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The problem with the twenty-four hour news cycle is that everything being reported comes and goes too quickly to connect the dots. I noted a number of stories during the past several weeks that should have raised all kinds of red flags, particularly if considered together, but they frequently received such limited media coverage and were gone so quickly that there was hardly any reaction to them, which is precisely what the government relies on. People concerned about the state of permanent war overseas coupled with the decline of civil liberties within the United States should be looking at how the National Security State is evolving as it is happening right out in the open. But they should also be concerned about the collusion of the media with the government propaganda organs to shape a narrative designed to have a short shelf life, knowing that the story will quickly disappear and there will be little or no feedback.

There were a large number of stories relating to reported Russian support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. For those who have not been following it, Moscow has begun airlifting what it initially described as humanitarian supplies to a military airfield it prepared in Latakia, near its naval base at Tartus. The materiel in question inevitably included some military equipment together with advisers, but the underlying assumption made by both Washington and the compliant media was that the Russian involvement in Syria constituted some kind of “threat.” That assessment was based on the presumption that the United States has a right to do whatever it wishes to overthrow Syria’s government while the Russians have no right whatsoever to attempt to support it.

Syria is not exactly on Russia’s doorstep but it is not that far away from Russia’s troubled Central Asian region while Damascus and Moscow have had treaty arrangements going back many years. After the initial “how dare they” shock, insider reports emanating from the White House suggested that there was a battle going on internally between those in the National Security Council who wanted to tighten the screws on the Russians to force them to back down and those who wanted to take advantage of Moscow’s initiative to seek a negotiated settlement that would permit Bashar al-Assad to gracefully retire to Dubai and create a unity government of sorts that could resist the real bad guys represented by ISIS and al-Qaeda. That would mean that Russia might be presenting not a threat but rather an opportunity, offering Washington a way out of the quagmire just as it did back in 2013 when it brokered an arrangement to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile. A negotiated agreement would be the sensible thing to do and would be regarded as such if sense were all that common in the White House.

Eventually the push to cooperate with the Russians gained substantial momentum when it was revealed that back in 2012 Moscow was floating a proposal for a negotiated deal that would have include Bashar al-Assad stepping down, an initiative which could have saved many tens of thousands of lives and might have spared Europe its current refugee crisis. But the proposal was turned down by Obama and other western leaders, apparently because they believed incorrectly that the Syrian government was about to fall anyway.

Characteristically, the White House has now decided to talk and possibly even work with the Russians while also doubling down on supporting more of the so-called insurgents. It has finally conceded that its hugely expensive Pentagon program to train the “moderate” rebels has resulted in only four or five actual combatants on the ground. But it will press ahead with supplying new weapons, even while admitting that it doesn’t know exactly whom it will be arming. That is a lose-lose strategy as it puts more weapons on the ground where recent developments tell us that they will eventually wind up in the hands of the most radical elements and it creates a situation in which regime supporters will believe that they must fight even harder to avoid being betrayed by Washington and swallowed by ISIS. A new wave of refugees is already reported to be gathering. Meanwhile, the media story has shifted to the refugees themselves and any introspection regarding the inept policies that caused the catastrophe has faded from view.

President Obama probably has good reason to believe that he can muddle along in Syria and Iraq until he leaves office, kicking the can down the road for Hillary to complete the devastation. In reality, his handling of a situation that required some finesse as well as sensitivity has been an abject failure, largely because he refused to recognize who represented the actual potential threat to the United States. Hint: it was not Bashar al-Assad.

The solution to the real though grossly overstated ISIS threat is in reality quite simple and consists of working with, not around, the people in the region who are most affected and have a stake in the game, which means Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. A modicum of United States leadership might well have enabled the participants to put aside political differences and create a broad coalition with a simple objective – to destroy ISIS. But the opportunity was wasted while the White House played with various unworkable scenarios that required getting rid of al-Assad while propping up Baghdad, coddling Erdogan in Turkey and keeping Iran out of it, which narrowed the actual options to zero. In the final analysis, the Administration has decided to go with the “war without end” route so the eventual Democratic candidate will not look “weak on security” in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

Another recent story gains particular importance if it is connected to the stories about Syria. It details how the intelligence community has again become the whipping boy for a lot of clueless politicians and the parasites who work so hard to please them. Fifty-two military intelligence analysts at Central Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency have filed an inspector general complaint against their bosses, claiming that intelligence on ISIS has been cooked to make it appear that the United States and its good friend the terminally corrupt Iraqi government are actually winning. The point being that they are not winning and everyone at the working level seems to know it.

The analysts are conscious of and reacting to the corruption of intelligence under George W. Bush and his baseball trivia aficionado buddy George Tenet in 2002-3, which led to the production of dodgy assessments that supported the false claims being made by the White House over Iraqi WMDs and led to war. Now that the story of the analysts’ revolt has lost its legs, nothing substantive will be done but the rebels will in all likelihood be forced to resign or otherwise punished.

