Creative corner

    KEEP CALM & CARRY ON, ISIS EDITION (PT 3)

    "Gaslighting" is a meme based on an old movie where you're led to question your own sanity & ability to judge anything.

    In my short previous installment, I noted the fighting in Syria & Iraq taking place in the new mags & tabloids and internet as well. Rather than subsiding with the near elimination of ISIS from Mosul, the conflict exploded onto front pages in the last day not due to what happened, but more due to what may have transpired. As has become rule over the last year or more, your take on the matter will depend on where you fit in the political spectrum and what walled-off garden of social & traditional media you're imbibing.

    The facts on Mosul would seem simple enough - an unlikely alliance has been cobbled together to take on the much more sinister enemy of ISIS, and the effort to retake the city has turned into a plodding but successful affair due to ISIS' embedding itself among the civilians and underground, its use of improvised nontraditional weapons, and the allies' effort to make the push no more harmful to the already starving and beleaguered population as possible.

    Proof of this is the dog that hasn't barked - US air power has been largely restrained, and other types of blockbusting munitions have been given limited use in the last months - instead, the allies seem content to take a few blocks a week, within the limits of not producing more "collateral damage" than needed.

    That changed with the announcement of a large mistake by allies, causing upwards of 200 civilian deaths in a blockhouse. And here Rashomon takes over. We don't know when the strike happened, just that there are now bodies being removed from a flattened building. We don't know specifically whether it was US planes that flattened, though that's by-and-large an easy assumption to make even with a couple other possibilities. We don't know whether the civilians were living in the building, had gone their to hide or survive, or had been lured in by ISIS. Or even if some were transported there as corpses, seeing as ISIS continues to off dozens of civilians at a time when it suits them.

    To make matters stranger, we don't know whether the US bombings were influenced by a recent Trump edict to loosen Obama's rather strict controls on how airstrikes would be carried out - an edict that hadn't actually been implemented, but may or may not have caused a less caring, discerning towards targeting.

    In short, we don't know much, and considering there's still ongoing fighting and this event happened some time ago, it's quite likely we'll never have a good focused take on the matter. Any followup  investigation is likely to be a far sight less conclusive than the still-doubted Warren Commission.

    What's more worrisome is this round follows a previous tied to US bombing in al-Raqqah, where 30+ students were killed in a mosque - again, maybe or maybe not due to the US strike, who saw themselves targeting an ISIS meeting.

    It's not that we can't claim that the horrors of war make this kind of event inevitable. But it wears down our support and understanding for valid and admirable efforts. While we were once way too gung-ho for the kind of over-testosteroned nonsense that chickenhawk John Wayne built a career on, we have to brace ourselves for the reality that most of our military actions in this age of decreasing war will be less clearcut in mission and results even without competing propaganda. But for those involved, they often require an incredible amount of fortitude and bravery (defined in my book with no military background as simply the ability not to shit yourself and run away, and extending anywhere upwards).

    In the "he-said/he-didn't say" milieu of modern news, Amnesty International reports of Syrian hangings were predictably attacked by some as too incomplete, too much guesswork, by too compromised of witnesses - yet one wonders how they differed from thorough investigative reporting about any sealed off country or facility?

    For much of our post-modern ambiguity on facts and thus followup decisions and opinions, we can thank Putin, the premier staying power on the world stage and the best purveyor of contradictory "facts" these past 18 years (though not "the devil", as some mischievously portray). Just this week he was on display with the conservative scourge of France, declaring with a smirk to be both disinterested but committed in the same breath. [the same faux innocent smirk he used when he sicced a dog on Angie Merkel with her known canine phobia]. The Guardian covers:

    Putin noted that France was currently involved in an election cycle and that Russia did “not want to influence events in any way”. The sentiment sounded slightly less than genuine given that it came as part of a one-on-one Kremlin meeting with the far-right presidential candidate one month before the vote.

    ...

    Le Pen’s surprise visit to the Kremlin was accompanied by similar mood music [to that with Trump]. The website Life News tweeted an opinion column with the tag “Russia will help Le Pen win” and then deleted the tweet a few minutes later.

    The news agency Interfax released a snap news item: “The Kremlin announces financing of Marine Le Pen’s election campaign by Russian banks.” Two minutes later there was another snap: “Correction: Kremlin announces it has no information about the financing of Marine Le Pen’s election campaign by Russian banks.”

    One has to wonder (or at least I do) whether Trump's changing the rules of engagement was another quid-pro-quo, taking the hit to make Russia's Syrian efforts look honorable, or whether it was similar to his rushed botched Yemen attack trying to score quick political points at someone else's expense, or whether it's just coincidence that some of our worst blunders have come with Trump's increased involvement, even though he's hardly staging these raids from the situation room.

    The outcome of Mosul is assured - we will succeed, the last bits of ISIS will be rooted out, the region will almost certainly return to a much improved kind of normalcy. But still, there's a twist that all this fake and conflicting news brings, which are the lingering doubts of whether we did the right thing, in total, or in a series of mishaps along the way.

    It's this kind of uncertainty that leads to apathy and non-participation, and overall contempt for the system and those who play. There was a nice movie some time ago by Lars von Trier called Zentropa. Set in Germany in the period following WWII, the message that came through most were that the most contemptible figures were those who refused to take sides, to take a stand - who because they chose to not even participate sacrificed their right and ability to judge.

    This period we're going through being overloaded with info is not new - Nate Silver notes the escalations in info by itself with Gutenberg's printing press, and with the 100 years explosion of technical facts kicked off by the steam engine and the industrial revolution. The Web is over 25 years old, but it's hitting a new phase in social impact.

    The war with ISIS and the jostling for position by multiple parties are also not unique in history - resembling intrigues in the Balkans 110 years ago, or the multipartite exploitation of African states (both recent decades and in the 1800's), et al. The Kafkaesque contradictory news is nothing Eric Blair/George Orwell didn't document in Burma and Spain. The difference is simply we each have access to the deceit and confusion 24x7, so the global impact of the propaganda has become much bigger than the impact of any particular war.

    Worse than 1984's quandary that we've always been at war with East Asia Eurasia is that now we may be at war with both or neither or a half-dozen others at the same time. Somehow we have to parse the bullshit and still decide plus get along with the more important & imposing aspects of our modern lives. Mosul has become a symbol for our news-impacted existence - under assault from multiple sides, no escape, no resolution, and no disinterested party to believe in or align ourselves with.

    Too gloomy? stay tuned for installment #4.

    Comments

    The New York Times Editorial board is thimking about some of this today and stuff like our Constitution.

    Unfortunately we have chaotic dysfunctional branches of government right now....so it's all theoretical...


    Yeah, while I'd like for military expeditions to be legal, I'd hate to codify a legal war for trumphead to play with. We saw how far Bush played the "give me a finger, I'll take an arm' approach. I can only imagine Ivanka and Jared as new 6-star generals.

    We also don't know whose side Trump's on. Will he help Putin complete a new Russia-Ukraine-Moldova-Turkey-Syria-Cyprus-Montenegro-Libya-??? "sphere of interest"? will he help to splinter apart the EU?

    Balancing that a bit is the Russians and Serbs seem to have found the Trumpian pivot a little less pronounced than they'd hoped.

    ETA: but yes, extending the fight into Syria is a whole new ballgame, making the horribly distended and distorted "authorization for use of military force" quite surreal, if it weren't already surreal in Somalia, Yemen, etc. If only Nixon had had his hands on this same doctrine doctrine of infinitely extensible permission, the foray into Laos and Cambodia would have been simple to justify. One wonders why we were so concerned all this time? (snark)


    Iraq now claims ISIS booby-trapped a building with civilians. (not so far-fetched, as "Russophile.org" notes "Reports suggest that ISIS has planted explosives in many houses in Old Mosul to hamper the advance of the Iraqi Special Forces in the district." and Iraqis sources claim 36 civilians killed by ISIS a couple days ago trying to flee the west city.  

    BBC also says to ignore reports that the allies have suspended operations - something that would have played elegantly into ISIS' hands - in fact are continuing in the area where the supposed killing of civilians occurred.  

    Also ISIS' warning about the dam west of Raqqa about to burst are quite worrisome. Did allied bombing strikes really weaken it, or is ISIS about to blow it on purpose? Either way would likely be a huge humanitarian disaster in the making.

    The Psy-Ops campaign continues - who to believe?


    FWIW John Beck in an Al Jazeera piece published 4 hrs. ago, interviewed residents who say the cause was airstrikes; excerpts:

    "We know what an air strike sounds like. They killed most of our neighbourhood for one ISIL member, and they didn't even get him. I don't understand it."

    Radwan Ataallah, 25, Mosul resident

    All of the interviewees believed the target of the attack was Harbi Abdel Qader, a commander with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) - but added that he escaped unharmed in the few minutes before the third explosion.


    Well that sucks. And seems to eliminate the entrapment accusation. So now the question is how much Trump's new rules had an effect vs. just being careless and overeager.

    Besides that, it's horrible practice to start blaming things on ISIS they didn't do, as it destroys credibility, a valuable commodity in these times.


    it's horrible practice to start blaming things on ISIS they didn't do

    Didn't this one originate with the Iraqi government?

    A cynic like me would say: don't get your hopes up on the transparency front with anyone in that cultural neighborhood, you'll only get your heart broken. It's part of the daily program down to the citizen level. They've been practicing blaming the other a millenia more than we have. Any new tool like the internet just gets put to good use continuing with the ancient tradition of conspiracy theorizing.


    P.S. I hadn't been paying that much attention to Iraq until your fine posts, thank you. In doing so, I've been seeing photos of Mosul, my god, talk about shock and awe, those people have been through hell. The pile-on trauma on top trauma effect must be way beyond most human endurance. One couldn't trust anything anybody says from there from the population still there? All traumatized.


    Yes, Iraqi news is suspect but western news can be duped too. It's good that bith US and Iraqi troops taking this seriously and working on better safer tactics even as they continue the assault.


    Juan Cole thinks

    Trump has loosened the rules of engagement for the US Air Force, which is providing air support to the Iraqi Army. Looser rules could well be producing more casualties

    and says

    The US military admitted to carrying out the deadly strike, but were careful to underline that it had been called for by the Iraqi Army. Trump’s war strategy seems to be so unsuccessful that the US Air Force is trying to pass the blame for it off onto the Iraqi Army!

    other interesting points there....

    at the end a video from the The National, shows the poor civilians are basically being tortured by all inovlved, ISIS definitely using human shields and Iraqi and U.S. forces not being too careful. Cole notes how the Iraqi judicial council had to come out and say to the military: get  your act together and consider the civilians.


    In a comment above you finish by stating, "The Psy-Ops campaign continues - who to believe?"

    Good question, tough to answer in an age you describe thusly: ... ... we have to brace ourselves for the reality that most of our military actions in this age of decreasing war will be less clearcut in mission and results even without competing propaganda." I assume the underlined assertion is in reference to Steven Pinker's widely lauded book that claims the world is more peaceful now than ever before, a claim you have agreed with while citing Pinker as a reference before.  Here is a source, one of many, which argues convincingly, IMO, that Pinker is not just a little bit wrong.

    And there is, as you say, competing propaganda around all aggressions.   Compare the coverage of Mosul and East Aleppo and it tells you a lot about the propaganda we consume. The US Is Bombing Syria So Much That Watchdogs Can't Keep Up. And how, If Aleppo Was a Crime Against Humanity, Isn’t Mosul?


    I didn't get this from Pinker, and it's been obvious for a long time - wars have been shrinking since the horrors of the 40's, the adventurism/end of colonialism 70's, the Balkan and African conflagrations, etc. The numbers of war deaths are tiny compared to past decades. These guys seem to be able to argue that snow isn't white, using "but we might have a nuclear war!" as one of their arguments. Unimpressed. Even in Mosul, deaths have been typically 10-20 a day. Compare this with Congo, Cambodia, the Iran-Iraq War, Rwanda, etc.

    Even last year's offensive on Mosul was only 2500 dead including 800 executions, while this year's longer, more intense offensive has about 5000 military dead, 5000 civilians, and that's the biggest fighting at the moment (I think). That doesn't come close to civil wars and invasionsof the past.


    Where do you find propaganda here?

    At Site of Deaths, Our Reporters Find Cost of U.S.-ISIS Battle

    By Tim Arango @ The New York Times, March 27

    Reporting was contributed by Falih Hassan from Mosul; Helene Cooper and Michael R. Gordon from Washington; and Anne Barnard from Beirut, Lebanon.


    One article proves what about the bigger picture? I fully expect the NYT and many other news outlets to be more critical of some long standing policies now that Trump has taken over the job of CiC and so does Marci Wheeler.The article you present does have many caveats about careful bombing and feelings of the commanders for the innocent civilians. My direct experience, though dated, tells me that most commanders at the higher levels, are careerists who, if they can cover it up when occasionally necessary, don't give a flying fuck about playing loose with the lives of foreign nationals that are in their way.

     An example of what I believe to be slanted coverage involves the relatively small demonstrations recently in Russia. Those demos received a lot of coverage explaining how they confirmed bad things about Putin. Here is a relatively large demonstration, [give it just fifteen seconds] which is more than a hundred times as big as those in Moscow or Russia as a whole, prompted by the destruction of a country and the starvation of millions of people and which would not be happening, because it could not be happening, without the support or the U.S. military. R2P is not pinging the conscience of anyone important, apparently. At least Trump, who is expected to up the anti there, doesn't wash the news with crocodile tears when he attacks a perceived enemy. I ration my NYT views and don't have enough for even one or two days of all your suggested reading, but if you have an article published there that you think honestly lays out the responsibility for that situation and points fingers in the right direction,  please post it and I will spend a link to read it.    


    One article proves what about the bigger picture?

    I was interested to know what you found propagandistic about that specific article in order to understand what you consider propaganda. Because I don't consider it propaganda in the least.

    In this piece they collected on-the-ground reports from people in Mosul and tried to inform the reader of DC and Iraqi government issues involved. It is reporting not op-ed.. Your answer tells me you just basically prefer op-eds pointing fingers for reader. Which is fine, if you think understanding specific situations is a waste of time and want someone else with your own general slant to interpret the news for you.

    Personally, I don't think the majority of the "liberal MSM" has favored Pentagon agitprop since like, the MyLai Massacre. Rather, if anything, they go on the basis that the Pentagon is lying.. And I thinkt that turn was one of main reasons for the development of conservative media like Murdoch Inc. which fought back with "support our troops." It was also partly responsible for the Reagan Democrat phenomenon.

    Having the money to cover such foreign reporting is another question in this day and age.That' the "where's the outrage?" thing. Most have to spend where it will get them eyeballs. If enough don't want to "pay" for NYT or CNN reporting on Iraq, then there won't be any. I had CNN on early this moring, the anchors discussed the "horror" in Mosul and switched to a reporter live in Mosul and then complained that Trump antics were sucking all the air about such coverage.

    I'm not going to bother to debate this with you, I am just explaining that we have a different definition of what's of value to read and that the coverage is out there if you want to pay for it.

     I think the story I linked to was an excellent piece of journalism. And I also noted that the Times published another story on Mosul on the same day. And probably few are reading either, because they cannot pay. So they rely on free-of-charge bloggers to tell them what to think.Which raises the whole confirmation bias issue. And that is one major reason we have such polarization, such a tribal approach to news of the day.


    Why would you assume that I think there is anything propagandistic about a specific article that I never read and never commented on and then you want me to try to explain why it is propaganda? I only read it after you brought it up.  [But I did not criticize it or simply dismiss it as crap before reading it] I could just as well pick an article that was in fact pure propaganda and ask you to show why it isn't.   

     To the extent that I do see it as propaganda it is a light example just in the sense of what might be called "institutional propaganda" which like institutional racism might well go unnoticed as such by the crowd and might even be unintentionally so by the person presenting it. Example: While a nearly parallel situation existed in Aleppo the innocent lives lost there are attributed to an evil soulless tyrant but when Americans do the same thing they are given the benefit of every doubt. Callous disregard is not even considered. The excuses made for our military when it slaughters the wrong people from thirty thousand feet might all be correct in a war situation but to ascribe the same actions and same results by rival powers as always being the result of evil intentions for evil purposes is a clear example of propaganda that plants ideas and attitudes rather than being information intended to help a person think for them self and in doing so come to an intelligent conclusion.

    Your answer tells me you just basically prefer op-eds pointing fingers for reader. Which is fine, if you think understanding specific situations is a waste of time and want someone else with your own general slant to interpret the news for you.  

    I do think it is important to understand specific situations, especially if you want to understand the bigger picture that they are a part of. Your insult notwithstanding, I have worked my entire life at doing my own thinking. That is why I do not accept the NYT as always being the final word on both what the facts are and how they should be interpreted.

    I agree wih you about the value and necessity of primary news sources having a working business model. I have started several times to blog on the subject but you laid out a condensed version quite well. I have in fact made periodic donations to alternate news sights which I believe are also important and I have a couple of ongoing subscriptions to others. NYT is quoted and noted and analyzed so often that fairly quickly whatever they put out is available.  I reject the suggestion that not reading all the NYT daily makes anyone ineligible to comment on national news.  It is funny irony that you suggest that those who do not read the NYT are looking for someone to do their thinking for them.  You seem to have a bit of confirmation bias working yourself.  If I believed everything I read in he NYT I would have thought we were being told good and honest reasons to invade Iraq. 


    lots of good coverage being published in the U.S. today on Mosul; I suspect it is the result of the public showing interest:

    Investigators Arrive In Mosul To Determine US Involvement In Fatal Blast

    Reuters @ Huffington Post - ‎1 hour ago‎
    MOSUL, Iraq, March 28 (Reuters) - Investigators are in the Iraqi city of Mosul to determine whether a U.S.-led coalition strike or Islamic State-rigged explosives caused a blast that destroyed buildings and may have killed more than 200 people, a U.S ...

    Amnesty International claims “alarming pattern” in US-led strikes in western Mosul

    CBS News - ‎7 hours ago‎
    BAGHDAD -- A recent spike in civilian casualties in Mosul suggests the U.S.-led coalition is not taking adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths as it battles Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants alongside Iraqi ground forces ...

    Amnesty: US-led coalition not protecting Mosul civilians

    Washington Post - ‎10 hours ago‎
    BAGHDAD — A recent spike in civilian casualties in Mosul suggests the U.S.-led coalition is not taking adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths as it battles the Islamic State militants alongside Iraqi ground forces, Amnesty International said ...

    Engulfed in Battle, Mosul's Civilians Run for Their Lives

    New York Times - ‎3 hours ago‎
    As we traveled with Iraqi special forces deep in western Mosul last week, in the mostly residential Mosul Jidideh neighborhood, we saw desperate families start out right at daybreak. Families carried their young children and propped up their aging ...

    Mosul: 112 civilian bodies pulled from site of coalition airstrike

    CNN - ‎22 hours ago‎
    Mosul, Iraq (CNN) At least 112 bodies have been pulled from the site of a US-led coalition airstrike in Mosul, senior Iraqi health official Ahmed Dubardani said Monday. The deaths have sparked renewed concerns about civilian casualties from coalition ...

    US-led coalition must do more to avoid civilian deaths in Mosul, says UN

    The Guardian - ‎1 hour ago‎
    Such a scenario has been central to a debate that still rages as more bodies from the 17 March attacks are recovered from the Mosul Jdeida neighbourhood. On Tuesday the top US commander in Iraq acknowledged the likelihood that the US-led coalition had ...

     


    Yeah, during the campaign when I'd mention Mosul, absolute silence - just a distraction. Even the last few months pretty quiet. Didn't matter we were sending in ground troops, upping the bombing, taking large parts of the city - the domestic scene was taking up all oxygen. But now I think it's after the healthcare vote as much as the civilian hit last week - people got a moment to think about something else.


    I can't tell you how much I believe that clicks = coverage.  I've come to believe that since like 2005, been into posting news since like 2004 on various sites, and often with TV news on in the background, It's not scientific but I've seen the results over and over and over. Back in the early days when it was all Iraq all the time, me and a compadre in arms disturbed at the months of myopia, even took up a test,we were arguing with some Iraq maniacs along the lines of: why don't you have any interest in what's going on in Sudan? And we tried posting like 5 stories a day each (it was a site that we knew TV news was following) and got some others interested. But also being believers that there is a sort of prejudicial lack of interest in African news, we didn't get our hopes up. But within only a few days, we started to see some coverage of Sudan on both CNN and MSNBC interspersed with the latest bomb in Iraq.


    Yes, they're watching me, tapping me, bugging me. I feel like Hackman in The Conversation, or my own Truman Show. Clicks, you say - I hear clicking in the walls, clicking in my head. But is it my ideas they're after or only the advertising opportunity? As for Mosul, they've finally figured out that sects sell.

    As for your experiment, did you ever consider the guys were dropping the bombs for you? It's like Seymour's "The fat lady is Christ, Buddy..." - sooner or later the actors are catering to the audience, fulfilling their wishes, eager to please. That's the nature of reality shows - puppets on a string, but who's the puppet...


    No puppet

    No puppet

    You're the puppet!


    That's *sock* puppet, young lady, not just any run-of-the-mill puppet. We all have to specialize in these trying times, so I'm staying focused on socks.


    Note I didn't defend it, just the new "reality." wink

    BTW, I'm pretty sure Rachel Maddow's staff is watching you,  yes you. So be afraid, be very afraid.laugh

    (It's all Ted Turner's fault, you know. 24/7 feed that machine.)


    If I wanted to be stalked by an anchor, it would be... hmmm, I dunno. I guess I should be content landing in Maddow's gunscope. But Ted's teh awesome, Braves baseball everywhere, 24x7 news, Atlanta as cultural hub... It's Warner that screwed it all up - once Ted lost control, the beancounters took over just as Howard Beale warned us. 


    U.S. ‘Probably Had a Role’ in Scores of Civilian Deaths

    By MICHAEL R. GORDON @ NYTimes, March 29

    The remarks by Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend were the fullest acceptance of responsibility by an American commander for a March 17 strike in Mosul that killed scores of civilians.

    excerpt:

    But he asserted that “the munition that we used should not have collapsed an entire building.”

    “That is something we have got to figure out,” he added.

    With an increase in reports of civilian casualties from the American bombing of Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, some human rights groups have questioned whether the rules of engagement have been loosened since President Trump took office.

    Pentagon officials said this week that the rules had not changed. But General Townsend said on Tuesday that he had won approval for “minor adjustments” to rules for the use of combat power, although he insisted they were not a factor in the Mosul attack.

     I trust Michael Gordon to correctly interpret Pentagon and military speak as he has been on the beat a very very long time. And he seems to be buying Townsend's narrative.


    Yes and no - “the munition that we used should not have collapsed an entire building” seems a plea for an inquiry or answer, not a hard-and-fast acceptance of fact.

    I don't have a dog in the fight, just am curious to get attribution correct.

    But ISIS won this round in the propaganda war, even if there's a correction coming. People remember the first hit of news, true or false.


    If March 17 wasn't a setup, ISIS at least appears to have learned it as a new tactic to keep air attacks and heavy weapons attacks away by using the scare of public opinion and further atrocities. All's fair in war at least, not sure about love.


    I definitely see the "human shield" issue being mentioned allover the place now, not just with Mosul. I think it's like this: you don't chose to run if they take over your hood, you have bought in to being a martyr if need be. All just part and parcel of trying to create heaven on earth, see the Crusades.


    It was always mentioned in Gaza for example, probably with Hezbollah, etc. But this forcing dozens of people into a building by gunpoint to then try to get it targeted is a bit of an escalation. Requires a team already with homicidal intentions, but just searching for the exact way to commit the murder.


    not keeping calm:

    Panic spreads in Iraq, Syria as record numbers of civilians are reported killed in U.S. strikes

    By Loveday Morris and Liz Sly @ The Washington Post, March 28

    MOSUL, Iraq — A sharp rise in the number of civilians reported killed in U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria is spreading panic, deepening mistrust and triggering accusations that the United States and its partners may be acting without sufficient regard for lives of noncombatants.

    The increase comes as local ground forces backed by air support from a U.S.-led coalition close in on the Islamic State’s two main urban bastions — Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

    In front-line neighborhoods in western Mosul, families described cowering in basements for weeks as bombs rained down around them and the Islamic State battled from their rooftops. Across the border in Raqqa, residents desperately trying to flee before an offensive begins are being blocked by the militants, who frequently use civilians as human shields [....]


    Sorry, I'm still suspicious - I wouldn't be surprised if Russians were helping to feed stories to kill the US & allies in the PR game and pre-empt the Raqqa effort. Airwars now not reporting on Russian attacks and excesses, only US - beautiful.

    Also, a few weeks ago we were fighting against time with hundreds of thousands of trapped residents of Mosul out of food and water, while ISIS was doing large scale random murders. Now we're spending weeks fretting over an airstrike gone wrong and/or a booby trap that killed 100-200 people.

    And what was that weird line in the WaPo article - "with the number of casualties in March already surpassing records for a single month" - uh, the date was March 28, and it's the toughest part of the operation going into old Mosul.

    Yes, I'm sorry about the people, but for years there have been days of 150-200 or more people killed in Iraq through various infighting and terrorism. I remember one day there was a panic over s suspected bomb on a Baghdad bridge and over 200 died in the stampede or in leaping off the bridge. But here we're fighting some motherfuckers who think nothing of sending a bomb-loaded truck into a crowded marketplace, killing 115 and injuring 170, and we're going to turn it into another round of how America does everything wrong?

    We are fighting a group that sends out booby-trapped bulldozers and commits impromptu assassinations of civilians, and other intentional war crimes. While maybe we can do better, we're well-documented taking a slow-and-methodical approach through months of the offensive. Maybe something changed, but the military claims Trump orders haven't had time to have much effect, so I still bet it's just the propaganda war is heating up, both from ISIS & Russia Today. Prove me wrong with facts, I'm happy to reconsider.


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