flu shot

having already upset some of you with my take on sunday's 'revenge' (worst episode of the show ever), i'm going to hold off on 'scandal' and use the excuse that i got a flu shot today and those always make me sick.

in fact, let me blog about that.

i got my flu shot today and i'm on the phone with 1 of my sisters, the know-it-all in the medical profession.

'the flu shot cannot make you sick.'

that's what she tells me even though every year i'm sick for a day or 2 after i get a shot.

'the flu shot cannot make you sick.  it's a dead virus.'


so we're on the phone and she's googling all over and cdc this and who that and blah blah blah.

then she gets to something, i think at web md, about the side effects.

'uh-oh,' she says. then she laughs.  'the side-effects are the flu.'


and i get those every year.

so stop your crap about 'the flu shot cannot make you sick.'

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the Iraqi Parliament meets and then adjourns until Saturday, the White House's 'diplomacy' team heads home, CNN's Elise Labott forces the Pentagon spokesperson to dance, and much more.

US Vice President Joe Biden has two sons: Beau and Hunter.  Hunter is in the news.  Eric Brander (CNN) reports that Hunter Biden's February 2014 discharge from the Navy Reserve was an "administrative discharge" after he tested positive for cocaine.  I know Joe (and like Joe) and we're not going to be accused or hiding what happened.  But we're also not a gossip site so let's note that drug use takes place in all families, that the military especially needs to up their efforts to address drug use and addiction.

Hunter is an adult and responsible for his own decisions and, if he has an addiction, the treatment of his disease.  He has issued a statement today taking responsibility.

Falling down doesn't define us, how we brush ourselves off and resume our journey does.  All eyes are on Hunter right now and that's not a comfortable place for anyone to be in.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari is a former prime minister of Iraq and is currently the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  National Iraqi News Agency reports he held a press conference today to announce "that there was no state party which asked to bring ground troops to Iraq."

That's a nice thought.  Not a clear one, not an honest one, but a nice one.

Earlier this month, Laura Smith-Spark, Ben Wedeman and Greg Botellho (CNN) reported on Anbar Provincial Council's request for US forces for combat.  They're provincial and not federal but that call was significant and only becomes more so.  But you can ignore that.

And I guess if you pretend hard enough, you can convince yourself that all the US forces Barack sent over since June are something other than 'ground troops.'

Barack pretends otherwise, after all, and so do many Americans.  As Peter Certo (Other Words) observes:

If Barack Obama owes his presidency to one thing, it was the good sense he had back in 2002 to call the Iraq War what it was: “dumb.”

Now, with scarcely a whisper of debate, Obama has become the fourth consecutive U.S. president to bomb Iraq — and in fact has outdone his predecessors by spreading the war to Islamic State targets in Syria as well. With the Pentagon predicting that this latest conflict could rage for three years or longer, Obama is now poised to leave behind a Middle East quagmire that closely resembles the one he was elected to end.

But before Ibrahim gets crowned the great pretender, check out Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby.  In the grand tradition of the crossovers on The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man, today the Pentagon and the State Dept held a joint press conference.  During the press conference, CNN's Elise Labott nailed him and Kirby just pretended otherwise.

RADM KIRBY: Thanks. Thank you. Thanks, Jen. Thanks for welcoming me over here. As Jen said, this is something we’ve been talking about for a long time. We just work together so closely every single day that we thought this was a good idea. And now I’m going to beg her to come over to the Pentagon and do it in our briefing room as well. So that’ll be the next iteration of this.
I just want to update you on – quickly on two military operations that the Defense Department has been focused on in recent weeks: our efforts against ISIL, of course, and our efforts in the Ebola response in West Africa.
With regard to the counter-ISIL effort, Operation Inherent Resolve – we just officially unveiled that name yesterday – U.S. forces conducted 14 airstrikes near the town of Kobani yesterday and today. Initial reports that we’re getting from Central Command indicate that those strikes successfully hit 19 ISIL buildings, two command posts, three fighting positions, three sniper positions, one staging location, and one heavy machine gun. Very precise targeting. With these airstrikes, we took advantage of the opportunity to hit ISIL as they attempt to mass their forces and combat power on the Kurdish-held positions – or portions, I’m sorry, of Kobani. While the security situation there does remain tenuous, ISIL’s advances appear to have slowed and we know that we have inflicted damage upon them.
On our response to Ebola in West Africa, Operation United Assistance, our forces on the ground in Liberia continue to make progress in setting up infrastructure and facilities to support the international response. Setup has been complete on the 25-bed hospital, and we expect it to be fully operational, with U.S. public health service medical workers taking responsibility for that unit next week. Meanwhile, personnel from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center continue to operate three mobile medical labs, which provide 24-hour turnaround results on samples. To date, they have processed more than 1,200 total samples. And lastly, construction continues on the Ebola treatment facilities with the first expected to be completed by the end of the month.
And I want to emphasize, again, that no U.S. military personnel will be providing direct patient care to the local population. As my Pentagon colleagues have heard me say many times, we’re focused on four lines of effort and only four lines of effort: command and control, logistics support, training, and engineering.
With that --

MS. PSAKI: All right. Well, as we typically do, we’ll stay with one topic. We talked about this, so let’s try to do that if we can. I know yesterday was a little wild and wooly.
Go ahead, Matt.

QUESTION: Thank you. I’m looking forward to this. Double the pleasure, double the information, I hope. Right?

MS. PSAKI: Double the fun.

QUESTION: Double the fun.


QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: I just have one logistic question about this briefing. Are you, Admiral, going to be staying for the whole thing or are you going to leave?

RADM KIRBY: That depends on how --

QUESTION: All right, because I have a question that’s not related to either Ebola or ISIL for you.

RADM KIRBY: No, I’ll be here.


RADM KIRBY: I’ll be here the whole time.

QUESTION: All right. So let’s start with Kobani then. So in your comments just now in talking about the progress that the operation has made --


QUESTION: -- does this mean that saving Kobani from falling has now become a priority in the campaign?

