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By Dave Lindorff
There’s an old adage that goes: “You can judge a man by the company he keeps.”
If that’s the case, then applying it to nations, the world has to judge the US to be a truly wretched and repugnant country, and should be steering clear of it.
President Obama may want us to sympathize with patriotic torturers, he may turn on whistleblowers like a flesh-eating zombie, he may have lost all ability to think an authentic thought, but I will say this for him: He knows how to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin fraud like a champion.
It's back in Iraq, Jack! Yackety yack! Obama says the United States has fired missiles and dropped food in Iraq -- enough food to feed 8,000, enough missiles to kill an unknown number (presumably 7,500 or fewer keeps this a "humanitarian" effort). The White House told reporters on a phone call following the President's Thursday night speech that it is expediting weapons to Iraq, producing Hellfire missiles and ammunition around the clock, and shipping those off to a nation where Obama swears there is no military solution and only reconciliation can help. Hellfire missiles are famous for helping people reconcile.
Obama went straight into laying out his excuses for this latest war, before speaking against war and in favor of everything he invests no energy in. First, the illegitimate government of Iraq asked him to do it. Second, ISIS is to blame for the hell that the United States created in Iraq. Third, there are still lots of places in the world that Obama has not yet bombed. Oh, and this is not really a war but just protection of U.S. personnel, combined with a rescue mission for victims of a possible massacre on a scale we all need to try to understand.
Wow! We need to understand the scale of killing in Iraq? This is the United States you're talking to, the people who paid for the slaughter of 0.5 to 1.5 million Iraqis this decade. Either we're experts on the scale of mass killings or we're hopelessly incapable of understanding such matters.
Completing the deja vu all over again Thursday evening, the substitute host of the Rachel Maddow Show seemed eager for a new war on Iraq, all of his colleagues approved of anything Obama said, and I heard "Will troops be sent?" asked by several "journalists," but never heard a single one ask "Will families be killed?"
Pro-war veteran Democratic congressman elected by war opponents Patrick Murphy cheered for Obama supposedly drawing a red line for war. Murphy spoke of Congress without seeming aware that less than two weeks ago the House voted to deny the President any new war on Iraq. There are some 199 members of the House who may be having a hard time remembering that right now.
Pro-war veteran Paul Rieckhoff added that any new veterans created would be heroes, and -- given what a "mess" Iraq is now -- Rieckhoff advocated "looking forward." The past has such an extreme antiwar bias.
Rounding out the reunion of predictable pro-war platitudes and prevarications, Nancy Pelosi immediately quoted the bits of Obama's speech that suggested he was against the war he was starting. Can Friedman Units and benchmarks be far behind?
Obama promises no combat troops will be sent back to Iraq. No doubt. Instead it'll be planes, drones, helicopters, and "non-combat" troops. "America is coming to help" finally just sounded as evil as Reagan meant it to, but it was in Obama's voice. The ironies exploded like Iraqi houses on Thursday. While the United States locks Honduran refugee children in cages, it proposes to bomb Iraq for refugees. While Gaza starves and Detroit lacks water, Obama bombs Iraq to stop people from starving. While the U.S. ships weapons to Israel to commit genocide, and to Syria for allies of ISIS, it is rushing more weapons into Iraq to supposedly prevent genocide on a mountaintop -- also to add to the weapons supplies already looted by ISIS.
Of course, it's also for "U.S. interests," but if that means U.S. people, why not pull them out? If it means something else, why not admit as much in the light of day and let the argument die of shame?
Let me add a word to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman David Swanson, who is not me and whom I do not know: Please do keep pushing for actual humanitarian aid. But if you spoke against the missiles that are coming with the food, the reporters left that bit out. You have to fit it into the same sentence with the food and water if you want it quoted. I hope there is an internal U.N. lobby for adoption by the U.N. of the U.N. Charter, and if there is I wish it all the luck in the world.
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By Mike Ferner
Washington DC – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelming passed the bipartisan McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution which requires the President to seek Congressional authorization before deploying armed services engaged in combat operations in Iraq.
“This resolution reclaims Congressional responsibility in matters of war and peace. In 2001, Congress gave the Administration a blank check for endless war and it’s long past time for Congress to take back that authority,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Enough is enough. After more than decade of war, the American people are war-weary; we must end the culture of endless war and repeal the AUMFs.”
Recent polling by Public Policy Polling found seventy-four percent of American voters oppose military action in Iraq.
“There is no military solution in Iraq,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Any lasting solution must be political and respect the rights of all Iraqis.”
“This resolution is a step in the right direction but Congress needs to repeal the AUMFs that serve as a blank check for endless war,” added Congresswoman Lee.
Congresswoman Lee authored H.R. 3852 to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. Congresswoman Lee joined Congressman Rigell in a bipartisan letter signed by more than 100 Members of Congress calling on President Obama to seek Congressional authorization before taking military action in Iraq.
Just as in discussions of bombing nations for women's rights it's hard to bring up the subject of the right not to be bombed, in discussions of shipping so-called illegal children away from the border where you've been terrorizing them in reenactments of Freedom Ride buses it's hard to bring up the subject of not having your government overthrown and your nation turned into a living hell.
Imagine, however, if Iraq were in Central America. Most people in the United States don't realize how convenient it has been to have millions of Iraqis made homeless so far away from the United States, fleeing to places like Syria, and then fleeing Syria when it's Syria's turn to be destroyed.
If, during the past decades of war and sanctions and war on Iraq, Iraq had been located closer to Miami and San Antonio than New York or Seattle is, wouldn't it have been a bit harder for people to tell pollsters that Iraq was benefitting from the war? Wouldn't it have been a bit harder to continue pretending immigrants are something different from refugees? Wouldn't immigrants rights groups have been compelled to notice the military and the wars that create the justification for abuses in the United States but also the motivations for fleeing homes where the wars happen?
If Gaza were in Maryland, would the United States still provide the weapons for bombing the homes there? Would CNN still blame Gazans who remain in their homes? Or would it, rather, scream at them to get back home where they belong?
Well, Honduras is closer to Florida and Texas than much of the United States is. The U.S. government facilitated the overthrow of the government of Honduras with a military coup in 2009 and has supported, funded, armed, and trained the military and the police that have turned Honduras into the most violent and dangerous place on earth, beating out Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and other top contenders in the World Cup of Hell Holes. The President of Honduras was yanked out of bed and flown to a U.S. military base and out of the country. The military that replaced him has been trained in torture and assassination at the School of the Americas in Georgia.
And now President Obama is ordering Honduran toddlers flown home from the United States where they are disturbing good democratic citizens of the land of liberty. Perhaps this is a moment, after all, in which to unite the movement for the rights of immigrants with the movement for peace and the rule of law in foreign relations.
Imagine the strength of those two movements combined. Words like Hope and Change might actually mean something.
Until then, forgive me if I'm simply disgusted with the level of evil imposed on the world by those in power and the failure of those abused to unite against it.
A hearty "thank you" to Courage to Resist, which just issued a call to "all U.S. military personnel to resist any effort to pursue a new military attack on Iraq via troops, bombs, drones or any other means. In keeping with our Mission Statement, we affirm that, just as there was never any legitimate reason for the United States to send military forces to Iraq in the past, there is not now any reason for the United States to participate militarily in the affairs of the people of Iraq."
It is absolutely essential to put before the US public the need for visible resistance to US re-escalation and occupation of Iraq.
Congress Members Write to Obama on Iraq, Mention Law, But Not Its Enforcement Mechanism (Impeachment)
Dear Mr. President:
We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq.
We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a "quick" and "easy" military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.
We do not believe any such intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and we are certain that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict that is spreading like a conflagration through the region.
Any solution to this complex political crisis can only be achieved through such an effort, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.
As you consider options for U.S. intervention, we write to urge respect for the constitutional requirements for using force abroad. The Constitution vests in Congress the power and responsibility to authorize offensive military action abroad.
The use of military force in Iraq is something the Congress should fully debate and authorize. Members of Congress must consider all the facts and alternatives before we can determine whether military action would contribute to ending this most recent violence, create a climate for political stability, and protect civilians from greater harm.
We stand ready to work with you to this end.
John J. Duncan Jr.
