The Watering Hole: Operation Iraqi Freedom ends — August 19

On this day, one year ago, combat brigades completed their departure from Iraq, 12 days earlier than anticipated.  It was claimed that the war in Iraq was over — contradicting George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” bullshit from several years earlier — but it was necessary to leave behind 50,000 personnel, because the Iraqi government needed our support.

The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people. We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people—a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page.
—President Obama’s Address on Iraq, August 31, 2010

Thank goodness that’s over…oh wait.

Number of Iraq coalition fatalities since August 31, 2010:  56 (4792, since 2003)

True cost of Iraq War:  $3 trillion and more

Our country is collapsing into a severe depression — financial and moral. Most of this country’s money is sitting in offshore accounts, and since our Congress won’t actually do anything like raise taxes so we have money, in case the President might get credit, we are effectively broke. Hence, we can’t afford to be at war. Wow, go figure, right?

This is George W. Bush’s unwinnable, endless, deadly folly, which has created more terrorists than we ever killed. Can we stop pretending there can be a positive ending to this, stop pouring our money into this black hole, and bring the troops home?


This is our daily open thread — Discuss among yourselves.

162 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Operation Iraqi Freedom ends — August 19

  1. I like to think of it as “Dick’s folly”
    George was a hand puppet that was endlessly fascinated by the blinking lights on the oval office telephone.

    The chickens will be coming home to roost on this one for a long, long time.

    • And Jim Hightower said Rick Perry is George W. Bush without the intelligence and without the ethics.

      I’m almost hoping Romney wins the nomination. He might be harder to beat than Perry, but if Perry wasn’t nominated, he couldn’t get elected by any means. Citizens United behind Perry scares me more than Romney.

      Bachmann can’t get the nomination. She can’t be coached out of saying incredibly stupid things on a daily basis. Ron Paul would foul up Wall Street and the MIC worse than Obama, so he’s out.

      • Perry has already made some un-American statements. How could someone that wants to secede from the Union govern the Union? You are either with us or against us and he already stated that he is against us.

  2. Time to reinstate the draft starting with the Cheney family and the Bush family and then drafting the families of the members of Congress. Obviously, spending money that we don’t have doesn’t put a stop to these senseless wars. Maybe if there was some skin in the game, Congress would stop funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

  3. This is all you need to know about Operation Iraq:

    The Corporate – U.S. Take Over Of The Iraq Economy:

    Note the name Robert Jackson, a Lockheed Martin executive who founded the group “The committee for the liberation of Iraq”, Jackson was also a member of the neocon group “Project For A New American Century” (PNAC) and also wrote the republican foreign policy platform in 2000.

    Also note that after WWII, executives at Lockheed Martin along with Northrop Grumman and other defense industry giants of the time created the cold war scare after the US Government announced it was going to cut defense spending.

    The cold war threat, the threat of communism, 9/11 the threat of Islam and terrorists…you get the picture, I hope?

    • Here is a interview with William Hartung, author of the book “Prophets Of War” from After word, on CSPANS BookTV series. Hartung talks extensively about Lockheed Martin and their involvement with manufacturing the cold war scare and also mentions Lockheed executive Robert Jackson and his involvement with PNAC.

      So the question is, if multinational corporations from the war industry can manufacture war propaganda to increase their profits and the US Government lied to we the people about the Gulf of Tonkin incident to increase our involvement in Vietnam….Would these same players have a problem murdering 3000 people on 9/11 to increase profits and take over a country’s economy?

      • No.

        They also gained the Unitary Executive, the elimination of significant portions of the Bill of Rights, and the ability to openly admit the U.S. violates fundamental human rights and commits torture.

    • Don’t forget the 1963 coup d’etat that occurred in Dallas roughly six weeks after JFK signed a National Security Action Memo that ordered a complete US pullout from Vietnam by 1965. Also recall that before JFK was buried, LBJ signed a NSAM that completely reversed the earlier one and, in fact, laid the groundwork for escalation in Vietnam, finally made policy in August-September 1965 via the bogus Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Congressional resolution which followed.

      WWII served to take out monsters in Germany, Italy, and Japan, but in the process created one here in the US that’s far worse, one that Eisenhower named (and warned us of) the Military Industrial Complex.

  4. How come the teabagger’s don’t bitch about this and other examples of Americans paying taxes to support the profits of corporations?

    Hartung calculates that every taxpaying household in the United States contributed $260 to the company during 2008 to support its federal contracts totaling $36 billion. That amount can fairly be termed “the Lockheed Martin tax,” Hartung says.

    Nevermind, war is good and money trumps peace.

    Bow to Mammon, worship capitalism and serve the corporations. Welcome to America Babylon, baby!

  5. Last night I heard on one program that Texas is 50th in credit scores. This seems like a pretty bad metric in a nation where good credit is important just to get a job. I just did a search and came up with this:

    Texas Is “On the Brink,” Legislative Study Group Says

    Texas’ superlatives are nothing to brag about, according to the fifth edition of “Texas on the Brink,” an annual review that ranks the state on dozens of factors ranging from health insurance to voter turnout.

    This study was released in February, when Perry wasn’t a likely candidate. Texas was 49th in credit score according to the survey, and there’s little else to brag about on the list.

  6. Starbursts Alert

    “It finally happened. I met former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She may be the loveliest woman on Earth, or at the very least Aphrodite’s better looking cousin. … [Todd] gave permission [to tell a joke], so I served up my best. “I like Sarah Palin, but I can’t stand her position on traditional marriage. I think it’s awful. What I mean by that is I can’t stand the fact that she is married to somebody who is not me.” He laughed, and out of nowhere she turned around. She liked the joke. She gave me a hug and I asked if I may take a picture with her. She said it was ok, but there was one problem. Due to sheer nerves I have not experienced since junior high school, I totally went brain dead and forgot how to work my cell phone camera,” – Eric Golub, in the Washington Times.

    • Perry: “Now you keep your Meskin-speak to yourself there Skippy, this is Amurka and we speak Amurkan, see?”

      In the blog, I caught the “Obama has left dozens of places at Treasury unfilled… etc etc” – er Republican confirmation obstructionism, the real truth maybe?

  7. Damn, it’s good to be back. I’ve been in training for the past two weeks of hell.
    The first week, during the wall street meltdown, a colleague sitting next to me on Thursday remarked sarcastically, ‘It’s all Bush’s fault”. To which I replied via email with this link…

    For some curious reason, he didn’t reply.
    Nor has he spoken to me for the last eight days.

    Mission accomplished.

  8. Just read an AP Online news brief article where Panetta and his brain fart, errr trust has come up with the idea that military pensions may be too generous. Talking about things like 401k’s and not being able to tap it until age 60. So private investment firms get that money to play with for 15 or 20 years and if the person dies before retiring, whoopsie.

    I do believe they are about to come up with a plan that will make the military a not so good choice. Not quite as immediate an impact as the draft but it should still work.

  9. The hugely compassionate Senator Tom Coburn (R-0K commenting on Obama:

    Responding to a man in Langley who asked if Obama “wants to destroy America,” Coburn said the president is “very bright” and loves his country but has a political philosophy that is “goofy and wrong.”

    Obama’s “intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him,” he said.

    “As an African-American male,” Coburn said, Obama received “tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs.”

    How sweet it is that American racism is a thing of the past.

    • Somewhat out of context. This didn’t make the cut. When asked if he thinks Obama wants to destroy the country, Coburn replies:

      “No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was… “His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.”

      I’m still confused about how exactly Obama was a product of programs that create “dependency.” He seems to disprove that entirely. But the full context is important, because it shows that Coburn hasn’t actually gone off the deep end entirely.

      Greg Sargent has more:

      • … [Obama’s] a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…

        I wonder what Coburn finds so odd about Obama having been raised in Hawaii, mostly by his Caucasian grandparents? Hawaii, a place where a large percentage of the population is of mixed race in one way or another. I’ve known lots of people from Hawaii over the years, and if there was a major difference in their “life experience” from, say, folks raised in most mainland states, it was that to Hawaiians race wasn’t an issue.

        Frankly, I still believe, as I long have, that Coburn’s full of shit.

      • What was Obama exposed to as a child? A loving mother and grandparents? Different cultures and religions? How awful!

        Yes, Obama was dependent — as a child. All children are dependent on their parents. That’s not unusual.

        Coburn’s dog whistle is that a black child must be exposed to horrors that white children don’t experience; and since Obama is black, he must have spent his life on welfare and food stamps, because don’t all blacks live that way?

        Fuck you, Coburn, you fucking fuck. Obama’s childhood experiences led him to one of the finest educations anyone could have, made him a compassionate person, and got him elected as President of the United States. YOU will never achieve even half of what this black man has accomplished.

    • The sad and worrisome aspect is that every American is very dependent on the government. And it is the Constitutional job of the federal government to insure that every citizen gets equal treatment and has access to the same basic possibilities.

  10. These people live among us:

    According to a Gallup poll taken last year, the number of Republicans who said God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years clocked in at a breezy 52 percent. Another 36 percent said evolution is happening but is being guided by God, and just 8 percent believe that evolution is happening on its own.

  11. The job of government, on every level, is to provide a means where humans can live together without killing each other. Without a strong government, big cities would not exist. Dense urban and even suburban populations would be impossible. Commerce would be confined to localities. And scientific advancement would be at a snail’s pace.

    In my lifetime every major advancement of society was instigated by the federal government. The two biggies would be the interstate highway system and NASA. Sadly, the greatest detriments to the US have also come from the federal government, incessant wars being the main one.

    • “Incessant wars.” Nicely put. 😉

      In the sixties, I worked for two years at Martin Marietta in Denver. On one side of the facility was a factory that turned out Titan II ICBM boosters. On the other side was a massive aerospace R&D setup that wound up designing and producing the first Mars lander, the one that started out as Voyager but wound up as Viking due to NASA budget cuts (the money was needed more in Vietnam, dontcha see).

      The legacy of Viking still lives; the only good thing to ever come out of the Titan factory was the Titan III, the space launch vehicle with two solid fuel strap-ons attached to the liquid fueled (UDMH) main booster.

      And now, today? Well, there’s the F-22. And the backup engine for the F-35. And … ummm …… hmmm.

      • The real scary part about the US focusing so much effort on technowar, drones, smart bombs and missiles, automated tanks and warships, is that they are forcing the other side to develop a means of stopping that threat. Obviously they can’t match the level of technology or production so they have to find something else.

        Jamming is a possibility but the easiest way to eliminate an automated, computerized threat is EMP. And about the only easy way to generate one is a nuke.

  12. A question popped into my head in this morning’s wee small: Given that corporations are people, should two corps be allowed to merge anywhere but in states that allow same sex marriage? And what if the merger involves a polygamous three or more? Utah only?

    Wish Mitt was here. I’m sure he’d know.

  13. .
    “Are We Still a Nation of Science?

    We once had a group of brilliant, influential and politically engaged leaders who were fascinated by science, wanted the country to be the world leader in the pursuit of new knowledge about the natural world, and in some cases even made original contributions.
    They were called the founding fathers.”

    • Of course we are. The military is exploring every possibility of being able to fight wars without people. Well, at least on our side. Mechanized drones of all sorts that can be sent into combat and not a single drop of American blood shed. Now that is science at its best. Barf.

      • Yup Bachman and Perry want to impose their Bronze-age Dominionist Theocracy on us, except the enforcement will be with 21st century weaponry – anything else would ‘make baby jesus cry’

  14. One of the things private enterprise and free market capitalism has given us here in the US is the internal combustion engine. A fine tool and very helpful when applied properly but I am willing to bet that at present we have more IC engines in the US than we have citizens. And I’m willing to also bet that about a third of them are in toys. I personally have 5 of them, 6 if you count my son’s car. That is in a household of 6 people.

    • I have three here at the house, and maybe twenty five to thirty at the shop. I only have two currently in use though, the 944 and the lawnmower, and I manage not to use both at the same time.

    • The networks, even Faux, are simply the tools of corporate America. Ron Paul scares the shit out of them, especially any of the corporations with defense divisions.

      Note also the cowardice of the GOP: no one points out this bias except a lefty comedy host.

      • I found a Youtube where a Ron Paul true-believer praises Stewart but at the same time calls hima ‘librul-piece-of-shit’

        Oh the irony….

      • I’m almost to the point of voting for Ron. I believe his first act in office would be bringing the troops home. The rest of his libertarian stuff would still have to be filtered through Congress. I would hope he would pick a good VP because after bringing the troops home his life expectancy would drop to minutes.

          • I agree. But if anyone should beat Obama in 12, I’d rather see Paul do it. He is a racist and an anarchist but from what I can see he isn’t for sale nor does he buy into the Republican fascism for fascisms sake. Very scary, likely destructive but way better than any of the Dominionist idiots.

        • If you look at what he stands for, about half of it makes sense:
          1. Wars
          2. Pot
          3. Free trade agreements – no thanks
          Then you get the oddball/objectionable stuff:
          1. Gold standard
          2. NO Fed reserve
          3. Taxes
          4. Abortion

          You could always reg as a repub and try and get him nominated 🙂

  15. Have no fear. Batscat Bachmann is committed to protecting us from the Soviet Union. Except, well… Has she figured out her gaffe yet? Will it occur to her to just say “oops! Obviously I meant Russia”? I’m betting that she’s going to spin her idiocy in a meager attempt to justify her error by some weird, convoluted, “explanation” about how the Soviet Union didn’t do anything but change their name or some such rot.

    I’ll even give her a pass on being afraid of Russia, personally I have no more fear of Russia than I fear being struck by a meteorite, but one should really know that the Soviet Union has been gone for 20 years.

    I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to give her a pass on being afraid of other countries. No other country on the planet has shown the slightest inclination or ability to threaten the U.S. directly. Anyone who devotes much time to being afraid of a foreign country should be exempt from holding public office. Frightened people make horrendously stupid decisions.

  16. .

    Pantless Parties Update

    “Missouri Lt. Gov and probable gubernatorial candidate Peter Kinder (R)”

    Kinder says he did frequent the strip club but eventually realized it wasn’t consistent with his Christian lifestyle.

  17. America is basically schizophrenic. We use sex and sexuality to sell everything, age no limitation. Disney markets prepubescent kids with sex. Advertising is littered with images that 50 years ago would have been banned and today it is common place.

    Then you add in action. If anyone responds to this constant barrage of lust in any fashion other than buying a given product, they are perverted. Topless joints serve that function. They provide a private venue to vent the public lust. But they do so in such a fashion that if one is caught, it is dirty and nasty.

    Americans are Calvinistic prudes. And they hate themselves for it.

  18. Today, I received an American Express credit card in the mail from Bank of America. I didn’t recognize the account and I have no intention of ever using this card. I call the 1-800 number and tell the employee that I want to cancel the card and I get this message from the employee, “I must tell you that if you cancel this card, your credit rating will be ruined because you had this account for 15 years. I advise you to speak with a financial analyst before you cancel this card.” We got into a long discussion which turned into an argument. Eventually, he tells me that I have 3000 bonus points which I will lose if I cancel this card. To make a long story short, I didn’t cancel the card. I’ll check out using the bonus points on-line and then I’ll cancel the card. And fuck the credit rating. I have never been pressured that much by any bank to keep a credit card. What a horrible bank.

    There are a lot of smart people here at the Zoo. Is it true that cancelling a credit card can ruin your crediting rating? I never heard of such a ridiculous thing.

    • ooh I dunno Cats, we’re talking about boobs above, I can’t get excited about American Express while all that is going on…. 🙂

      Oh then I just rememberd…

    • Cats, to my understanding if you do not open/accept a credit card offer, it has no impact on your credit rating. That Amex would play that game is truly disheartening. Cancel the card. and tell them to fold their points many times over and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

      Credit doesn’t exist until it is used.

    • Canceling a credit card can put a ding on your credit rating, for some unknown reason, but it certainly won’t ruin it. If you’re not using the card, who cares?

      That employee is just worried about his/her commission.

      • I think that only applies to a credit card account that has been opened. If not, every credit source would issue cards to everyone they can and then torpedo their rating. Haven’t heard of that happening. Credit has to be used before it hits your report.

        • The customer service idiot said it was an account Cats had had for 15 years, so it was probably used at some point, even if it’s not currently used.

          If it has never been used, then it would have no effect.

          • Horseshit. Amex is a paid membership. If the membership fee isn’t paid, the account terminates. Unless Cats has been paying Amex some $100+/year for the past 15 years, the claim is bogus.

            • Dude, I just agreed with you by saying that if an account has never been used (opened) it would have no effect on her credit rating.

              Excuse the horseshit outta me.

            • Sorry for the horseshit. Not aimed at you, more at any doof on the phone trying to extort money on a old supposed Amex account. I was Amex Gold for almost 20 years. Two years after I closed the account they said if I asked real nice they might open a new one with a $500 limit.

    • .
      BofA is a greedy sucker.

      I had a Discover Card for nearly 20 years -seldom used.
      Having limited income toward the end I never used it.
      Discover sent and phoned that if I didn’t USE it they’d close the account…I no longer have a Discover card (that was six or seven years ago and my credit rating hasn’t seemed to suffer) [a credit check was run when I applied for the apartment I now occupy – that was nearly a year ago]

    • Sounds like bullshit to me, especially for American Express. I tried to cancel my Chase card several years ago and got a lot of rooty-toot on the phone; I can’t even remember what the woman told me, but I ended up not canceling the card. On the other hand, I haven’t touched the account since and they finally stopped sending me a statement. I do get lots of junk mail from them, though, all of which I thoroughly shred.

      When my ex and I bought our house, one of the early credit reports included accounts I’d never heard of in states I’d never lived in. Other accounts I had opened many years before and hadn’t touched for more than a decade were still on the report.

      In your shoes, I’d be reluctant to use the bonus points because that would be an acknowledgment that the account was in fact legitimate.

    • .
      GWB sounded positively scholarly compared to this dolt.

      on abstinence:
      “I tell you it works – from my own personal life”..

      Considering he has two children (no mention of adoption)…
      so he may not be practicing abstinence/

      • “And if I ever figure out if it was the mailman or the milkman I will make sure they take care of the kids they fathered on my wife”?

      • “They way its being applied” – abstinence works, sure it does, if you don’t put the weiny where he wants to go, then yes it works….

        $117 M this clown has been paid by the corporations in his political career – f***ing scary.

  19. Santorum: I’ll Take Up Huntsman’s ‘Offer’ — He’s Crazy To Believe In Global Warming (VIDEO)

    Santorum told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. “You know, look, I’ve been very, very clear that the science just simply doesn’t back up the issue of global warming.

    “Yes, does the climate change? Of course it does, it’s changed for thousands of years. But the idea that one factor, and man’s contribution to that one factor, of which there are hundreds of factors that have an influence on climate, that that one factor of which man’s contribution is a small part of, is somehow the tip of that tail that wags the whole dog, and that we have to change all of our economic policy based on that, is just a pure overreaction that is not backed up by any kind of real evidence.

    “And so I’m glad Jon Huntsman buys that — I don’t, and I don’t think most Americans do anymore.”

    Stupidity reigns supreme.

  20. This is in pachy’s neck of the woods. I’d say that he lives less than a half mile of the site but not close enough to be fried. I tried to call but there is no answer, so we can hope that he has been asked to leave the area and is safe.

      • .
        You are so correct. That money could be re-directed (never mind that idiocy-
        “it’s only marked for defense”- unmark the sucker and redirect it to assist the shoring-up of our infrastructure; jobs for the jobless…

        • I’d like to see the US military machine shrunk in size to where we could drown it in a bathtub. Leave a reasonable defense setup in place and keep it funded, but meanwhile get the hell out of the rest of the world and stay out.

          Use the money to rebuild the country here at home and forget about blowing holes and killing people “over there.” Wage peace, not war.

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