Sunday, April 24, 2016

Just Keep Lying Campaign

Just Keep Lying Campaign


From September 2, 2013, that's "Just Keep Lying Campaign."  C.I. noted:

Secretary of State John Kerry declares, "Yes, it's me.  69 year old John Kerry looking as fresh faced and wrinkle free as an Abercrombie and Fitch model.  I'm here to tell you that I have hair and blood samples proving chemicals were used in Syria."  He adds, "I'd have semen samples too but at 69 I need at least a 24-hour heads up and two Viagra."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

I find it amazing that John Kerry gets work done and it's not even a big topic.  An elderly man in the government and he's having a late-life crisis.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government admits killing Iraqi civilians in the bombs dropped from war planes each day, Haider al-Abadi continues pushing for reforms or 'reforms,' Moqtada issues a call to his followers, and much more.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes struck an ISIL bunker complex and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Beiji, a strike destroyed three ISIL bunkers.

-- Near Fallujah, eight strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL vehicles, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL command and control node, an ISIL vehicle, two ISIL assembly areas, and an ISIL bomb storage facility.

-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel entrance.

-- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL assembly area, and three ISIL supply caches and suppressed two separate ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Qayyarah, a strike produced inconclusive results.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL bomb and two ISIL asphalt steamrollers.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

The daily bombings have also been carried out in Syria.  And CBS NEWS and AP report:

In announcing the results of several investigations stemming from allegations of civilian casualties, U.S. Central Command said it concluded "the preponderance of evidence" indicates 20 civilians were killed and 11 others wounded in nine attacks between Sept. 10, 2015, and Feb. 2, 2016. All were judged to have been the unintended result of attacks on legitimate targets.

Of CENTCOM, BBC NEWS adds, "It said it deeply regretted the unintentional loss of life.
It said a total of 41 civilians had been killed since the air strikes began in 2014. Some human rights groups say the figure is much higher."  Lizzie Dearden (INDEPDENT) notes, "Monitors from the independent NGO said the civilian death toll from air strikes by the US-led coalition was due to pass 1,000 last month. The figure was described in Parliament as 'credible', sparking calls for Britain and other member states to release reports."

At least a thousand, according to an independent estimate.

At least a thousand civilians killed by these 'precision' bombings.

Where is the outrage in America?

Where are the protests?

But then, where are the protests over the continuing Iraq War?

The editorial board of THE TOLEDO BLADE points out:

The United States still has 4,000 troops in Iraq, nearly five years after President George W. Bush agreed with the then-Iraqi government that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2011. President Obama pledged to end the war in Iraq as part of his 2008 election campaign, a promise he has not fulfilled, bending to pressure from the Pentagon and Washington’s other advocates of a continued U.S. military presence.
In principle, U.S. troops are in Iraq in the context of advising and supplying Iraqi armed forces, not in a combat role. However, it emerged last month that Marines maintain an independent fire base in northern Iraq and are expected to play a critical role in carrying out the plan of Iraqi forces to free Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria control. ISIS has held Mosul since June, 2014.

The Iraq War never ends.

Nor do Hillary Clinton's excuses for voting it and supporting it through 2007.

By contrast, Senator Bernie Sanders voted against it.

At a Baltimore rally today, Harper Neidig (THE HILL) reports, Senator Bernie Sanders declared, "The most important foreign policy debate in the modern history of this country took place in 2002 over the war in Iraq. I listened very carefully to what President Bush and Dick Cheney and the others had to say. I did not believe them, I helped lead the opposition.  Secretary Clinton heard the same evidence that I did; she voted for that war.  As secretary of State, she initiated and helped lead the effort to help overthrow the government of Libya, which brought mass instability to that region."

Thursday, War Hawk Hillary Diane appeared on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA to sputter:

Well, I guess my-my greatest regret, uhm, was, uh, voting to give President Bush authority in Iraq.  Uhm, it did not turn out the way I thought it would based on what he had said, uh, and I regret that.  I've said it was a mistake and, uh, obviously, uh, it's something I-I wish hadn't turned out the way it did.

Even she couldn't get it out in a believable manner.