RADM KIRBY: Well, we’ve been focused on Kobani for a long time. This isn’t the first day that we’ve done strikes there. We’ve been doing them for a long time. What makes Kobani significant is the fact that ISIL wants it. And the more they want it, the more forces and resources they apply to it, the more targets that are available for us to hit there. I said it yesterday, keep saying it: Kobani could still fall. Our military participation is from the air and the air only right now, and we’ve all been honest about the fact that air power alone is not going to be able to save any town in particular.

QUESTION: Right. But you and other officials, including Jen, have said in the past that – or indicated, and Secretary Kerry has as well, that losing Kobani or Kobani falling to ISIL is not a huge strategic loss, and now it seems like you’re really ramping up the effort to keep it – to prevent it – to prevent it from falling. And I’m just wondering, has the decision been made within the Administration that the propaganda or other symbolic – a symbolic victory in Kobani would be too much to stomach, from your – an ISIL victory in Kobani would be too much?

RADM KIRBY: I think we’ve been pretty consistent about the fact that we need to all be prepared for other towns and other cities to fall too. This group wants ground. They want territory, they want infrastructure. We all need to be prepared for them to continue to try to grab that, and succeed in taking it. There’s been no strategic shift here as far as I know, at least from the military perspective, about Kobani or any other town. What we’re trying to do in Syria – and this is an important point, Matt – in Syria we’re trying to deny safe haven and sanctuary. They want safe haven and sanctuary in Kobani; we’re trying to help not let that happen.
So Kobani matters from that perspective. It also matters tactically because, as I said, they’re putting more resources to the fight, so there are more targets. We’ve killed several hundred of their fighters in just these strikes in and around Kobani. It would be irresponsible for us not to try to target them in a more aggressive way as they become more aggressive around Kobani itself.
And the last thing is, frankly, it’s an issue of balancing resources. One of the reasons you’ve seen additional strikes in the last couple of days is because we haven’t been able to strike quite as much, quite as aggressively inside Iraq. There’s been terrible weather there, sandstorms this time of year. It’s made it very hard for us to get intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms up over to see what we’re trying to do in Iraq. So we’ve had resources available that we might not have otherwise had available to strike them there in Kobani. Does that answer your question?

QUESTION: Yeah, I think so.

QUESTION: Can I follow up?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Can I follow on that? Elise Labott with CNN. Welcome.


QUESTION: Yesterday, General Allen said that the increase in airstrikes in Kobani was for humanitarian purposes, and it sounds like now you’re saying that there’s more of a target. Rather than humanitarian aspects along the lines of what you did with the Yezidis, it sounds like this is more – you have more targets of opportunity.

RADM KIRBY: It is that. There’s a humanitarian component to it, no question about it.

QUESTION: Well, there wasn’t last week. I mean, it didn’t seem last week that there was.

RADM KIRBY: No, there’s a – there was a humanitarian component to it. But we don’t estimate that – right now, we think there’s hundreds, not thousands, of citizens remaining in Kobani. It fluctuates and it changed, but we believe most of the population is out of there. That doesn’t mean they’re out of danger, though, and so there is a humanitarian component to this. If we can help the Kurdish militia keep Kobani – keep ISIL out of Kobani, then you by default are helping protect the population that remains there. And so there is a component to it.

QUESTION: So is it more now that you feel that as long as you have targets, you’ll continue to strike them, or is it now you’ve made the decision that come hell or high water you’re going to make sure that this town doesn’t fall?

RADM KIRBY: We are going to continue – I think it’s a great question. We are on the offense against these guys. There’s this narrative out there that they’re opportunistic and they’re adaptive and they’re agile. Nobody is more opportunistic or agile or adaptive than the United States military, and so we’re going to continue to go after them wherever they are and wherever we can.
There’s going to be a limit, though. You can’t just hit every place you know them to be, because we do – unlike them, we have to be discreet and discriminant about collateral damage and civilian casualties. So we’re going to hit them where we can, where we can do it effectively, have an effect on their ability to sustain themselves and to operate, but without having a bad effect – a negative effect – on the surrounding population.

QUESTION: But it’s – but you said it still could fall and that --


QUESTION: -- wouldn’t mean that your goals weren’t achieved.

RADM KIRBY: That’s – our goals have not changed with respect to going after ISIL in Syria or in and around Kobani. And I said it yesterday, I’ll say it again: That town could still fall. We all need to be prepared for that possibility.

Pretenders also include the Iraqi Parliament which is back from its long holiday.  Kind of.   All Iraq News reports that today's session saw 217 MPs show up.  That might be good news were it not for the fact that Iraq's Parliament has 328 MPs.

So in the midst of multiple crises which have led other nations to contribute (wisely in the case of Germany which is sending doctors, poorly in the case of those dropping bombs), over 100 members of Parliament can't even show up for the sessions?

Thought Barack was going to be working on that political solution?

When exactly?

He's dropped bombs.  He's named his ridiculous bombing campaign.

Exactly when does he focus on the political?

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

So now you go home?

The Parliament takes two weeks off, finally comes back into session and that's when the US government decides to send what passes for a diplomatic team home?

Barack can -- and did -- attend a meet-up this week with approximately 20 defense ministers from various nations but when it's time to talk diplomacy, it's reduced to Blinken and McGurk?

No wonder there's still no move towards a political solution in Iraq.

In related news, NINA reports:

An informed source said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi request to extend the deadline to provide the names of the security ministers for 24 hours.
The source said in a press statement: "The prime minister, Haidar al-Abadi asked the parliament to extend the deadline to provide the names of the security minister for 24 hours." 

Sure, why not?

Iraq hasn't had either since March 2010, so why rush now?

Because Iraq's falling apart.

So they showed up today -- or about two-thirds did -- and did nothing and now, All Iraq News reports, they've decided to adjourn until Saturday.

They did this as violence rolled Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency notes a Ramadi suicide car bomber took his own life and the lives of 4 Iraqi security forces with five more left injured, a Mahmudiyah car bombing left 6 people dead and fifteen more injured, and2 Baiji home bombings left 17 family members dead and three more injured.  All Iraq News reports 11 corpses were discovered in Tikrit.  AP notes 2 car bombings in Baghdad's Dolaie section which left 14 people dead and thirty-four injured.  AP also notes the aftermath of the bombing:

Angry residents in the neighbourhood threw stones at police checkpoints and police cars that arrived to respond to the blasts, prompting police to withdraw from the area. Senior Iraqi officials have tried to reassure residents that the capital is too well-protected for militants to capture, even as they struggle to stop frequent near daily deadly attacks. 

