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I can’t tell you anymore than this: The Bush regime’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on lies, was illegitimate, unjust, and immoral from the start. Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday that the “war is over” is wrong on so many levels. For those on the ground, the millions in Iraq, and the one million US military sent there, it won’t end.
The wealthiest country and military in the world leaves behind billions of dollars worth of trashed equipment, and civil and physical society in shambles.
A young soldier, Bradley Manning, formerly stationed in Iraq, will begin a court martial Friday at Ft. Meade, because the U.S. military claims he released classified information about the war to Wikileaks.
Not only are there still troops and mercenaries and bases and a mammoth base called an "embassy," and not only have we got the place surrounded:
Yes, that's a map of how surrounded Iran is, but Iraq is that red one to the left of Iran.
But, in addition, as Marcy Wheeler points out:
The NYT, which played a key propaganda role in getting us into the Iraq war, has a 1000-word article telling us the Iraq war has officially been declared over.
And while it is true that the Administration had a
campaign eventdog and pony show yesterday declaring the war over, it is not.
After all, Rand Paul tried to formally, legally end the Iraq war last month. And 67 Senators refused to do so.
The fact that the Iraq AUMF remains on the books matters. It matters because no matter how many times we was eloquent about Iraqis controlling their own destiny, Nuri al-Maliki knows that little prevents Obama from bringing in troops again–or dropping drones in his country. Maybe that’s why Maliki is doing unfathomable things like laying a wreath at the military cemetery of the country that has occupied and ravaged his country for 8 years.
And, as I keep noting, the Iraq AUMF serves another purpose. That AUMF’s general language on “terrorism” has been used to authorize the use of “war powers” against people the Executive Branch claims are terrorists who have nothing to do with al Qaeda. The Iraq AUMF has been interpreted by the Executive Branch to authorize a war against all so-called terrorists, not just the terrorists who hit us on 9/11. And based on that argument, it was used to authorize the wiretapping of American citizens in the US.
Credulous journalists may want to accept the Administration’s propaganda about the Iraq war ending. But until we take the expanded powers given to the President pursuant to a vile propaganda campaign away from him, the Iraq war is not over. And Obama should not be able to use it as a campaign line until he actually gives up those powers.
By Dave Lindorff
By David Lindorff Sr.
"We Are Many" shows how mobilization in 2003 set stage for Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street
Dec 8, 2011 - On Feb. 15, 2003, the planet experienced the greatest single non-military mobilization of humanity in the history of the world. People in 800 cities (and Antarctica) marched to voice their opposition as George Bush’s countdown clock ticked away the days toward the threatened U.S. invasion of Iraq. Estimates of the total numbers of protesters vary widely but it seems plausible that 15 million took to the streets.
Richard Bonin tells the story of Ahmad Chalabi, whose wealthy Shiite family was exiled from Iraq after a revolution that ultimately put Saddam Hussein in power. In Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi's Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq Bonin traces Chalabi’s efforts to stoke a desire for Iraqi regime change in the United States, and earn support for to installing him as overseer of U.S. interests in the Middle East. The outcome was perhaps the biggest foreign policy disaster in our history.
This is from WNYC.
Veterans unplugged: Hoosier anti-war activist connects
returning veterans to the 99%
By Harry Targ / The Rag Blog
“I grew up in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Working-class family, father was a Union Ironworker... mother was a stay at home Mom.” Vince Emanuele joined the Marines after graduating from high school. “I came out of boot camp a hard chargin’ Devil Dog.”
He served in the Marines from 2003 until 2005 stationed in California, Kuwait, and Iraq. His eight month deployment in Iraq involved him in street patrols, looking for snipers and land mines, “along with shooting at innocent civilians, destroying their property and beating up prisoners.”
While in Iraq the fascination with war that he had acquired as a kid playing video games dissipated. His father sent him reading material -- Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Hunter Thompson, The Nation -- and he and friends began to reflect on what they were doing in Iraq. He came to the view that the war was “illegal, immoral, unjustified, and unneeded.” He was not spreading “democracy” or “peace” and the U.S. war effort was not winning the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people.
After returning to the U.S., Emanuele joined Iraq Veterans Against the War, has been organizing vets in Indiana and Illinois, created a weekly radio show called “Veterans Unplugged” which is available online, and has become a prominent activist for social, economic, and political justice in the heartland of America while finishing an undergraduate political science degree.
