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War is Racket

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The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics  are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

Ambrose Bierce

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus, Agricola

"When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die."

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord

During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son" (Iraq War and Venture Capitalism by Norman Solomon )

ZNet

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During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son.”

In recent years, some eminent pundits and top government officials have become brazen about praising war as a good investment.

Thomas Friedman’s 1999 book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” summed up a key function of the USA’s high-tech arsenal. “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist,” he wrote. “McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

On Sept. 12, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this way as he defended the U.S. military occupation of Iraq: “Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women -- and we have a large force there now -- we can’t be expected to suddenly just step aside.” He was voicing the terminology and logic of a major capitalist investor.

And so, it was fitting when the New York Times reported days ago that Powell will soon be (in the words of the headline) “Taking a Role in Venture Capitalism.” The article explained that Powell is becoming a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned Silicon Valley venture firm: “Mr. Powell acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that he has had any number of tempting job offers since leaving the State Department in January, but that the chance to work as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins seemed too enticing to turn down.”

Writ large, the balance-sheet outlook of venture capitalism is being widely applied to the current war in Iraq -- even while defenders of the war are apt to indignantly reject any claim that it’s driven by zeal for massive profits. But let’s take the corporate firms at their own words.

Last year, I went through the latest annual reports from some American firms with Pentagon contracts. Those reports acknowledged, as a matter of fact, the basic corporate reliance on the warfare state.

Orbit International Corp., a small business making high-tech products for use by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines, had increased its net sales by nearly $2.4 million during the previous two years, to about $17.1 million -- and the war future was bright. “Looking ahead,” CEO Dennis Sunshine reported, “Orbit’s Electronics and Power Unit Segments expect to continue to benefit from the expanding military/defense and homeland security marketplace.” In its yearly report to federal regulators, Orbit International acknowledged: “We are heavily dependent upon military spending as a source of revenues and income. Accordingly, any substantial future reductions in overall military spending by the U.S. government could have a material adverse effect on our sales and earnings.”

A much larger corporation, Engineered Support Systems, Inc., had quadrupled its net revenues between 1999 and 2003, when they reached $572.7 million. For the report covering 2003, the firm’s top officers signed a statement that declared: “As we have always said, rapid deployment of our armed forces drives our business.” The company’s president, Jerry Potthoff, assured investors: “Our nation’s military is deployed in over 130 countries, so our products and personnel are deployed, as well. As long as America remains the world’s policeman, our products and services will help them complete their missions.”

The gigantic Northrop Grumman firm, while noting that its revenues totaled $26.2 billion in 2003, boasted: “In terms of the portfolio, Northrop Grumman is situated in the ‘sweet spot’ of U.S. defense and national security spending.”

War. How sweet it can be.

This article is adapted from Norman Solomon’s new book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For information, go to:


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[Sep 16, 2019] President Trump Called Former President Carter To Talk About China

Sep 16, 2019 | www.wabe.org

- WABE , Apr 14, 2019

Carter suggested that instead of war, China has been investing in its own infrastructure, mentioning that China has 18,000 miles of high-speed railroad.

"How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?"

Zero, the congregation answered.

"We have wasted I think $3 trillion," Carter said of American military spending. " It's more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war and that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way."

[Sep 16, 2019] The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.

Sep 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Sep 15 2019 15:58 utc | 3

b,

The Americans have gotten themselves in a real bind with their maximum pressure campaign on Iran. This latest attack on Saudi Arabia's oil production looks like an escalation of the previous attacks on shipping and the spy drone. It is not evident how the Americans can respond to this latest attack.

As I see it their options are:

1. To let KSA respond to the Houthi attack and continue with their campaign to shut down Iranian oil production, without any direct U.S. response to the attack. However this will achieve nothing, as next month Iran will up pressure again with another attack on Middle-East oil assets, and we'll be back to the same place.

2. To bomb Iran's oil industry, as Pompeo and Graham suggest. However this risks blowing up the whole Middle East, as well as the World's oil market and their own (Western) economies.

3. Forget about Iran and move the fight to maintain U.S. global hegemony to another front: back to Venezuela? Serbia? Hong Kong? Taiwan? However the end result of such a move would more than likely be another humuliating defeat for the U.S.

4. Do as Stephen Wertheim / New York Times suggest and sue for peace. This will end the dream of U.S. World dominance, Globalization and the current western based financial system. The U.S. will become no more than a heavily indebted regional power in a 'Multi-polar World Order' led by China and Russia.

As I see it, the U.S. is out of options to continue their war for global dominance. #4 is the only viable option. But, as one author argued in a recent paper (I don't have the reference), wars continue long after the victor is clear, because the loser can't admit defeat (at heavy additional costs to the loser). I think that this is the position that the U.S. finds itself in now.


DontBelieveEitherPr. , Sep 15 2019 16:21 utc | 4

What the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure shows us, is that now Iran has united her proxys into one united front.

While they were cautious to not leave evidence of their involvment with the Houtis before, they now are putting their support more and more into the open.

The attack seemed to have involved not only Houti drones (already build with help from Iran), but also Iranian backed forces in Iraq, AND pro Iranian forces in Saudi Arabia itself. And maybe even other actors.

This is a major new development. Not only for the war on Yemen, but also in the context of Iran providing a credile detterence against US+Saudi aggression.
They excalated with increasing levels, and one wonders, what could top this last attack off.

And i am pretty sure, we will find out sooner rather than later.

Don Bacon , Sep 15 2019 20:13 utc | 29
@ 27
WaPo: Abqaiq . .damaged on the west-northwest sides
That's it! It was Hezbollah for sure. (not)

Actually there were two targets, the Buqaiq (Abqaiq) oil processing plant and the Khurais oil field, both in the Eastern Province.

These attacks are not the first -- from longwarjournal:

Last month, the Houthis claimed another drone operation against Saudi's Shaybah oil field near the United Arab Emirates. At more than 1,000 miles away from it's Yemen territory, that strike marked one of the Houthis farthest claimed attacks.
The Houthis also claimed a drone strike on the Abu Dhabi airport last year, but that has been denied by Emirati officials.
Additionally, a drone strike on Saudi's East-West oil pipeline near Riyadh earlier this year, which the Houthis claimed responsibility, was allegedly conducted by Iranian-backed Iraqi militants. If accurate, that means the Houthi claim of responsibility acted as a type of diplomatic cover for the Iraqi militants.
Since beginning its drone program last year, the Houthis have launched at least 103 drone strikes in Yemen and Saudi Arabia according to data compiled by FDD's Long War Journal. . . here . . .and more here .
Hercules , Sep 15 2019 21:27 utc | 35
Really appreciated the write up on the Houthis attack.
Sounds like the attack left substantial damage. Another bigger issue underlying all of this, aside from Saudi inability to get what it wants now from it's IPO, is the fact that the US Patriots did not detect this attack.
The Saudis spent billions last year on this defense system. Sounds like the clown Prince better give Russians a call about their S-400.
But the US wouldn't appreciate that much, would they?

[Sep 13, 2019] The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care? by Jeremy Kuzmaro

Ukraine is mainly the result of attempt of the USA to encircle Russia well as EU design for economic Drang nach Osten -- attempt to displace Russia in xUSSR republics.
So they pushed Ukraine into the pat that Baltic republic were already known for.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians. ..."
"... In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept. ..."
"... She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience." ..."
"... Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War. ..."
"... NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself." ..."
"... To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II." ..."
"... Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military. ..."
"... American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On Saturday September 7, Russia and Ukraine agreed to a prisoner swap which has brought hope of improved relations between the two countries and an end to the 5-year long conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

A peace accord is being planned for later this month in Normandy involving Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.

Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians.

The Ukraine War remains largely unknown to the American public even though the United States has had a great stake in it.

The war started after a coup d'états in Ukraine in February 2014, which overthrew the democratically elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovuch.

In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept.

The United States was a heavy backer of the coup and dirty war that unfolded in the East.

Victoria Nuland, the head of the State Department's European desk, traveled to Ukraine three times during the protests that triggered the coup, handing out cookies to demonstrators.

She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience."

Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War.

Ukraine has long been considered an important bridge between Eastern and Western Europe and holds lucrative oil and gas deposits.

NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II."

Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military.

It was supplied with counter-artillery radars, anti-tank systems, armored vehicles and drones in a policy expanded upon by Trump.

Before and after the Ukrainian military's campaign began, Secretary of State John Kerry, CIA Director John Brennan, and Vice President Joe Biden visited Kiev, followed by a flow of senior Pentagon officials.

A back-door arms pipeline was set up through the United Arab Emirates and Blackwater mercenaries were allegedly deployed.

American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves.

Obama's National Security adviser, Samantha Power, claimed that the [Ukrainian] governments "response [to alleged provocations by eastern rebels] [was] reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any of our countries would have done."

The Ukrainian military and allied warlord and neo-Nazi militias were not acting reasonably or proportionally, however, when they carried out artillery and air attacks on cities and struck residential buildings, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and orphanages in Eastern Ukraine, and tortured and executed POWs in what amounted to clear war crimes.

NYU Professor Stephen Cohen notes that even The New York Times , which mainly deleted atrocities from its coverage, described survivors in Slovyansk living "as if in the Middle Ages."

That the American public knows nothing of these events is a sad reflection of the superficiality of our media and decline in the quality of international news coverage.

It is also a testament to the failing of the political left, which has embraced the cause of immigrant and Palestinian rights and fighting climate change, legitimately, but neglected the plight of the Eastern Ukrainian people. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jeremy Kuzmarov

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[Sep 12, 2019] Saudi jets, armed with US and UK bombs and provided with targeting information by US military intelligence officers stationed in Saudi Arabia,

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/02/yeme-s02.html

"Saudi jets, armed with US and UK bombs and provided with targeting information by US military intelligence officers stationed in Saudi Arabia, have continued to carry out repeated attacks on civilian targets, including schools, hospitals, residential neighborhoods, mosques, funerals and markets. The US had provided coalition jets with mid-air refueling until the end of last year, ensuring maximum carnage."

https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/current-members

Like I was saying Too bad the two foremost war criminal terrorist nations sit on the UNSC.

Mark Chapman September 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm
Funny – their position is exactly the opposite; too bad Russia and China are on the UNSC, if it were not for them, so much more could get done.

[Sep 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

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David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Sep 11, 2019] Andrew Bacevich, Ending War, American-Style

Sep 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

September 11, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. Note that for all of Trump's considerable faults, including hiring John Bolton in the first place and taking too long to get rid of him, Bolton's opposition to finding a way for the US to extricate itself from the war in Afghanistan was reportedly the last straw.

By Andrew Bacevich, who serves as president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . His new book The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory will be published in January. Originally published at TomDispatch

When the conflict that the Vietnamese refer to as the American War ended in April 1975, I was a U.S. Army captain attending a course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In those days, the student body at any of our Army's myriad schools typically included officers from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

Since ARVN's founding two decades earlier, the United States had assigned itself the task of professionalizing that fledgling military establishment. Based on a conviction that the standards, methods, and ethos of our armed forces were universally applicable and readily exportable, the attendance of ARVN personnel at such Army schools was believed to contribute to the professionalizing of the South Vietnamese military.

Evidence that the U.S. military's own professional standards had recently taken a hit -- memories of the My Lai massacre were then still fresh -- elicited no second thoughts on our part. Association with American officers like me was sure to rub off on our South Vietnamese counterparts in ways that would make them better soldiers. So we professed to believe, even while subjecting that claim to no more scrutiny than we did the question of why most of us had spent a year or more of our lives participating in an obviously misbegotten and misguided war in Indochina.

For serving officers at that time one question in particular remained off-limits (though it had been posed incessantly for years by antiwar protestors in the streets of America): Why Vietnam? Prizing compliance as a precondition for upward mobility, military service rarely encourages critical thinking.

On the day that Saigon, the capital of the Republic of Vietnam, fell and that country ceased to exist, I approached one of my ARVN classmates, also a captain, wanting at least to acknowledge the magnitude of the disaster that had occurred. "I'm sorry about what happened to your country," I told him.

I did not know that officer well and no longer recall his name. Let's call him Captain Nguyen. In my dim recollection, he didn't even bother to reply. He simply looked at me with an expression both distressed and mournful. Our encounter lasted no more than a handful of seconds. I then went on with my life and Captain Nguyen presumably with his. Although I have no inkling of his fate, I like to think that he is now retired in Southern California after a successful career in real estate. But who knows?

All I do know is that today I recall our exchange with a profound sense of embarrassment and even shame. My pathetic effort to console Captain Nguyen had been both presumptuous and inadequate. Far worse was my failure -- inability? refusal? -- to acknowledge the context within which that catastrophe was occurring: the United States and its armed forces had, over years, inflicted horrendous harm on the people of South Vietnam.

In reality, their defeat was our defeat. Yet while we had decided that we were done paying, they were going to pay and pay for a long time to come.

Rather than offering a fatuous expression of regret for the collapse of his country, I ought to have apologized for having played even a miniscule role in what was, by any measure, a catastrophe of epic proportions. It's a wonder Captain Nguyen didn't spit in my eye.

I genuinely empathized with Captain Nguyen. Yet the truth is that, along with most other Americans, soldiers and civilians alike, I was only too happy to be done with South Vietnam and all its troubles. Dating back to the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the United States and its armed forces had made a gargantuan effort to impart legitimacy to the Republic of Vietnam and to coerce the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to its north into giving up its determination to exercise sovereignty over the entirety of the country. In that, we had failed spectacularly and at a staggering cost.

"Our" war in Indochina -- the conflict we chose to call the Vietnam War -- officially ended in January 1973 with the signing in Paris of an "Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam." Under the terms of that fraudulent pact, American prisoners of war were freed from captivity in North Vietnam and the last U.S. combat troops in the south left for home, completing a withdrawal begun several years earlier. Primary responsibility for securing the Republic of Vietnam thereby fell to ARVN, long deemed by U.S. commanders incapable of accomplishing that mission.

Meanwhile, despite a nominal cessation of hostilities, approximately 150,000 North Vietnamese regulars still occupied a large swathe of South Vietnamese territory -- more or less the equivalent to agreeing to end World War II when there were still several German panzer tank divisions lurking in Belgium's Ardennes Forest. In effect, our message to our enemy and our ally was this: We're outta here; you guys sort this out . In a bit more than two years, that sorting-out process would extinguish the Republic of Vietnam.

Been There, Done That

The course Captain Nguyen and I were attending in the spring of 1975 paid little attention to fighting wars like the one that, for years, had occupied the attention of my army and his. Our Army, in fact, was already moving on. Having had their fill of triple-canopy jungles in Indochina, America's officer corps now turned to defending the Fulda Gap, the region in West Germany deemed most hospitable to a future Soviet invasion. As if by fiat, gearing up to fight those Soviet forces and their Warsaw Pact allies, should they (however improbably) decide to take on NATO and lunge toward the English Channel, suddenly emerged as priority number one. At Fort Knox and throughout the Army's ranks, we were suddenly focused on "high-intensity combined arms operations" -- essentially, a replay of World War II-style combat with fancier weaponry. In short, the armed forces of the United States had reverted to "real soldiering."

And so it is again today. At the end of the 17th year of what Americans commonly call the Afghanistan War -- one wonders what name Afghans will eventually assign it -- U.S. military forces are moving on. Pentagon planners are shifting their attention back to Russia and China. Great power competition has become the name of the game. However we might define Washington's evolving purposes in its Afghanistan War -- "nation building," "democratization," "pacification" -- the likelihood of mission accomplishment is nil. As in the early 1970s, so in 2019, rather than admitting failure, the Pentagon has chosen to change the subject and is once again turning its attention to "real soldiering."

Remember the infatuation with counterinsurgency (commonly known by its acronym COIN) that gripped the national security establishment around 2007 when the Iraq "surge" overseen by General David Petraeus briefly ranked alongside Gettysburg as a historic victory? Well, these days promoting COIN as the new American way of war has become, to put it mildly, a tough sell. Given that few in Washington will openly acknowledge the magnitude of the military failure in Afghanistan, the incentive for identifying new enemies in settings deemed more congenial becomes all but irresistible.

Only one thing is required to validate this reshuffling of military priorities. Washington needs to create the appearance, as in 1973, that it's exiting Afghanistan on its own terms. What's needed, in short, is an updated equivalent of that "Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam."

Until last weekend, the signing of such an agreement seemed imminent. Donald Trump and his envoy, former ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, appeared poised to repeat the trick that President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger pulled off in 1973 in Paris: pause the war and call it peace. Should fighting subsequently resume after a "decent interval," it would no longer be America's problem. Now, however, to judge by the president's twitter account -- currently the authoritative record of U.S. diplomacy -- the proposed deal has been postponed, or perhaps shelved, or even abandoned altogether. If National Security Advisor John Bolton has his way , U.S. forces might just withdraw in any case, without an agreement of any sort being signed.

Based on what we can divine from press reports, the terms of that prospective Afghan deal would mirror those of the 1973 Paris Accords in one important respect. It would, in effect, serve as a ticket home for the remaining U.S. and NATO troops still in that country (though for the present only the first 5,000 of them would immediately depart). Beyond that, the Taliban was to promise not to provide sanctuary to anti-American terrorist groups, even though the Afghan branch of ISIS is already firmly lodged there. Still, this proviso would allow the Trump administration to claim that it had averted any possible recurrence of the 9/11 terror attacks that were, of course, planned by Osama bin Laden while residing in Afghanistan in 2001 as a guest of the Taliban-controlled government. Mission accomplished , as it were.

Back in 1973, North Vietnamese forces occupying parts of South Vietnam neither disarmed nor withdrew. Should this new agreement be finalized, Taliban forces currently controlling or influencing significant swaths of Afghan territory will neither disarm nor withdraw. Indeed, their declared intention is to continue fighting.

In 1973, policymakers in Washington were counting on ARVN to hold off Communist forces. In 2019, almost no one expects Afghan security forces to hold off a threat consisting of both the Taliban and ISIS. In a final insult, just as the Saigon government was excluded from U.S. negotiations with the North Vietnamese, so, too, has the Western-installed government in Kabul been excluded from U.S. negotiations with its sworn enemy, the Taliban.

A host of uncertainties remain. As with the olive branches that President Trump has ostentatiously offered to Russia, China, and North Koea, this particular peace initiative may come to naught -- or, given the approach of the 2020 elections, he may decide that Afghanistan offers his last best hope of claiming at least one foreign policy success. One way or another, in all likelihood, the deathwatch for the U.S.-backed Afghan government has now begun. One thing only is for sure. Having had their fill of Afghanistan, when the Americans finally leave, they won't look back. In that sense, it will be Vietnam all over again.

What Price Peace?

However great my distaste for President Trump, I support his administration's efforts to extricate the United States from Afghanistan. I do so for the same reason I supported the Paris Peace Accords of 1973. Prolonging this folly any longer does not serve U.S. interests. Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you're doing something really stupid, stop. To my mind, this rule seems especially applicable when the lives of American soldiers are at stake.

In Vietnam, Washington wasted 58,000 of those lives for nothing. In Afghanistan, we have lost more than 2,300 troops , with another 20,000 wounded, again for next to nothing. Last month, two American Special Forces soldiers were killed in a firefight in Faryab Province. For what?

That said, I'm painfully aware of the fact that, on the long-ago day when I offered Captain Nguyen my feeble condolences, I lacked the imagination to conceive of the trials about to befall his countrymen. In the aftermath of the American War, something on the order of 800,000 Vietnamese took to open and unseaworthy boats to flee their country. According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Most of those who survived were destined to spend years in squalid refugee camps scattered throughout Southeast Asia. Back in Vietnam itself, some 300,000 former ARVN officers and South Vietnamese officials were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps for up to 18 years. Reconciliation did not rank high on the postwar agenda of the unified country's new leaders.

Meanwhile, for the Vietnamese, north and south, the American War has in certain ways only continued. Mines and unexploded ordnance left from that war have inflicted more than 100,000 casualties since the last American troops departed. Even today, the toll caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that the U.S. Air Force sprayed with abandon over vast stretches of territory continues to mount. The Red Cross calculates that more than one million Vietnamese have suffered health problems, including serious birth defects and cancers as a direct consequence of the promiscuous use of those poisons as weapons of war.

For anyone caring to calculate the moral responsibility of the United States for its actions in Vietnam, all of those would have to find a place on the final balance sheet. The 1.3 million Vietnamese admitted to the United States as immigrants since the American War formally concluded can hardly be said to make up for the immense damage suffered by the people of Vietnam as a direct or indirect result of U.S. policy.

As to what will follow if Washington does succeed in cutting a deal with the Taliban, well, don't count on President Trump (or his successor for that matter) welcoming anything like 1.3 million Afghan refugees to the United States once a "decent interval" has passed. Yet again, our position will be: we're outta here; you guys sort this out.

Near the end of his famed novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald described two of his privileged characters, Tom and Daisy, as "careless people" who "smashed up things and creatures" and then "retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness" to "let other people clean up the mess they had made." That description applies to the United States as a whole, especially when Americans tire of a misguided war. We are a careless people. In Vietnam, we smashed up things and human beings with abandon, only to retreat into our money, leaving others to clean up the mess in a distinctly bloody fashion.

Count on us, probably sooner rather than later, doing precisely the same thing in Afghanistan.


RBHoughton , September 11, 2019 at 1:05 am

Bacevich is right. Vietnam was a tragedy. Here we are at Ground Hog Day in Afghanistan.

I was touched by the author's recollection of Capt Nguyen. I well know that awful moment when , reflecting on some past event, I have recognised my own actions as insensitive, crass and unfeeling. How do we get so wrapped-up in ourselves that the feelings of others hardly impinge on our sensitivities? What happened to society? Is that where the West has gone wrong?

Btw, quote "to judge by the president's twitter account -- currently the authoritative record of U.S. diplomacy" unquote. I hope those owning the Twitter Nest note the future use of their archive.

VietnamVet , September 11, 2019 at 3:42 am

Andrew Bacevich is right. However, there is an amazing human disinclination to face facts but live with delusions which risk extinction for immediate gratification. The lessons from Vietnam were never learned. The Bush/Cheney fateful decision to occupy Afghanistan at the same time as invading Iraq ultimately led to the current predatory corporate military rule that will never voluntarily withdraw from overseas. The intent of the media/intelligence coup against the President is to prevent peace from breaking out. Executives and wealthy shareholders would lose their taxpayer gravy train. The troops and contractors now in Eastern Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are expendable. They will not have two years to get out. No planning, deep-sixing science, and profits over safety all assure that sooner or later there will be another black swan event. Be it Brexit, closure of Strait of Hormuz, subprime auto loans, WWIII, or climate change, assuredly something will give the final push and the American Empire will collapse.

Mattski , September 11, 2019 at 7:43 am

"Après moi, le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society."

No Pasaran , September 11, 2019 at 5:05 am

Prof. Bacevich is very perceptive and he writes well; his essays are always worth reading. Nevertheless, he is a retired US Army officer after all and there is that thing about leopards and spots. There is a tell in this article, when he speaks of the day that Saigon 'fell'. I too remember well that day in April of '75. I was studying in Madison, on the GI Bill. My friends and I all rejoiced on that day, as Saigon had finally been 'liberated'.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 11:13 am

I was at high school in the UK, and my friends and I also rejoiced on that day.

Donald , September 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Why rejoice? The point should be that the US had no business in Vietnam, not that one group finally succeeded in uniting the country under the rule of one dictatorial party. Not all Vietnamese welcomed the "liberation" and many died fleeing the country.

I am sure this will be misunderstood, so I'll add that I think that the US role was one massive war crime and we never should have been there at all, that Ho Chi Minh probably would have won a fair election in the 1950's etc

Being antiwar has nothing necessarily to do with favoring the side our government opposes. It simply means that there is no moral justification for the US invading Vietnam or Iraq, supporting jihadists in Syria, helping the Saudis and the Israelis bomb civilians, and so on.

The Rev Kev , September 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Prof. Bacevich has an personal stake in what he writes about. His son, Lt. Andrew John Bacevich, was killed in action by an IED during the occupation back in 2007. He was already a severe critic of the war at the time but I am guessing that this underlined the futility of it tall.

Ignacio , September 11, 2019 at 6:01 am

Although it is true that the willing of Trump to put an end to the Afghan occupation must be seen as a positive, his policy of ever increasing military budgets make this affirmation from Bacevich "the incentive for identifying new enemies in settings deemed more congenial becomes all but irresistible" truer that ever. These expenditures must be justified in practical terms and It worries me what the new enemies in Trump's brain are.

fajensen , September 11, 2019 at 8:17 am

One was hoping that the Space Marines would focus The Decider's attention firmly on those pesky Centaurians .

Ignacio , September 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

Ha, ha hah!
Yes, Hollywood has made a big effort to explain us, the common people, that US's military expenses will protect us from Centaurians, Klingons, meteorites and some other rogue invaders. I cannot imagine any other reason.

Steve H. , September 11, 2019 at 6:37 am

> Prizing compliance as a precondition for upward mobility, military service rarely encourages critical thinking.

John Boyd: "And you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go." He raised his hand and pointed. "If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments." Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. "Or you can go that way and you can do something -- something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?" [Robert Coram]

Jesper , September 11, 2019 at 7:42 am

Which is worse? Living in a cave in Afghanistan or living in a prison in Europe/US?
If the invasion of Afghanistan was about capturing some people and then imprisoning them then that question might possibly be relevant.
If the invasion was about prestige then sometimes the best revenge and biggest insult is to treat that someone as irrelevant and insignificant. If the opportunity presents itself to do something then by all means do something, do what prestige demands but if that does not happen then what?
Sometimes the measure of someone is had by the measure of his/her enemies. Giving someone the significance of being the enemy might provide that someone with a better life. There are people with money who'd be willing to fund the enemy of their enemy. But how do those financiers know if they are funding some chancers/charlatans or the real thing? Spread some uncertainty about who are charlatans/chancers and see what happens to the funding . Maybe the guilty ones might feel it necessary to publicly provide the necessary proof of their guilt, doubtful but & if the location of them is found then threaten closure of the diplomatic missions of the nation where they are unless they are handed over. The diplomatic missions are cushy positions and closing them will only hurt the 'elite', the general population is left unharmed.

Afghanistan is unlikely to change anytime soon. As with all predictions of the future that one might be very wrong. However, the ones predicting that Afghanistan can and will change due to military occupation are in my opinion the ones who need to somehow provide support for their prediction.

The Rev Kev , September 11, 2019 at 9:11 am

A few predictions here. After the US and the rest of the Coalition leaves Afghanistan, not much happens for awhile. But then the government starts to lose ground. Slowly at first, and then quickly. Eventually Kabul falls. Long before then the US and other countries would have had evacuated their embassies so that there is no repeat of the frantic helicopter evacuations like happened in Saigon. There is a swell of refugees, particularly those who worked with the Coalition but Trump refuses all entry of them into the US saying that there are "very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers" in Afghanistan.
Five years after the last troops are out of Afghanistan the war is all but forgotten in the same way that the vets of the Korean War were forgotten. Not for nothing did they call Korea the "Forgotten War.' By then the US is immersed in another campaign – probably in Africa – and news about what is happening in Afghanistan is relegated to the back pages. The vets will remember, but the nation will ignore them in the same way that Vietnam vets were forgotten after that war ended until the striking Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built in Washington by the vets themselves. In West Point text books, the war is relegated to the back pages as the cadets will instead study peer warfare with Russia and China.

Alex Cox , September 11, 2019 at 1:50 pm

One very important question remains.
By 2001 the Taliban had reduced opium production to virtually zero. Every year since the US/NATO invasion, opium production has increased.
What will the Afghans do when the US and British are no longer around to facilitate the heroin trade? Perhaps that's why negotiations are proving so difficult.

ewmayer , September 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

"By 2001 the Taliban had reduced opium production to virtually zero."

You need to update things past 2001 :

The Taliban banned the cultivation of opium in 2001, shortly before being ousted by the US-led NATO coalition. However, after 2005, the Taliban began to regroup, and encouraged opium production to finance its insurgency by forcing locals to grow opium and punishing those who refused. Besides, major opium traffickers annually pay vast amounts to the Taliban in exchange for safe transport routes secured by the group.

The Taliban uses the money it collects from the opium trade to pay fighters' salaries, buy fuel, food, weapons and explosives. Based on some reports, around 40% of the Taliban's funding comes from opium production, while the rest of its expenditure is borne by foreign patrons and tax collections. The group's annual income from the opium trade was estimated to be $400 million in 2011, but it is believed to have significantly increased in recent years.

The Taliban collect two types of taxes from opium businesses: a transportation tax from drug trafficking and a 10% tax from opium cultivation. In exchange, the group provides security for the drug convoys and carries out attacks on government institutions like checkpoints in order to allow drug convoys to pass. The group has also launched attacks on government forces to safeguard drug labs and factories.

The Taliban don't need US/UK to facilitate things. In fact, getting the US out of the country might eliminate one of their major Heroin-related business rivals, the CIA.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 11:10 am

Bacevich states, "Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you're doing something really stupid, stop. To my mind, this rule seems especially applicable when the lives of American soldiers are at stake. In Vietnam, Washington wasted 58,000 of those lives for nothing."
Why does he find his rule especially applicable to the paltry number of US dead, given that at least fifty times as many Indochinese died?
This attitude is surely one reason for the loathing felt by much of the world toward the USA. People are justifiably sick of hearing how US lives are inherently more valuable than their own.

juliania , September 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I guess you missed this part of the article:

" That said, I'm painfully aware of the fact that, on the long-ago day when I offered Captain Nguyen my feeble condolences, I lacked the imagination to conceive of the trials about to befall his countrymen. In the aftermath of the American War, something on the order of 800,000 Vietnamese took to open and unseaworthy boats to flee their country. According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Most of those who survived were destined to spend years in squalid refugee camps scattered throughout Southeast Asia. Back in Vietnam itself, some 300,000 former ARVN officers and South Vietnamese officials were imprisoned in so-called reeducation camps for up to 18 years. Reconciliation did not rank high on the postwar agenda of the unified country's new leaders.

Meanwhile, for the Vietnamese, north and south, the American War has in certain ways only continued. Mines and unexploded ordnance left from that war have inflicted more than 100,000 casualties since the last American troops departed. Even today, the toll caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides that the U.S. Air Force sprayed with abandon over vast stretches of territory continues to mount. The Red Cross calculates that more than one million Vietnamese have suffered health problems, including serious birth defects and cancers as a direct consequence of the promiscuous use of those poisons as weapons of war.

For anyone caring to calculate the moral responsibility of the United States for its actions in Vietnam, all of those would have to find a place on the final balance sheet. The 1.3 million Vietnamese admitted to the United States as immigrants since the American War formally concluded can hardly be said to make up for the immense damage suffered by the people of Vietnam as a direct or indirect result of U.S. policy ."

Note in particular the phrase "the people of Vietnam" in the last sentence. I find your criticism to be unwarranted.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I neither missed nor ignored Bacevich's caveat.
I was focusing on his 'rule number one', which seems to make the lives of a few US soldiers more sacred than those of the many people – civilians as well as soldiers – they kill.
I am not trying to say that Bacevich is as evil and abhorrent as say Bolton. I don't think he is, though I suspect he's on the same side when it comes down to it.
I am suggesting that the USA will fail to win the hearts and minds of the world's people while killing them and belittling their deaths.

(and you might note the phrase "can hardly be said to make up for" in the last sentence!)

John Wright , September 11, 2019 at 6:38 pm

As I remember the movie Dr. Strangelove, as the USA nuclear weapon was launched toward Russia, Russia was given an option to destroy some USA cities as a way of the USA doing fair and suitable penance.

I don't imagine the USA's military is viewed in the world as other than operating in the USA elites' interests, despite any media (Cable, internet, print,Hollywood films) verbiage about "bringing democracy" or "bringing freedom" to other nations.

I believe the Peace Corps was established as a way to make the world a better place with USA's expertise and as a way to win "hearts and minds of the world's people".

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Corps , the Peace Corps budget in 2018 was 398 million.

The USA defense budget for 2019 is shown as 686 billion putting the Peace Corps budget as 0.058% of the, perhaps understated, defense budget.

I believe winning the world's hearts and minds via USA military action is very unlikely at best.

The small Peace Corps budget is evidence that concern about winning hearts and minds in foreign countries is a very small priority in Washington D.C.

Ford Prefect , September 11, 2019 at 11:44 am

If you fund, arm, and train an army for a decade and it still can't defend itself against insurgents, then you have to wonder whose side is right? If it actually had the backing of the people on the ground and dedicated troops and government, then it should be able to hold its ground well.

The US has had exactly the same outcomes in Vietnam and Afghanistan with training the respective armies.

In Iraq, it is largely coherent tribal entities of Kurds and Shiites that have been providing the backbone of relatively successful military organizations (not the same one despite being in the same country). Both groups have their own independent goals. The US forefeited its abiltiy to create a true national army in Iraq when they disbanded the former Iraqi Army shortly after invading. That resulted in a well-trained insurgency.

Ian Perkins , September 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

"The US has had exactly the same outcomes in Vietnam and Afghanistan with training the respective armies."
Hardly. From 1979 the US funded, armed and trained the Mujaheddin, who won. I'm not aware of them funding, arming or training the Viet Cong or Viet Minh.
They didn't win when they backed the losing sides, that's true. But it isn't saying much beyond the obvious.

Susan the other` , September 11, 2019 at 3:12 pm

I like Bacevich but he really demurred from making his underlying point. He asked "Why Vietnam" and then he proceeded to fluff through that question. But the analogy to Afghanistan remains at a much deeper level. That level (imo) is this: Why Vietnam? Because, at that hysterical cold war turning point, Vietnam was the gateway to Southern China (Gore Vidal). Our main objective was to position ourselves to invade Southern China and protect the old imperialist interests of the UK and France (aka Nato). But we dithered and hesitated. Thank god. It could have been a much worse debacle. So here it is: We invaded Afghanistan and sent a zillion dollars worth of materiel to Iraq in order to take over the Middle East. And that meant invading Iran. But just like China, Iran was a dangerous plan. Too many things could go wrong, so everyone knew they would go wrong. Duh. And so we dithered and hesitated. And made up for it by blatant propaganda for 15 years. We're "outta there" because we should never have been in there. And one of the tragedies is our abandonment of the Kurds. Just like the South Vietnamese. Bacevich didn't mention the Kurds. He implied our abandonment would upset the poor Afghans. But, they won't care at all. They'll be flipping all of our departing helicopters the bird. Still there was a point to be made about our fecklessness. Interesting aside here that Bacevich, a well thought-out moral person, is the new President of the Quincy Institute. It will probably become famous for deep, murky contradictions. And pompous rationalizations without ever really making the point. Just to the taste of Soros and the Kochs.

Susan the other` , September 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

I suspect, re Afghanistan, there is an upside that will never be made into a finer point. That is, we have worn out the appetite for a wider war for all concerned and managed to come to agreement with all parties of interest in Middle East oil. Including Russia. And Israel. And nobody will make much fuss about it, but we will still leave a very high-tech military contingent in Afghanistan because Eurasia is a vast opportunity.

barrisj , September 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Vietnam War strictly motivated by the "Domino Theory" and "monolithic Asian communism", per Dean Rusk, McGeorge Bundy, et al. Kennedy was said to be having "second thoughts" about expanded US presence at the time of his assassination; however, LBJ went all-in, urged on by McNamara and the generals 11 years later it all went tits-up, Nixon ended the draft, all relatively quiet on the war front, then Carter and Brzezinski funded Islamic militants in Afghanistan to harry the Russkies and ca. 20yrs later, Cheney-Bush repeat the Russian quagmire plus ça change etc" .

stan6565 , September 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm

The author is too limited in his appraisals of USA wars, and the commentariat here too polite to expand on the list of the criminal wars waged by the USA since Vietnam.

Iraq and Afghanistan were mentioned, yes, but there were also open wars of aggression against Yugoslavia, then Serbia, Grenada and Libya as well as clandestine wars against a good chunk of the globe, Israel/Palestine, Russian backyard countries, China, Venezuela, a swathe of Central American countries, and so on ad infinitum.

USA's holy grail of subjugating all oil producing countries in the world, except for those that can fight back, and purported payment to those unable to fight back, with readily printable papers of questionable value, is not a long term strategy. Not long term as in 10 or 20 more years. Then what? John Bolton or his clone on a cocktail of steroids and amphetamine, lobbing nuclear weapons indiscriminately all over the place?

The Indispensable Nation.

[Sep 10, 2019] Yemen Another Shameful US Defeat Looms by Finian Cunningham

Notable quotes:
"... A UN report published last week explicitly held the US, Britain and France liable for complicity in massive war crimes from their unstinting supply of warplanes, munitions and logistics to the Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have indiscriminately bombed civilians and public infrastructure. ..."
"... The infernal humanitarian conditions and complicity in war crimes can no longer be concealed by Washington's mendacity about allegedly combating "Iran subversion" in Yemen. The southern Arabian Peninsula country is an unmitigated PR disaster for official American pretensions of being a world leader in democratic and law-abiding virtue. ..."
"... After four years of relentless air strikes, which has become financially ruinous for the Saudi monarchy and its precocious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who conceived the war, the Houthis still remain in control of the capital Sanaa and large swathes of the country. Barbaric bombardment and siege-starvation imposed on Yemen has not dislodged the rebels. ..."
"... The defeat is further complicated by the open conflict which has broken out over recent weeks between rival militants sponsored by the Saudis and Emiratis in the southern port city of Aden. There are reports of UAE warplanes attacking Saudi-backed militants and of Saudi force build-up. A war of words has erupted between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. There is strong possibility that the rival factions could blow up into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, supposed coalition allies. ..."
"... When the US starts to talk about "ending the war" with a spin about concern for "mutual peace", then you know the sordid game is finally up. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

... ... ...

The war was launched by the US-backed Saudi coalition, including the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015, without any provocation from Yemen. The precipitating factor was that the Houthis, a mainly Shia rebel group aligned with Iran, had kicked out a corrupt Saudi-backed dictator at the end of 2014. When he tucked tail and fled to exile in Saudi capital Riyadh, that's when the Saudis launched their aerial bombing campaign on Yemen.

The slaughter in Yemen over the past four years has been nothing short of a calamity for the population of nearly 28 million people. The UN estimates that nearly 80 per cent of the nation is teetering on hunger and disease.

A UN report published last week explicitly held the US, Britain and France liable for complicity in massive war crimes from their unstinting supply of warplanes, munitions and logistics to the Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have indiscriminately bombed civilians and public infrastructure. The UN report also blamed the Houthis for committing atrocities. That may be so, but the preponderance of deaths and destruction in Yemen is due to American, British and French military support to the Saudi-led coalition. Up to 100,ooo civilians may have been killed from the Western-backed blitzkrieg, while the Western media keep quoting a figure of "10,000", which magically never seems to increase over the past four years.

Several factors are pressing the Trump administration to wind down the Yemen war.

The infernal humanitarian conditions and complicity in war crimes can no longer be concealed by Washington's mendacity about allegedly combating "Iran subversion" in Yemen. The southern Arabian Peninsula country is an unmitigated PR disaster for official American pretensions of being a world leader in democratic and law-abiding virtue.

When the American Congress is united in calling for a ban on US arms to Saudi Arabia because of the atrocities in Yemen, then we should know that the PR war has been lost. President Trump over-ruled Congress earlier this year to continue arming the Saudis in Yemen. But even Trump must at last be realizing his government's culpability for aiding and abetting genocide is no longer excusable, even for the most credulous consumers of American propaganda.

After four years of relentless air strikes, which has become financially ruinous for the Saudi monarchy and its precocious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who conceived the war, the Houthis still remain in control of the capital Sanaa and large swathes of the country. Barbaric bombardment and siege-starvation imposed on Yemen has not dislodged the rebels.

Not only that but the Houthis have begun to take the war into the heart of Saudi Arabia. Over the past year, the rebels have mounted increasingly sophisticated long-range drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi military bases and the capital Riyadh. From where the Houthis are receiving their more lethal weaponry is not clear. Maybe from Lebanon's Hezbollah or from Iran. In any case, such supply if confirmed could be argued as legitimate support for a country facing aggression.

No doubt the Houthis striking deep into Saudi territory has given the pampered monarchs in Riyadh serious pause for thought.

When the UAE – the other main coalition partner – announced a month ago that it was scaling back its involvement in Yemen that must have rattled Washington and Riyadh that the war was indeed futile.

The defeat is further complicated by the open conflict which has broken out over recent weeks between rival militants sponsored by the Saudis and Emiratis in the southern port city of Aden. There are reports of UAE warplanes attacking Saudi-backed militants and of Saudi force build-up. A war of words has erupted between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. There is strong possibility that the rival factions could blow up into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, supposed coalition allies.

Washington has doubtless taken note of the unstoppable disaster in Yemen and how its position is indefensible and infeasible.

Like so many other obscene American wars down through the decades, Washington is facing yet another ignominious defeat in Yemen. When the US starts to talk about "ending the war" with a spin about concern for "mutual peace", then you know the sordid game is finally up.

[Sep 10, 2019] The msm , Hollywood, etc. all sing from the same song-sheet. "USA is great", ignore all the wars they have lost, ignore the astronomical military financial expenditure (declared and hidden)

Sep 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder | Sep 5 2019 19:04 utc | 18

The American military is advanced over both Russia and China in one sense - they have access to endless taxpayers' dollars to fund their programs, many of which are complete failures.

Ike , Sep 5 2019 19:45 utc | 23
Putin can offer Trump hyper-sonic missiles knowing he cannot accept. To accept these would display the USA's technical military inferiority for all to see. The msm , Hollywood, etc. all sing from the same song-sheet. "USA is great", ignore all the wars they have lost, ignore the astronomical military financial expenditure (declared and hidden).

Just like Reagan's star-wars program public perception is everything

[Sep 09, 2019] Meet American Empire's 'Doctor Death' The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... by Stephen Kinzer, September 2019, Henry Holt & Co., 368 pages ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Meet American Empire's 'Doctor Death' Stephen Kinzer's new book shows how Greatest Generation spooks justified their horrific experiments on unwitting Americans. By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos September 10, 2019

(Photo by © Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images). On right, Sidney Gottlieb testifies before Congress in the 1970's Poisoner In Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control by Stephen Kinzer, September 2019, Henry Holt & Co., 368 pages

In the 1962 film adaptation of Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate, a diabolical North Korean doctor named Yen Lo tells Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw to "pass the time with a little solitaire." These trigger words, accompanied by a Queen of Diamonds playing card, prompts the lanky soldier to get up, and when instructed, brutally kill two of his own comrades sitting on the stage, both of whom appear under the same trance as Raymond.

Later, we find out this was not a dream but a real test of Shaw's programming through elaborate mind control, undertaken before he is sent home to the United States as a sleeper agent for a Communist Party cell, led by his own mother. "His brain has not only been washed, as they say, but cleaned," declares a gleeful Dr. Lo.

"The Manchurian Candidate" (1962, Universal Artists)

The film was released when the country was in a state of high Cold War anxiety. The idea that the Communists were deep into finding a way to brainwash and program individuals to deploy as weapons of war was not new, of course. It was just finding its way into the increasingly paranoid popular culture. But what Americans did not know was that our own government was in part responsible for those stories as a cover for their own brainwashing experiments, which were racing along at the speed of a freight train.

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In 1953, Allen Dulles told a group of fellow Princeton alumni that the U.S. was far behind the Russians and North Koreans in "brain warfare." He warned of a mind control gap that would likely grow because "we in the West..have no human guinea pigs to try these extraordinary techniques."

This was a lie of breathtaking proportions. For several years, his CIA had already been conducting extreme experiments on unwitting "human guinea pigs" at black sites in France, Germany, and South Korea. Shortly after he broadcast this cynical lament to the Princeton lads, he approved MK-ULTRA, the most illicit and morally corrupt intelligence program in American history (that we know of). In it, the CIA tested a stomach roiling variety of unregulated drugs, electro-shock, sensory deprivation, and other extreme techniques on unwitting souls across the United States -- in "safe houses," prisons, psychiatric hospitals, doctors' offices -- even in the CIA itself. People died, went crazy, or withered away in a vegetative state, often with little or no clue of what had happened to them.

In Poisoner in Chief, released today, journalist and author Stephen Kinzer makes Dr. Sidney Gottlieb the manifestation of the U.S. government's Cold War obsession with winning, its warped moral compass, and its utter disregard for the law. From 1951 to the late 1960s, under Dulles' protection, Gottlieb was the principal player in what can only be called a maniacal mission to find the perfect drug to destroy/control/reprogram the human mind (he believed, though he was never able to prove, that the drug was LSD).

Gottlieb was also the chief scientist in a CIA program that developed poisons with which to assassinate world leaders (failed attempts included Cuba's Fidel Castro and Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba), tested aerosol-delivered germs and deadly gases, and honed extreme torture techniques. He's been called Dr. Death, Washington's "official poisoner," and a mad scientist. But "Sidney Gottlieb" never became a household name, mostly because he never paid for his crimes. Thanks to Deep State politics, statutes of limitations, a great lawyer, and depressingly weak congressional investigators, Gottlieb was able to take the worst of his secrets to the grave in 1999.

Now, pulling together a trove of existing research, newly unearthed documents, and fresh interviews, Kinzer puts the fetid corpus of American Empire back under a microscope. It isn't pretty -- but it is instructive.

"Commitment to a cause provides the ultimate justification for immoral acts. Patriotism is the most seductive of those causes," Kinzer surmises in an attempt to give context to Gottlieb and Dulles, and Gottlieb's closest patron and conspirator, Richard Helms, who served as CIA chief after Dulles and during the later years of MK-ULTRA.

"Some do things they know are wrong for what they consider good reasons," Kinzer continued. "No one else of Gottlieb's generation, however, had the government-given power to do so many things that were so profoundly and horrifically wrong. No other American -- at least, none that we know of -- ever wielded such terrifying life-or-death power while remaining so completely invisible."

With so much material to work with, Poisoner in Chief is a parade of outrages. But by the time the twisted calliope falls silent, two major themes are left to contemplate.

First, Gottlieb did not emerge in a vacuum but in the primordial ooze of moral justification following World War II. While America was putting its public virtue on display during the Nuremberg trials , the army under the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was courting Nazi scientists who had been involved in the most grotesque human experimentation imaginable during the war. Their expertise in biological warfare and psychoactive drugs was highly prized. The Americans had to make sure, after all, that the commies didn't get to them first.

So under Operation Paperclip , the army "bleached" their records and brought these men in among several hundred other scientists, engineers, and technicians who served the Third Reich. Instead of prison, they were settled into comfortable obscurity in suburban Washington, working for the U.S. government.

For those whose crimes were not so easily scrubbed, the army found ways to collaborate with them overseas in even less controlled environs. Like Kurt Blome , a Nazi scientist who deliberately infected prisoners with deadly viruses, including the plague, at the Auschwitz concentration camp and other sites. After saving him from the gallows at Nuremburg, officials quietly installed him in the European Command Intelligence Center at Oberursel, West Germany -- otherwise known as "Camp King" -- to conduct more experiments, but on our side.

The same went for Japanese scientist Shiro Ishi, who was reportedly responsible for some 10,000 deaths in and around his Manchurian complex called Unit 731 during the war. His ghastly activities included everything from slow-roasting test subjects with electricity, to amputating limbs and dissecting people alive to monitor their slow deaths. At one point, he lined up naked Chinese women and children to see how long they would live after being struck by shrapnel in the buttocks. He also created tons of anthrax that was later used to kill thousands of Chinese civilians.

But instead of bringing this monster to justice, U.S. agents granted Ishi and his Japanese collaborators immunity and obtained all of his research on how toxins affect the body -- including all of the tissue slides from people whose organs were taken out while they were still alive. "Scientists at Camp Detrick (Maryland) were delighted," Kinzer writes.

"Thus did the man responsible for directing the dissection of thousands of living prisoners escape punishment," he adds, noting that Ishi and his minions were deployed to U.S. detention centers in East Asia, where they "helped Americans conceive and carry out experiments on human subjects that could not legally be conducted in the United States.

Secondly, Kinzer highlights how easily American government officials adopted their former wartime foes' detached, ruthless approach to human experimentation, embarking without guidance or oversight on what appears to be a fanatical quest without consequences. At a time when many Americans were zooming to suburbia in search of "Leave it to Beaver," Gottlieb was hiring people like George White, straight out of "The Sweet Smell of Success."

White was "a hard charging narcotics detective who lived large in the twilight world of crime and drugs" writes Kinzer. In 1953 he started setting up "safe houses" in New York and San Francisco where he would use pay hoodlums and prostitutes in drugs and dough to dose unsuspecting subjects with increasing amounts of LSD at "parties" while the CIA peeped the action from two-way mirrors outfitted with cameras.

Meanwhile, Gottlieb gave tons of cash and LSD to doctors like Harris Isbell at the Addiction Research Center in Lexington, Kentucky. "Officially this center was a hospital, but it functioned more like a prison," writes Kizner. "Most inmates were African American from the margins of society. They were unlikely to complain if abused."