On the topic of the Iraqi police, Elizabeth Palmer (CBS News) observes, "Basic training lasts 45 days. The young recruits are almost done. In two weeks, they'll be sent into combat. They're called police, but they're trained like the military."  A ton of money -- US tax payer money -- was already spent training the Iraqi police.

You may remember that the Minister of Interior said in the fall of 2011 that the US should find a better way to spend their money and that training wasn't needed.


You may remember that the man the US press insisted was the Minister of the Interior said that.  He wasn't the Minister.  The ministry was headless.  Nouri al-Maliki, thug and prime minister, refused to nominate anyone to head the security ministries.  Instead, he named flunkies 'acting ministers' which -- while unconstitutional -- allowed him to control the ministries.

So actually, the flunky was speaking on behalf of Nouri.

Now they need help.

One plan being tossed around was basically three sets of forces -- Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites -- making up a national guard.

The justification for this was probably best explained by Fareed Zakaria (CNN's Global Public Square), "Billions of dollar poured into it, because it was based on the idea that there was an Iraq, that there was a nation that there would be a national army for. Maybe we need a different strategy, which is to stand up sectarian militias, Shia militias, Sunni militias. They already exist. And the Kurds have their Peshmerga, that model. Send them into fight in their areas, not in other areas where they would be regarded as a foreign army."

That notion appears to be dead now.  Tamer el-Ghobashy (Wall St. Journal) reports:

Momentum has swung against the proposal to create a national guard that would encompass local forces in Iraq’s provinces as rival political blocs expressed reservations over who would be allowed into the new service and how funding would be allocated.
The Obama administration has pushed the national guard proposal as a way to bring minority Sunnis closer to the Shiite-dominated central government after years of policies espoused by former Prime Minister Iraqi Nouri al-Maliki that excluded them.

So the police are being rushed through training, the national guard idea appears dead, Shi'ite militias terrorize Sunnis throughout Iraq.  On those militias, NINA quotes Kirkuk's Sheikh Othman Agha calling for "a solution to the militias, which are spread in public roads and highways being contrary to the Constitution and detrimental to the national interest and harmony among citizens of one nation."

It's a shame the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior aren't addressing these issues and --

Oh, wait, again there is no Minister of Defense and there is no Minister of Interior.

All Iraq News reports rumors that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi intends to make new nominations for the post on Saturday: Khalid al-Ubaidi for Minister of Defense and the always controversial Ahmed Chalabi for Minister of Interior.

On violence . . .

  •  .

    Winding down, the following community sites posted today:

  • Also, earlier this week, Mike's "The Invasion," Stan's "Halloween," Marcia's "Aliens," Ann's "Insidious," Elaine's "Scream," Ruth's "The Omen,"  Rebecca's "rosemary's baby," Betty's "The Exorcist," Trina's "The Believers" and Kat's "The Birds" were entries in a theme on favorite horror movies.


    revenge recap


    no, i didn't forget.

    i've just never been more underwhelmed by an episode of the show.

    i was hoping, if i gave it time, i'd realize the problem was me.

    it wasn't.

    victoria pulls a gun on emily and it's not even a riveting moment?

    yep, that's how bad it was.

    it's not helped by the continued presence of frenchie who, even with a bad makeover, remains a lousy actress.

    there was way too much of her and daniel.

    and if officer ben is not going to go anywhere as a character (he flirted with emily again), drop him.

    yeah, he's hot as hell.  but write the actor a character and a storyline, or get him off the air.

    (or at least get him undressed.  i don't see why, in the summer heat of the hamptons, officer ben couldn't go on patrol in just his bvds.  do you?)


    i could rip the character apart.

    but the reality is the problem sunday was the writers.

    everything demanded that she be front and center and instead she watched on the sidelines as her mother pulled a gun on emily (her sister).

    a lot of e-mails are complaining about jack's new haircut.

    i would suggest that if he'd lighten his hair, it wouldn't be so bad.

    i have no idea - again, the show is set during the summer at the beach - why jack's got to have such dark hair these days.  (his natural color, were he out in the sun, would be much lighter.)

    the episode briefly came to life when, at the very end, david clarke broke into emily's home to try to kill the woman who's trying to destroy victoria and his daughter charlotte.

    he was going to stab her apparently (not knowing she was really his daughter amanda) but nolan saw an intruder on the security cameras and shot at him.

    i could note that the loony young woman from the nut house was stalking victoria who blew her off and now that woman's trying to get daniel but it's all so yawn inducing.

    again, worst episode of the show ever.

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

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri works to undermine the new prime minister, more US troops are sent into Iraq, CODESTINK's national coordinator reminds us all of how useless that trashy organization is, Susan Rice spins again, and much more.

    Let's start with stupid idiots.

    Alli McCracken of CODESTINK, get your ugly ass down here.

    You can apply any swear word to Alli, they all fit.

    She's another useless attention whore who pretends to be against this or that but really just diverts attention and criticism from Barack's War Crimes and actions of hostility while lying that she's for peace.

    She has a poorly written article at Dissident Voice where she congratulates herself for being kicked out of a Congressional hearing.  She was disruptive -- I was there -- and she had her moment and was taken out when she was bound and determined to be the junior I Need Attention Medea Benjamin.  Sorry, Alli, your little stunts don't amuse anyone.

    You and CODESTINK are real good at going after this or that Secretary of but real poor about criticizing Barack Obama -- well married-for-money (for currency, she gave herself like a nun to God) Jodie Evans was a Barack bundler and as co-founder of CODESTINK, she (mis)used the organization in 2008 to whore for Barack while attacking all of his Democratic rivals in the primaries.

    Only CODESTINK could think that was ethical.

    Only CODESTINK could think they could get away with that.

    A real organization would have forced Evans out.

