Saturday, October 04, 2014


Halloween's coming up and there are a lot of good scary movies.

I have my favorites and I'm sure you have yours and I'd like to write about those -- maybe next week.  But I finally got around to watching Carrie -- the one directed by Kimberly Peirce.


It's actually a riveting film.

I love Brian De Palma's original as much as anyone.

A young Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Amy Irving and Nancy Allen?

How can you go wrong?

William Katt was the weakest link in the film.

But the film works and is a classic.

Peirce's film is not a carbon copy.  This isn't like when Gus Van Zandt remade Psycho.

She's made her own film that is original and unique in its own way.

It is scary and it is something to see.

I know Julianna Moore is off putting.

We're all sick of her politics and other crap.

She's a third rate actress who has bored even the Academy Awards (remember, they nominated Annette Bening for The Kids Are Alright while ignoring Julianne).

But Piper Laurie never had any real film success as a lead actress.  The mom of Carrie is not the role the whole world needs.  And Julianna is her usual self in the role.

But there are so many other great performances in the film and great moments.

I think Peirce's take is much stronger in many ways but I can see how it freaked out sexists.

If you've got the time to, please make a point to check out the film.  You should be able to rent it on Amazon or at Redbox or whatever.

It's a solid film all by itself.

And Chloe Grace Moretz puts her own stamp on Carrie that is as valid and worthy as Sissy Spacek's own outstanding performance.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Saturday, October 4, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack's big 'plan' continues to show no results and we take an in depth look at US failure Chris Hill and his latest attempt at revisionary history.

Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

 Islamic State militants have taken control of key cities in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and have begun to besiege one of the country’s largest military bases in a weeklong offensive that’s brought them within artillery range of Baghdad.
The Islamic State and its tribal allies have dominated Anbar since a surprise offensive last December, but this week’s push was particularly worrisome, because for the first time this year Islamist insurgents were reported to have become a major presence in Abu Ghraib, the last Anbar town on the outskirts of the capital.

Read more here:

How's US President Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq working out?

AP reports the Islamic State "shot down an Iraqi military attack helicopter" near Baiji on Friday. NINA adds both pilots were killed in the crash.

Again, how's that 'plan' of Barack's working out?

All Iraq News reports that Alan Hennin, a UK aid worker, has been shown beheaded in a video released by the Islamic State -- following their previous video releases of the beheadings of "two U.S. journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff and a British aid worker, David Haines."

We know the question, right?  How's the 'plan' working out?

So let's move to something else.

And I have to start with a disclaimer: I'm not voting for Hillary Clinton if she runs for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and, should she seek the nomination and receive it, I won't be voting for her in the general election.  She lost my support for a number of reasons and that was obvious when she behaved like a rabid dog in her infamous 'what difference would it make' moment before Congress which encapsulated her tenure as Secretary of State, where she refused oversight and served four years without an Inspector General.  John Kerry, by contrast, only had to be asked by a Congressional committee once, right after he became Secretary of State, and he promised they would have an IG by the end of the year and they had one a little over four months after he made that promise.

I know Hillary -- or I thought I did.  I don't know that beastly creature who appeared before Congress, refused to take accountability and belittled the deaths of 4 Americans with 'what difference does it make.'  As with her 1992 idiotic comments regarding baking cookies and offending Tammy Wynette, Hillary can't keep her damn feet out of her own mouth.  She would make a lousy president for that reason alone.  Her mouth always gets her in trouble.  As an independent critic, she can say whatever she wants.  As a member of the Senate, she only needs to please a plurality of voters in a state.  As president, she would be a frightmare.

If you want to vote for her, that's your business.  I'm not here to tell you who to vote for.  I probably, as I did in 2012, will vote for every office but the president in 2016.  I don't see anyone earning my vote -- I'd love to be surprised on that -- and I refuse to be part of the fear campaign.  In 2004, when The Nation magazine couldn't stop heavy panting that it was the torture election and the whole world would end, and that women would be enslaved and blah blah blah blah.  It was just too much.  I don't live in fear and I don't cower.

You can vote however you want, it's your vote.  You should use it as you feel comfortable -- and that might mean supporting Hillary or a GOP candidate or whomever or it might mean making the choice not to vote for any of them.  Your vote belongs to you and you need to use it in a way that you are satisfied with.

In what follows, there will be some defense of Hillary and there will be some criticism.  This is about what happened, it's not about swaying your vote.  I don't care who you vote for.  If I know you personally, my only care is that you're happy with your vote at the time of your vote.

I think we've been the biggest and most vocal critic from the left of Barack Obama.  There will likely be favorable comments on Barack which follow in this.  He's a War Hawk.  I don't support him.  In 2008, I didn't vote for him (first time I ever didn't vote for a Democrat for president) and instead went with a non-duopoly candidate.

If I was Salon ragazine, I wouldn't be focusing what we're about to.

Former US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill has told a pack of lies.

Those lies smear Hillary and Barack.  If they were personally smeared -- Hillary or Barack said to be gay in Hill's efforts to court homophobia, for example -- I wouldn't waste time on the issue.  But this is about Iraq and that's what we cover.

Chris Hill is responsible for what went wrong in Iraq and for where Iraq is today.  He's not solely responsible.  Barack's responsible, for example, for nominating him, for trusting him for far too long and for a few other things.

But Hill's nonsense at POLITICO -- where else does nonsense go -- oh, right, Salon! -- is nothing but lies and spin.

Hill betrayed Barack's nomination and trust by doing a half-assed job and repeatedly lying to the administration about what was taking place in Iraq.

Hill betrayed Barack.  Not the other way around as Hill tries to paint it in his bad essay.

Hill insists that Hillary gave him no support when she was Secretary of State in 2009, she made one trip to Iraq and she left him alone and whine, whine, whine.

Hillary wasn't over Iraq.

She might have liked to have been but Barack wasn't going to put her over Iraq.

Two reasons were Samantha Power.  She was Barack's advisor when he was in the Senate and she's had his ear ever since.  Power did not want Hillary in the administration (she can spin that if she wants but she didn't want Hillary in the administration at all -- however, once the two had to work together, they did get along -- Hillary can win people over and Power saw that she had misjudged Hillary and could own that reality).  That's reason one.  Reason two, which Power used to ensure Hillary wasn't in charge of Iraq, was that Hillary supported the Iraq War at the start.  Power said that judgment was fatal to moving forward in Iraq.  (Power herself supported the illegal war -- a fact she's denied and one that the press, in 2008, was eager to help her bury.)

Power was personally against Hillary and Hillary had supported the war and was notorious for that support.

Those are two reason which carried weight with Barack.

Here's the third:

During my last visit to Iraq in January, I expressed my reservations about the ability of the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Maliki, to make the tough political decisions necessary for Iraq to resolve its sectarian divisions. Since my visit, Iraqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power, modify the de-Ba'athification laws, pass an oil law, schedule provincial elections, and amend their constitution. During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on which I serve, confirmed that the Iraqi Government’s failures have reinforced the widely held view that the Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement, because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders.
I share Senator Levin’s hope that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks. 

That statement was released by then-Senator Hillary Clinton in August of 2007.

I happen to agree with her -- and with Carl Levin.

