Sunday, September 14, 2014

War on ISIL? (Workers World)

This is from Workers World:

War on ISIL?

By on September 10, 2014

Imperialist heads of state at the Sept. 4-5 NATO Summit in Newport, Wales, met under U.S. pressure to escalate their anti-Russia maneuvers regarding Ukraine, to schedule their gradual exit from Afghanistan and to open war on the Islamic State.

The summit’s proposed goals all involved making NATO capable of rapid intervention on three continents, far from the North Atlantic region. While many of NATO’s European members were reluctant to step up military spending, Washington kept up the pressure to mobilize against Russia and to intervene in the Middle East and Africa.

President Barack Obama pushed a proposal to increase military spending by all NATO members to at least 2 percent of their gross national product. With European capitalism in a tailspin and most ruling classes imposing austerity on the workers, all national governments keep a tight hold on their wallets. Most of the NATO countries’ increased spending would be using their national budgets to buy from the U.S.-based military-industrial complex. Europe loses both ways.

Despite Obama’s pressure to maximize economic sanctions against Russia, most of the European heads of state — whose economic interests in Russia are much more significant than those of the U.S. — took advantage of the ceasefire in Ukraine to postpone new sanctions against Russia. German media are reporting that German manufacturers have been finding ways to work around existing sanctions and assure gas supplies from Russia for the upcoming winter.

Still, NATO managed to approve a 4,000-troop rapid deployment force to throw into battle at any point in the world on a few days’ notice, such as in Ukraine, where anti-fascist forces had drubbed the Kiev junta’s army leading up to the ceasefire on Sept. 8.

Regarding the Islamic State, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron published a joint opinion statement in the London Times on Sept. 4, calling on NATO to confront the organization also known as ISIS or ISIL, which imperialist politicians and the corporate media now depict as the greatest danger to humanity.
Failing to get broad approval, Obama rounded up various heads of state at the summit to set up a new coalition to coordinate an assault allegedly aimed at waging “war on ISIL.” Obama plans to appeal to the U.S. public with a major televised speech Sept. 10 pushing and explaining this new aggressive move.
Coalition members are the usual suspects, that is, the major imperialist powers and a few of their clients: Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark.

While the Republican militarists continue to hammer Obama for alleged indecisiveness on war matters, they are beating a straw man. Obama threatens confrontation with Russia, bombing Iraq and/or Syria, and drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. And though he’ll promise not to put “boots on the ground,” what will happen when the bombs prove ineffective? Remember, Washington hasn’t given up on regime change in Syria.

We should always keep in mind that, whatever one may think of ISIL, for the imperialists this organization is just another pretext for aggression.

We’re glad that to counter these war moves, demonstrators outside the NATO meeting faced down the 9,500 police and military guarding the imperialists and other heads of state and raised their anti-war slogans. 
The imperialist system and its war instruments like NATO are the real threat to humanity. We join with the Wales protesters and answer Obama’s call for “war on ISIL” with “No new imperialist wars! No to NATO!”

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Stop David Cameron's plan to join US bombing of Iraq

This is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Stop David Cameron's plan to join US bombing of Iraq

by Charlie Kimber

David Cameron and Barack Obama at the recent Nato summit in Newport, South Wales
David Cameron and Barack Obama at the recent Nato summit in Newport, South Wales (Pic: Nato Summit Wales 2014/flickr)

David Cameron, backed by Labour Party leaders and the Lib Dems, is preparing to bomb Iraq again. It will only make matters worse if he does order a return to British attacks.

At last week’s Nato summit in South Wales, Cameron spoke out in support of US president Barack Obama and his disastrous plan to increase US attacks on Iraq.

Cameron pledged that Islamic State would be “squeezed out of existence”.

Government sources also suggested that British soldiers could return to Iraq to help train troops. They would be the first official British “boots on the ground” in the country since the army was withdrawn from Iraq in 2011.

There are a series of reports that British forces are already involved.

Regular soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment were in the Kurdish region in August—despite government assurances there would be no such deployment.

And at least 1,000 Royal Marines were deployed to Jordan in a long-planned joint military exercise with the US.

First we were told that British forces were only and exclusively providing humanitarian relief. Then they were “monitoring” Islamic State fighters. Now they are preparing to bomb.

