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الاثنين، 30 مارس 2015



The Common Ills
The Pentagon announced the following airstrikes in Iraq today:

Attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes against ISIL terrorists in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Bayji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL building.
-- Near Tal Afar, three airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, an ISIL storage facility, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL heavy machine gun; and
-- Near Tikrit, six airstrikes struck six ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon.

 All aircraft returned to base safely.

While the White House is very proud of these bombings, they've not accomplished anything.

We've been noting that for some time.

Other voices are joining the chorus.  Maria Fantappie and Peter Harling offer "If Shi'ite militias beat Islamic State in Tikrit, Iraq will still lose" (Reuters):

The military campaign is thus exacerbating the sense of powerlessness, disenfranchisement and humiliation among Sunni Arabs that gave rise to Islamic State.
The growing tendency in Baghdad and the south to equate Shi’ite militias with the national army, to declare oneself a patriot while expressing gratitude to Iran for its intervention, and to subsume national symbols under Shi’ite ones — with black, yellow and green flags referring to Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Taleb, Shiism’s third Imam, increasingly crowding out the Iraqi flag — is reshaping Iraqis’ national identity in ways that will vastly complicate well-intentioned efforts to advance inclusive politics and governance.

Fantappie and Harling are with the International Crisis Group.

The ICR is among a very few groups or outlets that paid attention to Iraq during Nouri al-Maliki's second term (2010 through 2014).  In fact, in terms of significant attention, it really was just the ICR and Human Rights Watch.

Most groups and outlets preferred to look the other way.

The assault on Tikrit appears to have prompted more coverage from news outlets.

Amir Taheri (New York Post) offers:

That sectarianism is now a key factor in Iraqi politics cannot be doubted. In Tikrit, a city of over 300,000 people, fewer than 200 joined the “liberating forces” sent by Baghdad but spearheaded by armed Shi’ite groups led by Iranian officers. Thanks to massive deployment of heavy weapons, these forces made advances in the suburbs of Tikrit that had already been depopulated when the arrival of IS forced the inhabitants to flee.

On the 30th day of the operation to take Tikrit back from the Islamic State, Ahmed Rasheed and Ned Parker (Reuters) report, "On Sunday, an attempt to infiltrate Tikrit from the southern district of Shisheen was thwarted by militants. They used anti-tank missiles to destroy a bulldozer being used by the military to clear a path around booby-trapped roads, an official said."

Meanwhile what does The Nation offer?

This is what we wrote when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Help us keep speaking truth to power: 

And the battle for Tirkit continues.  On day 30, Ahmed Rasheed and Ned Parker (Reuters) report, "On Sunday, an attempt to infiltrate Tikrit from the southern district of Shisheen was thwarted by militants. They used anti-tank missiles to destroy a bulldozer being used by the military to clear a path around booby-trapped roads, an official said."

This is what we wrote when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Help us keep speaking truth to power:

They've Tweeted that nonsense daily for about ten days in a row.

I'm really not understanding the point other than self-stroking?

I'm not spending each day here re-posting what I wrote over a decade ago.

I could.

It would certainly be easier than writing something new about today.

The Nation has nothing to offer but moldy things from the past.

Poor Katrina vanden Heuvel, she's run that magazine into the ground.

And while she likes to claim/charge that I'm running some sort of "jihad" (her term) against the publication and her, the reality is I was just ahead of the curve on the criticism (the just criticism) that is coming her way.

For example, the current issue of Harper's magazine contains Adolph Reed Jr.'s "Nothing Left: The long, slow surrender of American liberals."  And both she and her magazine get a 'shout-out':

Taking into account the left's disappearance into Democratic neoliberalism helps explain how and why so many self-proclaimed leftists or progressives — individuals, institutions, organizations, and erstwhile avatars of leftist opinion such as The Nation — came to be swept up in the extravagant rhetoric and expectations that have surrounded the campaign, election, and presidency of Barack Obama.
[. . . ]
Indeed, even ersatz leftists such as Glenn Greenwald, then of, and The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel defended and rationalized Obama's willingness to disparage black poor people. Greenwald applauded the candidate for making what he somehow imagined to be the "unorthodox" and "not politically safe" move of showing himself courageous enough to beat up on this politically powerless group. For her part, vanden Heuvel rationalized such moves as his odious "Popeyes chicken" speech as reflective of a "generational division" among black Americans, with Obama representing a younger generation that values "personal responsibility."* Perhaps, but it's noteworthy that Obama didn't give the Popeyes speech to groups of investment bankers.

What's going to happen when the criticism continues to pile on?

And at what point do I or someone else go public about how Katrina strong-armed certain program hosts to book her?

Because I can.

I can do that right now.

I've been saving that for a rainy day.

She bought her place at the table not for the left, not to help the magazine, but to get herself covered in the media.  Maybe her name should be Katrina vanity Heuvel?

She's got to nothing to offer on Iraq.  She can't comment on today because she's not done the work required.  She offers superficial commentary in a magazine that's going under.

This despite the fact that it was the Iraq War, specifically the opposition to it, that allowed The Nation to thrive and increase readership while support for it came close to burying The New Republic.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and the Guardian  -- update:

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