Sunday, March 24, 2013

Truest statement of the week

The United States has officially been out of Iraq for about 15 months. But there are still thousands of American soldiers stationed in the country today, ten years after the first full day of war. All those people, along with thousands of reconstruction projects and programs that we left behind.

-- Kai Ryssdal, "What Iraq taught us about reconstruction," (American Public Media's Marketplace).

Truest statement of the week II

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, don’t expect the vast numbers of media hotshots and U.S. officials who propelled that catastrophe to utter a word of regret.

--  Norman Solomon, "Ten Years Ago and Today: A Warfare State of Mind" (

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Mike and Trina brought this one.
Betty suggested this one. 

Check out C.I.'s "Faces of resistance" for another topic we could have gone with.  And almost did.

Amy Goodman covers up for counterintelligence.  That explains a great deal.  She refused to cover it and her strongest 'coverage' prior has been Juan Cole praising it on her show.  This is a great piece and the sort of thing that only Ava and C.I. provide you with.
This was the first piece we wrote for this edition.  Mike, Elaine, Ava and C.I. pitched it and it felt like it would write itself.  It did.  Leading us to wrongly believe this might be an easy edition.
It wasn't.  Which is why I (Jim) asked Ava and C.I. to cover another topic in another article.  They agreed so that we could be done for the week.
For the same reason, I wrote this.
A short feature.
A great moment from Law and Disorder Radio.
Press release from Senator Patty Murray's office.

Sara Flounders covers Iraq. 
Workers World on the postal service.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: What the press didn't tell you

From Adamiyah Baghdad من الأعظمية بغداد

Wasn't it great to see Iraq get attention from the US press last week?

Great to hear about, for example, the protest above, Friday, in Adamiyah Baghdad.

What's that?

You didn't hear about that?

Friday, on the 'international hour' of The Diane Rehm Show, you heard about Iraq.  Or you heard the disgusting Susan Glasser (Foreign Policy Magazine) name check Iraq over and over as she argued for US combat in Syria.  It takes a War Whore . . .

to keep us all ignorant.

How pathetic.  The tenth anniversary and Diane Rehm couldn't even do a show on it -- not by herself, not with guest hosts.

It's not as if her audience didn't want it.

When Diane did yet another softball interview with Carole King, her listeners wanted to know why Carole had never spoken out against the Iraq War.  Now some of the calls that didn't get put through weren't going to get put through.  Accusing Carole of being for the illegal war because she was Jewish was making an assumption without any basis.  But those who were calling in and just wanting to know  why Carole, the peace queen, never uttered a war about the Iraq War?

Though the many calls never made it on air, it did come up in the comments left at Diane's site.

That's not surprising, as Kat observed in 2006:

But what Living Room finally drives home is that the whole thing, the entire career, may have been pretend. That's why I hated it so much. 1975, when it would have been safe for our peaceful, easy feeling King to make a statement regarding Watergate or Vietnam, she's off doing a children's album (Really Rosie). Before that, when record buyers had turned against the war but elites and pols still hadn't in large numbers, she was offering her "Been to Canaan" type songs (toss in "Brother, Brother"). They gave the appearance of someone with beliefs. But maybe someone with real beliefs would have actually written about what was going on in the country? So the army withdrew from Vietnam and suddenly King had a lot to say. Nothing specific but more on the mark than anything she'd written (or recorded in cases where she recorded others' lyrics) while the war was raging.

Or as Ava and C.I. noted in their review of Carole's awful book, "Carole's anti-war stance is only with regards to Vietnam. She makes no comment on the Iraq War though she does let you know she's pro-tsunami relief, pro-Haiti relief and pro-Hurricane Katrina relief -- she supports all the easy and non-controversial causes."

This month, you heard a ton about Iraq.

But little of it applied to what was going on.

Few were concerned about the protesters or the attacks on them.  In Mosul and Falluja, for example, Nouri's forces have shot activists to death.  Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations have condemned this.

You didn't hear about that.

You didn't hear about how Nouri has no Minister of Defense.  Awarded (by the US White House) a second term in 2010, he was supposed to appoint a Minister of Defense.  In the US, Chuck Hagel is the Secretary of Defense.  One of the reasons he is that already is because the press was able to hand wring over how the US might be left vulnerable if Hagel wasn't confirmed because Leon Panetta really wanted to step down already.

But in Iraq, for three years now, there's been no Minister of Defense.

Or take Tareq al-Hashemi.  Do you know who he is?

Iraq's Sunni Vice President.  Where is he?

Currently in Turkey because Nouri al-Maliki began attacking him, tortured al-Hashemi's bodyguards (including one tortured to death) to give 'confessions' against him and then had the kangaroo court in Baghdad convict him of 'terrorism.'

Iraq is the only country in the world with a sitting Vice President who has been convicted for 'terrorism.'

Iraq is the only country in the world with a sitting Vice President who has been sentenced to death.

Is this a functioning government?

No, this is a failed state.

And that's what's driven Iraqis -- 10% of the country's population, in fact -- to take to the streets in protest, week after week, for months now.

Maybe some day, the US press will find time to address that?

TV: Goody's COIN cover-up

Maybe it wasn't Amy Goodman's fault that some radio stations her TV and radio show aired on last week were in pledge mode.  Even so, Friday she came off not just like her usual beggar self.  There she was talking about how important the 'journalism' she does is and how it needs you help (dig in your pocket for her) to afford it and all Friday really was was Goody talking to a British journalist and playing video of an investigative report she didn't do.


Let's clarify that.  It's not just that she didn't do the investigative report, it's that it didn't cost her.  British public television and England's Guardian newspaper paid for it.  Goody put it this way, "As we continue to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, we turn today to a shocking new report by The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic detailing how the United States armed and trained Iraqi police commando units that ran torture centers and death squads."

A shocking new report?  We'll we're in.  Oh, wait.  She was talking about James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq -- the documentary we covered in "TV: The War Crimes Documentary" two weeks ago.

14 days late and playing it cheap, Goody decided to kind-of, sort-of get serious.

Or as serious as a Class of '79 Harvard Whore can.

We were tipped off by a friend at The Guardian that the paper's Maggie O'Kane was asked not to use the term "counter-insurgency"  during her appearance on Democracy Now!

If you've seen the documentary, you know that counter-insurgency is what the documentary's all  about.

Counter-insurgency is war on a native population.

It's pimped by Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights.  It's especially pimped by Sarah Sewall.  Goody and Sewer have such a peculiar relationship.  We're reminded of another peculiar one, when actress Patsy Kelly was Tallulah Bankhead's maid and used to give Bankhead "vulvular massages."  The world didn't discover that until after Tallulah was dead and gone.  Who knows what will later be learned about Goody and Sewer?

Goody's also had a curious career embrace of the CIA that goes far beyond regularly booking CIA contractors and assets (Juan Cole is only the tip of the iceberg there).  Maybe others will join Lew Rockwell in questioning Goody?

Counter-insurgency always involves spooks.

Is that what spooked Goody?  Had her insist the guest purge the term from the discussion?

The term is used three times in the forty-four minute segments as excerpts are played.  But it's near the end when O'Kane breaks Goody's imposed rule.

Maggie O'Kane:   And also that there was one man whose history goes back through so many of America’s wars. And I think it's indicative of a very dysfunctional, brutal time, that I hope this film will be a legacy that actually says, if you want to go to war, this is what war means. It means 14-year-old boys being hung up and tortured. It means men being turned on spits. And that's called "counterinsurgency." So I just feel it's important that this information comes out, and I'm shocked, in a way, that we want to forget it. 

Amy Goodman:  And as we wrap up, I wanted to turn to Bradley Manning,

Yeah, she cut O'Kane off very quickly.

Goody didn't want to talk about counter-insurgency.

And when she went to quote political prisoner and whistle blower Bradley Manning on why he leaked documents to WikiLeaks, she didn't go the money quote:

I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and hatred on both sides. I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized.

 No, she went to the technical jargon quote about "CIDNE-1" that she didn't bother to explain and that most listeners won't be able to decipher themselves.

She deliberately omitted counter-insurgency from the discussion of a documentary about counter-insurgency.

That should bother all of her viewers and listeners.

Counter-insurgency is at the heart of the British documentary.  It's a policy.  Goody wanted to reduce it to random acts of torture with no real American fingerprints on the crimes.  To hear Goody tell it and offer selective edits of the documentary, James Steele trained some bad guys and that's really all.

Last week, the national radio program Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), was able to explore the topic of counter-insurgency with journalist Patrick Farrelly who was part of the  BBC Arabic and the Guardian newspaper investigative team behind the documentary  James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq.  Strange though, the guest and the hosts were able to use the term counter-insurgency.

Heidi Boghosian was able to accurately capture it as "mass intimidation."  That's what it is.  Counter-insurgency is meant to scare a people into submission, to frighten them to the point that they will not defend themselves.  Michael Smith was able to point out that it was used in Vietnam.  Michael Ratner made many substantive points.

But on Democracy Now! -- the so-called "war and peace report" -- it was nothing but random acts of torture carried out by Iraqis on other Iraqis with some US knowledge of what was taking place.

That's an utter lie.

Counter-insurgency is an instrument to terrorize people.  The US institutionalized it in Iraq.  They had elevated one group of Iraqis above others and they taught that group about using torture.  They taught them to use torture on their political rivals.  They taught them to use it to silence rivals and to silence opposition.

You don't really get that from Amy Goodman's 44-plus minutes on the topic.

Some day, maybe real soon, people will start asking why that is.  It's not like counter-insurgency lovers don't keep hawking COIN every change they get.  Foreign Policy just did a roundtable on it last week that played out like a glossy, over-produced informercial with the exception of a brief moment of reality provided by Elliot Cohen:

The first thing is just to remind us all, counterinsurgency is a kind of military operation. There's an American style to counterinsurgency; there was a German style to counterinsurgency; there's a Soviet or Russian style to counterinsurgency. It's just a kind of operation that militaries do, and I think particularly in the popular discussion there's this tendency to call counterinsurgency the kind of stuff that's in the manual.
[. . .]
And finally, having played a very modest role in helping get the COIN manual launched, I've got two big reservations about it. Actually three. One is a technical one, which is it underestimated the killing part of counterinsurgency and particularly what Stan McChrystal and his merry men were doing [with special operations]. I think that is a large part of our counterinsurgency success. We killed a lot of the people who needed to be killed, or captured them, and that's not something you want to talk about. You'd rather talk about building power plants and stuff, but the killing part was really important, and I think we have to wrestle with that one because it's obviously problematic.

That's the reality Goody avoided.  Again, some day people will be asking why that avoidance took place.  In the meantime, she gets to pretend she's a journalist and that she's on our side.

Barack bombs in Israel

The trip was a failure.

So much so that the real question is how bad was it?


How about so bad that Haaretz is using an illustration of Barack Obama looking glum and despondent (and pouty) to pitch subscriptions to their newspaper?

It was a two day visit by the US President filled with one mis-step after another.

Things were so bad that CNN went into a panic and began crediting Barack with an apology the Israeli government made to the Turkish government while. noted that Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stated the apology was evidence of Turkey's increasing role in the region while Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post) quoted Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who made the apology, explaining that the apology was prompted by fears of the growing conflict in Syria.

On the first day of his three-day visit to Israel, Barack rushed to hold a press conference where he gabbed endlessly about how he was in Israel right then to listen, not to talk.  He explained that in a record 1238 words -- and that was before he took questions.

In one of the most pointed moments of the visit, Barack waited until Netanyahu had issued his prepared remarks to bring out his trademark bitchy.

"I did inform the Prime Minister that they are very good-looking young men who clearly got their looks from their mother."

Barack wasn't counting on the fact that this wasn't the Rose Garden and Netanyahu wasn't a prop.  He was more than fine with interrupting Barack to counter, "Well I can say the same for your daughters."

The eyes narrowed as Barack attempted to pretend he found it amusing.

