Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Tag

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Jon Stewart speaking of the Brian Williams scandal “I love that now the media pretends that they must guard the crown jewel of their credibility when we’ve already seen it’s Al Capone’s vault.  Not that they weren’t hard on themselves post clusterbleep.”

Reporter “How did you guys do on the issue of weapons of mass destruction?”

Bill Keller (New York Times) “I think we did, uhm, I think we did pretty darned good.”

Wolf Blitzer (CNN) “I think we were pretty strong.”

Reporter “I think the questions were asked”

Reporter “there was a fog of war”

Reporter “I guess we were caught up in the post 9/11 sense of patriotism.”

Reporter “And there’s also the fog of covering the war”

Blitzer “Could we have done a better job?  Sure.  Remember, we are a first draft of history journalism.”

Stewart “But it wasn’t even your draft.  You were just copying off Cheney’s paper.  You were plagiarizing history.”

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/j3ware/guardians-of-the-veracity

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President Obama August 7, 2014

First, I said in June — as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq — that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it.  In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.

To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.  We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.  We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.

Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.  As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis.  And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect.  Countless Iraqis have been displaced.  And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.

In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives.  And thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs.  They’re without food, they’re without water.  People are starving.  And children are dying of thirst.  Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide.  So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice:  descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.

When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.  We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.  That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.  Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive.  Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.”  Well today, America is coming to help.  We’re also consulting with other countries — and the United Nations — who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/08/07/president-obama-makes-statement-iraq

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Jon Stewart “Remember that time we invaded Iraq to remove the threat of the world’s most dangerous people using the world’s most dangerous weapons and it turned out that the threat wasn’t there.  Well, good news, the threat’s there now, in some measure due to the destabilizing effect of our intervention.  And, you’ll never guess what the people who hyped the original plan, would like to do now.”

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) June 17, 2014 “We must grapple with how best to help Iraq meet this threat.”

Rep Pete King (R-NY) June 22, 2014 “It is absolutely essential that we stop Isis from gaining this foothold in Iraq.”

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) June 15, 2014 “We need air power immediately to stop the advance.”

Sen John McCain (R-AZ) June 18, 2014 “We have to act.  We must act.”

Stewart “We must, act.  Well, if we do, I think you’re going to need acting lessons, but I do look forward to you and your friends starring in a new play called ‘A Streetcar Named We’re Always Wrong.”

 

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/y54hug/priority-fail

 

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Militants who seized large swaths of Iraq’s Sunni heartland with lightning advances this week have pushed into an ethnically mixed province and captured two towns northeast of Baghdad, officials said Friday as neighboring Shiite powerhouse Iran signaled its willingness to confront the growing threat.

The fresh gains by insurgents, spearheaded by fighters from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, come as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government struggles to form a coherent response after the militants blitzed and captured the country’s second-largest city of Mosul, Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, smaller communities, as well as military and police bases — often after meeting little resistance from state security forces.

The fast-moving rebellion, which also draws support from former Saddam-era figures and other disaffected Sunnis, has emerged as the biggest threat to Iraq’s stability since the U.S. withdrawal at the end of 2011. It has pushed the nation closer to a precipice that could partition the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish zones.

The assault also threatens to embroil Iraq more deeply in a wider regional conflict, already feeding off the chaos caused by the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Friday reported that former members of Tehran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard have announced their readiness to fight in Iraq against the Islamic State, while Iranian state TV quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying his country will do all it can to fight terrorism next door.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will apply all its efforts on the international and regional levels to confront terrorism,” the Iranian report said Rouhani told al-Maliki by phone.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sunni-militants-capture-2-towns-near-baghdad

Posted June 13, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I’m Fareed Zakaria….

But, first, here’s my take: Here’s a startling statistic: more than 8,000 Iraqis were killed in violent attacks in 2013. That makes it the second most violent country in the world, after its neighbor Syria.

As violence has spread and militants have gained ground in several Middle Eastern countries, people have been wondering how much this has to do with America, the Obama administration and its lack of an active intervention in the region.

The Wall Street Journal and a Commentary magazine, for example, have both argued this past week that the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq to zero is directly responsible for the renewed violence in that country.

They and others have also argued that because the Obama administration stayed out of Syria, things there have spiraled downward.

Let me suggest that the single greatest burden for the violence and tensions across the Arab world right now lies with a president, though not President Obama, and it lies with an American foreign policy that was not too passive but rather too active and interventionist in the Middle East.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq triggered what has become a regional religious war in the Middle East. Let me explain how, specifically.

From March through June of 2003, in the first months of the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration made a series of catastrophic decisions.

It authorized the disbanding of the Iraqi army and signed onto a policy of deBaathification, which meant that anyone in Iraq who had been a member of the top four levels of the Baath Party, the ruling party under Saddam Hussein, would be barred from holding any government job.

This meant that tens of thousands of bureaucrats, school teachers, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, almost all of whom were Sunni, were thrown out of work, angry, dispossessed, and many of them armed.