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.
Joseph P. Kennedy III
Ann McLane Kuster
John. B. Larson
James P. Moran
Richard P. Nolan
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Scott E. Rigell
Robert C. "Bobby" Scott
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
GUEST: David Swanson, author, activist, and blogger. His books includes Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union and War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. Follow him on Twitter.
TOPIC: David reacts to the news that Bowe Bergdahl has been released— and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Friday, June 6, 2014.
by Debra Sweet Today, help on challenging how people in the U.S. are looking at "helping" Iraq: Larry Everest writes in Revolution, More U.S. Killings and War Crimes in Iraq? HELL NO! today:
When you hear the commander-in-chief of the U.S. empire talk about freedom and giving people "the opportunity to forge their own future," here's what that has meant for the people of Iraq:
Earlier this month, I traveled with seven other westerners to Syria where we joined with thirty plus activists, journalists and politicians from Asia, Africa and South America to observe the Syria Presidential election. Bashar. Assad won 88% of the vote. Though some people in opposition areas boycotted the election, and others could not get to a polling station, 73% of the entire population of Syria eligible to vote did vote. The 73% turnout was more significant than the votes for Assad. I had heard a detailed report back from the electoral commission, and spent voting day touring voting sites, so I wasn’t entirely surprised by this outcome.
Looking at the election as a referendum on the current government, the result was an expression of unity across Syrian society, the unity of a people who came forward to support the sovereignty and independence of their country. When Bashar Assad was declared the winner of the Syrian election, people celebrated in the streets late into the night. in central Damascus, and other cities around Syria. Even in Homs, people danced all night in celebration. The slogan of the President was 'Unity' and that is what the people wanted to hear.
There were those who gushed in their affection and support of the President. And I have at least one recorded on video. However there were many more people who are tired of war and suffering and hoping to begin rebuilding under a government that could support their basic needs. And there were those who were ready to cut their losses and return to a life that wasn’t so bad. Whatever softness there was in the connection between the very well thought out process and the villagers who loosely followed it, there is no doubt that the majority of Syrians want Assad to continue to govern.
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry dismissed the Syrian election as a fraud several days before it took place, and many Western countries, including the US, Canada and members of the EU joined Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies in denying Syrian expat voters the opportunity to participate in the election at a local Embassy. The Western press largely dismissed the election, though a massive outpouring of Syrian voters in Lebanon surprised everyone including, we later learned, the Syrian Election Board.
However, it seems clear, as the current events in Iraq unfold, that somebody took the results of the Syrian election along with the successes of the Syrian Arab Army in liberating the towns along the Lebanese border, and throughout most of the populated areas of the country (except for Aleppo) quite seriously. Suddenly, a week after the election, the most militant, brutal fighting force in Syria moved much of its forces to Iraq where, with the support of a well organize Sunni defection, they brazenly swarmed across the north west area of the country taking over one city after another. Iraq is seriously shaken. It has already been through a terrible bloodbath within this decade and the healing has not seriously begun. Now a new sectarian war has appeared to be on the horizon.
ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a violent, fanatical organization of religious extremists, supposedly a breakaway from al-Qaeda, is not new to Iraq. It was born there during the US occupation. The man who currently leads ISIS spent several years in the US prison camp at Bucca. After spending another year in an Iraqi prison, he was released, and shortly after that he took charge of ISIS. Wealthy Saudis have consistently funded ISIS, while Turkey has facilitated delivery of arms and other supplies to ISIS across their border. ISIS has been dismantling the factories in Aleppo, transporting them across the Turkish border and then setting them up for business there. This could not be done without the tolerance of the Turkish government. Members of ISIS were trained by US Special Ops forces in Jordan last year. When ISIS took over the oil well at Raqqa in Syria, the EU dropped its sanctions against Syrian oil production so that they could provide parts to repair the old broken down wells so ISIS could start pumping the oil, which I assume European countries are now buying.
