Posts Tagged iraq

April Fools! Dude Made Up Whole Iraq WMD Story.

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Haha. No shit.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, aka “Curveball“, an Iraqi defector who falsified testimony about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, confirms that he made the whole thing up in an interview airing this week on the BBC2 TV series, “Modern Spies.” The former chemical engineer’s “confidence trick” was used by the Bush administration to justify going to war with Iraq in 2003.

But Mr Janabi, speaking in a two-part series, Modern Spies, starting tomorrow on BBC2, says none of it was true. When it is put to him “we went to war in Iraq on a lie. And that lie was your lie”, he simply replies: “Yes.”

US officials “sexed up” Mr Janabi’s drawings of mobile biological weapons labs to make them more presentable, admits Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, General Powell’s former chief of staff. “I brought the White House team in to do the graphics,” he says, adding how “intelligence was being worked to fit around the policy”.

For critics of the Iraq War, there were always 2 ways to look at the obvious fuck up: (a) the Administration was so inept + nervous about another historic attack that they overreacted to shady evidence, or (b) They used the worst modern attack on American soil to achieve a pre-ordained policy goal of regime change in Iraq.

As helplessly oblivious as Bush seemed at times, the cynics were always pretty confident (b) was the answer.  I remember seeing this asshole “Curveball” on 60 minutes and thinking, “if it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else.”  Maybe “Knuckleball,” or “Spitter” or “The Situation.”

So yeah, that ‘told ya so’ is almost worth the 6-figure death totals.

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Mess We Can!

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

In the world of global politics, President Obama has had his moments.  He was served a plate of excrement, and has managed a fairly decent record on the world stage.

However, there are exceptions:  He has failed to close Guantanamo. He has doubled-down on the empire-sodomizing black hole of Afghanistan. He got some sort of Portuguese dog, which I assume is mostly cork.

And these are sizeable exceptions.  On 90210, Ray Pruitt was a pretty good boyfriend to Donna Martin, except when he would knock her around occasionally.

Now we move to Libya, the 3rd front of our impending 12-front middle eastern military sunday fun day action.

I’m no strict constructionist. In fact, self-proclaimed “strict constructionists” are usually unreasonable and unhinged longbeards with homemade napalm, or (in most cases), politically motivated clowns who hold these views only when self-servingly expedient.

However, I can’t deny the fact that this is another unilateral executive power grab I genuinely abhor.

 As Greenwald points out:

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.

I understand that it’s hard to put that Executive Power Genie Back in the bottle. 50+ years of unchecked war partying will do that.

But despite the qualifiers trotted out by the President, there’s no getting around the blatant abuse of power this action constitutes. As Michael Lind points out in his excellent reading of constitutional / international law:

However, while the Security Council can authorize member states to undertake a war for purposes other than national or regional self-defense, it cannot order any country to do so. The U.S. agreed to participate in the United Nations only because the U.N. charter makes it clear that each member state has the right to decide, on the basis of its internal constitutional processes, whether to take part in an enforcement action authorized by the Security Council.

In other words, there are two distinct systems of authorization, one international and one national. Under international law, the U.S. lacks the authority to engage in wars unrelated to its own defense or that of its allies. Security Council action might lift that legal restraint. But once the Security Council has acted, Congress must still authorize the military action by formal voting, not by mere “consultation” with the president.

Yes, Qaddafi is crazy. Yes, he controls a lot of oil, and this country uses a lot of refined oil to fuel its transport vehicles and Japanese sex dolls (diesel).  But if we’re truly just going around protecting citizens of other countries from their crazy despots, we still have dozens to go. I’m not sure we want tio get into that. (d.r.a.f.t?)

Eugene Robinson took a moment from his affable chuckling to write an excellent article this morning. This about sums it up…

Gaddafi is crazy and evil; obviously, he wasn’t going to listen to our advice about democracy. The world would be fortunate to be rid of him. But war in Libya is justifiable only if we are going to hold compliant dictators to the same standard we set for defiant ones. If not, then please spare us all the homilies about universal rights and freedoms. We’ll know this isn’t about justice, it’s about power.

