While Blair offers ersatz apology for Iraq War, Bush offers none at all


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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In the coming weeks, the U.K. is certain to be rocked by the Chilcot Inquiry, the years-overdue investigation into the planning, marketing, and execution of the Iraq War under former Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair.
That timing explains the preventive public relations war Blair launched over the past week to soften the coming blows. On the airwaves and in the op-ed pages, the mastermind of New Labor repackaged some old apologies to defend—not atone for—his decision to join U.S. President George W. Bush in ousting Saddam Hussein. Acknowledging that there are “elements of truth” to the well-documented history that the invasion and occupation of Iraq fueled the rise of ISIS, Blair nevertheless countered that, “I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam.” Speaking to Fareed Zakaria of CNN, Blair made the historical strategic catastrophe for his country and ours sound like an ill-timed

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Claims that Jeb’s brother ‘kept us safe?’ Bring ’em on.


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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During the 2012 Republican National Convention, Jeb Bush proclaimed of his brother George, “He is a man of integrity, courage, and honor, and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe.” In the face of the inconvenient truth that Dubya presided over the slaughter of 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil on 9/11, deadly anthrax and ricin attacks, and the needless Iraq war that killed 4,500 American soldiers, wounded 30,000 more, converted Baghdad into an Iranian satellite and birthed ISIS, Jeb hasn’t stopped making the “he kept us safe” claims since.
But of all the national security failures that made headlines during Bush 43’s watch, one that didn’t is among the most heartbreaking of all. As a grieving Mary Kewatt told Minnesota Public Radio in summer 2003:

“We have some issues with the fact that President Bush declared combat over on May 1. Combat is not over. We

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Team Jeb claims Dubya ‘inherited’ 9/11 and recession


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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The Republicans' Magic Calendar.

Stung by Donald Trump’s self-evident truth that history did not begin on September 12, 2001 and end at noon on January 20, 2009, Jeb Bush asked, “Does anybody actually blame my brother for 9/11?” As it turns out, this is hardly the first time the former Florida governor complained about the unkindness the calendar has shown his brother. In August 2012, Jeb declared it was “unbecoming” for Barack Obama to continue to “blame others” for the economic calamity he inherited from George W., and went so far as to suggest the president should be “spanked” for pointing the finger at his brother. And in April 2009—just weeks after Obama entered the Oval Office in the midst of the greatest American economic calamity since the Great Depression—Jeb protested:

“If I had one humble criticism of President Obama, it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing

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The GOP’s 15 other Benghazi talking points for Hillary Clinton


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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On October 22, 2016, Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The supposed scandal has already claimed one scalp—just not hers. Would-have-been House Speaker Kevin McCarthy abandoned his campaign for the gavel after providing Clinton and the Democrats with a talking point that exposed the sham that is the entire Republican witch hunt:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today?”

To be sure, McCarthy’s Kinsley gaffe (the kind in which “a politician tells the truth”) presents a real problem for Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and his laughable claim that “this investigation has never been about her and never will be.” After all, his is the eighth probe into the tragic September 11, 2012 killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three

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Did we lose the War on Terror on 9/11?


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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American flag

September 11, 2001—a day that none of us will ever forget. Everyone reading this now knows exactly where they were and what they were doing that day. In the aftermath, we were a country united. Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal, left and right, we were all one. Sadly, the goodwill of the world—and the goodwill we had toward each other—quickly evaporated.
The objectives of our attackers were to terrorize us into retreating from the world stage, to use long wars to financially bleed us while at the same time inflaming anti-American sentiment, and to defend the rights of Muslims. Al Qaeda also had a vision for global domination through a “violent Islamic caliphate.”

After 9/11, we gave bin Laden and his followers exactly what they wanted. We went on a war path. We invaded Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and we have operations in several other Middle Eastern and

Continue reading “Did we lose the War on Terror on 9/11?”

Did we lose the War on Terror on 9/11?


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




American flag

September 11, 2001—a day that none of us will ever forget. Everyone reading this now knows exactly where they were and what they were doing that day. In the aftermath, we were a country united. Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal, left and right, we were all one. Sadly, the goodwill of the world—and the goodwill we had toward each other—quickly evaporated.
The objectives of our attackers were to terrorize us into retreating from the world stage, to use long wars to financially bleed us while at the same time inflaming anti-American sentiment, and to defend the rights of Muslims. Al Qaeda also had a vision for global domination through a “violent Islamic caliphate.”

After 9/11, we gave bin Laden and his followers exactly what they wanted. We went on a war path. We invaded Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and we have operations in several other Middle Eastern and

Continue reading “Did we lose the War on Terror on 9/11?”

Cartoon: Who created ISIS?


