barry manilow

we were watching 'foul play' tonight and barry manilow's 'ready to take a chance again' is in the film, in fact, in the opening.

the chords and the arrangment make it a very different from your typical barry song -- for example, copacabana, et al.

this song had more meaning and it may have helped that it was a in a lower key.

barry has tons of fans who love him.

i always loved 'mandy' and i don't deny his talent.

but i really think he is an example of 1 of the popular artists who could have done more.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, September 17, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  Barack insists no combat troops in Iraq, but dropping bombings requires combat pilots, and much more.

This afternoon in Florida, US President Barack Obama declared,  "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.  They will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists."

Barack was attempting to push back against remarks Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, made yesterday when he and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Dempsey made comments such at this:

Gen Martin Dempsey:  At this juncture, our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and the actions to match it. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President. 

In response to that and other remarks yesterday, Barack declared today,  "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.  They will support Iraqi forces on the ground as  they fight for their own country against these terrorists."

I don't understand how he can say that.

US troops are in Iraq.  Iraq War veteran J.R. Salzman Tweeted:

  • Why does POTUS keep saying we won't have combat troops in Iraq when we already do, and why won't the media call him out on it? Come on.

  • Why indeed?  They're there and they have a combat mission in Iraq.

    Dempsey acknowledged that in the hearing yesterday.

    Gen Martin Dempsey: First of all, I think everyone should be aware when we talk about "combat forces," that's all we grow.  When we bring a young man or woman in the military, they come in to be a combat soldier or a combat Marine or a combat -- We don't bring them in to be anything else other than combat capable.  But that's different than how we use them.  And in the case of our contributions in Iraq right now, the airmen, as the Chair -- as the Ranking Member mentioned, are very much in a combat role. 

    That is a combat role.

    And it sounded like one in Barack's speech today when Barack stated, "So, last month, I gave the order for our military to begin taking targeted action against ISIL.  And since then, our brave pilot and crews -- with your help -- have conducted more than 160 airstrikes against these terrorists.  Because of your efforts, we’ve been able to protect our personnel and our facilities, and kill ISIL fighters, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory.  They’ve helped our partners on the ground break ISIL sieges, helped rescue civilians cornered on a mountain, helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children."

    It sounds like combat because it is combat.

    US Senator Kelly Ayotte Tweeted:

  • POTUS said today our troops in Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission. What do you call dropping bombs from planes?

  • Trevor Timm Tweeted:

  • And The Atlantic's David W. Brown offers:

    Dempsey's remarks appears to have stripped the pretense off what's taking place in Iraq.

    Mark Landler and Jeremy W. Peters (New York Times) note:

    The general’s statement lays bare the challenge the president will face in selling an expanded military campaign to a war-weary American public. Mr. Obama, seeking to allay fears of another Iraq war, has promised that American ground troops will not be involved in fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. In a sign of the administration’s mixed message, the president pointedly did not call it a war, while his advisers later did.
    But the realities of a prolonged campaign, General Dempsey said, could make such a hands-off approach untenable, particularly if the battle against the militants moves into densely populated cities where airstrikes are less effective and the chances of civilian casualties are much higher. His candid testimony, hours before a divided House of Representatives began debating whether to approve Mr. Obama’s request for authority to arm the Syrian rebels, drew expressions of concern from antiwar groups and could further complicate the political dynamic for the president.

    All Iraq News adds:

    The U.S. already has hundreds of advisors on the ground in Iraq. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate panel he cannot rule out combat troops returning to Iraq, albeit in a limited role.
    "If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific (militant) targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey said.
    Such actions, he added, would be considered "close combat advising."
    President Barack Obama has maintained U.S. combat troops would not be returning to the country. U.S. ground troops left the country in 2011 after nine years.
    "At this point, (the president's) stated policy is we will not have US ground forces in direct combat," Dempsey said. "But he has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis."

    As David Jackson (USA Today) notes, "President Obama doubled down Wednesday on an increasingly questioned pledge."

    Barack's push back today was especially surprising since he was aware of what Dempsey was going to say and knew of the opening remarks.  Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak (CNN) note the White House was briefed on Dempsey's opening claim:

    Gen Martin Dempsey:  At this juncture, our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and the actions to match it. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President. 

    Briefed ahead of time.  Elaine noted it at her site, we noted it in the snapshot, these were prepared remarks, submitted in writing before the hearing began.  Dempsey read from the written statement word for word.  These prepared remarks went around the administration -- including to the White House -- before they were allowed to be submitted to Congress.

    For CNN, it's a messaging mis-step.  That may or may not be the issue. It may also be the White House testing the waters.  Iraq War veteran Austin Bay (Creators Syndicate) offers:
    Dempsey's testimony addressed a genuine military and diplomatic contingency. His honest answer, however, also serves as a political hedge. "Ineffective" is an iffy term and gives the Obama administration rhetorical space to deploy Army and Marine ground forces to Iraq and Syria after the November elections. At that point, ticking off Democratic peaceniks won’t distract from his golf game.
    Barack's 'plan' still isn't a plan. 

    Christi Parsons (LA Times) reports:

    Defeating the extremists requires a strategy that emphasizes diplomacy, intelligence and economics, said Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
    Those tools aren’t as easy to see in the short term, said Alterman, but “they present the only path to victory: crippling the organization’s networks, denying the group safe haven and undermining the conditions that make it attractive to potential recruits.”
    “While the Obama strategy is more than merely a military strategy, it appears militarily focused,” Alterman wrote in an email Wednesday. “The president’s speech on Iraq and Syria focused on military instruments, and used the language of the military, twice promising to 'degrade and destroy' the Islamic State. Perhaps the president was seeking to capitalize on the urgency of this month’s murders, and only military instruments seemed urgent enough.”

    Meanwhile the leader of Iraq had a few comments to make and did so in an exclusive interview he granted to the Associated Press.  Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared "out of the question" foreign troops being sent into Iraq.  He also insisted that the world leaders needed to address the Islamic State in Syria.

