Senior government leaders are often called on to be in more than one place at a time. They make choices. Not everyone agrees with those choices. Sometimes deputies go instead. This happens to every country; the more global a nation’s interests, the more it happens. None of this is new.
Yet a decision to have Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend a meeting between President Trump (Tillerson’s boss) and Chinese President Xi rather than a NATO ministers gathering (i.e., Tillerson’s peers) in early April has been blown up into yet another end-of-the-world scenario. The fact that Tillerson will attend an event in Russia weeks later was somehow thrown into the mix and the resulting cake was pronounced proof that the U.S.-NATO relationship is in tatters.
It is fully reasonable to debate which event, meeting with Xi or NATO, is the best use of Tillerson. It’s just not a hard debate to resolve.
“Skipping the NATO meeting and visiting Moscow could risk feeding a perception that Trump may be putting U.S. dealings with big powers first, while leaving waiting those smaller nations that depend on Washington for security,” two former U.S. officials said.
Bigger stuff over smaller stuff, who could imagine?
Despite much rhetoric, NATO has been a stable, predictable relationship for the United States over decades. Tillerson, and the U.S., will be represented at the April event by the familiar (he’s worked for State since 1984) and competent Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Shannon. Tillerson may be skipping the event; the United States is not. And FYI, Colin Powell skipped the same meeting once as Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, Trump is set to attend a NATO summit in Brussels in May. Tillerson met his NATO counterparts at an anti-ISIS conference on March 22. State is proposing other dates for NATO’s foreign ministers to gather. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner stated in the midst of all this “the United States remains 100 percent committed” to the alliance.
NATO is covered.
China meanwhile is dead center on action. China will play a significant role in anything to do with North Korea. China and U.S. allies Japan and South Korea face continued friction in the South China Sea, with the U.S. involved as well. China is one of America’s most significant trading partners, and holds considerable U.S. Treasury debt. Weigh all that against sending a signal to NATO about a problem in the alliance that sort of doesn’t even exist outside the self-created media spectacle.
And the same people criticizing Tillerson for attending the meeting between Trump and Xi have only recently criticized Tillerson for not attending meetings between Trump and other world leaders.
Problems with Tillerson’s plan to go to Russia weeks after the missed NATO meeting are just conflation. Tillerson will be doing all sorts of things following the NATO meeting and simply throwing Russia into this NATO story is pure sensationalism, a desperate attempt to get the news hook of the moment, Putin, into the headlines and imply more diplomatic naughtiness on the part of Trump.
Much of the can’t-win-either-way positions taken on Tillerson flow from two interlocking issues.
The first is the trope that basically anything the Trump administration does is wrong, dangerous, and reckless. Politico comes out with it, saying “Two months and a string of eyebrow-raising decisions later, people in and outside the State Department wonder if there’s any tradition Tillerson thinks is worth keeping.” Suggest negotiations and you’re too soft. Rattle the saber and you’re tempting Armageddon.
The second is Tillerson’s disdain for the media. The media as a rule is nothing but self-righteous and jealous, ready to wave the flag, wrap themselves in it, then throw themselves writhing to the ground claiming they alone stand between The People (who no longer trust them) and the abyss. Tillerson didn’t take a press pool with him to Asia, and this set of the latest round. Left out of course is that the press could and did travel commercially to Asia longside Tillerson and missed out only on the possibility of some back-of-the-official-plane leaking.
This will become a self-licking ice cream cone, as 24/7 press criticism of Tillerson makes him even less likely to engage with a press that will seize on his comments to criticize him further.
It is also deeply amusing to watch the press decry the lack of official State Department briefings that they for years criticized as being content free and little more than propaganda. It reminds of an old joke — Q: How was the food on your vacation? A: Terrible! And such small portions!
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be planning to invade northern Syria to prevent Kurds from forming their own state there.
Turkey to Invade Syria
In a speech last Friday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not accept a move by Syrian Kurds to set up their own state in Syria following gains against Islamic State (IS). “We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said. “We will continue our fight in that respect whatever the cost may be.” He accused Syrian Kurds of ethnic cleansing in Syrian areas under their control.
Reports are Erdogan will send the Turkish army into Syria. Up to 18,000 soldiers would take and hold a strip of territory up to 20 miles deep and 60 miles long that currently is held by IS. It stretches from close to the Kurdish-controlled city of Kobani in the east to an area further west held by the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups, beginning around the town of Mare. The “Mare Line” is to be secured with Turkish ground troops, artillery and air cover.
Why This Matters
— Turkey is entering the fighting in a big way. Turkey, a NATO country, is unilaterally and under dubious “defensive” standards invading another nation. Yeah, it’s 2015 that kind of thing happens pretty much all the time now, but it is still sort of worth noting.
— Turkey is fighting the Kurds, a group whom the U.S. arms and supports as an anti-IS force. Anything Turkey does to weaken the Kurdish forces is in opposition to U.S. policy, may strengthen IS in the long run and may provoke some sort of political mess between Turkey and the U.S.
— Turkish troops could easily get caught up in the general fighting now going on among IS, the Kurds and Syrian government troops, stepping smartly thus into the Syrian quagmire. Retaliation attacks by IS and/or Kurdish militants on Turkish territory may follow.
— Kurdish forces supported by the U.S. elsewhere in Iraq may move against Turkey. This will weaken their efforts against IS in Iraq (a U.S. goal) and place additional pressure on the U.S. over whether or not to further arm, train and support them with air power.
— NATO troops operating U.S.-supplied Patriot missiles near the Syrian border to shield member country Turkey against air attacks from Syria will be forced to either stand down completely, or try and discriminate in shooting back at an increasing crowded sky full of ambiguous good guys and bad guys.
— Short version: a very messy situation will be getting worse.
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
Drops in the Ocean
Lt. Commander Jennifer Cragg at “NATO” headquarters in Afghanistan brings us (only on the “NATO” website of course; even the lamest of the main stream media has abandoned this meme) the story of one person who has “made a difference” in Afghanistan. Please have tissues at the ready to soak up your tears, then read:
Alfredo Memmer, a German citizen who has worked here since 2008, helped launch a charity organization called Basic Needs Support of Afghanistan. Memmer has consistently found ways to impact the lives of dislodged women and children since arriving in Afghanistan.
“Since my arrival I participated in various toy collections and clothing drives for displaced women and children,” said Memmer. “The creation of BNSOA is seen as a legacy to the innocent lives taken too early.”
“Our efforts might look like a small drop in the ocean, but many drops can also form an ocean.”
The article goes on to say that the organization gives away donated clothing, food, blankets, shoes and toys.
An Ocean of Dumb in Iraq
Was it really only just a few years ago when these same stories, with nearly the same wording, ran in the steady flow of news explaining how well things were going in Iraq? Hit the Google with the search term “iraq giving toys to children” and you’ll come up with pages of photos. And they are all the same: a U.S. service member dressed like a Space Marine handing over some plastic piece of junk to some kid. Sometimes one or both are smiling, often times not. The images feel more like some freakish form of pedophlia than even decent propangada.
As for the similarity of the glowing press releases, here’s just one from Iraq plucked out of the Internet Cosmos:
It’s a lesson in contrasts. A heavily-armed American soldier giving away stuffed toys to children in Iraq.
Barbara Cerniauskas [whose husband is deployed in Iraq]: “It really is just a small way that we can reach out to them and show them that our soldiers are there to help.”
“No matter how you feel about the war, the children are just innocent bystanders.” These toys could even help save lives. There are reports from soldiers about children warning them of dangers from land mines and buried bombs.
“We are doing something to maybe, you know, open the door to a new generation that will see that freedom and peace are possible. This is just a little token to maybe get it started.”
Like the idea itself, many of the organizations that enthusiastically sprung up to donate stuff to kids when the wars were a “thing” are gone. FYI: The kids are still there. For example, Operation International Children (OIC), founded in 2004 by actor Gary (“I’ve lived off being Lt. Dan forever, suckers”) Sinise “to reach out to children in war-stricken countries and support American troops in their efforts to assist them” closed down. In its so-long message, the group reminded us all that “We believe those moments of joy [following a kid whose parents were killed in a drone strike getting a used made-in-China toy] have the potential to bring about great change and our joy comes from the knowledge that we have worked together to make that possible.”
If you really, really want more such stories, including lots of wacky propaganda examples from Iraq, they are a Google away, or, conveniently, in my book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
Oceans of Garbage
But we digress. That NATO charity group in Afghanistan says “Our efforts might look like a small drop in the ocean, but many drops can also form an ocean.” One might ponder the fact that the U.S. and “NATO” have been leaving drops of hope all ver Afghanistan now for 13 years and haven’t managed to form a puddle, never mind an ocean. Perhaps more specifically in answer to the small drops add up to an ocean analogy, one could cite an alternative old saying about the value of “pissing into the sea.”
