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Total number of comments: 1232 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Bill

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  • The Secret History of US Drone Strikes in 2012 (Woods et al.)
    • "As drone strikes fell in Pakistan they rose steeply in Yemen,"

      The shifting of emphasis on drone strikes from Pakistan to Yemen may well be a sign of their success. As many Al-Qaeda and other unlawful enemy combatant leaders have been killed in the FATA, their diminished numbers are not easily replaced. Yemen, on the other hand, has experienced a surge in AQAP leaders, primarily due to the lack of government control and the hostile geography that gives them cover. Thus, it makes perfect sense to refocus the drone campaign from the Pakistani FATA to Yemen.

  • The World in 1013 AD: China Rising, Militant Islam in Kabul, & Sunni-Shiite Struggles in Mideast
    • Climate change was not the reason for the advance of Europe and the retreat of Islam (see above).

    • The decline of the Muslim World is primarily due to Al-Ghazali and the Ashar’ites shutting down free inquiry in the 10th and 11th centuries. Prior to the ascendence of the Ashar'ites, Islam was very progressive and encouraged free enquiry in the sciences and philosophy. Al Ghazali's seminal work, "The Incoherence of the Philosophers," as well as the Ashar'ite School, completely negated free, rational enquiry, claiming that it was blasphemous, and that all knowledge was contained in the Qur'an. This had the unsurprising effect of cutting the Muslim World off from rational enquiry, while the West began to advance as a result of the pre-Renaissance re-discovery of philosophy and rational enquiry.

      Islam makes no distinction betweeen the sacred and the secular, and there has never been an Islamic equivalent of the 18th century European Enlightenment, separating rational enquiry from faith. That the 10th and 11th century movements, represented by Al Ghazali and the Ashar'ites, replaced rational inquiry with faith and revelation remains an obstacle to modernization in Islamic societies to this day.

  • Dubai New Year's Fireworks Display, 2013
    • This is as good a place as any to wish you, Professor Cole, and all the savants who contribute to your blog a very Happy New Year and a productive 2013!

      Cheers to all,

      Bill

  • Rape in India, and the Low Status of Women
    • I'm afraid you are incorrect, Hossein. The link you suggested does not maintain that four male witnesses to a rape are not required. If a particular court does not require four male witnesses to the rape, such as under civil law in Turkey or as was formerly the case in Egypt, or even in the case of a particular Shar'ia court's reading, that does not nullify the basic Shar'ia requirement.

      Neither does it contradict my statement above that if a woman cannot produce four male witnesses, she can herself be charged with adultary. I stated she "can" be charged, not she "will" be charged. In fact, women who bring a case of rape before a Shar'ia court have been charged with adultary when they could not produce four male witnesses.

    • "Those are Pakistani laws covering rape, not Islamic laws. Not all Islamic countries impose these types of laws."

      I did not say all Islamic countries impose them. The laws are Islamic in origin, however. That is why Pakistan imposed them, in order to bring its legal code in line with Islam as reflected in Shar'ia law.

    • Unfortunately, the above post about India applies in spades to the Muslim World as well. There is nothing more odious than Islam's laws governing rape, which have been in Pakistan's legal code (the Hudood Ordinances) since 1979, and which are recognized by others as well.

      In Islam, a woman who brings forth a charge that she has been raped must produce four male witnesses to the rape (as if rape were a spectator sport!) to testify on her behalf. If she cannot produce four male witnesses, she herself can be charged with adultary.

      There are other elements in Shar'ia Law that reflect the low status of women. Women may only inherit half of that inherited by a male sibling, and Shar'ia courts require the testimony of two women to equal that of one man. But the laws governing rape are particularly repugnant.

  • Schwarzkopf (RIP) and How the United States got Bogged Down in the Middle East
    • "there is a very good argument to be made that the Suez Crisis marked the end of that era, and the ascension of the US"

      The better argument to be made is that Britain, of all the Western powers, retained the most influence in the Near East during the period 1956 to 1971, when it pulled out all of its forces East of Suez (i.e., from the Trucial States to Singapore). The U.S. interest in the Near East remained fairly static, focused on Israel and Saudi Arabia (and our interests in Aramco). We were not much of a strategic player during that period, the 1958 Lebanon crisis notwithstanding.