They are following in the footsteps of US imperialism.

Last week Obama was asked on television, “Are you preparing the country to go back to war?”


He replied, “I’m preparing the country to make sure that we deal with a threat from Islamic State. Keep in mind that this is something that we know how to do.”

He insisted that he was not returning to war in Iraq.

But US air raids are already spreading to wider areas of Iraq. Last week they hit the Anbar province for the first time since the US withdrawal in 2011.

US Special Operations forces and “advisers” have brought the total US military force in Iraq to over 1,000.
Cameron said British assaults on Iraq are needed to deal with the threat from Islamic State.

But the group is a product of the destruction caused by previous British and US attacks. The West imposed sanctions in Iraq from 1990. George Bush and Tony Blair then launched war against Iraq in 2003.

These attacks caused 1.5 million Iraqi deaths and tore apart the country’s social fabric.

And they increased the threat of terrorism in Britain. Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, told the Chilcot inquiry that the invasion of Iraq made attacks in Britain “substantially” more likely.

A recent study by the Royal United Services Institute said  “there is no longer any serious disagreement” over how Britain’s role in the Iraq war “far from reducing international terrorism had the effect of promoting it.”

Islamic State is brutal and offers no way forward for the people of Iraq. But further bombing by US and Britain is no solution. It needs to be opposed.

Talking entry

Lot of e-mails so I'm dashing this out quickly while taking a break from the writing edition at Third.

Thursday's snapshot had all this space at the end, why did I do that?

I didn't.  I dictate the snapshots.  Thursdays was typed up by a friend who was doing it for the first time.  He may (or may not have) thought that space at the end was needed.

Other than snapshots, I didn't do a great deal this week -- or last week, I haven't been to bed yet so it's not yet the new week to me.  That was pointed out in several e-mails, there were not many entries and I didn't write that much.

No, I didn't.

I believe I noted in the Tuesday snapshot that I had been waiting on medical evals and explained the news wasn't what I expected (I was expecting bad news) and that ended up playing into my week.

Not in a, "Let's play hooky" as some people suggest.

In one of the snapshots this week, I call out Leslie Savan who really deserved calling out.

But the language I used while dictating?

Not work safe.

It never made it up here.  I dictated it and then went over what to change -- including the words I used to describe Savan.

I'm just not into her or the other useless ____ who don't do a damn thing ever.


As July was winding down, I was feeling bad.  And I was convinced it was the cancer returning.

There wasn't time to deal with it.  Barack was increasing war on Iraq.

That's what I focused on, that's what I worked on.

Online and off.

And yet while I was saying, "Hold it now," there weren't a lot of other voices doing the same.

I got very lucky, the cancer hasn't returned.  But I put everything on hold and waited until September to even see my doctor.

And we had the Medea Benjamins protesting Burger King and Holly Lobby and other ________ crap that I honestly don't give a ____ about when Iraqis are dying.

I don't give a damn.  Is that clear enough?

You've had civilians killed repeatedly by the Iraqi government since the start of this year and not one of those useless _______ said one damn word.

No, I wasn't playing hooky.

I just didn't want to raise my stress levels.

I just didn't feel like pointing out repeatedly this week that we have no leaders in the peace movement in the United States.

We have useless ____ like Medea Benjamin who can't focus and who can't call out Barack.

She's betrayed the peace movement and she's far from the only one.

Barack's speech this week?

The US is engaged in war on Iraq for how many more years?

Oh, yeah, after he's out of office, it will still be going on.

Do I really give a damn what Burger King is doing with their tax dollars -- or to keep from paying taxes or whatever.

That is a scab right now.

Iraq is a gaping wound with blood gushing out and so-called 'leaders' of the peace movement were too busy picking at a scab to focus on what was taking place in Iraq.

The anger I feel?

I was prepared for the cancer to have returned.  I accepted that it had.  I assumed the results of the test would be a death sentence, that my luck had played out.

It is what it is, I told myself.  And what mattered was getting the word out on Iraq in the hopes of some pushback on Barack to prevent him from doing what he announced he was going to do.

If people had done their jobs when it mattered -- which was before the speech -- Barack might not have given that speech.

For me, when I thought the cancer was back and that it was going to be a few months or so of life, I didn't take the vacation (physical) I've been wanting to take since 2005.

I didn't shirk my responsibilities here.  I didn't stop speaking to groups about what was going on.

I repeatedly noted the need for a conversation to take place in the US on Iraq.

It didn't.

And that's because so-called leaders couldn't and wouldn't do their jobs.

But now that Iraq's a 'hot topic,' did you notice Medea and the other useless _____ can show up and start talking about it?

I don't have time for their ____.

Let's move to another topic.

As a feminist, an e-mail informs me, I should have noted Joan Rivers' passing.

I'm sorry Joan's dead.  She passed away on a Friday. (Two Fridays ago.)

In the days that followed, I was supposed to write about that here?

The first four days, of course, were when I was expecting to be told the cancer had returned.

So while preparing to handle my own death sentence, I was supposed to write about Joan?

I think you're asking way too much.

I've noted before I don't like obits and that there were ten people who I would feel compelled to write about if they passed while this site was active.

Robin Williams passed.  He was a friend.

I did dictate a portion of an Iraq snapshot about Robin.  The person I dictated it to pulled that section -- rightly.  In it, I was basically -- What's the point?--Why even do this site?-- blah, blah, blah.

Robin was a friend and he got about a paragraph here.


I've invited Joan to parties.  I've known -- I knew Joan for many years.

Joan had her good qualities and she had her bad qualities.

Up until she trashed me for not doing her late night talk show, I wasn't aware of any problems we had.  I turned her down on that because I wasn't doing any talk shows at that time.

(When she trashed me.  Not when she joked about me in one of her routines.  I never took that personally and knew she was being silly and she was sending up an image.)

When the reporter she trashed me to called me for a comment, I was surprised.  I called Joan to ask her what was going on?

She was in her passive mode and pretended nothing was.  I had to fish it out of her.

I was, she insisted, choosing Johnny Carson over her.

I was?

I was one of the few women he hit on -- he hit on every woman -- who turned him down.

Johnny was sleaze.

He was a predator.

Sally Field slept with him, Morgan Fairchild slept with him, on and on, women he picked up on his show.  I didn't sleep with him and I avoided him and his tacky show.  Unlike David Letterman, Johnny felt the need to talk to you during the breaks.  And what he saw as flirtation, I saw as outrageous harassment.

I was not taking sides and I would never take Johnny Carson's side in any dispute.

(Mel Brooks took sides.  He took Joan's.  Then when her show tanked, he went and humiliated himself on The Tonight Show to get back in Johnny's good graces.  I never understood that because I never saw Johnny Carson as anything but a lech.)

But Joan then insisted that I owed it to women to do her show.

Don't try to guilt me into anything.

And I don't owe feminism or women an appearance on any talk show -- especially when I'm not in the mood and I don't think I was doing print interviews at that time.  There are times when I need to shut down.  I'm a private person and I'm also a shy person -- though you have to really know me to grasp that.  I can do the stuff today on Iraq because it matters.  So I can get over my fear of crowds or my fear of this or that.  But there are times in my life when I've just needed to shut down and limit my contact.  Refill the well.

And if I'm in that period and I kindly refuse your offer, that should be the end of it.  If it's not, it's going to get ugly real quick if you try to guilt me into something.

So that was the end of Joan and my superficial friendship.

We saw each other from time to time at events or parties.  We didn't shoot dagger eyes.  We spoke.

But it was never the same.

Ava and I wrote about her repeatedly over the years at Third.

I heard about it from her only twice.

Back in July 2010, a mutual friend (NYC actress) passed on to Joan the piece where we took Joan to task for comments she made about Muslim women in an interview she did for WBAI.

Joan was furious and called to say she made fun of everyone and I needed to lighten up.

She'd take a great deal from that conversation for her next big project.

If you know Joan -- If you knew Joan, you'd know that when she was upset, if she said something funny, she'd stop to laugh.  She might even say, "I should write that down!"  She might even ask you to put the fight on hold for a moment so she could write it down.  She did that repeatedly while we were on the phone when she found something she said funny.

Ava and I had taken her to task for what we felt were hateful remarks.