    Alli reveals her own whorish nature throughout the column but it's most evident in this passage:

    Three years after my first disruption of Panetta, more than ever I stand by my words. I would do it again, and honestly, I probably will do it again. Whether it’s Leon Panetta, or Hillary Clinton. I’m horrified at the prospect of Clinton being the more “liberal” Presidential choice in 2016. If President Obama campaigned for hope and change, but ultimately enshrined some of Bush’s most egregious foreign policies, what are we in store for next from explicitly pro-war candidates?

    What did I say?  What did I say?

    Yes, she will rail against Secretaries of.  She will refuse to rail against Barack.

    It's there in her own words, whores have to reveal their prices, they have to get the money up front because after the john cums, he (or she) is less willing to pay as much.

    So Alli puts it into writing, the CODESTINK way (she is national coordinator of the pig sty), she will probably disrupt Leon or Hillary.

    But not Barack.

    She's just another whore working the street.

    One of many men and women who've spent the last six years ensuring that the US would remain in Iraq by lying for Barack, by refusing to hold him accountable and by constantly inventing 'scandals' to be outraged over.

    Meanwhile, Iraq's burned and erupted into multiple crises and the self-attention bitches of CODESTINK, so eager to 'fast' (Medea, want to tell the truth about your 'fast'? didn't think so) for Iraq in 2006 couldn't even call out the slaughter of Sunnis, of Iraq's LGBT community, of religious minorities and so much more.  As women's rights were under constant attack in Iraq, CODESTINK was busying propping up Barack (and, never forget, calling for US troops to remain in Afghanistan).

    And if you're not getting what a whore Alli is, she actually wrote this:

    Three years ago, during the height of the Occupy movement, I was ejected from a Congressional hearing for allegedly “assaulting” Leon Panetta, then Secretary of Defense and former Director of the CIA. He was testifying to the House Armed Services Committee about “lessons learned by the Department of Defense over the preceding decade.” I jumped out of my audience seat to tell him that young people were paying the price of those “lessons,” and we were sick of the government funding war instead of education. The baseless assault charges against me were ultimately dropped.

    Yes, Alli, the great injustice being done by, for example, the Iraq War was that people like you were being denied an education.  (Alli managed to graduate in 2010 somehow.)

    That was the great injustice.

    Not the Iraqis killed, not the ones wounded, not the ones born with deformities and defects due to the weapons the US government sent into Iraq.

    The great injustice, the all time great tragedy, was that you were denied a big spring break blow out in Daytona.

    I'm sure that the Iraqis who grieve over the family members and friends they have lost in this never-ending war are touched by your plight, Alli.

    (Again, since we are often translated, let me point out the last sentence was sarcasm.  Alli is self-obsessed bitch who lacks both intelligence and perspective.  In the face of over a million dead, her whine is about money -- and money that could have been spent on her and a group of people she's wrongly appointed herself the spokesperson of.)

    The bordello that is CODESTINK should have been shut down long ago on the grounds of endangering public health.

    US President Barack Obama's non-plan finally got a name and this the media could -- and did -- note.  But when Susan Rice lied (again) on a Sunday chat and chew did anyone blink?

    Chuck Todd?  As the latest host of Meet The Press, Todd's coming off stiff and staid on the long running NBC show and has many problems before you even get to his inability to pay attention to the guest speaking before him.

    We'll note this exchange from Sunday's Meet The Press:

    Considering what's going on in the Anbar Province, considering what's going on in Kobani, I know it's still early, barely two months into this operation against ISIS, but right now, does it feel as if we're degrading and destroying ISIS?
    Yes, Chuck. We are in the midst, in the early stages, as you-- acknowledged, of what is going to be, as President Obama said, a long-term effort. Let's recall what it is we're trying to do. We're trying over time to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL and prevent it from having permanent safe haven, from which it can conduct terrorist attacks against us or our partners in the region from the territory of Iraq or Syria.
    Now this is going to take time. Our efforts have various different lines of effort, as we've called them. On the one hand, we're trying to build up the capacity of the Iraqis, which means the Iraqi army, the Kurds, the peshmerga inside of Iraq who have over years, atrophied. They've become more sectarian. They've become less skilled in their ability to take the fight to ISIL.
    So we're building up that capacity and we have seen some success in that regard. On the Syrian side, we also have a larger-term challenge of supporting the moderate opposition and giving them, while they have great will, greater capacity to fight Assad and to fight ISIL.
    So this is going to take time. Our air campaign is off to a strong start and we've seen very important successes in places like Mosul Dam, Sinjar Mountain, where we were able to rescue many tens of thousands of civilians at risk. And this is going to take time. So it can't be judged by merely what happens in one particular town or in one particular region. This is going to take time and the American people need to understand that our aim here is long-term degradation and building the capacity of our partners.         

    War Hawk Susie can't stop lying.

    "Our air campaign is off to a strong start and we've seen very important successes in places like Mosul Dam, Sinjar Mountain, where we were able to rescue many tens of thousands of civilians at risk."?

    Everyone agreed to look the other way as the always trashy Susan Rice lied.

    Barack's 'plan'?

    You may remember that back in June Barack sent in a number of US troops ('advisors'!) to nose around.  They were going to be key to what he would decide to do.

    The Sinjar Mountain operation?   You can argue it started with Barack's August 7th address where he declares the US will begin bombing Iraq, "Today I authorized two operations in Iraq -- targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.  Let me explain the actions we’re taking and why."

    But it involved Australia and British forces dropping aid and, reportedly, Turkish war planes bombing.

    And it was really the Kurdish peshmerga doing work.  The estimates for the number of Yazidis trapped on the mountain is usually 50,000 (which a number of observers say is too high) with 30,000 said to have been provided safe passage by the peshmerga.

    It's funny that the old war whore Susan Rice wants to lecture about "what the American people need to know" while she flat out lies to them but, as for the long haul, her tired ass will be working the streets in two years.  And Benghazi will probably prevent future Democrats from bringing her into any administration.

    Meanwhile Barack's bombing passed off as a 'plan' finally got a name.  Robert Burns (AP) reports it's been christened Operation Inherent Resolve which Burns dubs "inherently bland."

    It got a name, it still lacks a purpose.

