Tag Archives: Iraq

We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament, by Ron Paul

The Iraqi Parliament wants the US out of Iraq. Ron Paul and SLL say we should go. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the US war on Iraq. The “shock and awe” attack was launched based on “stove-piped” intelligence fed from the CIA and Pentagon through an uncritical and compliant US mainstream media. The US media was a willing accomplice to this crime of aggression committed by the George W. Bush Administration.

Despite the lies we were constantly bombarded with, Iraq never presented a threat to the United States. Iraq never had the weapons of mass destruction that the neocons used to frighten Americans into supporting the war. How many of them knew all along that there were no WMDs? We’ll never know. Attacking Iraq and overthrowing its leader was long a plan in the neocon playbook and they used the 9/11 attack on the US as an excuse to pull the plan off the shelf and put it into action.

The US “regime change” war on Iraq has directly resulted in the death of at least a quarter of a million civilians, and indirectly perhaps a million Iraqis have been killed. The Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed and the country was set back many decades in development. Far from the democratization we were promised, Iraq has been turned into a hell on earth. Due to the US use of depleted uranium and other chemical weapons like white phosphorus, Iraqis will continue to suffer from birth defects and other related illnesses for generations.

How did we get there? War propaganda was essential in paving the way for the Iraq war. Americans are generally skeptical about launching new wars, so it takes a steady media bombardment about the alleged depravities of any targeted regime before public opinion begins to shift in favor of war.

Because the neocons who helped launch the war have never had to face the consequences of their actions, they continue to promote war with impunity. Just this past week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was pushing for a US attack on North Korea in which millions may be killed. He said this weekend, “All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.” That’s just what they said before the US attacked Iraq, and how did that turn out? I find it disgusting that the media continues to give airtime almost exclusively to those who promote more US disasters like Iraq.

To continue reading; We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament


Trump Slams Bush: Iraq Invasion “Single Worst Decision Ever Made”, by Tyler Durden

The Iraq invasion may not actually be the worse decision ever made (Napoleon’s and Hitler’s decisions to invade Russia come to mind as worse), but it was certainly Bush’s worst decision. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

President Trump slammed former President George W. Bush over the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq – referring to it as “the single worst decision ever made,” and that it was comparable to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.

Speaking to a group of GOP donors at a Mar-a-Lago closed door lunch and fundraiser, Trump also mocked Bush’s intellect: “Here we are, like the dummies of the world, because we had bad politicians running our country for a long time,” reported CNN – which obtained leaked audio from the event.

That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush,” Trump joked. “That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. Great intelligence agency there.”

In the past, Trump has been notoriously critical of the decision to invade Iraq, slamming Jeb Bush during the 2016 primaries over his brother’s decision to invade.

Bush snarks back

Former President Bush – despite rarely criticizing President Obama – only took a month into Trump’s presidency to begin tossing barbs. Following Trump’s controversial Executive Order banning travel from several countries associated with terrorism, Bush 43 said: “I don’t like the racism and I don’t like  the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated. Nobody likes that.”

Last October, Bush indirectly slammed Trump at a policy seminar in New York – telling the audience “We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty… We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism.”

“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children,” said Bush. “The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”

Trump and the Bush family have had a good relationship – as neither George W. Bush, his father former President George H.W. Bush, or Jeb Bush endorsed him during the 2016 election.

Americans Are Horrified by Mass Killings — Unless the Government Is Doing It, by Carey Wedler

Most Americans have no idea how many people in other countries their government kills, or whether there’s any kind of justification for it. The assumption seems to be that if the government does it, it must be okay. From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

As Americans continue to rage over the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Florida, expressing indignation at both the atrocity and efforts to impose (or reject) gun control, the U.S. government has acknowledged its own perpetual addiction to violence.

According to two letters released by the federal government last week in response to an inquiry from Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, the U.S. plans to maintain its military presence in Syria and Iraq indefinitely, citing vague threats of terrorism.

In one letter, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) David Trachtenberg responded to Kaine by justifying continued operations in Syria with the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress in the wake of 9/11 to justify invading Afghanistan.

In citing this, Trachtenberg and the Trump administration are essentially arguing that they need no new legal authorization to keep the U.S. military in Syria despite the fact that Congress has never officially declared war against that country.

