Sunday, July 27, 2014


 Jim: E-mail roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): So let's dive in.  Kris e-mails to ask how many US troops Barack has sent into Iraq so far.  Anyone?

C.I.: I'll grab it.  Last week,  Felicia Schwartz (The Wall St. Journal) reported:

The Pentagon said 20 additional military advisers recently arrived in Iraq, bringing total U.S. military personnel there to 825. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said there are now 90 advisers working with Iraqi military forces, assessing their capabilities, and 160 Americans are assigned to joint operation centers in Baghdad and Erbil.

Elaine: And does anyone seem to care.  What was the number, C.I. made this point last week, 300? What was the number?

Jess: Yeah, C.I. noted the 825 contrasted with what Barack Obama declared June 19th,  "We have had advisors in Iraq through our embassy, and we’re prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisors -- up to 300 -- to assess how we can best train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces going forward."

Elaine: Exactly.  Where is the anger over that?

Betty: It's really kind of creepy how Barbara Lee is.  Three times the number Barack said, basically.  And where's fake ass Babsie Lee?  Fondling Barack's nut sack, apparently.  She can't stand up, she can't stand for peace, she can't call Barack out.  She's an embarrassment.

Isaiah: The fakes and the frauds crawl around like cock roaches these days and I'd happily use a can of raid on the likes of Barbara Lee.  She doesn't care about peace, she doesn't care about putting US service members at risk.  All she cares about is defending War Hawk Barack.

Jim: I'd agree with that absolutely.  How many is the number that makes Americans care?  How many US service members sent into Iraq.

Ava: I think Elaine was right when she said earlier, back in the July 13th roundtable we did:

Jim: But Ty and I are both aware how much denial there is on the so-called left.  Morey e-mailed to ask "What's the magic number for troops Barack's sending to Iraq that makes people care?"  Anyone want to hazard a guess.

Elaine:  If one US service member dies in Iraq, that does the trick immediately.

Dona: I'd agree with that. And I wouldn't be surprised if that happened if we saw that Barack could be as crafty as Bully Boy Bush when it came to hiding coffins and preventing them from being photographed.

Wally: I wish I could disagree with Elaine -- both for what she said and what she didn't.  I think she chose her words intentionally in both cases -- meaning that unless a service member dies in Iraq, most will be willing to look the other way on Barack sending troops back in.  Did I read you wrong there?

Ava (Con't): So that would be the game changer.

Jim: Louise e-mailed to ask should Iraq be split into three independent regions: Kurds, Shia and Sunni?

Ruth: If that is what Iraqis want, then obviously that should happen.  But it is not something that should be imposed upon them.  For example, I am not bothered at all by the Kurds splitting off.  That is because the Kurdistan Regional Government is made up of people who represent the Kurds.  So that would be self-determination.  Other areas?  I am not so sure because I do not know that they are actually well represented in the Shi'ite community.  It seems that the bulk of Shi'ite leaders are people who were imposed upon Iraq by the US government -- people such as Nouri al-Maliki, the current thug and prime minister, who spent over two decades prior to the start of the 2003 US invasion out of the country but the US installed him as a leader.  With the Kurds, I have no concerns because their leaders represent them.  I would be concerned about the Shi'ites if they took up the call, I would be concerned whether the Shi'ite politicians were representing the Shi'ite people or not.  And by concerned, I mean concerned.  I do not mean, "Let's go to war!"  I just mean that as I watched the news reports, I would pay close attention and hope this what the Shia populace really wanted.

Jim: Okay.  The Sunnis were left out.

Ty: I'll jump in.  I think Ruth left them out for a reason.  They don't get listened to.  For over a year they engaged in peaceful protests and Nouri blew off their demands and had his forces attack them.  If the Sunnis tomorrow said they wanted to split off, I don't think anyone would doubt this was coming from the Sunni population.  That said, the Sunnis don't tend to get listened to and I can't imagine they'd be allowed to break off.  I'd hope that they'd have the same access that everyone else has; however, as long as Nouri's prime minister, that just isn't going to happen. 

Trina: I would agree with Ty and Rebecca -- sorry, with Ty and Ruth -- on that.  And we should point out that Iraq's borders were created for them nearly 100 years ago by colonial rule. Those rejecting the borders may have a valid reason.  If I could continue for a second on this topic, a friend asked me about this issue last month.  She had heard, on a radio program, that Iraqis wanted to split the country up into three semi-autonomous or autonomous areas.  However, the program had also told her that the Shi'ites in Iraq wanted to break off so that they could merge with Iran.  I told her that I doubted that very seriously.  In fact, that would probably put Iranian officials and Iraqi Shi'ite officials at odds.  They already continue their ongoing border dispute, for instance.  I was wondering if anyone else was hearing that aspect -- that Shi'ites in Iraq wanted to merge with Iran.

Wally: Nope.  And I agree with your logic on that, Trina.  There are disputes between the two Shi'ite groupings.  And Iraqi Shi'ites?  I don't see it happening.  I don't see them going to the effort to become their own region -- if they did -- only to then say, "Let's merge with Iran."

Jim: Trina, do you know the radio host that made the claim?

Trina: My friend gave the name but I didn't hear the program myself so I'd prefer not to name him.  He's a Libertarian -- not Scott Horton.

Cedric: I don't know who Trina's referring to but I do know that I hear more Iraq coverage on the radio these days and that a lot of the people I hear talking clearly do not know what they are talking about and do not appear to have even registered Iraq since December 2011.

Dona: Of course, that doesn't stop them from weighing in.

Cedric: No, it doesn't.  It never does.  

Marcia: And it never has.

Kat:  But I think our position here has always been, as Ruth expressed earlier, if the Iraqi people want this, that's what it is and what should be.  It can't be imposed from outside.  That was our position when this site started and it remains our position.  If the Iraqis decide to split their own country into three separate governments, that's fine.  But the US or anyone else imposing that on them is wrong.

Jim: Alright then.  Erich e-mails to ask why Stan didn't do a Friday movie review?

Stan: We have been in vacation mode and doing light blogging.  I recommend people see the film Lucy and I will review it; however, it's not an easy one to do.  This will require a spoiler alert so I've been waiting on it for that reason as well.  And, by the way, I'll be on light blogging this week as well because I'm doing a third week in California. 

Jim: Carlos e-mails, "Could you ask the Extant bloggers why they ignored Halle's show last week?"

Ann: Betty, Marcia and I blog about Halle Berry's Extant.  We try to blog the day after.  However, Betty wondered if we blogged about it the night before the new episode airs if that would build more excitement.  So we're blogging about last week's episode on Tuesday night.  The next night, the new episode will air.  It's just an experiment. 

Jim: Okay, I'm interrupting before Marcia speaks because a reader had a question for her and Rebecca.  Gail e-mailed asking if Marcia and Rebecca would be doing a summer read this summer?

Marcia: Yes.  We already read the book.  We thought about doing it on vacation -- last two weeks -- but weren't willing to dig that deep.  I'm thinking about staying another week but, even if we're on vacation one more week, if Rebecca wanted to do it, I think we could swing it.

Rebecca:  We probably could, I agree.  

Jim: And hopefully will but we need to cut this off now.  This is a rush transcript.  

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