Something Nice About Saddam Hussein?

Last week in the news the media was all choked up on something that Mr. Trump said.  The MSM got lots of speculation in over his words.  Did he really say something nice about Saddam?

Trump’s stupid comments reveal a larger problem with how we talk about Iraq.

It’s possible that playing a game of gotcha with Donald Trump for the sin of saying that Saddam Hussein was good at killing terrorists is the most boring thing ever. Over 250 Iraqis were killed in Baghdad on Sunday when a lorry exploded in a busy shopping area of the city. The area is mostly Shiite and the Sunni extremist group Islamic State took responsibility. Believe it or not, this was the single worst loss of life since the invasion in 2003. Here’s how Jermey Bowen of the BBC put it:

Saddam Hussein’s regime was harsh, and it could be murderous. He led the country into a series of disastrous wars and brought crippling international sanctions down on their heads.

But with the benefit of 13 years of hindsight, the world that existed before 9 April 2003 seems to be a calmer, more secure place. They have not had a proper day of peace since the old regime fell.

As for democracy, many I have spoken to believe the hopelessly sectarian political system is broken. At least, they say, law and order existed under Saddam.

We need to reckon with this reality. It does no good to keep going back to the old rhetoric about what a tyrant Saddam Hussein was to his own people. What Trump is trying to say in his own awkward way is that Hussein kept the lid on and what we’ve gotten in his place is far worse. And, if he stuck to making that limited point, he’d be on solid footing, which means that it’s just a perpetuation of our national stupidity and infinite capacity to avoid self-reflection to go out and say, “Ooh, ooh, Trump said something halfway complimentary about Saddam Hussein!”

Source: Washington Monthly | Did Trump Say Something Nice About Saddam Hussein?

I may not agree with Mr. Trump on too much but I too believe that Iraq was a safer more secure nation when Saddam was its ruler…..

What is amazing is that all this debate, the back and forth, and not once has anyone in the media asked the Iraqi people what they think…..especially about Saddam….why is that?

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi man who was filmed attacking Saddam Hussein’s statue with a sledgehammer when US troops stormed into Baghdad in 2003 said Iraq was in a better shape under his rule and George W. Bush and Tony Blair should be put on trial “for ruining” it.Kadhim Hassan Al-Jabouri was speaking on Wednesday as British former civil servant John Chilcot released a long-awaited report criticizing Britain’s role in the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Source: Iraqi who hammered Saddam statue: ‘I wish he would return’ | Arab News

I still have a couple of friends in Iraq and they confirm that this is a popular talking point that is when people can actually go out and schmooze with their neighbors…..

Obama Alters Plan

In case anyone is interested….NO American troops died on foreign soil last week….

I have been reporting that the troop levels in Afghanistan, due to wind down this year, would stay in place or be expanded….well the prez has made it official….

President Obama is slowing the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan, leaving 8,400 troops there into next year, he announced Wednesday. Originally he had planned to drop troop levels from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of 2016. The numbers reflect a compromise between Obama’s original plan and what many military commanders had recommended given a Taliban resurgence, reports the AP. Obama says the security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and that Afghan security forces are not as strong as they need to be.

Last month a group of more than a dozen former US ambassadors and former commanders of US forces in Afghanistan wrote to Obama urging that he sustain the current level of troops through the remainder of his term in office, per the AP. “Unless emergency conditions require consideration of a modest increase, we would strongly favor a freeze at the level of roughly 10,000 US troops through January 30,” they wrote in a June 1 letter. “This approach would allow your successor to assess for herself or himself and make further adjustments accordingly.”

That was the news out of Afghanistan and now how about the news out of Iraq?

The US will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help recapture Mosul from Islamic State militants, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday on an unannounced visit to the country. Most of the new troops will be devoted to the buildup of the newly retaken Qayara air base, about 40 miles south of Mosul, and include engineers, logistics personnel, and other forces, Carter said in Baghdad, per the AP. They will help Iraqi security forces planning to encircle and eventually retake the key city. “These additional US forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces,” Carter said. He revealed President Obama’s decision during a talk to troops at the airport in Baghdad.

Carter called this weekend’s recapture of Qayara a key strategic victory. Speaking to reporters before he arrived in Baghdad, he said US advisers are prepared to accompany Iraqi battalions, if needed, as those units begin the siege of the key northern city, which was taken by ISIS in the summer of 2014. “That’s its strategic role, and that’s its strategic importance,” he said of the air base’s proposed function as the hub. US officials said a team of American troops went into Qayara for a quick site assessment Sunday and left. One potential job is helping Iraqi troops use highly technical bridging capabilities to get across the river into Mosul. The troop increase brings the total US force authorization in Iraq to 4,647 and comes just after Obama slowed the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

All this goes unnoticed….why?  NO ONE cares as long as it does not effect them directly……for they like scratching at that one scab until it becomes infected….

We Americans can be proud that we will have yet more chances for Americans to die for no other reason than the M-IC profits….and the next president can do the right thing or extend our troops even further….my money is on the later.

How about you?

Enough Noise….What Went Wrong?

Now that the Brits have issued their Chilcot Report on Iraq the normal demonizations have begun again…..but as one of my readers has pointed out….we all are well aware that the Iraq invasion was based solely on lies and accusations….not facts and reality….and as usual the media is NOT held responsible for selling the lies to war….not in the US and nor in the UK…….

We can blame anyone we want for it really does not matter why we did it…..we did do it….they question should be….what went so horribly wrong?

Denunciations of Tony Blair as the evil architect of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War often dominate discussions of what happened there and many will look to the Chilcot inquiry to provide further evidence of his guilt. But the demonisation of Mr Blair is excessive and simple-minded and diverts attention from what really happened in Iraq and how such mistakes can be avoided in future.

He may have unwisely followed the US into the quagmire of Iraq, but British government policy since 1941 has been to position itself as America’s most loyal and effective ally in peace and war.

Source: Blair’s demonisation distracts from what really went wrong in Iraq – The Unz Review

Will the real story behind the invasion of Iraq ever see the light of day?

Is It A Big Deal?

The UK has one big deal after another…first it was last year’s independence vote for Scotland….this year it was the “Brexit” vote….and yet they had another big deal….the Chilcot Report.

What the Hell is the Chilcot Report, right?

The Iraq Inquiry, set up in 2009 and chaired by Sir John Chilcot, was set up to look at the decision making that led to the invasion of Iraq.

A sweeping, seven-year investigation by Britain into its decision to join the US in the Iraq War is out, and “scathing” is beginning to sound like an understatement. The report by Sir John Chilcot faults every aspect of the decision by Tony Blair’s government, reports the Telegraph. “It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments,” said Chilcot as the report was released. “They were not challenged, and they should have been.” He said the UK went to war before exhausting “peaceful options,” adding that “military action at that time was not a last resort.” After that, Britain bungled the post-war strategy as Blair overestimated his ability to influence George W. Bush, says the report. “I will be with you whatever,” he had written to Bush in a 2002 note.

The AP points out one key aspect of the report: It will not make a finding on whether the invasion was legally justified. That’s likely to disappoint critics of the war, who were hoping Blair would face prosecution on war crimes. The report does accuse Blair and his team of making a case against Saddam “with a certainty that was not justified,” specifically in regard to weapons of mass destruction. Blair himself reacted on Wednesday: “Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country.” A link to the full report can be found here

Yep they are investigating if the reasons for invasion like the US were based on lies……

The Report was released on 06 July 2016…..and the findings were posted……

The report spans almost a decade of UK government policy decisions between 2001 and 2009.

It covers the background to the decision to go to war, whether troops were properly prepared, how the conflict was conducted and what planning there was for its aftermath, a period in which there was intense sectarian violence.

The main points are:

  • The UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.
  • Military action might have been necessary later, but in March 2003: There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein; The strategy of containment could have been adapted and continued for some time; The majority of the Security Council supported continuing UN inspections and monitoring.
  • Judgements about the severity of threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – known as WMD – were presented with a certainty that was not justified.
  • Intelligence had “not established beyond doubt” that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons.
  • Policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence assessments. It was not challenged, and should have been.
  • The circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were “far from satisfactory”.
  • The invasion began on 20 March 2003 but not until 13 March did then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith advise there was on balance a secure legal basis for military action. Apart from No 10’s response to his letter on 14 March, no formal record was made of that decision and the precise grounds on which it was made remain unclear.
  • The UK’s actions undermined the authority of the United Nations Security Council: The UN’s Charter puts responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security in the Security Council. The UK government was claiming to act on behalf of the international community “to uphold the authority of the Security Council”. But it knew it did not have a majority supporting its actions.
  • In Cabinet, there was little questioning of Lord Goldsmith about his advice and no substantive discussion of the legal issues recorded.
  • There was “little time” to properly prepare three military brigades for deployment in Iraq. The risks were neither “properly identified nor fully exposed” to ministers, resulting in “equipment shortfalls”.
  • Between 2003 and 2009, UK forces in Iraq faced gaps in some key capability areas – including armoured vehicles, reconnaissance and intelligence assets and helicopter support.
  • It was not sufficiently clear which person in the department within the Ministry of Defence had responsibility for identifying and articulating such gaps.
  • Delays in providing adequate medium weight protected patrol vehicles and the failure to meet the needs of UK forces for reconnaissance and intelligence equipment and helicopters should not have been tolerated.
  • On 28 July 2002, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair assured US President George W Bush he would be with him “whatever”. But in the letter, he pointed out that a US coalition for military action would need: Progress on the Middle East peace process; UN authority; and a shift in public opinion in the UK, Europe, and among Arab leaders.
  • Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were “wholly inadequate”.
  • The government failed to achieve the stated objectives it had set itself in Iraq. More than 200 British citizens died as a result of the conflict. Iraqi people suffered greatly. By July 2009, at least 150,000 Iraqis had died, probably many more. More than one million were displaced.
  • The report sets out lessons to be learned: It found Mr Blair overestimated his ability to influence US decisions on Iraq; and the UK’s relationship with the US does not require unconditional support.
  • It said ministerial discussion which encourages frank and informed debate and challenge is important. As is ensuring civilian and military arms of government are properly equipped.
  • In future, all aspects of any intervention need to be calculated, debated and challenged with rigour. Decisions need to be fully implemented.

(BBC)

Did the US report, if there was one, go into this much criticism and detail?

Personally, the last point is the most important……but the question is will it be taken under advisement?

My guess is…..NO!  That is NOT how the neoliberal world works!

Between Iraq And A Hard Spot

For several weeks now there has been a running battle in Iraq….Fallujah to be exact……the process has been slow but slow…..some say they are winning….I will not clarify that statement because everyone has their own opinion on this…all I can do is let you know what I know……

ISIS has had several setbacks or if you want defeats…..and that is good news right?

While the administration continues to publicly tout their progress in the ISIS war in both Iraq and Syria, claiming that the Islamists are suffering massive territorial losses and major defeats on the ground, a growing number of US officials are warning that the group isn’t at serious risk yet.

The comments in many ways mirror a recent UN report on the ISIS war, which similarly concluded that the “setbacks” they are suffering on the ground aren’t amounting to much, and that the group remains in a strong position regionally.

Is any of the so-called “successes” really gone to do any good?

President Barack Obama and some administration officials have hailed recent military gains against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but other U.S. officials and outside experts warn that the U.S.-backed air and ground campaign is far from eradicating the radical Islamic group, and could even backfire.

While Islamic State’s defeats in Iraq and Syria have erased its image of invincibility, they threaten to give it greater legitimacy in the eyes of disaffected Sunni Muslims because Shi’ite and Kurdish fighters are a major part of the campaign, some U.S. intelligence officials argue.

A second danger, some U.S. officials said, is that as the group loses ground in the Iraqi city of Falluja and elsewhere, it will turn increasingly to less conventional military tactics and to directing and inspiring more attacks against “soft” targets in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.

Source: Gains against Islamic State not yet enough, could backfire: U.S. officials | Reuters

So just how would you think that the US will handle this Iraqi situation?

From “no boots on the ground” in Iraq to 4,100 US troops officially there, and 5,000 there by most realistic estimates, the US has added a huge number of troops to the ISIS War in Iraq over the past two years. President Obama’s reluctance to see that buildup publicized has meant a lot of very small deployments, just adding up to a large on in aggregate.

Quoting Pentagon officials in the Washington Post, Josh Rogin suggests that the top commanders in Iraq, despite having just gotten a few hundred more troops not that long ago, are pushing hard for “dramatically” more ground troops to be sent to the country.

Throughout this war, the military leadership has been pushing for more troops, and faster deployments, and increasingly they appear to be willing to publicly complain about Obama’s slow reaction. With the November elections looming, this could well turn the war into a major campaign issue.

There you go…the answer today is the same answer from 1968 from Westmoreland…..”Need More Troops”……

That is always the answer to these types of situations……?  MORE TROOPS!

 

Isis faces likely defeat – but what happens next?

The news we are getting about the battle against those pricks in ISIS is pretty good….we have taken out their money stores, their gas supply, a couple of leaders and the ISIS opposition is making headway on just about all fronts…..

With the barbarians getting their asses handed to them….especially in Iraq and Syria…..and they are defeated, as promised, the question should be……What then?

The Unz Review attempts to answer this question……keep in mind that this site has a decidedly Libertarian tilt to it…….

Isis is under attack in and around the last three big cities it holds in Iraq and Syria – Fallujah, Mosul and Raqqa. It is likely to lose these battles because its lightly armed if fanatical infantry, fighting from fixed positions, cannot withstand air strikes called in by specialised ground forces. They must choose between retreating and reverting to guerrilla war or suffering devastating losses.

It is two years since Isis launched itself on the world by capturing Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, though it had already taken Fallujah 40 miles west of Baghdad at the start of 2014. In its first campaigns, its ability to achieve surprise by using mobile columns of vehicles packed with experienced fighters was astonishingly effective.

Source: Isis faces likely defeat in battles across Iraq and Syria – but what happens next? – The Unz Review

All our leaders have promised that the ISIS group will be defeated….that includes all the presidential wannabes also……but not one of them has an answer for…..when they, ISIS, is defeated–what then?

But before one can claim a win, the defeat of ISIS, there are a few other varibles that need consideration……

Attempting to defeat IS without beginning to address the political and structural failures that have led to these circumstances borders on the ridiculous.

With the beginning of separate offensives against the Islamic State (IS) in Fallujah and Raqqa, many analysts are highlighting that this is the beginning of the end of IS, with Mosul next in sight. However, there is one key issue with this analysis; these offensives do nothing to address the structural failures in both Iraq and Syria that led to IS’ rise. Moreover, there is no valid plan for the governance of the people being ‘liberated’ from IS. Without addressing these issues, history will repeat itself and IS will either return or morph into another radicalised entity looking to represent marginalised Sunnis.

Source: Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder | openDemocracy

The war against ISIL has entered a critical new phase. The group is facing a multipronged offensive threatening at least three of its most vital strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

The strategic significance of the areas under attack mean the group will have little choice but to put up a serious fight, which will then help the US-led coalition to better assess and target the current capabilities of its enemy. Similarly, the way the assault is conducted will determine whether the new phase is the beginning of the end for the group or the start of a new cycle.

Source: Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for ISIL? | The National

ISIS can be defeated….but there needs to be thought for what will come next.

Don’t forget….there is still AQ and the Taleban……what will be their part in the coming years?

Iraq: You Can Lead Them To Water

But they will not learn to dance.

In this case I am referring to the Iraqi Army…….

After the US-trained and armed Iraqi military collapsed in the face of ISIS offensives in 2014, the US embarked on a broad effort to retrain and reorganize the military. 17 months into this effort, US officials are increasingly admitting the effort is another failure.

Retired Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, who commanded the US training mission until last year, said the Iraqi Army has not improved much, saying the big problem is a lack of recruitment and retention in the Iraqi forces, saying the US officers are ready to train who shows up, but are never sure who that’s going to be.

Other US officials complained that the Iraqi military’s commanders are too cozy with the Shi’ite militias they so heavily depend on in the war, and that many of the US arms being transferred to the Iraqi military “either because of corrupt commanders or outright robbery,” end up in the hands of the militia.

Things are just not going as planned in Iraq……the US cannot break the unsuccessful program of training the Iraqi Army…..the whole situation has been a disaster for 13 years….and yet we just keep trying…..

A 17-month U.S. effort to retrain and reunify Iraq’s regular army has failed to create a large number of effective Iraqi combat units or limit the power of sectarian militias, according to current and former U.S. military and civilian officials.

Concern about the shortcomings of the American attempt to strengthen the Iraqi military comes as Iraqi government forces and Shi’ite militias have launched an offensive to retake the city of Falluja from Islamic State. Aid groups fear the campaign could spark a humanitarian catastrophe, as an estimated 50,000 Sunni civilians remain trapped in the besieged town.

Source: US Falters in 17-month Campaign to Revive Iraqi Army, Officials Say | World Affairs Journal

BTW, what was it that genius Einstein had to say about doing the same things over and over?