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Plus ça change…; Iraq Done, Now On to Iran
Ray McGovern, October 22, 2011
Editor Note (Consortiumnews.com): One not-so-funny fact about Washington is that nearly all the news media stars who fell for neoconservative falsehoods about Iraq are still around to fall for new ones on Iran, even some like Richard Cohen who briefly regretted his earlier gullibility, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Paul R. Pillar, my former colleague in the CIA’s analytical division, has raised a warning flag, cautioning that the same imaginative neocon composers who came up with the various refrains on why we needed to attack Iraq are now providing similar background music for a strike on Iran.
He is right. And as one of my Russian professors used to say, “This is nothing to laugh!”
Under the influence of U.S. military propaganda, Western accounts of occupation and resistance in Iraq have tended to characterize the occupation forces and their Kurdish and formerly exiled Iraqi allies as representing legitimate authority, stability and security in Iraq, and popular resistance forces as "insurgents" or "terrorists". An ever-changing official narrative in which US forces must be held blameless for the violence of the invasion and occupation has required the demonization of the Iraqi Resistance and fueled an endless quest for the roots of violence in caricatures of Iraqi history that have gained wide acceptance in Western popular culture.
By David Swanson, RootsAction.org
I just got an email from Huffington Post telling me that Obama was keeping his campaign promise to get U.S. troops out of Iraq. Not quite. Here's a video of Obama's promise.
In that 15-second video he says: "I will promise you this: that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."
Here's the Huffington Post:
October 21, 2011 - Ottawa: Hundreds of protestors have asked the Canadian authorities to arrest former US President George W Bush for war crimes after he reached a Surrey hotel on Thursday.
Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton were among the keynote speakers attending the annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel. Human-rights groups, including Amnesty International were demanding the arrest of Bush.
Gail Davidson of the Lawyers against the War expressed outrage over the federal government for ignoring its responsibility in not arresting Bush.
Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq
Recent reports have drawn attention to increases in congenital birth anomalies and cancer in Fallujah Iraq blamed on teratogenic, genetic and genomic stress thought to result from depleted Uranium contamination following the battles in the town in 2004. Contamination of the parents of the children and of the environment by Uranium and other elements was investigated using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Hair samples from 25 fathers and mothers of children diagnosed with congenital anomalies were analysed for Uranium and 51 other elements. Mean ages of the parents was: fathers 29.6 (SD 6.2); mothers: 27.3 (SD 6.8). For a sub-group of 6 women, long locks of hair were analysed for Uranium along the length of the hair to obtain information about historic exposures. Samples of soil and water were also analysed and Uranium isotope ratios determined.
Levels of Ca, Mg, Co, Fe, Mn, V, Zn, Sr, Al, Ba, Bi, Ga, Pb, Hg, Pd and U (for mothers only) were significantly higher than published mean levels in an uncontaminated population in Sweden. In high excess were Ca, Mg, Sr, Al, Bi and Hg. Of these only Hg can be considered as a possible cause of congenital anomaly. Mean levels for Uranium were 0.16 ppm (SD: 0.11) range 0.02 to 0.4, higher in mothers (0.18 ppm SD 0.09) than fathers (0.11 ppm; SD 0.13). The highly unusual non-normal Fallujah distribution mean was significantly higher than literature results for a control population Southern Israel (0.062 ppm) and a non-parametric test (Mann Whitney-Wilcoxon) gave p = 0.016 for this comparison of the distribution. Mean levels in Fallujah were also much higher than the mean of measurements reported from Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Slovenia (0.04 ppm SD 0.02). Soil samples show low concentrations with a mean of 0.76 ppm (SD 0.42) and range 0.1-1.5 ppm; (N = 18). However it may be consistent with levels in drinking water (2.28 μgL-1) which had similar levels to water from wells (2.72 μgL-1) and the river Euphrates (2.24 μgL-1). In a separate study of a sub group of mothers with long hair to investigate historic Uranium excretion the results suggested that levels were much higher in the past. Uranium traces detected in the soil samples and the hair showed slightly enriched isotopic signatures for hair U238/U235 = (135.16 SD 1.45) compared with the natural ratio of 137.88. Soil sample Uranium isotope ratios were determined after extraction and concentration of the Uranium by ion exchange. Results showed statistically significant presence of enriched Uranium with a mean of 129 with SD5.9 (for this determination, the natural Uranium 95% CI was 132.1 < Ratio < 144.1).
Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields
By Gareth Porter, IPS
By Dave Lindorff
While this statement by Occupy Wall Street is a powerful list of grievances against capitalism, it fails to even once mention the word "war." This is a significant failing, and cannot have been an oversight. The activists in Liberty Park and in cities across the country, if they want to make this a mass movement to confront the corporate domination of American politics and society, must be willing to confront head on the reality that the corporate elite have made the U.S. into the world's greatest war-monger. It is not just "colonialism," an outmoded term, that is the problem. It is a vast web of imperialism, imposed by a war machine that is bigger and costlier than all the rest of the world's armies combined, and it is the single biggest reason that this country is descending into a state of social and economic decay and decline.
