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Monday, December 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders on The Cost of US Wars




84 comments:

  1. German Left equates planned Bundeswehr mission with Paris attacks

    Prominent leftist Sahra Wagenknecht has equated Germany's intended dispatch of six Tornado jets to support airstrikes in Syria with November's "IS" terror attacks in Paris. Innocent Syrian civilians will die, she said.

    DW= In an interview with the German news agency DPA published Monday, the leftist Wagenknecht drew a causal line from Germany's austere handling of the euro crisis to the rise of Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front and accused French President Francois Hollande of deciding for domestic political reasons to proceed with anti-IS bombing in Syria.


    "The German government, which, because of its euro policy, strengthened France's far-right, wants to do him [Hollande] a favor," she claimed.

    "And, because of domestic German and European considerations, women and children will die in a hail of bombs on Raqqa [the IS stronghold in northern Syria], and schools and hospitals will be destroyed," Wagenknecht asserted.

    "That is of course terror that has already caused far more casualties than the barbaric attacks on Paris," the German leftist concluded. "Of course, it is no less a crime to murder innocent civilians in Syria with bombs as to open fire in Paris restaurants and concert halls."

    "One is individual, the other state-accountable terror," Wagenknecht said.

    "Without the Iraq war, the IS would not exist. Without the bombing of Libya [by western powers in defiance of Russia in 2011] and the destabilization of Syria it wouldn't have become so strong. The West, especially the USA, have turned IS into this monster," Wagenknecht concluded.

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  2. 14 Years in Afghanistan - UPDATE

    The news from Afghanistan is very bad. No one says that, of course. President Ghani has a “national unity government” that “supports a strong partnership with the United States”, according to Barack Obama two months ago. Sure, Kunduz was captured by the Taliban – but then the Afghans got it back (though minus one American-bombed hospital, along with most of its patients and doctors). Sure, Sangin was captured by the Taliban – but now the Afghan army is fighting to get it back. But didn’t more than a hundred British soldiers die to hold Sangin? Sure, but American troops in Iraq died to hold and keep Mosul – and Mosul is now the home of the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And US troops in Iraq died to capture Fallujah, then lost it, and died all over again to recapture it – and Fallujah is now in the hands of Isis.

    We don’t do “bad news” from Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s like a movie, replayed over and over again each Christmas. Just two weeks ago, General John F Campbell, the US commander of American and Nato forces in the country, admitted that Isis has surfaced in Afghanistan. There could be 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 Isis men who are now trying to consolidate links to their “mothership” in Iraq and Syria; note the Hollywood language here. Isis wants to establish its pre-Afghan “Khorasan Province” in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

    But Obama assures us that America’s “commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures” and Afghan forces are “fighting for their country bravely and tenaciously” and “continue to hold most [sic] urban areas”. Taliban successes were “predictable”, the US president says, but almost 10,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan – even though the war is over – and 14 months ago, David Cameron told our own chaps that their achievements in Afghanistan “will live for ever”. Not any more.

    As our very own ex-chief of the general staff, General Dannatt, said last week, he was “not surprised” by the fall of Sangin. Not at all. After all, “we always knew that the situation once we left Sangin would be difficult. We left Afghanistan in a situation where the Afghans were in control and the future was in their hands. It is not a great surprise that the Taliban have continued to push in southern Afghanistan, it’s their heartland.”

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      So Isis men are now fighting in their thousands in the country we arrived to “liberate” 14 years ago, quite apart from tens of thousands of Taliban “pushing” in to their “heartland” around Sangin (so much for Cameron’s stuff about achievements living for ever). And yet Obama tells Americans that in the corrupt Afghan government, the US has “a serious partner”, a “stable and committed ally” to prevent “future threats”.



      The news from Afghanistan is very bad. No one says that, of course. President Ghani has a “national unity government” that “supports a strong partnership with the United States”, according to Barack Obama two months ago. Sure, Kunduz was captured by the Taliban – but then the Afghans got it back (though minus one American-bombed hospital, along with most of its patients and doctors). Sure, Sangin was captured by the Taliban – but now the Afghan army is fighting to get it back. But didn’t more than a hundred British soldiers die to hold Sangin? Sure, but American troops in Iraq died to hold and keep Mosul – and Mosul is now the home of the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. And US troops in Iraq died to capture Fallujah, then lost it, and died all over again to recapture it – and Fallujah is now in the hands of Isis.

      We don’t do “bad news” from Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s like a movie, replayed over and over again each Christmas. Just two weeks ago, General John F Campbell, the US commander of American and Nato forces in the country, admitted that Isis has surfaced in Afghanistan. There could be 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 Isis men who are now trying to consolidate links to their “mothership” in Iraq and Syria; note the Hollywood language here. Isis wants to establish its pre-Afghan “Khorasan Province” in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.


      But Obama assures us that America’s “commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures” and Afghan forces are “fighting for their country bravely and tenaciously” and “continue to hold most [sic] urban areas”. Taliban successes were “predictable”, the US president says, but almost 10,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan – even though the war is over – and 14 months ago, David Cameron told our own chaps that their achievements in Afghanistan “will live for ever”. Not any more.

      As our very own ex-chief of the general staff, General Dannatt, said last week, he was “not surprised” by the fall of Sangin. Not at all. After all, “we always knew that the situation once we left Sangin would be difficult. We left Afghanistan in a situation where the Afghans were in control and the future was in their hands. It is not a great surprise that the Taliban have continued to push in southern Afghanistan, it’s their heartland.”


      So Isis men are now fighting in their thousands in the country we arrived to “liberate” 14 years ago, quite apart from tens of thousands of Taliban “pushing” in to their “heartland” around Sangin (so much for Cameron’s stuff about achievements living for ever). And yet Obama tells Americans that in the corrupt Afghan government, the US has “a serious partner”, a “stable and committed ally” to prevent “future threats”.


      It was in 1940, when German soldiers were swarming into France – a rather more dangerous swarm than the one Cameron obsesses about in exactly the same area today – that Churchill decided to tell Britons the truth. “The news from France is very bad…” he began. And British soldiers, in their thousands, were dying to stem the invasion. Their “achievement” was not victory, but Dunkirk.

      Yet we are not permitted to use this same expression – “very bad” – about Afghanistan. No, Cameron had to talk about an “achievement”, and now the mother of a terribly wounded soldier speaks of her “desperate sense of waste”. For Gen Dannatt, the future’s up to those Afghan army chappies now. No big deal; we always knew the Taliban would fight on.

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    You only have to read Afghan journalists’ reports from the country to know that even the old Churchillian “very bad” is a bit on the optimistic side. Take the case of the Shia Muslim Hazara Afghans taken from a bus on the way to Kabul this year. The lads from Isis stopped the bus, abducted 30 Shias and wanted to exchange them for family prisoners – Uzbeks, it seems – in Afghan government hands. The captives were subjected to the usual Isis treatment: at least one beheading, days of beatings, more videos of the Shias wearing suicide belts. Only after nine months were they freed, after an armed assault on their Isis captors by the Taliban. Yes, the bad guys suddenly turned into the good guys, the same bad guys who have captured Sangin, but are now fighting the even-more horrid bad guys. If this wasn’t tragic, it would be farce.

    And, just for good measure, take the recent local story in Afghanistan about poor Qais Rahmani who, along with his family and four-month-old baby, set off among the refugee army to Europe and in Turkey boarded a boat to Greece which almost immediately sank. Qais’s baby died in his arms. Just another Alan Kurdi, you may say, but what struck Afghans was that Qais was a well-known television presenter, his wife and family university-educated. The Rahmanis were not from the poor and huddled masses. They were middle class, the very people who should have wanted to stay and build the new Afghanistan and to work for their government, which is – I quote Obama again – “working to combat corruption, strengthen institutions, and uphold the rule of law”.

    So just stand back and look at the script. The Taliban ended the lawless regime of the Afghan militias and controlled almost all of Afghanistan by 1996. But it also sheltered al-Qaeda post 9/11. So we invaded Afghanistan to destroy both al-Qaeda and the vile misogynist, murderous and undemocratic Taliban. But the Taliban was not conquered. And now it is winning. And today, we surely want it to fight against the even more vile, misogynist and murderous Isis. Which is why, tucked away at the end of his peroration to the American people, Obama said that everyone should “press the Taliban… to do their part in the pursuit of the peace the Afghans deserve”. So the horrid Taliban can become the good, brave Taliban again. Truly, the news from Afghanistan must be very bad

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  4. NO, YOU CAN"T MAKE THIS SHIT UP


    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/you-wont-hear-it-but-news-from-afghanistan-is-bad-a6787546.html

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  5. So, with things that bad, it is all hands on deck in the fight against ISIS? Well, not exactly:

    The US Congress and Barack Obama are trying to shut down Hezbollah, who is fighting ISIS.

