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“No Ground Troops to Syria:” Obama’s Smartest Move in Eight Years?
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Three questions about Paris:

1) Was the over-the-top, no-holds-barred, 24-7 media blitz really an attempt to keep the public informed about a critically important event or was the coverage geared to pressure President Obama into sending ground troops to Syria?

2) Is Obama’s excuse for not putting boots on the ground in Syria to fight ISIS credible (Obama says he believes the current strategy is “ultimately going to work”.) or is the administration afraid of a confrontation with Russia?

3) Does the media’s coverage of the attacks in Paris (Similar attacks which took place in Beirut, Baghdad and Turkey were treated as mere footnotes) reflect pervasive racist attitudes in the West or is it another example of our dreary agenda-driven media?

While there’s no question that the victims of this horrific crime deserve all of our sympathy and support, there’s also no question that the media has exploited the attacks to serve their own purposes. From the moment the attacks were first announced on Friday until today, the media has conducted a full-blown, round-the-clock propaganda campaign that reenacted every bomb blast, every screeching siren, and every lurid detail in order to generate as much fear in the public mind as possible. The objective in fueling this mass hysteria became apparent to me after watching all five political talk shows on Sunday where the consensus view of all the interviewees was: “ISIS is evil. Obama needs to do something. Obama needs to send troops to Syria.”

For example: Jeb Bush says to George Stephanopoulos, “We need to show leadership…We need no-fly zones…We need ground troops.”

Not to be outdone, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said, ‘We need 50,000 troops to take Raqqa.’ Shortly after, Fareed Zakaria of GPS chimed in with this (completely phony) heartfelt appeal for US intervention. He said:

“Imagine if the world responded… by joining forces and doing exactly what’s necessary to eradicate a Caliphate that only leaves carnage in its wake? …. maybe, just maybe, this Democratic President can mobilize the world to respond accordingly. Maybe it will be enough to simply neuter the culprits, not eviscerate the whole population of the region, causing intractable blowback.”

Can you believe it? He candidly admits that US intervention could “eviscerate the whole population of the region (and cause) intractable blowback”, but he wants to “go for it” anyway.

Unbelievable. Of course, none of the news programs allowed anyone opposed to US warmongering anywhere near a microphone. Can’t have that. The unwavering uniformity of opinion just shows that the media wants more war which is why they’re waving the bloody shirt of Paris to pressure Obama. They don’t care about the victims, what matters to them is their agenda.

But the strategy isn’t working, not this time at least. In fact, Obama is actually digging in his heels. On Monday, in a truly extraordinary press conference following the G-20 Summit, Obama announced that he wasn’t going to send ground troops to Syria after all. He said he thought “it would be a mistake.”

You could have heard a pin drop after he made his statement. And then, of course, the press corps went into full attack-mode.

“Not send troops? How can you not send troops after all the terrorist hype we’ve been spewing for two days straight? We demand you send troops.”

The media’s indignation was apparent by the questions they leveled at Obama after his brief presentation. And what was amazing about the questions, was that, all five questions were exactly the same question! I’m not making this up. The entire pathetic Q&A can be read here.

Take a look: First question, Jerome Cartillier of AFP:

Q. — “Mr. President. One hundred and twenty-nine people were killed in Paris on Friday night. ISIL claimed responsibility for the massacre, sending the message that they could now target civilians all over the world. The equation has clearly changed. Isn’t it time for your strategy to change?”

Subtext to question: We want you to send ground troops.

Second question, Margaret Brennan, CBS News:

Q. — “Mr. President. A more than year-long bombing campaign in Iraq and in Syria has failed to contain the ambition and the ability of ISIS to launch attacks in the West. Have you underestimated their abilities? And will you widen the rules of engagement for U.S. forces to take more aggressive action?”

Subtext to question: We want you to send ground troops.

Third question, Jim Avila, ABC News:

Q.– “Mr. President. In the days and weeks before the Paris attacks, did you receive warning in your daily intelligence briefing that an attack was imminent? If not, does that not call into question the current assessment that there is no immediate, specific, credible threat to the United States today?”

Subtext to question: You have no idea what ISIS is doing, so why not send in ground troops.

Forth question, Jim Acosta, CNN:

Q. — “Mr. President. … a lot of Americans have this frustration that they see that the United States has the greatest military in the world, it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS. I guess the question is — and if you’ll forgive the language — is why can’t we take out these bastards?”

Subtext to question: We want you to send ground troops.

Fifth question, Ron Allen, NBC News:

Q. — “Mr. President. I think a lot of people around the world and in America are concerned because given the strategy that you’re pursuing … ISIS’s capabilities seem to be expanding. Were you aware that they had the capability of pulling off the kind of attack that they did in Paris? Are you concerned? And do you think they have that same capability to strike in the United States?”

Subtext to question: You should be doing more. We want you to send ground troops.

Are these really the questions a journalist would ask if he if he wanted to inform the public on a critical foreign policy matter or are they merely a way of hectoring the president so he does what the powerbrokers who own the media want him to do?

By the way, Obama snapped about halfway through the Q&A mainly because he just got frustrated with the tedious repetition of the same question. By the time he got to Jim Acosta he blurted out angrily: “I just spent the last three questions answering that very question, so I don’t know what more you want me to add.”

