Monday, May 15, 2017

Distracting the American people

Andre Damon (WSWS) takes on the hysterics in the US over Russia and notes:

No less absurd is the claim that Russian propaganda was responsible for the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Clinton ignored the working class and ran as the favored candidate of Wall Street and the military/intelligence apparatus. This enabled Trump to posture as an opponent of the status quo, while ensuring a precipitous drop in voter turnout for the Democratic candidate.

What is the real source of the anti-Russia hysteria gripping the US ruling elite?

There are major foreign policy issues at stake. Despite the dissolution of the USSR, which during the Cold War blocked the unchecked global domination of US imperialism, Russia has emerged as an obstacle to Washington’s drive for world hegemony. This is seen most sharply in Syria, where Russia intervened militarily to frustrate US efforts to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

No less important are domestic considerations. The ruling class is acutely aware of the immense class tensions that exist in the society over which it presides, tensions that have been artificially suppressed for many decades.

The United States is the most unequal country in the industrial world, with 20 billionaires possessing more wealth than half of the population. The 2016 elections themselves showed the growth of anti-capitalist sentiment and hostility to both parties, expressed in the support of millions of people for Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders, who falsely claimed to be an “independent” and a “socialist.”

Facing the threat of mounting social opposition, the US ruling class is seeking a new framework for the waging of war abroad and domestic repression at home. The “war on terror,” which has served this purpose for some fifteen years, is discredited, not least because the US is allied with Al Qaeda-linked Islamist forces in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

It is a distraction.

Reality: Dems in Congress are not fighting for Medicare for All.

They should be.

But that would give the people what they need.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:

Monday, May 15, 2017.   Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the same mistakes continue, and much more.

Day 208 of The Mosul Slog.

With liberation just around the corner let's unite as 's and not let the political games divide us.

Just around the corner.

Like those forever 'turned corner's in Iraq?

As for the 'let's unite,' maybe the last two years could have been spent on that?

Because they should have been.

From Ben Connable, Natash Lander and Kimberly Jackson's "Beating the Islamic State: Selecting a New Strategy for Iraq and Syria" (RAND CORPORATION):

Root Causes Can Be Bypassed or Suppressed, But Doing So Ensures Lasting Instability

  • Failure to address root causes may mean that instability and violence will outlast any individual armed group. Yet there is little appetite for the effort required to address root causes in Iraq and Syria. Current strategy has thus taken a middle-ground approach that does not truly reflect U.S. understanding of irregular war.
  • The research centered on the two prominent theories about root causes in Iraq and Syria, disenfranchisement and the effects of ethnosectarian discord. While the latter does have an influence, but the deeper cause in these two countries is disenfranchisement from the central governments and from the protections they should be providing their entire populations.
  • Debate over what to do about disenfranchisement is growing; this report argues shifting toward political action while maintaining military pressure against IS. 

And among the key findings:

  • The best way to reduce and, eventually, end insurgency and terrorism is to address root causes or, at least, to establish legitimate and capable governance. Stability is most consistent and enduring when it emerges naturally from popular satisfaction with governance and other socioeconomic conditions, rather than from government oppression or military action by external powers.

  • The legitimated stability option acknowledges that the best way to reduce and, eventually, end insurgency and terrorism is to address root causes or, at least, to establish legitimate and capable governance. The aim of this strategy is to establish legitimate governments in Iraq and Syria. Each government would be capable of addressing Sunni disenfranchisement while protecting the rights of all other groups. Ultimately, strong and legitimate central governments — perhaps federated or confederated to address regional challenges within each state — will reduce the current, dangerous emphasis on ethnosectarian identity politics and violence. 

  • That may be shocking to some.

    We've been saying it here for how many years?

    Prepare a list for what you need
    Before you sign away the deed
    'Cause it's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    Till you wise up

    -- written by Aimee Mann,  appears on the soundtracks to JERRY MAGUIRE and MAGNOLIA (remember that Aimee's latest album MENTAL ILLNESS came out a few weeks ago -- Kat raved over it here)

    Wise up.

    When will the 'saviors' of Iraq wise up?

    They've refused to so far.

    The US has been 'helping' Iraq, for example, since the summer of 2014 with the Islamic State.

    David Burge (EL PASO TIMES) reported yesterday:

    After months of training, soldiers from the 1st Armored Division’s headquarters are ready to deploy and get on with their new mission.
    About 400 soldiers from the division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, with a small contingent from Division Artillery, will deploy to Iraq in June.
    The team will include Fort Bliss and 1st Armored Division commanding general Maj. Gen. Robert “Pat” White and division Command Sgt. Maj. Danny Day.

    The US government has provided troops, weapons, F16s and money since the summer of 2014.

    All with no strings attached.

    Every bit of aid -- financial and military -- should have come with strings.

    Every bit of aid should have been conditioned upon the government moving forward on political reconciliation.

    Why didn't that happen?

    Among other reasons because John Kerry didn't want to be Secretary of State and work on diplomacy.  He wanted to play toy soldiers and end public life as a dottering fool.

    Congratulations, John, you succeeded.

    But Barack was president.

    And he noted June 19, 2014 that the only way forward for Iraq was a political solution to the crises.

    He said it publicly.

    He just refused to follow up.

    Imagine what might have happened if a diplomatic mission had been led by John Kerry?

    A diplomatic surge?

    Imagine where things might stand now.

    It's not as if this wasn't obvious some time ago.

    From the November 6, 2014 snapshot:

    A government worth fighting for is what's needed and what Baghdad has failed to provide Iraqis with.

    Hundreds of thousands of foreign troops -- US, UK, etc -- had to spend years on the ground to give the government a chance to do something, a chance to prove it was legitimate.

    It failed repeatedly.

    Now Barack's making the same mistake Bully Boy Bush made.  Time and again, the focus was going to be political.  The 'surge'?  Remember that failed effort?

    Bully Boy Bush said the increased number of US troops sent into Iraq would provide the Iraqi government with space to work towards political solutions.

    But it never happened.

    The 'surge' was a failure.

    Not because of the US military.  The military did all it was asked.

    But it did that, in Bully Boy Bush's own words, to create a space for Iraqi politicians to move forward on issues facing the country.

    Barack has wasted over a half billion dollars bombing since August 8th and there's nothing to show for it.

    There's no political solution.

    Barack's wasting the money of the US taxpayer.

    He's wasting in on war, yes.

    But he's wasting it on idiotic, stupid moves.

    The US State Dept is supposed to be over diplomacy.

    But they apparently don't know how to do their job or else they're to busy trying to become the Defense Dept.

    At another useless State Dept press briefing, the talk was all about the Islamic State.

    Not a thing about political solutions, not a thing about diplomacy.

    Instead of doing what was needed, the US government has made the same mistake it did with the surge.

    And Iraq is no better for it.

    If you doubt it, check out this Tweet.

    PM Necirwan Barzani; to boycott upcoming iraqi elections because "iraqi government is not doing enough to keep the country united"

    Where's the buy-in, the one-Iraq-for-all?

    Nowhere to be found.

    The following community sites updated: