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The Video that Bradley Manning says Pushed Him to Upload to Wikileaks


Bio

Josh Stieber enlisted in the army after graduating high school. He was deployed to Baghdad from Feb 07- Apr 08 with the military company shown on the ground in the Collater Murder video. Upon his return from Iraq, Josh was granted conscientious objector status.

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Hi. I’m Paul Jay in Washington. A few weeks ago, some video of a shooting that took place in 2007 in Iraq�Apache helicopter shooting a group of men on the ground. And here’s some of that footage. I’m sure most people have seen it already.

VIDEO, WIKILEAKS TRANSCRIPT: 01:09 Yeah roger. I just estimate there’s probably about twenty of them.

01:13 There’s one, yeah.

01:15 Oh yeah.

01:18 I don’t know if that’s a…

01:19 Hey Bushmaster element [ground forces control], copy on the one-six.

01:21 That’s a weapon.

01:22 Yeah.

01:23 Hotel Two-Six; Crazy Horse One-Eight [second Apache helicopter].

01:41 Yup. He’s got a weapon too.

01:43 Hotel Two-Six; Crazy Horse One-Eight. Have five to six individuals with AK47s [automatic rifles]. Request permission to engage [shoot].

02:43 You’re clear.

02:44 All right, firing.

02:47 Let me know when you’ve got them.

02:49 Lets shoot.

02:50 Light ’em all up.

02:52 Come on, fire!

02:57 Keep shoot’n, keep shoot�n.

02:59 keep shoot�n.

03:02 keep shoot�n.

03:05 Hotel Bushmaster Two-Six, Bushmaster Two-Six, we need to move, time now!

JAY: Now joining us to explain what we’re seeing and why this took place is Josh Stieber. He joined the armed forces in 2006, was in Iraq in 2007, and after 14 months applied for conscientious objector status, which he finally got. And here he is. Thanks for joining us, Josh.

JOSH STIEBER: Sure. Thanks for having me.

JAY: So you grew up in Maryland.

STIEBER: Right. Not too far from here.

JAY: And so before we get into your story, just tell us�let’s go back and look at some of the footage. And first of all, as�we’re going to start playing the footage now. So, as we’re seeing it, tell us, first of all, how atypical is this? Or is this happening all the time, this kind of instance?

STIEBER: Incidents similar to this, I would say, are not altogether infrequent. I’m not as familiar with incidents with helicopters, because I was in an infantry unit, but that common mindset to shoot first and ask questions later is one that stems back as far as the very first days of training, and, yeah, that mindset and the things built on top of that throughout training have these results in combat.

JAY: Now, you’re in the company that was on the ground that day. You weren’t there yourself that day. But when the guys came home that day, was there something remarkable for them that they talked about it? Or was it kind of just another day out in Baghdad?

STIEBER: It was treated with a little more, you know, maybe, emotion than usual that�yeah, they came back and were talking about what had happened and that there was�what they said was an attack against them, and just, I guess, the number of people that were killed was maybe a little larger than usual. So a little bit more, but, you know, not something extremely irregular.

JAY: Was there any sense that the guys in the Apache helicopters had done anything wrong? Or this was par for the course?

STIEBER: The people in the video, you know, as you can see, weren’t actually on the scene as they saw what happened from the helicopter. So you just kind of trust what you’re told. If someone tells you, you know, this is what I saw and this is what I did, then you kind of take them at face value, ’cause there’s really no way to prove or to examine otherwise. So perspective from the helicopter, without this video or without other eyewitnesses, really couldn’t be verified.

JAY: Now, it’s hard to tell from the video whether there were actually weapons in the guys’ hands or not. Apparently they found some later. I mean, when you watch the video, can you see weapons in the hands of some of the guys on the�people on the ground?

STIEBER: I can see things that look like weapons enough that, based on the training that I went through, I know I would have been commanded to fire if I was in a position where I observed that. And then, also, in the 40 minute Wikileaks version of the video, the full video, the soldiers actually�you can hear them coming on the radio, saying they found weapons on the scene.

JAY: So let’s go back to you. I don’t know whether this incident or incidents like this helped to form who you were or who you became, but start from the beginning. Why did you join? And you told me off-camera you joined knowing�hoping to be sent to Iraq. Why?