A final pair of stories includes a new death list and someone in the government actually being held accountable for something. Or was he? They both come from the Department of Defense. One concerns the new rules of engagement issued by the Pentagon in its revised “DOD Law of War Manual” which defines who can be killed and under what circumstances when Washington resorts to using armed force overseas. The manual replaces George Bush’s “unlawful enemy combatant” with the catchy new label “unprivileged belligerent” and in so doing hugely expands the possible targets to include journalists. Michael Rubin of the neocon American Enterprise Institutes supports the changes and explains “It’s a realization that not everyone abides by the same standards we do.” Rubin certainly gets that right but not in the way he thinks as few other governments are suggesting to their soldiers that journalists are from now on fair game.

The other tale is about a law professor at West Point named William Bradford. Bradford eschews the new “unprivileged belligerent” moniker and instead prefers to focus on a “clique of about 40” fellow law professors who he still considers to be Bushian “unlawful enemy combatants” due to their affiliation with “Islamist” groups. Bradford considers them to be guilty of treason, which carries the death penalty. He has also advocated U.S. bombing of Islamic holy sites. Conceding that there would be an enormous number of civilian deaths, Bradford nevertheless advocates killing as many Muslims as it takes to make Islamic jihad collapse.

Bradford resigned recently from West Point to avoid being fired, but not for his unconventional views. He reportedly faked key elements in his resume to include his alleged military service and his academic credentials.

The point here is that the United States can be clearly perceived as plummeting over a cliff Lemming-like when all of these developments are viewed collectively. The Obama White House enabled a war to bring about regime change in Syria, thereby unleashing a monster named ISIS and is now failing utterly in either of it stated objectives to replace the al-Assad government or defeat the terrorists. It now needs Russian help desperately to extricate itself but it may turn out to be too hubristic to do what needs to be done.

Meanwhile, the government is resorting to cooking intelligence and is prepared to shoot journalists to make its failures go away while a professor at the prestigious United States Military Academy publicly advocates genocide and is given a senior level teaching position off a fake resume.

And don’t forget the other stories that have disappeared down the memory hole. Washington continues to be simultaneously mired in Afghanistan, which will be another disaster whether we eventually pull out next year, the following year or even in 2020. The timetable makes no difference.

Failure in Afghanistan has not impeded the persistent moves by the neoconservatives and democracy promoters in the Obama administration to also confront Russia over Ukraine, which serves no American interest whatsoever. It comes at a time when Washington is “pivoting” to Asia, strategically speaking, which has meant in practice antagonizing China. The end result has been to bind natural antagonists Russia and China closer together.

We have only ourselves to blame for winding up in the God-awful situation that prevails currently as we have voted miscreants into office time and again in spite of the inanities they spout and the clear signs that the only thing most of them care about is power and money. It is no wonder that younger Americans have little or no interest in politics, which they see as corrupt from top to bottom. And they are right. They understand that lying and dissimulation have become givens whenever a government spokesman or congressman opens his or her mouth so they tune the entire process out. Samuel Johnson called “patriotism” the last refuge of a scoundrel but if he had thought carefully about the entire political process he would have likely discerned that the scoundrel’s first refuge is to become a politician.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Law of War Manual, Neoconservatives 
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  1. Avery says:

    When Americans allowed the Leo Straussian Neocon virus to infect America, and let the cancer it caused metastasize into its brain, this is the result.

    Since President Eisenhower (of German stock) told UK, France, and Israel to get the heck out of Suez, or else, I don’t know of another US Pres who had or has defended America’s or American people’s interests.

    They all serve some foreign interest or other.

    It is like one of the Star Trek movies: the scorpion like creature enters through Mr Checkov’s ear into his brain, and then he does what he is commanded to do, against his will and against his well being.

    US has become that.

  2. Avery says:

    When US Congress gives a longer standing ovation to a psychopath foreign leader, Netanyahu, than to a US President, we are done for.

    • Replies: @Stick
  3. One reason Syrians are fleeing is because of massive American bombing. The Washington Post reported that we’ve dropped more bombs (22,478) on Syria this year than the past five years in Afghanistan. This is all part of a failed four-year Saudi/Israeli/American attempt to overthrow the government of Syria. The EU is upset by the 381,000 refugees that it has accepted so far this year, but there are four million Syrian refugees in neighboring nations. Are they heading to the EU now?

    Putin gained strong support around the world with a simple solution — support the Syrian government to crush ISIS and end the suffering. He notes that if Syria falls, their two million Christians may be killed by Muslim fanatics. There will be Libyan style chaos and genocide. Who benefits from this expensive, bloody, and senseless effort to empty Syria?

    The only nation that may benefit is Israel. As that nation becomes more Zionist and continues expanding into the West Bank, it may have bigger objectives. The current borders of Israel are only part of the “Promised Land” mentioned in the Bible. If Syria is emptied and left with bands of jihadist fighting amongst themselves, some are sure to fire across the border at Israel. That would justify an invasion of Syria in order to restore order and establish a security buffer. 