    In Iraq, the violence continued.  National Iraqi News Agency notes air strikes killed 26 suspects in Dhuluiya, an attack and a clash in Mansuriyya left 3 rebels dead and three civilians injured, Baghdad Operations Command stated they killed 5 snipers, aerial bombings in Qaim and Akashat left 11 suspects dead and five more injured, an aerial bombing outside Muqdadiyah killed 5 suspects, an Al-Siger battle left 11 rebels and 4 Iraqi soldiers dead (four more Iraqi soldiers were injured), a military strike near Dhuluiya left 4 people dead and ten more injured, the corpses of 7 police members were discovered in Tikrit, 1 corpse was discovered dumped "northwest of Baghdad," a Muqdadiyah mortar attack left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured, and a Ramadi suicide truck bomber took his own life and the lives of 9 other people with eleven more left injured.

    Monday, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr objected to the outside 'interest' in Iraq's affairs.  National Iraqi News Agency reported:

    Sadr said in a statement carried his signature and stamp today, " The / Black House / decided to launch attacks on Iraqi territory and this American decision perhaps came after its remorse to its fake withdraw."
    He added: " if you came back again we will back."
    Sadr added, "the government should not get help from the occupier whatever, even under the pretext of (the Islamic State), which is not exist except in the imagination, but is a creature of Americans."

    Sadr's statement came as All Iraq News reported John Kerry was boasting in Paris that many countries are offering "to send troops into Iraq."  While Sadr is now said to have left Iraq (for Lebanon), Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.

    I'm really not in the mood to go into it.

    I wouldn't be noting it at all but John Kerry's being attacked.  Undeservedly.

    The Secretary of State declared at the hearing:

    As I came in here, obviously, we had some folks who spoke out, and I would start by saying that I understand dissent; I’ve lived it. That’s how I first testified in front of this country in 1971. And I spent two years protesting a policy, so I respect the right of Code Pink to protest and to use that right.
    But you know what? I also know something about Code Pink. Code Pink was started by a woman and women who were opposed to war but who also thought that the government’s job was to take care of people and to give them healthcare and education and good jobs. And if that’s what you believe in – and I believe it is – then you ought to care about fighting ISIL, because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women, and they believe women shouldn’t have an education. They sell off girls to be sex slaves to jihadists. There is no negotiation with ISIL; there is nothing to negotiate. And they’re not offering anyone health care of any kind. They’re not offering education of any kind, for a whole philosophy or idea or cult, whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the Stone Age. They’re cold-blooded killers marauding across the Middle East making a mockery of a peaceful religion.

    And that’s precisely why we are building a coalition to try to stop them from denying the women and the girls and the people of Iraq the very future that they yearn for. And frankly, Code Pink and a lot of other people need to stop to think about how you stop them and deal with that.

    Now you can disagree -- and I certainly do -- with his assembly of facts, factoids and fictions in the above.

    And if that's what was focused on, fine and dandy.

    But so many little worthless worms want to whine about 'poor' CodeStink.

    Kerry's remarks towards CodeStink are fine.

    There's nothing wrong with them.

    He's noting their right to speak out in a democracy.

    I see that as a good thing.

    I'm not offended by his remarks towards CodeStink.

    Those trying to gin up outrage are pretty much worthless when it comes to thought or analysis.

    Senator Robert Menendez is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Rather than focus more on the hearing today, let's close with this from Senator Menendez's office:

    Menendez Commends Senate Passage of Autism Bill

    July 31, 2014

    WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today hailed the Senate's passage of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (Autism CARES) Act, which is the identical companion to Menendez’s Senate bill, S. 2449. The unanimous Senate passage was the final Congressional step needed to get the bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

    “The Senate’s action today ensures these vital autism programs are reauthorized and continue providing research, services and supports individuals with autism and their families have come to rely on,” said Sen. Menendez. “The Autism CARES Act is a model of bipartisan, bicameral cooperation – and I am proud I was able to work on it and look forward to seeing the President sign this critical legislation into law.”

    According to a recent report by the CDC, autism rates climbed nearly 30% between 2008 and 2010, to 1 in 68 children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, from 1 in 88 children. In New Jersey, that prevalence is 1 in 45 children. 

    Senator Menendez is the leading advocate in Congress for individuals with autism and their families, having secured the passage of the 2011 reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act. Additionally, he authored the Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence and Navigation (AGE-IN) Act to address the needs of youth and young adults as they transition out of school-based support to independent adulthood. Several key policies from this legislation are incorporated in the Autism CARES Act.





    bill van auken (wsws) reports on the white house and ebola:

    The Obama administration and the Pentagon have announced the “surge” of 3,000 US troops into West Africa, ostensibly in response to the escalating spread of the Ebola virus in the region.
    The militarized response to the deadly epidemic has underscored Washington’s increasingly heavy reliance on its residual military superiority in what has become a second “scramble for Africa,” pitting the US against China in a struggle for control of the continent’s markets and resources.
    Speaking at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama declared: “Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to the United States and it is a responsibility we are prepared to embrace. We are prepared to take leadership on this.”

    Obama cast the Ebola outbreak as a “national security priority” for the United States based not on a threat that the disease could spread to the US, which he described as “extremely low,” but rather that it would trigger the destabilization of West Africa posing “profound economic, political and security implications.”

    don't you love how the response of nobel peace prize winner barack to every crisis is basically 'send in the marines!'

    he really lacks so many basic skills.

    i don't understand why you need the military for this - unless you're planning a controlled release to 'thin out the herd.'  and maybe that's what's about to happen?

    who knows?

    but what's going on right now makes no sense.

    be sure to check out cedric and wally's posts from earlier today:


  • let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the Senate hears about Iraq, US Gen Martin Dempsey provides a laundry list of what would make him call for US boots on the ground in combat in Iraq, all that and Jethro Tull.

    This morning in DC, the US Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the issue of Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State which they insist upon calling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  They shorten it to "ISIL" which they insist upon pronouncing as a word making it sound as if they're referring to a renegade von Trapp family member, one who goes around singing "Sixteen Going On Seventeen."

    The hearing opened with a small number of protesters declaring "No more war!" and other statements before Committee Chair Carl Levin brought down the gavel and called the hearing to order.

    Once the hearing started, CodeStink's Medea Benjamin would attempt to grab some headlines by yelling at the top of her lungs.

