CAN WE TALK?
JOAN RIVERS JOKED FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O WAS GAY AND FIRST LADY SHE-HULK WAS TRANSGENDER.
'OH THE HORROR!' CRIED THE CULT -- AS SOFT AND SOFT BRAINED AS THEIR FALSE GOD.
THIS IS JOAN RIVERS.
JOAN RIVERS WHO ONCE DID A BIT MOCKING ELIZABETH TAYLOR CHOCKING ON A CHICKEN BONE -- SOMETHING THAT HAD HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE.
SO JUST GROW THE F**K UP, YOU BIG BABIES.
THEY'RE JUST JOKES.
THE CULT OF ST. BARACK REALLY NEEDS TO BE PUT ON PROZAC AND THEY ALSO NEED TO GET AN EDUCATION THAT GOES BEYOND READING YOUNG ADULT FICTION.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Today at the Pentagon, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addresses the issue of Iraq.
Secretary Chuck Hagel: And I'd like to focus a couple of comments on Iraq as I -- as I start.
Our efforts here at DOD have been focused on two specific missions. And I want to lay a bit of a framework down and a base down on what those missions are and then I know you'll have questions.
But in a very clear, deliberate way, first securing our embassy, facilities and our personnel in Iraq.
Second, assessing the situation in Iraq and advising the Iraqi security forces.
Both of these missions are important components of the president's overall strategy in Iraq, helping Iraq's leaders resolve the political crisis that has enabled ISIL's advance and supporting Iraqi forces.
By reinforcing security at the U.S. embassy, its support facilities in Baghdad International Airport, we're helping provide our diplomats time and space to work with Sunni, Kurd, Shia political leaders as they attempt to form a new inclusive national unity government.
By better understanding the conditions on the ground and the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, we'll be better able to help advise them as they combat ISIL forces inside their own country.
Approximately 200 military advisers are now on the ground. We have established a joint operations center with Iraqis in Baghdad and we have personnel on the ground in Erbil where our second joint operations center has achieved initial operating capability.
Assessment teams are also evaluating the capabilities and cohesiveness of Iraqi forces. None of these troops are performing combat missions. None will perform combat missions.
President Obama has been very clear that American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again. The situation in Iraq, as you all know, is complex and it's fluid. But there's no exclusively military solution to the threats posed by ISIL. Our approach is deliberate and flexible. It is designed to bolster our diplomatic efforts and support the Iraqi people. We will remain prepared to protect our people and our interests in Iraq.
As most Americans enjoy this holiday weekend, our military around the world, and especially in the Middle East, will stay postured and ready for any contingency in that region.
As we celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, I want to particularly express my gratitude to the men and women and their families who serve our nation at home and abroad, both civilian and in uniform. I thank you all for what you do to keep our country safe every day.
Okay, before we get to the questions, let's again restate the obvious: US President Barack Obama has refused to put forward a concrete list of actions for how the US can 'help' Iraq. This probably goes a long way to explaining the results in the recent Quinnipiac poll.
CNN reports, "The poll also indicates that most say it's not in the national interest to get involved in the fighting in Iraq and oppose sending U.S. ground troops to help the Iraqi government, which is trying to hault an aggressive drive by radical Sunni militants who have captured city after city in northern and central Iraq as they march towards Baghdad."
If today's Pentagon press briefing was an honest attempt at informing the people, it failed tremendously.
Even General Dempsey could not explain what the White House has planned for Iraq.
Q: For General Dempsey, to begin with.
Sir, at the beginning, the Pentagon said one of the objectives was to break the momentum of ISIS.
So my question is very specific, not to the assessments. But what is your measure of success in doing that? How do you know that -- how much do you break the momentum? How do you know, mission accomplished this time, that you can say to the president, "We have achieved those objectives"?
And is it enough for the Iraqi forces simply to be able to hold Baghdad? Is the measure of success that? Or is it the Iraqi forces able to go north and regain this massive territory that ISIS has right now?