    Then Jewish “settlements” may appear as the remaining locals are gradually herded into smaller and smaller zones. Since the world recognizes Israel’s right to exist and many agree that the “Promised Land” is God given, who would object? Israel continues to expand into the West Bank each month in direct violation of UN resolutions and over the objections of the USA and EU. Israel unilaterally annexed Syria’s Golan Heights in 1981 and “settled” it. Would anyone stop their annexation of most of Syria? This may seem like a wild conspiracy theory, but continued growth to a “Greater Israel” has been advocated for a long time and explains the senseless destruction and depopulation of Syria.

  4. H.L. Mencken famously quipped that in a democracy, everyone gets what the majority deserve. Since so many credible observers have come to the conclusion that we no longer live in a functioning democracy, he would probably write now, in an oligarchy, everybody else gets what that one per cent deserve.

    Phil is correct, for public pronouncements, from the President on down, are redolent of late-Soviet style mendacity, that clearly don’t comport with reality. An intelligence agency that is only allowed to produce what fatuously confirms those public fabrications, has become the apparatchiks who dare not to be the first to stop applauding their Dear Leader.

    In many ways we are accountable for the low estate of our putative democracy, for distracting ourselves with hedonism, rather than becoming reasonably informed and insisting on public accountability. However, our oligarchs, who largely control the media discourse, haven’t exactly cooperated with the ideal, but have done their best to suppress available information that ought to be in the public domain in order for there to be genuine assent to their policies. They seek secrecy, for they are well aware that their own interests are not coincidental with those of the American people, and the truth is inconvenient to their purposes.

    That “we” keep re-electing them, isn’t the real story, when major candidates are vetted by the oligarchy before we are allowed to vote for anyone, by withholding the campaign funds now approaching billions that are necessary to seriously be in the game. This guarantees that whatever their lying lips pander to the electorate, the career politicians are already owned by the aristocracy of wealth and the actual policies they carry out are foreordained to be in opposition to everyone else’s interests, regardless of which duopoly team owned by billionaires they belong to. In this game, everyone hopes to make a killing at the public trough and the star players get to become millionaires, themselves.

    It’s true that lying has many advantages, while the truth merely has one that’s inconvenient. But I do recall all the stories Phil recounts, as well as others that connect the dots to reality, yet there was a time not so long ago I didn’t. So I would urge Phil and others, to keep on keeping on. There may yet come a time when accurate perceptions meet a critical mass, at which time, there might yet be an American Spring.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @anonymus
  5. Bradford, an ordinary neo-con chickenhawk, lost his West Point gig for a specific and typical chickenhawk reason: Stolen Valor. He claimed a Silver Star, when he was awarded none. For a fact, the medal has been somewhat degraded of late: one was recently awarded to a lezzie infantrychick who (it is said) managed to fire 2 or 3 shots in the general direction of teh enemy

    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
  6. LondonBob says:

    A strong decisive President would be able to take the lead here…

    On a serious note I am impressed with how Kerry is doing, a lone voice of sanity, wasn’t impressed with him originally but he has grown into the job. If Obama weren’t so weak, and had so little experience of leadership, he would have sacked someone like Nuland a long time ago.

    Of course, contrary to the unipolar world claims, their isn’t much the US can do in the Middle East or Eastern Europe that isn’t first approved by Europe. In Ukraine Merkel put an end to any escalation there with the ‘Normandy Four’, and similarly there is no appetite for more escalation in Syria.

    Which means we come full circle, given the amount of support, both internally and externally, Obama would have for adopting a pragmatic approach why does he seem so reluctant to. At least Trump has publicly ruled out starting WWIII over Syria.

  7. LondonBob says:

    Then again looking at the body language between the two, is Obama so thin skinned and egotistical he would start WWIII because Putin is the first person who has seen Obama for who he is, an incompetent affirmative action hire promoted way above his level? To give George W some credit, he was actually good at the all important one to one relationships with other world leaders, no doubt his good rapport with Putin help defuse South Ossetia.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Seamus Padraig
  8. Tom Welsh says:

    ‘Bradford eschews the new “unprivileged belligerent” moniker and instead prefers to focus on a “clique of about 40” fellow law professors who he still considers to be Bushian “unlawful enemy combatants” due to their affiliation with “Islamist” groups. Bradford considers them to be guilty of treason, which carries the death penalty’.

    Sounds awfully like the Spanish Inquisition. Historians who took the trouble to look under all the right stones and study the phenomenon in detail discovered that there was a regular financial system operating behind this, and other religious persecutions. An informer would line up a suitable victim – usually someone eccentric, perhaps solitary, not too popular in the community, and ALWAYS fairly well-to-do. He would denounce this victim to the Inquisition for heresy, and the Church then took over. Arresting and imprisoning the accused, they would torture him or her until a full confession was obtained; and then, for a bigger payoff, they would insist on being given a list of other “witches” or heretics. The accused was duly burned alive for the good of his or her soul, whereupon the key transaction took place: the authorities divided the victim’s property with the informer. Rinse and repeat.

    I can easily see why an unscrupulous professor would be delighted at the prospect of his more competent and honest rivals being cleared off the board by the government. And I can see why the government would like the opportunity to remove professors who are honest and unwise enough to speak out of turn.

    • Replies: @schmenz
  9. Macilrae says:

    “We have only ourselves to blame for winding up in the God-awful situation that prevails currently as we have voted miscreants into office time and again in spite of the inanities they spout and the clear signs that the only thing most of them care about is power and money. It is no wonder that younger Americans have little or no interest in politics, which they see as corrupt from top to bottom.”

    When you say “We have only ourselves to blame” you raise the question “OK, then what should WE have done?” While I suggest that you, personally, have done a lot to try to secure a different outcome – you’ve had little success, so far. However, not many people have the eloquence, courage and doggedness of Philip Giraldi – the truth is that rank and file Americans are about as helpless now as the Russians were at the height of the Soviet Union – which the US is increasingly starting to resemble in its effective autocracy, curtailment of individual liberties and rigid control of the media.

    The system has very effectively immunized itself against intervention by the ordinary people.

    • Replies: @schmenz
    , @Odysseus
  10. Anyone who is surprised that power and corruption go hand in hand does not understand man or this world.

    Anyone who thinks they can contrive a more powerful government that is less corrupt is delusional.

  11. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Great Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    The narcissistic homosexual Kenyan Foriegner War Criminal was installed as POTUS twice by an imported nonwhite,highly racialized,high fertility Democratic Party Voting Bloc…..

    Blame the passage of the 1965 Immigration Reform Act….

    • Replies: @another fred
    , @Santoculto
  12. Having used the non-peecee term “man”, I offer the following definition from Ambrose Bierce:

    “MAN, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.”

    I would replace “ought to be” with “is”.

  13. Sherman says:

    If Putin wants to waste valuable blood and treasure getting bogged down in a Muslim war zone that’s his business.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  14. Phil wrote:

    People concerned about the state of permanent war overseas coupled with the decline of civil liberties within the United States should be looking at how the National Security State is evolving as it is happening right out in the open. But they should also be concerned about the collusion of the media with the government propaganda organs to shape a narrative designed to have a short shelf life, knowing that the story will quickly disappear and there will be little or on feedback

    “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” -William Colby, former CIA Director, cited by Dave McGowan in “Derailing Democracy“

    “You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.” -CIA operative cited in “Katherine The Great” by Deborah Davis

    “There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.” -William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, briefing members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, From ‘CIA and the Media’, by Carl Bernstein

    “The Agency’s relationship with [The New York] Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy … to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.” –CIA and the Media by Carl Bernstein

    “PAO (CIA public affairs office) now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly and television network in the nation” -Robert Gates

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
  15. Realist says:
    @Fran Macadam

    “Since so many credible observers have come to the conclusion that we no longer live in a functioning democracy….”

    There is no such thing as a functioning democracy. Some appear that way for awhile, but they are all just at different levels on the shit slide.

  16. Realist says:
    @LondonBob

    “Then again looking at the body language between the two, is Obama so thin skinned and egotistical he would start WWIII because Putin is the first person who has seen Obama for who he is, an incompetent affirmative action hire promoted way above his level?”

    Of course he would. Watch the way he struts when he walks.

  17. @Haxo Angmark

    So, in addition to being a murderous, lawless sonofabitch, Bradford’s a Walter Mitty type. He claimed a Silver Star, the third-highest valorous decoration.

    Piss on him and his chickenhawk kind.

  18. Sam Shama says:

    Dr Giraldi,
    A few days ago, we were discussing our choices of candidates to advise Donald Trump, so as to prepare him better on policy matters. In that conversation I had suggested your name for Foreign Policy.

    http://www.unz.com/imercer/donald-dont-let-fox-news-roger-america-again/#comment-1157453

    In light of your quite effective final sentence, turning the phrase on Sam Johnson’s observation, would you then consider such a position quite unappealing? 🙂

    The revolting, aimless and craven behaviour of our political class and their overlords is de-spiriting. One would like to believe that we are not on a path of decline and hold hope that the people, especially the young, are going to awaken and the vox populi will elect a government of the mensae not the avarae

  19. “We have only ourselves to blame for winding up in the God-awful situation that prevails currently as we have voted miscreants into office time and again in spite of the inanities they spout and the clear signs that the only thing most of them care about is power and money. . . .”

    Need I say more?

    • Agree: Realist
  20. … and those who wanted to take advantage of Moscow’s initiative to seek a negotiated settlement that would permit Bashar al-Assad to gracefully retire to Dubai …

    It seems unlikely to me that Assad would go to Dubai (in the UAE). It’s the Persian Gulf monarchies, after all, that are trying so hard to overthrow him right now. Anyway, Alawites typically aren’t welcomed there. A more likely destination would be Iran or perhaps Russia.

    • Replies: @Sam Shama
  21. @Avery

    Since President Eisenhower (of German stock) told UK, France, and Israel to get the heck out of Suez, or else, I don’t know of another US Pres who had or has defended America’s or American people’s interests.

    There’s one possible counter-example here: George H. W. Bush. After the Desert Storm War, he refused to march on Baghdad, as the neocons wanted, and he allowed Saddam to put down the Shiite rebellion. Shortly thereafter, he also started up the negotiations that lead to the Oslo Accord, and at one point, threatened to suspend loan guarantees if Israel wouldn’t stop expanding settlements on the West Bank. I know it ain’t much, but it’s more than Clinton or Baby Bush ever did.

    • Agree: Sam Shama
    • Replies: @Escher
    , @Moi
  22. @LondonBob

    To give George W some credit, he was actually good at the all important one to one relationships with other world leaders, no doubt his good rapport with Putin help defuse South Ossetia.

    You’re giving W more credit than I would. Almost immediately after Putin declared solidarity with the US in the ‘war on terror’ and allowed us to overfly Russian territory to attack the Taliban, Bush repaid the favor by … unilaterally scrapping the 30 year-old ABM treaty and threatening to put anti-ballistic missiles in Poland. What a charmer!

    As for the Georgian War, what ‘defused’ it was the fact that the Russian army totally spanked Saakashvili, and the Europeans were in no mood to sanction Russia over it. W–who was a lame-duck at this point–had little to do with it.

  23. @Sherman

    If Putin wants to waste valuable blood and treasure getting bogged down in a Muslim war zone that’s his business.

    He might as well. If he doesn’t fight the terrorists in Syria, he’ll just have to fight them in Central Asia or in the Caucasus (again). Since the honey pot has already formed down in Syraq, where Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah all stand ready to help, it makes good sense for him to do it there and now.

  24. Sam Shama says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    London I should think – the traditional corporation city for unseated leaders, not to mention his wife is British. Man might even resurrect a career in ophthalmology.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  25. @Sam Shama

    UK is NATO. They would probably now try and arrest him and ship him to the Hague. He’d be safer in Russia or Iran.

    • Replies: @Sam Shama
  26. Sam Shama says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Well perhaps you are right. But London….the corporation City which requires even the Queen and her guard to obtain permission from the Mayor of London for entry?

  27. schmenz says:
    @Tom Welsh

    My friend, you need some brushing up on the Spanish Inquisition. That investigation, which it will probably shock you to learn, was conducted by the highest legal standards regarding evidence, perjury, judges and juries. No, you will not find that in your typical anti-Inquisition polemic, but it is there nonetheless.

    And just a reminder: the Inquisition was brought about due to the Converso/Marrano problem besetting Spain at the time, and was merely an attempt to find out who was lying and who wasn’t. When some murders started being committed by some Conversos (false Christians) the Inquisition had to get to the bottom of the matter. It was only when solid evidence for a crime against the State was presented did the Inquisition turn the culprit over to the State for punishment.

    May I recommend William Thomas Walsh’s masterful “Isabella of Spain” for your perusal.

    • Replies: @another fred
  28. HHSIII says:

    So i guess you are suggesting go back to tacitly cozying up to the dictatorships around the world. Putin is just an old Foggy Bottom style realist and we should back Assad, the Husseins and Khadafy’s (and the Putins).

    It seems to me the initial protests against Assad were fairly anti-authoritarian. Sure, there were elements, and now it has grown into ISIS. It seems to me these are false choices. Dictators or Terrorists. I want Isis gone and Assad gone. Now solve my problem.

  29. @HHSIII

    You want to have your cake and eat it too. Nobody’s ever solved that problem that I’m aware of.

    Meanwhile, colonial [artificial] borders legacy x ongoing western geopolitical manipulation in a region with precisely zero legacy of democracy = FUBAR.

    Assad’s crimes pale besides the hell unleashed deliberately by the western powers who covertly empowered Salafist militia in Syria, with spillover back into Iraq. It began, as Phil notes, with disenfranchising Saddam’s military, David Petraeus fanned the flames of sectarian civil war with arming and supporting Shia death squads (his 1st Iraq tour) further alienating and radicalizing the Sunnis, then his brainchild put into effect by subordinate generals was the ‘awakening councils’ where the USA poured money and weapons into the Iraqi Sunni community that found themselves with no paychecks and an axe to grind on the USA’s exit. These were the seed stock that found paying work in Syria courtesy of the further efforts of (2012 as CIA director) Petraeus; now in concert with Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia who organized these veterans of Saddam’s military and the ‘awakening councils’ integration to al Qaida aligned Salfist militia such as Al Qaida in Iraq and Levant. From this concoction Islamic State had been born out of a splintering and remixing of the several groups. And it is this preceding is the primary cause of not only Syria coming apart at the seams but Iraq relapsing into full blown sectarian civil war.

    Now, Petraeus was just the other day testifying to the US Senate Armed Services Committee on how to clean up the very mess he had in fact created (no one seems to have noticed this last salient detail.) One idea he’d recently floated was supporting ‘moderate’ al Nusra (al Qaida) to fight Islamic State … you know, I like satire but I can’t outdo these clowns reality – but here’s trying:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/08/24/the-islamic-state-for-dummies/

    ^

  30. @schmenz

    My friend, you need some brushing up on the Spanish Inquisition. That investigation, which it will probably shock you to learn, was conducted by the highest legal standards regarding evidence, perjury, judges and juries.

    Re: the above from Bierce:

    INADMISSIBLE, adj. Not competent to be considered. Said of certain kinds of testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with, and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of proceedings before themselves alone. Hearsay evidence is inadmissible because the person quoted was unsworn and is not before the court for examination; yet most momentous actions, military, political, commercial and of every other kind, are daily undertaken on hearsay evidence. There is no religion in the world that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. Revelation is hearsay evidence; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the testimony of men long dead whose identity is not clearly established and who are not known to have been sworn in any sense. Under the rules of evidence as they now exist in this country, no single assertion in the Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in a court of law. It cannot be proved that the battle of Blenheim ever was fought, that there was such as person as Julius Caesar, such an empire as Assyria. But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still unimpeachable. The judges’ decisions based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value.

    ‘Nuff said.

  31. @HHSIII

    I want Isis gone and Assad gone. Now solve my problem.

    Cut off your head… problem solved!

    • Replies: @Avery
  32. Avery says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Well said.

    (better yet, have ISIS saw his head off, slowly, with a dull knife: give him a taste of his “Assad gone” medicine)

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
    • Replies: @Kiza
  33. Odysseus says: • Website
    @Macilrae

    Following up on your points, let us carry the idea to its natural conclusion. If we all agree that we all are to blame but that the power to change anything within the system has been wrested from our hands by the elite, how do we effect change? How do we create the world in which we want to live? If there is no way, within the present system, to work against these people in charge, what is the only remaining option?

    • Replies: @Macilrae
  34. KA says:
    @HHSIII

    People are not attacking you . They are attacking the informercial of NULAND – Rice Congress,AIPAC JINSA FDD ECI,PD,ECD,
    Don’t take it personally. Now go and read some good stuff on
    -http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/own-up-obama/comment-page-1#comment-799297
    and read the comments in particular of Bandelero

  35. KA says:

    The departing Boehner was heralded after his announcement as a staunch supporter of Israel, but in the weeks preceding his announcement, the Ohio legislator’s opponents had criticized him for an insufficiently combative approach to the nuclear deal reached with Iran earlier this year.

    Speaking at a demonstration outside the Capitol as the House debated the resolution, speakers called on McConnell and Boehner to support claims that the administration had failed to provide the documents necessary to launch the Congressional review period for the deal. If the review period had yet to begin, they argued, Congress should not agree to hold the vote on the resolution – which was supposed to come within 60 days after the review period commenced.

    The anti-deal protesters, representing a number of conservative organizations, carried signs condemning Boehner, including one labeling him a “Repugnicant Traitor.”
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/pro-israel-hopefuls-line-up-to-fill-power-vacuum-in-us-house/

    Ted Cruz was agitating with those same demonstrators.

    The Congress we deserve .

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
  36. Escher says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Maybe it wasn’t the economy but a certain lobby that torpedoed his re election.

  37. Blair says:
    @another fred

    Don’t forget the ladies.

    Indeed. Would we have had the politicians who voted for the immigration act of 1965 without the ladies? So, even if the non whites put Obama in office, they might not have ever got here without the female vote.

    http://anepigone.blogspot.com/2009/11/2008-presidential-election-electoral.html

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  38. Junior [AKA "Jr."] says:

    Just read an interesting article that talks about the medias role in these fiascoes through the use of Stratcom which stands for Strategic Communications. The article gives a good summary of the medias use of false narratives. It dovetails nicely with this article by Mr. Giraldi and is well worth the read.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/09/28/the-power-of-false-narrative/

  39. Rurik says:
    @HHSIII

    I want Isis gone and Assad gone. Now solve my problem.

    just when you think you’ve seen it all

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  40. Only a child needs governance.

    Only an idiot wants government.

  41. anonymus says:
    @Fran Macadam

    “we no longer live in a functioning democracy”

    I think that idea itself has some contradictions. Maybe it is partly true at some level, but I feel that many American leaders are what they are, because a great many citizens (if not most) are just like them, and enable their ascension to power.

    People have chosen the leaders they want, so that is democracy, no?

  42. @Blair

    Eisenhower got far more of the female vote than Adlai Stevenson

  43. There is a difference between a con man and his mark. The former is a criminal. The latter is a victim. Blaming the people for the crimes of their rulers is blaming the victim. Both Obama and Bush are liars, traitors and murderers. The only crime attributable to the people who voted for them is believing what they see and hear on television.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  44. polistra says:

    It’s totally unfair to blame the voters for Federal or State evils. Votes have no connection to the Presidency at all, and no sane candidate is allowed to get anywhere near the nominating process for Congress or Governors.

    At the city level it’s not quite as bad. Occasionally a sane man gets elected to a city council. After election he succumbs to the blackmail and money. Net result is the same, but at least there are brief moments of vain hope.

    The only place where citizens have ANY power is on local juries. One contrarian can eliminate a bad decision, and unless the case is important enough to catch Federal attention, the decision may sometimes be allowed to stand.

    • Agree: Carroll Price
    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  45. Moi says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Wasn’t Ike called the Swedish Jew at West Point?

  46. Macilrae says:
    @Odysseus

    As things stand we are truly helpless. One of the important differences between the situation at the height of the Soviet Union and today’s America is that here in the US there is a vast, relatively contented, over-fed, self-indulgent majority whose motivation for change is minimal. Unlike Russians, Americans are not cynical and they “don’t do irony”. The status quo survives because this majority continues to be fed its diet of pablum by the compliant MSM, Hollywood and the pop industry – in Russia, during the 1960s, no such majority existed: there was general discontent, held in check by brutal intimidation.

    Now, America is heading down the same road – you can tell that by the increase in government surveillance and media-control as well as rising despair among the poorer classes. This is driven by economic and social decline.

    To answer your question, the only remaining option is to wait until the balance tips and the general discontent reaches such a state that the government must fall and be replaced by a totally new regime. Unfortunately, new regimes formed under such conditions are usually anarchic (consider Boris Yeltsin) and stability can only be reimposed through autocracy. Let us hope it is a relatively benign autocracy – such as Putin’s.

  47. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    For Assad to step down while a life-and-death war is going on would be a game-changing mistake that would lead to catastrophe. He’s the rock upon which the fight against Islamic extremists rests and he has to see it through, otherwise the morale of the Syrian army would crumble. Any offers by the Western countries for him to step down and install a ‘coalition government’ of some sort, a government that could never work and would be useless in this time of war, would just be a ruse to weaken the Syrian state. The West would simply renege and then press on against the now weakened state. The extremists need to be defeated militarily. There are only so many deluded dupes that they can throw into the meat-grinder.
    For the people of the region to progress they would need secular governments and peace to develop in the long run. Islamic jihad extremism is obscurantist in nature and hinders the cultural and intellectual progress of any society. The US and it’s allies seem to prefer this as it makes these people easier to bully and manipulate and is thus in the position of holding down and retarding the capability of this region to develop and become forward-looking, modern states. Unfortunately, the US and it’s go-along allies have become active agents of evil throughout the world.

  48. @Avery

    Good observation but what is missing in all of this—Israel Firsters goal–destroy 7 middle East countries for greater Israel. Second–put the boots to Russia. Syria is very important for a gas oil pipe line to feed Europe. Once this is accomplished–Russia will be a poor nation–no gas to sell.
    If Assad goes–so will Russia as an opponent. Obama called Assad a Tyrant— he should speak for himself especially and all USA presidents (Except Jimmy Carter)

  49. @polistra

    You confirmed Henry David Thoreau’s observation; “There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil, for every one striking at the root.” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

  50. @WorkingClass

    Your analysis omits the rational process of choosing to vote because
    1. The duties you were brought up to perform, even just tribal rituals, are at least a way of feeling you have tried and encouraged others to try
    2. Your vote will cancel out that of someone even less well informed and altruistically motivated
    3. To the best of your limited knowledge the election of A will be less harmful to you and yours and your country than the election of B….

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  51. @Rurik

    Great video, Rurik! My sentiments exactly.

  52. Stick says:
    @Avery

    Real leaders, regardless of stripe, generally have leadership qualities that others find attractive. Have you seen our current president excite anyone outside of his clique?

    • Replies: @Avery
  53. Avery says:
    @Stick

    Whether current US President, Barack Obama, is a leader or a flake, makes no difference.
    Even if the POTUS is Mickey Mouse, he or she is POTUS.
    I don’t like the spineless former community activist any more than you do.
    But he was duly elected by the citizens of these United States.
    Like it or not, he is POTUS until his term expires.

    US Congress, as in Congress of these United States, has no business fawning over a foreign leader.
    If they like Israel and Netanyahu so much, they can move to Israel, get elected to the Knesset, and can kiss his arse 24×7 for all I care.

    But when you are a member of US Congress, you must be loyal to United States: not Israel, not Germany, not Japan, not Timbuktu, not any other country.
    Only to these United States of America.

  54. I gotta ask every commentator talking shit about assad and wanting him gone.

    what right do you have over another country and it’s leader? especially when he was elected.

    please stfu and crawl back into your little hole.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
  55. @Wizard of Oz

    Sorry Wiz but I cannot grasp the connection between what I said and your response.

    Do Americans deserve the government they have? I say no because voters have been marinated in propaganda by the corporate media. I don’t know what to say about your one, two and three except that three is not rational. Voting for lessor evil is voting for evil. A common voting strategy that has been foisted on the voters by the red/blue political monopoly and which guarantees the steady advance of evil. Dear citizens. Because you are a free people you may chose today between the rod and the lash.

    If you would care to clarify your remarks for me perhaps I could provide a better response.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  56. “unprivileged belligerent”
    Ha ha this administration never misses a beat to paint white people as racists. Because we all know only white people have privilege. hahaha This administration never stops, and neither does the left in general or their co horts the islamists.