    Chair Levin would ask her to take a seat or leave -- repeatedly.  It was hard to tell what offended Carl more, Medea's screeching or her visual frightmare of her camel toe and exposed muffin top (her shirt rode up because she was holding a sign which read "MORE WAR = MORE . . . EXTREMISM").

    As she was escorted out of the room, Carl Levin offered, "Thank you for leaving and thank you, good-bye."

    Fake Ass Medea was the topic of Isaiah's comic on Sunday and, in "TV: Barack's Delusional Love Slaves," Ava and I noted her ridiculous and craven whoring for the White House which found the alleged peace activists (reality, she's just an attention seeker) insisting:

    I think President Obama has been hounded by the media, by the war hawks in Congress, mostly from the Republican side but also from the Democrats, and is going into this insane not only bombing in Iraq, but also talking about going into Syria, at a time when just a couple of months ago the American people had made it very clear that we were very tired of war.

    Poor little Barack.  President of the United States, bullied by those mean members in the press, putting ice on the bruises left by Maureen Dowd's printed punches, oh, poor Barack on the ropes again.  Poor baby.  If only he had power, if only he had a spine and a mind and . . .

    Medea's continued crap is racism.

    It's real racism.

    It strips a person of their own agency, of their own action.

    Barack is one of the most powerful people in the world right now.

    If he does something, it's because he wants to.

    Medea wants to argue that Barack is stupid or that he's too weak to stand up for himself.  She's basically Stepin Fetchit-ing Barack.  He's a grown up, he's educated and he's the President of the United States. Medea's patronizing attitude is insulting and is racist.

    Mommy Medea needs to face the fact that her little one is all grown up.

    Medea can make up all the excuses and offer the perverted fantasies she can think up.

    That won't change reality.

    Nor did her screeching in a Congressional hearing manage to do a damn thing.

     After she was escorted out, a man shouted and was removed from the hearing as the witnesses returned to reading from their prepared remarks.

    Later, during questioning, a woman would shout, "Senator McCain, you have no authority to speak on this issue."

    Oh, CodeStink.

    How you've grown to be an embarrassment for those of us on the left.

    I don't like John McCain.  I wouldn't suggest that he has no authority to speak.  I believe the citizens of Arizona voted him into office, first of all.  Secondly, every American -- even CodeStink members -- have the "authority to speak."  That's what it means to live in a democracy.

    How sad that CodeStink has to resort to tired lies and falsehoods when they should fostering democracy and democratic principles.

    While Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stumbled repeatedly as he read his opening statement out loud, Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, managed to read from his prepared remark with considerable ease -- even when his remarks were shocking.

    Gen Martin Dempsey:  At this juncture, our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and the actions to match it. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President. 

    This was not stated in response to a question.  This statement was not uttered in surprise.

    It was part of Dempsey's prepared remarks, submitted in writing before the start of the hearing and read out loud at the start of the hearing.

    The fact that it rejects Barack's insistence that there will be no US 'combat' troops in Iraq did not appear to phase Dempsey or, for that matter, Hagel who sat next to him as Dempsey made the statement -- and made the statement mere minutes after Hagel was declaring

    To support Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish forces, the President announced last week that we would deploy an additional 475 American troops to Iraq.  Part of that number includes approximately 150 advisors and support personnel to supplement forces already in Iraq conducting assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces. This assessment mission is now transitioning to an advise-and-assist mission, with more than 15 teams embedding with Iraqi Security Forces at the headquarters level to provide strategic and operational advice and assistance.  The rest of the additional 475 troops include 125 personnel to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions out of Erbil and 200 personnel to increase headquarters elements in both Baghdad and Erbil . . . helping us better coordinate military activities across Iraq.  By the time all these forces arrive, there will be approximately 1,600 U.S. personnel in Iraq responding to the ISIL threat. But, as the President said last week, "American forces will not have a combat mission."

    From Hagel repeating Barack's claim of "American forces will not have a combat mission" to Dempsey declaring, "To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President."

    All before a single question was asked.

    And these prepared statements?

    They're not only delivered in writing ahead of time to the Congressional Committees, they're distributed throughout the administration.

    The White House signed off on Dempsey's remarks.

    It is their trial balloon?

    Or their cover-your-ass moment where Barack can come back later, after US troops are fighting (there are credible reports already that they are fighting alongside the Kurdish peshmerga) and say, "Well we told Congress it was a possibility"?

    Certainly, Iraq's news outlets treated the remarks by Dempsey as news.  All Iraq News filed multiple stories noting the remarks, "The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Martin Dempsey, hinted Tuesday that he would consider recommending a more direct involvement of US ground troops in the military's ongoing campaign against the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL)," "Dempsey, who has long been reluctant to re-introduce US forces into Middle Eastern wars, signaled that some of the 1,600 US military “advisers” Obama deployed to Iraq since June may directly fight Isis, despite Obama’s frequent public assurances that US ground troops will not engage in combat," and "The US head of the US Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey,  stated that the US advisors might accompany the Iraqi security forces in their military operations."
    Sidebar, Dempsey was never "reluctant."
    I don't know where All Iraq News is getting that.
    We were at the 2011 hearing where Dempsey, sitting next to then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, was chomping at the bit for US forces to remain in Iraq.
    You may remember that because we covered it here.  I believe only the New York Times bothered to cover it elsewhere.
    But in the years that followed, people have called Senator John McCain a liar for his version of the drawdown backstory.  He's not been lying or even misinformed and we've defended him on that.
    It'll be interesting to see if anyone notes what Dempsey said in the hearing, during McCain's questioning, after Hagel begged off answering.  Dempsey returned to that 2011 hearing testimony.  Again, it'll be interesting to see who covers that or ignores it.
    Dempsey didn't just raise the point of US forces being in a combat role in Iraq once.
    He raised it repeatedly in the hearing.  For example, in response to Chair Levin's questions in the opening round, Dempsey would declare, "As I said in my [opening] statement, however, my view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward.  I believe that will prove true.   But if it fails to be true and if there are threats to the United States then I would of course go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces." 
    Another example?  Ranking Member Jim Inhofe asked about the issue in his round of questioning.
    Ranking Member Jim Inhofe:  In your opinion, let me ask you two questions, Gen Dempsey.  In your opinion, are the pilots dropping bombs in Iraq -- as they're now doing -- a direct combat mission?  And, secondly, will US forces be prepared to provide combat search and rescue if a pilot gets shot down?  Will they put boots on the ground to make that rescue successful?