Thursday, he went to the West Bank where he hoped to be greeted warmly by the Palestinians.  That did not happen.  He was greeted loudly, AFP and Reuters pointed out,  with chants rejecting him and the CIA.

Friday was the worst of the visit.  The White House noted one primary event this way, "The President attended wreath laying ceremonies at Mount Herzl at the grave sites of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin."   So important was that event that Barack himself referenced it in his speech Wednesday, "And on Friday, I’ll be honored to visit Mount Herzl and pay tribute to the leaders and soldiers who have laid down their lives for Israel. One of them was Yoni Netanyahu. And in one of his letters home, he wrote to his family, 'Don’t forget -- strength, justice, and staunch resolution are on our side, and that is a great deal'."


This was supposed to be a solemn moment, one of respect.  But Barack could be overheard by the White House press pool cracking jokes while standing at the grave of Yitzhak Rabin, "Bibi arranged for perfect weather. . . . Shimon plied me with wine . . . Rabin had a great speaking voice. . . . I can sing.  They had me on YouTube."

This is how you pay respects?

As Wally and Cedric noted Saturday, Dana Milbank (Washington Post) reported on the outrageous conduct graveside but seemed unaware of what he was reporting.

Hopefully others grasped it immediately.

The Circle Jerk Swallows (Ava and C.I.)


Not being Blogger Boiz, we were never invited to the Circle Jerk (Ezra and others are pictured above, the token is most likely Digby).

Being independent women, we never wanted to go down the Circle Jerk, to see Ezra and the rest pulling on their tiny puds, making their sex faces at one another as they offered the press equivalent of "Dear Penthouse Forum."  ("So this real editor of a like real paper e-mails me and says, 'You should write for us.  I would like . . .'")

Being feminists means we refrain from Bash The Bitch.  That doesn't translate as "We must not criticize other women."  We do that often -- positively and negatively.  We've called out Ms., we've praised Ms.  The same with Women's Media Center, Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and assorted others.

Independence means you're not co-opted.

It means, for example, that you don't e-mail your peers that Sarah Palin gave an amazing speech at the 2008 GOP convention but post at The Nation sneers and attacks on her.  You know, what Katha Pollitt did.

If we have an opinion, we share it.  If we're sharing it, it's our honest opinion -- fleeting or fixed.  You don't need a decoder ring, we say what we mean.

But you realize that's not always the case.

You realize, for example, that Katha Pollitt and others used Ezra Klein's Journolist to plot and plan how to trick people.  Opinion writers refused to publicly call out rampant sexism while doing so on Journolist with some arguing that Keith Olbermann's sexism was a-okay as long as he kept calling out torture.

As if domestic abuse isn't torture?  As if domestic abuse isn't rooted in sexism?

That's what happens when a bunch of immature boys (of various ages) start a list-serv and a bunch of pathetic women like Katha Pollitt are so eager to be part of the Circle Jerk that they betray their own gender.

The Circle Jerk at its least appalling works like this.  Blogger A e-mails Greg Sargent for a link and he's friends with Blogger A so he links (but doesn't disclose relationship or that he was asked to link) and he asks Ezra to link and then, before you know it, some minor and unimportant distraction dominates the online world as each of the boiz links and links and links.

It's not about important things mind you.  We screamed our heads off trying to get attention to the BBC Arabic and Guardian newspaper documentary on counterinsurgency, for example.  We did the same with Amnesty's recent report on the state of Iraq today.

You'll notice that the Ezra Kleins don't pick up on topics like that.  They don't do the heavy lifting.  They can almost manage popularizing a sex scandal.


What they do is amplify each other's partisan attacks.

And further degrade the national discourse.

Greg Mitchell is a joke and has always been a joke.  He was  a sexist pig in the 70s who had done a whole lot to earn that reputation.  In the 00s, at Editor and Publisher, he emerged presenting himself as a non-partisan voice who happened to be a Bush critic.  That was a cute little lie.

His sexism continued.  In reflecting on Iraq this go-round, Greg finally discovered the Dixie Chicks.  In the past, as we documented in real time, no women could please Greg.  He did his little top ten people telling the truth about Iraq pieces yearly and we'd notice that women never made the list.  (Once a group of unnamed women -- McClatchy's Iraqi writers -- made the list.)

We called him out for his sexism repeatedly and stood alone in doing so.  (This site called him out for his habit of changing statements that were false and not putting in corrections.)  He's pretty much useless and, were it not for the Circle Jerk, his career (such as it is) would be over.

The Circle Jerk is being activated currently to save Greg's whiny and poor writing.

Michael Calderone (Huffington Post) rushed in to rescue Greg after the Outlook editor of The Washington Post, Carlos Lozada, decided not to run a piece.  The piece was being killed which is a good thing for a writer.  A novelist, for example, wrote a column that she sent off to The New York Times opposing the Iraq War before it started and the paper chose not to run it.  As a working writer, a fee for that would have been good.  She got no payment from the paper.  Greg had been commissioned to write a piece on a topic.  When the paper chose not to use it, they offered him a kill fee.

Carlos Lozada has explained what type of piece Greg was asked to write and Greg has foolishly posted the piece he 'wrote' at his website.

It was a mess.  Reading over Greg's 'writing,' we were reminded of Death Becomes Her, specifically after Goldie Hawn's Helen has had a meltdown following Meryl Streep's Madeline stabbing her in the back.  Helen ends up in an institution where a doctor (played by the late Alaina Reed Hall of 227 and Seseame Street fame) attempts to assist her in group therapy.

Doctor:   So what about you, Helen?  We haven't heard from you in awhile.  Is there . . . anything you'd like to . . . talk about . . . with the group?

Other patients stare nervously at Helen.

Helen:   Yes.  I would like to talk about . . .  Madeline Ashton.

Other patients begin screaming.  

Patient 1: Stop it!  Stop it!

Doctor clutches head as Helen looks around at the screamers.

The doctor quickly takes Helen into her office and wants to know, "Is this where we are, Helen?  Six months of therapy, you're not even one pound lighter, and we're still talking about Madeline Ashton?"

That's what we thought of when we read Greg's 'column.'

Carlos Lozado publicly explained what was wanted:

We invited Greg Mitchell -- a journalist for whom we have great respect -- to contribute a piece for Outlook on the art of the Iraq war mea culpa. We’d noticed that journalists and policy types had been issuing statements of apology on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the invasion, and we thought it would be interesting to have someone analyze the phenomenon in greater depth. He agreed to do it and we were grateful that he turned it around in short order, given our tight deadline. However, upon reviewing the draft, we felt that the piece offered too much of a rundown of the apologies, rather than drawing many broader analytical points or insights.

The paper wanted, to use Julia Phillips' favorite phrase, a broad vista.  What Greg offered was an embarrassment and a sure sign that bad blogging can lead to bad writing.

Greg's garbage, in fact, reads like a blog post.  A bad one.  It lists this apology and that apology, using bold print from time to time in an attempt to disguise the fact that he's penned a laundry list and not a column.

He himself dubs the laundry list a "catalog."  He wasn't asked to do that.

He was asked to write about the broader themes, the bigger picture.

He failed at the assignment.

He failed spectacularly.

A little more than half-way in, he writes, "Now let’s flash forward to this past two weeks, when Iraq (remember Iraq?) re-emerged in the news and opinion sections."

"At last," we thought, "he has a point and he's going to get to it."

Nope.  And he may trash others with "remember Iraq?" but he certainly doesn't.

There's nothing in there noting the rape of Iraqi women and girls in prisons and detention centers.  There's nothing in his garbage about the fact that ongoing protests are taking place in Iraq and have since December 21st.

The man who wrote "remember Iraq?" clearly does not.

The media failed on Iraq.  They failed for a number of reasons -- the biggest of which was faux 'realism' -- but no one, including Greg Mitchell -- wants to write about that.

But guess what?  That's not the most important story ten years later.

The media failure matters only because of what took place in Iraq -- the topic Greg Mitchell never wants to write about.  What took place and what is taking place, the crimes visited upon the Iraqi people by a government (and a press) that cloaked imperialism and a resource war in the name of 'liberation' and 'freedom.'

The Circle Jerk dictates that we all lie and say, "Poor Greg Mitchell.  And he wrote a great column."

We're not members of the Circle Jerk so we don't have to lie.

Michael Calderone has to lie.  That's why he writes, "The Post's decision to run Farhi's piece defending the press, and not Mitchell’s, got a lot of attention Sunday morning on Twitter."

Is that what Calderone 'observed'?

Like this attention from Twitter:

  1. Wow! WaPo killed 's piece on Iraq media failure, but ran Farhi's defense:
  2. Yeah, guess he's only had since Tuesday to actually read the piece before critiquing.
  3. But neglects to mention I interviewed/quoted Landay, Pincus -- reporters who got it right: (2/2)
  4. WaPo's Farhi suggests my Iraq media "failure" piece "oversimplifies" in not acknowledging some got it right: (1/2)

 Yeah, it looks like it did cause a stir but who was stirring?  There are four Tweets from Calderone in one hour -- as well as a Tweet whining about criticism he received from The Washington Post.

Those who think they can teach ethics, like Calderone, expose themselves to be the biggest phonies of all.

He stirs up things on Twitter and then writes an article saying it's a Twitter topic.

Not since 2008 when Melissa Harris Parry presented herself as a professor and an observer of the campaigns has anyone lied so often to the press.  (Parry began working for the Barack Obama campaign in 2007.  We documented this in repeat articles on Lie Face in real time as she took to various programs as a professor -- or worse, as a journalist -- and would be allowed to sit with objective observers and offers 'analysis.')

Jim's World


The 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War was a milestone.  For a lot of us, it is the generational moment.  It was the topic on campus, if not always the focus of the news.  In fact, the more complicated the war got, the less interested the media became.

As early as January 2005, we were seeing the problem.  Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and I were journalism students who spent the bulk of fall 2004 -- especially after John Kerry lost the election -- appalled by the press.  The one thing that gave us hope was a new site called The Common Ills.

As we watched C.I. repeatedly catch and cover what other people missed or refused to call out (like Dexy Filkins lies about the assault on Falluja, an 8 day old story when it made the front page of The New York Times and only C.I. called out the military vetting of that story before publication), we knew it was time to get online with something other than comments left at various sites.

It's been eight years now of this site.  Hard to believe.

Last week, Betty wrote "Iraq and Third" reflecting on some of the stuff that she's helped write here and I really enjoyed reading that.  People think we're sitting around all day talking about, "Remember in December 2006, when we wrote . . ."

I'm a father of a small child (Dona's the mother of one), Jess and Ava have a daughter as well, Ty's got a very busy career (not job, career, he's going to be running a movie studio one day, mark my words), and we just don't have that kind of time.

We're more likely to talk about that and wonder if it's time to step down?

From the beginning, Ava and C.I. have been willing to step down and wanting to.  But I've been one of the voices saying, "No, let's keep on."

More and more, I see less need.

The main thing that motivates me right now is that if we go dark, who calls out Barack from the left?

Who can call out empire and honestly say, "We called it out under Bully Boy Bush and we called it out under Barack!"

There are a few who can say that outside this community but it is only a few.

Even at this late date, it's still only a few.

And we've done it every week.  Honestly, if a Republican were in the White House, we could fold up our tent and go home.  That's because if a Republican were in charge, he'd be loudly called out by all segments of the left.

We kind of saw that last week.

With the Iraq coverage.

As people showed up to call out Bush.

But had not a word to say about Barack.

Let me quote the March 12th snapshot because that goes to why Barack needs to be called out:

Adam Entous, Julian E. Barnes and Siobhan Gorman's "CIA Ramps Up Role in Iraq" (Wall St. Journal) went up late last night:

In a series of secret decisions from 2011 to late 2012, the White House directed the CIA to provide support to Iraq's Counterterrorism Service, or CTS, a force that reports directly to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, officials said.
The CIA has since ramped up its work with the CTS -- taking control of a mission long run by the U.S. military, according to administration and defense officials. For years, U.S. special-operations forces worked with CTS against al Qaeda in Iraq. But the military's role has dwindled since U.S. troops pulled out of the country at the end of 2011.

 Previously, December 12, 2011 on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams, Ted Koppel reported who would remain in Iraq after the drawdown:

MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.

September 25, 2012,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

Negotiating an agreement?  We covered that agreement.  It was finalized December 6, 2012 (and it's posted in full in that day's snapshot). It's the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department of Defense of the United States of America.
We addressed its meaning at length in the December 10th and the December 11th snapshots.  John Glaser ( points out today:

Most Americans have been led to believe that all US forces besides those guarding the massive American Embassy in Iraq have been withdrawn since the end of last year.
In reality, US Special Operations Forces as well as the CIA have been providing this support to these elite Iraqi forces that report directly to the increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. They have essentially been used as a secret police force for Maliki to attack, detain, and torture his political opponents and crack down harshly on public dissent.

End of excerpt.

You get it?

The Iraq War is not a past thing.  And Barack continues to pull the wool over so many people's eyes.

 But you didn't read that in the EZ  Bake columns of last week.  (Remember, we warned you they were coming last Sunday in "How to write an Iraq anniversary column*.")   Instead, you read about vile and disgusting Bush.

I agree he is vile and disgusting.  I also agree that is so Barack Obama.

One of the most ridiculous e-mails this past week was from a guy who read some dingy report online about the Iraq coverage.   In it, the writer talked about how Iraqis were missing from it -- valid point.  But the e-mailer grabbed that and turned it into an attack on The Common Ills insisting that the writer was talking about TCI and that TCI had refused to allow Iraqis to be heard.

I couldn't stop laughing.  Unlike the bulk of Americans (including me), C.I. reads Arabic.  She goes through ten Iraqi newspapers in Arabic a day online, she goes to various Arabic social websites each day.  That alone ensures that Iraqis are being heard at TCI.  She also quotes Iraqis and did so throughout the last two weeks when it came to the topic of the state of Iraq.  I don't know how you miss that if you really read.

Time and again, last week, C.I. informed you of what was going on, what was being said:

One story that's been picked up in Iraqi media this week -- for example, Al Rafidayn carries it here
-- but largely ignored in the western media is that $138 billion is the amount the US and foreign companies brought in from reconstruction projects.  KBR got the most with $72 billion.  The story first appeared Tuesday in the Financial Times of London.

And if you look over even just the last week, C.I. covered Iraq today, she covered the protests and the protesters, she covered the issue of journalists (including Hadi al-Mahdi), she covered the issue of war resisters, she covered counter-insurgency, she covered the VA hearing and so much more.  Which is why she's really tired of it and I do understand that.

Two Saturdays ago, in the early morning hours, I participated in "Iraq Roundtable," "Iraq roundtable,"  "Talking Iraq roundtable," "The roundtable on Iraq." "a roundtable on iraq," "Iraq," "Roundtable on Iraq,"  "A roundtable on Iraq,"  "The Iraq Roundtable," "The Iraq Roundtable," "Iraq Roundtable," "Talking Iraq Roundtable," "Talking Iraq" and "THIS JUST IN! IRAQ!" with  C.I., Ava, Trina, Betty, Ann, Rebecca, Ruth, Kat, Marcia, Stan, Isaiah, Elaine, Mike, Cedric and Wally.

How come?

We never stop learning and the topic were the main reasons.

On the learning, C.I. was going to moderate.  When she moderates a discussion it moves along quickly and stays on focus.  Reading them, I always marvel and ask later, "What got edited out?"  Nothing.  There was a roundtable where Elaine and Mike's affair almost came out.  They hadn't told anyone about it and it had been going on for months.  C.I. knew.  And when Mike was hinting about it, C.I. just changed the topic, boom.  And that's how she handles things that would be edited out in the roundtables I moderate here.

So I wanted to hear how she did it.  That was one reason.

I also wanted to take her approach where I wouldn't say much and, at the end, I'd sum the discussion up.  When I moderate here, that's what she usually does arguing she has her own space (TCI) and doesn't need to weigh in as much here.  She'd rather let others speak.  Then, at the end, I usually toss to her and she says something that, I think, brings another level to the discussion.

Well I tried that.  Even if you're very generous, you won't be able to argue I did more than try.  I certainly didn't succeed.  Which is okay,  That's part of learning.

And so is knowing when to go.

I don't think we're there yet though, more often these days, I wish we were.

Photo of the Week


US President Barack Obama goes to Bethlehem to spark some ideas for the crypt he's planning in Honolulu.

Radio Moment of the Week

a radio

Last week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), explored counter-insurgency  with journalist Patrick Farrelly who was part of the  BBC Arabic and the Guardian newspaper investigative team behind the recent documentary entitled James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq.   Excerpt.


Patrick Farrelly:  He's retired not part of the administration.  But Col James Coffman is, he is a US army colonel and he reports directly to General [David] Petraeus in the army chain of command.  Steele is a consultant or an advisor but Coffman actually is in the chain of command. So therefore when this paramilitary  force, when they need money or they need equipment or whatever, Coffman is the guy who takes it upstairs to Petraeus and Petraeus is the one who provides the money, provides the weapons, provides whatever.  So these guys are in these detention centers, you have this torture going on and the torture is widespread.  And this is where Bradley Manning comes in.  'Cause I know you guys have been talking about him.  Part of the WikiLeaks discovery in terms of the War Logs which was released by Bradly Manning to WikiLeaks shows this entire pattern of US soldiers coming across these detention centers or working with these detention centers because they're involved with these special police commandos, they're providing them with guys to interrogate, they're taking guys from them for further interrogation.  And what they're seeing is --  consistently,  they're giving reports of seeing torture, of seeing abuse.  The Guardian went through these War Logs and started looking at this stuff and started seeing patterns of hundreds and hundreds of reports by US soldiers on the ground of this going on and that's really what actually launched the inquiry and that's what brought us to Col James Steele and Col James Coffman and actually General David Petraeus.


Michael Ratner: It's interesting, Patrick, because these are what they call the Iraq War Logs which Bradley Manning talks about when he made his guilty plea the other day as to why he wanted to reveal them because they were revealing all of this criminality really and the counter-insurgency and which he didn't like.  Now can you give us a sense of two things.  One is, why didn't any of this come out before?  I mean these War Logs have been out for a couple of years now and, secondly, what kind of torture is described?


Patrick Farrelly:  I mean the interesting thing for me about the War Logs is that an enormous amount was made of WikiLeaks and an enormous amount was made of these to stuff that the Times and the Guardian, El Pais and the other newspapers actually brought to light.  But I have to say that from that point onwards, the ball was dropped in many ways in the sense of like journalists really getting into the detail of what these things reveal and actually following them up.  And I think this documentary the Guardian and BBC Arabic produced is an example of the kind of material which actually lies within these and which journalists actually should be taking up.  But going back to the issue of these special police commandos, their existence was well known.  General David Petreaus was interviewed by this very find Frontline documentary called The Gangs of Iraq that Martin Smith made for PBS Frontline in which he interviews General Petraeus.  Petraeus is very proud of these, he's very proud of the commandos but the way that it was being posed in terms of our understanding of the situation was that after Petraeus left Iraq in September of 2005 -- he'd been there since June  2004 dealing with setting up this new police force.  It's only really after that, according to them that these abuses happened -- when these Shia political parties really took over and when these Shia militias started getting into great.  In other words it's another one of these situation swhere the US army and the US government sets up these police commandos which the locals invariably corrupt at a certain point and then because they don't have the same standards as we do start abusing people and start torturing people.  What this investigation has found is that from the very, very beginning, Col James Steele and Col James Coffman who answer to Petraeus and who answer to Rumsfeld had, you know, worked with these guys in these detention centers and were witnesses to and knew this stuff was going on because you've got to -- It's a production line because these young men come in, they were tortured --


Michael Ratner: How were they tortured?


Patrick Farrelly:  They were tortured by the worst kind of methods.  I mean these people were being hung up, off ceilings.  These people were having like, you know, their nails pulled out with pliers, it was waterboarding.  It was every concievable kind of torture that you can think of.


Michael Smith: And how do we know that?  That's in the documents?


Heidi Boghosian: Is it documented?


Patrick Farrelly: Because we  had a very important invidiual spoke to the Guardian about the US involvement for the first time.  He's a man by the name of General Muntadher al-Samari and he had been a general in -- he's a Sunni -- and he had been a general in Saddam's regime.  And when the United States came in, he -- actually along with a number of other Sunnis took the United States at their word that they were going to frame and bring about a pretty regular democratic society so they actually became involved with helping the United States actually put together this police force.  So Muntadher was there.  He worked for the Ministery of the Interior, he worked for the police, he worked directly with Steele and he worked with Coffman.  He'd meet Coffman, he had meetings with Petraeus.


Michael Ratner:  How many people were tortured?  Ten?  A hundred?  A thousand?


Patrick Farrelly:  We don't have exact numbers but I think we're talking tens of thousands of people were actually brought in.  You're dealing with, for example, if you take the ancient city of Samarra -- a very, very important city in terms of the religion and the culture and the history of that area -- which was also a place where there was enormous opposition to the occupation.  They went in there.  They turned the city library into a torture center.  They turfed everything out that was there and there was all these books, all these manuscripts and they turned it into a torture center.  They would then go out at night -- they were there for months on end in the fall and winter of 2004.  They would go out with trucks at night.  They would pull in hundreds of people who were then being processed.  This went on for months.  So I mean the numbers in that place alone run into the thousands.  And there was a network of approximately 14 of these centers that we were aware of throughout Iraq.  So this was a fairly -- this was a large scale operation which produced a lot of results.  I mean that's one thing that we have to be sure of, this was a thing which terrorized Sunni community.  There was no two ways, it was incredibly effective in terms of scaring the living daylights out of people because this force that they put on the ground and which started to work was a feared force.  If they're right in your neighborhood in their Dodge trucks because this was one thing these guys were very, very happy with because  Petraeus gave them 150 Dodge trucks.  They were then provided with other American pick up trucks.  I know in this country, it's a great thing to see if you're out there in the farmlands but if you are living in a Sunni neighborhood and you saw one of these trucks arriving, this was not a good thing.  

Heidi Boghosian: Well the result was a mass intimidation.

Murray on the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War

Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Last week, her office issued the following:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834

Senator Murray's Statement on 10-Year Anniversary of the Iraq War

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement marking the ten-year anniversary of the war in Iraq.

“Like all Americans who recall the horrific events of September 11, 2001, I will never forget the fear and destruction our nation endured on that day. I will always remember the way Americans came together – across regions and political lines – with courage and commitment to support our men and women in uniform who didn’t think twice before stepping up to protect our nation.

“Unfortunately, the focus on locating and destroying terrorist organizations that brought such devastation upon our nation was diverted for too long by the war in Iraq, a war I opposed and voted against authorizing. After nine years of pressing for a responsible end to military operations in the country, I was pleased when the last American troops finally left Iraq on December 18, 2011.

“While I did not support the decision to enter into this conflict, I have made it my priority over the last decade to ensure the costs – both visible and invisible – are not forgotten. Today’s solemn anniversary must serve as a reminder that our work has just begun. We must not waver on our duty to serve those who have served. From education assistance and employment, to bringing down VA wait times and curbing the tragic epidemics of suicide and military sexual trauma – the completion of the war in Iraq does not signal the end to this work.

“I could not be more proud of our servicemembers from Washington state and across America who served and sacrificed honorably in Iraq, and continue to do so in Afghanistan. And as long as there are men and women in our Armed Forces serving in harm’s way, I remain committed to ensuring their well-being both on and off the battlefield.” 

Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

Iraq (Sara Flounders, Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

Iraq: 10th anniversary of U.S. crime against humanity

By on March 19, 2013 » Add the first comment.
The corporate media in the U.S. play a powerful role in preparation for imperialist war. They play an even more insidious role in rewriting the history of U.S. wars and obscuring the purpose of U.S. wars.

They are totally intertwined with U.S. military, oil and banking corporations. In every war, this enormously powerful institution known as the ‘fourth estate’ attempts, as the public relations arm of corporate dominance, to justify imperialist plunder and overwhelm all dissent.

The corporate media’s reminiscences and evaluations this week of the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, which began March 19, 2003, are a stark reminder of their criminal complicity in the war.

In the many articles there is barely any mention of the hundreds of news stories that totally saturated the media for months leading to the Pentagon onslaught. The news coverage in 2003 was wholly unsubstantiated, with wild fabrications of Iraqi secret ”weapons of mass destruction,” ominous nuclear threats, germ warfare programs, purchases of yellow cake uranium, nerve gas labs and the racist demonization of Saddam Hussein as the greatest threat to humanity. All of this is now glossed over and forgotten.

No weapons were ever found in Iraq, but no U.S. official was ever charged with fraud. Heroes such as Private B. Manning, however, face life in prison for releasing documents exposing the extent of some these premeditated crimes.

Today, in the popular histories, the barest mention is made of the real reason for the war: the determination to impose regime change on Iraq in order to secure U.S. corporate control and domination of the vast oil and gas resources of the region. Iraq was to be an example to every country attempting independent development that the only choice was complete submission or total destruction.

Now it is no longer even a political debate that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq were a howling disaster and major imperialist blunder for U.S. strategic interests. Despite every determination to occupy Iraq with 14 permanent military bases, the U.S. army of occupation was forced to withdraw in the face of fierce Iraqi national resistance.

Bush stood on the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Lincoln on May Day 2003, with a “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him, to declare the war over. But what the U.S., puffed up by its imperialist arrogance, did not foresee was that the resistance had just begun.

U.S. strategists, so full of conceit about their powerful weapons, ignored the message displayed on signs, billboards and headlines of every Iraqi newspaper. It was even the headline of an English-language newspaper there, when this reporter was in Iraq with a solidarity delegation just a few weeks before the U.S. “shock and awe” onslaught.

The oft-repeated slogan was: “What the jungles of Vietnam were to their resistance, the cities of Iraq will be for us.”

The Iraqi government opened the warehouses and distributed six months of food rations to the population in advance of the war. Each package bore the sign: “Remember to feed a resistance fighter.” Small arms, explosives and simple instructions for making improvised explosive devices were publicly distributed.

Ultimately U.S. corporate power was defeated in Iraq due to its inability to be a force for human progress on any level. It was incapable of reconstruction.

The overpowering force of U.S. weaponry was able to destroy the proudest accomplishments of past decades of Iraqi sovereignty and inflame old sectarian wounds. But it was unable to defeat the Iraqi resistance or even gain a vote on a status of forces agreement in an Iraqi Parliament that the U.S. planners created.

U.S. media non-coverage

In covering the 10th anniversary, the same media that sold the war 24/7 recount  the criminal decision to invade and occupy Iraq as just mistaken intelligence or wrong information. At the same time that they wring their hands over lost opportunities and lack of foresight, they give a passing salute to the 4,448 U.S. soldiers who died and the 32,221 wounded. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors died as well, a number barely mentioned or underreported.

More than 1.1 million U.S. soldiers served in Iraq. The National Council on Disabilities says up to 40 percent of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was the most widely and closely reported war in military history. Yet the enormity of the crime committed against the Iraqi people, the hundreds of thousands of silent deaths from lack of medical infrastructure, the millions of refugees, the environmental catastrophe, the radioactive and chemical waste left behind were ignored in coverage then, and today are barely noted.

At the start of the war in March 2003, 775 reporters and photographers were registered and traveling as embedded journalists. The number grew to thousands. These reporters signed contracts with the military that limited what they were allowed to report on.

So it should come as no surprise that what is completely missing from coverage is any responsibility for the calculated destruction of Iraq, the massive corruption and systematic looting, or the conscious policy of inflaming sectarian hatred and violence as a tactic to demoralize the resistance.

Statistics cannot convey the human loss. One out of every four Iraqi children under 18 lost one or both parents. In 2007, there were 5 million Iraqi orphans, according to official government statistics. By 2008, only 50 percent of primary-school-age children were attending classes. Iraq was reduced from having the lowest rate of illiteracy in the region to having the highest. Women suffered the greatest losses in education, professions, childcare, nutrition and their own safety in the brutal occupation.

According to figures of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, there are now 2.7 million internally displaced Iraqis and 2.2 million refugees, mostly in neighboring states. More than one-fourth of Iraq’s population is dead, disabled or dislocated refugees due to the years of U.S. occupation. This is hardly liberation.

Missing in the many 10th anniversary evaluations is the essential historical context. The 2003 war was a continuation of the 1991 war to destroy Iraq as a sovereign nation in control of its own resources. There is barely a mention of the targeted destruction in 1991 of drinking water, sanitation, sewage, irrigation, communications and pharmaceutical industry facilities, as well as the civilian electric grid and basic food supply. Erased today is all mention of 13 years of U.S./U.N. starvation sanctions imposed on Iraq from 1990 to 2003, which caused the deaths, through hunger and disease, of more than 1 million Iraqis, more than half of them children.

Despite the horrendous toll, the failure of U.S./U.N.-imposed sanctions to create a total collapse in Iraq compelled U.S. corporate power to opt for a military invasion to impose regime change.

Second anniversary of wars in Libya, Syria

Also missing from evaluations of the U.S. war on Iraq is any mention that this is a week of two other war anniversaries.

March 19 is the second anniversary of the U.S./NATO war on Libya — the seven months of bombing that destroyed the modern, beautiful cities, schools, hospitals and cultural centers built with nationalized oil and gas of Libya. The NATO operation assassinated the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and laid waste to the whole country. But it has not yet secured a stable source of U.S. profits.

March 15 is the second anniversary of the continuing U.S./NATO effort to destabilize and utterly destroy modern, secular Syria.

Despite U.S./NATO backing and funding from the corrupt feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, diplomatic support, the arming of death squads and mercenaries, and the setting up of safe havens and bases in Turkey, the Syrian government has mobilized the population and resisted another U.S.-orchestrated regime change. The conflict is at a stalemate. The death toll has passed 70,000.

The Salvador option: mass terror

The clearest expose that the years of sectarian violence in Iraq following the U.S. invasion, death squad assassinations, mass terror campaigns and the harrowing use of torture by trained commando units were deliberate acts sanctioned and developed at the highest level of U.S. political and military command was published the week of March 18 in the London Guardian, with an accompanying BBC documentary film. The expose was based on 18 months of research.

The expose names Col. James Steele, a retired Special Forces veteran, who was sent to Iraq by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to organize paramilitaries to crush the Iraqi insurgency. Another special adviser, retired Col. James Coffman, worked alongside Steele and reported directly to General Petraeus.

This U.S. policy of counterinsurgency was called the “Salvador option” — a terrorist model of mass killings by U.S.-sponsored death squads. It was first applied in El Salvador in the 1980s’ heyday of resistance against a military dictatorship, resulting in an estimated 75,000 deaths. One million out of a population of 6 million became refugees.

The Salvador option is the central tenet of General David Petraeus’ often-praised counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guardian researchers analyzed a number of documents from Wikileaks and assembled a huge number of reports of torture carried out by militias trained and supported by the U.S. under this program. The BBC and The Guardian report that their requests for comment to key members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, which could investigate the allegations, were declined or ignored.

But in Samarra, an Iraqi city where Iraqis were tortured in a library and that the BBC documentary focuses on, residents held mass demonstrations against the government and planned to set up big screens in the central square to show the whole film.

‘Shock and awe’ = terror

From the very beginning of  war preparation, U.S. plans were calculated to use the most extreme forms of terror on the Iraqi people to force submission to U.S. domination. “Shock and awe” is terrorism by another name.

“Shock and awe” is technically known as rapid dominance. By its very definition, it’s a military doctrine that uses overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze and destroy the will to fight. Written by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in 1996, the doctrine is a product of the U.S. National Defense University, developed to exploit the “superior technology, precision engagement, and information dominance” of the United States.

This well-known military strategy requires the capability to disrupt “means of communication, transportation, food production, water supply, and other aspects of infrastructure.” According to these criminal military strategists, the aim is to achieve a level of national shock akin to the effect of dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

War profiteers

The looting and pillage of Iraq on a grand scale were also planned from the very beginning. It was hardly an accident, a mistaken policy or the fog of war.

The official who had total authority in Iraq immediately following  “shock and awe” destruction, the chief of the occupation authority in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III,  enacted 100 orders which turned Iraq overnight into a giant U.S.-dominated capitalist free market. The 100 orders guaranteed 100 percent foreign investor ownership of Iraqi assets, the right to expropriate all profits, unrestricted imports, and long-term 30- to 40-year deals and leases. In the official turnover to Iraqi sovereignty, these colonial orders were to stay in place.

Billions were stolen outright from Iraq. According to Dirk Adriaensens of the BRussells Tribunal, U.S. administrators, as the occupation “authority,” seized all Iraqi assets and funds all over the world — totaling U.S. $13 billion. They confiscated all Iraqi funds in the U.S. (U.S. $3 billion). They enforced transfers of funds from the Iraqi UBS account (Swiss bank) to the U.S. forces. They demanded and received from the U.N. the accumulated oil-for-food program funds up to March 2003 (about U.S. $21 billion).

In the first weeks of the occupation, U.S. troops got hold of about U.S. $6 billion as well as U.S. $4 billion from the Central Bank and other Iraqi banks. They collected this money in special government buildings in Baghdad.

Where did all these funds go? Instead of setting up an account in the Iraqi Central Bank for depositing these funds, as well as the oil export funds, the occupation authorities set up the “Development Fund for Iraq” account in the American Central Bank, New York Branch, where all financial operations are carried out in top secrecy. Around $40 billion is “missing” from a post-Gulf War fund.

According to the BBC, in June 10, 2008, another $23 billion in Western aid funds to Iraq were lost, stolen or “not properly accounted for.” Tales abounded of millions of dollars in $100 bills that went missing from skids at airports and of deliveries of pizza boxes and duffle bags full of cash.
According to’s list of the 25 most vicious war profiteers, these stolen funds were just the beginning of the theft. Major U.S. corporations reported record profits. In the years 2003 to 2006, profits and earnings doubled for Exxon/Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco.
Halliburton’s KBR, Inc. division, which was directly connected to Vice President Cheney, bilked government agencies to the tune of $17.2 billion in Iraq war-related revenue from 2003 to 2006 alone.

The cost of war

Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz calculated the cost of the Iraq war, including the many hidden costs, in his 2008 book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War.” He concluded: “There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free war. The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can’t spend $3 trillion — yes, $3 trillion — on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home.”

Stiglitz lists what even one of these trillions could have paid for: 8 million housing units, or 15 million public school teachers, or health care for 530 million children for a year, or scholarships to universities for 43 million students. Three trillion could have fixed America’s so-called Social Security problem for half a century.

According to a Christian Science Monitor report, when ongoing medical treatment, replacement vehicles and other costs are included, the total cost of the Iraq war is projected to cost $4 trillion. (Oct. 25, 2012)

Peoples resistance & the anti-war movement

The corporate media play another important role in rewriting history. Their aim is always to do everything possible to marginalize and disparage the awareness of millions of people in their own power.

While the “shock and awe” attack of March 19, 2003, is still described today, it is rare in the major media to see any reference to the truly massive demonstrations of opposition to the impending war that drew millions of people into the streets. it is projected that before the war, more than 36 million people in more than 3,000 demonstrations mobilized internationally to oppose it — in the two coldest winter months. This was unprecedented.

In Iraq, despite the overwhelming force of “shock and awe,” the planned use of sectarian war and mass use of death squads — despite the destruction of every accomplishment built by past generations, along with the destruction of schools and the confiscation of resources — the U.S. war failed on every count. Despite horrendous conditions, the Iraqi resistance drove the occupation out of Iraq. This is an accomplishment of great significance to people all around the world.

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