Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oooh, look who thinks he's all that






A gleeful and pompous Geraldo Rivera (Fox News) announces he's back in Iraq. I don't think he's been so giddy since he did the 20/20 segment that was supposed to be an interview with John Travolta (then promoting Staying Alive) that Geraldo turned into a workout session. If viewers can be thankful for little else, Geraldo has thus far kept his shirt on. So lightheaded and deranged, he forgets to note his previous visit to Iraq. March 31, 2003, CNN reported, "The U.S. military said Monday that Fox News Channel Correspondent Geraldo Rivera was being expelled from Iraq for divulging details of a future military operation, though later in the day a Central Command spokesman said he was not sure whether the newsman would be forced out." The following day, Chris Plante (CNN) would report, "Fox News Channel executives and the Pentagon reached a deal Monday in which correspondent Geraldo Rivera, who raised the military's ire when he reported operational details, will leave Iraq voluntarily rather than be expelled, Pentagon officials told CNN. [. . .] In the live broadcast, Rivera told his photographer to aim the camera at the sand in front of him. Rivera then outlined a map of Iraq, and showed the relative location of Baghdad and his location with the 101st Airborne. He then showed where the 101st would be going next." Peter Arnett did a journalistic courtesy and gave an interview to Iraqi television on March 31st. Fox News personalities immediately began demonizing him on air non-stop. By April 1st, NBC, MSNBC and National Geographic had all dumped Arnett. Though Arnett gave out no information that could have endangered anyone, Rivera did. He still works for Fox News despite violating a US military policy he agreed to when he entered the embed program. Geraldo was also a war cheerleader. They don't get punished. They don't have to admit they were wrong. They're allowed to lie and then lie about lying. That's how it works -- and not just at Fox News (or right wing outlets -- this is the mainstream, it's the left, it's everywhere, there's very little integrity in the press).
But on the second hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) today, Diane and her guests -- Nadia Bilbassy (MBC TV), Robin Harding (Financial Times of London) and David Ignatius (Washington Post) offered some reality on Iraq.
Diane Rehm: David Ignatius, the war in Iraq is finally over. In your view, what has been accomplished?
David Ignatius: Well that's really the hardest question to answer for Americans and Iraqis with this week's visit to Washington by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. You had to say, in terms of specific commitments going forward, very little. We have an Iraqi democracy but it's headed by someone who's widely regarded as no paragon of democracy. He hasn't succeeded really in reaching out to other Iraqis. I'm struck, Diane, this week, a war that began famously with shock and awe, as we termed our spectacular bombardment of Iraq, ended with the muted, somber sense of how difficult this proved to be, how many mistakes the United States made. And, in the terms of measurable outcomes, how little the US got out of it, at the loss of nearly 4,500 US soldiers, 1000,000 -- at least -- Iraqis killed. So it's a painful story but we would have to say most of all for Iraqis.
Diane Rehm: 32,000 US troops wounded, more than $800 billion spent.
I'm not interested in silly spin. The president's campaign? He' is the one over it. He decides, he says yes or he says no. You can't claim that he is downplaying it but his campaign -- this entity over which he has no control -- isn't. Don't create this false wall that doesn't exist. Barack's campaign is Barack. I'll further point out that Barack did three days of press on this and that's just this week. So stop pretending that he tried to keep it low key. Stop pretending?
Tom Hayden's pretended to be human for years now. Apparently having pickled his mind with booze, he seems to think he can continue to lie and get away with it. Forgetting his huge, massive failure in the LA mayoral election, the Los Angeles Times runs tired Tom's sad little brew of fantasy which include:
It was a brave stance to take for an ambitious politician at a time when American support for war with Iraq was building. He went on to become the first president to campaign on a promise to end an ongoing American war, and the peace movement helped put him into office.
He's referring to Barack's stupid 2002 speech which did not oppose going to war with Iraq, it opposed rushing to war. Barack didn't say no to war, he said the case wasn't yet made. He would spend the next years -- check the New York Times archives especially in 2004 and WHORE Tom knows this -- changing his stance. But in 2002, he wasn't running for national office, not even the Senate. And there's no way in hell his state legislature district would have supported him unless he took some stance -- no matter how tiny -- against the drums of war. Also, the peace movement helped put him into office? No, the Cult of St. Barack did. A lot of dirty whores like Tom Hayden who never made an honest buck and, in fact, would be depending on charity today were it not for the ridiculous and unmanly move of demanding millions to end a marriage. Greedy little whore, that's Tom-Tom.