STIEBER: I grew up very religiously and very patriotic, in a selective sense that, you know, I only wanted to hear things that I wanted to hear and only things that I thought would make my country look better and make my beliefs look better, and I wasn’t very interested in understanding other perspectives. And the vision I had of my country was that, you know, we were going all throughout the world doing, you know, all this great stuff and helping people in need. And, you know, after 9/11 I was obviously affected by that and wanted to protect the people that I cared about, and, from everyone I trusted, was told that the military would be a good way to do that, and then was also told, you know, there’s this country Iraq that’s getting oppressed by this horrible dictator who’s also a threat to us, and if we can get rid of him, not only will we be keeping ourselves safe, but we’ll also be helping this other country in the process.

JAY: How interwoven were your beliefs in America and what America stands for and your religious beliefs?

STIEBER: They were pretty closely intertwined. I went to a religious high school. And one example is, in a government class that I was in at this religious high school, we read a book called The Faith of George W. Bush. And people like that were held up as, you know, these�these are people that are fighting for God’s will here on Earth. So religion was very interwoven with a sense of nationalism.

JAY: But by 2006, when you join, it’s already really clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Bush and Cheney had essentially lied to start a war. Like, that was�by 2006 that’s fairly acknowledged. Had that penetrated in to you, to your school?

STIEBER: There, and just the�kind of the people I was listening to. And, again, I wasn’t making any kind of effort to really challenge my thinking. People were saying, you know, whoever it is, the media or other countries are out to make us look bad, and, you know, we did the right thing, and we’re doing the right thing. And I might have had a few doubts in my mind, but even I comforted the doubts by saying, you know, even if the reasons that we’re there weren’t completely justified, we’re there and we’re still in this position, since we’re there, that we can’t just pull out, and we need to help these people.

JAY: So even if there were no weapons and even if the argument for weapons wasn’t legitimate, it’s still good versus evil, and they’re evil and we’re good, and we’ve got to fight it?

STIEBER: Yeah. I bought into that lingo a lot.

JAY: So you go to Iraq. You join, you go through boot camp, and you’re sent to Iraq, and you’re still more or less the same mindset. Tell us a little bit about boot camp and the kind of training that takes place to prepare you for war. I mean, your religious training is supposed to be about love thy neighbor, and then you’re sent to war. So how do they get you ready for that?

STIEBER: Yeah, I guess that’s where I started to see, maybe, some of these contradictions, just by the kinds of things that we did on a regular basis in basic training, whether it was the cadences that we sang as we were marching around, some that even joked about killing women and children.

JAY: Like what?

STIEBER: One that stands out in my mind is�it goes, “I went down to the market where all the women shop/I pulled out my machete and I begin to chop/I went down to the park where all the children play/I pulled out my machine gun and I begin to spray.”

JAY: That’s as you’re marching.

STIEBER: Right.

JAY: So this is, like, an authorized chant, you could say.

STIEBER: Yeah. I mean, the training, they focus on the physical aspect, or, you know, they say that’s the challenging part, but then they slip all these psychological things in along with it.

JAY: Well, that’s got to be shocking for you to hear that the first time.

STIEBER: Yeah. And so I started writing home to religious leaders at my church, saying what I’m being asked to do doesn’t really line up with, you know, all these religious beliefs I had. And I would get letters back with explanations that I needed to have more faith in God, or this is just how the military works.

JAY: They would write back and defend a chant like that, that it’s okay to go down where the kids are playing and start to spray? They would defend that?

STIEBER: They would either defend it or say that ends justify the means or say, you know, maybe you personally don’t say chants like that and just march silently, but you still go along with the whole system. And so I adopted that mindset that even if there were particular things that troubled me, which there definitely were, then you can calm that discomfort by saying, well, you know, even if I’m uncomfortable with these certain practices, in the long run we’re still getting rid of the bad guys, and we’re still keeping our country safe, and we’re still spreading freedom and democracy around the world, so you shouldn’t focus on the smaller things.

JAY: So at this point, to what extent do you start to question your faith? ‘Cause it’s all about faith, and faith is about not questioning. So once you start to question, it leads you to places you haven’t been before. So does that�and does it begin in boot camp?

