Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Best description of Sunday's Emmys

David Walsh (WSWS) offers the best description of Sunday's Emmys:

The crimes of the Obama administration did not, as far as one could tell, trouble the sleep of anyone in these circles. The allegiance of the wealthy Hollywood crowd to the Democratic Party remains unbroken. To a considerable and unhealthy extent, the gathering Sunday was not an assembly of serious artists, but a celebration by wealthy celebrities.

That really says it all.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 19, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, in the midst of yet another panic Rob Reiner gets into bed with a ton of men who supported the Iraq War, the KRG prepares to hold the September 25th referendum, Turkey sends the military to the border they share with Iraq, Nancy Pelosi finds out immigration activists won't pretend she was elected to Congress yesterday, and much more.

Ted Johnson (VARIETY) reports today, "Director Rob Reiner is joining a new group called the Committee to Investigate Russia, to highlight what is known about the Russian threat to interfere with American elections and other institutions."  The committee finds Reiner joining other paranoids who indulge in fake news and run from facts.

In fact, it's a lot like when Reiner cozied up to Mildred Newman.

Remember that crackpot Mildred?

She ran through many people on both coasts.

They mistook her quackery for medical help.

Even though her 'findings' were questionable even in 1970.

For example, she specialized in conversion therapy.

Oh, the man still sucked cock, he just pretended he didn't -- pretended all the way, in Anthony Perkins case, to the grave.

Mildred took self-hating gay men and taught them to pretend they weren't.

(It's said she did the same thing with pedophiles, taught 'em to pretend they didn't do it anymore while they continued to molest.)

And, of course, the ultimate way to pretend you weren't gay was to insist that you were in an "open" marriage.

Mildred taught so many HOW TO BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND -- mainly by denying who they were:

Analysts once thought that they had little chance of changing homosexuals' preferences and had little success in that direction. But some refused to accept that and kept working with them, and we've found that a homosexual who really wants to change has a very good chance of doing so. Now we're hearing all kinds of success stories. The nature of homosexuality hasn't changed, but the way of looking at it has.

Iraq War supporter David Frum's among the many hacks involved with this new project which begs the question:  Why did so many of Mildred's clients end up seeking rough trade?

If there's a Russian hiding in a closet anywhere across America, Rob will find him!

Good job, Rob.

Back in the real world, Tessa Paoli (VICE NEWS) reports:

When U.S. Army Capt. El Cook started as a freshman at West Point in 2009, he enrolled as a woman. At the time, Cook knew he was transgender, but he also knew that if he came out, he would never be able to pursue his dream of serving in the U.S. Army.
Despite his fears, Cook decided in his junior year in 2012 to start his medical transition, but because trans people were still banned from the military, he kept it a secret. He drove an hour and a half from West Point to New York City every couple of months to see a civilian doctor, paying out-of-pocket for hormone replacement therapy. 
Although his physical appearance was changing every day, he tried not to bring extra attention to himself and continued to wear a female uniform and go by female pronouns at school. No one at West Point asked any questions.
Five years later, Cook, now 30, is a captain in the U.S. Army based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He’s completed two combat tours: one in Kuwait in 2015 before his gender confirmation surgery and another afterward in Iraq in 2016.

Trans people can and have served.  It's only shocking if you shelter yourself from reality.  (In Rob Reiner's house there are many closets . . .)

Of course, in a functioning society, we wouldn't make people defend their right to serve in a standing military, we'd instead question why we have a standing military, why wars never ends and why the US, all these years later, remains the "Cops of the World" -- as was the case in 1966 when Phil Ochs' PHIL OCHS IN CONCERT was released.

Our boots are needing a shine, boys
Boots are needing a shine
But our Coca-Cola is fine, boys
Coca-Cola is fine
We've got to protect all our citizens fair
So we'll send a battalion for everyone there
And maybe we'll leave in a couple of years
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World
And dump the reds in a pile, boys
Dump the reds in a pile
You'd better wipe off that smile, boys
Better wipe off that smile
We'll spit through the streets of the cities we wreck
And we'll find you a leader that you can't elect
Those treaties we signed were a pain in the neck
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys

"We'll find you a leader that you can't elect" certainly describes Iraq where the US has installed Nouri al-Maliki for two terms and now Hayder al-Abadi.