During the last year Syria had, with the help of Iran and Hebollah, begun to beat back the insurgency and recover the territories lost to war. It is true that thousands of Syrian refugees are in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, but many times more are in refugee camps in the government held areas of Syria where they are supplied with food and shelter, and basic medical care, and schools for the children. The Syrian Arab Army is mostly Sunni. It reflects the population demographics of the country as does the government bureaucracy. Iraq does not have the resources, the political integrity or the stable social structures to fight a war like this. It is already fractured in all directions. There are no resources left for refugees in Iraq. A sectarian war is a real possibility.
Iraqi President al Maliki has requested the United States to provide assistance. US President Obama has sent a few Special Ops forces and promised more. There is a lot of talk about whether the US should put ‘boots on the ground’; whether the US should use air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. While the American people stood fast against bombing or sending troops to Syria, they are wavering on Iraq. Once there are boots on the ground in Iraq, there will be boots crossing the border into Syria. If drones strike Iraq, they will soon be striking Syria. It will be open season on Iraq and Syria.
There is talk of dividing the country. I’m hearing the “We broke it - now we own it” line again. This is a serious distortion of reality. We aren’t talking about accidentally knocking a pot off the shelf in a department store. We didn’t ‘break Iraq’. We deliberately invaded the country and smashed it. We had another 7 or 8 years after that to try to ‘fix it’, but instead we presided over the destruction of what remained of the society. We should not be given control over any process that might affect the integrity of Iraq or Syria. Who governs these countries is not our business and we have no right to choose for them. Creating mayhem with fanatical militias capable of obscene acts of violence is not the way to ‘free’ people. Dividing people and power according to ethnic and religious affiliations destroys the fabric of ancient societies and benefits only foreign overlords who find it easier to control a weak and unempowered society.
No matter how bad it looks for Iraq, we must not forget that it is most likely that US officals at some level, at least the CIA, had something to do with the redeployment of ISIS to Iraq. Therefore the last thing they need is ‘help’ from us. Let us send them our prayers. Let us send food and medical aid for refugees. Let us respect their elections be they ever so fragile and flawed. Let us respect their sovereignty and their right ot solve their own problems. AND, let us pressure our government to stay out of the fray and to demand that our allies cease to support and facilitate blood thirsty fanatical militant forces in this region.
Let the Iraqis and the Syrians have a chance to restore their countries and their lives. We don’t own them. We haven’t earned even the privilege to call ourselves their friends. Let us give them the freedom to make their own choices and solve their own problems. Cede to them their right to self determination. That is what we really owe them.
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By John Grant
When lo! An angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, . . .
Listen to Lila Garrett's Connect the Dots on KPFK: AUDIO.
David Swanson organizer of WORLD BEYOND WAR does an in depth analysis of our intervention in this civil war in Iraq including its connection to those interests in the US determined to feed and maintain our permanent war economy.
Former Congressman Bob Filner served as Chair of the Congressional Com. On Veteran Affairs from 2006-2010. As chairman, Filner increased spending on veterans healthcare, and a new GI bill for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq. Filner describes the serious cut backs by this Congress on those benefits. This includes the 50,000 vets on medical lists waiting to see a doctor for months…even years.
Senate Candidate Shenna Bellows, Democrat from Maine, whom journalist John Nichols has called “possibly the future of progressive politics in America”, describes Maine’s extreme rightwing leadership. About Bellows' opposition, Republican Susan Collins, author Stephen King writes: “Senator Susan Collins is considered a moderate who compromises a lot. Sounds good, but when it comes down to casting votes that serve Mainers, she always seems to end up with her Republican colleagues, led by Mitch McConnell.”
Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)
KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;
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Airs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.
Editor Note: U.S. policymakers have long behaved like spoiled, destructive children treating Iraq as if it were some meaningless plaything. The game has been about who “wins” or “loses” in Washington, not who lives or dies in Iraq, a moral failure that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern addresses.
By Ray McGovern
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
By Dave Lindorff
The rat, among mammals, is one of the most successful animals on the planet. Cunning, ruthless, competitive and above all adaptable -- it is able to change its habits quickly as needed to accommodate the situation it finds itself in.
When it comes to foreign policy, the US government is filled with rats.
By Evan Knappenberger, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
But also my heart is heavy and I have been walking in grief over this for nearly a decade. Here's the thoughts which I feel compelled to share, and I hope that they can clarify for you what I believe has happened.