    Gen Martin Dempsey: Yes.  And yes.
    Are you following it?
    Dempesy says he'd recommend ground forces if things got more violent.
    And if a US pilot was shot down.
    We'll note this exchange from the hearing.

    Senator Jack Reed: Gen Dempsey, we've had a debate going on and on about some boots on the ground, no boots on the ground, no boots on the ground but military personnel on the ground.  It might help us all if you could clarify precisely what our forces are doing in Iraq today.  And you've also suggested that if the situation changes, you might recommend -- or come to us with recommendations that they would enhance their mission or change their mission.  Can you clarify what they're doing? 

    Gen Martin Dempsey: I can.  Thanks for asking, Senator.  The -- First of all, I think everyone should be aware when we talk about "combat forces," that's all we grow.  When we bring a young man or woman in the military, they come in to be a combat soldier or a combat Marine or a combat -- We don't bring them in to be anything else other than combat capable.  But that's different than how we use them.  And in the case of our contributions in Iraq right now, the airmen, as the Chair -- as the Ranking Member mentioned, are very much in a combat role.  The folks on the ground are in a very much advisory role. They are not participating in direct combat.  There is no intention for them to do so. I've mentioned, though, that if I found that circumstance evolving that I would, of course, change my recommendation.  An example, if-if the Iraqi security forces and the peshmerga were ready to retake Mosul a-a mission that I would find extraordinarily complex, it could very well be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission.  But for the day to day activities that I anticipate will evolve over time, I don't see it to be necessary right now.
    So he'll also recommend US forces on the ground in combat if he feels the Iraqi military is undertaking a "complex" mission?
    Dempsey appears to be preparing reasons/excuses for US forces to go into combat -- in fact, thus far, everything short of an unprovoked sneeze would appear to result in Dempsey calling for US troops on the ground in combat.
    But it's not a war, remember that.  The White House doesn't want to call it a war.
    Monday, Nick Gillespie (Reason) noted US Secretary of State John Kerry had finally used the term "war" to describe the US and the Islamic State.  In today's hearing, Chuck Hagel also used the term, noting, "We're at war with ISIL as we are with al Qaeda." Gillespie explained of Kerry's usage:
    By claiming ISIS is an al Qaeda affiliate, Kerry and the Obama administration is weasel-wording its way around not going to Congress for a new authorization to use military force (AUMF) or outright declaration of war. The White House is claiming that any action against ISIS is justified under the 2001 AUMF that sanctioned any actions against those responsbile for the 9/11 attacks (meaning al Qaeda). But ISIS and al Qaeda are at war with each other, so that's a tough sell out of the box. It's like claiming that, I don't know, despite being marketplace rivals, Puma and Adidas are affiliates because the Dassler brothers started the competing firms.
    That explanation is true of Hagel's use of the term today as well.  Amy Davidson (The New Yorker) has also explored war and it's literal meaning:

    That prospect -- an engaged military, a disengaged public -- is part of the reason that the name we give this fight matters. Under the War Powers Resolution, the President is required to get congressional approval within sixty days of going to war. (Counterterrorism, by contrast, is something that even local police departments can undertake.) Obama said that, while he would “welcome congressional support for this effort,” formal approval was not necessary: “I have the authority to address the threat.” By way of justification, he and his aides have referred to Article II of the Constitution, which designates him Commander-in-Chief. Like some of their predecessors, they hold that the President has a great deal of leeway to act on his own in matters of “national security,” as Obama put it in a letter to Congress last month, or in “protecting our own people,” as he said on Wednesday. That’s well and good in certain emergencies, but if “national security” is defined too broadly it would follow that the only wars in which Congress has a role are those which somehow don’t pose any danger to Americans.

    Back to the hearing which contained a lot of garbage.  Can you find the laugh line in the following?

    Secretary Chuck Hagel:  The $500 million request the President made in June for this train and equip program reflects CENTCOM’s estimate of the cost to train, equip, and resupply more than 5,000 opposition forces over one year. The package of assistance that we initially provide would consist of small arms, vehicles, and basic equipment like communications, as well as tactical and strategic training. As these forces prove their effectiveness on the battlefield, we would be prepared to provide increasingly sophisticated types of assistance to the most trusted commanders and capable forces.

    As they prove their what on the what?

    The Iraqi military may have demonstrated something in the last few days -- that they won't listen to the prime minister.

    From yesterday's snapshot:

    Real reporting from Iraq would focus on real issues such as the question of was an order given or not?
    Because if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to obey it, there would be no reason for the US government and others to come to the 'aid' of government.
    Third's "Editorial: The bombing of civilians continues in Iraq" noted Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered an end to the military bombing civilian targets on Saturday.
    That's what al-Abadi declared publicly.
    Yet on Sunday,  Falluja General Hospital was bombed and, in addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted the bombings of residential neighborhoods in Falluja also continued with 6 civilians left dead  and 22 more injured.
    Was al-Abadi lying on Saturday?
    Or did the Iraqi military ignored orders given by the prime minister?
    If it's the latter, if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to follow it, there's no point in any foreign government 'helping' at this point.

    Was an order given or not?

    The question remains pertinent.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports today that military bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods resulted in "4 civilians killed and 21 other wounded, including women and children."

    If the new prime minister of Iraq gave an order on Saturday to end these bombings then the Iraqi military is in open defiance of him and of civilian control.

    If that is the case, the US government is legally forbidden from training and supplying the Iraqi military.

    This isn't a minor point and the failure of the press and of the Congress to raise this issue is appalling.

    Equally true, Hagel and Dempsey insisting repeatedly in the hearing that the Iraqi military and government are standing up?

    They did that on the same day that the Iraqi Parliament has refused to confirm the nominees for Minister of the Interior and Minister of Defense. Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports, "Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi put forward Sunni lawmaker Jaber al-Jabberi as his candidate for defense minister, and Shiite lawmaker Riyad Ghareeb as his pick for interior minister. Parliament, which could confirm the nominees with a simple majority, voted 118-117 against Ghareeb, and 131-108 against al-Jabberi."