Two exiles who couldn't stay in Iraq, or the Middle East, two cowards who fled the country only to return after the 2003 US-led invasion.

Who wants to be ruled by cowards?

Who wants to be ruled by leaders chosen by a foreign country?

September 25th, the KRG is scheduled to hold a referendum on whether or not they should seek independence.  RUDAW explains, "The Kurdistan Region accuses Baghdad of having violated about one-third of the Iraqi constitution, chief among them Article 140 that concerns the fate of the disputed areas such as Kirkuk, and also a decision by the Iraqi government to cut its share of the budget since early 2014 following the Kurdish plans to export oil independently of Baghdad to the world’s markets."

This has been poorly covered by the western media from day one.  Far better is the analysis ALJAZEERA offers by Ranj Alaaldin.

Today, REUTERS notes, "Turkey escalated its opposition to a Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq on Tuesday, training tank guns and rocket launchers across the southern border and saying the break-up of its neighbors could lead to global conflict."

That's another sign of just how out of control the Turkish government is and, in fact, in many cases, such actions would be seen as a declaration of war.

PRESS TV adds that "Turkey launched a military exercise without warning across its southern border with Iraq which is scheduled to last until September 26, a day after the planned referendum."

Of course, the Turkish government has so many problems -- and that's not just their government employed bodyguards facing charges in the United States.  But on that, they lost the weapons US President Donald Trump announced they were going to get.  RUDAW notes:

US lawmakers began expressing strong opposition to the sale following violence at a protest outside the home of the Turkish ambassador to Washington when Erdogan was visiting the US on May 16.

Video of the protest showed security guards and some Erdogan supporters attacking a small group of protesters with their fists and feet.

Men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk. Another wrenched a woman's neck and threw her to the ground. A man with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.

The protestors, who included US citizens, as well as Kurds, Yezidis, and Armenians carried anti-Erdogan signs and flags of the YPG.

A total of 19 people, including 15 identified as Turkish security officials, were indicted last month by a grand jury in Washington in connection with the incident.

REUTERS notes:

A Turkish minister appeared to confirm for the first time that two Turkish intelligence officers have been captured in northern Iraq, saying the government was not in direct talks with the Kurdish militant PKK group to bring them back.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was asked in an interview with Al-Monitor whether the head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan would travel to Erbil for talks about two senior Turkish intelligence officers. Al-Monitor said the officers had been taken to a PKK base in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq. 

Also ANADOLU AGENCY states, "Turkish fighter jets killed at least three PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the military said in a statement late Tuesday."  And THE DAILY SABAH states, "The counterterror operation was launched upon receiving intelligence that PKK terrorists were planning an attack, the statement elaborated."  Earlier, XINHUA noted another strike, "The Turkish Air Force conducted an airstrike in northern Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least four PKK militants, a statement released by General Staff said."

Two strikes in one day.  Based on the statements of the government who ordered and carried out the strikes.  No one on the ground to check it out.  Nor will there be any follow up.  Most of the time, these strikes kill animals, villagers, farmers.  But, hey, let's just go with what Turkey claims happened, right?  The Turkish government would never lie, right?  No government would ever lie, right?

It's not like the US government lied about Iraq, right?

If they had -- if David Frum and others had lied -- surely Robbie Reiner wouldn't hop in bed with them, right?

In related news . . .

MSNBC Obama hagiographer , loves her new friends, the Bush neoconservatives who lied the world into Iraq:

Meanwhile RUDAW notes KRG President Massoud Barzani has spoken today:

Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani gave Baghdad three days to reach an agreement with Erbil, backed by the international community, providing an alternative to the referendum that will eventually lead to “independence.”

