Archive for middle east

Bahrain jails photojournalist, detains rights activist

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Sunni-ruled Bahrain upheld a 10-year jail term for a photojournalist on Sunday and detained a human rights activist, as it presses a crackdown on Shias over a 2011 uprising. The tiny but strategic kingdom, just across the Gulf from Iran and home base for the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years since authorities crushed…

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You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato...

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Tomato-Tomato

No more tomato-tomato.  "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."

Over the past two days, more information regarding James Foley's incarceration by ISIS and ultimate beheading has come to light. The State Department has released information that the captors had used waterboarding on Foley and others who they still hold as prisoners.

Immediately the press jumped on this with sensationalist fervor -- ISIS accused of torturing American hostages.

Really?

Where was this shock and horror when George Bush, Dick Cheney and the CIA authorized the very same horrific and shameful actions? Of course then, it wasn't called torture because we were doing it and the recipients weren't Americans. Under those circumstances it was was blissfully called "enhanced interrogations."

The games the Republicans play with words. Semantics.. And we as Americans just turned our heads to that one. Even John McCain, reportedly tortured while a prisoner of war in Viet Nam, came out against torture BUT he gave his sanctimonious approval to "enhanced interrogations." What two faced criminals these guys are.

Why the double standard? Waterboarding is torture. It was before the US started doing it and it is when/if we continue to do it.

By now most reporting of our shameful abundant usage of waterboarding has been curtailed. But accepting that practice for what it is still hasn't. Only the hypocritical outrage in the press seems to have changed.  HUFFPO:

Interestingly, while the Post has, like most mainstream outlets, typically been reluctant to call methods such as waterboarding "torture" when it was practiced by Americans, the paper had no apparent problem calling what ISIS did to Foley "torture."

That brings us back to the headline, the George and Ira Gershwin's song. The correct title of that tune is  Let's Call The Whole Thing Off. Isn't it really time we take that to heart? Waterboarding is torture. We did it. We may still do it. We shouldn't be hypocrites. It's not to say Bush/Cheney were the first to use it, but they brought it back into vogue. We shouldn't be shocked to find out it's now being done to us. Lay blame where it belongs -- on all war criminals. We reap what we sow. Poor James Foley and his fellow prisoners were made to endure such horrors. Would it have been done to them if we hadn't done it? That's a question I hope Bush and Cheney lie awake at night pondering. That, of course is assuming either of them has the capacity to think or a conscience to satisfy.

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Vindicated: Tons of banned chemical weapons destroyed. Chickenhawks won't care.

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KidVindicatedw208h271

There's an editorial in today's Los Angeles Times titled, "Destruction of Syrian chemical weapons shows the U.S. may know what it's doing after all." Wait. So President Obama did something-- dun dun dun-n!-- right? Vindicated, at last!

[I]t was a rare bit of good news to hear from the administration on Monday that the United States had "finished neutralizing" hundreds of tons of the most deadly chemical weapons belonging to the regime of President Bashar Assad of Syria. This was a milestone in the diplomatic process that began a year ago this week when the Assad government was accused of using sarin gas to kill more than 1,000 people in a rebel-held suburb near Damascus. [...]

Conservatives assailed the plan as naive and feckless, as a projection of American weakness; Obama's supporters called ita fulfillment of his campaign promise to negotiate with those who were willing to talk in good faith.[...]

[N]egotiation and diplomacy are a better alternative to what would otherwise have been airstrikes followed by likely civilian deaths and a worrisome creep toward war.

"How dare Obama stop and think before he bombs?" Of course, now that the president has succeeded in accomplishing a goal sans war, he had to ruin it all (yes, that was sarcasm) by being all presidential and making a statement about the ghastly beheading of journalist James Foley by those despicable, brutal ISIL animals (sincere apologies to animals) responsible for his execution.

That will mean only one thing: John McCain and his trusty sidekick Li'l Lindsey Graham will appear on every Sunday talk show and be given a platform to call out President Obama's feck and demand that we go to war.