STIEBER: Yeah, I would say that it definitely did. And kind of the more I saw the things that seemed like they were in contradiction, I would kind of have less and less faith in my faith and just start doing things less�that�I guess that idealism or that religious motivation started to fall away, and it became more about doing things to either fit in with the crowd or to take on this nationalism that, yeah, we’re still a good country, you know, even if I don’t like these particular things, and we’re still spreading freedom and democracy around the world.

JAY: Now, I’ve been told by�I have never been in the military, but I’ve been told to get people ready to kill it’s quite an intense psychological process. Humans actually, apparently, don’t like killing each other. How did that�what was that for you, and what was the impact on you?

STIEBER: I would say it’s very calculated. It starts with bayonet training, even though bayonets haven’t been used in any war since, I believe, the Korean War. But, you know, they first start out by getting you used to stabbing a dummy with a bayonet, yelling “kill, kill, kill” as you do it. And if you can get comfortable with that, then it’s slightly more comfortable to shoot at a target from further away. And just the nature of the training, as the military’s gone on, as I’ve gone back and studied it, that has changed. Before, targets just used to be circles, and now the targets look like actual people. They just get you just to thinking in those dehumanizing terms that this is a target, and people that look like this are targets, rather than this is what a human looks like.

JAY: And to what extent was the actual politics of Iraq talked about, or what to make of Iraqis, what to think about Arabs? To be able to go and kill people, do they have to dehumanize all the people you’re about to meet?

STIEBER: The common mindset that I would say was coming towards Iraqis were, one, just kind of, you know, how they were referred to. They were always referred to “Hajis”, you know, similar to “Gooks” in Vietnam or other phrases and other words. So there was that mindset, combined with this mindset, that if you don’t do everything you’re trained to do and if you’re not being the best soldier that you can be, then these Iraqis, you know, at some point or another, are going to attack you, or, you know, if you’re in a combat situation and you’re not doing everything that you were taught, then you’re exposing yourself and your friends to being open to attack. So that was very much fear mongering, from that point of view.

JAY: Well, in the next segment of our interview, let’s talk about you as you get to Iraq and how that helps to shape you. Please join us for the next segment of our interview with Josh Stieber on The Real News Network.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete acc

 

The Last seven days in Baghdad


The last seven days in Baghdad – The cycle of bombs, deaths and burials appears to be never ending. It begins to look like the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein has become little more than a grand farce. The price of liberation has led to nothing more than an increased risk of death. How ironic the war that was meant to have ended continues. To convey the feeling of what is happening no written word is necessary. Just examine the pictures and you will quickly understand the misery
Mideast Iraq

Baghdad-bomb     irak_zamach_afp_640_1     images (2)   15ihtwhitsonart-articleLarge     download     591271904d6ee910310f6a7067003f7c       519a41b0b5ce2.preview-300     Civil-War-480x238     images (4)     images (5)

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Once Upon a Time in Baghdad


130313_Baghdad22

It has now been a decade since the United States invaded Iraq, and the country’s beleaguered capital isn’t faring so well
after 10 years of conflict. In 2012, for instance, Baghdad topped Mercer’s list as the worst place to live based on quality of
life, edging out other war-torn heavy hitters like Khartoum, Sudan and Brazzaville, Congo. The city has even become a
synonym for chaos and destruction; when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, headlines such as “Baghdad
on the Bayou” and “Looters turn New Orleans into ‘Downtown Baghdad'” quickly surfaced.
But the city, nestled on the banks of the storied Tigris River, was not always associated with violence and decline. In 1932,
Iraq had just gained independence after more than ten years as a British mandate and centuries under Ottoman rule.
Baghdad, famed at the time for its quaint blend of Turkish architecture and ancient markets, suddenly found itself the
capital of a fledgling Iraqi nation. The ethnic and religious tensions that would ignite in the coming decades of war and
sanctions were already present but not yet explosive, and the vast oil reserves that would transform the capital into a

booming metropolis had only just been discovered. These 1932 photographs, drawn from the Matson Collection at the
Library of Congress, show a Baghdad on the brink of a new era, struggling to discover its identity in a time before it was
defined by devastation.
Above, pedestrians walk along the street in front of the Midan mosque.

130313_Baghdad4(1)

King Faisal I (left), who ruled Iraq from 1921 to 1933, sits next to his brother, Emir Abdullah of Transjordan, during a lawn
party at the royal palace in Baghdad. The Saudi-born king was a favorite of the British during the mandate period, and
many Iraqis were suspicious of his pro-Western sentiments. An Arab Sunni, his reign also prompted unrest among
Assyrian, Kurdish, and Shiite minorities, which he vigorously suppressed.

130313_Baghdad3(1)

Fires caused by the escape of natural gas blaze near the Iraq Petroleum Company’s oil wells in the Kirkuk District.
Beginning with the first discovery of oil in Persia in 1908, foreign powers eyed the region with interest, and international
competition over Iraq’s potential oil reserves played a role in determining its borders in the wake of World War I, as the
British and French both sought access. The controversy surrounding the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 underscored the
continued foreign interest in this vital natural resource. As Peter Maas recounted in Foreign Policy, U.S. troops secured
the Iraqi oil ministry in Baghdad as the rest of the city was left to looters, prompting one Iraqi to tell him, “It is all about
oil.”
Library of Congress

130313_Baghdad2(1)

Iraqi army officers celebrate the country’s induction into the League of Nations at the Royal Palace in Baghdad. In 1932,
Iraq became the first former mandate to join the League after gaining independence. The mandate had gotten off to an
inauspicious start in 1920, when the British determined the borders of Iraq based more on geopolitical interests than
regional logic, and a bloody rebellion against British occupation followed.
Using language that some have read as a foreshadowing of the U.S. military’s quagmire following the 2003 invasion, the
British Orientalist T.E. Lawrence described the unrest. “The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap
into which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor,” he wrote. “Things have been far worse than we have been told,
our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It’s a disgrace to our imperial record and may soon
be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster

130313_Baghdad9(1)

Pedestrians walk on a bridge over the Tigris River, which snakes through Baghdad and divides the city. The Tigris and
Euphrates rivers help make up the Fertile Crescent and provide a vital source of life in an otherwise arid region. But years
of pollution and war have taken their toll. Upon visiting Baghdad in 2004, one New York Times reporter described the
Tigris as “a smelly, shrunken, deserted, refuse-strewn ghost of its former splendor.”
Library of

130313_Baghdad5(1)

Men walk the street after crossing Baghdad’s Katah Bridge.

130313_Baghdad6(1)

Young boys sit in watermelon barges banked on the Tigris River. Iraq possesses a unique breed of watermelon that is
capable of growing up to 50 pounds in the fertile land around the Tigris. Still an important agricultural product, the fruit
has long provided an alternative source of hydration for those who want to avoid unclean drinking water. During the Iraq
war, USA Today reported on the peril faced by merchants while transporting watermelon — by truck rather than barge –
– to Baghdad.
Library of Congress

130313_Baghdad12(1)

Men wearing the Turkish fez and suits walk alongside those in more typical Iraqi dress while carriages pass by on a newly
constructed street. Baghdad’s mandate period was characterized by the melding of the modern with the traditional. But it
wasn’t until the nationalization of oil in the 1960s and 70s that the country saw modernization on a vast scale, as a
construction boom transformed Baghdad into a thriving metropolis.

130313_Baghdad13(1)

Copper workers use traditional wooden horses as they hammer at the metal. Baghdad’s Safafeer market has been home to
copper merchants and craftsmen for hundreds of years. Only recently has the business faced serious decline thanks to
increasing imports of factory-made goods combined with a lack of tourism. The market, made famous by its rich copper
history, now sells mostly clothing

130313_Baghdad8(1)

Tea sellers smile after serving a customer at a typical railroad tea stand in Ur.

130313_Baghdad17(1)

Shoe sellers line one of Baghdad’s many markets. The city’s famed bazaars have attracted visitors for centuries, though
more recently they have also gained notoriety as the targets of bombings.

130313_Baghdad14(1)

A street barber at work in Baghdad.

130313_Baghdad10(1)

An older man instructs a young boy at the Haidar Khana Mosque. This mosque, constructed during Ottoman rule in
1832, is a popular Shiite place of worship. In March 2007 it was partially damaged by a bombing in eastern Baghdad,
where the city’s Shiite population is largely concentrated

130313_Baghdad20(1)

People gather along the bank of the Tigris River, with Baghdad’s old city walls in the distance. The city’s location along the
river historically enabled it to thrive as a center of commerce and ideas. In the monarchy’s early days, and even in the years
of instability following Faisal’s rule, Baghdad fostered a great deal of intellectual exchange. But under the rule of Saddam
Hussein, intellectual life stagnated due to censorship, which drove much of the publishing industry underground.
More recently, the country has suffered from brain drain as skilled workers fled the violence that accompanied the U.S.
invasion.

130313_Baghdad15(1)

A freshly tarred gufa floats on the banks of the Tigris. The round boats, which were made from reeds caulked with asphalt
and capable of transporting up to 20 passengers, were commonly used for river travel in Baghdad until the 1970s.

130313_Baghdad1(1)

The Iraq Museum displayed a wide array of artifacts from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. Built by famed British
Orientalist Gertrude Bell in 1926, it housed the findings of U.S. and European archaeologists who conducted ambitious
excavations in the aftermath of World War I. The museum was looted during the U.S. invasion in 2003, prompting two
senior cultural advisors to the Bush administration to resign in protest. One of them, Gary Vikan, lamented, “if we
understood the value of Sumerian cuneiform tablets to our past, as we do with oil getting us somewhere in our cars, I don’t
think this would have happened.”

130313_Baghdad7(1)

Women walk in front of the Royal College of Medicine, which was founded in Baghdad in 1927. One of the first medical
schools in the Middle East, it still exists today as part of the University of Baghdad.

130313_Baghdad19(1)

Goods are unloaded and carried by donkeys on their way to Baghdad’s markets. King Faisal attempted to modernize Iraq’s
economy by building roads and beginning construction on an oil pipeline to the Mediterranean, but the economy
remained centered around the exchange of agricultural goods during his reign. The nationalization of petroleum in the
1960s and 70s, fueled a commercial boom in Baghdad, but the growth was shortlived. The Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) left
Iraq $80 million in debt to its Gulf neighbors, and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 drove the country further
into debt by setting off a series of crippling international sanctions

130313_Baghdad23(1)

Rabbis stand in front of Ezekiel’s tomb, a Jewish shrine and pilgrimage site located in Kifl. In the 1930s, Iraq’s Jewish
population, one of the oldest in the world, exceeded 120,000, and Hebrew was listed among the country’s six languages.
But after the creation of Israel in 1948, Iraq’s Jews faced increasing persecution and pressure to leave. Today, Baghdad’s
Jews have “all but vanished.”

130313_Baghdad18(1)

“Basket boys” carry unwanted sand from a highway construction site in Baghdad. While Iraq might be “10 parts sand to
1 part water,” the sand’s quality is not great for construction: Writing for the New York Times’ At War blog in 2010,
Stephen Farrel noted how U.S. troops had to ship “more resilient desert” from other parts of the Middle East for their blast
walls.
Library of Congress

130313_Baghdad21(1)

People stand in the old Turkish Qualla’a, a citadel, in Baghdad. The city was conquered by Ottoman Turks in 1534 and
remained under Ottoman rule until the British established the Kingdom of Iraq in 1921.

130313_Baghdad11(1)

A Baghdad cityscape in 1932. For some, even when this picture was taken, the glory days of Baghdad had long passed. In
fact, narratives of decline have surrounded the city since the 13th century, when it was the center of medieval Islamic
intellectual life. When the British painter Tristram J. Ellis stopped in Baghdad as part of his travels in the early 1900s, for
instance, his artist’s eye found it wanting. “All those who are acquainted with the past history of Baghdad, and the glowing
descriptions of its buildings and streets in the time of the Caliphs, will think the present city very mean, and it is so,
compared with almost any other great Oriental city,” he wrote.
In the century since he wrote these words, Baghdad has persevered through decades of invasion, dictatorship, and war.
Today, as reconstruction efforts flounder and sectarian violence plagues the capital, it again finds itself labeled as a
place to avoid. But for the more than 7 million people who live there, this enduring city on the Tigris remains home.

History Lessons the West Refuses to Learn


In the aftermath of the First World War, Britain and France famously created the modern Middle East by carving up what had been the Ottoman Empire. The borders of new states such as Iraq and Syria were determined in keeping with British and French needs and interests. The wishes of local inhabitants were largely ignored.

Now, for the first time in over 90 years, the whole postwar settlement in the region is coming unstuck. External frontiers are no longer the impassable barriers they were until recently, while internal dividing lines are becoming as complicated to cross as international frontiers.

In Syria, the government no longer controls many crossing points into Turkey and Iraq. Syrian rebels advance and retreat without hindrance across their country’s international borders, while Shia and Sunni fighters from Lebanon increasingly fight on opposing sides in Syria. The Israelis bomb Syria at will. Of course, the movements of guerrilla bands in the midst of a civil war do not necessarily mean that the state is finally disintegrating. But the permeability of its borders suggests that whoever comes out as the winner of the Syrian civil war will rule a weak state scarcely capable of defending itself.

The same process is at work in Iraq. The so-called trigger line dividing Kurdish-controlled territory in the north from the rest of Iraq is more and more like a frontier defended on both sides by armed force. Baghdad infuriated the Kurds last year by setting up the Dijla (Tigris) Operations Command, which threatened to enforce central military control over areas disputed between Kurds and Arabs.

Dividing lines got more complicated in Iraq after the Hawaijah massacre on 23 April left at least 44 Sunni Arab protesters dead. This came after four months of massive but peaceful Sunni protests against discrimination and persecution. The result of this ever-deeper rift between the Sunni and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad is that Iraqi troops in Sunni-majority areas behave like an occupation army. At night, they abandon isolated outposts so they can concentrate forces in defensible positions. Iraqi government control in the northern half of the country is becoming ever more tenuous.

Does it really matter to the rest of the world who fights whom in the impoverished country towns of the Syrian interior or in the plains and mountains of Kurdistan? The lesson of the last few thousand years is that it matters a great deal. The region between Syria’s Mediterranean coast and the western frontier of Iran has traditionally been a zone where empires collide. Maps of the area are littered with the names of battlefields where Romans fought against Parthians, Ottomans against Safavids, and British against Turks.

It is interesting but chilling to see the carelessness with which the British and French divided up this area under the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. The British were to control the provinces of Baghdad and Basra and have influence further north. The French were to hold south-east Turkey and northern Syria and the province of Mosul, believed to contain oil. It turned out, however, that British generosity over Mosul was due to Britain having promised eastern Turkey to Tsarist Russia and thinking it would be useful to have a French cordon sanitaire between themselves and the Russian army.

Sykes-Picot reflected wartime priorities and was never implemented as such. The British promise to give Mosul to France became void with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and the Bolsheviks’ unsporting publication of Russia’s secret agreements with its former French and British allies. But in negotiations in 1918-19 leading up to the Treaty of Versailles, only the most perfunctory attention was given to the long-term effect of the distribution of the spoils.

Discussing Mesopotamia and Palestine with David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, the French Prime Minister, who was not very interested in the Middle East, said: “Tell me what you want.” Lloyd George: “I want Mosul.” Clemenceau: “You shall have it. Anything else?” Lloyd George: “Yes, I want Jerusalem too.” Clemenceau agreed with alacrity to this as well, though he warned there might be trouble over Mosul, which even then was suspected to contain oil.

Those negotiations have a fascination because so many of the issues supposedly settled then are still in dispute. Worse, agreements reached then laid the basis for so many future disputes and wars that still continue, or are yet to come. Arguments made at that time are still being made.

Not surprisingly, the leaders of the 30 million Kurds are the most jubilant at the discrediting of agreements of which they, along with the Palestinians, were to be the greatest victims. After being divided between Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria, they sense their moment has finally come. In Iraq, they enjoy autonomy close to independence, and in Syria they have seized control of their own towns and villages. In Turkey, as the PKK Turkish Kurd guerrillas begin to trek back to the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq under a peace deal, the Kurds have shown that, in 30 years of war, the Turkish state has failed to crush them.

But as the 20th century settlement of the Middle East collapses, the outcome is unlikely to be peace and prosperity. It is easy to see what is wrong with the governments in present-day Iraq and Syria, but not what would replace them. Look at the almost unanimous applause among foreign politicians and media at the fall of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, then look at Libya now, its government permanently besieged or on the run from militia gunmen.