In the years leading up to the 2008 election, there were at least 10 national antiwar demonstrations that drew more than 100,000 participants each. The movement helped Rep. Barbara Lee to rise from a lone war opponent in Congress to the leader of a bloc of as many as 200 representatives calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Those combined forces -- the peace movement and lawmakers who opposed continuing the Iraq war -- created a political climate that enabled Obama to end the Iraq war over the objections of many in the Pentagon and most of his Republican presidential rivals.
What a trashy whore. Tom's not going to be welcomed into the DNC. He has no real money left (not to throw around on donations which is all the DNC would want from a low life like Tom to begin with). Whores tend to spend other people's money a bit too quickly. So he'll always be on the low rung he's lived since his divorce. But he seems to believe that if he just lies long enough, the DNC will embrace him. Seriously?
After Barack repeatedly -- in 2007 and 2008 -- ridiculed "Tom Hayden Democrats" -- publicly ridiculed them, the little whore Tom thinks he's ever going to rise even one tiny step up the ladder? Please.
Reality, as everyone knows, Barack was planning to keep thousands of US troops in Iraq. Iraq wouldn't grant immunity from the Parliament. (Nouri was prepared to grant it himself.) So what happened then? They followed the deal the Bush administration negotiated in November 2008. Tom's praising George W. Bush. You kind of get the feeling that for a few more of the millions Jane earned while Tom relaxed on his ass and cheated, for just a few more, he'd blow George W. Bush in downtown LA at high noon. And swallow with a smile.
Another reality? Negotiatons never ended. This week Osama al-Nujaifi publicly declared that the Parliament was prepared to give "partial immunity." A step up from the stance in October of no immunity. That's what negotiations do, they see each side stake out a position and then see if they can move closer to one another's position as talks continue. Nouri has stated -- and Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee he felt it would happen -- that they can pick up the issue of "trainers" in the new year.
Want some reality from the press that few offered this week? David S. Cloud and David Zucchino (Los Angeles Times) observed, "The Obama administration had adopted its own version of the Bush administration claim that the conflict was worth the cost because it helped free Iraq from Hussein." We'll pick back up with The Diane Rehm Show when Nadia gets honest or closer to it. If she's only now aware of the 4.5 million internal and external Iraqi refugees which have been in the news since 2006, that doesn't say very much for her information base level (her intelligence level is brutally low but we'll address that on Sunday).
Nadia Bilbassy: In research I've been doing for the last week about the war, I came across something really striking. I mean, looking at -- looking at -- just to give you an example -- I found that, for example, 2 million people are internally displaced inside Iraq. Two and a half million refugees are outside the country in neighboring countries like Syria and like Jordan. Twenty-three precent of Iraq is under -- live under poverty line, that's $2 a day. This is a rich country that's sitting on the second largest oil resource in the world. They have -- 34,000 doctors left the country and forty-percent is the unemployment level. So, in a way, yes, they got a democracy in terms of the process of voting but this government, as David said, where the strong man like Prime Minister Maliki still holds the ministry of national security and defense, unable to bring somebody into the country -- into the government.
Salah Nasrawi (Al-Ahram Weekly) looks at Nouri and Barack's meet-up from a number of angles including what took place in Iraq while the bulk of the press kept their eyes on DC:
As Al-Maliki visited Washington on Monday and Tuesday, seven people died in shootings and explosions in Iraq itself, seen by many Iraqis as having been motivated by sectarian considerations.
On Tuesday, two bombs set off a blaze at an oil pipeline in Basra, Iraq's main oil refinery in the south of the country.
Even more troubling than the security weaknesses has been the erosion of the fragile political process established under the US occupation, which has been eroding since the formation of the current governing coalition in Iraq.
Many Iraqis believe that Al-Maliki is pursuing his own sectarian agenda that focuses on consolidating Shia power and monopolising control of the state and security forces under his Daawa Party.
Al-Maliki's failure to preserve a multi-ethnic political accommodation in Iraq has increasingly pushed the country's Sunni minority population to demand semi-autonomous status.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Broken promises catch up with Nouri?"
"Semi-autonomy for Diyala and realities Iraqi women..."
"I Hate The War"
"Chicken Soup in the Kitchen"
"The liars of TV news"
"Some Charmed thoughts"
"Death and drones"
"4 men, 2 women"
"4 men, 2 women"
"the attacks on women"
"The comic possibilities"
"A link"
"Bush III"
"Ready for 2012 to be over"
"The Fling"
"The Endorsement"
"Idiot of the week?"
"They're out in full force"
"He still has his man boobs"