    At a time when the Iraqi government -- if not the Iraqi people -- are asking for various foreign fighters and weapons, they can't even get it together to fill the heads of the security ministries?

    Anyone remembering US President Barack Obama's talk about how the Iraqi government would have to demonstrate this and that to get US military support?

    Let's go back to the hearing to note this:

    Gen Martin Dempsey: If we were to take Basher Assad off the table, we'd have a much harder time forming a coalition but I think what you'r hearing us express is an ISIL first situation.  I don't think we'll find ourselves in that situation --

    Senator John McCain: You don't think that the Free Syrian Army is going to fight against Bashar Asad who has been decimating them?  You think these people you're training will only go back to fight against ISIL?  Do you really believe that, General?

    Gen Martin Dempsey:  What I believe, Senator, is that as we train them and develop a military chain of command linked to a military structure that we can establish objectives that defer that challenge into the future, we do not have to deal with it now.

    Senator John McCain:  That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire concept and motivation of the Free Syrian Army. 

    Let's turn to the ongoing violence that Barack's bombings are/were supposed to solve.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command declared they killed 2 suspects in Mahmudiyah and that they killed 4 people who they hope were terrorists via a Halabsah air strike, a US military aerial bombing in Mosul resulted in 12 deaths, Ibrahim Jihad Hamad ("Associate Director of the Integrity Commission in Kirkuk") was shot dead outside his home, a Tikrit mortar attack left 4 people dead,
    Babylon Operations Command announced they killed 15 people via an air strike, a Baghdad bus bombing killed 1 person and left seven more injured, a Tuz Khurmato bombing left 1 person dead and eight more injured, an armed clash in al-Siger left 4 rebels dead, 9 people were killed in mortar attacks "south of Dhuluiya," while, in Dhuluiya, a rocket attack killed 3 women, 2 children and 3 men, and 1 corpse was discovered dumped in the streets of Baghdad.

    And that's just some of today's violence.

    The State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted the following today:

    The photo?  This White House press release covers it:

    The White House

    Office of the Press Secretary

    Readout of the President’s Meeting with General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Ambassador Brett McGurk, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy

    The President met today at the White House with General John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and Ambassador Brett McGurk, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy. The President underscored the importance of maximizing coordination with allies and partners to build a strong coalition with broad international participation. The President stressed that the comprehensive approach to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL requires a wide range of political, diplomatic, military, economic and other efforts. He also expressed his deep appreciation for the work and sacrifices of U.S. servicemen and women as well as diplomats engaged in the struggle to counter ISIL. The President thanked General Allen for his many years of service in uniform and for continuing, since his retirement, to serve his country in a civilian capacity.

    Let's go out with music.

    The rock band Jethro Tull has a lasting place in musical history.    Ian Anderson was a lead singer and guitar player in the band.  October 5th, Ian will be donating his time and talent with a concert in Richmond, Virginia:

    Join the Global Campaign against IED’s on Sunday, October 5, 2014 for a special night with Ian Anderson to honor our veterans, first responders, and to raise awareness of the global threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
    All proceeds from the concert go to support programs helping our heroes and responding to the threat from IEDs.
    There will be a pre-show VIP reception, special guests, and other events honoring our heroes. You can even snap a photo with “the man himself” after watching the show from your private backstage box if you enter and win “The Ultimate Fan Experience with Ian Anderson”!
    You can also attend a special “Dinner in the Dark” to honor war blinded veterans on October 4, 2014 in Richmond. For special advanced reservations for the show and all related events and to enter the Ultimate Fan contest, follow this link (www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/Tull) – even if you can’t attend the show, please consider donating to support this worthy cause.

    “We don’t always ask our leaders to take us into war, but we all seek to help bring democratic freedoms and human rights – especially for women and children – to troubled nations throughout the world. On behalf of the brave young men and women of our troops abroad, I urge you to support the victims of IED madness, now in need of rehabilitation and care. For them and their families, please support the Global Campaign against IEDs.” – Ian Anderson


    wise up, binoy kampmark

    that's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Peace Fake" from sunday night.

    and click here for binoy kampmark at counterpunch - click if you want to read nonsense.

    it's 2014 and binoy's slobbering over fake ass barbara lee and how, in 2001, she didn't vote for the 'terrorism' authorization.

    binoy, if you can stop eating her out for a moment, that was 13 years ago.

    as janet once put it, 'i know you used to do nice stuff for me but what have you done for me lately?'

    the minute barack was sworn in, babsie lee became a useless bitch.

    year after year, she promised to do something if barack didn't pull troops out of afghanistan.

    we're in year 6 of his presidency.

    troops remain in afghanistan.

    babsie is a damn liar.

    and this 'terrorist' legislation she voted against?

    she's given lip service to overturning it for years now.

    never did overturn it.

    but she's just another useless whore for barack.  see ava and c.i.'s 'TV: Barack's Delusional Love Slaves' for more on that topic.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    Monday, September 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a big meet-up in Paris plots how to bring more violence to Iraq, Barack continues to fumble, and much more.

    A lot of talk about Iraq is passed off as reporting in today's spin cycle.

    Real reporting from Iraq would focus on real issues such as the question of was an order given or not?

    Because if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to obey it, there would be no reason for the US government and others to come to the 'aid' of government.

    Third's "Editorial: The bombing of civilians continues in Iraq" noted Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered an end to the military bombing civilian targets on Saturday.

    That's what al-Abadi declared publicly.

    Yet on Sunday,  Falluja General Hospital was bombed and, in addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted the bombings of residential neighborhoods in Falluja also continued with 6 civilians left dead  and 22 more injured.

    Was al-Abadi lying on Saturday?

    Or did the Iraqi military ignored orders given by the prime minister?

    If it's the latter, if an order was given and the Iraqi military refused to follow it, there's no point in any foreign government 'helping' at this point.

    And if the issue is a politician who lied?