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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With the fall of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria, fingers are pointing faster than you can say “Preemptive War.” John McCain thinks the crazy Islamic extremists of ISIS wouldn’t be causing the world all this trouble if only Obama hadn’t spent so much time worrying about global warming. Jeb Bush says Al Qaeda in Iraq was wiped out and ISIS didn’t exist when his dear ol’ brother was president.

I know our memories are short, but does anyone remember a certain rush to war that resulted in mayhem throughout Iraq and the Middle East? I seem to remember something happened in 2003-ish. Granted, George W. Bush didn’t personally found ISIS and pitch the idea to scores of jihadists, but methinks the disaster that was the Iraq War may have had a tiny bit to do with the creation of ISIS. (By the way, the National Counterterrorism Center points

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How Bush lost Iraq twice


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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With the loss of Ramadi to ISIS forces, the Republican Party has launched one of its most ambitious myth-making operations in recent memory: Barack Obama lost Iraq. “We had the conflict won,” John McCain declared this week, “thanks to the surge.” Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard and the Project for a New American Century argued that “when President Obama took office, Iraq was calm, Al-Qaeda was weakened and ISIS did not exist.” But with his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and failure to intervene in the Syrian civil war, Kristol complained, “The Obama administration threw it all away.”
But Kristol, McCain, Jeb Bush and the 2016 GOP presidential field are flat wrong. President George W. Bush didn’t just lose Iraq; he lost it twice. Defeat was ensured the first time in March 2003 as soon as the first American units crossed the border from

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Gary Hart was right on Iraq, then and now


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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In the wake of Jeb Bush’s whiplash-producing reversal last week, the U.S. media is engaged in a feeding frenzy over who would have supported the Iraq war “knowing what we know now.” For his part, former Colorado Senator and might-have-been President of the United States Gary Hart is disgusted both with the current circle-jerk and Jeb Bush’s contortionist act to steer clear of his brother’s war. But when Bush spokesman Tim Miller said he was “going to count Gary Hart criticizing Governor Bush’s judgment as a win,” Jeb’s team walked into yet another trap. After all, Hart was right about Iraq, then and now.
To be sure, Harts criticism of “The Decider” and his brother was pointed and personal:

“I’m trying to avoid being categorical about a whole family. But the Bushes do not demonstrate analytical minds. They demonstrate visceral minds. The father I knew and

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Sorry, Jeb. Your brother did create ISIS


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday urging them to stand with Baghdad in the face of a Sunni insurgent onslaught that threatens to dismember the country. Picture taken June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3VIB1

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul.

It must be tough being the brother of the man who is responsible for the world-historical disaster that was the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It’s tougher still to try to replace him as the next Republican president of the United States.
This week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush found that out the hard way. Mocked by the press and his GOP rivals for first announcing, “I would have” gone into Iraq knowing what he knows now, Jeb reversed course days later in declaring, “I would not have gone into Iraq.” But even before the pain had subsided from that severe case of whiplash, Bush was embarrassed at an event in Reno by 19-year-old college student Ivy Ziedrich. When Bush tried to

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White House: Two hostages accidentally killed in drone strike in January


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013. Scrambling to fix flaws in his signature healthcare law, Obama on Thursday announced a plan to let insura

President Barack Obama briefly spoke Thursday morning, expressing condolences to the families of two western hostages accidentally killed in drone strikes against suspected terrorists in January.

Obama said he took full responsibility for the operation and apologized to the families of the hostages. “I profoundly regret what happened,” he said.
The two Western hostages—one American, one Italian—were killed during a drone strike this year that targeted members of al-Qaeda, the White House said.

The counterterrorism operation happened in January along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and U.S. forces did not know that the hostages were present, administration officials said.

Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American, had been held by Al Qaeda since 2011 and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto was captured in 2012. Obama has ordered a review of the accidental killings. In a separate briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the drone strike was “lawful and conducted consistent with

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Cartoon: The long war of foreverness


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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While most people are focused on ISIS (or ISIL, Islamic State or whatever we’re calling that group of jihadist lunatics these days) and their theatrically brutal atrocities, President Obama just sent his Authorization for the Use of Military Force to Congress. The 2001 AUMF is the thing that has allowed us to skip all over the globe conducting military operations legally, and now Obama has made a new one that is tailored to the latest batch of terrorists.

The only thing is, the 2001 AUMF is still in place so Obama (or President Cruz, Bush or Clinton) can use either authorization as legal justification for doing pretty much anything with our military. I’m not saying the world is a happy, safe place and we should just stay home and contentedly drive our Priuses, but it seems establishing a one-size-fits-all legal justification(s) is not the way to do this.

As crazy and scary as ISIS is, let’s not forget the greater death toll from Assad, who doesn’t play the gory propaganda card quite like the Islamic Staters. Do we really need to give the current and future presidents carte blanche to use our military all the time, anywhere, forever? (Sure, Obama’s current AUMF has a time limit, but that’s meaningless if the 2001 AUMF is still in effect.) I wonder if Obama’s campaign speeches about endless war ring in his ears the way they are ringing in mine? As usual, you can find more links to news stories behind the cartoon here.

Cartoon: Free speech word bubble


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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After the horrific attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which included the execution of four top French cartoonists, the remainder of the staff regrouped and published three million-plus copies for it’s next issue, about three million more than its usual 60,000 copies. Trying to censor free speech always backfires.

Cartoon: For Charlie Hebdo: pen > terror


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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As the news broke about the horrific terrorist attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, I was on a plane flying to speak in Houston, Texas. I got my sketchbook out and drew this cartoon as a defiant response to the brutal ideologically driven murders of twelve, including four French cartoonists, several journalists and police. I snapped a photo of it and posted it online, and it soon, like many other cartoons that day, went globally viral. I really wish this drawing didn’t have to exist.

Cartoon: For Charlie Hebdo: pen > terror


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




As the news broke about the horrific terrorist attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, I was on a plane flying to speak in Houston, Texas. I got my sketchbook out and drew this cartoon as a defiant response to the brutal ideologically driven murders of twelve, including four French cartoonists, several journalists and police. I snapped a photo of it and posted it online, and it soon, like many other cartoons that day, went globally viral. I really wish this drawing didn’t have to exist.

The Mukasey Rule: Lame-duck Obama should get the attorney general he wants


This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos


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Next week, Republicans may recapture control of the U.S. Senate. And to be sure, they’ve made no secret of their plans to derail the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.  Would-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who in 2005 declared that “Any president’s judicial nominees, after full and fair debate, receive a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate floor,” last year promised Democrats who chose the nuclear option on judicial nominees, “You may regret it a lot sooner than you think. As Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute warned, “A Republican Senate would shut the door on confirmations, and they’re going to do so on executive as well as judicial ones.” Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett, the man who led the right-wing legal challenge to Obamacare, explained how the new GOP majority’s demolition project would work:

My guess is Obama would have to present nominees that are much much more acceptable to Republicans, or they won’t even schedule hearings.

Of course, that’s not how Democrats treated lame-duck President George W. Bush after the “thumpin'” they administered to him and his party in the 2006 midterms. After retaking the majority, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Bush’s choice as attorney general, Judge Michael Mukasey. And for their willingness to let the constitutional process go forward with a replacement for the comically corrupt Alberto Gonzales, Democrats were rewarded with a hyper-partisan attack dog whose dirty work for the GOP continues to this day.

Follow below the fold for more.

Clinton says Islamic State militants are worse than al-Qaeda


This post is by Anne Gearan from Post Politics: Breaking Politics News, Political Analysis & More - The Washington Post


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CHICAGO — Islamic State militants are stronger and better funded than al-Qaeda, and could pose a direct threat to the United States and other Western nations if their advance is not stopped, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.

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Monkey Cage: The limits of the ‘sectarian’ framing in Yemen


This post is by Stacey Philbrick Yadav from Post Politics: Breaking Politics News, Political Analysis & More - The Washington Post


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It was 2005 when my Yemeni friends first started talking seriously about their fears that the Houthis would march on the capital of Sanaa. The Houthis were never closer than the nearby province of Amran back then. There was a media blackout, and most of our information came from journalist friends who were in and around the city of Saada, then the center of the conflict, distributing news via SMS. Information was not the only thing the regime of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh sought (and failed) to control: Humanitarian agencies had no way to reach the civilians who were bearing the brunt of the conflict between government forces and Houthi militants. In a harbinger of things to come, a UNICEF employee told me that the only way he could get supplies to Saada was by partnering with the Islah Charitable Society (ICS), a local aid agency tied to Yemen’s largest Islamist party. He complained that ICS was padding the books and inflating the numbers of people who had been displaced to gain resources for its wider evangelical work, but he noted that it was the only non-governmental agency that he knew of that was granted a permit to work amid the stranded civilians. It was in ways like this that the Saleh regime manipulated the “sectarian” politics of Northern Yemen, seeking to ensure that the two groups were too distracted by each other to turn their attention elsewhere.

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Rand Paul blasts Obama’s Syria plan: ‘We need to stay the heck out of their civil war’


This post is by Rebecca Sinderbrand from Post Politics: Breaking Politics News, Political Analysis & More - The Washington Post


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Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor on Thursday afternoon to voice his strong opposition to a measure authorizing President Obama to train and arm the Syrian Free Army, a moderate rebel group, to combat the Islamic State.

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Federal Eye: Rep. McCaul questions U.S. response to ‘jihadi cool’ threat


This post is by Josh Hicks from Post Politics: Breaking Politics News, Political Analysis & More - The Washington Post


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House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) this week questioned the Obama administration’s response to emerging threats from the “jihadi cool” subculture  — young individuals influenced by increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaigns from Muslim extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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