Speaking at a rally for independence in Soran on Tuesday, Barzani said their problem is not with the international community, which has offered to mediate between the regional and central governments, but “We have to reach an agreement with Baghdad.”

What can take the place of the referendum is “a bilateral agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, if the agreement materialized in a way that could take the place of the referendum. And then the international community, the US, Europe, backs that agreement and give guarantees that this agreement will be implemented,” said Barzani.

“But I will be honest with you, Baghdad has not reached that level yet,” he added, giving the central government a deadline of “two to three days” to reach such an agreement.

Today at a pro rally in Soran, Erbil

LIVE: Thousands of Kurds gather in Erbil's Soran city to express support to .

And here's a shot of support for the referendum from Lebanon.

Photo of the Day: Lebanese Kurds demonstrate in support of Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum, Martyrs' Square, Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 17

Also speaking today is KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

Barzani suggested that the significance of the referendum had been “exaggerated” by the international community. “It should be seen for what it is and what purpose it serves.”
The Prime Minister also explained that the international community, led by the US, was telling the Kurdish leadership that the referendum should not take place or should be delayed.
“Our question is: if the referendum is such a bad thing, then what will be the alternative,” Barzani said. “And if the timing is not right, can you say what the right time for us would be?”

“So far, we have not had a response to these questions,” he explained. All that we have been told is that the referendum should be postponed,” while they do not offer any alternative.

In other news, KUNA reports an attack in Saladin Province left 3 people dead and thirty-four injured.

Moving back to the United States, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi faced protesters with California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance at a San Francisco press conference on Monday.

'All of us or none of us' Crowd takes over DREAM Act event. Pelosi getting blasted by about 100 young 'undocumented youth'

Evan Blake (WSWS) reports on the immigration activists who confronted Pelosi:

 In video footage of the event, Pelosi is visibly shaken and can be seen nervously speaking with her aides, prompting a protester to address her directly, saying, “Nancy Pelosi, we’re speaking to you, please pay attention.”
The first protest leader led the group in chanting, “We, the undocumented youth, will not be a bargaining chip for Trump’s xenophobic agenda, deporting millions of people and further militarizing the border!”
She then noted, “Democrats created an out-of-control deportation machine and handed it over to Trump! We demand accountability! Democrats are not the resistance of Trump! We are!”
The second protest leader put forward a somewhat sharper denunciation of the Democratic Party, describing the reign of terror imposed on immigrant communities during the Obama administration.
He began by calling out Pelosi for her duplicity, chanting, “Congresswoman Pelosi! You called this press conference in our name, to defend the so-called Dream Act! But you’ve already traded in our parents in our name! First you said you supported a clean Dream Act, and then last week you announced that you had agreed with President Trump, and I quote you, ‘To work out a package of border security.’ Your words, or were you misquoted?”
He continued, “We cannot say, however, that we are surprised. We remember all too well, how for eight years the Democrats laid siege to our communities, raiding and deporting nearly 3 million people, our family members and loved ones. Where was your resistance then? Ms. Pelosi, did you think we would forget?”

Nancy hypocrisy cannot be forgotten.

Staying with Congress . . .

North Korea is 's Iraq. voted for the Iraq War, and she just voted yes on $700 billion for Trump's war chest.

There's no plan to end the Iraq War, just plans to fund it forever.

Today's vote for more defense spending. The highlights are Nays. this was your 'Invade Iraq' moment.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq

    Monday, September 18, 2017

    A sick day with TCM

    When I'm sick, it always seems like TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES (TCM) offers the worst programming.

    Today it was all Greta Garbo.

    Some of which was silent films so I just turned away from the screen and listened to the music.

    But I'm sick and can barely breathe and it seemed like every film had Garbo dead or depressed.

    They showed ANNA CHRISTIE -- but in German.


    It's in English.  It was shot at the same time in English and in German.

    And the German one broadcast had lousy subtitles.

    Greta was raped by a "bull" and she blamed it on the "See."  That's how it was spelled.  It should have been the "sea."  But over and over, "sea" was spelled "see."

    GRAND HOTEL came on during some of this.