And abused they were, like most of the test subjects at the prison programs financed by the CIA. If they were told they were part of a test (agreement was typically in exchange for something, like good behavior credits or high grade heroin), they weren't told what kind of drugs they were given or how much. Many of the experiments involved dosing subjects with greater and greater amounts of LSD over long periods of time. Gottlieb wanted to see at what point the mind would dissolve. "He was pleased to have secured a supply of 'expendables' across the United States," Kinzer notes.

Certainly his test subjects at the CIA interrogation cites overseas were "expendable." Kinzer offers a number of cases in which foreign detainees, usually suspected spies, were given massive amounts of different drugs "to see if their minds could be altered." Others were given electro shock. They were later killed, "and their bodies burned."

Then there were the seemingly random tragedies. Like art student Stanley Glickman who was believed to be drugged directly by Gottlieb while at a Paris cafe in 1952, and then taken into a hospital where more "testing" occurred. It was the end of "his productive life," writes Kinzer. Glickman died alone and mentally ill in New York city several decades later. Or Frank Olson, a CIA scientist who "fell or jumped" from a Manhattan hotel window after being unwittingly dosed at a "retreat" hosted by Gottlieb a week earlier. Though his family tried, they were never able to pin his strange death on Gottlieb or the government.

"A Clockwork Orange" (Warner Bros./1971)

Kinzer shows that sometimes paranoia comes from a very real place -- that Big Brother was not only watching, but for nearly 20 years he was drugging and testing germs and other toxins on unsuspecting Americans like they were laboratory animals. And Gottlieb, Dulles, and Helms were no fictional spawn of an over-active imagination. They were highly respected and powerful men with a combined 105 years of government service. They were the system.

So how do we digest this today? We can start by acknowledging that the ends will always justify the means because the government always gets away with it. And we are still living with the effects. The torture techniques set into motion in the 1950's, for example, later surfaced in the dark corners of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, and more recently in the dirty cells of Abu Ghraib detention center.

Indeed, with a head full of Red Menace and lord knows what else, these so-called stalwart men of the "Greatest Generation" pounded the earth as though America owned the world. Perhaps it did. American Empire had many faces during the Cold War, and thanks to Kinzer, Sidney Gottlieb is one you shouldn't forget.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is e xecutive editor at . Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC

[Sep 08, 2019] The Case for Restraint Drawing the Curtain on the American Empire by Stewart M. Patrick

Notable quotes:
"... " Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Do Better) " is a scalding indictment not only of the 45th U.S. president, but also of a morally bankrupt national security establishment whose addiction to empire has embroiled the nation in misbegotten military misadventures. ..."
"... Glaser, Preble and Thrall see Trump -- the "least informed, least experienced, and least intellectually prepared U.S. president in modern memory" -- as more bark than bite. True, he has altered specific U.S. positions on trade (more protectionism), immigration (greater closure) and human rights (deafening silence). But, on balance, they perceive a depressing continuity between Trump's foreign policy and what preceded it. Abetted by an invertebrate Congress and emboldened by the military-industrial complex, Trump has doubled down on the imperial presidency, on inflated threat perceptions, on defense spending and on the pursuit of global domination. In so doing, they claim, Trump is setting a course for continued interventionism that is at odds with U.S. ideals and dangerous to American liberty. ... ..."
Aug 26, 2019 | www.worldpoliticsreview.com

In a provocative new book, three scholars from the libertarian Cato Institute -- John Glaser, Christopher A. Preble and A. Trevor Thrall -- counsel the United States to abandon the pursuit of global primacy for a policy of prudence and restraint. " Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Do Better) " is a scalding indictment not only of the 45th U.S. president, but also of a morally bankrupt national security establishment whose addiction to empire has embroiled the nation in misbegotten military misadventures. American foreign policy professionals may cast the United States as a benevolent hegemon, defending the liberal or "rules-based" international order. But this self-serving argument is hard to take seriously, they write, given the hubris, hypocrisy and coerciveness of the American imperium.

The most surprising argument in "Fuel to the Fire" is that this misguided orientation has persisted under Donald Trump. This seems counterintuitive. Washington's mandarins have recoiled in bipartisan horror as the president dismantles their handiwork and pursues his "America First" agenda. Glaser, Preble and Thrall see Trump -- the "least informed, least experienced, and least intellectually prepared U.S. president in modern memory" -- as more bark than bite. True, he has altered specific U.S. positions on trade (more protectionism), immigration (greater closure) and human rights (deafening silence). But, on balance, they perceive a depressing continuity between Trump's foreign policy and what preceded it. Abetted by an invertebrate Congress and emboldened by the military-industrial complex, Trump has doubled down on the imperial presidency, on inflated threat perceptions, on defense spending and on the pursuit of global domination. In so doing, they claim, Trump is setting a course for continued interventionism that is at odds with U.S. ideals and dangerous to American liberty. ...

[Sep 06, 2019] Imagine if America had to answer for its war crimes caucus99percent

Notable quotes:
"... @gulfgal98 ..."
"... It is what all people of knowledge and conscience must prioritize accomplishing over any and all other concerns with the exception of the environment. ..."
"... literal medical necessity ..."
"... @humphrey ..."
"... My own take is that "America" is meaningless; world capital calls the shots. The US functions as a mercenary hiring hall for the owners, ever since Iraq I. You think the owners will let anybody mess with their mercs? ..."
Sep 06, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Imagine if America had to answer for its war crimes


gjohnsit on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 5:25pm Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demonstrated what the term "ugly American" meant the other day when he bragged about his defeat of the International Criminal Court.

"Americanism means taking care of our own," said Pompeo.
"We stopped international courts from prosecuting our service members," Pompeo continued, adding that the potential probe "was an outrage."
...
Pompeo confirmed earlier this year that the administration would revoke or deny visas for ICC personnel who try to investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or key allies for potential war crimes. A month later, in April, the administration followed through and revoked prosecutor Bensouda's visa for entry into the U.S.

Just because you defeated justice doesn't mean the crimes go away.
However, it does mean that there is no incentive to stop committing war crimes.
That brings us to today's news from Yemen .


The UK, US, France and Iran may be complicit in possible war crimes in Yemen over their support for parties to the conflict there, UN experts say.
A new report warns the countries they could be held responsible for aiding or assisting the commission of violations.
The Western powers provide weapons and logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's government, while Iran backs the Houthi rebels.
...
The UN says the four-year conflict has claimed the lives of at least 7,290 civilians and left 80% of the population - 24 million people - in need of humanitarian assistance or protection, including 10 million who rely on food aid to survive.

Yemen has gotten a significant amount of much needed attention in recent years, but just across the Gulf of Aden another humanitarian disaster of gigantic size is happening in near total silence and obscurity.

"In the absence of humanitarian assistance, up to 2.1 million people across Somalia face severe hunger through December," the UN warned, citing the 2019 Post-Gu report's conclusion that this would bring the total number of Somalis expected to be food insecure, to 6.3 million by year's end.

1 million children are expected to be malnourished in Somalia by year's end.

Much like Yemen, the United States is busy committing war crimes in Somalia as well.

The United States may have committed war crimes as it bombed al-Shabab militants in Somalia, a new report Amnesty International alleges...
They found that the airstrikes killed farmers, women and an eight-year-old girl, whom the group assessed had no ties to al-Shabab.

"Due to the nature of the attacks, the U.S. government is violating international humanitarian law and these violations may amount to war crimes," Hassan said.
While the United States has been bombing Somalia for more than a decade, the Trump administration has accelerated the attacks.

The insurgency there is fueled by Somali rage over now decades-long American interference in their country.
Why Americans cannot bring themselves to care about Somalia is something I will never understand.

Meanwhile in Libya things have gone from bad to worse .

"Unless action is taken in the near term, it is highly likely that the current conflict will escalate into full civil war," Guterres said on Thursday in his latest report on the UN Support Mission in Libya.

AFRICOM says that a civil war would "give existing terrorist elements in Libya oxygen."
The leading instigator of the fighting is General Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar, after the defeat of the Libyan troops he was commanding in 1987, he offered his services to the CIA , which backed him for years as he awaited the opportunity to topple Muammar Gaddafi.
Is it really any surprise that Trump loves him ?


An airstrike by Khalifa Haftar's forces hit a migrant detention center east of Tripoli yesterday and killed at least 44 people and wounded up to 130. Haftar and his forces are mainly backed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and this airstrike is part of the assault on the Libyan capital that Trump reportedly endorsed when it began. The Trump administration is now shielding Haftar from condemnation by the Security Council by blocking the statement promoted by the U.K.

The ICC plans to investigate these war crimes, but since the Trump Administration won't even allow a condemnation, and considering how much Washington hates the ICC, i wouldn't count on this investigation going very far.

We need to

Our war crimes go way back and they continue to today.

Unfortunately, the US is the 800 lb gorilla on the world stage and no one is willing or courageous enough to challenge that gorilla.

The Liberal Moonbat on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 7:51pm
We, the American people, need to grab that gorilla by the balls

@gulfgal98 and CRUSH THEM.

The idea that POMPEO is "outraged" is...well, he's a Nazi. So is anybody who thinks that way (lookin' at you, Dubya & Friends).

THEY ARE DETERMINED TO OBLITERATE THE ENTIRE 20TH CENTURY, THE CENTURY THAT MADE AMERICA GREAT PRECISELY BECAUSE, FOR A BRIEF MOMENT IN TIME, IT CAST OFF AND STOOD AGAINST THAT VERY MENTALITY.

Men like him belong in their own torture-camps...or a short distance under them.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

NUREMBERG II: JUDGMENT DAY.

It is what they most dread.
It is the least they deserve.
It is what the entire world - the American people most of all - NEEDS NOW.
It is what all people of knowledge and conscience must prioritize accomplishing over any and all other concerns with the exception of the environment.

FIAT JUSTICIA, RUUAT CAELUM: "Let there be Justice, though the Heavens may fall".

I believe that Justice (REAL Justice, not just the way it's been redefined by some as "goodies for my clique"), delivered in a timely, precise, and reliable manner, is nothing short of a literal medical necessity - and the truth is, Caelum IS Ruuating PRECISELY BECAUSE there has been no Justicia.

Our war crimes go way back and they continue to today.

Unfortunately, the US is the 800 lb gorilla on the world stage and no one is willing or courageous enough to challenge that gorilla.

humphrey on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 8:42pm
One thing.

There would be a construction boom at The Hague building new prisons to accommodate all the war criminals.

Le Frog on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:06pm
Somewhere, a private prison executive's

@humphrey heart beat a little faster in excitement and anticipation at the idea of securing the contracts for this.

There would be a construction boom at The Hague building new prisons to accommodate all the war criminals.

Daenerys on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:13pm
"Taking care of our own"

Our own what? Criminals I guess. *snort*

//www.youtube.com/embed/_n5E7feJHw0?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

wendy davis on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 11:23am
this is great, gjonsit;

thank you. i look forward to reading it more carefully later, especially your link on somalia. i remember bill clinton's hypocritical R2P only too well.. which precious Somalian mineral was the hegemon really after?

pindar's revenge on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 4:55pm
Forgive me, a nitpick

In the book The Ugly American, the ugly guy was actually the good guy who understood and respected local culture; he was just ugly and unsmooth. The "pretty" Americans were the villains. IIRC, it's been over 50 years. Might be worth re-reading.

Are we surprised? This is the Pax (or Bellus?) Americana. Since the USSR folded, the UN is toothless and GodGun$Gut$ dominates the world with endless war -- or thinks it does; after all, one in six humans is Chinese.

My own take is that "America" is meaningless; world capital calls the shots. The US functions as a mercenary hiring hall for the owners, ever since Iraq I. You think the owners will let anybody mess with their mercs?

[Sep 06, 2019] Didn't I tell you American get their reality from their Plato's Cave screens?

Sep 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Sep 5 2019 20:00 utc | 28

"Do you really think they spend $400 on a hammer?"

That line comes straight out of a movie . Didn't I tell you American get their reality from their Plato's Cave screens?

I briefly worked in a machine shop that did DoD contract work. We would buy washers by the pound from the hardware store down the street, heat seal them individually into little plastic baggies with the part number printed on them, and then sell them to the Navy for $50 each .

Yeah, the military pays $400 each, if not a good deal more, for their hammers.

[Sep 06, 2019] The Myopia of American Strategic Planning

they will spend a lot of money replicating Russian technology...
Sep 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Grieved , Sep 6 2019 2:14 utc | 103
I actually had read that news report in Tass about Putin's offer to Trump and I didn't regard it as trolling until I saw b's article. Putin's logic was that Russia had already invested the money and could make some back, and meanwhile the US could save some money and move towards a strategic parity - which I believe Russia would actually prefer over a superiority, since a stable balance is far less frantic than an arms race.

So it all made sense to me.

This has been a fun thread but it's all a nonsense here tonight of course. Pity. I liked what I was reading from Putin:

Putin told the plenary session of the fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) on Thursday that at the last meeting with his American partners in Osaka, Japan "the issue was raised as to how and in what way it would be possible to count Russian modern weapons, including the hypersonic missile systems, into the common agreements, considering that so far not a single country in the world possesses these weapons, not even the US."

"I told Donald the following: "if you want, we can sell you some and this way we will balance everything out. But truth be told, they are saying that they will soon produce it themselves.

Perhaps they will, but why waste money when we already have spent some and can get something back, and at the same time not harm our security but rather create a situation where there is a balance," Putin elaborated.

G'night all.


Tonymike , Sep 5 2019 17:54 utc | 8

In reading this excellent brief analysis, I would suggest that followers read the also excellent books, Losing Military Supremacy "The Myopia of American Strategic Planning" by Andrei Martyanov and In the Shadows of the American Century "The Rise and Decline of US Global Power," by Alfred w. McCoy, to get an understanding of the minds of the Military Industrial Complex. The book by Mr. Martyanov provides examples of why the American military can't win battles against 2nd and 3rd peer adversaries (Vietnam (The American War as the Vietnamese call it), Korean War (The UN Police Action), Afghanistan War, and their future inability to win any future wars against a 1st peer adversary (Russia, China). The American military tells itself it is a great fighting force without peer but it also believes it's own press that the US military brought the German Werhmarcht to their knees, when we know the Russians won War World II. McCoy's book, which is well researched, also states the same premise but from an american perspective.

The MIC will be the downfall of the US and it the deepest of the Deep State. The 1 TRILLION dollar yearly military budget (minus the unknown Black budget) will bankrupt this country. It is also unfortunate that the noble peace prize winner Obama, authorized a Trillion dollar upgrade to the US nuclear arsenal, when he could have halved the number of warheads and still had plenty to destroy the planet a hundred times over. So much for the prince of peace.
We would also do well to stop giving other countries billions in military aid (israhell, saudi barbaria, UAE, etc) to drop bombs and snipe poor people attempting to live free. Hopefully the end is near.

PS: If you want to read a near term fictional book on the demise of the MIC and changes to the culture in America, the book "Twilight's Last Gleaming" by John Michael Greer is spellbinding and a great read. Interestingly enough, he has written over thirty books and writes about post industrial collapse and their outcomes.

steven t johnson , Sep 5 2019 20:01 utc | 29
Carriers are floating air bases for attacking weaker nations with miniscule inexperienced air forces and skimpy ground air defense. They are for force projection in wars of aggression, not general wars in defense of the nation. The only sense in which they are weaknesses is that high losses for the master race that expects easy victory are doubly shocking.

Stealth aircraft are equally first strike weapons aimed at knocking out radar, hitting enemy planes on the ground and sowing confusion. As they are not tactical aircraft such flaws as rain shadow, etc. that render them unfit combat aircraft against an enemy in the air may be irrelevant.

Missile defenses have a lousy record against missiles in flight, but the radar targeting makes them very adaptable as first strike weapons against enemy launch sites. All "antimissile" missile defense systems should be regarded as being an effort in that direction. Air defense systems that concentrate on electronic warfare, confusing the air with flak, taking down manned aircraft, camouflage, etc. are something else, unromantic but vital.

Nobody can effectively use mass drone attacks or cruise missile attacks for strategic victory, because strategic bombing does not actually work without ground attacks interdicting supplies and/or actively preventing rebuilding/reorganization. Thus it is not a meaningful failure for US air defenses to fail against Houthi air attacks. The Houthi air attacks are also not going to win the war. The inability of the Saudis to win ground loses it for them, meaning endless war is financially debilitating, plus, again, self-sacrifice is not something the Saudi monarchy can call upon.

Lastly, the Russians do no have hypersonic weapons. Even if they did, the notion that weapon systems largely useful in first strikes indicates a horrible misreading of Russia's military situation. There is no reasonable strategy for them that involves a first strike.

Bemildred , Sep 6 2019 7:23 utc | 120
Meanwhile, in reality:
WASHINGTON: Yesterday, the Army awarded two key contracts to catch up to Russia and China in the race to field battle-ready hypersonic missiles. After years of one-off experimental prototypes, the US plans to produce and field actual weapons.

Hypersonics: Army Awards $699M To Build First Missiles For A Combat Unit

Barovsky , Sep 6 2019 11:35 utc | 131
FYI:

https://southfront.org/us-army-awards-two-key-hypersonic-missile-contracts/

Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

The race for hypersonic missiles heated up last week when the US Army awarded two key contracts to catch up to Russia and China. After a decade of experimental prototypes, the Army is expected to get its hands on hypersonic missiles that will be fielded in the next four years, reported Breaking Defense.

Harry Law , Sep 6 2019 12:36 utc | 136
"Carriers are today, at least for Russia, India and China, not threats but large and juicy targets".

Gary Brecher 'the war nerd' said years ago that carriers were obsolete this article both informative and witty is a must read...

"The Chinese military has developed a ballistic missile, Dong Feng 21, specifically designed to kill US aircraft carriers: "Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes." That's the US Naval Institute talking, remember. They're understating the case when they say that, with speed, satellite guidance and maneuverability like that, "the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased."

You know why that's an understatement? Because of a short little sentence I found farther on in the article -- and before you read that sentence, I want all you trusting Pentagon groupies to promise me that you'll think hard about what it implies. Here's the sentence: "Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack." http://exiledonline.com/the-war-nerd-this-is-how-the-carriers-will-die/

[Sep 04, 2019] Veterans Mattis Spent Career Tending the Status Quo The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... But what happens when those "standards of excellence" lead to 20 years of fighting unwinnable wars on the peripheries of the planet? When do habits and practices turn into mental stagnation? ..."
"... You know when it comes to generals, whether they're Marines, whether they're Army, whether they're Mattis who's supposedly this "warrior monk," these guys talk tactics and then claim it's strategy. What they consider to be strategic thinking really is just tactical thinking on a broad scale . I think the biggest problem with all the four-star generals are they're "how" thinkers not "if" thinkers. ..."
"... This inability of America's elites (including its generals) to grapple with strategic concepts is a result of the United States' post-Cold War unipolar moment. When there's only one superpower, geopolitics and the need for international balancing fall by the wayside. ..."
"... Mattis, like virtually all of his four-star peers, is a reactionary, fighting every day against the forces of change in modern warfare ..."
"... "[W]hen you shave it all down, his problem with being the epitome of establishment Washington is that he sees the alliance as the end, not as a means to an end," says Davis. "The means should be to the end of improving American security and supporting our interests." ..."
"... "By clinging to unsustainable military solutions from the distant past, he has condemned future generations of soldiers and marines to repeat disasters like Pickett's Charge," says Macgregor. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy op-ed written by former secretary of defense James Mattis, his first public statement since his resignation in December. The article is adopted from his forthcoming book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead , out this week.

The former Pentagon chief opens a window into his decision making process, explaining that accepting President Trump's nomination was part of his lifelong devotion to public service: "When the president asks you to do something, you don't play Hamlet on the wall, wringing your hands. So long as you are prepared, you say yes." Mattis's two years at DoD capped off 44 years in the Marine Corps, where he gained a popular following as a tough and scholarly leader.

Mattis received widespread praise from the foreign policy establishment when he resigned in protest over President Trump's directive for a full U.S. military withdrawal from Syria and a partial withdrawal from Afghanistan. "When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of our Constitution," he writes.

But did Mattis really offer "concrete solutions and strategic advice" regarding America's two decades of endless war? spoke with four military experts, all veterans, who painted a very different picture of the man called "Mad Dog."

"I think over time, in General Mattis's case a little over 40 years, if you spend that many years in an institution, it is extremely hard not to get institutionalized," says Gil Barndollar, military fellow-in-residence at the Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Barndollar served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps and deployed twice to Afghanistan. "In my experiences, there are not too many iconoclasts or really outside-the-box people in the higher ranks of the U.S. military."

It's just that sort of institutionalized thinking that makes the political establishment love Mattis. "[A] person with an institutional mind-set has a deep reverence for the organization he has joined and how it was built by those who came before. He understands that institutions pass down certain habits, practices and standards of excellence," wrote David Brooks in a hagiographic New York Times column .

But what happens when those "standards of excellence" lead to 20 years of fighting unwinnable wars on the peripheries of the planet? When do habits and practices turn into mental stagnation?

"The problem is, from at least the one-star the whole way through, for the last two decades, you've seen them do nothing but just repeat the status quo over and over," observes Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow at Defense Priorities, who served 21 years in the U.S. Army and deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan. "I mean every single general that was in charge of Afghanistan said almost the same boilerplate thing every time they came in (which was nearly one a year). You see the same results, nothing changed."

"And if those guys took someone from a major to a two-star general, we'd probably have a lot of better outcomes," he adds.

Major Danny Sjursen, who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, agrees:

You know when it comes to generals, whether they're Marines, whether they're Army, whether they're Mattis who's supposedly this "warrior monk," these guys talk tactics and then claim it's strategy. What they consider to be strategic thinking really is just tactical thinking on a broad scale . I think the biggest problem with all the four-star generals are they're "how" thinkers not "if" thinkers.

Barndollar says: "The vast majority of military leaders, up to and including generals at the three-, four-star level, are not operating at the strategic level, in terms of what that word means in military doctrine. They're not operating at the level of massive nation-state resources and alliances and things like that. They're at the operational level or often even at the tactical level."

This inability of America's elites (including its generals) to grapple with strategic concepts is a result of the United States' post-Cold War unipolar moment. When there's only one superpower, geopolitics and the need for international balancing fall by the wayside.

The only component of national security policy Mattis discusses in his op-ed is America's system of alliances, which he believes is the key to our preeminence on the world stage. "Returning to a strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with, we can better deal with this imperfect world we occupy together," he writes.

"Mattis, like virtually all of his four-star peers, is a reactionary, fighting every day against the forces of change in modern warfare," counters Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who served 28 years in the U.S. Army. "He lives in denial of the technological breakthroughs that make the World War II force structure (that he as SecDef insisted on funding) an expensive tribute to the past."

Mattis muses that the Department of Defense "budget [is] larger than the GDPs of all but two dozen countries." Yet having acknowledged that disparity, how can such underpowered foreign nations possibly contribute to American security?

"He has that line in there about bringing as many guns as possible to a gun fight. What are those guns?" asked Barndollar. For example, the British Royal Navy is the United States' most significant allied naval force. But the United Kingdom has only seven vessels stationed in the Persian Gulf and they're "stretched to the absolute limit to do that."

"Our problem has been double-edged," says Davis of America's reliance on others. "On the one hand, we try to bludgeon a lot of our allies to do what we want irrespective of their interests as an asset. And then simultaneously, especially in previous administrations, we've almost gone too far [in] the other direction: 'we'll subordinate our interests for yours.'"

"[W]hen you shave it all down, his problem with being the epitome of establishment Washington is that he sees the alliance as the end, not as a means to an end," says Davis. "The means should be to the end of improving American security and supporting our interests."

Sjursen says:

Mattis's view is the old Einstein adage: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity." Well that's all he's proposed. He has no new or creative solutions. For him, it's stay the course, more of the same, stay in place, fight the terrorists, maintain the illegitimate and corrupt governments that we back. That's what he's been talking about for 18 years. It's all the same interventionist dogma that's failed us over and over again since September 12, 2001.

"In the two years he was in office, what did he do that changed anything? He was a caretaker of the status quo. That's the bottom line," says Davis, adding, "you need somebody in that job especially that is willing to take some chances and some risk and is willing to honestly look at 18 consecutive years of failure and say, 'We're not doing that anymore. We're going to do something different.' And that just never happened."

Barndollar is more generous in his estimation of Mattis: "He needs to be lauded for standing for his principles, ultimately walking away when he decided he could no longer execute U.S. national security policy. I give him all the credit for that, for doing it I think in a relatively good manner, and for trying to do his best to stay above the fray and refuse to be dragged in at a partisan level to this point."

Mattis ends his Wall Street Journal op-ed by recounting a vignette from the 2010 Battle of Marjah, where he spoke with two soldiers on the front lines and in good cheer. But his story didn't sit well with Sjursen, who says it encapsulates Mattis' inability to ask the bigger questions: "He never talks about how those charming soldiers with the can-do attitude maybe shouldn't have been there at all. Maybe the mission that they were asked to do was ill-informed, ill-advised, and potentially unwinnable."

All this suggests that a fair evaluation of Mattis is as a soldier who is intelligent but unoriginal. A homegrown patriot, but one who'd like to plant the Stars and Stripes in Central Asia forever. A public servant, but one who would rather resign than serve the cause of restraint.

"By clinging to unsustainable military solutions from the distant past, he has condemned future generations of soldiers and marines to repeat disasters like Pickett's Charge," says Macgregor.

Hunter DeRensis is a reporter for The National Interest . Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis .

[Sep 04, 2019] America's-Own Ministry Of Truth Unleashes The Military To Fight Disinformation

Notable quotes:
"... The Soviets tried to police thought but it was an embarrassing failure. What makes America think they can achieve better results? ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

When "disinformation" is redefined to include all potentially polarizing stories that don't conform to the establishment narrative, reality is discarded as so much fake news and replaced with Pentagon-approved pablum ...

... ... ...

But perhaps the worst part about all of this is that the government itself, including the Pentagon, has an extensive history of running fake social media profiles to collect data on persons of interest , including through the NSA's JTRIG information-war program revealed in the Snowden documents. Agents regularly deploy reputational attacks against dissidents using false information. Fake identities are used to cajole unsuspecting individuals into collaborating in fake FBI "terror" plots, a phenomenon which might once have been called entrapment but is merely business as usual in the post-9/11 U.S.SA.

All of this begs the question: how will DARPA determine the "intent" behind any meme or bit of information? Will they punish journalists who push fakes for the political establishment? Probably not. This is where the "impact" and "intent" fields come in handy for them: fakes from "trusted sources" will be let through, while fakes and real stories designed to "undermine key individuals and organizations" (dissent and those who seek freedom from the political class) will be terminated before they have an impact on the thoughts of others. When "disinformation" is redefined to include all potentially polarizing stories that don't conform to the establishment narrative, reality is discarded as so much fake news and replaced with Pentagon-approved pablum.


beijing expat , 40 minutes ago link

The Soviets tried to police thought but it was an embarrassing failure. What makes America think they can achieve better results? Rather than risk the embarrassment of failure, perhaps the pentagon should simply exterminate the human population and replace us with robots programmed to consume and obey. Consume and obey. That's all they want from us. And in refusing to do so, the people have failed the ruling class.

07564111 , 39 minutes ago link

Plan B ;-)

TheFQ , 32 minutes ago link

Or GULAGS...

[Sep 04, 2019] A Debauched Culture Leads to a Debauched Foreign Policy

The author should use the word "neoliberal" instead of "debauched"
Notable quotes:
"... When talking about politics, we should be careful not to define "debauched" too narrowly. While debauchery is typically associated with over-indulgence of the sensual pleasures, a more fitting political definition is a general loss of self-control. ..."
"... In the political realm, debauchery is less characterized by the sensual vices than by an overzealous desire for power. ..."
"... The ghost of Jeffrey Epstein is all one needs to see that many elites are very debauched as regards social mores. Yet how might a debauched culture be reflected in the realms of domestic and foreign policy? ..."
"... Class warfare tends to resonate most broadly when the wealthy become self-indulgent and unworthy, and dissolute plutocracies are oft times defended by "conservatives." In the terminal phase of a democracy, this can portend domestic revolution. ..."
"... Belligerent intervention is not nationalism! It is Neocon Texas - Harvard Redneckism ..."
"... I'm not sure I agree with the author's thesis: that debauchery or gratuitous political leadership results in immoral foreign policy. Were the highly-disciplined and self-sacrificing Japanese militarists who bombed Pearl Harbor and aligned with the Axis (Hitler, Mussolini) guided by any more virtuous foreign policy than say, "debauched" Churchill and Roosevelt? I doubt it. ..."
"... The article lacks specifics on how America's leaders are debauched and how this debauchery influences foreign policy, other than to say they are "unrestrained". But is non-restraint debauchery? Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was running a gratuitous non-profit institute to shake down foreign rulers in return for promising political favors if elected. She was going to sell the country out. ..."
"... We stole Venezuela's assets in the U.S. and even denied their baseball players the ability to send money back to their families, we really love them. We have an oil embargo on Syria and we are the only reason the Saudis are able to starve Yemen. None of these countries have ever done anything to us but it feels good that we can do this and even get most of the world to support us. ..."
"... It drives me crazy that devout Protestants in govt who believe that human nature is corrupt act as if they are standing in the gap while being belligerent and never questioning their own judgment. ..."
"... The problem is that we are led by sociopaths. ..."
"... This current round of unprovoked aggression against small countries started when Clinton attacked Serbia even though he did not have authorization from the UN. He did it because he could -- Russia had collapsed by then so they were powerless to prevent NATO from attacking their ally. No one had the power to stop the hegemon so it was a short journey from the relative restraint of George W. Bush to going beserk all over the world (of course in the name of stopping genocide, ecocide, insecticide or whatever). Get absolute power, get corrupted. ..."
"... I think people like Epstein are state sponsored to use the warped values of the elites to gain political advantage for their masters. Destroying historic value sets is part of this package. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
TAC are no doubt familiar with the truism that "politics is downstream of culture." This maxim, which is undoubtedly true, should not, however, only be applied to social issues. In fact, culture shapes our public policy very broadly, far more than do dispassionate "policymakers" exercising careful reason and judgment. The nature of our governance tends to reflect the cultural and philosophical orientation of our elites, and this orientation is increasingly debauched.

When talking about politics, we should be careful not to define "debauched" too narrowly. While debauchery is typically associated with over-indulgence of the sensual pleasures, a more fitting political definition is a general loss of self-control.

All the great religious and philosophical traditions understood that there is a part of our nature that can get out of control and a divine part that can exert control. A culture thus becomes debauched when elites lose the sense that they need to rein themselves in, that "there is an immortal essence presiding like a king over" their appetites, as Walter Lippmann put it. In the political realm, debauchery is less characterized by the sensual vices than by an overzealous desire for power.

The ghost of Jeffrey Epstein is all one needs to see that many elites are very debauched as regards social mores. Yet how might a debauched culture be reflected in the realms of domestic and foreign policy?

Let's start with domestic policy. How would debauched elites govern a democracy at home? One might surmise, for example, that their lack of self-control might cause them to spend federal money as a means of keeping themselves in power. They might also attempt to bribe their constituents by promising a variety of domestic programs while also pledging that the programs will be funded out of the pockets of others. If they were really debauched, they might even borrow money from future generations to pay for these incumbency protection initiatives. They might run up staggering debt for the sake of their expedient political needs and promise that "the rich" can provide for it all. In short, the hallmark domestic policy of a debauched democracy is, and has always been, class warfare.

It should be pointed out that class warfare is not simply a creation of demagogues on the left. Class warfare tends to resonate most broadly when the wealthy become self-indulgent and unworthy, and dissolute plutocracies are oft times defended by "conservatives." In the terminal phase of a democracy, this can portend domestic revolution.

While most conservatives might agree about the dangers of class warfare, it is on the foreign policy front where they seem most debauched themselves. They remain stuck in a vortex of GOP clichés, with standard references to Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill, leaders who were closer in their time to the American Civil War than we are to them now. For many of these "conservatives," every contemporary authoritarian leader is the progeny of Hitler and any attempt to establish cordial relations is a rerun of Munich 1938.

As with domestic policy, the true sign of a debauched foreign policy is a loss of self-control and an excessive will to power reflected in attempts to exert dominion over others with no particular nexus to the national interest. A debauched foreign policy might just look like the decision to invade Iraq -- a war whose supporters offered numerous justifications, including alleged weapons of mass destruction, democracy promotion, and anti-terrorism. Yet in hindsight, its real cause seems to have been the simple desire by our leaders to impose their will. In a debauched democracy, class warfare is the paradigmatic domestic policy and profligate war making is the paradigmatic foreign policy.

Given that self-control and restraint are the hallmarks of a genuinely conservative foreign policy -- because they remain humble about what human nature can actually achieve -- one should receive the recent conference on national conservatism with some skepticism . The retinue of experts who spoke generally espoused a foreign policy that sought dominion over others -- in other words, a continuation of the belligerent interventionism that characterized the second Bush administration. This may be nationalism, but it seems not to be conservatism.

One hopes that the leaders of this new movement will re-consider their foreign policy orientation as they have increasingly formidable resources to draw upon. The creation of the Quincy Institute and the rise of an intellectually formidable network of foreign policy "restrainers" provide hope.

Given that culture is king, however, these intellectuals may want to keep top of mind that restraint is not simply a policy option but a character trait -- a virtue -- that needs to be developed in leaders who are then elevated. Prudent policies are no doubt essential but the most important challenge in politics is, and always will be, attracting and encouraging the best leaders to rule. Our system often does the opposite. This is at root a cultural problem.

William S. Smith is research fellow and managing director at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at the Catholic University of America, and author of the new book Democracy and Imperialism .


Chris in Appalachia 21 hours ago

Belligerent intervention is not nationalism! It is Neocon Texas - Harvard Redneckism. The two opposing teams loathe each other.

Other than that, a good analysis.

Wayne Lusvardi 19 hours ago
I'm not sure I agree with the author's thesis: that debauchery or gratuitous political leadership results in immoral foreign policy. Were the highly-disciplined and self-sacrificing Japanese militarists who bombed Pearl Harbor and aligned with the Axis (Hitler, Mussolini) guided by any more virtuous foreign policy than say, "debauched" Churchill and Roosevelt? I doubt it.

Moreover, has the author never heard of the concept "reasons of state"?: a purely political reason for action on the part of a ruler or government, especially where a departure from openness, justice, or honesty is involved (e.g. "the king returned that he had reasons of state for all he did"). In an existential emergency, would the leader of a nation be justified in using amoral means to save his nation; but in all other circumstances should rely on conventional Christian morality as the default position? This is what Pres. Truman apparently did when he dropped a-bombs on two Japanese cities. What Dietrich Bonhoeffer was apparently involved with in the assassination attempt on Hitler. What Moses was embroiled with when he slayed 3,000 of his "debauched" followers in the Exodus from Egypt.

The article lacks specifics on how America's leaders are debauched and how this debauchery influences foreign policy, other than to say they are "unrestrained". But is non-restraint debauchery? Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was running a gratuitous non-profit institute to shake down foreign rulers in return for promising political favors if elected. She was going to sell the country out.

The opponent who beat her in the election promised the opposite and pretty much has delivered on his promises. Just how is the current administration "unrestrained" other than he has not fulfilled pacifist's fantasies of pulling out of every foreign country and conflict? Such pull outs have to be weighed on a case by case basis to determine the cost to human life and world order. If the current administration has a policy it is that our allies have to fight and fund their own wars and conflicts rather than rely on the U.S. to fight their wars for them.

The article is full of inflationary clichés ('politics is downstream of culture', 'class warfare', etc. And just how does the author connect the dots between pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was elected to nothing and held no power over anyone, and our "debauched' foreign policy? Correlation is not causation but there isn't even a correlation there.

tweets21 12 hours ago
The more one reads opinions of Intellectuals , and as anyone with half a brain knows, to never believe a Politician, I am always reminded, after considerable research why I personally choose Realism . Realism is certainly not new and has some varied forms. Realism re-surfaced leading up to and during WW 2.
chris chuba 11 hours ago
"...the true sign of a debauched foreign policy is a loss of self-control and an excessive will to power reflected in attempts to exert dominion over others"


I love this.

We stole Venezuela's assets in the U.S. and even denied their baseball players the ability to send money back to their families, we really love them. We have an oil embargo on Syria and we are the only reason the Saudis are able to starve Yemen. None of these countries have ever done anything to us but it feels good that we can do this and even get most of the world to support us.

This reminds me of a Nick Pemberton article when he wrote ...

"We still play the victim. And amazingly we believe it ... We believe we can take whatever we want. We believe that this world does not contain differences to be negotiated, but foes to be defeated."

I could never get this out of my head.

It drives me crazy that devout Protestants in govt who believe that human nature is corrupt act as if they are standing in the gap while being belligerent and never questioning their own judgment.

Trump the adulterer was the one who decided against bombing because he did not have a taste for blood while the pious were eager for it.

TruthsRonin 10 hours ago
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the Earth."
-Matthew 5:5

"Meek" is the wrong word/translation. In the original Greek, the word is "preais" and it does not mean docile and submissive. Rather the word means gentleness blended with restrained strength/power.

The passage should read, "Blessed are those who have swords and know how to use them but keep them sheathed: for they shall inherit the Earth."

Sid Finster 10 hours ago
The problem is that we are led by sociopaths.
fedupindian 10 hours ago
There is a simpler explanation of what has happened to the US. When it comes to human beings, the only thing you need to remember is Lord Acton's dictum: power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This current round of unprovoked aggression against small countries started when Clinton attacked Serbia even though he did not have authorization from the UN. He did it because he could -- Russia had collapsed by then so they were powerless to prevent NATO from attacking their ally. No one had the power to stop the hegemon so it was a short journey from the relative restraint of George W. Bush to going beserk all over the world (of course in the name of stopping genocide, ecocide, insecticide or whatever). Get absolute power, get corrupted.

The same thing is true domestically in the US. A small ethnic minority gave 50% and 25% of the money spent by the Democrats and Republicans in the last presidential election. That gives them huge influence over the foreign policy of the country. Best of all, no one else can question what is going on because classic tropes etc. Give a small group absolute power, get the swamp.

PAX 9 hours ago
I think people like Epstein are state sponsored to use the warped values of the elites to gain political advantage for their masters. Destroying historic value sets is part of this package.

The destruction of main core Christianity has not helped stem this tide (subtle Happy Holidays, CE, BCE, etc.) . Brave women and men must arise and sewerize (drain the swamp) this mob of miscreants defiling our belief system. .They have a right to exist but not dictate by subterfuge and fake news our values as they have been doing.

NotCatholic 11 hours ago
I find it interesting the author is at Catholic u. I wonder how he feels about the Crusades or the Inquisition as an example of debauchery of power.
Joe R. 8 hours ago
Remove the OP pic of the Marines NOW, and fix the rest of your whine later.

This is America, we have no "betters" and our "gov't" has never, and will never, be comprised of anything other than our idiot ay-whole neighbors who needed a job, whose sole job it is to govern the machinations of gov't and not us, as an un-self-governed Society is otherwise un-governable.

And [due to human nature and physics (of which neither has or will change in the entire history of humanity)] sometimes you have to go to war at the slightest of hints of provocation in order to achieve "illimitably sustainable conflict" of "Society" [J.M. Thomas R., TERMS, 2012] not have to haphazardly fight minute to minute of every day.

If when Political objects are unimportant, motives weak, the excitement of forces small, a cautious commander tries in all kinds of ways, without great crises and bloody solutions, to twist himself skillfully into peace through the characteristic weakness of his enemy in the field and in the cabinet, we have no right to find fault with him, if the premise on which he acts are well founded and justified by success;

still we must require him to remember that he only travels on forbidden tracks, where the God of War may surprise him; that he ought always to keep his eye on the enemy, in order that he may not have to defend himself with a dress rapier if the enemy takes up a sharp sword ”.

(Clausewitz, “On War” pg. 137)

Loosely paraphrased: " peaceable resolution to conflict is only effective, and should only be sought and relied upon, when it is certain that the other party will never resort to arms, with the implication that that is never " [J.M.Thomas R., TERMS, 2012 Pg. 80]

Weakness is provocative don't provoke your enemies. Quit whining.

LFC 8 hours ago
Let’s start with domestic policy. How would debauched elites govern a democracy at home?

Let's see. They'd likely repeatedly cut taxes on the wealthiest and on corporations and skyrocket deficits. They'd likely increase military spending to insane levels to the benefit of the military industrial complex. They'd likely perform wide scale deregulation on polluting industries. They'd ignore all inconvenient science, especially that which didn't support the fossil fuel industry. They'd likely avoid meaningful action on a healthcare system that is more broken and expensive than any other OECD nation. Then they'd look for targets, the "others", to bash and attack in attempt to hide the real world consequences of what they were doing.

Why would they do this? They do it for campaign contributions, "a means of keeping themselves in power."

Clyde Schechter 6 hours ago
"...in other words, a continuation of the belligerent interventionism that characterized the second Bush administration. "

And the Clinton administration before it, and the Obama and Trump administrations following it.

Stephen J. 5 hours ago
I believe we are in the hands of:
The Demons of “Democracy”

The demons of “democracy” speak of “peace”
While their selling of weapons does not cease
Hypocrites from hell who posture on the world stage
When they should be in a gigantic prison cage

Evil reprobates in positions of power
Anything that’s good they devour
Destroying countries and families too
This is the satanic work they do

Fancy titles are given to their names
Such is the state of a system insane
Madness and filth has become “normal”
Nobody speaks or asks: “Is it moral”?

Principals and ethics, they are of them, devoid
Speaking of decency and truth has them annoyed
Pimping for war is their diabolical expertise
Killing and bombing is the forte of this demonic sleaze

Training and supporting terrorists, they do this as well
Will nobody arrest this treacherous crew from hell?
These people are devils and full of hypocrisy
We need to be freed from these, demons of “democracy”...

[much more info on this at link below]

http://graysinfo.blogspot.c...

[Sep 04, 2019] Military Intervention Isn t Humanitarian by Daniel Larison

Libya war was a pure oil grab. Pretexts always can be found.
Notable quotes:
"... Is intervention likely to impel more violence in the long term? Do policymakers actually know enough about the situation on the ground to make the "right" decisions? Is the American public willing to commit itself to years-long reconstruction efforts? Honest answers here may not sit well with idealism. In many instances, the most moral act is not to act at all. ..."
"... The most telling part of Power's career in government was that she served as ambassador to the U.N. at a time when the U.S. was enabling and supporting the Saudi coalition war on Yemen, and as part of the administration she had nothing to say about the crimes being committed against Yemeni civilians by coalition forces with U.S. military assistance and weapons. ..."
"... As Bessner notes, she doesn't have much to say about the abuses of U.S. clients in her book. She has been eager to advocate for using force against hostile or pariah regimes when they commit atrocities, but when client states use American weapons to commit the same atrocities while enjoying full U.S. backing Power didn't so much as utter a protest. After she left government and Trump became president, Power criticized U.S. support for the war, but when she was in a position to challenge a monstrous policy from inside the administration she apparently said nothing. ..."
"... And no one with enough intellectual honesty to mention that she was among the greatest enablers of Yemenis' suffering yet before the said "Tyrant" (who might be a tyrant to anyone but her social class) entered the office. Profiles in cowardice, all of them. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Daniel Bessner has written a very interesting review of Sar's memoir, The Education of an Idealist . Here he focuses on her narrow thinking about "humanitarian" intervention:

If you accept Power's premises, then humanitarian intervention boils down to a purely philosophical inquiry: Is it right to save lives if one has the capacity to do so? The answer, of course, is yes. The problem, though, is that intervention is not a thought experiment; it takes place in a world of brutal realities. In particular, humanitarian forces confront radical uncertainty. Is intervention likely to impel more violence in the long term? Do policymakers actually know enough about the situation on the ground to make the "right" decisions? Is the American public willing to commit itself to years-long reconstruction efforts? Honest answers here may not sit well with idealism. In many instances, the most moral act is not to act at all.

Can military intervention ever be humanitarian? It may be possible in theory, but as Bessner notes it doesn't work that way in practice. "Humanitarian" interventionists want the wars they support to be judged by their intentions to save lives and not by the results of ensuing chaos, instability, and violence. Taking sides in foreign conflicts inevitably means deciding that our government should end the lives of some people that have done nothing to us because we have concluded that it is the right thing to do. That takes for granted that our government has the right to act as judge and executioner in other people's wars simply because we have the power to affect the outcome. When we think about "humanitarian" intervention this way, we can see that it is driven by the worst kind of arrogant presumption. The first question we should ask is this: what gives us the authority to interfere in another country's internal conflict? We should also ask ourselves what gives us the right to cast aside international law whenever we deem it necessary. Isn't "humanitarian" intervention in practice little more than international armed vigilantism?

The Libyan war is one example of just such a "good" intervention that pretty clearly caused more harm than it prevented. It also violated most of the requirements of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine that was invoked to justify it. Like more than a few other die-hard Libyan war supporters, Power remains convinced that it was the right decision, because she doesn't ask the questions that would force her to confront the harm that the intervention did to Libya and the surrounding region. Bessner comments:

Power never really asked these questions, because ultimately, as the historian Stephen Wertheim has argued, she considers humanitarian intervention a categorical imperative (as long as it doesn't involve U.S. allies, of course).

That last qualification is an important one, and it gets at the heart of what is wrong with "humanitarian" interventionism in the U.S. and the West. If a government is considered to be on "our" side, it can commit war crimes with impunity, devastate whole countries, and starve tens of millions of people, and the most vocal "humanitarian" interventionists will usually have nothing to say about it. I have remarked on several occasions that "humanitarian" interventionists just ignored the catastrophe in Yemen despite the fact that it was the world's worst man-made humanitarian disaster, and it has only been in the last year or two that any of them have spoken up about it now that it is Trump's policy.

The most telling part of Power's career in government was that she served as ambassador to the U.N. at a time when the U.S. was enabling and supporting the Saudi coalition war on Yemen, and as part of the administration she had nothing to say about the crimes being committed against Yemeni civilians by coalition forces with U.S. military assistance and weapons.

As Bessner notes, she doesn't have much to say about the abuses of U.S. clients in her book. She has been eager to advocate for using force against hostile or pariah regimes when they commit atrocities, but when client states use American weapons to commit the same atrocities while enjoying full U.S. backing Power didn't so much as utter a protest. After she left government and Trump became president, Power criticized U.S. support for the war, but when she was in a position to challenge a monstrous policy from inside the administration she apparently said nothing.

Bessner observes that railing against hostile and pariah states while letting clients off the hook makes no sense if the goal is to minimize the harm to civilians:

Her approach does not make much sense from a pragmatic perspective either: U.S. officials have the highest likelihood of ending human rights abuses in countries that depend on us; there is little point in spending political capital in a mostly quixotic attempt to transform antagonists like North Korea.

Of course, it is much safer politically to denounce the states with which our government has no ties or influence, and it is much easier to remain silent about the crimes of client states that have significant clout in Washington. The point here is not just that Power failed her own test when she served in government, but that the impulse to intervene on "humanitarian" grounds amounts to agitating for war against certain governments while giving U.S. clients a free pass to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with our government's blessing.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 5 hours ago

There's yet one more reason to why she wasn't saying anything about Yemen when in office beside the one that it were her guys who directed that war then. Perhaps less phony, but, I'd rather say, more tragic. It's much easier to criticize someone for neglecting his duties than not to neglect those duties when you've got them yourself.

I almost see those lemmings on her Twitter chirping: 'Oh, you're so brave, you're standing up to the Terrible Orange Tyrant.' (Not that the "Tyrant" was even aware that she's standing up to him).

And no one with enough intellectual honesty to mention that she was among the greatest enablers of Yemenis' suffering yet before the said "Tyrant" (who might be a tyrant to anyone but her social class) entered the office. Profiles in cowardice, all of them.

[Sep 04, 2019] US army now and then: Today's soldiers aren't too different than the slave legions of ancient Rome

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

VietnamVet , September 3, 2019 at 11:13 pm

This discussion avoids comparing society in the mid-19th century and today. It really isn't that long ago. I've lived through almost half of it. Except for officers most of the soldiers I served with were conscripted or enlisted because of the draft. In a war your choices are limited. If they were in the march, driving wagons, armed to the teeth, they were soldiers; no matter how they got there.

Today's volunteer Army most of the soldiers and contractors are there because they couldn't get a better job unless they are adrenaline junkies or psychopaths. The current neoliberal economy purposefully exploits people and the environment to make a profit. Today's soldiers aren't too different than the slave legions of ancient Rome. Perhaps, "warriors" isn't that much of a misnomer.