But don’t kid yourself, Obama knows what’s going on. He knows the bigwig media owners who sit on the same board of directors with the big weapons manufacturers, the Wall Street bankers and other honchos in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) want another war. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why they have trained all their cameras on Paris to make sure that every wailing woman, every candle-lit vigil, and every bloody victim is filmed up-close-and-personal to maximize the emotional impact and help generate momentum for another US-led massacre in the Middle East.

But Obama’s not going to go that route. He’s not going to expand the war. Not because he’s opposed to violence or squeamish about killing innocent people. Heck no, that has nothing to do with it. Here’s the reason he gave at the press conference:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, keep in mind what we have been doing. We have a military strategy that is putting enormous pressure on ISIL through airstrikes; that has put assistance and training on the ground with Iraqi forces; we’re now working with Syrian forces as well to squeeze ISIL, cut off their supply lines. We’ve been coordinating internationally to reduce their financing capabilities, the oil that they’re trying to ship outside. We are taking strikes against high-value targets — including, most recently, against the individual who was on the video executing civilians who had already been captured, as well as the head of ISIL in Libya….(So) Even as we grieve with our French friends, we can’t lose sight that there has been progress being made.”

“Progress”? A four and a half year stalemate followed by a Russian-led military campaign that has rolled back all the gains the “US-backed” jihadis made in their effort to topple Assad? Obama calls that progress?

Let’s be blunt: US policy in Syria has gone off a cliff. It’s a complete and utter disaster. Obama knows that. He’s just making lame excuses. Here’s more:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “…there have been a few who suggested that we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground. And keep in mind that we have the finest military in the world and we have the finest military minds in the world, and I’ve been meeting with them intensively for years now, discussing these various options, and it is not just my view but the view of my closest military and civilian advisors that that would be a mistake — not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is, if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface — unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.

And let’s assume that we were to send 50,000 troops into Syria. What happens when there’s a terrorist attack generated from Yemen? Do we then send more troops into there? Or Libya, perhaps? Or if there’s a terrorist network that’s operating anywhere else — in North Africa, or in Southeast Asia?”

Okay, so now we’re getting closer to the truth. Obama and his top advisors have looked at this mess from all sides and figured out that it’s a hopeless cause, so they’re not going to send US troops to die for nothing. Good. At least, that makes sense.

But even THAT isn’t the whole truth. The whole truth is that Obama and crew are worried about Russia. Sure, the politicians do a lot chest thumping and saber rattling in their op-eds or when they’re bloviating in front of a TV camera. But this is the real deal. Syria is not make-believe. It’s a war, and it’s a war Russia intends to win. And if the US gets in Russia’s way, by setting up a safe zone within Syria’s sovereign borders or doing something else stupid like that, there’s going to be trouble. Obama knows this because he’s a reasonable man; immoral, but reasonable. He’s not a hothead like John McCain or a foam-at-the-mouth basketcase like Hillary Clinton. Obama is cut in the mold of James Baker, a dyed-in-the-wool imperialist who understood the parameters of imperial power. There are limits to power and a wise man will acknowledge those limits and act accordingly. That’s what Obama is doing. He’s decided that the rewards are just not worth the risks, so he’s cutting his losses and backing down. That doesn’t mean Washington’s plan for Syria has been abandoned, it just means that Obama wants to run out his time in office without dragging the country into another pointless bloodbath.

If you ask me, it’s the smartest move he’s made in eight years.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Barack Obama, ISIS, Paris Attacks, Syria 
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  1. Tom_R says:

    FINALLY OBAMA DOES SOMETHING SENSIBLE FOR A CHANGE—REFUSING TO SEND TROOPS TO SYRIA.

    Thanks for the interesting article, Sir. I agree with you that for once, Obama has said something sensible by refusing to send troops to Syria. Syria is a sovereign nation and it invited Russia, not USA, so USA should keep out of it and entering Syria would be an illegal act of war, which only Congress can authorize. Maybe his military commanders simply refused and warned him of dire consequences if US invades Syria.

    As far as US/NATO claiming to send troops there to fight ISIS, I find that rather odd since ISIS is basically Syrian rebels which the US and Israeli criminals armed to steal land from Syria for a Greater Israel.

    Israel is treating ISIS soldiers in its hospitals, according to ISRAELI media:

    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighters-wounded-in-Syria-civil-war-393862

    ISIS colonel captured in Iraq admits that Mossad is training ISIS:

    “Israeli Brigadier Yussi Elon Shahak captured by the Iraqi popular army confessed during the investigation that…
    “There is a strong cooperation between MOSSAD and ISIS top military commanders,” asserting that “there are Israeli advisors helping the Organization on laying out strategic and military plans, and guiding them in the battlefield.”

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/10/21/breaking-story-israeli-general-captured-in-iraq-confesses-to-israel-isis-coalition/

    ISIS leader Baghdadi trained by Mossad: http://www.globalresearch.ca/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained-by-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/5391593

    So ISIS is basically a terrorist arm of the world’s real axis of evil: Jew-S-A Jew-rope and Israel.

    So why are they sending troops to fight ISIS (whom they financed and are calling “our guys” and “assets” now? I think that is quite fishy. Or knowing that ISIS is being attacked they want to send troops to HELP ISIS. Basically American and NATO troops will join ISIS then, it seems.

