Peggy Noonan such a wonderful writer but pours her talent into mindless propaganda. In her latest memo to the Republican base, Noonan worries over who the American public will blame for the Iraq disaster. She hopes both parties, spinning a tale that erases the Republican roots of the war. She despises Obama so much that all she can say is, "He is out of his depth." In a continuing blindness towards reality, Noonan says the one bright spot is, "…the earnest professionalism of our troops, still unsurpassed." Whoa. If all sides of the debate keep bowing to this unsurpassed excellence, it will be forgotten that the 2007 Baker-Hamilton report concluded that the American troops were at the "breaking point." They were sent to kill thousands of people on targeted midnight raids. They turned their detainees over to the human-rights violators within the Shiite-dominated army. They suffered massive demoralization and injuries, reflected in unprecedented levels of suicide and PTSD. There is no way they are prepared to engage in more ground combat against Muslims. Noonan and the Republican "chicken hawks" should be shamed and retired for pushing our army to the brink of collapse and then cutting back on veterans' health care funding.
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
Contrary to the original spin, there seems to be no need or rationale for "saving" Baghdad from invading ISIS hordes. As I predicted, the growing Shiite counter-offensive seems to be a sufficient deterrent. It appears that al-Maliki will be forced out politically, perhaps to be replaced by a new Humpty-Dumpty and a patchwork agreement to "reform" the Shiite regime. The immanent danger is that President Barack Obama is preparing to go to war not to "save Baghdad" but to attack the perceived threat of a Sunni jihadist "sanctuary" in the vast zone from southern Syria into northern Iraq. It has been US policy, however, which is partly responsible for fostering the terrorist sanctuary threat, if one actually transpires. The US made an alliance in 2006-7 with the very Sunni tribes in Iraq, (remember "the Awakening"?) which it now considers part of the terrorist insurgency. Similarly, by tacitly supporting the Shiite-related Assad regime in Syria, the US has antagonized Syria's Sunnis and contributed to the conditions that have given rise to the extremist ISIS faction.
Are Israel and the Israeli Lobby the major obstacle to US-Iran deals over Iraq, Afghanistan and a nuclear power agreement? It appears so, just as Israel and Saudi Arabia lobbied hard for the military coup and massive suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. As the killings continue, someone should ask whether it's wise policy to overthrow Islamists who have chosen a political path. Doesn't that justify revolutionary jihad as the sole alternative for millions of Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq? Senator Patrick Leahy should be supported in his lonely effort to prevent US taxpayer dollars flowing to the new dictator in Cairo.
The House Majority has voted to demand that President Barack Obama seek Iraq war approval under War Powers Resolution. This leaves Obama with three choices: defying Congress with word games over the "advisers" he is sending to Iraq; complying with the War Powers Resolution reporting requirements and timelines; or pulling back to avoid a constitutional conflict with the Congress, as he did in the clash with Syria.
A rush of messages and letters from the grass roots appears to have motivated many House members to join a voice vote on Friday. The final count is at the UFPJ legislative action site. Since it's hard for Democratic liberals to oppose the president, constant messages from their districts are helpful. Ron Paul-Republicans can be expected to stand up on the War Powers issue, but both parties are led by politicians who think it's expedient to be hawkish, until, of course, it's not. On the Democratic side, the hawks included Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Julia Brownley, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Rep. Steve Israel. All voted “No” on Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to block funding for combat in Iraq.
Former CIA director General Michael Hayden says Iraq is dead, “It’s not going to be reconstituted," and will be replaced by three "successor states." One of those, which Gen. Hayden calls "Sunnistan," will become a safe haven for terrorists and should be treated like Waziristan, a zone of secret operations and drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan. The second, called "Shiastan," should be shored up by recapturing the oil refinery north of Baghdad, and then left in a sharply reduced space. The US should "snuggle up comfortable" to Kurdistan, America's only ally, where the Peshmerga forces are competing for full control of the oil in Kirkuk.
I grew up in an early Detroit suburb, Royal Oak, and lived there for seventeen years, a model son of the white lower middle class. I attended an extremely conservative Catholic church dominated by Fr. Charles Coughlin. The postwar economic boom seemed in those days to make progress for all a real likelihood. All seemed well in an economy which was supposed to "lift all boats." After high school I entered the University of Michigan at one hundred dollars tuition per semester. The autoworkers' union, which had led militant factory occupations ten years earlier, was winning more than twenty dollars an hour for assembly line workers. One-third of America's corporate sector workforce was unionized for bargaining power. The everyday evidence of upward mobility suggested that black people would follow to the Promised Land, sooner rather than later.
American activist anti-war networks are perfectly right in standing against renewed US intervention in Iraq. So far Obama has been forced by events to send some 275 US troops for embassy protection, while a decision on bombing is being mulled. The confused Congress needs to be called upon to be a counterweight against the hawks who want nothing more than to blame Obama instead of themselves for "losing" Iraq. But there is far more to do. We are deep into the battle over memory.
Environmentalists and political leaders like Governor Jerry Brown have a major chance to advance the battle against climate catastrophe by pursuing a timeline toward the United Nations climate treaty negotiations in December 2015 in Paris.
So far, little public discussion has occurred about the climate talks. A sense of despair lingers from the collapse of the Copenhagen talks in 2009 and from the gridlock caused by climate-deniers in Congress.
After the negotiated release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, I called an old friend who spent years as a POW in Vietnam's prison camps to ask for his response. Preferring to keep his name out of the papers for the moment, he was following the situation closely. In summary though, what he said was as follows:
Shortly before he was murdered, Robert Kennedy was underlining this passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"When you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not try to weakly reconcile yourself with the world. ... Adhere to your own act, and congratulate yourself if you have done something strange and extravagant, and broken the monotony of a decorous age."