[Sep 02, 2019] Falling From Grace The Decline Of The US Empire

The USA centered global neoliberal empire falls from grace at alarming speed.
Just the discussion of this possibility would be unthinkable in 90th -- the period of triumphal advance of neoliberalism all over the globe. So thinks did change although it is unclear what is that direction of the social change -- neo-fascism or some kind of return to the New Del Capitalism (if so who will replace previous, forged by Great Depression political alignment between trade unions and management against the financial oligarchy, which financial oligarchy managed to broke using neoliberalism as the Trojan horse and bribing CEOs)
Om a was original fascist movements were also a protest against the rule of financial oligarchy. Even anti-Semitism in Germany was a kind of perverted protest against financial oligarchy as well. They were quickly subverted and in Germany anti-Semitism degenerated into irrational hatred and genocide, , but the fact remains. Just looks at NSDAP program of 1920 . Now we have somewhat similar sentiments with Wexner and Meta group in the USA. To say that they do not invoke any sympathy is an understatement.
The problem with empires that they do not only rob the "other people". They rob their own people as well, and rob them hard. The USSR people were really robbed by Soviet military industrial complex and Soviet globalist -- to the far greater extent then the USA people now. People were really as poor as church rats. Epidemic of alcoholism in the USA resembles the epidemic of narcoaddtion in the USA --- both are signs of desire then there is no jobs and now chances.
Like the collapse of the USSR was the result of the collapse of bolshevism, the collapse of the USA can be the result of the collapse of neoliberalism. Whether it will take 10 or 50 years is unclear, but the general tendency is down.
The competitors has grown much strong now and they want their place under then sub. That means squeezing the USA. Trump did agrat job in alientaing the US and that was probably the most important step is dismantling the USA empire that was taken. Add to that trade war with China and we have the situation that is not favorable to the USA politically in two important parts of the globe.
Add to this Brexit and we have clear tendency of states to reassert their sovereignty, which start hurting the USA based multinationals.
The only things that work in favor of the USA is that currently there is no clear alternative to neoliberalism other then some kind of restoration of the New Deal capitalism or neo-fasist dictatorship.
Notable quotes:
"... Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador. ..."
"... Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything. ..."
"... Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. ..."
"... You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people. ..."
"... And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward. ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Years ago, Doug Casey mentioned in a correspondence to me, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed."

Every now and then, you receive a comment that, although it may have been stated casually, has a lasting effect, as it offers uncommon insight. For me, this was one of those and it's one that I've kept handy at my desk since that time, as a reminder.

I'm from a British family, one that left the UK just as the British Empire was about to begin its decline. They expatriated to the "New World" to seek promise for the future.

As I've spent most of my life centred in a British colony – the Cayman Islands – I've had the opportunity to observe many British contract professionals who left the UK seeking advancement, which they almost invariably find in Cayman. Curiously, though, most returned to the UK after a contract or two, in the belief that the UK would bounce back from its decline, and they wanted to be on board when Britain "came back."

This, of course, never happened. The US replaced the UK as the world's foremost empire, and although the UK has had its ups and downs over the ensuing decades, it hasn't returned to its former glory.

And it never will.

If we observe the empires of the world that have existed over the millennia, we see a consistent history of collapse without renewal. Whether we're looking at the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish Empire, or any other that's existed at one time, history is remarkably consistent: The decline and fall of any empire never reverses itself; nor does the empire return, once it's fallen.

But of what importance is this to us today?

Well, today, the US is the world's undisputed leading empire and most Americans would agree that, whilst it's going through a bad patch, it will bounce back and might even be better than ever.

Not so, I'm afraid. All empires follow the same cycle. They begin with a population that has a strong work ethic and is self-reliant. Those people organize to form a nation of great strength, based upon high productivity.

This leads to expansion, generally based upon world trade. At some point, this gives rise to leaders who seek, not to work in partnership with other nations, but to dominate them, and of course, this is when a great nation becomes an empire. The US began this stage under the flamboyant and aggressive Teddy Roosevelt.

The twentieth century was the American century and the US went from victory to victory, expanding its power.

But the decline began in the 1960s, when the US started to pursue unwinnable wars, began the destruction of its currency and began to expand its government into an all-powerful body.

Still, this process tends to be protracted and the overall decline often takes decades.

So, how does that square with the quote, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed"?

Well, the preparation for the fall can often be seen for a generation or more, but the actual fall tends to occur quite rapidly.

What happens is very similar to what happens with a schoolyard bully.

The bully has a slow rise, based upon his strength and aggressive tendency. After a number of successful fights, he becomes first revered, then feared. He then takes on several toadies who lack his abilities but want some of the spoils, so they do his bidding, acting in a threatening manner to other schoolboys.

The bully then becomes hated. No one tells him so, but the other kids secretly dream of his defeat, hopefully in a shameful manner.

Then, at some point, some boy who has a measure of strength and the requisite determination has had enough and takes on the bully.

If he defeats him, a curious thing happens. The toadies suddenly realise that the jig is up and they head for the hills, knowing that their source of power is gone.

Also, once the defeated bully is down, all the anger, fear and hatred that his schoolmates felt for him come out, and they take great pleasure in his defeat.

And this, in a nutshell, is what happens with empires.

A nation that comes to the rescue in times of genuine need (such as the two World Wars) is revered. But once that nation morphs into a bully that uses any excuse to invade countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, its allies may continue to bow to it but secretly fear it and wish that it could be taken down a peg.

When the empire then starts looking around for other nations to bully, such as Iran and Venezuela, its allies again say nothing but react with fear when they see the John Boltons and Mike Pompeos beating the war drums and making reckless comments.

At present, the US is focusing primarily on economic warfare, but if this fails to get the world to bend to its dominance, the US has repeatedly warned, regarding possible military aggression, that "no option is off the table."

The US has reached the classic stage when it has become a reckless bully, and its support structure of allies has begun to de-couple as a result.

At the same time that allies begin to pull back and make other plans for their future, those citizens within the empire who tend to be the creators of prosperity also begin to seek greener pastures.

History has seen this happen countless times. The "brain drain" occurs, in which the best and most productive begin to look elsewhere for their future. Just as the most productive Europeans crossed the Pond to colonise the US when it was a new, promising country, their present-day counterparts have begun moving offshore.

The US is presently in a state of suspended animation. It still appears to be a major force, but its buttresses are quietly disappearing. At some point in the near future, it's likely that the US government will overplay its hand and aggress against a foe that either is stronger or has alliances that, collectively, make it stronger.


Basil1931 , 30 minutes ago link

The greatest (so called) threats to America- the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, ISIS, ( fill in the blank for the latest overseas bogeyman-of-the-week ) pale into a wisp beside the ongoing disintegration of American traditional family life. Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador.

Ms No , 38 minutes ago link

You also cant warn people about the collapse of empire either. People notoriously go into denial about it and it shocks the **** out of everybody. Since empires bluff and bluster at the end its all to easy for people want to believe.

Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything.

ohm , 55 minutes ago link

Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. if you think that the world would enter the age of Aquarius and peace will rule the planet you are extremely naive and stupid. If you think that the Chinese would be more benign rulers you are mistaken. The only reason China doesn't use its military to dominate other countries is because it is kept in check by the US.

HillaryOdor , 46 minutes ago link

You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people.

And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward.

In the real world, Chinese terrorists are just as bad as American terrorists. Despite the most popular hypnosis gripping the American psyche, you can't have liberty or justice as long as either one is in charge. Whether the Chinese would be worse is debatable. It's not like America has some great track record to compete against. Their reign has been a complete disaster for human rights.

ohm , 41 minutes ago link

We don't need any empire ruling the world.

Agreed. But wishing that something isn't going to happen doesn't stop it from happening.

HillaryOdor , 34 minutes ago link

Pretending you are better off under the current arrangement doesn't make it so.

Pretending you have any control over the future of world politics doesn't make it so.

simpson seers , 43 minutes ago link

'Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it '

for starters, peace would replace it, fake phoney ******.......

ohm , 42 minutes ago link

Why? Do you have a historical example?

ohm , 42 minutes ago link

Why? Do you have a historical example?

SHsparx , 37 minutes ago link

Expecting the inevitable and hoping for something are two different things.

Ms No , 29 minutes ago link

If China became the new empire we wouldnt live under it. It would be at least 100 years out. This empire will screw everybody epically first, plus we have decline weather patterns with super solar grand minimum. Also those people's who may see that next empire will deal with whatever circumstances present themselves and they wont give one **** what we think about it.

Basically power has kept moving west. Nobody will forget the depravity of this one. If written about accurately this one will be remembered most for the medical tyranny and intentional damage it did to human beings through injections and modified good supply, as well as moral depravity and proxy sadistic terrorism. Remember empire backed terrorist groups trafficked children and harvested organs. You can miss it if you want, few will.

ultramaroon , 11 minutes ago link

I do not _hope_ for an end of the American Empire, and I dread what is going to replace it. Howsoever, no empire lasts forever, and our empire is near its end. The Chinese are relentlessly cruel, and that's in their genotype. I probably won't live to see them take over the scraps and bits and pieces of our former empire. Those who are alive and in the prime of their lives when that happens will suffer unimaginably while they live, and their blood will cry out from the grave after they die. It makes me so heart-sick I can't bear to think about it for long, but our progeny will be forced to live it without let or hindrance.

Ms No , 8 minutes ago link

Lets find out the whole details of what they have done to our biology and our children's first before we say how cruel China might be. For starters look at what US and British did in Africa compared to China and Russia's involvement there. They are doing deals and not killing anybody, same with Venezuela.

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

Where else you going to go? What nation ISN'T broke? Europe is going to hell. So is South America. Africa has always been hell. Asia? Look what's going down in Hong Kong. China's broke. Make no mistake, the USA is in decline. But so is the rest of the world...

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

I'd say it's a race to the bottom but it's really that everyone is falling off the cliff at the same time...

perikleous , 1 hour ago link

regardless of what is printed China is not falling, they have a plan and have only advanced it. The debt side will not hurt them because they have been poor before and they have a route to success. They do not have resources but the industrial side is needed everywhere in the world. We are talking about a nation that literally prospered off of our garbage and resells it back to us! Think about it we use something up and pay them to take it away, they recycle it and resell it to us again and moved a nation 4x our population forward!

You really think debt will hurt them, especially the way the US determines debt! A huge portion of it is in the infrastructucture in China and along the BRI which will have returns over time, just as if we in the states rebuilt all our infrastructure by living wage employment rather than MIC investment!

Argentumentum , 1 hour ago link

Yes, all are broke. Assisted suicides of countries all over the world. Emphasise on "assisted".

Nations have been demoralized (the US most certainly, check Yuri Bezmenov) we are in destabilization phase already, collapse has to be next, it is unavoidable now. This will not end well, ignore at your own risk!

I am not talking about countries, just some Life Hedge Regions left in the world. People with brains and resources, you don need a Life Hedge Property! Away from Northern Hemisphere, away from Ring of Fire, etc... Get in touch. lifehedge(at) protonmail.com

He–Mene Mox Mox , 1 hour ago link

What got America into trouble was when Americans who thought of themselves as being "exceptional" became exceptionally stupid. The best and the brightest have already left America. Any wonder why we now depend on Russia to send our astronauts up on their rockets into space, or depend on China, South Korea, and Japan for our electronic products, or why better health care is found in other places outside the U.S., why our educational system has become poorer than what it was 60 years ago, etc.,?

perikleous , 1 hour ago link

When we decided to financialize everything and make nothing but investments we crippled our advancement.

When we decided to take the brightest minds in the world and recruit them into the US and then rather than advance the world with true science, we offer them lucrative money to enter financial markets to use their knowledge in that field.

We take the ones with morals and principles that choose to actually remain in science and then corrupt them over time with money/fame to regurgetate whatever their contractor chooses or lose funding for their projects.

We have corrupted every aspect of advancement and now just use our fake printed money to force the desperate to bend to our will.

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

Where do you see this better health care?

And you're saying the best and brightest left the USA for Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan? I don't think so...

Dump , 1 hour ago link

Good read on the subject of empires Sir John Glubb - The fate of empires and Search for survival.

We are probably near the end of the American Empire. And a fascinating by product of the HK protests is that we may well be near the end of Chinese Communism.

The Herdsman , 1 hour ago link

Nothing moves forward in a straight line. They move up and down. Empires are no exception. The Romans had their ups and downs throughout the course of their empire. You never know when a down cycle is the end but people who want it to end will always write articles like this.

American dominance might be drawing to an end....or it might be gearing up to go another 200 years. Nobody knows so it's a waste of time to speculate.

[Sep 01, 2019] Film 'Official Secrets' is the Tip of a Mammoth Iceberg Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
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"... . Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed. If your comment does not immediately appear, please be patient as it is manually reviewed. ..."
Sep 01, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Film 'Official Secrets' is the Tip of a Mammoth Iceberg August 29, 2019 • 37 Comments

A new film depicting the whistleblower Katherine Gun, who tried to stop the Iraq invasion, is largely accurate, but the story is not over, says Sam Husseini.

By Sam Husseini
Special to Consortium News

T wo-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley is known for being in "period pieces" such as "Pride and Prejudice," so her playing the lead in the new film "Official Secrets," scheduled to be released in the U.S. on Friday, may seem odd at first. That is until one considers that the time span being depicted -- the early 2003 run-up to the invasion of Iraq -- is one of the most dramatic and consequential periods of modern human history.

It is also one of the most poorly understood, in part because the story of Katharine Gun, played by Knightley, is so little known. Having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date–"to date" because the wider story still isn't over.

Katharine Gun worked as an analyst for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British equivalent of the secretive U.S. National Security Agency. She tried to stop the impending invasion of Iraq in early 2003 by exposing the deceit of George W. Bush and Tony Blair in their claims about that country. For doing that she was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act -- a juiced up version of the U.S. Espionage Act, which in recent years has been used repeatedly by the Obama administration against whistleblowers and now by the Trump administration against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Gun was charged for exposing -- around the time of Colin Powell's infamous testimony to the UN about Iraq's alleged WMDs – a top secret U.S. government memo showing it was mounting an illegal spying "surge" against other U.N. Security Council delegations in an effort to manipulate them into voting for an Iraq invasion resolution. The U.S. and Britain had successfully forced through a trumped up resolution, 1441 in November 2002. In early 2003, they were poised to threaten, bribe or blackmail their way to get formal United Nations authorization for the invasion. [See recent interview with Gun .]

Katherine Gun The leaked memo, published by the British Observer , was big news in parts of the world, especially the targeted countries on the Security Council, and helped prevent Bush and Blair from getting the second UN Security Council resolution they said they wanted. Veto powers Russia, China and France were opposed as well as U.S. ally Germany.

Washington invaded anyway of course -- without Security Council authorization -- by telling the UN weapons inspectors to leave Iraq and issuing a unilateral demand that Saddam Hussein leave Iraq in 48 hours -- and then saying the invasion would commence regardless .

'Most Courageous Leak' It was the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where I work ( accuracy.org ), Norman Solomon, as well as Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg who in the U.S. most immediately saw the importance of what Gun had done. Ellsberg would later comment: "No one else -- including myself -- has ever done what Katharine Gun did: Tell secret truths at personal risk, before an imminent war, in time, possibly, to avert it. Hers was the most important -- and courageous -- leak I've ever seen, more timely and potentially more effective than the Pentagon Papers."

Of course, no one knew her name at the time. After the Observer broke the story on March 1, 2003, accuracy.org put out a series of news releases on it and organized a sadly, sparsely attended news conference with Ellsberg on March 11, 2003 at the National Press Club , focusing on Gun's revelations. Ellsberg called for more such truth telling to stop the impending invasion, just nine days away.

Though I've followed this case for years, I didn't realize until recently that accuray.org's work helped compel Gun to expose the document. At a recent D.C. showing of "Official Secrets" that Gun attended, she revealed that she had read a book co-authored by Solomon, published in January 2003 that included material from accuracy.org as well as the media watch group FAIR debunking many of the falsehoods for war.

Daniel Ellsberg on the cover of Time after leaking the Pentagon Papers

Gun said: "I went to the local bookshop, and I went into the political section. I found two books, which had apparently been rushed into publication, one was by Norman Solomon and Reese Erlich, and it was called Target Iraq . And the other one was by Milan Rai. It was called War Plan Iraq . And I bought both of them. And I read them cover to cover that weekend, and it basically convinced me that there was no real evidence for this war. So I think from that point onward, I was very critical and scrutinizing everything that was being said in the media." Thus, we see Gun in "Official Secrets" shouting at the TV to Tony Blair that he's not entitled to make up facts. The film may be jarring to some consumers of major media who might think that Donald Trump invented lying in 2017. Gun's immediate action after reading critiques of U.S. policy and media coverage makes a strong case for trying to reach government workers by handing out fliers and books and putting up billboards outside government offices to encourage them to be more critically minded.

Solomon and Ellsberg had debunked Bush administration propaganda in real time. But Gun's revelation showed that the U.S. and British governments were not only lying to invade Iraq, they were violating international law to blackmail whole nations to get in line.

Mainstream reviews of "Official Secrets" still seem to not fully grasp the importance of what they just saw. The trendy AV Club review leads : "Virtually everyone now agrees that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a colossal mistake based on faulty (at best) or fabricated (at worst) intelligence." "Mistake" is a serious understatement even with "colossal" attached to it when the movie details the diabolical, illegal lengths to which the U.S. and British governments went to get other governments to go along with it.

Gun's revelations showed before the invasion that people on the inside, whose livelihood depends on following the party line, were willing to risk jail time to out the lies and threats.

Portrayal of The Observer

Other than Gun herself, the film focuses on a dramatization of what happened at her work; as well as her relationship with her husband, a Kurd from Turkey who the British government attempted to have deported to get at Gun. The film also portrays the work of her lawyers who helped get the Official Secrets charge against her dropped, as well as the drama at The Observer , which published the NSA document after much internal debate.

Observer reporter Martin Bright, whose strong work on the original Gun story was strangely followed by an ill-fated stint at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, has recently noted that very little additional work has been done on Gun's case. We know virtually nothing about the apparent author of the NSA document that she leaked -- one "Frank Koza." Other questions persist, such is prevalent is this sort of U.S. blackmail of foreign governments to get UN votes or for other purposes? How is it leveraged? Does it fit in with allegations made by former NSA analyst Russ Tice about the NSA having massive files on political people?

Observer reporter Ed Vulliamy is energetically depicted getting tips from former CIA man Mel Goodman. There do seem to be subtle but potentially serious deviations from reality in the film. Vulliamy is depicted as actually speaking with "Frank Koza," but that's not what he originally reported :

"The NSA main switchboard put The Observer through to extension 6727 at the agency which was answered by an assistant, who confirmed it was Koza's office. However, when The Observer asked to talk to Koza about the surveillance of diplomatic missions at the United Nations, it was then told 'You have reached the wrong number'. On protesting that the assistant had just said this was Koza's extension, the assistant repeated that it was an erroneous extension, and hung up."

There must doubtlessly be many aspects of the film that have been simplified or altered regarding Gun's personal experience. A compelling part of the film -- apparently fictitious or exaggerated -- is a GCHQ apparatchik questioning Gun to see if she was the source.

Little is known about the reaction inside the governments of Security Council members that the U.S. spied on. After the invasion, Mexican Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser spoke in blunt terms about U.S. bullying -- saying it viewed Mexico as its patio trasero , or back yard -- and was Zinser was compelled to resign by President Vicente Fox. He then, in 2004 , gave details about some aspects of U.S. surveillance sabotaging the efforts of the other members of the Security Council to hammer out a compromise to avert the invasion of Iraq, saying the U.S. was "violating the U.N. headquarters covenant." In 2005, he tragically died in a car crash .

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept in 2016 boasted of how the NSA "during the wind-up to the Iraq War 'played a critical role' in the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The work with that customer was a resounding success." The relevant document specifically cites resolutions 1441 and 1472 and quotes John Negroponte , then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: "I can't imagine better intelligence support for a diplomatic mission." (Notably, The Intercept has never published a word on " Katharine Gun ." )

Nor were the UN Security Council members the only ones on the U.S. hit list to pave the way for the Iraq invasion. Brazilian Jose Bustani, the director-general of the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. was ousted in an effective coup by John Bolton in April of 2002 . Bolton is now national security adviser.

"Official Secrets" director Gavin Hood is perhaps more right than he realizes when he says that his depiction of the Gun case is like the "tip of an iceberg," pointing to other deceits surrounding the Iraq war. His record with political films has been uneven until now. Peace activist David Swanson, for instance, derided his film on drones, " Eye in the Sky ." At a D.C. showing of "Official Secrets," Hood depicted those who backed the Iraq war as being discredited. But that's simply untrue.

Keira Knightley appears as Katherine Gun in Official Secrets (Courtesy of Sundance Institute.)

Leading presidential candidate Joe Biden -- who not only voted for the Iraq invasion, but presided over rigged hearings on in 2002 – has recently falsified his record repeatedly on Iraq at presidential debates with hardly a murmur. Nor is he alone. Those refusing to be held accountable for their Iraq war lies include not just Bush and Cheney, but John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi .

Biden has actually faulted Bush for not doing enough to get United Nations approval for the Iraq invasion. But as the Gun case helps show, there was no legitimate case for invasion and the Bush administration had done virtually everything, both legal and illegal, to get UN authorization.

Many who supported the invasion try to distance themselves from it. But the repercussions of that illegal act are enormous: It led directly or indirectly to the rise of ISIS, the civil war in Iraq and the war in Syria. Journalists who pushed for the Iraq invasion are prosperous and atop major news organizations, such as Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt. The editor who argued most strongly against publication of the NSA document at The Observer , Kamal Ahmed, is now editorial director of BBC News.

The British government -- unlike the U.S.– did ultimately produce a study ostensibly around the decision-making leading to the invasion of Iraq, the Chilcot Report of 2016. But that report -- called "devastating" by the The New York Times made no mention of the Gun case . [See accuracy.org release from 2016: " Chilcot Report Avoids Smoking Gun ." ]

After Gun's identity became known, the Institute for Public Accuracy brought on Jeff Cohen, the founder of FAIR, to work with program director Hollie Ainbinder to get prominent individuals to support Gun . The film -- quite plausibly -- depicts the charges being dropped against Gun for the simple reason that the British government feared that a high profile proceeding would effectively put the war on trial, which to them would be have been a nightmare.

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist, senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org . Follow him on twitter: @samhusseini .

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David G , August 31, 2019 at 19:49

Saw the film today. Solid work; recommended.

Did her ultimate court appearance really go down in such a dramatic fashion? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if it did: English courtroom proceedings may not deliver better justice than U.S. ones, but they're definitely more entertaining.

William , August 31, 2019 at 19:06

U.S. Government officials should be indicted for war crimes. It is quite clear that U.S. officials conspired to ensure that an invasion
of Iraq would take place. The U.S. and Britain -- George Bush and Tony Blair -- initiated a war of aggression against Iraq, and under
international law should be tried for war crimes, just as numerous German officials were tried and convicted of war crimes.

No U.S. politician has called for investigation, and the main stream media has not touched this topic. It is unquestionably clear that
the U.S. congress is a collection of spineless, cowardly, corrupt, greedy men and women. They have allowed the U.S. to become a rogue,
criminal nation.

Vivek Jain , August 31, 2019 at 14:33

Must-read article by Phyllis Bennis:
The Roller Coaster of Relevance | The Security Council, Europe and the US War in Iraq
Institute for Policy Studies, 29 July 2004
https://www.tni.org/en/article/the-roller-coaster-of-relevance

Susan J Leslie , August 31, 2019 at 09:11

Katherine Gun is awesome! I heard her speak as part of a panel of whistleblowers – wish there were many more like her

michael , August 31, 2019 at 08:15

Inequality.org reports that the majority of our top 1% are corporate executives. Finance, which reportedly accounted for 3% of our economy in 1980, now accounts for 30%. Many of the US's 585 billionaires have monopolies in their business domain, no different from the Robber Barons of the late 19th and early 20th century. "Stability is more important than democracy", the market hates uncertainty, and our foreign policies, determined by think tanks staffed and funded by our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia, will continue to push for the greed of our Richest. "Democracy" is a just a hypocritical bon mot for stealing and destroying.
The Republicans have always supported these people. What is worrisome is that the Democrats have come to the same place as the GOP, since donations– pay-to-play- lead to re-elections. The Democrats have deserted the Poor and working class, since they have no money for pay-to-play. Our 17 technologically advanced Stasis work in concert with Congress, our entitled government bureaucrats, and their lapdog main stream media to "make things happen" for our Richest. How long before people like Assange, Katherine Gunn, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Binney, Kiriakou etc learn that it pays to keep their mouths shut? Transparency and whistleblowing is punished. Maybe other approaches are needed?

Tony , August 31, 2019 at 07:26

Very interesting to see what inspired her to act the way that she did.

Of course, the supporters of the war had various motives.
But one motive behind President Bush's plan was revealed by Russ Baker in his book 'Family of Secrets' page 423.