A short explanation of Iraq, 2004-2014
As a disabled veteran I receive about $850 per month. A Sunni militiaman in 2007 could receive about $600 per month, just to have name placed on the rolls by the local Shayk, payable by the US government and your tax dollars. This was the Bush administration's secret weapon to pacify the peace movement that was burning his butt politically. The Sunni insurgents used this time to train, to re-equip, to organize and to plan. The US military watched that happened, encouraged it. Wait till we're gone then, whatever.
And the narrative is at a turning point. The Sunni militiamen are doing it right this time, taking no prisoners, and there is no stomach for any intervention. The Iranian government is so scared, they're ready to ask the US for help! The Kurds, the Turks, the Syrians, the Israelis are all freaking out. What are we to make of this?
But the reality is, that this tragic middle east situation has been in the works for years. I myself have been mourning it for eight years now since I was made aware of it.
The hard truth of the situation is not that now we have left the savage hordes are going to revert to murdering each other. The hard truth is -- and this is something that needs to be minded most especially by comfortable center-left Americans as we go about our summer vacations -- that the US put this regional, genocidal conflict into motion in 2003 and 2004 while Paul Bremer was dictator of Iraq.
Because the US military was blinded by the Bush administration's ideology, the occupation paradigm was unable to handle the inevitable insurgency. And rather than stay and admit that we caused this, the occupation under Petraeus decided to stave it off for a few years till we could leave, in the process making it much, much worse. That is the narrative that won't be spoken in the media, and that is what you need to know to connect with the soldiers who left blood and tears in the Sunni Levant.
I am not the only Iraq veteran interested in peace, though I may have been on the early side of it. There are a million former analysts and interrogators and tankers and military policemen who need that truth now.
Eastern Mennonite University, (B.A. 2015)
People forget the extent to which Democrats, who controlled the U.S. Senate at the time, pushed for and supported the 2003 attack on Iraq. Remember them or not, theeeeeeeeeey're back!
The Center for American Progress, the head of whose "action fund," former Democratic Congressman from Virginia's Fifth District Tom Perriello, slipped through the revolving door into a State Department job in February, is now pushing for "principled" bombings of Iraq.
For that to happen, many other things need to not be considered:
1. The views of the U.S. public, which opposes more wars and some of whom here in the fifth district of Virginia fantasized they'd elected an antiwar candidate in Periello several years back.
2. The views of the Iraqi public, who have been nonviolently and violently protesting an illegitimate government installed by the U.S.-led occupation.
3. The rule of law, which bans wars (under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact) even in places where the U.S. has recently fought wars in blatant violation of the law without any legal consequences.
4. The U.S. Constitution, which required that wars be authorized by Congress even before Article VI came to encompass the aforementioned treaties.
5. The 100-year history of foreign military interference consistently making things worse in Iraq.
6. The 11-year history of foreign military interference making things dramatically worse in Iraq to the point where it is no exaggeration to say that the nation has been destroyed.
7. The record suicide rate among U.S. war veterans, many of whom are realizing the role they played in destroying Iraq.
8. The liberties we keep losing as long as the wars for "freedom" role on.
9. The environmental destruction of our largest consumer of petroleum and greatest poisoner of land masses, the U.S. military.
10. The financial cost of trillion-dollar wars when tens of billions in reparations and actual aid could make a world of difference.
11. The history of small numbers of "advisors" in Vietnam and many other wars mushrooming into devastating occupations and millions of murders.
12. The need people have to imagine that Democrats are fundamentally different from Republicans. Think of the damage being done to that already tenuous pretense. Spare those tender souls any troubled thoughts if you can't spare the lives of Iraqis for their own sake.
WHEN: 1 PM THURSDAY, JUNE 19
WHERE: NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (Lisagor Rm.), Washington, DC, 529 14th
WHO: ROSS CAPUTI and MATT SOUTHWORTH, Iraq War Veterans
TIM KAHLOR, Father of 2-tour Iraq veteran with PTSD
RAY MC GOVERN, former CIA Intelligence Analyst
Iraq War veterans are sending a message to President Obama: Don’t intervene in Iraq, it will only
result in more lost lives, both U.S. and Iraqi.
