Thursday, February 12, 2015

IRAQ WARS, OCCUPATION, AND ACCOUNTABILITY NEWSLETTER #19

OMNI
NEWSLETTER ON IRAQ WARS #19, February 12, 2015
BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE & JUSTICE TO REPLACE THE CULTURE OF WAR and EMPIRE, Dick Bennett, Editor.
(#18, June 28, 2014; #17, June 19, 2014; #16 June 14, 2014; #15 Sept. 30, 2013; #14 March 19, 2013; #13, Nov. 3, 2012; #12 March 19, 2012; #11 Feb.9, 2012;  #10, October 18, 2011; #9 August 8, 2011; #8 March 19, 2011; #7, April 29, 2010; #6 March 17, 2010, # 5 June 1, 2008; #4 April 3, 2008;  #3 March 24, 2008, #2 Jan. 16, 2008, #1 Nov. 2, 2007.)  Thanks to Marc.


What’s at stake:   Exposure of the longstanding imperial ambitions of key figures in the Bush administration leads to questions of accountability, crime, and punishment, if we are ever to deter the war-makers.


My blog:   War Department/Peace Department
My Newsletters:
Index:
See Corporate-Pentagon-Congress-White House-Corporate Media-Security Complex, Corruption, Deception, Geneva Conventions,  Imperialism, International Treaties, Killing Civilians,  Lying, Militarism,  Nuremberg Princioples, Mainstream Media and War,  OMNI Patriotism Forum, Patriot Day, Presidential Power, Propaganda, Public Acceptance of Unjustified War, Secrecy, Torture, Truth Commission, War, UN Charter v. Aggression, War Mongers and Mongering, War Profiteering


Nos. 17-18 at   end.



Contents #19: Iraq Wars, Occupation, Post-Occupation, Sunni/Shiite Civil War #19
ACCOUNTABILITY

2003 INVASION AND OCCUPATION
Overviews (Parry, Ali, Frontline) and  Individuals (Rice and Kyle)
Robert Parry, Reagan-Bush Origins of the Invasion and Mainstream Media Complicity
Tariq Ali, Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq
PBS Frontline, Losing Iraq
2014, Jan. 2015 Deadliest Since 2008
Post-Occupation
     Sunni vs. Shiite Civil War, IS Sunni Caliphate in N. Iraq
      War Over Oil
Condoleezza Rice, War-Monger vs. Nuremberg Principles, UN Charter, and the Truth
4 Reviews of Film American Sniper (Chris Kyle)
     Richard Falk
     Ross Caputi
     Taibbi
     Chis Hedges

SEARCHING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
US and Iraq’s Fate
Bush to Obama
Rise of ISIS
Remember March 18, 2003: Last Minute Appeal vs. Invasion
Intimidation for War
War Monger Fred Hiatt
Bush and His Neo-Con Advisors
Atrocious Invasion, But None in High Places Prosecuted
Nuremberg Principles Grossly Violated, But US Criminals Not Prosecuted
US Media and Nuremberg
ANSWER Coalition Reports, War as Usual:
     More Marines
     No End of Occupation and War
Veterans for Peace, Juan Cole, Petition: Prevent US Military Expansion in Iraq

Appeal from UNHCR on World Refugee Day (Millions of Iraqis Displaced)


Contact Your Representative and the President
Contents of Nos. 17 and 18

March 18, 2013
What Happened to the US Press Corps?
Exclusive: As the U.S. observes the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, a key question remains: Why was there almost no accountability for journalists and pundits who went along with George W. Bush’s deceptions. The answer can be found in the cover-ups of the Reagan-Bush-41 era, writes Robert Parry.




Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq 

by Tariq Ali.  Verso, 2004 ed.    2003 first ed. available in Mullins Library, UAF.   Publisher’s Description: The bestselling history of the resistance in Iraq that vitalized the antiwar movement, fully updated.The assault and capture of Iraq — and the resistance it has provoked — will shape the politics of the twenty-first century. In this passionate and provocative book, Tariq Ali provides a history of Iraqi resistance against empires old and new, and argues against the view that sees imperialist occupation as the only viable solution to bring about regime-change in corrupt and dictatorial states. Like the author’s previous work, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, this book presents a magnificent cultural history.
Detailing the longstanding imperial ambitions of key figures in the Bush administration and how war profiteers close to Bush are cashing in, Bush in Babylon is unique in moving beyond the corporate looting by the US military government to offer the reader an expert and in-depth analysis of the extent of resistance to the US occupation in Iraq.

On 15 February 2003, eight million people marched on the streets of five continents against a war that had not yet begun. A historically unprecedented number of people rejected official justifications for war that the secular Ba'ath Party of Iraq was connected to al-Qaeda or that “weapons of mass destruction” existed in the region, outside of Israel.

More people than ever are convinced that the greatest threat to peace comes from the center of the American empire and its satrapies, with Blair and Sharon as lieutenants to the Commander-in-Chief. Examining how countries from Japan to France eventually rushed to support US aims, as well as the futile UN resistance, Tariq Ali proposes a re-founding of Mark Twain's mammoth American Anti-Imperialist League (which included William James, W.E.B. DuBois, William Dean Howells, and John Dewey) to carry forward the antiwar movement. Meanwhile, as Iraqis show unexpected hostility and independence, rather than gratitude, for “liberation,” Ali is unique is uncovering the
depth of the resistance now occurring inside occupied Iraq.

 



Also see Ali’s The Clash of Fundamentalisms, 2002.   
Mullins Library           BP163 .A623 2002


LOSING IRAQ, FRONTLINE, PBS July 29 and October 21, 2914.   Google Search October 23, 2014
  1. Losing Iraq | FRONTLINE | PBS
www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/losing-iraq/
PBS
Jul 29, 2014 - FRONTLINE examines the unfolding chaos in Iraq: What went wrong? How did we get here? And what happens now?
  1. Video: Losing Iraq | Watch FRONTLINE Online | PBS Video
video.pbs.org/video/2365297690
PBS
Jul 29, 2014 - U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011, ending America's military commitment in the country. Now, chaos is once again engulfing Iraq. The team ...
  1. Frontline - Losing Iraq - YouTube
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSaxQmHF-3g
Aug 5, 2014 - Uploaded by T.J. Singh
Frontline - Losing Iraq ... Mix - Frontline - Losing Iraqby YouTube; 56:30 ... PBS Frontline - Private ...



Iraq Suffers Deadliest Month Since 2008
Democracy Now! Feb. 2, 2015
The United Nations says at least 1,375 people were killed in Iraq last month, making it one of the country’s deadliest in years. The January toll follows more than 12,000 deaths in 2014, Iraq’s most lethal year since 2008.


RICE AND KYLE:  A PROMOTER OF THE WAR AND A PERP

                     CONDOLEEZZA RICE
·                     American Faust: From Condi to Neo-Condi
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American Faust: From Condi to Neo-Condi
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
American Faust: From Condi to Neo-Condi is a 2009 documentary film by British filmmaker Sebastian Doggart that portrays the life and career of former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Contents
  [hide
·         1 Style
·         2 Synopsis
Style[edit]
The film is an investigative documentary, in the style of Taxi to the Dark Side and Fahrenheit 9/11. Unlike those films, however, it is told entirely through expert interviewees, favorable and critical, and the testimony of Rice herself. There is no voice-over narration, a technique that heightens the film's objectivity. There are exclusive interviews with three of Rice's most authoritative biographers: Marcus Mabry, an editor at the New York Times and author of Twice As Good: Condoleezza Rice and her path to powerGlenn KesslerPulitzer Prize–winning journalist, diplomatic correspondent at the Washington Post and author of The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy; and Antonia Felix, author of Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story.
Synopsis[edit]
The film tells the story of Rice's life from her birth in 1954 to her 2009 departure from office as Secretary of State, and her return to Stanford University. Rice is a key interviewee in the film: she speaks about her roots in racially explosiveBirmingham; her short-lived music career; her fascination with Joseph Stalin and Ronald Reagan; her close friendship with George W. Bush; right up to a defense of her record in government. The film gives voice to numerous supporters of Rice, including both Presidents Bush; her stepmother Clara Bailey Rice; Oprah Winfrey (who remarks that "I've never been more proud to say the word W-O-M-A-N than after meeting Condoleezza Rice"); mentor and later critic, Brent Scowcroft; her former fiancé, Rick UpchurchJohn McCain who praises her as "a great American"; former Secretary of State Henry KissingerDick Cheney; and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The film charts Rice's discovery of her love of politics at the University of Denver, and her pursuit and use of power. The title's reference to Faust echoes allegations made by various interviewees in the film that she sacrificed her principles in exchange for political power. Author Laura Flanders relates how she rolled back affirmative action policies while Stanford University Provost, and how she was such a loyal board member for Chevron (despite its involvement with the Nigerian government in violently repressing Ogoni tribespeople) that they named an oil tanker after her. Her record as National Security Advisor is attacked by CIA Director George Tenet, Counter-Terrorism chief (1992–2003) Richard Clarke and author Philip Shenon. They allege that she ignored various warnings in the spring and summer of 2001 that an Al Qaedaattack was about to happen. Shenon alleges that "it was both incompetence and negligence." Rice responds to these allegations: "I just don't buy the argument that we weren't shaking the trees enough and that something was gonna to fall out that gave us somehow that little piece of information that would have led to connecting all of those dots."[1]
Kessler and Mabry concur that, after 9/11, she abandoned realism and advocacy of a humble foreign policy, and became a neo-conservative idealist (hence the film's subtitle, 'from Condi to Neo-Condi'). With huge political pressure coming from Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to invade Iraq, Lawrence WilkersonColin Powell's Chief of Staff, says she deliberately exaggerated the case for war ("we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud").[2]Congressman Robert Wexler says that Rice misled the American public on 56 occasions, which Rice denies: "I did not pump up anything".[3] Eleanor Clift, (Editor of Newsweek) and Richard Ben-Veniste (9/11 Commissioner), point to the many techniques that Rice used – wordplay, filibustering, claims of amnesia – to avoid telling the truth. Investigating her record on race, Marcus Mabry states that it was Hurricane Katrina when black Americans realized she was not fighting their corner. Spike Lee criticizes her for going shoe shopping on Madison Avenue while the levees were breaking. Critics also question her record as Secretary of State, especially her handling of the 2007 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians byBlackwater contractors in her hire. Erica Razook of Amnesty International, states that Rice acted to protect the State Department's $1bn contract with Blackwater by pardoning the killers and offering only $10,000 in compensation. That response, according to US Congressman David Price, inflamed Iraqi anger towards all Americans. Price says: "It contradicts our values. It makes us out to be hypocrites. It puts our military personnel in jeopardy. All I can see is a dereliction of duty. At virtually any level you'd want to assess this, this is a disaster for our country."
The film documents Rice's vigorous support for the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, which she describes as "a necessity because of the War on Terror." Most notably in terms of historical discovery, the film reveals that it was National Security Advisor Rice who directly authorized the CIA to use torture techniques in 'black sites' around the world.Glenn Kessler says: "These 'enhanced interrogation methods' included water-boarding, fingernail extraction, and sleep deprivation. Condi signed off on the orders to the CIA with the words, 'This is your Baby, go do it!'" Richard Clarkeconcurs: "Rice decided what torture to use on what person." Rice denies these allegations, saying "we did not torture anybody". This statement is then contradicted by interviews with individuals subjected to these interrogation techniques: British detainee Binyam Mohamed describes how he had his penis cut, and acid poured into the wounds;[4] Khalid El-Masri relates how he was drugged, sodomized and imprisoned without charges, an allegation supported by theAmerican Civil Liberties Union[5] Abu Omar describes how he was tied to a wet mattress and electrocuted; and Mamdouh Habib claims he had his fingernails torn out. The film is the first to draw the dots between Rice as NSA, through the CIA, to the actual individuals who underwent the 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' The film was also the first source to reveal the 'black site' countries to which Rice and the CIA sent detainees to be interrogated, including ThailandSomalia,ItalyKenyaEthiopiaSyriaAfghanistanUzbekistanJordanMacedoniaEgyptMoroccoAzerbaijan, as well as the 'torture ships' USS Peleliu, USS Bataan, and USS Ashland.[6]   MORE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Faust:_From_Condi_to_Neo-Condi

CHRIS KYLE
FILMS ABOUT US WARS
“Our love for [our war stories] is insatiable as if we believe the nobility of the soldier is a way to convince us of our own national decency. . . .’Vietnam films are all pro-war, no matter what the supposed message,’ Anthony Swofford writes in Jarhead.   When a war’s justification is based on lies and deceit, or perhaps especially when a war’s justification is based on lies and deceit, the hope remains that good Americans caught in hellish circumstances will rise to the occasion, at least for each other.  Forget the dishonorable foundations to the war.  Focus on the honor of service.”  Moustafa Bayoumi, “War Stories from Soldiers and Body Washers,” The Progressive (Feb. 2015), a review of Klay’s Redeployment and Sinan Antoon’s The Corpse Washer, a rare and immensely needed novel about the war from the perspective of Iraqi civilians.  No book about “our troops” should be read, reviewed, or discussed without at the same time reading, reviewing, and discussing a book about the real victims of US wars.