He recalls a conversation with Bush family friend and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. He says that he told him:

"He (George W. Bush) was thinking about invading in 1999."

Bush apparently said:

"If I have a chance to invade if I had that much (political) capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed, and I'm going to have a successful presidency."

So there we have it, he thought that a war would boost his presidency.

David G , August 31, 2019 at 05:16

"The editor who argued most strongly against publication of the NSA document at The Observer, Kamal Ahmed, is now editorial director of BBC News."

That's a repulsive little nugget I would never have known otherwise.

Thanks to Sam Husseini for this account. The film is playing in my town, at least for this coming week; I plan to get to it.

RomeoCharlie29 , August 30, 2019 at 19:24

This is a really interesting story and one I knew nothing about, although I was one who opposed the Iraq war because to me it was obvious the whole WMD issue was bullshit. Now I understand the perception that that war was an American/ Brit thing but you might recall that America's deputy Sheriff in the Pacific, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, was Gung ho for the war and committed Australian troops to the ill-fated endeavour with the result that our country has subsequently become a target for ISIS inspired terrorism. Australia's Opposition Leader at the time, Simon Crean led a vocal opposition to the war but "Little Johnny" as we called him was not to be denied. Incidentally I don't think he has ever admitted being wrong on this.

Xander Arena , August 30, 2019 at 18:15

Tip of an iceberg is right. Iraq was the second big lie of the 21st century. I wonder how the world will react to the University of Alaska Fairbanks report which proves fraud at NIST, and arguably reveals aiding and abetting of treason by the contractors who wrote NIST's analysis of the WTC7 destruction. The UAF report drops Tuesday 9/3/19, and chisels away at the big lie that preceded all the related Iraq deceit. BTW great article :)

Dan Anderson , August 30, 2019 at 16:49

I enjoyed the article and learned some things, but it does seem a bit of Hollywood promotion at the same time.

If only Gun's sacrifice had stopped the invasion it would have been a sensation. As is, the UN did not sanction the invasion, making that effort a bit moot, and since the reveal of NSA bugging the world under Obama that dulls the sensibilities of those who might today have otherwise been shocked, shocked like the Gary Powers U-2 spy plane downing over the USSR and Ike being caught in a lie on TV.

But overall, knowing the downhill Gun's livelihood has taken over the 15 years makes the story more of a warning for whistle blowers than inspiration. Maybe Gun will be well compensated by the movie makers!

Neil E Mac , August 30, 2019 at 15:54

En fin!

bevin , August 30, 2019 at 14:13

One thing is certain: The Observer of 2019 would not publish a story like this. That is one of the major changes since 2003: the capitalist media has tightened up. There are no longer papers competing to attract readers at risk of cozy relations with the State. The Observer/Guardian today – since the Snowden revelations- does what it is told.

Litchfield , August 30, 2019 at 13:16

"In 2005, he tragically died in a car crash."

Unfortunately -- or fortunately? -- this no longer seems to be credible when it comes to those who have gone ouit on a limb to challenge the Deep State, or the US version of the Deep State.

Can Bush and Blair be charged with crimes? In connection with the Third Reich there is AFAIK no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. Well, Iraq was also full of 'humanity." These guys belong in The Hague. Or in Iraq, doing community service.

In connection with Ellsberg's reviewing the evidence and concluding there was no evidentiary justification for invading Iraq -- I wanna say, you didn't need to be Ellsberg or any kind of expert to see clearly that there was no evidence that justified invading Iraq. Millions of common folk could see this clearly. That is why over 14 million people worldwide demonstrated against the planned illegal invasion. That is why people like me when to NYC, to Washington, and also the front our local US Post Office in small towns all over the country to protest the country's being lied into war. And were greeted mostly with thumbs-up from the passers- and drivers-by.

The people knew it was all a pack of lies. It was the gullible PRESS that ginned up this show. Remember Judith what's her name at the NYT? These people also should be indicted as war criminals.

Dan Anderson , August 30, 2019 at 16:19

Judith Miller, the NYTimes reporter who did maybe the most to make the invasion of Iraq, is the last name you were seeking.

SteveF , August 30, 2019 at 12:22

The timescales are interesting, we have the alleged US blackmail to get this illegal war 'approved' by the UN and in the same timescale we have the Jeffery Epstein story unfolding and the corresponding allegations that he was a CIA/Mossad agent operating honey traps to entangle the rich and famous.
The evil machinations of our governments are indeed breathtaking.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , August 30, 2019 at 11:56

Good gripping tale.

As we can see from so very many modern instances, it matters not at all that truth is on your side, if what you are doing is attacking those with money and power.

And there's an entire American establishment dedicated to keeping it just that way.

America's history of the last half century, at least so far as foreign relations and control of an empire, is almost entirely an artificial construct.

Absolutely no truth in everything from John Kennedy's assassination, which was intimately concerned with America's relationship with Cuba, and the despicable Vietnam War to 9/11 and the despicable Neocon Wars in the Middle East.

From hundreds of millions of printed newspapers and television broadcasts to speeches from prominent American politicians, you have tissue of lies not unlike that that was constantly being created by Oceania's Inner Party in 1984.

That's not even the slightest exaggeration, but, truly, are Americans in general the least concerned or bothered?

We have no evidence of significant concern. None.

The Democratic Party just weeded out the only candidate it had, brave and informed enough to speak to truth in some of these matters.

The ten left just represent varying degrees of hopelessness. On and on with weaving dreams about this or that creative social program while the resources and close attention dedicated to destruction in a dozen lands make them all impossible.

At the sae time, there is an almost complete lack of information and courage about anything that is happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Israel, and in such massively important countries as China, Russia, and Iran.

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are brave contemporary examples of the American establishment's methods for shutting down truth and punishing severely those who reveal it. While they have followers and supporters, I am always amazed at how relatively small their numbers are.

And we have remarkably few individuals like Manning or Assange, especially when you consider the scale and scope of America's many dark works. Mostly, we see only "willing helpers" carrying on with their sensitive, secretive careers in government.

In the Democratic nomination contest, the "star" liberals, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are virtually no different in these absolutely critical matters than a confirmed old puke of a war criminal like Joe Biden, someone who probably deserves recognition as father of Obama's industrial-scale extrajudicial killing project with drones and Hellfire missiles making legally-innocent people in a dozen countries just disappear. Biden has a long record of smarmy deeds and lack of courage and principles. He is, of course, most likely to get the nomination too.

Act, from America's CIA, no different in principle and in law to those of the old Argentine military junta's massive efforts at dragging people off the streets, drugging them, and throwing them out of planes over the ocean, something they did to thousands. Oh, and during that wonderful project there were no objections from America, only silence.

Aimee , August 30, 2019 at 22:31

Excellent post. Agree completely. Tulsi was our only hope and she never had a chance. We are doomed.

Coleen Rowley , August 30, 2019 at 23:29

Here are some of the reasons for the ever lessening concern over US-NATO-Israel-Saudi's (aka our current Empire's) wars: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/04/recipe-concocted-for-perpetual-war-is-a-bitter-one/ By the way my co-author and I tried unsuccessfully to get this published in about 15 different US papers before Robert Parry posted it on Consortiumnews.

Robert Edwards , August 30, 2019 at 11:17

It's time these liers and war criminals are brought to Justice – I know that's wishful , but sometimes wishes come true America must get back to a country run on integrity and honesty, otherwise all will be lost in the spiral of evil

JOHN CHUCKMAN , August 30, 2019 at 12:11

Sorry, but, oh please, America is lost. Has been so for a very long time.

Only tremendous outside influences like depression or war and the growth of competing states and the loss of the dollar's privileged status, are going to change the reality.

America's feeble democratic system is capable of changing almost nothing. After all, it was constructed with just that in mind.

john wilson , August 31, 2019 at 05:07

I think think the real worry is that these days they don't even bother to lie anymore and they just do what they want. Think Venezuela.

Guy , August 30, 2019 at 10:42

"Other questions persist, such is prevalent is this sort of U.S. blackmail of foreign governments to get UN votes or for other purposes? How is it leveraged? Does it fit in with allegations made by former NSA analyst Russ Tice about the NSA having massive files on political people?"
This also stands out , as given what we now know is standard modus opendi of CIA / Mossad operations ,due to the Epstein arrest and ensuing information , who knows what is used to leverage other nations to follow along with US and in this case UK demands.Birds of a feather fly together.
Very good report by Sam Husseini.

Litchfield , August 30, 2019 at 13:32

Absolutely. It is an obvious avenue now to investigate: How did the Epstein operation impact on the decision to invade Iraq? How were teh votes wrung out for the war authorization in October 2002?

Regarding Kerry, as a resident of Mass. I couldn't believe that Vietnam vet Kerry would vote Yes on the war authorization act. I called his office a number of time to beg him to vote no. Rumors emanated from within his office in Boston or wherever that phone calls from constituents were running 180 to 1 urging him to vote NO. But he voted YES anyhow.

I simply believe that Yalie Kerry didn't see what was up with the obvious lying that drove the runup to an illegal invasion. This is the kind of scenario where one now has to wonder -- and ask openly -- whether Kerry had been compromised in some way that made him vulnerable to blackmail. Why the hell else would he vote so stupidly?

Recall that Scott Ritter ran afoul of some kind of sex trap and so he, one of the most knowledgeable and outspoken critics of the fake WMD narrative, was effectively muzzled.

Did Kerry have a little skeleton in the closet somewhere?

The same could be asked of all the esp. Democratic legislators who voted YES. Because we now understand which state in the EAstern Med wanted the war most and profited the most from it. We now know how deep and how wide the tentacles of that state's intelligence service intrude into our own national sphere, our Congress, our own intelligence services, our media, and, most likely, our military. Epstein seems to been part f this web of pressure and blackmail.

Epstein is gone, but Ghislaine Maxwell apparently still runs free.
Let's bring her in for questioning specifically about pressure applied on the Oct. 2002 vote. (Although some speculate that she, too, is already dead.)

Guy , August 30, 2019 at 10:23

At a time when despair in political affairs is very depressing ,it is very refreshing to see that the voices of reason are being vindicated.
I really want to see this film as this is the first time that I hear of the voice of Katherine Gun .Bless her heart for standing up and her efforts to warn of deception . Does the film make any mention of Dr.David Kelly's so-called suicide / murder ? Will have to wait ans see.
Thank you CN for once again coming through for your excellent report.

Pablo , August 30, 2019 at 10:15

Lawrence Wilkerson (Powell's Chief of Staff?) told me that Collin knew Bush was fabricating, but went to the U.N. as a "loyal foot soldier".

AnneR , August 30, 2019 at 08:25

Thank you, Sam Husseini, for this overview of the background – real story – to the film Official Secrets.

To be frank, I'd not heard of Katherine Gun's revelations at the time – not surprising because I don't think that the US MSM gave the leak any oxygen. They were all too gung-ho for the war.

While the film undoubtedly soft-pedals some of the story and likely doesn't reveal or make explicit as much as we'd all hope, I really do hope that it receives at least as much publicity (good) and viewing as that execrable film Zero dark Thirty which basically supported the CIA and its torturers. But somehow I doubt that.

TomR , August 31, 2019 at 06:19

Zero Dark Thirty is just about the worst bullshit fake narrative put out by the CIA that I've ever seen. I watched it but cringed with the dramatized fake narrative that the CIA is famous for – think the bullshit 9/11 US govt. narrative – if you or anyone else believes that totally bunkum govt. narrative – well, I feel sorry for you.

Druid , August 31, 2019 at 17:28

Im a good- movie buff. I avoided Zero Dark Thirty. Not a farthing for those lies

Sylvia Bennet , August 30, 2019 at 07:51

I applaud Keira Knightley and all who were involved in bringing this story to the public. It is vital that more people who have the eyes and ears of the public speak out on these issues. Sadly, most of them keep their heads below the parapet. With the Main Stream Media colluding with corrupt corporations and governments to lie or distort the truth, we need decent people with influence to step up before it is too late.

Toxik , August 30, 2019 at 02:42

Looked at my local theaters and Official Secrets will not be shown.

jmg , August 29, 2019 at 18:39

Katharine Gun's case can also be very relevant for Julian Assange's defense:

"Within half an hour, the case was dropped because the prosecution declined to offer evidence. . . . The day before the trial, Gun's defence team had asked the government for any records of advice about the legality of the war that it had received during the run-up to the war. A full trial might have exposed any such documents to public scrutiny as the defence were expected to argue that trying to stop an illegal act (that of an illegal war of aggression) trumped Gun's obligations under the Official Secrets Act 1989. . . . In 2019 The Guardian stated the case was dropped 'when the prosecution realised that evidence would emerge that even British government lawyers believed the invasion was unlawful.'"

Katharine Gun – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Gun

So Katharine Gun, like Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, etc., by revealing corruption and crimes, maybe didn't obey the code of silence of organized crime, government sector, but that's not a law.

For example, the US Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information, explicitly outlaws any classification that covers up crimes or embarrassing information.

This means that whistleblowers like Katharine Gun or Chelsea Manning, and investigative journalists like Julian Assange are the ones defending the law here, while the US and UK governments are the criminals.

lindaj , August 29, 2019 at 22:10

Hear, Hear!

Me Myself , August 30, 2019 at 12:11

The espionage act has and would protect those who were responsible for the war I believe.

If we could Abrogate the espionage act it would make are representatives more accountable.

I was unaware of Katherine Gun she is clearly a standout person and will join the ranks of are most respected truthers.

WTF Burkie , August 31, 2019 at 14:05

Our not are.b.c. burkhart

evelync , August 30, 2019 at 13:34

And the secrecy, apparently, is required in the name of "national security" .that's what I was told by a Harvard JFK School of Government associate when I emailed 200+ of 'em to express my outrage over their withdrawal of Chelsea Manning's honorary degree when Pompeo and Morrell bullied them. I responded with – that's INSTITUTIONAL FAILURE at Harvard – as a "respected" educational institution you should be front and center critiquing foreign policy instead of helping to bury the wrongdoing ..no wonder voters didn't trust the establishment candidates in 2016 but the DNC was too much a part of it all to see or care what was going on. Except for Tulsi Gabbard who resigned at DNC VP in protest for what was being done to the Sanders campaign and to endorse Sanders instead of Clinton. The DNC knee capped the campaign of the one person who had won peoples' trust for his honesty.

We have incompetent people with no moral fiber making terrible decisions and burying the mistakes under secrecy, a fear based "code of silence", as you say.

Biden touts his being chosen by Obama for VP; therefore "he's qualified".
Since Clinton and Biden were the most dangerously ambitious critics of Obama, I think he may have chosen to add them to his administration as VP and Sec of State to practice "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" .but his decision was very costly to the lives of people around the world including the Caribbean and South American countries whose wealth our oligarchs coveted.
And as far as Honduras is concerned those political choices by Obama sadly explains refugees fleeing from that violent country even now ..thanks to our failing to declare the 2009 Coup a "military coup". One of Clinton's "hard choices". Obama and Biden went along with that of course.
Daniel Immerwahr's "How to Hide an Empire" tells the sordid tale of how waterboarding was used long before Bush II – used on the freedom fighters for their independence in the Philippines after the Spanish American War and we took over as imperialists ..
Most people, I think, don't know all the gruesome details of our aggression but they now know enough to be troubled by it. Few political candidates have the backbone to criticize wrongheaded foreign policy.
I'm disappointed that Tulsi Gabbard won't be permitted to join Bernie Sanders at the September 12 2019 "debate" as the only ones who speak out on how wrong for this country and the world our foreign policies have been. This courageous woman should be heard.
When Bernie was challenged in the 2016 Miami debate on his enlightened views on Cuba and other Caribbean and South American countries, Clinton used Cold War rhetoric to attack him. She was shocked, I tell you, shocked that he would not grind his heel on the Cuban people. I wondered at the time whether she really believed the crap she was selling or just put on a good political show for the national security state.

We so need transparency if we want to be a real democracy.

Sam F , August 30, 2019 at 21:06

Very true that transparency is essential to democracy. That also requires lifelong monitoring of officials and their relatives for paybacks and other influence. But (for example) Florida has an Sunshine Act that merely moves the bribes into other channels, and may be the most corrupt state. I am investigating extensive racketeering there involving state officials stealing conservation funds. They can be quire careless because their party runs the entire state including state and federal judiciary, and instantly approves whatever their rich "donors" want to steal. But the FBI and DOJ refuse to take action when given the evidence on a silver platter – no doubt because they are appointed by the same party. Theft is their sacred right and duty, to protect their country from its people.

michael , August 31, 2019 at 07:30

Florida's Sunshine laws were on display at Epstein's only trial, much of it still sealed from public view.

[Aug 31, 2019] A few more words on neocon war propaganda

Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donald , August 31, 2019 at 8:35 am

A few more words

"Saddam Hussein has WMD's."

"Assad (and by implication Assad's forces alone) killed 500,000 Syrians."

"Israel is just defending itself."

I can't squeeze the dishonesty about the war in Yemen into a short slogan, but I know from personal experience that getting liberals to care when it was Obama's war was virtually impossible. Even under Trump it was hard, until Khashoggi's murder. On the part of politicians and think tanks this was corruption by Saudi money. With ordinary people it was the usual partisan tribal hypocrisy.

[Aug 31, 2019] Clinton s vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq puts her in the cold-blooded murderer class.

Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Anarcissie , , August 31, 2019 at 11:38 am

Clinton’s vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq puts her in the cold-blooded murderer class. By the standards of the Nuremberg Trials, many of the people in power at that time were and are war criminals, and Clinton was certainly one of the people who could be charged with war crimes. (But I suppose she could have pleaded ignorance, incompetence, and indolence in mitigation.) All of this is completely out in the open.

I don’t know if it should be considered ‘corruption’, however. A crime against humanity is not exactly corrupt if the perpetrators and almost everyone else believe the perpetrators ought to be doing the crime, that it is their duty, their job. It might be better if they were corrupt, if they slacked off. But Clinton, going by some of her other well-known activities, seems to have been enthusiastically industrious at getting people killed — or maimed, tortured, terrorized, raped, starved, impoverished, and the other normal works of war. Not that this makes her much different from a lot of other people.

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Oh , August 31, 2019 at 10:18 am

“Money talks and everything else walks”. Don’t kid yourself; money is the driver.

Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:26 am

“We came, we saw, he died. Tee hee hee!”
“Did it have anything to do with your visit?”
“I’m sure it did.”
From a non-legal perspective at least, that makes her an accessory to murder, doesn’t it?

[Aug 28, 2019] why Magnier isn't using his platform to point out Netanyahu's irresponsible, self-serving actions. Netanyahu will NOT pay a price for his craven machinations - which could mean Israeli dead and injured and/or another war in Lebanon - when even "critics" like Magnier dress them up as heroic acts of patriotism

Notable quotes:
"... etanyahu bet the farm on Trump and Trump failed to deliver. They were countered at every turn by patient and scrupulous opponents who read the board better and didn't respond muscularly to repeated provocations. They let events come to them and waited for the moment of over-commitment. ..."
"... "Iraqi Intelligence: 'The Israeli drones that have been attacking our nation in the past few weeks are operating out of a base in YPG/SDF held areas in Syria and these operations are co-financed by Saudi Arabia. Israeli military personnel are on the ground in Northern Syria.'" ..."
Aug 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 26 2019 20:36 utc | 133

Magnier on Nuttyahoo's escalating provocations encapsulates the most recent series of events, although he doesn't attempt to link the actions to the upcoming elections. Hezbollah threatened direct retaliation against Occupied Palestine; Iraq chose to blame the Outlaw US Empire; Syria remained silent; the G-7 said nothing. The recent proposal by Iran to refurbish one pipeline and build another to Syria's coastline would certainly become a Zionist target. So, for the project to have the proper security, Occupied Palestine needs to be liberated. Nasrallah isn't known as a bluffer, while Nuttyahoo's prone to be too aggressive. Do the Zionists see the current situation as possibly the final time they have some sort of an advantage as Magnier seems to imply and attack since they know the Outlaw US Empire won't?

Sasha , Aug 26 2019 20:53 utc | 136

But, in spite of the whole US paleo-conservative spectre, along with "alt-right", always telling us it is Israel who forces the US to wage war in the ME...now, Israeli politics and experts, say the last attacks on Irak, Syria and Lebanon have been made only as electoral maneuver by Netanyahu and not only, but have stated that it is the US who wants Israel doing their dirty job in the ME...This, reported by Al Manar ....not a Jewish source....
In his speech on August 25, the secretary general of Hezbollah made a double promise: the Resistance will now attack the drones of Israel and attack the Israeli troops not in Shebaa but in Lebanon itself. For those Israeli generals who experienced the 2006 war and the ups and downs of Syria, these are not just warnings. These soldiers even seem to have been sensitive to Nasraláh's warning that Netanyahu's attacks are intended to win votes for the next election and avoid imprisonment. "The current threat to Israel, which is even more serious than terrorism, missiles and Iran, is the collapse of the interior of Israel," warned former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

"By the way, Netanyahu's air operations against Syria, Lebanon and Iraq pursue internal political goals, which is very unfortunate", said Moshe Yaalon, a leader of the Blue and White opposition coalition and former Israeli Minister of Military Affairs, according to the agency Palestinian Maa.

"The threat of the collapse of the interior of Israel is even more serious than the missiles and Iran. The destruction of democracy and corruption within government apparatus will lead us to collapse", said Ehud Barak in a video posted on his Twitter page.

"The attack on Syria was not a preventive action and will harm Israel," Barak told Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, having apparently understood the warning issued by Nasralá.

Other Israeli experts share this opinion. Yaari Ehud, an Israeli journalist and expert in the Middle East said on Channel 12 of Israeli television that Netanyahu and his security cabinet "perpetrated these attacks on behalf of the US" and run the risk of "exposing Israel." "In fact, the missions that Americans refuse to do, they entrust them to Israel. We have been commissioned to do the dirty work at the risk of jeopardizing our security, "he added before saying", Tel Aviv will pay for it."

Who is lying? The Israelis or the Americans? Or both?

See here Nasrallah more angry than long time ago...

While Israel claims having targetted an Iranian military base in Damascus, it seems that what it targetted were two milennials from Hezbollah, Hassan and Yasser , friends since childhood, who were also Engineering students in Iran...

Jackrabbit , Aug 27 2019 3:03 utc | 148

karlof1 @133: Magniers latest

Mangier writes a follow-up to his post that I criticized @29. I think that his latest post also falls well short of his vaunted reputation.

Magnier's interpretation of events lauds Netanyahu's chess playing. He compares inconsequential attacks with past strategic actions (almost gleefully as he describes those past glories at some length) .

He makes broad, unsupported statements like:

It should be recognized that Israel's assessment of the reaction of Iran's allies in Syria and Iraq is spot on.
And repeats that Israel is hitting "hundreds" of sites FOUR TIMES. Making it seem as though the Israeli campaign is much greater than it really is. AFAICT those attacks have actually been spread out over more than a year.

Yet it's all preliminary to this gem:

Netanyahu forced Hezbollah's leader to threaten Israel ...
Forced? Really? AFAICT the red lines in Lebanon have been clear for a long time. Each side will defend theirs.

Which leaves me scratching my head as to why Magnier isn't using his platform to point out Netanyahu's irresponsible, self-serving actions. Netanyahu will NOT pay a price for his craven machinations - which could mean Israeli dead and injured and/or another war in Lebanon - when even "critics" like Magnier dress them up as heroic acts of patriotism.

somebody , Aug 27 2019 8:53 utc | 160
Will Israel's War Become America's War?
Netanyahu's widening of Israel's war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq -- and perhaps beyond -- and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both nations.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

bevin , Aug 27 2019 13:03 utc | 167
On a not completely different subject-that of the Empire's demise- there is a Tom Luongo article at Strategic Culture, which is pretty good.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/08/27/first-many-cauldrons-form-middle-east/
It ends
"So, the cauldron around Israel is forming. With the Saudis in deep trouble, Egypt refusing to go along with any of Trump's plans – Arab NATO, the Kushner Deal of the Century – the game board has fundamentally shifted against them.

"N etanyahu bet the farm on Trump and Trump failed to deliver. They were countered at every turn by patient and scrupulous opponents who read the board better and didn't respond muscularly to repeated provocations. They let events come to them and waited for the moment of over-commitment.

"Now the counter attack will commence, I suspect, with brutal precision"

Uncle Jon , Aug 27 2019 17:05 utc | 177
@bevin 167

Elijah Magnier paints a different picture with Israel having the upper hand and being able to act with impunity.

https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/3421-netanyahu-dares-to-hit-iran-backyard.html

I don't quite agree with his assessment and conclusions. He is grossly underestimating the axis of resistance and their will to push back. Also, Israelis are overestimating the American support, no matter what. Not if it is going to cost them American lives. Hitting a few ammo depots in isolation is one thing, but getting Americans to die for Israeli intransigence is another. Not much stomach for that here in US, no matter how much they push the special relationship.

