‘Humanitarian’ Iraq, Libya wars, their bloody consequences


This video says about itself:

Regime Change in Libya Mirrors Iraq: Both Efforts Led to Failed States & Destabilized Region

26 August 2016

As we speak with scholar Vijay Prashad about how the United States carried out regime change in Libya and left behind a failed state, he notes: “The story in Libya is not dissimilar to the story in Iraq.” Both are politically divided societies in which the United States deposed long-entrenched leaders, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and left behind failed states. Prashad adds that “in both instances, when the strongman was captured … they said, ‘We are ready to negotiate,’ and the United States essentially was not interested in negotiating.” He says the outcome in Libya contributed to the destabilization of Mali, Tunisia and much of northern Africa.

Libya’s Tobruk parliament refuses to recognize Western-backed government: here.

‘ABANDONED IN IRAQ’ “The true story of U.S. soldiers left for dead in Iraq, their epic battle for survival, and the military cover-up that kept them silent — until now.” [Rolling Stone]

War Porn, American anti-war novel


This video from the USA says about itself:

Identity, Experience, & Storytelling: A Conversation with Roy Scranton

18 March 2016

A discussion between Roy Scranton and Jennifer Ahern-Dodson about being a writer and reader in contemporary society. Scranton talks about how he approaches his own writing and assesses the writing of others, as well as how to draw on his own experience as a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and literary criticism.

Read more here.

By Eric London in the USA:

War Porn by Roy Scranton

The anti-war novel re-emerges in American literature

22 August 2016

After 15 years of permanent war, it is no surprise that the “war novel” has emerged as a predominant form of contemporary American literature. For the most part, contemporary war literature reflects the degree to which militarism and the celebration of American imperialism have been consciously elevated by the ruling class as “official” culture.

The most brutal of these works unapologetically glorify the death and destruction wreaked by the US armed forces on the impoverished people of the Middle East and Central Asia. Books with titles like “Kill Bin Laden,” “No Easy Day” and “Band of Sisters” repeat themes of love of country, battle heroism, and other such nonsense. The jackets of these books feature laudatory endorsements by generals and intelligence officials.

There are also many writers of a second type who attempt, without much success, to address general themes like the difficulties of reintegration into civilian life, the hardship of war, and the repressive atmosphere attendant to military life. Books like “The Yellow Birds,” “Youngblood” and “Thank You For Your Service” generally take the position that soldiers are placed in morally ambiguous positions by the contradiction between the essentially “good” character of the wars and the obvious fact that “war is hell.”

Whatever aesthetic skill the authors of these books possess is wasted by the fact that they are based on lies. It is widely understood that the US government and corporate media engaged in a fraudulent conspiracy to launch the wars in order to capture resources and secure the profits of Wall Street and the oil corporations. Fifteen years later the wars continue, with over one million dead. The destruction has triggered one of the largest migrations in human history. Those books which cover up these truths will be forgotten within a handful of years, and rightfully so.

But there is a third, emergent genre of war literature which is reacting against the first two types. Books like Phil Klay’s 2014 short story compilation Redeployment mark an important step toward an honest appraisal of the devastating impact that 15 years of the war on terror have had on social, cultural and individual life. Klay, a returning soldier, begins his book: “We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose and we called it Operation Scooby.”

In August, SoHo Publishing released “War Porn,” by Roy Scranton, who spent 2002 to 2006 as a soldier in Iraq. The novel consciously challenges the pro-war propaganda literature that has dominated the literary scene for the last decade. It is an advance from Redeployment and it foreshadows the emergence of a new canon of contemporary literature that is consciously anti-war.

Scranton’s debut novel intertwines the stories of three people in the early days of the US invasion of Iraq. There is the US soldier who returns home and commits a crime as horrendous as those he committed in Iraq, and the Iraqi mathematician who aids the US occupation and ends up its victim. Then there is the autobiographical left-wing US soldier who serves alongside soldiers whose readiness to kill is justly presented as a dangerous form of mental illness.

Though the title strikes the reader as an attempt at shock value, the inside jacket explains that “war porn” means “videos, images, and narratives featuring graphic violence, often brought back from combat zones, viewed voyeuristically or for emotional gratification. Such media are often presented and circulated without context, though they may be used as evidence of war crimes.”

The sensory material from which Scranton has drawn to write his novel consists of evidence of the most horrible war crimes committed by the US occupation forces against the people of Iraq. He portrays the material honestly and devastatingly.

Take, for example, Scranton’s description of the beginning of the US bombing campaign in March 2003:

“Day and night, bombs crashed into Baghdad. You watched it on TV, you heard it on the radio, you saw it from the roof and when you ventured out into the street: soldiers and civilians, arms and legs roasting, broken by falling stone, intestines spilling onto concrete; homes and barracks, walls ripped open; Baathists and Islamists, Communists and Social Democrats, grocers, tailors, construction workers, nurses, teachers all scurrying to hide in the dim burrows, where they would wait to die, as many died, some slowly from disease and infection, others quick in bursts of light, thickets of tumbling steel, halos of dust, crushed by the world’s greatest army.