Again. I don't claim to know what the answer is, but our endless wars in the Middle East sure didn't succeed in eradicating terrorism or spreading Exceptional American Democracy across the region. However, BushCo and their pride-and-joy illegal invasion of Iraq did succeed at one thing: Failure. Sending more young Americans into battle is not always the answer, Johnsey (McGraham?).

Here is a partial transcript of the president's remarks via WaPo. Way to rev up the chickenhawks, Pres. O (yes, that was also sarcasm):

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL....

He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria, and he was courageously reporting at the time on the conflict there. Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world....

Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declare their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.

So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim, out of expediency, that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is, they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior...

The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done....

From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies.

One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.

drum beat smaller

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Bill Kristol Says 'Hogwash' To Any Iraq War Hawk Apology Possibilities

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Image courtesy @ColMorrisDavis

 

Bill Kristol, fresh from his Morning Joe pummeling by MSNBC pundit John Heilemann link here , spent a good deal of time last week fielding questions about his doubling down on the decision to go into Iraq.

And his call to action that slammed liberal peaceniks as lacking feck. Feck is becoming highly overrated among the BushCo NeoCon Senior Set.

Kristolry

Image courtesy our Twitter friend Mel Neuhaus, @acehanna54 Click to enlarge.

Erin Burnett got a shot at Kristol over at CNN, and he (to our delight) included that prized intellectual conservative descriptive: 'Hogwash!'

She had a provocative Tweet from Senate leader Harry Reid to tweak Kristol's self-elevated nose with.

Have a gander.


"I'm not apologizing for something that I think was not wrong," Kristol opined firmly. "The war to remove Saddam was the right thing and necessary thing to do."

"Apologies would be in order for the neoconservatives who banged the war drums so disastrously, Bill," swiftly came from a neighboring Carl Bernstein, thank you Carl.

"Hogwash!" Kristol bellowed!

The Old White Guys UnCompassionate Conservative Club, headed by Cheney or Kristol or whomever is sick enough to want that chair, is clearly alive and disturbed. And increasingly loud and given to public hissy fits.

On MSNBC's Hardball Monday evening, Chris Matthews gave the Axis of Feeble his own unique shout-out. [Truly, pardon the quiet shouting, but Tweety means so well.]

Bring on 2014!

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President Obama to speak on Iraq at 12:30 EDT

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President Obama

President Obama will speak of the changes in Iraq in recent days at 12:30 pm EDT today.

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Paul Bremer Gets Reamed A New A**hole By Erin Burnett

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Burnett Bremer

Sometimes watching someone squirm makes us feel uncomfortable. But when they bring it on themselves, not so much. CNN's Erin Burnett had Iraq Warlord and Bush confident and liar-in-chief Paul Bremer on her show last night. He didn't last long. A bob, a weave and then Burnett landed blow after blow against this fraud masquerading as a man. Without any doubt, he's lucky Obama didn't prosecute him for war crimes and treason against this country. And how does he repay this generosity? He blames Obama for what he (Bremer) left behind.

If you want to see the Thrilla in Vanilla, The Battle of the B's, or The Bremer's Bash, here you go-- front row seats. Better put on some plastic clothing. Erin draws blood early. Watch the cut over Bremer's eye when Erin quickly attacks on this CNN clip:

"People, a lot of people are watching you right now and they're —they're hearing you give your ideas of what to do. And they're saying, 'but aren't you the guy who got us in this mess?'"

"Look, you're the guy who ran Iraq for George W. Bush."

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President Obama Addresses New Iraq Insurgency

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Iraq President Obama

From all reports the Iraqi security forces just abandoned their posts and turned tail and ran - this after millions of dollars spent on weapons and training. President Obama discussed possible US reactions to the crisis this morning.

From YouTube:

President Obama told reporters on Friday that the escalating conflict in Iraq is not only a military matter. He stressed that leadership in Iraq needs to engage in the crisis and that the US will take several days to assess the situation there before taking any action.

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