Amen.

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Wikileaks

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Cartoon.

This was linked from Greenwald’s post, which I recommend…

It is a “scandal” when the Government conceals things it is doing without any legitimate basis for that secrecy.  Each and every document that is revealed by WikiLeaks which has been improperly classified — whether because it’s innocuous or because it is designed to hide wrongdoing — is itself an improper act, a serious abuse of government secrecy powers.  Because we’re supposed to have an open government — a democracy –  everything the Government does is presumptively public, and can be legitimately concealed only with compelling justifications.   That’s not just some lofty, abstract theory; it’s central to having anything resembling ”consent of the governed.”

But we have completely abandoned that principle; we’ve reversed it.  Now, everything the Government does is presumptively secret; only the most ceremonial and empty gestures are made public.  That abuse of secrecy powers is vast, deliberate, pervasive, dangerous and destructive.  That’s the abuse that WikiLeaks is devoted to destroying, and which its harshest critics — whether intended or not — are helping to preserve.  There are people who eagerly want that secrecy regime to continue:  namely, (a) Washington politicians, Permanent State functionaries, and media figures whose status, power and sense of self-importance are established by their access and devotion to that world of secrecy, and (b) those who actually believe that — despite (or because of) all the above acts — the U.S. Government somehow uses this extreme secrecy for the Good.  Having surveyed the vast suffering and violence they have wreaked behind that wall, those are exactly the people whom WikiLeaks is devoted to undermining.

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Veterans’ Hay

Posted by Matt on Thursday, November 11th, 2010

That's as partriotic as it gets for a collar, shirt, tie* combo. Maybe he's right. (*sidenote - i own that tie)

Yesterday, the President’s bipartisan Debt Commission issued their much-publicized proposal to decrease the country’s deficit. The plan has been received with mixed reviews, but not by Commission member Kent Conrad. Today, the North Dakota Senator gave himself a congratulatory salute, noting,  “There is no way of doing it that’s not controversial and difficult. But you know today is Veterans’ Day. You think of what they sacrificed for this country. If some of us have to sacrifice a political career to get this country back on track then so be it. It has to be done.”

 
Invoking the sacrifice of our veterans? Quite subtle Senator. And when I think about sacrifice, I think about the congressmen, lobbyists and corporate execs who make up the Commission, and the sacrifices they’ve made by cutting their own taxes while sending the children of others to fight in foreign wars for most of the last decade.  Also, nothing says “political sacrifice” like your vague, yet ballsy plan to simultaneously “cut taxes” and “reduce the deficit.” Two ideas I’m sure everyone hates.
 
However, today being Veterans’ Day and all, I feel obliged to mention one of the more specific recommendations in the report, which reads:  “Establish co-pays in the VA medical system and change the co-pays and deductibles for military retirees that remain in that system.”  Or in other words, ‘no more free rides‘ and ‘What have you done for me lately?’
 
I’ll refrain from editorializing on our country’s military or fiscal policy. That’s not the point. The point is that Kent Conrad is just the last in a long line of pandering politicians who piggyback on the true sacrifice of our troops, from Pat Tillman, to the recently fallen Dale Kridlo, to the 10s of thousands of wounded and homeless veterans who will now have to put their money where Kent Conrad’s mouth is, if the good Senator has his way.  Kent Conrad, you pathetic and disingenuous bastard: Next time, please find a different holiday to exploit for undeserved personal glory.

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What An Awesome Time That Was

Posted by Matt on Thursday, August 19th, 2010

“At 3:53 am August 19, 2010, Baghdad Time, the last American combat troops in Iraq crossed the border into Kuwait and the gates behind the convoy closed.” 