I think history and events since certainly demonstrate how accurate her publicly expressed hope was -- that the Parliament would vote Nouri out of office -- it would have been a no-confidence vote (which was attempted in the spring of 2012 but blocked by the White House via Jalal Talabani).

But here's was the thing for Barack -- how could Hillary be Secretary of State and interact with Nouri?

She couldn't.

So she was not the lead on Iraq.

That's why she traveled, she had a lot of time to fill.  Unlike her predecessor Condi Rice, Hillary was not a lead on Iraq.

She can rightly step away -- to some degree -- from the chaos in Iraq now because she was not a lead on this issue.

Nouri al-Maliki was notoriously paranoid.  We explained that here and how the State Dept had documented it and some wanted to scoff but, years later, the WikiLeaks Iraq State Dept cables demonstrated we were right and the term "paranoid" is applied to Nouri in them.

Nouri could not have worked with Hillary in any form because of her statements.  The White House knew that and addressed that.

 For those late to the party, Nouri al-Maliki was only booted out as prime minister over the summer.  His reign of terror ran from 2006 to 2014.

So for Chris Hill to lie and claim that Hillary wasn't there for him -- his snide remark about her ability to charm included -- is just a pack of lies.  And he was not her nominee.

He was Barack's nominee.

Let's note another liar, CIA contractor Juan Cole.  The day after Hillary issued her statement we noted above -- a week after Carl Levin made his (Carl's statement was a joint statement with Senator John Warner)  -- Juan 'discovers' a rumor that there is a plot to topple Nouri.  It turns out, Juan insists, Bully Boy Bush wants to get rid of Nouri.

These lies were then spread by venereal disease carrier Daily Kos which reposted Juan's 'proof' that Ayad Allawi was going to be the new pm because -- among other things -- Allawi penned a column for the Washington Post!

How sinsister!!!!

Juan just makes s**t up -- or maybe follows CIA orders, who knows.

But Bully Boy Bush was not walking away from Nouri and you can say, "Well, C.I., sure, we know that now but back then --"

Back then, we knew it too.

Hillary's statement that we quoted?

A response for Bully Boy Bush's praise of Nouri to the VFW just before she released her statement.  Her statement was in response to Bully Boy Bush's comments.

From the White House transcript of that August 22, 2007 speech to the VFW:

Bully Boy Bush: Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job, and I support him. And it's not up to politicians in Washington, D.C. to say whether he will remain in his position -- that is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy, and not a dictatorship. (Applause.) A free Iraq is not going to transform the Middle East overnight. But a free Iraq will be a massive defeat for al Qaeda, it will be an example that provides hope for millions throughout the Middle East, it will be a friend of the United States, and it's going to be an important ally in the ideological struggle of the 21st century. (Applause.)  

The next day, at his (un)Informed Comment, Juan Cole was spreading lies that Bully Boy Bush was walking away from 'poor' Nouri.  Cole hadn't read the speech and, as usual, didn't know a damn thing.

Back to Hill,  Barack made a mistake in choosing Chris.

In his article, Chris wants to paint Barack as disengaged and uninformed.

On some topics, that is true of Barack and his presidency.

But no one was more disengaged from Iraq and uninformed than Chris Hill.

At the start of his presidency, Barack cared a great deal about Iraq because it was how he won the White House.  He wrongly agreed to back Nouri in 2010 and that was based in part on Samantha Power insisting US forces would not be able to drawdown at the end of 2011 without the "stability" (the term she used) Nouri provided the country.

In 2010, Ayad al-Allawi won the elections.

Power felt Allawi as prime minister was a question mark and she noted his "populist leanings" (again, her term) and how this could be a problem for the US because Nouri had no desire to represent the Iraqi people and was more inclined to ignore the will of the Iraqi people.  (Which does sum up his two terms as prime minister, on that Power was correct.)

Barack ultimately bears responsibility.  He is president and he made the decision.

But would he have made it if he received accurate reports?

If the administration received accurate reports, I doubt even Samantha Power would have backed Nouri.  I think she would have smelled the stench wafting off him and how damaging he could be to her image of "Never Again!" and argued that Barack shouldn't support him for a second term.

Chris Hill was unsuited for the job he was nominated to perform.

He did not speak Arabic.  He had no knowledge of the Middle East and was an idiot when it came to Iraq.

We covered his confirmation hearing (see the March 25, 2009 snapshot and the March 26th snapshot ) and, despite weeks of briefing, he still didn't understand what was going on, what the issues were or what the facts were.  (He also showed up at the confirmation hearing with his hair needing to be combed and a food stain on his shirt.  Was he applying for night manager at Denny's or US Ambassador to Iraq?)

Though he didn't know anything about Iraq -- most evident by his failure to grasp the importance of Kirkuk but also present in his testifying under oath that Nouri was now paying Sawha (Nouri was not) -- he presumably did know how to make a promise and his promise to the Committee was that if they confirmed him, he would be in Iraq the next day.

His first lie.

People say a lot when they want the job
Lining up eager around the block
Promising, promising never to quit
Well it's a full time job to be a hypocrite
Maybe they remember that they've done it before
Practicing, with their dolls on the floor
The lie itself becoming the seed
The messy mascara, the future deed
The actor's bow, the junkie's need
They line up again just to wipe you clean 

-- "People Say A Lot When They Want The Job," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her This Kind of Love

April 21st Chris was confirmed.

He didn't drag his tired ass to Baghdad until April 25th.

He broke his promise.

It registered here because if someone appears before a Congressional committee and gives their word, even uses the words "I promise, if confirmed," we pay attention to whether those are empty words or a promise kept.

Upon arriving, his chief concern was: Where is the press?

He wanted to be a media star.  But the cherubic looks (never handsome or pretty) had faded due to age, balding and weight gain.  So he'd have to attract media attention some other way.

Hill takes a swipe at Allawi in his essay, insisting Allawi was more interested in being on CNN than anything else.  It's called "projection" -- Hill's projecting his own desires and aims on to others.

In that section, he also insists that, while he was in Iraq in 2010, Allawi was more interested in going on CNN and calling Nouri the new Saddam.

That's interesting.

It didn't happen while Chris was US Ambassador to Iraq.

But if Chris couldn't make s**t up, what would he do?

Tell the truth?

Oh, we're all laughing at that slim prospect.

While Hill struggled to get media attention -- he fared better with NPR where endless jawboning often passes for 'discussion' -- the media was interested in the top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno.   That was true the weekend Hill arrived and it remained true throughout.

While Chris went through a phase of wanting to be called "Christopher" and then "Mr. Hill" and then, when he wanted to be liked, "Call me, Chris," Odierno, the moment he was named top US commander in Iraq, stated publicly he was "Ray," not "Raymond."

Odierno was down-to-earth and plain spoken which made for good copy.  He also looked like a man.  Hill babbled and looked like a soft overgrown boy.

Those working under Chris saw nothing "soft," they saw a diva throwing tantrums -- and hurling objects in the office -- when his daily schedule failed to include the media.  Explaining that the media wasn't interested led Chris to explode, then pout, then hide out in his office napping.

While Hill was napping, Odierno was working.

He was rightly suspicious of Nouri al-Maliki.  He felt Nouri was harmful to Iraq.