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
The Chicago Tribune gained access to the U.S. Army’s report on the death of State Department Foreign Service Officer Anne Smedinghoff in Afghanistan.
She was only 25 years old. She was one of three American civilians, three soldiers and a local interpreter killed in what was once the deadliest day of last year for Americans in Afghanistan. There’s always a new record set.
Because karma demands balance, the same day that Anne was killed “NATO” forces accidentally killed ten Afghan children in an air strike. The children’s crime was being in a house of a suspected Taliban man. Neither the U.S. Army report, nor any of Anne’s official mourners at State, mentioned the ten dead kids. Nothing about them in the Tribune story this week either.
The mission in which the four on the American side gave their lives was to allow a visiting State Department VIP participate in a book give-away to local Afghan kids, surrounded by media. These events were common in Iraq, and are common in Afghanistan, and are designed to generate “positive visuals.”
Failed at All Levels
The Army report cited by the Tribune (the State Department report on the incident remains forever classified) lays out in black and white what most people with knowledge of what really happened already knew: poor planning that “failed at all levels” led to the deaths. Specifics:
“The [security for Anne] platoon did not know the exact number of people they were escorting, they did not conduct a formal risk assessment, they did not have a specific threat analysis, and they had the wrong location for the school.”
The State Department shared too much information with Afghan officials, and the group may have been targeted because specifics on the event’s exact time and who would attend “had leaked out.”
The book event at the school was characterized in military briefings as a “Media Extravaganza.” One soldier wrote in a statement that he described the event as providing “Happy Snaps,” or photo opportunities, for top officials in Kabul. The company supplying the books also desired “more media reporting.”
The people who created the mission that killed Anne have blood on their hands. However, in a statement in response to the new report, the State Department spokesperson only said “The only people responsible for this tragedy were the extremists opposed to the mission.”
Dying for a Mistake
A current Foreign Service Officer (FSO) meme is that if only they were not bound by overly-strict security rules, they would have been more successful in Afghanistan (Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan…) Diplomats, many say, perhaps in an attempt to seem less flaccid next to the military, should be allowed to assess their own risk. After all, they volunteered to be in harm’s way no less than the soldiers who die every day around them. Such a theme is present in Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.
Without disparaging Anne, though she too was perhaps naive, there is that question about risk. The issue is that almost no FSOs in the field are in a clear position to assess risk. Having done my own time in wartime Iraq, I rarely had access to the full intel picture, never knew who the Embassy had or had not told about my movement outside the wire and never knew what military action might have taken place before I got there. And what specific knowledge or training did I, or most any FSO, have on military tactics and risk assessment? I was in a very, very poor position to assess risk.
Instead, I trusted the State Department and others, as did Anne. What seems to have happened to her in part is that the desire to hold yet another pointless media event overshadowed a proper risk assessment by professionals and the taking of proper steps to mitigate that risk. To me, the “hero” tag applies when one knowingly acts, consciously setting aside personal safety (like running into a burning building to save a child), not when someone is gullible enough to stumble into something.
Everyone a Victim
As for the “helping others” part, well, I wrote a whole book about how little help we gave to Iraqis. In Anne’s case, her mission that day seemed highly skewed toward a VIP photo-op, what the Army called “Happy Snaps” and offered little to the Afghans except the chance to again serve as props for our attempts to dis-portray reality. How did the Afghan kids who were to receive books from Anne and the Afghan kids who were blown up by NATO that same day differ? Just an accident of location. Everyone was a victim.
In Iraq during my own service I came to realize I was putting my life, and those of the soldiers around me, at jeopardy so someone in Washington could have fresh photos for another Powerpoint proving we were winning. It would have been a poor exchange of my life if I had been killed doing that, and, with respect to the dead, it was a poor exchange for Anne, the three soldiers, and the interpreter.
For this is what we sacrifice our young, bright and energetic for.
SecState John Kerry warned that “the State Department will have to stop humanitarian aid to millions of people and delay efforts to ramp up diplomatic security abroad after the attack in Benghazi.”
Kerry also warned that the State Department might not be able to effectively provide emergency services to Americans in trouble abroad, to properly vet visa applications, and or issue passports to Americans in a timely manner. “I hope that Congress can act to avoid these severe, across-the-board cuts to programs that further U.S. national security, advance America’s economic interests, protect Americans at home and abroad, and deliver results for the American people,” Kerry wrote.
The award provides for grass cutting, edging, trimming, weeding, and other gardening and landscaping services. It will also mandate the planting of 960 violas, tulips, and begonias. The frighteningly-specific contract says that “any pruning of trees exceeding 2.5 m in height is excluded from the contract. The Contractor shall maintain the height of grass between 4 and 6 centimeters.”
As a matter of simple comparison, the money your State Department spends in one year on gardening for one embassy in Belgium would fund fourteen public school teachers under the Teach for America program.
Well, it was bound to happen, given how much time they spent together. You watch them grow, you watch them take those first steps and poof! before you know it there are phone calls and (now) texts and even though they don’t see it, you, from a distance of more than a few years, can see: they are in love.
Bittersweet, when it becomes “formal” in its awkward way, it is as inevitable as summer follows spring. And so it is with Hillary Clinton and Afghanistan, when Hills made it official by announcing, yes, the stories are true: She and Afghanistan have become officially “major non-NATO Allies.”
Frightening in that this is actually real, the Secretary has designated Afghanistan as a “major non-NATO ally,” a title the US has extended only to countries such as Australia, Egypt, Pakistan and Israel, and which gives preferential access to US arms exports and defence cooperation. Clinton did this in the face of yet another in a dreary string of “donor’s conferences,” international gatherings the US holds to pressure its so-called friends into agreeing to give money to Afghanistan. These are the equivalent of your neighbor’s kid hitting you up for a donation so she can go to summer camp with her French class.
The difference is one of scale: Afghanistan claims it needs some $4 billion a year in regular aid, on top of another $4 billion in military aid. Each year. Forever. The US can’t borrow that much green from China, and so turns to its partners, much like your neighbor’s kid extorts cash from you, to pony up. Like you, the partners can’t really say no, but will try and get away with giving as little as possible. After all, it is America’s own mess/someone else’s kid, not yours.
It can get confusing. The change in status for Afghanistan makes it easier for them to purchase US military equipment. However, it will be many years before Afghanistan is in a position to actually buy weapons for itself, relying as it does on foreign support. The change, like many promises made by young lovers, is thus primarily for show, a whispered “Sure, I’ll always love you” made in desperate haste in the back seat of someone’s car to sanctify what is going to happen next in the evolution of young love.
In fact, Clinton said “We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan.” Really, who could imagine pulling out when such sweet promises have been made, eh?
And yet, as Hillary strong-armed money in Tokyo, there were more signs in Afghanistan of just how cynical her actions are.
The Washington Post reports a series of attacks across Afghanistan. Six American service members lost their lives when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in Maidan Wardak province, which lies just west of Kabul. On the same day, 23 Afghan civilians were killed by multiple blasts in Arghistan district of southern Kandahar. In another attack, five Afghan police were killed by remote-control bomb in Bamian province, regarded as “the most secure part of Afghanistan.”
As William Astore points out on Huffington Post, “Just as in Vietnam, in Afghanistan we are not winning the war, because these were and are not our wars to win. We were and are only preventing one side from losing, a side that is seemingly sympathetic to America precisely because it feeds off our largesse.”
Hillary, take note of Astore’s point: we destabilize Afghanistan with enormous sums of money and militarized “solutions” to everything.
We all know that social media is the key to victory in Afghanistan as it was in Iraq, at least according to the State Department, but a recent Tweet from the US Embassy in Kabul (slogan: “One day We’ll Be as Big as Baghdad”) has left me in a gobsmacked state:
Correct me if I am wrong, but does it not seem that Embassy Kabul is gloating over the deaths of some of the “bad guys”? The US side repeated/reTweeted a message from the ISAF US-funded propaganda team to two pro-Taliban Tweeters appearing to gloat over the deaths of some Taliban.
Bad enough as it is, gloating over death (though SecState Clinton also did so with Qaddafi’s death) but doing it a day after at least ten NATO soldiers were killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan, when a transport helicopter carrying six US Marines crashed in Helmand province, and an Afghan army soldier killed four French soldiers at the Gwam training base in Kapisa province. Fifteen French soldiers were wounded in the attack, eight seriously? The French are considering withdrawal from the Afghan playground due to their deaths.
C’mon US Embassy Kabul, this is just sad.
The Washington Post reports on a series of deceptive statements issued by NATO and the CIA over who controlled the drone that “fell down” in Iran earlier this week. The Post writer, largely because he had 500 words to kill, speculated that the misleading statements issued suggesting that it was a NATO drone off course, later clarified sort of to suggest it was a CIA drone on course spying on Iran, were a “head fake,” “an apparently deliberate media misdirect” by those wacky spooks.
Post writer, you are a tool. It is much more likely that the various people seeking to lie about the drone just got their stories mixed up in their haste to make up shit for you to digest and spit back out in the newspaper. Or, the CIA was lying to YOU, young Paduwan Post writer, trying to hide the fact that not only was it blatantly violating another country’s airspace, it seems like they screw up at the same time.
So, quick recap: CIA is flying war drones over Iran. Iran either shot one down, cyber-spaced it down or just had a lucky day. Media still clueless and willing to play along with whatever pablum they are fed.
Also, in case you were sanguine about America’s war-to-be in Iran, some bone heads in Congress are seeking to make diplomacy with Iran actually illegal.
OK, back to shopping– only 19 days left ’til Christmas!
Iraq continues to represent the vision of two American presidents who apparently had nothing better to do than invade and occupy the place because, hey, why not? On Saturday, seven people were killed and 28 others wounded when three roadside bombs exploded mid-morning in the busy Bab al-Sharji commercial district of central Baghdad. Another six men died and 10 others were injured when a roadside bomb hit a minibus carrying young laborers and construction workers in al-Annaz area in eastern Falluja. Both area were primarily Sunni.
But don’t worry, because earlier in the week 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were hurt when three explosions hit a commercial district in Basra, an oil-rich, predominantly Shiite city. The universe of sectarian killing in Iraq remains in balance.
America firmed up ties with its best buddy and ally Pakistan by gunning down at least 26 Pakistani troops. NATO helicopters opened fire on two Pakistani military checkpoints near the border with Afghanistan early Saturday, killing 24 soldiers. Another 13 soldiers were wounded in the attack in the Mohmand Agency area. But it’s OK– Marine General John R. Allen offered his “sincere and personal heartfelt condolences” to the families of any Pakistan Security Forces members killed or injured. OK, that’s settled!
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike. A spokesman for the governor of Kandahar said that a NATO reconnaissance aircraft spotted five militants planting mines in the village of Siacha. The plane targeted the insurgents, killing two and wounding a third, and then pursued the other two suspects as they carried their wounded comrade away. “The plane chased them, the insurgents entered a street where children were playing and, as a result of its shooting, seven people have been killed, including six children, and two girls also have been injured.”
There is more, but my stomach can only handle so much loaded down with turkey and stuffing, so I’ll leave it to your imagination and Google. Americans, thank you, and please now return to your shopping and over-eating.
So, like the US invaded Iraq in 2003, for freedom, and occupied the country, spent trillions on the war and reconstruction, killed 100,000 Iraqis and saw 4478 Americans give their lives… for something.
The US did not, however, resolve any of Iraq’s relationship “issues:” the relationship between Sunnis and Shias, the relationship between Arabs and Kurds, the relationship between urban and rural areas, the relationship between those who have oil underfoot and those who don’t, the relationship between Iraq and Iran and the relationship between the Kurds and Turkey. Despite eight years and all those lives, we just did not have time to get into all those things.
It goes w-a-y back in time, like before the Junior High Homecoming, that Turkey and the Kurds have not been friends. The Kurds are not even really part of anything to do with Iraq, but had most of their turf lopped into “Iraq” when the British, obviously drunk off their asses on absinthe and rum cocktails, hilariously drew modern Iraq’s borders. So, some Kurd stuff ended up inside the lines, and some outside the lines. Neither the Kurds nor the Turks can agree where those lines are. Same thing for the other end of Kurd-land, the border with Iran.
So, like any other unresolved serious relationship problem, the Kurds and the Turks and the Iranians are fighting it out.
In fact, Turkish warplanes attacked 60 targets in the mountains and border areas of northern Iraq early Thursday in pursuit of Kurdish separatist rebels suspected of responsibility a day earlier for a deadly quadruple bombing ambush on a military convoy in southeast Turkey.
The Kurdish officials in northern Iraq also reported shelling of a Kurdish village near the border with Iran, apparently by Iranian forces, which have periodically lobbed artillery at suspected members of an Iranian Kurdish rebel group known as PJAK that operates in Iran but takes refuge in Iraq.
It was unclear whether the Iranian shelling was a coincidence (hah hah, right).