While 50K Troops remain, this at least partially closes the door on one of the saddest chapters of American history. However, no one in the ‘Media’ has really cared about the Iraq War since 2004. I wouldn’t expect them to spend much time on this either. The important thing is to apparently debate a manufactured issue on whether First Amendment Rights should be extended to Muslim Americans. That’s really bringing out the best in people. We’ve come a long way. 

However, it would be nice if we took a minute to remember this criminally unnecessary and destructive War.American Deaths…Since war began (3/19/03): 4415 (Total)  3493 (In Combat)
Since “Mission Accomplished” (5/1/03) (the list) 4276 (Total)  3385 (In Combat)
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3954 (Total) 3187 (In Combat)
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3556 (Total) 2860 (In Combat)
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 187 88
Total Wounded: 31907 (Official) Over 100000 (Estimated)

This does not include the 10,000′s of innocent civilians and allied forces killed and wounded.

Next time we have a leader itching to invade some fucking sandbox, I hope people will remember this nonsense.

1. An administration uses a national tragedy, alarmist rhetoric, and manufactured (false) evidence to build a case for invading a country that had nothing to do with said tragedy.

2. After some photo ops, the American Media packs it in. The Government saves our eyes by not allowing dead soldiers to be shown on tv. Instead we get Deal Or No Deal. People yawn and get fatter.

3. In the Muslim World, the Invasion of Iraq becomes biggest reason for anti-American sentiment (more than support for Israel, regional military bases, etc..). A great brochure for the manipulative psychos to lure alienated youth to the lucrative sexual after-life career of suicide bombing!

4. $$Trillions$$ pissed away, with (mental + physical) medical costs just beginning. Much of this money went to multi-national-tax-evading-corporations with strong ties to the loudest chickenhawks.

Surely, this doesn’t mean the end of tragedy in Iraq. More troops will die. Iraqis still have less access to clean water and electricity than they did under Saddam. It will probably continue to become a hotbed of extremism.  There will be a lot more bad before there’s much good. Maybe it’s just the end of quite a self-destructive ‘bender.’

To all those who have served and remain serving, I thank you. And I’m sorry.

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No Shame In Hackville

Posted by Matt on Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Beat The Press

On Saturday, the perverse circle-jerk also known as the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner took place in D.C. And no prime media outlet exemplifies the 21st century cohesion of mainstream media figures, pretty people, and the political elite, like the inexplicably popular POLITICO.

So in the midst of a huge man-made environmental disaster, 2 foreign wars, and a lingering economic crisis, guess where the self-absorbed myopia centered itself.

The hot new face of American journalism and political reporting, Politico, posted 84 stories about the dinner by my last count. All of it great stuff, no doubt.

84? That’s 84 articles about Scarlett Johansson’s entrée, Washington Times’ staff scotch sniffing, Michelle Obama’s dress, and Jay Leno’s sorry ass. Absolutely pathetic.

I just went to Politico. I cringed. Then I got up from my desk to get a glass of water. Then I returned to the desk and sent an e-mail. I remembered I was checking out Politico. I cringed again. Out of curiosity, I typed “Iraq” in Politico’s search bar.  In the last 3 months, there have been 20 stories that mention Iraq. Mention it. Not necessarily focused on the war, but that contain the word “Iraq.” That’s compared to 84 self-gratifying, over-important fluff pieces in about 72 hours.

Politico would be embarrassed if it wasn’t so proud of being the new face  of the ever-crumbling Fourth Estate.

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Crazy I’m Amazed At The Way They Really Need You

Posted by Matt on Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The Platform of the NeoCons’ 2000′s “War on Terror”:

-Manufacture faulty intelligence as a pretext to invade a country unassociated with any terrorist attack;

-Criminally unconstitutional, immoral, and ultimately counterproductive, torture, rendition + indefinite detention;

-Counterproductive, unconstitutional spying;

-Ineptitude in execution of stated objectives;

-Hiding behind inflammatory, big-balled fear-mongering rhetoric, while secretly cowering in a feeble chickenhawk shell.