Possibly because he wanted to get attention, Hill countered those observations by insisting Nouri was a real leader and a friend to America and blah blah blah.

Now maybe Chris believed those lines, he is and was deeply stupid.  But it's very likely he took that position just to counter Odierno and in the hopes that it would garner him attention.

Hill's views fed into Samantha Powers' views (again, had Hill been honest, I seriously doubt Power would have thrown her name behind Nouri).

Barack now had both his most trusted advisor (Power) and his ambassador to Iraq insisting Nouri was the answer to all the problems.

And Ray Odierno began to be shut out by the administration.

He was informed he was not to speak to the media anymore because it disturbed the diva Chris Hill.

Worse than that was the White House blew off Odierno's input.

Months before the March 2010 elections, Odierno wanted the White House to deal with a possibility no one wanted to consider.

What, Odierno wanted to know, does the US government do if Nouri loses the election and refuses to step down?

Hill insisted that would never happen and it was a waste of time to even consider.  That became the answer for the White House.

In March 2010, Iraq held elections and Nouri lost to Ayad Allawi.  What followed was a political stalemate that led Iraq to set the world record (it has since been reset) for the longest time between an election and the formation of a government.

This was due to the fact that, although Nouri lost, Nouri refused to step down.

In other words, what Odierno tried to get the White House to prepare for, the very thing Hill insisted would never happen, was taking place.

In his essay, Hill ignores Odierno's pre-election warning and brings up a post-election comment Odierno made that Nouri was attempting a "rolling coup d'tat" and Hill says he was shocked by the comment that came out of nowhere.  Hill is such a liar.

Much worse was taking place in Iraq and Hill was lying that everything was moving smoothly and a new government was only weeks away -- a lie he repeated monthly.

In fact, when he finally left   August 13, 2010,  Hill was still repeating these lies.

That day the late Anthony Shadid (New York Times) reported, "Hours before his departure from Baghdad, he said a power-sharing arrangement between the main winners in the March election was just weeks away."

August 13 to November 10?

That is "weeks."

In fact, it's around twelve weeks or three months away.

Hill never knew a damn thing.  He lied or he babbled stupidity.

To his credit,  Shadid noted in his report that Iraqi officials were not rushing to agree with Hill.

Shadid also pointed out,  "Preparation for the election, the vote and the negotiations on a new government have dominated the tenure of Mr. Hill, who took over the American Embassy at a time when Iraq was less violent and more stable, but only in comparison to the anarchic months of 2006 and 2007."

Hill wasted everything was built up in Iraq.

He turned a blind eye to Nouri's abuses, rushed to throw his lost (and the US government's lot) in with Nouri.

He withheld any bad information about Nouri from President Barack Obama.

It was left to Odierno to bring reality into the picture and he met with then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to basically say Hill was shading the truth and misleading the administration.

Gates listened and evaluated and then took Odierno to meet with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  She and Gates then met with Barack to discuss the newly discovered problem.

And that is why Hill was fired -- and he was asked to hand over his resignation -- as US Ambassador to Iraq.

Hill was a liar and served Nouri al-Maliki, not the US government, not the American people.  The day he left Iraq,  Alsumaria TV reported, "Hill explained that the political situation in Iraq is normal and doesn’t differ from any other country where the difference is slight between two winning parties."

He couldn't stop lying and since then all he's done is try to salvage his reputation with more lies.

Barack put Vice President Joe Biden over Iraq.  Hill apparently did not like that.  Nor did he like the fact that Joe was popular with a number of Iraqi politicians -- including then-President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Ayad Allawi and others.

Hill can't stop revealing his own bias such as when he types "Ayad Allawi’s Iraq National Party, or Iraqiyya, a party that was disproportionately Sunni, won 91 seats, while Maliki’s State of Law coalition had 89 seats."  Disproportionately Sunni?

What was State of Law but approximately 97% Shi'ite?

Iraqiya, Allawi's party, was not sectarian -- it was inclusive and that included Shi'ites (like Allawi) and Sunnis (such as Tareq al-Hashemi, Saleh al-Mutlaq, Osama al-Nujaif and others).  The success of Iraqiya was a testament to the Iraqi people and their desire for a united Iraqi identity and not one based on sect.  Hill misses that today as he did in real time.

Barack deserves blame for the current state of Iraq.  But for Hill to pretend he did not mislead Barack in his 'reports' from Iraq is a lie.

Samantha Power is a War Hawk.  She's also someone who has sold herself to the public as being on the side of right and not might, as someone who will protect the innocents from genocides.  She would not have ever risked her self-created reputation for Nouri had Hill not dismissed reports (of secret prisons) and insisted Nouri was willing to work with everyone and wanted inclusion and . . .

If he had told the truth, even a little of it, Power would have dropped her support for Nouri -- if only to protect her own image.

Without Power pressing on Nouri, Barack would have walked away from Nouri.

Following the start of Nouri's second term -- after Barack had personally phoned Ayad Allawi and made (false) promises to get Allawi to call off the Parliamentary boycott, Barack did walk away.

 Whether that was smart or not we can discuss at another time.
But Barack did learn quickly, in part from the reports of new US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey, that Nouri was not as Hill had presented.
Barack cut Nouri out.  
He made no efforts with Nouri leading Nouri to whine that Bully Boy Bush would call him and teleconference with him and do this and do that but Barack did nothing.
Barack did do something.
What had been perceived as indifference became recognized shunning when, following the 2012 elections, Nouri made a call to the White House to congratulate Barack and Barack refused to take the call.
Hill had it easier than any US Ambassador.  When he arrived in Baghdad, violence was lower than during the ethnic cleansing.  There was hope among the Iraqi people that the US troops would be leaving (due to the SOFA).  The US Embassy in Baghdad was the largest US embassy in the world.
Hill had it better hitting the ground than any US Ambassador to Iraq since the start of the Iraq War -- anyone before or after Hill.
And he misjudged and misreported and played footsie with Nouri.  
Nouri had already begun targeting Iraq's LGBT community when Hill was US Ambassador to Iraq.
It's so funny -- and hypocritical -- that the Denver Post refuses to point out that their now-local academic Hill was in Iraq when that started since the Denver Post was one of the few US newspapers -- and, in fact, the first -- to run an editorial decrying the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community.
Next time Hill wants to talk or write Iraq, people should be demanding not only honesty, but also that he answer for the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community.
The sick f**k should also be asked to explain this.
chris hill

Remember that?

It's then-US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill in Baghdad at a Halloween party.  Peter Van Buren posted the photo to his blog here and here.

The US Ambassador has gone as a Secret Agent and the little trollop whore next to him is the First Lady.  She's a whore.  Not Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  The whore is the State Dept employee who thought it was funny to dress in the outfit the First Lady wore the day her husband was assassinated.

This is the US Embassy in Baghdad.  With the head diplomat.
Hill is a disgrace for many reasons and that photo is just one of them.  The death of president isn't funny.  The assassination even less so.  If talented comedians want to mine the terrain for humor, more power to them; however US government officials are not comedians -- no matter how many unintentional laughs they garner.  


Thursday, October 02, 2014


Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes:

US air strikes in Iraq and Syria will kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the White House and Pentagon are fully aware of this fact. That is the only conclusion to be drawn from a remarkable public statement Tuesday by a top White House aide.
The statement coincided with the heaviest attacks so far in the air war in Syria and Iraq, with US and allied countries launching 24 strikes, 12 in each country on Tuesday, with British warplanes making their first attacks.
National Security Council press spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, in an e-mail to Yahoo News, confirmed that the targeting restrictions announced by President Obama for US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen do not apply to the war launched against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama announced those restrictions in a speech to the National Defense University, claiming that the US would only conduct drone strikes against supposed Al Qaeda targets if there was a “near certainty” of no civilian casualties, which he called “the highest standard that we can meet.”

C.I. was noting this in Wednesday's snapshot and it appalled me then and appalls me now.  I don't get how we can silently go along, as a country, with this.

The White House is basically announcing their guidelines to protect civilians -- which didn't protect many -- are now being stripped away.

And this is okay?

It's outrageous.

It's announcing that you'll be engaging in War Crimes, that's what it is.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, October 2, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Australia is set to join in the bombing of Iraq, Leon Panetta tells some uncomfortable truths, Salon sends the lightest weight in their bordello out to 'argue' against Panetta, the administration finally wants to focus some on diplomatic efforts at a political solution in Iraq, and much more.

US President Barack Obama's Better Living Through Bombing 'plan' just officially got another partner.

  • Australia cabinet gives approval for fighter jets to join air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq
  • : PM Tony Abbott has announced Australia will begin air strikes and deploy special forces in Iraq.

  • While Australia joins the UK and US in the bombings, , DPA reports that Germany's Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen declared today that her country will be sending an unspecified number of "military doctors" into northern Iraq.

    The contrast between Germany's approach and Barack's is telling.

    Let's move to this:

    The deal never materialized. To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country.
    Over the following two and a half years, the situation in Iraq slowly deteriorated. Al-Maliki was responsible, as he exacerbated the deep sectarian issues polarizing his country. Meanwhile, with the conflict in Syria raging, an al-Qaeda offshoot—ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria—gained strength. Using Syria as its base, it began to move into Iraq in 2014, grabbing power in towns and villages across Iraq’s north, including Mosul and Tall ‘Afar. These were strategically important cities that U.S. forces had fought and died to secure.

    That's from an excerpt of Leon Panetta and Jim Newton's Worthy Fight -- from an excerpt which Time magazine has published. (October 7th, Penguin Press publishes the book.)  Panetta has served in the US army (where he rose to the rank of First Lieutenant), the US House of Representatives, as the Director of Office of Management and Budget during Bill Clinton's presidency, as the White House Chief of Staff during Bill's presidency, as the Director of the CIA during Barack Obama's presidency and finally as Secretary of Defense during Barack's presidency.  As disclosed before, I know Leon and have known him for years.

    The deal?

    The deal Panetta's referring to.

    Leaving thousands of US troops in Iraq after December 31, 2011.

    Panetta explains he wanted it, others in Defense and State wanted and US President Barack Obama had an attitude if they put it together he was for it but he wasn't going to help them in any way.

    The lackadaisical president?

    Yes, that is Barack.  What people who have left the administration attempt to figure out is Barack so tentative because he's afraid of making a mistake or is he just bored?

    The American people thought -- those who voted for him -- that they had someone who would fight for them and then discovered he could rouse himself for the corporations -- who donated so often and so well to his campaigns -- but he had no stomach for fighting for the people.

    The book -- yes, I've read it -- goes beyond Iraq -- and will be carried beyond Iraq -- to paint a portrait that the mainstream press has largely shielded the public from.

    Which is why the whores of Salon come out swinging.

    Like den mother Joan Walsh, the kids of Salon barely pass for half-wits.

    Simon Maloy is the joke chosen to feed comfort food to Salon's uninformed readers.

    Simon kicks off things with a factual inaccuracy -- what most would call a lie:

    Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta caused quite a stir today when he wrote a piece for Time magazine laying blame for the current chaos in Iraq at the feet of the Obama administration.

    That's it, that's the moron the whores of Salon send out?

    Leon wrote a book -- co-wrote.

    "Wrote a piece for Time"?

    Time is excerpting the book.

    How damn stupid is Simon Maloy?

    And how the hell did even the gutter trash of Salon see fit to let this surface?

    After insulting Republicans -- that's all Joan Walsh decaying and demented crew can handle -- Simon then wants to lie some more or just flaunt his damn stupidity -- and he's pretty damn stupid:

    To sum up the situation: in late 2008, George W. Bush and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a security agreement stipulating that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by the end of 2011. Starting in 2010, the Obama administration began negotiating with the Iraqis to rejigger the agreement to allow a small residual force of American soldiers to remain behind. Those negotiations were ultimately unsuccessful. By October 2011 both sides had agreed that all troops would be gone by the end of that year, in accordance with the original security agreement.

    Is that summing up?

    Is it, really?

    It's lying, that's for damn sure.

    Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are.  Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotations.  We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there.  But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?

    "By October 2011 both sides had agreed that all troops would be gone by the end of that year, in accordance with the original security agreement," Simon scribbles.

    Then why did Leon tell the Senate Armed Services Committee the sentences I just quoted above?

    They're from the November 15, 2011 snapshot.

    That snapshot is covering that day's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.  [Community reporting on that hearing also includes the November 16, 2011 "Iraq snapshot," the November 17, 2011 "Iraq snapshot," by Ava in "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," by Wally with "The costs (Wally)," by Kat in "Who wanted what?" and by Third Estate Sunday Review in "Enduring bases, staging platforms, continued war" and "Gen Dempsey talks "10 enduring" US bases in Iraq."]

    Both sides had not agreed by the end of October 2011, negotiations continued.

    I'm real sorry that Simon and Salon are cheap, lying whores who never do the work required.  You'd think if you'd signed on to whore and lie for Barack, you'd put a little more effort into lying convincingly.

    Simon's a piece of trash.

    He's aware of that hearing.  In limited form.

    He's basically cribbed Kat's report noted above.

    He 'magically' notes the exchange she reported on, that she quoted.

    But she did it back in November 2011.

    And she also understands the context which has escaped a thief and liar like Simon who goes around grabbing the work of others but, having not been at the hearing or even went to the archives to watch the hearings, he doesn't understand the exchange at all.

    Simon's a liar. He's a thief.  He's a whore.

    He couldn't work anywhere but Salon.

    And that the left puts up with Salon because it tells pleasing lies about the White House?

    Joan Walsh should have been escorted to a padded cell years ago.

    Maybe when she was attacking Latinos and Latinas?  She doesn't want you to know about that.  She probably doesn't stand by that xenophobia now either.

    But then she doesn't stand by anything.  She recasts herself daily based on the shifting winds of popularity.

    America needs reporting.  It can take informed commentary as well.  But this nonsense of partisan attack squads passing themselves off as journalists?

    These people are whores.  Whether they're whoring for Bully Boy Bush or whoring for Barack Obama, they're whores.  They may tell you a pleasing lie -- a whore will say whatever it takes to turn a trick -- but they don't inform you, they don't make your life or anyone else's better.

    Since February 2003, I have publicly spoken out against the Iraq War -- then it was the impending war, now it's the never-ending war.  Since November 2004, I've been online here and, starting in January 2005, helping at Third.