FOUR REVIEWS OF The Sniper
   Richard Falk
   Ross Caputi
   Matt Taibbi
   Chris Hedges

  

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Viewing American Sniper
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 2 February 2015
by Richard Falk, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

Richard Falk [American Sniper was released on Christmas Day, 2014. It is a movie version of Chris Kyle’s memoir, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, with 255 kills, 160 officially confirmed by the Department of Defense. The movie set in Iraq is directed by Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper plays the part of Chris Kyle, and Sienna Miller is brilliantly cast in the role of his wife, Taya]   [I deleted the opening paragraphs of the review.   For the full review go to 

These narratives dominated my perception of the movie, although those associated with its production deny such lines of interpretation. Clint Eastwood (the director and producer) and Bradley Cooper (who plays Kyle in the film) have publicly questioned employing a political optic in commentary on the film. They insist, in contrast, that the movie was ‘a character study’ of Kyle and ‘apolitical’ in the sense of not taking a position pro or con the Iraq War. Eastwood has tried to lend credibility to his claim by pointing out that he opposed the Iraq War, and was even skeptical about Afghanistan. Yet whatever he privately feels this not how most viewers most viewers would experience the film, either being enthralled by Kyle’s exploits or appalled by them. Eastwood may have aspired to tell an apolitical story, but if so, he has failed badly.

The Iraq War was a war of aggression undertaken in 2003 despite the rejection of a well-orchestrated (and misleading) American plea to the UN Security Council for authorization. Against such a background,  the attack on Iraq and subsequent occupation were widely regarded as international crimes bearing resemblance to the category of aggressive warfare for which German and Japanese leaders were punished for waging after World War II. In this light, the Iraqi violence associated with the hostile American occupation needs to be portrayed as a unilateral repudiation of the limits set by international law and the UN Charter on recourse to war by the world’s most powerful country. Additionally, American Sniper depicts the doomed efforts of an outgunned society to resist a militarily dominant foreign invader that is imposing its will on the country’s future by force of arms. Such a viewing is not meant to imply that we need to endorse some of the horrific Iraqi tactics relied upon, but it should remind us that presenting the Iraqis as ‘evil’ and as ‘savages’ functions in the film as an unchallenged display of Islamophobic propaganda, and cannot be credibly explained away as a realistic exploration of a war hero’s temperament and struggle for sanity and survival. American Sniper also presents Kyle’s story in such a way as to avoid any self-criticism directed at the American mission in Iraq.

The movie also lacks redeeming artistic merit. It is relentless and repetitive in portraying battle scenes of intensity intertwined with Kyle’s tormented relationship with his wife and efforts to become a father to their two children during his brief interludes of home leave between military assignments. We learn nothing about the realities of our world beyond a tired rendering of the embedded post-9/11 polemic on the necessity of foreign wars to keep America safe from evil forces lurking in the Islamic world. This orthodoxy is not even interrogated, much less rejected. And no where in the film is there any acknowledgement that the United States in Iraq was acting in defiance of international law and causing great devastation and suffering to a totally vulnerable foreign country, as well as producing a massive displacement of the civilian population. Leaving behind a devastated country and widespread chaos. The Iraqi experience of such carnage in their own country is treated as irrelevant, and is reminiscent of Vietnam War films that were mostly devoted to explorations of the victimization of the young Americans caught up in an experience of war that they could neither understand nor win, while overlooking almost altogether the massive suffering being inflicted on a foreign people in a distant land. That is, even most anti-war portrayals of these American wars accept the dehumanization of the foreign others.

For me the most significant impressions resulting from American Sniper’s narrative of the Iraq War are as follows:
–the striking imbalance between the sophisticated military technology at the disposal of the United States versus the primitive weaponry in the possession of the Iraqi adversaries, creating an overwhelming impression that the Iraq War was more ‘a hunt’ than ‘a war;’ such an impression is somehow deepened by a scene in the film in which Kyle is teaching his very young son to hunt for deer;
–the failure to make any effort at all to understand the experience of this war from the perspective of the Iraqis, creating the absurd impression that the only victims deserving empathy were Americans like Kyle who had endured the torments of warfare and suffered its admittedly disorienting consequences; the emotions of remorse as associated with the harm done to Iraq and Iraqis is no where to be found in the film.
What may be disturbing is the radical subjectivity of likely audience responses. In America, great popularity of mostly uncritical commentary on American Sniper, reinforcing the regressive national mood of glamorizing bloody military exploits as the most admirable expression of true patriotism. Elsewhere in the world the perception is likely to be quite opposite: American Sniperinducing anti-American attitudes either out of fear or resentment or both, solidifying the global image of the United States as a cruel geopolitical bully. That is, American Sniper is wildly pro-American for most domestic viewers, and severely anti-American for most foreign viewers. This gap in subjectivities exhibits the degree to which Americans are living in a bubble of their own devising.
It is highly unlikely that many Americans will appreciate this disparity of perception, and even fewer will pause long enough to assess its significance. If more of us could see ourselves as we are seen in the mirror of foreign reactions it might help end this unhealthy national romance with permanent war that started after World War II with the Cold War and continues now in the form of the ‘War on Terror.’  Such a pattern of delusional geopolitics will never produce peace and security in the 21st century, and will fatally divert attention from meeting the challenges of humanity associated with climate change, nuclear weapons, poverty, and extremism. To question this American domination project is to antagonize the entrenched bureaucratic, media, and neoliberal forces that benefit from endless war making and its associated expenditures of trillions. In the end it is this grand project of late capitalism that American Sniper indirectly vindicates, thereby burdening the nation and the world, perhaps fatally.
________________________
Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, an international relations scholar, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, author, co-author or editor of 40 books, and a speaker and activist on world affairs. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies, and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His most recent book is Achieving Human Rights(2009).
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War Crimes Times
Monday, January 26, 2015
http://www.brussellstribunal.org/js/ckfinder/userfiles/images/politicians_famous_people/Ross_Caputi_160414.jpg
Fallujah veteran and former Marine Ross Caputi
Chris Kyle built his reputation as a sniper during one of the most criminal operations of the entire occupation of Iraq, the 2nd siege of Fallujah.



What American Sniper offers us — more than a heart-wrenching tale about Chris Kyle’s struggle to be a soldier, a husband, and a father; more than an action packed story about America’s most lethal sniper — is an exposure of the often hidden side of American war culture. The criminality that has characterized American military engagements since the American Indian Wars, and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, is hardly noticeable in this film. And that’s exactly my point...

Read 
Ross Caputi's insightful article.


