug. 3, the Baghdad government, the Maliki government, and the U.S. announced that they were going to enter formal talks about extending the U.S. presence?

ANNIE GOWEN: Well, I think that's -- everybody has been holding their breath, you know, all the Iraqi citizens and the Americans here as well. I mean, that's like the $64,000 question here, which is, are the American troops going to go in total by the deadline? There's 46,000 here now, far fewer than were here during the surge in '07. But, you know, they're talking about maybe a force of 10,000 trainers that could stay, but, really, nobody knows. And the Iraqis haven't made a decision. And the American Army officials are just waiting for them to sort of agree behind the scenes as to what they're going to even ask for.

AFP reports that radical cleric and Tubby Toon Moqada al-Sadr issued a statement declaring if US forces remain in Iraq beyond December 31, 2011 "there will be war." The statement was issued online where Moqtada likes to cultivate a presence with tweens (mentally) as he self-styles as a gentler despot, the older brother you're thankful you never had. It's there, for example, where he attacked a supposed ally this week. Monday's snapshot noted, " Carnegie Middle East Center's Maria Fantappie sees additional problems between the political groupings and their leaders [. . .]" -- and she noted the growing gulf between Nouri and Moqtada al-Sadr. She may be the only one featured in a US outlet to note it. It's getting wider and more public. Al Rafidayn reports Moqtada al-Sadr's latest "Dear Moqtada" missives included a question from a follower about the Minister of Electricity Ra'ad Shalal al-Ani who resigned yesterday. Moqtada shares that he feels Ra'ad Shalal al-Ani got off easy and that a simple resignation is not enough for the level of betrayal. He goes on to suggest that there is "a network" of corruption within Nouri's Cabinet. Strong words for supposed allies.
Staying with the Cabinet, there are vacancies. The vacancies were noted in the Hillary & Leon: A Love For Tax Dollars yesterday.
Mina Al-<span class=Oraibi" src="" height="48" width="48">
AlOraibi Mina Al-Oraibi
by prashantrao
From yesterday's snapshot: "With violence on the rise and Iraq seeing its worst day of violence, Nouri al-Maliki is desperate to change the narrative. AFP reports today that his 'media advisor' Ali Mussawi declared today tha Nouri had just 'appointed Saadun al-Dulaimi as interim minister of defence.' Because during all this violence, Iraq has had no Minister of Defense. Nouri was supposed to name one and Parliament approve one. He never did. He was also supposed to name a Minister of National Security and a Minister of Interior. Those are the three security ministries. But Nouri never has named them. He gave the posts to himself instead. And he's done a bang-up job . . . if increased violence was the goal." Reidar Visser (Gulf Analysis) walks through the meanings of the appointment:
The significance of the appointment relates to two levels. Firstly, in terms of the architecture of the second Maliki government, it means Maliki could be seen as moving towards consolidating a situation in which no regular parliament appointments may take place for some time with respect to the security ministries: In early June he appointed Falih al-Fayyad of the Jaafari wing of the Daawa movement as acting minister of state for national security, whereas Maliki himself continues as acting interior minister. This is a different scenario from what happened in 2006, at which time it was precisely the security ministries that held up the completion of the government after the first posts had been allocated in May, but a solution was subsequently found and the full cabinet was approved by parliament in June.
Secondly, at the political level, the latest move is a clear rebuke to the secular Iraqiyya, which has lately signalled unhappiness about the direction in which the second Maliki government is evolving. Whereas Dulaymi may technically belong to the Unity of Iraq faction (which has technically been enrolled in Iraqiyya recently), it is very clear that Dulaymi is not the candidate of the leadership of Iraqiyya. In other words, he is what Maliki sometimes describes as a "Sunni candidate" rather than an Iraqiyya candidate. The more this kind of sectarian logic gets reified in the Iraqi government, the more we get back to the political atmosphere of 2006 when sectarian violence was at its height.
The problem with what Maliki is doing is that he continues to act as a strongman with a parliamentary majority in a context where it has been proved time and again that he doesn't.
Reidar Vissar notes Falih al-Fayyad is interim Minster of National Security. That's the first time that's appeared here because I missed it. And that's not "I missed it because I had other things to juggle and forgot to include it." I missed it, I wasn't even aware of it. Though neither al-Fayyad or al-Dulaymi hold real positions, I would've included the puppet's puppets had I know of it but I didn't. My apologies.
Puppet's puppets is not just a phrase, it's what they are. Neither was confirmed by Parliament. They have no power. They do what Nouri tells them are they're gone. While the Parliament (rightly) noted in the Minister of Electricity scandal that they had the power to fire not Nouri, these two puppets weren't confirmed by Parliament. Technically, they don't really exist. Nouri can dismiss them at any time. The positions remain unfilled not just because they are "temporary" or "acting" but because they were never confirmed by Parliament. With that confirmation, Ministers have a bit of power on the Council and can go against Nouri (and have). Without it, they sit at the table only as long as Nouri allows them to. They follow his orders, his commands and failure to do so means losing their position. So Nouri has managed a power-grab yet again.
Parliament never should have allowed him to move from prime minister-designate (November) to prime minister (end of December) without having formed a Cabinet as the Constitution dictates. There's no measure in the Constitution that allows them to return him to the post of prime minister-designate but they can call for a no-confidence vote. If they really wanted US forces out of Iraq, they'd do so immediately and vote in someone new.