    I didn't pull punches or kiss as when Bully Boy Bush was running the illegal war and I don't now that it's Barack.  My positions don't change because the White House flips parties or the House or whatever.

    There is no consistency to Salon -- it's not the only bordello posing as a news or media outlet.

    As someone who has thought about Iraq every day (and written about it every day) -- regardless of whether it's a 'hot topic' or not -- it bothers me tremendously when little whores bring their disease ridden bodies out in public and attempt to rewrite basic facts to benefit whatever politician they're having wet dreams over today.

    Iraq matters.

    It matters all by itself, without noting US losses (no one should have died in the illegal war).

    It matters because it's not a thing, it's not an object.

    It is a land where millions of people try to live -- in spite of the bombings by this faction or that faction or the US government or the British government or . . .

    Salon and the other whores reduce Iraq to a political football, something they can attack Republicans with or improve Democrats' image with.

    Iraq is not a political football.

    It is the home to millions.  It was the home to over a million Iraqis who died in this illegal war, this unprovoked attack on their country.

    I don't have any respect for some cheap whore who wants to turn it into 'Barack was right!' or 'Bush was right!'

    They have never suffered the way the Iraqi people have suffered and continue to suffer.

    If you're so divorced from humanity that you can't recognize their suffering, at least have the brains to stop using them to prop up your political paper dolls.

    14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was gang-raped by US soldiers while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in the next room and then Abeer was murdered.

    That 2006 War Crime?  Salon gave it 9 mentions.  Two of those were with regards to Brian De Palma's classic film Redacted.  Only 1 of the 9 was a piece about Abeer.  In the other 8, she's an aside.

    That's how Salon 'covered' it.  One brief report in 2006 and then name dropping her in 8 more articles -- briefly name dropping her.

    We didn't ignore Abeer here.  And we followed the Article 32 hearing on the War Crimes, we then followed the courts-martial on it and the civil criminal case against ringleader Steven Dale Green.

    When Nouri al-Maliki was targeting Iraqi youth who were either gay or perceived as gay, we spent months covering it here.


    They had US politicians to whore for.

    Over and over, as Iraqis suffered, Salon turned a blind eye.  Now they want to act as experts on Iraq?  A whore will tell you anything up until the point that the money changes hands.

    Rebecca Kaplan (CBS News) reports  -- reports -- on Panetta's remarks here.

    Partisans have attacked Senator John McCain for his remarks about the agreement not reached with Iraq.  They have called him a liar and worse.  I've called him many things here (check the archives) and few of them nice but I have defended him from the claims that he's lied re: the agreement process. I don't like John McCain (I do like and know Cindy McCain), I would never vote for John McCain but, unlike Salon, I'm not interested in authoring political erotica.  McCain was not lying and today he and Senator Lindsey Graham issued this statement:

    Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following comment on statements made this week by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Ambassador Ryan Crocker confirming that the Obama Administration could have reached an agreement to leave residual forces in Iraq, but never made a full effort, despite being warned that failing to do so may lead to the situation we are in today in Iraq:
    “The latest statements by two of the most respected national security officials to serve under President Obama definitively refute the falsehood that this Administration has told the American people for years about their efforts to leave a residual force in Iraq,” said Senators McCain and Graham. “As we have said all along, and as Secretary Panetta and Ambassador Crocker have now confirmed, the Obama Administration never made a full effort to leave a residual force in Iraq, despite being warned that failing to do so would risk exactly the scenario we’ve seen unfold today, with the emergence of terrorist safe-havens as Iraq slides back into chaos, threatening America’s national security.”
    Below are Secretary Panetta’s book excerpt in TIME Magazine and Ambassador Crocker’s Defense One interview.

    At some point, the whores will start the 'what difference does it make' and 'let's not rehash the past' arguments -- as they realize they have no ground to stand on, they'll shift to silencing the topic itself.

    But what happened does matter and understanding it can help with what's happening currently in Iraq.

    Barack keeps insisting he has a 'plan.'  Like Bully Boy Bush, he doesn't.  Like Bully Boy Bush, he's merely passing it on to the next occupant of the White House.

    Jen Psaki, State Dept spokesperson, offered an overview of the 'plan' today that made more sense than anything anyone else in the administration has been able to offer:

    Finally, as you may all have seen, Special President – Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL General John Allen and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk arrived in Iraq today for intensive consultations with Iraqi Government officials and regional Iraqi leaders on how the United States can support Iraq in the fight against ISIL. That Special Envoy Allen went to Iraq for his first international trip in his new capacity speaks to the importance of – the United States places on coordination with and support for Iraq as we build this global coalition to degrade and defeat ISIL. General Allen and Ambassador McGurk’s discussions in Iraq and elsewhere will follow on the coalition-building efforts that President Obama and Secretary Kerry led at the NATO summit in Wales, during meetings in Jeddah and in Cairo, and most recently in New York at UNGA.
    From Iraq, General Allen and Ambassador McGurk will travel on to Brussels for meetings with NATO and EU leadership, where the focus will be cracking down on ISIL’s foreign fighter pipeline and countering its financing streams. Then they will travel on to Amman for consultations with Jordanian officials and key regional players. From Amman they will travel to Cairo to meet with Egyptian Government officials and the Arab League ambassadors. Their conversations there will follow on President Obama’s recent meeting with President Sisi in New York and Secretary Kerry’s discussions during his last trip to Cairo. They will finally conclude their visit in Turkey, a key NATO ally, where they will meet with Turkish military and political leaders to discuss their potential contributions to the international coalition, including combating the threat from foreign fighters. In Turkey, they will also meet with Syrian opposition leaders, both affirming our continued support for their brave efforts in the fight against ISIL and continuing our ongoing dialogue about the best ways to support these efforts.

    In conversations with General Allen and Ambassador McGurk – in these conversations they will have they will discuss coalition cooperation across the five lines of effort – not just military support for our partners, but also – with our partners, I should say, but also stopping foreign fighters, slashing ISIL’s access to financing, maximizing humanitarian assistance and protection for vulnerable victims of the conflict, and exposing ISIL’s extremist, nihilistic message for what it really is. There’s been lots of attention paid to the military component, as we’ve discussed in here, but this trip is about more than that. It’s about expanding this coalition and about building on the five lines of effort that they’re focused on. They will also finally return to the region later this month to meet with other key coalition partners as well, so this will be the first of a number of trips.

    Let's hope the administration is finally going to work the diplomatic angle.

    Psaki was speaking at today's State Dept press briefing.

    She raised the issue of Iraq herself and did so before taking questions.

    Maybe she felt she had to since all week long reporters at the briefings have ignored Iraq?

    We'll note this from today's briefing:

    QUESTION: When he will be arriving to Ankara, Ambassador McGurk and General Allen?

    MS. PSAKI: Next week. But again, we’re still finalizing some specifics about the trip. So I think we’ll have more technical updates with each day about who’ll they be meeting with and what day they’ll arrive, et cetera.

    QUESTION: Should we assume that each city one day? I mean, Iraq, Baghdad, Brussels, Amman, Cairo, and Ankara (inaudible)?