    August 11th, Barack declared:

    This advances the limited military objectives we’ve outlined in Iraq:  protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international partners to provide humanitarian aid.  But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL. 
    Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort.   Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President.  Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi.  Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities. 

    Earlier today, Vice President Biden and I called Dr. Abadi to congratulate him and to urge him to form a new cabinet as quickly as possible -- one that’s inclusive of all Iraqis, and one that represents all Iraqis.  I pledged our support to him, as well as to President Masum and Speaker Jabouri, as they work together to form this government.  Meanwhile, I urge all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the political process in the days ahead.

    That oft mention fabled political solution which now seems to have been little more than lip service.

    Tuesday, All Iraq News reported the Council of Ministers met today and did not -- did not -- address the 2014 budget.

    Iraq has still not passed a 2014 budget.

    The 2015 calendar year starts January 1st, yes.  The 2015 fiscal year?

    It started October 1st.

    Yet the Council of Ministers, in place for over a month now, just like the previous Council of Ministers they replaced, are unable to pass a budget that should have passed no later than September 30, 2013.

    And today National Iraqi News Agency reports that MP Siham al-Moussawi informs them that there is still no "agreement between the political blocs on the choice of candidates for security ministries so far."

    This is not minor.

    Nor is it surprising.

    It is outrageous.

    The Iraqi government would rather play helpless and useless and beg others -- including the US -- for weapons and fighters (yes, Americans dropping bombs on Iraq are in combat) than get off their own fat asses in the heavily protected Green Zone and do their damn job.

    When you're security situation is as bad as Iraq's is, you do not go weeks, let alone months, refusing to declare a Minister of Defense or a Minister of the Interior (the latter's over the federal police and many of the prisons).

    It is outrageous and it is not surprising.

    In 2010, the White House installed Nouri al-Maliki for a second term via the US-brokered Erbil Agreement, the press insisted it was okay Nouri refused to nominate people to head the security ministries, it was okay because he would do so in just a few weeks.

    And by "press," we're referring to the western press, not the Iraqi press.

    Nouri went four years, through his entire second term, and he never had people heading the security ministries because he refused to nominate them.

    This contributed to the crises, yes.  However, it also underscores that the current absence of people to head the security ministries is not surprising or something that the White House shouldn't have anticipated as a possibility.

    But they appear caught off guard yet again.

    August 9th, Barack engaged in the Socratic method, "Did we underestimate ISIL? I think that there is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the expectations of policymakers both in and outside of Iraq. And part of that is I think not a full appreciation of the degree to which the Iraqi security forces, when they’re far away from Baghdad, did not have the incentive or the capacity to hold ground against an aggressive adversary.

    Caught off guard then, caught off guard now.

    On even the most basic issues, the White House stumbles and falters.

    The same day, August 9th, Barack insisted, "So we’re going to be pushing very hard to encourage Iraqis to get their government together. Until we do that, it is going to be hard to get the unity of effort that allows us to not just play defense, but also engage in some offense."

    Barack has to reduce it to sports because if it's not game he loses interest so quickly (see his numerous unmet promises that 'now' he would begin focusing on the economy).

    In the August speeches, he was praising new Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

    But he's apparently done little to help al-Abadi and al-Abadi's also harmed himself and his image.  Dropping back to the September 27th snapshot:

    So is Haider al-Abadi a liar or powerless?
    A number of people are saying powerless and noting articles like this one at Kitabat which maintains that Nouri is refusing to leave the palace he's lived in since 2006, the housing of the prime minister.  And that even high ranking members of Dawa (Nouri's political party) attempting or persuade Nouri that he must leave and allow al-Abadi to move in have failed.
    An image is taking hold.  I'm not surprised.

    Nouri should have been run out of the country.

    He's a War Criminal, among other things.  He should have to account for the riches he's accumulated while prime minister of Iraq and how his son now affords pricey London digs and a fleet of sports cars.

    Instead, he's been allowed to keep the money he's stolen from the Iraqi people and walk the streets of the heavily fortified Green Zone.

    Mainly, he's been able to undermine al-Abadi.

    As we noted repeatedly, Nouri's not done doing damage until he's in the ground.

    So Kirk Semple, Omar al-Jawoshy and Falih Hassan's report for the New York Times on Nouri's efforts to retake the post of prime minister should not be too shocking -- unless you're a member of the administration.

    The White House anticipates nothing.  They are so clueless, they are so dumb.

    It's not one time, it's over and over.

    From Semple, al-Jawoshy and Hassan's report:

    During a closed-door meeting of State of Law last month, Mr. Maliki, its leader, seemed intent on humiliating Mr. Abadi, several participants said, granting him only several minutes to address the assembled politicians and frequently interrupting him.
    During one interruption, Mr. Maliki suggested that Mr. Abadi did not have a firm grasp on which foreign forces were operating in Iraq and questioned his protection of the country’s sovereignty, participants recalled. Mr. Abadi said that the country’s sovereignty was ceded in June, under Mr. Maliki’s watch, when Mosul fell to Islamic State fighters.
    Mr. Maliki has also refused to give up his prime ministerial offices, in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in the Green Zone, several politicians said.

    Nouri undercuts the new prime minister, throws obstacles in his path (as the Iraqi press has noted, the nominees for the security ministries were stalled by Nouri's State Of Law) and all in the hopes that a no-confidence vote in the not so distant future will oust al-Abadi and allow Nouri to take over.

    Maybe when Barack tires of playing with his bombs, maybe then he'll find time to address issues -- the ones, in fact, that are at the root of the crises in Iraq?

    And maybe Barack should have been honest and just dubbed what he's doing (the 'plan') Operation George W. Bush?

    That is all he's doing.

    Repeating the same mistakes.

    Pretending he thought them up.

    He's 'surge'ing which is Bully Boy Bush.

    And he's pinning his hopes on fostering Sunni forces to create a buy-in of the current government which is also Bully Boy Bush -- remember Sahwa aka "Awakenings" aka Sons (and Daughters) Of Iraq?

