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Posts tagged "War On Terror"

h/t: Ben Dreyfuss at Mother Jones

FLASHBACK: In the 2002 #GASen election, outgoing Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) distastefully smeared triple amputee veteran and then occupant Max Cleland (D) in an ad by comparing him to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.  Sadly, Chambliss’s smear propelled him to a victory.

Thankfully, this rotten asshole’s leaving office after this year, and better yet, this seat should hopefully go back to the Blue column with a Michelle Nunn win this November as just desserts for this ad in 2002. 

John Bolton getting a taste of his own medicine.

From the 06.16.2014 edition of FBN’s The Independents:

crooksandliars:

Failed Candidate Romney Blames Obama For Bush Failures

To listen to Mitt Romney, George W. Bush never existed or led the country into two horrible and entirely avoidable wars with his pal Dick Cheney. Next he’ll claim the economic crisis was Obama’s fault too.

On Meet the Press this morning, failed candidate Romney had plenty of blame to spread on President Obama and Hillary Clinton about the situation in Iraq. Evidently his memory has gotten more flawed since he failed to win the Presidency in 2012.

First, the history lesson. The status of forces agreement failed candidate Romney claims is an Obama/Clinton failure was actually a George W. Bush failure. Bush negotiated and signed the status of forces agreement. Obama was hoping to get a framework in place after that agreement to allow a small residual force, but the Iraqis refused. It’s their country. What was Obama supposed to do? Recommit to invading and knocking out the government the United States installed?

When it comes to underestimating the threat, no one did that better than failed candidate Mitt Romney. Here’s a guy who completely missed the fact that he was going to lose his bid for the White House in 2012. It came as a complete shock to him. Why anyone thinks he’s credible on matters of strategic importance is beyond me.

Mitt Romney is a political failure and a joke. The idea that he merits any consideration in a serious discussion of a serious problem is laughable. If this is the best Republicans can put up to display their political and national security acumen to the nation, they’re all failures.

Let’s NOT restart the Iraqi War. It was foolish in the 1st place to even invade that nation back in 2003, and will be much more foolish to invade it again now. 

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Iraq roared back into the headlines this week with news that a terrorist group successfully captured the second-largest city in the country. Since then, the militants allied with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — took another two major cities, Tikrit and Kirkuk, and managed to continue its hold on Fallujah. As the militants attempt to continue their momentum, here’s a look at the most worrying elements of the current crisis:

1. The current fighting will only strengthen sectarianism among Iraqis.

The post-Sadaam government in Iraq has been predicated on one main idea: a balance between Iraq’s Shiite majority and the minority Sunni and Kurds could be maintained and keep the country together. Sunni insurgents opposed to this concept have been plaguing the government since the days of the invasion and ISIS sustained itself in the years since through terrorizing Shiite communities. With their latest push to seize territory, however, ISIS has reopened old wounds. Kurdish forces on Wednesday took control of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk from ISIS, as peshmerga fighters, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, swept into bases the Iraqi army had previously vacated.”The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga,” said spokesperson Jabbar Yawar. “No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk now.”

But the freeing of the city from ISIS presents problems of its own. Kirkuk is an oil-producing city, and a large one at that, one whose fate has been hotly contested between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). Just yesterday, the Kurdish government told investors that Baghdad owes Kurdistan $6 billion for the last six months of its share in the Iraqi budget. The fate of Kirkuk after any eventually defeat of ISIS would help solve some of the money woes of the KRG, upping the chance for further strife between the Kurds and central government.

On top of that, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said on Wednesday that he was ready “to form peace units to defend the holy places” of both Muslims and Christians. In the years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, al-Sadr’s Madhi Army militia attacked coaltion forces and drove up tensions between the Shiite and Sunni communities. Whether or not al-Sadr forms his proposed “peace units,” it seems that Shiites are already calling up forces, which will likely concern the Sunni population. “Shiite militia leaders said that at least four brigades, each with 2,500 to 3,000 fighters, had been hastily assembled and equipped in recent weeks by the Shiite political parties to protect Baghdad and the political process in Iraq,” the New York Times reported. “They identified the outfits as the Kataibe Brigade, the Assaib Brigade, the Imam al-Sadr Brigade and the armed wing of the Badr Organization.”

2. The Iraqi Army we spent billions of dollars developing is falling down on the job and the U.S. may soon be pressured to step in.

