Friday, June 24, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016. Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of
the Sunnis continues, silence on the part of US House Reps Barbara Lee
and Nancy Pelosi continue, US House Rep Seth Moulton continues to demand
an actual plan, and much more.
Today, the US Defense Dept announced:
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket
artillery conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support
of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL tunnel system.
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.
-- Near Bashir, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL command-and control-nodes.
-- Near Beiji, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and
destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL mortar
system, an ISIL tunnel entrance and an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck four separate ISIL
tactical units; destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL
vehicle, five ISIL light machine guns, an ISIL rocket-propelled grenade
system and an ISIL boat; damaged two separate ISIL fighting positions;
and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Mosul, eight strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical
units, an ISIL oil ministry headquarters and an ISIL vehicle bomb
factory and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, two ISIL weapons caches, 10
ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL command-and-control nodes and an ISIL
-- Near Qayyarah, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and
destroyed an ISIL assembly area and eight ISIL boats and denied ISIL
access to terrain.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 14 ISIL boats and two ISIL weapons caches.
Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic
events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a
single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a
single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle
is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons
against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for
example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or
impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not
report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number
of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual
munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in
counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a
And as more US bombings continue, more US troops may be headed to Iraq.
US military leaders are weighing
whether to request additional coalition troops to help local forces
fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq, but no decisions have been
made, a military official said Thursday.
constantly looking to see if we're right-sized," said British Army
Major General Doug Chalmers, adding that troop levels and additional
capabilities formed part of an "ongoing dialogue."
This follows Josh Rogin's WASHINGTON POST report
earlier this week where he explained:
[US] Military leaders directing operations against the terrorists in Iraq are
readying requests for more troops and equipment they feel are needed to
solidify and quicken progress toward defeating the Islamic State. These
proposals have not yet been formally submitted to the White House for
approval, and would first be vetted by the Pentagon leadership, but key
generals have already told many in Washington they need hundreds more
U.S. personnel to do the job right.
The Obama administration is “not ruling out the possibility” of
sending hundreds of additional troops to Iraq this fall to help train,
advise and assist Iraqi forces as they get ready for a potential assault
on Mosul, according to a senior U.S. official.
And while officials won’t publicly confirm it, there have been
several meetings to begin to determine if more troops are needed for the
upcoming battle for Iraq’s second-largest city and what those troops
might do to affect the battle.
Though he originally insisted in August of 2014, the number sent in
would be small and in the hundreds, US troops in Iraq are now in the
thousands -- and that's not counting Special Ops. The number has
Back in August of 2014. Carla Marinucci (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE) reported
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that congressional Democrats
were united in support of President Obama's decision to order air
strikes in Iraq as "humanitarian assistance" for refugees trapped by
Islamic militant fighters, but added that "we don't consider boots on
the ground an option."
Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said 100 House Democrats
held a conference call Monday after Obama notified Congress that 275
U.S. troops were being deployed to Iraq as security for American
diplomatic personnel in Baghdad. His notification, made under the War
Powers Act, came two days after U.S. warplanes fired on Islamic State
militants who have bottled up refugees near the Syrian border.
[. . .]
Although House Democrats have made it "very clear" that sending combat
forces back to the country is unacceptable, Pelosi said, she left open
the possibility that U.S. actions in Iraq could reach "a place where we
need congressional action."
This week, the 76-year-old, elderly Pelosi Tweeted:
But apparently she can be silent about Iraq.
"We don't consider boots on the ground an option" she said in August of 2014.
Two years later, she's silent.
Off to carry out yet another political stunt to make the American people think she'll do something.
Just like, in the 2006 mid-terms, she repeatedly told the American
people 'deliver us one House of Congress and we'll end the war.'
But the voters gave the Democrats both houses of Congress and Pelosi & company did nothing.
The silence, hypocrisy and cowardice from Nancy on the Iraq War are surprising only if you don't know her record. The website GARLIC & GRASS: A GRASSROOTS JOURNAL OF AMERICA'S POLITICAL SOUL has highlighted
some of Nancy's many failures:
January 12, 2005 - Two months after the November referendum, Bay
Area Congressional Representatives Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, Pete
Stark, and Sam Farr joined Democratic colleagues from across the country
in signing a letter to President Bush calling for the withdrawal of
American troops from Iraq. Pelosi conspicuously refused to sign on.
November 17, 2005 - Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) made a brave,
groundbreaking call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Pelosi stood up
and said, "Representative Murtha speaks for himself." And just one day
later, on Nov. 18, 2006, she voted against immediate withdrawal from
Iraq. She used her leadership position as House Democratic Leader to
encourage others to oppose Murtha. Doing so helped to kill the momentum
building at that time to force a timetable for troop withdrawals.
November 30, 2005 - Two weeks later (interestingly, just after
local San Francisco Green Medea Benjamin spoke about possibly running
against Pelosi), Pelosi reversed course and said she supported Murtha's
call for immediate withdrawal. Still, she took no action and refused to
use her leadership position to call for a 'party caucus position,' which
would have put the majority of the Democratic Party on record against
the war and shifted the national debate about the war. Indeed, at a
point when two thirds of Americans had acknowledged that the invasion of
Iraq was a mistake, and when a majority of Americans began saying that
the time had come to start rectifying that mistake by bringing the
troops home, Pelosi's actions stalled the national debate and weakened
the Democratic Party's stance.
Last week, US House Rep Barbara Lee Tweeted:
So when's the sit-in for that, Barbara?