      The ascension of the outside power that was to have great strategic significance in the Near East during that time-frame was that of the Soviet Union. The Soviets gained great influence in Egypt (the Aswan Dam), Syria, and Iraq. The British remained paramount in the Trucial States (the Gulf), and the U.S. contented itself, for the most part, with Israel and Saudi Arabia. It was really only in 1971, with the pullout of the British, that the U.S. took on a significant strategic role in the Near East.

      In a way, the U.S. assumption of strategic responsibilities in the Near East in 1971, after the departure of the British, mirrored that of President Truman in 1947, after the British announced they would no longer be able to fulfill their responsibilities to protect Greece and Turkey from communist subversion. That, of course, led to the Truman Doctrine.

    • The U.S. role in the Suez crisis of 1956 was to put pressure on Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw from Egypt after their joint invasion, which was designed to counter Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal. If anyone was a Middle East hegemon at the time, it was Britain. The U.S. certainly was not.

    • "To continue with Iran, the conflict the US and Israel has with her “springs from the exigencies of geopolitics rather than ideology: Iran’s age-old ambition to be recognized as a–or the–regional hegemon versus the determination of the U.S. and Israel to foil its ambition and preserve their regional preeminence."

      Your statement above cannot be accepted as immutable U.S. policy. It is contingent upon who rules Iran. For instance, under President Nixon, the U.S. wanted Iran, under the Shah, to become the regional hegemon, in order that the U.S. would not have to bear that burden.

  • The Afghan Sk8ter Girrls of Kabul (Video) - (Female Literacy has Tripled in Afghanistan)
    • "The Taliban fought the Northern Alliance for control of the nation and were diplomatically recognized only by Pakistan."

      One correction, Mark. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan was recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Of course, all three withdrew recognition after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S.

    • The note of sarcasm in your description of Professor Cole's site as an ostensibly “enlightened liberal site" because he suggests that Afghan women had more freedom and girls were allowed to attend school in the 1980s, juxtaposed against your apparent approval of the Taliban in your observation: "As for the Taliban, at least they are a group based on the interpretation of Islam adhered to within Afghanistan itself for decades; besides, tens of millions of Muslim families will never consider letting their post-pubescent women wander outside the house for any reason whatsoever," betrays an antedeluvian attitude toward women and modernity.

      Perhaps a little more "enlightened liberal" thought, as well as an attempt to come to terms with modernity, would be in order, both for the Taliban and, apparently, for you as well.

  • Syria's Head of Military Police Defects, as Death Toll in Revolution Climbs to 45,000
    • You seem to think that rejection of Taiwanese independence by the Kuomintang is a recent repudiation of America's position. For 40 years, ever since the Shanghai Communique, issued on February 27, 1972, at the conclusion of Nixon and Kissinger's visit to China, the U.S. has recognized the "One China" policy and rejected the idea of Taiwanese independence. The pertinent language follows.

      The U.S. recognizes "that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China."

      America has accepted the "One China" policy for 40 years. The game did not begin to "operate differently" because "new guys" had "big money."

    • "blood on his hands, sensing a dark fate ahead of him, he tries to ameliorate his circumstances."

      Agreed. I am always skeptical of high ranking government and military members of harsh dictatorships under fire who suddenly "see the light," usually when they sense the eventual demise of the regime. It is a blow to Assad's regime that he defected, but it is no testament to Shalal's humanitarian bonefides.

  • Christmas 2012: The Flowering of Middle Eastern Christianity and the Challenges it Faces
    • Just a quick follow-up to those who commented on Marx's Labor Theory of Value in the post about Lincoln and the Purpose of Government. Marx did not use the term "socially necessary labor" in two senses. The "socially" in the phrase does not refer to "socially useful for society," as one comment suggested. Marx used the phrase in one sense and one only. By "socially necessary labor," Marx refers to the total labor-time which is required to produce a product. According to Marx, it is this labor cost which determines the value of a product. He leaves out demand in his calculation.