    THE PENTAGON PRIORITIZES:

    Washington will not share intelligence data on Islamic State positions in Syria and will not accept Moscow’s offer to cooperate on rooting out terrorism until Moscow changes its position on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s future, the Pentagon said.

    Ever since the start of the Russian campaign in Syria in late September, Moscow has been offering to share information with the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), urging Washington to reciprocate. After months of extensive diplomatic efforts by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, and the Kremlin, the Pentagon is still refusing to enter the proposed cooperation.

    “We are not going to cooperate with Russia on Syria until they change their strategy of supporting Assad and instead focus on ISIL,” US Defense Department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told Sputnik on Friday.

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  6. HOW ABOUT THOSE ASS STABBING NATO ALLIES THE TURKS - CHECK IT OUT:

    I revealed the truth about President Erdogan and Syria. For that, he had me jailed

    In Turkey, a debate as old as government itself is on the agenda again. This time, it is the Turkish government’s secret arms transfer to Syria that has revitalised the subject.

    Early in 2014, a truck understood to belong to the Turkish intelligence service (MIT) was stopped near the Syrian border. The gendarmerie and the intelligence officials in control of the convoy pulled guns on each other. This was the moment the two blocks vying to rule the state came face to face. The truck was searched. Beneath the camouflage composed of medicines boxes, weapons and ammunition were found. The truck was held for a while, but following the intervention of government officials a safe passage into Syria was granted.

    The government immediately discharged the prosecutor and gendarmerie who stopped the convoy and had them arrested. It was declared that the trucks contained humanitarian aid. This incident, which fuelled allegations that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government was intervening in the Syrian civil war, was rapidly covered up.

    In May 2015, however, Cumhuriyet Daily, the newspaper I serve as the editor-in-chief, acquired the footage of this incident. It was clearly visible that the truck was loaded with arms. It was thus documented that the intelligence service was illegally carrying arms into the civil war raging in a neighbouring country. This was big news. We published details of the operation with photos, and uploaded the video to our website.

    Erdoğan was in a fix. He couldn’t refute the story, so instead chose to censor the publication and threaten the journalist responsible, who was me. In a live broadcast on a state TV channel, he said: “The person who wrote this story will pay a heavy price for it; I won’t let him go unpunished.” He added that the footage was a “state secret”, and that publishing it was an act of “espionage”. Furthermore, as if to confirm that this was not the state’s secret but his secret, he filed a personal complaint to the prosecutor’s office.

    The punishment he demanded for me was two life sentences – for “treason” and for “acquiring and publishing classified information for the purpose of espionage”. This signalled the arrest of those of us who were well aware that the president of the republic’s wishes are received as orders by the judges of the criminal court. Thus, on 26 November I was arrested along with Erdem Gül, our Ankara bureau chief, who published the gendarmerie’s “Yes, the trucks had guns” report. Just 10 days before my arrest, I received a Reporters Without Borders press freedom award on behalf of Cumhuriyet.
    Will Erdoğan allow greater press freedom in Turkey? Don't count on it

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    1. {...}Following criticism of the arrests from domestic and international press and human rights organisations, the minister of justice declared that “every country is sensitive on security” and cited Julian Assange and Edward Snowden as examples. The US ambassador to Turkey responded: “We chased after those that leaked the information, not those that published it.”

      This was yet another blow for the oppressive Erdoğan regime, which has plummeted in the press freedom rankings. It also sparked questions that have surfaced time and time again in many scandals, from Iran-Contra to Watergate, from the Pentagon Papers to the Clive Ponting affair. When the state’s need for security contradicts the public’s right to information, which carries a higher priority? Can the threat to security be an excuse for government attempts to muzzle the media? When the stamp of “state secret” has turned into a veil concealing the dirty dealings of administrations, is it not the duty of a journalist to tear it away? Who determines what is in the best interests of the society?

      As a journalist detained in solitary confinement in a prison in İstanbul, faced with accusations of “espionage”, I have been seeking answers to these questions. My conclusion is that no label of “state secret” and no rationale for “state security” permits a state crime. Thus I defend myself with Winston Churchill’s words: “The Official Secrets Act was devised to protect the national defence … and ought not to be used to shield ministers who have a strong personal interest in concealing the truth.”

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  7. "Do you realize what you've done?" Vladimir Putin

    October 1, 2015
    A Game of Dice With Russia: “Do You Realize What You Have Done?”

    by Luciana Bohne - Counterpunch

    At the United Nations General Assembly on Monday’s last, the Russian Federation hoisted the United States on its own petard, blowing up the fourteen-year-old fictitious narrative of the War on Terror by proposing real action. While Obama went to UNGA without a single proposal, Putin proposed a coalition against terrorists, “like the one we had against Hitler”:

    We are suggesting to not be guided by ambition, but by mutual values and shared interests. To unite our efforts based on international law to solve the issues we are facing, and to create a truly broad international anti-terrorism coalition.

    You have to agree that the reference to Hitler was a rhetorical masterstroke, mocking the American political and media establishments’ frequent slurs of Putin as Hitler. Taking over the terms of a discourse is the first step in exposing its hidden connivance. It’s the petard in action. Polonius-like with doddering ramblings, but rank with clichéd sound-bites and sulking fury, Obama boasted like a cornered school-yard bully, ““I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country and our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.” Against which boast, with almost biblical thunder, pounced Putin’s accusation, ““Do you realize what you’ve done?”

    A stunning question, for, without ever mentioning the US, referring to it instead as the “sole center of dominance” after the end of the Cold War, Putin recalled its attention to the devastating consequences of its foreign policy decisions. “A power vacuum for extremism,” in his words, had opened like a sucking vortex in the Middle East and North Africa, which “led to the creation of zones of anarchy, immediately filled by extremists.” The Islamic State, he said, did not materialize from nothing.

    So, then, what now? The Islamic State must be destroyed—in all its permutations. Imagine Washington’s consternation as its pretext for rampaging across the globe was being deftly and swiftly removed from its propaganda control.

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      Since Monday, dramatic events unfolded. On his return to Russia on 29 September, Putin gathered the permanent members of the Russian Federation’s advisory council on security to discuss the fight against extremism and terrorism. On Wednesday, upon recommendation of the advisory council, the Russian Parliament (higher chamber) approved the use of Russian armed forces on foreign soil. President Assad formally requested Russian military assistance in fighting ISIS, thus making Russia’s defensive intervention in Syria the only one based on legality—unlike the aerial strikes conducted by the US, joined lately by France, and being considered by Australia and other countries, which violate international law, as noted by Sergei Ivanov, Kremlin spokesman. Foreign Minister Lavrov, on Wednesday, said that

      Russia is helping Syria to fight against the Islamic State. We have explained our position, we do not to feel any affection to anyone in the region, but we are firmly convinced that we cannot allow Syria to collapse as a state. We have suggested that the US should harmonize its efforts to be sure that the air strikes on the terrorists’ positions are coordinated with the steps on the ground. I hope that Barack Obama has heard the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      Lavrov added that Moscow is preparing a UN resolution proposing a coalition against the Daesh. Will the United States expose its cheating hand by voting against it in the Security Council? We are living in interesting times. Russia is sending to Syria from forty to sixty—Su-24, Su-25, and Su-34—airplanes and two battalions. Russian strikes have already hit near Homs, as reported by CNN. The US has not heeded Russia’s request to keep clear of Syria’s aerial space during these initial operations, thereby increasing the risk of “confliction,” a military term meaning an incident SNAFU of international proportions.

      Whatever happens next, the US is on notice to stop playing with fire. Let’s hope, as Otto von Bismarck said, that “there is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, and the United States of America,” so that the Americans understand, still in Bismarck’s words, not to “expect that once we have taken advantage of Russia’s weakness, we will profit forever.”