“As the bombing grew worse, the terror of it stained every living moment. Sleep was a fractured nightmare of the day before, cut short by another raid. Stillness and quiet didn’t mean peace, only more hours of anxious waiting—or death. Even the comfort of family rubbed raw.”

The crimes Scranton describes have also shaped the political consciousness of hundreds of millions worldwide, and Scranton is writing on behalf of those upon whom the wars have left an indelible impression. He is attempting to take the images and experiences of 15 years and to present the wars as they really are.

One scene gives the reader a sense of Scranton’s laudable literary approach. He depicts an old blind man sitting in a park who “remembered the British biplanes of his youth.” He recalls Iraqi independence and “the shining dream of nation.” The old man ponders the exploitation of Iraqi oil by foreign corporations, the Nakbha in 1948, and the rise of the Baathists, who cut off his tongue for an unknown political offense. He sits amidst the US invasion, “listening to the thunder.” Scranton describes the man and explains: “For do I not yet write? Do I not mark the truth in my book? Do I not chronicle my poem for the ages, to be sung by my children’s children’s children? They would blind me, but I see the truth. I see the truth and I write the truth, and our truth shall outlive theirs.”

This is a healthy development for contemporary literature both in terms of its historical understanding and in terms of its objectivity. Scranton’s war is not one of equally valid narratives or ethically ambiguous situations. As the author recently tweeted, with sarcasm: “You know what would be awesome? More veterans whining about how nobody understands the moral complexity of being an imperial stormtrooper.”

But War Porn does not feel forced or pedagogical. The author has a real aesthetic skill and is moved by a genuine sympathy for humanity. One finds in his novel very little cynicism. Absent is the concept that war is the inescapable product of a violent human nature. To the contrary, one character, a teenaged Iraqi girl, is angry that the stress of the war is giving her acne and split ends, and fears the possibility of dying without having first fallen in love. Her greatest philosophical preoccupation: can Michael Jackson be reconciled with the Quran?

Scranton’s attempts to depict beauty amidst the backdrop of the war are not saccharine. A returning US soldier ponders “feeling the war slip off like an old jacket,” echoing Hemingway’s brilliant and simple line from A Farewell to Arms: “the war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else’s college.”

The descriptions of Iraq in the hours before the bombing, for example, are striking. The Iraqi main character, Qasim, is awoken from a nightmare and looks out the window of his room at Baghdad:

“Dawn shone in a red line. Black palms rose like minarets and the minarets rose like rockets: the sky floated black under a starry blue sea, and that’s how they’d come at him, like sharks. Had it begun yet? Were the lights in the sky the sea, or the city?”

After the bombing begins, Qasim’s family watches their city under siege on CNN: “They watched balls of fire rise up in the night across the Dijlah, red and gold flowers blooming in the black water. They saw their city in green from above, in videos made by the men who were killing them, bright neon stripes cutting the screen, pale green explosions below.”

The publication of these lines, and of the book as a whole, has an objective significance. The hatred for war that exists among broad masses of the world’s population cannot be silenced by the lies of the government and its media and literary propagandists. Roy Scranton’s War Porn expresses and helps advance the profound social anger that is emerging amidst the rumble of a society devastated by imperialist war.

Finally, a Realistic Iraq War Novel. Roy Scranton‘s ‘War Porn‘ bucks the trends of recent fiction about soldiers. By Tom A. Peter: here.

The Arab world, from Bush’s Iraq war to ISIS


This video from the USA says about itself:

“Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart“: NYT Mag Examines Region Since 2003 U.S. Invasion

12 August 2016

As conflicts from Iraq to Syria have forced a record 60 million people around the world to flee their homes and become refugees, we speak with Scott Anderson about his in-depth new report, “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart.”

Occupying the entire print edition of this week’s New York Times Magazine, it examines what has happened in the region in the past 13 years since the the U.S. invaded Iraq through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Anderson is also author of the book, “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.”

Bush's mission accomplished in Iraq, cartoon

Last week, The New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to one story: Scott Anderson’s account of how the world has changed since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Anderson’s narrative follows six characters from 1972 until the present: here.

Murdoch’s Fox News Ailes’ warmongering and sexual abuse


This video from the USA says about itself:

Proof of Roger AilesDrum Beat for War – Though His Sex Slave!?!?!

1 August 2016

Thom shares the stunning story about a former Fox News booker who claims that she helped lie us in to the Iraq War and was forced to have sex with the network’s leader.

British petition for Blair accountability on Iraq war lies


This January 2015 video from Britain is called Tony Blair Not In Jail? I Literally Don’t Understand: Russell Brand The Trews (E235).

By Zoe Streatfield in Britain:

Blair petition passes 10,000 signatures

Tuesday 26th July 2016

Milestone means government must respond

A PETITION calling for MPs to hold Tony Blair to account for misleading the public in the run-up to the Iraq war reached a significant milestone yesterday.

The online parliamentary petition now has over 10,000 signatories, which means the government will have to make an official reply.

Stop the War vice-chair Chris Nineham told the Star that it was “no surprise” that people had already signed in such numbers.