      Those posters who obviously misunderstood Marx would do well to actually read his works, or at least scholarly critiques of his works, rather than resort to snappy, and many times ill-informed, Wikipedia articles.

  • 200 Dead, Many Children, in Syrian aerial bombing of Halfaya
    • "I’m fed up with all the illegal, legal or justified wars in the Middle East and was too tired early this morning to look it up info who supplied the jets."

      Then why asssume it was the United States? Nice try at finessing your obvious lack of knowledge about wars, armaments, and suppliers in the Middle East. Do some homework before making unsubstantiated accusations.

    • "If you’re not sick and tired of the corrupt US government, you’re either totally dumb, brain washed by the corrupt mass news media, uninformed or too busy to give a damn."

      ...said the totally uninformed poster who doesn't know that the U.S. Government has not provided the Syrian government with weapons, and that the Syrian jet fighters are Russian.

  • Egypt's Controversial Fundamentalist Constitution Meets Low Turnout
    • "What about the irregularities of the opposition?"

      What irregularities of the opposition are you talking about, hari? Please enlighten us about those irregularities. Or are you just blowing hot air?!

  • Abraham Lincoln on the Purpose of Government (Or He Wouldn't be in GOP Today)
    • The "Labor Theory of Value" has long been discredited by all but aging Marxist professors still hanging on to their faculty lounge passes. As Marx stated it, a product's value is dependent upon the amount of socially necessary labor that went into its production. What Marx completely omitted from his theory was the demand side. A product's value is primarily determined by demand. No amount of labor that goes into a product will add value if there is no demand for the product.

      Look at the number of restaurants that fail every day because they produce mediocre food, despite the labor that went into establishing the restaurant and production of its meals. Back in the 1950s Ford produced the Edsel, a product which failed (and thus had little or no value) because it did not meet consumer demand, in spite of the amount of labor that went into it on the production line. Economics recognizes some iron laws, regardless whether the system is capitalism or socialism, or some other "ism." The "Law of Diminishing Returns" and the "Law of Supply and Demand" are two examples. The "Labor Theory of Value" is not.

  • The Coming Conflict between the US and Israel (Chernus)
    • "If Prez Obama cared about peace in that region,
      we would have an Embassy in Tehran."

      Why put the onus entirely on President Obama? The Iranian leadership (read Ayatollah Khamenei) would have to adjust its virulently anti-American stance before the U.S. considers opening an Embassy in Tehran. Both sides have to want the relationship, and each has to treat the other with respect. That is not achieved by continuing a 33-year rant and shouting of slogans such as, "Death to the Great Satan."

  • UN Security Council Condemns Further Israeli Squatting on Palestinian Land, with Rogue State US Vetoing
    • "Begin was the leader of the Stern gang that blew up a Jerusalem hotel and killed scores, one of the worst terrorist attacks in history up to that time."

      Just a correction for the record. Menachim Begin was the leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, not the Sterngang. It was the Irgun Zvai Leumi, under Begin, that blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing dozens of civilians along with some British officers. The Irgun also was responsible for the Deir Yassin Massacre of Arab men, women, and children.

      Yitzhak Shamir, also a former prime minister of Israel, was a leader of the Sterngang, which was responsible for the assassination in September 1948 of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN representative.

  • Top Ten GOP Myths about Libya that Sank Susan Rice
    • Are you actually citing a reference from a posting by someone identified as "b" on November 12, at a blog entitled "Moon Over Alabama: Where Barflies Get Together"? If this is your idea of credible evidence, then I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you. That citation and sourcing for information would not rate a grade of "D-" on a high school sophomore composition paper.

    • Terrorists were not being "held and interrogated" by the CIA in Benghazi. This is more of the conspiratorial cant that passes for "information" among some groups.

  • South Damascus a Battlefield, as Bodies Pile up, and Bread Crisis in Capital Worsens
    • "Remembrance of a thing past: Proposed Unification of Syria and Iraq"

      And before that was the United Arab Republic, a union of Egypt and Syria under Nasser, from 1958 to 1961, when Syria pulled out.