Stumbling and sputtering, she tried to rewrite history yet again.

In the face of Hillary's latest revision, it's worth again noting Stephen Zunes providing reality about Hillary's Iraq history:

1. “Hillary Clinton’s vote wasn’t for war, but simply to pressure Saddam Hussein to allow UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq.”
At the time of vote, Saddam Hussein had already agreed in principle to a return of the weapons inspectors. His government was negotiating with the United Nations Monitoring and Verification Commission on the details, which were formally institutionalized a few weeks later. (Indeed, it would have been resolved earlier had the United States not repeatedly postponed a UN Security Council resolution in the hopes of inserting language that would have allowed Washington to unilaterally interpret the level of compliance.)
Furthermore, if then-Senator Clinton’s desire was simply to push Saddam into complying with the inspection process, she wouldn’t have voted against the substitute Levin amendment, which would have also granted President Bush authority to use force, but only if Iraq defied subsequent UN demands regarding the inspections process. Instead, Clinton voted for a Republican-sponsored resolution to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq at the time and circumstances of his own choosing.
In fact, unfettered large-scale weapons inspections had been going on in Iraq for nearly four months at the time the Bush administration launched the March 2003 invasion. Despite the UN weapons inspectors having not found any evidence of WMDs or active WMD programs after months of searching, Clinton made clear that the United States should invade Iraq anyway. Indeed, she asserted that even though Saddam was in full compliance with the UN Security Council, he nevertheless needed to resign as president, leave the country, and allow U.S. troops to occupy the country. “The president gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to avoid war,” Clinton said in a statement, “and the world hopes that Saddam Hussein will finally hear this ultimatum, understand the severity of those words, and act accordingly.”

When Saddam refused to resign and the Bush administration launched the invasion, Clinton went on record calling for “unequivocal support” for Bush’s “firm leadership and decisive action” as “part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.” She insisted that Iraq was somehow still “in material breach of the relevant United Nations resolutions” and, despite the fact that weapons inspectors had produced evidence to the contrary, claimed the invasion was necessary to “neutralize Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

Julia Sharpe-Levine (HUFFINGTON POST) adds:

 Her assertion that her vote for the Iraq War was “the best decision I [could’ve made] with the information I had” is deceitful considering that prior to voting, she neglected to read the 92-page classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction circulated to the Senate for review by the Bush administration. The NIE went into great detail about the objections raised by the State Department and Department of Energy to claims of nuclear-weapons in Iraq, and led multiple senators, including Bob Graham of Florida, to vote against the war resolution.

Bully Boy Bush tricked her, she whined this week.

But how stupid do you have to be to be in order to be tricked by Bully Boy Bush?

More to the point, how can you be 'tricked' when you don't even do the basic work required?

Hillary voted without doing the National Intelligence Estimate?

Well, no one's ever accused her of possessing an overabundance of intelligence.

Retired Lt Col William Astore (HUFFINGTON POST) observes:

No more nonsense about being a touchy-feely progressive like Bernie Sanders.  It’s time for Hillary the Hawk to take charge and soar, preempting any criticism by Republicans that she’ll be “weak” on defense.
But, tell me again, how did America’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere go for the United States?  At least three trillion dollars lost, tens of thousands of U.S. troops killed and wounded, hundreds of thousands of “foreigners” killed and wounded, millions made refugees, and for what, exactly?
Hillary the Hawk wants to double-down on a losing hand.  That’s neither “aggressive” nor “tough”: It’s reckless and dumb.  Worst of all, she’s playing with our chips as well as the lives of our troops, not to mention the lives of all those “foreigners” seeking shelter from American bombs and bullets and drones.  (But we have a word for them: collateral damage.)

Her latest lie did not go over well in Libya.  Mahmoud Darwesh (XINHUA) reports from Tripoli:

The recent statement of U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has met with great skepticism in Libya, especially her regret for the 2003 intervention in Iraq, according to Libyan officials.
[. . .]
"The recent statement of Clinton is nothing but political advocacy for her voters," said Atef Badri, a former Libyan diplomat.
He believes this apology and regret for the military campaign that led to the destruction of Iraq will not change the "ugly face" on Washington's foreign policy.
The former diplomat said when Clinton was a prominent senator in 2002, she strongly advocated for a military campaign that was apparently aimed to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime.
"However, the hidden side of her support to the campaign was to destroy Iraq's scientific capabilities and infrastructure. The world saw how fancy the U.S. air force was in destroying the government offices, factories, and bridges," Badri added. 