    That's damaging in its own way.  Alice Fordham (Sunday Weekend Edition, NPR -- link is text and audio) spoke with US Col Derek Harvey about the Sahwa -- mainly Sunni forces who were instrumental to reducing violence and who were among those targeted by the recently former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:

    FORDHAM: Harvey thinks as many as a quarter of them [Sahwa]  fought alongside the Islamic State this year. He says that everything depends on the new government led by new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who will have...

    HARVEY: ...To work and legitimize local defense forces and empower Sunni-Arab political leaders of all stripes in these provinces.

    FORDHAM: Abadi's been in power for almost a week now and is making all the right promises. But political wrangling has stopped the appointment of an interior or defense minister. And Harvey says this plan won't work until there's tangible political progress here. Alice Fordham, NPR News, Baghdad.

    And then there's that issue, noted as an aside:  The country still has no Minister of the Interior or Minister of Defense.  There were none in Nouri's second term and the new prime minister has faced resistance and hostility to his nominees for the post -- resistance and hostility from Parliament.

    This is no time for these positions to be empty.

    Barack likes to say the government of Iraq (that the US installed) wants 'our help' but how can you help someone who repeatedly refuses to fill the posts that would protect their own country?

    The press isn't pursuing that question -- or any others -- because they're too busy rushing to support and encourage war.

    John Irish and Jason Szep (Reuters) note, "World powers backed military measures on Monday to help defeat Islamic State fighters in Iraq, boosting Washington's efforts to set up a coalition, but made no mention of the tougher diplomatic challenge next door in Syria."

    This was the big takeaway from the meet-up in France today.  Cassandra Vinograd (NBC News) reports Francois Hollande, the President of France, presided over a meeting of various world officials -- including US Secretary of State John Kerry -- in Paris in which they will supposedly address issues in Iraq.
    The only issue for them was the Islamic State and how to combat it with violence.  And while they talked, violence continued.  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes, "Diplomats from 30 countries met in Paris today to discuss the Islamic State situation in Iraq. The Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry held its own meeting with representatives from seven countries. Attacks and battles left at least 86 dead and 22 wounded."

    Reuters quotes Hollande asking, "What is the threat?"

    Any notion that this was going to address real issues quickly vanished as it became obvious Hollande was not asking for input but being rhetorical.  Answering his own question, he declared, "It is global so the response must be global... Iraq's fight against the terrorists is also our fight. We must commit ourselves together -- that is the purpose of this conference."  All Iraq News notes he insisted the Islamic State is a "threat to world peace."  This despite the fact that, unlike France, the Islamic State has confined its war actions to Iraq and Syria while France has pretty much spun the globe.

    For years, the world has allowed things to worsen in Iraq until an Islamic State could be built and fostered.  Now they want to 'address' the product and not the conditions that produced it in the first place.
    That's never an answer.

    Among those representing Iraq at the conference is Iraqi President Fuad Masoum.  All Iraq News notes he and Hollande held a joint press conference today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports on a speech he gave:

    Masum said in his speech in the International Conference on peace and security for Iraq, in the French capital Paris that: "Iraq needs more military support to eliminate terrorism, especially after the qualitative transformation in terrorist operations, from scattered criminal operations to the establishment of a terrorist state" stressing: "The occupation of the Islamic State to the safe areas did not exclude religion or sect or nationality and its crimes affected women, elderly and children."

    He added: "The goals of the terrorists and their danger became clear now through their speeches, to occupy all the areas under their control, and the presence of foreign fighters within the (IS) and using modern technologies and passed traditional thought in its work, represents a new threat to regional and international powers," adding: "the terrorists are still using the policy of "with us or against us" and through this way and curriculum killed thousands of men, women, children and elderly in areas they had controlled. "

    He continued: Dozens of families are still suffering from the control and influence of this terrorist organization since months after they prevent them from immigration, and have committed genocide in the areas under their control by the so-called Sharia courts, stressing that the terrorist organization violated holy sites and places of worship and civilization has existed since thousands of years in areas they had controlled. "

    Let's pretend for a moment.  In our little exercise, the aims of Barack and others to kill every member of the Islamic State worked.  It's never happened before but in our exercise/pretense it did.
    Does that mean it's over?
    Because the conditions that allowed the Islamic State to rise up and take root continue to exist.
    Instead of bombing anything, it would make more sense to address those conditions.
    Doing so would rob IS of popular support.
    Doing so would mean many in IS would be leaving it, turning against it.
    The bombing and killing?
    You better be prepared to do that for decades and to wipe out everyone.
    Because otherwise, some people are going to grow up feeling wronged and those people are going to want justice.
    Already the bombing campaign is angering old foes of the US in Iraq.  For example, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is objecting to the outside 'interest' in Iraq's affairs.  National Iraqi News Agency reports he issued a statement:

    Sadr said in a statement carried his signature and stamp today, " The / Black House / decided to launch attacks on Iraqi territory and this American decision perhaps came after its remorse to its fake withdraw."
    He added: " if you came back again we will back."
    Sadr added, "the government should not get help from the occupier whatever, even under the pretext of (the Islamic State), which is not exist except in the imagination, but is a creature of Americans."

    Moqtada is not a minor figure.  He is popular exactly because he gives voice to the thoughts of many.  

    Tom Vanden Brook and William M. Welch (USA Today) report, "The United States launched airstrikes in Iraq on Monday in what defense officials said is the start of an expanded action against Islamic State extremists. The U.S. military's Central Command said both fighter and attack aircraft conducted separate airstrikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi forces southwest of Baghdad and near Sinjar, Iraq."
    Moqtada was speaking as this change was taking place.  For those who don't grasp what's changed, Eyder Peralta (NPR) explains:

    In an August interview with The New York Times, President Obama vowed that "the United States had no intention of 'being the Iraqi air force.'"
    But, then in a prime-time speech to the American public, Obama announced a broader mission against the Islamic State, saying the United States ultimately wanted to "destroy" the Sunni militant group.
    Of today's bombing, AFP notes, "They bring the number of US air strikes across Iraq to 162."
    So Barack's 'plan' is to carry out 1,620 air strikes?  Or 16,200 air strikes?  
    What's the magic number that suddenly makes bombing an answer?
    There is no magic number.  There is just bombing.  And Barack's not going to be able to kill every member of IS but these bombings certainly will result in the birthing of new members of the Islamic State. 
    The United Nations News Centre noted:
          14 September 2014 – Sustained funding and support will be vital if the United Nations and its partners are to continue assisting the millions of Iraqis affected by the ongoing crisis in the country, particularly as winter approaches, the world body's top humanitarian official said on Sunday.