Yearning to Breathe Free
by Ken Molloy
SUPER- Mosul, Iraq, May 2004
EXT. SAINT THOMAS CHURCH – DAY
A small ancient Byzantine style church with a cross high atop its dome broils in the blaring sun.
INT. SAINT THOMAS CHURCH – DAY
FATHER KASSAB (60s) stands at the altar dressed in the traditional robes of a Chaldean Christian priest. The Mass ends. He turns to the congregation, raises his hands and gives the benediction.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope through…
MASKED GUNMEN storm into the church and gun down Father Kassab. PEOPLE jump out of their pews and are mowed down. Others cower.
The gunmen systematically walk over to the statues of saints and blow off their faces. Without saying a word, they leave.
Rewriting Iraq War history
A December 1 CBS Evening News report about the Iraq War managed to mislead viewers about the start of the war and severely diminish the loss of civilian lives.
Reporting on the handover of the U.S. military headquarters to Iraqi forces, anchor Scott Pelley announced:
Of course, the United States invaded Iraq with the stated aim of disarming Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. ("The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun" was how White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer announced the beginning of the invasion--ABCNews.com, 3/19/03.) Any serious conversation of the war should include this fact.
And the United States, as the instigators of that war, cannot credibly be considered to be "caught in the middle."
Then, at the very end of the piece, Pelley made this claim:
My name is John Needham. I am a member of Bravo Company, 2nd
Battalion, 2nd Infantry division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, (BCo,2-12INF,2BCT,2ID . I deployed with my unit to Iraq from October 2006 until October 2007 when I was medically evacuated for physical and mental injuries that I suffered during my deployment. The purpose of my letter is to report what I believe to be war crimes and violation of the laws of armed conflict that I personally witnesses while deployed in Iraq.
Upon arriving in Iraq in October of 2006 my unit was assigned to the ¼ Cavalry unit at Camp Prosperity. In March of 2007 I was sent back to my unit, B Company 2-12 at Camp Falcon. It was at Camp Falcon that I observed and was forced to participate in ugly and inhumane acts against the Iraqi citizens in our area of responsibilities. Below I list some of the incidents that took place.
In March of 2007, I witnessed SSG Platt shoot and wound an Iraqi national without cause of provocation. The Staff Sergeant said that he suspected the Iraqi be a “trigger” man. We had not been attacked and we found no evidence on the man to support the suspicion. As the Iraqi lay bleeding on the ground, PVT Smith requested to administer first aid to the Iraqi. SSgt Platt said no and “let him bleed out.” When SSG Platt walked away, Pvt Smith and PVT Mullins went to the Iraqi, dragged him to an alley, and applied first aid. They then drove him to the cache for further treatment.
You walk into a large, bright gallery full of large colorful portraits, portraits of men. They are fairly ordinary looking men. They could be from Western Asia or the "Middle East."
You approach one and look at him for an instant. He looks normal, relaxed, almost expressionless, certainly expressing no very strong emotion.
Before you can look long, your eyes are drawn to the curving lines of words swirling around the canvas like leaves in water. You read words like these, twisting your head almost upside down to follow them:
"FROM THE TIME OF MORNING PRAYERS THEY WOULD DRAW A CIRCLE ON THE WALL, AND I HAD TO STAND ON MY TOES TWO HOURS WITH MY NOSE TOUCHING THE CIRCLE."
You read on as more words flow around this one canvas. You read about dogs and cattle prods and death threats and harm to loved ones, sleep deprivation and confinement in a box and living human beings piled up like suitcases in a truck.
By Steve Horn
On November 12, ExxonMobil signed an oil production deal with the Kurdish Regional Government to drill in Iraqi Kurdistan, located in northern Iraq. This comes on top of an existing oil deal it landed in 2009, to drill for oil in the West Qurna Field, located in southern Iraq.
Not yet 30, Evan Knappenberger has already lived several lives. His story destroys the U.S. government's case against whistleblower Bradley Manning, exposes the toxic mix of fraud and incompetence that creates U.S. war policies, and highlights the damage so often done to soldiers who come home without visible injuries.
Knappenberger, seen in this video, was trained as an "intelligence analyst" at the U.S. Army's Intelligence Training Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 2003 and 2004, the same school attended by Bradley Manning. In April of this year, the PBS show Frontline, responding to an article Knappenberger had published, flew him to Los Angeles on a private jet, and interviewed him for four hours.