Friday, December 16, 2011

He still has his man boobs






Today on The Takeaway (PRI), the issue of Iraq was addressed. Excerpt:
Celeste Headlee: Ned Parker has covered the war since the beginning as the former Baghdad bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times now at the Council on Foreign Relations. So let me ask you about the future of Iraq. Obviously, we've gotten comments from American generals who are worried that this country will descend into chaos. You heard an Iraqi woman just a moment ago talking about how she's optimistic although the government is weak. What -- what do you think? Is this a country that will remain united? Where the path to diplomacy is shaky but-but sure?
Ned Parker: In terms of the country's internal politics?
Celeste Headlee: Yeah.
Ned Parker: Well -- I -- That's what struck me so much my recent trip to Iraq. I was in Iraq this summer from May 'till early August. And at that time I saw many worrying trends in Iraq. The politics of the country were becoming very polarized again and very sectarian -- reminiscent of 2003, 2004 and '05 and the build up to civil war. And also saw a lot of alarming trends from the government by -- from the prime minister's office of security forces being used in questionable raids where people were detained and would disappear into special jails where their families and lawyers could not talk to them. Pro-democracy protesters who were trying to have their own equivalent of an Arab Spring to criticize the corruption among the elite government officials and the lack of transparency started to be attacked in May and June by plain clothes government agents and pro-Maliki supporters. While army looked on, these men would go around and beat people on one occasion. And I had been in Egypt in Tahrir Square in February and had some mobs there attacking pro-democracy protesters. And it was the same thing. So I saw all of that this summer and when I came back it was the same if not worse. And Iraqis are in charge of their destiny and America I don't think in recent years has effectively used its clout and leverage to try to help promote this process of national reconciliation or the respect of civil liberties and freedom of speech.. Particularly I think since 2010 there was an effort of getting a government in place because there had been [crosstalk] Yeah and with the deadline on troops leaving, there was an emphasis on just having a stable figure in power that America could deal with at the expense of these important things: rule of law, freedom of speech. So all of these seems to be going and that was the case when I went back.
Celeste Headlee: Well we've got like a minute-and-a-half left so let me ask you this very complicated question which is Iraq five years from now, ten years from now, stable? Peaceful?

