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What We Lost: Top Ten Ways the Iraq War Harmed the U.S. (Juan Cole)


What we Lost: Top Ten Ways the Iraq War Harmed the U.S.

Posted on 03/18/2013 by Juan

- snip -

1. The US invasion and occupation of Iraq harmed the US in bringing into question its basic competency as a world leader. Almost everything the US did in Iraq was a disaster. It went into the war having no plans, and the plans the Bush administration made on the fly were mostly poorly thought-out and doomed to fail. It fell into search and destroy as a tactic for counter-insurgency, with the same results as it had had in Vietnam– it caused resistance to swell. Billions were wasted on reconstruction projects that assumed Iraqi know-how and equipment that they did not have, and which could not therefore be maintained even if they were completed. The US tried to run in English an Arabic-speaking country that had been deliberately isolated and cut off from the world by sanctions, without any basic understanding of Iraqi culture, customs, beliefs or ways of life. The pro-Israel Neoconservatives high in the administration blackballed (as insufficiently pro-Israel) Arabists who volunteered to go help and left the Coalition Provisional Authority blind.

- snip -

5. The US, which once prosecuted Japanese generals for water-boarding, and which had laws against torture and against assassination, became an international symbol of torture pornography when some of the Abu Ghraib photographs of the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners were released. I talked to a US embassy official charged in the middle of the last decade with upbraiding Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov for his use of torture; the diplomat knew that Abu Ghraib had pulled the rug out from under him.

- snip -

8. The Iraq War allowed Iran to rise as a regional power, so that a Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut political axis was created. This alignment is visible in the Syria conflict, with Iran and its allies attempting to prop up Syria’s ruling elite (which adheres to the Alawi sect of Shiite Islam). This Iranian geopolitical dominance exacerbated sectarian conflict throughout the region, with militant Sunnis striking back at ascendant Shiites, contributing to a destabilization of the region.

9. The financial cost of the Iraq War to the US will rise over time into the trillions. This cost derives in large part from the need to treat the thousands of Iraq War veterans who were injured by roadside bombs, and who have damaged limbs, spines and/or brains. Some 33,000 vets were injured seriously enough to go to hospital, a number seldom mentioned when the over 4,000 soldiers killed are eulogized. (Dead and wounded contractors are also seldom mentioned).


Krugman: "What we should have learned from the Iraq debacle was that you should always be skeptical"

"and that you should never rely on supposed authority.


Marches of Folly

Published: March 17, 2013 11 Comments

Ten years ago, America invaded Iraq; somehow, our political class decided that we should respond to a terrorist attack by making war on a regime that, however vile, had nothing to do with that attack.

Some voices warned that we were making a terrible mistake — that the case for war was weak and possibly fraudulent, and that far from yielding the promised easy victory, the venture was all too likely to end in costly grief. And those warnings were, of course, right.

- snip -

What we should have learned from the Iraq debacle was that you should always be skeptical and that you should never rely on supposed authority. If you hear that “everyone” supports a policy, whether it’s a war of choice or fiscal austerity, you should ask whether “everyone” has been defined to exclude anyone expressing a different opinion. And policy arguments should be evaluated on the merits, not by who expresses them; remember when Colin Powell assured us about those Iraqi W.M.D.’s?

Unfortunately, as I said, we don’t seem to have learned those lessons. Will we ever?


BREAKING: 2 Steubenville Football Players Found Guilty of Rape

Source: Reuters

@AP: BREAKING: 2 Ohio football players found guilty of rape in case that roiled town, stirred reaction online.

@CBSNews: BREAKING NEWS: Judge announces guilty verdict in Steubenville, Ohio, school rape case

Judge in Ohio high school rape case finds defendants guilty

Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:26am EDT

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (Reuters) - Two high school football players from eastern Ohio were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party last summer.

Judge Tom Lipps, who heard the non-jury juvenile court case against Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, found the two members of the Steubenville "Big Red" high school football team sexually assaulted the girl in the early morning of August 12, 2012 when witnesses said she was too drunk to move or speak.

Lipps found both defendants delinquent under Ohio law and began taking arguments on a sentence. Mays and Richmond denied the charge and said any sex that occurred was consensual.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE92E0ZS20130317


Guilty Verdict Reached in Steubenville Rape Trial

Posted on: 10:14 am, March 17, 2013, by Jessica Dabrowski

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Judge Thomas Lipps has reached a decision in the trial of two Steubenville high school football players accused of raping an allegedly drunk 16-year-old.

On Sunday, he handed down a guilty verdict on all three counts.

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, are accused of raping the girl during a series of back-to-school parties last August.

Mays is also charged with disseminating a nude photo of a minor.

Police: Five Confess to Gang-Raping Swiss Tourist in India

Source: AFP

Five confess to gang-raping Swiss tourist in India: Police

By AFP Published: March 17, 2013

NEW DELHI: Five villagers have confessed to gang-raping a Swiss tourist in central India, police said Sunday, in an incident that has renewed focus on the rampant violence against women in the country.

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The five men, who eke out a living as small-scale farmers, have been arrested on charges of rape and robbery, Dhodee said. Police are searching for a sixth man, who was also involved in the crime, he said.

The alleged rapists live in a village near the forested area where the couple had stopped to camp for the night, while on a cycling trip to the popular tourist destination of Agra in northern India, Dhodee said.

