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Syria civil war: attempt of the USA to create Sunny Theocracy instead of secular Assad government

The testing ground for false flag poisonings: White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings

News War is racket Recommended Links Downing of IL-20 reconnaaisance plane Israeli support of headchoppers and air raid on Syria military infrastructure Yugoslav wars
False flag poisonings Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Douma gas attack      
White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA American Imperialism American Exceptionalism Wolfowitz Doctrine
Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Nation under attack meme Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Cold War II Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia Madeleine Albright Is Hillary Clinton a war criminal? Samantha Power
Robert Kagan Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Demonization of Putin Predator state National Socialism and Military Keysianism Roots of Reaganolatry 
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Neo-fascism Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Power abroad rests on justice and decency at home
The Deep State Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatism
Color revolutions Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite Neocons Credibility Scam Obama: a yet another Neocon   Conservatives Without Conscience
War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Machiavellism Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility Bureaucratic Collectivism
Media domination strategy Fighting Russophobia Anti-Americanism Torture Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

“Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in defining who rules whom in the Middle East.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

“Anthing that can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
Windsor Mann, The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism--The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

The key idea heind unleashing civil war in cyria using Weapons from Libya and jihadist voluteers from several Arab countries is to reverse the geopolitical gift to Iran which Bush Iraq war created.

Installation of fundamentalist government in Syria also is in the best interests of Israel as this is by definitely a weak sectarian government that terrorizes its own population.  That's why they openly supported head choppers during Syrian civil war.  Politics make strange bedfellows: Izreal and Saudi Arabia.

Political Islam emerges are a reaction to colonialism but now it serve as a puppet of neoliberals to weaksen and destroy secular governments in Arab countries and to weaken territorial integrity of Russia.  So Russia in an indirect way is interested in preservation of secur goverment in Syria as cration of another large traning camp for jihadism is not in their best interest.

The problem is that the US elite lost people who participated in WWII who understood the consequnces of WWIII. now the US is represented by chichenhasks such as Trump, Bolton and the whole gallery of female chichenharks (which were floring in Obana administraion) such as Haley.

This generation of the US elite is idoctrinbated is the "sole super[ower" status and has difficulties to adapting to new realities when economically china will be larger then the USA in 2020 and militiary Russia is on par in some major catagories, returing the situation of mutual assured destruction (MAD) that the USA tried to destrowy (and for some suceeded in 1991-2000 due to collapse of the USSR and Yeltsin marionette government ) since Reagan.

Chemical attacks false flag as a standard method of pursuing civil war by West-connected islamists

Poisoning false flag are the  favorite tackits of British intelligence  services and it was important to Syria by MI6 supported organizations such as White Helmets.  They proved to be  perfectly suibale for Islamists barbarians (aka "head choppers")  who do not care much about human cost and can kill children and woman in cold blood to achive their goals.

One of the most interesting features of Syria civil war is the extent of the chemical attacks false flags by islamists to inflict the damage on Assad forces.  They usually resort to it when they are against the wall and need some time to recouperate of scape or surrender on more favoarabel conditions.

In this sense political Islam is a national liberation movement that "took the wrong turn on the road"  and which was co-opted by the neoliberals to serve as their geopolitical ram.  Instead of fighting Western neoliberal neo-imperialism they are helping them.

There were at least three provable false flag operation of this type


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Old News ;-)

[Feb 11, 2019] Please help us American people. They are destroying the cradle of civilization. Stop your government

Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

M-I. B. , says: February 4, 2019 at 3:15 am GMT

The parading of liberalism's humanitarian credentials has entitled our elites to leave a trail of carnage and wreckage in their wake in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria

" I am a Syrian Living in Syria: "It Was Never a Revolution nor a Civil War. The Terrorists Are Sent by Your Government"

"American soldiers and people should not be supporting barbarian al Qaeda terrorists who are killing Christians, Muslims in my country and everyone .

Every massacre is committed by them. We were all happy in Syria: we had free school and university education available for everyone, free healthcare, no GMO, no fluoride, no chemtrails, no Rothschild IMF- controlled bank, state owned central bank which gives 11% interest, we are self-sufficient and have no foreign debt to any country or bank. "

[ ]

" I do not understand how the good and brave American people can accept to bomb my country which has never harmed them and therefore help the barbarian al Qaeda. These animals slit throats and behead for pleasure they behead babies and rape young kids.

" They are satanic. Our military helped by the millions of civilian militias are winning the battle against al Qaeda. But now the USA wants to bomb the shit out of us so that al Qaeda can get the upper hand. "

"Please help us American people. They are destroying the cradle of civilization. Stop your government. "

{emphasis added}

https://www.globalresearch.ca/i-am-a-syrian-living-in-syria-it-was-never-a-revolution-nor-a-civil-war-the-terrorists-are-sent-by-your-government/5544450

anonymous [204] Disclaimer , says: February 5, 2019 at 10:20 pm GMT
A Serbian activist on Wednesday threw a pie in the face of Jewish French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy at a showing of his film "Peshmerga" in Belgrade. He is promoting 'Kurdistan' which is part of Israel's EXPANSIONIST policy.

He will talk at the Cambridge public library, a propaganda center, on February 20th, 2019 He should be exposed further. Jewish French philosopher gets pied in face in Belgrade

[Feb 11, 2019] Jared Kushner HUMILIATED on Live Television

The full interview is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67y2V3ksdlA it's a interesting interview, especially considering Kushner lack of experience in this area and composition of his team.
This interview was in 2017. As of 2019 the results were zero and with recent Israeli actions problem probably became worse. Palestine conflict after so many Palestinian brood was spilled by Israel looks like a permanent feature which, unfortunately, might one day to bring Israel down iether by unleashing a war with Iran (without USA support), or when the USA might decide to toss Israel to wolfs.
Notable quotes:
"... You can view the complete interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZyGpirUMvk . ..."
"... Watch the full interview before making a judgment. ..."
"... Try to grasp the real power struggles underneath the headlines and hype. ..."
"... It's almost as if cronyism and nepotism breed incompetence. Who knew? ..."
"... One reason Jared has been chosen to interact with Israel is because he is a practicing Koshier Jew and long time family ties and friends with Israli PM Netanyahu since Jared was a young child and in fact Jared would give up his bedroom when Netanyahu came to visit. ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, is interviewed at the Saban Forum on the topic of Israeli-Palestinian peace and his talking points get crushed by Israeli telecom billionaire Haim Saban


P K, 1 year ago

...You can view the complete interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZyGpirUMvk.

reeblite, 1 year ago (edited)

....Watch the full interview before making a judgment. Because he's betting that you won't because of your short attention span.

silverskid1, year ago

There's no story here. I watched the interview. It's a nothing-story. Of course the premise of Trump and his team as peacemakers in Israel is a bad joke-- but Kushner hasn't been "taken down" and "humiliated."

His demeanor throughout the interview was normal for him. The problem lies in what he says, and that's a different matter entirely. You're show is way to shallow. Try to grasp the real power struggles underneath the headlines and hype.

Kim Nguyen, 1 year ago (edited)

Jared sounds like that guy in your international relations class who is presenting his term paper, which he composed by collecting the cliff notes.

In terms of social issues, the achievement of peace between Palestine and Israel may be somewhere around P vs NP. There's no better person to expose the ridiculous of this team and how grossly unqualified they are than an Israeli or a Palestinian person. You can tell he feels insulted by the composition of this team.

Lady V , 10 months ago

So Ivanka converted to Judaism for him? There are many good reasons to convert to a different religion. Kushner ain't one of them.

Sass Afras , 8 months ago (edited)

When Kushner says; "We have a bankruptcy lawyer" ....(really?) Lol, When Saban says "it's a bankrupt situation, so yeah" BURN!

Chump still thinks he's "winning" what a joke! Newsflash Jarred, they're laughing AT you, NOT with you.

mike sandmire , 1 year ago

Touting a bankruptcy lawyer for a committee to solve the middle east problem, jesus h. Christ we are in trouble. Kushner sounds like daddy-in-law on the campaign trail. Every thing is so vague as to be rendered useless. We are going to fix the middle east. Yeah, how?

We are going to fix the problems there. Yeah, you said that but how are you going to fix it? Well the Iranians are a problem. Uh huh, we know that, how are you going to fix it? Also the Palestinians and Israelis don't seem to get along either. The talking while saying nothing just keeps going with this Administration.

Chris Lee , 1 year ago

Trump Admin is full of embarrassing unqualified personnel! As long as they are loyal. World voted against Trump on Palestine issue. Very SAD!

Brent Geery , 1 year ago (edited)

It's almost as if cronyism and nepotism breed incompetence. Who knew?

Jennifer Morris , 1 year ago

Priceless, when I first heard that Kushner was tasked with working on bringing peace to the Middle East my first thought was who? That that idiot Trump could throw this milk toast Jewish nobody into such a complex, sensitive protracted policy issue speaks volumes. From what I now know Kushner is a failed real estate agent with a father who is a convicted felon. Just cause he's married to Big orange daddies equally vacuous dumb daughter seems to be the only reason he is even in the White House. What a disgrace.

Elizabeth Czepiel , 2 months ago

With apologies to Mario Puzzo and the Godfather but "I'm going to make them an offer they can't understand!"

Gerard Vous , 10 months ago

How in the WORLD did he graduate with an JD degree from an elite university???

G Macka , 1 month ago

1 year on, and this little pecker wood is still just as inept, but at least we can finally begin to see through that fake (and very creepy) smile. The criminal Trump organization is falling apart at the seems, I think the only thing holding it all together is the sheer strength of the criminal investigations. Once those are all wrapped up, the Trump org. Will just collapse into a nasty little pile of rubble at Trumps feet. Fingers crossed Jared and Ivanka will be swept right up into the collapse and find themselves and in prison as well

tapolna , 1 year ago

And Jared Kushner is President Trump's "senior adviser"? Senor advisor!

Michael Garcia , 4 months ago (edited)

So what he saying is Israel is still just a victim they do nothing wrong to stimulate the wars going on in the Middle East don't do anything they're just playing victims. ??? It's well-known what part did Jesus play in the explosion of the Mesopotamia Cruise liner for the Americans to get into the war and save England where the Jews benefit in and got his real out of it through the Rothschild.

The Jewish bankers have been front and center of every war right in the middle stirring up the problems every country that took them in the Jew would find out their secrets their dislikes for the enemy that you will then go to the enemy and tell him everything hit the Jews host said causing War then the Jew finances both sides.

I know people like that who was start s***and watch the fight Jews have also claimed that they are A different race from your average Caucasian. Rh-positive bloodline

thehome man , 2 months ago

I grew up around them and i know that to be true about their conversational interactions them and Italians I just like black American people in that aspect, you may think it's an argument but it's not, you may think they are joking but they're expressing the irony of a situation or a persons stupidity.

panfluteman2000 , 1 year ago

Trump seems at times to be allergic to real knowledge, competence and expertise - except for the crooks in his cabinet that he hired to do his dirty work, like Mnuchin. And Trump could have hired real Middle East experts to be on his team. But no, he hired his son in law - someone he trusts, but also someone with no real expertise in the field, someone who's totally clueless. It seems like loyalty is 100% to Donald Trump, and knowledge, competence and expertise count for absolutely nothing.

Janet Johnson2 weeks ago (edited)

Ok Packman... so what is your expertise or qualifications? Your experience.. if any? IQ? What are you..15..16?? What qualifies you to peck away at the Trumps and all interactions with world leaders?

One reason Jared has been chosen to interact with Israel is because he is a practicing Koshier Jew and long time family ties and friends with Israli PM Netanyahu since Jared was a young child and in fact Jared would give up his bedroom when Netanyahu came to visit.

I understand Jared has a very high IQ. You Packman are just plain mean. Your friend there with you is even less impressive. You both sit around and poke fun of brave people who actually go out and try to do something to contribute and better this messed up world. I hope you aren't old enough to vote bc you aren't capable of making a wise choice yet.

Super Sonic 1 year ago (edited)

Good god we have complete fcking idiots running this country. This guy was absolutely SPOT ON! More people like this need to tell Trump and his cronies exactly this. The best bankruptcy lawyer to negotiate peace in the Middle East-wtf?? They have not the dimmest dullest notion on how to run a country starting with that orange ape at the top! ISIS on the run, good economy, low unemployment rate, Thank-you Obama!

MARK SUTTON, 1 year ago
David everyone keeps on talking about the Trump team and how its biased toward Israel. But what about all the other so called teams of other administrations. What about the Obama team?

What about the Bush team when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the PLO peace, what about the Clinton team when Ehud Barak practically offered 97% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

Oh and again while Bush was in office what about the fact that Israel removed itself and all of its settlers from Gaza? And what we got in return was an Iranian based about 40 minutes from Tel Aviv??

Why do you concentrate on the Trump team and not the "teams" we've had for the past 20 years or since the Oslo accords began. People keep on saying that the Trump team is not good for the peace process but I insist what peace process???

We've had this peace process since the late 80's and nothing has happened under the most leftist governments in Israel: Rabin, Peres, Barak, Olmert, all these Prime Ministers couldn't bring peace with the varying American teams....so why do you pick on Kushner???

Kushner had the balls to come out and say it like it is: There is NO solution to the conflict...

Eric Grosch1 month ago

So Trump and Kushner won't solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So, who is your exemplar of someone who has done so? The United States government has been funding Israel greatly and the Palestinians less so for years. Trump came to understand that Israel knows which side its bread is buttered on, so it sides with the US on most questions and the US sides with Israel on most questions.

Palestinians hate the US and Israel more or less equally, so Trump rationally withdrew funding from the Palestinians.

That was a divisive move, but the parties, Israel and Palestinians have already been divided since 1948, the year of the founding of modern Israel. It has long been US-policy to promise recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

Trump finally did it. Divisive? Sure, but so what? The parties are already divided.

sam n1 year ago

Stop Zionism. It preaches the same ideology and Isis and Nazism. it considers one group of people more superior.

Abban A7 months ago

Kushner only in the picture because his father in law and because he is a Jewish. He has zero international ,foreigners policies . Basically trump forcing Arab world leaders to pass this deal or else . There will be no peace in Middle East with those guys in charge and in office. Just more innocent people will die .

[Feb 06, 2019] Bolton unplugged RT

Feb 06, 2019 | www.rt.com

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump lambasted America's endless and wasteful wars. But as president, he has surrounded himself with individuals who have made defending and advancing American empire a full-time career. Why did Trump cave and what could be the consequences for him and his presidency?

CrossTalking with George Szamuely, Jeff Deist, and Lee Spieckerman.


That Lee guy demonstrated perfectly why the world should fear the USA. Dangerous stupid.
71 Likes


You are correct!
21 Likes


The danger comes from the arrogance with the stupidity. American exceptionalism at its ugliest, on par with bolton and pompeo for sure.

I don't think tRump really knows what he is saying, as in big disconnect between brain and mouth. More empty bluster than arrogance with his 5th grader stupidity.

23 Likes


The scary part is a lot of Americans are like him

23 Likes
Show 2 more replies


The "Lee" entity encapsulates everything that is wrong with consecutive US governments: arrogant, obnoxious, I'll mannered, undiplomatic, belligerent, misinformed and dangerously stupid.
43 Likes


Thanks for having this Lee Spieckerman on. It proves RT tries to show all sides and is a shocking example of how crazy the far right is.
Keep it real!

37 Likes


Spickerman is living in cuckoo land with his claim US is a force for good and billions are so happy to live under a bunch of mobster's Wrong

22 Likes


Lee Spickerman is a typical Sociopath

18 Likes


Lee Spickerman is mad like the US Governement.!!


The Monroe Doctrine gets evoked yet again. In written form it was "anti-colonial", but in practice it was "imperial anti-colonialism" and used as a declaration of hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over the Americas.

This is why I feel we need to stop using the term "regime change" which also hides the reality of what are really coup d'etats and imperialist wars. It's not a regime being changed, but a regime trying to do the changing. Like Peter says at the end, it would take a long show to talk about them all.

Do us all a favor and take Mr. Spieckerman off your guest list. He advances our knowledge not a bit. He is merely one of the Bush claque. As for his admired public servant, John Bolton, rarely does this country produce so maniacal a political operator. Giving Bolton a responsible position was Trump's most egregious personnel error.


Lee Spieckerman = jewish neocon

[Feb 05, 2019] John Bolton Insists Iran Likely Harboring Dangerous Terrorist Osama Bin Laden

Feb 05, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

WASHINGTON -- In an impassioned call for preemptive action against the Middle Eastern nation, United States national security advisor John Bolton insisted Thursday that Iran was likely harboring the dangerous terrorist Osama bin Laden. "For the good of our nation, we must act immediately," said Bolton, citing several intelligence reports providing significant evidence that Iran is currently providing sanctuary to the Al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We must never rest until this fugitive is brought to justice, and the only way to achieve that is through repeated and prolonged military strikes on Iran.

We have reason to believe that he's living in a compound there where he's training a legion of bloodthirsty Iranian civilians to take up arms as the next generation of terrorists. It is our solemn duty as the international safeguard of freedom to prevent this at all costs."

At press time, Bolton had left the podium to follow up on an important tip that Iranian leaders had hired American nuclear physicist Otto Gunther Octavius.

[Feb 05, 2019] Sic Semper Tyrannis Is this the Trump Doctrine - TTG

Notable quotes:
"... Many of us, actually most of us, were pleased with candidate Trump's declared intent to end our involvement in endless foreign interventions. He would put America first and refrain from sending our troops where they don't belong. Once elected, his record was mixed. ..."
"... PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: [W]e spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem. ..."
"... There also appears to be an effort to keep the Rojava Kurds as a proxy force after our troops withdraw to Iraq. We continue sending combat and engineering equipment into Rojava and fully intend to continue providing air support to the YPG. We just can't let it go. ..."
"... I see a confrontation in our future, especially with all the Iraqi PMS units in western Iraq. ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Many of us, actually most of us, were pleased with candidate Trump's declared intent to end our involvement in endless foreign interventions. He would put America first and refrain from sending our troops where they don't belong. Once elected, his record was mixed.

We launched an ineffective volley of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to a trumped up gas attack, but we never sought to establish a no fly zone and risk war with Russia. For a while we were well on our way to establish an enduring client state in east Syria. We assumed this was all the doing of the cabal of manipulating neocons that Trump surrounded himself with. His call for immediate withdrawal of troops from Syria surely proved this true. Finally Trump was allowed to be Trump. He was even seeking a way out of Afghanistan, after a literal lifetime of war in that godforsaken land.

The neocons are fighting back bigly. The pace of withdrawal from Syria was slowed and there is no indication we would ever give up our outpost on the Baghdad-Damascus highway at Tanf. Why? I think Trump laid out HIS thoughts on the matter during the traditional pre-super bowl presidential interview.

-- -- -- --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have to protect Israel. We have to protect other things that we have...

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you want to keep troops there [Iraq] now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: [W]e spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whoa, that's news. You're keeping troops in Iraq because you want to be able to strike in Iran?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, because I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up. And this is what a lot of people don't understand. We're going to keep watching and we're going to keep seeing and if there's trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do.

-- -- -- --

So, We are staying in Iraq to keep an eye on Iran and we are doing this to protect Israel. It was not any of the neocons who said this. It was Trump himself. So much for America first. There also appears to be an effort to keep the Rojava Kurds as a proxy force after our troops withdraw to Iraq. We continue sending combat and engineering equipment into Rojava and fully intend to continue providing air support to the YPG. We just can't let it go.

However, Baghdad has thrown a monkey wrench into this developing Trump doctrine. Iraqi President Barham Salih has told Trump to slow his roll.

-- -- -- --

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Monday that President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq's permission for U.S. troops stationed there to "watch Iran."

Speaking at a forum in Baghdad, Salih was responding to a question about Trump's comments to CBS about how he would ask troops stationed in Iraq to "watch" Iran. U.S. troops in Iraq are there as part of an agreement between the two countries with a specific mission of combating terrorism, Salih said, and that they should stick to that. (Reuters)

-- -- -- --

I see a confrontation in our future, especially with all the Iraqi PMS units in western Iraq.

TTG

[Feb 04, 2019] The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

Highly recommended!
This was true in 2015 for Syria. Now this is true for Venezuela... So one can expect iether chemical attack opposition from Madura government or "Snipergate" in EuroMaydan style. Or may some some more sophisticated, more nasty "false flag" operation in British style like Skripal poisoning.
It will be interesting if Madura manage to survive despite the pressute...
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked! ..."
"... To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya! ..."
"... This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have. ..."
"... Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad. ..."
"... In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head. ..."
"... ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources. ..."
"... The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck! ..."
"... The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department. ..."
Sep 19, 2015 | The Guardian
Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm "moderate" Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has "four or five" rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong." The New York Times reported, "In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment."

This bizarre "I was peer pressured into sending more weapons into the Middle East" argument by the president is possibly the most blatant example of blame shifting in recent memory, since he had every opportunity to speak out against it, or veto the bill. Instead, this is what Obama said at the time: "I am pleased that Congress...have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria."

But besides the fact that he clearly did support the policy at the time, it's ridiculous for another reason: years before Congress approved the $500m program to arm the Syrian rebels, the CIA had been running its own separate Syrian rebel-arming program since at least 2012. It was reported prominently by the New York Times at the time and approved by the president.

In fact, just before Congress voted, Senator Tom Udall told Secretary of State John Kerry, who was testifying in front of the foreign relations committee, "Everybody's well aware there's been a covert operation, operating in the region to train forces, moderate forces, to go into Syria and to be out there, that we've been doing this the last two years." In true Orwellian fashion, Kerry responded at the time: "I hate to do this. But I can't confirm or deny whatever that's been written about and I can't really go into any kind of possible program."

Also conveniently ignored by Congress and those advocating for arming the rebels was a classified study the CIA did at the time showing that arming rebel factions against sitting governments almost always ends in disaster or tragedy.

You'd think whether or not the current weapons-running program was effective – or whether any similar program ever was – would have been a key factor in the debate. But alas, the CIA program is never mentioned, not by politicians, and not by journalists. It's just been conveniently forgotten.

It is true that perhaps the best advocate for why we never should've armed the Syrian rebels to begin with came from President Obama himself. He told the New Yorker in early 2014 that "you have an opposition that is disorganized, ill-equipped, ill-trained and is self-divided. All of that is on top of some of the sectarian divisions." Critically, he cited that same above-mentioned classified study:

Very early in this process, I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn't come up with much.

He didn't mention the CIA's already-active weapons-running program. Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension. Instead, he supported Congress's measure to create yet another program that sent even more weapons to the war-torn region.

Per usual, Republicans are taking the entirely wrong lessons from this disaster, arguing that if only there was more force then everything would've worked out. Marco Rubio exclaimed during the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday that if we armed the rebels earlier – like he allegedly wanted, before voting against arming them when he had the chance – then the program would've worked out. Like seemingly everyone else in this debate, Rubio has decided to ignore the actual facts.

Sadly, instead of a debate about whether we should continue sending weapons to the Middle East at all, we'll probably hear arguments that we should double down in Syria in the coming days and get US troops more cemented into a war we can call our own (that still to this day has not been authorized by Congress). There are already reports that there are US special operations forces on the ground in Syria now, assisting Kurdish forces who are also fighting Isis.

When the vicious and tragic cycle will end is anyone's guess. But all signs point to: not anytime soon.

Oliver2014 19 Sep 2015 21:27

" Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time? "

Because the US doesn't understand the culture of the people it meddles with.

The US goes in with a messianic belief in the righteousness of its objective. This objective is framed in naive terms to convince itself and the people that it's motives are benevolent - such as "we must fight communism" or "we will bring democracy to Iraq" or "Saddam Hussein is an evil man who uses chemical weapons on his own people and hence must be ousted" or "Assad is an evil man who is fighting a civil war with his own people".

As a superpower it feels compelled to interfere in conflicts lest it be seen as impotent. When it does not interfere, as in WW2, things do indeed get out of control. So it's damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

The CIA did not understand Afghan history of fighting off invaders when it was arming the Mujaheddin and that after the Soviets were defeated it would perceive the Americans as invaders and not as liberators who were there to bring them democracy and teach them that growing poppy was bad. (Like alcohol in the 1930s, a national addiction problem cannot be solved on the supply side - as the CIA and DEA learnt in South America.)

Bush Sr. was right when he left Saddam alone after bloodying his nose for invading Kuwait because he understood that Saddam was playing a vital Tito-esque role in keeping his country and the neighborhood in check. He had no WMDs but wanted his adversaries in the region to believe otherwise. If Saddam were alive today we wouldn't have an Iraq problem, an ISIS problem, an Iran problem and a Syria problem.

Smedley Butler 19 Sep 2015 21:12

"Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension."

Maybe it's because he hasn't stuck to his guns on anything during the entire time he's been President. He always takes the path of least resistance, the easy way out, and a "conservative-lite" position that tries to satisfy everyone and actually satisfies no one.

What an utter disappointment.

DavidEG 19 Sep 2015 20:01

The Machiavellian machinations of the empire become less relevant with every passing day. It's Europeans now who are eating sweet fruits of "mission accomplished". And they may rebel, and kick out last remnants of their "unity", and sacred NATO alliance alongside.


PamelaKatz AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 18:33

Obama said the US would take 10,000 Syrian refugees. When I heard this, I thought surely a zero must be missing from this figure. And what no one has publicly mentioned is the immigration process for these few will require at least a year of investigative background checks.

PamelaKatz jvillain 19 Sep 2015 18:15

The largest manufacturers and global distributors of weaponry are the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, in that order....... also known as the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. One should read the UN Charter, which states the purpose and parameters for forming this international organization. The word 'irony' comes to mind.

ID108738 19 Sep 2015 17:36

Saddam Hussein was a friend while he gassed the Iranians, then he invaded Kuwait; as long as Bin Laden fought the Russians, he was tolerated and funded; now there's Syria. The only thing needed to take the strategy to new levels of idiocy was a compliant nincompoop as prime minister in Britain. Will they ever learn?

Toi Jon 19 Sep 2015 17:27

The US understands how to create a market for their military hardware industry but has never understood how their interference in the Middle East creates mass human misery.

Samantha Stevens 19 Sep 2015 17:09

Quite simply the US is breaking international law by doing this. Every time they do it the world ends up with another shit storm. If they cannot behave responsibly they should be removed from the security council of the UN. Same goes for the Russians and any other power abusing their position.
Syria may not have been the epitome of humanity before being destabilised but it is certainly worse now. The same is true of Iraq. In fact have the US successfully overturned any government they deem un-American (LOL) without it leading to a civil war?

Andy Freeman 19 Sep 2015 17:06

Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked!

People will call for a solution, the solution will be tighter integration in Europe, the abolition of national governments, the removal of cash to stop payments to "terrorists", more draconian spying laws, less from and eventually compulsory registration and ID for all Europeans.

Meanwhile, we'll have a few more false flag attacks supposedly caused by the refugees and more fear in the news. Open your eyes


Laurie Calhoun 19 Sep 2015 16:49

"Why he didn't stick to his guns..." Not the most felicitous metaphor in this case, but here is the answer to your question:

To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya!

Sad but true. For more details on how this works, read Daniel Klaidman's book Kill or Capture: The war on terror and the soul of the Obama presidency.


littlewoodenblock geniusofmozart 19 Sep 2015 16:39

turkey should be thrown out of NATO immediately!

littlewoodenblock 19 Sep 2015 16:36

after the libya disaster the US should have abandoned plans for regim change in syria.

and the US missed a golden opportunity to recitfy what had already become a syria disaster by allowing turkey and the ludicrous SNC to so thoroughly undermine the Geneva talks.

nnedjo -> Havingalavrov , 19 Sep 2015 15:40

The U.S and U.K's commitment should be to those in Iraq. Secure, rebuild and invest in helping that Nation come with the best solution to a, rid itself of ISIS, b, be able to stay that way, c have a government that is inclusive to the needs of the Sunni's, Shia's and Kurds

Just as I thought that you can not surpass yourself in writing stupid comments, and you are immediately reassured me.
Thus, the US and the UK spent nearly ten years in Iraq and failed to make any of this what you write, but but the whole mess practically they themselves have created. And now you're saying that if the US and UK troops returned again to Iraq they will be able to fix everything that they had previously screwed and to create an "inclusive society" of Iraq. So, if the US and UK troops set foot again on the soil of Iraq, it will be the strongest reason for Iraqi Sunnis to reject the inclusion in the Iraqi society. Iraqi officials themselves are aware of this very well, and for that reason they are the first to oppose such an intervention.
Iraq's prime minister says no to foreign troops

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."...
Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight ISIS.

"Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."
"The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky," al-Abadi said. "We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq."
He said that the Iraqi military will choose and approve targets, and that the U.S. will not take action without consulting with Baghdad first. Failure to do so, he warned, risks causing civilian casualties like in Pakistan and Yemen, where the U.S. has conducted drone strikes for years.

Well, Well, whether i notice here distrust even of Iraqi Shiites toward the US Air Force. On the other hand, they want to strengthen friendship with neighboring governments in Syria and Iran: ;

Al-Abadi, however, said that Iraq doesn't have the luxury of testy relations with Damascus, and instead pushed for some sort of coordination.

"We cannot afford to fight our neighbor, even if we disagree on many things," al-Abadi said. "We don't want to enter into problems with them. For us sovereignty of Syria is very important." The two countries, both of which are allies of Iran, appear to already be coordinating on some level, and Iraq's national security adviser met Tuesday with Assad in the Syrian capital, where the two agreed to strengthen cooperation in fighting "terrorism," according to Syria's state news agency.

The U.S. hopes to pull together a broad coalition to help defeat the extremist group, but has ruled out cooperating with neighboring Iran or Syria, both of which also view ISIS as a threat. Both countries were excluded from a conference this week in Paris that brought the U.S., France and other allies together to discuss how to address the militant threat.

Al-Abadi said that excluding Damascus and Tehran was counterproductive.

So, it is obvious that the Iraqi government is not against inclusion, but they're for such inclusion, which will exclude the US and UK of interfering in their internal affairs. I think it is a good step towards reconciliation with their Sunni brothers because they also seem to support such a thing. And if they managed to do it, maybe Ukrainians will also draw some lesson from it and be able to reconcile with their brothers Russians.


Ieuan ytrewq 19 Sep 2015 14:04

ytrewq said: "USSR and China supplied a lot of support and material to N. Vietnam."

Very true.

However the Viet Minh were formed and initially supplied by OSS (later called the CIA) forces from the US. In fact Ho Chi Min had a naive hope that the US would support him in his struggle against foreign occupation of the country after the war (French colonialism) and made several appeals to President Truman for help (all of which were ignored).

Instead of which, the US supported the French, so Ho asked around and got help from the Russians and Chinese. The rest we know.


marginline AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 13:54

The UK and France [...], they destroyed Libya.

The causality of which led to an Islamic terror attack on June 26th, 2015 ten kilometers north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia, where thirty-eight people; thirty of whom were British - were murdered.


sashasmirnoff JoJo McJoJo 19 Sep 2015 13:40

The US is always wrong, and always responsible for every bad thing that happens on Earth.

They are always wrong, and are indeed responsible for almost every geopolitical disaster, usually a result of overthrowing governments and installing their own tyrant, or else leaving a vacuum that Islamists fill.


Zaarth 19 Sep 2015 13:34

This $500m program cost less than 0.1% of the US annual defense budget. When you're dealing with sums of money as obscenely large as the US spends on its military, its inevitable that huge quantities will be wasted because you've passed the point where there's worthwhile things to spend it on. This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have.

In recent years the right has been very concerned with balancing the national budget and shrinking debt. They're willing to cut spending for social programs and research, but god forbid you take money away from the military. It just wouldn't be patriotic.


marginline -> GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 13:14

Great summary GeneralMittens. You have expressed in layman's terms the facts eluded to by journalist Mehdi Hasan when he quantified the depth of the strategic disaster the Iraq war actually was – or, as the Conservative minister Kenneth Clarke put it back in a 2013 BBC radio discussion...

the most disastrous foreign policy decision of my lifetime [ ] worse than Suez

The invasion and occupation of Iraq undermined the moral standing of the western powers; empowered Iran and its proxies; heightened the threat from al-Qaeda at home and abroad; and sent a clear signal to 'rogue' regimes that the best (the only?) means of deterring a preemptive, US-led attack was to acquire weapons of mass destruction. [ ] Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a...

serious violation of international law

This leads me to the conclusion and I apologies for flogging this dead horse yet again BUT...why are Bush and Bliar not being detained at The Hague?


Ieuan 19 Sep 2015 12:45

" I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well."

Well, they (the OSS at the time) supplied arms and training to the Viet Minh. When they were fighting the Japanese. Which worked out well, when they were only fighting the Japanese.

But when they used their expertise (and the arms they had left over) to carry on fighting the French, and later the Americans themselves, it worked out very well for the Viet Minh, not so well for the French and Americans.


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:27

The first President Bush, who decided not to topple President Saddam Hussein after routing his military forces out of Kuwait, and instead to leave him in power for the sake of the Middle East stability is, in retrospect, probably the wisest foreign policy decision ever made by the 41st President, thanks not only to his own personal judgment but also to his foreign policy aides' wisdom. Though it is now too late for the son to learn from his father, it is still not too late for the present administration to learn a thing or two from the former senior President Bush.

twoheadednightingale 19 Sep 2015 12:25

Nice to read an article coming at the war from this angle, seems like people are finally starting to question the effectiveness US foreign policy - ie bombing for peace. However the article is fairly nieve in places - like who actually believes the president of the US has control over all its intelligence agencies? JFK told the world in april '61, not long after the CIA had set him up over the bay of pigs and months before being assassinated exactly that. So enough of the 'blame the president' bullshit, it doesn't get to the root of the problem


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:17

The last major armament, including heavy guns, tanks and armored personnel carriers, as sent by the United States to the now notoriously incompetent Iraqi military forces is now reportedly in the hands of ISIS after these US-trained Iraqi military personnel simply abandoned their posts of defense and deserted for their own dear lives, thus leaving the centuries-old, formerly safe haven of Mosul for Iraqi Christians to the mercy of ISIS. See "60 Minutes", Sunday, September 13, 2015, "Iraq's Christians", at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/iraqs-christians-the-shooting-at-chardon-high-king-of-crossfit.


pfox33 19 Sep 2015 12:04

The fact that Putin is coming to Assad's aid is a game-changer that the US was unprepared for. For one thing, it's highlighted how inconsequential US efforts to bolster "moderate" rebels and degrade ISIS capabilities have been.

From the time it was reported that the Russians were upgrading an airbase at Latakia to the time that it was reported that they had dispatched helicopters and jets and that the Syrians had started to take the fight to ISIS in Raqqah and Palmyra was only a matter of weeks. The CIA's program, after a year, had produced five soldiers at a cost of 500 million.

Previously the US had free reign over Syrian skies as did Israel who would bomb what they deemed to be convoys of military supplies for Hezbollah. Things aren't so free and easy now with the Russians in town. And both the Americans and Israelis now realize they have to check in with them before them they make sorties over northern Syria.

It's fairly obvious, to me anyway, that the US and Israel's only endgame was the fall of Assad and that ISIS had their tacit approval. Assad's good relations with Iran and Hezbollah meant he was a marked man. Putin, as is his wont, has complicated their plans and the results are yet to be seen.


BradfordChild TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:58

"Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US."

Actually, Gaddafi had shown an interest in engaging with the West-- happened under Bush, but was never really followed up on. Still, it was headed in a more positive direction until Obama rather arbitrarily decided that Gaddafi had to go.

The real net effect of US intervention in the Middle East has been to destabilize Europe.


Tony Page bravo7490 19 Sep 2015 11:32

I would agree but, as a former intelligence professional, I'd remind you that there's always a story behind the story. Not that it's a "good" story! But more must be going on there...


ByThePeople 19 Sep 2015 11:12

"Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?"

It depends on how you define better. To think that these ops take place with the intent to solve an issue is naive, they don't. You state yourself that the CIA freely admits it's never worked.

The reason the United States funds and arms groups in the Middle East is that 9 times out of 10, these same groups are then later labeled 'terrorists' and a new US war campaign is justified.

It's not about solving problems - unless the problem being solved is: How do we create more opportunities to half-ass justify engaging in another war effort so the US coffers can be continuously raped.

Iraq is the perfect example of succeeding in achieving this goal. Years before the Iraq war ever began, US war planners knew that a power vacuum, attracting the likes of Al-Qaeda and or ISIS would subsequently result. Thus, providing a for a second war, derived from the first seemingly pointless invasion. The Iraq plan worked fabulously as not only did the newly created enemy materialize, they also became a much more formidable enemy once they conveniently came into possession of all the military equipment we let behind.

Point is, they wouldn't continue implementing all these operations if the goal wasn't being achieved.

I will add too - McCain and Co. clamored so hard to arm the al-Assad opposition McCain might as well have claimed that if we did not, then America would be blown up in its entirety in 48 hours the same as all the other fear mongering done in a effort to continue the war efforts. Who knows, maybe he did, I try not to listen to him anymore - he needs to be put out to pasture.

TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:10

Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US.

To suggest that funding radicals to overthrow these governments is a "whoops" or something that will never work is completely wrong. The plan has worked exactly as planned: destabilize the region by promoting dissent, covertly arm and fund "rebels" through back-channels (Saudi, UAE, Turkey, etc.), create a new boogeyman (ISIS), and reforge alliances with enemies (AQ) who will then turn on us again in the future.

The goal is to flatten Syria, and it seems to be working out very well. When you consider what the ultimate outcome will be, it starts becoming fairly clear: push Russia into a corner militarily and economically, open new LNG pipelines, appease allied caliphates, and put billions of dollars into the pockets of the wealthiest people.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 10:51

Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.

I think the problem may well be the bloated MIC in the US. Too many strategic game plans for to many, often contradictory ends.

There are no doubt there are intelligence analysts in the US MIC who have a genuine interest in collecting actual information and present it honestly. The numerous leaks show us this.

The problem is, this often good information, once it's been spun through political/economic vested interests, think tanks, cold war jar head imperialists and so forth, it (foreign policy) ends up complete fubar.

To the point where, as you rightly say imo, their foreign policy looks like nothing more than "malicious wily manipulators, deliberately buggering up the world to make money out of the consequences."


david wright 19 Sep 2015 10:49

For a full century now, from the Balfour Declaration and the secret Sykes-Picot arrangement, the currently-top 'Western' dog (UK; then US) has been meddling and futzing around in the Middle East, notionally in someone's 'National Interest.'

Oil, access to Empire (route to India etc) and 'national prestige' have been the usual excuses. The result has been unmitigated disaster.

Ignoring everything up to Gulf 1 (1991) we've a quarter century century of determined scoring of own-goals. This shows no sign of changing. This is a helter-skelter race to destruction, greatly presently aided and abetted by Asad. So far, it's lasted two-and-a-half times longer than the combined lengths of both World Wars.

One conclusion is that by any rational assessment, we don't deserve to 'win', whatever that would constitute, any more than did one side or the other in the 16th -17th century's European religious wars. An equally rational assessment is that we neither have, nor can. The final rational conclusion, that we find a way to disengage - remarkably simply, by stopping doing all the things we have been - is a fence refused by the relevant horses - again, mainly US and (as very eager, jr partner indeed) UK.All apart from the monstrous outcomes for the people in the region, we destabilize our own security then make things worse by tightening our own internal 'security' at the expense of civil liberties. This gives away, at no gain, the slow and scrabbling accretion of these, over centuries. And Cameron and co remain sufficiently delusional to want to keep on bombing, but whatever toys they have, whatever seems a good idea on the day. How can we win? the war isn't on 'terror', but ion logic. Ours. |Neither the US nor UK governments have ever shown much interest in the fates of the millions of people their casual actions have ended, or made hell. Of the multiple ironies (shall I count the ways?) attending all this is that Saddam, while a murderous thug, and no friend to his own people, was doing for us, for free, what we've been unable to do for ourselves - keep Iraq al-Quaida free. AS to his murderous propensities, clearly far fewer of his people (alone) would have been killed had we not intervened, than we have directly or indirectly killed. Much of this stems from the fact that during the same recent period (1991 on) there has been no effective counter to Western power and inclination, which has simply projectile-vomited its baneful influence. Ironic too that the reason we armed and greatly helped create al-Quaida was to destabilize Russia by getting it bogged down in Afghanistan. Thus the only real fear which limited US action, was removed when that policy was successful. We removed the brakes as the train was beginning to accelerate down the incline. Wheeee!


teaandchocolate smifee 19 Sep 2015 10:47

Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad.

As to "not having a serious mark against his name", forgive me if I laugh hysterically while crying with pain.

The least said about the moron Reagan and his jolly pal Thatcher the better. Oh how well their unregulated market shenanigans have turned out.

Crackpots the lot of them.


LethShibbo AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 10:35

Doing nothing and minding your own business is kinda the same thing.

And the civil war in Syria isn't purely a result of what happened in neighbouring Iraq.

What you're essentially saying is 'America, you've started this fire. Now let it burn.'


pansapians DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 10:28

Well of course ISIS were miffed that the U.S. was paying lip service to not arming ISIS. If you think there was ever any serious difference between the FSA and ISIS then I hear that the Queen having to sell Buckingham palace due to losses gambling on corgi races and I can get you a good deal for a cash sale


IrateHarry Havingalavrov 19 Sep 2015 10:17

Make Iraq work first..

ROFLMFAO...

Iraq has been so thoroughly screwed over by the UKUSA clusterfuck, there is no chance of it working ever again.


AndyMcCarthy LethShibbo 19 Sep 2015 10:12

Sorry, the US doesn't HAVE to make a choice, do nothing or bomb. All the US needs to do is mind it's own business.

We wouldn't be having this refugee crises if the US hadn't invaded Iraq.


Tomasgolfer 19 Sep 2015 10:10

For a little insight, see "The Red Line and the Rat Line", by Seymour M. Hersh. Published in the
London Review of Books


LeftOrRightSameShite contextandreality 19 Sep 2015 10:01

you write a article on myth that US armed rebels

The US (and the UK and France for that matter) has been openly arming and training the "rebels". The US had a vote in congress to openly do just that last year. Covertly, they've been doing it since 2012, again this has been well reported and admitted to.

The problem for the US is their so called "moderates" don't exist. They either switch allegiance once back in Syria or end up captured or killed just as quickly.
Your user name seems somewhat of a parody.


ArtofLies richardoxford 19 Sep 2015 10:00

How does that compute ?

it computes once one answers this slightly naive question from the article

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

surely at some point people have to realise that chaos is the result the US is looking for.

IrateHarry 19 Sep 2015 09:56

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East

Because that is the backbone business of America - making and selling deadly weapons. Deadlier the better, and no matter whom they are supplied to. If foreign governments don't buy, does not matter, just supply it to "rebels", and they will be paid for by the tax payers across the west (not just the American ones, NATO has been set up as the mechanism to tap into European tax payers as well).

The rest of the bullshit like democracy, freedom, etc are marketeers' crap.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 09:53

No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

There was a report in the NY Times last year by a reporter who was kidnapped by the FSA (his mission was to find them and find out who they were) and handed straight over to Al-Nusra. Twice. He was imprisoned and tortured by them.

In his revealing report, talking of the couple of days he spent back with the "FSA", his release having been negotiated by the west, he asked the "FSA" fighters about the training they received from the US in Jordan. The reporter put it to the fighters that the training was to fight AN/IS. Their response? "We lied to the Americans about that".
The WSJ also recently reported that the CIA mission to arm/train "moderates/FSA" had gone totally tits up. Most of them reported as defecting to one of the number of more extreme groups, some having been captured or killed.

It's been clear for about 2 years now that these so called "moderates" only exist in the deluded minds of western policy makers.


JacobHowarth MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 09:51

ISIS do not control that large a number of people. Many Kurds are fleeing because of IS, that's true, but for the most part the civil war is a horror show from both sides and Syrians are - rightly - getting the hell out of there.

Or are all of those 'taking advantage of the opportunity to move to Europeans [sic] countries' proposing to do so by going to Lebanon and Jordan?


Quadspect -> kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 09:22

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10218288/CIA-running-arms-smuggling-team-in-Benghazi-when-consulate-was-attacked.html

The suspiciously unasked questions as to motives of all parties at Benghazi, by all twelve (12) members of the Select Committee, suggests collaboration to question Hillary Clinton to make her appear responsible only for bungling security and rescue, for the sole purpose of diverting attention from Hillary Clinton's role in the CIA and the CIA operative Ambassador Stevens' arming of terrorists. The obvious question to ask would have gone to motives: "What activities were Stevens and the CIA engaged in, when they were attacked at Benghazi?"


GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 09:10

The use of religion(Islam specifically) in politics was first employed by the British in the Middle East in the early parts of the 20th century. In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head.


nnedjo 19 Sep 2015 09:09

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong."

Yes, it seems that it has become a tradition of US presidents to boast with the fact that "they do not interfere much in their own job".

For example, in the last campaign for the GOP candidate for the US president, Jeb Bush defended his brother George for a false pretext for war in Iraq in the form of non-existent WMD, claiming that everyone else would bring the same decision on the start of the war, if the same false intelligence would be presented to him.

Thus, the president of the United States can not be held accountable for its decisions if the CIA deliver him false intelligence, or deliberately conceal the true intelligence. On the other hand, since no one has heard of any person from the CIA which is held responsible for the wrong war in Iraq, it turns out that nobody is responsible for this war.

And, to us, mere mortals, it remains only to conclude that the most powerful war machine in the world moves "without a driver", or maybe it is "driven by some automatic pilot".

So, how tragic it is, and yet we can not help laughing. :-)


mikiencolor 19 Sep 2015 09:06

It was obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense from the beginning that the "moderate" rebel training programme would be an utter disaster. But if the lessons you are taking is that nothing should be done at all, I'd submit you are taking the wrong lessons from the debacle. Doing nothing at all would have condemned tens of thousands more to genocide. Doing something saved thousands of Yezidi and saved Rojava.

Wherever the Kurds have been supported they have proved capable, trustworthy and have created functional civil societies. To broadly and undiscerningly dismiss "sending weapons to the Middle East" is disingenuous. Something must be done, and things can be done to help rather than harm if there is a sensible policy maker, and doing nothing certainly can be more immoral and evil than doing something - as I thought we'd learned from Nazi Germany.

The reality is one that neither right wing nor left wing hardliners are willing to face: the Sunni Arab jihadis are the source of most of the problems and the reason is entirely to do with their noxious genocidal and imperialistic ideology and culture. They are a source of instability, enmity and fear, and not just in the Middle East either. And they are being supported and bankrolled by Western allies in the Gulf. The world is a big place with many peoples and ways of thought, and many disagreements - but we nearly all of us seem able to find a way to coexist in this new globalised technological human civilisation. The jihadis are a barbarian throwback, a movement of violent primitivists. There is no place for jihadism in the future and they are a threat to everyone in the world.


ID0020237 -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 09:01

Insanity I believe, not madness, but what's the difference. The CIA may get it right, but after political interference and manipulation, they change their conclusions. We've seen this with the Iraq debacle and elsewhere. Just as political interference in military operations, Viet Nam for example, causes imminent failure, so it is with intelligence ignored.


GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 09:01

So basically America invades and bombs the shit out of everywhere and the europeans have to clean up the mess and deal with the resulting refugee crisis?

At some point America should be held accountable for their actions in the middle east. Whether thats taking their fair share of refugees from syria or footing the bill for this clusterfuck.

At the very least, other countries should stop enabling their warmongering.


LittleGhost 19 Sep 2015 08:58

US foreign policy in the ME proves Einstein's maxim

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 08:57

It has been 14 years since 911 and Bush's so called "war on terror". Not only barbaric wahabi terror has not been defeated it has grown its barbarism to magnitudes unimaginable previously. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been allowed to arm them to the teeth by the very states who claim to be waging "war on terror". Since Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are close allies of the west and one is a member of NATO, it follows that the west is in fact arming the wahabi terrorists who have turned the Middle East into a wasteland murdering and looting at will. Millions are now refugees, countries laid to waste and yet Mr Kerry and Hammond talk as if they have done such magnificent jobs and Russian involvement would only "complicate" things.


teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 08:56

I don't think they have the brightest people working in the CIA and the military in the USA. They are probably bullies, relics from the Cold War, jar-heads, devout 6000-year-old-world Christians, neocons and fruitcakes. Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.


smifee 19 Sep 2015 08:52

To be honest, I don't see any confusion.

Obama comes across as a (comparatively) humane person, and I am sure that his personal preference would be for there to be no violence in the middle east. As President of the USA, however, he has to set aside his personal preferences and act in the wider interests of his country.

The US set out to realign the political make up of the middle east. No doubt, they want to make sure Islam will never again be able attack US interests.

Successive Administrations have controlled the funding and arming of various factions within the Middle East to ensure that Muslims kill each other and weaken social structures. The US will fill the ensuing political vacuum and economic waste-land with local leaders loyal to 'freedom, democracy and the American Way'. The next Administration will continue to stoke up the violence, and the one after, and the one after that until the US is satisfied it has achieved its objective.

It seems almost all of us have to contain our personal views if we want to succeed in our place of work. Even the P of the USA.

GoldMoney -> celloswiss 19 Sep 2015 08:51

True, in a democracy, moderates don't need bombs and assault weapons.

Consider this - how would you feel if foreign governments were arming and funding the IRA in Northern Ireland?

What if foreign governments recognised the IRA as a legitimate opposition to the Belfast government and gave them bombs to take over the country?


MichaelGuess 19 Sep 2015 08:46

Who are the real terrorists, the group that bombs indiscriminately, the group that sells arms to both sides, the group that's lies to its "coalition" partners, the group that spies on all its friends, the group that is happy to be starting wars everywhere and then blame other parties for their lack of support.
These are the real terrorists.

MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 08:46

ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources.

Assad won 89% of the vote in a 74% turnout, how many world leaders have 65% of the population supporting them, hence why Assad hasn't fallen. Naturally the US refuted this alongside its lapdogs, the EU and the UK, as it disproves all the propaganda they've been feeding the west. RT news did an interview with Assad which was very insightful.

Putin seems to be the only one who's got his head screwed on in this situation, which is of course leading to hissy fits by the US because he's proving a stumbling block. More nations need to get behind Putin and Assad, although of course the US wont.

GoldMoney DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 07:52

Moderates do, when the simple act of protesting against the mutilation of children detained by the states secret police are met with a volley of snipers.

No such evidence has been bought to the UN security council. Even the chemical attack that the media claimed from day one was Assad's forces doing turned out to be IS rebels actions. The two human rights groups operating in Syria are western funded NGO's - hardly a neutral point of view given the US's long stated aim of removing Assad (even before 2011).

geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 07:25

This $500 million from June 2014 was for recruiting Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad - not to fight iSIS.

The White House said at the time:

"This funding request would build on the administration's longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition."

The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 07:12

The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department.

[Feb 04, 2019] More US weapons entering Syria as well as extra troops.

Feb 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

23 minutes ago ( Edited ) remove Share link http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=115306

https://www.moonofalabama.org/

More US weapons entering Syria as well as extra troops.

[Feb 04, 2019] The Ziocons are now fully in charged at the WH. They are wild and giddy with power, ready to set the whole world on fire.

Notable quotes:
"... I don't trust Kushner, but denying clearances is the main weapon used by the Deep State to retain control, and Trump was right to place his own man in charge. Note the media sources mentioned are Deep State media, who quote "the CIA" as though that is a person to be trusted. ..."
"... I'm sure people like Ron Unz and the Saker would be denied clearances if appointed to a position in Washington if Deep Staters were gatekeepers. The "CIA" prefer narcissistic retired military officers who lack a soul and wave the flag. ..."
Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: February 3, 2019 at 6:55 am GMT

@Anon

The Ziocons are now fully in charged at the WH. They are wild and giddy with power, ready to set the whole world on fire.

Pence has no need to undermine Trump. He can just wait. All the militant Zionist Trump brought into the WH have already done that ..and Trump let them. Who do you suppose Kushner has shared US secret intelligence with Israel for sure, probably Saudi in exchange for their allying with Israel. We use to worry about spies and moles in government but now they are the government.

Trump's White House Has a Massive Security Problem. Jared Kushner isn't the only Trump official who got a special pass after security experts said he shouldn't be allowed to access national-security secrets.

by Tina Nguyen
January 25, 2019 11:44 am
AFP

The CIA took one look at Kushner's SCI application and freaked out, calling over to the White House to find out how he even got the lower level clearance.

[MORE]

In May, after months working under an interim clearance, Jared Kushner's request for a permanent security clearance, which would allow him to see top-secret material, was finally granted. At the time, observers took this as an indication that Donald Trump's son-in-law, who'd reportedly attracted Robert Mueller's attention for his ties to various foreign entities, was in the clear.

On Thursday, however, an NBC News report threw that conclusion into doubt. In fact, two sources familiar with the matter told the outlet, Kushner's clearance was only approved because Trump's handpicked director of security personnel overruled two career White House security specialists, who had recommended against Kushner receiving top-secret clearance after seeing the results of his F.B.I. background check.

Kushner's case represents a worrisome pattern for the White House. Per NBC, Trump's director of security, Carl Kline, overruled security experts in at least 30 cases, recommending that Trump officials be granted clearances despite troubling information uncovered in their background checks. That number is indeed extraordinary.

Prior to the Trump administration, White House security experts had only been overruled once in the past three years. (The White House told NBC, "We don't comment on security clearances." A CIA. spokesman said the same, and Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, had "no comment." Kline, a former Pentagon employee, could not be reached for comment.)

Denying a security clearance to a White House official, noted Daniel Jacobson, a former lawyer in Barack Obama's administration, is not something that's done lightly. "It is not normal for the head of the Personal Security Office to ever overrule the career employees who adjudicate clearances," he wrote on Twitter. "It takes some pretty bad stuff to be denied a clearance. The fact that there have been thirty denial recommendations of WH staff in the last 1.5 years is itself crazy, before you even get to the overruling part."

After he was cleared by the White House, Kushner's file was reportedly submitted to the C.I.A. to be evaluated for an S.C.I., or "sensitive compartmented information" clearance -- an even higher designation. It didn't go well:

After reviewing the file, CIA. officers who make clearance decisions balked, two of the people familiar with the matter said. One called over to the White House security division, wondering how Kushner got even a top-secret clearance, the sources said. Given his various entanglements, the CIA.'s alarm makes sense.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website February 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@renfro I don't trust Kushner, but denying clearances is the main weapon used by the Deep State to retain control, and Trump was right to place his own man in charge. Note the media sources mentioned are Deep State media, who quote "the CIA" as though that is a person to be trusted.

I'm sure people like Ron Unz and the Saker would be denied clearances if appointed to a position in Washington if Deep Staters were gatekeepers. The "CIA" prefer narcissistic retired military officers who lack a soul and wave the flag.

DESERT FOX , says: February 3, 2019 at 4:19 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer In my opinion Kushner is Mossad.

[Feb 03, 2019] SDF has refused an offer by IS to surrender in exchange for safe passage to Idlib and Turkey

Feb 03, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Barbara Ann , 3 days ago

Interesting developments re Idlib: SF report Cavusoglu as saying 1) some anti-IS coalition partners are supporting HTS and 2) Russia has suggested a joint op with Turkey to remove HTS from Idlib. They do not report what Turkey's response was.

One wonders if 1) may be being introduced as the excuse for Erdogan to declare the Sochi deal as sabotaged by US/other evil forces, ultimately to justify 2). HTS recently cut all road links with Olive Branch territory - do they know what is coming?

https://southfront.org/turk...

Eugene Owens , 3 days ago
SDF has refused an offer by IS to surrender in exchange for safe passage to Idlib and Turkey. Not sure what the Daeshis were thinking about. Idlib would not be a good destination for them right now. And I don't see Erdogan openly welcoming them into Turkey. In the last month many tried to infiltrate out of their last pocket. Some by slipping across the Iraqi border, but Iraqi PMFs have blocked most of them. Some others by posing as civilian refugees fleeing from IS, but the Asayish Police, both Kurd and Arab, screen everyone coming from that area.

http://www.hawarnews.com/en...

[Feb 03, 2019] Horrifying, Personal John Bolton Story

Feb 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

AntiSpin , Feb 2, 2019 11:17:05 AM | link

Horrifying, Personal John Bolton Story

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2005/4/15/106909/-

"Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman."

[Jan 31, 2019] Sic Semper Tyrannis

Notable quotes:
"... See my essay linked below on "Artists and Bureaucrats." ..."
"... Trump seemed always intent to challenge any type of détente between the US and Iran. Am I missing something? ..."
"... I believe that's the zionist influence showing. ..."
"... As I have said before, Trump as a sole proprietor businessman, treats all these government people as dispensable flunkies, In his former world the analogy would be "consultant advisers." People who you pay for their work and/or advice but whose opinions are not better than yours. They probably taught him something like that at Wharton. ..."
"... Thus, the many thousand people of the IC agencies have opinions that, while interesting, mean nothing if he has a gut feeling contrary to that. That being the case - in the end the truth is that the main question is whether they or he is/are correct in their opinions. ..."
"... For governing and leading on the national level, I don't think one man's gut is enough, especially with the zionist and neocon forces informing his gut for the last two years. ..."
"... And with daughter and son-in-law as ardent Israel First Jews who are playing very prominent roles in the White House. ..."
Jan 31, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Trump and the Spookery. Static.politico.com

"Trump and his top aides have taken a hard line on Iran, implying that the Islamist-led country still poses a nuclear threat despite its adherence to a 2015 accord that put curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump withdrew the U.S. from that nuclear deal, and has reimposed sanctions, although other international allies have stayed committed to the pact.

During the hearing, Coats said Iran isn't taking any steps to make a nuclear weapon. "We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device," he said.

CIA Director Gina Haspel, who also spoke at the hearing, said Tehran, " at the moment, technically they're in compliance" with the deal.

But Coats also noted that Iranian officials have "publicly threatened to push the boundaries" of the nuclear deal if it did not see any benefits from it." politico

------------

Well, pilgrims, I have resolutely maintained on SST that Iran has not had a nuclear WEAPONS program since 2003, having cancelled their research program then with the disappearance of the Iraqi threat. The 2007 NIE on Iran stated that explicitly but the Zionist lobby has blocked publication of an unclassified summary of subsequent judgments on this subject. Why? It is Israel's policy that Iran must be prevented from becoming strong enough to become the major hegemonic power in the ME. Trump's ignorance of realities in the region has enabled The Lobby to distort US policy to serve its purposes. To my surprise the IC chiefs had the guts to tell the world what is true about Iran and to point out other areas in which their agencies differ in judgment from the administration, but the Iran judgement is IMO the most important. Neocons like Pompeo, Bolton and E. Abrams do not reason from evidence. They reason from ideology and their shared hostility to anyone who does not bow down to the US. They and The Lobby currently control Trump's foreign policy especially in the ME.

At the same time we must remember that these agencies are "mature bureaucracies." That means they have existed long enough to have become "self licking ice cream cones." These are organizations for which institutional survival and the welfare of the all important leader of each agency are primary interests. You don't think so? Just remember that the grandees at the top of these agencies are totally dependent on their directors for success in the their careers.

That is what makes the performance of Coats and Haspel so impressive. Bravo! pl

See my essay linked below on "Artists and Bureaucrats."


James Thomas , a day ago

At the other end of the spectrum, the Jerusalem Post reports that Nikki Haley is currently in Israel and charging $200,000 per speech.
ancient archer -> Pat Lang , 7 hours ago
Haley is getting paid for services already rendered. (Un)fortunately you haven't served those folks too well!! And you can be proud of that!
Pat Lang Mod , an hour ago
Trump now says that Coats and Haspel completely agree with him. That did not take long.
English Outsider , 10 hours ago
" The same kind of "thinking" has caused the clandestine services to rely far too much on "liaison" relationships with foreign intelligence services as a substitute for conducting American run espionage against difficult targets. The reason? Disclosure of foreign operations does not entail the career risk for the "managers" that the failure of an American operation would bring. "

(From the second reference above.)

Could this, over a long period of time, lead to a passive or uncritical acceptance of intelligence from foreign sources? It would also serve as protection against enquiry or blowback if those foreign sources were discredited.

The use of Dutch or Estonian or, more significantly, UK sources that were said to have kicked off the Russiagate scandal might show this.

I ask because enquiry into the Steele affair seems to stop when it comes to examining the sources and methods of the foreign intelligence services that had an input, if sometimes indirect, in that case.

TTG -> English Outsider , 5 hours ago
A passive or uncritical acceptance of intelligence from any source is bad. As Colonel Lang noted, skepticism is a necessary part of good intelligence. Deception and the current in vogue term of perception management are in wide practice by allies and adversaries. This is always a threat in HUMINT. It is also a threat in SIGINT and any other INT. As the good Colonel said, the "devil's advocate" performs a needed function in intelligence. In the case of "L'Affaire Russe," I think the strong pushback against the official IC and SCO line by many Trump and Russia supporters is serving that vital function.
English Outsider -> TTG , 3 hours ago
Serving that function in the States.

One often sees complaints that officials in the States are keeping information back but it is in fact quite astonishing how much has been disclosed - from revelations about sources to that odd series of Walter Mitty messages from the former Chief of the Counterespionage Section to his girl friend. And it's taken for granted by all that however much they might redact or withhold they're not going to fake.

So whatever these officials are up to they're doing it by the book and are in fact letting a lot out. To a foreign outsider it looks quite impressive - if not very conclusive.

Cross the Atlantic and it's a dead blank. Speculation about the Hannigan resignation, a dismissive reference from Sir Richard Dearlove - but there's been no counterpart here to the turmoil of investigation and enquiry in the States.

Since they're not going to get to the bottom of the Steele affair without at least some disclosure of what was happening at that time at this end it's quite possible that they're not going to get to the bottom of it at all. The UK end is, to put it bluntly, being used as the memory hole for the US Intelligence Community.

That's a hell of a comedown for the so called "Special Relationship". So much so that one wonders whether we in the UK still have a functioning Intelligence Service in this area. Or just a bunch of chancers happy to go along with whatever boneheaded schemes the big boys call them in for.

Mad_Max22 -> English Outsider , 2 hours ago
The responsible standard for appraising information obtained from an informant (criminal matters) or a live asset (intelligence/counter intelligence matters) is under virtually all circumstances a required knowledge of the identity of the person who is the source of the information. In banking, when the money laundering legislation beefed up, it was know your customer.

Only with detailed knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assets acquisition of the information, from whom, how, when, where, why the asset has the information, why he is coming forward with the information, can the information be appraised. Other considerations that should be brought to bear are how often the asset has provided information in the past, has his information ever been discredited, what have been the outcomes from his previously furnished information. Are there ulterior motives? Could the information be disinformation?

We can see that not knowing the identity of the source gravely impedes characterizing information and determining whether and how it should be used.
With regard to the Steele information used in the Carter Page FISA affidavit and to predicate the Russian collusion adventure, I, at any rate, am unaware of any information in the public domain to indicate that US authorities even knew who the claimed Russian sources were let alone had direct access to them or had the ability to conduct inquiries to corroborate any of the circumstances attending their claimed possession of the relevant information.

I will say that that Robert Hannsen espionage case offers an exceptional case. Hannsen had devised a scheme where he provided the Russians information anonymously, until he was caught. The Russians evidently authenticated his information on sheer quantity and content.

The prudent practice is the more you know and the longer you have been directly engaged with your source, the better off you are, certainly if you are contemplating conducting an investigation of a Presidential candidate or a President elect.

I'm still waiting to see when all the facts come out whether we are looking at malfeasance, misfeasance, plain old incompetence, or some combination thereof.

Stueeeeee , 11 hours ago
Pres. Trump is politically wounded. He capitulated on the government shutdown/wall and SOTU address. No doubt the IC chiefs have recognized that and would short term sacrifice a little truth to further weaken the President.

Trump used to tweet his way out of his errors, but his tweets have lost their novelty. He can't even declare a national emergency for the wall as it would be done out of weakness. The courts would likely create a new fandangled interpretation of the law to counter it.

It is strange to me, that of all things, Trump's lack of assertiveness in exercising executive authority seems to be doing him in.

Pat Lang Mod -> Stueeeeee , 10 hours ago
He never ran a large organization in which everyone was not subject to him directly. These people think they have some relatively autonomous existence.
Felix A. , 13 hours ago
Trump seemed always intent to challenge any type of détente between the US and Iran. Am I missing something?
Nick Sobkowiak -> Felix A. , 6 hours ago
I believe that's the zionist influence showing.
Pat Lang Mod , a day ago
As I have said before, Trump as a sole proprietor businessman, treats all these government people as dispensable flunkies, In his former world the analogy would be "consultant advisers." People who you pay for their work and/or advice but whose opinions are not better than yours. They probably taught him something like that at Wharton.

Thus, the many thousand people of the IC agencies have opinions that, while interesting, mean nothing if he has a gut feeling contrary to that. That being the case - in the end the truth is that the main question is whether they or he is/are correct in their opinions.

TTG -> Pat Lang , 21 hours ago
He has a world of experience in real estate development and self promotion to inform that gut. It stands him well in politics. For governing and leading on the national level, I don't think one man's gut is enough, especially with the zionist and neocon forces informing his gut for the last two years.
blue peacock -> TTG , 18 hours ago
"....especially with the zionist and neocon forces informing his gut for the last two years."

And with daughter and son-in-law as ardent Israel First Jews who are playing very prominent roles in the White House.

MP98 , a day ago
The "intelligence" community is just another swamp bureaucracy with the difference that they are VERY important people who "risk their lives" for our freedom....or something like that. With their track record, why would we believe them now?
Pat Lang Mod -> MP98 , a day ago
SOME of them risk their lives. That depends on your job. IMO DIA has a much better track record than the other analytic agencies. NSA is NOT an analytic agency. It collects signal data and gives it to the others.
MP98 -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Since you're of that world, you would know (a lot) more about this than me. I remember a long time ago attending a Christmas party in Athens at which there was a bunch of US diplomats and military and some other clowns who when asked what they do there would say "they CALL me a vice consul" and laugh.
Pat Lang Mod -> MP98 , a day ago
Immature very junior CIA spooks from the embassy. A lot of these characters are tossed out early based on behavior and performance.

[Jan 30, 2019] The thugs for Wall Street have taken DC. Trump might as well go home

Jan 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

NAV 4 hours ago

Jason Raimondo's hopes that the tide slowly was turning against the War Party with Trump's appointment of Tillerson are dashed for good with the appointments of Abrams, Bolton and Pompeo. The thugs for Wall Street have taken DC. Trump might as well go home. Raimondo wrote of Abrams in 2017 in "The End of Globalism":

Excerpt:

Oh yes, the times they are a changin', as Bob Dylan once put it, and here's the evidence :

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to redefine its mission and issue a new statement of purpose to the world. The draft statements under review right now are similar to the old mission statement, except for one thing – any mention of promoting democracy is being eliminated."

All the usual suspects are in a tizzy . Elliott Abrams , he of Contra-gate fame , and one of the purest of the neoconservative ideologues , is cited in the Washington Post piece as being quite unhappy: "The only significant difference is the deletion of justice and democracy. We used to want a just and democratic word, and now apparently we don't."

Abrams' contribution to a just and democratic world is well-known : supporting a military dictatorship in El Salvador during the 1980s that slaughtered thousand s, and then testifying before Congress that massive human rights violations by the US-supported regime were Communist "propaganda." US policy, of which he was one of the principal architects, led to the lawlessness that now plagues that country, which has a higher murder rate than Iraq: in Abrams' view, the Reagan policy of supporting a military dictatorship was "a fabulous achievement." The same murderous policy was pursued in Nicaragua while Abrams was Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, as the US tried to overthrow a democratically elected government and provoked a civil war that led to the death of many thousands . In Honduras and Guatemala , Abrams was instrumental in covering up heinous atrocities committed by US-supported regimes.

And it was all done in the name of "promoting democracy." http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/08/01/the-end-of-globalism/

And, now, Venezuela. The economic hit man has arrived.

" 'I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National city Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested." -- Smedley Butler

Brazen Heist II, 4 hours ago (Edited)

...The Orange Buffoon might as well open the door to Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle. Hell even get Scooter Libby in some cameo. You know, keep them enemies closer and all that.

napper, 4 hours ago (Edited)

He will, if he gets a second term!!!

Abrams' appointment is no accident or mistake. By now even the most casual (but intelligent) observer should have seen through Donald Trump's contemptuous disregard for legal institutions and a criminal propensity for lawlessness.

Brazen Heist II, 4 hours ago(Edited)

And most American sheeple are dumb as a pile of rocks. The few good people left are largely powerless and have to deal with so much BS in all directions. I hope they will get through the coming implosion with their sanity intact.

Glad I left that shithole. I saw it coming. What's coming won't be pretty.

CananTheConrearian1, 3 hours ago

OK, Great Mind, name a populace that is as smart as Americans. Europeans? Chinese? We're glad you left, ********.

[Jan 29, 2019] Abrams is obviously a Bush plant from left over CIA Bushes

Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia will be the agenda just as the left wanted to begin with. The " pick sides" is the warring cry of the old Bush regime of " either you're with us or against us" theme. ..."
"... Radical capitalism on the left and conservative traditional capitalism on right.... Both fighting for the same select few who run the show generation after generation. ..."
"... He's not really attacked by anyone. Its a bipartisan play to distract the gullible from the sick and subhuman policy they enact while you are distracted with the wall or fantasizing bout his tiny mushroom. ..."
"... So Trump jerks a couple of gators from the swamp, but only to make room for the T-Rex. Amazing. And why the hell is Bolton still involved in our government? He penned an article during the bush admin explaining why the posse comitatus doesn't really mean what it really says. Scary sob ..."
"... Trump is Zahpod Beeblebrox. Anyone remember the Hitchhiker's Guide? The role of the galactic president was not to wield power, but to distract attention away from it. Zaphod Beeblebrox was remarkably good at his job. ..."
"... When he bombed Syria in the first weeks of his presidency, giving the MIC, a $100 million of bomb sales ( to a company he had shares in, raytheon) was enough for me that tRump is what he always has been, a bankrupt, loud mouth yankee puppet who the plutocrats chose to continue the usual US empire evil ****. ..."
"... I had my suspicions prior with his choice of vp, mad eyes pence, a protege and smoker of **** cheney. Then pompous pompeo, 150% arsehole bolton and now this official pos. Only a trumptard or patriotard would accept this ****. ..."
"... it's just too much to keep track of it all. My scorecard booklet was all used up about the 1st week in after all the neocons and bankster slime who galloped into the WH on Trump's coattails. ..."
"... After having expressed antagonism towards nation-building during the 2000 campaign, newly elected President George W. Bush appointed Abrams as deputy national security adviser, where Abrams' role was essentially nation builder-in-chief. ..."
Jan 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
LOL123 , 33 minutes ago link

Abrams is obviously a Bush plant from left over CIA Bushys.

War with Russia will be the agenda just as the left wanted to begin with. The " pick sides" is the warring cry of the old Bush regime of " either you're with us or against us" theme.

This is the precise crap people were hoping to avoid with Trump, but the left has put Trump administration in a vice by having constant fires to put out and disyractions with FALE RUSSIAN COLLUSION

... It's a psychological ploy to wear down the President and search for legitimate excuse to gain public opinion to go against Russia and they found it. Venezuela is a **** hole from socialism which AOL and dems are embracing now. Of course having sorry liberal advisors like Kushner doesn't help... That is a huge mistake to have the opposition ( democrate Kushner and wife) in the hen house with great pursasive power over an overwhelm Trump... Strategy working.

But politics as it is run mostly out of " The City of London" and old lynn Rothschild wanted puppet Hillary in ( Rothschild's play dirty to get what they want and hold a full house of cards with the financial tools to " persuade people to their way of thinking"... A battle us penny picker uppers must live with.... It's the only change we get.

Radical capitalism on the left and conservative traditional capitalism on right.... Both fighting for the same select few who run the show generation after generation.

Onan_the_Barbarian , 23 minutes ago link

Trump is being attacked from all sides. His only "friends" in Washington are the snakes of the neocon MIC. What did you think would happen?

schroedingersrat , 16 minutes ago link

He's not really attacked by anyone. Its a bipartisan play to distract the gullible from the sick and subhuman policy they enact while you are distracted with the wall or fantasizing bout his tiny mushroom.

Southern Cross , 25 minutes ago link

So Trump jerks a couple of gators from the swamp, but only to make room for the T-Rex. Amazing. And why the hell is Bolton still involved in our government? He penned an article during the bush admin explaining why the posse comitatus doesn't really mean what it really says. Scary sob

snatchpounder , 31 minutes ago link

Abrams was convicted of lying to congress meanwhile congress lies to us all day everyday and what happens to those bastards? They vote themselves raises and sit on their *** all day taking bribes from their paymasters and writing laws and regulations to control their chattel. Yes I hate politicians because they're ******* criminals and all of them and the useless bureaucrats that infest that cesspool in D.C should be out of work permanently.

2handband , 10 minutes ago link

Trump is Zahpod Beeblebrox. Anyone remember the Hitchhiker's Guide? The role of the galactic president was not to wield power, but to distract attention away from it. Zaphod Beeblebrox was remarkably good at his job.

Aristofani , 37 minutes ago link

When he bombed Syria in the first weeks of his presidency, giving the MIC, a $100 million of bomb sales ( to a company he had shares in, raytheon) was enough for me that tRump is what he always has been, a bankrupt, loud mouth yankee puppet who the plutocrats chose to continue the usual US empire evil ****.

I had my suspicions prior with his choice of vp, mad eyes pence, a protege and smoker of **** cheney. Then pompous pompeo, 150% arsehole bolton and now this official pos. Only a trumptard or patriotard would accept this ****.

dogfish , 32 minutes ago link

Trumps first order was a raid in Yemen where an 8 year old little girl was murdered.

Aristofani , 31 minutes ago link

apologies. I forgot that example of US empire evil ****.

Anonymous_Beneficiary , 29 minutes ago link

You're excused...it's just too much to keep track of it all. My scorecard booklet was all used up about the 1st week in after all the neocons and bankster slime who galloped into the WH on Trump's coattails.

Anonymous_Beneficiary , 31 minutes ago link

But at least the swamp is about to be drained.. in Venezuela lol

Aristofani , 24 minutes ago link

:) Funny

Seriously though, it's interesting that ZH has said nothing about the big corruption scandal going on now in Brasil. The guy who won on platform of anti-corruption has been exposed within a month of taking office, surprise...surprise, as part of one of the worst. Talk is vp taking over with the backing of the military. "soft-hard" coup you could say.

TGF Texas , 28 minutes ago link

I too, got very angry about the exact things you mention. However, I perspective is something that keeps me grounded. Remember what was happening in 2016, and what the options were. Remember BLM, march's in like every city, and Cops getting ambushed every few weeks?

Remember, "We came, We saw, he died", from Queen Hillary? Or how about Queen Hillary calling Putin a Thug, and saying we had to stand up to him in Ukraine, and Syria?

PERSPECTIVE!!

Aristofani , 16 minutes ago link

dude, we all know she is part of the same ****. The ******** election is over, the plutocracy chose their puppet. Think of it, sure Killary would have done the same, but she wouldn't have been able to get away with it and the schizoid msm would have had a breakdown trying to sell the same ol, same ol us empire games. People don't like surprises. Repubelicans as aggressive warmongers doesnt surprise. Sadly they think they cant do anything about it. But they can, and not by talking **** on ZH.

See Ralph Nader's, How the Rats Re-Formed the Congress for tips.

Whoa Dammit , 15 minutes ago link

Just because some other people have done worse things does not make what Trump is doing with his personnel selections okay.

pitchforksanonymous , 37 minutes ago link

It's 10 dimensional to the fifth power chess right? Just kidding. It's a big club and you ain't in it. Trump is not going to save you. Did you really think one guy defied the odds and overcame the voter fraud and beat Hillary? Puhleez. All by design. You're watching a movie...

Anonymous_Beneficiary , 28 minutes ago link

Bonus points for you if you can name the first "third party" in American history. Oh **** it, it was the anti-masonic party.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Masonic_Party

HushHushSweet , 55 minutes ago link

Look. At. That. Nose. Trump didn't appoint him; Trump's masters did.

gaasp , 57 minutes ago link

After having expressed antagonism towards nation-building during the 2000 campaign, newly elected President George W. Bush appointed Abrams as deputy national security adviser, where Abrams' role was essentially nation builder-in-chief.

Didn't W run on a 'bring the troops home and world leave us alone' platform in 2000?

Aristofani , 50 minutes ago link

They all have.

g speed , 1 hour ago link

when i think about what Trump did so far I think about that mandatory Obama care tax that I had to pay if I* didn't get Obama care Well it's gone and that was a big deal for me cause I've got four kids that would have to pay it and that would be six thousand out of pocket every year that's for starters with out Trump running interference in the FL house and senate elections we'd have Obama lite new and antique Bill still that makes a huge difference in things like taxes and EPA enforcement in this state I really think he has made the general public more aware of the Mexican invasion cause I see less and less Latinos on the jobs sites around here He has really caused the Dems to lose it Trump did that not any other politician he has exposed election fraud he has exposed the deep state like never before

Yes I'm a Trump supporter a thoughtful one I consider the options and will go with this till it impacts me negatively on an economic personal level not an emotional one brought on by pundits and MSM never Trump ilk

Anonymous_Beneficiary , 44 minutes ago link

Confirmation bias is killing you slowly. Trump is the master of it, even though I think he's the slime of the earth.

g speed , 11 minutes ago link

why don't you ask me if I think he is perfect I think his wife is pretty much ok however I hate that he is from NYC and acts like it his friends are not much to be proud of and his social skills are lacking but I think he showers regularly and has good hygiene and moral habits except for golf but that's just me He's a bossy kind of guy and I might not get along with him He doesn't do things country folks do and wouldn't fit in around here his hair sucks and is a narcissistic affectation for sure but i like his foreign policy so far how am i doing think I'm being killed slowly I liked Ike but he was weak and I liked Buchanan bur preferred Goldwater and on and on they are politicians and deserve the loyalty they give and " that's all I have to say about that"

schroedingersrat , 48 minutes ago link

Trump is a psychopath and he loves to hire even bigger psychopaths. Your whole admin is a swamp of sociopaths, psychopaths and other sick deranged people.

TGF Texas , 42 minutes ago link

When did he hire Hillary?

schroedingersrat , 38 minutes ago link

There is not much difference between Hillary and Pompeo. Pompeo is basically hillary with a **** and a religious twist

TGF Texas , 26 minutes ago link

Did CNN tell you that?

schroedingersrat , 20 minutes ago link

Im European and the only US news i read is ZH & Counterpunch

[Jan 29, 2019] WTF Is Trump Thinking - A Plum Post For A Prominent Opponent

Who is next? Paul Wolfowitz now would be the most logical choice. Id the invasion of Venezuela decided already, like Iraq war under Bush II.
That means that Rump can say goodbye to independents who votes for him because of his anti-foreign wars noises during previous election campaign
Notable quotes:
"... Abrams, who had served in the Reagan State Department, faced multiple felony charges for lying to Congress and defying U.S. law in his role as a mastermind of the Iran-Contra debacle. Abrams' dishonesty almost destroyed Ronald Reagan's presidency and put Reagan in jeopardy of impeachment. Abrams was allowed to plead guilty to two reduced charges and later was pardoned by George H.W. Bush, who feared impeachment because of his own role in Iran-Contra. ..."
"... Abrams was even more consequential as nation-wrecker. He was one of the principal architects of the invasion of Iraq. He is an inveterate advocate of "regime change" against countries whose policies he doesn't like. He has a track record in attempting to overthrow foreign governments both by covert action and outright military invasion. ..."
"... At the beginning of the Trump administration, foreign policy establishment types lobbied clueless Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to accept the convicted criminal Abrams as deputy head of the department - the person running all day-to-day affairs at State. ..."
"... Abrams suddenly appeared deus ex machina at the side of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in a news conference that Abrams was appointed, "effective immediately" as special envoy to deal with resolution of the situation in Venezuela in a way that supposedly would advance U.S. interests. ..."
"... Abrams' special envoy post will be far more powerful than that of an ordinary ambassador or assistant secretary of state -- offices that require Senate confirmation. Should the Senate acquiesce in letting Abrams work without Senate confirmation? ..."
"... Abrams is a close friend and constant collaborator of Bill Kristol and Max Boot, both of whom are waging campaigns to impeach Trump or deny him re-election. There are no -- repeat, no -- policy differences between Abrams, Kristol, and Boot. ..."
"... If the appointment is supposed to be a sharp move to "hug your friends close and your enemies closer," then the test of its efficacy would be that Kristol, Boot, Jonah Goldberg, David French et. al., would halt their anti-Trump campaigns. One would think that if the Abrams appointment is one side of a shrewdly calculated transaction, then silencing Team Kristol would be a necessary condition. ..."
"... The Orange Buffoon might as well open the door to Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle. Hell even get Scooter Libby in some cameo. You know, keep them enemies closer and all that. ..."
"... Trump loves those Bush criminals. ..."
Jan 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Joseph Duggan via American Greatness,

On Friday, following the dramatic arrest of a prominent Trump supporter on charges of lying to Congress, President Trump gave one of the nation's most sensitive national security and diplomatic posts to another controversial figure who already had been convicted of lying to Congress.

Not at all. Turns out, the appointee is one of the president's worst enemies, a man forcefully opposed to almost all of Trump's policies and campaign promises, a man who repeatedly has said Trump is morally unfit for his office. He is Elliott Abrams, the 71-year-old éminence grise of the NeverTrump movement.

Abrams is the pre-eminent prophet and practitioner of hyper-interventionist approaches to destabilize or overthrow governments - of foes and friends alike - that do not pass his democracy-is-the-end-all-and-be-all litmus test. His closest friends and associates, from whom his political positions are indistinguishable, include some of President Trump's most rabid enemies, false-flag "conservatives" Bill Kristol and Max Boot.

Abrams, who had served in the Reagan State Department, faced multiple felony charges for lying to Congress and defying U.S. law in his role as a mastermind of the Iran-Contra debacle. Abrams' dishonesty almost destroyed Ronald Reagan's presidency and put Reagan in jeopardy of impeachment. Abrams was allowed to plead guilty to two reduced charges and later was pardoned by George H.W. Bush, who feared impeachment because of his own role in Iran-Contra.

After having expressed antagonism towards nation-building during the 2000 campaign, newly elected President George W. Bush appointed Abrams as deputy national security adviser, where Abrams' role was essentially nation builder-in-chief. Abrams was even more consequential as nation-wrecker. He was one of the principal architects of the invasion of Iraq. He is an inveterate advocate of "regime change" against countries whose policies he doesn't like. He has a track record in attempting to overthrow foreign governments both by covert action and outright military invasion.

At the beginning of the Trump administration, foreign policy establishment types lobbied clueless Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to accept the convicted criminal Abrams as deputy head of the department - the person running all day-to-day affairs at State. Trump, who would have had to sign off on the nomination, rejected Abrams when he learned of Abrams' background. The truth about Abrams, while not by any means a secret, came to Trump's attention from Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul, who held a deciding vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would block Abrams if he were nominated.

Abrams already knew then what Trump took nearly a year to discover, that Tillerson was hopelessly unprepared to serve as the nation's chief diplomat and indeed was, as Trump colorfully put it, "dumb as a rock." Nothing about Abrams, the NeverTrumper who believes Trump cannot govern effectively without him, has changed since then.

Following his rejection by Trump, Abrams wrote a sour-grapes article for Politico , disparaging the president, along with Vice President Pence and Abrams' erstwhile patron Tillerson, for not having international human rights policies identical to Abrams' own views.

Abrams has been outspoken against sensitive Trump international policies right up to the moment of his surprise appointment. He is unapologetic about his role in masterminding the Iraq war. He has opposed Trump concerning American troops in Syria and America's relationship with Saudi Arabia. As recently as January 14, 2019, he published a withering attack on Trump's Middle East policies and diplomacy.

As events in Venezuela last week reached a crisis with rival claimants to the nation's presidency, Abrams suddenly appeared deus ex machina at the side of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in a news conference that Abrams was appointed, "effective immediately" as special envoy to deal with resolution of the situation in Venezuela in a way that supposedly would advance U.S. interests.

Immediately? An appointee to a sensitive post needs a background investigation and security clearance. These investigations can take months. If he indeed has a valid clearance, that means his appointment was decided long ago.

Abrams' special envoy post will be far more powerful than that of an ordinary ambassador or assistant secretary of state -- offices that require Senate confirmation. Should the Senate acquiesce in letting Abrams work without Senate confirmation?

What is Pompeo thinking? Has Pompeo read Abrams' anti-Trump articles? In particular, has he read Abrams' January 14 anti-Trump article that mocks Pompeo with a hugely unflattering photo of the secretary of state?

What is going on?

Abrams is a close friend and constant collaborator of Bill Kristol and Max Boot, both of whom are waging campaigns to impeach Trump or deny him re-election. There are no -- repeat, no -- policy differences between Abrams, Kristol, and Boot.

If the appointment is supposed to be a sharp move to "hug your friends close and your enemies closer," then the test of its efficacy would be that Kristol, Boot, Jonah Goldberg, David French et. al., would halt their anti-Trump campaigns. One would think that if the Abrams appointment is one side of a shrewdly calculated transaction, then silencing Team Kristol would be a necessary condition.

So far there are no signs of this.

What did Trump know about the new Abrams appointment, and when did he know it?

Anonymous_Beneficiary , 4 minutes ago link

It's amazing seeing the holdout Trump supporters continually writhe in mental contortions to support his every move..as I've said all along..TDS affects the sheep on both right and left equally.

Brazen Heist II 4 minutes ago (Edited)

... The Orange Buffoon might as well open the door to Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle. Hell even get Scooter Libby in some cameo. You know, keep them enemies closer and all that.

uhland62, 5 minutes ago

This guy is just picking up a couple more paychecks. He may think he can whip up Trump for more wars, Trump may think he can control this guy because 'I am President and you are not'. The main thing is that the military can make more wars and destroy more countries.

The-Post, 15 minutes ago

Trump loves those Bush criminals.

readerandthinker

Venezuelan army defectors appeal to Trump for weapons

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)Venezuelan army defectors are calling on the Trump administration to arm them, in what they call their quest for "freedom."

Former soldiers Carlos Guillen Martinez and Josue Hidalgo Azuaje, who live outside the country, told CNN they want US military assistance to equip others inside the beleaguered nation. They claim to be in contact with hundreds of willing defectors and have called on enlisted Venezuelan soldiers to revolt against the Maduro regime, through television broadcasts.

"As Venezuelan soldiers, we are making a request to the US to support us, in logistical terms, with communication, with weapons, so we can realize Venezuelan freedom," Guillen Martinez told CNN.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/29/americas/venezuela-army-defectors-plea-for-arms/index.html

[Jan 29, 2019] Trump s Syrian withdrawal order sparks political firestorm in Washington by Bill Van Auken

Dec 20, 2018 | www.wsws.org

An apparent order by US President Donald Trump for the withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops deployed in Syria over the next 60 to 100 days has sparked consternation and sharp opposition from the Pentagon, top Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill as well as Washington's NATO allies.

The withdrawal order, which was leaked to the media by senior officials within the administration and the military, was given what apparently constituted a confirmation by a brief tweet from Trump Wednesday declaring, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

This was followed later in the day by a statement from White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, declaring, "We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign," adding, "The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary."

The White House announcement was followed by yet another statement from the Pentagon, whose spokeswoman Dana White flatly contradicted the US president, declaring that "the coalition has liberated ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over." ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State terror group.

"We will continue working with our partners and allies to defeat ISIS wherever it operates," she said, giving no details as to a timeline, noting "force protection and operational security reasons."

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted an unnamed US official as stating Wednesday that all US State Department personnel operating inside Syria were being evacuated from the country within 24 hours.

The official also said that the withdrawal plans flowed directly from an agreement reached between Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a telephone conversation last Friday. "Everything that has followed is implementing the agreement that was made in that call," the official said.

The call was reportedly made to discuss Turkey's concerns over the presence of the Syrian Kurdish separatist YPG militia near the Syrian-Turkish border. The YPG is the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the proxy ground force that the US has backed in northeastern Syria. Erdogan, whose government views the YPG as an extension of the Turkish Kurdish separatist PKK, against which Ankara has waged a decades-long counterinsurgency campaign, has repeatedly threatened that a Turkish intervention against the YPG is imminent. Turkish forces, including armor, have reportedly been deployed to the border.

While Washington is no doubt anxious to avoid a potential military confrontation with Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, the Trump White House has taken other measures aimed at restoring US-Turkish relations, which have been strained since the abortive July 2016 military coup, which enjoyed covert backing from Washington.

Just hours before the withdrawal announcement, the State Department informed Congress of a proposed $3.5 billion dollar deal to sell Turkey Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems, manufactured by Raytheon. Ankara had previously signaled its intention to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. Such a purchase would have precluded Turkey's purchase of US F-35 warplanes, and would have brought the country's relations with NATO to a breaking point.

The announced withdrawal of US troops may signal a green light to the Erdogan government to launch its threatened invasion of eastern Syria and drive Kurdish forces from the border. In the absence of US troops, the YPG may seek to reach an accommodation with Damascus, restoring control of the region to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The illegal US occupation of Syria, begun under the Obama administration in October 2015 without authorization from either the United Nations or the Syrian government, was expanded under Trump, with at least 2,000 US troops deployed in northeastern Syria as well as special forces near the borders with Iraq and Jordan in the south.

The launching of the so-called war on ISIS in Syria signaled a shift from the failed US strategy of "regime change" based upon CIA support for Al Qaeda-linked militias in a bloody war to bring down the Assad government. US troops on the ground in Syria coordinated a savage campaign of airstrikes and bombardments that reduced the city of Raqqa and other towns controlled by ISIS to rubble.

While during the presidential campaign of 2016 Trump had vowed to withdraw US troops from Syria, Pentagon, intelligence and other national security officials had dissuaded him against acting on the promise.

Figures like Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis, National Security Advisor John Bolton and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford have reiterated -- including just weeks ago -- a strategy based on an open-ended US military presence in Syria aimed at rolling back both Iranian and Russian influence and ultimately securing Washington's original aim of overthrowing Assad and imposing a more pliant puppet regime in Damascus.

For his part, Dunford stated earlier this month that the US military was only one-fifth of the way towards its goal of training and arming a force of 35,000 to 40,000 proxy troops in northeastern Syria to provide "security" over what would effectively be a US protectorate carved out of the Middle Eastern country.

In occupying northeastern Syria, the US military and its proxies have seized control over roughly a third of the country, including, most crucially, Syria's oil and natural gas fields as well as its eastern border with Iraq. By maintaining this domination, Washington's aim was to preclude any reunification and reconstruction of the war-ravaged country and continue the murderous conflict until the US achieved its strategic aims.

The announcement of the planned withdrawal drew sharp criticism from leading Republicans in Congress, who appeared to have been blindsided by the shift in policy.

Senator Lindsey Graham described the withdrawal as "a huge Obama-like mistake," invoking previous Republican criticisms of Obama for withdrawing US troops from Iraq in 2011.

"The decision to pull out of Syria was made despite overwhelming military advice against it," Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted. "It is a major blunder. It [sic] it isn't reversed it will haunt this administration & America for years to come."

Also apparently caught unawares by the apparent shift in US policy in Syria was Washington's closest NATO ally. British Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood issued a statement declaring that he "strongly disagreed" with Trump's decision. "It [ISIS] has morphed into other forms of extremism and the threat is very much alive," he said in a tweet.

Among those who did receive an advance warning was Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "The US administration has told me that it was the president's intention to pull out their troops from Syria. They clarified that they have other ways to wield their influence in that arena," he told the Israeli daily Haaretz .

The main instrument of US "influence" has been devastating US airstrikes, which have been launched from bases in Qatar and elsewhere in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the US maintains a force of at least 5,000 troops across the border in Iraq, capable of delivering artillery fire into eastern Syria.

The announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria will undoubtedly intensify the internecine conflicts within the US ruling establishment and state, while at the same time increasing tensions within the Middle East. It is not a harbinger of any deescalation of the armed conflicts in the region. With or without "boots on the ground" in Syria, Washington's military aggression against Iran and Russia will only intensify.

[Jan 23, 2019] https://ejmagnier.com/2018/12/14/new-rules-of-engagement-between-syria-and-israel-as-russia-changes-its-position/].

Jan 23, 2019 | ejmagnier.com

It is rather significant that this is the first known statement by Syrian UN Representative Dr Jafaari as reported by RT [ https://www.rt.com/news/449463-syria-threatens-israel-airport/] which contains an explicit warning of military action in response to the latest Israeli attack. I have met Dr Bashar on three separate occasions and recall that in 2015 he confided to a small group of people at a social gathering that Qatari diplomats had offered him 3 million if he would split with Damascus. I found in him an honorable man of dignity and principle.

Framing his statement and warning as reckless or 'rash' ignores the interminable punishment and humiliation Syria has suffered following years of incurring hundreds of Israeli acts of aggression. Since the October War Syria fought to recapture the Golan Heights in 1973, it has not fired a single shot across the armistice lines. Israel obviously interprets restraint as weakness. Zionist military superiority does not translate to invincibility and if the conniving bully is not confronted in a manner which causes a condign level of retribution, the cumulative damage and casualties he inflicts will only rise.

Posted by: metni | Jan 22, 2019 11:13:20 PM | 49

[Jan 23, 2019] Does this means escalation ? the Syrian government threatened to strike Ben Grunion Airport if Israel violates its territory again.

Jan 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

metni , Jan 22, 2019 11:13:20 PM | link

@41

'RT and the Jerusalem Post report that the Syrian government threatened to strike Ben Grunion Airport if Israel violates its territory again. They also reiterated their moral and sovereign right to maintain the Golan Heights and stop their annexation. Not sure where this is headed but it looks rash and risky with all of the media pro-Israel and biased...'

Inveterate media bias cannot be an excuse for Syria to withhold from exercising legitimate sovereign right to defend Syrian territory from unrelenting attacks especially those targeting its international airport in Damascus and elsewhere. Media fealty to Israel is not about to undergo an epiphany but Jaffari's warning is overdue and consistent with the policy of engagement articulated in the E Magnier article I cited in a previous post.[ https://ejmagnier.com/2018/12/14/new-rules-of-engagement-between-syria-and-israel-as-russia-changes-its-position/]. No mater what Syria does or does not do will always to filtered through the MSM Israeli prism. IMO, Syria is long overdue in delivering on its warnings.

It is rather significant that this is the first known statement by Syrian UN Representative Dr Jafaari as reported by RT [ https://www.rt.com/news/449463-syria-threatens-israel-airport/] which contains an explicit warning of military action in response to the latest Israeli attack. I have met Dr Bashar on three separate occasions and recall that in 2015 he confided to a small group of people at a social gathering that Qatari diplomats had offered him 3 million if he would split with Damascus. I found in him an honorable man of dignity and principle.

Framing his statement and warning as reckless or 'rash' ignores the interminable punishment and humiliation Syria has suffered following years of incurring hundreds of Israeli acts of aggression. Since the October War Syria fought to recapture the Golan Heights in 1973, it has not fired a single shot across the armistice lines. Israel obviously interprets restraint as weakness. Zionist military superiority does not translate to invincibility and if the conniving bully is not confronted in a manner which causes a condign level of retribution, the cumulative damage and casualties he inflicts will only rise.

[Jan 19, 2019] Did Israel won or lost by unleashing civil war in Syria with its Washington boss and protector

Looks like when it will all shake out, the net result will not be in the favor of the US-Israel-Saudi axis. That will be the new "normalcy of some sort."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Jan 16, 2019 12:11:28 AM | 52

"Essentially, the Creditor Class and their allies--which have existed for several thousand years--constitute a real life Hydra that must be slain, as was recognized by the Greeks who first told the whole story."

In doing research for a dinosaur novel I'm planning to write, I was pleased to learn that the feature of the hydra sprouting multiple heads to replace each one severed wasn't part of the original myth, but was added later during the decadent stage of Greek culture. That ancient perception tallies well with the cultural-economic decadence of this collapsing civilization.

BTW I got my copy of Spirit in the Gene and look forward to reading it.

james , Jan 16, 2019 2:14:40 AM | link
@65 pyschohistorian.. that is a good personal story of yours from today.. it is an easy analogy and many people will understand it.. one person at a time maybe...
uncle tungsten , Jan 16, 2019 4:01:01 AM | link
james | Jan 16, 2019 2:14:40 AM | 67

More than one person at a time came out to hear Bernie Sanders deliver that message. There is no doubt they heard it vaguely via the US media but that was enough, they came in their tens of thousands. Such was the response that the Sanders campaign had to sometimes book bigger venues and truck in extra PA and video gear to broadcast to crowds outside.

The yankee establishment is just desperate to smash any chance of this growing a second time. Come on Bernie and Tulsi Gabbard and all those newly elected put on the yellow vest. I dare you. Millions of Americans are willing. Ditto throughout the world millions of people are waiting to mock the BS colour revolutions and have a real one.

Socialism and thoughts of socialist economic management spread like pheromones on the wind.

Gezzah Potts , Jan 16, 2019 4:39:36 AM | link
Its all like living on the film set of Alice In Wonderland while reading 1984 and Brave New World at the same time while overdosing on chocolate. Just batshit surreal, and the presstitutes keep pushing the World to the edge of the abyss in their continuous Russia and Putin bashing. And the vast majority in the West are completely oblivious to what is going on in the World, and completely oblivious to what is coming. And it will not be pleasant.
Montreal , Jan 16, 2019 5:15:56 AM | link
@57 James
Did anyone notice an article copied from the Guardian by Information Clearing House entitled "Brought to Jesus - the evangelic grip on the Trump administration"? "Pense and Pompeo both call evangelical theology a powerful motivating force". "Evangelics now see the US locked into a holy war against the forces of evil who they see embodied by Iran". It is a never-ending struggle until.... the rapture." It is a chilling read, especially when it comes to their belief in the role of Zion. Extremely dangerous because entirely irrational.
William Bowles , Jan 16, 2019 5:31:35 AM | link
Right on Uncle Tungsten!
William Bowles , Jan 16, 2019 5:32:36 AM | link
Ditto the Bush posse!
john , Jan 16, 2019 5:33:11 AM | link
Jackrabbit says:

As people discuss different versions of the dog and pony show, I tailor my point(s) accordingly

your point(s) is tailored like a condom...one size fits all.

john , Jan 16, 2019 5:49:11 AM | link
psychohistorian says:

I also want to see it [yellow vest] on the tower of london, somewhere in rome, fluttering in the Swiss alps, in china near the sacred city, in Russia, in India........

apparently you missed the fact that an anti-establishment, anti-euro(thus threatening global bond markets) government was elected here in Italy last summer, precluding the necessity for protests in the streets. for the moment you might say we're riding the avant-garde.

Yeah, Right , Jan 16, 2019 6:11:11 AM | link
@61 NemesisCalling "Saw that Blackwater founder did an interview explaining that they can also replace the role of US troops in Syria."

They would fit the definition of a Mercenary in Article 47 of the Geneva Conventions.
As such they would not be afforded the protections of Geneva Convention III.

"Fine by me, as long as the US offers no protection or no-fly-zone for them."

I believe that Prince is advocating his own private mercenary airforce to provide support for his own mercenary army. Might work as far as ground support goes, but not against SU-35 fighter jets.

So, yes, if Trump agrees to this proposal then it is inevitable that he will end up either providing a no-fly-zone for them or be accused of leaving these brave, brave boys to be slaughtered.

I would assume that the Pentagon has told him that, but I make no assumption that he is paying that advice any attention.

"Open season on all guns for hire. In Afghanistan, too."

Well, yes, that's what International Humanitarian Law says.

William Bowles , Jan 16, 2019 7:11:08 AM | link
Yeah, Right | Jan 16, 2019 6:11:11 AM | 74

Trump and Prince are old pals

ADKC , Jan 16, 2019 10:15:44 AM | link
So today we have US service men killed in Manbij and ISIS claim responsibility. It is reasonable to suspect that this is a false flag (with actual deaths) in order to create political justification for US to stay in Syria. Many commentators here view ISIS as being effectively a US proxy force.

In my view the only real evidence that the US would be leaving Syria would involve direct negotiations with the Syrian government. In this case the US could leave saving face and securing some concessions that reflect their interests. The alternative is that the US would leave with their tails between their legs being bombed out, very ignoble and looking like the withdrawal from Vietnam; it is just not plausible that the US would leave in this way.

Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 10:32:49 AM | link
ADKC

Yes. What better way to demonstrate that ISIS is not defeated and the US "job" in Syria is not done.

I suspect that Trump's rhetoric will not change. He will continue to insist that he is/will 'pull out' of Syria .... it's just gonna take longer. Just how long will remain a mystery.

mauisurfer , Jan 16, 2019 10:48:00 AM | link

The Vice President's Men

Seymour M. Hersh

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n02/seymour-m-hersh/the-vice-presidents-men

ADKC , Jan 16, 2019 11:01:37 AM | link
Jackrabbit @78

I see you have been accused of having a one sized fits all condom!😁

Your theory, unfairly, gets short shrift whereas ideas like "Trump is doing all the right things, but is frustrated at every turn by the deep state" is just accepted unquestioningly.

However, the Syrian withdrawal could happen and this would not necessarily be incompatible with your theory; there may be tactical reasons. Whatever, the idea that the US is just going to retreat and leave the Middle East alone is so far fetched that I am staggered that people see this as a real possibility.

Personally, I think the US have a strategy for the world based on the model they created in Congo, South America, Libya and Afganistan. All of these areas are hugely profitable for the Empire because "controlled" chaos allows cheap extraction of resources and control of the world drug trade. This is what I believe the Empire has in mind for the Middle East, everywhere along OBOR and, also, Europe (and, perhaps, the US itself?).

Don Bacon , Jan 16, 2019 11:05:00 AM | link
from Asia Times, quote:
On a mission from God: Pompeo messages evangelicals from the Middle East
The US secretary of state was communicating to an audience back home on his Middle East tour, the key Trump constituency of evangelical Christians.
In Cairo: "This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church's Christmas celebrations. This is an important time. We're all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth." . . here
Bob In Portland , Jan 16, 2019 11:28:02 AM | link
Trump is being prosecuted by Robert Swan Mueller III, who entire career has been him covering up and fixing cases which involved CIA criminality. Now William Barr is Trump's own choice for Attorney General. Barr spent the mid-1970s in the CIA. While there he got his degree in law, suggesting his career path was being drawn by his employer. Unsurprisingly, GHW Bush moved him along until he became Bush's AG.

Trump is either more demented than many have thought, he's in on the whole charade of his Presidency or he's in deep trouble with the Deep State. The strings all lead back to Langley.

Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 11:43:33 AM | link
john @73

Discussions here and elsewhere are often centered on the theme that Trump is a populist maverick that is in conflict with the Deep State.

This MSM-infused belief is so pervasive that many regard it as a "truth" and look askance at anyone questioning this obvious reality.

But logic and reality tell a very different story:

>mauisurfer @79 links to a Seymour Hersh report that shows how the Deep State actively works to circumvent Democratic constraints.

> Obama's fake populism and Obama-era MSM narratives that supported his bullshit are instructive. Only now is the truth about Obama being discussed in MSM , and then only gingerly.

> Starting with Reagan, every President and/or VP has had, or rumored to have had, links to CIA: Bush Sr. had led the CIA; Clinton allowed CIA flights into Arkansas; Obama's grandfather/mother. Questions have also been raised about Trump - the first casino he purchase was rumored to have been involved in CIA money laundering (prior to Trump's purchase).

> Wolin, a respected Princeton University academic, described how the ruling establishment engages in "managed democracy" to retain control. A key part of that management is the money-based electoral system which ensures that no real populist is elected President.


If you enjoy the Kool-Aid then just pass over my comments.
Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 11:46:35 AM | link
Bob In Portland @82

Yes! Why nominate Barr for AG? Why nominate Gina Haspel for CIA? Why bring on Bolton? These choices make no sense for a President that is supposedly at war with the Deep State.

ADKC , Jan 16, 2019 12:12:18 PM | link
Jackrabbit @84

Also, why rollover so quickly on Michael Flynn's removal? It's not as if Trump had anyone else of much value on his team! Perhaps because Flynn was a

ADKC , Jan 16, 2019 12:14:15 PM | link
@84 cont...

Perhaps because Flynn was actually going to take on those deep state vested interests?

Noirette , Jan 16, 2019 12:56:56 PM | link
Great list, b. Another. From the top of google (enter co name or part of post in goog for details.)

Afaik (please correct if), Trump tried to do biz in Russia but more or less failed or gave up or didn't get anywhere much, nothing major transpired.

"There are 517 McDonald's restaurants in Russia, 73 of which were opened in 2014. The company's total revenue for 2014 in Russia was 65.8 billion rubles.. the chain has been operating in Russia independently for 22 years."

"PepsiCo reported that in 2017, its Russian operations generated net revenue of $3.23 billion, which made up 5.1 percent of the company's total net revenue."

Apple revenues in Russia, + 23% in 2017.

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/apple-revenue-climbs-23-in-russia-in-2017--1254617

Philip Morris has good sales in Russia. Cisco Systems (idk about this, look it up.) Abbot Labs (US) sells generic drugs in Russia. Ford is still selling cars there.

The leading Chocolate co. in Russia is Mondelez (should be another topic .. )

https://www.mondelezinternational.com/about-us

Starbucks celebrated its 100 stores in Russia in 2015.

The CEOs of these cos. + their shareholders, employees, are in bed w. Russia and undermining US Democracy, interfering in people's choices, the true shining light on the hill, or what? It is collusion! They meet and deal with Russians, all the time.

Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 1:03:27 PM | link
ADKC

I don't think so. Flynn was about settling scores. Flynn's candid revelation that Obama made a "wilful decision" to allow ISIS to grow was anathema.

Flynn had to be made an example of.

Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 1:11:57 PM | link
Note: Flynn revelation was likely just a tip of the iceberg. It was from his agency (DIA) that Judicial Watch got the memo (via FOIA) that talked of how US allies wanted to establish a Caliphate.

These were important to understanding ISIS as a proxy force, not the grass-roots group of Jihadi hoodlums that the Obama Administration wanted us to believe. Obama infamously called ISIS al Queda's "JV team" to explain why he was essentially ignoring it's rise.

Later, the story changed to "ISIS was created by Assad." LOL.

james , Jan 16, 2019 1:12:29 PM | link
@68 uncle tungsten.. i wish you all the best trying to take back control of the gov't, or following thru on the yellow jacket demonstrations... i am with you in spirit..

@70 montreal.. something is driving these folks... some whacky evangelical fantasy sounds about right... i can't believe how easily duped people are with fundamental religion of all stripes...

@74 john.. you probably would have voted for frank zappa if he was running in the italian elections!

john , Jan 16, 2019 1:13:19 PM | link
Jackrabbit

i've never embraced the argument that Trump is a president who is at war with the deep state. i've only said that this sort of yammering is all conjecture and as such will never be sufficient grounds for proof...that it doesn't really matter anyway.

for all i know every incoming president is given a private screening of the zapruder film and the rest is left to his imagination.

i don't drink Kool-Aid, and if i passed over your comments i wouldn't know that they pretty much all say the same thing.

Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 1:46:54 PM | link
john

Fair enough! But what should be done about the many people that HAVE drunk the Kool-Aid and believe the Trump vs. Deep State narrative?

I think some amount of repetition is unavoidable. Especially since the Trump vs. Deep State narrative is repeated ad nauseum by MSM and even independent bloggers (that haven't thought it through).

Montreal , Jan 16, 2019 1:51:45 PM | link
@90 James.
As someone said, history doesn't always repeat itself but sometimes rhymes....... in India, in the early nineteenth century, the British presence consisted largely of lowland Scots - evangelical Presbyterians. People like Dalhousie and Grant. They managed to combine an iron conviction in their own Godly righteousness - and duty to improve the benighted heathen - with a sincere belief that there was nothing wrong in robbing the natives blind whilst improving them. Their arrogance and greed led directly to the disaster of the First Afghan War and subsequently the First Indian War of Independence (or Indian Mutiny depending on your point of view). Maybe Presbyterian Evangelical certainty will be the American downfall as well. I do often hope so.
john , Jan 16, 2019 1:53:26 PM | link
james

lol. yeah, Franco Zappa, the man from utopia

do you know the story of when once president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, appointed Frank as Special Ambassador to the West on Trade, Culture and Tourism , much to the chagrin of then U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker?

apparently Baker declared, 'You can do business with the United States or you can do business with Frank Zappa.'

james , Jan 16, 2019 1:57:34 PM | link
@93 montreal.. i was unaware of the specifics on the history in india as you note.. thanks for sharing that.. i just assumed it was the british empire mindset, without looking more closely at the details of it..
james , Jan 16, 2019 1:59:37 PM | link
@94 john.. lol! cool pic - man from utopia... i do recall frank getting that appointment from vaclav havel, but this is the first time i heard of james bakers response! james baker is long forgotten, but frank zappa is a cultural icon that will be remembered for a long time!
chimero , Jan 16, 2019 2:05:50 PM | link
Superbowl democracy : pick the red team or pick the blue, really doesn't matter which you do, none of the wrestling is really true, just a snare of a circus we're forced to view, where puppets pose and pretend to duel, and the House will always win...
john , Jan 16, 2019 2:15:24 PM | link
james says:

james baker is long forgotten, but frank zappa is a cultural icon that will be remembered for a long time

nicely put.

Bart Hansen , Jan 16, 2019 3:39:02 PM | link
84 - Why nominate Barr, etc.? Just remember that trump does not have "binders full" of applicants.
xLemming , Jan 16, 2019 3:46:37 PM | link
@55

Looks like someone already took a crack at Gilet Jaune Statue de la Liberté

">link

Don Bacon , Jan 15, 2019 11:19:31 PM | link

@ uncle tungsten | Jan 15, 2019 11:00:14 PM | 43

Don't just take it from me. . .

Elijah Magnier

Indeed the Levant is returning to the centre of Middle East and world attention in a stronger position than in 2011. Syria has advanced precision missiles that can hit any building in Israel. Assad also has an air defence system he would have never dreamed of before 2011 -- thanks to Israel's continuous violation of its airspace, and its defiance of Russian authority. Hezbollah has constructed bases for its long and medium range precision missiles in the mountains and has created a bond with Syria that it could never have established -- if not for the war. Iran has established a strategic brotherhood with Syria, thanks to its role in defeating the regime change plan. . . here

Alastair Crooke

NATO's support for the growth of ISIS has created a bond between Syria and Iraq that no Muslim or Baathist link could ever have created: Iraq has a "carte blanche" to bomb ISIS locations in Syria without the consent of the Syrian leadership, and the Iraqi security forces can walk into Syria anytime they see fit to fight ISIS. The anti-Israel axis has never been stronger than it is today. That is the result of 2011-2018 war imposed on Syria". . . here

Don Bacon , Jan 15, 2019 11:28:41 PM | link
@ uncle tungsten | Jan 15, 2019 11:00:14 PM | 43

And then add to that the current hectic itinerary of pompous Pompeo to explain the defeat to eight Middle East countries in eight days, highlighted by his feeble pleas to Qatar to join with Saudi Arabia against Iran. Solidity is crucial! Pompeo says, to which Qatar which shares a huge gas field with Iran gave pompous the middle finger. Another factor is the Turkey-Qatar alliance promoting the Muslim Brotherhood, anathema to the Saudi despots. This will all shake out, not to the favor of the US-Israel-Saudi axis. That will be the new "normalcy of some sort."

Circe , Jan 15, 2019 11:46:02 PM | link
First of all, if Trump is so bad with and Russia, why are you and others here always loving on him, singing his praises and defending him like he's still a naive schoolboy in short pants that the big boys are picking on?

@21 Jackrabbit

Bolton's not steering Trump into war with Iran, Trump hired Bolton so he'd have someone to blame and take the heat when he greenlights war with Iran and things go bad; which they will.

Trump was an Iran hawk from start. He's been railing against Iran since he got off the Trump Tower escalator and stepped behind the AIPAC podium.

@43 uncle tungsten

Wow, I mean wow. That's a bull's eye zinger. DB was really off the mark.

Circe , Jan 16, 2019 12:10:26 AM | link
@45 DB

Yeah, and Israel still has one of the most powerful arsenals in the world funded to the tune of $38 billion, the largest aid package to Israel in U.S. history delivered by Trump. and Israel has hundreds of nukes, still occupies Palestine and the Golan Heights, and still has the Empire's bases where it wants them, and now has the GCC in its corner all in, and Trump has delivered on so many promises already: tearing up the Iran deal, defunding aid to Palestinians, closing the Palestinians D.C. mission office, moving the U.S. Embassy and declaring Jerusalem capital of Israel, and sabotaging a Resolution at the U.N condemning settlements when he wasn't even President yet. Poor Israel, so abandoned by Trump...NOT.

karlof1 , Jan 16, 2019 12:11:28 AM | link
Jared @28--

You ask the question: "How will we ever gain control of our country."

As psychohistorian intones, private financial casinos and their ilk need to become public utilities to fund public activities and protect the resources on which they're based, while the political/philosophical change to create that paradigm metes our justice and cleans The Swamp. To discover the veracity of our prescription, one need only read Michael Hudson's works , although there're others we might also cite. Essentially, the Creditor Class and their allies--which have existed for several thousand years--constitute a real life Hydra that must be slain, as was recognized by the Greeks who first told the whole story.

Of course, the end is far easier than the road to get there. But as the polling link I provided upthread and others show, the public is roused and of greater solidarity for the first time this century. Why do ya think the Deep State's trying so hard to limit and falsify information I an overt manner!

Don Bacon , Jan 16, 2019 12:24:26 AM | link
@ Circe | Jan 16, 2019 12:10:26 AM | 51
Poor Israel, so abandoned by Trump...NOT.
I never said Israel was abandoned by Trump, so I was never "really off the mark," was I. If Trump is doing any abandoning anywhere, it's in Syria, Israel's enemy, now stronger due to Obama's mistake, one of many. Trump is a late arrival.
Jackrabbit , Jan 16, 2019 12:25:38 AM | link
Don Bacon

Aren't you getting a little ahead of yourself. US troops are still there. NY Times says the 'pull out' is expected to take 4-6 months.

How many times has US been rumored to be leaving Afghanistan?

US still has troops in Iraq! Years after Obama was forced (yes, forced) to remove the bulk of the forces in that country.

And what good is the 'pull out' if US keeps mercenaries/special forces in the country to fight with SDF? The plan seems to be retain control of Syrian territory via proxies. There is NO TALK of a hand over to SAA.

uncle tungsten , Jan 16, 2019 12:39:23 AM | link
karlof1 | Jan 16, 2019 12:11:28 AM | 52

Thanks karlof1 I will explore that Michael Hudson link it looks good from first scan.

Generally: I don't do graphics but I think a statue of liberty with a yellow vest would be a good theme for a behind the scenes 'competition' submitted via email to b (if willing) then published here for a discussion and 'vote' would be a great aid to mirth. I won't be in your revolution if I can't dance - sort of thing. Maybe its been done by now ?

karlof1 , Jan 16, 2019 12:46:00 AM | link
james @33--

I rarely harangue at US Exceptionalism like I did when I first began commenting here as it gets in the way of highlighting other points, and with me it's a priori along with its kin Manifest Destiny. It should also be observed that all Imperialist Nations share both to differing degrees and becomes part of Elite "Magic Mirror" persona--Mirror, mirror on the wall; who's the fairest of them all..."--generating the deadliest of snobbishness. When I taught, I took pains to properly explain the Outlaw US Empire's Mythos and show where it's present in everyday life--The Few; The Proud; The Marines. He's shooting the ball. (You throw the damn thing; do baseball pitchers shoot their pitch!?)

The Canadian domestic situation differs from the USA's in numerous ways, but it faces the same forces trying to keep citizens from gaining control over their destiny and that of their nation. And Canadians share much of the same negative American baggage. Both nation's citizens would benefit by knowing the true nature of their past which would aid them greatly in their current struggle.

james , Jan 16, 2019 12:53:39 AM | link
don

@43 uncle tungsten is bang on... for some reason - maybe you need to read a tao te ching verse before i say this to you! - you can't seriously believe trump has changed his fealty to israel? that is just not the reality as i see it.. the whole of the usa establishment are completely subservient to israel.. take a look at trumps daughter and son in law.. what the fuck is that?

trump is also totally down with war on iran.. why is that? was a little zionist birdie talking in his ear, or not? sure looks like 24/7 fealty to israel is spite of whatever bullshit trump is tweeting about..

james , Jan 16, 2019 12:56:35 AM | link
@56 karlof1... thanks.. i agree with you and see what you are saying... it seems though on one small level canucks are not always thinking we are the fucking greatest.. that is the one difference i would point to.. so if that isn't exceptionalism rearing it's ugly head, i don't know what to call it.. other then that - i agree with you and i suppose your point is that the concept of exceptionalism is just another distraction..
psychohistorian , Jan 16, 2019 1:01:51 AM | link
@ karlof1 with the hat tip about gaining control of "our" country....thanks.

I am with uncle tungsten with wanting to put a yellow vest on the statue of liberty and especially the dance part because I already do that twice a week. I also want to see it on the tower of london, somewhere in rome, fluttering in the Swiss alps, in china near the sacred city, in Russia, in India........you get the picture.

We are entering that cleft of time where psychohistorian is suppose to wave its magic wand and greatly reduce the time before "real change". Ok, so I did that. But that still means that others will need to play their roles as well for the change to occur. We all need to continue the zombie awakening so that when the time comes for "we the people" to make a collective "sound", it comes out as beautiful music that we can all dance to.

karlof1 , Jan 16, 2019 1:06:32 AM | link
uncle tungsten @55--

This is a good place to begin at Hudson's site as it explains a great many things about the recent past and present. I would suggest this page next . His opus, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire ought to be in every respectable library, for which the videos here provide a bit of context. If I add another link, this might be construed as spam, so I'll also highly suggest Life & Thought: An Autobiography from last August. Enjoy!

NemesisCalling , Jan 16, 2019 1:11:16 AM | link
Saw that Blackwater founder did an interview explaining that they can also replace the role of US troops in Syria.

Fine by me, as long as the US offers no protection or no-fly-zone for them.

Remember the episode where 100+ Russian contractors were strafed fighting alongside SAA by USAF? Open season on all guns for hire. In Afghanistan, too.

uncle tungsten , Jan 16, 2019 1:24:46 AM | link
psychohistorian | Jan 16, 2019 1:01:51 AM | 59

YES!and some really good (short)5second? video to stream via whatever those social media platforms are. One on each of the religious icons of whatever would be inviting.

Je suis Gillet Jaune!! is irresistable.

james , Jan 16, 2019 1:44:10 AM | link
quote from orlov..

"The fact that what amounts to palace intrigue -- the fracas between the White House, the two houses of Congress and a ghoulish grand inquisitor named Mueller -- has taken center stage is uncannily reminiscent of various earlier political collapses, such as the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire or of the fall and the consequent beheading of Louis XVI. The fact that Trump, like the Ottoman worthies, stocks his harem with East European women, lends an eerie touch. That said, most people in the US seem blind to the nature of their overlords in a way that the French, with their Gilets Jaunes movement (just as an example) are definitely not."

https://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-five-stages-of-collapse-2019-update.html

Hem Lock , Jan 16, 2019 2:00:43 AM | link
By now everybody knows that Netanyahu asks and Trump delivers. The servility of US politicians and media to Israel is so obvious that they world laughs at the "superpower USA, that is being rough shod" by a toy shit entity called Israel. THE GREATEST TREASON OF ALL "Israel first"
psychohistorian , Jan 16, 2019 2:09:25 AM | link
@ james who quoted Orlov:
"
That said, most people in the US seem blind to the nature of their overlords in a way that the French, with their Gilets Jaunes movement (just as an example) are definitely not."
"

This is part of the elite massaging of nationalism narratives. There is still too much "frontier" in America that blind many to not feeling part of a government controlled community. I talked to a young guy today with 3 kids and living in a mobile home on property in the sticks so he doesn't have problems with neighbors and government. I think I got my message across when I pointed out that the roads he drives on to his house, the power and water he gets are forms of socialism and I just want the tools of finance to be public-minded like that.

Russ , Jan 16, 2019 2:13:40 AM | link

[Jan 15, 2019] Buchanan Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War With Iran

Jan 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

devo , 1 minute ago link

That fact Trump can be "steered into war" is disturbing.

2handband , 2 minutes ago link

This article is asinine. By the book, Bolton takes orders from Trump... not the other way around. Bolton is just being used as an excuse. Trump was never serious about getting the US out of any wars. I confidently predict that US troops will still be in Syria this time next year.

ne-tiger , 4 minutes ago link

"Was he aware of Bolton's request for a menu of targets in Iran for potential U.S. strikes? Did he authorize it? Has he authorized his national security adviser and secretary of state to engage in these hostile actions and bellicose rhetoric aimed at Iran? "

Yes, Yes and Yes, that's why he's an orange fucktard.

Taras Bulba , 12 minutes ago link

Bolton's former deputy, Mira Ricardel, reportedly told a gathering the shelling into the Green Zone was "an act of war" to which the U.S. must respond decisively.

This war mongering harpy fortunately was kicked to the curb by melania trump!

pelican , 13 minutes ago link

How did that psychopath appointed anyway? Another warmonger that hasn't served a day in the military.

MozartIII , 13 minutes ago link

Bolton can run the operation on the ground!

MozartIII , 14 minutes ago link

Send the House, Senate, FBI, CIA, IRS & all others state operatives to fight in Iran. Include the TSA for gods sake. Include the Obamas, Clintons and Bush's. So they can verify that their weapons are all delivered again and work properly. Bring our troops home to defend are border. Include NYT, WaPo and most of our current media in the Iran light brigade, so they can charge with the rest of the parasites. Many problems will be solved in very short order.

punchasocialist , 16 minutes ago link

This is another really infantile, softball article again by Buchanan.

As if Trump is anything more than an actor, and Bolton is anything more than a buffoon who has been laughed off the world stage FOREVER.

As if Trump and Bolton steer each other, instead of TAKING ORDERS from trillionaires.

resistedliving , 58 minutes ago link

You think Bolton is the new Alexander "I'm in charge now" Haig?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qarDtgSVpM

Captain Chlamydia , 22 minutes ago link

Yes he is.

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 1 hour ago link

Obviously.

And so are Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, and Kushner, and his bankster pals.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YW4CvC5IaFI

Bolton is a traitor and agent of a foreign power. The Mouth of Netanyahu.

But Trump hired him, and Trump hasn't fired him.

Duc888 , 57 minutes ago link

Enjoy the show. Bolton has a half life of about 90 days. Can't you see a pattern when it's laid bare in front of you?

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 40 minutes ago link

Like not having a wall, appointing neocon swamp creatures, still being in Afghanistan and Syria, and not releasing the FISAgate texts?

Like that pattern?

I... gee, I don't know.

You're right. I should prolly just ' trust the plan' like a good goy.

Thanks, newfriend!

🤨

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 57 minutes ago link

Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton to the Zionist Organization of America

JimmyJones , 27 minutes ago link

He also hasn't followed his recommendations. Perhaps he keeps him around so he knows what not to do?

Duc888 , 4 minutes ago link

He's a temporary useful idiot for Trump who will flush him at his convenience. He's handy to have around to encourage the Hawks do a group masturbation.

Seriously, if Ertogen tells Bolton to go **** off, he has no sauce. He's been neutered. Let him act all important and play in the sand box all he wants.

ted41776 , 1 hour ago link

trust the plan. there are white hats in government who have your best interest in mind. you don't need to do anything other than pretend like everything is fine, they'll take care of the rest. go to work and continue accepting continually devalued worthless fiat in exchange for time you spend away from your family and doing things you love. trust the plan, it's all going to be alright

/sarc

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 47 minutes ago link

+ 1

Four chan , 41 minutes ago link

BOLTON IS MULLERS BUDDY, THATS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Francis Marx , 42 minutes ago link

I doubt Bolton has that much clout. Trump is no fool.

Haus-Targaryen , 42 minutes ago link

No, because the oil price to follow would blowup the US war machine.

Iran isn't going anywhere.

Erek , 38 minutes ago link

Time for Bolton to lay his **** on the anvil.

I woke up , 24 minutes ago link

Yeah, if Bolton is so enthused about it, send him first

Erek , 17 minutes ago link

And alone!

Duc888 , 3 minutes ago link

...it would be lost amongst the metal filings and swarf.

resistedliving , 16 minutes ago link

Israel uses natgas and coal

Helps their little conflict in the Tamar/Leviathan gas fields.

[Jan 14, 2019] The Push to Get Rid of Bolton by Daniel Larison

The US foreign policy generally doesn't depend on individual people. It is the Swamp which drive neolib/neocon policy which is driven mostly by the Deep State which means the coalition of MIC, Wall Street and intelligence agencies and their agents of influence within the government.
The most important question is how he managed to get into administration?
bolton is a bully and such people have no friends.
Notable quotes:
"... The National Security Advisor has had a reputation of being an abrasive and obnoxious colleague for a long time, and his attempts to push his aggressive foreign policy agenda have made him even more enemies. ..."
"... If Bolton is "under attack" from within the administration, it is because he has behaved with the same recklessness and incompetence that characterize his preferred policies overseas. He should be attacked, and with any luck he will be defeated and driven from office. Unfortunately, we have been seeing the opposite happen over the last few weeks: more Bolton allies are joining the administration in important positions and at least one major rival has exited. ..."
"... the longer he remains National Security Advisor the worse it will be for U.S. interests. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Henry Olsen is very worried that other people in the administration might be out to get Bolton:

Whatever the motive, conservatives who favor more robust U.S. involvement abroad should sit up and take notice. One of their strongest allies within the administration is under attack. Whether Bolton's influence wanes or even whether he remains is crucially important for anyone who worries that the president's impulses that deviate from past American foreign policy will weaken American security.

There have been a number of unflattering reports about Bolton in the last few weeks, but for the most part those stories are just proof that Bolton has no diplomatic skills and does a terrible job of managing the administration's policy process. If Bolton had done a better job of coordinating Syria policy, the administration's Syria policy wouldn't be the confused mess that it is. If he hadn't made such a hash of things with the Turkish government, there would have been no snub by Erdogan for anyone to report. There may be quite a bit of hostile leaking against Bolton, but that is itself a testament to how many other people in the administration loathe him.

The National Security Advisor has had a reputation of being an abrasive and obnoxious colleague for a long time, and his attempts to push his aggressive foreign policy agenda have made him even more enemies.

If Bolton is "under attack" from within the administration, it is because he has behaved with the same recklessness and incompetence that characterize his preferred policies overseas. He should be attacked, and with any luck he will be defeated and driven from office. Unfortunately, we have been seeing the opposite happen over the last few weeks: more Bolton allies are joining the administration in important positions and at least one major rival has exited.

Bolton's influence in the administration is an important indication of what U.S. foreign policy will look like in the months and years to come, and the longer he remains National Security Advisor the worse it will be for U.S. interests.

[Jan 14, 2019] 'A Reckless Advocate of Military Force' Demands for John Bolton's Dismissal After Reports He Asked Pentagon for Options to Str

Notable quotes:
"... By Jessica Corbett, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, called the news "a reminder that when it comes to Iran, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are batshit insane ..."
"... Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), tweeted, "Make no mistake: Bolton is the greatest threat to the security of the United States!" Parsi, an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations and longtime critic of Bolton, called for his immediate ouster over the request detailed in Journal ..."
"... Bolton: Chickenhawk-in-Chief ..."
"... Great point. None of my fellow comrades who actually participated in firefights (not just drove trucks behind the lines) are eager to be led into battle by National Guard and bone-spur deferrals, much less student deferral draft dodgers. ..."
"... Why did Trump appoint Bolton? ..."
"... I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope. ..."
"... Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom? ..."
"... Steven Cohen has an interesting editorial in RT, not about directly about Bolton but about the war parties' demand for ongoing M.E. conflict. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/448688-trump-withdrawal-syria-russia/ ..."
"... see what we could do ..."
"... Trump is interested in what is good for Trump. Why he thinks Bolton at his side is good for him is a mystery. Rather a hand grenade with the pin pulled in your pocket than Bolton. Much the same can be said of Pompeo. ..."
"... I agree with author Nicholas Taleb's view of the military interventionists, who include Bolton, that have repeatedly urged that we "intervene in foreign countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria -- whose governments did not meet their abstract standards of political acceptability." Besides the losses suffered by our troops and economy, as Taleb observed each of those interventions "made conditions significantly worse in the country being 'saved'. Yet the interventionists pay no price themselves for wrecking the lives of millions. Instead they keep appearing on CNN and PBS as 'experts' who should guide us in choosing what country to bomb next." Now, after imposing economic sanctions on Iran, they're evidently again seeking war. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on January 14, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. I am surprised that Bolton has lasted this long. Bolton has two defining personal qualities that are not conducive to long-term survival with Trump: having a huge ego and being way too obvious about not caring about Trump's agenda (even with the difficulties of having it change all the time). Bolton is out for himself in far too obvious a manner.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, " a reckless advocate of military force ," the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton "asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department."

"It definitely rattled people," a former U.S. official said of the request, which Bolton supposedly made after militants aligned with Iran fired mortars into the diplomatic quarter of Baghdad, Iraq that contains the U.S. Embassy in early September. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran."

"The Pentagon complied with the National Security Council's request to develop options for striking Iran," the Journal reported, citing unnamed officials. "But it isn't clear if the proposals were provided to the White House, whether Mr. Trump knew of the request, or whether serious plans for a U.S. strike against Iran took shape at that time."

The Journal 's report, which comes just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an "arrogant tirade" of a speech vilifying Iran, sparked immediate alarm among critics of the Trump administration's biggest warmongers -- who, over the past several months, have been accused of fomenting unrest in Iran and laying the groundwork for war.

Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, called the news "a reminder that when it comes to Iran, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are batshit insane."

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Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), tweeted, "Make no mistake: Bolton is the greatest threat to the security of the United States!" Parsi, an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations and longtime critic of Bolton, called for his immediate ouster over the request detailed in Journal 's report.

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"This administration takes an expansive view of war authorities and is leaning into confrontation with Iran at a time when there are numerous tripwires for conflict across the region," NIAC president Jamal Abdi warned in a statement . "It is imperative that this Congress investigate Bolton's request for war options and pass legislation placing additional legal and political constraints on the administration's ability to start a new war of choice with Iran that could haunt America and the region for generations."

In a series of moves that have elicited concern from members of Congress, political experts, other world leaders, and peace activists, since May the Trump administration has ditched the Iran nuclear deal -- formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- and reimposed economic sanctions .

NIAC, in November, urged the new Congress that convened at the beginning of the year to challenge the administration's hawkish moves and restore U.S. standing on the world stage by passing measures to block the sanctions re-imposed in August and November , and reverse Trump's decision to breach the deal -- which European and Iranian diplomats have been trying to salvage .

Iran continues to comply with the terms of JCPOA, according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's nuclear chief, told state television on Sunday that "preliminary activities for designing modern 20 percent (enriched uranium) fuel have begun." While Iran has maintained that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons, the nation would still have to withdraw from the deal if it resumed enrichment at the level.

As Iran signals that it is considering withdrawing from the JCPOA, the Journal report has critics worried that Bolton and Pompeo have the administration on a war path -- with Bolton, just last week, insisting without any evidence that Iranian leadership is committed to pursuing nuclear weapons. Some have compared that claim to former Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous lie in 2002, to bolster support for the U.S. invasion, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

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As the Journal noted, "Alongside the requests in regards to Iran, the National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria as well."


The Rev Kev , January 14, 2019 at 5:55 am

So Bolton wants war with Iran? Pretty tall talk from a man who during the war in 'Nam ducked into the Maryland Army National Guard because he had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy as he considered the war in Vietnam already lost. His words, not mine. The Iranian military will not be the push over the Iraq army was. They are much better equipped and motivated and have a healthy stock of missiles. They even have the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile system up and running.

Once you start a war, you never know where it will go. Suppose the Iranians consider – probably correctly – that it is Israel's influences that led to the attack and so launch a few missiles at them. What happens next? Will Hezbollah take action against them as well. If the US attacks Iran, then there is no reason whatsoever for Iran not to attack the various US contingents scattered around the Middle East in places like Syria. What if the Russians send in their Aerospace Forces to help stop an attack. Will they be attacked as well? Is the US prepared to lose a carrier?

And how will the war end? The country is mountainous like Afghanistan so cannot be occupied unless the entire complete total of all US forces are shipped over there. This is just lunacy squared and surely even Trump must realize that if the whole thing is another Bay of Pigs, it will be his name all over it in the history books and so sinking his chances for a 2020 re-election. And if the justification for the whole thing is a coupla mortars on a car park, how will he justify any American loses? At this point I am waiting for Bolton to finish each one of his speeches and tweets with the phrase-

"Parthia delenda est!"

Tomonthebeach , January 14, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Bolton: Chickenhawk-in-Chief

Great point. None of my fellow comrades who actually participated in firefights (not just drove trucks behind the lines) are eager to be led into battle by National Guard and bone-spur deferrals, much less student deferral draft dodgers.

Calling Bolton on Pompeo "batshit crazy" cries out for revisions in the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Ignim Brites , January 14, 2019 at 7:36 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton? A saying of LBJ, I believe attributed to Sam Rayburn, might illuminate. "It is better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."

Edward , January 14, 2019 at 8:26 am

I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope.

Allegorio , January 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom?

Edward , January 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I feel like the U.S. is an occupied country, invaded by corporate lobbyists. We have the kind of crap government you get from occupations.

Carolinian , January 14, 2019 at 8:33 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton?

Not to be a broken record but should we blame the Dems? Arguably Trump's "out there" gestures to the right are because he has to keep the Repubs on his side given the constant threat of impeachment from the other side. Extremes beget extremes. There's also the Adelson factor.

Of course this theory may be incorrect and he and Bolton are ideological soul mates, but Trump's ideology doesn't appear to go much beyond a constant diet of Fox News. He seems quite capable of pragmatic gestures which are then denounced by a horrified press.

Lou Mannheim , January 14, 2019 at 10:11 am

"Not to be a broken record but should we blame the Dems?"

No. Despite Trump's wishes the buck stops with him.

Carolinian , January 14, 2019 at 10:27 am

... the Iran situation could have been solved years earlier by Obama and Hillary making it harder for Trump to stir up trouble.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/iran-brazil-and-turkey-make-new-nuclear-proposal/

ChiGal in Carolina , January 14, 2019 at 11:25 am

The point might be, sure the Dems as part of the duopoly created the context within which Trump now acts as president. Nonetheless there is a direct linear responsibility for his actions that rests with him.

Unless you consider him so impaired as not to be responsible for his actions ;-)

Carolinian , January 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm

So will the buck stop with Obama/Hillary for destroying Libya, the half million dead in Syria, the covert support for the Saudis in Yemen which started under Obama, the coup in Honduras, the deterioration in US/Russia relations to the point where nuclear war has once again started to become thinkable? By these standards Trump's wrecking ball is quite tiny.

neo-realist , January 14, 2019 at 11:53 am

It's not like the Obama administration and the EU didn't strike a nuclear deal with Iran to freeze nuclear capable production and allow for lifting of sanctions -- how could they have gone further? How could its deal be worse then the saber rattling of Trump/Bolton? Not saying this as a fan of the Obama administration in general.

Bill Smith , January 14, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Pied Piper Memo. It's up in Wikileaks. Clinton campaign laid out a strategy to help Trump along so he would be their opponent. They bet that he was too far out there for the general public to vote him in as president.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2019 at 2:20 pm

...Everyone including Trump was shocked he won. He has made an only partly successful hostile takeover of the Republican party. The fact that he got only at best the second string, and mainly the fourth string, to work in his Administration, Trump's repudiation of international institutions and his trade war with China are all evidence that he was chosen by anyone, much the less a cabal you create out of thin air called "the oligarchy"

As Frank Herbert said in Dune, the most enduring principles in the universe are accident and error. Trump did not want to win. This was a brand-enhancing stunt for him that got out of control.

KLG , January 14, 2019 at 7:46 am

Something for our would be Croesus and his minions: If you go to war with Persia, you will destroy a mighty empire OK, not so mighty, but an empire nevertheless.

Ben Wolf , January 14, 2019 at 8:29 am

Reminiscent of John Kerry and Susan Rice publicly demanding bombing of Syria in 2015 after Obama had taken that option off the table.

Anon , January 14, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Iran is a much more formitable foe than Syria. Bullies love to taunt the weak; Iran is not weak.

Mark James , January 14, 2019 at 8:48 am

The US has previously run multiple conventual war simulations and in all cases the US lost against Iran, only when the US used its nuclear option did the US prevail. The implications of a nuclear strike and how the Russian Federation will react, to having yet another one of its allies attacked is unknown?

Bill Smith , January 14, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Really, in all cases? Seems unlikely. What did these conventional war simulations cover? What was the definition of wining and losing?

Jeremy Grimm , January 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm

Really -- who cares? Any claim of 'all' is difficult to support under the best of circumstances and unwise. Besides, suppose we could 'prevail' in a war with Iran -- why should or would we want to? Are you OK with a little war with Iran if a couple of conventional war simulations suggest we could win?

johnnygl , January 14, 2019 at 9:07 am

Couple of quick points

1) I really hope jim webb gets the def sec job. That would be a strong signal.

2) if the TDS infected bi-partisan consensus wants to impeach. They can build on this. I suspect they won't though.

3) Keep in mind Trump like some trash talk. Pompeo seems here to stay. Not sure about Bolton. But, as we saw with N. Korea, sometimes the crazy gets dialed up to 11, right before things get calmed down.

The Rev Kev , January 14, 2019 at 9:34 am

Because that worked so well in the Balkans and Iraq and Libya, etc, etc etc. The world is not what you think it is. Let us compare Iran as a country with America's loyal ally Saudi Arabia as an example. Would you believe that Iran has a Jewish population that feel safe there and have no interest in moving to Israel? In Saudi Arabia, if you renounce Islam that is a death sentence. Women have careers in Iran and drive cars. Woman have burkas in Saudi Arabia and have very few freedoms. Iran has taken in refugees from the recent wars. Saudi Arabia has taken virtually none from Syria. Iran wants to have their own country and work out their own problems as they are a multicultural country. Saudi Arabia is a medieval monarchy that has been exporting the most extremist view of Islam around the world using their oil money. Ideologically, all those jihadists the past few decades can be traced to Wahhabi teachings. Now tell me that if you had a choice, which country sounds more attractive to live in?

Redlife2013 , January 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

Having been to Iran, it is an amazing place and they are the most welcoming of people. One of the few places I have seen female taxi drivers, too. Women are very self-assured there – they will blow past men to get to what they want to do. Lots of people don't like the Islamic government (and they will note that to you), but as you mentioned, they are NOT medieval.

The government praises science and technology in roadside ads up and down the country. The ads, by the way, are almost always in Farsi and English, as English is the 2nd language of the country. And I'd like to add that they love Americans. It didn't matter what town I was in and we went to some small towns. I literally had people yelling "We love America" and asking for my autograph. And no – I am not famous. They are the most generous, gregarious people I have ever met in my life.

I have odd memories of my trip like being in a taxi going into Tehran listening to a instrument only version of Madonna's La Isla Bonita (they really like Madonna). And going to beautiful mosques which are filled with mirrors and coloured light so it's almost like a disco (mirrors and water are ancient pre-Islamic symbols). And the gardens – in odd places like underpasses that happen to have a bit of opening to light and rain. Where ever they can stick a garden they will do it.

Iran is a hodgepodge of so many thoughts, peoples, and currents. One thing they are though – is fiercely loyal to Iran. Not the government, but to their homeland, to their people. There is no way we would win. Due to geography and due to the losses they would be willing to sustain we would be destroyed. We would lose so badly that it would look like the First Anglo-Afghan War where only one Brit got back after the entire army was destroyed. We tussle with them on their own land at our peril.

Kilgore Trout , January 14, 2019 at 10:52 am

+10

Roger , January 14, 2019 at 11:42 am

Saudi Arabia is America's loyal ally! You mean the SA that financed, planned, and manned the 9/11 attacks? Because SA is a bigger shithole than Iran is no argument. What does need to be faced is that SA has a lock on American politics through its financial control of Washington DC swamp dwellers.

The Balkans is quiet now. Iraq became a mess when Paul Bremer snatched defeat from near total victory. Libya, Syria and Ukraine are the victims of malevolent US meddling (as was Vietnam). I am hoping that President Trump can reverse course and create a foreign policy that puts the interests of people first, particularly the interests of the people of the USA. Forlorn hope perhaps. I would not want to live in either of them.

Keith Howard , January 14, 2019 at 11:02 am

How about we throw the Ayatollah Pence and the rest of his contemptible ilk out of our own government first?

Tony Wright , January 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Well said. All religious fundamentalists are dangerous because they believe they are the "chosen ones" and therefore superior to "non-believers", whose lives are less important and therefore expendable if and when they feel so inclined.

pjay , January 14, 2019 at 11:05 am

Re "the Iranian people":

(1) Echoing other responses, I suggest we ask the "Iranian people" if they would like the U.S. to help them into modernity. Given our track record in Iran and other ME nations, I'm not sure they would welcome our assistance, particularly if it involved "a few explosions" or so.

(2) It is "the people" that are always hurt first, and the most, in such interventions, not the government.

I wasn't sure if this was a serious comment or one meant to provoke. It did provoke me to make an earlier response. I thank the moderators for blocking it (sincerely – not being sarcastic).

Adams , January 14, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Bah, who cares about a little collateral damage. The Iranian people obviously don't know what's good for them. We just need to bring back Wolfowitz to make sure they are on hand to lay down palm fronds before the US forces as they enter Baghdad after we nuke it into rubble. Speaking of sociopaths, I am sure Darth Vader would make himself available to advise from Wyoming. Where the hell is Elliot Abrams when you need him. What's Rumsfeld doing these days? How great would it be to get the old gang together again, under the maniacal leadership of Bolton. Maybe Dubya would be willing to do the "mission accomplished" as the smoke clears over the whole MENA region. What a great bunch of guys.

Eureka Springs , January 14, 2019 at 11:54 am

You're a regular humanitarian bomber. Reminds me of "Assad must go" and the fact 'we' never bombed him but all the people, all around the nation of the ilk you pretend to want to help by doing the same thing in Iran.

At best, you are speaking a bunch of hooey without thinking. Oh, and last I heard Iran has not invaded another country for something like 400 years. Look in your mirror.

Edward , January 14, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Are the Iranian people asking us to invade their country? In the U.S. there seems to be this bizarre nonchalance about war, which used to be considered a terrible scourge. After the recent disasters in Libya, Ukraine, and Iraq, "regime change" should be discredited. The U.S. has caused nothing but misery in the third world. We should focus on our own human rights and democracy problems. If we want to do something abroad I favor ending our support for Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

lyman alpha blob , January 14, 2019 at 1:42 pm

Yeah! We can bomb those priests right into the modern world with our own fundamentalist Air Force. Murica #1

https://www.salon.com/2014/09/17/air_forces_mind_boggling_violation_members_forced_to_swear_religious_allegiance/

flora , January 14, 2019 at 9:23 am

re: Bolton asking for war plans

Steven Cohen has an interesting editorial in RT, not about directly about Bolton but about the war parties' demand for ongoing M.E. conflict. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/448688-trump-withdrawal-syria-russia/

Tony Wright , January 14, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Gotta keep the military industrial complex well fed. George Orwell was right, sadly; constant state of military alert and occasionally shifting loose alliances between three competing major military powers. What a waste of human resources.

Off The Street , January 14, 2019 at 9:48 am

IMHO, Bolton serves two roles in the Trump Administration.

  1. As a symbol for the hawkier folks in Congress and the media
  2. As a foil to Trump in a good cop-bad cop, or bad cop-worse cop role, if you prefer

The first provides air cover and the second forestalls ground action. The air cover says see what we could do , and the ground action blusters to draw attention by the media thereby serving to defuse any escalationist tendencies pushed by neo-cons.

Bolton is a price of admission, and will not have much of a purpose as the effects of the Iran sanctions become more evident and that regime becomes more pliable. The people on the ground in Iran seem to want de-escalation and more normal lives, like so many around the world and at home.

John , January 14, 2019 at 10:02 am

Trump is interested in what is good for Trump. Why he thinks Bolton at his side is good for him is a mystery. Rather a hand grenade with the pin pulled in your pocket than Bolton. Much the same can be said of Pompeo.

I have never understood the lust for war with Iran it looks entirely irrational to me. The Iranian government may not be to your taste and pursue policies you dislike in the extreme, but is this a reason to gin up a war. I could never support such a conflict and would do whatever I could to thwart it.

L , January 14, 2019 at 10:31 am

This is not news and while concerning is not fundamental.

Bolton was hired precisely because of his uberhawk obsession with Iran. That is in fact the central credential that he brought to the table and as such there should be zero surprise in this. Indeed the only real shocker is that he asked for plans rather than pulling them out of his own fevered mind as he usually does.

And as others have noted the Pentagon draws up plans like this all the time. This kind of speculative planning is a big part of what the Pentagon does and somewhere no doubt is someone who is paid to prepare for the "inevitable" war in Jamaca.

The question really is whether we will act upon these plans, or some others, and from what I read of this article that is no more likely than it was a few months ago. Scary yes but no scarier than it already was.

Mattski , January 14, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Well, what do they want us to think? Of course this is predictable–even SOP–for Bolton. But someone in the Pentagon is offering some pushback, or wants to suggest there is resistance. Or someone in the CIA. Some of these people prefer wars to quagmires, especially after an exhausting 20 years. And climbing into bed with the Saudis and Israelis to fight Iran may not appeal to everyone.

Some may even see that Iran is a much more promising place for consumer and capital growth, and implementation of bourgeois democracy, than Saudi Arabia. But Mr. Bolton might say that that's the point.

Ashburn , January 14, 2019 at 11:10 am

I think we may be closer to war with Iran than most of us care to think. Trump is under siege from multiple investigations with no room to run, the Democrats now have the House and will only intensify the pressure, Pompeo and Bolton–both Iran hawks–are now in charge of our foreign policy, and a former Boeing executive (with stock options?) is in charge of the Pentagon, Trump is also being pushed into war by Saudi Arabia and Israel–his two closest buddies–and probably the two most malign influences on US policy, and finally, our economy is beginning to look shakey, and the normal functions of government are now in shutdown. Shock doctrine holds that now is the time to act.

ChiGal in Carolina , January 14, 2019 at 11:39 am

I recall a piece by Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader posted by another commenter here that he would likely do so BEFORE the Dems took control of the House. I thought there was a lot of huffing and puffing going on, except for the likelihood of wagging the dog, a tried and true tactic of US presidents.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/are-we-about-to-face-our-gravest-constitutional-crisis/

Harry , January 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Was chatting to a someone who was a junior official in the GWB administration. He suggested the first thing Bolton does when he joins an administration is request these plans. If you didn't, you wouldn't be able to take advantage of any interesting events to bomb Iran. Besides, he hasn't actually implemented them yet!

Amusingly its standard bureaucratic form to ensure you have plans on file. Otherwise when asked to list the options, how would you make sure your plan for covert opps, or democracy subsidizing/subverting payments appeared to be the most reasonable plan on the table?

Bolton is the same paleoconservative he ever was. And in that sense he is refreshing. One gets tired of seeing Israelis and Saudis make proposals for spending American lives on countless critically important projects.

Mattski , January 14, 2019 at 12:55 pm

There's also word that the US and Bolton have been giving quiet encouragement, with the new President in Brazil, for a Venezuela intervention.

I think it's important, though, not to simply characterize these people as monsters but to finger the system behind them. There was word before the election that Ms. Clinton has become chummy with Bolton and some of the other neocons; we might be looking at much the same if she had been elected.

Also, Kissinger bombed Cambodia and set off a genocide. Bolton is awful, but nothing whatsoever will make me yearn for Mr. K. I have a friend who's still unhappy with me because I turned down an invite to dine with him long ago, but I was just too frightened of what I might say in his presence.

Mattski , January 14, 2019 at 2:07 pm

We can take it for granted that they are nuts–but nuttiness is like monstrousness, not always so useful as explanation. They're also operating out of the logic of a contradictory and decaying system. The neocons are the ideological successors of the neoliberals (who liked to follow with the velvet fist rather than lead with it, but hardly eschewed it). . . the culmination of much of the same logic. Egalite and fraternite trail far behind these days.

Chauncey Gardiner , January 14, 2019 at 1:17 pm

I agree with author Nicholas Taleb's view of the military interventionists, who include Bolton, that have repeatedly urged that we "intervene in foreign countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria -- whose governments did not meet their abstract standards of political acceptability." Besides the losses suffered by our troops and economy, as Taleb observed each of those interventions "made conditions significantly worse in the country being 'saved'. Yet the interventionists pay no price themselves for wrecking the lives of millions. Instead they keep appearing on CNN and PBS as 'experts' who should guide us in choosing what country to bomb next." Now, after imposing economic sanctions on Iran, they're evidently again seeking war.

The National Security Advisor is a senior official in the executive branch. Who placed these people in charge of our nation's foreign policy and to act in our name?

There is no threat to the United States involved here. I don't recall being given the opportunity to vote on them or the policies they represent and push. It's past time these individuals be removed from positions of power and influence and for American soft power and diplomacy to be restored to preeminence. I want this country to stand for peace, freedom, equal opportunity and hope; not war, chaos, fear and death.

[Jan 13, 2019] What is wrong with Trump

Trump was elected using Adelson money. That;s probably is what is wrong with Trump.
Is Trump a Republican Obama? As in "Brain dead Dems kept saying Obama would do the right thing by the nation, that he was playing 4D chess, up till the moment he was no longer president, and in the end he was a narcisstic, self-aggrandizing politician who transferred trillions to the 0.1% and made America worse by any standard."
Notable quotes:
"... The struggle between the neocons and Trump over control of foreign policy has become ridiculous. One must remember that he can dismiss them all with the stroke of a pen, just he can dismiss his non civil service tormentors in the justice department and the FBI. ..."
"... Bolton has tried to countermand Trump's decision in Syria. His attempt and that of Jeffrey were rebuked in Ankara and DoD then announced an immediate commencement of the withdrawal. ..."
"... And yet the unholy trio of Pompeo (first in the hearts of his USMA class), Jeffrey, a career neocon hack at State, and Bolton (the mustachioed menace) are still in their jobs? Say what? ..."
"... And then there is the Great Southern Border Crisis. The Democrats have repeatedly voted for a great deal of money for barrier systems on the border. Chancy (Chuck and Nancy) were in the lead in such votes over the years. Now Nancy (who may not remember her votes) is denying Trump "a single dollar" for border barriers. ..."
"... To say that barriers are ineffective is dishonest. By now Trump knows that he can declare a national emergency and fund the barriers after however much litigation the Dems can arrange. There is ample money available for the purpose. So, why does he not do it? ..."
"... I voted for Trump. He lost me when he filled his cabinet with swamp creatures and then further when he replaced the generals with neo-cons like Bolton. You cant change the government if you don't understand how the government works - its not a real estate business that you can declare bankruptcy to make a buck. ..."
"... Brain dead Dems kept saying Obama would do the right thing by the nation, that he was playing 4D chess, up till the moment he was no longer president, and in the end he was a narcisstic, self-aggrandizing politician who transferred trillions to the 0.1% and made America worse by any standard. ..."
"... If he cared about illegal immigration, how about enforcing laws against employing illegal immigrants ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

According to Hido, Washington's Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, delivered several messages to the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) demanding them to slow down the negotiations with Damascus and promising to discuss the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over northeastern Syria.

The Kurdish political described Jeffery's messages as "disturbing" and called on the Kurdish leadership to deal with them in careful manner.

Furthermore, Hido stressed that the SDF should take a decision on the talks with the Damascus government as soon as possible and regretted that some Kurdish officials are still pinning their hopes on a possible change in the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria .

"Talks with the Syrian government are still ongoing in a positive atmosphere," RT quoted Hido as saying.

Jeffrey made a visit to Turkey recently, where he tried to strike a deal with Ankara over northeastern Syria. However, Turkey's plans to attack US-backed Kurdish forces and invade the region hindered his efforts.

It appears to be that the SDF's only real option is the deal with Damascus as any U.S. solution would likely involve Turkey, which has demonstrated its agressive attitude towards Syrian Kurdish groups during its operation in Afrin in 2018." SF

------------

The struggle between the neocons and Trump over control of foreign policy has become ridiculous. One must remember that he can dismiss them all with the stroke of a pen, just he can dismiss his non civil service tormentors in the justice department and the FBI.

Bolton has tried to countermand Trump's decision in Syria. His attempt and that of Jeffrey were rebuked in Ankara and DoD then announced an immediate commencement of the withdrawal.

What could that have been other than a renewed presidential order to the Defense Department? And yet the unholy trio of Pompeo (first in the hearts of his USMA class), Jeffrey, a career neocon hack at State, and Bolton (the mustachioed menace) are still in their jobs? Say what?

And then there is the Great Southern Border Crisis. The Democrats have repeatedly voted for a great deal of money for barrier systems on the border. Chancy (Chuck and Nancy) were in the lead in such votes over the years. Now Nancy (who may not remember her votes) is denying Trump "a single dollar" for border barriers.

BTW, any soldier will tell you that the purpose of barriers IS NOT to stop all movement. No, it is to slow up movement and canalize it so that Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) can get there first with the most. To say that barriers are ineffective is dishonest. By now Trump knows that he can declare a national emergency and fund the barriers after however much litigation the Dems can arrange. There is ample money available for the purpose. So, why does he not do it?

On Smerconish's show today, Bob Baer, spy extraordinaire, (read his books) asserted that the various bits and pieces of circumstantial "evidence" about Trump's contacts with and attitude toward Russia, as well as those of his flunkies and relatives amount to a "good enough" case for Trump being a Russian agent of influence. That is how a HUMINT spook judges such things. It is a matter of probabilities, not hard evidence. Assets of an alien government are not always witting (understanding) of their status from the POV of the foreign government, but that does not necessarily make other than agents. Sometimes they think they are merely cooperating in a good and normal way when, in fact, the relationship is much deeper. Jane Fonda in North Vietnam would be an example.

OTOH the president is responsible for the conduct of US foreign policy and is not under an obligation to accept the perhaps hackneyed views of his subordinates. Perhaps his world view is quite different and he is not mesmerized by the group think of the Borg. If that is so ...

But, how does one explain his lack of action on the border? Does someone or some thing in Russia, Israel, the UK, his former business associates, have something really juicy on Trump, something that he fears to unleash through decisive action? pl

https://southfront.org/kurdish-politician-washington-trying-to-sabotage-talks-between-sdf-and-damascus/

Eric Newhill , a day ago

Sir, I think he's just being cautious and exhausting all other options because half of the country has been made to believe he's a dictator. He's being sensitive to that. He will act. Give it time.
ISL -> Eric Newhill , 17 hours ago
Sensitive? Cautious? Caring about Americans not in his base (whatever his base means)? Doesnt sounds like president Donald Trump the last two years. He acts more like he is confused about what the president's powers are while the wormtongues he appointed and replaces with more of the same continue to whisper in his ear.
Eric Newhill -> ISL , 10 hours ago
Contrary to all the TDS out there, maybe he prefers to do things the right way and have Congress make laws and budgets that work for all of us whether or not we all understand how.
ISL -> Eric Newhill , 3 hours ago
If that was the case, why so many signing statements (particularly since republicans control congress ). He is on target to pass Obama. who also preferred not to do things by laws. http://www.coherentbabble.c... Its just that the trend towards an imperial, unitary presidency keeps getting worse with full acquiescence of congress who suckles on the corporate money teat, under both Dems and Repubs.

I voted for Trump. He lost me when he filled his cabinet with swamp creatures and then further when he replaced the generals with neo-cons like Bolton. You cant change the government if you don't understand how the government works - its not a real estate business that you can declare bankruptcy to make a buck.

Brain dead Dems kept saying Obama would do the right thing by the nation, that he was playing 4D chess, up till the moment he was no longer president, and in the end he was a narcisstic, self-aggrandizing politician who transferred trillions to the 0.1% and made America worse by any standard.

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Here's a nice plot - US apprehensions comparable to 1970 when the US had a much smaller population.

ISL -> ISL , 3 hours ago
Now if Trump shut the govt down until congress did something about big pharma and the opioid crisis because Congress is in their pocket he would have my support. But then the republicans and dems would jointly impeach him to keep the money spigot flowing.

Decreasing life expectancy is what happens in the sh-tholes to use his term. If he cared about illegal immigration, how about enforcing laws against employing illegal immigrants. Don't republicans who theoretically support capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism) understood supply and demand? (If there is a demand, then supply will meet it)

Oh, because illegal immigrants are good for the bottom line of people, like, well, Trump:

https://www.washingtonpost....

[Jan 10, 2019] How the Hawks Prevailed on Syria by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Behind the candidate's rhetoric there never was enough strategic sense, necessary knowledge, or even caring about foreign affairs to ward off the maneuvers of a determined hawk like Bolton once he was in position to do damage. ..."
Jan 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Pillar comments on Bolton's maneuvers to keep us at war in Syria:

The episode involving withdrawal and non-withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria should be a lesson for those who mistakenly placed hopes in Trump for a more restrained and less militaristic U.S. foreign policy. Applause lines on the campaign trail have been mistaken for deeper thought. Behind the candidate's rhetoric there never was enough strategic sense, necessary knowledge, or even caring about foreign affairs to ward off the maneuvers of a determined hawk like Bolton once he was in position to do damage.

If the first two years of Trump's presidency didn't already make it clear, the last few weeks should have laid to rest any suspicions that the Trump administration is going to put an end to unnecessary foreign wars. It isn't happening. For one thing, everyone around Trump doesn't want those wars to end and will go to considerable lengths to ensure that they continue. That is a result of Trump's own poor personnel choices and bad judgment. It isn't possible to have a "more restrained and less militaristic U.S. foreign policy" when the president's national security team is dominated by reflexive hawks that have never seen a military intervention they didn't want to support. Trump put Bolton in the position he now occupies, and unless he wants to start in on his fourth National Security Advisor within two years we are going to be stuck with the unfortunate consequences of that bad decision for a while longer.

Pillar writes:

The de facto reversal of Trump's withdrawal decision is a victory only for those who -- like Bolton, who still avers that the Iraq War was a good idea -- never met a U.S. military intervention in the Middle East they didn't like and never stop seeing regimes they would like to change with force.

One big problem with the Trump administration is that it is filled with the people who never met an intervention they didn't like. People like that have been the ones shaping administration policies in the region for the last two years, and on Syria they have prevailed once again. It could scarcely be otherwise when there is essentially no one willing or able to make the arguments for the other side of these issues. It is extremely difficult for hawks to lose an internal administration debate when there is no one in the administration that opposes hawkish policies.

SteveJ January 9, 2019 at 10:41 pm

I'm going to give Trump until the end of the year to get us out of these places.

If he doesn't have the backbone for it, like the previous 2 Presidents, then screw him.

[Jan 10, 2019] Chickens coming home to roost for Trump