By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, posted January 21, 2015
'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize.   Almost.   BY MATT TAIBBI, Rolling Stone,  January 21, 2015
The thing is, the mere act of trying to make a typically Hollywoodian one-note fairy tale set in the middle of the insane moral morass that is/was the Iraq occupation is both dumber and more arrogant than anything George Bush or even Dick Cheney ever tried.
No one expected 20 minutes of backstory about the failed WMD search, Abu Ghraib, or the myriad other American atrocities and quick-trigger bombings that helped fuel the rise of ISIL and other groups.
But to turn the Iraq war into a saccharine, almost PG-rated two-hour cinematic diversion about a killing machine with a heart of gold (is there any film theme more perfectly 2015-America than that?) who slowly, very slowly, starts to feel bad after shooting enough women and children – Gump notwithstanding, that was a hard one to see coming.
Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question.
It's the fact that the movie is popular, and actually makes sense to so many people, that's the problem. "American Sniper has the look of a bona fide cultural phenomenon!" gushed Brandon Griggs of CNN, noting the film's record $105 million opening-week box office.
Griggs added, in a review that must make Eastwood swell with pride, that the root of the film's success is that "it's about a real person," and "it's a human story, not a political one."
Well done, Clint! You made a movie about mass-bloodshed in Iraq that critics pronounced not political! That's as Hollywood as Hollywood gets.
The characters in Eastwood's movies almost always wear white and black hats or their equivalents, so you know at all times who's the good guy on the one hand, and whose exploding head we're to applaud on the other.
In this case that effect is often literal, with "hero" sniper Chris Kyle's "sinister" opposite Mustafa permanently dressed in black (with accompanying evil black pirate-stubble) throughout.
Eastwood, who surely knows better, indulges in countless crass stupidities in the movie. There's the obligatory somber scene of shirtless buffed-up SEAL Kyle and his heartthrob wife Sienna Miller gasping at the televised horror of the 9/11 attacks. Next thing you know, Kyle is in Iraq actually fighting al-Qaeda – as if there was some logical connection between 9/11 and Iraq.
Which of course there had not been, until we invaded and bombed the wrong country and turned its moonscaped cities into a recruitment breeding ground for… you guessed it, al-Qaeda. They skipped that chicken-egg dilemma in the film, though, because it would detract from the "human story."
Eastwood plays for cheap applause and goes super-dumb even by Hollywood standards when one of Kyle's officers suggests that they could "win the war" by taking out the evil sniper who is upsetting America's peaceful occupation of Sadr City.
When hunky Bradley Cooper's Kyle character subsequently takes out Mustafa with Skywalkerian long-distance panache – "Aim small, hit small," he whispers, prior to executing an impossible mile-plus shot – even the audiences in the liberal-ass Jersey City theater where I watched the movie stood up and cheered. I can only imagine the response this scene scored in Soldier of Fortune country.
To Eastwood, this was probably just good moviemaking, a scene designed to evoke the same response he got in Trouble With the Curve when his undiscovered Latin Koufax character, Rigoberto Sanchez, strikes out the evil Bonus Baby Bo Gentry (even I cheered at that scene).
The problem of course is that there's no such thing as "winning" the War on Terror militarily. In fact the occupation led to mass destruction, hundreds of thousands of deaths, a choleric lack of real sanitation, epidemic unemployment and political radicalization that continues to this day to spread beyond Iraq's borders.
Yet the movie glosses over all of this, and makes us think that killing Mustafa was some kind of decisive accomplishment – the single shot that kept terrorists out of the coffee shops of San Francisco or whatever. It's a scene that ratified every idiot fantasy of every yahoo with a target rifle from Seattle to Savannah.
The really dangerous part of this film is that it turns into a referendum on the character of a single soldier. It's an unwinnable argument in either direction. We end up talking about Chris Kyle and his dilemmas, and not about the Rumsfelds and Cheneys and other officials up the chain who put Kyle and his high-powered rifle on rooftops in Iraq and asked him to shoot women and children.
They're the real villains in this movie, but the controversy has mostly been over just how much of a "hero" Chris Kyle really was. One Academy member wondered to a reporter if Kyle (who in real life was killed by a fellow troubled vet in an eerie commentary on the violence in our society that might have made a more interesting movie) was a "psychopath." Michael Moore absorbed a ton of criticism when he tweeted that "My uncle [was] killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards …"
And plenty of other commentators, comparing Kyle's book (where he remorselessly brags about killing "savages") to the film (where he is portrayed as a more rounded figure who struggled, if not verbally then at least visually, with the nature of his work), have pointed out that real-life Kyle was kind of a dick compared to movie-Kyle.
(The most disturbing passage in the book to me was the one where Kyle talked about being competitive with other snipers, and how when one in particular began to threaten his "legendary" number, Kyle "all of the sudden" seemed to have "every stinkin' bad guy in the city running across my scope." As in, wink wink, my luck suddenly changed when the sniper-race got close, get it? It's super-ugly stuff).
The thing is, it always looks bad when you criticize a soldier for doing what he's told. It's equally dangerous to be seduced by the pathos and drama of the individual solider's experience, because most wars are about something much larger than that, too.
They did this after Vietnam, when America spent decades watching movies like Deer Hunter and First Blood and Coming Home about vets struggling to reassimilate after the madness of the jungles. So we came to think of the "tragedy" of Vietnam as something primarily experienced by our guys, and not by the millions of Indochinese we killed.
That doesn't mean Vietnam Veterans didn't suffer: they did, often terribly. But making entertainment out of their dilemmas helped Americans turn their eyes from their political choices. The movies used the struggles of soldiers as a kind of human shield protecting us from thinking too much about what we'd done in places like Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos.
This is going to start happening now with the War-on-Terror movies. As CNN's Griggs writes, "We're finally ready for a movie about the Iraq War." Meaning: we're ready to be entertained by stories about how hard it was for our guys. And it might have been. But that's not the whole story and never will be.
We'll make movies about the Chris Kyles of the world and argue about whether they were heroes or not. Some were, some weren't. But in public relations as in war, it'll be the soldiers taking the bullets, not the suits in the Beltway who blithely sent them into lethal missions they were never supposed to understand.
And filmmakers like Eastwood, who could have cleared things up, only muddy the waters more. Sometimes there's no such thing as "just a human story." Sometimes a story is meaningless or worse without real context, and this is one of them.


Truthdig


Killing Ragheads for Jesus By Chris Hedges
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/killing_ragheads_for_jesus_20150125/

Posted on Jan 25, 2015.  Forwarded by Abel T.