Meanwhile, AFP notes, "A suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least eight people at a mosque on the southwestern edge of Baghdad on Friday, security and medical officials said."  Ayad Allawi, leader of Iraqiya, tells NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY that the bombing is an attempt to destroy the social fabric of Iraq and to promote sectarianism.
ALSUMARIA notes a Husseiniya car bombing killed 1 Iraqi soldier and left four more injured.

As the violence continues, so does the political intrigue.

An alliance has apparently fallen.  DAR ADDUSTOUR reports that the Kurdish alliance has broken and that the PUK has announced they will not continue to align with the KDP -- the split is said to be between former president of Iraq  Jalal Talabani and his supporters in the PUK and KRG President Massoud Barzani and his supporters in the KDP.

The split comes as the US-installed prime minister Haider al-Abadi is demanding that he get a new Cabinet.  That's a confession of his own failures as prime minister.  He picked his Cabinet back in 2014 -- picking the ministers and having Parliament approve them is how someone moves from prime minister-designate to prime minister per Iraq's constitution.  Haider's requesting a new Cabinet less than two years later is a confession of his own failure.  (IRAQ TIMES published a photo of Haider from when he was less than a year-old, FYI.)

He has some support for his proposals including from Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.  ALSUMARIA notes Moqtada called on his followers to continue protesting in Baghdad in favor of Haider's demands -- and to continue protesting until at least Monday.  ALL IRAQ NEWS explains that Moqtada wants the Parliament to vote on Haider's proposals Monday.  While they continue protesting in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, there are MPs protesting in the Parliament as well.

Salim al-Jubouri remains Speaker of Parliament despite an April 14th attempt to vote the most powerful Sunni politician out of office (they did not have a quorum so the vote did not count).  ALSUMARIA notes that he has stated Parliament will be resuming business and voting on Haider's proposal in this coming week.

Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) reports that Salim is attempting to get the protesting MPs to cease their protest.  However, the protesters include Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition and they're not budging.  NINA quotes State of Law's Mutasim Mansour Baaja declaring that the sit in will continue and that they believe the vote to oust Salim as Speaker was a valid and legal vote.

As Sheikh (DAR ADDUSTOUR) pens a column noting the intrigue and rumor surrounding the various efforts and concludes that merely shuffling politicians will not cure Iraq's government because what is actually needed is a vision of a better Iraq.

Saleh al-Mutlaq is the leader of the National Dialogue Front, a Sunni bloc. ALSUMARIA reports that he has stated there is an effort afoot to change the three presidencies -- Speaker of Parliament, President and Prime Minister -- to those who would do the bidding of the government of Iran.  Suadad al-Salhy (MIDDLE EAST MONITOR) focuses on Nouri al-Maliki's role in the upheaval:

To stop the train – or at least to reroute it – figures involved in talks told MEE that the heads of political blocs must negotiate with Maliki, who controls more than two-thirds of the rebellious MPs.
"Those who led the coup were Maliki's MPs and were under his supervision," said a senior Shia leader familiar with the current political bloc negotiations, who spoke to MEE on condition of anonymity. "I have all the text messages and instructions he sent to his people," the leader said. "He is the one holding all the strings of the game. He can keep it up or end it."
Maliki governed Iraq between 2006 and 2014. Despite winning the highest share of the vote in 2014, he was blocked from a third term by political rivals and Shia clergymen after many Iraqis blamed him for the spectacular loss of almost a third of Iraqi territory to the Islamic State (IS) group. Abadi, Maliki's political party mate, in cooperation with Maliki's Shia, Sunni and Kurd rivals, succeeded him to the top office.
Maliki was appointed vice president, but Abadi, in response to massive demonstrations, abolished Maliki's post last August as part of his first package of reforms. Since then, the tension between Maliki and his rivals has been high. 

Read on ...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wag The Kennel

 wag the kennel

From August 25, 2013, that's "Wag The Kennel."  

C.I. notes:

Surrounded by eleven dogs, White House spokesmodel Jay Carney declares, "Wag the dog?  With Syria we're going to wag the whole f--king kennel to make you forget about our illegal spying!"  Jay wears a t-shirt which proclaims, "I'M NOT RACHEL MADDOW."  Barack concurs, "He's not Rachel.  Jay's much cuter.  And more girlish."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

This is one of two comics I did that I ended up framing and hanging on my own walls.

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US Secretary of Defense announces the administration's goal of more US forces on the ground in Iraq, the Parliament continues to bicker, and much more.

Saturday, the US Defense Dept announced/boasted:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, ground-attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 15 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

-- Near Fallujah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Hit, two strikes destroyed an ISIL mortar system, 14 ISIL boats and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, 14 ISIL modular oil refineries and two ISIL crude oil stills and destroyed an ISIL assembly area and 10 ISIL boats.
-- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 24 ISIL boats, two ISIL rocket rails and two ISIL assembly areas.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL assembly area.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, officials added.

These bombings began in August of 2014 and have continued daily.

And have accomplished so little.

AP reports, "The US wants to do more in the fight, Carter said, and is 'only limited by our own ingenuity' and ideas. Carter expressed confidence that the White House will approve recommendations, saying nothing he has asked President Barack Obama for yet in the conflicts has been turned down."

Or AP 'reports' since that really wasn't the big news of those remarks.

Let's go to the DoD transcript for US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's actual remarks:

SEC. CARTER:  Across the whole spectrum.  You know we're looking to do more, but it ranges from in the air to on the ground.  All consistent with our overall strategic approach, which is to enable local forces ultimately to hold and sustain the defeat of ISIL, after ISIL is defeated, but to enable them to do so and accelerate that process so we continue to look for and identify ways of accelerating that, and as we find those we will do them.  Obviously in Iraq we do that with the permission of the Iraqi government.

But we -- you should expect us to -- to see us doing more, to be consistent with the same approach, but it will be across all the domains, right up to cyber, which I mentioned earlier.

Now over the next few days I'll have an opportunity to talk to our commanders, and also to some in the region here, and obviously look for more good opportunities to accelerate the defeat of ISIL here in Syria and Iraq, which is absolutely necessary.

Q:  When you say "on the ground," do you mean more U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq?

SEC. CARTER:  Yes, I mean, I think some of these have that aspect to it, but I just want to emphasize there's a lot more that goes with this, and our -- and our presence on the ground is -- and will continue to be to enable, not to substitute, for local forces.

So the big takeaway there?

When he says "on the ground," he means "US troops on the ground in Iraq."

". . . We're looking to do more, but it ranges from in the air to on the ground" meaning "more US troops on the ground in Iraq."

The Secretary of Defense is openly addressing the desire of the administration to put more US troops on the ground in Iraq.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the Parliament follies continue.


A group of Iraqi lawmakers said they would not take part in a Saturday parliament session to select a replacement for the speaker, apparently leaving it without the necessary quorum.
Iraq was on course to have two rival claimants to the speakership, further increasing chaos in parliament, which has already seen a vote to sack speaker Salim al-Juburi, a fistfight among MPs and a sit-in this week.


An official session planned for Saturday had earlier been postponed for “security reasons," according to parliamentary spokesman Imad Al Khafaji. The protesting lawmakers gathered at parliament anyway, but later dispersed when it became clear they did not have the numbers to topple the speaker.
The protesting lawmakers vowed to hold the vote next week. An earlier attempt on Thursday had also failed for lack of a quorum.
The lawmakers are demanding that Iraq’s top political leadership, including prime minister Haider Al Abadi, step down – accusing them of failing to reform a political system steeped in patronage. Earlier this week, MPs held a multi-day sit-in at the assembly.

US Special Envoy Brett McGurk Tweets:

  • Conferring w/Speaker Jabbouri on stabilizing areas liberated from & upholding political stability in .

  • ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that Speaker Salim al-Jubouri spoke with Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr today in an attempt to strengthen support for al-Jubouri.  AL MADA notes that Moqtada is calling for the Cabinet of Ministers to be replaced with Haider al-Abadi's latest slate (which is being called a slate of "technocrats").

    ALSUMARIA adds that Moqtada says the quota system is depleting resources.

    Which really means that Moqtada says that the Constitutional system is depleting resources.

    REUTERS notes, "Iraq's powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday he would re-start protests in 72 hours if the nation's leaders failed to vote on a technocrats' cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to stem corruption."  ALSUMARIA reports that Moqtada's followers pitched tents in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.

    Meanwhile IRAQ TIMES notes that the Dawa Party has called out "hollow statements and slogans" being mouthed by some politicians.  ALL IRAQ NEWS explains that was a response to Moqtada who had decried the failure of someone's third term as prime minister -- referring to Nouri al-Maliki who was forced out in August 2014 by the White House.

    Nouri is accused of working behind the scenes to destroy any movement one way or another in his efforts to bring down Haider al-Abadi so that he can return as prime minister.

    Suadad al-Salhy (MIDDLE EAST MONITOR)  reports on some of the behind the scenes maneuvers:

    Last week, Amar al-Hakim, head of al-Mouatin Bloc; Osama al-Nujaifi, head of Sunni United Forces; Salih al-Mutlaq, head of al-Hiwar; Hadi al-Amiri, head of Badr; Joubori, speaker of parlamient; Fouad Masoom, the president; Abadi and a few others signed a document called the"National Document of Reformation".
    The document aims to maintain the political power-sharing agreement and deepen the influence of the political blocs over top government posts and decisions. The document, which was obtained by MEE, included 12 items. Most were written in a way that serves to maintain the power-sharing system.
    "Establish a consultative political council alongside the prime minister, president and speaker of parliament, whose members include the leaders of the essential political forces in the country… to be held monthly to discuss strategies of the country," one of the items reads.
    "The political blocs will present their nominees for the cabinet to the prime minister and he can choose them in a way asserting national (power) sharing," another item reads.

    And we'll return to the US to close with this from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

    WASHINGTON (April 14, 2016) — Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), its members and other veteran service organization partners joined Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Brad Ashford (D-Neb.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) at the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill from funding cuts. The greatest education investment in our veterans since WWII has recently come under attack with the House passage of H.R.3016, which calls for a 50 percent cut to the housing allowance that children receive if their military or veteran parent transfers the benefit to them. A similar bill (S.425) is making its way to the Senate floor and IAVA is calling on all Members of Congress to pledge to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill from this and any future cuts to the vital program. IAVA will oppose the omnibus as a whole and call on the president to veto the bill if it is passed with the cuts intact.

    “It is embarrassing that we have to come here and beg our elected officials not to steal from the pockets of our military, veterans and their families,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “As we stand in front of the U.S. Capitol, men and women are fighting in a prolonged war in Afghanistan and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, earning this very benefit. We are once again seeing the impact of a growing civilian-military divide in this country. It is national disgrace that some Members of Congress are willing to use veterans benefits as a piggy bank to pay for other programs. Congress must defend the promise made to our veterans. IAVA’s members — some still in harm’s way — kept their promise to our country; Congress needs to keep theirs to our vets.”

    IAVA was joined at the press conference by veteran and military service organizations representing a diverse cross section of community of those who have served, including Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and Commissioned Officers Association (COA).

    “Vietnam Veterans of America has long held that government should never pay for a program for one group of veterans by cutting funding and taking away from any other group of veterans.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul, no matter how important or vital Paul might be, goes against one of VVA’s core principles,” said Rick Weidman, VVA Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs.

    “Officers in the U.S. Public Health Service fought hard to be allowed to transfer GI Bill benefits to their dependents. Because these officers have one or more college degrees when they join the USPHS, they don’t tend to use the bill’s provisions for themselves as much as do members of other services. Transferability means everything to them, and this proposed legislation would take some of that benefit from them,” said Col. (ret.) James T. Currie, Executive Director for Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service.