    It just emphasized how Joan Crawford was a bigger star.

    Greta's supposed to be a dancer in the film.  As she lumbers around the hotel with out an ounce of grace.

    I'll take Joan Crawford over Greta any day.

    Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Monday, September 18, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, Hayder al-Abadi and Nouri al-Maliki preach hate, one person dies in Kirkuk as a result, the Baghdad based Supreme Court insists it has jurisdiction over a KRG vote, and much more.

    Because they'd always gotten their way, they'd assumed they always would.

    So months ago, when the Kurdistan Regional Government declared that they would hold a referendum on independence, the Baghdad-based government made vague mutterings.  Now that the September 25th referendum remains

    Come and dig the Koo Koo war
    Rumor has it got started cuz our leaders got bored
    New toys with a laser teach children 2 kill
    Who knows when they're older
    Maybe they will

    Nothing gained
    Paradise lost
    Koo Koo's the trip and death is the cost
    It's your world
    4 a little while

    Peace, mother, brother
    Peace of mind
    We got 2 love one another all the time
    Cuz a kiss on the lips
    Is better than a knife in the back

    -- "Koo Koo" written by Sheila E. and Prince, first appears on her album SHEILA E.

    Better than a knife in the back?

    Which is all the KRG has gotten historically from the US government.

    Let's drop back to the US Congress and the Pike Report. It was leaked to the press and, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

    In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
    The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
    During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
    Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
    A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

    The US government, for all the lies of spreading democracy around the world, has never been mistaken for a missionary.

    And last Friday, the Trump administration demonstrated that yet again.

    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary
    For Immediate Release

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Proposed Referendum

    The United States does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum later this month. The United States has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the liberated areas. Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilizing. We therefore call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to call off the referendum and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad, which the United States has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate.

    How is it distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS?

    Could someone explain that?

    Of course, they can't.  There is no solid explanation for such a claim.

    Regardless of the outcome of the vote on September 25th, the Peshmerga would continue to battle the Islamic State as needed.

    Turkey has continued to battle the Islamic State, for example.  Even when the government of Iraq has asked that Turkish troops leave the country, Turkey has continued to battle the Islamic State.  (The Turkish government opposes Kurdish independence.)

    How is a referendum going to destabilize other areas of Iraq?

    ALJAZEERA reminds:

    The KRG, which governs the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, has said a pro-independence vote would not trigger an immediate secession.
    Massoud Barzani, president of the KRG, said a "yes" result would instead kick-start "serious discussions" with Baghdad.

    As for Kirkuk, the disputed area was supposed to be resolved by the end of 2007.

    Bully Boy Bush didn't want that because it would hurt war efforts in Iraq.

    Barack Obama also refused to support the Iraqi constitution (which demanded the issue be resolved).

    Three administrations have now attempted to thwart Kurdish independence.

    All have insisted now was not the right time.

    When is the right time?

    The Iraq War continues.

    It continues because the Iraqi government is installed by the US government.

    It wasn't elected by the people.

    They didn't choose for a bunch of cowards who left Iraq decades ago to return after the US invaded in 2003 and become leaders.

    This government has no authority or legitimacy.

    14 years on and there's still no legitimacy.

    The US military will apparently be in Iraq for hundreds of years -- remember when John McCain presented that as his position and we were all horrified?
    Dropping back to the January 7, 2008 snapshot:

    Of the GOP candidates, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explained today, "In other campaign news, Republican Senator John McCain admitted he would be fine if the United States military stayed in Iraq for a hundred years.  McCain said 'We've been in Japan for 60 years.  We've been in South Korea 50 years or so. . .  As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.  That's fine with me'."  Vote Insane! Vote John McCain! 

    Two months later, it was still news.  Ron Clairborne (ABC NEWS) reported at the end of March 2008:

    By early February, as it became clear that McCain would emerge the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the Democratic National Committee sent out a fundraising letter portraying McCain as favoring "an endless war" in Iraq.
    Last week, Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean blasted McCain as "a blatant opportunist who doesn't understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years."
    Sen. Hillary Clinton's camp continually blasts him for the 100-year remark. The Democratic presidential candidate said this month McCain "is willing to keep this war going for 100 years." She vows to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. But a year ago, she told The New York Times that as president she would leave some unspecified number of U.S. forces to protect "remaining vital national security interests in Iraq."
    The article said: "She declined to estimate the number of American troops she would keep in Iraq, saying she would draw on the advice of military officers." That position does not appear to be much different than what McCain was saying in Derry, minus the 100-year quip.
    Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said, "We are bogged down in a war that John McCain now suggests might go on for another 100 years."
    [. . .]
     The attacks on McCain aren't coming just from his Democratic opponents. A scathing anti-McCain video posted on YouTube, entitled "No, We Can't," uses select lines from what McCain said to give the distinct impression that he would actually enjoy it if the war went on for 100 years. His words are edited to make him to say: "Make it (or, maybe) 100 years. That'd be fine with me."
    Google the words "McCain" and "100 years" and you will be treated to a menu of blogs attacking McCain for wanting to wage war for another century.
    Several political analysts said they sympathized with McCain's predicament. They say he tried to give a detailed, textured reply to a serious question and his opponents conveniently dropped the context and qualifiers and used to draw a withering caricature of cavalier warmonger.
    Democratic strategist Bob Shrum said it was clear to him what McCain really meant -- after all, McCain spelled it out at length. His candor gave his opponents a huge opening to portray it otherwise.
    "It's his Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright [Obama's controversial former pastor]," Shrum said. "It's his Tuzla [the Bosnian city where Clinton erroneously claimed she had landed in a helicopter under sniper fire]." 

    In 2008, it was all so shocking but now that Barack left the White House -- after serving two terms as president -- and the Iraq War still continues, it appears some of the 'shock' over McCain's position was manufactured and that many shared his views.

    In fact, today finds Elise Knutsen (VOX) typing matter of factly that "military and political leaders here in Iraq have a blunt warning: The fight against ISIS is far from over, and it may take decades to rout former fighters and their sympathizers from the region. "

    Throughout it all, the Kurds keep getting told to wait.

    It's their lives and it's their decision.

    Strange, isn't it, that the US government has repeatedly insisted they are their to help the people and for democracy but when the Kurds attempt democracy, the US governments has a hissy fit.

    TIME magazine reports (in an unsigned article -- those of us who emphasized foreign relations in our poli sci studies should remember what an unsigned TIME article actually is):

    Iraq's top court on Monday temporarily suspended the northern Kurdish region's referendum on independence that's due next week, a decision that put further pressure on the Iraqi Kurds to call off the controversial vote.
    The Supreme Court in Baghdad released a statement, saying it "issued a national order to suspend the referendum procedures ... until the resolution of the cases regarding the constitutionality of said decision."
    It was not immediately clear if the local government in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region would abide by the court's ruling.

    RUDAW reports the response to the court -- which may not have authority over a KRG referendum to begin with -- has not been to tremble:

    Amid numerous calls to postpone next week’s independence referendum and focus on discussions with Baghdad, President Masoud Barzani told a visiting British minister that they will not postpone the referendum without commitment from Baghdad to begin independence negotiations, with international guarantees that agreements will be enforced.

    British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon called on Barzani to delay the September 25 independence referendum and focus on dialogue with the central government “under the supervision of the international community,” read a Kurdish-language statement from the presidency’s office.

    Fallon visited Kurdistan on Monday with UK Ambassador to Iraq Frank Baker and met with Barzani, Vice President Kosrat Rasul, and acting Peshmerga Minister Karim Sinjari.

    Responding to Fallon’s request, Barzani said that referendum and dialogue are both tools for independence and that, since no alternative had been presented that could guarantee independence talks and Baghdad’s readiness to commence such talks, the referendum cannot be delayed. 

    The United Nations weighed in yesterday on the issue.