Ned Parker: It's uh -- I mean, I wish I had a crystal ball. I sure hope so. You know I very much respect Iraqis, I have spent a lot of time there and I think everyone wants to see Iraq work out for the best but we really don't know there are so many worrying and different trends there. As I said, the politics have become far more sectarian, in the political class there's very little trust between kind of the Shi'ite elite and Sunnis. There's talk within different provinces of creating their own regions because --
Celeste Headlee: Separating off.
Ned Parker: Right Sunni provinces no longer trust Baghdad so they want to declare their own region. With what's happening in Syria that could also polarize things So it's so complicated. That could lead to more unrest and an authoritarian regime. Or perhaps Iraq will have their own Arab Spring that will lead to responsible government and a process of reconciliation.
From radio we'll switch to TV but before noting something worth noting will first note PIG BOY Willie Geist. Willie is part of the sewer of MSNBC -- the non-news shows, the yackety-yack where buffoons pass themselves off as informed -- and today on Morning Joe he felt the need to weigh in on those US service members who had lost their lives serving in Iraq. It's a serious issue and it's insulting to here people say "4500" -- try getting the actual number you lazy ass fools (and, yes, I'm aware that would include Barack). But Willie did all of them one better, he wanted to talk about the "brothers" who were left behind because they died there. The "brothers." And no one corrected him, not one damn person -- guest or the huge cast of Morning Joe -- stopped the frat boy Bob Somerby has so rightly and so often criticized to inform him that US service members who died in the Iraq War were not just men, women died as well. In July of 2008, CNN would note that the number of female US service members who have died in the Iraq War had already reached 100. As of September 23, 2011, 111 female US service members had died in the Iraq War according to Noonie Fortin -- and 13 US civilian women died in the Iraq War as well. Fortin provides a write up on each one of the dead (including the civilians like DynCorp contractor Deborah Klecker who died at age 51 in June 2005). The first US female service member to die in Iraq was PFC Lori Ann Piestewa (also the first Native American to die in the Iraq War) on March 23, 2003. And the last so far was August 7, 2010, SPC Faith R. Hinkley of Colorado. Here's the link to trash (only because Ava and I will be commenting further at Third on Sunday unless Bob Somerby grabs it Friday).
Twelve minutes and 17 seconds into the clip, Willie Boy asks, ". . . what is the bitter-sweet feeling if that's the way to put it for some of these guys who are happy to be going home but remembering the brothers left behind?"
111 women dead. And no guest or cast member of Morning Joe (it's not a news show) could bother to object when "Tucker Carlson's boy toy" bothered to render women who have served in the Iraq War invisible, including those who died while serving. Maybe Morning Joe can spend tomorrow apologizing to the loved ones of the 111 women who died serving in Iraq as well as to the women who served in Iraq and made it home? (And the total number of US military personnel killed in the Iraq War? The Pentagon's official count currently stands at 4487 -- one up from last week. If you're going to note the deaths and if you think they matter, you bother to get the number right and not go with an estimate.)
Richard Engel: But the biggest change for Iraq may be closer ties with it's Shi'ite neighbor Iran. These days Alkadhimiya is full of Iranian tour groups who come with their own guides with signs in Farsi. Under Saddam, no Iranians came to Iraq, Saddam was Iran's enemy. Today, more than 2 million Iranians visit Iraq every year. Iraq's new dynamic is on display here every day. After nearly nine years, it's Iraq Shi'ites who have benefited the most, they have won this country. The United States toppled a dictator who's been replaced by a Shi'ite government with close ties to Iran. It's hard to imagine how that was ever part of the plan. Across town at Baghdad's famous book market, Kareem Hanash, himself a Shi'ite, doesn't want US troops to leave. He says Iran has calculated all of this very well; they want a Shi'ite Iraq so they can control the assets, economy and politics. Fear of Iran's growing power is sharper still in the Sunni-stronghold of Falljua. Once Iraq's deadliest war zone, Falluja remains violent. A bomb killed 3 policemen here just after we arrived. Police say Sunni radicals killed them because they work for the Shi'ite government. Compared to other parts of Iraq, there's been little development in Sunni towns like Falluja. This building was destroyed by US forces seven years ago and still looks like this. People here accuse the government of persecuting them, ignoring them, trying to cut Sunnis out of the new Iraq. A cloth merchant told me, "You crossed a thousand miles from America. Why? If you want the oil, take the oil. If you want our money, take it. But you have destroyed life, the whole system."

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Continued stalemate"
"Stand up"
"I wish . . ."
"The liars of TV news"
"7 men, 2 women"
"listen to the crap that comes out of their mouths"
"More on Amanpour"
"Who would have thought he could disappoint me?"
"Caving Craven O"
"When Arianna Loved Newt starring Cybill Shepherd and William Shatner"
"You've got a lot of nerve"
"War Criminal Barry"
"AP's whore Ben"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

