Tag Archives: Iraq

5th Anniversary of America Withdrawing Troops from Iraq, by Dyfed Loesche

From The Burning Platform: 

In addition to the 4,524 dead soldiers, 31,952 soldiers were wounded, and a few hundred thousand Iraqis were killed or wounded. And it only cost $2 trillion, so far. The medical benefits to the soldiers and families will ultimately drive the total cost over $5 trillion. And what exactly did we accomplish?

From Dyfed Loesche at statista.com:

On Dec 15, 2011 the last combat troops that had taken part in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and the transitional Operation New Dawn (OND) left Iraq. It came over seven years after OIF began with the March 2003 invasion to remove Saddam Hussein. Around 4,500 U.S. troops died during that phase of American military involvement.

The number of fatalities is picking up again ever since the United States once more got involved in Iraq in August 2014, this time to help Iraqi forces combat the so-called Islamic State (IS). This engagement is called Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Further official data on U.S. casualties can be retrieved here.

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/12/15/mission-accomplished-9/

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Inside The Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton, & Trump, by John Pilger

There are a multitude of distressing aspects of the US and its allies interventions in the Middle East. One of the most distressing is the mainstream media’s complicity in spreading government propaganda. Had it not done so, and were it not continuing to do so, many lives might have been saved or would be saved in the future. From John Pilger at strategic-culture.com:

The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda.

The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.

In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade – behaviour then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”

Bernays’ influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest success was his role in convincing the American public to join the slaughter of the First World War. The secret, he said, was “engineering the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them] according to our will without their knowing about it”.

He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government”.

Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less understood. In my career as a journalist and film-maker, I have never known propaganda to insinuate our lives and as it does now and to go unchallenged.

Imagine two cities.

Both are under siege by the forces of the government of that country. Both cities are occupied by fanatics, who commit terrible atrocities, such as beheading people.

But there is a vital difference. In one siege, the government soldiers are described as liberators by Western reporters embedded with them, who enthusiastically report their battles and air strikes. There are front page pictures of these heroic soldiers giving a V-sign for victory. There is scant mention of civilian casualties.

In the second city – in another country nearby – almost exactly the same is happening. Government forces are laying siege to a city controlled by the same breed of fanatics.

The difference is that these fanatics are supported, supplied and armed by “us” – by the United States and Britain. They even have a media centre that is funded by Britain and America.

Another difference is that the government soldiers laying siege to this city are the bad guys, condemned for assaulting and bombing the city – which is exactly what the good soldiers do in the first city.

Confusing? Not really. Such is the basic double standard that is the essence of propaganda. I am referring, of course, to the current siege of the city of Mosul by the government forces of Iraq, who are backed by the United States and Britain and to the siege of Aleppo by the government forces of Syria, backed by Russia. One is good; the other is bad.

What is seldom reported is that both cities would not be occupied by fanatics and ravaged by war if Britain and the United States had not invaded Iraq in 2003. That criminal enterprise was launched on lies strikingly similar to the propaganda that now distorts our understanding of the civil war in Syria.

Without this drumbeat of propaganda dressed up as news, the monstrous ISIS and Al-Qaida and al-Nusra and the rest of the jihadist gang might not exist, and the people of Syria might not be fighting for their lives today.

To continue reading: Inside The Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton, & Trump

 

Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’, by Michael Krieger

Syria still threatens to become “The Quagmire to End All Quagmires.” From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars.

To be more specific, the first “fourth turning” in American history culminated with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the second culminated with the Civil War (1861-1865), while the third ended with the bloodiest war in world history, World War II (1939-1945). The number of years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the Civil War was 78 years, and the number of years between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War II was 74 years (76 years if you use America’s entry into the war as your starting date). Therefore, if Howe & Strauss’ theory holds any water, and I think it does, we’re due for a major conflict somewhere around 75 years from the end of World War II. That brings us to 2020.

– From August’s post: Japanese Government Shifts Further Toward Authoritarianism and Militarism

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six months or so warning about World War 3, an event which is more likely over the next few years than at any other point in my lifetime. Such a conflict is the last thing I’d ever want to see or have to raise red flags about, but I can’t simply ignore all the obvious and troubling signs around me.

Just last week, I published a post titled, The Situation in Syria is Very, Very Dangerous. Here are a few excerpts:

Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for diplomatic solutions from the Middle East to Ukraine and cyberspace, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The U.S. officials said the failure of diplomacy in Syria has left the Obama administration no choice but to consider alternatives, most of which involve some use of force and have been examined before but held in abeyance.

It’s not just Syria, of course. The entire region looks like it’s about to go up in flames in a way that could make recent conflicts look tame by comparison. We all know about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen that the Saudis seem determined to make as chaotic as possible, but there’s also Iraq.

For example, Reuters reported the following earlier today:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.

Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.

Turkey’s parliament voted last week to extend its military presence in Iraq for a further year to take on what it called “terrorist organizations” – a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as Islamic State.

In case you’re not paying attention, Turkey is now involved in military operations inside both Iraq and Syria.

To continue reading: Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’

Who Got Us Into These Endless Wars? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The wonder is after a mammoth string of epic failures, why anybody still listens to the neoconservatives. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Isolationists must not prevail in this new debate over foreign policy,” warns Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The consequences of a lasting American retreat from the world would be dire.”

To make his case against the “Isolationist Temptation,” Haass creates a caricature, a cartoon, of America First patriots, then thunders that we cannot become “a giant gated community.”

Understandably, Haass is upset. For the CFR has lost the country.

Why? It colluded in the blunders that have bled and near bankrupted America and that cost this country its unrivaled global preeminence at the end of the Cold War.

No, it was not “isolationists” who failed America. None came near to power. The guilty parties are the CFR crowd and their neocon collaborators, and liberal interventionists who set off to play empire after the Cold War and create a New World Order with themselves as Masters of the Universe.

Consider just a few of the decisions taken in those years that most Americans wish we could take back.

After the Soviet Union withdrew the Red Army from Europe and split into 15 nations, and Russia held out its hand to us, we slapped it away and rolled NATO right up onto her front porch.

Enraged Russians turned to a man who would restore respect for their country. Did we think they would just sit there and take it?

How did bringing Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into NATO make America stronger, safer and more secure? For it has surely moved us closer to a military clash with a nuclear power.

In 2014, with John McCain and U.S. diplomats cheering them on, mobs in Independence Square overthrew a pro-Russian government in Kiev that had been democratically elected and installed a pro-NATO regime.

Putin’s response: Secure Russia’s naval base at Sevastopol by retaking Crimea, and support pro-Russian Ukrainians in Luhansk and Donetsk who preferred secession to submission to U.S. puppets.

Fortunately, our interventionists failed to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Had they succeeded, we almost surely would have been in a shooting war with Russia by now.

Would that have made us stronger, safer, more secure?

After the attack on 9/11, George W. Bush, with the nation and world behind him, took us into Afghanistan to eradicate the nest of al-Qaida killers.

After having annihilated some and scattered the rest, however, Bush decided to stick around and convert this wild land of Pashtuns, Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks into another Iowa.

Fifteen years later, we are still there.

And the day we leave, the Taliban will return, undo all we have done, and butcher those who cooperated with the Americans.

If we had to do it over, would we have sent a U.S. army and civilian corps to make Afghanistan look more like us?

Bush then invaded Iraq, overthrew Saddam, purged the Baath Party, and disbanded the Iraqi army. Result: A ruined, sundered nation with a pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad, ISIS occupying Mosul, Kurds seceding, and endless U.S. involvement in this second-longest of American wars.

Most Americans now believe Iraq was a bloody trillion-dollar mistake, the consequences of which will be with us for decades.

To continue reading: Who Got Us Into These Endless Wars?

Behold, a Pale Horse and its Rider’s Name Was Death, by Paul Craig Roberts

It’s been years since Washington told even half-truths about the Middle East. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

I just listened to Obama give Washington’s account of the situation with ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

In Obama’s account, Washington is defeating ISIL in Iraq, but Russia and Assad are defeating the Syrian people in Syria. Obama denounced Russia and the Syrian government—but not ISIL—as barbaric. The message was clear: Washington still intends to overthrow Assad and turn Syria into another Libya and another Iraq, formerly stable and prosperous countries where war now rages continually.

It sickens me to hear the President of the United States lie and construct a false reality, so I turned off the broadcast. I believe it was a press conference, and I am confident that no meaningful questions were asked.