The man on the left served with the Marines in Southern Afghanistan from 2001-2006. The man on the right is now a public school teacher who served with the Army from 1986-1989. (Photo: pfarnac1)
If the last decade was the era of occupations that everyone called liberations, then the 99 percent movement is seeking to make this the era of liberations everyone calls occupations.
"It's clear that the interests of the majority of people in this country do not align with the military-industrial complex who put corporate profiteering based on destruction ahead of the needs of people," said Alex Kane, a journalist and activist. "The nexus of power that Occupy is looking to challenge in this country does not stop at Wall Street. Military profiteering is an integral part of the system and it should be challenged."
The "liberation" of Afghanistan has yielded a corrupt government in Kabul, where Hamid Karzai, the former CIA-paid fundraiser for the Mujahideen, is positioning himself as chief lapdog for the Taliban and the ISI (the Pakistan intelligence agency), this alliance acting alongside American bombs to create, in the words of one member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, "no positive change." Well, no positive change for some. For others, like Karzai's wealthy friends, embezzling great chunks of the $70 billion worth of security assistance and development projects American taxpayers have spent in Afghanistan since the invasion has yielded quite a large chunk of positive change.
Or as the Pentagon Post puts it:
As American troops head out of Iraq, U.S. officials are being forced to bring in more private security contractors.
The withdrawal of the remaining troops from Iraq — 33,000 at last count — has caused U.S. officials to move quickly to fill a series of security gaps to ensure the continued protection of American diplomatic personnel as well as U.S. goods.
The risk of suicide in military children nearly doubles during a parent's deployment. Daniel killed himself during his father's last tour. He was 12 years old.
He hung himself from the bunkbed he shared with his brother.
His mom, Tricia, is wondering how Daniel's brother will cope with his father's upcoming deployment.
So is another military spouse whose boy tried to kill himself during his dad's last tour - who also learned that her soldier will be deployed again in 2012.
Isolated incidents? Not if you're a military family member.
These two moms will join other military family members on November 17 in this nation's Capitol to present Homefront 911: Military Family Monologues. True stories about how 10 years of war is really coming home.
12:00 noon at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium free & open to the public.
Nov. 2, 2011 - A new study suggests that defense hawks are crying crocodile tears over planned cuts to Pentagon spending.
Capitol Hill conservatives and Pentagon brass fighting cuts to defense spending have argued that the military is limping off the battlefield with decrepit hardware. It's quite the sob story: At a hearing last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chair of the House armed services committee, cut his remarks short to literally sob for "these young men that are going outside the wire over in Afghanistan, every day on patrol."
Despite the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that U.S. combat troops are finally leaving Iraq — giving rise to the popular perception that “Iraq war is over”– I ask those who are celebrating to consider: where is the joy coming from?
It’s been ten years now since Donald Rumsfeld’s brain went “9/11 = attack Iraq,” apparently minutes after the WTC was hit by airliners. From that moment, when the world’s largest military machine began planning it, through today, after over a million Iraqi deaths, this war and occupation has never been legitimate, just or moral!
28 October, 2011 - A human rights group has filed a lawsuit against Lithuania for its role in a CIA rendition program which allegedly involved the illegal detention and torture of “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah.
Zubaydah, who was initially captured by American and Pakistani special services in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, spent some of his time in custody in a secret detention center in Lithuania, according to the Interights group. The European country allegedly collaborated with the CIA on its program of secret prisons, which allowed suspects to be incarcerated and tortured outside American territory.
Oct. 28: Rachel Maddow expresses exasperation that Paul Wolfowitz is still treated by the media as if he has credibility on foreign policy matters despite his infamous history of disastrously poor judgment.
Never More Proud to Be in a Courtroom
by Kathleen Kirwin
October 28, 2011
“AS THE FATHER OF A YOUNG SON, I WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE ON MARCH 19TH TO BE A VOICE FOR SHAHIDULLAH.” From the closing argument of Defendant Art Laffin in DC Superior Court.
by WALTER BRASCH
We know the names of every one of the 4,479 Americans who were killed and the 32,200 who were wounded, both civilian and military, between March 20, 2003 and Oct. 21, 2011, the day President Barack Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, declared the last American soldier would leave Iraq before the end of the year.