The theories and practices of this inept gaggle of assclowns have failed over and over and over. Will they fade softly into the night + let some reasonable adults have a chance? Not on your life. Or mine.

John Bolton  stops by Greta VanSusterennrnenen’s show. And he’s pissed because we haven’t started a war in a while.  To paraphrase, “I’m displeased Obama isn’t doing more to help Israel bomb Iran, despite the fact that Iran’s military budget is less than Sweden’s and it may not be in Israel’s best interests.”

Unless Bolton is offering ‘free mustache rides!‘ I don’t understand what kind of legitimacy this lends to your show. Although, this requires pretending this is not Fox News and the primary goal of all political coverage is not the undermining of the Obama Administration. Good luck.

Picture the producers brainstorming their GVS guest book:

DBag #1: We really need to get that guy from the Bush Administration who thinks we should invade Iran.

Dbag#2: Which one?

Dbag#1: You know, the guy from AEI. The one who wants to invade a bunch of places, but avoided military service during Vietnam.

Dbag#2: Which one?

Dbag#1: The one who joked about a terrorist attack on Chicago. Ummmm, the company man who totally undermined the Iran Contra Investigation and then helped spread the “Iraq seeking uranium from Niger” lie.

Dbag#2: Yeah,  I’m drawing a blank. Has he been on Fox?

Dbag#1: Been on Fox? He’s on all the fucking time…C’mon dude. The guy that thinks the US should be the only country with nukes. The guy who pisses all over our allies and despises nearly any form of international treaty or agreement.

Dbag#2: you’re going to have to be more specific.

Dbag#1:  Jesus, DBag#2. Throw me a bone! Umm. Mustache! The guy with the fucking mustache!

Dbag#2: Bolton?

Dbag#1: Yes! John Bolton. Get that guy for GVS. Phew. He’s due. Man… that was an insane ordeal.

Speaking of sanity, Glenn Beck stopped by Fox & Family & Friends & Freaks & Fucktards to apply his unique experience as a radio DJ to the National Security issues of the day.

For those of you who don’t know, the coalition forces, in concert with Pakistan, have been laying it down on the Taliban. While I personally see these efforts as pretty futile, they are inflicting considerably more damage on the Taliban than in the previous 7 years. Who knows what that means for the Big Picture.

Anyway, we captured the Taliban #2 man. Cue Mr. Beck.

Beck:We just captured the second most wanted guy in al Qaeda. The first thing out of my mind? Shoot him in the head. Shoot him in the head. Before it goes into a court and we’re doing all of this nonsense back and forth. He’s a bad guy. Shoot him in the head.

(crosstalk)

Fake Dumb Fake Blonde: What about getting information from him…

Beck (gesturing like a gay epileptic seal): Oh, Uh, ah. If i were in charge. We would be interrogating him. And we’d interrogate him. And interrogate him. And interrogate him. And then we’d shoot him in the head.  But with these people that are currently running our country?  And they’ll, they’ll make the troops the bad guys and everything else?  Shoot him in the head before we all of a sudden release him into what? Primary schools in New York City. What are we going to do with this guy?

Beck has turned a big time counter-terrorism tactical achievement into, “Obama hates the troops and captured this evil man so he can let him prey on your small children.”

Being utterly deranged and utterly despicable are no longer mutually exclusive traits.

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Yesterday’s Moment In False Equivalency

Posted by Matt on Monday, January 11th, 2010

Some Beltway-Bubble Wisdom from David Broder:

Was Christmas Day 2009 the same kind of wake-up call for Barack Obama that Sept. 11, 2001, had been for George W. Bush?

The near-miss by a passenger plotting to blow up an American airliner as it flew into Detroit seems to have shocked this president as much as the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon did the last.

Both presidents had had plenty of warnings in the form of threats and even incidents. But both were caught off guard: Bush reading to a classroom of youngsters; Obama on a family vacation in Hawaii.

Bush reacted with anger and a determination to punish the people who wreaked the havoc. Obama was just as mad, but a good portion of his anger was targeted at the members of his own intelligence bureaucracy who he said had missed the abundant clues and failed to forestall the attack. Like Bush, he vowed to see that the consequences also fell on the foreign country that gave birth to the plot — Afghanistan eight years ago, Yemen today.

“Plot” is an awfully interesting word to describe some disillusioned brat who strapped some explosives to his dong. And since Yemen is home to some al Qaeda members (likely because of astronomical illiteracy, unemployment, and a weak central government), the bomber met with some guy in Yemen, (no doubt a place Broder only knows from crossword clues) what response does Beltway Wisdom dictate?

For now, we are conducting a proxy war in Yemen, but that may change. Al-Qaeda’s local enablers must learn that there is a price to be paid when Uncle Sam is attacked from their bases.

More war! Yes. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and now Yemen. And way to get folksy with the “Uncle Sam” reference. Really gets the blood going. Of course More Occupation = A Safer America.   

Many have been looking for a similar shift of tone in his dealings with the dictators in Iran and North Korea and even in his tolerance for the politics-as-usual maneuverings of many Republicans and some Democrats in Congress.

Strawmen! Get after it, Broder! Tool.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

As for Today’s “moment,” Josh Marshall  sums it up nicely:

Talking about racism does not make you racist; advocating racism does.

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Support The Troops. Bring Them Home.

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Iraq – 7 years. 4,362 American Military casualties (4,223 since “Mission Accomplished). 100,000 wounded.  100,000+ Iraqi civilian casualties. Approx. 1 million refugees forced from their homes. 1,395 American Contractor casualties.

Afghanistan – 8 years.  Almost 1,000 American casualties.  10s of thousands wounded.  10s of thousands of civilian casualties.

Over 100,000 troops have PTSD and other combat-related mental illnesses.

Last month, The Economist made their case for continuing the  Afghanistan War.  It was an excellent article as it divorced partisan ideology from its objective view of the situation.  However, their flaw was underestimating the endgame.  How do you bring democracy to a country via military force?  How many decades do we plan to be there? The writer also glossed over a real important issue:  the people don’t want us there.  How much damage are we going to cause to protect Karzai and his drug-dealing cronies?  This is who we cast our lot with.

President Obama is currently wrestling with this decision.  Will he bow to military and political pressure?  Will he be bold and face the political fallout from withdrawing the troops? Are his advisors perhaps overestimating the political fallout?   Will he recognize that this decision is more important than politics?

I understand the mentality of thinking that leaving=losing,  that bringing troops home = Taliban victory.  This is a depressing thought. Was it all for nothing? How much longer would we need to stay to finish the job?

The problem is 2-fold:  (1)  After all this time, the mission has yet to be convincingly defined.  (2) When Rumsfeld/Cheney + the other Chickenhawks invaded these places, they did not have an exit strategy.  Why? Because despite their stated intentions, I sincerely believe they planned on permanent occupation.  The Bush administration had 7 years in Afghanistan and did virtually nothing following the initial invasion. Our troops were to be rewarded by being the subjects of target practice for insurgents.

I purposefully chose not to include the nauseating amount of money we pissed away in these places.  That’s an article for a different day.  The question is: What is victory and what are you willing to sacrifice?  Do you just want the troops to stay there to maintain the illusion of protection while you sit on your couch watching Dancing With The Stars? Is this peace of mind of worth even 1 more life, 1 more destroyed family?

As a sheltered American consumer-drone, I don’t pretend to know what is going on in the mind of a young troop.  But I’m sure it’s a huge mindfuck not to have  a definitive mission after the better-part of a decade.

Compounding the tragedy, on Veterans’ Day 2009, 260,000 American veterans will be homeless.  Chewed up and spit out.

On this Veterans’ Day, let’s salute the troops.  President Obama, please do the right thing and end these bullshit wars, bring the troops home, and take care of the ones that need our care.

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