The United States spent more that $20 billion in its efforts to train and equip the Iraqi security forces over the last decade. When confronted with ISIS’ offensive, however, military leaders instructed their troops to flee. Iraqi army ineffectual. In Fallujah, the Army has proved unable to dislodge ISIS from their strongholds, despite having superior numbers and access to aircraft. And on Thursday, ISIS posted a video on YouTube allegedly showing thousands of Iraqi soldiers captured in ISIS’ takeover of Tikrit. After the fall of Mosul on Tuesday, the government appealed to Iraqis to join in the fight against ISIS, leading to photos of crowds of men outside of recruitment centers in Baghdad. But given the lack of success the soldiers already serving have demonstrated, the new recruits’ effect is uncertain. Iraq’s parliament is also currently refusing to grant emergency powers to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, concerned that he will .

Though the last American soldier left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011, Iraq is now asking for the U.S. to renew military action within its borders. According to the New York Times, al-Maliki “secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas.” Al-Maliki raised his request, the Times reports, with both Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of U.S. Central Command, and Vice President Joe Biden last month. In these conversations, al-Maliki “indicated he was prepared to allow the United States to carry out strikes using warplanes or drones.”

The U.S. has so far rebuffed these requests for direct intervention. “Ultimately, this is for the Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqi government to deal with,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John F. Kirby said Tuesday. But President Obama on Thursday said, “I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foot hold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter.” White House officials have since denied any chance of ground troops being used in Iraq, but drone strikes remain a possibility.

Amazingly enough, should the U.S. choose to intervene militarily, it would place America as an ally of Iran in fighting ISIS. The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Tehran has deployed two battalions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to take on ISIS. “Combined Iraqi-Iranian forces had retaken control across 85% of Tikrit, the birthplace of former dictator Saddam Hussein, according to Iraqi and Iranian security sources,” the Journal said, adding that they were also “helping guard the capital Baghdad and the two cities of Najaf and Karbala.”

Upping the chance that the U.S. gets directly involved again, dozens of Turkish citizens are currently being held after ISIS militants stormed a consulate in Mosul. Turkey has promised to retaliate if any are hurt and as Turkey is a fellow member of NATO, should it call on the U.S. for support in its defense, the U.S. is bound to respond in some way.

3. No one has any idea what is going to happen next.

Territory held by ISIS as of June 12, 2014

Territory held by ISIS as of June 12, 2014

CREDIT: WALL STREET JOURNAL

For months in its Iraqi exploits, the rebranded ISIS has stuck to the script of its predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, setting off car bombs and other improvised explosive devices in Shiite-populated areas. This was extremely effective and highly lethal, leading to last year being the most violent year since the end of the U.S. war ended.

In January, however, something shifted. They captured and managed to hold Fallujah, despite heavy fire from the Iraqi Army. They’ve freed scores of their supporters from Iraqi prisions over teh last year. They stolen millions of dollars from Mosul’s banks on Tuesday. And they’ve begun recruiting throughout the cities they’ve captured, playing off of Sunni dissatisfaction with the rule of al-Maliki. And they still continue to fight on in neighboring Syria.

Despite setbacks in Tikrit and Kirkuk, ISIS still remains unchallenged in Mosul and continues to push south towards Baghdad. The odds of ISIS fighters actually capturing the capital remain slim. However, given that few would have predicted the stunning speed at which the militants have taken territory in the past days, it seems unwise to rule out any possibility. With the resources that are now in the possession of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the dream of creating a state carved out of Iraq and Syria could well be in the process of coming to fruition. Whether or not they actually manage to complete that plan depends on whether or not the Iraqi government pulls together for long enough to actually inspire their troops to fight back, whether the United States decides to intervene, and whether Iranian and Kurdish forces can turn the tide alone. It’s a lot of “whether”s for an extremely volatile situation.

Source: Hayes Brown for ThinkProgress

2012 GOP threat: Sgt. Bergdahl swap will be Obama, Democrats’ ‘Willie Horton moment’ (via Raw Story )

Republicans are outraged that President Barack Obama authorized a prisoner exchange with the Taliban for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — who has been held captive since 2009 — and that they plan to use the exchange against Democrats in the upcoming…



 

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Updated — 2:57 p.m. ET

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File

President Barack Obama speaking during a troop rally on May 25 after arriving at Bagram Air Field for an unannounced visit, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.

President Obama announced Tuesday that he wants to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after the U.S. combat mission ends this year, according to a senior administration official.


The White House issued the following statement Tuesday ahead of the president’s announcement:

This afternoon the President will make an announcement about the next steps in winding down the war in Afghanistan. He will announce that our combat mission will be over by the end of 2014. He will make clear that we are open to continued efforts in Afghanistan on two narrow missions after 2014: training Afghan Forces and supporting CT operations against the remnants of al Qaeda. We will only sustain a military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement. Both Afghan presidential candidates recently reiterated their intentions to sign the agreement quickly if elected. Assuming a BSA is signed, at the beginning of 2015, we will have 9,800 U.S. service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners. By the end of 2015, we would reduce that presence by roughly half, consolidating U.S. troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield. And one year later, by the end of 2016, we will draw down to a normal Embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as we have done in Iraq.

The announcement comes just two days after Obama made an unannounced visit to the troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The announcement comes just two days after Obama made an unannounced visit to the troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.
AP

On a conference call Tuesday, senior administrative officials said the White House hopes to cut the 9,800 troops in Afghanistan “by roughly half” at the end of 2015 and further reduce to a “normal embassy presence” by 2016.

Officials reiterated that the combat mission will conclude at the end of 2014, and U.S. military efforts will focus on training and counterterrorism thereafter.

The White House praised the Afghan national security forces for “stepping up” at this time and “growing in not only size but capability.”

On the issue of what message the U.S. is sending to Al Qaeda and Taliban with this draw down, officials said “there will be violence, there will be challenges in Afghanistan” and they acknowledged that there continue to be Al Qaeda threats in the region. However, the White House believes now is the time for the Afghans to be responsible for securing their own country and they believe Afghan forces are “prepared to step forward.”

“This is a moment of some momentum in Afghanistan,” a senior administration official said on the conference call.

President Obama is expected to elaborate on U.S. counterterrorism in Afghanistan when he speaks from West Point on Wednesday.

Source; Mike Hayes for Buzzfeed

The right-wing scare machine’s been lying to the American people about Benghazi, likely as an effort to smear Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and by proxy, all Democrats leading up to 2016. 

h/t: Leslie Salzillo at Daily Kos 

America must move off a permanent war footing.
Obama at #SOTU2014. 

syndicatednewsservices:

Bachmann: Obama funding Al-Qaeda proves ‘we are in God’s End Times’

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) falsely claimed over the weekend that President Barack Obama was “paying to give arms to terrorists including Al-Qaeda,” which she warned was a signed that “we are in God’s End Times.”

Speaking to the Christian radio show Understanding the Times on Saturday, the Minnesota Republican incorrectly stated that “President Obama waived a ban on arming terrorists in order to allow weapons to go to the Syrian opposition.”

“Your listeners, U.S. taxpayers, are now paying to give arms to terrorists including Al-Qaeda,” she told host Jan Markell.

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One year ago today, on September 11, 2012, a U.S. diplomatic outpost and Central Intelligence Agency annex were attacked by extremists in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, U.S. foreign service officer Sean Smith, and two security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALS.

While the Obama administration had been successful in degrading the capabilities of core-al Qaeda — or the terror organization’s centralized version that was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington — the tragedy reminded Americans and U.S. allies that the threat from like-minded extremists was still alive and well.

Instead of joining to unite the country in the face of this terrible tragedy, Republicans, at first led by then-GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and later Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), turned the Benghazi attacks into a political fiasco, searching far and near for a way to hang the blame on President Obama and with the aim of damaging his political stature at the least, or at most, bringing down members of his national security team or even ultimately his presidency.

But the long, drawn-out campaign to bring down Obama turned up nothing. Everything conservatives and Republicans held up as evidence of malfeasance on the part of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi and its aftermath was later discredited by either facts or logic. The right’s biggest achievement throughout this whole Benghazi mess was keeping Susan Rice, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time of the attacks, from being nominated as Secretary of State. But even that campaign — led by McCain — seemed to backfire as Rice is now Obama’s National Security Adviser, a position with arguably more influence on the President’s foreign policy thinking.

Media Matters has a run-down of the some of the top Benghazi myths. And throughout the GOP’s Benghazi witch-hunt, ThinkProgress has been compiling a timeline of the key events — from Romney’s first baseless attacks on Obama, the faux-scandal surrounding the infamous “talking points” delivered by then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, McCain’s smear campaign, and highlights of how all the GOP-led attacks on Obama were eventually fully debunked. On January 23, during a Senate hearing on Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Republicans for politicizing Benghazi, and in this instance, for focusing on whether a protest over an anti-Muslim video sparked the attacks:

CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans?! What difference at this point does it make?! It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.

We have updated the timeline which can be viewed here.

Conservatives aren’t done with Benghazi. Fox News, Tea Party types and a dwindling number of Republican hangers on in Congress keep trying to pin Obama down with something. But they’ll never find anything nefarious. Benghazi is not the next Watergate. Nor will President Obama be impeached over the matter. “The whole thing defies logic,” an exacerbated Obama said in May. “And the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.

“We dishonor [the four Americans killed in Benghazi] when we turn things like this into a political circus,” Obama added. “What happened was tragic. It was carried out by extremists inside of Libya. We are out there trying to hunt down the folks who carried this out, and we are trying to make sure that we fix the system so that it doesn’t happen again.”

h/t: Ben Armbruster at Think Progress Security

holygoddamnshitballs:

Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country’s military for overthrowing the elected government, and at one point even seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.