    More US forces have been sent to Iraq.  Xinhua reports, "Dozens of U.S. military advisors arrived in Iraq on Wednesday to train the country's security forces as they continue to face obstacles in their fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, officials said."  Some went to Anbar. National Iraqi News Agency adds:

    Chairman of the Provincial Council Sabah Karhut told the National Iraqi News Agency / Nina / that Washington sent today to Anbar province 100 American military to bases of Habbaniyah and al-Assad appointed in the province
    He added that the American military personnel will take the task of training security forces and the sons of Anbar tribes in their war with the IS.

    CBS News notes:

    The U.S. has been training the Iraqi army for a decade and they have been performing abysmally in most areas.
    "The Iraqi forces, unfortunately, as a result of actions taken by the previous government, were in many aspects hollowed out," Deputy U.S. National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer in Iraq. "They were deprofessionalized. Competent commanders were moved out. Incompetent ones were moved in based on loyalty to the government."

    Violence never ends in Iraq.  One incident of violence today garnered much attention.  AP notes a suicide car bombing in Baghdad left 21 people dead and sixty injured with MP Ahmed al-Khafaji among the dead.  UNAMI issued the following statement:

    Baghdad, 15 October 2014 - The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov presents his heartfelt condolences to the Iraqi Council of Representatives for the loss of Member of Parliament Ahmed Al-Khafaji, killed yesterday in a suicide car bomb attack in Baghdad, along with dozens other innocent civilians. He also extends his condolences to the family of Mr. Khafaji, along with those of the other victims of terrorism.

    “Those who use terror, violence and fear against the people of Iraq will fail. Today Iraq and the world are united and will defeat those who seek to destroy the Iraqi state and will restoring security, prosperity and democracy to this country”, Mr. Mladenov said.

    All Iraq News quotes from a statement by MP Ghazwan al-Shiban, "We strongly condemn assassinating MP Khafaji and call the security forces to hold an investigation to reveal the sides behind this issue.  There are some sides aim at assassinating the qualified figures in Iraq."


    rosemary's baby

    mia farrow was the original madonna.

    like madge, she developed a fake british accent - she finally dropped it in the 80s.

    in roman polanski's 'rosemary's baby,' she's a little mouse with a fake accent.

    and her anemic performance adds to the character of rosemary while ruth gordon walks off with the film (and an oscar!) as the next door neighbor who is part of a witches' coven and serves lipton iced tea.

    the story, set in nyc, is about a coven of witches who are attempting to birth satan's son.

    they try with a woman named theresa but she takes her own life when she realizes what is going on.

    enter rosemary woods.

    i'm picking this film as my halloween horror pick.

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

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack Obama attends (but does not lead) a meaningless meet-up, State Dept confuses itself with the Defense Dept (again), Turkey resumes bombing Iraq, Amnesty releases a report on the targeting of Sunnis and much more.

    Eugene Robinson (Washington Post via News-Leader) concludes what many still seem afraid to say:

     It's not too soon to state the obvious: At this point, the war against the Islamic State can only be seen as failing.
    U.S.-led air power has barely been able to keep the jihadist militants from capturing the Syrian town of Kobane, near the Turkish border — and the besieged city may yet fall. Far to the southeast, Islamic State fighters have come within a few miles of Baghdad and threaten to consolidate their control of the vast Anbar Province, the Sunni heartland of Iraq. The self-proclaimed "caliphate" remains intact and its forces are advancing.

    Earlier today, CBS News reported, "President Obama met military commanders from more than 20 countries on Tuesday to discuss how to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)."

    That 'brain trust' must have been something.

    Better have been considering how much the US taxpayer is forking over for Barack's 'plan.'

  • Pentagon says the airstrike campaign in Iraq & Syria has cost $424 million so far since they started on August 8 -- first strike in Iraq

  • At the meet up today, Barack, of course, advocated leadership.


    Not exactly.

    The White House captioned the official photo, by Pete Souza, as follows:

    President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL.

    He participated, did he?

    Well then he takes home a participation trophy!

    Of course, being the highest ranking official in the room, most people would expect him to do more than just 'participate.'  Most people would expect him to lead, right?

    Guess no leadership with Barack.

    Today, he declared, "One of the things that has emerged from the discussions, both before I came and during my visit here, is that this is going to be a long-term campaign.  There are not quick fixes involved.  We’re still at the early stages.  As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback."

    This is only the beginning.  Well that gives him time to come up with a plan, right?

    Because dropping bombs isn't a plan, no matter how many people pretend otherwise.

    What did he used to say over and over, like a trained parrot, about Iraq?

    Oh, that's right: It required a political solution.

    Help me out, how does the big meet-up of "more than 20" defense ministers get to work on political solutions?

    Oh, that's right, it doesn't.

    And, turns out, the big meet-up?

    It was something of a fake.

    An official explained to the press that it was no big deal. New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key told Audrey Young (New Zealand Herald):

    "It is a regular meeting the CDF always goes to."

    "It's true that one of the topics of conversation will be what contributions countries might make although that is not the purpose of the meeting as I understand it."

    Barack likes to inflate the truth, doesn't he?  And he's got such a willing partner in the US press.

    Also questioning the 'plan'?  Artist Neil Young.  Of the singer-songwriter, Joe Newby (Spokane Conservative Examiner) reports:

    The radical Islamic group ISIS is taking large areas of land in Iraq and Syria, enslaving women and beheading anyone with whom they disagree -- even children. But those are secondary concerns as far as singer Neil Young is concerned, Canada's Sun News reported Tuesday. What's more important to Young is the impact a conflict with ISIS would have on the environment.
    "We can do little things to fight climate change but our armed forces are the biggest carbon dioxide providers in the world, and yet we are fighting, what, ISIS?" he told Howard Stern over the weekend. According to Young, terror groups like al-Qaida and ISIS have smaller carbon footprints than Western militaries and their "big machines," Sun News added.
    "Since 1950 we've lost 90% of the fish in the ocean (and) we've doubled our own population," he told Stern. "Since 1970, we've lost half the wildlife on the planet and again we've doubled our population."

