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الثلاثاء، 20 أكتوبر 2015



The Common Ills
War Criminal Tony Blair remains in the news cycle again today.  Telesur notes, "A 2002 memo from former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush suggests that then-U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair had already committed support for an invasion of Iraq – almost 1 year before the invasion took place.

News of the agreement surfaced Saturday.

Today saw a denial on behalf of Blair.  Olivia Goldhill (Quarts) reports:

A spokeswoman from Tony Blair’s office said in an email to Quartz that the memo did not contradict what Blair has said in public. “This story is nothing new. The memo is consistent with what Mr. Blair was saying publicly at the time and with Mr. Blair’s evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry,” she said, referring to Britain’s public inquiry into the Iraq war.

But others aren't so quick to buy that spin.  Rowena Mason (Guardian) reports:

Alex Salmond, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman and Scotland’s former first minister, said “the net was now closing” around Blair and added to concern over Chilcot’s conduct.
“The memo contradicts claims from Mr Blair that all that time he had been seeking diplomatic ways to avoid an invasion. It also adds weight to the evidence given by Sir Christopher Meyer, the former UK ambassador to the United States – to the Chilcot inquiry – that the military timetable and preparation for invasion took precedence over any diplomacy and specifically over the timetable for the weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix,” Salmond said.

And BBC News notes, "BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said the document appeared to offer a revealing insight into how Mr Blair was perceived at the very highest level in Washington, in the year before the Iraq War."  Samuel Osborne (Independent) adds, "Mr Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, has repeatedly denied rushing to war in Iraq."

What stands out most about the story is how it feels like The Downing Street Memo all over again in that outside of the US this is a huge story but within the US the only major outlet covering it seriously is the Associated Press (click here for Danica Kirka's story).

The lack of interest from US outlets is appalling given that the US Defense Dept announced today:

Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, attack, ground-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Beiji, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker, an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL weapons caches, and an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Kisik, two strikes suppressed an ISIL sniper position and an ISIL light machine gun position.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL heavy machine guns, six ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL roadside bomb and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, three strikes destroyed an ISIL supply cache and denied ISIL access to two separate terrain locations.
-- Near Sinjar, five strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node, an ISIL cache, an ISIL assembly area, 26 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL bomb factory, and suppressed an ISIL rocket position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
In addition, Barack Obama continues to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to carry out his plan or 'plan' for Iraq.

And yet the news of the memo is not considered major news at all in the US.
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] 4497.

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