Oh, right, never.
Because you're nothing but empty words.
And empty words don't end the Iraq War.
Not everyone's silent.
US House Rep Seth Moulton, for example, has not been silent.
From the May 13th snapshot
Yesterday on CNN's THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER, Jake spoke with US House Rep
Moulton (and just as soon as CNN posts a video or a transcript, we'll
note a link -- instead, we'll just link to Jake's Twitter):
Jake Tapper: So you
blame the Obama administration's failed ISIS policy of the death of your
Iraqi comrade who you describe as "your closest friend." Why?
US House Rep Seth Moulton: He was my closest friend in the Iraqi army
and the bottom line is that we have a military strategy to defeat ISIS
but we don't have any longterm political strategy to ensure the peace.
And that's why we find ourselves back in Iraq again today refighting
the same battles that I, myself, my fellow Marines and soldiers fought
just eight or ten years ago
Jake Tapper: And what needs to change, sir?
US House Rep Seth Moulton: We need to have a clear mission for the
troops, a clear end game, a clear goal that they can achieve and than a
strategy to maintain the peace once we defeat this terrorist group
because, look, we already fought these same battles against al Qaeda but
then when we pulled out of Iraq so quickly and not just pulling out the
troops, I'm talking about pulling out the diplomats. I'm talking about
the people that were working in the prime minister's office, in the
ministries. The Iraqi government just went off the rails and as a
result created this political vacuum that ISIS came in to occupy. We
cannot keep repeating this mistake in Iraq, going back again and again.
Jake Tapper: Now there are more than 4,000 US personnel, US military
personnel, in Iraq right now but the White House argues this is not a
combat mission. Do you think that the Obama administration is
misleading the American public.
US House Rep Seth Moulton: That's just simply not true, this
absolutely is a combat mission. In 2004, I had an advisory mission as a
Marine with my platoon in Iraq. We were advisors to an Iraqi unit and
when that unit started to get overrun, we went to their assistance and
started the battle of Najaf which was some of the fiercest fighting of
the war until that time. So there's a very fine line between an
advisory mission and full fledged combat. It's very clear from the death
of the Navy Seal just last week that this is absolutely a combat
Jake Tapper: Why do you think the White House is-is pursuing the
strategy that they're pursuing -- calling it an advisory mission, not a
combat mission? Not pursuing the line of attack that you're suggesting
they need to -- in terms of the clear strategy with an end game? Why?
US House Rep Seth Moulton: I don't know. I mean, some would say
that this is trying to do war on the cheap just like the Bush
administration when they got us involved in in the first place. Let's
not forget that we wouldn't be involved in this mess at all if George
Bush hadn't invaded Iraq with faulty intelligence back in 2003. But
this a president who promised to get us out of Iraq and promised to use
the tools of diplomacy to prevent wars from happening -- and that just
hasn't happened. You know if you think about what happened when ISIS
swept into Iraq from Syria, they didn't just defeat the Iraqi army. The
Iraqi army put their weapons down and went home because they had lost
faith in their government. And yet our solution, our strategy, is to
train Iraqi troops. Well you don't fix Iraqi politics by training Iraqi
troops. And Iraqi politics are broken. That's the fundamental problem
in Iraq that we need to fix.
And, thing is, Barack agrees with Seth Moulton -- or did on June 19,
2014 when he (Barack) declares that the only answer to Iraq's crises was
a political solution.
Yet the last two years has the seen the US government drop more bombs on
Iraq and send more US troops in while doing nothing to help broker a
Tonight, THE WASHINGTON POST website published a column by Moulton
In April, I visited some of the almost 5,000 troops that President
Obama has put back in Iraq, and I witnessed a recurring theme: We have a
military plan to defeat the Islamic State — and, as initial gains in Fallujah this week
demonstrate, it’s going well in many respects — but we have yet to
articulate a political plan to ensure Iraq’s long-term stability.
it’s impossible to tell whether it’s 2007 or 2016. The battle plans I
hear from our commanders in Iraq today are the same ones I heard at the
beginning of the surge, down to the same cities and tribal alliances. My
question is: How will this time be different? The silence is deafening.
And in that silence, War Crimes continue as the Iraqi forces -- supposedly there to protect the civilians -- target the Sunnis.
Nazli Tarzi (MIDDLE EAST EYE) observes
For a brief moment last week, the world learned about the disappearance of at least 643 Iraqi civilians from Saqlawiya, and the torture and humiliation that awaited hundreds more captured by marauding, Iranian-backed militias.
Outrage was at best tame, and coverage has remained thin. Although government forces have recaptured Fallujah from Islamic State (IS), the fate of the “lost” men of Saqlawiya, Al-Garma and Al-Azraqiya remains unknown. Some
were freed but only to have returned with bodies riddled with dark
raised welts, inflicted by sectarian militias. It appears that no
soundtrack other than a skulking silence accompanies these shameful
developments, leaving many important questions unanswered.
Government officials have repeatedly said that
investigations into alleged wrongdoing by its security forces are
underway. Last Monday, government spokesman Sa'ad al-Hadithi affirmed
that Haider al-Abadi's government is serious about pursuing violations
against the people of Fallujah. Defence Minister Khaled al-Obaidi added that four military personnel had been arrested after video evidence of their abuses surfaced.
why are the details of federal investigations yet to be made public?
Why have those arrested not been quizzed on national TV, as is done with
alleged IS members who are paraded before the cameras?
The targeting never ends.