Joan felt she was being misread and that she 'hated' everyone.

In fairness to Joan then (and now), I said I could have interpreted it wrong. But she was taking part in what was a serious interview on a serious topic and I'm not sure everyone would get that she was trying to be funny.

I think Joan's 2012 tour and book made clear that she was trying to be funny.

The second time I heard from Joan was when Ava and I wrote a piece that basically defended Joan's place in history and currently.  She was glad to have gotten credit for what she'd done and glad that our piece didn't put "a toe tag" on her but noted she was still out there being hilarious.

During that call, she noted a third piece and said thank you for praising Melissa and Melissa's good manners.

Melissa has good manners.  Joan was a good mother and Melissa was a good daughter.

If I'd written last week, I would've noted Melissa and how hard this was for her and how she was trying to do right by her mother and her mother's legacy.  I would've said that was great and wonderful but that Melissa needed to make time to grieve and to let everything she was feeling out.  I would've repeated what Joan would tell her which was that she didn't have to be perfect.

Last Sunday, Ava and I wrote "TV: The mob attacks Mindy" about the ridiculous attacks on Mindy Kaling
and we ended our piece with this:

It's a special kind of hatred for women that the BMW driving malcontents have -- a special kind of hatred which they repeatedly put out there and did so last week as the world mourned the death of comedy legend and pioneer Joan Rivers.  To the malcontents, the perfect way to honor the death of one woman was to attack another.

For me, that was the addendum to our coverage of Joan.  We had actually been planning another piece that was going to note how Joan changed television.  We were going to note how certain women moved beyond that phase of sisterhood that Joan was fostering.

A certain woman, for instance, who could go on Joan's show -- and did go on -- and credit Madeline Kahn with helping her career.  At that time, the woman was known only in NYC.  She'd go on to become a TV star and star in a few movies (one of which made over a 100 million domestically) and even be nominated for an Academy Award.

But Madeline would not be noted again.

Joan created a space which fostered women acknowledging others.

We established that by viewing over 50 episodes of her first daytime talk show -- so long ago that it was in black & white. (Added: Ava just corrected me, she says the show was in color.  She's correct.)

We do a lot of research for a lot of pieces.  Only some of which get written.

I can't do the Joan piece now -- speaking only for me.

I can't write it.

Is it hard to grasp that if I can't write something, I can't write it?

Because Mindy got attacked -- Mindy who stars in her own show and writes much of it -- for not being able to write about the topic of abortion.  She didn't see how it would fit on her show.

That's all she needed to say.

But some malcontents hopped in their BMWs and attempted to run her over.

If someone can't write something, they shouldn't try to force it.  It will not work.

And everyone has their go-to places they can write about and their shaky ground that they can't.

So if a writer says she can't see ____ on her show, leave it alone.  She doesn't have to cover every topic in the world.

Nor does she have to validate your abortion for you.

In fact, there's something a little sick about these malcontents that they appear to feel shame unless Mindy will say it's okay.

Break's about to be over.  I thought there would be time to note that the civilian deaths are being called out by Iraq's new prime minister.

We'll note it here later today/tonight or at Third.

And the following community sites updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is

    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    I Hate The War

    I'm a scared, I'm a scared!

    Is that the response we're supposed to have to the killing of David Haines?

    The British journalist is the third beheaded by the Islamic State in the last weeks.

    Unlike the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Haines hasn't captured the media attention.

    In the US, the release of a video of the murder resulted in, for example, NBC sending a no-star from the junior division to do a live set-up in front of the White House as a ghoulish Lester Holt peppered her with questions that repeatedly led no where.

    Haines' greatest handicap is that he's not American.

    Sotloff's Israeli citizenship could be 'managed' (hidden, discounted, overlooked) and he could be sold solely as an American.

    But an obviously British victim?

    Well the American media just can't relate.

    I'd like to believe it was something more than just that.

    I'd like to believe that the country's shaking off the nonsense of the last few weeks which allowed Barack and the media to turn Foley and Sotloff into Helen of Troy -- a reason for war.

    Losses happen all of the time.

    They aren't usually used as a reason for war, a justification.

    But that's what's been done with Foley and Sotloff, they've been used by the White House and the US media to whip up a frenzy for war.