“American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.
The movie opens with a father and his young son hunting a deer. The boy shoots the animal, drops his rifle and runs to see his kill.
“Get back here,” his father yells. “You don’t ever leave your rifle in the dirt.”
“Yes, sir,” the boy answers.
“That was a helluva shot, son,” the father says. “You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.”
The camera cuts to a church interior where a congregation of white Christians—blacks appear in this film as often as in a Woody Allen movie—are listening to a sermon about God’s plan for American Christians. The film’s title character, based on Chris Kyle, who would become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, will, it appears from the sermon, be called upon by God to use his “gift” to kill evildoers. The scene shifts to the Kyle family dining room table as the father intones in a Texas twang: “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe evil doesn’t exist in the world. And if it ever darkened their doorstep they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep. And then you got predators.”
The camera cuts to a schoolyard bully beating a smaller boy.
“They use violence to prey on people,” the father goes on. “They’re the wolves. Then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression and an overpowering need to protect the flock. They are a rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog. We’re not raising any sheep in this family.”
The father lashes his belt against the dining room table.
“I will whup your ass if you turn into a wolf,” he says to his two sons. “We protect our own. If someone tries to fight you, tries to bully your little brother, you have my permission to finish it.”
There is no shortage of simpletons whose minds are warped by this belief system. We elected one of them, George W. Bush, as president. They populate the armed forces and the Christian right. They watch Fox News and believe it. They have little understanding or curiosity about the world outside their insular communities. They are proud of their ignorance and anti-intellectualism. They prefer drinking beer and watching football to reading a book. And when they get into power—they already control the Congress, the corporate world, most of the media and the war machine—their binary vision of good and evil and their myopic self-adulation cause severe trouble for their country. “American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire. That it made a record-breaking $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday long weekend is a symptom of the United States’ dark malaise.
“The movie never asks the seminal question as to why the people of Iraq are fighting back against us in the very first place,” said Mikey Weinstein, whom I reached by phone in New Mexico. Weinstein, who worked in the Reagan White House and is a former Air Force officer, is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which challenges the growing Christian fundamentalism within the U.S. military. “It made me physically ill with its twisted, totally one-sided distortions of wartime combat ethics and justice woven into the fabric of Chris Kyle’s personal and primal justification mantra of ‘God-Country-Family.’ It is nothing less than an odious homage, indeed a literal horrific hagiography to wholesale slaughter.”
Weinstein noted that the embrace of extreme right-wing Christian chauvinism, or Dominionism, which calls for the creation of a theocratic “Christian” America, is especially acute among elite units such as the SEALs and the Army Special Forces.
The evildoers don’t take long to make an appearance in the film. This happens when television—the only way the movie’s characters get news—announces the 1998 truck bombings of the American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in which hundreds of people were killed. Chris, now grown, and his brother, aspiring rodeo riders, watch the news reports with outrage. Ted Koppel talks on the screen about a “war” against the United States.
“Look what they did to us,” Chris whispers.
He heads down to the recruiter to sign up to be a Navy SEAL. We get the usual boot camp scenes of green recruits subjected to punishing ordeals to make them become real men. In a bar scene, an aspiring SEAL has painted a target on his back and comrades throw darts into his skin. What little individuality these recruits have—and they don’t appear to have much—is sucked out of them until they are part of the military mass. They are unquestioningly obedient to authority, which means, of course, they are sheep.
We get a love story too. Chris meets Taya in a bar. They do shots. The movie slips, as it often does, into clichéd dialogue.
She tells him Navy SEALs are “arrogant, self-centered pricks who think you can lie and cheat and do whatever the fuck you want. I’d never date a SEAL.”
“Why would you say I’m self-centered?” Kyle asks. “I’d lay down my life for my country.”
“Why?”
“Because it’s the greatest country on earth and I’d do everything I can to protect it,” he says.
She drinks too much. She vomits. He is gallant. He helps her home. They fall in love. Taya is later shown watching television. She yells to Chris in the next room.
“Oh, my God, Chris,” she says.
“What’s wrong?” he asks.
“No!” she yells.
Then we hear the television announcer: “You see the first plane coming in at what looks like the east side. …”
Chris and Taya watch in horror. Ominous music fills the movie’s soundtrack. The evildoers have asked for it. Kyle will go to Iraq to extract vengeance. He will go to fight in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, a country that columnist Thomas Friedman once said we attacked “because we could.” The historical record and the reality of the Middle East don’t matter. Muslims are Muslims. And Muslims are evildoers or, as Kyle calls them, “savages.” Evildoers have to be eradicated.
Chris and Taya marry. He wears his gold Navy SEAL trident on the white shirt under his tuxedo at the wedding. His SEAL comrades are at the ceremony. 
“Just got the call, boys—it’s on,” an officer says at the wedding reception.
The Navy SEALs cheer. They drink. And then we switch to Fallujah. It is Tour One. Kyle, now a sniper, is told Fallujah is “the new Wild West.” This may be the only accurate analogy in the film, given the genocide we carried out against Native Americans. He hears about an enemy sniper who can do “head shots from 500 yards out. They call him Mustafa. He was in the Olympics.”
Kyle’s first kill is a boy who is handed an anti-tank grenade by a young woman in a black chador. The woman, who expresses no emotion over the boy’s death, picks up the grenade after the boy is shot and moves toward U.S. Marines on patrol. Kyle kills her too. And here we have the template for the film and Kyle’s best-selling autobiography, “American Sniper.” Mothers and sisters in Iraq don’t love their sons or their brothers. Iraqi women breed to make little suicide bombers. Children are miniature Osama bin Ladens. Not one of the Muslim evildoers can be trusted—man, woman or child. They are beasts. They are shown in the film identifying U.S. positions to insurgents on their cellphones, hiding weapons under trapdoors in their floors, planting improvised explosive devices in roads or strapping explosives onto themselves in order to be suicide bombers. They are devoid of human qualities.
“There was a kid who barely had any hair on his balls,” Kyle says nonchalantly after shooting the child and the woman. He is resting on his cot with a big Texas flag behind him on the wall. “Mother gives him a grenade, sends him out there to kill Marines.”
Enter The Butcher—a fictional Iraqi character created for the film. Here we get the most evil of the evildoers. He is dressed in a long black leather jacket and dispatches his victims with an electric drill. He mutilates children—we see a child’s arm he amputated. A local sheik offers to betray The Butcher for $100,000. The Butcher kills the sheik. He murders the sheik’s small son in front of his mother with his electric drill. The Butcher shouts: “You talk to them, you die with them.”
Kyle moves on to Tour Two after time at home with Taya, whose chief role in the film is to complain through tears and expletives about her husband being away. Kyle says before he leaves: “They’re savages. Babe, they’re fuckin’ savages.”
He and his fellow platoon members spray-paint the white skull of the Punisher from Marvel Comics on their vehicles, body armor, weapons and helmets. The motto they paint in a circle around the skull reads: “Despite what your momma told you … violence does solve problems.”
“And we spray-painted it on every building and walls we could,” Kyle wrote in his memoir, “American Sniper.” “We wanted people to know, we’re here and we want to fuck with you. …You see us? We’re the people kicking your ass. Fear us because we will kill you, motherfucker.
The book is even more disturbing than the film. In the film Kyle is a reluctant warrior, one forced to do his duty. In the book he relishes killing and war. He is consumed by hatred of all Iraqis. He is intoxicated by violence. He is credited with 160 confirmed kills, but he notes that to be confirmed a kill had to be witnessed, “so if I shot someone in the stomach and he managed to crawl around where we couldn’t see him before he bled out he didn’t count.”
Kyle insisted that every person he shot deserved to die. His inability to be self-reflective allowed him to deny the fact that during the U.S. occupation many, many innocent Iraqis were killed, including some shot by snipers. Snipers are used primarily to sow terror and fear among enemy combatants. And in his denial of reality, something former slaveholders and former Nazis perfected to an art after overseeing their own atrocities, Kyle was able to cling to childish myth rather than examine the darkness of his own soul and his contribution to the war crimes we carried out in Iraq. He justified his killing with a cloying sentimentality about his family, his Christian faith, his fellow SEALs and his nation. But sentimentality is not love. It is not empathy. It is, at its core, about self-pity and self-adulation. That the film, like the book, swings between cruelty and sentimentality is not accidental. 
“Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel,” James Baldwin reminded us. “The wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty.”
“Savage, despicable evil,” Kyle wrote of those he was killing from rooftops and windows. “That’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy ‘savages.’… I only wish I had killed more.” At another point he writes: “I loved killing bad guys. … I loved what I did. I still do … it was fun. I had the time of my life being a SEAL.” He labels Iraqis “fanatics” and writes “they hated us because we weren’t Muslims.” He claims “the fanatics we fought valued nothing but their twisted interpretation of religion.”
“I never once fought for the Iraqis,” he wrote of our Iraqi allies. “I could give a flying fuck about them.”
He killed an Iraqi teenager he claimed was an insurgent. He watched as the boy’s mother found his body, tore her clothes and wept. He was unmoved.
He wrote: “If you loved them [the sons], you should have kept them away from the war. You should have kept them from joining the insurgency. You let them try and kill us—what did you think would happen to them?
“People back home [in the U.S.], people who haven’t been in war, at least not that war, sometimes don’t seem to understand how the troops in Iraq acted,” he went on. “They’re surprised—shocked—to discover we often joked about death, about things we saw.”
He was investigated by the Army for killing an unarmed civilian. According to his memoir, Kyle, who viewed all Iraqis as the enemy, told an Army colonel: “I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.” The investigation went nowhere.
Kyle was given the nickname “Legend.” He got a tattoo of a Crusader cross on his arm. “I wanted everyone to know I was a Christian. I had it put in red, for blood. I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,” he wrote. “I always will.” Following a day of sniping, after killing perhaps as many as six people, he would go back to his barracks to spent his time smoking Cuban Romeo y Julieta No. 3 cigars and “playing video games, watching porn and working out.” On leave, something omitted in the movie, he was frequently arrested for drunken bar fights. He dismissed politicians, hated the press and disdained superior officers, exalting only the comradeship of warriors. His memoir glorifies white, “Christian” supremacy and war. It is an angry tirade directed against anyone who questions the military’s elite, professional killers.
“For some reason, a lot of people back home—not all people—didn’t accept that we were at war,” he wrote. “They didn’t accept that war means death, violent death, most times. A lot of people, not just politicians, wanted to impose ridiculous fantasies on us, hold us to some standard of behavior that no human being could maintain.”
The enemy sniper Mustafa, portrayed in the film as if he was a serial killer, fatally wounds Kyle’s comrade Ryan “Biggles” Job.  In the movie Kyle returns to Iraq—his fourth tour—to extract revenge for Biggles’ death. This final tour, at least in the film, centered on the killing of The Butcher and the enemy sniper, also a fictional character. As it focuses on the dramatic duel between hero Kyle and villain Mustafa the movie becomes ridiculously cartoonish.
Kyle gets Mustafa in his sights and pulls the trigger. The bullet is shown leaving the rifle in slow motion. “Do it for Biggles,” someone says. The enemy sniper’s head turns into a puff of blood.
“Biggles would be proud of you,” a soldier says. “You did it, man.”
His final tour over, Kyle leaves the Navy. As a civilian he struggles with the demons of war and becomes, at least in the film, a model father and husband and works with veterans who were maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He trades his combat boots for cowboy boots.
The real-life Kyle, as the film was in production, was shot dead at a shooting range near Dallas on Feb. 2, 2013, along with a friend, Chad Littlefield. A former Marine, Eddie Ray Routh, who had been suffering from PTSD and severe psychological episodes, allegedly killed the two men and then stole Kyle’s pickup truck. Routh will go on trial next month. The film ends with scenes of Kyle’s funeral procession—thousands lined the roads waving flags—and the memorial service at the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium. It shows fellow SEALs pounding their tridents into the top of his coffin, a custom for fallen comrades. Kyle was shot in the back and the back of his head.  Like so many people he dispatched, he never saw his killer when the fatal shots were fired.
The culture of war banishes the capacity for pity. It glorifies self-sacrifice and death. It sees pain, ritual humiliation and violence as part of an initiation into manhood. Brutal hazing, as Kyle noted in his book, was an integral part of becoming a Navy SEAL. New SEALs would be held down and choked by senior members of the platoon until they passed out. The culture of war idealizes only the warrior. It belittles those who do not exhibit the warrior’s “manly” virtues. It places a premium on obedience and loyalty. It punishes those who engage in independent thought and demands total conformity. It elevates cruelty and killing to a virtue. This culture, once it infects wider society, destroys all that makes the heights of human civilization and democracy possible. The capacity for empathy, the cultivation of wisdom and understanding, the tolerance and respect for difference and even love are ruthlessly crushed. The innate barbarity that war and violence breed is justified by a saccharine sentimentality about the nation, the flag and a perverted Christianity that blesses its armed crusaders. This sentimentality, as Baldwin wrote, masks a terrifying numbness. It fosters an unchecked narcissism. Facts and historical truths, when they do not fit into the mythic vision of the nation and the tribe, are discarded. Dissent becomes treason. All opponents are godless and subhuman. “American Sniper” caters to a deep sickness rippling through our society. It holds up the dangerous belief that we can recover our equilibrium and our lost glory by embracing an American fascism.   [End Hedges’ Rev.]