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One of the insitutional 'victims' of the Iraq War has been the US State Dept.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and various supporters are lamenting in public but not for what's been done to the State Dept, not for how it's been harmed, just to try to squeeze a few bucks out of the system. It's very disgusting, it's very tacky. But that's hallmark of Barack's administration, now isn't? Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports late today, "With insurgent violence continuing in the country and all U.S. combat forces still scheduled to leave by the end of the year, State has taken over a $230 million Army contact with L-3 Communications to allow intelligence services to continue through the end of May 2012, five months after military personnel are expected to leave."
Ooh this could get messy
But you don't seem to mind
Ooh don't go telling everybody
And overlook this supposed crime
-- "Hands Clean," written by Alanis Morissette, first appears on her Under Rug Swept
State will now be over military intelligence. Jane Harman, Anne The Pig Face Marie Slaughter and all the others don't give a damn about what that means. Rightly or wrongly, in other countries the US State Dept is often seen as a cover for CIA operatives. That belief has justified a great deal of violence against the US State Dept over the years. Now idiots and lunkheads have decided to spray paint a big bulls eye on the back of all State Dept employees. Thank you, Barak Obama.
Michele Kelemen (NPR's All Things Considered) reports that Hillary went to the National Defense University with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta so both could whine in public like little beggars. Hillary and Robert Gates (former Secretary of Defense) pulled that little stunt before too. Under the Bush administration, State was sidelined and its influence was chipped away at to build up Defense. State will not be restored to its proper position by playing hand maiden to the Defense Dept nor by taking on Defense tasks and roles. If State is to be restored to its previous position -- a supposed goal of Hillary's -- this is not how you make it happen. Hillary and Leon wanted to boo-hoo from the script which says, "We'll say it's making us look bad internationally! This inability of Congress to come to terms on economic matters!" No, it make it appear you don't know your damn place or your damn role.
Jane Harman is now a private citizen and she can self-embarrass all she wants -- we've all seen the hair, right? Panetta and Clinton are not private citizens. (A) If their concerns were real, airing them in public doesn't help the situation. (B) Their concerns aren't real (or they wouldn't be airing them) but an attempt to manipulate the American people. Hillary's remarks are laughable, she's become the Beggar Woman of DC or possibly the capitol's Little Match Girl, "Spare change for coffee? I've almost got bus fair, could I get a dollar?"
"We have an opportunity," she declared today, "right now in the Middle East and North Africa that I'm not sure we are going to be able to meet, because we don't have the resources to invest in the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia, to help the transition in Libya, to see what happens in Syria and so much else." It doesn't cost a dime to "see what happens" anywhere as a spectator. The US "opportunity" in Libya does not appear to be the "opportunity" the people of Libya want as evidenced by the fact that the little CIA-staged and backed uprising that was going to last a few weeks is now over five months old. Most of all, don't talk about opportunities for the State Dept -- which is supposed to be about diplomacy -- when what you're doing is trying to sell a military budget for the State Dept in Iraq. Fortunately Barack Obama doesn't have the votes necessary in the Senate or House still. That's what this is all about.
Plan B to continue the Iraq War. Though it's been discussed publicly, the press has largely ignored it. Should the White House and Nouri be unable to come to an agreement to keep US forces on the ground in Iraq beyond December 31, 2011, troops and contractors get moved from the umbrella of Defense to the umbrella of State and the switch puts them under the Strategic Framework Agreement which makes it 'legal' and means it requires no additional agreements or treaties. It's the militarization of diplomacy and the brain child of Samantha Power who discovered and promoted the loophole in the transition period between the 2008 election and Barack being sworn in January 2009.
Someone needs to remind Leon Panetta that the rate of military suicide, the rate of military sexual assault and so much more that Robert Gates was always 'working on' never improved under Gates and if he's got time to plead for State Dept money, he damn well better have solved the many problems of the Defense Dept. If not, he needs to sit his ass down and get to work doing the damn job he said he wanted. If Congress had any real desire for progress on those issues, they'd start setting deadlines for these jabbering figureheads, such as, "We want to see a 10% reduction in military suicides in six months, a 25% reduction in a year. We expect you to meet that reduction or to teder your resignation, Mr. Panetta."
Robert Burns (AP) interviewed Hillary and Leon today and writes in his report:
Clinton said Americans should understand that in addition to preserving military strength, it is in the nation's security interests to maintain the State Department's role in diplomacy and development. She suggested that the political stalemate over spending cuts has put that in jeopardy.
Appointed officials should understand their role. You're a public servant, save the lectures and especially the fear tactics. Learn your place and learn it damn quick. If you want to preserve "diplomacy" you don't militarize it. We're not stupid children, we're the citizens of the United States and you are and will remain answerable to us while you are our public servants. Quit your bitching, quit your whining and get to work. Your break's over. You want Americans to make do with so much less while still wanting your inflated budget. No, not going to happen. Get to work,shut your mouths, stop your scare tactics. You're not appointed to offer a running commentary on Congress. If you have time to do that, you need to tender your resignation because you clearly are MISUSING GOVERMENT RESOURCES. You do understand that's a crime, right? So just stop your whining, do your damn job and stop trying to scare the American people.
Let's stay with 'withdrawal' and move over to the White House's preferred plan: A new agreement with Iraq that keeps US forces on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011. Press TV (link has text and video) spoke with Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation's Sabah Jawad about the US government's efforts to continue to occupy Iraq:
Press TV: Every time there is talk of Americans leaving Iraq, we are witnessed to a new wave of violence, do you see any links here?