These days he's just boring





Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues his visit in the US. As Sheikh (Dar Addustour) reports that Nouri has several issues to address in the visit including the issue of trainers and immunity, bilateral relations, garnering US support at the UN for removing Iraq from Chapter VII, security, energy, education, and judicial partnerships and the F16 aircraft order. Sheikh notes the F-16s are in place of the F-18s Iraq wanted but the US wouldn't sign off on due to concerns that technology might be leaked to Iran. Al Rafidayn notes that US Nationcal Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor declared yesterday that the US had agreed to sell Iraq a second batch (18) of F-16s.
There's a development on the trainers front. In what Al Mada calls a remarkable development, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi publicly declared yesterday that Parliament has agreed to grant foreign troops "partial immunity." US talks broke down over one legal reading-- no the official administration reading of the law - that US troops could not stay in Iraq without immunity granted by the Parliament. As negotiations continue, the Parliament is now ready to offer "partial immunity."
CONAN: Though the president cheers his accomplishment, you say not so fast.
KOPPEL: I do say not so fast, and I think he knows better. But he's right, he did make the campaign promise to get all the troops out, and all the troops will be out, save 157 who will be guarding the embassy, and a few hundred U.S. military trainers. But as you pointed out, 16 to 17 thousand others will be remaining behind, and the extraordinary thing, Neal, is we're hearing echoes now of what we heard nine years ago. You know, we can't have that smoking gun be a mushroom cloud. No one is actually using that particular formulation anymore, but the fear of nuclear weapons. The danger of a nation that is supporting terrorism. Oil, which was the great unspoken issue in 2002 and 2003, very much a part of this. The difference, of course, now is that the target is Iran, not Iraq. But the two are very close to one another, and the fact of the matter is that Iran is exercising an enormous influence throughout Iraq. And the oil fields, which have under the surface, they have something - I believe it's the second-largest reserves of any country in the world. That's all very close to Iran, and if Iran were to exercise significant political, let alone military, control in that region, together with their own oil and gas, they would have the capacity to wreak havoc on Western economies.
During the segment, they took calls from listeners and noted Ted's report on last night's Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC). Here's an excerpt of Ted's report from Iraq and it's where they are discussing the US consulate in Basra.

Ted Koppel: If those Iranian backed militias were to launch a full scale attack on this consulate, would the US calvary ride to the rescue?

US Ambassador James Jeffrey: We depend upon the Iraqis and if we need security support, we will turn to them and we will tell them, "I've got a problem in Basra and you need to help us.

Ted Koppel: The question is will they?

US Ambassador James Jeffrey: I believe they will.

Ted Koppel: That's what an ambassador has to say about his hosts. This is the man who might actually have to deal with that nightmare, Lt Gen Robert Caslan. General, how are you going to get 1320 people out of there? I mean if you've 24 hours notice that something like this was going to happen, you're telling me the Iraqi government would evacuate immediately? Would get them all out of there?

Lt Gen Robert Caslan: I would argue that we do have, in theater, whether it's in Kuwait or elsewhere in theater, that we fall under the central command, Centcom, and I feel confident that Centcom has the necessary assets to take whatever measures they need to to counter that attack.
In addition to the reporting on Rock Center with Brian Williams (there are online features from last night's show including some that are online only, FYI) Brian Williams also spoke with Ted after the report. Excerpt of that.

Brian Williams: I wrote down the words "dangerously exposed?" while watching the piece. So many people speaking through clenched jaws. You can almost hear it in the voice of that Lieutenant Colonel from the 1st cavalry. Why aren't the remaining Americans to be considered dangerously exposed?

Ted Koppel: They are. They are dangerously exposed. And you have to remember, Brian, that the military command in Iraq did not want the US troops heading home. The commanding general asked for 27,000 troops to stay behind. The fact of the matter is, if the Iranians were to launch an attack against the consulate in Basra, you have to be willing to put your money on the Iraqi government. And if the Iraqi government doesn't do it, who else is going to do it? Well as you've heard there are a lot of American troops in that region and I would put my quota on saying, they're coming back and they'll be the ones to evacuate.