The Turkish airstrikes followed an artillery barrage by Turkish forces targeting 168 locations in northern Iraq, which military intelligence showed were frequented by the P.K.K., or Kurdistan Workers Party, the insurgent group that has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since the early 1980s.
A bunch of people got killed, nothing was determined and more fighting will take place. Turkey is a NATO member, covered under NATO’s collective defense. That means “if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked.” It’s even on NATO’s website ya’ll!
Despite this, I can’t find any public statement from NATO about Turk v. Kurd.
Despite the US being a NATO member, and caretaker of Iraq for the past eight years (officially recognized by the UN as an occupying power even!), I can’t find any public statement from the US about Turk v. Kurd.
Despite Obama blathering about US strategic interests in the Middle East, I can’t find any public statement from him about Turk v. Kurd.
Despite the US having the World’s Largest Embassy (c) in Baghdad, and a very large Consulate in Kurdistan (they must have heard, right?), I can’t find any public statement about Turk v. Kurd. Not even on da’ Twitter.
If NATO member Germany, say, attacked Outer Carjackistan today over some ancient border dispute, you’d think maybe the US would comment.
So Obama, what does matter any more in Iraq? What’s left that we care about? Bases? Trainers? Military sales?
Seems a damn shame to have spent 4478 young American lives for this. And man, wasn’t Jennifer Aniston freaking hot on “Friends”?
Let’s run down the list: Did they attack us, like Pearl Harbor? No. Are they Nazis enslaving Europe? Nope. Did they steal our women and sell off our children? No. Anyway, just accept that we are at war to free Libya from the people who govern it, who are actually also Libyans.
It looks like some more freedom bombs were dropped on Libya. CNN reports:
NATO airstrikes hit a bakery and a restaurant in the Libyan city of al-Brega Saturday, killing 15 civilians, a Libyan government official told CNN. NATO denied the claim and said it had struck key command-and-control centers.
This kind of thing always makes me angry. In The Dirty Dozen or Private Ryan, whatever they blew up was just crawling with Krauts. Nobody was standing around saying “Hey, was that a bakery or a command center we just blew up?” Where’s Vic Morrow when you need him?
Vic Morrow also didn’t rape women, and it appears that the earlier claims by US UN diplo drone Susan Rice that sex machine Qaddafi had given his troops Viagra to encourage them to be rapin’ everybody may not be true.
Allegations that Muammar Qaddafi ordered the mass rape of women and passed out Viagra to his troops to give them more zeal for the task have been widely cited – most recently by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). But independent researchers who have sought to corroborate the claim in Libya now say they have found no evidence to back it whatsoever.
“We have not spoken to any victims or anybody who has met victims, except for the one doctor who has spoken a lot to the media,” said the researchers. “We approached her to see if there was anything more to learn from her, on this particular issue; she couldn’t put us in touch with any victims.”
So yeah, we probably just made that shit up. Hey, it’s war you know.
Secretary of State Clinton rightly reacted with horror at the murder of a 13 year old boy at the hands of Syrian government forces, his wounds displayed in a shocking video. The boy, identified as Hamza al-Khateeb, was shot, burned, and had his penis cut off when his body was returned to his family.
Please note that there is no connection between the horrific death of this boy and the following accidents:
According to the Huffington Post:
Angered by civilian casualties, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday he will no longer allow NATO airstrikes on houses, issuing his strongest statement yet against attacks that the military alliance says are vital to its war on Taliban insurgents.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu insisted NATO airstrikes are still essential and will continue.
Good news in today as NATO announced they had conducted over 2400 airstrikes for freedom against Libya since the party began on March 31.
So far the strikes have killed at least one Gaddafi kid, which furthers the humanitarian mission of the bombings. In addition, according to the Libyan state news agency one of latest sites hit by NATO was the North Korean Embassy in Tripoli which we bombed just because we’re freaking NATO and we could. Suck on That, People We Don’t Like.
Meanwhile, the Libyan rebels, whose names and backgrounds are still harder to find than an atheist in a foxhole, keep having victories in towns somewhere, until they all die or the West gets bored with this war and switches back to air strikes against the cast of Dancing with the Stars (which I would support on humanitarian grounds).
Also, UN pussy peace-monger Ban Ki-Moon called for “an immediate, verifiable ceasefire” in Libya and demanded unimpeded access for humanitarian workers there. This might matter because the “intervention” in Libya was originally sponsored by the UN, but, naw, we’ll just ignore them.
Go watch Dancing with the Stars Ban Ki-Moon and leave our fun war alone!