    "And we are fighting these wars against these organizations and their carbon footprint has got to be like one percent of our huge army and our navy and all of this stuff that have with all our big machines," he added, as though America's foreign policy and national defense should be based solely on the carbon footprint of its military. "We're doing more damage to the earth with our wars. And you try to find out? Hey, freedom? No, freedom, you don't get it. You can't find out what that carbon footprint is of the military. It's not available for us."

    Andrew Kirell (Mediaite) adds:

    But when it came to politics, Young made it quite clear he is disappointed in the environmental policies of the Obama administration. “Our leaders are doing a bang-up job,” he snarked when discussing whether policies have shifted in a direction he’d find favorable.
    “Obama just opened up the Gulf of Mexico to fracking for all the oil companies,” he said. “I don’t see the prescience in that.”
    Stern and Young both noted that the president campaigned with an environmental theme back in 2008.
    “Isn’t that what Barack Obama said? ‘Change and hope’ and all that?” Young recalled. “And they’re fracking in the Gulf of Mexico. Hello, Barack! Wake up, buddy!”

    Young insisted that among powerful world leaders, Obama has failed to take a stronger stance in favor of alternative energy sources. “If the United States of America is the leader of the free world, why is it that we are saying that we can maybe have two percent solar energy by 2020 and Germany has 50 percent renewable energy right now with the same sun and the same crops?” he asked.

    That's Neil's own hair.

    I mention that because maybe gutless Robert Redford is so ridiculous while pretending to give a damn about the environment because of that ginger colored rat's nest he wears on his head which he pretends is his own hair?

    Unlike Redford, Neil cares about the environment so he's never going to whore for any politician.  (Or get caught producing a 'documentary' that staged events to make Rahm Emanuel look good.)

    Changing topics, but on the same theme, John Kerry is the US Secretary of State.  Today, he met with Laurent Fabius, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Minister of Foriegn Affairs.

    And they discussed Iraq . . . .

    Well . . .

    They discussed how to defeat the Islamic State.

    Secretary of State John Kerry:  And in addition, we particularly talked about ISIL. We both recognize the need to destroy and ultimately defeat ISIL, to degrade their efforts and ultimately to defeat them, and also to counter the violent and oppressive approach of ISIL. Minister Lavrov acknowledged, as we acknowledged, both of us have people from our countries who are fighting in ISIL. There may be as many as 500 or more from Russia. We both recognize that ISIL has absolutely no place in the 21st century. No decent country by any definition could support the horrors that are perpetrated by ISIL, and no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to stand up and be part of the effort to stamp out this disease.
    In our discussions today, I suggested to Foreign Minister Lavrov that we intensify intelligence cooperation with respect to ISIL and other counterterrorism challenges of the region, and we agreed to do so. And we also agreed to explore whether Russia could do more to support Iraqi Security Forces, and the foreign minister indeed acknowledged their preparedness to help with respect to arms, weapons – they are doing that now and they already have provided some – and also potentially with the training and advising aspects.

    In terms of "counterterrorism" and  how "to support Iraqi Security Forces"?

    John Kerry is still head of the State Dept, right?

    Not the Defense Dept?

    Even State doesn't have time to work on diplomacy.

    Or to promote it -- as evidenced by this Tweet today.

  • U.S. military and partner nations continued airstrikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq today: via

  • Barack and his entire administration are bunch of overgrown kids who think they're in a sandlot with plastic toy soldiers they can play with.

    But apparently, there are a lot of 'big kids' all over the world wanting to play war.  For example, BBC reports:

    Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes have bombed Kurdish PKK rebel targets near the Iraqi border, as their ceasefire comes under increasing strain.
    The air strikes on Daglica were in response to PKK shelling of a military outpost, the armed forces said.

    You can do Turkey a favor and pretend this is somehow 'Islamic State' related.

    It's not.

    But you can play dumb.  AFP does.

    This is part of the non-stop violence that began in the 80s between the PKK (Kurdish group that uses violence) and the Turkish government.  At the heart of it all, the PKK feels the Kurds are discriminated against in Turkey -- and they are.  Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "The PKK, deemed terrorists by both the US and Turkey, have proven among the most capable of Kurdish fighters taking on IS inside both Iraq and Syria. But Turkey's priority is to contain the Marxist group, which it sees as a bigger threat to its interests than IS. For the past 18 months, Turkey has held peace talks with the PKK, which appeared willing to accept some kind of autonomy in Turkey in exchange for giving up its independence ambitions."

    During Nouri al-Maliki's first term as prime minister of Iraq, Turkey began bombing northern Iraq.

    They did so with the help of the US government which, among other things, provided 'intelligence.'

    For Iraq it wasn't a big deal at first.  By the time Nouri was in his second term, it was.  Iraqis -- not just in the north where the bombings took place -- were outraged by the attacks on their sovereignty and by the civilians being killed in these bombings.

    Maybe AFP and others have to lie today because they don't want you to know that Barack's bombings today will soon meet the same fate with Iraqi citizens calling out their 'leaders' who allow the country to be bombed and innocents to be killed.

    But while AFP tried to act as though it was Islamic State related, US State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki wasn't clowning:

    QUESTION: I mean, although you’re trying to encourage us not to link the situation in Kobani with the bombardment of PKK positions, that might not be the interpretation of ISIS. So my question is: Do you think that targeting PKK, which is fighting ISIS, Turkey is maybe risking sending the wrong message to ISIS?

    MS. PSAKI: I think I’ve addressed this question. I don’t think I have more to add to what I said.

    Reporters had much to add -- including rumors that the White House has made a secret deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government.

    QUESTION: One more question. Secretary Kerry made a phone call with President Masoud Barzani of Kurdistan, I think last week. Do you have anything on that? And shortly after that meeting, according to a statement first of all put out by President Barzani’s office, they discussed the situation in Kobani. That was all it said. And after that, just today actually, President Barzani hosted the Kurdish – the Syrian Kurdish leader in Erbil. I just want to see what – do you have anything on that phone call?

    MS. PSAKI: I don’t – I think it’s not at all out of the ordinary for Secretary Kerry or any Secretary of State to have calls touching base with officials in the region when they’re facing the threat that they do, and it was simply, as I understand it, a check-in call. I can see if there’s anything more we can provide in terms of a readout.

