Posts filed under ‘Wars’
Rich Lowry, Entrenched D.C. “Journalist,” Says Four Boys Who Where Blown Up on the Beach in Gaza Last Week Should Have Gotten Out of the Way
And then there’s this:
Since when are ten, eleven, 12 year-year-old boys playing soccer on a beach supposed to know a bomb launched by the IDF is going to drop on them? And how are they supposed to know that? And since when do armies target little boys?
Oh, wait. Since Israel!
Maybe they had bad parents. Maybe the sand was too dry for them to get good traction. Maybe the sun was in their eyes.
Maybe… Maybe… Maybe…
Anything but Israel’s bombing little kids!
The Israelis have state of the art weapons (thanks in part to Our U.S. Tax Dollars)
Truth does tend to seep out, eventually, in baby steps, albeit slowly.
CNN is actually showing Israelis cheering while rockets rain down on Gaza? Isn’t that forbidden? I mean, Israelis are kind, peaceful people who are only trying to defend themselves, right?
(Via CNN on Twitter at 7:24 p.m. ET.)
Here’s a photo that adds dimension to this post I put up earlier today:(Via.)
Here’s the account he just put up at the Guardian‘s website:
The retaining wall of Gaza’s harbour sticks out into the Mediterranean about 100 metres from the terrace of al-Deira hotel, base to many of the journalists covering the conflict in Gaza. The first of the artillery shells came in a little after 4pm on Wednesday as I was writing on the hotel’s terrace.
There is a deafening explosion as it hits a structure on the pier, a place we have seen hit before, where fishermen usually store their nets. Behind the smoke, I see four figures running, silhouettes whose legs are pumping raggedly. They clear the smoke. From their size it is clear they are a man and three young boys.
Where the harbour wall ends and the beach starts, there are a few brightly coloured tents and chairs for beach users in more peaceful times. The four figures jump on to the beach and begin running towards us and the safety of the hotel.
Only afterwards do we discover there are four others who are dead, all children, lying on the wall. I am shown a picture of one of the dead boys, his skin scorched and bruised. Their names are released later: Ahed Bakr, aged 10; Zakaria, 10; and two other boys from the Bakr family, both named Mohammad, aged 11 and nine.
In a perfect world George W. Bush would be in prison for war crimes but I would settle for this: From the White House’s petition site:
Nominate former President George W. Bush respectfully be named the next U.S. Ambassador to the country of Iraq.
In the best interest of both Nations, we the undersigned, respectfully request that Former President George W. Bush be nominated for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the Nation of Iraq. Said position should include all rights and responsibilities of the Ambassador, including residence in the country in which they are representing the interests of the United States.
And make it for life.
Iraq Turmoil Troubles Parents of Dead GIs
For the parents of U.S. service men and women who died in Iraq’s long war, the latest news about advances by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a trigger for powerful memories and a sense of profound loss.
At kitchen tables, in their living rooms and on visits to the cemeteries where their children rest under white marble headstones, the stories of Iraq’s disintegration spark long talks, anger, tears and even laughter.
But they also share a dreadful, sinking feeling that things will get so bad in Iraq that President Barack Obama will yield to critics calling on him to save that nation, even if it means sending thousands of troops back.
“I was relieved to hear the president say he was not going to send our troops into combat. But on the other end of it, those that are saying we should, feel free to come to my house, come talk to me and let me tell you the effects of war firsthand,” said Kim Smith, whose son Army Pvt. Robert L. Frantz, died June 17, 2003, in Iraq.
I lived through the Vietnam war. I’ve seen this movie before.
This happened ten days ago, June 20:
Obama: U.S. Sending Military Advisers to Iraq
Edging back into a military role in Iraq, President Barack Obama on Thursday said he was dispatching up to 300 military advisers to help quell the rising insurgency in the crumbling nation.
This happened today:
US Sending 300 More US Troops to Iraq
The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday.
That raises the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq to approximately 750, the Pentagon said.
On June 20 they were “advisers.” Now they’re troops. Here we go folks. I predict by the end of the year we’ll have 5,000 “advisers”/troops in Iraq dying, draining our economic resources and making not one bit of a difference in what happens in that region in the long run.
Let’s listen to the families of those who know what war is. Yes, defense contractors might be feeling a bit of a pinch and they might want our tax dollars to pour into their bank accounts again but let’s say no this time. For once.
Oh, geez. Check out this tweet from Joe Scarborough:
April 25, 2005:
CIA’s Final Report: No WMD Found in Iraq
In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.
So what if “Sunni Extremists” are occupying Saddam’s chemical weapons facility? The CIA, under Scarborough’s President Bush, found there were no WMD in all of Iraq!
Nothing like a guy who wants us to be afraid, huh?
Here’s a photo of a new chair with computer monitors that defense contractor Thales Group has developed. It allows a person to control three drones at a time.
It’s amazing how impersonal killing people has become.
This would be President Obama on Friday:
Obama vows to put no troops on the ground in Iraq, but airstrikes, boosted surveillance possible
President Barack Obama vowed Friday that the United States would not be “dragged back” into military action in Iraq as long as leaders in Baghdad refuse to reform a political system that has left the county vulnerable to a fast-moving Islamic insurgency.
The president ruled out the possibility of putting American troops on the ground in Iraq, but said he was considering a range of other options drawn up by the Pentagon.
After a weekend filled with neocons who got the Iraq war wrong the first time around making guest appearances on the so-called liberal media saying we should essentially relaunch the war, this would be Obama today. I guess he thinks they’ll like him now:
Obama tells Congress: U.S. will deploy up to 275 troops to Iraq
President Barack Obama told Congress on Monday the United States was deploying up to 275 military personnel to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the country’s embassy in Baghdad after militants seized control of the north of the country.
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to lawmakers. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
What a fool. The tribes in Iraq have been fighting each other for a thousand years. If we put troops in who will remain until the “situations becomes such that it is no longer needed,” we’ll be there for a thousand more years.
Obama, grow a pair. Make a speech to the American people about how we’re going to spend time, money and effort rebuilding the United States.
That said, Malia will be 16 in July. She’ll be able to enlist in two years which I’m sure you’ll encourage her to do, right?
If the U.S. “news” media was truly a news media and doing its job, this would be on every so-called journalist’s lips today, especially when interviewing Republicans who seem to think the war was going great until Obama became president in 2003 and immediately screwed it up. (If you get the misinformation in that sentence you get a round of applause.)
President Obama’s speech formally declaring that the last 43,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year was designed to mask an unpleasant truth: The troops aren’t being withdrawn because the U.S. wants them out. They’re leaving because the Iraqi government refused to let them stay.
For all of John McCain’s war mongering, you’d think by now he’d have an answer when asked what the definition of “winning” in Iraq is. But no. (I saw this live this morning. Not only can’t McCain answer, his anger at being asked is palpable.)
This is where we are today:
This is an incredibly striking sentence from The Guardian‘s coverage of the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)’s takeover of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul:
Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters.
The Iraqi army outnumbered ISIS by about 40:1 in Mosul. Yet the army still turned tail and ran — ran so fast, in fact, as to leave some of their tanks and helicopters behind.
I’m proud to say I opposed invading Iraq from day one. We’ve destroyed the place. The billions of tax dollars we spent there are down the drain and the lives lost on all sides were — tragically — for naught.
James Rosen, who serves as Fox’s “Chief Washington Correspondent,” just posted a lengthy article titled: “EXCLUSIVE: Bergdahl Declared Jihad in Captivity, Secret Documents Show.”
Here’s the first paragraph:
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.
Really? How about if I say I saw James Rosen taking a stabbing someone in the middle of 5th Avenue in NYC on, oh, say March 4, 2014 (“purported witness”) and I write that information down (“secret document”) and I hand it to a reporter somewhere. Is it reasonable for me to expect that reporter will report what I supposedly saw and wrote down without so much as investigating whether I can prove I was in NYC on March 4? No, at least not until now.
That’s what happened here.
It’s clear that Fox is so crazed to destroy President Obama / Democrats (don’t forget, we’ve got midterms coming up) it’s lost whatever semblance of its journalistic mind it possessed before now. It’s goal isn’t to inform, it is to shovel out as much propaganda as it possibly can, as fast as it can.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Underneath a now-silent interstate bridge over which 90,000 tractor-trailers and cars normally rumble every day, engineers and workers in hard hats are using shovels and high-tech sensors to figure out how and why the ground has shifted.
The Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington, Delaware, was closed Monday after four pairs of support pillars were found to be tilting. Officials do not know when it will reopen.
Engineers are hoping to unearth clues that will help them determine how to shore up the bridge over the Christina River, a process officials say is going to take considerable time.
Four pairs of 50-foot-tall columns that are 5 feet in diameter are leaning, with the top of one roughly 2 feet out of line with the bottom. They are tilting by as much as 2.4 degrees, or 4 percent, from vertical.
An AP analysis of more than 600,000 bridges last year showed that more than 65,000 were classified as “structurally deficient” and more than 20,000 as “fracture critical.” Of those, nearly 8,000 were both — a combination of red flags that experts say indicates significant disrepair and risk of collapse.
You know the saying: If you post something on the Internets it’s going to be there forever. Too bad House Republican Mark Amodei of Nevada didn’t get the memo about how he should be really, really mad at President Obama for rescuing Bowe Bergdhal before he posted this now-deleted tweet. It was up for 15 hours before it was deleted at 10:19 a.m. on June 1.
Yikes, big OOPS there.
Gee. I wonder if we can take anything from this as in maybe — ya think? — the conservative media blitz we’re living through right now is all about hating on Democrats and the 2014 election?
Nah. They’d never do that. They care about creating jobs, jobs, jobs, right?
Thanks to Politwoops (deleted tweets from politicians).
Oh, and there’s this inconvenient fact which I’m sure you’re hearing and reading everywhere as we speak: White House first discussed Bergdahl prisoner exchange with lawmakers in 2011
Geezus. Our Tax Dollars will still flow to defense contractors so they get what they want but we’re “pulling all American troops out” of Afghanistan and renaming it a “training mission.” Or something. It’s called endless war:
President Obama announced a plan on Tuesday to keep a contingency force of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and pull all American troops out of the country by the end of 2016.
Obama said that the U.S. remains committed to assisting Afghanistan on two narrow missions after 2014: training Afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda remnants. He stressed that the U.S. will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs a Bilateral Security Agreement.
We can pretty much bet that no matter what, even if we have to remove Hamid Karzai, someone will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement. And am I the only one who our crappy so-called-news media hasn’t explained that agreement to? Does anyone reading this know what’s in that thing?
The sickening side of Memorial Day is when the corporatocracy — in this case Bank of America — send out nauseating tweets like this one:
Undoubtedly BoA is really, really hoping we don’t remember this from April last year: Bank Of America To Pay $36.8 Million To Military Members For Improper Foreclosures.
Somehow or another I came across this article and my eyes almost popped out when I read the headline. People in Switzerland got to vote on whether their country would spend $3.5 billion on new fighter jets? Amazing and wonderful.
If only we could do that here in the U.S. The idea is that when our congresspeople vote on defense spending bills they’re our representatives so we are in essence voting. But what with Republicans and a whole lot of Democrats now acting as wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporatocracy, that isn’t how it working anymore.
Swiss Reject $3.5 Billion Gripen Purchase in Blow to Saab
Swiss voters rejected a 3.1 billion- franc ($3.5 billion) order for Gripen fighter jets, a setback to Swedish defense company Saab AB.
The 22-plane contract, which Switzerland awarded 2 1/2 years ago, was opposed by 53.4 percent of voters, the government in Bern said on its website today. That’s in line with the latest survey ahead of the vote, which showed some 51 percent of people polled opposed the transaction.
“The people have spoken,” said Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer, a Social Democrat member of parliament. “We surely don’t have the money for such unnecessary acquisitions.”
And as a not-so-small aside, look at this disclamer at the top of the page: (Adds comment from lobby group in 11th paragraph.) Here’s paragraph 11:
According to mechanical- and electrical-engineering trade group Swissmem, the no-vote will deprive the Swiss economy of 2 billion francs of orders. The compensation deals tied to the Gripen contract “would have secured jobs in Swiss companies,” Swissmem said.
So, Swissmem is a lobbying group. Nice to know. Imagine if U.S. newspapers noted at the top of every article when a lobbying group was being quoted. That would practically double the weight of the average newspaper but wouldn’t it be nice say, when you see someone quoted from the group “Americans for Prosperity,” you’re told it’s a lobbying group. You could look it up and see it was founded by the Koch brothers and it’s working not on behalf of Americans per se, but very, very, very rich Americans.
What a sensible and sane thing to do.
That was eleven years ago today.
Greg Mitchell wrote an e-book about media coverage in the run-up to and the early months of the Iraq war. Today he reminds us of how the corporate media reported Bush’s trip out to that aircraft carrier on that day eleven years ago. It illustrates how deeply broken our media is. Everyone quoted here should have been fired for violating the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics:
Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a “hero” and boomed, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.” He added: “Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple.”
PBS’ Gwen Ifill said Bush was “part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan.” On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, “The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a—on a carrier landing.”
Bob Schieffer on CBS said: “As far as I’m concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.” His guest, Joe Klein, responded: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me.”
Maureen Dowd in her column declared: “Out bounded the cocky, rule-breaking, daredevil flyboy, a man navigating the Highway to the Danger Zone, out along the edges where he was born to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity.
“He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics.”
When Bush’s jet landed on the aircraft carrier, American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded.
Once an Arab Model, Baghdad Now World’s Worst City
BAGHDAD – As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world’s worst city.
That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last.
The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city’s fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political center.
Residents of Baghdad contend with near-daily attacks, a lack of electricity and clean water, poor sewerage and drainage systems, rampant corruption, regular gridlock, high unemployment and a myriad other problems.
“We live in a military barracks,” complained Hamid al-Daraji, a paper salesman, referring to the ubiquitous checkpoints, concrete blast walls and security forces peppered throughout the city.
This is absolutely shocking:
Volunteers in dark green hooded sweatshirts spread out across the National Mall on Thursday, planting 1,892 small American flags in the grass between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. Each flag represented a veteran who had committed suicide since Jan. 1, a figure that amounts to 22 deaths each day.
This happened 11 years ago tonight:
Watch it. I’m serious. It’s amazing how much pleasure CNN got from showing live video of bombs blowing people up.
I remember thinking how thrilled Americans would be about this: explosions, patriotism and oh yeah, they’re gonna pay! We bad!
Eleven years on:
The next time you hear the likes of John McCain or his sidekick Lindsey Graham accuse Obama of a lack of “leadership” or “resolve” in all things foreign policy, remember, when they use those words, they’re counting on us presuming they have detailed, deeply considered plans of their own.
Chances are good they don’t:
The Cliches of “Leadership” and “Resolve”
It’s true that hawks typically assume that real “leadership” requires the use of force or at least the threat to use force, but it can also function as a generic euphemism for U.S. hegemony. In this usage, there is really only one kind of international leadership that qualifies, and this is one in which the U.S. is dominant, preeminent, and preoccupied with policing the globe. This tends to view leadership more as an exercise in giving orders and dictating terms.
As with its ugly cousin “resolve,” one can always get away with insisting that a particular president isn’t showing enough “leadership” in the world, because there is no way to measure these things and no way for the complaint be remedied. Because it is so ill-defined and frequently abused, it can be applied to every issue without even having to think about the specific details. “Leadership” is always the correct response, and “leadership” can’t fail, because it means everything and nothing at the same time.
Too bad the “liberal media” doesn’t press them by asking, and following up on one simple question: “What would you do?”
There is no way the United States can say a thing like this ever, from now, until the end of time:
Kerry Condemns Russia’s ‘Incredible Act of Aggression’ in Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine and threatened economic sanctions by the United States and allies to isolate Moscow, but called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” Kerry told the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Check out this February 28 tweet from Sara Hussein and the understatement of the week, i.e., that the Agence France Presse (AFP) photographer, Ahmed Gharabli, “somehow manages to keep snapping.”