    Since IAVA launched the #DefendTheGIBill campaign in March 2016, IAVA members have sent nearly 14,000 letters to Congress asking representatives to oppose any cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In addition, every Member of Congress has been challenged to take the pledge to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

    IAVA led the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008 and in championing upgrades in 2010 and 2014. These upgrades simplified and improved tuition benefits, expanded eligibility to the National Guard, included vocational programs, and made nationwide in-state tuition rates a possibility for new veterans beginning this year.

    The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used by nearly one million veterans and their family members to accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths.

    Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 11th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 5,800 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.


    Read on ...

    Sunday, April 10, 2016

    Your Server Barack

    your server barack


    From August 18, 2013, that's "Your Server, Barack."  C.I. notes:

    Barack greets you, "Welcome to Operative Garden -- May I interest you in some endless spying or, my personal favorite, never-ending excuses."  In the background, Natasha advises, "Ask about our appetizers."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    I love that one.

    I was in the middle of a break up, very little was going well.

    I pulled off that comic and felt like things would get better.

    I love Spy V. Spy in MAD MAGAZINE, always have.  And I loved Boris and Natasha, as well.

    So that was just a great comic for me, on a lot of levels.

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

    Saturday, April 9, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, John Kerry visits Iraq, the persecution of the Sunnis remains unaddressed, and much more.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced/boasted:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed two ISIL rocket rails and 22 rockets.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL mortar system and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Hit, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 10 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL artillery piece, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, 30 ISIL boats and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes destroyed an ISIL command and control node and an ISIL tunnel system.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL financial storage center and destroyed three ISIL rocket rails.

    -- Near Qayyarah, four strikes struck an ISIL weapons storage facility, destroyed two ISIL vehicle bombs and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL headquarters.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    These bombs having been going on daily since August of 2014.  This is how US President Barack Obama thinks he can defeat the Islamic State.

    Bombing Iraqis -- including civilians whose only 'crime' is living actually creates sympathy for the Islamic State.

    Nouri al-Maliki's persecution of the Sunnis throughout his second term as prime minister (2010 through 2014) created the space for the Islamic State to thrive in Iraq.

    We warned about it here.

    We noted how the prison breaks were going.

    Sunnis breaking out weren't turned in by people living in the Sunni community.

    That was because the Sunnis were being persecuted and wrongly and falsely imprisoned.

    So when they broke out, there wasn't a public concern or need to turn them in.

    The Sunnis felt more and more disenchanted with the government that was supposed to be their government and protect them.

    Elise Labott (CNN and State Dept unpaid employee) types, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived for an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Friday, as the country's political crisis threatens the fight against ISIS."





    Conferring w/ today in . Key meetings w/PM, Speaker, FM, KRG PM. Focus: uniting forces against .

    Nathan King (CCTV) reports:

    It was with ISIL in mind that Kerry made his unannounced stop in Baghdad. Iraqi government forces, with U.S. backing, are poised to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Kerry had a message of encouragement.

    [. . .]
    Kerry’s visit comes at a time of continued division among Iraq’s politicians and ethnic groups. Sunnis are still not convinced that a Shiite dominated government in Baghdad is a better alternative than ISIL.

    And Kerry does nothing to address this  or to call for Haider al-Abadi to address it.

    Haider is the prime minister now because Barack and the Iranian government could agree on installing him.

    The Iraqi people are not the ones picking their prime minister.  They have no say.

    Arhsad Mohammed, Maher Chmaytelli, Stephen Kalin, Janet Lawrence and John Stonestreet (REUTERS) report:

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting Baghdad on Friday, urged Iraq not to let its political crisis interfere with the fight against Islamic State and voiced unequivocal support for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

    Abadi last week unsettled Iraq's political elite with a proposed cabinet reshuffle that aims to curb corruption by replacing long-time politicians with technocrats and academics.

    Haider is doing what the US government wants, not what the Iraqi people want.

    The lack of support from the Iraqi people is why so many Iraqi politicians can -- and have -- speak out agains the proposals.

    Kerry feels the ongoing political crisis might "interfere."

    Well, why not address that crisis?

    In fact, when will that crisis be addressed.

    Let's go back to June 19, 2014, when Barack Obama acknowledged the need for a political solution in Iraq.

    US President Barack Obama:  Above all, Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’s future.  Shia, Sunni, Kurds -- all Iraqis -- must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence.  National unity meetings have to go forward to build consensus across Iraq’s different communities.  Now that the results of Iraq’s recent election has been certified, a new parliament should convene as soon as possible.  The formation of a new government will be an opportunity to begin a genuine dialogue and forge a government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis.
    Now, it’s not the place for the United States to choose Iraq’s leaders.  It is clear, though, that only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis.  Meanwhile, the United States will not pursue military options that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another.  There’s no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that is led by the United States.  But there is an urgent need for an inclusive political process, a more capable Iraqi security force, and counterterrorism efforts that deny groups like ISIL a safe haven.

    Rise above their differences?

    When's that happening?

    Here he is still speaking on June 19, 2014:

    But I don’t think there’s any secret that right now at least there is deep divisions between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders.  And as long as those deep divisions continue or worsen, it’s going to be very hard for an Iraqi central government to direct an Iraqi military to deal with these threats.
    And so we’ve consulted with Prime Minister Maliki, and we’ve said that to him privately.  We’ve said it publicly that whether he is prime minister, or any other leader aspires to lead the country, that it has to be an agenda in which Sunni, Shia and Kurd all feel that they have the opportunity to advance their interests through the political process.  And we’ve seen over the last two years, actually dating back to 2008, 2009 -- but I think worse over the last two years -- the sense among Sunnis that their interests were not being served, that legislation that had been promised around, for example, De-Ba’athification had been stalled. 
    I think that you hear similar complaints that the government in Baghdad has not sufficiently reached out to some of the tribes and been able to bring them in to a process that gives them a sense of being part of a unity government or a single nation-state.  And that has to be worked through.

    Nothing has changed.

    The wedge is still the same, the Sunnis are still persecuted.

    Haider al-Abadi's done nothing to address that persecution.

    The White House, the State Dept, nothing has been done to encourage Haider to address this issue.

    In February, Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) reported:

    When Iraqi ground forces and American aircraft began assaulting the city of Ramadi more than a month ago, Ghusoon Muhammed and her family fled to the government’s front line, as did many other Sunni Arab families who had been trapped for months. Soldiers sent her and the children one way, and her husband another, to be interrogated in a detention facility.
    She has not seen him or heard from him since.   She and her children, who will most likely not be able to go home to Ramadi for months given the destruction, have been left to wait in a ramshackle tent camp here in Anbar Province.  She is desperate, and adamant: "The innocent people in jail need to be released!" she said.
    Standing nearby on Sunday was another woman, Karima Nouri.  Her son an auto mechanic, was also taken away by the authorities, and she has had no word about him for weeks.  Ms. Nouri said the government considered civilians who remained in Ramadi to be sympathizers of the Islamic State.

    Today, Elise notes, "The top U.S. diplomat's visit, which was not made public until Kerry arrived, is part of an effort to shore up an embattled prime minister fighting to stay in office."

    The rumors sweeping Iraq last month was that the United Kingdom's ambassador to Iraq was speaking with Ayad Allawi about becoming the next prime minister.

    So John's trip was an attempt to rally support for the ineffectual and disappointing Haider.

    That's all it was.

    And the ongoing persecution of Sunnis?

  • Shia militias crimes عاجل الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يحرق العوائل السنيه العراقية في ديالى افضحوهم حسبنا الله

  • Graphic pics Iraqi Sunnis civilians burned & killed by Shia militias backed by Iran My heart is broken

  • عاجل الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يقتل امرأة سنيه عراقية امام اطفالها في بغداد اين الاعلام من هذه المجازر ضدنا

  • army murders a mother from Sunni sect in front of her children in Baghdad.without guilt

  • هذه المجازر بحقنا اصبحت يوميا هي المحرقة بعد عدة سنيين سيظهر المنافقين الذين خرسوا الان ليتباكوا علينا

    John Kerry didn't acknowledge it, let alone address it.

    elise labott Read on ...
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