  • The Green-Khaki Alliance: Morsi Deploys the Military for Referendum
    • I detected in your comment that it is up to Obama to "deny legitimacy to the referendum and to Morsi's Machiavellian consolidation of power," a predilection for interfering in the process because your selective criteria had not been met (which I take to be the advancement of democracy).

      What if Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood/Islamists put Egypt on a path that was determined by another observer to be against U.S. interests, and that observer wished to interfere because it did not meet his criteria (of, at the very least, not working against U.S. interests)? Would you grant his desire to interfere the same validity you obviously grant yours? It seems to me you both are willing to interfere, the only difference being your reasons for the interference. (Yes, yes, I understand that both of you would think that each holds the moral "high ground" over the other).

    • "It is up to Obama and the international community to deny legitimacy to the referendum and Morsi’s machiavellian consolidation of power."

      Are you saying that United States intervention in Egyptian politics (and by extension, that of other countries)is perfectly OK, as long as it meets your selective criteria? How does that differ from someone who pushed for United States intervention to prop up Mubarak, because that met his selective criteria?

      There would be no difference between the two of you, as neither of you would be against U.S. intervention in the Egyptian political process, as long as it met each of your selective criteria. You would have no more reason to condemn him than he would have to condemn you. And it would be a mistake for you to think that your position is more justified because your motives were more pure. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • Psy of "Gangnam Style" attacked Bush's Iraq War, not America
    • "People who condemn Psi should consider John Lennon, George Harrison and many others who were virulently ant-war."

      There is no equivalency between the anti-war stance of John Lennon and George Harrison, and the call to kill U.S. troops and their families by Psi. Lennon and Harrison held principled positions; Psi is just indulging in the usual self-absorbed, solipsistic, "The world revolves around me" antics that are the mark of his self-entitled ilk.

  • Egypt: Crowds at Presidential Palace Break through Barbed Wire, President offers Dialogue
    • "I continue to be flabbergasted by the scope of Morsi’s unforced error."

      It does seem incredible, Joe, until one consider's the possibility that it may not have been an error. It may not have been auspicious timing, but it may have represented Morsi's ultimate goal. We have been operating under the assumption that Morsi represents a "new" Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps the "new" Muslim Brotherhood has been a wish, rather than a fact, all along, and is no different than the "old" Muslim Brotherhood.

      Just a possibility to consider.

  • US Mass Media ignore Bahrain until Kim Kardashian gives them Two Reasons not To
    • I have never claimed to know about "stuff all over the world." And Paris Hilton is not someone whose movements I follow with bated breath. Nevertheless, I am surprised that she was even allowed to enter Mecca.

    • Paris Hilton opened a store in Mecca? She would not even be allowed to enter Mecca. Where did you get this information (or misinformation)?

  • Egyptians to Decide on Fundamentalist-influenced Constitution via Referendum
    • Anne Applebaum's, "Iron Curtain" is a great read, Dan. No doubt about it. But I read your post to mean Stalin maintained power through emphasis on youth. Of course, there were youth groups (the "Young Pioneers," etc.) in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, and they were indoctrinated for sure. But Stalin based his power on ruthless elimination of real and perceived enemies, terror, and purges, as well as propeganda and brainwashing.

    • "Stalin said:”Who owns the young people owns the future.”…and got 50years out of that."

      Stalin most definitely did not maintain his rule because he "owned the young people." He gained and maintained power through the ruthless elimination of any rivals, both real and imagined. And his iron grip on the Soviet Union was ensured by the NKVD, terror, the Great Purges, and the show trials.

  • Whistleblower Bradley Manning: "I thought I was going to die in a cage." (Democracy Now!)
    • Two things need to be said about Bradley Manning. The first is that he is not a "whistleblower." Whistleblowers by definition reveal evidence to uncover particular government, coporate, or nonprofit malfeasance, illegal activity, or other egregiously unsavory activity. Manning simply downloaded hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents without even knowing what was in them, and then gave them to Wikileaks. Wikileaks then posted them on the web. Manning knew he was violating the trust placed in him by virtue of the position he held, and he willingly violated that trust, but he was not a whistleblower.