After the nightmare of more than a decade of war, many Iraq veterans see the destabilizing U.S. invasion and
occupation of Iraq as the reason for the crisis the country finds itself in. They point to the futility of further U.S.
military action and the likelihood that airstrikes, rather than benefiting the Iraqi people, will continue to bring
them death, destruction and dislocation, while also putting U.S. service members in further danger.
Today, Iraq veterans and family members are calling on the Obama administration to stay out of the
brewing civil war; to provide humanitarian aid to refugees; and to pursue international diplomacy towards
reconciliation for the people of Iraq.
ROSS CAPUTI is a Marine Corps veteran of the 2nd siege of Fallujah in November and December of 2004,
considered the bloodiest battle of the U.S. war in Iraq. Today he is on the Board of Directors of ISLAH
(www.reparations.org) and he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
“The many American lives that were lost in Iraq cannot be made meaningful by propping up an
unpopular government with violence. Any further actions taken by the U.S. to arm the Maliki
government in Baghdad or support it through military intervene:tion and airstrikes would be completely
unacceptable and immoral, as Iraqi civilians will surely suffer the most.“
MATT SOUTHWORTH is an Iraq War veteran who in 2004 was stationed near the strategic town of Tal Afar,
260 miles northwest of Baghdad, which was captured by Sunni militants this week. He has expressed his
sadness and outrage in an article for Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), where he works. Matt
is a member of Veterans For Peace, an organization that represents thousands of U.S. veterans.
“With nearly 5,000 U.S. troops killed, over 30,000 wounded, hundreds of thousands of Moral Injuries
and millions of Iraqis killed, wounded and displaced, today I wonder for what? Never until this
moment have I felt so much like it was all for nothing.... The human costs are incalculable, but will
the trillions of dollars spent on war and veteran care do any good whatsoever for the U.S., Iraq or the
world? A decade after the invasion, almost no positive effect of our involvement in Iraq remains intact
and yet the talk is almost exclusively around military intervention. Why?”
TIM KAHLOR is the father of medically retired Sgt. Ryan Kahlor. His son served over 24 months in 2 tours in
Iraq. He and his wife Laura live Murrieta, CA.
"People want to believe that when your loved ones come home from war, it’s all good. End of story.
Yet seven years after our son’s last deployment and getting him diagnosed with TBI and PTSD, we
are still fighting to make sure our son is alive and well and getting the treatment he needs for all his
injuries. Now I know the wounds of war will never heal completely and our son like so many others
continue to be in mental combat every day."
RAY MC GOVERN served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer during the early Sixties; was then a CIA
analyst for 27 years. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
“Already too much carnage in Iraq has been ‘justified’ by ‘unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-
existent’ intelligence (Senate Intelligence Committee, June 5, 2008). 100 years ago as WWI loomed,
Rudyard Kipling pulled strings to get his (under-aged) only son, John, into the army. Filled with remorse
when young John was killed a year later, Kipling put the following words in his dead son’s mouth:
‘If they question why we died, tell them because our fathers lied.’ The soil of Iraq is caked with blood
borne of lies – lies that persist and poison public discourse. We are all responsible for this chaos.
No more war!”
“U.S. intervention will give new energy to current fighters and likely draw a whole new group of people to
fight against the U.S.,” said Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace. “The U.S. does not
need to create new enemies. This will make a political solution even more difficult, while endangering the lives
of Iraqis and Americans. It is time for the U.S. to move away from war.”
Veterans and military families will participate in a White House rally at 1 pm this Saturday, June 21, in
conjunction with demonstrations around the country.
Press Advisory from Veterans For Peace
216 S. Meramec Avenue St. Louis, MO 63105 (314) 725-6005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
IRAQ VETERANS WARN OBAMA AGAINST MILITARY ACTION
WHEN: Thursday June 19, 2014 (tomorrow) at 1 pm EDT
Ross Caputi is a Marine Corps veteran of the 2nd siege of Fallujah. Today he is on the Board of Directors of ISLAH (www.reparations.org) and he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Matt Southworth is an Army veteran of the Iraq War. He currently works in Washington, DC for Friends Committee on National Legislation and he is a member of Veterans For Peace.