    Oh my there is so much.

  57. @WorkingClass

    I was responding to your summing up by saying in effect that the voters voted the way they did because they foolishly believed what they saw and heard on TV. In other words they were complete dills.

    I pointed out that their decisions might have little to do with trusting what they heard and saw but rationally (not necessarily reasonably or ethically) include one or more of 1 to 3.

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  58. Kiza says:
    @Avery

    Gee, guys, I go away for a week and when I come back I find you still well informed as always and uncompromising to nonsense. It is a pleasure coming here and reading you demolish the brainwashed creatures who unsuspectingly wonder into this website. Unz.com commenters are now almost par with zerodedge.com commenters, I love it. Keep it coming guys, we do not belong to their MSM-created virtual reality world.

  59. Lupa says:

    There’s this silly fantasy that people who never open a news paper in their daily life — somehow still are able to lay an informed vote on election day. In daily life it’s so obvious, you ask someone about some political issue and they say “I’m not really into politics” — as if it’s some hobby.
    A requirement for a functioning democracy is a) an informed public, and b) an active public. Otherwise we end up where we are today — where the only group paying any attention to the legislative processes are the industry and lobby groups.
    Meanwhile the average citizen parades around with a wooden sign, or writes an angry blog post, thinking it makes a difference. It doesn’t, and it never has. Actual change comes through legislative processes — and corporate lawyers are simply a lot better at that game than the public is.

    • Agree: Wizard of Oz, Sam Shama
  60. @Lupa

    ” . . . Otherwise we end up where we are today–where the only group paying any attention to the legislative processes are the industry and lobby groups. . . .”

    And they’ve got the money to buy our political hacks. Joe Sixpack doesn’t.

    • Replies: @Lupa
  61. Lupa says:
    @Orville H. Larson

    Well that’s not entirely true. In a developed economy, like the US, most of the wealth belongs to the middle class. The combined leverage of 100 million Joe Sixpacks far outweighs any private corporation. But a corporation is more focused in their agenda — they know what they want and allocate resources to achieve it. It’s just like how one lion can scare dozens of antilopes — the ignorance of the individual antilope prevents them from organizing and uniting against a common enemy even though they have the capability.

  62. @Wizard of Oz

    Thanks Wizard. Your point is well taken.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  63. @WorkingClass

    You are far too polite for most of the UR blog threads! I fear for your safety….:)

    • Agree: geokat62
    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  64. @Lupa

    your delusion level cannot be charted. I am sorry.

  65. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    We have only ourselves to blame for winding up in the God-awful situation that prevails currently as we have voted miscreants into office time and again in spite of the inanities they spout and the clear signs that the only thing most of them care about is power and money. It is no wonder that younger Americans have little or no interest in politics, which they see as corrupt from top to bottom. And they are right. They understand that lying and dissimulation have become givens whenever a government spokesman or congressman opens his or her mouth so they tune the entire process out. Samuel Johnson called “patriotism” the last refuge of a scoundrel but if he had thought carefully about the entire political process he would have likely discerned that the scoundrel’s first refuge is to become a politician.

    I have very few things saved on my PC in special quotes, among them Correlli Barnett’s definition of national power, this Philip Giraldi’s piece is next to it. Absolutely brilliant.

  66. EWM says:

    Although every politician promises to force people to pay for things that they don’t want, there are still people who vote. Voters deserve every negative thing that comes their way.

    • Replies: @Realist
  67. Realist says:
    @Lupa

    “It doesn’t, and it never has.”
    Just like voting

  68. Realist says:
    @EWM

    “Voters deserve every negative thing that comes their way.”

    Yes, they have work hard to be stupid and ignorant.

  69. @Lupa

    Sorry, Lupa. I have to differ with you here.

    There is a vast difference between any old form of wealth, and disposable income. The ‘wealth’ of most of your typical two-earner (less time for politics!) middle-class families have is tied up in a thirty-year mortgage that has to be paid off someday. That’s just not the same as having a massive trust fund (or corporate slush fund) to throw around.

    The other point is that, while there’s certainly some relationship between wealth and power, it’s not always a one-to-one correspondence. If you or I lose our jobs and fail to make those mortgage payments on time, we get booted out of our houses and end up on the streets. End of story. However, if way too many people at once go into default, and the finance sector threatens to implode (as in 2008), they will almost always get a bailout, because they’re too big to fail. Sadly, from the system’s point of view, you and I are completely expendable. But the FIRE sector–which now controls about a third of the country’s GDP–is most definitely not.

  70. @Wizard of Oz

    I’ll be OK Mr. Wizard. This is not my first rodeo. I wasn’t always so polite. I have been banned from several good blogs. I have learned not to feed trolls, not to respond to ass holes and to end conversations when I am convinced I am talking to an idiot. That leaves people who deserve respect.

  71. Do this. Don’t do that. Stay back in line. Where’s tax receipt? Fill out form. Let’s see license. Submit six copies. Exit only. No left turn. No right turn. Queue up and pay fine. Take back and get stamped. Drop dead — but first get permit.

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