      The second thing to be said is that his statement: "I thought i was going to die in a cage," sounds like self-serving hyperbole one would expect him to say, upon the advice of his attorney. To listen to Manning and his attorney, one would think he came face to face with Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition.

  • In Rebuke to Obama, Netanyahu-- Much of Western Europe to Support Palestine as UN Observer State
  • Obama's Lawless Drones have caused Yemen al-Qaeda to Triple (Young Turks)
    • "Did you even follow the link, much less read his stuff?"

      Of course I did. Did you? I summarized exactly what he wrote regarding the tripling of the AQAP presence in Yemen. In fact, the Yemeni geography and broken government thesis, which he wrote about, is a more plausible reason AQAP has tripled in Yemen.

    • Gregory D. Johnson claims, without any supporting evidence, that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has tripled in Yemen, in large part because of the U.S. drone program. He then undercuts his own argument by offering a much more plausible reason AQAP has tripled in Yemen, namely because the rugged geography and broken Yemeni government allow AQAP to operate with much more freedom and impunity.

  • Egypt Polarized as 200,000 Tahrir demonstrators and Crowds in other Cities protest Morsi's "Temporary Dictatorship"
    • "What might be the secret US interest be here? Ignore the happy talk about democracy. In that dark basement in Washington where the dirty work is planed, what do they want?"

      What a novel idea. President Morsi, the spear-bearer for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, is in reality a willing tool of Washington. And he is part and parcel of an evil plot hatched in a "dark basement in Washington where the dirty work is planned." Oh my, one can almost hear the cackling of evil laughter in that dark basement, as Morsi and his Washington puppeteers fiendishly plot their nefarious moves to ensure his dictatorial powers are in place, in order to do Washington's bidding.

      There are still people who believe the Earth is flat, as well, and there is actually a "Flat Earth Society" to accommodate them. They are no more deluded in their belief than those who ascribe to the above-cited quote regarding Morsi and the "dark basement" in Washington.

  • Americans and Egyptians face the National Security State on Black Friday Differently
    • "and capturing lifetime appointments of SupCt justices for “conservatives,”

      Funny about that. As I recall, the last two lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court were liberals (Sotomayor and Kagan) appointed by President Obama.

    • Just to clarify, Professor Cole, my comment on your post comparing American and Egyptian reactions on "Black Friday" in no way represents an endorsement of Black Friday. I am absolutely appalled and disgusted with Americans' acting like animals in their quest to save a couple hundred dollars on flat screen TVs and other toys and baubles. Foresaking Thanksgiving dinner, waiting for days in advance in lawn chairs and tents, running in a stampede when big-box-store doors open at midnight--these are the acts of mindless ignorami, unworthy of a civilized people.

    • The current situations in the United States and in Egypt are nowhere near equivalent, as your post suggests. In spite of disagreement over the extent that the Patriot Act, FISA, and other security-related elements impinge upon Americans' privacy, we still have a strong set of checks and balances among the three branches: executive, legislative, and jusicial.

      Egypt, on the other hand, has not completed a revised constitution, has not even begun to institutionalize checks and balances, and certainly will not have adequate checks and balances under Morsi's current regime. Until Egypt instutionalizes strong executive, legislative, and judicial branches, it cannot even be called a democracy. Democracy consists of more than just one free and fair election.

      Americans are not facing anything close to what Egyptians are facing. To suggest so wouldn't get a passing grade in Comparative Government 101.

  • Morsi's Second Coup Provokes Mass Protest in Egypt
    • "Don’t compare Morsi to Adolf Hitler"

      No one is comparing Morsi to Adolf Hitler. What is being compared is the similarity of the Enabling Act, which led to Hitler's dictatorship, with Decree No. 6, which certainly has the potential for authoritarian rule at best, and dictatorship at worst, under Morsi.

    • "One shouldn’t generalize about the “Arab Spring”–different locales with different histories are still working their destinies out–but Morsi’s move augurs very poorly."