SEARCHING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

[Essays Explaining How the Fabricated, Illegal, Unnecessary, Brutal War and Occupation Happened.  See  Condoleezza Rice above --Dick]



By Dahr Jamail, TomDispatch.com, posted July 17


A Last-Second Appeal for Sanity

March 17, 2013
A Last-Second Appeal for Sanity
Ten years ago, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was only hours away, but the case for this unprovoked war was already falling apart with exposure of hyperbole, half-truths and even a forgery. On March 18, 2003, a group of U.S. intelligence veterans pleaded with President George W. Bush to postpone the attack.



A Warfare State of Mind by Norman Solomon

March 18, 2013
A Warfare State of Mind
Many Americans forget how intimidating it was a decade ago for any U.S. citizen to speak out against President George W. Bush’s rush to war with Iraq. For example, the Dixie Chicks got death threats and actor Sean Penn was denounced as “a stooge of Saddam,” as Norman Solomon recalls.

 

 

Why Washington Post’s Hiatt Should Be Fired by Robert Parry

March 19, 2013
Why WPost’s Hiatt Should Be Fired
Exclusive: Toting up the Iraq War’s cost is staggering, including nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. But a decade later, few of its architects in government or apologists in the press have faced accountability. Washington Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt for one, notes Robert Parry.  [See above on Condoleezza Rice.]

The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War by Robert Parry

March 20, 2013
The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War
Exclusive: Americans today know a lot more about Iraq than they did ten years ago, knowledge gained painfully from the blood of soldiers and civilians. But a crucial question remains: why did George W. Bush and his neocon advisers rush headlong into this disastrous war, a mystery Robert Parry unwinds.

The Undying Shame of the Iraq War by Kathy Kelly

March 20, 2013
The Undying Shame of the Iraq War
The Iraq War killed almost 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The destruction also shamed the consciences of decent Americans who must now face the fact that the only real accountability has been exacted against whistleblowers like Pvt. Bradley Manning, writes Kathy Kelly.

Iraq War: An Affront to Nuremberg Marjorie Cohn

March 19, 2013
Iraq War: An Affront to Nuremberg
The tenth anniversary of the Iraq War has understandably focused on the thousands upon thousands of people killed and the chaos unleashed. But the war also dealt a harsh blow to the legal principles that U.S. leaders helped enshrine after World War II, as Marjorie Cohn noted in this excerpt from “Cowboy Republic.”

US Journalists and War Crime Guilt by Peter Dyer.

March 21, 2013
From the Archive: Not only have George W. Bush and the Iraq War architects skated away from meaningful accountability, but so too have the media figures who provided the propaganda framework for the illegal invasion, a break with a principle sternly enforced at Nuremberg, Peter Dyer wrote in 2008.










PBS, FRONTLINE, LOSING IRAQ
July 29 and Oct. 21, 2014
www.pbs.org › FRONTLINE › Iraq / War on Terror › Losing Iraq
PBSAug 7, 2014 - The Obama administration indicated on Thursday that it would consider airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the vicinity ...


SAUDI COMPLICITY IN ISIS
By Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch.org, posted July 15


TomDispatch.com: A Regular Antidote to the Mainstream Media





Imagine the president, speaking on Iraq from the White House Press Briefing Room last Thursday, as the proverbial deer in the headlights -- and it’s not difficult to guess just what those headlights were.  Think of them as Benghazi on steroids.  If the killing of an American ambassador, a Foreign Service officer, and two CIA private security contractors could cause almost two years of domestic political uproar, unending Republican criticism, and potential damage to the president’s “legacy,” consider what an Iraq in shambles and a terrorist state stretching across “the Levant” might do.  It’s hardly surprising, then, that a president regularly described as “reluctant” nonetheless stepped before the press corps and began the slow march back into Iraq and toward disaster. 

It was a moment of remarkable contradictions.  Obama managed, for example, to warn against “mission creep” even as he was laying out what could only be described as mission creep.  Earlier that week, he had notified Congress that 275 troops would be sentto Iraq, largely to defend the vast U.S. embassy in Baghdad, once an almost three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar symbol of imperial hubris, now a white elephant of the first order.  A hundred more military personnel were to be moved into the region for backup. 

Then on Thursday, the president added 300 “military advisers” drawn from Special Operations forces and evidently meant to staff new “joint operation centers in Baghdad and northern Iraq to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat.” (If you are of a certain age, that word “adviser” will ring an eerie Vietnam-ish bell.  You should, in fact, already be hearing a giant sucking sound somewhere in the distance.)  He also spoke vaguely of positioning “additional U.S. military assets in the region” into which the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser and destroyer, had already sailed.  And mind you, this was only the reasonably public part of whatever build-up is underway.  While the president spoke of being “prepared to take targeted and precise military action” in Iraq, at least one unnamed “senior administration official” was already at workopening up the possibility of air strikes in Syria.  “We don't restrict potential U.S. action to a specific geographic space,” was the ominous way that official put it. 

In other words, short of combat troops on the ground in significant numbers, that table on which “all options” are always kept open was visibly moved into Washington’s War Room of the Levant.  It’s quite a development for a president who took special pride in getting us out of Iraq (even though that departure was engineeredby the Bush administration, while Obama's officials tried to negotiate leaving a force behind, only to be thwarted by the Iraqi government).  In tandem with the military moves, the president and his national security team, perhaps reflecting through a glass darkly the “democracy agenda” of the Bush era, also seemed to have dipped their fingers in purple ink.
  They were reportedly pressuring Iraqi politicians to dump Prime Minister Maliki and appoint a “unity” government to fight the war they want.  (Adding to the farcical nature of the moment, one name raised for Maliki’s position wasAhmed Chalabi, once the darling of Bush-era officials and their choice for that same post.) 

There is, however, no way that an American intervention won’t be viewed as a move to back the Shia side in an incipient set of civil wars, as even retired general and former CIA director David Petraeus warned last week. In fact, in opinion polls Americansoverwhelmingly reject military intervention of any sort, just as every experience in the post-9/11 era should signal one simple lesson: Don’t do it!  But Obama and his top officials evidently can’t help themselves.  The rising tide of criticism-to-come is undoubtedly already pre-echoing in their heads -- previewed by the endless media appearances of Senator John McCain and a stream of op-eds from former vice president Dick Cheney, former occupation proconsul L. Paul Bremer III, and others from the crowd of “experts” who created the Iraq disaster and for whom being wrong about that country is a badge of honor. 

We are clearly in the early stages of the intervention sweepstakes.  The initial moves may even be greeted as auspicious, but watch out for the long-run destabilizing effects in an already chaotic region.  Washington only imagines it can control such combustible situations.  In reality, it hasn’t in the past and it won’t be able to this time either, which means unexpected ugliness will ensue.  (And just wait until, in one of those joint operation centers or elsewhere, the first Iraqi soldier, like his Afghan counterparts, turns his gun on one of those special ops advisers.) 

All that’s missing at the moment is the final touch on the Obama version of mission creep.  I’m talking about the signature gesture for this administration in its conflicts across the Greater Middle East (and increasingly Africa).  If you listen carefully, you can already hear the theme music for the era rising in the background and -- with apologies to Stephen Sondheim for mangling hisbeautiful elegy to a lost relationship -- it’s clearly “Send in the Drones.” 