Mr Nineham said: “The act of lying to take us into the Iraq war, more than any, other embodies the contempt for democracy that plagues our politics.”

He said it was “essential” that Mr Blair “faces some accounting as a warning to politicians in the future not to take us into disastrous foreign wars and not to deceive the public and Parliament alike.”

Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly member Adam Price, who instigated the petition, said he was pleased with its progress and hoped it would gain the 100,000 signatures needed to force a Commons debate on the issue.

Mr Price said: “Blair is guilty of a litany of errors and failures” and “must face his day of reckoning if justice is to be served to all of those who suffered at his hands.”

He said he had been working with MPs across all parties who are “all eager to ensure that everything possible is done to hold Tony Blair to account for misleading the House of Commons and the public.”

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh welcomed the news and pledged to “continue to work with MPs from across the House of Commons who want to see Parliament act to address this serious issue.

She said: “If we are to retain the public’s confidence in Parliament, we must hold Tony Blair to account for the misleading statements he made in the run up to the war in Iraq.”

The petition can be found at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/159996.

British Pfizerist anti-Corbynist Smith ‘economical with truth’ on Iraq war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Hillary Clinton Accuses Pfizer Of Gaming Tax System | Calls To Prevent Inversions & Tax Dodge

25 November 2015

US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has accused Pfizer of gaming the tax system with its deal with Allergan, touted to be the largest deal of its kind. Hillary Clinton has called US Congress to whip such inversions and tax dodging deals.

So, even Hillary Clinton, so often on the side of Wall Street and Big Business, criticizes Big Pharma corporation Pfizer.

However, in Britain, ex(?)-Pfizer lobbyist Owen Smith is now the candidate of the Blairite coup to overthrow democratically Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. At first, the Blairites tried to prevent Corbyn from being a candidate in the new leadership election. However, that failed.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Will the real Smith please stand up?

Thursday 21st July 2016

A REMARKABLE phenomenon of post-independence-war Ireland was the number of “secret” IRA members who emerged into the light.

They were people unsuspected by neighbours of taking up arms against Crown forces until they turned up to claim a military pension.

Well-connected worthies would back up each other’s claims, leaving bystanders nonplussed and feeding political reputations.

It’s not an exact parallel, but Owen Smith’s assertion that he opposed the invasion of Iraq and offered his resignation as a special adviser to then pro-war Welsh secretary Paul Murphy has taken anti-war activists’ breath away.

No-one saw him at any anti-war rallies and marches, but we have his word for how he really felt deep inside.

Smith has also taken the trouble to describe as nonsense the suggestion that he was ever in favour of private-sector penetration of the NHS, despite issuing a press release to this effect when paid £80,000 a year by US transnational corporation Pfizer to push this agenda.

Jeremy Corbyn’s challenger explains that this misleading impression arose from an “extrapolation of one comment in a press release about a report commissioned by Pfizer before I worked there.”

Smith, of course, believes in a “100 per cent publicly owned NHS free at the point of use,” which begs the question why he would seek employment at a company committed to undermining that principle.

He is, he claims, as anti-austerity as Corbyn, but he would go further, proposing solutions while the Labour leader is content with mouthing slogans.

But Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have never relied solely on denunciation.

They have been engaged in challenging government policies in Parliament and forcing significant retreats over attacks on benefits, spending cuts and collaboration with overseas dictatorships.

McDonnell has convened economic policy meetings with various experts to prepare a detailed and coherent alternative to both the Tories’ austerity agenda and the austerity-lite approach favoured by Labour, including Smith, before Corbyn was elected.

By badging himself as “left-wing,” Smith accepts implicitly that Labour’s membership was attracted by the progressive alternative put forward by Corbyn rather than the variations on the status quo offered by his opponents.

He plays down the matter of policy differences, declaring: “I don’t think Jeremy is a leader,” which translates as Corbyn can’t win elections — a statement readily exposed as nonsense by Labour’s poll results since last September.

Smith should perhaps remind himself that, having been shoe-horned into Blaenau Gwent as Labour candidate for the 2006 by-election — where records for Labour majorities were regularly set — he lost decisively to Independent Dai Davies.

He ought also to appreciate how inappropriate was his “compromise” offer of a consolation prize of party president to Corbyn if he submitted to the bullying campaign to step down as leader.

If Corbyn could be bought by New Labour, he would have been wrapped up and taken home already.

While the leader looks forward to a comradely contest before the party returns “stronger and more united” to defeat the Tory government, Owen and his backers insist that Labour would split if Corbyn is re-elected.

The challenger insists that Labour is “teetering on the brink of extinction.”

This is presumably the same Labour that has the highest number of members since just after the second world war, headed by a leader who addresses standing-room only public rallies.

We all know that the role of lobbyists and snake oil salesmen is to persuade us to see reality in a different light, but this stretches credulity a step too far.

THE majority of Tory MPs and the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party share a distrust of their own party members. The most likely explanation for Andrea Leadsom’s sudden withdrawal from the Tory leadership contest is that Tory MPs realised that she might not be competent to be prime minister, but that, as the only Leave candidate on the ballot paper, the bulk of Tory Party members would probably vote for her: here.