      Spot on, Richard. That's why I never liked the term "Arab Spring" in the first place. It seemed naive to me to term it "Spring," with the implicit assumption that "Spring" would lead inevitably to "Summer." In my opinion, a better, more accurate term is "Arab Transition."

      The Near Eastern/North African countries experiencing this "transition" have never experienced anything close to democracy. They do not possess those attributes--a solid middle class with a reasonable standard of living, a mature political philosophy, a mature economic system, religious pluralism--that together form the critical mass necessary for a true democratic transition.

      One hopes that the Egyptian populace can block Morsi and force a retraction of these decrees. If the decrees stand, I do not hold out much hope for Egypt moving forward. If Morsi succeeds in muzzling opposition, with the backing of his Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist allies, I fear he will implement a strongly Islamist authoritarian regime. In such a case, we (and many Egyptians) might look back on the Mubarak era with a degree of nostalgia. If one is to be ruled by an authoritarian regime, it is far better that it be secular than Islamist.

    • Decree No. 6 should worry anyone who has hopes that Egypt might be able to establish a viable democratic government. That it has provoked protests on the Left and among secularists is understandable. But the real worry should be the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists who remain silent, indicating tacit (or full?) agreement.

      On March 23, 1933, with Hitler in power as Chancellor, the German Parliament passed the Enabling Act. Under the Act, the government acquired the authority to pass laws without parliamentary consent. Laws passed under the Enabling Act could (with certain exceptions) even deviate from the Constitution. The Act effectively eliminated the Reichstag as active players. This marked the beginning of Hitler's dictatorship.

      Decree No. 6 appears to grant Morsi similar powers. Similar decrees have been used by every dictator to consolidate power. Egyptians should apply all the pressure they can in order to force Morsi to back down and retract this decree before it is too late and becomes a "fait accompli." It would set a very dangerous precedent.

  • Gaza's Health Crisis and Israel's Crimes Against Humanity
    • "Then America and her allies BUILD, from the ground up, a viable Palestinian state, with proper infrastructure and strong governmental entities that suit the Arabs’ religion and culture."

      Have you learned nothing over the past 67 years, since the end of World War II? The United States and its allies cannot "build, from the ground up" any viable state, Palestinian or otherwise. Time and again, nation-building has failed because we, and others, think we can build something that the indigenous people cannot buy into or sustain themselves. Nation-building is a fool's errand. Nations are built only when a certain critical mass is reached within the society itself under consideration: a middle-class, a certain standard of living, a mature approach to politics and economic development. With this critical mass, nations can be built by the people themselves. Without it, nothing the US or any other nation does can do it for them.

  • Could a Gaza Land War lose the Middle East for America?
    • Frankly, I think the Israel of today would be very recognizable and compatible with the vision of many of those fighting for an independent state of Israel in the 1940s.

      It should be noted that the rosy picture of a group of innocent, beleaguered, plucky, Jewish settlers fighting for an independent Israel was always a myth. Just as the Zionist call for "A land without people for a people without land" was a myth foisted upon a world that had little knowledge of the area. Many of the founders of the state of Israel were terrorists, plain and simple. The Sterngang, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, and other entities were certainly terrorist organizations, assassinating both British officers and Arab inhabitants of the British Mandate of Palestine.

      Yitzhak Shamir, a future Prime Minister of Israel, was a member of the Sterngang. Menachim Begin, Another future Prime Minister, was a leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. On July 22, 1946, the Irgun carried out a terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing several British officers. On September 17, 1948, members of the Sterngang assassinated Count Folke Bernadette, the UN Representative in Palestine. Just five months before the assassination of Count Bernadette, on April 9, 1948, the Irgun massacred some 150 to 250 (the figure has never been satisfactorily confirmed) Arab men, women, and children in the village of Deir Yassin. The purpose of the Irgun and Sterngang's attacks on, and massacres of, Arabs was to create a climate of fear among the population so that they would flee. Some 700,000 Palestinian refugees fled Israel before and after its establishment. Some fled because of Arab broadcasts to leave before the invasion, but many had already fled as a result of Irgun, Sterngang, and other Jewish terrorist acts designed to intimidate them into leaving. It was clearly a form of ethnic cleansing.