Oct 04, 2011 - Iraqi law should not govern a lawsuit brought by the mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier electrocuted in a barracks shower at an Army base in Iraq, a federal judge has ruled.
Lawyers for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. had asked U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to apply Iraqi law to the ongoing lawsuit in the January 2008 death of Pittsburgh-area Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth. But Fischer agreed with lawyers for the soldier's parents who argued that United States law should hold sway because the base was under American control - and could provide for punitive damages and other advantages to the plaintiffs not recognized by Iraqi law.
This week marks the beginning of what is supposed to be the final 100 days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. But if U.S. troops are to leave Iraq at the end of this year as promised – repeatedly – it will take grassroots pressure to counter the growing “occupy-Iraq-forever” chorus in Washington.
Despite the fact that there is a Bush-era agreement with the Iraqi government to leave, despite the fact that the majority of Iraqis and Americans don’t support a continued U.S. presence, and despite the fact that Congress is supposedly in an all-out austerity mode, strong forces – including generals, war profiteers and hawks in both parties – are pushing President Obama to violate the agreement negotiated by his predecessor and keep a significant number of troops in Iraq past the December 31, 2011 deadline.
It’s true there has already been a major withdrawal of U.S. troops, from a high of 170,000 in 2007 to about 45,000 troops today (with most of the troops being sent over to occupy Afghanistan instead). That number, however, doesn’t tell the whole picture. As the New York Times notes, “Even as the military reduces its troop strength in Iraq, the C.I.A. will continue to have a major presence in the country, as will security contractors working for the State Department,” the latter to defend a U.S. embassy that's bigger than the Vatican.
Back in 2007, candidate Obama pledged that the first thing he’d do as president would be to withdraw our troops from Iraq. “I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank,” the future president declared. So far, the only thing many Americans can take to the bank, however, is evidence their home was fraudulently foreclosed upon.
Green light on extension of US presence in Iraq is near, despite Iraqi Parliament and previous agreements
To comply with current law, the US has three months to completely withdraw from Iraq. But on Tuesday Iraq’s foreign minister said he believes there will soon be a final agreement on keeping thousands of US “trainers” in Iraq past the December deadline outlined in the Status of Forces Agreement.
“We’re looking for October for these talks to move forward,” Iraq’s foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari told Associated Press. The expected green light for a remaining American presence would be the culmination of months of heavy pressure on the Iraqi leadership from an insistent Obama administration.
“I think we will get an agreement on training,” Zebari said. ”How many trainers will remain in Iraq is not that important,” he said. “It’s the commitment that is very important.”
The Obama administration is considering 3,000 to 5,000 troops for an Iraqi training mission, but would it be implemented alongside an expanded diplomatic mission in Iraq, as well as a significant amount of military contractors.
At a minimum, the diplomatic and contractor presence would number over 17,000 and according to the most recent Quarterly Report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq, the Department of State “will assume primary responsibility for a planned $6.8 billion operation” carried out “from 11 locations around Iraq, including three consulates and the world’s largest embassy.”
The final decision is likely to be made by US and Iraqi officials, without the approval or consultation of the Iraqi Parliament, with some calling the Maliki government dictatorial. Shiite leaders in Iraq have vehemently rejected a US presence past December and the cleric Moqtadr al Sadr has promised to treat remaining troops as “invaders.”
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to urge you to honor our nation’s commitments and bring all of our troops home from Iraq by December 31, 2011.
In 2008 the U.S. and Iraqi governments entered into a Status of Forces Agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of this year. As President you reaffirmed your commitment to this agreement in your speech at Camp Lejeune on February 27, 2009 declaring: “I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home with the honor that they have earned.” Americans and Iraqis overwhelmingly support this plan.
We are deeply troubled by recent reports that indicate your Administration is making plans to leave thousands of U.S. troops deployed in Iraq indefinitely. We are also troubled by the extraordinary buildup of private military contractors and untold numbers of intelligence operatives in Iraq. This level of continued U.S. operations in Iraq is unsustainable and unwise particularly in light of the challenges facing our nation. Mr. President the future of Iraq depends upon the Iraqi people, not the U.S. military.
Mr. President, we have lost too many American lives and wasted too many American resources in Iraq. Now is the time to bring all of our brave men and women in uniform home, as promised.
American Friends Service Committee
Center for International Policy
Council for a Livable World
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Just Foreign Policy
Military Families Speak Out
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Peace Action West
The Shalom Center
United for Peace and Justice
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
U.S. Labor Against the War
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions
"How many PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team] staff members does it take to screw in a light bulb? One to hire a contractor who fails to complete the job and two to write the press release in the dark."