    The new American slogan will then be: terrorists helping terrorists. The US army must then change its recruitment slogan to “a terrorist of one.”

    • Replies: @bunga
  2. Eustace Tilley (not) [AKA "Schiller/Nietzsche"] says:

    Why is it “unbelievable” that Bill Kristol (hint: alliterative with “Kristallnacht”) would be so willing to “eviscerate the population of the entire region”? You can’t make a kosher omelette without cracking open a few hundred thousand Arab skulls. You can’t plant the Mogen David “prayer shawl” from the Nile to the Euphrates by following the meek precepts of the Nazarene.

    Is this commentator going too far? Compare the outpouring of carefully-orchestrated sympathy for the Parisians to the lack of same for the Gazans killed in the last Israel/Gaza war. Or, for that matter, to the citizens of Beirut (mostly poor Shia) killed just days before Paris. Oh, wait: they support Hezbollah “terrorists” who are fighting ISIS.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
    , @KA
  3. With all due respect for Mr. Whitney, whom I really like, Obama’s set a pretty low bar for achieving “his smartest move” in his eight years as POTUS 🙂

    • Replies: @CJ
  4. tbraton says:

    “And let’s assume that we were to send 50,000 troops into Syria. What happens when there’s a terrorist attack generated from Yemen? Do we then send more troops into there? Or Libya, perhaps? Or if there’s a terrorist network that’s operating anywhere else — in North Africa, or in Southeast Asia?” ”

    I find Obama’s reference to putting troops in Libya more than a little disingenuous. As I recall, he said in an interview this past year that his greatest regret with respect to Libya was not that his ill-advised action against Qaddafi produced utter chaos in Libya that gave a home to ISIS but that he had not sent in troops after Qaddafi was overthrown. At the time of initiation of hostilities against Libya, Obama laid great stress that “there would be no boots on the ground.” That is why I have suggested that the proper name for our operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria should have been “Operation Enduring Incoherence.”

    BTW I find your comparison of Obama to former SOS James Baker wildly amusing. Baker may have his faults (he approved of the Iraq War in 2003, for example), but he is a man of great experience, intelligence and good judgment, all qualities Obama lacks in abundance. I can say without hesitation that, if I had a legal problem, I would much rather have Jim Baker advising me than Barack Obama. I give Obama credit for the Iran deal and the apparent decision not to send troops into Syria to fight ISIS, but, as a college professor of mine liked to say, even a blind pig manages to find an acorn every once in a while.

  5. tbraton says:

    @RonUnz

    OT: I notice that the edit function has apparently disappeared. Is that the case? I guess I will have to start using the “Preview Comment” function, which, upon thinking about it, makes the edit function somewhat superfluous. Previously, I used to briefly scan the message for obvious errors, correct the ones I caught, and the re-read the posted message and use the edit function to correct the most obvious errors that I had overlooked. Using the “Preview Comment” function would simplify the process.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  6. Ron Unz says:
    @tbraton

    A few other people have reported that problem with Comment Editing having disappeared, and it seems to be browser/OS specific, perhaps due to a recent browser update generating Javascript incompatibilities. I’ll try to fix it after I do the next WordPress upgrade, but what system are you using that has the problem, and have you noticed it on different browsers?

    • Replies: @neutral
  7. tbraton says:

    Thanks for the reply. I use Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 as well as Google Chrome on my relatively new computer, which I only started using after Windows 10 became available this summer. I post messages on both, but I just noticed it when I used MS Edge. (I generally don’t waste much time editing my messages posted online, and I am often appalled by the mistakes, both major and minor, grammatical and otherwise, when I read my messages later.) Anyway, as I explained, the edit function is somewhat superfluous as long as you have Preview Comment. So I am going to resort to the latter from now on. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but habits are hard to change. One big advantage is that you aren’t operating against a deadline, even a generous one of 8 minutes, so you can make changes at your leisure. Maybe you should give some thought to simplifying your terrific website by completely eliminating the edit function. It would have to be explained thoroughly to your users, obviously

  8. Ron Unz says:
    @tbraton

    Thanks. Some people, including myself, prefer using Edit to Preview, which is why I hadn’t released it had stopped working on some systems (I use Windows 7/Chrome). Actually, I normally compose my messages in a text editor, then copy-and-paste into the message window.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  9. he is a Muslim it is all part of plan.

  10. When it comes to international politics Obama seems more amoral than immoral – making him much better than most leading US politicians. His petty immoralism is mostly reserved for whipping up anti-white hatred in the old US feud of black & media vs white & normal – and the increase in killing mostly means more dead blacks, though some innocent whites die too.

  11. tom. says:

    Oh Mike how quickly you forget your last story.

    War criminal Obama won’t be sending in the US troops as much, because he’s cut a deal with Turkish troops. You just recently reported on this.

    Obama deserves no credit whatsoever because the war criminal deal of The invasion and occupation of northern Syria has been cut. It’s now just a matter if US/Turkey are willing to go that far and possibly risk Setting off WW3 against Russia.

  12. @tbraton

    I rely heavily on the Edit function. The time seems perfect to me. Individual differences (genetic?) are expectable.

    Let me say, this is the best-designed web site I’ve ever seen.

    • Replies: @tbraton
    , @RobinG
  13. tbraton says:
    @Stephen R. Diamond

    I used to rely exclusively on the Edit function until I experimented with the Preview Function, which I have decided is superior. It also has the advantage of forcing you to read your stuff before posting, which I often failed to do.

    “Let me say, this is the best-designed web site I’ve ever seen.”

    I couldn’t agree more. (Now to Preview my comment. 😉 )

  14. RobinG says:
    @Stephen R. Diamond

    “Let me say, this is the best-designed web site I’ve ever seen.”

    Without a doubt. Thank you.

  15. coco says:

    Can you believe it? He candidly admits that US intervention could “eviscerate the whole population of the region (and cause) intractable blowback”, but he wants to “go for it” anyway.

    Mike please explain to me how you came up with this analysis.Mike he said “not eviscerate”.

  16. Muse says:

    How did we get I this mess. Well who benefits? Hypothetically….

    The US wanted to expand NATO, and shrink Moscow’s sphere of influence a la Mearsheimer’s great powers doctrine. Moscow has a strong lever over Europe because it is the primary supplier of natural gas to Europe. This resource also gives Russia money, and makes them a player in world financial markets. Combined with the Chinese and the Iranians, the three powers are trying to form a pan-Asian land based prosperity sphere and currency to challenge the dollar and American/Anglo/Jewish domination of the financial markets. So the US via Victoria Nuland start a small NGO fomented revolution Ukraine, but Vlad counters by grabbing the Crimea and stopping the revolution. Meanwhile, shills like Evo Daalder are running around on the Crown Family dime (think Jewish owners of General Dynamics) screaming how we need to fight the Russians.

    Israel will do anything to expand its security zone in its immediate neighborhood. They hate Syria and Iran because they are viable challenges to this goal. Israel also has a new huge gas field it would like to connect to Europe, but it has to go through Syria and Turkey.

    The Saudi’s like the Sunnis, and hate the Shia and the Alawites. They also would love to connect their gas line through Israel and Syria because the crude oil output will soon decline and they need that cash. Other small Arab states have lots of gas to sell.

    So a deal is cut. John Kerry goes to The Saudi’s and ask them to kill the price of oil, believing this will put the hurt on Russia, and bring them to their knees. It also has the nice benefit of bankrupting all the fracking entrepreneurs who have created wealth by finding new oil reserves (something the Saudi’s don’t want just yet, and something the Rockefeller family abhors because they believe it is their right to own all the oil production in the US). Conveniently, the Rockefeller family trust sold all their interests in oil just before Saudi Arabia opened the spigot. Great market timing by the way, you should hire their securities analysts! No doubt they will be picking up fracked oilfields for a song as companies like Emerald EOX go bankrupt, or maybe they already own the bonds.

    Meanwhile the Saudis funded ISIS/Al Quaeda radicals and mercenaries are cut loose to attack Syria and the Kurds. Israel even helps. EVERYBODY But Putin wins.

    Except Putin makes a move to support Syria, and intimates, not too subtly that he has many thermonuclear devices should cool heads not prevail. Hard to know what has been said behind closed doors to the POTUS.

    About this time, Obama realizes he can’t go into Syria and beat the Russians without destroying the world and perhaps he realizes he has been played a few too many times by Bibi N. Perhaps he is just getting back for Bibi snubbing him and speaking to the House at Boehner’s request. He says hell no, I am not sending in troops. FU Bibi, and the media that is controlled by your tribe.

    Either way… the next move is?

  17. Give Obama credit where it is due. He’s is resisting tremendous pressure from home and abroad to send ground troops against ISIS and engage Assad .Obama seems the most non-interventionist of the last 3 presidents. Things would have been a whole lot different if McCain,Romney or Hillary were president.
    Unless by some aligning of the stars Trump becomes president, the next President will go back to NeoCon foreign policy adventures and get right back into the think of things.

  18. All journalists dream about being a bobo in Paris. They take this personally, just like the Charlie Hebdo attack and the beheading of James Foley. This has nothing to do with some vague conspiracy of bigwig media owners to help the military industrial complex out of class solidarity.

    ISIS has finally figured out who they really need to terrorize to get the message across. Islamic terrorists tried to attack military and law enforcement personal (Fort Hood, Lee Rigby, Queens hatchet attack), mass tourism (Tunesia), or just random crowds (London, Madrid). None of this came close to James Foley. In fact, the very same media class that now screams for blood downplayed and even ignored many of their earlier terrorist efforts.

  19. Seraphim says:
    @Eustace Tilley (not)

    They want to eat Hamantaschen made from the ears of Assad (the new Haman, like Saddam, Gadaffi, Putin) as they did with the real Haman of yore.

  20. neutral says:
    @Ron Unz

    On the topic of comments, why cant Unz have features like up and down votes for each comment ?

    • Replies: @tbraton
  21. As an old hand of Naval Air, I ask: where are the carriers? We fly a few sorties from 1500 miles away out of Saudi Arabia and Qtar, yet the targets in Syria are a mere 150-300 miles off the Mediterranean Coast of Syria. I realize the single mothers of Naval Air have nowhere to board their children if carriers go to sea, but surely the Navy can cobble together a deployable crew so we’re a reasonable distance away from targets and can apply meaningful force to ISIS targets in Raqqa and Aleppo. Why are we not doing that? I see we have four idle carriers and their escorts in Norfolk, Va. and their associated (idle) fighter/bomber squadrons in at Naval Air Station Oceana. We used to patrol the Med constantly. It is high time we returned to a carrier-group patrol routine in the Med.

    Agree that troops need to be kept off the ground. They don’t want us there and there’s no point going back to the bad old days of the I.E.D.. Enough. But massive quantities of attack sorties performed by tactical strikes of carrier based planes makes more sense than the tactics we’re taking from afar.

  22. @Ron Unz

    Ron,

    I find Edge and IE slow and neglectful of edit functions here and at Takimag and one other that escapes my memory. Mozilla Firefox and Chrome yield the best results in all cases. I don’t know if it’s WordPress, or hosting issues, or scripting issues in IE/Edge, but if Firefox and Chrome ain’t broken, don’t fix the others. May others be assisted with this advice.

    Thanks and be well, Mr. Unz. I enjoy all here.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  23. KA says:
    @Eustace Tilley (not)

    http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/nyt/20151115_only_decisive_force_and_reform_will_defeat_isis_experts_say.html?id=351238011

    “Speaking on Israeli radio on Sunday, Shabtai Shavit, a former chief of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, said that the international coalition that has been fighting the Islamic State for more than a year must “stop talking and start doing.”

    He continued: “With this enemy, we have to push aside arguments on law, morality and comparisons of security and the rights of the individual. That means to do what they did in World War II to Dresden. They wiped it off the map. That is what has to be done to all the territorial enclaves that ISIS is holding.”

    Unsaid, though, was the thousands of deaths of civilians in Dresden”.
    ( NYTimes 11/18/2015
    Tim Arango)
    also featured in -http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/nyt/20151115_only_decisive_force_and_reform_will_defeat_isis_experts_say.html?id=351238011

  24. Avery says:

    {Unsaid, though, was the thousands of deaths of civilians in Dresden”.}

    Unsaid though were the millions of Christians murdered by savage Turks 1915-1923. Descendants of savage nomad invaders from Uyguristan.

    Islamist Turkey: #1 supporter of ISIS throat-cutting cannibal terrorists today. One of the two states – the other being Israel – that has a goal of stealing Syrian land, by destroying the existing Syrian Arab Republic.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  25. Rehmat says:

    Judging by the Jewish Lobby record – many people will agree with me that Obama’s decision not to send American boots to Syria and keep funding and training the anti-Assad thugs (ISIL, Nusra, etc.), is his second blunder after blessing the US-Iran nuclear agreement.

    These two acts of “Jew-hating” can prove Andrew B. Alder’s 2012 call for Israeli Mossad to assassinate Barack Obama as it did to JFK.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/01/21/jewish-editor-mossad-should-assassinate-obama/

  26. @Jim Christian

    Edit function has not been available for several weeks on the MAC/ Firefox I use.

    Endorse the notion of several above: this is a very well organized and responsive website.
    Thanks.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Jim Christian
  27. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If the president is serious about combatting ISIS then he should send weapons and other forms of assistance to Assad and the Syrian army since they are the ones actually on the ground who have been fighting ISIS and holding their own for some years now. Air strikes should be coordinated with them and the Russians. Perhaps he could sell it as supporting the lesser of two evils. He won’t though since the goal has been to topple Assad all along. Doing both, having Assad removed and destroying ISIS can’t be done in the same period of time; all that would result would be disintegration and chaos. Some puppet group like the FSA could never just waltz in and start running the country, that’s fantasy. The policy is one of wishful thinking over reality assuming, like some do, that disintegration isn’t the actual goal.
    It’s been suspected that the US-NATO has had a symbiotic relationship with ISIS. They’ve been coming and going through NATO member Turkey, receiving weapons and ammo from our allies-probably with our approval-selling oil and so forth. Perhaps they thought they could use them as cannon fodder to get rid of Assad and then somehow brush them aside later. That doesn’t seem to be very likely. It’s nice that he doesn’t want to put our soldiers at risk. What’s not so nice is that the US has put millions of people in harm’s way with it’s policies. Not that anyone actually cares about something like that.

  28. KA says:

    This is why the newspaper and media hide behind exercise of right to express opinion and suggestion . The other end of the conveyor belt could then challenge the president why the product hasn’t arrived yet . One end is manned by the media and the other end is by the congress and senate – one end citing the other end as proof of ” right things to do”

    It is the new hymns of the invisible Sky God that atheist imperialist like Richrad Dawkins or Bill Maher or Sam Harris can’t dare to sacralize or question.
    Alternate version is questioned and threatened with closure( RT and PressTV) or tamed beyond recognition( Alzajeera or CNN International ) Sky God loves its voice and no other voice .
    If by accident things get out of line -Sanchez ,Jim Clancy or Helen Thomad are made to vanish in the silent desert .
    Hearst joined with freedom fighters to liberate Caribbean and Cuban from Spain. NYT ,Fox,CNN.and WSJ, made sure the numerous differnt converging interests and genetic bonds that existed between them as a group and the Weekly Standard when it came to Arab and Iran don’t get strained or modified by the time Weekly Standard had arrived on Bush jr desk.

    • Replies: @RobinG
    , @bunga
  29. Now if only he would stop bringing ISIS ground troops over here….

  30. Avery says:

    [For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China.]
    https://cpj.org/reports/2013/12/second-worst-year-on-record-for-jailed-journalists.php

    [13-year-old taken from classroom to testify over Facebook post ‘insulting’ Erdoğan]
    http://www.todayszaman.com/anasayfa_13-year-old-taken-from-classroom-to-testify-over-facebook-post-insulting-erdogan_373929.html

    In the West, Sanchez ,Jim Clancy or Helen Thomas, etc, etc, are not murdered for their views.
    The Genocidal IslamoFascist Turk state murders those whom the savage descendants of the savage nomads from Uyguristan do not agree with.

    [’Four intelligence officers aided Samast in Dink’s murder’]
    http://www.todayszaman.com/anasayfa_four-intelligence-officers-aided-samast-in-dinks-murder_371968.html

  31. Ron Unz says:
    @SolontoCroesus

    Edit function has not been available for several weeks on the MAC/ Firefox I use.

    I normally use Windows 7/Chrome, under which it works fine, but I’ve recently discovered that problem and will try to address it after the next WordPress upgrade. It’s handled by a third-party plugin, so it more difficult to deal with than my own code.

    A couple of other regularly commenters have said they anyway prefer using the Preview option to examine their draft comments, and that seems to be working fine.

  32. @Avery

    …the existing Syrian Arab Republic.

    I’m sorry, but “Arab republic” is an oxymoron too far.

    Perhaps the Christians in the area can pull off a republic, but they are scattered and disappearing. Sultanates were made for Arabs.

  33. Obama’s Smartest Move in Eight Years?

    Well, not sending troops into Rwanda was Bill Clinton’s smartest move in eight years. And the only thing he ever apologized for.

    But it’s only half the remedy. Keeping America out of Araby is less important than keeping Araby out of America.

  34. CJ says:
    @Colinjames

    A low bar indeed. The stimulated regime changes of the “Arab Spring” are clearly an Obama Administration initiative. Money and weapons have been funnelled through the State Department and CIA into Egypt, Libya and Syria in an attempt to overturn their governments. The results have been disastrous, so bad that they almost make George W. Bush’s bumbling in iraq and Afghanistan look good.

    I said almost.

  35. RobinG says:
    @KA

    Press TV came on my dish, before the Sky God blocked it. (SIGH…)
    Here’s Tarpley’s take on DAESH, Syria, Paris. Too bad his opponent can’t say anything but “conspiracy”.

    2015-11-18 – Tarpley on PressTV’s “The Debate”

    • Replies: @bunga
  36. bunga says:

    Is WSJ back to some kind of Psych Op? It is spreading the ( Thursday 19th Nov) news that Russia has started getting on the side of Arab US France Israel in undermining Assad and dropping Iran.

    WSJ thinks that Russia also has forgot same way WSJ has forgot Georgia, Libya, Ukraine and the open season on Russia after 1990.

  37. bunga says:
    @Tom_R

    There was a big cockfight between Druze and the ambulance crew carrying the terrorists for treatment to Israel . Netanyahu came personally to mediate the tension ( Most likely Druze were told to stay quiet otherwise IS would take care of them )

  38. bunga says:
    @RobinG

    Wonderful Thanks for sharing this

    Here is Hillary burnishing her credentials to become US President in front of millions of Americans.

    “In the Democratic debate on November 14, Clinton got away with saying this unchallenged:
    CLINTON: Well, we did have a plan, and I think it’s fair to say that of all of the Arab leaders, Gaddafi probably had more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else. And when he moved on his own people, threatening a massacre, genocide, the Europeans and the Arabs, our allies and partners, did ask for American help and we provided it. And we didn’t put a single boot on the ground, and Gaddafi was deposed. The Libyans turned out for one of the most successful, fairest elections that any Arab country has had. ”

    Gaddafi was not “deposed.” He was tortured and murdered” ”

    Hillary Clinton’s Libya
    Published on
    Wednesday, November 18, 2015
    by
    Huffington Post
    Hillary Clinton’s Libyaby
    David Bromwich
    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/11/18/hillary-clintons-libya

    • Replies: @KA
  39. @SolontoCroesus

    Hi ya, Sol,
    Firefox updated to 42.0 this past weekend. IE is constantly being tweaked, Chrome and Safari are moving to HTML content and I don’t even keep Flash on my browser anymore it’s become so troublesome of late. Website developers must be working their asses off trying to keep to new standards and render the news sites these days. Unz does well, and Taki and others are coming along. I went too far off topic, but it all applies. Cheers and Good Day, my brothers..

    Jim

  40. Vendetta says:

    I’d agree. I actually prayed in 2012 when the U.S. came close to bombing Assad’s forces that it wouldn’t happen.

    Don’t give him too much credit, though. He’s still allowed for a proxy war and his continued opposition to Assad has helped prolong the war and compound the casualties and the scale of the refugee crisis.

    Regardless, his smartest “move” isn’t a move as such but rather a failure to move. The U.S. should be joining forces with Assad, Russia, and everyone else to crush ISIS. Failing that, offering only ineffectual support to the rebellion at least hasn’t managed to put ISIS in Damascus, where it would be now if the Obama had done as the neocons and the liberal hawks wanted and overthrown Assad.

  41. As far as Obama goes, we have known for some time that he is a “presider” not a leader. He presides over the national government. His staff bring him options and he chooses the least offensive ones. What options are being presented?

    Basically they bring him plans of one sort or another and he just picks one and lets them go at it. Ukraine, Libya etc. If it succeeds he takes credit, if it fails, it fails. He shrugs and goes on.

    There is also something called “entrainment” or the incestuous echo chamber. In order to move up at the pentagon and NSC you have to be a team player. They are all on the same team shouting the same slogans. Makes for limited options.

  42. His staff bring him options and he chooses the least offensive ones.

    At least he has his pants on, unlike Lyndon Johnson.

  43. Renoman says:

    Why would any sane man spend money and manpower on a war that Vlad is already taking care of? Obama is not stupid.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  44. annamaria says:
    @Renoman

    “Russia is now using a lot of her immense Cold War arsenal where there stocks of cruise missiles and gravity bombs are plentiful. Russia will run out of targets long before she runs out of these strategic weapons. This is no joke, by the way: it makes no sense to fire multi-million Ruble cruise missiles at non-lucrative, secondary or even tactical targets…

    … the US is in a very bad and complicated position: it has created a bloody mess (literally), then it painted itself into a political corner… If you look at the relationship between the USA, on one hand, and countries like Turkey, Qatar, the KSA or Israel on the other, it really is hard to establish who uses whom and whether what we are seeing is a case of a tail wagging the dog.”

    http://thesaker.is/week-seven-of-the-russian-intervention-in-syria-dramatic-surge-in-intensity/

    • Replies: @KA
  45. KA says:
    @annamaria

    The collaboration has produced so many forks at the receding end of the road that it is anybody’s guess who will cooperate with who tomorrow.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/17/lost-on-the-dark-side-in-syria/–

    “one former Saudi diplomat, speaking to Hersh, accused Hezbollah’s leader, Nasrallah, of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon: “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”

    “In an interview with the Telegraph in 2007, David Wurmser (former adviser to Cheney and John Bolton) confirmed, “that [this] would include the willingness to escalate as far as we need to go to topple the [Syrian] regime if necessary.” He said that “an end to Baathist rule in Damascus could trigger a domino effect that would then bring down the Teheran regime.”

    Bandar had boasted of his ability to manage the jihadists: “Leave that aspect to me.” Cheney’s then National Security Adviser, John Hannah, later noted the consensus at the time: “Bandar working without reference to U.S. interests is clearly cause for concern. But Bandar working as a partner … against a common Iranian enemy is a major strategic asset.”

    Will Russia dump Iran and Assad if it is guaranteed security from terrorist and west’s compromise on Ukraine?

  46. annamaria says:

    “Will Russia dump Iran and Assad if it is guaranteed security from terrorist and west’s compromise on Ukraine?” – As if the security from terrorism and security in Ukraine can be guaranteed by the US that look more and more like a sorcerer’s apprentice

    • Replies: @KA
  47. KA says:
    @annamaria

    US is capable of doing all kind of things to prove a point including the ability to to sabotage it’s own plans of yesterday . Part of this stems from the nature of the control in foreign policy .This is not manged by the trained continuous stream of successive graduates who keep the overall national interests in mind but it is shaped by the ideologues whose loyalty and personal equation vary and dominate .
    ( Possibly started from Roosevelt administration )

    Neoocn’s feverish attempts to get back doing what they were doing under Reagan then under Bush Jr indicate that they are aware of weakness of the system . It has succeeded in Libya and in Syria .
    Neocons in next administration ( Hillary or Rubio ) still can make life very difficult for Russia indirectly by raising the stake, creating new crisis ,and knowing pretty secure that they themselves wont suffer the loss of a single hair.

    The angst at Syria stems form the 2006 war . Hizbullah delivered a bloody nose to Israel diminishing any possibility of attacking Iran. It also enraged Saudi who lost face/credibility to see a tiny puny resistance group stood up . It brought respect to Iran back. To hurt Hizbullah, Neocons and Saudi came to understanding of need of hurting Assad . Before that Assad ,was the target of Sharonites/Likudites and Neo Con only ( this could be seen also as an example of “Raising the Stakes “by the neoocns- by hyping Shia threat, by increasing/creating Shia Sunni division, by creating a situation where local resistance group would hit back in partisan manner ).

    America could have looked into 1973 war as a template and could have forced some kind of sharing,understanding or work towards comprehensive peace even if that meant a shaky uneven and one sided another “OSLO PEACE ” charade . Instead US joined the bandwagon under the Neocon Sharon Netanyahu Saudi Gulf command and control
    If Neo Cons were in charge of Carter administration , there would have been no Camp David .

  48. annamaria says:

    “…knowing pretty secure that they themselves wont suffer the loss of a single hair.”

    Actually, the things are becoming more difficult for the puppeteers because of the scale of new technologies. The concern here is not for the formidable Russian war machine (the RF government consists of the sane and well-educated people) but for the small groups of committed “freedom fighters” (and such) created by the various conflicts. Among the fighters will be some knowledgeable people fed-up with the US/Zionist designs; these people could inflict considerable pain on the propagators of the profiteering wars. Right now, the US/EU/UK/Israel are not fighting any morally justifiable wars like the defense of fatherland; instead the alliance of the above powers is drawn into the conflicts of their own making (aggression/reaction). The “loss of a single hair” is coming into picture with the advent of sophisticated technologies when the “collateral damage” could start expanding towards the children and grandchildren of the architects of the wars. The tragic truth is, the war profiteers and Israeli mythologists are not able to stop. Instead of militant communists the planet got the militant plutocracy. Moreover, unaccountability on the top is more dangerous for plutocracy than anything else because of a loss of the “cause & effect” (rational) assessment of reality. The swarms of opportunists, psychopaths, and obliging ignoramuses on the top is going to undo the plutocratic regime “naturally” – yet in the very dangerous ways for the world.

    • Replies: @KA
  49. Avery says:

    {Right now, the US/EU/UK/Israel are not fighting any morally justifiable wars like the defense of fatherland;}

    Only US/EU/UK/Israel ?

    How convenient of our Islamophile, Turkophile posters to ignore the Sunni Muslim countries which are actually at the forefront of the criminal campaign to dismember and destroy Syria: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar.

    No mention of Turks organizing the chemical attack by ISIS that murdered several hundred Syrian civilians.
    No mention of Turks (FM Dabutoglu and MIT Hakan) discussing organizing a false-flag attack on Turkish tomb in Syria to give Uyguroğlar genocidal nomad Turks the excuse to invade and steal more Syrian lands.
    No mention of Turks having an open highway on their border with Syria for ISIS terrorists to come and go as they please.
    Of course not.

    And here is one for the road:

    [Erdogan’s Daughter Joins ISIS]
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/07/21/erdogans-daughter-joins-isis/
    {“Almost every day several khaki Turkish military trucks were bringing scores of severely injured, shaggy ISIL rebels to our secret hospital and we had to prepare the operating rooms and help doctors in the following procedures,” she said.
    “I was given a generous salary of $ 7,500 but they were unaware of my religion. The fact is that I adhere to Alawite faith and since Erdoğan took the helm of the country the system shows utter contempt for Alawite minority – Alawite faith is an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam,” Said the nurse.}

  50. annamaria says:

    “URGENT: Iran Discovers Two More Terrorist Groups”
    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940830001828
    “The deputy minister, who was speaking to the state-run TV, indicated that the terrorists have been sent to the country by the US and certain regional reactionary states, and said they had “10 ready-to-blast bombing devices made of 150kg of explosive materials” and “intended to disrupt security along the roads in the bordering region between Rask and Iranshahr” in Sistan and Balouchestan province. He also said that the intelligence ministry traced and dismantled another terrorist cell in the Northwestern province of West Azarbaijan… The ISIL is a protégé of the US and Israel… “

    • Replies: @annamaria
  51. annamaria says:
    @annamaria

    “Tomgram: Engelhardt, The National Security State’s Incestuous Relationship with the Islamic State” http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176071/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_the_national_security_state%27s_incestuous_relationship_with_the_islamic_state/#more

    “…the officials of that security state have bet the farm on the preeminence of the terrorist “threat,” which has, not so surprisingly, left them eerily reliant on the Islamic State and other such organizations for the perpetuation of their way of life, their career opportunities, their growing powers, and their relative freedom to infringe on basic rights, as well as for that comfortably all-embracing blanket of secrecy that envelops their activities. Note that, as with so many developments in our world which have caught them by surprise, the officials who run our vast surveillance network and its staggering ranks of intelligence operatives and analysts seemingly hadn’t a clue about the IS plot against Paris (even though intelligence officials in at least one other country evidently did). Nonetheless, whether they see actual threats coming or not, they need Paris-style alarms and nightmares, just as they need local “plots,” even ones semi-engineered by FBI informers or created online by lone idiots, not lone wolves.”

  52. KA says:
    @annamaria

    I agree with you . But we are also talking of people who have power to do enormous harms to American,Brtish,French,Turkish,Arab and basically any country using US power ( finance military,covert Gladio type operations,twitter revolution , creating street demonstration and English media manipulation from Phillipnes to Morocco and S Africa to Russia , ) and has the same power to evade detection avoid exposure and disregard any concern of being bought to justice . 911 exposure panicked them but they urvived. Loss from Iraq war made them go under the radar for few years . But no harm came to them .
    So they would try and try and might succeed against Russia and China . Their ancestors did against Hitler ,Czar,Sultan,and Arab secular nationalism.

  53. KA says:
    @bunga

    Now David Brooks is seconding in NYT (12/20/15) the great Clintointe and Max Booteran plans for greater Middle East that sprang from the same fountain that he drinks from .
    They live,breathe,and sleep in same bed and bunker . Their promoters in the corporate run non partisan spaces provide them the aura of disconnected free thinking disinterestedness .
    But they are not free not disinterested and not disconnected . They run the mafia from the police precinct and they are the mafia .

  54. tbraton says:
    @neutral

    “On the topic of comments, why cant Unz have features like up and down votes for each comment ?”

    I give a thumbs down to your suggestion. Feed him to the lions or off with his head, whichever is in fashion these days. If there is anything I don’t want to be is unfashionable. BTW how do my spats look? My very persuasive salesman at the haberdashery shop assured me that spats were still the height of fashion.

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