    QUESTION: So just one more thing. Some media outlets in Kurdistan, they have said from anonymous officials again that Secretary Kerry promised Barzani if the Syrian Kurds unite then there will be more U.S. support. Is that something that you can confirm?

    MS. PSAKI: I – that is not our position, so it seems unlikely that’s an accurate report.

    Unlikely is the political solution the White House keeps forgetting to work on.

    Daniel R. Green (The Hill) feels that a model for a Sunni buy-in on the Iraqi government would involved revisiting the program where Sunnis were part of policing force -- they were known as Awakenings, Sons Of Iraq (and Daughters Of Iraq) and Sahwa.  Green writes:

    As the Obama administration begins to implement its strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Iraq’s tribes are getting a fresh look as a possible partner to confront the terrorist group. Having successfully utilized tribal groups against al-Qaeda in the Sunni Arab heartland of Anbar Province in 2006-2008 during the Awakening movement, Iraq’s tribes provide the U.S. with a number of advantages in an era where placing U.S. troops directly in harms way is off the table. Arab tribes are a social institution based upon extended family and kinship ties that operate like a system with members sharing obligations to each other and to their leaders or sheiks. The tribal structure is hierarchical, usually led by a paramount sheik, with sub-sheiks leading smaller tribal groupings or family clans. These tribal structures can be harnessed to use family loyalty to trump Islamist identity and to better organize communities to resist oppression.

    The “Anbar model” consisted of enlisting local tribes in their own defense by working through local sheiks to form community police forces to not only protect local villages but to partner with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police against al-Qaeda. When successfully applied to the Fallujah area in 2007, in addition to using a counter-insurgency approach for the city, the number of security incidents went from approximately 750 in March to less than 80 in October. The key benefit of working with the tribes is that they rob the insurgency of manpower by employing their potential recruits into the government’s security services, it increases the eyes and ears of the government against the insurgency, and organizes the community to better resist insurgent intimidation. This very successful program turned Anbar Province around but was eventually undercut by the Maliki Government as it reduced and then eliminated funding, persecuted tribal leaders, and marginalized the Sunni Arab community.

    So what's the status on that?

    Oh, right, a Sahwa leader didn't even get a seat at the table for Barack's DC event today.

    In Iraq?

    Salem, a 40-year-old businessman and father of nine from Baghdad was abducted in July. Two weeks after his family had paid the kidnappers a $60,000 ransom, his body was found in Baghdad’s morgue; with his head crushed and his hands still cuffed together.

    The growing power of Shi’a militias has contributed to an overall deterioration in security and an atmosphere of lawlessness. The relative of one victim from Kirkuk told Amnesty International:

    “I have lost one son and don’t want to lose any more. Nothing can bring him back and I can’t put my other children at risk. Who knows who will be next? There is no rule of law, no protection.”

    Among the Shi’a militias believed to be behind the string of abductions and killings are: ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, the Badr Brigades, the Mahdi Army, and Kata’ib Hizbullah.

    These militias have further risen in power and prominence since June, after the Iraqi army retreated, ceding nearly a third of the country to IS fighters. Militia members, numbering tens of thousands, wear military uniforms, but they operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight.

    “By failing to hold militias accountable for war crimes and other gross human rights abuses the Iraqi authorities have effectively granted them free rein to go on the rampage against Sunnis. The new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi must act now to rein in the militias and establish the rule of law,” said Donatella Rovera.

    “Shi’a militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism, in an apparent bid to punish Sunnis for the rise of the IS and for its heinous crimes.”

    At a checkpoint north of Baghdad, for instance, Amnesty International heard a member of the ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia say: “If we catch ‘those dogs’ [Sunnis] coming down from the Tikrit area we execute them…. They come to Baghdad to commit terrorist crimes, so we have to stop them.” 

    Yeah, the White House might need to work on those abuses.  Amnesty International outlines them in their new report entitled Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq.

    The US efforts at political solutions in Iraq are apparently so tiny, they can be reduced to a Tweet:

    On the topic of violence, Lu Hui  (Xinhua) notes, "A total of 50 people were killed on Tuesday in clashes and air strikes against the positions of the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, security source said."  Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) examines the Islamic State's movement in Anbar Province, "The new target seems to be the al-Assad airbase, the second largest airfields in Iraq, and one of the last bases around Haditha Dam. The base is now surrounded, according to reports."

    BBC News notes:

    Two Iraqi journalists have been killed by Islamic State (IS) in the past four days, Reporters Without Borders says.
    Mohanad al-Akidi, the correspondent for the Sada news agency in the IS-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul, was shot dead at the Ghazlani base on Monday.
    Mr Akidi was abducted in July while he travelled to Dohuk province.

    On Friday Raad Mohamed al-Azzawi, a cameraman for Sama Salah Aldeen TV, was beheaded by IS militants in the city of Samarra. He had been held for a month.

    Still on violence, State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki issued the following statement today:

    The United States strongly condemns the vicious string of suicide, vehicle borne, and other attacks that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has perpetrated in Baghdad and surrounding provinces in recent days, taking scores of innocent lives. Those lost in these attacks include courageous citizens from all walks of life and represent the full diversity of Iraqi society, including Ahmed al-Khafaji, an elected Member of Parliament from Basrah Province, and Major General Ahmed Saddak al-Dulaimi, the Police Chief of Anbar Province. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and hope for a rapid recovery for those who were injured.
    The United States is committed to working with the Government of Iraq and our coalition partners to end this terrorist scourge. We will continue to target ISIL leaders, fighters, supplies and weapons, facilities, and safe havens, working in support of our Iraqi partners, as we also work in parallel to restore the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces to effectively counter ISIL on their own.
    ISIL, through these attacks, looks to tear apart the diverse fabric of Iraqi society, something it has sought to do over the past decade in its earlier incarnation, al-Qaida in Iraq. The Iraqi people have shown resilience in the face of this terror before, and with the world now united behind a global campaign to degrade and defeat ISIL, they will prevail once again.

    The United States will continue to stand with all Iraqi citizens, from all parts of the country, as they work to root out violent extremists, and promote the unified, federal, pluralistic, and democratic state, as envisioned in the Iraqi Constitution.