    Addressing reporters in Baghdad, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos highlighted the very serious humanitarian crisis resulting from the surge in violence between armed groups and Government forces which has left 1.8 million people internally displaced and hundreds of thousands in need of assistance.

    “Some families have been displaced multiple times and have been left terrified by what has happened to them,” she stated. “Winter is fast approaching and there is a huge amount of work needed to ensure that families have protection from the cold.”

    During her visit to the country, Ms. Amos visited the Khanke camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dohuk, one of the largest in the country.

    “I heard horrendous stories of violence and brutality from 'Da'ash' on ordinary children, women and men,” she said, using another name for the armed group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    She added that as the international community works together with the Government to tackle the rising levels of conflict and brutality across Iraq and also Syria being meted out by 'Da'ash' and other armed groups, it is important to also remember the humanitarian impact.
    That's a way to address some of the conditions in Iraq, by focusing on aiding those in need.
    Sadly, the War Hawks in the administration are only focused on killing.
    All Iraq News reports John Kerry boasted in Paris today that many countries are offering "to send troops into Iraq."  That's diplomacy?
    Sounds like stupidity.
    How does he think statements like that play out in Iraq to the Iraqi people?  
    He doesn't.
    But Iraq suffered sanctions -- US-imposed -- in the 90s and is still in the midst of the war that began in 2003 by the US-led invasion.  What the US-installed government is calling 'help' can look a lot like another form of occupation to the Iraqi people.
    A working State Dept would grasp that.
    But Kerry's too busy playing War Hawk and stroking the War Machine to register reality.
    At the State Dept press briefing today, moderated by spokesperson Marie Hart, the world got a look at just how dysfunctional it had become.  Excerpt.

    MS. HARF: Good afternoon. Happy Monday, everyone. Welcome to the daily press briefing. I have a few items at the top, and then open it up for your questions.
    First, Secretary Kerry will travel to New York on Friday, September 19th to chair a ministerial debate of the United Nations Security Council on Iraq as part of the U.S. presidency of the council for the month of September. Secretary Kerry will convene the council to demonstrate broad and unified international support for the new Iraqi Government and emphasize the need for broad political inclusivity as the new government pursues its agenda on behalf of the Iraqi people. In addition, the council session will also provide a platform for the international community to underscore its support for Iraq’s new government as it fights against ISIL and responds to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that ISIL is spreading. Lastly, the council session will highlight support for Iraq’s further reintegration into the region and the international community. The debate will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday. Secretary Kerry will return to New York on Sunday, September 21st, to begin his UNGA schedule, which we’ll have more details on later this week.
    Second item at the top: The United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the so-called regional and local elections in Crimea on September 14th and will not acknowledge their outcome. Our position on Crimea remains clear: The peninsula remains an integral part of Ukraine. The United States continues to condemn the Russian Federation’s occupation and purported annexation of Ukrainian territory and its violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in breach of its obligations and commitments under the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and its military basing agreements with Ukraine. We call on Russia to return Crimea to its rightful status as part of Ukraine. We are also concerned about wide-scale reports of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea being forced to give up their Ukrainian passports for Russian passports and reports of routine human rights abuses against Crimean Tatars and other minorities and pro-Ukrainian activists, such as killings, disappearances, detentions, and raids on private homes and businesses. These abuses are unacceptable and we call for an immediate end to such practices.
    And finally, a trip update. Secretary Kerry is in Paris today participating in the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq. Additionally, he will – had or has already had – obviously, the schedule’s ongoing – bilateral meetings with French Foreign Minister Fabius, the Lebanese foreign minister, the Dutch foreign minister, Iraqi President Masum, and Qatari Foreign Minister al-Attiyah.
    That is it.

    QUESTION: Okay.

    MS. HARF: Get us started.

    QUESTION: Okay. Let’s start with Iraq.

    MS. HARF: Okay.

    QUESTION: And just first with a logistical question about the meeting on Friday.

    MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

    QUESTION: Is that – is it your expectation that that will foreign ministers, all foreign ministers, or you’re not --

    MS. HARF: I can check on participation. I know that’s still being worked out, obviously. He’s chairing it, but we can check on specific participation and at what level.

    QUESTION: Okay. And then related to that – so he will leave New York, or he will definitely not have any schedule on Saturday until --

    MS. HARF: In New York.

    QUESTION: -- Sunday – sometime on Sunday? Is that correct?

    MS. HARF: Correct. Yes. We don’t want people to think he’s up there Friday for the duration.

    QUESTION: Okay. All right. So on Iraq and the coalition and Secretary Kerry’s travels, I realize that this has been – there was a lengthy discussion of this at the White House, so I think that a lot of questions have been answered or they’ve been --

    MS. HARF: Great. I will always let them go out to the podium first. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: Right. But I – you saw this – these reports from Iran with the Supreme Leader. He said when he left the hospital that both your ambassador in Baghdad, Ambassador Beecroft, and the Secretary made direct outreaches, made outreaches to Iranian – well, the ambassador to the Iranian ambassador and Secretary Kerry to Foreign Minister Zarif – about the situation in Iraq. Is that --

    QUESTION: About the situation where?

    QUESTION: In Iraq.

    QUESTION: Yeah.

    QUESTION: With ISIL. Is that – one, is that true? And two, if it is – even if it isn’t true, can – have there been – what kind of contacts have there been other than the ones that you have already spoken to between Deputy Secretary Burns and others on the side of the P5+1?

    MS. HARF: Well, we don’t outline every diplomatic discussion publicly that we have. We’ve said we’ve talked about it on the sidelines of the P5+1 talks, as you mentioned. We’ll be continuing these talks on the nuclear issue starting this week at UNGA, so there may be additional opportunities for conversations. We’re not going to outline every discussion we have, but to be very clear, we are not coordinating with, we do not want to coordinate with, we are not planning to coordinate with Iran in any way on Iraq, period. So obviously, we’re open to having a discussion with them. We won’t always outline all of those discussions. But in terms of the content of what those discussions might look like, we are not coordinating with them.