    MS. PSAKI: About that, but some may spend more than one day. So again, I said the end of the trip is Turkey, so I would assume the end of next week.

    QUESTION: And – but the meetings with the president, the prime minister, is there any --

    MS. PSAKI: Again, as I just said, because we’re talking about a week and a half from now or near the end of next week, I think we’ll have more updates on specific meetings as we get a little bit closer, and as soon as we have that information, we’ll make it available.

    QUESTION: So it’s almost one month that – when President Obama started to discuss this issue with the Turkish side since the Wales summit. So how do you see right now the – where we are in terms of the fight against the ISIL in terms of the contribution coming from Ankara?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, one, we welcome the Turkish parliament’s vote to authorize Turkish military action, as I mentioned. Turkey has – and their leaders – have indicated they want to play a more prominent role with the coalition. We welcome that. They’re an important counterterrorism partner, an important NATO ally, so we understand the sensitivity that they had for several weeks with – the country had with their diplomats, and now we’re ready to move forward. And they’ve indicated they want to be an active partner.

    QUESTION: Do you believe that – are you on the same page with the Turkish leadership in terms of the priorities in this fight? I mean, ISIS is obviously the priority for U.S. side, but do you think that the Turks also are seeing ISIS as a priority while --

    MS. PSAKI: I think Turkey, from all of our discussions with them, certainly understands the threat posed by ISIL. But I would point you to them for more on that particular question.

    Brett McGurk Tweeted earlier today:

    It's good to see the administration finally addressing the diplomatic angle.  And hopefully it's not too late.

    Diplomacy might have some impact -- it probably would have at an earlier date -- but the 'plan' itself remains a joke.  Peter Certo (link goes to the Institute for Policy Studies) points out:

    Obama says the plan is to hammer IS targets from the air while bolstering partners on the ground—including the Iraqi Army, Kurdish fighters in Iraq, and “moderate” Syrian rebel groups—in a bid to roll back the advance of IS throughout Iraq and Syria without putting U.S. “boots on the ground” (never mind those 1,600 troops and advisers that have already been sent to Iraq, along with a likely undisclosed number of special forces).
    As my colleague Phyllis Bennis is fond of saying, you can’t bomb extremism out of existence. She’s right.
    For one thing, bombs cause civilian casualties, which are inherently radicalizing. “The U.S. bombs do not fall on ‘extremism,’” Bennis has written of the strikes on IS’ capital in Syria. “They are falling on Raqqa, a 2,000 year-old Syrian city with a population of more than a quarter of a million people—men, women, and children who had no say in the takeover of their city by ISIS. The Pentagon is bombing targets like the post office and the governor’s compound, and the likelihood of large number of civilian casualties, as well as devastation of the ancient city, is almost certain.”
    A protracted air campaign is likely to cause a raft of unintended consequences. In Yemen and Pakistan, for example—the targets of the vast majority of U.S. drone strikes on alleged al-Qaeda “militants”—civilian populations have grappled with severe trauma and stress from living under the constant hovering drones. Terrorist recruiters have repeatedly sought to exploit this trauma—especially among the thousands of Yemenis and Pakistanis who have lost innocent loved ones. The best that can be said of these years-long campaigns from a national security perspective is that they’re holding actions. Al-Qaeda has certainly not been destroyed in either country, and it’s entirely possible that the drones themselves are providing a continued rationale for the group’s survival. It’s unclear why the Obama administration seems to think it can effect a different outcome in the vastly more complicated theater of Iraq and Syria.
    Then there’s the problem of what comes after the bombs. If IS falls back under the weight of U.S. airstrikes, who moves in to secure the territory on the ground?
    In Iraq, there are a few possibilities at this stage: the Iraqi Army, one of a number of Shiite paramilitary groups, or, in the north, Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

    We saw the limitations of the Iraqi Army most dramatically earlier this summer in Mosul, where, after firing scarcely a shot, some 30,000 Iraqi soldiers turned the city—and millions of dollars worth of U.S.-supplied military equipment—over to just 800 attacking IS soldiers. In the years leading up to its capture of the city, IS had freely operated a lucrative protection racket among Mosul’s private businesses and cut deals with corrupt local leaders and members of Iraq’s security forces. So despite the Iraqi Army’s heavy footprint in Mosul—including a burdensome and much loathed system of traffic checkpoints—IS had been consolidating power there long before formally taking over.

    On the Iraqi forces, Ryan Crocker tells Bernard Gwertzman (Council on Foreign Relations):

    If you look at it from former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s perspective, with Iraq’s history of military coups, his own coming of age as a member of a sectarian and persecuted political party, you are going to see an enemy behind every bush.
    When he chose his commanders, he didn’t choose them on the basis of their leadership capability or their battlefield experience. It was loyalty. Could he be absolutely certain that they would never turn against him?

    [Maliki] put individuals with no command ability [and who] were not a threat to him into command positions—when you look at what happened in June, it wasn’t the rank and file that broke first, it was the leadership. Division commanders suddenly decided they needed to be in Baghdad before they ever engaged with ISIS.

    We'll close with an Iraq War veteran (still) being held in Mexico.


    Image from Free USMC Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi Facebook page.  
    Iraq and American Veterans of America issued the following:

    IAVA Urges Mexico to Release Imprisoned U.S. Marine

    CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or
    IAVA Urges Mexico to Release Imprisoned U.S. Marine 
    New vets stand by Jill Tahmooressi in her quest to free her son 

    New York, NY (Oct. 1, 2014) – Today, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere heard testimony from Jill Tahmooressi on the imprisonment of her son, U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been detained in Mexico since March. IAVA released the following statement from CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff:

    “IAVA stands strongly with U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill, in her relentless quest to have him freed from prison in Mexico. Ms. Tahmooressi’s articulate and strong appeal for her son – who has been wrongly imprisoned for mistakenly crossing into Mexico in March – not only pulls at the heartstrings; it angers all veterans who should be able to count on their government to have their backs when they return from active duty. Andrew is one of our own, and America should never leave one of our own behind.
    “Andrew’s combat-related PTSD was acquired in defense of his country, and he needs to return to the United States immediately for treatment. We urge President Obama to intervene directly with Mexico, cut through the red tape, and get Sergeant Tahmooressi back on U.S. soil. America’s veterans have not forgotten him, and the President should not forget about him either. Andrew deserves to come home, get treatment, and have a chance to live a productive life.”

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

    Wednesday, October 01, 2014


    I have no idea why, but for the last two nights, I've been dreaming of Marlon Brando.

    The late actor was a Civil Rights champion as well as an Academy Award winner.  His films included A Streetcar Named Desire, Burn, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Viva Zapata, Superman, The Night of The Following Day, Last Tango in Paris, Don Juan Demarco and countless other films died in July of 2004.

    I liked his films but I haven't watched one in years.

    About four years ago, in a hotel somewhere, I caught The Night of The Following Day (he's great in it, as is Rita Moreno) and that's the last time I've seen one of his films.

    But for some reason, the last two nights have been dreams which were little more than montages of the films I noted and others I didn't (like The Wild One and Guys and Dolls).

    I have no idea what any of it means but it beats nightmares.

    And, for the record, yes, Brando is sexiest in Streetcar but I thought he was sexy right to the end, as late as The Score.  And that was true even when he was grossly overweight.

    Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Wednesday, October 1, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  Barack's 'plan' continues to falter, Barack steps away from fears of civilian casualties from US bombings, monthly totals for Septembers dead and wounded are released, does a better job of counting the dead than does the United Nations, England joins in bombing Iraq, Senator Patty Murray works to address the issue of homeless veterans, TRICARE is failing some military families in the US, and much more.

    We're going to start with veterans by noting this press release from Senator Patty Murray's office:

    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Housing Appropriations Subcommittee and senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced new resources to help homeless veterans secure stable housing. Washington state will receive 335 housing vouchers that will be allocated to eleven different housing authorities across the state- this includes both tenant-based vouchers, which are used to cover rent in private housing, as well as project-based vouchers, which are attached to specific units of housing. 
    The vouchers are part of the joint Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH program), a program Murray helped restart in 2008 and which she has continued to fund every year since.  Through the program, homeless veterans receive vouchers through HUD and case management and services through the VA. 
    “These vouchers are a huge boost in the effort to end homelessness among veterans in our state,” said Senator Murray. “Each one of these vouchers represents a step toward finding a permanent home for someone who sacrificed for our nation, but is struggling to find stable housing. The HUD-VASH program provides critical support to these veterans and is a key reason why we are making real progress toward the goal of finally ending veteran homelessness.”
    With the assistance of HUD-VASH, veteran homelessness in the United States has declined 33 percent since 2010.

    See a breakdown of voucher allocation below (totals include both tenant-based and project-based vouchers):

    Public Housing Authority
    VA Medical Center
    Seattle Housing Authority
    VA Puget Sound Health Care System (HCS)/Seattle Campus
    King County Housing Authority
    VA Puget Sound Health Care System (HCS)/Seattle Campus
    Housing Authority of the City of Tacoma
    VA Puget Sound  Health Care System (HCS)/American Lake Campus
    Housing Authority of the City of Longview
    Portland VA Medical Center (VAMC)Vancouver Campus
    Housing Authority City of Bellingham
    VA Puget Sound Health Care System (HCS)/Seattle Campus
    Housing Authority of Snohomish County
    VA Puget Sound Health Care System (HCS)/Everett Community-Based Outreach Clinic (CBOC)
    Housing Authority of Thurston County
    VA Puget Sound  Health Care System (HCS)/American Lake Campus
    Housing Authority of the City of Spokane
    Mann-Grandstaff (Spokane) Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC)
    Housing Authority of the City of Walla Walla (WA)
    Walla Walla VA Medical Center (VAMC)/Richland Community-Based Outreach Clinic (CBOC)
    Housing Authority of Chelan County and City of Wenatchee
    Mann-Grandstaff (Spokane) Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC)/Wenatchee Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC)
    Vancouver Housing Authority
    Portland VAMC


    Eli Zupnick
    Communications Director
    U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
    (202) 224-2834


    Senator Murray works tirelessly for veterans and deserves much praise for that.

    However, if there were 19 clones of her and the original serving in the Senate, it still wouldn't be enough.


    I am hearing the same story over and over from veterans and their spouses with children.

    TRICARE is supposed to be coverage for service members and for veterans -- there's TRICARE for retired, etc.  Think of it as Blue Cross Blue Shield if you need to simplify it.

    John and Joan are married and have a daughter named Jill.

    John is not oversees, he's a service member but he gets stationed here and there.  They do a seven month stint in Colorado.  Five months in, Jill is vomiting and can't stop.  She's taken to the emergency room of the local hospital where they stabilize her.  Jill is taken to a doctor's office or clinic the next day and Dr. Michelle Wong says Jill needs to see a specialist, Dr. Andre Kumar.

    I hope everyone's following example, it's pretty straight forward.

    En route to Dr. Kumar's office, or after being seen, John and Joan are informed that the visit isn't 'authorized' so TRICARE won't be covering it.

    I've heard this basic story over and over in the last four weeks when speaking to veterans groups.

    TRICARE wants a PCP -- a primary care physician.  That would be your family doctor, the doctor you or your children see when you're sick.

    John and Joan are not living in X and never moving.  The military wants them at this base for a limited time and then at that base.  And if there's no reason to change the PCP -- if the child isn't sick or can be treated in a clinic, for example -- the parents don't change the PCP.  Sometimes TRICARE does.

    So when their child does get sick and they seek care, they're suddenly faced with costs and expenses they shouldn't have to deal with.  But TRICARE says their sick child can't see that specialist -- even if a doctor has made the referral -- because they didn't see their PCP.

    I've tried to keep the above simple (there's also an issue of TRICARE assigning PCP's to relocated families).

    TRICARE could keep things real simple by allowing service members and their families to see a specialist if they are referred by another doctor -- it should not have to be a PCP.

    It is ridiculous.

    Joan and John and Jill are not moving because they made the decision, they're moving because the US government is changing where they are stationed.  TRICARE needs to recognize that.

    No service member should have to worry about the costs of caring for their children -- that's especially true when your child is in dire need of a specialist.

    I've tried to keep the above simple.  I've used PCP because that's what most people are familiar with -- most with insurance -- but, for example, in TRICARE, the PCP is called the PCM.

    Calling.  The other big issue.

    As someone who has sat in one hearing after another where members of Congress like Patty Murray, Senator Richard Burr, Senator Bernie Sanders, US House Rep Jeff Miller and US House Rep Mike Michaud have repeatedly asked the VA if they need more money for employees or training or this or that and heard the VA say no?

    Will someone ask the VA, someone in Congress, how they feel about their call center because veterans with health issues -- such as the example above -- are getting real tired of the weight.

    Moving to another topic . . .

    Ned Parker's made his mark and then some reporting from Iraq.  His time at the Los Angeles Times, for example, is noted for his breaking the news on the secret prisons tyrant Nouri al-Maliki ran.  He nows heads Reuters' Iraq bureau.  And he Tweeted the following:

    And this followed:

    To give credit where it's due, the byline for the Reuters report is Raheem Salman, Yara Bayoumy, Ned Parker and Philippa Fletcher.

    And to point out that the 'correction' isn't one, let's note that BBC added Reuters to the story, it did not issue a correction ("In a previous version of this report, we wrongly . . .") or an apology.

    Accidents do happen, mistakes as well.  If you can't acknowledge them, that says something about you -- something much worse than an inadvertent failure to give credit.

    In other image problems . . .

    If you were looking at approximately two more years in office, you might try to use them to improve your image -- especially if you had six bad years so far and your second term was marked only by how increasingly unpopular you were.

    You might look to improve your image.

    US President Barack Obama apparently doesn't.  Igor Bobic (Huffington Post) reports:

    The Obama administration has exempted its current military campaign in Syria and Iraq from strict standards imposed last year aimed at preventing civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes, Yahoo News reported Tuesday.
    The White House intended the standard of "near certainty" that civilians wouldn't be killed to apply "only when we take direct action 'outside areas of active hostilities,' as we noted at the time," Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told Yahoo. "That description -- outside areas of active hostilities -- simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now." 