Israelis are playing backgammon while Iran and axis playing chess, being a grandmaster at that. Check mate will be ugly.


dh , Aug 27 2019 17:17 utc | 179
@177 Israel shouldn't take American support for granted. According to this article some Evangelicals are starting to have second thought...

"Why do we have pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ values, and we do not have more freedom to protect our faith? We are persecuted now," Yanko says about evangelical Christians like herself. "[Jews] say, 'We've got America. We control America.' That's what I know."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/anti-semitic-beliefs-spreading-among-192155642.html

karlof1 , Aug 27 2019 20:10 utc | 191
If true, big time trouble :

"Iraqi Intelligence: 'The Israeli drones that have been attacking our nation in the past few weeks are operating out of a base in YPG/SDF held areas in Syria and these operations are co-financed by Saudi Arabia. Israeli military personnel are on the ground in Northern Syria.'"

Is it a feint to get SAA to cease Idlib Dawn and drive the Zionists out, or are Zionist drones really being flown from there? Regardless, it's time to end the Kurd's games, drive out the Outlaw US Empire and all other illegal forces and reclaim Syrian sovereignty. Iraq must do the same.

S , Aug 28 2019 1:20 utc | 227 Jackrabbit , Aug 28 2019 2:11 utc | 228
Well, as if we needed any more proof of a Netanyahu's attempt to increase tensions for craven political benefit, there's Michael Snyder (via ZeroHedge): Fighting Escalates Dramatically As Both Sides Prepare For "The Final War" Between Israel And Iran , in which he claims that:
Over the past several days, Israel has attempted to prevent attacks by Iranian forces and their allies by striking targets in Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq.
Really? AFAIK, Israel hasn't described specific attacks that were thwarted.

Snyder then uses Iraqi and Hezbollah's anger at Israel's acts of war (cause, um ... that's what they are) as examples of pre-crime hatred that justifies Netanyahu's Israel's attacks.

Netanyahu's self-serving deviousness has blown up his face. Hasbara media assets are busy trying to recover the high ground. IMO their attempt to do so will fail miserably as it's transparent and thus digs the hole deeper. Leading to the question: Will Netanyahu accept defeat at the polls or will he continue with the dirty tricks (at the risk of war)?

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The above should be read in conjunction with my criticism of Magnier @29 and @148.

psychohistorian , Aug 28 2019 3:36 utc | 231
@ Jackrabbit #228 about Netanyahu...thanks

I read in the past 24 hours somewhere that Pence has also been speaking about how the US needs to help Israel protect itself from being attacked......

It is way past time to bring the pimple to a head and deal with it.

[Aug 27, 2019] How to Enlarge NATO The Debate inside the Clinton Administration, 1993 95

The main problem was the the USA elite after the dissolution of the USSR was hell-bent on world dominance. And Clinton was in the vanguard of this trend.
Clinton has pretty destructive, toxic legacy, is not he? He and his administration essentially acted as a short sited and greedy gangster and he sowed the teeth of dragon into US-Russia relations.
Clinton tried to exploit Russian weakness during this period to the fullest extent possible,. This is the policy similar to policy of GB toward Germany after WWI. In short Clinton was a typical imperialist from the very beginning and like all subsequent Presidents valued international treaties and obligation only when they benefited the USA. The stance that illegal bombing of Serbia only confirmed. At this point by Nuremberg standards he and all top official ion his administration and first of all Madeline not so bright Albright became war criminals. The fact they they were not prosecuted is just a historical aberration stemming from the dominant USA position at this time.
Essentially Clinton transformed NATO into aggressive alliance which is an expansion of the USA military.
Notable quotes:
"... As President Bill Clinton repeatedly remarked, the two key questions about enlargement were when and how ..."
Aug 27, 2019 | www.mitpressjournals.org

Newly available sources show how the 1993–95 debate over the best means of expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization unfolded inside the Clinton administration. This evidence comes from documents recently declassified by the Clinton Presidential Library, the Defense Department, and the State Department because of appeals by the author.

As President Bill Clinton repeatedly remarked, the two key questions about enlargement were when and how . The sources make apparent that, during a critical decision making period twenty-five years ago, supporters of a relatively swift conferral of full membership to a narrow range of countries outmaneuvered proponents of a slower, phased conferral of limited membership to a wide range of states.

Pleas from Central and Eastern European leaders, missteps by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and victory by the pro-expansion Republican Party in the 1994 U.S. congressional election all helped advocates of full-membership enlargement to win.

The documents also reveal the surprising impact of Ukrainian politics on this debate and the complex roles played by both Strobe Talbott, a U.S. ambassador and later deputy secretary of state, and Andrei Kozyrev, the Russian foreign minister.

Finally, the sources suggest ways in which the debate's outcome remains significant for transatlantic and U.S.-Russian relations today.

... ... ...

In other words, the Bush administration performed the first “ratcheting down” of options, a process not without its costs. It raised the question, controversial to this day, of whether the Bush administration promised Moscow that, in exchange for tolerating the extension of NATO across a united Germany, the alliance would not seek further expansion eastward. Opinions on this topic range from absolutely not to absolutely yes.15

... ... ...

Without advance warning, Yeltsin decided to vent his frustrations publicly at the Budapest summit with Clinton in attendance. The Russian president accused the United States, in the interest of NATO expansion, of risking a “‘cold peace’” to follow the Cold War.108 On the flight back from Budapest to Washington, Talbott recalled that the president “was furious at his foreign-policy team for dragging him across the Atlantic to serve as a punching bag for Yeltsin.”

... ... ...

The shift in U.S. thinking unsurprisingly contributed to more tensions with Moscow, as evidenced by Talbott's subsequent negotiations. Kozyrev tried to convince Talbott that a better idea would be to transform NATO into “a collective security organization rather than a vehicle for containment” by amending the North Atlantic Treaty.122 Talbott rejected the idea, saying “no way are we going to entertain the possibility of redefining NATO in any way that compromises its basic mission.”123 Put bluntly, “We're not in the business of having to ‘compensate’ Russia or buy it off. Russia is not doing us a favor by allowing NATO to expand.”124

...Finally, interacting with the other five factors was President Clinton's increasing sympathy to the appeals of CEE leaders, which inclined him toward those aides pushing for full Article 5 expansion, and his personal optimism that Russia would eventually tolerate enlargement.

...In Perry's view, arms control—most notably, START II, which would have eliminated two-thirds of the U.S. and Russian arsenals, but never went into effect—ended up being “‘a casualty of NATO expansion’” and of fighting between the Kremlin and the Duma.139 START III suffered a similar fate, not even progressing to a signing. Looking back in 2015, Perry concluded: “The downsides of early NATO membership for Eastern European nations were even worse than I had feared.”140

.... Viewed from twenty-five years on, with U.S.-Russian confrontation on the rise, democracy crumbling in Hungary and Poland, and U.S. tanks returning to Europe, there is room for doubt. Given that the window of opportunity for changes is now firmly shut, however, NATO must make the best of the status quo; for the foreseeable future, confrontation with Russia is once again the order of the day.

[Aug 24, 2019] Peace plan for eastern Ukraine As divisive as the causes of the war by Fred Weir

Highly recommended!
The net result on Ukrainian independence was the dramatic rise of political influence of western Ukraine which was suppressed in the USSR. under Yutchenko they came to power and they regained it after Yanukovich demise. And their interests and their desire to colonize Eastern Ukraine do not correlate will with the desires of the Eastern Ukrainian population. So Ukraine remains a divided country with the differences being patched by continuing war in Donbass. So in way continuation of the war is in the best political interests of Western Ukrainian nationalists. Kind of insurance which simplify for them to stay in power. While politically they lost in recent Presidential elections the presence of paramilitary formations ensure that they still have considerable political power including the power of veto.
Whether hardship inflicted on population after EuroMaydan will eventually help to restore the balance and raise political influence of Eastern Ukraine because Western Ukrainian nationalists are now completely politically discredited due to the dramatic drop in the standard of living after EuroMaydan is difficult to say. In any case Ukraine now is a debt slave and vassal of the USA with the USA embassy controlling way to much to consider Ukraine to be an independent country. Few countries manage to dig themselves out of this hole.
For such countries rise of anti-colonial movement is a possibility, but paradoxically Western Ukrainian nationalists side with colonial power representing in a way fifth column (and they did played the role of fifth column during EuroMaydan giving power to rabid neoliberals like Yatsenyuk, who was essentially an agent of the USA, who wanted to privatize everything for cents on the dollar as long as he and his circle get cramps from it, ordinary Ukrainians be damned ). Understanding that the USA is the most dangerous partner to have, in many ways no less dangerous then Russia is still pending for the Ukrainian neoliberal elite, part of which ( Kushma, Victor Pinchuk) clearly are plain-vanilla compradors.
Notable quotes:
"... Three decades of Ukrainian independence have brought little in the way of economic development or other strong reasons to embrace a Ukrainian identity. At the same time, Russia has become a far more prosperous, orderly place that exudes confidence and power since Vladimir Putin came to power. Millions of eastern Ukrainians have gone to Russia as guest workers – and more recently as war refugees . Today, the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia is by far the world's largest. ..."
"... The western regions of Ukraine, on the other hand, were part of European states like Austria-Hungary and Poland until World War II, when they were annexed by the Soviet Union. Now, people overwhelmingly speak Ukrainian as their first language, take a suspicious (and historically grounded) view of Russia, and tend to look west for their inspiration ..."
"... Millions of Ukrainians go to Poland and beyond as guest workers, and their impressions help to fuel the certainty that Ukraine needs to seek a European future. ..."
"... Not coincidentally, the enthusiasm and conviction of western Ukrainians have disproportionately driven two pro-Western revolutions on the Maidan in Kyiv in the past 15 years, with little visible support from populations in the country's east. ..."
"... "People in the western Ukraine are different from us. It's not just language, or anything simple like that. They took power away from a president our votes elected, and they want to rip us out of our ways, abandon our values, and become part of their agenda," says Maxim Tkach, regional head of the Party of Life, the pro-Russian group that was the front-runner in parliamentary elections here in Mariupol. ..."
"... "When they started that Maidan revolution, they said it was about things we could support, like fighting corruption and ending oligarchic rule. But none of that happened. They betrayed every single principle they had shouted about. Instead, they want us to change the names of our streets and schools, honor 'heroes' like Stepan Bandera that our ancestors fought against. These are things we can't accept. ... ..."
"... "If there had been no Maidan, we would still have Crimea. There would have been no war. There would be no pressure on us to change our customs, our language, or our church . It was this aggressive revolution, by just part of the country, that caused these problems," he says. "Russia is Russia. It is acting in its own interests, but why do we need to antagonize it?" ..."
"... But while the two nearby separatist statelets, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic, may be backed by Russia, they emerged from deep local roots. That is a clear observation from one of the most exhaustive studies of the war to date, Rebels Without a Cause , published last month by the International Crisis Group. ..."
"... The war has done great and possibly irreparable damage to Ukraine's economy , and the longer it continues, the harder it may be to ever reintegrate the former industrial heartland of Donbass with the rest of the country. ..."
"... Mr. Tkach, the regional party head, says the idea of victory is a dangerous chimera, and what most people around here want is peace and restoration of normal relations with Russia. ..."
"... "Of course we need to negotiate directly with" the rebel republics, he says. "These are our people. We understand them. Perhaps we need a step-by-step process, in which they are granted some special status. What would be wrong with that? They have also suffered, had their homes shelled by Ukrainian forces, lost their loved ones. Trust needs to be restored, and that might take some time." ..."
"... But he is adamant that those territories need to be recovered for Ukraine. "The task before us is to bring them back to Ukraine, and Ukraine to them. It must be accomplished through compromise and negotiation, because everyone is tired of war. Once we have done this, and have peace, then we can talk about Crimea." ..."
"... Mr. Tkach says so too. "We wish Zelenskiy well, but we really doubt that he can make peace happen. Our party has the connections and the right approach, and we think it will be necessary to bring us into the process." He's talking about dealing with the Russia that exists just across the Sea of Azov and a few miles down the road ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | www.csmonitor.com

... ... ...

Almost every conversation in Ukraine these days will touch upon the grinding, seemingly endless war in the eastern region of Donbass. People speak of overwhelming feelings of pain and weariness. And they express near-universal hopes that the new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will finally do something to end it.

Here in Mariupol, where the front line is a 10-minute drive from downtown, those conversations tend to be intense.

But depending on whom you talk to, the path to peace can look very different.

Much of the population around here speaks Russian, is used to having close relations with nearby Russia, and can't imagine any peace that would impose permanent separation. Many people have family, friends, and former business associates living just a few miles away on the other side of the border. More than half of voters in the Ukrainian-controlled part of Donetsk Region, of which Mariupol is the largest city, expressed those instincts in July 21 parliamentary elections by voting for two "pro-Russian" political parties. Both of them would like to forge a peace on Moscow's terms and return at least this part of Ukraine to its historical place as part of the Russian sphere of influence.

But there are also many who espouse an emerging Ukrainian identity, who see the 2014 Maidan "Revolution of Dignity" as a breaking point that gave Ukraine the chance to escape the grasp of autocratic Russia and embrace a European future. They want nothing to do with Russian-authored peace plans, say there is no alternative to fighting on to victory in the Donbass war, and want to quarantine Ukraine from its giant neighbor – at least until Russia changes its fundamental nature.

Despite the two groups' shared desire for peace, their starkly different visions for what that peace would entail could prove a major obstacle for ending the war in eastern Ukraine.

Looking east, looking west

These divisions are rooted in Ukrainian history. The country's eastern regions have been part of Russian-run states for over 300 years. Three decades of Ukrainian independence have brought little in the way of economic development or other strong reasons to embrace a Ukrainian identity. At the same time, Russia has become a far more prosperous, orderly place that exudes confidence and power since Vladimir Putin came to power. Millions of eastern Ukrainians have gone to Russia as guest workers – and more recently as war refugees . Today, the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia is by far the world's largest.

The western regions of Ukraine, on the other hand, were part of European states like Austria-Hungary and Poland until World War II, when they were annexed by the Soviet Union. Now, people overwhelmingly speak Ukrainian as their first language, take a suspicious (and historically grounded) view of Russia, and tend to look west for their inspiration. In 1990, living standards in Ukraine and Poland were about equal. Since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, its living standards have doubled and it has become a vibrant European state. Millions of Ukrainians go to Poland and beyond as guest workers, and their impressions help to fuel the certainty that Ukraine needs to seek a European future.

The Party of Life, of which local businessman Maxim Tkach is a regional head, argues that peace can be achieved in eastern Ukraine only by following a Russia-favored plan for the region.

Not coincidentally, the enthusiasm and conviction of western Ukrainians have disproportionately driven two pro-Western revolutions on the Maidan in Kyiv in the past 15 years, with little visible support from populations in the country's east.

"People in the western Ukraine are different from us. It's not just language, or anything simple like that. They took power away from a president our votes elected, and they want to rip us out of our ways, abandon our values, and become part of their agenda," says Maxim Tkach, regional head of the Party of Life, the pro-Russian group that was the front-runner in parliamentary elections here in Mariupol.

"When they started that Maidan revolution, they said it was about things we could support, like fighting corruption and ending oligarchic rule. But none of that happened. They betrayed every single principle they had shouted about. Instead, they want us to change the names of our streets and schools, honor 'heroes' like Stepan Bandera that our ancestors fought against. These are things we can't accept. ...

"If there had been no Maidan, we would still have Crimea. There would have been no war. There would be no pressure on us to change our customs, our language, or our church . It was this aggressive revolution, by just part of the country, that caused these problems," he says. "Russia is Russia. It is acting in its own interests, but why do we need to antagonize it?"

"The majority who want to be Ukrainian"

Maria Podibailo, a political scientist at Mariupol State University and head of New Mariupol, a civil society group founded to support the Ukrainian army, offers a completely different narrative. She originally came from Ternopil in western Ukraine and has made Mariupol her home since 1991.

She says there were no separatist feelings in Mariupol, or the Donbass, until after the Maidan revolution when Russian agitators started traveling around eastern Ukraine, spreading lies and stirring up moods that had never existed before. Local pro-Russian oligarchs wielded their economic power to support separatist groups, while passive police and security forces allowed Russian-led separatists to seize public buildings and hold anti-Ukrainian protests in Mariupol. It wasn't until the arrival of the Ukrainian army – first in the form of the volunteer Azov Battalion – that the separatists were driven out and the front line was pushed back from the city limits in 2014, she says.

"That is why we support the army, and only trust the army," she says.

Ms. Podibailo's university-sponsored opinion surveys in 2014, after the rebellion began, found that a three-quarters majority of local people supported a future as part of Ukraine, not Russia. That majority was subdivided into several visions of what kind of Ukraine it should be, but only 12% wanted to join Russia, and 8% wanted Donbass to be an independent republic – a point often overlooked in the simplistic pro-Russian versus pro-Western scheme in which these events are frequently portrayed.

"That's when we knew we were on the right track," she says. "We were not a beleaguered minority at all. We were part of the majority who want to be Ukrainian."

But while the two nearby separatist statelets, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic, may be backed by Russia, they emerged from deep local roots. That is a clear observation from one of the most exhaustive studies of the war to date, Rebels Without a Cause , published last month by the International Crisis Group.

The war has done great and possibly irreparable damage to Ukraine's economy , and the longer it continues, the harder it may be to ever reintegrate the former industrial heartland of Donbass with the rest of the country.

"We cannot talk to the leaders of these so-called republics. How could we possibly trust them?" says Ms. Podibailo. Her view is that, after victory, the population of the republics should be sorted out into those who collaborated with the enemy and those who were innocent victims, as happened after World War II.

"There is no way for this war to end other than in Ukrainian victory. I have never heard of a war that ends leaving things the same way, or just through some talks. People say it might take a long time, and the threat will last forever because we have such a neighbor.

"But we have the United States behind us, we have the West behind us, and they are attacking Russia from the other side with sanctions. We will win," she says.

"These are our people"

Mr. Tkach, the regional party head, says the idea of victory is a dangerous chimera, and what most people around here want is peace and restoration of normal relations with Russia.

"Of course we need to negotiate directly with" the rebel republics, he says. "These are our people. We understand them. Perhaps we need a step-by-step process, in which they are granted some special status. What would be wrong with that? They have also suffered, had their homes shelled by Ukrainian forces, lost their loved ones. Trust needs to be restored, and that might take some time."

But he is adamant that those territories need to be recovered for Ukraine. "The task before us is to bring them back to Ukraine, and Ukraine to them. It must be accomplished through compromise and negotiation, because everyone is tired of war. Once we have done this, and have peace, then we can talk about Crimea."

One of the leaders of the Party of Life – which came in a distant second in the national parliamentary elections – is Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who has strong connections to the Kremlin and whose daughter has Mr. Putin as her godfather. Attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum along with Mr. Putin this spring, Mr. Medvedchuk was introduced as "a representative of the Ukraine that can make a deal."

Mr. Tkach says so too. "We wish Zelenskiy well, but we really doubt that he can make peace happen. Our party has the connections and the right approach, and we think it will be necessary to bring us into the process." He's talking about dealing with the Russia that exists just across the Sea of Azov and a few miles down the road.

[Aug 24, 2019] Putin strongly objects to the USA start of production of midrange rockets which can be used from Romania s and Poland s existing launching facilities

While this is a Russian site with specific audience, comments show that people reject the USA policy which might creates problems for the USA in the future. Not the USA neoliberal/neocon elite cares.
This decisions just had shown to the whole would that Trump is a clown capable of twitting, not much more. Other people make key decisions for the county.
Aug 24, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Drew Hunkins , August 23, 2019 at 13:33

off topic:

Putin's taking the gloves off:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAfyftONbFY&list=LLWzo4sS343MNLWEG7VvwJ_Q&index=3&t=222s

Franz Bauer , 1 day ago

The deep state that controls the US are lying criminal psychopaths. Any agreements and treaties negotiated with them aren't worth the time or paper they are written on.

Narayana Narayana , 1 day ago

We love honourable putin's each decision because he always gives with legal proof. Love you honourable putin and Russia people. From India.

rafael albizu , 1 day ago (edited)

Super hypersonic russian rockets need just 5 minutes to hit target, & they're in Russian land, not in foreign usurped countries

Brian Ahern , 1 day ago

all.putin wants world peace but the Americans whats to tell everyone what to do and start wars what.they.sould buid a wall.around america stop them getting out

394pjo , 1 day ago (edited) div tabindex="0" role="artic

le"> We can certainly expect Poland and Romania to be targeted with Nuclear munitions at the very least. There will likely be an official Russian announcement of this fact as well. In the event of a breakout of hostilities with Nato then Russia will target the military infrastructure in both countries and vaporise them immediately. Unfortunately a very large number of Polish and Romanian civilians will be caught in the blasts. That will be tragic of course.

pulaat , 1 day ago

I live in the Netherlands and I am on the side of Russia. Europe is disgusting for not condemning the USA intentions. Eu will regret it. When bombs fall on Europe because of these incompetent leaders we will not forget.

Drew Hunkins , 1 day ago div tabindex="0" role="art

icle"> The Western public MUST, MUST become very familiar pronto with the few intellectuals, scholars, journalists, writers and authors who have been at the forefront for global peace and world justice for decades! It's our only hope! Right now the only sane voice on the national stage is Tulsi Gabbard. People must start reading: John Pilger, James Petras, Diana Johnstone, Stephen Lendman, Ray McGovern, Finian Cunningham, Andre Vltchek, Michael Parenti, Stephen Cohen, The Saker, Caitlin Johnstone, Paul Craig Roberts.

Techno Tard , 1 day ago

Good one U.S.A. government! Lets try to instigate a fkn war where we can actually be attacked on our home land!

Luis martins , 1 day ago (edited)

tit-for-tat that was the right words from Putin

Madaleine , 1 day ago

USA a decadent nation run by global mafia . Cannot trust what they say , is proven by their actions Sold their soul to the devil for money and power. Yet they will fail God is in charge!

Drew Hunkins , 1 day ago div tabindex="0" role="articl

e"> The double standard in the West is breathtaking. It's as simple as the Golden Rule: merely try to imagine the reaction in New York, London, Washington, Paris, Chicago, Boston if Russia or China were to do the exact same thing in southern Canada or the Caribbean. The Washington military empire builders could possibly destroy humanity with their reckless and imperial behavior. They simply cannot accept any sovereign nation-states that 1.) give the finger to Wall Street or the idea of the uni-polar world Washington's intent on establishing, or 2.) gives diplomatic support to the Palestinians or is even a mild thorn in the side of Israel. For further reading, see the following scholars, intellectuals, journalists and writers: James Petras, Diana Johnstone, John Pilger, Stephen Lendman, Michael Parenti, Finian Cunningham, Andre Vltchek and a few others I'm forgetting at the moment.

George Mavrides , 1 hour ago

US ramping up for a war before dollar collapse. However, a war against Russia and China is not one they can win.

JimmyRJump , 1 day ago (edited) div tabindex="0" role="articl

e"> Under Trump the USA are rapidly steering towards an open dictatorship, something they've been doing for years but more covertly. The USA have always been shouting the loudest about democracy and freedom but that's just a façade while they bully the world and their own people into submission. The curtain is falling faster and faster now. Oh, and ask the American Natives what the Americans do with treaties...

orderoutofchaos621 , 20 hours ago

The US does not want friendship with Russia, it seeks to either control it or destroy it. Since the first option isn't going to happen, it's obvious what's next and it'll start with more sanctions, expanding NATO into Georgia and Ukraine and placing nuclear missiles on Russia's Eastern and Western border.

Bernt Sunde , 1 day ago div class=

"comment-renderer-text-content expanded"> All it takes, is 1 single warhead fired from ex. Poland to reach Moscow. How many launchers do USA have placed in these countries near Russia? Is Moscow more than 500 KM away from any NATO border? If the enemy sets up catapults outside your city walls, isn't that a clear sign the enemy intend to fire those catapults against your walls? So what do you do? Do you sit and wait? Or do you take out the catapults before they break down your walls? As far as any strategist see this, it can be only one solution for survival.

joshron99 , 1 day ago div class="c

omment-renderer-text-content expanded"> During FDR's 'Pearl Harbor' speech he said, "It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago." There are echoes of this speech in Putin's words ( 02:18 ) and the type of treachery referred to by Roosevelt applies to the American exit from the INF. America has become a nation holding "a big stick" and loudly shouting about it (contrary to an earlier Roosevelt's advice). The White House acknowledged (and the NYT reported) that we are involved in seven wars right now (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Niger). We have 38 "named" foreign military bases as well as upwards of 600 overseas military installations of some sort including "lily pads," i.e., "cooperative security locations" and an undisclosed number of "black" locations. Our military budget is pushing towards a trillion dollars per year ($717 billion this year). We are threatening small countries such as Venezuela with military action (and yes, something needs to be done for the good of the people there but that should not include an American military attack which President Trump, our Secretary of State ("and his colleague") have said is "on the table." And now, we are dumping nuclear weapons treaties. We have truly become a country which "lives by the sword." Good luck to us all.