Ted is raising serious issues and, to their credit, NPR today and NBC last night (and anchor Brian Williams) were willing to go beyond the nonsense on Iraq that has cluttered up so many networks -- broadcast and cable, commercial and PBS (The NewsHour hasn't done anything like what NPR and NBC have done this week). With Nouri al-Maliki visiting the US right now, you would assume everyone would be trying to offer something deeper than a bumper sticker and platitudes. But that's all the airwaves have been interested in. Some might argue CNN deserves credit for Arwa Damon and Mohammed Tawfeeq's report which includes:
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told CNN that he was "shocked" to hear U.S. President Barack Obama greet al-Maliki at the White House on Monday as "the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq." He said Washington is leaving Iraq "with a dictator" who has ignored a power-sharing agreement, kept control of the country's security forces and rounded up hundreds of people in recent weeks.
"America left Iraq with almost no infrastructure. The political process is going in a very wrong direction, going toward a dictatorship," he said. "People are not going to accept that, and most likely they are going to ask for the division of the country. And this is going to be a disaster. Dividing the country isn't going to be smooth, because dividing the country is going to be a war before that and a war after that."
Any credit the above might get it outweighed by an attempt to distort reality -- either due to time, space or just not being honest. They also insist:
Al-Maliki won a second term as prime minister in 2010 after a months-long dispute among the leading parties in the country's parliamentary elections. Al-Mutlaq's largely secular Iraqiya movement won two more seats than al-Maliki's party, but a merger of the premier's Shiite Muslim slate with a smaller Shiite bloc put him first in line to form a government.
No, that is not what happened and that's grossly embarrassing for CNN. I'm embarrassed for them. The Constitution outlines what happens in the elections. Nouri didn't follow it. He also got an opinion from the court he controls in his favor. Per the Constitution, Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya) had the first crack at forming a government. But Nouri refused to follow the Constitution. The United Nations actually was exploring a request from some Iraqi officials to put a caretaker government in place (during the political stalemate caused by Nouri refusing to step down) but the US government blocked that. I don't expect CNN to tell the truth about what the US government did; however, the Iraqi Constitution is a public document. And how the government is formed following an election is detailed precisely in the Constitution. There's no need to 'invent' or 'improve' upon reality. Just stick to the law. Nouri refused to and CNN refuses today to inform people of that fact.
Nouri's visit ends shortly. His return to Iraq should be very interesting. We're back to Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's press conference yesterday. In it, Dar Addustour reports, he declared that he and/or members of Parliament -- not Nouri -- was the target of the assassination attempt, he also stated that 15,000 US employees for diplomatic reasons was illogical, and that Nouri will be appearing before Parliament to answer questions regarding the country's military readiness.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Iraqi Parliament will offer US troops 'parital imm..."
"Koppel ponders how an attack gets handled after Ja..."
"Desperate Housewives"
"The populism"
"4 men, 2 women"
"That joke John Edwards"
"Comics and movies"
"More news media garbage"
"The Good Wife"
"Isaiah, Syria, PATRIOT Act"
"Isaiah, Michaels (Ratner and Smith), Third"
"Feeding his ego"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feeding his ego