Jawad: Yes, I mean it is definitely there is a link that makes Americans desperate to stay in Iraq, and especially since the expiry of their stay in Iraq is fast approaching, through the end of the year, and they want to stay and they want to put pressure on the Iraqi government and the Iraqi government they can't decide it because of the political process and possibly have completing statements by governments and participants of the political process regarding the stay of the American troops. Most of them actually support the extension of troops particularly the Kurdish parties and some other parties and the government and we see now these atrocities that they are committing and ongoing actually as we approach the final few weeks of the deadline and this is very clearly the policy of United States. They want to show that the Iraqi forces, security forces are not capable of maintaining law and order. Therefore they need the American presence there. They're proposing that the 20,000 American troops remain in Iraq and this is on top of the 16,000 stuff, and the biggest embassy in the world in Baghdad, and also for the foreseeable future there would be in control of the Iraqi air space. They will be based in seven to nine military bases which are near airports in Iraq. Therefore they will call the shots regarding the air space as well. They don't want to leave, particularly at this moment; they see a lot of popular uprisings against Arab regimes. They want to be there to keep an eye on the situation and so on. So they are desperate not to leave but the Iraqi people are determined actually, they have a popular resentment against the Americans, and I just remind you that one foreman at defense secretary in United States has said that the Iraqi people hate us and they could read the situation very proper. The Iraqi people hate the occupations and they will not stay silent until the last American soldiers leave Iraq.