This in turn meant the collapse of the Iraqi state and of political order, but it also meant the rise of a sectarian struggle that persists to this day.

The Bush administration went to war in Iraq to spread democracy. But in fact it spread sectarianism, displacing the Sunni elite who had long ruled the country and replacing it with hardline Shia religious parties that used their new found power to repress the Sunnis just as they had been repressed.

Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq has been utterly unwilling to share power with the Sunnis, who comprise about 20 percent of Iraq, and that has driven them into opposition, extremism, and terrorism. During the surge, he made several promises to change his ways, but over the last few years has reneged on every one of them.

This sectarian power struggle is the origins of the civil war that has been ongoing in Iraq for 11 years. It is the cancer that has spread beyond Iraq into other countries from Syria to Lebanon.

The Bush administration seemed to have made this massive strategic error almost unthinkingly. There is a report that a few months before the invasion, President Bush met with three Iraqi exiles and appeared unaware that Iraq contained within it Sunnis and Shias.

An Arab leader confirmed to me that in his meetings with the president, it was clear that Bush did not even understand that there was a difference between the two sects.

Others in the administration, better informed, were convinced that the Shia would be pluralists and democrats. Those of us who warned of these dangers at the time were dismissed as pessimists. So if we’re trying to understand why we see a Sunni-Shia battle unfolding across the Middle East, keep in mind that the primary cause is not that the Obama administration did not intervene in Syria. It’s because the Bush administration did in Iraq.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1401/12/fzgps.01.html

Posted January 13, 2014 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Hearing that former president George W. Bush went on a motorcycle ride with a group of disabled Iraq war veterans did not sit well with Real Time host Bill Maher on Friday.

“I found this to be nauseating,” Maher said of Bush’s appearance at the Warrior 100K Ride in Texas. “First he sends them off to war to get their limbs blown off, then he has them over for a barbecue. This is like the Cleveland guy having a pizza party for those girls he had in his basement.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/01/maher-slams-george-w-bush-for-nauseating-motorcycle-ride-with-disabled-veterans/

Posted June 2, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Fareed Zakaria:

But, first, here’s my take, Those urging the U.S. to intervene in Syria are certain of one thing, if we had gotten in sooner, things would be better in that war-torn country.

Had the Obama Administration gotten involved earlier, there would be less instability and fewer killings. We would not be seeing, in John McCain’s words this week, “Atrocities that are on a scale that we have not seen in a long, long time.”

In fact, we have seen atrocities much worse than those in Syria very recently, in Iraq only few years ago. From 2003 to 2012, despite there being as many as 180,000 American and allied troops in Iraq, somewhere between 150,000 and 300,000 Iraqi civilians died and about 1.5 million fled the country.

Jihadi groups flourished throughout Iraq, and al-Qaeda had a huge presence there. Now, the U.S. was about as actively engaged in Iraq as is possible, and yet more terrible things happened there than in Syria. Why?

The point here is not to make comparisons among atrocities. The point is that the situation in Syria is much like that in Iraq. We can learn a lot from our experience there.

All the features of Syria’s civil war that are supposedly the result of U.S. nonintervention bloomed in Iraq despite America’s massive intervention there.

In Iraq under U.S. occupation, jihadi terrorists of all stripes flourished. They employed tactics that were brutal beyond belief, putting electric drills through people’s heads, burning others alive and dumping still breathing victims into mass graves.

These struggles get vicious for a reason. The stakes are very high. Joshua Landis, America’s leading scholar on Syria, points out that Syria is the last of three great minority ruled regimes in the Middle East.

In Lebanon, the first, the Christian minority was displaced in a 15-year, bloody civil war. In Iraq, the U.S. displaced the Sunni minority, but they then fought back brutally, again, a long, bloody civil war. Syria is following precisely that pattern.

The minority regime fights to the end because it fears for its life once out of power. The Sunnis of Iraq fought even against the mighty American military because they knew that life under the majority Shias would be ugly, as it has proved to be.

The Alawites, the ruling sect in Syria, will fight even harder because they are a smaller minority and have further to fall.

Now, would U.S. intervention, no-fly zones, arms, aid to the opposition forces, make things better? Well, it depends on what one means by better.

It would certainly intensify the civil war. It would also make the regime of Bashar Assad more desperate. Perhaps Assad has already used chemical weapons; with his back against the wall, he might use them on a larger scale.

If the objective is actually to reduce the atrocities and minimize potential instability, the key will be a political settlement that gives each side, minorities and majority, an assurance that it has a place in the new Syria.

That was never achieved in Iraq, which is why, despite U.S. troops and arms and influence, the situation turned into a violent free-for-all. If some kind of political pact can be reached, there’s hope for Syria.

If it cannot, U.S. assistance to the rebels or even direct military intervention won’t change much. Syria will follow the pattern of Lebanon and Iraq, a long, bloody civil war. And the United States will be in the middle of it.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1305/05/fzgps.01.html

Posted May 6, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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