“They were passing by, noticed the couple putting up their tent and saw an opportunity to attack and rape the woman,” he said. Her husband was tied up during the attack.

Read more: http://tribune.com.pk/story/522226/five-confess-to-gang-raping-swiss-tourist-in-india-police/

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll (Rubio Second)

Source: Washington Times / Huffington Post

CPAC Straw Poll Results 2013: Rand Paul Wins Conservative Vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll on Saturday, marking an early indicator of conservative support ahead of the next presidential election in 2016.

Paul topped the list and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) came in second, according to Ian Bishop.

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The annual straw poll came at the conclusion of the high-profile conference, which featured dozens of notable conservative speakers over three days at National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

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Last year, Mitt Romney came out on top in the CPAC poll, foreshadowing his eventual nomination as Republican presidential candidate.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/cpac-straw-poll-results-2013_n_2856972.html

Rapper Lil Wayne Reported in Critical Condition After Seizures

Source: Reuters

Rapper Lil Wayne reported in critical condition after seizures

Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:01pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rapper Lil Wayne was reported to be in critical condition and in a medically induced coma in a Los Angeles hospital on Friday after suffering seizures, according to celebrity website TMZ.

TMZ.com, citing unnamed sources, said Lil Wayne, 30, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was in intensive care after suffering multiple seizures earlier this week.

Wayne's representatives did not return calls for comment.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE92F00W20130316

Reuters' Matthew Keys indicted for conspiring with hacker group 'Anonymous'

Source: Politico

Reuters' Matthew Keys indicted for conspiring with hacker group 'Anonymous'

By DYLAN BYERS | 3/14/13 4:39 PM EDT

Matthew Keys, a deputy social media editor at Thomson Reuters, has been charged in an indictment for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacker group “Anonymous” to hack into a Tribune Company website, the Justice Department announced today.

Keys, a former web producer for the Tribune Co-owned television station KTXL FOX 40, in Sacramento, Calif., was charged with providing members of the group with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to the Tribune Co., according to the DoJ's press release.

"According to the indictment, Keys identified himself on an Internet chat forum as a former Tribune Company employee and provided members of Anonymous with a login and password to the Tribune Company server," the DoJ press release reads. "After providing log-in credentials, Keys allegedly encouraged the Anonymous members to disrupt the website. According to the indictment, at least one of the computer hackers used the credentials provided by Keys to log into the Tribune Company server, and ultimately that hacker made changes to the web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature."

"If convicted, Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 for each count. The indictment also contains a notice of forfeiture provision for property traceable to the offense," the press release states.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/03/reuters-matthew-keys-indicted-for-conspiring-with-159358.html

Iraq War Costs U.S. More Than $2 Trillion: Study

Source: Reuters

Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK | Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:46am EDT

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE92D0PG20130314

Chris Hayes to Take Over 8 P.M. Show on MSNBC

Source: New York Times

March 14, 2013, 9:24 am

Chris Hayes to Take Over 8 P.M. Show on MSNBC


Chris Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. time slot on MSNBC in the next month, the channel is planning to announce on Thursday morning, hours after the current host of that hour, Ed Schultz, said he was moving from the weekdays to the weekends.

Mr. Hayes, a liberal intellectual who has hosted a well-regarded weekend morning program on MSNBC for the past 18 months, is a protege of Rachel Maddow, the highest-rated host on the channel. He will become the lead-in for her 9 p.m. program, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

The change is predicated on the belief that MSNBC can win a wider audience with Mr. Hayes than it did with Mr. Schultz, a champion of the working class whose bluster didn’t always pair well with Ms. Maddow and the channel’s other prime time program, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” Mr. Hayes, on the other hand, is just as wonky as Ms. Maddow and Mr. O’Donnell, and is a regular contributor to both of their programs.

Mr. Hayes’s promotion was described by people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it had not been officially announced by the channel yet. Once it takes effect, Mr. Hayes, 34, will be the youngest host of a prime-time show on any of the country’s major cable news channels, all of which seek out youthful viewers but tend to have middle-aged hosts and a core audience made up of senior citizens. Of Mr. Schultz’s one million viewers last year, for example, only 249,000 were between the ages of 25 and 54.

Read more: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/chris-hayes-to-take-over-8-p-m-show-on-msnbc

New Results Indicate Particle Discovered at CERN (Last Year) is a Higgs Boson

Source: CERN Press Release

New results indicate that particle discovered at CERN is a Higgs boson

14 Mar 2013

Geneva, 14 March 2013. At the Moriond Conference today, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN1’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) presented preliminary new results that further elucidate the particle discovered last year. Having analysed two and a half times more data than was available for the discovery announcement in July, they find that the new particle is looking more and more like a Higgs boson, the particle linked to the mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles. It remains an open question, however, whether this is the Higgs boson of the Standard Model of particle physics, or possibly the lightest of several bosons predicted in some theories that go beyond the Standard Model. Finding the answer to this question will take time.

Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles, and its quantum properties. For example, a Higgs boson is postulated to have no spin, and in the Standard Model its parity – a measure of how its mirror image behaves – should be positive. CMS and ATLAS have compared a number of options for the spin-parity of this particle, and these all prefer no spin and positive parity. This, coupled with the measured interactions of the new particle with other particles, strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson.

“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is.” said CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.

Read more: http://press.web.cern.ch/press-releases/2013/03/new-results-indicate-particle-discovered-cern-higgs-boson
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