We know Second Lieutenant Therrel Shane Childers was the first American soldier killed by hostile fire in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On March 21, 2003, less than a day after the U.S.-led invasion, Childers was shot in the stomach by hostile forces while leading a Marine platoon to secure an oil field in southern Iraq. His father, Joseph, told NPR that it was his dream to lead Marines into combat.
By Mike Ferner
America’s war in Iraq is over. The last U.S. troops will leave by year’s end, “with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.” So sayeth President Obama.
A “sham of a mockery of a sham,” is what Groucho would call Obama’s announcement and he would be right.
For several reasons Mr. Marx would be much closer to the truth than Mr. Obama.
http://www.accuracy.org * email@example.com AP reports today: "On his flight to Indonesia on Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that negotiations with Iraq on future training possibilities will begin later. "If such talks are held, they likely would start either when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visits Washington in December or after the end of the year, according to a senior U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions. "The officer spoke Sunday on condition that he not be identified because the issue of possible future U.S. training is highly sensitive." RAED JARRAR, Jarrar is an Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst based in Washington, D.C. He said today: "The Iraq war is not over yet. Shortly after President Obama's announcement that the U.S. is going to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta started talking about planned negotiations with the Iraqi government on a new role for troops inside the country. Most of Iraq's politicians believe the Pentagon is trying one last attempt to keep trainers by sending them under the NATO umbrella. The Iraqi government signed a training agreement with NATO in 2009, but did not send it to the parliament for ratification until earlier this month, a day after the immunity talks with the U.S. collapsed. The agreement, which grants NATO trainers some level of immunity, will be debated in the Iraqi parliament after the recess that ends on November 20th. It is not likely the Parliament will pass the agreement. "But even if the Pentagon's attempt fails, the U.S. is planning to leave up to 16,000 State Department personnel in Iraq after the end of this year. This number includes 8,000 armed mercenaries and 4,500 so-called 'general life support' contractors who provide food and medical services, operate the aviation equipment, etc. This huge presence will be distributed over several sites around the country: The massive U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone, two consulates in Basra and Erbil, two support sites in Iraqi airports, three police-training facilities, and one diplomatic presence office in Kirkuk. A report by the Office of Inspector General in 2009 recommended downsizing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The OIG report, number ISP-I-09-30A, described the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as 'overstaffed,' and confirmed it should be able to carry out all of its responsibilities with 'significantly fewer staff and in a much reduced footprint.' The report claimed that there is a 'clear consensus from the top to the bottom of the Embassy' that the time has come for a 'significant rightsizing,' and it recommended that 'the rightsizing process has to begin immediately.' "The plan to leave 16,000 personnel in Iraq, the size of an Army division, contradicts the OIG's recommendations and puts the future of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship in jeopardy. The U.S. intervention in Iraq started more than 20 years ago, and it will not be over from an Iraqi perspective until the U.S. downsizes its massive footprint in Iraq." Background: "Occupying Iraq, State Department-Style" http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175401/tomgram%3A_peter_van_buren,_how_not_to_withdraw_from_iraq
Switching Focus from Iraq to Iran
By Ray McGovern
Introductory Note:There I go again — reading the Washington Post before breakfast.
“Clinton cautions Iran on U.S. resolve in Iraq” headlines an article by N.S. Aizenman on who said what on Sunday’s talk shows yesterday.
Aizenman points out that the guests were “pressed by multiple interviewers on … whether the [U.S. troop] withdrawal would open Iraq to greater influence from Iran.” (No coincidence: talking points courtesy of the White House, no doubt.)
Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blindsided by the question? Hardly. She probably drafted it. In any case, she was well prepared to lead the chorus well into its rehearsals to blame Iran, when Iraq falls apart.
The occupation of Freedom Plaza is organizing events every day, including protest actions, lectures, workshops, and dance parties.
To join in, just show up.
To follow along, just visit http://october2011.org
Here's one not to miss:
Monday October 24:
Tribute to the Iraqi people--with free food, live music and discussion!!!
Where: Freedom Plaza, 13th and Pennsylvania, NW, Washington DC
When: 7pm, Monday, October 24
What: Free dinner
A discussion of what is happening in Iraq and what the withdrawal of US troops means--led by a panel of Iraqis
Live music by a visiting boys band of Iraqi-Americans (UNT1) !!!
Come join us in paying tribute to the Iraqi people and saying no to the occupation of other countries.