Deon Richards , 10 hours ago

Okay , so this is a broadcast of the President of Russia speaking to his security council right , this is official researched factual intel ....has to be on that level ...right . Now to the few negative responses I have come across ,what intel do you have and where did you get it...

Mad Rooky , 4 hours ago

Poland and Romania wanted to be on the safe side, but now they are getting a crosshair painted on their countries. What irony.

Drew Hunkins , 1 day ago

Instead of addressing and trying to ameliorate this most dangerous development, let's instead focus on Trump's idiotic and diversionary comments and tweets about buying Greenland or some such other nonsense.

[Aug 22, 2019] Trump Doesn t Know How to Negotiate by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
The problem with Trump is that everything in him is second rate. Even bulling. and many americans were aware of that and voted for him just because that thought that Hillary was worse. Much worse.
Actually Madeleine (not so bright) Albright was of the same mold... Gangster style bulling and extortion as the only Modus operandi
And Daniel Larison is correct: when Trump faces strong backlash he just declare the partner in negotiation "terrible" and walks out and try to justify his defeat ex post facto.
Notable quotes:
"... As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation. ..."
"... The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender. ..."
"... he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up. ..."
"... "Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas." ..."
"... The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price. ..."
"... "Trump has always been a lousy negotiator." ..."
"... But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself. ..."
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Michael Hirsh reminds us that Trump has always been a lousy negotiator:

Michael D'Antonio, a Trump biographer who interviewed him many times, agrees with Lapidus that there is no discernible difference in the way Trump negotiates today, as president, compared to his career in business. "His style involves a hostile attitude and a bullying method designed to wring every possible concession out of the other side while maximizing his own gain," D'Antonio said. "As he explained to me, he's not interested in 'win-win' deals, only in 'I win' outcomes. When I asked if he ever left anything on the table as a sign of goodwill so that he might do business with the same party in the future he said no, and pointed out that there are many people in the world he can work with, one at a time."

As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation.

The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender.

He seems particularly obsessed with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because the trade-off inherent in any agreement made with Iran was that they would regain access to frozen assets, and he ignorantly equates this with "giving" them money. The fact that the JCPOA heavily favored the U.S. and the rest of the P5+1 doesn't interest Trump. Iran was allowed to come away with something at the end, and even the little bit they were able to get is far too much for him. This is one reason he has been so closely aligned with Iran hawks over the last four years, and it helps explain why he endorses absurd, unrealistic demands and "maximum pressure" of collective punishment. He is doing more or less the same thing he has always done, and he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up.

Here is another relevant point from the article:

"Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas."

The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price.


JSC2397 8 hours ago

Pulling off that "greatest trick" was amazing easy, actually: all Trump and his creatures had to do was go on the assumption that most Americans will readily believe what they see on television. Especially when it jibes with their prejudices.
david 8 hours ago
"Trump has always been a lousy negotiator."

But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself.

Martin Ranger 6 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

While I agree with pretty much all of the article, let us not forget that a majority of Americans was not, in fact, fooled.

Zsuzsi Kruska 6 hours ago
He can negotiate, but the thugs in Wash. don't want to. They are doing everything they can to start a war somewhere.
me 5 hours ago
Americans are certainly paying a price Benjamin Franklin warned about. But as for other countries, theirs is due strictly to their own doing, for relying excessively on the goodwill of America and turning a blind-eye to our imperialism. Quite frankly, up to now, US allies have been enablers.
Gary Rosenberg 5 hours ago
Add to that, " When someone hits me, I hit them back ten times harder."
This is not what we teach our children. It is a miserable way to live, or to run a country. No wonder the President is longer referred to as "the leader of the free world." He gave up that title. These are sad days.
d_hochberg 3 hours ago
Yes, he is utterly incompetent on his main selling point, his supposed skill at negotiating. It is very inconvenient having Trump as our standard-bearer.
Alan Vanneman 3 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

Actually, the people who voted for Trump and who support him now love him for being a bully. That's what they want. They want a Tony Soprano as their president, a guy who will go out and beat up all the people they hate. They don't want "negotiation". They want a guy who has a baseball bat and knows how to use it. What's "interesting" is that despite all of Trump's appeals to violence, and his willingness to support violence (for example, Saudi Arabia), he largely shrinks from it himself. We've seen far fewer Tomahawks than one might have expected, particularly considering the great press he received the first time around. Will we continue to be lucky? I hope so, but it's hard to be optimistic.

[Aug 22, 2019] The US Can't 'Get' Iran to 'Shut Down' Its Nuclear Program

That's how polls distort public opinion and promote militarism...
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
survey shows that most Americans don't want war with Iran. Only 18% of all American adults favor military action against Iran, and even among Republicans that number is just 25%. 78% favor economic and diplomatic efforts. That's fine as far as it goes, and it shows that there is very little support for a new war at this time. The framing of the question is the bigger problem and makes the results from the poll much less useful.

The poll asks, "What do you think the United States should do to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program -- take military action against Iran, or rely mainly on economic and diplomatic efforts?" The question assumes that it is within our government's power to "get Iran to shut down its nuclear program," when the experience of the last twenty years tells us that it is not. The nuclear negotiations that produced the JCPOA show beyond any doubt that there are limits to what Iran is willing to concede on this point. It is good that most Americans prefer non-military options to pursue this fantastical goal, but the assumption that Iran will one day "shut down" its nuclear program is completely unrealistic. On the contrary, the more pressure that the U.S. puts on Iran in an attempt to force such a shutdown, the more inclined Iran's government is to build up its program.

If Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, there is no need for them to shut it down. The long-term goal of the JCPOA has been to demonstrate to the satisfaction of all parties that Iran's nuclear program is and will remain peaceful, and then at that point Iran will be treated like any other member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The U.S. doesn't need to do anything to "get" Iran to do this because the goal of shutting down the program is a foolish and impossible one. Perceiving Iran's possession of a peaceful nuclear program as a problem to be solved is one of the reasons why our debate over Iran policy is so warped and biased in favor of coercive measures. The idea that Iran has to "shut down" a program that it is legally entitled to have under the NPT is bizarre, but it is obviously a common view here in the U.S.

The question is misleading in another way, since it suggests that military action could be effective in forcing Iran to "shut down" the program. In reality, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would at most set back the program, but it would give the Iranian government a strong incentive to develop and build a deterrent that would discourage the U.S. from launching more attacks in the future. Attacking a country when it doesn't have nuclear weapons is a good way to encourage them to acquire those weapons as quickly as possible.

That makes the results to the follow-up question all the more dispiriting. The poll also asks, "Suppose U.S. economic and diplomatic efforts do not work. If that happens, do you think the United States should -- or should not -- take military action against Iran?" Once again, the question assumes that getting Iran to "shut down" its nuclear program is both a legitimate and realistic goal. If non-military measures "do not work," there is additional support for military action from a depressing 42% of those who initially favored "economic and diplomatic efforts." Put them together with the initial supporters of military action, and you have a narrow majority of all American adults that thinks the U.S. should take military action:

The 42% of those who favor military action if nonmilitary efforts fail translates to 35% of all U.S. adults. Combining that group with the 18% who favor military action outright means a slim majority of Americans, 53%, would support military action against Iran if diplomatic and economic efforts are unsuccessful.

There is a disturbingly high level of support for launching an illegal attack on another country for something it is legally permitted to have. The assumption that "economic and diplomatic efforts" will be "unsuccessful" if they don't force Iran to abandon its nuclear program helps to push respondents to give that answer, but they wouldn't endorse a military option if they hadn't been led to think that Iran's nuclear program is an intolerable danger. That is partly because of the bad framing of the questions, but it is also a product of decades of relentless propagandizing about a supposed threat from Iran's nuclear program that is completely divorced from reality. We need better poll questions on this subject, but we also need better, more informed debate about Iran and we have to stamp out the threat inflation that poisons and distorts the public's perceptions of threats from other states.

[Aug 20, 2019] The trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling by James Bovard

While the USA run the show, EU was complicit in this war.
Notable quotes:
"... The American Conservative, ..."
"... In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts ..."
"... Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites." ..."
"... a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation. ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

In a 2011 review for The American Conservative, I scoffed, "After NATO planes killed hundreds if not thousands of Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians, Bill Clinton could pirouette as a savior. Once the bombing ended, many of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground. NATO's 'peace' produced a quarter million Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy refugees."

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts .

Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites."

The New York Times reported that the trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling: "Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses' fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA occupy high posts in the government." American politicians almost entirely ignored the scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as "the George Washington of Kosovo." A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation.

Clinton's war on Serbia opened a Pandora's box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and pundits portrayed that war as a moral triumph, it was easier for subsequent presidents to portray U.S. bombing as the self-evident triumph of good over evil. Honest assessments of wrongful killings remain few and far between in media coverage.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy , The Bush Betrayal , Terrorism and Tyranny , and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors. He is on Twitter at @jimbovard. His website is at www.jimbovard.com This essay was originally published by Future of Freedom Foundation .

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump's Persian-Gulf Car Crash Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... the Iranian economy is in a free fall with oil exports down as much as 90 percent from mid-2018 levels. As far as Iran is concerned, this means that it's already at war with the United States and has less and less to lose the longer the U.S. embargo goes on. ..."
"... MBS, as he's known, celebrated by launching an air war in neighboring Yemen two months later – and then disappearing on a week-long vacation in the Maldives – and by funneling hundreds of U.S.-made TOWs (anti-tank guided missiles) to Syrian rebels under the command of Al-Nusra, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, for use in an offensive in that country's northwest province of Idlib. ..."
"... For the Saudis, it was a neo-medieval crusade whose goal was to topple two religio-political allies of Iran, the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus and Yemen's Houthis, who adhere to a non-Iranian form of Shi'ism that is no less anathema to the Sunni Wahhabist theocracy in Riyadh. ..."
"... Just two days after the start of the Saudi air assault in Yemen, Obama meanwhile telephoned Salman to assure him of U.S. support. When asked why America would back a war by one of the Middle East's richest countries against the very poorest, another anonymous U.S. official told The New York Times (April 2, 2015): ..."
"... "If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." ..."
"... The Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression. ..."
"... The American empire was possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients. Even while making peace with Iran, Obama thus green-lit Saudi wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, the 2015 nuclear negotiations, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others. ..."
"... Announcing his presidential bid in June 2015, he launched into a typical Trumpian rant against China, Japan, Mexico – and Obama's nuclear talks. "Take a look at the deal he's making with Iran," he said. "He makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long." A month later, he tweeted that the agreement, just inked in Vienna, "poses a direct national security threat." Two months after that, he told a Tea Party rally in Washington: ..."
"... Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all. Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran , Trump did an about-face. In May 2017, he flew to Riyadh, announced an unprecedented $110-billion arms deal, and proclaimed himself the kingdom's newest BFF – best friend forever. ..."
"... He echoed the Saudis by accusing Iran of funding "terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region" and backed a Saudi blockade of neighboring Qatar. When ISIS launched a bloody assault on central Tehran in early June that killed 12 people and injured 42, the only White House response was to declare that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." ..."
"... It was Democrats who, in a typical attempt to outflank Trump on the right, introduced legislation in June 2017 by forcing him to impose penalties on Russia, North Korea, and Iran as well. But after repudiating the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, Trump upped sanctions even more in November – not only against the Iranian government but against some 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. After Iran shot down a $130-million U.S. surveillance drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and his closest associates. Two weeks ago, he imposed penalties on Mohammad Javad Zarif , Iran's U.S.-educated foreign minister. ..."
"... It was a gesture of contempt for the very idea of diplomacy. So what happens next? The problem is that re-starting negotiations would not be enough. Instead, Iran has demanded that the U.S. remove all sanctions and apologize before agreeing to a new round of talks. Since this would be tantamount to re-authorizing the JCPOA, it's unlikely in the extreme. While Trump is known for changing his mind in a flash, a course correction of this magnitude is hard to imagine. ..."
"... The pro-Israel Lobby owns both Republican and Democrat Russiagate enthusiasts and is the source of near hysterical demands for opposition with Iran. ..."
"... But in June 1914, clearly there were multiple political and military leaders in Europe for whom war was far from inconceivable. War was simply a question of timing and so it would be better to have a war when the circumstances were most propitious. "I consider a war inevitable", declared senior German generals such as Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1912. "The sooner the better". ..."
"... such blatant and reprehensible behavior carries risks for everyone but mostly the targets of our barbaric behavior seems never to enter the President, his neocon handlers' and his rabid supporters' minds. ..."
"... "If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." That is unmitigated nonsense. Why not be honest. We don't want to stop it. ..."
"... To "stop it", Uncle Sam would have to first cease being a part of it. The bombing of Yemen came courtesy of U.S. mid-air refueling efforts, targeting "intelligence", and "made in America" weaponry. The blockade (starvation) of Yemen is also a duel accompaniment. It's supposed to look like a Saudi "thing", but in actuality, it's just more Uncle Sam doing his thing. Obama called it "leading from behind". ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Trump has taken an insane U.S. policy towards Iran and make it even crazier, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

T raffic accidents normally take just a second or two. But the coming collision in the Persian Gulf, the equivalent of a hundred-vehicle pile-up on a fog-bound interstate , has been in the works for years. Much of it is President Donald Trump's fault, but not all. His contribution has been to take an insane policy and make it even crazier.

The situation is explosive for two reasons. First, the Iranian economy is in a free fall with oil exports down as much as 90 percent from mid-2018 levels. As far as Iran is concerned, this means that it's already at war with the United States and has less and less to lose the longer the U.S. embargo goes on.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RmPTycekYJg?feature=oembed

Second, after Trump denounced the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord from the moment he began his presidential run , it's all but impossible at this point for him to back down. The result is a classic collision between the immovable and the unstoppable with no apparent way out.

How did the world bring itself to the brink of war? The answer, ironically, is by bidding for peace.

The process began in early 2015 just as the nuclear talks were entering their final stages. Despite last-minute hand-wringing , it was clear that success was in sight simply because the participants – China, France, Russia, Germany, Britain, the European Union, Iran and the U.S. – all wanted it.

Saudi Proxy War

But other regional players felt differently, Saudi Arabia first and foremost. The kingdom's survival strategy depends on its special relationship with America, its patron since the 1940s. Hence, it was panic-stricken by anything smacking of a U.S. rapprochement with its long-standing arch-enemy Iran. The upshot was a proxy war in which the Saudis set out to roll back Iranian power by striking out at pro-Iranian forces.

The offensive began after a new Saudi monarch ascended the throne in January 2015. King Salman, a doddering 79-year-old reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's , immediately handed over the reins to his favorite son, 29-year-old Muhammad bin Salman, whom he named deputy crown prince and minister of defense. MBS, as he's known, celebrated by launching an air war in neighboring Yemen two months later – and then disappearing on a week-long vacation in the Maldives – and by funneling hundreds of U.S.-made TOWs (anti-tank guided missiles) to Syrian rebels under the command of Al-Nusra, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, for use in an offensive in that country's northwest province of Idlib.

For the Saudis, it was a neo-medieval crusade whose goal was to topple two religio-political allies of Iran, the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus and Yemen's Houthis, who adhere to a non-Iranian form of Shi'ism that is no less anathema to the Sunni Wahhabist theocracy in Riyadh.

President Barack Obama went along. With regard to Syria, an unidentified "senior administration official" told The Washington Post that while the White House was "concerned that Nusra has taken the lead," all he would say in response to U.S.-made missiles winding up in Al-Qaeda hands was that it was "not something we would refrain from raising with our partners." (See " Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda ," May 2, 2015.)

Just two days after the start of the Saudi air assault in Yemen, Obama meanwhile telephoned Salman to assure him of U.S. support. When asked why America would back a war by one of the Middle East's richest countries against the very poorest, another anonymous U.S. official told The New York Times (April 2, 2015):

"If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." But plainly the nuclear negotations were key. The Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression.

The upshot has been Saudi wars claiming hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, Obama's efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others.

Over-Extended Empire

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with King Salman bin Abdulaziz at Erga Palace in Riyadh, Jan. 27, 2015. (White House/Pete Souza/Flickr)

The American empire was possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients. Even while making peace with Iran, Obama thus green-lit Saudi wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, the 2015 nuclear negotiations, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others.

The results were so devastating in a region torn by war, sectarianism, and economic collapse that Trump could not possibly make them any worse – except that he did.

Announcing his presidential bid in June 2015, he launched into a typical Trumpian rant against China, Japan, Mexico – and Obama's nuclear talks. "Take a look at the deal he's making with Iran," he said. "He makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long." A month later, he tweeted that the agreement, just inked in Vienna, "poses a direct national security threat." Two months after that, he told a Tea Party rally in Washington:

"Never, ever, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran . They rip us off, they take our money, they make us look like fools, and now they're back to being who they really are. They don't want Israel to survive, they will not let Israel survive, [and] with incompetent leadership like we have right now, Israel will not survive."

Iran's Landmark Concession

It was all nonsense. Rather than threatening the Jewish state, the treaty represented a landmark concession on Iran's part, since Israel, with an estimated 80 to 90 nuclear warheads in its arsenal and enough fissile material for a hundred more, would maintain its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East indefinitely. As for "our money," the $150 billion in various foreign accounts were actually Iranian assets that had been frozen for years – a sum, moreover, that was closer to $56 billion once Iran settled its foreign debts. Once sanctions were lifted, it was hardly unreasonable that such assets be restored.

Still there was hope. While railing against Iran, Trump also taunted the Saudis for their role in 9/11: "Who blew up the World Trade Center?" he told Fox & Friends. "It wasn't the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia]." He repeatedly assailed the 2003 invasion of Iraq – even if he exaggerated his own role in opposing it – and criticized Obama for supporting Saudi-backed jihadis seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Assad is bad," he said in an October 2015 interview . "Maybe these people could be worse."

Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all. Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran , Trump did an about-face. In May 2017, he flew to Riyadh, announced an unprecedented $110-billion arms deal, and proclaimed himself the kingdom's newest BFF – best friend forever.

He echoed the Saudis by accusing Iran of funding "terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region" and backed a Saudi blockade of neighboring Qatar. When ISIS launched a bloody assault on central Tehran in early June that killed 12 people and injured 42, the only White House response was to declare that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

But back in September 2003, some 60,000 Iranian soccer fans had observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the World Trade Center while then-President Mohammad Khatami declared on nationwide TV:

"My deep sympathy goes out to the American nation, particularly those who have suffered from the attacks and also the families of the victims. Terrorism is doomed, and the international community should stem it and take effective measures in a bid to eradicate it."

Yet all the Trump administration could say was that Iran had it coming.

It was Democrats who, in a typical attempt to outflank Trump on the right, introduced legislation in June 2017 by forcing him to impose penalties on Russia, North Korea, and Iran as well. But after repudiating the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, Trump upped sanctions even more in November – not only against the Iranian government but against some 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. After Iran shot down a $130-million U.S. surveillance drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and his closest associates. Two weeks ago, he imposed penalties on Mohammad Javad Zarif , Iran's U.S.-educated foreign minister.

Crowd at Tea Party rally listening to Donald Trump denounce the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Sept. 9, 2015. (YouTube)

It was a gesture of contempt for the very idea of diplomacy. So what happens next? The problem is that re-starting negotiations would not be enough. Instead, Iran has demanded that the U.S. remove all sanctions and apologize before agreeing to a new round of talks. Since this would be tantamount to re-authorizing the JCPOA, it's unlikely in the extreme. While Trump is known for changing his mind in a flash, a course correction of this magnitude is hard to imagine.

Thus, the confrontation is set to continue. Iran may respond by seizing more oil tankers or downing more drones, but the problem is that the U.S. will undoubtedly engage in tit-for-tat escalation in response until, eventually, some kind of line is crossed.

If so, the consequences are unpredictable. U.S. firepower is overwhelming , but Iran is not without resources of its own , among them anti-ship ballistic missiles, mobile short-range rockets that can hit naval targets, plus heavily-armed high-speed boats, mini-subs, and even " ekranoplans ," floating planes designed to skim the waves at 115 miles per hour. Such weaponry could prove highly effective in the 35-mile-wide Strait of Hormuz. Iran also has allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has an estimated 130,000 missiles and rockets in its own arsenal, Assad's battle-hardened military in Syria, Yemen's Houthis, and pro-Iranian forces in Shi'ite-majority Iraq.

The upshot could be a war drawing in half a dozen countries or more. A confrontation on that scale may seem inconceivable. But, then, war seemed inconceivable in the wake of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in June 1914.

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .


Jeff Davis , August 20, 2019 at 12:42

America is Israel's b*tch.

The American experiment is over. A variety of corporate/neoliberal interests and foreign interests have hollowed it out, and soon, when every last bit of loot has been extracted, the dried up husk of the Empire will collapse. There is no saving it because the looters are still in control. Their control is unbreakable because buying Congress is such a minor and manageable expense for them, and the Congressmen/women are simply incapable of setting aside personal interest and personal ambition for the good of the country. Incapable, because if they ever chose country over their own careers , the "owners" -- ie donors/looters -- would find someone to replace them. There is no way out until it comes crashing down.

Don Bacon , August 20, 2019 at 11:33

Iran whipped the US in Syria, cementing the 'Shia crescent' from Tehran to Beirut, which gives Iran the mantle of ME leadership. Washington had to respond to that fact because it threatens the US and its Carter-Doctrine position as the predominate ME power. So don't blame Israel.

Zhu , August 20, 2019 at 05:44

You forgot to mention pressure from Religious Right Republicans, eager for the Rapture, the Return of Jesus, etv., etc. Christism Zionists in short.

Broompilot , August 20, 2019 at 01:19

I find it interesting that there is no mention of Netanyahu appearing before Congress or the U.N. drawing silly looking pictures of bombs. Or Netanyahu claiming he had jacked some new documents from Iran proving they had a nuclear weapons program. Or Netanyahu disrespecting Obama with his appearance in Congress. Or Bibi's landing in L.A. with a motorcade that screwed up traffic all over town to demonstrate who is really important in this country. Reading this piece you would think this is 95% about Saudis and has very little to do with Israel. There is no doubt that the gulf monarchies do not want successful representative governments breaking out on their borders and giving their citizens ideas, but I doubt they have anything resembling the Israeli lobbies and their influence operating in the U.S. with the power to influence Iran policy.

AnneR , August 20, 2019 at 08:23

True, Broompilot. And I too awaited throughout the article for Mr Lazare to discuss the really existing and marked part that Israel has played and is playing in all of the more recent destruction in neighboring countries, and that illegitimate state's huge influence on this country's politics, military actions (in the MENA countries when those actions might benefit Israel), administration decisions (not to mention the cooperation among US and Israeli secret services *and* electronic-internet companies which anyway themselves both derive from the military and remain closely entwined with it).

Most US presidents – and seemingly all US Congresses – since WWII have aided and abetted Israel and its appalling human rights record which never ends and continues with impunity. But Trump is perhaps more so than most if only because his daughter, a convert to Judaism, is married to an ardent Zionist, and buddy-buddy to Netanyahu. Lazare hints at Trump's pro-Zionism (whatever its basis) but leaves it there.

Marko , August 19, 2019 at 22:50

"Trump's Persian-Gulf Car Crash"

When you view foreign policy as a Demolition Derby competition , as Trump and the neocons do , this is called "Winning !"

Gregory Herr , August 19, 2019 at 20:44

The war of terrorism waged upon the people of Syria didn't come about because the U.S. was "possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients", or because the "Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression."

Washington's Long War on Syria (Stephen Gowans) began well before Obama, Yahoo, Erdogan, and Petraeus set up rat lines of weaponry and training for terrorists in Jordan and Turkey. The current iteration of "topple thru terror" was in the offing, with or without Saudi "impetus".

Syria stands in the way of Greater Israel and Wall Street/central bank dominance.

Obama "went along" alright. But it wasn't the Saudis he was "appeasing".

Obama should have normalised relations with Iran and disavowed all the b.s. rhetoric about them. His "deal" had "made to be broken" written all over it because of his rhetoric. All done in bad faith with the Path to P