Are you -- is the United States military prepared, if they have to, to defend Baghdad and defend the airport?
GEN. DEMPSEY: So the questions get more and more complex as we go.
Q: We haven't seen you in a long time.
GEN. DEMPSEY: Yeah, I know you haven't. Well, you know, it's impossible to wrestle the podium away from John Kirby.
The -- I don't think you've ever heard me say that we would break the momentum.
Q: Actually, Admiral Kirby said it.
GEN. DEMPSEY: Well, I told you. That's my problem.
The issue is for us -- has been for us to determine the ability of the ISF after having suffered some initial setbacks to be able to stabilize the situation and eventually go back on the offensive to regain their sovereign territory and what will we be willing to contribute to that cause. And that's not a question that we're prepared to answer just yet.
In terms of -- you know, you mentioned the airport and you mentioned our intentions. Remember, the phrase I used was that we are protecting that which would allow us to preserve options. And the airport, not the entire airport, but that part of it that we need for logistics, resupply and potentially for evacuation, we are protecting that part of the airport for that purpose.
It's -- it really is about deliberately first preserving options and then developing options. And if you are asking me, will the Iraqis, at some point, be able to go back on the offensive to recapture the part of -- of Iraq that they've lost, I think that's a really broad campaign-quality question.
Probably not by themselves. It doesn't mean we would have to provide kinetic support. I'm not suggesting that that's the direction this is headed. But in any military campaign, you would want to develop multiple actions to squeeze ISIL. You'd like to squeeze them from the south and west. You'd like to squeeze them from the north and you'd like to squeeze them from Baghdad. And that's a campaign that has to be developed.
But the first step in developing that campaign is to determine whether we have a reliable Iraqi partner that is committed to growing their country into something that all Iraqis will be willing to participate in. If the answer to that is no, then the future is pretty bleak.
So, with hundreds of US troops sent back into Iraq, what is the plan?
The best Dempsey can offer is that there's a "first step" in which the US will "determine whether we have a reliable Iraqi partner that is committed to growing their country into something that all Iraqis will be willing to participate in. If the answer to that is no, then the future is pretty bleak."
Right now it appears the future is pretty bleak. It's a shame this couldn't have been determined before hundreds of US troops were sent into Iraq in the last weeks.
The press wasn't just taking dictation in the briefing.
Q: Yes. Again, General Dempsey, what you just described sounds like an open-ended commitment or mission for the U.S. military. A stable Iraq, an inclusive government, the ability to force ISIL into some find of retreat or submission sounds like a long-term effort. What is the end game? When will the president be able to say, "let's bring our boys home"?
GEN. DEMPSEY: Well, first of all, this is not 2003. It's not 2006. This is a very different approach than we've -- than we've taken in the past. I mean, assessing, advising and enabling are very different words than attacking, defeating and disrupting.
Okay, so it was "attacking, defeating and disrupting" and now it's "assessing, advising and enabling." Who knew that for every trillion dollars a nation wastes on an illegal war, Collins Reference tossed in a Roget's Thesaurus? Apparently, they tossed in a calendar as well allowing Dempsey to grasp that it was neither 2003 nor 2006.
Dempsey then went on to explain that US troops on the ground may, in fact, despite the claims otherwise, be involved in "direct action." He stated, "We may get to that point if our national interests drive us there; if ISIL becomes such a threat to the homeland that -- that the president of the United States, with our advice, decides that we have to take direct action. I'm just suggesting to you we're not there yet."
And when reporters hear this and ask about it? A lot of spinning takes place.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you said the advisers would not be involved in combat. General Dempsey, you have raised the possibility that those advisers could be used as forward air controllers in the event that you called in air strikes, which I think most people would regard as being involved in combat. So, which is it on that?