In the meantime, whatever the president is saying, he never mentioned oil.  No one does.  Nor, generally, did the Bush administration when it invaded and occupied Iraq.  If you paid attention to our media, you would never know that it sits on one of the great, easily accessible fossil-fuel reserves on the planet, though that should never be far from anyone’s mind.  Fortunately, sociologist Michael Schwartz, an old-time TomDispatch regular, is back after a long absence to remind us of The One Fact in Iraq, the one we should never forget. Tom

It’s the Oil, Stupid! 
Insurgency and War on a Sea of Oil 
By Michael Schwartz

Events in Iraq are headline news everywhere, and once again, there is no mention of the issue that underlies much of the violence: control of Iraqi oil. Instead, the media is flooded with debate about, horror over, and extensive analysis of a not-exactly-brand-new terrorist threat, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There are, in addition, elaborate discussions about the possibility of a civil war that threatens both a new round of ethnic cleansing and the collapse of the embattled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Underway are, in fact, “a series of urban revolts against the government,” as Middle Eastern expert Juan Cole has calledthem. They are currently restricted to Sunni areas of the country and have a distinctly sectarian character, which is why groups like ISIS can thrive and even take a leadership role in various locales. These revolts have, however, neither been created nor are they controlled by ISIS and its several thousand fighters. They also involve former Baathists and Saddam Hussein loyalists, tribal militias, and many others. And at least in incipient form they may not, in the end, be restricted to Sunni areas. As the New York Times reportedlast week, the oil industry is “worried that the unrest could spread” to the southern Shia-dominated city of Basra, where “Iraq’s main oil fields and export facilities are clustered.”
Under the seething ocean of Sunni discontent lies a factor that is being ignored. The insurgents are not only in a struggle against what they see as oppression by a largely Shiite government in Baghdad and its security forces, but also over who will control and benefit from what Maliki -- speaking for most of his constituents -- told the Wall Street Journal is Iraq’s “national patrimony.”
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2014:  OCCUPATION CONTINUES
ANSWER COALITION Reports Oct. 10, 2014

"No boots on the ground" a lie
Less than one week after the Pentagon generals announced new one-year deployment rotations to the resurrected U.S. war in Iraq “for 10 to 15 to 20 years,” they also created a new Marine Corps unit to fight in Iraq.
Read Article | Share:  

AND IN AFGHANISTAN TOO
Despite "withdrawal," thousands of U.S. troops to continue occupation.
With no public discussion or explanation, the White House signed a new deal on Sept. 30 with the government of Afghanistan to keep 10,000 U.S. troops occupying the country. There is no plan or timeline for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops — ever.





A.   Call your Representative: NO MORE TROOPS
in Iraq
Cosponsor House Concurrent Resolution 114



Quick Links




VFP Legislative Update: Dick, Call Today to Limit the War in Iraq & Syria   12-9-14
Veterans For Peace via uark.edu 
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to James
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December, 2014

Dear Dick,
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to vote on authorizing our latest war in Iraq and Syria this week – perhaps on WEDNESDAY.  Call your Senator before the vote using this special toll-free* number: 877-429-0678. This number will connect you with the Capitol Switchboard operator, and you can ask to be connected to your Senator’s office.
You can say: “I am a member of Veterans For Peace.  I understand the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be debating the use of force against ISIL. I urge the Senator to oppose authorizing force in Iraq and Syria. However, if there are opportunities to constrain the use of force, such as by prohibiting ground troops, I urge the Senator to support those constraints.”
With congressional hawks set to take the reins of power in the Senate, this is our last best chance to prevent further expansion of this new war.
Use of force will not solve the problems that plague the region; indeed, violence has created many of them.  Instead, the U.S. needs to lead an effective response to stop the violence perpetrated by ISIS and to help people in the region restore security. (See statements by VFP and Win Without War.)  
Remember, the holiday break is another opportunity to meet with your Senators and Representatives while they are in town.
Thank you for all you do for peace!

                 
Michael T. McPhearson    
  
*Toll-free number provided by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Win Without War coalition member

Veterans For Peace, 216 S. Meramec, St. Louis, MO 63105, 314-725-6005            www.veteransforpeace.org





By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted July 9
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan.

Ask Your Representative to Co-Sponsor House Concurrent Resolution 105 to prevent US Military Intervention in Iraq

Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Historians Against the War came into existence, as the United States was edging towards an unnecessary, illegal war against Iraq. The subsequent invasion and occupation produced even more disastrous consequences than many of us had anticipated. With that country now fragmenting and its brutal government paralyzed, there are renewed calls for American military intervention.

While we strongly support diplomatic initiatives to resolve this crisis, we believe that American military action will only compound the suffering on the ground and add to the instability of Iraq.

Yesterday 103 members of Congress, led by Representatives Barbara Lee and Scott Rigell signed a letter to the President discouraging military intervention and insisting that Congressional authorization was required before any use of force in Iraq. Thanks to those on this list, who contributed to this effort.

This has created momentum for an important new legislative initiative. Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA). Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) have just introduced House Concurrent Resolution # 105, a privileged resolution under the War Powers Resolution that will force a debate and vote on U.S. military intervention in Iraq. It will come up for a debate and vote within fifteen days of the date in which it was filed

To be effective, many co-sponsors are needed. Although you may have done this more times than you can count, please get on the phone and ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor House Concurrent Resolution 105

Congressional Switchboard: 202 0224- 3121.

For complete text of the resolution: https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/105/text

For Congressman McGovern's speech introducing the bill:
http://mcgovern.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-jim-mcgovern-introduces-a-privileged-resolution-on-iraq

Any feedback you receive please send to
Carolyn.Eisenberg@hofstra.edu

Please forward this message widely

Carolyn Eisenberg and Margaret Power for the HAW-Steering Committee



UNHCR UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES



Dear Dick,

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Contents Illegal Iraq Invasion, Occupation, “Post Occupation,” New Civil War #17
Parry, President Obama’s Choices
Contact President and Representatives
Contact the President, Oppose Another War, from Historians Against the War
Peace Action, via HAW, Contact President Obama
JustForeignPolicy, Denounce US Military Action in Iraq, Call Rep. Womack
Lessons Learned
Jon Perr, 10 Lessons Learned from the Iraq War and Occupation
Jim Wright, A Navy Seal’s Angry Reply to Defenders of the War from Bush/Cheney/Rice to Mitt
    Romney
Juan Cole, Don’t Trust the Bombing
Engelhadt,  Violent Jihadism Intensifying Thanks to Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice-Powell
Chelsea Manning’s NYT Op-Ed  on Military Control of Journalists During Iraq War
Iran and Iraq June 2014
Juan Cole, Iran’s Intervention in a Second Iran-Iraq War
Reuters, Possible Iran/US Cooperation vs. Sunni Insurrection
Sunni Rebellion Spreading
Redrawing the Map of Iraq Again
Attack on Oil Refinery




Contents Iraq Wars, Occupation, Post-Occupation, Sunni/Shiite Civil War #18
From Invasion to Civil War
2003 Invasion
Stephen Zunes, Sectarian War Predicted, Lessons Not Learned, Bi-Partisan Catastrophe
Rob Edwards, Uranium- Poisoned Projectiles
2014 Sunni-Shiite Civil War
Urge Congressmen to Sign Lee/Rigell Letter
FCNL, Beavers:  War Is Not the Solution
Peter Hart, Don’t Blame Obama
Carolyn Eisenberg, Oppose US Intervention
Credo, Cheney Wrong Then and Wrong Now
RootsAction, Do Not Use Military Force
Zunes, US Culpability


END IRAQ WARS NEWSLETTER #19



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