    Huffington Post reported, AP rushes to excuse.  Associated Press' Ken Dilanian offers:

    According to the White House, the reason the near-certainty standard is not applicable turns on a fine point of international law — the theory that the U.S. is not involved in “active hostilities” in Yemen and Somalia, but is in Syria and Iraq. Such distinctions are controversial, given the frequency with which American bombs and bullets have flown in both countries.
    A more practical reason is that the self-imposed rules on drone strikes against al-Qaida are simply too restrictive for a conventional military air campaign against the Islamic State group, which the U.S. says is both a terrorist group and an occupying army, and has ordered the Pentagon to destroy.

    Nothing says neutral and impartial news organization like excusing civilian deaths, justifying them, right?

    Last Friday,  NINA reported a  Mosul bombing by US war planes killed 4 civilians.  In another article, Dilanian offers, "In Iraq, the U.S. is relying for ground reports on the Iraqi military and intelligence services, whose insights into Islamic State-controlled territory are limited."

    Then maybe they shouldn't be bombing?

    And did Barack miss this reality before he started bombing because so many people were discussing this publicly before the first air strikes started -- Time magazine's Bobby Ghosh, for example, was on MSNBC talking about just this possibility.

    Did he miss that reality or does he just not care?

    Jason Ditz ( notes the dropping of the previously announced standard and offers:

    The more fast-and-loose definition of care may mirror the US occupation of Afghanistan, where airstrikes have routinely killed large numbers of civilians, and incidents of scores and even hundreds of civilians slain in botched strikes are not unheard of.
    It also makes the weekend admonition by the Red Cross for the US to take care that it abides by international bans against targeting civilians and medical personnel all the more important, as their checkered track record of doing that in past wars seems to be the template they’re applying to the new conflict.

    Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times) observed earlier this week, "When the president talks about his new offensive against the extremist group that calls itself Islamic State, he sounds as warlike as George W. Bush ever did."

    The war never ended in Iraq and UNAMI has issued their monthly death toll for September:

    Baghdad, 1 October 2014 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of at least 1,119 Iraqis were killed and another 1,946 were injured in acts of terrorism and violence in September*. 

    The number of civilians killed was 854 (including 79 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 1,604 (including 84 civilian police).  A further 265 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed, and 342 were injured (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside Iraqi Army/not including casualties from Anbar operation). 
    *CAVEATS: Data do not take into account casualties of the current IA operation in Anbar, for which UNAMI was unable to obtain figures for the reporting period. In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. 
    Civilian Casualties (killed and injured) per governorate 
    Anbar excluded, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,335 civilian casualties (352 killed, 983 injured), followed by Salahadin (298 killed, 383 injured), Kirkuk (59 killed, 51 injured), Diyala (36 killed, 71 injured), Nineveh (75 killed, 16 injured). 
    Operations in Anbar 
    Up to now, UNAMI has not been able to obtain the total civilian casualty figures from the Health Directorate in Anbar. Overall casualty figures for Anbar will be added if and when they become available.

    Anbar is a province where a lot of violence takes place so you don't have a real count if you're leaving out Anbar.  There's also the nonsens of 'civilian' casualties -- dead is dead.

    The UN News Centre notes, "At least 1,119 Iraqis – most of them civilians – were killed in [September], the United Nations in the country today reported, but cautioned that the figure does not include people killed in the ongoing operation in Anbar, or those who died from the heat or hunger after being forced to flee violence in their cities."

    So they do keep a tally of security forces killed.

    Who's is missing?

    How about the dead accused of being 'terrorists'?

    Why is the UN going along with that?

    I seem to remember when a group of US forces broke into an Iraqi home, murdered the parents and a five-year-old girl while gang-raping an Iraqi teenager in the other room before killing her too.  And who did the press blame?


    In terms of the dead last month, there's no need to determine who is or isn't a terrorist, you just count the dead.  Dead is dead.  The press has no idea whether some person the Iraqi forces killed is a terrorist or not but they do know the person is dead.

    Margaret Griffis ( reports, " has determined that at least 3,790 people were killed across Iraq during September. These numbers include militants, even foreign ones, killed in Iraq. Another 1,949 were wounded. The violence also left 126 dead and 184 wounded across Iraq on Tuesday."  That's the standard the United Nations should be pursuing.

    And let's further note that the UN's refusal to count Anbar's deaths really harms the United Nation's credibility.

    In other news, Chelsea J. Carter, Gul Tuysuz and Ben Wedeman (CNN) add "that the United Kingdom said it conducted its first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, striking targets four days after Parliament voted to approve the country's involvement."  Those bombings were late last night.  For those scratching their heads and thinking, "Wait, didn't . . ."  Yes.  Yes, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was telling/scolding the press yesterday that the RAF would not be "panicked" into bombing but would instead gather intel and then move cautiously and safely and blah, blah, blah. 

    Judith Orr (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reports:

    British warplanes joined the third attack on Iraq in less than 25 years after a vote in Westminster on Friday of last week.

    MPs backed prime minister David Cameron’s proposal to launch air strikes by a majority of 524 votes to 43 after parliament was recalled.

    Britain joins the US, France and a number of Arab states in their assault on the country in the name of stopping the sectarian Islamist group Islamic State, also known as Isis.
    Within 24 hours RAF tornado jets flew from Cyprus to Iraq searching for targets.
    Cameron said, “This is going to be a mission that will take not just months but years.”
    To their shame most Labour MPs lined up to back the Tories’ new war.
    Labour leader Ed Miliband said bombing Iraq was about “protecting our national interest, security and the values for which we stand.”

    After the vote Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in east London, resigned as shadow education minister over Labour’s support for the air strikes. 
    Labour MP and chair of the Stop the War Coalition (StW) Jeremy Corbyn refused to vote for the motion.
    He spoke to Socialist Worker on the eve of the vote as StW protesters gathered outside Downing Street in London.
    Corbyn said, “This is the third time I’ve been asked to bomb Iraq and the third time I’ll say no.”
    He pointed to the West’s hypocrisy. “They are joining with Saudi Arabia which frequently beheads opponents of its regime to stop Isis which beheads the opponents of its regime,” he said.
    Like Saudi Arabia the West’s other allies in the bombing—Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and UAE—are dictatorships that suppressed democracy movements during the Arab Spring.
    MPs congratulated themselves on what many declared was a serious debate. They acknowledged the shadow cast by the last war on Iraq. But in speech after speech MPs claimed that somehow this war would be different.
    The vote was on a motion to bomb Iraq, but many MPs were already pushing to extend air strikes to Syria. Cameron asserted that he could legally extend action without a new vote.
    Even Miliband did not rule out spreading the attack to Syria, only saying it would be “better” if there was a United Nations resolution to justify such action.
    Several MPs also refused to rule out putting troops on the ground.
    Iraqi socialist Sami Ramadani told Socialist Worker, “They failed to win a vote to bomb Syria last year because of opposition to war.
    “Now they want to justify this new war with all the talk of tackling savagery of Isis.”
    “But this is a chance for the US and the West to reassert itself in the region,” said Sami.

    Activists across Britain need to get out on to the streets and challenge the warmongers’ lies and the threat of increased Islamophobia they whip up.

    Demonstrate Saturday 4 October. Assemble 1pm Temple Place London WC2R 3BD. More details at

    [Socialist Worker article © Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.]

    jason ditz
     the socialist worker
    judith orr