Tim Kahlor is the father of medically retired Sgt. Ryan Kahlor. His son served over 24 months in 2 tours in Iraq. He is a member of Military Families Speak Out.
Ray McGovern served as an Army infantryman/Intelligence officer in the early Sixties and was then a CIA analyst for 27 years. He a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
SPONSORS: Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) , Veterans For Peace (VFP), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)
Attention Media: On camera interviews will be available with various Iraq veterans and family members.
* Veterans For Peace is a 29-year-old U.S. based nonprofit educational organization with chapters in over 100 US cities and several international chapters. VFP members include veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as non-veteran allies. The mission of Veterans For Peace is to abolish war as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
Veterans For Peace, 216 S. Meramec, St. Louis, MO 63105, 314-725-6005
Iraq was saved from ignorant subhuman barbarism by a gentlewoman named Gertrude at the time that the civilized nations of the world were, in a quite advanced and sophisticated manner, slaughtering their young men in a project now called the First World War.
Because the Arabs were too backward to be allowed to govern themselves, or even to contemplate creating a world war, and because tribes and ethnicities and religions never really garner much loyalty or support that can't be wiped away with a good cup of tea or a few clouds of poison gas, and because the French were too dumb to know where the oil was, it became necessary for the British to install an Iraqi leader who wasn't Iraqi, through a democratic election with one candidate running.
The great Winston Churchill explained the governance of Iraq and the new civilizing technique of bombing civilians thusly: "I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes." Others failed to see the wisdom, and the Royal Air Force used non-chemical "terror bombing, night bombing, heavy bombers, [and] delayed action bombs (particularly lethal against children)" to police disobedient Iraqis. Only by developing these techniques on Iraqis were the world's civilizers prepared to use them on Nazis when the time came to level German cities in the name of defeating Nazis, which of course also places the rest of this paper beyond the reach of moral criticism.
Iraqis, from the formation of Iraq by Gertrude to this day, were never quite able to create a democracy for the CIA to overthrow as in neighboring Iran. But the idea that Iraqis have been violent or resistant to control because of lack of representation misses the central fact that people in the Middle East enjoy killing each other over sectarian differences. Of course it's hard to find evidence of significant sectarian fighting in Iraq prior to 2003 and some say there wasn't any. There was violent looting of Jewish neighborhoods in 1941, but the British government keeps all information on that event secret. There was bombing of synagogues in Baghdad in 1950-51 but that turned out to have been done by Zionists trying to convince Jews to come to Israel. And "until the 1970s nearly all Iraq's political organisations were secular, attracting people from all religions and none." But what was simmering just below the surface waiting to burst out at the slightest scratching?
Think how little it took. Supporting and arming a brutal dictator in Saddam Hussein and his catastrophic war against Iran, then bombing Iraq and imposing the most murderous sanctions in history, and then newly bombing Iraq and occupying it for 8 years while arming and training death squads and torturers and imposing sectarian segregation, creating 5 million refugees, and killing a half-million to a million-and-a-half people, while devastating the nation's infrastructure, and then imposing a puppet government loyal to one sect and one neighboring nation. That, plus arming the new government for vicious attacks on its own people, while arming mad killers in neighboring Syria, some of whom want to combine parts of Syria and Iraq: that was all it took, and suddenly, out of nowhere, ignorant Arabs are killing each other, just out of pure irrationality, just like in Palestine.
During the 8 years of U.S.-led occupation people mistook purely irrational violence that had been bubbling under the surface for centuries for resistance to the occupiers, and now some imagine that part of the violence against the puppet government is motivated by grievances against that government. But this misses the fundamental truths here, which are:
1. Shock and Awe was meant to put people at ease and make them comfortable.
2. The plan to rid Iraq of weapons it was about to use against those of us who matter was successful beyond the wildest expectations, working retroactively by a decade.
3. Our great leaders, Bush and Cheney, meant well in giving Iraqis freedom even if they weren't ready for it.
4. The election of Maliki was even more legitimate than the election of Faisal.
5. When the Bush-Maliki treaty ended the U.S. military presence in Iraq, that was thanks to President Obama who is way smarter than Bush but couldn't get Iraq to let U.S. troops stay with immunity for crimes -- crimes of course being necessary for policing, just ask Winnie.