      I yield to no one in my belief that after 64 years, Israel has certainly earned its right to exist without a continued threat to that existence. Nevertheless, to understand Palestinian and Arab resentment, one only has to review dispassionately the sordid history of those Zionist leaders who used terrorism, and who committed plenty of atrocities, in the lead-up to the establishment of Israel.

    • "This goes along with the idea that “targeted assassinations” are kosher since everybody’s doing them."

      First, who is "everybody" you claim are engaging in targeted assassinations?

      Second, are you claiming that it would be better to engage in random, "untargeted" assassinations? Please clarify.

  • Blaming Gen. Petraeus for the Wrong Mistakes: Remembering Afghanistan (Cook)
    • "I suspect this author never bought into the army adopting either counter-insurgency OR nation building as its mission."

      Understood properly, counter-insurgency is nation-building. They are not separate, discrete activities. The only successful counter-insurgency effort in modern times was the British effort in Malaya during the "Malayan Emergency" spanning the period 1948 to 1960. I have described the reasons for its success in previous posts, but suffice it to say that the circumstances of the British in Malaya that led to their success are almost wholly absent in areas where we have attempted it, from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

  • Palestinians say Israel trying to Silence Media, by Attacking Journalists
    • Viewed objectively, the United States has no vital national interest in supporting Israel. Contrary to the belief of some on the Left, Israel is not a cat's paw for U.S. interests in the Near East. The U.S. national interest would be far better served by dealing with the Arab World without the baggage and drag that the U.S.-Israeli connection has on our Near East policy.

      The U.S. has been consistent in its opposition to the West Bank settlements, but Israel has been just as consistent in thumbing its nose at the U.S. The attack on the USS Liberty in the opening days of the Six-Day War in 1967, resulting in the death and wounding of many U.S. Navy personnel, was clearly accomplished with the full knowledge that it was a U.S. naval vessel. Unfortunately, domestic politics and an unhealthy policy of support for Israel at any cost prevents the U.S. from really putting the hammer down on these issues.

      In 1948, when there was debate whether or not the U.S. should recognize Israel, Secretary of State George C. Marshall and the Department of State recommended to President Truman that the U.S. withhold recognition. Marshall and the State Department understood that there was no U.S. interest served by recognizing a foreign body injected into the Arab World. Truman rejected the advice, and the U.S. was the first country to officially recognize Israel. Interestingly, the Soviet Union was the second country to recognize Israel, primarily because the founders of Israel were largely East European Socialists, and the USSR thought it would have an ally in Israel. The result of 64 years of U.S. support for Israel at any cost is that we have gained nothing in terms of national interest and lost much.

  • Iran Sanctions may be 'Crippling,' but they are not 'Working' (Cher)
    • "The 1941 US embargo on all oil to Japan including from Indonesia(Dutch East Indies) forced Japan’s military leaders to attack Pearl Harbor since they had less than two years of bunker oil(reserves) remaining before the shutdown of power production and all industry."

      Your above-cited quote is revisionist history at its worst. It is well-documented that the Japanese began planning for an attack on Pearl Harbor in early 1941, as a means to knock the U.S. Pacific fleet out before the U.S. could enter the war. The U.S. embargoed oil to Japan in July 1941, after Japan had invaded Southern French Indochina, which they planned to use as a jump-off point to invade Malaya, Singapore, and the real prize, the Dutch East Indies and its oil. The U.S. oil embargo may have slightly affected the timing of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but certainly not the plan to attack itself, which was already on the shelf.

  • Candidate for CIA Chief Jane Harman Advocated Ethnic Breakup of Iran
    • "Hartman wouldn’t show up on any list from Minority Leader Pelosi."

      I do not know who you mean by "Hartman," but if you are referring to Harman, what does Minority Leader Pelosi have to do with it? The CIA Director is selected by the President. Neither the House nor the Minority Leader have anything to do with it.

    • "And in case you forget, there’s more than one ex-CIA type who thinks that Our Friend and Ally Israel (or at least the CIA-neocon equivalent over there) is the most serious security threat to the US in the Mideast."

