Tag Archives: Iraq

Jeremy Corbyn Teaches Those Who Say He Doesn’t Have The Presence To Lead A Lesson

It won’t have escaped anyone notice that labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has been under fire, not least by his own colleagues, over the past couple of weeks.  Corbyn isn’t a statesman they bleat.  Corbyn doesn’t have any credibility, he is not a leader they complain.  The truth is that many in the parliamentary labour party want a return to the Blair years, the years of “win at any and all cost.”

Blair cut out the heart of the Labour party by moving Labour to the right of the Thatcher Government.  Neoliberal policies, favouring the bosses over the workers was the central core of Blair’s plan for Labour.  It was Blair and Tony’s Crony’s who were largely responsible for me and many others losing faith in politics in general and in the Labour party in particular.

My cynicism led me to believe that Sir John Chilcott’s report into the Iraq war would prove to be yet another costly whitewash.  I did the man a disservice.  His report was a damning indictment of the Blair administration and he even went so far as to say that legal action against Blair and his cronies was not beyond the scope of possibility.

How the Labour rebels must have cringed today when Mr Corbyn handed them a lesson in statesmanship and humility.  Corbyn’s statement made it clear where the blame lay.  Firmly at the feet of the government he was part of.  Corbyn has always been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq but he stood and apologised to the British people and more importantly to the families of everyone killed in this atrocity.  Corbyn voted against the war and campaigned against it at every opportunity and yet he apologised on behalf of colleagues who took every opportunity to stab him in the back.

Corbyn was sincere, measured and dignified, his words heart-felt and genuine.  Corbyn did not throw insults or accusations as many had expected. Corbyn had just three hours to assimilate Chilcott’s findings but compare his performance with Blair’s crocodile tears.  Blair has had quite some time, arguably 13 years, to prepare for this moment.  Corbyn had three hours.

I struggle desperately to recall an occasion where a politician performed with more decorum that Corbyn did today.  I simply cannot remember one.

Corbyn does’t have what it takes to lead this country?  Don’t make me laugh! #KeepCorbyn

 

 

 

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American Sniper Chris Kyle Outgunned by British Royal Marine

The story of American sniper Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar nominated movie of the same name has attracted a huge amount of commentary in recent weeks. The sniper has been lauded as a hero by some and condemned as a coward by others, with left-wing movie maker Michael Moore and First Lady Michelle Obama the latest of those drawn into the controversy. It seems however that Kyle, with 160 confirmed kills is not the world’s deadliest sniper after all.

According to today’s Independent, that “honour” belongs to a British Royal Marine who has at least 173 confirmed kills. That figure is believed to be conservative. The Royal Marine has been a member of the Royal Navy’s elite fighting unit for over a decade and the majority of his 173 kills were recorded in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1807606/chris-kyle-american-sniper-outgunned-by-a-british-royal-marine/#QlO4akBmjrPTH5sc.99

Yes it’s true, the United States really is the greatest country in the world – but in what? – Stop the War Coalition

Wow, I just came across this article and thought it worth sharing.  I think it throws up some really interesting issues.  Check it out and let me know what you think. Yes it’s true, the United States really is the greatest country in the world – but in what? – Stop the War Coalition.

AMERICAN politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Is there any evidence for this claim?

Well, yes. When it comes to violence and preparations for violence, the United States is, indeed, No. 1.

In 2013, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. government accounted for 37 percent of world military expenditures, putting it far ahead of all other nations. (The two closest competitors, China and Russia, accounted for 11 percent and 5 percent respectively.)

From 2004 to 2013, the United States was also the No. 1 weapons exporter in the world. Moreover, given the U.S. government’s almost continuous series of wars and acts of military intervention since 1941, it seems likely that it surpasses all rivals when it comes to international violence.

This record is paralleled on the domestic front, where the United States has more guns and gun-related deaths than any other country.

study released in late 2013 reported that the United States had 88 guns for every 100 people, and 40 gun-related deaths for every 400,000 people―the most of any of the 27 economically developed countries surveyed. By contrast, in Britain there were 6 guns per 100 people and 1 gun-related death per 400,000 people.

Yet, in a great many other areas, the United States is not No. 1 at all.

Take education.

In late 2013, the Program for International Student Assessment released a report on how 15-year old students from 65 nations performed on its tests. The report showed that U.S. students ranked 17th in reading and 21st in math. An international survey a bit earlier that year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the ranking was slightly worse for American adults. In 2014, Pearson, a multinational educational services company, placed the United States 20th in the world in “educational attainment”―well behind Poland and the Slovak Republic.