6. When Iraq remained a disaster, that was President Obama's fault for focusing too much on murdering people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen, and never Iraq -- as if we just don't care about Iraq any more.
7. The U.S. weapons being seized and used against the U.S. puppet government in Iraq are no match for the vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction that we can and must ship into Iraq now to be seized and redirected later on down the road.
8. The few people getting rich from all of this misery mean well.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
Mosul and other cities in Iraq are experiencing dramatic, dangerous, and fateful changes.
The media, especially that which is allied with the Iraqi government and western states, has been focusing on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS) and its control over several Iraqi cities, provoking its audiences against the militant group. Indeed, ISIS terrorist groupings do exist among armed groups there and its influence in the recent events is clear. However, it is also true that Iraqis generally reject ISIS, whether in the central or southern regions of Iraq or in parts of the country that are no longer under government control: the so-called "Sunni" areas or the "Sunni Triangle," a term that intelligence services, particularly the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), devised as part of a plan to engineer sectarianism in Iraq. At the same time, Iraqis generally reject Maliki's regime and its policies, built as they are on an ethno-sectarian basis. This is especially the case in urban areas where sectarian discrimination is most concentrated, wherein the government treats ordinary people as political enemies.
The fall of several Iraqi cities in the hands of armed groups does not represent the dreams of the people who live there. Their demands to be rid of sectarianism are clear and direct. They expressed them through nonviolent sit-ins, but armed terrorist groups took advantage of this environment to take power. The people's demands against discrimination and sectarianism are just and fair, whereas Maliki's policies are reactionary and discriminatory, and are therefore rejected. In the meantime, ISIS' control of cities and people poses a serious threat to everyday life and to society.
Popular demands have morphed into a tool for reactionary forces to divide up the political pie, from the terrorists of al-Qa’ida, the Baath Party, and tribal leaders to the Shi'a religious leadership that has called for open warfare and the Kurdish nationalist forces that have achieved military and political gains. This all comes at a moment when Iraq has clearly become divided according to the wills of dominant political forces, whereas the will of the Iraqi people remains ignored.
Regional forces that benefit from Iraq's disintegration—especially Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—operate in their own way to achieve political gains. All the while the US government—the prime cause of these problems to begin with—prepares to intervene however it chooses. President Obama has so far expressed his concern over Iraqi oil twice when talking about recent events. He has not shown any regard or concern for the fate of two million people now under the control of ISIS, or for the women who have started committing suicide in Mosul as a result of ISIS gangs. The working class in Iraq is the common force that exists across the county, from the north of Kurdistan to the furthest points south. It is this force whose very existence and survival depends on the eradication of discrimination and the unification of the Iraqi people. This is the only force that can end fragmentation and division.
We reject US intervention and protest President Obama's inappropriate speech in which he expressed concern over oil and not over people. We also stand firmly against the brazen meddling of Iran.
We stand against the intervention of Gulf regimes and their funding of armed groups, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
We reject Nouri al-Maliki's sectarian and reactionary policies.
We also reject armed terrorist gangs and militias' control of Mosul and other cities. We agree with and support the demands of people in these cities against discrimination and sectarianism.
Finally, we reject the interference of the religious institution and its call for indiscriminate warfare.
We aim to stand with those who represent the interests of the people and to empower them in the face of this dangerous and reactionary attack. We call for a clear international position to curb the deteriorating situation as well as regional interference, and to support the people of Iraq.
Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq
This statement originally appeared on Jadaliyya in Arabic and Ali Issa translated it into English.
Iran may rescue Iraq from a major threat posed by a Sunni Muslim extremist group formerly aligned with Al Qaeda.
A few days ago, ISIL, a Sunni Muslim group, attacked and captured Iraq's third largest city, Mosul, population 1.8 million, located in Northern Iraq near Iran's border. ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The group was formally expelled from Al-Qaeda in February due its extremism and the fact that it was attacking Al Qaeda forces in Syria, where both groups were attacking Syria and its government. (Image: Fabian Bromann)