If President Bashar al-Assad did fall in Syria, who would replace him? Does anybody really think that peace would automatically follow? Is it not far more likely that there would be continued and even intensified war, as happened in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003? The Syrian rebels and their supporters downplay the similarities between the crises in Iraq and Syria, but they have ominous similarities. Saddam may have been unpopular in Iraq, but those who supported him or worked for him could not be excluded from power and turned into second-class citizens without a fight.

US, British and French recipes for Syria’s future seem as fraught with potential for disaster as their plans in 1916 or 2003. In saying that Assad can play no role in a future Syrian government, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, speaks of the leader of a government that has still only lost one provincial capital to the rebels. Such terms can only be imposed on the defeated or those near defeat. This will only happen in Syria if Western powers intervene militarily on behalf of the insurgents,

Tomorrow once upon a time in Baghdad 

via History Lessons the West Refuses to Learn » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

via History Lessons the West Refuses to Learn » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Election 2012 – A Personal View


Are you getting ready to cast your vote?

Consider the following.

No candidate appears to be addressing the real issues namely the Financial Institutions and Jobs.

At the end of the day health care, immigration, and storms are only side issues.

The two real topics that should be screaming forth from the headline news should be unemployment and control over the financial Institutions.

Have the media failed the people concerning these issues. If so, is this due to the malignant lure of campaign funds to fill the publishers coffers.

Do you know the wise guys of banking have received more money in bailouts than has been spent on the wars in Iraq and Iran? All presidents are complicit in doling money your money into these wealth-sucking leeches.

Your next president will be no different he will feed the parasites.

The lesson learned from all of this is the President no longer represents the people. His sole duty appears to be to protect the wealth vampires and the military/industrial complex, the soldiers of destruction. Poor old Johnny Taxpayer must put his hand in the pocket for all the fraud committed by these smart-ass thugs. It seems to me not just in America, but everywhere the dissonant echoes of this story connect with the corridors of authority worldwide.

The most depressing think about this election is you cannot even pick the lesser of two evils

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Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Just Reviews

Just another WordPress.com site

Mark David Welsh

Feeding Soda Pop to the Thirsty Pigs since 2013

conradbrunstrom

Things I never thunk before.

News from the San Diego Becks

The life and times of Erik, Veronica and Thomas

The Silent Film Quarterly

The Only Magazine Dedicated To Silent Cinema

Leaden Circles

First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.

My Archives

because the internet is not forever

CineSocialUK

Up to the minute, fair, balanced, informed film reviews.

PUZZLED PAGAN PRESENTS

A Shrine to Pop Culture Obsessiveness. With Lots of Spoilers

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” – Peter DeVries

thedullwoodexperiment

Viewing movies in a different light

Twenty Four Frames

Notes on Film by John Greco

Suzanne's Mom's Blog

Arts, Nature, Good Works, Luna & Stella Lockets & Birthstones

It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

... it just has to sound plausible

NJ Corporate Portrait Photographer Blog

The life of a corporate portrait photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

arwenaragornstar

A French girl's musings...

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)

Australian movie blog - like Margaret and David, just a little younger

Octopus Films

A place for new perspectives on films, TV, media and entertainment.

scifist 2.0

A sci-fi movie history in reviews

The Reviewer's Corner

The Sometimes Serious Corner of the Internet for Anime, Manga, and Comic related things

First Impressions

Notes on Films and Culture

1,001 Movies Reviewed Before You Die

Where I Review One of the 1,001 Movies You Should Watch Before you Die Every Day

Movies Galore of Milwaukee

Movie Galore takes a look at Silent films on up to current in development projects and gives their own opinion on what really does happen in film!

The Catwing Has Landed

A Writer's Blog About Life and Random Things

Gabriel Diego Valdez

Movies and how they change you.

The Horror Incorporated Project

Lurking among the corpses are the body snatchers....plotting their next venture into the graveyard....the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine tingle, as you look into the terror of death in tonight's feature....come along with me into the chamber of horrors, for an excursion through.... Horror Incorporated!

Relatos desde mi ventana

Sentimientos, emociones y reflexiones

Teri again

Finding Me; A site about my life before and after a divorce

unveiled rhythms

Life In Verses

Gareth Roberts

Unorthodox Marketing & Strategy

leeg schrift

Taalarmen

100 Films in a Year

12 months. 100 films. Hopefully.

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