Today NATO issued (link is text and video) a statement announcing they would be doing no more training in Iraq.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: NATO has decided to withdraw the training mission from Iraq by the 31st of December this year when the current mandate of the mission expires. Agreement on the extension of this successful program did not prove possible despite robust negotiations over several weeks. NATO remains fully committed to our partnership and political relationship with Iraq through our existing Structured Cooperation Framework. The NATO Training Mission in Iraq, which started in 2004 at the request of the Iraqi authorities, has been a success. Our trainers can be very proud of what they have achieved over the last seven years, contributing to Iraq's security capacity and helping to develop a more sustainable, multi-ethnic security force. Since 2004, we have trained over 5,000 military personnel and over 10,000 police personnel in Iraq and provided over 115 million euro worth of military equipment. We're determined to build on the success and the spirit of our Training Mission to further strengthen our partnership and political relationship with Iraq, so that together we can continue to contribute to regional peace and stability, which is beneficial for the whole international community.
AFP notes, "On November 29, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq was studying a contract to extend NATO's presence in Iraq beyond the year's end, but noted that such a deal would not grant its troops immunity from prosecution." David Brunnstorm and Alistair Lyon (Reuters) report that NATO has approximately 100 trainers in Iraq currently and quote an unnamed official stating, "Our minimum line was that if we are asking our people to live and work in another country, we need to maintain our own jurisdiction over them. It wasn't possible to agree to that." Before the announcement, Dar Addustour reported this morning the deal was off and that the sticking point was immunity. As Al Rafidayn notes, news that the deal was off leaked out Sunday though NATO issued denials. Sunday was when, Al Mada observes, Faleh al-Fayad, the National Security Adviser, declared that Iraq regretted NATO had decided to withdraw from Iraq over the issue of immunity.
In other news, Alsumaria TV reports:
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama Al Nujaifi considered, on Monday, that keeping 15 thousand employees at the US embassy in Iraq after US troops' withdrawal is illogical. This issue requires answers from Iraqi government, Nujaifi revealed indicating that the parliament will host Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki to discuss Security Forces' readiness at his return from Washington.
"Under diplomatic representation and bilateral relations' exchange in accordance with the Strategic Framework Agreement signed with Iraq, it is illogical to have 15 thousand employees at the US embassy after US troops' withdrawal from Iraq," Osama Al Nujaifi told a press conference attended by Alsumarianews at the parliament building.
US House Rep Ron Paul: Well -- well I want to -- extend the tax cut, because if you don't, you raise the taxes. But I want to pay for it. And it's not that difficult. In my proposal, in my budget, I want to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from overseas. The trust fund is gone. But how are we gonna restore it? We have to quit the spending. We have to quit this being the policemen of the world. We don't need another war in Syria and another war in Iran. Just get rid of the embassy in Baghdad. We're pretending we're coming home from Baghdad. We built an embassy there that cost a billion dollars and we're putting 17,000 contractors in there and pretending our troops are coming home. I could save and we don't have to raise taxes on Social Security -- on the -- on the -- on the -- on the tax --
That's kind of from the ABC official transcript. When I attend a hearing and we cover it here, I try to be accurate. There are times when I can barely keep my eyes open out of boredom and if someone's uh-uh-ing, I won't include it because in my notes that I take, I'm just trying to get through the hearing. But most of the time, we do capture it. I think, to be accurate, you need to. Sometimes the uh-uh (or whatever) is not merely a manner of speaking but indicative of something -- such as a witness who works for the government trying to think of way to answer without actually answering.
So when there was the mini-drama over AP's transcript of Barack last month, I did have to wonder how pathetic some people's lives were that they needed to wrongly call the Associated Press racist because Barack clearly dropping the "g"s at the end of his words was noted in the transcript. It should have been. If that's how he speaks -- and it was how he was speaking -- then it should be noted. So should you starting over in the middle of a sentence. Such as: "So should you -- So should you starting over in the middle of a sentence." I expect transcripts to be accurate. I had that expectation when Bush was in the White House. I have it now.
A news outlet that does a transcript needs to be accurate. I have changed ABC News' official transcript because Ron Paul did not say, for example, "wanna." "Gonna"? Yes, he says that once. But he never says "wanna." Click here for the Ron Paul highlights. When I heard what was in the ABC transcript, I thought, "That's not how he speaks. But I was not about to stream that entire debate. The link goes to just Ron Paul's parts of the debate. Repeating, that did not sound like how he speaks from Congressional hearings I've attended. And if you stream the video, you'll see he's not saying "wanna" and "gonna" and I forget the other thing I corrected. But when Ron Paul says "want to," he usually goes up a note on the "to," something I noticed back in 2006 and why I doubted ABC's transcript to begin with.