    QUESTION: And there has been no approach to them either in – there’s been no approach to them in Baghdad through the ambassadors?

    MS. HARF: I’m not confirming one way or the other any reports of contact. As we’ve said, there are a variety of ways we can talk, but again, don’t always outline all of those publicly.

    QUESTION: But what you’re saying is that any contact that you have had and may have in the future will 
    not be an ask of Iran; is that right?

    MS. HARF: Correct, absolutely correct.

    QUESTION: Okay.

    QUESTION: Wait a minute. Not coordinating is different from not asking them something.

    MS. HARF: Well, he was – but the reports were about asking to coordinate.

    QUESTION: Right.

    MS. HARF: Correct? So that’s what I was referring to.

    QUESTION: The Secretary of State personally asks Zarif and he rejected the request.

    MS. HARF: So I was --

    QUESTION: So it says nothing that Iran – there’s nothing – in these meetings they haven’t been set up so that Iran – you’re expecting a response, yes or no, from Iran; is that correct?

    MS. HARF: We’re certainly not discussing coordinating with them because we’re not going to be coordinating with them.

    QUESTION: Well, there’s a question – is there anything for the Iranians to say no to?

    MS. HARF: I have – I mean, I don’t even know – I’m sure they could say no to something.

    QUESTION: Well, they say – I mean he says no, we said no – right from the start, the U.S. asked through its ambassador whether we would cooperate against Daesh.

    MS. HARF: And I just said we are not going to cooperate --

    QUESTION: Not. So there --

    MS. HARF: So obviously, that would follow that we haven’t asked them to.

    QUESTION: Okay. So there is nothing for the Iranians to say no to?

    MS. HARF: Well, not necessarily. If we say hypothetically, as I said publicly, we’d like you to support the inclusive government --

    QUESTION: Oh, okay. All right.

    MS. HARF: I guess then --

    QUESTION: As far as you understand --

    MS. HARF: -- technically that could be a yes or no question.

    QUESTION: But the Iranians – as far as you know, the Iranians have at least gone along with supporting an inclusive government?

    MS. HARF: I haven’t heard otherwise.

    QUESTION: All right. Sorry, Arshad.

    MS. HARF: Yeah, I just wanted to be clear on that for you, so --

    QUESTION: What is – can you explain what you’re talking to them about? If you’re not talking about coordinating against IS, what are you – and you’re not asking them to do anything, what are you talking to them about?

    MS. HARF: Well, I’ve actually said publicly that we’re asking every country in the region to support the new – including Iran – to support the new inclusive government in Iraq, to channel any assistance to the Iraqi security forces, not to militias or others. Again, I’m not saying these are actual things we’ve said privately to the Iranians; but in general, what I’ve said publicly is that is our message to the Iranians.

    QUESTION: So – but then what are you asking them? If that’s your message to the Iranians, are you not saying that to them in private, too?

    MS. HARF: Well, I’m not going to outline our private discussions with them from the podium.

    QUESTION: So you can’t tell us what you’ve actually discussed with them privately; all you can say is that you’re not going to coordinate with them and you’re not asking them to coordinate?

    MS. HARF: Correct.

    QUESTION: But there’s a lot you could do other short of coordinating with them.

    MS. HARF: Like what?

    QUESTION: Well, I mean, you outlined some of it. You talked about even if you’re not coordinating with them, you’re asking them not to fund Iraqi militias. Is that coordination or is that not coordination? I guess in your definition it’s not coordination?

    MS. HARF: Well, I didn’t say we were asking them that privately. I said in general, what I’ve said publicly is our message to the Iranians is everyone in the region should support this new government. That’s not a secret.

    QUESTION: Right.

    MS. HARF: That everyone should funnel their support to the Iraqi security forces. I think the report Matt is referencing is a report about coordinating military action, which we have been very clear we are not going to do. And we’re not coordinating with the Iranians on activities inside of Iraq. We’re making clear privately what we say publicly, and they can make their own decisions.

    QUESTION: So – okay, so you are making clear privately what you’ve said publicly and what you just referenced about what you’ve said publicly about your desire that they not fund – that nobody fund --

    MS. HARF: I’m not getting into specifics, but that we think every country should support the Iraqi security forces if they’re going to private support in this fight here.

    QUESTION: But you’re not willing to admit that you’ve said that privately even though you just said we’re saying to them privately what we’re saying publicly?

    MS. HARF: I just said, Arshad, that I’m happy to say we are telling everyone we talk to, including the Iranians, that any support should be given to the new government and to the Iraqi security forces.

    QUESTION: And --

    MS. HARF: That is as detailed as I’m going to get about what we say privately to the Iranians.

    QUESTION: If the report is wrong that they have rejected your entreaties or your floating the idea of some kind of cooperation --

    MS. HARF: Because we haven’t.

    QUESTION: -- so why not try to give people some understanding of what you’re trying to get from them?

    MS. HARF: Because we don’t think the way to handle this diplomatically is to talk about our private discussions publicly.

    All that time wasted and why?
    Because Marie and the State Dept want to split hairs over what sort of relationship they are or are not creating with Iran currently.
    That's the sort of thing that they focus on, they that obsess over.

    Meanwhile Al Arabiya News reports France has now joined England in sending spy planes into Iraqi air space to carry out "surveillance flights."

    So you have other countries now aping the already questionable behavior of the United States.

    When the Iraqi people register their offense over these attacks -- and they will -- will they be listened to?

    Or will it be like the most recent round where for years they called for all foreign troops to leave their country and, after 8 years, most had left?

    If there's a way to improve things, the White House will stumble past it and focus on something else.  Which may be why US President Barack Obama suffers so badly in the polls.  The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page reminds, "A USA Today-Pew Research Center poll later in August found 54 percent of Americans thought Obama was 'not tough enough.' A Washington Post-ABC poll released Friday similarly found Obama’s approval rating on foreign affairs slipping to a new low of 37 percent among women, almost matching his 38 percent among men."