      The Teutons, the Mongols, the Turks, the French, and the Nazis all learned that hard lesson. It’s time for the US to take up Russia’s offer to join a coalition alliance to stamp out these proliferating terrorists—implicitly, instead of training and funding them until the whole scam blows up in their faces, as it’s doing in Syria. “The secret of politics is to make a good treaty with Russia,” Bismarck advised. As history shows, it is not wise to play dice with Russia.

      Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She can be reached at: lbohne@edinboro.edu

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  8. FACT:

    The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated in September 2014 that IS had somewhere between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters.

    FACT:

    So far, IS survived more than 8,000 air strikes and the killing of more than 10,000 of its fighters since the beginning of the air campaign, according to the US defense department.

    One has to ask, "How is that possible?"

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  9. I guess, in the end, you've got to pick One.

    The Russian President,

    or

    My President.

    I'll pick

    mine.

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  10. .

    From the Idaho Farmer on the last stream.

    And you ?

    Here's another chance to give your prescription.


    I have been quiet about the war lately. Unlike you, who like the rest of the GOP brain trust continues to bitch about Obama’s conduct of the war but offers nothing substantially different than what he is/has been doing right along. I've seen no point in beating a dead horse.

    However, another chance?

    I've given my opinion on this war at every stage of it. You don't read, you don't understand, you don't remember, and you don't learn? You whine and bitch and offer nothing new while continually bothering everyone here repeatedly asking the same questions over and over again. Why don't you try taking notes?

    In the absence of an overriding national interest or security threat, I have opposed ALL US foreign interventions in other countries on the principle that it will, based on recent history, merely create more problems than it solves.

    [Note: When I talk about national interests or security threats the Iraq/Syria/ISIS war provide a good example. Twenty years ago we might have had national interests that would have argued for us being involved. However, IMO, the US today has no national interests that require us to intervene there. On the other hand, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, and Israel do have national interests involved there. Also, IMO, we do not have any security interests that require that we be there whereas some of the other countries mentioned do.

    Based on this, IMO, we do not need to be there. Other countries would have and subsequently have intervened.]

    The course of this war has proved my point. Explain to me what we have actually accomplished there in about a year and a half of war that could not have been accomplished without us?

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      That being said, we are there now; therefore, I am left to complain about how we got there; the objectives set; and the strategy and commitment we have employed.

      In the beginning, while I approved of the limited humanitarian aid provided on Sinjar mountain, I worried and warned about the inevitable mission creep that we knew would occur.

      I complained about Obama employing the AUMF from 2001 as his authority for waging war in Iraq/Syria. I complained about the hypocrites in the GOP who complain about everything about the conduct of the war but refuse to declare war or even issue a new AUMF outlining Congressional direction on the war. They lack the balls to stand up and do anything but complain.

      I complained about the objectives of the war as set by Obama, to degrade and destroy ISIS. While the first was certainly possible given how high ISIS was riding at the beginning of the war, experience has shown us that the second, destroying ISIS, is likely impossible. ISIS has morphed and grown since its birth in Iraq in 2004. It has adopted numerous names and expanded through the years as its pretensions grew, to the point where it now claims to be a caliphate. However, even if it is beaten back on a territorial basis, it will still morph and adopt new tactics. It is not going away.

      I complained about the conduct of the war. IMO, IF you determine you have a REALnational or security interest in going to war, you go to war and you go to win. You put in whatever force you need to win including troops on the ground, you win, and you leave. You don’t worry about polls, niceties, pottery barn rules, regime changes, spreading democracy, public opinion, or world opinion. Proceeding along these lines, they may not like you but will probably know not to mess with you the next time. Naturally, proceeding along those lines, you better make sure that you are justified in intervening. Obama didn’t, hasn’t, and likely won’t do that.

      He initiated war with ISIS and then let Baghdad dictates the terms of American support. He formed a ‘coalition’ that existed more in name than in reality. His efforts were/are weak and ineffectual. 9,000 aerial missions in a year and a half? Pathetic. Centralizing all material support with Baghdad and allowing them to dole out weapons in their own sectarian interests not in that of the overall war effort. Allowing our allies (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc.) to interfere with or hamper our efforts to defeat ISIS. Ceding the lead in the war effort first to Iran and then to Russia.

      Even the strategy is unclear. At first, I thought it was just soft and self-serving, not taking any risks, doing nothing to upset the polls going into an election year, biding time until Obama could turn the mess over to the next guy. Lately, I am not so sure.

      Face it, the only reason the US is upping its efforts against ISIS now is that Russia is pushing the issue. We really didn’t start attacking ISIS oil resources until Russia did. We didn’t really start calling out Turkey for supporting ISIS until Russia did. We didn’t have any criticism of Saudi Arabia until Russia did. Have we really been fighting ISIS all this time or is it more important to allow ISIS to fight Assad? Which is more important to us, US interests or Saudi Arabia interests or NATO interests or Turkish interests or Israeli interests?

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      I said it a year ago, given the mess we are involved with right now, the best the US can hope for is to have the Iraqi Security forces win a couple ‘seemingly’ major victories (Ramadi would qualify as the first), declare victory, express faith in the Iraqi security forces capability of carrying on the fight, and go home before some other FUBAR occurs there.

      Of course, it would all be bullshit. Kobane was hailed a major success story. ISIS was driven out in January. As I recall, there were reports that IS still carrying out operations against the city. Kobane is in ruins and about 200,000 of its citizens are still in refugee camps. Quite a success. In March, coalition forces took Tikrit. In May, ISIS took Ramadi. In December, Iraqi forces have retaken Ramadi which was held by 600-1000 ISIS fighters, 600-1000. The coalition has taken back about 40% of ISIS held territory, mostly desert. In the same time, ISIS affiliates have begun operations in Libya, Egypt (Sinai), Nigeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries.

      As I said before, when (if?) we leave Iraq/Syria, our position in the world will likely be worse than had we never intervened there.

      .

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  11. Idaho Bob on his new computerMon Dec 28, 11:30:00 PM EST

    "You put in whatever force you need to win including troops on the ground, you win, and you leave"

    There's a major rub.

    It would be great if it were that simple.

    Actually, keeping the personalities out of it, the different administrations, and the question of whether we should have overthrown Saddam in the first place,(most of Congress voted for it) that is exactly what we did.

    We went in, overthrew Saddam, set some kind of more or less democratic process, and....left.

    With the results we see.

    The immediately leaving is the problem.

    The USA has become too impatient.

    Japan, South Korea, Germany.....all successes....we stayed around for generations.

    The West and Russia totally de-Nazified Germany, much for the better......USA totally changed Japan (much for the better).......by hanging around for a long long time....

    We left Iraq thinking insanely that these groups that have hated one another for 1400 years were going to suddenly get along.

    It looks like it would have been much better to simply divide it up, correcting the European map line of the past.....and keeping some troops there to see it worked.

    It also looks like it would have been much better to have not gone in at all, rather than go in, win, and leave.

    One never knows what events will bring.

    Harold McMillan was famously asked: what drives history (or was it politics?) -

    "Events, my dear boy, events"

    If ISIS blows up the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day Trump may well win the Presidency....and at least we'll catch a break from Moslem immigration for a while....

    Who in hell knows what to do, for sure.

    Martin Luther was once in a while right. Often things are quite murky, and you got to make a choice, and refusing to make a choice is a choice too, perhaps the worst one.

    Who knows for sure ?

    No one, actually.



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    1. Idaho Bob on his new computerMon Dec 28, 11:34:00 PM EST

      I can't remember, of course, my google password.

      But at least I can listen to Fox News while reading the web.

      Everything is so damned frustrating.

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    2. Idaho Bob on his new computerMon Dec 28, 11:41:00 PM EST

      "As I said before, when (if?) we leave Iraq/Syria, our position in the world will likely be worse than had we never intervened there."

      This sounds like a reason for staying in some manner, even putting major troops back in....

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    3. .

      Actually, keeping the personalities out of it, the different administrations, and the question of whether we should have overthrown Saddam in the first place,(most of Congress voted for it) that is exactly what we did.

      We went in, overthrew Saddam, set some kind of more or less democratic process, and....left.


      Geez, Bob what is wrong with you? Exactly what we did?

      First, we invaded Iraq under false pretenses with no justification at all based on our national or security interests. We defeated Iraq in less that two months. Then we stayed. We couldn't find any WMDs so the mission objective changed to regime change. By the end of 2003, we had Sadaam but we still stayed. We insisted we had to install a democratic government, a laugh considering that we decided who could run and who we wanted to win. What happened has zero resemblance to what I proposed above.

      And left? Impatient?

      We stayed 8 friggin years. We destroyed the Iraqi economy. We turned 2 million Iraqis into external refugees. We turned another 2 million into internal refugees. We created al Queda in Iraq/ISI/ISIL/ISIS/IS. We ended up being responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands (up to a million depending on what study you accept) Iraqis, over 4,000 US troops died, 50% more American dead than on 9/11, and don't even talk about the tens of thousands of troops who's lives we ruined, we also wasted anywhere from $2-$4 trillion, and you insist we didn't stay long enough.

      Can't you understand why no one takes you seriously?

      .


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    4. 8 years is noting in the scheme of things, the scheme of Germany or Japan....

      Can you understand why no one takes you seriously ?

      Will you ever ?

      ******

      Alternative Lifestyles

      Who knows but for these wonderful ladies we'd have had a nuclear holocaust by now ?

      Who really knows ?

      Philadelphia’s Pink Sisters have prayed nonstop for 100 years

      By Associated Press

      December 28, 2015 | 11:38am
      Modal Trigger
      Philadelphia’s Pink Sisters have prayed nonstop for 100 years
      The Pink Sisters pray at the Chapel of Divine Love in Philadelphia. Photo: AP
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      PHILADELPHIA — For more than 100 years, the cloistered nuns known as the Pink Sisters have worked in shifts to ensure nonstop prayer in Philadelphia’s Chapel of Divine Love.

      Now, to address their shrinking numbers and ensure their prayers continue for another century, the Roman Catholic Holy Spirit Adoration sisters have begun quietly reaching out, seeking to grow their order while carefully maintaining their secluded life.

      Delete
    5. In the last year, they hung a banner outside their chapel and convent as a way to let other people know about their daily public Masses. They’ve granted more interviews with news reporters. And they have begun inviting Catholic women’s organizations and schools to speak to the sisters — with all conversations taking place through the grille in the convent visiting room, of course.

      There’s even a subtle recruitment flier hanging just inside the front door of the chapel. It encourages visitors to ask themselves three questions: Do you love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Do you realize the power of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? Is Jesus calling you to say “yes” to a life of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament?

      “We rarely reached out for vocation promotion before the centennial. But now we want young ladies to see how beautiful the life is and how truer the joy when it is without the trappings of material things,” said Sister Maria Clarissa, 55. “We do our part in addressing these challenges, but at the same time, we leave it to the Lord. He’s the one who calls.”
      A Pink Nun stands before the altar at the Chapel of Divine Love in Philadelphia on Dec. 22.Photo: AP

      There were once as many as 40 nuns living in the Philadelphia convent. Now there are 20: The youngest is 52, and the oldest is 90.

      The order was founded in Holland in 1896 with a focus on the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the consecrated bread they uphold as the body and blood of Christ. The rose-hued habits are meant to symbolize the joy the sisters feel honoring the Holy Spirit.

      In 1915, nine of the original sisters left the motherhouse and came to Philadelphia, where they were invited to open the order’s second convent.

      Today there are about 420 Holy Spirit Adoration sisters living in 22 convents in 12 countries. There are three other US convents — in St. Louis; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Lincoln, Nebraska.

      It may come as a surprise to some that a group of 20 nuns live a contemplative, secluded life not far from Philadelphia’s famed museums, historic landmarks and government. The sisters leave the cloister only for emergencies, such as medical appointments. When they do venture out, the sisters wear gray so as not to draw too much attention to themselves.
      The Chapel of Divine Love in PhiladelphiaPhoto: AP

      It is a selfless life, focused on offering intercessory prayers on behalf of people they will never meet living in places they will never see. They pray most of the day, together and individually in shifts before the Blessed Sacrament, generally waking up at 5:15 a.m. to prepare for the first daily service, going to bed after the 8 p.m. final prayers.

      All the sisters have jobs. Some craft Mass cards and rosaries, the sales of which support the convent. Other sisters respond to letters and answer the phones. Some callers are lonely; others are suicidal. Just listening, the sisters say, seems to make a difference.

      The sisters get one hour of free time and one hour of recreation each day. They are allowed visits from family and friends three times a year.....

      Delete
    6. .

      One never knows what events will bring.

      True enough but any but a fool would be able to draw some insight from the recent past, Iraq War I, Afghanistan, Iraq War II, Libya; but no, now we have waded into Iraq War III.

      And your suggestion? Continue to do what we are doing but do more of it.

      Clever.

      .



      Delete
    7. http://nypost.com/2015/12/28/the-pink-sisters-have-prayed-nonstop-for-100-years/

      Delete
    8. .

      8 years is noting in the scheme of things, the scheme of Germany or Japan....

      You compare apples and ranges. In both countries, the US presence was there to offset an external enemy in a conventional war, with the USSR in Germany and China in Japan. In Iraq, the enemy is a terrorist group using unconventional asymmetric tactics. We see the futility of using conventional forces in these types of war play out in numerous places, the FARC in Colombia (55 years), Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel (40 years), the PKK in Turkey (50 years), ISIS has gone through at least 5 name changes in the past 15 years but it is still around and supposedly still expanding.

      .

      Delete
  12. You slow witted dwarf.

    My suggestion is to not send troops back in, keep up the air attacks, which we slowly done some good, support Israel, the Kurds, Sisi....

    How many times do I need say it?

    Repeat after me.....Do not send...etc etc

    Write it on your blackboard 500 times.

    Maybe, just possibly, that will help you..........

    But your past behavior argues against this hopeful notion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get a sex change and join The Pink Sisters.

      They need recruits.

      Delete
    2. .

      How many times do I need say it?


      I responded to your 'solution' on the last stream. You evidently can't even remember that far back.

      QuirkMon Dec 28, 12:18:00 PM EST

      .

      (Obumble) Support Israel.

      We've been supporting Israel to the tune of over $3 billion per year for decades. In fact, Obama has provided Israel with more aid than any president in history. It's a US law that we provide Israel with a qualitative advantage in weapons systems to keep them ahead of others in the region. They are the only country we do that for. We don't even do it for our real allies. And what has all this gotten us? Zip. Or worse. Open your eyes.

      (Obumble) Support the Kurds, who have not yet killed any Americans. At least give them the weapons they have been begging for.

      They have been getting weapons and using them to kill the so-called moderate Arabs we have been supporting. Russia and Israel aren't the only ones killing our allies in the war on ISIS. As for killing Americans, has anyone actually been killing Americans? I mean most of the Americans are flying around at 20,000 feet dropping bombs.

      (Obumble) Support Sisi.

      Sisi is a prick and the Egyptian equivalant of Assad. Torture, disappearnces, jailing the press, attacks on NGO's, you name it they are the same. Yet, we continue to provide them with billions in baksheesh. And like Israel, the only interests they pursue are their own.

      (Obumble) Stick with the bombing in Iraq, increasing it, and don't be so kind and tentative.

      So you would do the same as Obama but just more of it and don't worry about the collateral damage.

      Ah hell, let's forget about the euphemisms. You would do the same as Obama but just more of it and forget about the women and children you bomb, after all, they are just Muslims.

      You sit here complaining about the war in Syria/Iraq on a daily basis; yet, your solution is to do what Obama is doing but just do more it.


      .

      When you boil it all down, you are suggesting nothing that Obama isn't doing right now. If we are interested in those solutions, we'll listen to Obama or the GOP. It's all the same.

      .

      Delete
  13. Here's why I've come to loathe the Democrats....this kind of shit.....

    House Democrats Move to Criminalize Criticism of Islam
    Lumping together violence with “hateful rhetoric” is a call to destroy the freedom of speech.
    December 29, 2015
    Robert Spencer
    0

    December 17, 2015 ought henceforth to be a date which will live in infamy, as that was the day that some of the leading Democrats in the House of Representatives came out in favor of the destruction of the First Amendment. Sponsored by among others, Muslim Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, as well as Eleanor Holmes Norton, Loretta Sanchez, Charles Rangel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Joe Kennedy, Al Green, Judy Chu, Debbie Dingell, Niki Tsongas, John Conyers, José Serrano, Hank Johnson, and many others, House Resolution 569 condemns “violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” The Resolution has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

    That’s right: “violence, bigotry and hateful rhetoric.” The implications of those five words will fly by most people who read them, and the mainstream media, of course, will do nothing to elucidate them. But what H. Res. 569 does is conflate violence -- attacks on innocent civilians, which have no justification under any circumstances – with “bigotry” and “hateful rhetoric,” which are identified on the basis of subjective judgments. The inclusion of condemnations of “bigotry” and “hateful rhetoric” in this Resolution, while appearing to be high-minded, take on an ominous character when one recalls the fact that for years, Ellison, Carson, and his allies (including groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR) have been smearing any and all honest examination of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to incite hatred and violence as “bigotry” and “hateful rhetoric.” This Resolution is using the specter of violence against Muslims to try to quash legitimate research into the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy us, which will have the effect of allowing the jihad to advance unimpeded and unopposed.

    That’s not what this H. Res. 569 would do, you say? It’s just about condemning “hate speech,” not free speech? That kind of sloppy reasoning may pass for thought on most campuses today, but there is really no excuse for it. Take, for example, the wife of Paris jihad murderer Samy Amimour – please. It was recently revealed that she happily boasted about his role in the murder of 130 Paris infidels: “I encouraged my husband to leave in order to terrorize the people of France who have so much blood on their hands […] I’m so proud of my husband and to boast about his virtue, ah la la, I am so happy.” Proud wifey added: “As long as you continue to offend Islam and Muslims, you will be potential targets, and not just cops and Jews but everyone.”

    Now Samy Amimour’s wife sounds as if she would be very happy with H. Res. 569, and its sponsors would no doubt gladly avow that we should stop offending Islam and Muslims – that is, cut out the “bigotry” and “hateful rhetoric.” If we are going to be “potential targets” even if we’re not “cops” or “Jews,” as long as we “continue to offend Islam and Muslims,” then the obvious solution, according to the Western intelligentsia, is to stop doing anything that might offend Islam and Muslims – oh, and stop being cops and Jews. Barack “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” says it. Hillary “We’re going to have that filmmaker arrested” Clinton says it. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, certain that anyone who speaks honestly about Islam and jihad is a continuing danger to the Church, says it..........

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261268/house-democrats-move-criminalize-criticism-islam-robert-spencer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you notice this asshole.....Muslim Congressmen Keith Ellison ?

      He's from Minnesota I think it is.

      He promised the idiot Swedes there he wouldn't consider Islam in anything.

      The Morons bought it.

      Swore in on the Koran, he was......

      Recent Swedish behavior the last few decades has shown them to be even dumber at this time at least than, than....than..... the Poles even!.....who are still anti-semitic even though there are no Jews left in Poland.

      Delete
  14. “When I said ‘no boots on the ground,’ I think the American people understood generally we are not going to do an Iraq-style invasion of Iraq or Syria with battalions that are moving across the desert,” Obama said in a clip CBS aired December 4.

    There are currently about 3,400 American troops in Iraq. In November, the White House announced that 50 commandos will be sent to northern Syria to advise anti-IS forces there.

    The Pentagon would not comment on whether those special operations troops had already arrived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obama is leaking troops into Syria now ?

      Didn't know that......

      Delete
    2. I'm more of a pacifist than even O'bozo !

      I say let the Russians take care of Syria.

      Ruf, who seems to support O'bozo in all things, is the real war monger compared to me.

      ;)

      God Lord.

      He takes the troops out of Iraq, is now putting some back in, and into Syria too.....

      Delete
  15. CAIR reps have been crawling around the White House for the last 7 years.

    Our pal from Minnesota, Moslem Representative Keith Ellison, is basically employed by CAIR.

    And Deuce claims AIPAC runs the USA -

    ‘Taliban Imam’ Gets Gun Training from CAIR
    Nezar Hamze teaches potential jihadists how to aim better at us.
    December 29, 2015
    Joe Kaufman
    0

    CAIR’s Nezar Hamze is on a mission to give gun training to every radical mosque in Florida. This month, while Jews have been preoccupied with Hanukkah and Christians have been readying themselves for Christmas, Hamze has been not-so-quietly hopping from mosque to mosque telling those who may very well be a danger to society that they have a right to take up arms. He has done at least 16 of these training sessions. One of his stops has been to a mosque whose imam was arrested for financing the Taliban.

    On December 14th, Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), located in Margate, Florida, held an event sponsored by the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to teach the congregants of MJAM weapons training. The teacher, Nezar Hamze, is the CEO and Regional Operations Director of CAIR-Florida. He is also a Deputy Sheriff at the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), so he knows proper technique in handling and using guns and is apparently ready to hand that knowledge over to potential jihadists who should not have it.

    CAIR was established in June 1994 as part of the American Palestine Committee, a terrorist umbrella group headed by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the US Justice Department a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. Since its founding, a number of CAIR representatives have served jail time and/or have been deported from the US for terrorist-related crimes. In November 2014, the UAE government designated CAIR a terrorist group.

    There is little difference between the ideology of Hamze’s group, CAIR-Florida, and its DC-based parent organization. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” After the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...”..........

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261269/taliban-imam-gets-gun-training-cair-joe-kaufman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O'bozo has dissed Israel every chance he's gotten.

      O'bozo, I can't say it enough, supported the Moslem Brotherhood takeover in Egypt.

      Delete
    2. .

      O'bozo has dissed Israel every chance he's gotten.

      As well he should. Likud policies are inimical to the interests of the US. That being said,

      We've been supporting Israel to the tune of over $3 billion per year for decades. In fact, Obama has provided Israel with more aid than any president in history. It's a US law that we provide Israel with a qualitative advantage in weapons systems to keep them ahead of others in the region. They are the only country we do that for. We don't even do it for our real allies. And what has all this gotten us? Zip. Or worse. Open your eyes.

      You're partisan views betray you.

      O'bozo, I can't say it enough, supported the Moslem Brotherhood takeover in Egypt.

      What is a country to do when it proclaims itself supportive of the democratic initiatives of the Arab Spring, a phenomena that has worked out especially well for the country of Israel when it is confronted with a democratically elected government? Overthrow it?

      You are a small thinker, Bob. Your restricted thought patterns driven by your partisanship prevents you from seeing the big picture.

      .

      Delete
  16. And if you read this article you will have been updated from the doings at that wonderful site Front Page Magazine for the day -

    To Muslims, the end of slavery is one of the humiliations that they had to endure because of the loss of the Caliphate. Europeans forced an end to the slave trade. The British made the Turks give up their slaves. The United States made the Saudis give up their slaves in the 1960s. (Unofficially they still exist.) When the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, its Islamist constitution dropped a ban on slavery.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is on the moderate side of the Caliphate curve not because it doesn’t want to bring back the Caliphate, it does, or because it doesn’t want to subjugate non-Muslims, it does, but because it wants to do so gradually over an extended period of time using modern political methods.



    It’s Not ISIS We Need to Beat -- It’s the Caliphate
    Understanding the Caliphate Curve.
    December 29, 2015
    Daniel Greenfield

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261264/its-not-isis-we-need-beat-its-caliphate-daniel-greenfield

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "When the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, its Islamist constitution dropped a ban on slavery."

      Our Great President supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

      Delete
  17. Kurdish autonomy in Syria does not necessarily mean increased separatist activity in Turkey, any more than the creation of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq did. But Mr. Erdogan does need to negotiate peace with the Syrian Kurds, with clear terms for territorial integrity and respect for Kurdish rights.

    Turkey did so with the Kurds in northern Iraq, and now enjoys robust relations with them.

    Failure to redirect its policy in Syria can only lead to Turkey's further isolation and reputation as a reactionary pariah--and the continuation of a horrendous conflict. This is not the ascendant trajectory that the country has sought over recent decades.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sanders is pursuing a political revolution against another term for Clinton, Bush or Obama. Sanders is a pragmatist who knows that to have a chance at power, he is forced to use the Democratic Party as a vehicle, which does not mean he is within its embrace. Sanders is fighting well against the Clinton Slime. He has a chance. He has chosen a path that does not believe in blind hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      It is really quite irritating listening to the man. I am not sure I could take four years of it. On the other hand, I like his general views on foreign policy.

      As President, Sen. Sanders will:

      Move away from a policy of unilateral military action, and toward a policy of emphasizing diplomacy, and ensuring the decision to go to war is a last resort.

      Ensure that any military action we do engage in has clear goals, is limited in scope, and whenever possible provides support to our allies in the region.

      Close Guantanamo Bay, rein in the National Security Agency, abolish the use of torture, and remember what truly makes America exceptional: our values.

      Expand our global influence by promoting fair trade, addressing global climate change, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance, defending the rule of law, and promoting human rights.


      [Note: The last sounds good in the abstract, but I don;t know what Sanders means by it.]

      https://berniesanders.com/issues/war-and-peace/

      .

      Delete
    2. .

      If you go to the link, you get a more in-depth look at Sanders views on a number of issues (Israel/Palestine/Iran Nuclear Agreement/MIC/Protecting American Values/Patriot Act/Terrorism), all of which, with a couple of minor exceptions, I agree with.

      .

      Delete
    3. .

      On domestic economic and social issues Sanders is rated an extreme liberal by On The Issues

      For me personally, it's a mixed bag. While I agree with him on a lot of his positions, I disagree with him on just as many. Many of the differences are merely philosophical although that does not make them any less important.

      .

      Delete
  19. The thing is, Bernie has very little chance of winning the nomination.

    Hillary 56.3

    Bernie 29.9

    Pollster

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      We are talking preferences not reality.

      .

      Delete
  20. Most Democrats like Bernie Sanders, but are concerned with his "Socialist" self-identification, and what the Republicans will do with it in the General Election.

    ReplyDelete
  21. SOUTHWEST ASIA, December 29, 2015 — U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

    Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

    Strikes in Syria

    Attack, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Hawl, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tunnel complex.

    -- Near Manbij, five strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIL fighting position, and cratered three ISIL-used roads.

    -- Near Mar’a, three strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    Additionally, two additional strikes in Syria from Dec. 27 were not included on the Dec. 28 release:

    -- Near Mar’a, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Fighter, attack, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL bunkers, two ISIL tunnel entrances, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL trench system.

    -- Near Kirkuk, one strike destroyed two ISIL excavators.

    -- Near Kisik, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and wounded two ISIL fighters.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, 14 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tunnel, and three ISIL command-and-control nodes.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Ramadi, seven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL oil tanker trucks, three ISIL heavy machine gun positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL front end loader, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, an ISIL sniper position, an ISIL house bomb, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Tal Afar, one strike destroyed an ISIL-used culvert.

    DOD

    ReplyDelete
  22. ISIS Leaders Linked To Paris Attacks Killed In US Strikes

    One of those killed was Abdul Qader Hakim, who facilitated the militants' external operations and had links to the Paris attack network.

    WASHINGTON, Dec 29 (Reuters) - A U.S.-led coalition has killed 10 Islamic State leaders in the past month with targeted air strikes, including individuals linked to last month's attacks in Paris, a spokesman for the coalition said on Tuesday.
    "Over the past month, we've killed 10 ISIL leadership figures with targeted air strikes, including several external attack planners, some of whom are linked to the Paris attacks," said U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State, also known by the acronym ISIL. "Others had designs on further attacking the West."
    One of those killed was Abdul Qader Hakim, who facilitated the militants' external operations and had links to the Paris attack network, Warren said. He was killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Dec. 26.
    A coalition air strike on Dec. 24 in Syria killed Charaffe al Mouadan, a Syria-based Islamic State member with a direct link to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the coordinated bombings and shootings in Paris on Nov. 13 which killed 130 people, Warren said. Mouadan was actively planning further attacks against the West, he said.
    The effect of the air strikes on Islamic State leadership can be seen in recent battlefield successes against the group, Warren said. The Iraqi army recently saw its first major victory against the ultra-hardline Sunni militants, declaring the capture this week of Ramadi, a provincial capital west of Baghdad which fell to Islamic State in May.
    "Part of those successes is attributable to the fact that the organization is losing its leadership," Warren said.
    He warned, however: "It's still got fangs."
    (Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Warren Strobel; Editing by David Alexander and Alistair Bell)

    Huffington Post

    ReplyDelete
  23. .

    CNBC reported Saudi Arabia has a reported $98 billion deficit for 2015. It has not been an especially good year for the Kingdom, stalemate in Yemen, the Iran nuclear agreement, Syria/Iraq, criticism from the US on ISIS, the failed (to date) policy on oil, other commitments.

    Saudi Arabia faces an increasingly complex web of security challenges at a time when its economy is depressed. With oil prices unlikely to rise in the next couple of years, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud will have to balance carefully his foreign policy priorities.

    Saudi Arabia's battle in Yemen and conflicts with Iran, coupled with the fall in the price of oil, point to a trying 2016 for the kingdom.
    Author Bruce Riedel Posted December 28, 2015

    The kingdom announced its new budget Dec. 28 with a record $87 billion deficit. Revenues are projected at $137 billion and spending at $224 billion.

    Riyadh's immediate priority is the war in Yemen. The war costs an estimated $200 million a day, or $6 billion a month. The Saudi coalition and the Houthi rebels both violated the last United Nations-sponsored cease-fire. The Saudis did gain control of the capital of Jawf province along the Saudi border during the supposed truce. The talks in Biel, Switzerland, did not produce a breakthrough, but are to resume Jan. 14.

    The Houthis show no sign of giving up. Their leadership remains hard-line and defiant. The war appears to be a bloody stalemate that has catastrophic humanitarian costs for Yemenis. The outside world pays little if any attention.

    Even if a permanent truce is arranged in Yemen, the costs of stabilizing and reconstruction in the poorest Arab country are going to bear heavily on the kingdom for years to come. If Riyadh wants a stable government that does not tilt toward Tehran, it will need to spend billions to get it.


    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/12/saudi-yemen-security-salman-houthi-gulf.html#ixzz3vjFVzP6T

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Saudi Arabia is the only thing keeping Egypt afloat.

      Maintaining the military government in Egypt is another top Saudi priority. Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king's favorite son, visited Cairo earlier this month and promised $8 billion in Saudi investment in Egypt over the next five years. In March, Riyadh promised $4 billion in aid, matched by similar pledges from the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

      The kingdom also has provided significant aid to other key allies such as Bahrain, Pakistan and Jordan. The announcement this month that the kingdom is forming an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism is consistent with the kingdom's long-standing efforts to mobilize the Islamic states to address critical global issues. It also reflects Riyadh's priorities and concerns and its desire to share the burden of fighting terrorism more equitably.

      The new alliance was also announced by Mohammed in a rare press conference. The new organization has 34 members and will have a secretariat and operations center in Riyadh to coordinate counterterrorism operations.

      Saudi Arabia has sponsored the development of Islamic institutions to push Islamic causes since the 1960s, when King Faisal believed that the Islamic states should unite to oppose international communism, Soviet aggression and to back Palestinian independence.


      Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/12/saudi-yemen-security-salman-houthi-gulf.html#ixzz3vjKdFlZV

      .

      Delete
    2. .

      The Saudis new military alliance.



      The new organization does not include Iran or Iraq. Riyadh sees Iran as a patron state sponsor of terrorism for backing the Houthis, Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria. It accuses it of promoting terrorism in Bahrain and other Gulf states. The Iraqi government is regarded as a pawn of Tehran. For Riyadh, the battle against Iran is as important as the battle against al-Qaeda and IS, perhaps even more important.

      Several other countries are notably absent from the new Saudi-led alliance. Oman refused to join the war against the Houthis in March, and it is not among the new allies. Oman is determined to try to broker sectarian reconciliation among Sunni and Shiite states. It brokered the latest cease-fire in Yemen.

      The largest Muslim country in Africa, Algeria, is also not a member. Algeria has been fighting al-Qaeda for over a decade and has the largest and most modern army in Africa; its absence weakens the clout of the alliance.

      Afghanistan and the Central Asian states are also absent. Afghanistan is at the front of the war against Islamic extremists. Pakistan and Bangladesh are traditional Saudi allies and members of the new alliance, although Pakistan pointedly refused to fight in Yemen against the Houthis.

      Mohammed probably also wants the alliance to bolster his credentials as a military leader. Some Saudis have had second thoughts about the Yemen war, which has not produced the decisive victory promised early on. A high-profile diplomatic and military event may quiet those doubts, at least for a time.

      The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has already ridiculed the new alliance. He said that if it really is an Islamic alliance, then it should make "killing the Jews and the liberation of Palestine its goal." Baghdadi told Israel that IS is getting closer every day to the Jewish state's borders.

      Of course what really matters is creating an effective alliance. The Arab world has been talking about military alliances since the 1940s, but has yet to produce a serious arrangement. So far there is little sign the new alliance is any different. There was much confusion when the alliance was announced among the allies. Pakistan seemed divided on whether it had been consulted in advance, and so did Indonesia. But if it is a serious undertaking, it will require substantial Saudi financial support to make it work...


      Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/12/saudi-yemen-security-salman-houthi-gulf.html#ixzz3vjPs6uBi

      .

      Delete
    3. The largest Muslim country in Africa, Algeria, is also not a member. Algeria has been fighting al-Qaeda for over a decade and has the largest and most modern army in Africa; its absence weakens the clout of the alliance.


      Egypt?

      Delete
    4. .

      Algeria is twice the size of Egypt even though the population is significantly less.

      Egypt has a significantly larger military than Algeria but it's hard to find anything on which is the more modern. Though the fact that Algeria buys most of its arms from Russia and France while Egypt is dependent upon US aid may give a clue.

      globalfirepower.com which considers a lot of different factors rates Egypt's military as 18 out of 168 while it rates Algeria's military number 27.

      .

      Delete
    5. The Aswan Dam ruined Egypt.

      Their agriculture was better without it.

      Maybe the terrorists will blow it up, accomplishing something positive for once.

      Delete
  24. .

    Infamous 'Affluenza' teen blows parole and flees to Mexico with his mommie.

    Now he's caught.

    It remains to be seen whether he will pay any consequences or whether he will again pick up a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/12/29/affluenza-teen-apprehended-mexico-cnn-reports/78002812/

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He deserves mercy.

      This oppressed kid was so pampered he did not know the difference between right and wrong.

      Delete
    2. "Affluenza" is going to get 120 days in the slammer.

      He was a juvenile was the incident in question occurred.

      If he blows probation a second time though he's looking at 10 years.

      I hope he blows probation again.

      Delete
  25. .

    Repo Man, Bounty Hunter, or Pirate?

    MIRAGOÂNE, Haiti — In Greece, Max Hardberger posed as an interested buyer, in Haiti as a port official, in Trinidad, a shipper. He has plied guards with booze and distracted them with prostitutes; spooked port police officers with witch doctors and duped night watchmen into leaving their posts. His goal: to get on board a vessel he is trying to retrieve and race toward the 12-mile line where the high seas begin and local jurisdiction ends.

    Mr. Hardberger is among a handful of maritime “repo men” who handle the toughest of grab-and-dash jobs in foreign harbors, usually on behalf of banks, insurers or shipowners. A last-resort solution to a common predicament, he is called when a vessel has been stolen, its operators have defaulted on their mortgage or a ship has been fraudulently detained by local officials.

    “When we show up, things go missing,” said Mr. Hardberger.

    Tens of thousands of boats or ships are stolen around the world each year, and many become part of a global “phantom fleet” involved in a broad range of crimes. Phantom vessels are frequently used in Southeast Asia for human trafficking, piracy and illegal fishing, in the Caribbean for smuggling guns and drugs, and in the Middle East and North Africa to transport fighters or circumvent arms or oil embargoes, according to Rear Adm. Christopher Parry, a maritime security expert formerly with Britain’s Royal Navy.

    Usually the vessels are not recovered because they are difficult to find on the vast oceans, the search is too expensive and the ships often end up in ports with uncooperative or corrupt officials.

    But sometimes, when the boat or ship is more valuable, firms like Mr. Hardberger’s Vessel Extractions in New Orleans are hired to find it. His company occasionally handles jobs involving megayachts, but more often the targets are small-to-medium cargo ships that carry goods between developing countries with poor or unstable governments.

    To the local port authorities and law enforcement officials in foreign countries, Mr. Hardberger and his ilk are vigilantes who erode the rule of law in places that are struggling to establish it. “They deserve to be arrested,” Louhandy Brizard, 27, a Haitian Coast Guard officer, said about repo men during a sea patrol looking for stolen boats.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/29/world/americas/maritime-repo-men-a-last-resort-for-stolen-ships.html?_r=0


    What a great job.

    Well, if you've got the balls.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That has GOT to be the best job in the world. :)

      Delete
    2. Quirk is trained for it.

      He ran "Q"repo out of Detroit for years, a cut rate car repo business.

      Often this firm simply "repo-ed" cars that had nothing owing, and kept them for themselves.

      When arrested over this, the man "Q", the man from "Q"repo, pled 'affluenza' and 'moral incapacity' and fled to Mexico with some broad with only one name, "Maria".

      Delete
    3. "Q" also had a long rap sheet involving stealing hub caps, too.

      Delete
  26. Good news for Deuce.

    If Quirk would read American Thinker as all intelligent people do, he would know that the Democratic nominee for President is going to be.............

    .........The Bern !


    December 29, 2015
    What if Hillary Loses Iowa?
    By Bruce Walker

    No one expects Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton to lose the Iowa caucus to Bernie Sanders, but that might just happen. Polls for caucuses do not really measure too much, especially in the long gatherings during the cold winter nights of the Iowa caucus, but even the polls for Iowa show how vulnerable Clinton is in a nomination contest without a single serious Democrat challenger (Sanders, of course, is a Socialist).

    The last six polls for the Iowa caucus give Clinton an average percentage of exactly 50% of the respondents. Think what that means. Is there any Democrat who will support Clinton who is now "undecided"? She has been a political celebrity and a Washington insider for a quarter of a century. Everyone knows who she is, and surely everyone has made up his mind.

    If only half of Iowa Democrats support her, how many of those will show up for the Iowa caucus? The enthusiasm gap so far has strongly favored Sanders, who draws crowds, while Clinton speaks to broom closets of dozing audiences. Sanders also seems to have become feistier lately, identifying Clinton more closely with what no one wants these days: the status quo.

    If the weather is bad, if Bernie energizes some Iowa crowds, and if Clinton makes another one of her ham-handed unforced errors, then Sanders could edge out Clinton in the Iowa caucus. She could lose the first contest in the fight for the Democrat nomination to a challenger who is not even a Democrat. How can that possibly be interpreted except as a rejection of Bill Clinton's frumpy wife as suitable presidential timber?

    The next contest, the first true "primary," is New Hampshire. How well might Sanders do in the first Democrat primary? He is already running an average of six percentage points ahead of Clinton. If he has momentum coming out of Iowa and into New Hampshire, Sanders will almost certainly win the New Hampshire primary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How could Clinton's campaign explain two straight losses away? How could two straight wins fail to bring money, momentum, and volunteers into Sanders's campaign? This is where it gets very interesting indeed. The national polling data for the Democrat nomination shows the Democrat, Clinton, running ahead of the non-Democrat, Sanders, but the margin is hardly a runaway.

      The percentage of Democrats who support the Democrat for the Democrat nomination is pathetically low, all things considered, and looking at specific polling organizations, Clinton's support has been dropping in the last two months. If she goes down a bit, and Bernie goes up a bit, Clinton could actually be running behind the Socialist Senator Sanders in the race for the Democratic Party nomination.

      Although the next primary, South Carolina, is supposed to be Clinton's "firewall," that is surely because Sanders has hardly campaigned in the South. It is worth noting, however, that Liberty University, a Christian and conservative Southern university, invited Sanders to speak in September. He was politely received and spoke politely to the audience, although it is hard to imagine greater differences in political position. Both, though, are honorably held positions, and the fact that Sanders says what he really believes and Clinton says whatever will help her right now may produce surprises there.

      What could make this even more interesting is if Republicans in South Carolina cross over in this open primary state to support Sanders. Indeed, if Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination by then, Republicans will have a strong incentive to keep the Sanders candidacy alive all the way to the Democrat Convention with the intention – openly made to Bernie Sanders – to force the Democrat convention to adopt a genuinely socialist platform.

      Both could get what they want. Socialists like Sanders believe that people who have become fabulously rich as imagined "champions" of the poor are not the real article (Bernie is right), and Republicans believe that a pathological liar like Clinton should never be allowed (again) in the White House (they are right.)

      No matter who the Republican Party nominee is we ought not be shocked if Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton finds herself in March losing the Democrat nomination to someone who is not a Democrat.

      http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/12/what_if_hillary_loses_iowa.html#ixzz3vjlcWE38


      Granted that are many 'ifs' in this article, which may be one of AT's periodic spoofs, but we may be looking at The Donald v The Bern, the capitalist v the commie, intelligence v stupidity, freedom v slavery life v death.

      And only YOU can make the fateful decision !!

      What could be more exciting ? !!

      Delete
    2. .

      ...one of AT's periodic spoofs...

      Periodic spoofs?

      I thought spoofs were the only thing that AT printed. Admittedly, not very good spoofs but still...

      .

      Delete
    3. .

      What could be more exciting ? !!


      Watching paint dry?

      .

      Delete
  27. Brrrr......

    There is NO global warming in Northern Idaho at this time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Ben Carson Campaign, not self financing, has sent me another solicitation for funds.

      What to do, what to do ?

      I love the guy but he's so likely not to win.........

      Delete
  28. Here's Some Of That 'Working Class Frustration' You Keep Hearing About

    If you ask anyone in the pundit class why Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are gaining traction, it always comes back to this idea that there's a bloc of frustrated voters who feel as though their voices aren't being heard, as though they're not represented in government.

    That argument is always offered with a straight face and no apology. It's as if we are supposed to have some empathy for people who align with the right wing because...silent majority.

    Here are a couple of those "frustrated voters" at a Ted Cruz rally in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

    "I don't like Obama no more," says the unnamed woman. "He's ruined our country, he's ruined Christmas, he's let the Muslims in which you can't say that word without being ashamed of it!"

    Voice rising, she continued, "We're not ashamed people, we're a proud people. I want to take our country back! Watch out Obama, we're coming!"

    When asked how President Obama has ruined Christmas, she answered, "He scared the little children. They're not allowed to have Santa Claus in the schools where it might offend the Muslims."

    "What about us?"

    These are the "frustrated voters." And these are voters Bernie Sanders will not reach with his message of economic populism because economic populism isn't their primary concern.

    Race is. Race and religion. That's what they're afraid of, and they're frustrated that a Black President Obama has asked them to make room in this big country for peaceful, law-abiding Muslims.

    We know how this plays. We've seen it before, over and over again. Nixon, Buchanan, Reagan, Trump and most of the current Republican field are playing this game. But in the Village, these are just "frustrated voters who feel unrepresented."

    There are some people who should feel unrepresented. Those who choose to declare supremacy on the basis of skin color or religion.

    There are some things which shouldn't be said. And there are some frustrations which should not receive empathy. This woman sounded like a two-year old who had her toy taken away from her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not worthy of empathy. It needs discipline. It would be great if media would quit enabling people like this with their vague references to "frustrated voters" and call them what they are.

      Bigots.

      Crooks and Liars

      Delete
    2. I like that Lady.

      She has a capacity to learn from experience which you totally lack.

      "I don't like Obama no more," says the unnamed woman. "He's ruined our country, he's ruined Christmas, he's let the Muslims in which you can't say that word without being ashamed of it!"

      She's got the 'peace loving' moslems figured out.

      After 80 million dead, the Hindus do, too.

      Only you lag behind.

      :(

      Delete
    3. She doesn't care about the ObamaPhones any longer.

      She is tired of the rioting, the crime, and moslem terrorism.

      She wants a peaceful Christmas, God Bless her.

      I hope she gets it.

      Delete
    4. She sounds like she might be black.

      If so, she is that new thing discovered only in the Rufian Universe, a black bigot.

      Delete
    5. She gives the lie to all your horse shit about how all things have 'improved' under Obewan, The Light Bringer.

      Delete
    6. The truth right from the street.

      Delete
    7. .

      It needs discipline.


      :o(

      Good heavens.

      .

      .

      Delete
    8. But Ruf's not the guy to dish it out.

      He's simply too lazy.

      Heavens to Bettsie, what are we to do ?

      Delete
  29. Security forces arrest ISIS Minister of Finance

    (IraqiNews.com) Anbar – On Tuesday, War Media Cell announced, that the security forces have arrested the so-called ISIS Minister of Finance.

    The Cell said in a statement obtained by IraqiNews.com, “The residents of Ramadi informed the security forces about the presence of the so-called ISIS Minister of Finance,” adding that, “The undercover criminal was arrested while trying to escape after the defeat of the terrorist organization.”

    Iraqinews

    ReplyDelete
  30. SURPRISE! Some insurers DID make a profit last year!

    Posted on Tue, 12/29/2015 - 12:38am

    Between the #RiskCorridorMassacre which helped wipe out a dozen ACA-created Co-Ops and UnitedHealthcare's peculiarly-timed panic attack last month, the conventional wisdom is that the ACA exchanges are causing health insurance carriers to go bankrupt by the bedpan-full, sapping their precious bodily fluids like a woman having sex with Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper.

    According to Mark Farrah Associates and Allison Bell of LifeHealthPro, however, it turns out that the reality isn't quite that lopsided:

    Some insurers said they were doing fine, and the biggest insurers reported solid 2014 profits.

    ...Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) has now published a review of 2014 medical loss ratio (MLR) data that implies that carriers in some states might have done a good job of setting premiums at a high enough level to generate underwriting gains.

    PPACA now requires carriers to spend 85 percent of large-group health revenue, and 80 percent of individual and small-group revenue, on health care and quality improvement efforts. Carriers that miss the mark, and earn what the government views as being too big of a profit margin, must send rebates to the enrollees.

    Nationwide, the rebate total for all types of health coverage increased 42 percent between 2013 and 2014, to $478 million, according to the MFA analysts.

    The size of the average rebate paid increased to $129, from $80.

    ...the analysts did find that seven of the top 10 carriers in the individual market had to pay rebates for their 2014 business. In the small-group and large-group markets, only half of the carriers had to pay rebates.

    In other words, some insurance carriers lost a lot of money, some lost a little, some broke even, some made a little, and some made a lot.

    You know...exactly the way that the "Invisible Hand of the Free Market" is supposed to work.

    Now, it is true that the enormous disruption that the ACA brought to the individual market in particular is making things very uncertain and rocky the first few years of the law...which is exactly why the risk corridor program was created to help smooth the path for the first three years. Unfortunately, Marco Rubio and his colleagues decided to yank that particular rug out from under the carriers, leaving the ones who didn't do a perfect job of marking their territory to dangle in the wind.

    ACA Signups

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That truly IS a surprise !!

      They finally found one, or, more likely, made one up.

      Delete
  31. Finally !

    12 year old sexual slaves should be treated with codified respect:

    ISIS finally drafts rules on who can have sex with female slaves December 29, 2015

    ISIS is only doing publicly what the sheikhs, royals, and emirs do in private.

    More


    from American Thinker

    ReplyDelete
  32. How totally, absolutely, definitively stupid do you have to be to come to the conclusion that the old, white church-lady on the video was most likely black?

    I'm having trouble believing that even a Trump-supporter could be that stupid.


    But, God help us, there it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Idaho BobTue Dec 29, 04:10:00 PM EST

      She sounds like she might be black.

      If so, she is that new thing discovered only in the Rufian Universe, a black bigot.

      Delete
  33. Highlights

    Consumer confidence rebounded in December to a reading of 96.5, up from 92.6 in November. The reading is also above the Econoday consensus of 93.5. The present situation index increased from 110.9 last month to 115.3 in December, while the expectations index improved to 83.9 from 80.4 in November.

    Those saying business conditions are "good" increased from 25.0 percent to 27.3 percent. However, those saying business conditions are "bad" also increased -- from 16.9 percent to 19.8 percent.

    The important reading about the labor market was more positive in December. The proportion claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased from 21.0 percent to 24.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 24.7 percent from 25.8 percent. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased slightly to 12.9 percent from 12.0 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 18.5 percent to 16.6 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 17.3 percent to 16.3 percent. However, the proportion expecting a reduction in income decreased from 11.8 percent to 9.7 percent.

    Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook was somewhat mixed. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased slightly to 15.2 percent from 15.7 percent. However, those expecting business conditions to worsen increased slightly to 11.0 percent from 10.6 percent.

    Recent History Of This Indicator

    The consumer confidence index, pulled down by lack of confidence in the jobs outlook, simply plunged in November, down nearly 9 points to 90.4. Econoday forecasters see a roughly 3 point bounce back in December to 93.5. Assessments of the jobs market in this report are always very closely watched and the consensus is hinting at month-to-month improvement for December.

    ReplyDelete