Press TV: Why is it that the US wants to stay in Iraq despite, as you mentioned as well, the growing opposition from the people of Iraq themselves?

Jawad: Well, America as you know it's facing a huge crisis political and military crisis and financial crisis in the United States. They want to remain in Iraq because they invested millions and billions of dollars to prolong the occupation to maintain the occupation and to support their so called moderate regime in the Arab world they don't want to sacrifice that. In fact one of the closest which has been exposed as one of the negotiating points with the Iraqi government are the military bases they are going to have in Iraq beyond 2011. There will be seven or nine huge military bases between 40 and 275 acres each and these they will rent from the Iraqi government with the sum of less than one dollar a year and that would show they actually want the Iraqi government to pay for the continuous occupation of their land, before the Americans used to pay for their forces to stay in Iraq.
Al Sabaah speaks with an unnamed Iraqi government source who feels that there will be "long negotiations" and that then Iraq will keep the US military in Iraq as "trainers." MP Zuhair Araji goes on the record for the paper and states his belief that Iraq needs "trainers" and that this "need must be recognized" and states that Iraq lacks experience with protecting and patrolling the airspace, with radar equpiment and that the Iraqi Navy also needs addition help. He calls 20,000 US forces remaining too many and unreasonable. While so many US outlets ignore what's taking place (now publicly taking place), the Philadelphia Inquirer runs Patrick Kestra's "Iraq war hasn't faded as an issue for everyone:"
When was the last time you spared a thought -- any thought, good or ill -- for the war in Iraq?
It isn't actually over, the war, though it is easy to forget that, given the paucity of U.S. news coverage. Insurgents struck three Iraqi cities only yesterday, killing at least 60 in what analysts think was an attempt to ratchet up the terror level as the U.S. and Iraqi governments discuss a continued American presence in the country past 2011.
That's right: Odds are that U.S. troops will still be in Iraq in 2012, two years after the ballyhooed 2010 withdrawal of the last combat brigade.
And yet, for most of us, the Iraq war is so 2004.

The Voice of Russia (link is audio) offers an analysis from a retired Lt Gen of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Services.
Lt Gen Gennady Yevstafyev: Sunnis want Americans to get out completely because they could recover their influence in the country. Shiah groups, including the group of the present Prime Minister Maliki, are so dependent on the American military presence that they would be very much interested to retain it as long as possible. Each side is trying to play its strong card and I am afraid the card which is played involves all this explosions.
Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "What's needed is for Maliki and his allies to find a political answer to the still significant numbers of Iraqis who feel the country's current order is hostile to them. That's an answer that Iraq – and the US, with spending of nearly $800 billion the conflict so far and the loss of more than 4,000 soldiers' lives – has been groping toward for almost a decade now."

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011







Yesterday in the Iraqi Parliament, Al Rafidayn reports, some thought they would be discussing the nomination of former Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bolani to be Minister of Defense; however, it quickly arose that he had not in fact been nominated. Somewhere in that 'realization' is an indictment of the current government and Nouri's failure to appoint a Minister of Defense, a Minister of National Security and a Minister of the Interior back in December. Nizar Latif (The National) points out today, "As recently as Friday, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki indicated in an interview with an Iraqi television station that he sees no reason to appoint a minister of defence or minister of interior. He has filled both posts in acting capacity since the government was partially formed last December and argues that security has improved in the absence of ministerial chiefs." Somewhere in that failure to fill those security posts may be the answer to the continued and, yes, rising violence in Iraq.

Today is being called not just a bloody day, but, Ben Farmer (Telegraph of London), "the bloodiest day of the year so far." AP sees a "wave of violence" rolling through Iraq today with "nearly 60" dead. It was a series of attacks and the Washington Post offers an AFP - Getty Images slide show here. The Globe & Mail offers a photo essay here. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) cites 67 dead and one-hundred and seventy injured -- 34 killed by a Kut car bombing and roadside bombing; 8 killed by a Twareej car bombing; 4 killed by twin suicide bombers in Tikrit; 8 killed by a suicide car bombing in Khan Bani Saad; 3 dead from four Baghdad bombings and "attacks also occured in Najaf, Kirkuk and Baqouba, killing at least 10 people". CNN's updated the death toll to 75 and the number injured to "more than 250". Fang Yang (Xinhua) explains the 2 suicide bombers in Tikrit were attacking "the counter-terrorism headquarters" and that they "entered the headquarters with faked IDs in an attempt to enter the main building, but were discovered and traded fire with the guards, the source from Salahudin's operations command told Xinhua." Catholic Culture notes that a Syrian Orthodox church was blown up in Kirkuk.