I'm not calling it "racism" but I am saying that transcript is inaccurate with regards to Ron Paul and I think people are right to wonder if ABC News was attempting to make Ron Paul sound a certain way, a way that might make some believe he was less educated than he is. The press pattern with regards to Ron Paul makes the transcript distortion an issue.
Back to what he was saying.
US House Rep Ron Paul: Well -- well I want to -- extend the tax cut, because if you don't, you raise the taxes. But I want to pay for it. And it's not that difficult. In my proposal, in my budget, I want to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from overseas. The trust fund is gone. But how are we gonna restore it? We have to quit the spending. We have to quit this being the policemen of the world. We don't need another war in Syria and another war in Iran. Just get rid of the embassy in Baghdad. We're pretending we're coming home from Baghdad. We built an embassy there that cost a billion dollars and we're putting 17,000 contractors in there and pretending our troops are coming home.
Yes, a lot of people want to pretend things are different than they actually are. It was an important point -- made by someone who truly was against the Iraq War. And one of the few functioning members of the press noted that on yesterday's Meet The Press (NBC).
Ted Koppel: The point is Ron Paul was almost right last night. You remember, and it was one of the overlooked points in the debate, he spoke of the 17,000, he spoke about civilian contractors who are still in Iraq. We do have 17,000 people still in Iraq. They're not all civilian contractors, but a great many of them are. You've got a consulate in Basra, a consulate in Erbil. The one in Basra is just less than 20 miles from the Iranian border; 1,320 Americans down there. They are rocketed two or three times a week. They are about as vulnerable as any Americans have been since 1979 at the embassy in Tehran. And if they were to be frontally attacked, and I'm suggesting that that's not unlikely at all, you're going to see the U.S. military come back in. Because, while the ambassador said, "No, no, no, we're going to rely on the Iraqis to do the job," there is no way that the U.S. military will wait for the Iraqis to save those Americans, and they're going to need saving.
Also on Meet The Press, they highlighted a small segment of an interview Ted did with US Ambassador James Jeffery as part of a report to air tonight on Rock Center (NBC):
MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?
AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
Yes, the CIA will still be there (and in a new subdivision in Turkey) and so will Special Ops. And this has been addressed. But there aren't a lot of grown ups in the press. When Ted left Nightline, it wasn't just that program that suffered, it was the quality of news.
Rock Center airs tonight at 10:00 pm. EST and Pacific, 9:00 pm Central. Rock Center's Tom Bettag notes of Ted Koppel's report tonight:
But is America really leaving? Many people have the impression that the U.S. presence -- and U.S. government spending -- is finally ending in Iraq. Koppel makes it clear that this is far from the truth.
He tells the story of some 16,000 people who will be left behind. Koppel and his team obtained extraordinary access to the U.S. embassy, the largest embassy in the world, with a footprint the size of Vatican City. He also traveled to the U.S. consulate in Basra, which faces regular rocket attacks from Iranian-funded militia.
For them, it isn't over; it's just about to begin.
So grown ups should tune in to Rock Center tonight on NBC. You'll be informed with some realities. Realities just don't make a lot of the US outlets which is fully staffed with sycophants. Maybe Steve Kroft kicked off the latest wave of press nonsense with the interview of Barack that 60 Minutes (CBS) aired last night? Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic) offers a brilliant critique of the interview:
An interviewer determined to challenge a sitting president, as every interviewer of every president should do, could've asked what Obama thinks about the fact that his drone strikes in Pakistan are destabilizing a nuclear power and killing innocent children; or whether Solyndra got special treatment because of its insider connections; or what he thinks about the Fast and Furious scandal and what Eric Holder knew about it. Kroft could've challenged Obama to explain why he decided to proceed with military action in Libya even though it violated the War Powers Resolution, or asked him about the controversy surrounding federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, or echoed the concerns that progressives have with his immigration policies.
But nope. Kroft asked none of those questions; nor did he press Obama about his views on indefinitely detaining American citizens; nor did he ask about the killing without due process of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American; nor did he ask about the controversy surrounding whether the morning-after pill should be available over-the-counter for people of all ages or not; nor did he ask about the private security contractors that America will pay to stay in Iraq after we leave; nor about the state secrets privilege; nor about aggressively prosecuting whistleblowers; nor about many other issues of concern to liberals, conservatives, and libertarians, all of whom have earnest complaints.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Thieves and sycophants parade"
"Iraqi Christians taxed for worshipping"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Scrub buddies"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"As Congress asked, 'Why is the administration stil..."
"Deep thoughts won't be found in a shallow pool"

"Barry's in-kind contribution"