Thursday, July 09, 2015

On this one, we blame the veterans


$100,000  TO SPEAK?





Senator Joe Donnelly: I just got back from Iraq with Senator [Tim] Kaine who led our trip and one of the meetings we had was with a number of the Sunni tribal leaders and some of them were from the Haditha area and in talking to them they have said, "We have stood with you. We have faith with you.  But we have people who are now eating grass in our town.  We have no food.  We have no supplies.  And we have been told that the only airlifts that can come in would be on military transport.  Is there anything you can do to help feed our people?"  And so, I wanted to put that before you to see if there's something we can do to be of aid to these individuals.

Donnelly was speaking Tuesday at the Senate Armed Services Committee.  The Committee Chair is Senator John McCain and the Ranking Member is Senator Jack Reed.  Appearing before the Committee were Gen Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint Chiefs) and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Donnelly states that he was told, in Haditha, food resources were so low that civilians were eating grass.

Though only in his second year in the US Senate, Donnelly has not racked up  a reputation for lying or misleading.

So it's fairly safe to assume this is what he was told.

Where's the outcry?

We drive our Bitch Moan and Whine vehicles all over the globe over this or that artifact destroyed in Iraq but you have civilians forced to eat grass and no one cares enough to make this a lead story?

Secretary Ash Carter: Well, uh, I'll say something about that and ask the Chairman if he wants to add.  First of all, I want to thank you, Senator Donnelly, also Senator Kaine for traveling there.  We appreciate it.  And on behalf of the 3,550 members of our armed forces that are in Iraq conducting this fight, thank you for taking the time to go visit them this Fourth of July weekend.  The humanitarian situation is yet another tragic consequence of what is going on with ISIL.  It remains one of the coalition's, uhm, uh, uh, efforts as I indicated in my opening statement.  To relieve the humanitarian, that's very difficult to do when there is not order and control on the ground.  And so, uh, this is why we need to get a security situation that's stable, ground forces that are capable of hol- seizing territory, holding territory and governing.  That's the only way to get the humanitarian situation turned around -- either in Iraq or in Syria.  It's very sad.  It's tragic.  And, uh, in the case of Iraq -- as has been noted --  uh, something brought about by the re-emergence of sectarianism in a really tragic way.  Chairman, you want to add anything?

Gen Martin Dempsey:  One of the reasons we went to [al-] Taqaddum Air Base [in Anbar Province] -- also locally called Habbaniyah -- is to advise and assist in the Anbar operations center which is where these kind of issues should actually migrate through.  And it's -- You should be interested to know the Iraqis have the capabilities to address that.  They have C-130J [Lockheed Martin transport aircraft], you know state of the art, uhm-uhm -- 

Senator Joe Donnelly:  I know they do, but they're not.

Gen Martin Dempsey:  Yeah, well we'll pass it to the guy who's embedded with -- 

Senator Joe Donnelly:  And you know, when you're hungry?  You're stomach doesn't tell you you want Iraqi food or US food, you just want help.  And one of the bonds created with these tribal leaders is they said, "We've always felt that we could count on you."  

Dempsey was a bit of a smart ass and there's no way to pretty that up.

If you caught the tone of, "Yeah, well we'll pass it to the guy," you grasped what a smart ass what he was being.

How nice for him that hearing of the starvation of others is so removed from anything he's ever experienced that he can make light of it, that he can mock it.

How very nice for him.

For those who don't remember how Barack kicked off the latest stage of the never-ending Iraq War, the Yazidis were trapped on Mount Sinjar and without food.

An air drop of humanitarian items was something we advocated for here.

Some people thought that the anti-war thing to do was to ridicule the trapped Yazidis.

All that did was drive people away.

It's not funny when people are in need, when they're starving.

Unless you're Dempsey or some other smart ass.

But with the Yazidis on Mt. Sinjar, Barack didn't just do air drops, he used it to further the Iraq War.

There's no reason that the US can't do an air drop.

Dempsey is correct that the Baghdad-based government could help.

While Haditha is frequently under attack (and, in fact, faced vehicle bombings earlier this week), it is not under the control of the Islamic State currently.

Dempsey could have cut the smarm and instead explored the lack of compassion on the part of the Iraqi government -- the Shi'ite led Iraqi government -- out of Baghdad with regards to the suffering of Sunnis (Haditha is a Sunni town).

Clearly, Iraq's (Shi'ite) Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi feels no pressure to send food.

(The State Dept had to strong arm him in to visiting a refugee camp last week.)

With them not willing to do so, the US military -- which all over Iraqi air space -- should immediately be dropping food over Haditha.

Is it hard to do?

Because the way I remember it, the Pentagon and the White House repeatedly insist that, when dropping bombs on Iraq, these are precision exercises.

So a bomb can be dropped precisely but there's some confusion over whether food and rations can be dropped precisely?

Again, the Baghdad-based government knows what's happening and has refused to step in.

US President Barack Obama repeatedly insists 'we're not taking sides.'

If you're looking the other way while a town of Sunnis are starving to the point that they're eating grass, if you're not rushing aid to them, you are taking sides, you are taking sides against Sunni civilians.

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