American healthcare and health fare even worse.

In a 2014 study of healthcare (including infant mortality, healthy life expectancy, and mortality from preventable conditions) in 11 advanced industrial countries, the Commonwealth Fund concluded that the United States ranked last among them. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. healthcare system ranks 30th in the world.

Other studies reach somewhat different conclusions, but all are very unflattering to the United States, as are studies of American health. The United States, for example, has one of the world’s worst cancer rates (the seventh highest), and life expectancy is declining compared to other nations.

An article in the Washington Post in late 2013 reported that the United States ranked 26th among nations in life expectancy, and that the average American lifespan had fallen a year behind the international average.

What about the environment? Specialists at Yale University have developed a highly sophisticated Environmental Performance Index to examine the behavior of nations. In the area of protection of human health from environmental harm, their 2014 index placed the United States 35th in health impacts, 36th in water and sanitation, and 38th in air quality. In the other area studied―protection of ecosystems―the United States ranked 32nd in water resources, 49th in climate and energy, 86th in biodiversity and habitat, 96th in fisheries, 107th in forests, and 109th in agriculture.

These and other areas of interest are dealt with by the Social Progress Index, which was developed by Michael Porter, an eminent professor of business (and a Republican) at Harvard. According to Porter and his team, in 2014 the United States ranked 23rd in access to information and communications, 24th in nutrition and basic medical care, 31st in personal safety, 34th in water and sanitation, 39th in access to basic knowledge, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, and 70th in health and wellness.

The widespread extent of poverty, especially among children, remains a disgrace in one of the world’s wealthiest nations. A 2013 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund noted that, of the 35 economically advanced countries that had been studied, only Rumania had a higher percentage of children living in poverty than did the United States.

Of course, the United States is not locked into these dismal rankings and the sad situation they reveal about the health, education, and welfare of its citizens. It could do much better if its vast wealth, resources, and technology were employed differently than they are at present.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of priorities. When most U.S. government discretionary spending goes for war and preparations for war, it should come as no surprise that the United States emerges No. 1 among nations in its capacity for violence and falls far behind other nations in providing for the well-being of its people.

Americans might want to keep this in mind as their nation embarks upon yet another costly military crusade.

Why we are bombing Iraq & Syria

Why we’re bombing Iraq and Syria: Statement by Barack Obama and David Cameron clears up any confusion

As told to Audrey Bailey.

You may be confused about why we are bombing Iraq and Syria. So we will make ourselves very clear.

We support the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS.

We don’t like ISIS, but ISIS has been supported by Saudi Arabia, whom we do like, and Saudi Arabia is now supporting us in bombing ISIS.

We don’t like President Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but not ISIS, which is also fighting against him.

We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government against ISIS.

So some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less.

And all this was started by us invading Iraq to drive out terrorists who weren’t there until we went to drive them out.

We hope you now understand.

Source:  Stop The War Coalition

The Futility of the war against ISIS

There is a fascinating piece by Patrick Cockburn in today’s Independent on Sunday newspaper which throws the situation in Iraq into sharp relief.

Cockburn explains that:

“At the start of the bombing in Syria, President Obama boasted of putting together a coalition of Sunni powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to oppose Isis, but these all have different agendas to the US in which destroying IS is not the first priority.

The Sunni Arab monarchies may not like Isis, which threatens the political status quo, but, as one Iraqi observer put it, “they like the fact that Isis creates more problems for the Shia than it does for them”.

Once again this demonstrates how futile the involvement of Western forces in situation in the Middle East is.  The policy of western governments is a shambles.  our Governments seem to be incapable of understanding that there are so many agenda’s at play in the region that addressing one ‘problem’ merely reveals a different problem or agenda.

The original article is available here and it makes fascinating reading.

BBC News – UK troops training Kurdish forces in Iraq, says MoD

BBC News – UK troops training Kurdish forces in Iraq, says MoD.

So Despite the UK Governments promises that the UK will not commit ground troops to the conflict in Northern Iraq and Syria we have sent troops to ‘Train’ Kurdish forces to use heavy machine guns that have been supplied by the UK Government. Once again we are arming rebel factions to fight other rebel factions. Lets not forget that this means we are arming people who until recently were branded ‘Kurdish Separatists’.  Separatists who are rebelling against their government (no matter how distasteful that government).

In any other context they would be labelled terrorists in the same way that the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka were ‘terrorists’. I am sure there is a name for people who keep repeating the same mistakes time and time again. Why on earth can our government not learn from it’s mistakes? It kills me that an MOD spokesman has stated that the troops sent on this mission are ‘Non Combat Army Trainers’.  Get real, they are soldiers deployed to a combat zone.

We should remember that the Kurdish forces are not a part of the Iraqi security forces.  Forces we were assured could control and look after their own affairs when western forces withdrew from Iraq in 2009. Yet more madness from western governments who seem to be at a loss on how to clear up the total mess they have created in the region.

Groundhog Day!  Madness!

The Homecoming – A Marines Story

The crowd is huge today, they stand waiting patiently in the autumn sunshine.  It won’t be long now, the aircraft passed overhead some 30 minutes ago.

Amongst the crowd stands a Royal Marine, his Green Beret positioned perfectly on his head, the Globe and Laurel cap badge highly polished.  The sunlight glints off both the badge and the row of medals on his chest.  As you would expect he is immaculately turned out.  His shoes highly polished, the creases in his trousers razor sharp, no fluff on his jacket.  He stands tall, his shoulders back, chest out, back straight, his bearing unmistakably military.  His now white hair and moustache neatly trimmed, his bright piercing blue eyes alert as he glances down the road waiting for the first glimpse of his brothers car.

Meanwhile, just a few miles down the road all is ready his brother is about to disembark from the RAF Hercules Transporter plane.  In his mind he knows that his brother will be greeted first by seven of his younger brothers.  They will board the aircraft, proud but nervous, lost in their own thoughts and memories.  They will touch the simple casket and then slowly and reverentially they will cover the casket with a union flag before placing a green beret above their brother head.  They will slowly and carefully slow march down the aircrafts loading ramp and they will place their brother into the waiting hearse so that he may complete the last few miles of his journey to the arms of his grief stricken family.  As the casket is placed they lower bared heads in respect and grief at the loss of a fallen brother.repat 3

As the hearse moves slowly away they give knowing glances to each other.  They know that their brothers story will never be known to the wider world.  They know that as a member of a family within a family the details of their brothers death will never be revealed to the press and never be discussed outside of the Special Forces Base at Poole in Dorset.  In the operation centre a photograph and a plaque will join the others on the wall, it will give only the time and place of his death no details.  The full details will only be known by those from his unit of the Special Boat Service.  To the rest of the world he will be known simply as a Royal marine who died on active service.  The details of the operation kept secret lest it provides the enemy with intelligence that could endanger his brothers later.

The hearse moves away with it’s Police escort, blue lights flashing as it drives the couple of miles to the memorial garden in Norton Way.  Those lining the roadside stir as the cortege approaches.  As if by telepathy the old men come to attention and the Marine raises the standard of the Royal Marines Association.  Dozens of standards are raised as the men and women from veterans associations the length and breadth of the country come to pay their respects to the fallen.  There may be over fifty years separating these brothers, they have no blood connection but the grief is palpable.  The Green Beret that they have both been proud to wear a badge of honour and a bond of friendship that will never be broken.  In this, the 350th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Marines, the bond of tradition and shared history is even stronger.  repat 2wb

As the cortege reaches the memorial it slows to a crawl.  The standards are lowered in salute and people leave the crowd to place flowers on the hearse.  Thousands stand to honour a young man who fell serving his country, united in respect and grief.  The Marine cannot even remember how many times he has done this, he has attended almost every repatriation for well over a decade.  He has stood in silence to honour the fallen hundreds of times, first at Royal Wooton Bassett and now at the memorial gardens.  He is 74 years old now but he stands straight backed and head held high to honour his brothers in arms.  it gets a little more difficult on every occasion but he will continue to do it for as long as is necessary or until death or infirmity stops him.  On every occasion he marvels at the dignity and shared sense of loss of those who gather.  On every occasion he hopes it will be the last time that they have to gather.  On every occasion a tear forms in his pale blue eyes and his heart swells in pride and gratitude to the fallen and to those who come to honour them.  As always he feels particularly sad when the fallen comrade is a Royal Marine for the loss is the loss of a family member.  Those who have earned their Green Beret share a lifelong bond, they are a family and each time a brother falls a little piece of them dies too.