If Helen Thomas were still there, she would ask the Liar-in-Chief what went wrong with Washington’s policy in Iraq. We were promised that a low-cost “cakewalk” war of three or six weeks duration would bring “freedom and democracy” to Iraq. Why is it that 13 years later Iraq is a hellhole of war and destruction?

What happened to the “freedom and democracy?” And the “Cakewalk”?

You can bet your life that no presstitute asked Obama this question.

No one asked the Liar-in-Chief why the Russians and Syrians could clear ISIL out of most of Syria in a couple of months, but Washington has been struggling for several years to clear ISIL out of Iraq. Is it possible that Washington did not want to clear ISIL out of Iraq because Washington intended to use ISIL to clear Assad out of Syria?

No one asked the Liar-in-Chief why Washington sent ISIL to Syria and Iraq in the first place, or why the Syrians and Russians keep finding US weapons In ISIL’s military depots, or why Washington’s allies were funding ISIL by purchasing the oil ISIL is stealing from Iraq.

It seems to be the case that ISIL originated in the mercenaries that Washington organized to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and were sent to Syria to overthrow Assad when the UK Parliament refused to participate in Washington’s invasion of Syria and the Russians put a stop to it.

All of the violence in the Middle East, violence that has consumed countless lives and produced millions of war refugees now overrunning Washington’s NATO vassals in Europe, is 100 percent the fault of Washington, not the fault of ISIL, or Assad, or Russia. Washington and only Washington is to blame.

Washington produced this violence. Where is the question: “Why, Mr. President, did Washington introduce 15 years of massive and ongoing violence into the Middle East and then expect us to believe that it was the fault of someone else?”

If Helen Thomas were there, she would ask the relevent questions. But the pussies that comprise the American press corps are merely an audience that validates the false reality spun by Washington by accepting it without question.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Beijing have understood the message. Washington intends war. The purpose of Washington’s lies is to prepare the insouciant Western peoples for war against the two countries that Washington cannot subjugate except by victory in war.

By faithful vassalage to Washington, Europe is bringing death and destruction to the world.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/08/05/behold-a-pale-horse-and-its-riders-name-was-death-paul-craig-roberts/

Murder and Militias – Iraq’s Sunni-Shiite Plan After ISIS, by Anhvinh Doanvo

Getting rid of ISIS in Iraq will not get rid of sectarian violence there. From Anhvinh Doanvo at antiwar.com:

Since ISIS’s losses of 45% of its Iraqi territory over the past two years, we may be approaching the end of the war on ISIS. The conflict’s progression nevertheless raises hard questions on the potential resurgence of Sunni insurgencies like ISIS as American and Iraqi governments have failed to rein in destabilizing groups operating in Western Iraq. So long as murder, torture, and other human rights violations recur with impunity among Shiite forces operating in Sunni Iraqi provinces, there will be little reason to remain optimistic for the stability of Iraq.

During the capture of major Sunni cities from ISIS, the Iraqi army’s inefficiency demanded supplementation from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a counterinsurgency umbrella group composed of 100,000-120,000 volunteers operating under numerous, mostly Shiite, militias. In many of the largest battles, Shia PMF militias have played a larger role than indigenous Sunni militias – they’ve made up a third of the forces recapturing Ramadi and Fallujah and two-thirds of the fighters retaking Baiji and Tikrit. In Tikrit, Shiite PMF outnumbered Sunni militiamen by 20,000 to just 1,000. In each of these cities, Sunnis comprised the majority of the population, with as many as 90% of Ramadi civilians being Sunni.

Contrary to pro-Shia sources, the PMF’s commitment to the fight against ISIS has demonstrated sectarian aims with little respect to Sunni civilians, not the rebirth of Iraqi nationalism. In Tikrit, 200 Sunni civilians were abducted, and several hundred homes to Sunnis were demolished by the Shia Hezbollah Battalions and League of the Righteous Forces. Reports of Shia PMF indiscriminately targeting civilians in Ramadi remain unclear, but more recently in Fallujah, they tortured more than a thousand civilians, beating them while dragging them by car. In every Sunni, they see an inhuman enemy, with a militiaman saying that “80%” of Sunnis are part of ISIS.

The PMF’s human rights violations have virtually become a national security risk – the intelligence community has said that because of fears of the Shia militias’ participation in the fight against ISIS, “Iraq’s Sunnis will remain willing to endure some deprivation under ISIL rule.”

To reign the PMF in and perhaps because militias are prohibited by Iraq’s constitution, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi adopted the PMF as part of Iraq’s armed forces earlier this year, while calling for the appointment of thousands of Sunnis to the PMF. A prison was also established for human rights offenders last year, but these measures have translated into little accountability.

According to the Human Rights Watch, more than 90 men of the Hezbollah Battalions tortured at least 600 civilians during last month’s Fallujah assault, but as of July, only “four or five” were arrested. Basam Ridha, the Washington representative of the PMF, said that “The reality is that they do cover for each other,” making it impossible to find credible witnesses. “They have done a lot of vicious activities… but they get away with it.”

To continue reading: Murder and Militias – Iraq’s Sunni-Shiite Plan After ISIS

Iraq: The Interventionist Hellhole, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Iraq is the prototypical failure of the neoconservative interventionists, but it has not stopped them from pushing the same agenda elsewhere. It hasn’t even elicited, at least publicly, any second thoughts. From Jacob Hornberg at fff.org:

When Vice President Joseph Biden traveled to Iraq a few days ago, he did it, as always, under a shroud of secrecy. The mainstream press was asked in advance to keep the trip secret and dutifully complied. Biden declined to spend the night in Iraq, staying only 10 hours before whisking away to Italy, where presumably he slept safe and sound.

Why all the secrecy? Why didn’t Biden stay in Baghdad a few days, walk the streets, do a little shopping, visit with the people, and tour the country? After all, isn’t this the country that the U.S. government invaded and regime-changed under the military rubric “Operation Iraqi Freedom”? Isn’t this the country that the U.S. military and the CIA occupied for more than 10 years, killing people with impunity and destroying homes, buildings, and infrastructure in the process, all with the aim of producing a showcase for interventionism to present to the world?

Oh, let’s not forget the regime they installed. After all, lest we forget, this was, in fact, a regime-change operation, one devoted to removing Saddam Hussein from power (who had been a partner and ally of the U.S. government during the 1980s) and installing and establishing a government that would be, well, more pro-U.S.A. and, therefore, more “free.” And after all, the structure of the new government was modeled after that of the U.S. government — that is, one founded on an all-powerful national-security establishment, including an enormous military and intelligence force with the omnipotent power to round up people, torture them, and kill them.

The purpose of Biden’s trip? To offer support to the beleaguered regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose government is wracked with political corruption. In fact, the corruption goes so deep that over the weekend hundreds of Iraqi protestors broke into the infamous “Green Zone” in Baghdad to protest the corruption. That’s the walled-in zone that the U.S. government constructed as part of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” It was the first time that many of the protestors had ever been inside the Green Zone.

Today a car bomb exploded in Baghdad, killing 18 and wounding at least 28 others. That was a different car bomb from the one that exploded in Baghdad on Saturday, which killed 21 people and wounded another 42. Those two were different from the car bomb that exploded in Baghdad on April 25, which killed at least 11 people and wounded 39.

No wonder Biden sneaks into Iraq and doesn’t dare spend the night there, much less walk the streets, do a little shopping, visit with the people, and tour the sites. Indeed, have you ever noticed that not one single American neocon has ever taken his family on vacation to Iraq since the Pentagon invaded some 13 years ago? Have you ever noticed that congressmen never include Iraq on their list of nice, little junkets to take?

What better testament to the philosophy of foreign interventionism than Iraq? Here was their chance — the great opportunity for the Pentagon, the CIA, the entire national-security establishment, the neocon movement, and the interventionist movement to show what they could do if given carte blanche over a country, a country that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

All that needed to be done was to kill a few hundreds of thousands of people, incarcerate and torture tens of thousands of others, reeducate millions who would survive the onslaught, and bring into existence a new government — one that might be a bit brutal, corrupt, and tyrannical but at least would be pro-U.S.A.

Iraq was to be the showcase for foreign interventionism. It was to be their model.

Alas, all they’ve done is produced one giant hellhole of death, destruction, misery, suffering, privation, violence, crises, civil war, and loss of freedom. All they have to show for their grand interventionist experiment is hundreds of thousands of corpses, tens of thousands of others who have been detained and tortured, an impoverished society, and a crooked, corrupt, and tyrannical government, not to mention a brand new organization that their interventionism produced to the Middle East: ISIS, aka ISIL, aka the Islamic State.

To continue reading: Iraq: The Interventionist Hellhole