    U.N. chief: Northern Iraq vote would detract from Islamic State fight

    UN chief urges Kurds in Iraq to scrap referendum, arguing it would detract from the fight against ISIL

    That would be the same United Nations that waited until six months after the Iraq War started to offer a sotto voiced opinion.  In September of 2004 (six months after the Iraq War started), Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger (GUARDIAN) reported:

    The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal.
    Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: "Yes, if you wish."
    He then added unequivocally: "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal."

    The UN isn't noted for bravery or for much of anything these days.

    Remember, this is the same United Nations that stopped counting the military and police killed in Iraq because the country's prime minister whined and hissed.

    Sunday, REUTERS reported that Hayder al-Abadi, Iraq's prime minister installed under Barack Obama, declared that the Kurds were "playing with fire."  Joining Hayder in inflaming tensions is former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.

    IRAQ: Vice President Nouri Maliki says a Kurdish state is equivalent of the 'creation of a second Israel in the north of Iraq'

    Nouri and Hayder are among those inciting violence.  And the impact of their words can already be seen.  RUDAW reports supporters of the referendum gathered in Kirkuk when shots were fired at the pro-referendum activists leaving at least one dead and two more injured.

    Kat's "Kat's Korner: Another classic from Tori Amos" went up last night.  We'll close with this from Senator Johnny Isakson's office (Isakson is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee):

    Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777

    Marie Gordon, 770-661-0999

    Isakson Delivers Remarks on National Defense, Hurricane Irma Recovery, JSTARS
    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday to argue for support for the National Defense Authorization Act, which is currently being debated in the Senate. The measure seeks to ensure that our military has the resources it needs to carry out its missions, including critical support in the aftermath of recent hurricanes.
    Isakson opened his remarks by acknowledging military service members who are helping in recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and by thanking every level of preparation and storm response that has allowed for a speedy response in Georgia, starting with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
    “In Georgia, we lost three lives, which is tragic. We’re sorry for each one of them and our hearts go out to those families,” said Isakson. “Our preparation by Governor Nathan Deal and other leaders in the state saw to it that our reaction and our timeliness was excellent. I want to thank Governor Nathan Deal as well as Georgia Emergency Management in coordination with the agency of FEMA who worked to ensure that everywhere we had danger in Georgia, we also had response for our people and for our state.”
    Isakson also highlighted the urgent need to pass the National Defense Authorization Actto provide our warfighters with the tools and resources to counter ongoing threats, including continued support for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) mission based out of Georgia.
    “JSTARS is an asset of our U.S. military and our intelligence agencies with a capability that is second to none in the world,” said Isakson. “Since the Gulf War and everything that’s happened in the Middle East and ensued since then, [JSTARS] has been invaluable in command and control capabilities on the ground. It is an intelligence capability that is unmatched by any of our military adversaries in the world.”
    Isakson noted that he had a visit earlier in the day Wednesday from Heather Wilson, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, who confirmed to him that the branch was considering other ways of delivering JSTARS’ services to military personnel.
    He expressed serious concerns about the Air Force’s “inexplicable” consideration of abandoning this proven and successful platform.
    “Our country and our soldiers and our warfighters have benefitted greatly on the ground and in the air, from JSTARS’ surveillance capabilities,” Isakson observed.
    “I would submit if the Air Force were to decide that rather than recapitalizing the JSTARS program that we’ve been working on for the last few years, they would go to an alternative delivery system, they’re probably giving up security for our country, intel for our men and women on the ground, battlefield coordination you could not replace any other way, and an asset that we’ve taken for granted for far too long in this country,” he argued.
    In addition, Isakson committed to supporting the National Defense Authorization Act,and noted the work of Senate Committee on Armed Services Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on the bill.
    “I came to the floor to say that I’m with you, and I support you,” said Isakson. “But I want to make sure we do everything we can to ensure the JSTARS [program] and the capabilities of that mission are recapitalized for our soldiers in the future and our military in the future. For us to fail to do so… would be bad for our soldiers, bad for our security and bad for our country.”
    Isakson’s remarks are available to view here.

    iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq