Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barry O on another spending spree







The things that I have done that I regret
The things I seen, I won't forget
For this life and so many more
And I'm trying to find my way home
Child inside me is long dead and gone
Somewhere between lost and alone
Trying to find my way home
-- "Trying To Find My Way Home," written by Jason Moon, from Moon's latest album Trying To Find My Way Home
Over the weekend, Robert Burns (Associated Press) noted the 2003 death in Iraq of 20-year-old Spc Justin W.Hebert and how almost "one-third of U.S. troops killed in Iraq were age 18 to 21. Well over half were in the lowest enlisted ranks." DoD currently lists the number of US military personnel killed in the Iraq War at [PDF format warning] 4478. That would mean that over 2,200 of the deaths were from the lowest enlisted ranks and about 1490 were 21-years-old or younger.
And those numbers have not stopped growing because the Iraq War is not over.
That's what Leon Panetta's remarks Friday were about. His remarks? Oh, sorry. Readers of the allegedly left publications The Progressive and The Nation don't know about that because those trashy magazines walked away from the war when Bush left office. It was all about hating Bush, not about ending wars. Both publications did have time for valentines to Russ Feingold (John Nichols writes one, Matthew Rothschild writes the other) for Russ' cowardly refusal to run (I know Russ and it was a coward's decision, no matter how much his fan club tries to dress it up). (And for those who gag at the immature ravings of Rothschild and Nichols, Hugh at Corrente provides a more clear eyed appraisal.) From Friday's snapshot:
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."
To her credit, Amy Goodman did include the news in headlines today. She didn't mention Iraqi official reaction. And possibly that's because Iraqi reaction really wasn't what the English-language press was saying it was Friday. As we noted Saturday, Al Mada reports on Panetta's remarks and on Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh denying an agreement has already been made. But while denying it, Ali al-Dabbagh also stated that when "the polical blocs met, they approved the need to train security forces and the Iraqi military" which would be Panetta's point that it was now a done deal. So despite his denial, Ali al-Dabbagh's actual remarks back up what Panetta said. Dar Addustour also offers Ali al-Dabbagh's quote and, in addition, they report that the only perplexing issue in the negotiations is how many US troops remain. As we noted in Third's "Editorial: US will be in Iraq beyond 2011, Panetta and Iraqi government explain," Ali al-Dabbagh may claim he's refuting Panetta, but his remarks are backing up everything Panetta said Friday. Both agree that a deal's been agreed to in order to extend the US presence in Iraq beyond 2011 and both agree that the number of US service members that will remain in Iraq has yet to be determined.
Before Iraq issued their 'denial' on Friday (which appears to have been willfully misinterpreted by the press) and before the White House asked the press to clamp down on the story, Panetta's remarks were getting coverage and that's because they are news.
But what you're seeing, if you look closely, is that The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, et al are nothing but protest pens. They're not about action, they're not about activism, they're not about news and they are not about information. But they will encourage you to rage away . . . within the white lines they've drawn, within the area they have designated for protest. And then they will feed you scary tells of the other and convince you that Republicans are the enemies and bring the gospel of trust and obey the Democratic Party.
i walked into your dream
and now i've forgotten
how to dream my own dream
you are the CLEVER one aren't you
brides in veils for you
we told you all of our secrets
all but one
so don't you even try
the phone has been disconnected
dripping with blood and with time
and with your advice
poison me against the moon
-- "Mother," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her Little Earthquakes
Enter the world of the faux left, little Veal Cutlet, where they will educate you on hating Republicans and insist that you have no where else to go but the Democratic Party so learn to fume in vain and never do anything. Learn to hate the other and learn to vote straight ticket. Learn or, honestly, be conditioned. Give up independent thought and grasp that wars are only bad when Republicans occupy the White House. The same wars -- be they the Iraq War or the Afghanistan War or what have you -- become unworthy of dicussion -- let alone protest -- when an anointed Democrat, a blessed Dem, is sworn in as president. That's the magical reactionary way of the faux left.
And by refusing to ever stand for principals or beliefs, they not only encourage illegal wars, they encourage the trashing of the safety net and so much more. They are the reason for the current state of the United States. (Read Chris Hedges' Death of the Liberal Class.)
Aaron (Love to Blame) notes Panetta's remarks and includes the following figures:
Alexander Higgins notes the extension needs to be added to Barack Obama's "long list of lies and broken campaign promises" and highlights Madison Ruppert (Activist Post) who states," "For those not aware, in the politically correct military parlance parroted by the media, 'training forces' is a nice way of saying Special Forces troops who instruct and train the Iraq military to bring about the brutal death and destruction they specialize in." Press TV speaks (link has text and video) with Michael Maloof (who used to be with the Pentagon's Technology Security Operations).

Press TV: You've touched upon this a bit, but I'd like you to expand on this - Obama has never really stood by the reasons the US went to war against Iraq - Why is he so motivated to stay in Iraq now?

Michael Maloof: I think it's because of the changing circumstances; and you're only talking 10,000 troops; it's supposed to be a token amount, or they might agree to the extension of the 40,000 that are there. But it's not going to really matter in terms of what effectiveness they can accomplish. I think the US is also under increasing pressure from the Saudis. It's my understanding that the Saudis have decided to go on their own - they no longer trust the US -- to basically create their own army; a rapid reaction force if you will and they're very much concerned about the plight of the Sunnis in Iraq. And so they're going to put pressure on the US to at least maintain some kind of presence there in order to in effect try to disrupt the forward motion of Iranian influence in what is an Arab world in that region and also because of the concern the Saudis have over the plight of the Sunnis there. Iraq has gone relatively unnoticed in the press in recent months. The war in Afghanistan and the killing of Osama bin Laden had replaced the focus on Iraq. But while the fighting and bloodletting in Iraq may have dissipated in recent months, it never ended.
AKE's John Drake Tweets:
John Drake
johnfdrake Everyone is looking at #Libya, but at least 90 people were killed and 355 injured in violence in #Iraq last week.
The violence never ends in the ongoing war which is one of the points Mehdi Hasan makes in "Barack Obama's wars without end" (Guardian):

Iraq, meanwhile, has become the forgotten war -- yet an astonishing 47,000 US troops remain stationed there. Earlier this month, Obama told a group of supporters: "If somebody asks about the war [in Iraq] … you have a pretty simple answer, which is all our folks are going to be out of there by the end of the year."
Not quite. US military leaders expect to keep up to 10,000 "folks" in Iraq beyond the 31 December 2011 deadline, agreed by the Bush administration, for a full US withdrawal. Obama's hawkish new defence secretary, Leon Panetta, used his Senate confirmation hearings in June to announce that he had "every confidence" that the Iraqi government would "request" US troops to stay on in the country beyond the end of the year. However the anti-US Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr declared this month that any foreign soldier remaining in Iraq in 2012 would "be treated as an unjust invader and should be opposed with military resistance". So we can expect further bloodshed in that benighted nation: America's Mesopotamian misadventure is far from over.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"The ongoing violence in the ongoing war"
"The fallen and veterans issues"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Got A Vacation To Take Care Of First"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"Nouri's spokesperson confirms Panetta was correct"
"Speaking the unspeakables (and living to tell)"
"The Cult of St. Barack (A Primer)"

"Take a letter"

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