And second, you mentioned that the Iraqis, to go on the offensive, would most likely to need help in logistics, which sounds like a prescription for sending in more U.S. advisers, troops, opening up supply depots. Is that on the table?
GEN. DEMPSEY: You know, there's a tendency to think of this as kind of industrial-strength, you know, where we're going to put a mountain of supplies someplace, and then that's going to require us to protect it, and then we've got to move it forward into the hands of the Iraqis to ensure that they use it and use it responsibly and effectively.
And that's -- that's obviously one possibility, but it's not one that personally I think the situation demands. I think the situation demands first and foremost that the Iraqi political system find a way to separate the Sunnis who have partnered now with ISIL, because they have zero confidence in the ability of Iraq's politicians to govern.
If you can separate those groups, then the problem becomes manageable and understandable and allows us to be in a position to enable Iraq, not with a huge industrial-strength effort, but rather with the special skills, leadership and niche capabilities that we possess uniquely. And there's no daylight between what an adviser will do.
We haven't made -- right now as we sit here, the advisers are categorically not involved in combat operations. They're literally assessing. That's their task. If the assessment comes back and reveals that it would be beneficial to this effort and to our national security interests to put the advisers in a different role, I will first consult with the secretary. We will consult with the president. We'll provide that option and we'll move ahead. But that's where we are today.
Q: (inaudible) -- will not be involved.
SEC. HAGEL: Well, I think the chairman made it very clear. These are assessment teams and that's their mission. Their mission is limited and it is a clear scope of what their mission is, and it is to assess. It is to come back with their assessment of where they believe we are regarding ISF, ISIL, and all the other dimensions that I -- let me finish -- that I said.
Advisers or what may come as a result of any assessments as to what they would come back to General Dempsey with or General Austin, and eventually me and eventually the president, I don't know where they're going to be. But their mission today is making those assessments. So I think the general was pretty clear.
Q: But their mission could change.
SEC. HAGEL: That wasn't your question.
Actually, it was: "Mr. Secretary, you said the advisers would not be involved in combat. General Dempsey, you have raised the possibility that those advisers could be used as forward air controllers in the event that you called in air strikes, which I think most people would regard as being involved in combat. So, which is it on that? And second, you mentioned that the Iraqis, to go on the offensive, would most likely to need help in logistics, which sounds like a prescription for sending in more U.S. advisers, troops, opening up supply depots. Is that on the table?" The entire question was based on the mission changing.
And because Barack has failed to clearly define the US mission, Hagel's left to snap, "That wasn't your question."
Hagel went on to insist, "We have one mission today, and that's assessments. I don't know what the assessments are going to come back and say or what they would recommend. We'll wait to see what that is, what General Austin and General Dempsey then recommend. But, that's the whole point of assessments."
Is that the whole point of assessments?
Thank you for sharing that. But at what point is a clear mission presented to the American people?
General Dempsey spoke of Iran, "On Iran. Look, anyone who's served in Iraq through the years knows that Iran has been active in Iraq since 2005. So, the -- the thought that they are active in Iraq in 2014 is completely unsurprising. Now, it's probably more overt than it has been up until now. And as you know, they -- they, too, have come over to in some ways advise this call for -- for young Shia men to rise in the defense of their nation that Sistani made. By the way, when Sistani made that proclamation, he talked about an Iraq for all Iraqis. I hope so. We'll see. That's a question that has yet to be answered. But the Iranians are there, as you know. They're also flying some unmanned aerial vehicles, and they have, as you described, provided some military equipment. I don't know whether it has violated any Security Council resolutions. That will have to be determined. In terms of whether we intend to coordinate with them or not, we do not intend at this time to coordinate them. It's not impossible that in the future we would be -- we would have reason to do so. In terms of de-conflicting, let's take the airspace. That's sovereign Iraqi airspace. So the de-confliction of our ISR and their ISR and our flights and their flights, that's an Iraqi responsibility which they are capable of fulfilling."
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