A FOB is a Forward Operating Base, and the Fobbits who live in them have their own brand of sad SNAFU humor, enough to fill many volumes and constituting, in my opinion, the silver lining of our wars. The above bit is taken from Peter Van Buren's new book "We Meant Well." The author has been in the U.S. Foreign Service for 23 years, working in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the U.K., Hong Kong, and -- from 2009 to 2010 -- in Iraq. The book is about Iraq.
Of the 70 who've signed this letter to the Super Congress there might be two or three I'd trust to fight for it as far as I could throw them, but it is an accomplishment these days to speak any bit of humane truth aloud. So read this letter and go forth and speak likewise.
Published: September 20
In arguing for a large force of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after December [ “3,000 Isn’t Enough,” Sunday Opinions, Sept. 18], Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) claim, “Whether the United States has 3,000 troops or a larger force in Iraq will make no meaningful difference to our budgetary situation .” They also state that “no fewer than 10,000 and as many as 25,000 troops will be required .”
According to the Congressional Research Service, it currently costs an average of $802,000 to keep one U.S. soldier in Iraq for one year. At that rate, to keep 10,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq from 2012 to 2021 would cost $80 billion; to keep 25,000 soldiers there would cost $200 billion. This $200 billion represents one-sixth of the $1.2 trillion target of the debt reduction “supercommittee.” It is also more than the government would save over 10 years if it were to cut the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security and raise the Medicare retirement age to 67, as earlier discussed by President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner.
Robert Naiman, Washington
The writer is policy director for Just Foreign Policy.
By Michael Munk
By Charles M. Young
September 16, 2011 - The 9/11 industry harvested its biggest riches on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the yet-to-be fully documented coordinated attacks on the United States of America which produced the era of awe and shock, bull-dozed all international norms, and initiated two great wars of the twenty-first century.
From Letters to the Editor in todays Wash Post: We should all thank former Bush administration adviser Meghan O’Sullivan for the honesty in her September 11 Outlook commentary, “We shouldn’t pull out of Iraq, for their sake and ours,” in which she argued that the “most compelling” reason for maintaining the U.S. occupation of Iraq is to secure that nation’s oil. (Read full article: http://tinyurl.com/3f9mypg) I am among millions of Americans who have argued for years that oil was at the heart of our war with Iraq, even though many of us were labeled conspiracy theorists for doing so — even within this very newspaper. While we Americans may love our oil, the public has never supported the idea that our soldiers should kill and die for it, that we should be invaders and occupiers to secure it and that we should spend hundreds of billions of tax dollars to go after it. Had this argument been so clearly made at the start of the war, few Americans would have supported the invasion of Iraq. We should now view Ms. O’Sullivan’s honest articulation that this is a war for oil as one of the best reasons yet offered to bring it to an immediate end. Antonia Juhasz, San Francisco The writer is a member of the National Advisory Committee of Iraq Veterans Against the War. www.washingtonpost.com/todays_paper?dt=2011-09-15&bk=A&pg=16
Bush White House Resistant to Rebuilding Afghanistan
Rumsfeld's War Aim: "Significantly Change the World's Political Map"
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 358
Posted - September 11, 2011
We are given figures in the multi multi billions spent on the wars of choice and the so called 'homeland security', but there are huge amounts, in the multi billions, not known or labeled top secret and blacked out in government reports on the rapid growth of intelligence within government and the added private contractors and the costs of that growth. As pointed out in the 'PBS Frontline' report, below, what has it accomplish over all these years, especially as to the main mission after 9/11 and finally getting bin Laden, found through intelligence of a small group and carried out by a small group of 'special forces'.
By Dave Lindorff
When you are the New York Times, or in this case, one of the only real liberal columnists working for the Times anymore, there are apparently some things you just cannot mention.
How else to explain how a seemingly intelligent economist like Paul Krugman can scorch the Republicans in Congress and President Obama for failing to deal with the crisis of joblessness and deepening economic collapse in the U.S., but never once mention the endless and pointless wars into which the country is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars a year?
By Matthew Schofield | McClatchy Newspapers
A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.
The unclassified cable, which was posted on WikiLeaks' website last week, contained questions from a United Nations investigator about the incident, which had angered local Iraqi officials, who demanded some kind of action from their government. U.S. officials denied at the time that anything inappropriate had occurred.
By the DailyMirror
US forces had committed a heinous war crime during a house raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, four children, and one infant were summarily executed, a State Department diplomatic cable released last week by WikiLeaks revealed.
The cable excerpts a letter written by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, addressed to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
American troops had approached the home of Faiz Harrat Al-Majma’ee, a farmer living in central Iraq, to conduct a house raid in search of insurgents in March 2006.
Except for "trainers" and except for mercenaries hired through the US State Department? Story here.