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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http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/fugelsang-cutting-medicare-to-fix-budget-is-like-invading-iraq-when-you-were-attacked-by-15-saudis/

John Fugelsang:

America’s broke and it’s the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. So if you’re mad about the former, thank the millions of Americans who opposed the latter. Because this anniversary is a fitting time to talk about the destructive budget battle that now divides our nation.

The Republican Party is outraged over the deficit — although George W. Bush never once balanced a budget in eight years, but of course those were freedom deficits.

Now after the credit-card-with-no-limit presidency of Mr. Bush, the credit card bill has arrived — in your mailbox. It’s called austerity. Last decade we had two wars off the books while cutting taxes for the wealthy and this decade, y’all get to pay for it.

Now there are ways to fix our deficit that don’t hurt the poor or the middle class. A carbon tax of $20 per ton could cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion. Treating capital gains as income could raise over $530 billion. A financial transaction tax could reduce the deficit by an estimated $350 billion. But apparently we don’t really hate deficits that much.

So here’s an even better idea: Let’s build a time machine, go back to 2003, and stop President Bush and his Republican and Democratic allies from invading and occupying Iraq. Because today we know from estimates by the Costs of War Project, the war will eventually wind up costing the U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion.

That’s in addition to the 190,000 people killed — the men and women in uniform, the contractors and civilians. Two trillion dollars America would have in the bank, if we hadn’t had a bloody unconstitutional dine-n-dash of a war.

Now please keep this in mind as some of the people who told you how necessary the Iraq War was — both in politics and media — are now telling you how necessary austerity is.

The people who were wrong about everything are now telling you we’ve got to repeal everything since the New Deal.

The same people who said Iraq definitely had WMDs are now telling us you’re going to have to definitely eat more Mickey D’s. The ones who promised we’d be greeted as liberators are now telling us you may have to be liberated from some of your earned entitlement benefits. The politicians who guaranteed democracy would flourish in the region now say surpluses will flourish if we voucher-ize Medicare.

The guys who said two wars in Iraq would bring down gas prices then, are telling you now that the Keystone Pipeline will bring down gas prices.

The folks who said Iraq would be a cakewalk are now saying, “Let ‘em eat cake.”

So let’s thank some of the people who opposed the Iraq invasion: people like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul, Arianna Huffington, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Pat Buchanan — yeah, I said it — Michael Moore and the last two popes. They knew how un-Christian a concept pre-emptive war was: “Forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might trespass against us.”

Or go ahead and listen to the ones who were wrong: Limbaugh, George Will, Kristol, Krauthammer, McCain, Condoi Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, Scarborough, Bush and way more Democrats than I should be able to name.

Unlimited funds then, austerity now. And they want your Medicare, and they want your Social Security. And they’re gonna get it, unless America wakes up in a way we didn’t wake up 10 years ago.

Because, my friends, going after Medicare to fix a budget crisis is like going after Iraq when you were attacked by 15 Saudis.

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On Monday, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked how so many journalists could have been misled in the run-up to the Iraq War. She interviewed two reporters for Knight-Ridder newspapers, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, both of whom have been vindicated as being consistently right on Iraq.

Amanpour began by recapping some of the George W. Bush administration’s hallmark assertions regarding Saddam Hussein’s purported programs to make nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and highlighting the debunked claims that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for enriching uranium.

“So how could so any false assertions have been taken as fact?” she asked. “After the war, some of America’s leading newspapers were forced to apologize for getting it wrong.”

She then welcomed Strobel and Landay to the program.

Landay talked about the difficulty of getting stories published that ran contrary to the narrative being established by Washington. Editors would demand to know why these stories weren’t also running in the New York Times or the Washington Post.

“It was very lonely,” he said. “One of the ironies is that every time we would write something, the White House would say nothing, because we realized after a while that that would have been the best advertisement for our stories that we could possibly ask for.”

“There’s a problem with journalism in Washington,” said Strobel, “and that’s access. The New York Times and others had access to top officials who were spinning this line. We talked to those people as well, but most of our reporting was done with intelligence — military and diplomatic — mid-level and lower-level, the types that journalists don’t normally talk to or go after.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/19/amanpour-on-iraq-where-were-the-journalists/

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John Fugelsang:

So for tonight’s F-bomb, we cover a little-covered report that affects all of us.

Because it’s from Stuart Bowen. He’s the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And that’s more than just a sexy title — he’s the guy whose job it is to officially notify Congress about how much of our money was spent on the Iraq invasion and occupation and reconstruction.

Now, Bowen just reported that maybe, just maybe, the Iraq War wasn’t a great idea from a money perspective. I could quote you highlights from the report: how the reconstruction “grew to a size much larger than was ever anticipated” or how “not enough was accomplished for the size of the funds extended.”

Wow. Who knew?

And he’s just talking about the $60 billion of U.S. taxpayer money that went to Iraq reconstruction projects. I’d like to repeat that figure, since we’re all so busy arguing about the budget deficit in this country: $60 billion, or $15 million per day. Just to give you some scale, that’s more than Current TV pays me in a whole month.

And it’s relevant. Under the austerity politics of D.C., we have Democrats and mostly Republicans now telling us how we have to cut spending to rebuild America after 10 years of nonstop spending to rebuild Iraq after we blew it up. So let’s go back, through the mists of time, to 10 years ago this month.

Back when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his capo de tutti capi Paul Wolfowitz were telling us how invading Iraq would pay for itself. And then once we were there they said we couldn’t leave because then Iran would invade Iraq and create the new Islamo-fascist supergroup “Iranq.”

Meanwhile, the people who were against the invasion said it would kill a lot of soldiers, would kill even more Iraqis and would only succeed in making a few U.S. businessmen and international oil companies very, very rich.

So who was right?

Well, according to the report, the American taxpayer spent $40 million for a prison in the eastern Diyala province that now sits in ruins. It’s never gonna be finished. It’s never gonna be used. All that money wasted — sort of like the next Guns N’ Roses album.

Also, a $108 million wastewater treatment center in Fallujah is going to finish eight years late and only service 9,000 homes. If Iraq wants to finish the job we’ve started, they’ve got to pony up with another $87 million. And we can’t help them because we’re broke from spending too much money trying to help them after blowing up their country.

At the end of the day, my friends, the Iraq War cost you and me around $800 billion, or $7.6 billion a month. Factor in long-term cost of caring for our wounded veterans, it’s about a trillion dollars. Over 4,000 U.S. troops are dead, well over 30,000 are injured or maimed for life. Over 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Now I don’t know if America will learn anything from this, but as long as we’re talking about cutting Medicare, cutting education, cutting salary for government employees; as long as we’re paying the tab after George Bush’s eight-year-long dine-n-dash; as long as Barack Obama is still being blamed for an economy that was partially wrecked by this war; as long as there are still men and women in our government who think they can have two wars off the books while cutting taxes for the wealthy and still get to call themselves conservative …

Here’s a very simple economic formula that works: People who supported the Iraq War don’t ever, ever, ever get to complain about deficits or spending.

In late 2002, a group of entertainers called Artists United to Win Without War put out an open letter to President Bush rejecting the doctrine that America had the right to launch first-strike attacks. A lot of people put their reputations on the line, like Mike Farrell, Lily Tomlin, Samuel L. Jackson — and look who’s right there, in between the late Bonnie Franklin and Janeane Garafalo? Which also happens to also be my dream three-way? — 100 million Americans — one third of us were against Iraq.

Yes, all this spending has led to a lot of suffering, and the austerity politicians of the GOP remind you we can alleviate some of that suffering if we can just come together, cut taxes for the rich even more, and take just a bit more money away from old, sick people.

http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-people-who-supported-the-iraq-war-dont-ever-get-to-complain-about-deficits/

 

Posted March 9, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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