Annie Gowen (Washington Post) observes, "The attacks came after a period of relative quiet in the country, which had descended as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began in early August." Jeffrey Fleishman and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) quote Baghdad shop owner Ali Sabih stating, "The blame is on the American troops. They want to show the weakness of the Iraqi security forces. Iraqi troops are weak and they'll need more years before they're ready to protect the country." Michael S. Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) quote police officer Saad Ahmed, injured in the Taji bombing, stating, "I looked at my body, and I was drowning in blood. I just thought about my friends and if they were O.K., because it was 9:15 in the morning and there was a change in shifts. It is Ramadan this month and we should pray that we won't kill each other. What crime did we commit? We were just trying to protect our country." Ben Farmer (Telegraph of London) notes the Baghdad attacks prompted "angry accusations of incompetence against Mr al-Maliki and his security forces" and quotes Baghdad shop owner Ali Jamaa Ziad asking, "Where is the government with all these explosions across the country? Where is al-Maliki? Why doesn't he come to see?" Rebecca Santana and Hamid Ahmed (AP) have a powerful report which includes:
"This is our destiny," said Eidan Mahdi, one of more than 250 Iraqis wounded Monday. Mahdi was lying in a hospital bed in the southern city of Kut. One of his eyes was closed shut with dried blood, and burns covered his hands and head.
DPA quotes Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi stating, "I place the responsibility on officials in charge of the security bodies and the government for those violations, that killed many innocent citizens." Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) adds, "The Iraqi government declared a curfew in the wake of the blasts while Iraqi politicians criticized the security forces for not having stopped the attacks. Hakim al Zamili, a member of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee, said an investigation would be launched and that both provincial police officials and Iraqi military commanders would be questioned." Aswat al-Iraq quotes Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, "We strongly condemn those horrible crimes, they were committed due to the existence of security loopholes, most reasons of which had been the negligence to implement the understandings, reached by the Political Leadership in Arbil." In the US, at the State Dept, spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated, "We remain concerned about these kinds of terrorist acts in Iraq, and we are working closely with out partners to address them. In net terms though, overall, the violence in Iraq is significantly down this year over previous years. We consider these to be desperate acts by desperate people. We believe that the Iraqi security forces are getting stronger by the day, and our goal is to continue to strengthen them, and we remain on track to withdraw all our forces at the end of the year." So she lies and expects people to believe her? We should believe her about "remain on track to withdraw all our forces at the end of the year" when she lies with "the violence in Iraq is signficiantly down this year over previous years"?
Victoria Nuland, meet Stuart Bowen. He is the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. He's often in the news but was in the news at the end of last month for what main reason? Lara Jakes (AP) reported: "Frequent bombings, assissinations and a resurgence in violence by Shiite militias have made Iraq more dangerous now than it was just a year ago, a U.S. government watchdog concludes in a report being released today." Report by Bowen and among the findings? That Iraq "is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago." Got it, Victoria? Need more? Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) covered Bowen's report, "The findings contrast with public statements by US diplomatic and military officials in Iraq and come as Washington awaits a final decision by Iraqi leaders on whether they want US troops to stay in the country beyond the expiration of a three-year security agreement in December." So we're lied to about that (so poorly that Nuland may as well have been channeling Jay Carney). And we're supposed to believe on the timeline? Let's drop back to Thursday's snapshot:
Turning to the Iraq War, if it ends at the end of 2011, why are they still deploying troops to it? Today the Providence Journal reports a send-off is scheduled this Friday (9:00 a.m., Quonset Air National Guard Base) for two units of the Rhode Island National Guard who are deploying "to Iraq for a year. They will provide aviation support for combat and reconstruction operations, the National Guard said." Jennifer Quinn (WPRI) also notes the deployment, "A Company, 1st Battalion 126th Aviation and D Company 126th Aviation will deploy to Iraq for one year."