The letter also references ISIS and other extremist factions, neglecting to mention the U.S.’ role in empowering each group through years of failed policy and efforts to arm Al-Qaeda affiliates.

Trachtenberg acknowledges the presence of 2,000 troops in Syria but also notes that the Pentagon will not disclose the number of “forces conducting sensitive missions,” making unclear how many U.S. soldiers are actually there. Further, he defends Trump’s April 2017, airstrike in Syria, claiming that while it did not fall under the 2001 or 2002 AUMFs, it was vital to defend U.S. interests and was legitimate under Trump’s executive authority.

To continue reading: Americans Are Horrified by Mass Killings — Unless the Government Is Doing It

Oops. Sorry We Destroyed Your Country in Error, by Eric Margolis

The US has wreaked far more havoc and destruction on Iraq than ISIS ever has. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

A gathering of rich oil Arabs pledged $30 billion this week at a meeting in Kuwait to start rebuilding war-shattered Iraq.  Sounds nice but these kinds of conclaves are notorious for offering big but delivering little.

The event was billed as helping Iraq repair war damage caused by ISIS.  In fact, most of the damage from that short-lived conflict was caused by US bombing and a few Russian air strikes.   ISIS, as this column has long been crying in the wilderness, was largely a paper tiger confected by the US, Britain and France to justify their military re-entry into Syria.

Iraq’s government says it needs at least $88 billion to rebuild war damage.  What the US-imposed client regime in Baghdad won’t or can’t say is that the damage to Iraq is far greater than $88 billion and was largely inflicted by US air power in 1990-1991 and 2003.

Iraq was ravaged, as I saw myself while covering the wars.  This small nation of 23-25 million souls, a third of whom were in permanent revolt against the Baghdad government, was pounded into rubble by US air power and cruise missiles.  First in 1990-1991, then in 2003, everything of value was blown to bits:  hospitals, schools, food factories, chemical plants making insecticide, bridges, and communications.  In short, all the attributes of a modern state.

Most shocking to me, was the destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants by US air strikes.

Their destruction resulted in epidemics of cholera and other water-born diseases.  Children were the primary victims.  The UN asserted that over 550,000 Iraqi children died as a result of contaminated water.  US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright later notoriously asserted that these deaths were ‘a price worth paying.’  I call them a war crime.

In 2003, 900,000 US-directed troops massed in Kuwait, invaded Iraq to finish off, it was claimed, the ‘work that the first president Bush failed to achieve,’ the overthrow and lynching of Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein.  If Saddam had any nuclear or broad-area biological weapons, the invader’s buildup in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would have been a dream target.

The Wars No One Notices Talking to a Demobilized Country, by Stephanie Savell

You come up with some huge numbers when you tally all the costs of America’s wars since 9/11. There’s no way the results have been worth those costs. From Stephanie Savell at tomdispatch.com:

I’m in my mid-thirties, which means that, after the 9/11 attacks, when this country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in what President George W. Bush called the “Global War on Terror,” I was still in college. I remember taking part in a couple of campus antiwar demonstrations and, while working as a waitress in 2003, being upset by customers who ordered “freedom fries,” not “French fries,” to protest France’s opposition to our war in Iraq. (As it happens, my mother is French, so it felt like a double insult.) For years, like many Americans, that was about all the thought I put into the war on terror. But one career choice led to another and today I’m co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Now, when I go to dinner parties or take my toddler to play dates and tell my peers what I do for a living, I’ve grown used to the blank stares and vaguely approving comments (“that’s cool”) as we quickly move on to other topics. People do tend to humor me if I begin to speak passionately about the startlingly global reach of this country’s military counterterrorism activities or the massive war debt we’re so thoughtlessly piling up for our children to pay off. In terms of engagement, though, my listeners tend to be far more interested and ask far more penetrating questions about my other area of research: the policing of Brazil’s vast favelas, or slums. I don’t mean to suggest that no one cares about America’s never-ending wars, just that, 17 years after the war on terror began, it’s a topic that seems to fire relatively few of us up, much less send us into the streets, Vietnam-style, to protest. The fact is that those wars are approaching the end of their second decade and yet most of us don’t even think of ourselves as “at war.

To continue reading: The Wars No One Notices Talking to a Demobilized Country

Our Enemy, Ourselves, by William J. Astore

The US has 800 military bases in 172 countries, and 291,000 personnel deployed in 183 countries. Surely each and every one of those bases and personnel are completely necessary for the defense of America. Actually, we’re long past the point when the US military’s mission was confined to defending America. From William J. Astore at tomdispatch.com:

Ten Commonsense Suggestions for Making Peace, Not War

Whether the rationale is the need to wage a war on terror involving 76 countries or renewed preparations for a struggle against peer competitors Russia and China (as Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested recently while introducing America’s new National Defense Strategy), the U.S. military is engaged globally.  A network of 800 military bases spread across 172 countries helps enable its wars and interventions.  By the count of the Pentagon, at the end of the last fiscal year about 291,000 personnel (including reserves and Department of Defense civilians) were deployed in 183 countries worldwide, which is the functional definition of a military uncontained.  Lady Liberty may temporarily close when the U.S. government grinds to a halt, but the country’s foreign military commitments, especially its wars, just keep humming along.

As a student of history, I was warned to avoid the notion of inevitability.  Still, given such data points and others like them, is there anything more predictable in this country’s future than incessant warfare without a true victory in sight?  Indeed, the last clear-cut American victory, the last true “mission accomplished” moment in a war of any significance, came in 1945 with the end of World War II.

Yet the lack of clear victories since then seems to faze no one in Washington.  In this century, presidents have regularly boasted that the U.S. military is the finest fighting force in human history, while no less regularly demanding that the most powerful military in today’s world be “rebuilt” and funded at ever more staggering levels.  Indeed, while on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised he’d invest so much in the military that it would become “so big and so strong and so great, and it will be so powerful that I don’t think we’re ever going to have to use it.” 

As soon as he took office, however, he promptly appointed a set of generals to key positions in his government, stored the mothballs, and went back to war.  Here, then, is a brief rundown of the first year of his presidency in war terms.

To continue reading: Our Enemy, Ourselves


Will Washington’s Syria Chess Game Lead to War with NATO Ally Turkey? by Darius Shahtahmasebi

The best thing the US could have done in Syria would have been to stay out. Instead, the government seems hell-bent on staying there and making the situation worse for itself and everyone else. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at mintpressnews.com:

America’s current Syria strategy opens up the door for a war with Turkey and a potential war with Iran and Syria. All the while the U.S. loses its status as the so-called global leader, with Russia emerging unscathed from the conflict as the region’s major power broker.

It’s not clear if the United States knows what it is doing in Syria anymore. Having successfully toppled the Libyan government in 2011, former President Barack Obama subsequently spent a good three years attempting to bring about the fall of the Syrian government, under the guise of humanitarianism, that embroiled the region in chaos and civil strife. Incessant calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to formally step down, combined with the billions of dollars in arms and funding for radical Sunni jihadists who sowed the seeds of sectarianism and a bloody civil war in order to divide and conquer Syria, plagued Obama’s foreign policy for years. And let’s not forget the extensive strike plan Obama drew up in 2013, which would have almost certainly extinguished Assad’s presidency.

Unfortunately for the establishment, Obama’s strike plan didn’t have the approval of America’s warmongering partner in crime, the United Kingdom; and was strongly opposed by Russia. Most importantly, there was significant disapproval among the general public and military, and the U.S. knew it would never garner the support needed to carry out such an intervention.

Then in 2014, the U.S. military found backdoor access by riding the international outrage and horror provoked by the radical group ISIS, which had attained huge swaths of territory in both Iraq and Syria. Anyone who had been paying attention knew deep-down that the focus on ISIS was essentially just a façade to pave the way for the U.S. military to take on Assad directly — though this scenario proved much harder than expected, after Russia’s formal intervention in 2015. With Russia backing the Syrian government directly, there was little the U.S. could do but direct most of its energy towards ISIS, with some minor, albeit noticeable, exceptions.

And then came Donald Trump, the alleged Russian stooge and lackey, who was going to focus on making America great again and who had proposed instead to work with Assad and Russia. Whether or not Trump has any say in the matter is unclear, but it became quickly apparent that the war-hawks in his administration are just as schizophrenic as their predecessors.


To continue reading: Will Washington’s Syria Chess Game Lead to War with NATO Ally Turkey?