    The same White House that, apparently has so little respect for Sotloff  that they're entering into a public dispute with his family.

    They'll pretend to care about him -- at least until the  moment comes that they have to attack his family.

    There's a war to sell and all, who has time to be polite or mannered?  Let alone respectful of the dead?

    Not the White House.

    But while Barack can't play into the inherent vanity of the American press with the death of David Haines, maybe something else is at play?

    Even if just in part?

    Maybe the fear tactic got overplayed.

    The endless cycle of the beheadings -- video and media chatter -- was not that different from the 9-11 coverage.

    It was endless, it was mindless, it was geared toward the gut because logic could let allow it to flatten quickly.

    And maybe Americans got tricked for a little bit but have come around to the reality that the death of one reporter or two or three or more really is not justification for war.

    The United States did not declare war on the IRA, for example.

    Maybe bits of history, bits of memory, are flooding the American conscious and they realize they're being manipulated by the White House?

    It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
    There's a war going on
    So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
    And I'm writing a song about war
    And it goes
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Na na na na na na na
    I hate the war
    Oh oh oh oh
    -- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

    The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4491.

    The e-mail address for this site is


    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, September 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack's speech implodes, and a little more.

    US President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday about Iraq.  By Thursday, the speech was a joke.

    Stephen Colbert was Tweeting:

    Obama brought back the Iraq War AND Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix!?! It's a miracle!

    As Betty pointed out, "it has already fallen apart."  Trina noted her encounters with The Cult of St Barack and how it appears "there's no more hopium to smoke."  And Susan Jones (CNS News via Information Clearing House) explains:

    NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel, reporting live from Kurdistan in northern Iraq Wednesday night, said U.S. troops are on the ground in Iraq and avoiding reporters.
    "I know there are already American boots on the ground where I am now," Engel told MSNBC. "They are not necessarily firing their rifles or kicking down doors, and we're not going on embeds with these troops.

    "They are troops who are staying away from reporters, they are embedded with local fighters trying to guide in air strikes, gathering intelligence -- the kind of thing you would have thought the Green Berets would have done many years ago, and which are now being done by Navy SEALS and Delta Force and other Special Operations Forces.

    At today's Pentagon press briefing, spokesperson Rear Adm Jack Kirby attempted to push back against the reality of what US troops were doing in Iraq:

    Q: Admiral, thank you. On the strategy, specifically, do military commanders really believe that ISIS can be defeated or destroyed with U.S. airpower alone and without sending U.S. combat troops or U.S. troops in the field to lase these targets, to find these targets? Because one of the criticisms is you can't rely on others to do it. And without having these men in the field, you're not going to have an accurate picture of the targets.

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: The short answer to your question, Justin, is yes, but now let me try to explain what I mean by that. We've said all along -- Secretary Hagel has been very clear -- that there's not going to be a purely military solution to the threat that ISIL poses in the region, specifically inside Iraq. There's not going to be a military solution here.

    We have been conducting airstrikes now for a number of weeks. I think we're up over almost 160 of them. They have helped provide some space and support to Iraqi security forces on the ground, as well as Kurdish forces up north. But military measures are not going to be enough.

    And so the other thing that I would say is, it's -- we've been able to do these very effective and -- and we know we're having a tactical effect on ISIL, and we've been able to do that without, quote, unquote, "combat boots on the ground."

    Q: Now you're doing more of them. You have -- you've said you're going to ramp up the airstrikes, so...

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: We're going to -- I think you can expect that we will be more aggressive going forward, but we've been pretty aggressive so far, nearly 160, all very effective, and effective without needing U.S. troops in a combat role on the ground in Iraq. The commander-in-chief has been very clear, we're not going to do that and that's not part of the mission going forward.

    The other point -- and I think it's -- and we need to consistently make this -- is that the destruction of ISIL and their capabilities is going to require more than just airpower. We've been very honest about that. And it's going to require partners on the ground to take back and hold the territory that this group has tried and -- and it has tried to obtain and maintain.

    It also is going to take the ultimate destruction of their ideology. And that -- that also can't be done just through military means alone. That has to be done through good governance, both in Iraq and in Syria -- we've talked about that -- and in a responsive political process, so that the people that are falling sway to this radical ideology are no longer drawn to it. So that's -- I mean, that's really the long-term answer.

    Q: I think people would be surprised, though, to hear you say that there is no military solution, given the nature of ISIS. I mean, this is primarily a military strategy, is it not?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: What is primarily a military strategy?

    Q: To defeat and destroy ISIL has to be done militarily, doesn't it?

    Uh-oh, logic entered the room and left Kirby scrambling.

    If Kirby's going to sell this latest phase of the Iraq War, he's going to have to work harder.  Maybe borrow one of those eye-sore jumpsuits Victoria Clarke wore when she was spinning the start of the war?

    The clothes change, the people change, but the war just drags on.

    The State Dept's not even trying.

    They're the 10th grader who grabs a sister's old paper, types a new cover sheet and pretends work has been done.  For example, the State Dept's Catherine Russell attempted today to sell this phase of the ongoing, illegal war on the backs of Iraqi women:

    Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL.  Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are attacking their own women and girls.
    While captive, these women and children have been tortured, raped, given to ISIL thugs as “brides,” or kept as sex slaves. Some have committed suicide to avoid sexual enslavement. Others have been forced to watch as ISIL beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam. Some have simply been executed. Hundreds of women and girls have been taken from Iraq to ISIL camps in Syria and never heard from again.
    We cannot allow these voices, these lives, to be silenced. All of us must stand up for those who are defenseless.
    Reports indicate that ISIL has abducted between 1,500 to 4,000 women and girls, mainly from Iraq’s religious community of Yezidis and other minority groups. Girls as young as 12 or 13 have been forced to marry extremists or sold to the highest bidder -- like cattle at an auction.  These are young girls, mothers, and sisters facing imminent rape, trafficking, and forced marriage.  These are women and girls who pleaded to be killed in airstrikes rather than be brutalized by ISIL.

    A lot of people have said this or that was happening to Yezidi women.

    No one's really been able to prove it, but they do say it, don't they?

    PFrance 24's Wassim Nasr and Djamel Belayachi noted last week:

    Photos of women allegedly sold as slaves

    Citing an Iraqi parliamentarian, several websites claimed that hundreds of women from the Yazidi community had been sold as slaves after the capture of Sinjar at the beginning of August. One photo showing women chained and veiled spread on social networks and was taken as proof of the claim. It turns out that this image was taken during a Shiite procession in the town of Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, in 2013.

    The fake photo of 'enslaved women' circulating on social media networks.
    Already at this time, the same photo had been published online by websites claiming it showed the jihadist organisation’s treatment of women in Syria.

    They have plenty of other examples in their report.

    And isn't sad that the best the State Dept can offer is a 'people say' kind of foot noting?

    The State Dept's recent interest in women is touching.

    Where were they when Iraqi women and girls were being falsely imprisoned and tortured and raped?

    Where was the concern for women then?

    This was one of the main underlying issues which led to over a year of continuous street protests.

    But the State Dept didn't say 'boo' about it, did they?

    When Nouri al-Maliki was overseeing rape and torture, they didn't object once.

    Back then, they were more than happy to stay silent.

    Ali Younes (Arab Daily News) notes some problem with Barack's plan or 'plan:'

    The key to Obama’s objective however, is not just to try to degrade and destroy ISIL a tall order by on its own, but rather to try to end the sectarian divisions in Iraq and compel the Iraqi Shia establishment to treat the Iraqi Sunnis as partners.
    To start with the new Iraqi government needs to have a new beginning by including the disfranchised Sunnis in the government, the army and other governmental and security agencies. Iraqi Sunnis argue that the 8 years of Al Maliki’s sectarian rule has left them alienated and created so much hatred and division in Iraq.

    The illegal war is not ending but the administration seems unable to sell it (or anything else) with any real enthusiasm.

    How bad is it?

    The State Dept held a lengthy press briefing today.

    Spokesperson Marie Harf acted as moderator.

    However, Iraq wasn't on her mind.

    And it wasn't on the minds of any reporters attending either.

    Two days ago Barack sold the latest phase of the Iraq War.

    Yet the State Dept can't even be bothered with addressing the topic?