Think of this mind-blowing little factoid (my Tweet of the Day):
And don’t forget, we’re talking Our Tax Dollars here.
In July, 2004, after working on Outfoxed, I began to post weekly updates at the Newshounds about the number of people killed in American wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. I was acutely aware, from 2004 to the end of 2008, of how many people were dying in those countries — U.S., British, civilians, etc.
It was my charge, week by week, for four years, to know those numbers and to put them out there, in the hope that people would scream NO! People were dying for nothing.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.
That said, bravo to Thomas Ricks for screaming for me, albeit six years later:
“We spend our whole lives training to defend this country, and then we were sent over there by this country, and you’re telling me because we were over there doing what we were told by our country that it was senseless and my guys died for nothing?”
That was how former Navy SEAL and Lone Survivor author Marcus Luttrell responded to CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview about the new movie based on his book, about an ill-fated mission in Afghanistan in which 19 of his fellow Navy SEALs were killed by enemy forces. There has been much furor in the national press over the exchange since it aired. The majority of commentators have rallied to Luttrell’s side, affirming that his comrades did not die in vain. Their arguments focus on honoring the fallen, their dedication to their country and their courage in combat. But we confuse valor with vanity at great peril to the living and the future of our wars. We need a more honest answer, however painful it may be to hear.
Yes, Marcus. Your friends died in vain. They went selflessly. They fought bravely. They sacrificed nobly. They lived in the best traditions of duty, honor, and country — hallowed words which dictate what every American can and ought to be. But they died in vain for the exact reason that they went where their country sent them and did what their country told them to do. America failed you because it failed its obligation to those principles.
On January 10, 2010, President Obama said,
“I have no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground in these regions,” Obama told People magazine, referring to Yemen and Somalia.
Yesterday we learned that:
The U.S. military secretly sent a small team of advisors to Somalia last month to assist with operations against militants, the first time U.S. troops have been stationed there since two helicopters were shot down and 18 American soldiers were killed in 1993.
The Americans also are helping Somalia’s fledgling security forces, which have struggled to assert control beyond Mogadishu and have often been the target of fierce attacks from the Shabab, an Islamic militant group with ties to Al Qaeda that ruled large parts of southern Somalia before being driven from power by the African force.
Though the initial advisor presence is small, a senior Defense Department official said the U.S. was hoping to expand it in the coming year, signaling the possible return of a permanent U.S. presence in Somalia two decades after the battle recounted in the movie “Black Hawk Down” drove the U.S. military out.
Ah yes. A “small team of advisors.” Those four words should send a chill down our collective spine. That’s how the U.S. involvement in Vietnam started too:
The U.S. military advisory effort in Vietnam had a modest beginning in September 1950, when the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam, was established in Saigon. Its mission was to supervise the issuance and employment of $10 million of military equipment to support French legionnaires in their effort to combat Viet Minh forces. By 1953 the amount of U.S. military aid had jumped to over $350 million and was used to replace the badly worn World War II vintage equipment that France, still suffering economically from the devastation of that war, was still using.
Remember shock and awe? (I’m proud to say I was against the invasion of Iraq from day one.)
Remember how excited the “liberal media” was when shock and awe started? Seriously. Watch this video. It’s as if we went insane:
Remember how in 2008 George W. Bush acknowledged that al Qaeda didn’t have a presence in Iraq until the invasion: Bush Acknowledges Absence Of Al Qaeda In Pre-Occupation Iraq With A ‘So What?’
Remember how we’re spending somewhere between $4 trillion to $6 trillion on the war on Afghanistan and Iraq?
Remember how dead and wounded Americans amount to somewhere between 4,000 and 100,000?
Extrapolate that out to include medical costs, devastated husbands and wives and parents and brothers and sisters and children who are living with the ramifications.
Okay. So now we have this as of today:
And I will remind you again of this: Remember how in 2008 George W. Bush acknowledged that al Qaeda didn’t have a presence in Iraq until the invasion: Bush Acknowledges Absence Of Al Qaeda In Pre-Occupation Iraq With A ‘So What?’
Happy New Year.