Category Archives: Iraq

Rand Paul: ‘People Shouldn’t Be So Afraid Of Freedom’

Foreign Policy, Iraq, Neoconservatism

Admirably, Sean Hannity went through the gamut of issues with Rand Paul, who announced today he would stand as a Republican presidential candidate. From Paul’s initial critique of the Civil Wrongs Act to the war against Iraq—Mr. Hannity shied away from no controversy. On toppling secular strongmen—Saddam, Assad, Mubarak, Gaddafi—Rand Paul did not, for once, let libertarians down, as is his wont. Instead, Paul condemned the disastrous toppling of all the secular strongmen of the Middle East who kept radical Islam at bay. If it were up to the neoconservative, we’d be bombing both Assad and ISIS in Syria. Cui Bono?

“Almost anyone in the Senate would have better defended the Bill of Rights than Lindsay Graham,” snorted Paul, taking a much-needed swipe at the awful Graham, evil twin of more-bombs-from-above-and-more-boots-on-the-ground John McCain.

Paul cleverly framed his plan to poach traditionally Democratic and independent voters, not by promising them stuff, but by emphasizing the entire Bill of Right and not only the 2nd Amendment.

Yes, weening people off “free” stuff and onto freedom is a good tone to strike.

Let’s see if he keeps it up.


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March Madness À La Myron Pauli

Bush, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Military, Terrorism

MARCH MADNESS À LA MYRON ROBERT PAULI

If there’s an activity that is definitely hazardous to my mental health, it is following the news. News item #1: The Army wants to courtmartial Generalissimo Bowe Bergdahl. He was a Private First Class when he apparently deserted but received “automatic promotions” to Sergeant since. Given enough time, he will be a Four-Star General! I stupidly asked: “If the Army promoted him twice, does this not indicate ‘reasonable doubt’ as to his desertion?” only be told that “automatic promotions” are the law!! Maybe it is me (who cites Grover Cleveland “public office is a public trust”) that doesn’t understand how Major Nidal Malik Hasan received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (thank you, Nidal) as well as two National Defense Service Medals.

As for our hero Nidal: None of the psychiatrists who served with him either sensed something wrong or could do anything about him. According to Wikipedia, Chief of Staff General Casey of the Army observed: “‘real tragedy’ would be harming the cause of diversity, saying, ‘As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.” Several months later, in a February 2010 interview, Casey said, “Our diversity—not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” Not only is Nidal still alive (he should have been shot after his first shot by troops bearing arms, but that is another craziness), but he has been writing letters to ISIS from prison!

In Catch-22, Joseph Heller had a character named Milo Minderbinder who wound up having the Air Force bombing both sides in order to collect more profit. When the Iraq-Iran war broke out in 1980, I joked that under the CENTO Treaty (Baghdad Pact – the Middle East version of NATO), the US was obligated to fight for both Iraq and Iran. Well, as of this week, America’s now fighting WITH Iran against the ISIS Sunnis in Tikrit and fighting WITH Saudi Arabia against the Houthi Shiites in Yemen.

Of course, Iraq got completely destabilized by George W. Bush trying to bring “democracy” to Shiite-majority Iraq while Yemen got destabilized when Barack Obama tried to bring “democracy” to Sunni-majority Yemen. But, to quote Madeline Albright, “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” – even on both sides!

And Congress voted 338 – 48 to ship heavier weapons to Ukraine in order to help stick it to nuclear armed Big Bad Vlad Putin. I’m not sure where this insanity is going to end, up but I am imagining Major King Kong of Dr. Strangelove suiting up to ride that bomb down on Russia waving his cowboy hat and shouting yeehaw!

And while the Iranians, Saudis, and Ukrainians are “protecting our freedom,” I can at least salute the ACLU for defending a black pro-life conservative being silenced by “trademark infringement” for non-commercial speech calling the NAACP the “National Association to Abort Colored People.” The case went to Justice Raymond A. Jackson who decided that this criticism of the NAACP was NOT parody (because he said “it wasn’t funny”), but was “trademark infringement.” Justice Jackson is a distinguished jurist whose sister-in-law, Elaine R. Jones, was President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (“surprise, surprise, surprise” said Gomer Pyle about this ubiquitous conflict of interest). Naturally, Justice Jackson could not recuse himself from this case because if 300,000 black babies were not aborted every year, one of them could grow up to be Justice Jackson! As for the silenced Ryan Bomberger, who objects to aborting 55 percent of all black fetuses; he clearly is a RACIST!

Lastly, the Republicans are holding up the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General. For doing this filibuster, they are RACIST, according to Senator Durban and the Democrats who held up the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the Federal District Court for two years via a filibuster. I have to confess that I am looking forward to Attorney General Lynch. I can envision the headline: “Justice Department adopts Lynch rules.”


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Broken Clock Kerry Right This Once

Foreign Policy, Iraq, Israel, Middle East

Most readers crave partisan orthodoxy. How annoying, then, to have to preface every truly “fair and balanced” commentary over these pixelated pages, with disclaimers about my departure from orthodoxy. Since I am about to agree with no other than US Secretary of State John Kerry on a comment he recently made, I had better provide my anti-Kerry credentials to uninitiated ditto-heads.

KERRY’S COWARDLY CONVERGENCE
KERRY’S SEXY MOTHER TERESA

MORE.

In “testimony on the Middle East,” delivered to Congress on Sept. 12, 2002,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “expressed strong support for Washington to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein,” saying: “I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice.” “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region,” urged Netanyahu, in 2002.

Said Kerry recently, about Netanyahu:

“The prime minister, as you will recall, was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision.”

Kerry will get no disagreement from these quarters, other than to remind the secretary that he too should thrash about like a fish out of water when Iraq is mentioned. Like Bibi, Kerry supported that unforgivable invasion.

Until recently, Netanyahu and his government, so revered by Republicans, were on the wrong track with Syria too, but have been endeavoring to “radically change [the] tack on Syria, reversing a policy and military strategy that were long geared to opposing Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

I wonder if Bibi even knows of “Assad’s pro-zionist grandfather”?

Given that Netanyahu is both intelligent and knowledgeable, which is more than one can say of Bush, Obama and Kerry—I suspect that unlike our idiots, he does “Know Shiite From Shinola.” However, Bibi is playing the US, out of what he perceives to be dire necessity.


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Iran To The Rescue

Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Israel

“Leave ISIS To The Homies” (Sept. 2014) observed that “ISIS’s neighbors, Israel included, didn’t seem particularly concerned about the barbarians at the gate.” The column worried that the “promise of eternal American intervention had, likely, enabled inertia and apathy among regional players,” when the wise thing for “U.S. meddlers” would be to “quit degrading the Syrian Army,” and “leave ISIS to Syria, Tehran and Tel Aviv.”

It has come to pass. the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is leading Shiite militias in battle against ISIS, near “the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit,” Iraq. And Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, like myself, thinks “it could turn out to be ‘a positive thing.’”

Yes, “let the locals take out their trash.”


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A Burning Question

Iraq, Islam, Jihad, Law

What started as a rumor was soon just about confirmed on February 17, 2015. “Jihadist militants from Islamic State (IS),” reported BBC News, “have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, the local police chief says.”

Exactly who these people were and why they were killed is not clear, but Col Qasim al-Obeidi said he believed some were members of the security forces.
IS fighters captured much of the town, near Ain al-Asad air base, last week.
Col Obeidi said a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials was now under attack.

The legions of Islam deniers—the kind who follow Imam Obama’s asinine excommunication of ISIS from the fold of Islam-–also insist that setting a human being on fire is un-Islamic. An example:

“Islamic Teachings Explicitly Forbid Death by Burning, But ISIS Did It Anyway,” by Jenna McLaughlin, Mother Jones, February 5, 2015 …

This burning question was tackled by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch:

None of the Muslim leaders and spokesmen quoted in this article address this story from Ibn Ishaq’s eighth-century account of Muhammad’s conquest of Khaybar, even to explain why the conduct of the man whom the Qur’an holds up as the supreme example to be emulated by Muslims (33:21) is not to be emulated in this case: “Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, ‘Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?’ he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.” (Ibn Ishaq 515).

There is also this hadith, in which Muhammad says: “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.” (Bukhari 1.11.626)

Yes, there is also a contradictory, as is so often the case, since most or all of the hadith literature was fabricated to support the positions of various factions vying for power in the eighth and ninth centuries: “Narrated ‘Ikrima: Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, ‘If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, “Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).” I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”’” … (Bukhari 9.84.57)

MORE.


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The ISIS-Baathists Axis

Iraq, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

To listen to the neoconservative and the pseudo-conservative interventionists who mar American media, it’s all so simple with “dem terrorists,” so black and white. Let’s go in there, again, and knock their collective block off. For those of us who grasp the complexity and intransigence of the region and its players, it comes as no surprise to learn that the “tight inner group” of the Islamic State, numbering 12-15 members, consists of “former high officers from the Baath army which served Saddam Hussein up until the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Members of this group ranged in rank from lieutenant-colonel to general.”

Ex-Maj. Gen. Abu Ali al-Anbari, its outstanding figure, acts as Al Baghdadi senior lieutenant. He also appears to be the brain that has charted ISIS’s current military strategy which, our sources learn, focuses on three major thrusts: the activation of sleeper cells in Europe for coordinated terrorist operations: multiple, synchronized attacks in the Middle East along a line running from Tripoli, Libya, through Egyptian Suez Canal cities and encompassing the Sinai Peninsula; and the full-dress Iraqi-Syrian warfront, with the accent currently on the major offensive launched Thursday, March 29, to capture the big Iraq oil town of Kirkuk.
Debkafile was first to report the arrival in Sinai during the first week of December of a group of ISIS officers from Iraq to take command of their latest convert, Ansar Beit Al-Miqdas.
Another former Iraqi army officer was entrusted with coordinating ISIS operations between the East Libyan Islamist contingent and the Sinai movement. Their mission is to topple the rule of President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.
The imported Iraqi command made its presence felt in Libya Tuesday, Jan. 27 …

(DEBKAFile)

The ISIS-Ba’athist Axis is truly a fascinating thing. It explains why “Islamic State functions at present with machinelike efficiency in pursuit of its goals.” (DEBKAFile)

Adds a Commentary magazine commentator: “The simple fact of the matter is that former Baathists are today Islamists”:

Long before Saddam’s ouster, Baathism had stopped being an ideology and had instead become a vessel for power. It’s not too much of a leap for yesterday’s Baathists to become today’s Islamists. Indeed, Saddam Hussein himself found religion after his 1991 military defeat. That’s when “God is Great” appeared in Arabic on the Iraqi flag, and in the years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Fedayeen Saddam roamed Baghdad acting as morality police as stringent as those of ISIS today. Dozens of women, for example, were beheaded for alleged morality crimes.
In an interview with the Japanese news service NHK, former vice president Tariq al-Hashemi, a staunch Sunni Islamist convicted of terrorism charges under Prime Minister Maliki (but in a court with many Sunni justices), reported that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a former Baathist.
When I met with a former Baathist general as well as a member of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service this past summer after Mosul’s fall, they were quite open that they cooperated with ISIS, even if they did not fully subordinate themselves to them.
Were Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and is his successor Haider al-Abbadi paranoid about Baathists and many in the Sunni Arab community? You betcha. Is that paranoia without justification? Absolutely not. …

(Commentary)


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