Victoria Nuland, if all is on schedule for departure at the end of the year, why were those National Guard members deploying to Iraq "for a year"? You might have pulled off one lie, but both? Especially the lie about the violence after Stuart Bowen's report (and finding on the violence in Iraq) has been covered by every outlet imaginable.
The Daily Mail states, "The scope of violence -- seven explosions went off in different towns in Diyala province alone -- emphasized that insurgents are still able to carry out attacks despite repeated crackdowns by Iraqi and U.S. forces." Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports, "A jihadist site praised the attacks and said they targeted 'Shi'ites, Christians and the apostate awakening councils', in reference to the US-backed Sunni groups who turned on al-Qaida in 2007." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) quotes US military spokesperson Maj Angela Funaro declaring, "Today's attacks are eerily similar to the stream of large scale, complex attacks that occurred here last year during Ramadan on Aug. 25." That was a day that saw the toll reach at least 60 dead and 265 wounded by an hour before the network evening news. From that day's snapshot:
Ned Parker and Riyadh Mohammed (Los Angeles Times) explain, "The violence shook at least seven cities from north to south and appeared timed to undermine confidence in the Iraqi army and police as the U.S. military ends it formal combat mission in the country." Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) note the assaults appear "to be part of a coordinated wave of attacks" and they quote Mohammed Abbas who lost a cousin in one of today's bombings: "There may be a state, there may be a government. But what can that state do? What can they do with all the terrorists? Are they supposed to set up a checkpoint in every house?"
Wait, it gets worse:
Kadhim Ajrash and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) explain, "Car bombs were used in the attacks in Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, Baquba, Kirkuk and Wasit, the officials said in statements." In addition, they note, "Vice President Joseph Biden and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said at separate events yesterday that the administration is confident Iraqi forces are capable of taking on the primary security role."
That was August 25, 2010. And Iraqi forces weren't ready then and don't appear ready today. Nizar Latif (The National) quotes Abu Abbas who was injured in the Kut attack stating, "It's unacceptable to have the same thing happening twice. It means the security forces are not learning their lessons. We have the same flaws in security as we had a year ago." Of today's attacks, The NewsHour (PBS) notes, "The attacks come as Iraqi political leaders consider requesting U.S. troop presence beyond the planned Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline, as questions persist about the ability of the Iraqi government to maintain security and combat insurgents." Sara Sorcher (National Journal) adds, "The Obama administration has made clear that it would be open to leaving approximately 10,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely at the request of the Iraqi leadership, but Baghdad has not yet requested such an extension." Jamal Hashim and Yamel Wang (Xinhua) point out, "Maliki frequently said that SOFA cannot be renewed as stated in the agreement, but talks with the Americans is expected to let small force of U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond the end of 2011 deadline only gor training Iraq forces under the Strategic Framework Agreement, which was signed earlier with the SOFA between the two countries." Annie Gowen and Asaad Majeed (Financial Times of London) add, "Kirkuk's provincial governor, Najmaldin Karim, has called on American troops to stay in the country past the deadline."
News coverage has included the by now obligatory-hand wringing over whether Iraqi security forces are up to the job. The New York Times says that "the violence raised significant questions about the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces." The Washington Post writes "they also raise questions about the Iraqi government's ability to maintain security as American troops prepare to leave the country by December."
This is journalese. "Questions" aren't really being raised. It's evident that the ability of Iraq's security forces to end militant violence by force alone is nonexistent. The reason why is that the number of people willing to engage in attacks isn't small enough yet, that a substantial portion of the population looks at the Shiite-dominated government with sufficient suspicion to provide passive support to the fighting (by, say, deciding not to inform security forces of a neighbor who appears to be building a bomb in his garage), and that fighters -- whether Sunni insurgents or Shiite militants that the US alleges are receiving support from Iran -- still believe there's power and influence to be won at the end of a gun.

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