“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Bombing Syria (What the news doesn’t show you)

The GOP Choice in Iowa is Carpet-Bombing Jesus Loving Ted Cruz:

Washington (CNN)The top U.S. commander for the fight against ISIS on Monday slammed the idea of "carpet bombing" the terror group.
Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, who directs the coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, provided the most detailed military criticism to date about the concept and detailed why it's militarily unacceptable.
    "Indiscriminate bombing where we don't care if we are killing innocents or combatants is just inconsistent with our values," he said in response to a question from CNN on the possibility of using carpet bombing.
    Though MacFarland didn't mention any political candidates by name in his answer, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas while on the campaign trail has called for employing the practice against ISIS.

    The US is killing more civilians in Iraq and Syria than it acknowledges

    The immediate aftermath of a coalition airstrike on Syria in October, 2015. 

    Al Gharra is a mud-brick village built on hard, flat Syrian desert and populated by the descendants of Bedouin. It is a desolate place. Everything is dun colored: the bare, single-story houses and the stony desert they stand on. There is not much farming — it is too dry — just a few patches of cotton and tobacco.
    Before the war, villagers got a little money from the government to look after the national park on Mount Abdul-Aziz, a barren rock that rises 3,000 feet behind the village and stretches miles into the distance. Mount Abdul-Aziz is named after a lieutenant of the 12th-Century Muslim warrior Saladin, who built a fort to dominate the plain below. There is a military base there today too, which changes hands according to the fortunes of Syria’s civil war. In 2011, the regime of Bashar al-Assad held the base; next it was the rebels of the Free Syrian Army; then the so-called “Islamic State” (IS); and finally the Kurds, who advanced and took the mountain last May under the cover of American warplanes.

    Abdul-Aziz al Hassan is from al Gharra, his first name the same as the mountain’s. He left the village while the Islamic State was in charge, but it is because of a bomb from an American plane that he cannot go back. What happened to his family is the story of just one bomb of the 35,000 dropped so far during 10,000 missions flown in the US-led air war against the Islamic State.
    Al Hassan is in his 20s, small, soft-spoken, with chestnut-brown skin. He said the war did not affect al Gharra much back when the regime or the Free Syrian Army occupied the mountain’s military base. But he remembers the day that the Islamic State came. “I was sitting in front of the house when a jeep passed by and stopped at the shrine to Saladin’s commander,” he said. “They gathered all of the people. One said: ‘We are the Islamic State. We are here to create an emirate based on Sharia [Islamic law].’” From that day, they decreed, men had to be in the mosque, the women at home. If a woman wanted to go to the market, she had to walk with a husband, brother or son. No one outside the family could see women uncovered, even at home. “It wasn’t as if we didn’t know what Islam was. But they didn’t even like the way we prayed. Everything we did was wrong in their eyes.”

    Still, the presence of Islamic State fighters in the village was rare. They largely stayed within the base. “We managed to live normal lives most of the time. We had family and friends and loved ones around us. We entered each others’ houses for gatherings or parties. We shared the same happiness and sadness.” The US-led coalition occasionally launched airstrikes in the distance. The ground shook “like an earthquake;” sometimes a house fell down. But it wasn’t the bombs or even the dictates of the Islamic State that made al Hassan first leave home. It was the grinding poverty, worsened by war.

    ‘There was no bread and no work,” he said. He took his wife and daughter and drove to Turkey. “My father stayed there to keep the house. The moment you leave, IS takes it. All our belongings are there.

    While al Hassan was in Turkey, as spring turned into summer last year, the war took another turn. Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, controlled territory that stopped just short of the mountain. Backed by American air power, they began an offensive to recapture it from the Islamic State. Al Gharra stood in the way. The road to the nearest town — Hasaka, held by the Kurds — was about a mile away from the village. The first bomb fell on that road between 10 and 11 in the morning on May 6 . Then a plane started circling over the village. People were afraid to stay in their homes. They ran into the open. Al Hassan’s father, Ismail, tried to run as well. But he was too late. The villagers remember seeing the plane point its nose down and dive, dropping a bomb. It then climbed away. Al Hassan’s father lay on the ground in a crumpled heap, dead, in front of the ruins of his house.

    An uncle phoned to tell al Hassan what had happened. He rushed back to the village from Turkey. His father had died on the first day of the Kurdish offensive to take the mountain. It was still going on when al Hassan returned. “Most of the people had fled because a drone was still roaming around. The airstrikes didn’t stop … one every 15 to 30 minutes,” he said. There were more bombs as the Kurdish forces advanced. “Any village would be heavily bombed until the Kurds managed to get inside. Then they’d let it be. The airstrikes were unbelievable. It was complete destruction. They kept bombing until they got to the mountain.”
    The Kurds told reporters covering the offensive that there were a thousand Islamic State fighters at the mountain base. But Al Hassan is adamant that no Islamic State fighters were in the village when his father died. “The Islamic State were not there at the time of the bombing,” he said. “Whenever they expected a strike, they would leave the villages.” And anyway, he went on, they had already sent their troops to try to block the Kurdish advance at the frontline close to Hasaka. “During the airstrikes there was no one. There is no need to lie about this. I don’t support any of the groups fighting this war. The only thing that matters to me is my family’s security.”

    There were no independent witnesses in al Gharra to say whether or not Islamic State fighters were there. The YPG general commanding the assault on what the Kurds call Mount Kezwan thought so, or at least he was inclined to see villagers and Islamic State fighters as one and the same. He was quoted as saying that “many of the local villages are Arab and they often support IS [the Islamic State].” And in the offensive against the jihadist group, the Kurds are often fighting for land they would claim as part of their own future state. They see the Arabs in some of the towns and villages they have captured as aliens with no right to be there.

    Al Hassan left his village for the second time — again with his family — a day before the Kurdish forces took full control of the area. They fled over the mountain and drove through Raqqa, the place the Islamic State calls its capital, before crossing the Turkish border. “When the Kurds arrived, they kicked everybody out under the pretext that IS had littered the village with booby traps,” he said. “So the entire village left. Almost half of the village was destroyed — then it was completely empty.”

    Before they left, they buried his father in a simple grave in the village’s small cemetery. Ismail was 55 and left behind 10 children. Al Hassan was the eldest. “Death comes for all of us. But he wasn’t old and he was the entire family’s provider.” His father’s house — now a pile of rubble — had been home for the whole extended family. “Even if we went back, where would we live? In our destroyed house?” Al Hassan asked bitterly. “Does the American government think we have money? Do they think I can just go back and rebuild our house?” He and the rest of the family are now stuck in Turkey … refugees.

    A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq in the morning of Sept 23, 2014 after conducting airstrikes in Syria. (Reuters)

    The US military could not confirm whether or not bombs were dropped on al Gharra (also known as al Gharba). A spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the US-led military campaign against the Islamic State, offered a vague response to our questions. He simply said the coalition had “conducted a number of airstrikes near al Hasaka” on May 6 and 7. When pressed about whether the mountain or the village was hit on those days, the spokesman replied: “We can confirm that Abdul-Aziz mountain is geographically close enough to be considered ‘near al Hasaka.’ However, we do not have a record of striking that particular mountain.”

    As a result of al Hassan’s testimony provided by GlobalPost, US Central Command — CENTCOM — said it would look again at whether it did bomb the village. For now, the United States has no record of killing any civilian in al Gharra. GlobalPost found other instances of US airstrikes — detailed below — that probably killed civilians but which were not officially investigated, or which were investigated and dismissed. In almost a-year-and-a-half of bombing Iraq and Syria, the United States admits to killing just 22 innocent people. An independent monitoring group says the real figure could be more than a thousand.

    The explanation for the US military’s impossibly low number can be found in the very way it investigates its own airstrikes. A CENTCOM spokesman told us that all civilian casualties were investigated — even if something as insubstantial as an anonymous post to Twitter was the only source. But some US investigations were cursory at best, amounting to what appears to be willful blindness. In an airstrike on one Syrian village — also detailed below — it seems that simple confusion over place names meant that civilian casualties were never investigated and were left uncounted. A coalition spokesman eventually said that CENTCOM would review that case too, after GlobalPost pointed out the village on a map.

    Standing orders — the Rules of Engagement — give every mission in Operation Inherent Resolve the goal of causing zero civilian casualties. But given the immense firepower deployed in Iraq and Syria, killing civilians is frighteningly easy, especially from the air. American pilots and their commanding officers are heavily dependent on information from Kurdish troops. In several cases we have looked at, witnesses say civilians were at the scene but the pilots — or the Kurds calling in the strike — thought they were Islamic State fighters. In the few cases where the United States admits killing civilians, the explanation is often the same: the civilians ran into the target area just after the pilots pulled the trigger.
    It is difficult — almost impossible — to visit territory controlled by the so-called Islamic State. But we know about airstrikes from witnesses, survivors, human rights activists, video uploaded to YouTube and even lists of the dead published on Facebook. If you believe that evidence, many more civilians are dying in American airstrikes than the US government acknowledges. People in Iraq and Syria can see what is happening. And so can the enemy. The Islamic State portrays the conflict as a war on Sunnis and a war on Muslims. When the coalition kills civilians — and does not investigate and apologize — the Islamic State fills the void with propaganda. The war against the Islamic State is ultimately a war for Sunni public opinion. Things look very different from the ground.

    War will always result in civilian casualties — and some in the US military want the strategy to recognize that. Those in uniform cannot state their views openly but a former US Air Force general, David Deptula, argues that the current policy is imposing restrictions on the fighting men and women in the field well beyond the laws of war. “The laws of armed conflict do not require, nor do they expect, a target of zero unintentional civilian casualties,” he told me. “There is no such thing as immaculate warfare, it’s a horrible thing, an ugly thing, and … we need to finish it as rapidly as possible…What is the logic of a policy that restricts the use of air power to avoid the possibility of collateral damage, while allowing the certainty of the Islamic State’s crimes against humanity?”

    The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, has said: “No other military on Earth takes the concerns over collateral damage and civilian casualties more seriously than we do.” Yet as the examples below show there has been no honest official estimate of how many civilians the United States has killed in Iraq and Syria. Even if civilian casualties are an inevitable part of a “just” war, the Western public is being fed the comforting illusion that war can be fought without shedding innocent blood.

    And that is simply not the case.

    Al Khan

    A Syrian boy looks out from a window inside the bullet-riddled facade of his home after what activists said were overnight US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Raqqa on Nov. 24, 2014. (Reuters)

    What may be one of the worst tragedies of the campaign against the Islamic State is said to have taken place on another part of Syria’s Hasaka front in December. Al Khan is a tiny village. Most of the people have fled to Lebanon or Turkey. Perhaps a hundred stayed behind. They say the village was hit by rockets and strafed in the early hours of Dec. 7, killing some 47 civilians, half of them children. We spoke to one of the residents by phone, an Arab man in his 30s who, fearing reprisals from the Kurds, wants to be known only by his nickname, Abu Khalil. The war against the Islamic State here is, again, being waged by American aircraft above and Kurdish militia forces on the ground. Abu Khalil accepts that there was an Islamic State presence in al Khan. But he said: “There were fewer than 10 fighters in the village, including two locals. And they all stayed together at one place.”
    Abu Khalil does not support the Islamic State. He is a former civil servant in the Syrian education ministry and once served in the regime army (he deserted). “People in al Khan didn’t like IS and always avoided talking to them,” he said. The villagers even tried to expel them. According to one report, there was an altercation that escalated into an exchange of fire. The Islamic State apparently responded by sending reinforcements to the village. This convoy, it seems, was spotted by the Kurds, who no doubt thought they were seeing a big movement of troops to the frontline — and called in air support. If this version of events is true, it is a bitter irony for the villagers. It would mean their brave opposition to the Islamic State resulted in a brutal attack by American aircraft.

    Abu Khalil is haunted by that night of carnage and destruction.

    “It was past midnight. We were sleeping. We were suddenly wakened by a huge explosion. The house shook. The windows shattered. There was shrapnel in the walls. I ran out and saw my neighbor’s house completely destroyed. He told me, ‘Abu Khalil, I managed to rescue my wife and son but I can’t find my six-month-old baby. Help me!’ I could hear people calling from underneath the rubble. My neighbor’s mother was crying out. She’s 70. I pulled her out, along with a boy and his mother. They were all OK.

    “My mother and my aunt both came running to help dig through the rubble. But while we did this, a helicopter — an Apache — came overhead. It fired. They had machineguns with explosive bullets. I was hit. I still have the shrapnel in my body. I fell into the hole made by the airstrike. That was what saved me. The helicopter circled round again and fired a second time. My mother and aunt were killed. The woman and her son I’d rescued were killed. Everyone but me was killed.

    “Three powerful rockets were used in the first airstrike. They left a two-meter deep hole in the ground. Anyone could see the hole until the Kurdish militia filled it. They don’t let anyone go near the place or take pictures. Nineteen people died in that one house.

    “It was the Americans. For the past year-and-a-half, the only aircraft that fly over our area have been American.”

    The US military emphatically denied that they bombed al Khan on Dec. 7, though a spokesman said there were airstrikes in the area of al Hawl, a small town a few miles away. But when the spokesman showed us a map marking the location of the airstrike, it was in the same area where a group of local activists had told us al Khan was located. This was where the locals said the rocket attack had taken place. Confusion over place names happens often enough for the US military to plausibly deny responsibility for civilian casualties and to avoid launching a full investigation. 

    There are still many things that are unclear about the events in al Khan. How many Islamic State fighters were there? How many of them were killed? Were they close to the house that was hit? As in al Gharra, the village in the shadow of the mountain, there are no independent witnesses. In both cases, the airstrikes were almost certainly called in by Kurdish spotters. Information from the Kurds is passed on to a coalition “targeting cell.” Though the coalition’s aircraft are capable of striking with great precision, what they hit — who they hit — depends on the quality of that information. The coalition rarely has eyes and ears on ground. It is left to the pilots to confirm the target, from thousands of feet up.

    Al Hatra

    Iraqi children run inside an ancient temple in the historic city of Al Hatra, during a more peaceful time. (Reuters)

    The limitations of the pilot’s view are clear in the very first report the US published about civilian deaths caused by Operation Inherent Resolve. A family died because two pilots could not see they were there. The report says the pilots simply did not know they were firing on civilians. It was published in November 2015. Until then, the US military had not admitted to causing a single civilian casualty despite 15 months of bombing.

    The report described an attack on March 13 of last year against an Islamic State checkpoint outside al Hatra in northern Iraq. Al Hatra is the site of one of the world’s oldest cities, dating back to the 3rd Century BC. Saddam Hussein restored the ruins, laying bricks stamped with his name into the ancient walls. When the Islamic State arrived, they used sledgehammers, Kalashnikovs and a bulldozer to demolish what they believe are the city’s “idolatrous” statues. Then they turned the site into a training camp, installing a checkpoint on the road nearby.
    Two US aircraft were given permission to fire on that checkpoint because it seemed — to the pilots and to everyone involved in the so-called “kill chain” — that no civilians were in the strike area. But a Kia sedan and a Chevy Suburban had been stopped at the checkpoint. They were there long enough for the pilots to think that the vehicles were helping the fighters there. Evidence emerged later that members of a family were in the car: two women and three children. The Suburban is thought to have had at least one other civilian and perhaps too, a family group. Through the dense thicket of military acronyms and jargon in the report, the horror of what happened emerges. The planes were A-10 “Warthogs,” snub-nosed aircraft used against tanks. The A-10s are built around a huge seven-barrel machine gun, like a Gatling gun, the “GAU Avenger,” which fires 50 to 70 rounds a second. Each shell is the size of a bottle of beer and the nose is weighted with a third of a kilogram of depleted uranium. One bullet can cut a human being in half; a stream of them can punch through armor or turn a person into red mist.
    The Warthog’s cannon makes a distinctive, terrifying noise during an attack. The gun fires so rapidly it sounds like fabric tearing, or a piece of heavy furniture being dragged across a wooden floor (as one journalist described it while watching A-10s over Baghdad in 2003). The two Warthogs in al Hatra came in on their strafing run. They would have fired in two-second bursts, hitting the vehicles and checkpoint with at the very least 200 rounds, probably more. According to the report, four people got out of one of the vehicles just after the cannon was fired. The bullets hit the vehicles, which exploded in a ball of fire, incinerating everyone close by. “Post strike, both vehicles are on fire and it appears like there is one person still moving at the rear of the sedan,” the report said.

    As in al Gharra and al Khan, the victims may well have been people who opposed the Islamic State. The women and children were killed as they were trying to leave territory held by the militant group, according to an email sent to the US military by an Iraqi woman. (The email was sent to claim compensation for the destroyed vehicles.) Prompted by the email to investigate further, the US military found its own evidence that non-combatants had been at the scene. Analysis of video from the Warthog’s camera in the “targeting pod” on the wing showed people getting out of the car and: “One of the persons observed … presents a signature smaller than the other persons. This was assessed as a possible child.” Officials determined this by measuring the height of the shadow when the image was blown up on a large screen.

    The pilots could not have done such analysis in flight and the report says: “There is no evidence the aircrew had any opportunity to detect civilians prior to their strike.” The spokesman for US Central Command, Col. Patrick Ryder, told reporters by video-link from Baghdad: “It’s safe to say … that if we knew there were civilians we would not have conducted a strike.” The report into al Hatra concludes, in its strangulated military language: “The NCV [Non-Combat Victims] = 0 objective was not met.”

    US forces, then, have orders to try not to kill civilians — it is a mission objective. But that is not the same as an absolute prohibition. And the National Security Council spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, has said that bombing in Iraq and Syria would not be held to the same safeguards used in Afghanistan, which only allow strikes when there is “near certainty” of no civilian casualties.
    A US Air Force B-1B bomber flies over northern Iraq. (Reuters)

    While the standard for strikes may be rigorous — a goal of zero civilian casualties — a target can be ruled free of non-combatants based on little more than an educated guess by the pilots. The pilots’ methods are reminiscent of the CIA’s controversial “signature” strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Those strikes are called in based not on certain intelligence but because targets have suspicious patterns of behavior, "signatures" of terrorists. Being present in a militant area could be enough.

    This is exactly the kind of judgment the Warthog pilots used when targeting the two vehicles held at the Islamic State checkpoint. The report into al Hatra also said that one of the planes dropped a 500-pound bomb on a shack at the checkpoint. “Prior to weapon impact but after weapon release a single adult sized PAX (person) is seen slowly moving to the north,” the report said. “This person is knocked down by the weapon impact and not seen moving again.” Was that a fighter, or a farmer? It is impossible to say.

    One other revealing finding of the report is that the people getting out of the car were glimpsed only after the pilot had fired. It would have taken three or four seconds for the cannon rounds to hit the checkpoint. Even if the pilot had realized in that time that they were civilians, he could not have done anything about it. This is the theme of several other US government reports into civilian casualties published in January 2016. Here are three excerpts from a Pentagon press release (Italics added by GlobalPost):
    • On June 19, 2015, near Tall al Adwaniyah, Syria, during a strike against two ISIL vehicles, it is assessed that one civilian was injured when appearing in the target area after the US aircraft released its weapon.
    • On June 29, 2015, near Haditha, Iraq, during strikes against one ISIL tactical unit and two ISIL vehicles, it is assessed that two civilians were injured. After the US aircraft engaged the target and two seconds prior to impact, a car slowed in front of the ISIL vehicles while a motorcycle simultaneously passed by.
    • On July 4, 2015, near Ar Raqqah, Syria, during a strike against an ISIL High Value Individual, a car and a motorcycle entered the target area after the weapon was released. It is assessed that three unidentified civilians were likely killed.
    In all these cases, the Pentagon’s reporting says that people wandered into the firing line after the pilot had squeezed the trigger. That is a consequence of fighting in built up areas.

    Taking all the published investigations so far, the US military acknowledges causing the sum total of 22 civilian deaths in the campaign against the Islamic State. Such a low number is wildly implausible. Airwars, an independent monitoring group that tracks allegations of civilians casualties, says that at least 862 and as many as 1,190 non-combatants have died in coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria. The Airwars count is made by collating reports from several sources for each strike: human rights activists and the media, Facebook posts, and testimony from survivors and relatives of the dead. Each casualty report is judged credible based on the amount of detail and whether it is consistent with other evidence.
    The head of Airwars, Chris Woods, says the “smart bombs” used by Western air forces have clearly reduced the risk to civilians on the battlefield. Nevertheless, he says that in Afghanistan, for example, more civilians died in airstrikes than were killed by foreign ground troops. Airpower was the single greatest cause of civilian death by international forces, killing one civilian for every 11 airstrikes. In Iraq and Syria, the ratio could be even worse, he says, because there are more attacks on “targets of opportunity” than those based on intelligence. And the campaign is being fought mainly in built-up areas where it is hard to distinguish the enemy.
    “In the end, the generals who ran Afghanistan, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, managed to start getting civilian casualties down by admitting they were killing civilians,” he said. War fighters were only forced to change tactics when confronted with the effects of what they were doing. “Right now, we are in the denial phase with the coalition. They don’t admit to killing civilians and we think that’s wrong. … The military is starting to believe their own myth of absolute precision … this fantasy lulls Western audiences into feeling more comfortable with our countries being at war because we think we don’t kill civilians anymore. I’m afraid the reality is far from that.” He went on: “It is probably fair to say that the coalition is taking more care than we have ever seen in any air war in recent history, but that’s relative precision and civilians are still dying … hundreds of them.”

    Kfar Derian

    Residents inspect damaged buildings in what activists say was a US airstrike in Kfar Derian on Sept. 23, 2014. (Reuters)

    In September 2014, doctors at a hospital in the southern Turkish city of Iskenderun were presented with a mystery. An injured Syrian boy, four or five years old, was brought there in a coma. He had no identifying documents and no parents, or anyone else, claimed him. Doctors wrote a Turkish name on his chart and kept him in intensive care. They would learn later that the child came from a village called Kfar Derian, just over the border. He was a victim of the very first US airstrikes in Syria. How the coalition responded to what happened in Kfar Derian at least partly reveals why official figures fail to show the true extent of civilian casualties.

    US airstrikes in Syria began in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 22, 2014. Two warships, one in the Red Sea and one in the Arabian Gulf, launched waves of cruise missiles, 47 in all. Some of them were aimed at Islamic State targets in Iraq; some at the Islamic State in Syria. But eight of those missiles were for the Khorasan group, which is part of Al Qaeda. One of them — it seems — hit the village of Kfar Derian. “The attack happened at night,” said Abu Mohammed, a 30-year-old from a neighboring village. He remembered seven or eight impacts spread across the mountainous terrain, coming 30 seconds apart, one after the other. “When the Syrian regime attacked, it was always in the day. The explosions were very big. When the people saw this they said the missiles came from the sea.”
    Khorasan was unheard of until it was identified as a threat by the US government. The US said its members were experienced Al Qaeda operatives preparing bomb attacks on Western airlines. They were embedded with Al Qaeda’s Syrian ally, the Nusra Front (which is engaged in its own war with the Islamic State). The day after the attack, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that a missile hit a Nusra building, killing many fighters. But they said the explosion was so big that the blast wave also demolished a house 100 yards away — a Tomahawk cruise missile packs a 1,000 pound bomb and flies in at 550 mph. It can cause devastation over a wide area. The activists counted the bodies of 13 civilians in the house, including five women and five children. Abu Mohammed, speaking long after these events, put the number of dead much higher — “six families” — and denies there were armed men in the village: “The people were shepherds, nothing else.”

    After the attacks he was asked by local people to go to Turkey to look for a mother and son whose bodies could not be found in the rubble. Three days later, he found the mother in a mortuary. After a week, he still couldn’t find the little boy. “We searched everywhere for him.” Then, having almost given up hope, he showed a picture of the boy at a hospital. Doctors recognized him.

    The 5-year-old was not registered under his own name, Humam Darwish. “When I first saw him he was in intensive care, no movements, just breathing, inhaling and exhaling, nothing more. They told us they couldn’t do anything for him.”
    Humam did not wake up for months. He is now an orphan — his mother, Fatima, and his father, Mohammed, are both gone — living in a children’s home, and very far from the alert, inquisitive little boy he used to be. Abu Mohammed calls him the sole survivor of a massacre. “Houses were bombed,” he said. “Families died. There were no survivors. The only one who lived was that child.” His testimony has differences with the activists’ account, most importantly his claim that no fighters were in the village. But both agree there were civilian casualties in Kfar Derian. The US military says the eight missiles did not even succeed in wiping out Khorasan. The militants slipped away, tipped off by reconnaissance flights before the strike. Abu Mohammed said: “A day before, there was many scout planes over the area that was bombed.

    The Pentagon has never accepted that it killed civilians in the Khorasan strikes. Two days afterwards, the Pentagon press secretary, Admiral Kirby, was asked about civilian casualties in Kfar Derian. He replied: “We don't have any credible operational reporting … that would sustain those allegations.” A year later, a declassified internal military document concluded, “no further inquiry required.” This was because: “A review of BDA [battle damage assessment] imagery did not credibly determine that civilians were present at the site. Open source images presented as casualties from the strikes actually came from previous GoS [government of Syria] strikes.”

    The monitoring group Airwars say that coverage of Kfar Derian on one English language website did, wrongly, use a picture of a child killed in a regime bombing. But this is the only case they can find of such false reporting, while there were many other genuine images of the strike that Central Command could have used as the basis for an investigation. Woods, the head of Airwars, said such images were ignored for “pure propaganda” reasons — propaganda aimed at Americans, since Iraqis and Syrians already knew people were dying in coalition airstrikes. But Woods says it’s a mistake to think the information can be controlled, when anyone with a camera phone can post video of an airstrike online in minutes. “We know more about the civilian victims of this war, by all parties, than we’ve ever known in any conflict in history. That’s war today.”

    He went on: “The Pentagon operates in this weird bubble where it pretends social media hasn’t been invented. It just ignores all these allegations of civilian casualties ... If the coalition are not engaging in that territory [responding to claims of civilian casualties on social media], they are effectively ceding it to the Islamic State. The coalition needs to be more honest with Iraqis and Syrians.”
    The conventional wisdom is that bombing must increase support for the Islamic State. The conventional wisdom may be wrong, although it is hard to be sure as there is no way to measure public opinion in the “Caliphate.” In the early days of the campaign in Syria, there were some anti-coalition demonstrations with placards declaring: “This is a war on all Sunnis.” But they may have been orchestrated, with people press-ganged to attend. There have been few, if any, large and spontaneous popular protests against the bombing. That maybe because the coalition has killed relatively few noncombatants in Syria compared to the Islamic State and the regime. In January 2015, a group of Syrian doctors said that indiscriminate air attacks by the regime caused 80 percent of civilian casualties, while the Islamic State caused 15 percent, and the coalition 5 percent.
    But those who are directly affected by US bombs are, as you would expect, bitter.
    “You build in your countries and destroy in ours?” asked Abdul-Aziz al Hassan, who lost his father in the bombing at al Gharra. “Is this how you bring democracy? Stop it. Really, stop it. People are tired.” Abu Khalil, survivor of the devastating attack in al Khan, said he wanted compensation from the United States for the death of his mother. Abu Mohammed, who spoke to us about Kfar Derian simply condemned the United States as “Zionists,” echoing both jihadi and regime propaganda. He wanted nothing to do with America.  
    All of them sounded more weary than angry.

    Paul Wood is a BBC Middle East correspondent and contributor to GlobalPost’s Longreads on Conflict.
    This story was cross-posted by our colleagues at GlobalPost. 


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. .

      Don't expect the US to admit to any collateral damage that they are not forced to admit to. Its understandable. They have a credulous American public they can count.

      The US doesn't understand anything about the ME. They are embarrassingly short on strategy. And the public here is even worse. They don't understand the ME. They don't understand the people there. And most importantly they don't really give a shit.

      They have been scared to death by their government with the whole WOT hysteria. Terrorism and the response to it are one of their main priorities going into the 2016 election. They could care less what it costs or who gets killed or made homeless as long as it isn't Americans.

      We see it at this site daily.

      If the US says terrorism here is a big deal, the people buy it even though the chance that any individual American will be directly affected by a terrorist attack is something like 1 in 10 million. If the US says they are fighting terrorists over there so the they don't have to fight them over here, the people eat it up even though the biggest threat and the primary target of the US 'over there' is ISIS and ISIS has pretty much confined all their efforts to 'over there'. If the US says it isn't killing people in the ME, why would the sheeple here question it and disturb there contented perceptions.

      There were no collateral deaths in Libya, at least none the US admitted to, that is, that they admitted to until months after the end of the war when they were confronted by meticulously documented studies by the UN and major news outlets (including NYT) that laid out the thousands of civilian death there.

      The post above is long and all I did was speed read it. The same type of stories have been around for decades and readily available to read for anyone who is actually interested. Face it, there aren't many that are.

      (Note the number of comments on this subect.)


    3. Thanks for your comment. Others read them and every small part makes a difference.

    4. So, we should call off our assistance in the war against ISIS, and come home?


      1,400 civilians killed in Russia’s Syria airstrikes


      “What we have here is our core values as Americans and Christians slipping away into this facade where we should take care of our poor, sick, and disabled,” said Cruz in hour 19 of his filibuster. “It is disheartening to know that the nation our forefathers built is no longer of importance to our president and his Democratic counterparts. Not only that, we are falling away from core Christian values. I don’t know about you, but I believe in the Jesus who died to save himself, not enable lazy followers to be dependent on him. He didn’t walk around all willy nilly just passing out free healthcare to those who were sick, or food to those who were hungry, or clothes to those in need. No, he said get up, brush yourself off, go into town and get a job, and as he hung on the cross he said,”I died so that I may live in eternity with my Father. If you want to join us you can die for yourself and your own sins. What do I look like, your savior or something?” That’s the Jesus I want to see brought back into our core values as a nation. That’s why we need to repeal Obamacare.”

      1. .

        After 19 hours, it's understandable that he would be even more batshit crazy.


      2. Great qualifications for a sitting US President

      3. Especially when that is not at all what Jesus said.

    7. Let me ask, again:

      Should we quit fighting ISIS, and come home?

      1. .

        Why do you keep asking this question? It's been answered by most everyone here at one time or another. And what does it have to do with the propaganda being put out by the military as noted in the post above?


      2. Maybe, I forgot what you said?

        Tell me again.

        Should we pull out of the fight?

      3. Granted, we're not dead, solid perfect.

        Should we quit?

        Should we bring our planes, and trainers home?

      4. When and where we find local forces that will advance US interests we should support them.

        Those locals that do not advance US interests should be abandoned.

        The US is at war with the organization that attacked US on 11SEP01.
        That organization has morphed into the Islamic State. We should support those that are battling the Islamic State, they being Assad, his Kurdish, Christian and Shiite allies, the government in Baghdad and it's assorted affiliates.

        We should abandoned the Turks, Israelis and Saudis, all of whom are supporting the Islamic State or al-Qeada in Syria.

        Those that are not in the fight against the Islamic State are against US.

      5. Makes sense to me. :)

        Deuce, Quirk, should we bring the planes home?

      6. The 101t Airborne troops neither fly, nor are they trained to train foreign troops.
        They do not have the skill sets for that mission.

        The US military, after more than a decade in the Middle East, still has not seen fit to expand their capacity to train those foreign troops.

      7. .

        Maybe, I forgot what you said?

        And maybe you didn't. I've said it three or four times, in detail (and I am nothing if not verbose). Luckily, Bob, suffers from the same memory problems you do so I save my last post to him.

        1. QuirkMon Dec 28, 10:41:00 PM EST

        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?


      8. .

        QuirkMon Dec 28, 10:48:00 PM EST


        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 REAL national 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?



      9. QuirkMon Dec 28, 10:50:00 PM EST


        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.


      10. .

        To summarize, don't go in unless you have an existential national interest, once you go in go in to win not for PR purposes, get out as soon as possible.

        We have fallen short on steps one and two. That leaves only the last. Would I like to see us save face while pulling out? Yes. Would I be upset with us pulling out right now? Not really.

        Ultimately, I still contend once we leave our position in the region will be lower than when we entered.


      11. .

        I have come full circle and now say yes. We should have never gone in in the first place. the only reason I said we should stay was in order to save face after the die was cast. However, our inept conduct of the war, our risk-averse strategy only makes us look weaker to our allies and our enemies. Our so-called coalition is non-existent. Kerry is in Paris right now begging our coalition 'partners' to do something. Daily, we create more enemies among the people we kill. What more could we lose?

        Now, answer the question raised by this post. Why do you push the party line even though it is obviously false? Why do you change the subject? Why do you publish those silly daily reports?


    8. Yesterday, we saw a 0.3% increase in Income for December, and a 0.1% Decrease in Prices for a 0.4% Increase in Real Income in Dec.

      Not bad.

      Personal Income and Spending

    9. If bombing campaigns are so in inaccurate , why is the military claiming otherwise ? Are they intentionally misleading the public to maintain support? Who gave the military the right to recieve?

      I contend that the US is responsible in contributory negligence in the creation of ISIS. A large measure by military leadership malfeasance in the low life's that were used in US RUN IRAQI PRISONS.

      The US Has a responsibility to destroy ISIS, but if the best that they can do is the bombing described in the article, they should stop. Obviously we are as incompetent at doing targeted bombing as we are at running a military prison. We are making things worse. We are creating more terrorist than we are killing.

      It is another disgusting lethal charade.

      1. .

        I see everyone else is changing the subject and refusing to address this issue. The questions are simple.

        The military is lying. They commit lies of omission and they offer us distorted information. It is getting worse. They do it with regard civilian casualties. They do those one sided daily reports we see listed that, talk about destroying dirt bridges, denying territory, taking out rifle positions, and taking out 'elements' instead of people. The question is not why the military does it. That answer is obvious. The real question is why people are willing to buy into the bullshit?

        I continue to laugh in hearing of how precise our bombing is when we are dropping 500 pound bombs.


      2. Come on; forget the word salad. This is a simple question.

        Should we stay, or should we go?

      3. IF Israel bombed gaza that way there would be 30,000 gazans killed, not 2,200

      4. .

        This post had nothing to do with you question no matter how much you want to change the subject.

        Look a couple posts up for you answer from me. Why do you avoid my question?


      5. We need to be honest.

        Islamic terrorists should be destroyed.

        If that takes civilian lives? So be it.

        They target civilians, we target jihadists and if civilians are there? According to the geneva convention it is the responsibility and fault of the combatants for having civilians there.

        It's really simple.

      6. There is a valid argument that the US empowered the people that joined al-Qeada and morphed it into the Islamic State. No question about it.

        It is also true that 'strategic' bombing of the Islamic State will not defeat it.
        It can only be defeated on the ground, by people indigenous to the area.

        The US can and should provide close air support to those local forces engaged in combat with the Islamic State.

        There are infrastructure targets that can be hit, in Syria, that will diminish the Islamic State's military capacity. Oil refineries and transportation capacity (trucks).

        Carpet Bombing does not have a history of effectiveness, not against Germany or Japan in WWII, nor in Vietnam.

        Why does the US military not admit to its own inadequacies?
        It's just the nature of the beast.

    10. Okay, my vote is:

      We keep doing what we're doing until we can't find any more ISIS to kill.

      1. .

        We are already committed to eternal war. It was declared when Bush launched the war on terror. looks like you've got yourself some job security.


      2. And yet when Israel hits Hamas targets that are clearly military sites that have civilians around you say you'd join Hamas if you lived there..

        America can fly 8000 miles from it's shores and bomb bomb bomb and you list the strikes with pride.

        The people of Gaza SUPPORt the Hamas, they elected them to be their leaders and Hamas's goal is the genocide of the Jewish people and the destruction of Israel. They kidnap and murder, they stab and set up IEDs and they shoot rockets at civilians by the tens of thousands

        The people that America bomb have never done any of that.

      3. I took a stand; now, you two take a stand.

        Do we fight on?


        Do we quit?

      4. My attitude?

        Bomb the shit out of any Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis, ISIL target that is possible.

      5. That is why, "O"rdure, you and your fellow Israeli are pariah to the interests of the citizens of the United States

    11. Jack HawkinsTue Feb 02, 11:23:00 AM EST
      When and where we find local forces that will advance US interests we should support them.

      Those locals that do not advance US interests should be abandoned.

      The US is at war with the organization that attacked US on 11SEP01.
      That organization has morphed into the Islamic State. We should support those that are battling the Islamic State, they being Assad, his Kurdish, Christian and Shiite allies, the government in Baghdad and it's assorted affiliates.

      We should abandoned the Turks, Israelis and Saudis, all of whom are supporting the Islamic State or al-Qeada in Syria.

      Those that are not in the fight against the Islamic State are against US.

      Once again our great war hero jack displays a checkers mentality.

      1. Not at all, "O"rdure, not at all.

        Your country of preference, Israel, is a pariah.
        It acts in means and manners that are detrimental to US interests.

        Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all support the only enemy the US Congress has authorized the use of force against, al-Qeada.

        Who Bibi and the Likud classify as enemies, makes no difference to the civilized world.

      2. The United States is not at war with Islam, "O"rdure.

        Not at war with Palestine nor Lebanon, nor Syria.
        It is at war with al-Qeada and is supporters, according to the US Congress.

        That Israel stands with those terrorists that are the Islamic State, beyond question.

        The Israeli Ambassador, to the US, Mr Oren told the world that Israel prefers that al-Queada take power in Syria.

      3. So, "O"rdure, using your logic ...
        The US would be justified in carpet bombing Haifa and Tel Aviv.

        The subsequent civilian casualties, not only justifiable, but acceptable as a matter of course

      4. The name is "what is occupation" jack.

        Use it.

        Or be labeled a slanderer. again.

      5. Using your logic?

        Native Americans and mexicans have a LEGAL right to necklace your occupying ass...

      6. Jack HawkinsTue Feb 02, 01:00:00 PM EST
        Your country of preference, Israel, is a pariah.
        It acts in means and manners that are detrimental to US interests.


        After all the USA FUNDS and supports Israel and by your logic that makes America a pariah.


        Are you still squatting on the mexican's lands?

        But your logic you are a pariah.

    12. WASHINGTON, February 1, 2016 — Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq are wearing down the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today while describing the coalition air campaign and the evolving train-and-assist mission.

      Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland briefed Pentagon reporters here via a live video feed from Baghdad on the progress of continuing efforts in Iraq and Syria to help local troops win against ISIL.

      The task force is the operational-level headquarters charged with synchronizing combat operations and supporting coalition efforts against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

      MacFarland said the coalition conducted its first airstrike in Iraq in August 2014 and its first in Syria a month later. Since then, the coalition has conducted more than 10,000 strikes -- two-thirds in Iraq and a third in Syria.

      Grinding Down the Enemy

      “The cumulative impact of our airstrikes has ground the enemy down. When applied in support of our partners,” the general said, “we've forced the enemy to give up terrain.”

      Since ISIL's May 2015 seizure of Ramadi, Iraq, Iraqi forces -- supported by the volunteer "popular mobilization forces" -- ejected ISIL from Beiji and the nearby oil refinery, he added. Then, more recently, Iraqi forces, with Sunni tribal forces fighting alongside, recaptured Ramadi -- which MacFarland called "symbolically and operationally important."

      “Make no mistake, the recapture of Ramadi was a turning point in this campaign,” he said.

      ISIL suffered devastating losses, and the ISF proved itself capable of defeating them, even when ISIL had the advantage of prepared defense in an urban area, the general added.

      Rebuilding a Force

      Coalition forces have trained more than 17,500 Iraqi soldiers and about 2,000 police since training began slightly more than a year ago, he said. And more than 3,000 soldiers and police are in coalition training sites, MacFarland noted.

      “The Iraqi security forces have been rebuilt into a force capable of defeating the type of enemy we are now facing,” he added.

      The coalition has been flexible enough to modify training and equipping along the way, the general said, so they’re providing the most needed skills and gear.

      In particular, he said, “we have shifted from a pure counterinsurgency focus and are now preparing the ISF to conduct what we refer to as combined arms operations.”

      'Dramatic Gains'

      The ability to integrate infantry, armor, artillery, air power, engineers and other assets on the battlefield gives the Iraqis an advantage over a static enemy dug in behind complex obstacle belts, MacFarland said.

      Iraqi forces proved the value of modified training and equipping during the liberation of Ramadi, he added, “and we've learned some important lessons from that battle and are already adjusting our approach as a result.”

      1. In Syria, partnered with multiple groups willing to fight ISIL, the coalition also has seen progress, the general said.

        “The Syrian Democratic Forces have made dramatic gains against the enemy in northern and eastern Syria, while the vetted Syrian opposition and other groups are holding the enemy back along what we call the Mara line in northwest Syria,” he said.

        Effective Syrian Force

        “It's very complex, very complicated up there,” MacFarland said. "Many people would like to lay claim to that area, and we're trying to come up with the right approach to block the enemies’ access to that important corridor.”

        The Syrian Democratic Forces, which include Syrian Kurds, Syrian Arabs and others, have been an effective force in northern Syria and have put the enemy on its “back foot,” the general said.

        “They would not have been able to do any of that without coalition air support. They know that … They owe their existence really to the support that we are providing," MacFarland said. "And that's why they continue to work with us. And so far as I can tell, they have not turned away from us toward the Russians,” MacFarland said.

        Should we stay, or should we go?

    13. There you go. :)

      12:38 PM, Feb. 2

      Quirk says, Yes, We Should Go.

      We should bring the planes and trainers, home, and let ISIS be.

      Now, Deuce, what do You say?

      1. Quirk says that we should quit, Deuce. What do you say?

      2. The bombing is ineffective without US led or advised ground troops. It can’t be done in the air without creating more terrorists than we are killing. We get out entirely or we do what we have to with US troops in support of locals. We put Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others on notice that their support for any rebels stops. We make a deal with the legitimate Syrian, Iraqi government, Hezbollah, Iran and the Russians.

      3. We defeat ISIS as our sole goal and priority and then leave.

      4. US ground troops cannot achieve that mission.

      5. Sorry, but without abandoning, totally, the Israeli, Saudi and Turks, well, we'd be pisin' in the wind.
        The Islamic State fighters would fade into the local population, find sanctuary in Israel and Jordon.

        Nope, only local force can clear the Caliphate.

      6. If you train the locals in Forward Air Control, the process would go forward.

        The fact that the US military is loath to take that course, just more of the same.
        The Generals never have wanted to utilize foreign nationals, and never will without direct orders from the CiC. They definitely will not recommenced that course of action.

      7. ... only local force can clear and hold the Caliphate.

    14. There you go. :)

      Quirk wants to pull out, and Deuce wants to commit "Ground Troops."

      I want to continue on the present path (as, I believe, does Rat.)

      Now, at least, we know where we stand. :)

      1. We'll call this, "February 2nd, The Day of Clarification."


      2. In the ME, it is Groundhog Day.

      3. :)

        Except, in Iraq, they're not looking down to see their shadow; they're looking up to see the Warthog. :)


    15. Military Officials: Women Should Register For Draft

      by Corky Siemaszko

      Now that all combat jobs are open to women, top Army and Marine Corps officials say they should have to register for the draft — just like men.

      Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant said they supported the requirement during testimony at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

      "Senator, it's my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions… every American who's physically qualified should register for the draft," Neller said in response to a question from Sen. Claire McCaskill,D-Missouri, who favors the change.

      Milley also agreed.

      "Senator, I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft," he said.


      1. The two thumbs up from the generals came a month after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the Pentagon's historic shift in policy.

        Under the new rules, women will now be able to help fill some of the 220,000 jobs that were only open to their male counterparts, including key posts in some special operations units and the infantry.

        "Our force of the future must continue to benefit from the best America has to offer," Carter said. "This includes women."

    16. This sentiment, penned by an Israeli is comical, as well as tragic in its implications.

      An Op Ed in the New York Times by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon headlined "Don't Shoot the Messenger, Israel," raises the issue once again of who are our real friends in the world.

      The Secretary-General, unfortunately, has crossed himself off that list. He wrote, "Nothing excuses terrorism. I condemn it categorically. It is inconceivable, though, that security measures alone will stop the violence."

      So far so good. But then, he went on the say, "As I warned the Security Council last week, Palestinian frustration and grievances are growing under the weight of nearly a half-century of occupation. Ignoring this won't make it disappear. No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution."

      Those sentiments are unacceptable. We reject the argument that the 1.8 million Palestinians fortunate enough to live in the liberated territories of Judea and Samaria under our benevolent military rule have anything at all to complain about.

    17. 1.8 million Palestinians lucky enough to live in the ghetto created by transplanted Europeans.

      1. Once again you ignore the truth...

        40% of the Jews of Israel are FROM the middle east, driven from their homes of 3000 years by arabs. 20% trace their roots from the lands of Israel none stop for 3000 years and 40% can trace them from Europe.

        200 years ago? There were very FEW arabs living in the west bank and gaza. MOST all are immigrants that came for the jobs.

        As for Gaza being a Ghetto?

        Ask the Palestinians in Syria what Gaza is compared to the shit holes they live in...

      2. Maybe the Palestinians of Gaza should move to Europe?

      3. Those poor Jews were driven out of their homes AFTER the European Ashkenazi Unilaterally declare their Crusader State in Palestine.

        Prior to the Ashkenazi aggression, in violation of UN Resolution 181, th0ose Jews had lived in those countries for, as you say, thousands of years.

        The State of Israel was the cause of their displacement.

      4. Really explain what happened in Hebron in 1920's?

        What right did Moslems have to drive the Jews from their homes in Medina in 690 ce?

      5. Sorry Jack your revisionist history just doesn't square with actual facts.

        For HUNDREDS of years the Arab have looted, stolen and harassed the Jews of the middle east.

        1948 was just the time that the Jews re-established their right to self determination.

        But regardless?

        your pals? lost...

        And continue to lose...


        Nw even the others of the region who are their close relatives kill them...


      6. Time for the arabs of the west bank and gaza to relocate to more peaceful lands...

        Sweden and France come to mind..

      7. They're not my palls, "O"rdure, they are Israel's Palestinians, and they are not going anywhere.

    18. In or out you say? I would suggest that the US set a deadline for stopping the bombing (getting out) at the current round of Syrian peace talks and then stop the bombing (get out of the ME) when that deadline arrives.

      I find it ironic that bombing by terrorists is the reason we bomb.

      1. Ash you need to move out of Canada at once and stop occupying the native people's land...

      2. What has that got to do with US bombing folk in the ME?

      3. Nothing, Ash, it is the 'hold card' he plays when there is no rational explanation for his hysteric paranoia

      4. Simple question. Ash what right do you have to live in Canada?

      5. The rights as defined in the Canadian Constitution and Canadian law with respect to landed immigrants.

      6. Ah, so since your adopted people conquered the lands you have those rights...

      7. If the conquered natives choose, do you support their right to kill you in their quest for their re-acqusition of said lands?

      8. What you fail to understand, "O"rdure is that the indiginous in Canada and the United States are citizens of those countries.

        So, it is at that point the wheels fall off your wagon.
        Those people are not ruled by an Army of Occupation, but are part of the citizenry of their respective nations.

      9. The Canadian government is negotiating with 'first peoples' here in Canada. All issues certainly are not resolved.

      10. The arabs of Israel are citizens and in fact make up 20% of the population.

        Far more in numbers and percentages did the Canadians and Americans slaughtered the 1st peoples.

        Now in Israel? The Jews are the 1st peoples. Surviving the genocide and slavery of the oppressive centuries of the people of Ishmael.

      11. The arabs of gaza and not "occupied" by Israel, there are no check points nor Israeli control of the population or schools.

        The arabs of gaza had an election and voted in Hamas which has joined the unity government of the PA...

        Heck they even have a place at the UN.

        But real occupation might be the option. Of course military tribunals, firing squads and such, just like America did to Japan and Germany after ww2, now THAT'S OCCUPATION....

        It's a solution....

        But the crying wolf because there is a border dispute aint occupation..

        What Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq have done to the Kurds is "occupation"

        So is what Turkey is doing to Cyprus... OCCUPATION...

        What England does in the Malvinas? OCCUPATION....

        What israel does on disputed lands in Judea and Samaria? It's called liberation of Jewish Historic lands...


        Palestinians need to seek peace, in Sweden..

    19. .

      There you go. :)

      And yet, Rufus after a day of changing the subject still refuses to answer the question prompted by the post above.

      Why do you push the party line even though it is obviously false? Why do you change the subject? Why do you publish those silly daily reports? Why do you act as if the military is telling the truth when it is obvious they lie to you. They commit lies of omission and they offer us distorted information. They do it with regard to civilian casualties. They do those one sided daily reports we see listed that talk about destroying dirt bridges, denying territory, taking out rifle positions, and taking out 'elements' instead of people. They do it when talking about precision bombing while dropping 500 pound bombs.

      The question is not why the military does it. That answer is obvious. The question is not why there is collateral damage that happens in every war. The real question is why people like you are are willing to buy into their bullshit? Why your are so credulous thus giving them encouragement for the next time.

      I could take you and your views more seriously if you weren't so damn Pollyannish.


      1. It's my belief that ISIS really is a global threat, and I really do believe that we're going to have to kill them.

        I think Obama, and the U.S. Military is on the right track. I believe we have the right strategy, and I think they're doing their dead-level best to hold civilian casualties to a minimum.

        Our guys aren't perfect, and they're not supermen. They make mistakes, and, being human, when they do they sometimes try to cover them up. Oh, the humanity.

        Anyway, they're "our" guys, and I feel like they're doing a pretty good job by me, and that's all I can ask.

      2. Obama, and the U.S. Military are on the right track.

      3. For the most part I would have to agree.
        The Command contingent needs to refresh its approach to training foreign troops, they have done a truly dismal job at it, over the past decade.

      4. Yeah, although, my opinion is that 90% of the blame for the Iraqi Army's incompetence lies in its officer corps, and not in its enlisted.

        That said, I think (hope?) that they are getting a little bit better. The Army did seem to have some sort of cohesive strategy in the Ramadi operation.

      5. The nightmare of the U.S. advisers, I believe, is what happens if a General is able to convince the government that his men deserve a little "leave-time."

        What has happened, since Saddam, is that a 30 day leave for the troops means their pay is going to get stolen, and their weapons sold to whatever scoundrel happens to be ready with the cash.

      6. Which, probably, has something to do with our decision that those troops that were victorious in Ramadi need to report for a little more "training," rather than going on leave while we train up the rest of the Mosul Expeditionary Force.

      7. Iran is a GLOBAL threat.

        ISIS nothing compared to them

      8. Here's an example of the kind of stuff that has to have the Americans pulling their hair out:

        ( Kirkuk – On Tuesday, military wing of Badr Organization in Kirkuk threatened to cut Baghdad-Kirkuk road to protest against the reduction of al-Hashed al- Shaabi fighters’ salaries.

        The military wing’s official in Badr Organization Atef Najjar said in an interview, “The central government did not pay the salaries of al-Hashed al- Shaabi fighters for three months and this month it only paid 500,000 dollars instead of 750,000 for salaries,” pointing out that, “al-Hashed al- Shaabi will not accept this amount and will return it back to the government.”

        Najjar added, “The heroes of al-Hashed al- Shaabi will cut Tuz Khurmatu-Baghdad road until they get their complete salaries,” indicating that, “The government should stop its arbitrary measures against the resistance groups and al-Hashed al- Shaabi and it should lessen the salaries of ministers, deputies and presidencies, not our the salaries of our heroes in al-Hashd al-Shaabi.”


      9. No, "O"rdure, Iran is a global opportunity, it is Israel and its "Sampson Option" which is the global threat.

      10. Martin Van Creveld, a prominent professor of military history at the prestigious Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told a Dutch magazine the following in 2002: “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force.” He went on to say “Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.” (The original interview appeared in the Dutch weekly magazine:Elsevier, 2002, no. 17, p. 52-53, April 27th, 2002).
        Alan Hart interviewed Golda Meir for the BBC’s Panorama programme in April 1971 and asked her “Prime Minister … You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and even the whole world down with it?” Meir replied “Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying.”

        Prime Minister Begin used information provided by Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard to target Soviet cities. Ariel Sharon, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres, and others have made public comments in support of the idea of using Israel’s nuclear arsenal to blackmail the world.

      11. Jack "the Murderer" Hawkins, Just as you are guilty of crimes against humanity by murdering innocent kids in Central America, Iran is guilty of similar crimes..

        Birds of a feather....

    20. Tell the Fakisitinians Time to MOVE to Europe

      Sheltering "refugees" (and invaders) from the Middle East will cost Europe dearly. Not only will the Continent's beautiful cultures be fundamentally transformed by the newcomers who don't share our values, they will also cost us tens of billions of dollars.

      In Germany alone, the "immigration" crisis will cost German taxpayers $55 billion in the coming two years, the Institute for the German Institute for Economic Research has calculated. According to the institute, total costs for this year will be $25 billion. That's shocking all right, but it'll get even worse: Berlin will have to spend as much as $30 billion on the immigrants in 2017.

      That's $55 billion in total and we're not even taking the years afterwards into consideration.

      The most terrifying aspect of this news is that the German government did not take these extra costs into account for its budget. Berlin would have a surplus of $18 billion this year (which would be a one-time godsend), but that surplus will now change into a $7 billion deficit. Add to that the $30 billion refugee costs in 2017, and the Germans have a massive budget gap of $37 billion. The institute projects that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble will have to take out billions of dollars in loans -- loans future generations will have to pay off.

      In its calculations, the institute assumes that as many as 1.5 million refugees will come to Germany in 2016. That's a 40% increase compared to last year when 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived. The scary part is that the institute's estimations are quite likely conservative in nature. The financial dislocation could be much worse with even more migrants coming to Germany (and to Europe in general), which will also result in significantly higher costs.

      Although Chancellor Angela Merkel belatedly is taking steps to curb immigration -- for instance by making it impossible for newcomers to reunite with their family members who were left behind in the Middle East -- those policy changes don't seem to have much of an effect on the tide of mostly Muslim "migrants" still steaming towards old Europe.

      Go tell it on the mountain, the palestinians need to file to Germany for safety from the ZIONIST....

      55 Billion going to be spent, make the UNRWA budget look TINY...

    21. Jack HawkinsTue Feb 02, 06:42:00 PM EST
      What you fail to understand, "O"rdure is that the indiginous in Canada and the United States are citizens of those countries.

      What you fail to understand, "Jack the murderer" is that the arabs of Gaza and the Palestinian control lands are not under any "control" by Israel.

      Now if you advocating the conquering and complete suppression of the Fakistinian peoples, like the USA did to the Indians? I cannot disagree...

      Just as the USA, France, Russia and Syria are doing to ISIS, Israel SHOULD do to the Hamas and Fatah.. Islamic nazis all the same..


      1. Name's "What is Occupation"

        If you want I will refer to you as you are a murderer. Jack "the Killer of kids" Hawkins...

        Want to slur me? I will tell the truth about you...


      2. ;-)

        Do what you want to do, "O"rdure.

      3. But, truth of the matter is ...
        The Israeli are the champions at killing kids ...

        They are averaging one every three days.

    22. At least one killed in another Hamas tunnel collapse

      Conflicting reports say as many as four may be dead, several wounded, one week after similar accident kills seven operatives


      Another misuse of the concrete imported into the "ghetto" for rebuilding homes used to build terrorist kidnapping tunnels....

      TOO BAD, SO SAD...


      1. I put up a long post the other day showing that most of the 'humanitarian' aid going to the 'Palestinians' ends up in Switzerland, in the Abbas account, or is used to purchase weapons for the Gazans.

        If the 'Palestinians' are on one's 'humanitarian' giving list, you're a damned fool....


    23. QuirkTue Feb 02, 12:20:00 PM EST


      To summarize, don't go in unless you have an existential national interest, once you go in go in to win not for PR purposes, get out as soon as possible.


      Ah, the old as soon as possible craparoo.

      What is 'as soon as possible' ?

      It certainly looks like we left Iraq 'too soon' as the place turned into an ISIS hell hole immediately upon our leaving.


      AshTue Feb 02, 04:21:00 PM EST

      In or out you say? I would suggest that the US set a deadline for stopping the bombing (getting out) at the current round of Syrian peace talks and then stop the bombing (get out of the ME) when that deadline arrives.

      I find it ironic that bombing by terrorists is the reason we bomb.

      This by Ash is even more inane.

      What deadline ?

      Why not tomorrow ?
      And this by Ash sounds like one's demented grandmother mumbling at the Rest Home -

      "I find it ironic that bombing by terrorists is the reason we bomb."

      Upshot is this conversation today hasn't exactly clarified much of anything.

      Why not used WMD, exterminate the whole bunch, and repopulate with Swiss, Jews, or Poles, any group that makes some sense ?

      I'm still awaiting the answer from Quirk's Human Suffering Calculator to give some numerical values to the propostion 1400 years out.....

      As a stop gap measure I'm totally in favor of halting ALL moslem immigration to the West.

      This has the merit that we kill no one at all.....

      We simply close the borders to any Sharia shitters coming in here.

      And Stop with all this 'First Persons' craparoo.

      No one has even disproven the Solutrean Hypothesis yet......\

      Made up some French toast using my Aunt's old recipe today and slept like a baby for hours after.....

      This is what I have been looking for.....a restful food from the Gods....downside was I missed a call from my Niece :(

      1. I have a sneaking suspicion that Clan Rufus is hunkered down on some old Solutrean 'bed down areas' there in Mississippi.....

        I do know fer shur he and his run the Sioux out back in the day...

        And Deuce, Quirk, Ash, and ratshitter all need to vacate their occupied areas "ASAP" too...

    24. And, further, I've had it with that fancy word "existential".

      WTF is that ?

      Define 'existential', Q-Quacker.

      Quack Like a Duck Lyrics by G.O.A.T AND YOUR M.O.M.

      Quack Like a Duck Lyrics. Like many of you, I admire the fine American rock song, "Quack Like a Duck", by musicians G.O.A.T AND YOUR M.O.M. Although ...

      Jack Loticus · National Directory · Bats · Birds · Orlando Pest Control · Prevention

    25. Before I head out to the Casino, I must say I remain impressed with the recommended action of that man of action, Rand Paul, to what he perceived as any 'existential' threat to the Kentucky liquor supply -

      If a robber is seen exiting a liquor store in Lexington, Rand's proposed course of action was to fire immediately a drone carried missile at the miscreant, ending the 'existential' crisis right there, collateral damage be damned.

      There are priorities in life....

      My son knows what's important....he voted for Rand there in Kentucky....and Rufus owns my son a 'vote of thanks'.....

      Cheers !

    26. North Korea has indicated that it will launch a satellite sometime between February 8-25, a United Nations agency said Tuesday, drawing condemnation from South Korea and Japan.


      But, while there have been agreements and near-agreements over the years, all efforts have eventually collapsed, the Arms Control Association said. And North Korea contends it has withdrawn from any international agreements that would limit its weaponry.


      Tuesday's announcement comes about a month after North Korea bragged about what it said was the "spectacular success" of its first hydrogen bomb test, on January 6. A U.S. official directly familiar with an assessment of the test said last week there may have been a partial, failed test of some type of components associated with a hydrogen bomb.

    27. Deuce, you should require folk to log in in order to post.

      1. .


        There is no mistaking the faux farmer.

        In fact there is no mistaking the tao of the faux farmer.


      2. No to worry, Jack "the Murderer" Hawkins has bragged about DOZENS of fake ID's...

      3. I will try to put this baby to bed.

        I now have TWO computers, an old shitty one, that I am typing on now, where I get my emails.

        I have to type on this one with a new type pad that is difficult to deal with. I spilled drink on this computer, wiping out the type pad, and much else.

        I cannot listen to my beloved Fox on this computer. That is why I bought a new computer.

        I am not good at computers. I do not get along well with computers.

        I am proud that I am not good at computers. I am proud that I do not get along well with computers.

        I consider this excellent, as I stand out from Q's finger clickin' moron co-eds, Democrats, BLM folk, all young people, and folks like ratass, who, as has been said above, manipulate dozens of accounts

        I tried to set up a new google account on my new computer, failed, got pissed, and said to myself:

        "Fuck it, Bob, nobody cares anyway".

        That's what I said to myself.

        If someone, Jack ass, for instance, blogs in my name I will put up the BEWARE sign, as I have done in the past when he blogged in my name.

        I have pleaded with my daughter to help me out but she is working full time...

        Anyway, as Quirk has said just above:

        QuirkTue Feb 02, 10:26:00 PM EST



        There is no mistaking the faux farmer.

        In fact there is no mistaking the tao of the faux farmer.

        which I take as a rare Compliment of the First Order....

      4. I even tried to change my wonderful elk picture to please Deuce, who had said:

        "Nobody gives a fuck about your stupid elk"

        or something so nearly like that it makes no meaningful difference.

        I failed at that.

        I tried to put up some pic of some dancing girls I took at he Oldest Lutheran Church in all of Idaho as a substitute.

        They were wonderful.....gave a big show, bagpipes, all dolled up in skirts...

        I am returning to my new computer at this time.

        All the political pundits, all who missed the outcome last night, are on now.

        Watch Fox ! to know what's goin' down !

    28. .

      It certainly looks like we left Iraq 'too soon' as the place turned into an ISIS hell hole immediately upon our leaving.

      No. It didn't. Always bad, the place continued its inevitable decline from the point where Bush installed Maliki and he began his sectarian cleansing. Now, it was around the time we left when AQI expanded into Syria with ISIL and renamed itself ISIS but it was three years later when Syria was falling apart that they again changed the name to IS and invaded Iraq in force to expand its self-proclaimed caliphate.

      But why let the history stand in the way?

      Anyway, don't worry. You will soon see your theory tried out in Afghanistan. Obama promised to have all the troops out there when he came into office. However, it has now been his war for as many years as it was Bush's. The troop withdrawal scheduled for 2014 and delayed to 2016 has now gone to the indefinite category as the situation there continues to go to hell. Speculation is that we may be there for a generation. You should be happy.

      That is unless you were actually serious about numbers equivalent to that 200,000 you mentioned you would have preferred to keep in Iraq for years, a number tens of thousands more than was ever in Iraq at one time throughout the entire war. If you are still looking for those numbers well you probably need more than a trip to the casino.


    29. ADP Private Employment Report in the morning. Not always a "perfect" predictor of the monthly government report, but usually in right general trend.

      And, ISM Services - The one that breaks the Republicans little achy-breaky every month when it tells them that their longed-for recession is nowhere in sight.

    30. "ISIS is like a Slinky. It expands and contracts."

      That was the observation Tuesday of Las Vegas Iraq War Marine veteran Luigino Lobello.


      Lobello founded Squadbay to deploy civil affairs and media professionals to provide humanitarian aid and to areas of natural disaster or conflict. The nonprofit, which operates on roughly a $30,000 budget, has grown from a few volunteers up to 100 who travel in small groups to places such as Iraq, Nepal and Guatemala to facilitate relief.


    31. .

      And, further, I've had it with that fancy word "existential".

      WTF is that ?

      Define 'existential', Q-Quacker.

      You are supposed to be and English major. Surely, they taught you how to look up the meaning of a word.

      If you 'have had' it with the word, it is likely because you read it so often in the publications you read (jihadwatch, AT, frontpagemag), hear is spoken so much by your heroes the neocons and the Likudniks, and probably because the term flows so easily from the mouth of Bibi Netanyahu and his right wing allies. Heck, there are very few things that aren't 'existential threats' to the old Bibister.

      The word can refer to the trivial,

      "My mother-in-law's complaining is an existential threat to my regular night out with the boy's"

      To the profound,

      "During the Cold War, Russia's nuclear arsenal represented an existential threat to the US."

      What I was referring to, whether it be ISIS or any other threat, was a military or terrorist threat to the existence of the United States. Nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons threats might all qualify if serious enough. It all depends on context. While the USSR might have represented an existential treat to the US in the 80's,few people outside the bowels of the Pentagon would talk of them as such today. Likewise, I see zip about ISIS that in any way provides an existential treat to the US.


    32. I have determined I will NOT vote for Ted Cruz.

      I never did much like Ted Cruz.

      I now have my suspicions confirmed.

      Ted Cruz is a sleeze.

      I never liked:

      1) His god awful whiney voice

      2) His ugly looks

      3) His continual blah blah blah about God, Christ and whatnot

      4) And ,now, his playing political dirty tricks on my man Ben.

      I will write in Ben in the General if asshole Cruz is the Republican nominee.

      1. Ted Cruz, even if right on some issues, is a piece of shit -

        Carson accuses Cruz campaign of spreading false rumors......DRUDGE

      2. Spreading false rumors about others is a big No-No !! in the Judeo/Christian world.

        Also in Hinduism, as well, I want to add, a great big No-No.

        Not so in Islam, where you can lie like hell, or in Cruz World.

    33. from The Horse Laugh of the Day Department:

      February 2, 2016

      Hilarious: CBS anchors chuckle when Hillary says she can’t be bought

      By Thomas Lifson

      Hillary Clinton is well on her way to being a joke – she just doesn’t realize it yet. The groundswell for Bernie Sanders shows that many on the left now recognize her corruption, something that her dubious victory in Iowa will only enhance.

      Things are so bad for her that the anchors on CBS – CBS! – chuckled when she claimed during an interview that she couldn’t be bought. (Newsalert had the story; hat tip: Instapundit.)

      Hillary is becoming the Tammy Faye Bakker of the Democrats. A joke to most, but believed by a hard core of supporters – until the hypocritical enterprise falls apart.

      Hillary Clinton is well on her way to being a joke – she just doesn’t realize it yet. The groundswell for Bernie Sanders shows that many on the left now recognize her corruption, something that her dubious victory in Iowa will only enhance.

      Things are so bad for her that the anchors on CBS – CBS! – chuckled when she claimed during an interview that she couldn’t be bought. (Newsalert had the story; hat tip: Instapundit.)

      Hillary is becoming the Tammy Faye Bakker of the Democrats. A joke to most, but believed by a hard core of supporters – until the hypocritical enterprise falls apart.

      There's a moron on these pages that is sworn to vote for this fraud, believe it not !

      1. Heh

        On Fox right now they are playing video of Hillary's Iowa 'Victory Speech'.

        Fully half the crowd is chanting -- BIG TIME CHANTING - "She's a Liar ! She's a Liar !"

        heh heh heh

        Geraldo Rivera, now a Republican, is complimenting Hillary on winning six straight coin tosses .... says he wants Hillary to pick his Lottery numbers from now on.....

        Hillary might come in handy down at Doyle's.....


      2. February 2, 2016

        Hillary’s dubious ‘victory’ in Iowa alienating Sanders supporters

        By Thomas Lifson

        With her characteristic arrogance, Hillary last night claimed victory while the returns from Iowa were still coming in, and the race was 50-50. But she will come out ahead in delegate count. First of all, the super-delegates are in the bag, and second of all, she had some remarkable, statistically improbable (1 in 64) luck with the coin tosses that decided 6 precincts in her favor, 6 out of 6.

        Best of all from my perspective was the apparent fraud captured on the C-SPAN cameras in a Polk County caucus. The Examiner summarizes:

        The video shows Clinton caucus chair Drew Gentsch and precinct captain Liz Buck allegedly not conducting an "actual count of Clinton supporters and deliberately mislead caucus." The location in question was prescient #43 in Des Moines, IA, as the caucus event was held at Roosevelt High School, as the video was broadcasted live on C-SPAN2.

        The final delegate count finished with Clinton receiving five and Sanders pulling in four. Multiple rounds of voting took place, as the head count changed from round to round, which raised questions from those in attendance. On Reddit, the incident was explained in further detail.

        "It was assumed by the chair, Drew Gentsch, that the voter difference was due to a few people that left the building before the second round began. The question is whether there were really 456 total people present for the second round of voting. That was not clear, as Clinton's team did not perform a recount of ALL of the Hillary supporters during the second round of voting."

        The account of the incident also states that Buck "lied about whether she recounted all of the Clinton supporters during the second count." In further detail, the report notes, "It's all on tape. The Sanders supports were unsuccessful at getting a recount conducted, even though several of them protested vigorously."

        Now that defending Bill Clinton from those awful Republican prudes in impeachment is no longer a factor (and Bill is known to visit Orgy Island with his sex criminal pal), blinders are falling away from the eyes of some Democrats when it comes to the Clinton Machine.

        Make no mistake: the fix is in for Hillary. Even if Sanders continues to do well, the Democrats have the ability to rig the convention to nominate Hillary.

        The best of all possible outcomes would be a third-party run by Sanders, but by the time he wakes up, it may be too late to qualify for the election in key states. So I have got my fingers crossed that he and his supporters wake up after it is too late and become embittered, staying home in November.

        So far, things are working out exactly as I hoped in the Democrat presidential nomination race. Long story short: the ultra-left wing of the left-wing Democratic Party is waking up to the fact that Hillary Clinton is a vicious, crooked phony, who will do anything to win – fair or foul. Welcome to the club, lefties. That’s step one in waking up to the political corruption that is destroying our country. Meanwhile, assuming Hillary continues to muscle her way into the nomination and escapes indictment, the odds are that embittered Sanders supporters will stay home in November.


      3. Hillary Clinton is a vicious, crooked phony, who will do anything to win – fair or foul

        OK, I'm now off the topic...

        Got it out of my system.

    34. None of the Google accounts are "fake", "O"rdure.

      Each one serves a purpose, each are legitimate Google accounts.

      1. And yet Jack "I was a paid merc" Hawkins squealed just a few short days ago

        "PROVE IT"

        Well the pig has squealed.....

    35. As for Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson's "We left Iraq to soon" meme

      Guss he wanted US troops to be subject to Sharia Law

    36. If you got to guss, guss not.

    37. from JihadWatch

      Imam Kerry pronounces takfir on the Islamic State, says they’re “apostates”

      February 2, 2016 6:04 pm By Robert Spencer 45 Comments

      It would be refreshing if Kerry would open his well-thumbed Qur’an and explain to us exactly how the Islamic State has “hijacked” Islam. One wonders also why religion hijackers seem so exclusively drawn to Islam, as there are no notable attempts to hijack Christianity or Judaism.


      “Kerry brands ISIS ‘apostates,'” Agence France Presse, February 2, 2016:

      ROME: With an unusual choice of language, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waded into Islamic theological debate on Tuesday when he branded ISIS “apostates.”

      The United States affords its citizens religious freedom and does not consider apostasy a crime, but Kerry chose the term to rubbish the jihadis’ claims of piety.

      “Daesh is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves,” he declared.

      “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

      Some Muslim legal scholars consider the proper punishment for turning one’s back on the faith to be death and several majority Islamic countries execute convicted apostates….

      We in the USA simply don't realize how fortunate we really are in having such an Islamic Scholar as our Secretary of State.

      Without his proper guidance, why, we'd be sheeple in a pack wolves.

      1. Also from Jihad Watch -

        (I would though strike the word 'funniest' and substitute the word 'saddest')

        Jihad Watch
        Exposing the role that Islamic jihad theology and ideology play in the modern global conflicts
        Finland: Government issues video showing women how to prevent being raped

        February 2, 2016 11:36 pm By Robert Spencer 45 Comments

        This is the funniest video I’ve seen in years, although it is meant seriously. All women have to do to keep from being raped is turn around, hold out their hand in a “halt” gesture and say “Stop!” That’s it! The Muslim migrant problem is solved!


        Video thanks to Pamela Geller.

      2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    38. February 3, 2016

      How John Adams Predicted Bernie Sanders and His Acolytes

      By William Sullivan

      There is something incredibly curious about the Bernie Sanders’s faithful. On the one hand, we’re told that they’re incredibly well-educated. Indeed, academia and its young charges support him more than other candidates, some say.

      One might be inclined to think that this implies some sort of intellectual ballast to Sanders’ fiscal approach. Surely, such learned scholars wouldn’t just flock to the guy without having done extensive research, and after having earned a broad foundation of knowledge about economics through hours, days, or perhaps years of diligent study.

      Then, you see the Sanders campaign tweet something like this:

      @SenSanders: You have families out there paying 6, 8, 10 percent on student debt but you can refinance your homes at 3 percent. What sense is that?

      This tweet has not been removed, despite its having been thrashed as perhaps “the most economically illiterate tweet ever.” But naturally, this is the kind of stuff that makes the rest of America that isn’t “feeling the Bern” scratch their heads. Your everyday taxpayer, who may not have gone to college because of the 6, 8, or 10 percent interest rates on the debt he would have incurred by doing so, wonders how Sanders supporters, supposedly so intelligent, can be so incredibly ignorant to the concept of collateralized debt. One Twitter user, @Smittie61984, clarifies the concept in less than 140 characters, complete with the requisite snark that silly tweets like Sanders’ deserve:

      @SenSanders A bank can repossess a house. They can’t repossess your brain if you quit paying your student loans. Though, you make me wonder.

      Do the legions of lettered Sanders’ supporters really not understand this, among the simplest of concepts in finance?.........

      Good long article about John Adams, one of my wife's favorites.

      If you don't know who he was, he was an old white guy long time ago.

      1. No, but the Federals can not allow the person in default to collect the welfare payments that the Federals have promised, as part of the Social Security scam.

        Since Social Security is not a defined benefits package, but only a Ponzi welfare scheme, the 15% per annum tax collected from the student loan recipient through the course of their life time is held as "collateral".

    39. After the collapse of Sodastreams market capitalization the news from Israel is ...

      Prime Minister's Office: It's Not in Israel's Interest to Make Noise Over BDS Movement

      read more:

    40. Arabstinians they shall be, for me, henceforth - Martha Gellhorn would agree - ("The Arabs of Palestine") -

      February 3, 2016

      ‘Palestinians’ or ‘Arabstinians’?

      By Dan Calic

      In today’s Middle East there are Arabs, Jews and so-called “Palestinians.”

      Just who are the Palestinians? Are they a unique group of people with a separate ethnic identity, language and history?

      The modern day term “Palestinian” has been around since the British controlled the region after defeating the Ottoman Turks in WWl.

      The British referred to the local inhabitants as “Palestinians.” Ironically this included Arabs and Jews.

      In 1947 at the request of the British who chose to pull out of the region, the United Nations voted to create two separate states, one Jewish and one Arab. However, the surrounding Arab nations rejected the UN vote and declared war on the fledgling Jewish state the day after it declared statehood in May 1948.

      The war lasted until mid- 1949 when a ceasefire was signed.

      Certain Arabs who lived on the land became displaced due to territory Israel gained in the year+ long war (such is the nature of war).

      Then in June 1967 came the Six Day War. As result of the two wars a sizeable number of Arabs ended up displaced and were not repatriated by the surrounding Arab nations.

      In order to magnify their plight and create a separate identity for these Arabs, Yasser Arafat renamed them “Palestinians.”

      In reality the name he chose was not truly representative since the original use of it included local Jews. Simply put they are Arabs. However, since then the name stuck. Yet there really isn't any language, culture or ethnic group of people known as "Palestinians." All of them in fact are Arabs from various surrounding countries, ie: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, etc. So in order to come up with a name which I believe is actually more suitable I recommend "Arabstinians," since they are in fact Arabs.

    41. While the Israeli are also concerned about making noise about the IDF's actions in Israel

      Lawmakers and an IDF representative accused journalists of orchestrating events to make Israel look bad, during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discussion Tuesday of violent incidents between security forces and the press.

      “With all the importance of the press in a democratic country,” MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) began, “we cannot get confused and must always give priority to the IDF’s operational freedom of action, because they are acting to save lives.”

      Yogev accused the press of behaving like an “imbalanced theater.”

      MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) compared the press to a car, saying that in some cases it is helpful and brings progress, and in other cases it can be destructive.

      According to Eichler, a former journalist, objective reporters should be given freedom of action, but reporters who “take a side in the conflict” should be given less access.

      MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) said there is no justification for violence against journalists, but added: “We cannot ignore the fact that the press takes an active, one-sided and tendentious stance in covering the conflict, and therefore, it is part of the game.

      “We know with certainty about many cases that were staged and orchestrated, so the media needs to ask itself if it is truly balanced,” Oren stated.


      Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a former Arab affairs reporter for Russian-language media who has written for The Jerusalem Post, initiated the discussion and said, “Freedom of action for the media is a central component in a democratic state. Unfortunately, recently, it seems that some reporters are seen as the enemy or as a foreign agent acting against the State of Israel.”

      She added, “Violence against the press hurts Israel’s good name in the world.”

      Foreign Press Association secretary Gila Sugarman said that in the past two years there has been an increase in physical violence against journalists and their equipment.

      Union of Journalists in Israel chairman Yair Tarchitsky called the phenomenon fairly common and said the violence generally comes from low-level soldiers or police officers who are not aware of the way they should treat the press.

      “The general feeling is that they see journalists as an annoyance,” he said.
      “Security forces have to understand the job of the press in a democratic country, even if the truth is uncomfortable for the country.

    42. Rand Paul throws in the bar towel, heads back to Kentucky to guard the Nation's Jim Beam supply, with drones and missiles if need be, and his Senate seat.

      I almost toured a Jim Beam distillery in Kentucky once, but figured they'd ply me with a couple free shots, and I don't drink and drive.

    43. A Felon By Any Other Name
      Derek Hunter | Jan 31, 2016

      President Barack Obama’s friend William Ayers famously said he was “guilty as sin, free as a bird” after his acquittal on charges related to the Weather Underground, the domestic terrorism group he co-founded. The unrepentant Ayers and Hillary Clinton have that veneer of Teflon in common.

      Were her last name anything other than Clinton, Hillary would be indicted today. Actually, she would have been indicted long ago and sitting in prison today.........

      Rufus is a thoughtful Clintonista.

      As such, I wish he would explain to us all what Billygoat Clinton has been doing going on a yacht owned by a known child molester to an odd place called "Orgy Island".

      And why Hillary puts up with this sort of questionable behavior.

    44. Sobered up this morning, rat ?

      Your spelling was truly splattered on the wall yesterday.

      Things to do -

      Cheers !

      1. At least I can sign into the Google account, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson

    45. ADP +205,000 Private Sector Jobs

      Pretty Good. Slightly above expectations.

    46. .

      It would be refreshing if Kerry would open his well-thumbed Qur’an and explain to us exactly how the Islamic State has “hijacked” Islam.

      Many Muslim scholars, even other key Salafists, would agree that the Islamic State is an apostate entity; however, probably not for the reasons mentioned by Kerry. The two main reasons are:

      First, IS not only accuses other religions, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc. of apostasy, they also accuse fellow Muslims of apostasy, something that is warned against in the Quran.

      Second, though these competing Salafist scholars agree with the concept of the eventual supremacy of Islam worldwide, they believe it is inevitable and can come about without conquering armies.

      Once again, jihadwatch and those who read it make the mistake of thinking Islam is monolithic. It's the same mistake the hawks made about communism during the Cold War.


    47. .

      Jihadwatch should be renamed to something like 'Simple Thoughts for Simple Minds'.


    48. .

      American Thinker: Don't have a mind. We don't mind. In fact, we prefer it.


      1. The folks at AT and JW and HA are well aware of the divisions among the Islamers.

        I will post some of it when I next come to it.

        You don't know it because you don't read it.

        On the other hand, they are well aware that they all present a threat to us, and thus can be considered as a sort of whole, too.

        Simpletons like you make a stir out of nothing.

        By the way I was listening to Fox and it seems the Poles are leaving Hamtramck.

        They feel the tensions, and are getting out.

        "First we show the Poles, then everybody else."

        If you begin to play nice again to Uncle Bob I will reconsider your refugee status, which is 'on hold' right now.....

        "Intelligence always contemplates the future"

      2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    49. A much more erious problem than Muslims in Syria and Iraq exists within walking distance of US.

      As Mexico descends into civil war, expect the flood of refugees to be in the 20 to 25 million range ...

      They ain't goin' to be walkin' to Guatemala.

      Pick a thread ... any thread

    50. Then we really really need to elect Trump, who will build a wall, and keep 'em out.

      (if he isn't bullshitting us)

      1. O'bozo has just cut back the aerial surveillance of the border by 50%.

        Everything he does is to the detriment of our country.

    51. And you're right about Guatemala.

      The Mexicans aren't going to Guatemala and the Guatemalans aren't going to Mexico.

      If what I've read is right - that the Mexicans have good security on their southern border.

      USA ? Right now we are mostly a country of idiots, led by a bunch of son bitches.

    52. Quirk, you don't think a writer like Hugh Fitzgerald isn't aware of the divisions in Islam ?

      O, but he is, much more than you.

      And what about Robert Spencer ?

      O yes he is, much more so than you.

      I will be shoving lots of Hugh and Robert your way, soon as it comes up.

    53. Iraq receives new batch of F-16 fighter jets, another batch to be received soon

      ( Baghdad – The Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday the arrival of a new batch of U.S. F16 fighter jets to one of the Iraqi air bases, while indicated that another batch of F16 fighter jets will be received in the near future.

      The ministry said in a statement followed by, “The Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Anwar Hamad Amin received, at noon today, a new batch of F16 fighter jets that arrived to one of the Iraqi air bases.”

      The ministry added, “This batch is one of a series of batches that will reach Iraq in the near future based on the contract concluded between the Republic of Iraq and the United States.”

      The Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee revealed in the ninth of November 2015, that Iraq will receive another five F-16 jets soon based on its contract with the United States, Czech Republic and South Korea, while pointed out that this agreement will enable Iraq to dispense the international coalition warplanes.


    54. SOUTHWEST ASIA, February 3, 2016 — 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, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Syria:

      -- Near Hasakah, two strikes destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

      -- Near Ayn Isa, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

      -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, four strikes struck four gas and oil separation plants.

      -- Near Manbij, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

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

      Strikes in Iraq

      Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

      -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

      -- Near Beiji, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

      -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket rail and an ISIL fighting position.

      -- Near Mosul, three strikes destroyed seven ISIL weapons caches, three ISIL assembly areas and 14 ISIL fighting positions.

      -- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and an ISIL logistics facility.

      -- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL recruiting station, four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL weapons cache and an ISIL assembly area and denied ISIL access to terrain.

      -- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

      -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

      -- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    55. See here, Quirk o' Fools -

      But, as Muslims like to say, meaning something quite different, “Islam is not a monolith.” By that phrase they attempt to inhibit non-Muslims from ever speaking about something called “Islam” because — since it is “not a monolith”– any such generalizing attempt would be false. Yet in the basic tenets and teachings, in the centrality of the Qur’an, in the agreement as to which are the most authoritative collections of Hadith, in the understanding of what constitute the Five Pillars of Islam, the faith called Islam is indeed a “monolith.”

      But that is not the end of the story. As Professor Bernard Lewis pointed out long ago, Muslims in the Middle East have “multiple identities.” A man may be a Muslim “and an Arab” or a Muslim “and a Berber” or a Muslim and a “black African in the southern Sudan.” A man may be a “Sunni Muslim” or “Shi’a Muslim” or — so as not to overlook a very small group found mainly Oman and in some Algerian oases — an “Ibadi Muslim.” And some Muslim peoples possess the awareness of and tug from a particular national history — I am thinking of Egypt and Iran especially, as those nations (along with Israel) have the strongest sense of national identity in the Middle East. An Egyptian is “Egyptian” or an Iranian an “Iranian” in a way that a Qatari is not a Qatari, nor an inhabitant of Abu Dhabi an Emiratian.

      See here, Quirk o' Fools, a man that knows whereof he speaks can think of Islam as both a monolith and not...this is too subtle for you, I understand...

      O yes, I intend to shove Hugh up your backside until you say 'Uncle'.

      1. A man may be a “Sunni Muslim” or “Shi’a Muslim” or — so as not to overlook a very small group found mainly Oman and in some Algerian oases — an “Ibadi Muslim.”

        You had never heard of a "Ibadi Muslim" until right now, Quirk.

      2. Until you say 'Uncle Bob'

    56. Ted Cruz and his campaign stink to high heaven -

      Sarah Palin added 3 new photos.

      28 mins ·

      Dirty Politics: Witnessing Firsthand It's Always Heartbreaking, Never Surprising

      Thank heavens Donald Trump opened so many eyes to the lies, corruption and total lack of accountability that come so naturally to the permanent political class. And Sen. Ted Cruz was spot on when he once noted that "millions of Americans are asking for accountability and truth." Which is why it's so curious - and saddens us - this lack of accountability with the lies of Cruz's own campaign.

      Cruz's campaign chairman, U.S. Representative Steve King, is lying, and good for Dr. Ben Carson for calling this out. King, who's previously asked for and received my endorsement, time and resources to support his own election, is still lying about my altruistic support of Mr. Trump, and he's refused to provide any evidence to the contrary. And, this U.S. Congressman actually lied to his own constituents on behalf of Cruz, regarding a good man, Dr. Carson. He told voters Carson was dropping out of the Presidential race immediately before the Iowa caucus, causing a relative uproar inside the process, so the word would spread and he could rack up more votes for his candidate, Cruz. That's a dirty trick. Dr. Carson deserved better. The voters deserved better!

      Where is the accountability for these political actions? Very sad; typical Washington tactics. THIS is why "the status quo has got to go."

      Our friend Dr. Carson put it so well:

      "As Christians, of course we accept people’s apologies, we also have to ask ourselves is this acceptable to us, the American people, or should there be some accountability? There should be some consequences for things. You don’t just say ‘oh, okay, sorry… okay let’s move on.’ The damage was done to me, it wasn’t done to them.”

      We've had eight years of a reckless President, accountable to no one, pushing this country to the brink. Why would we ever take a risk repeating that? We are never going to turn this country around if we keep electing "more of the same." Just like conservatives have been preaching in opposition to Obama's political tactics for years: actions speak louder than words.

      The Cruz Campaign's actions to destroy a good man's efforts to serve are no different than Obama's practice of not holding anyone accountable. Typical politics. Typical politicians.
      Here's background:

      Ben Carson: Cruz's Apology Needs Accountability:…/ben-carson-cruzs-apology-needs…
      Steve King Refuses to Answer CNN's Jake Tapper If He Has Any Evidence Trump Bought Palin’s Support:…/…/02/02/lead-king-on-trump-and-cruz.cnn


    57. AshTue Feb 02, 10:11:00 PM EST

      Deuce, you should require folk to log in in order to post.


      QuirkTue Feb 02, 10:26:00 PM EST




      It would set a standard, low I agree, on the intellectual level of those posting here. It would also prevent the excuse of 'that was an imposter who said that' For example WiO has used that excuse when Jack links to Bob's credit card fraud statement.

      1. .

        Does anyone really care about the chickenshit stuff the girls argue about here?


    58. .

      By the way I was listening to Fox and it seems the Poles are leaving Hamtramck.




      Fox News: 4 decades late and a dollar short.

      You moron, the Poles have been leaving Hamtramck since the 70's and 80's, those that could afford it. Hamtramck is located right in the middle of Detroit. The Poles were part of the white flight that ended up reducing the population of Detroit to less than half the 1.8 millon people it had in the 1950's.

      Hamtramck reached its peak population based on immigration in the early years of the last century. It became a primarily Polish enclave in the middle of Detroit. Now, it has a population of around 22,000, about a third f its peak in the 30's and 40's. There are only about 1200 or so Poles in the entire city now.

      Once again, you make my point about your sources.


    59. bob, you dolt, your google login is not computer dependant it is username/password controlled. You can set up a whole new account, link a new picture for an avatar, and use it on any most any device (well, don't try it with your toaster).

      1. .


        With Bob, it's best to cover all the bases.


      2. yeah, wouldn't want him to burn his fingers or some other appendage (it's Bob dontcha know? - god knows what he sticks in the toaster :-0 )

    60. Did you know you can shorten your urls with AdFly and get dollars from every visit to your short urls.