      Although your above-cited quote does not have anything to do with my comment on Mhrr's statement suggesting Paula Broadwell was running interference for AIPAC, I will respond by stating that if you think I am a supporter of Israel's policies, you obviously have not read my previous comments on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. I have always stated that very often U.S. and Israeli national interests are opposed to each other. You appear to blindly use any comment to piggy-back your own personal Narratives, regardless whether or not they actually address the issue under discussion.

  • Calm Muslim Berates Violent Muslims for Defaming Islam and being Suckers
    • "Do we really need to be concerned whether it is politics or religion? In my experience in the Middle East, politics is religion."

      You make a good point. Nine years of living and working in Muslim and Muslim-majority countries, and the better part of 45 years of studying and making sense of Islam, have confirmed in me the obvious fact that Islam makes no distinction between the sacred and the secular. And therein lies a problem that is key to why it is so difficult for Islam to accept and come to terms with modernity. There are many reasons for this, but in my opinion it is primarily due to Al-Ghazali and the Ashar'ites shutting down free inquiry in the 10th and 11th centuries and the lack of an Islamic equivalent of the 18th century Enlightenment.

    • It was only after the establishment of Yugoslavia after the First World War, and particularly under the strong leadership of Marshall Tito after the Second, that Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians ceased inter-ethnic violence. Prior to the establishment of Yugoslavia, there was plenty of ethnic violence among the various groups. This is actually an argument for the necessity of a strong, powerful leader to keep a country with a disparate, multiethnic population in check.

  • Top Myths about Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
    • I place no faith or credibility in anything Netanyahu says. He is nothing more than a blowhard, a potentially dangerous blowhard regarding US interests (were we to acquiesce in his bluster), but a blowhard nevertheless.

      That said, however, no one--not Professor Cole nor Ehud Barak nor Obama nor Romney nor I nor any other commentators--have the slightest idea what the Iranian leaderships' intentions are regarding Iran's nuclear program.

      I take no position on whether or not Iran's intention is to ultimately achieve nuclear weapons capability. There are enough questions to leave room for debate. Nevertheless, I find it a bit amusing that some are so eager to defend Iran's public position that they are willing to suspend a healthy skepticism and take everything the Iranians say at face value. It seems to me that they are as adamant in their position as are those who are sure the Iranians have a weapons development program. Should future events reveal that Iran intended to achieve nuclear weapons capability all along, such commentators and posters should have salt and pepper handy to put on their scrambled eggs, as they scrape it off their face.

  • Netanyahu in 1992: Iran close to having nuclear bomb
    • "In the end, Jimmy Carter did get the hostages released after 444 days when the American and British hostages in Lebanon took far longer for the Reagan administration to secure their freedom.

      While there was rampant inflation under Carter, much of this was due to the monetary policies of Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve Board, which was “remedied” by a tightening of the money supply under Reagan, causing heavy unemployment."

      Carter's chief hostage negotiator, Warren Christopher (working with the Algerians), conculded a deal with the Iranians. Iran, however, only concluded the deal after Reagan had won the election and delivered some pretty tough talk in Iran's direction. Interestingly, Iran released the hostages only on January 20, 1980, the day Reagan was sworn into office.

      Rampant inflation under Carter most definitely was not due to Paul Volcker, as Volcker was not head of the Fed until Carter brought him on board as Fed chief at the end of his presidency to quell the inflation. It was Volcker, under Reagan, who tightened the money supply and squeezed inflation out of the economy. And while it resulted in high unemployment during the period 1980-82, the taming of inflation set the stage for a long period of ecoomic growth.

  • Top Ten Likely Consequences of Muslim anti-US Embassy Riots
    • Mr. McPhee, in your alternative universe I suppose your well-rehearsed screeds, posted with little variation (and no doubt taken from your file of 3"x5" index cards) pass as insight and revelation. To be frank, however, they are repetitive and stale. I suggest that you try a little evidence-based research, and that you ground your posts in reality. You would be surprised how much more seriously you would be taken.

    • It doesn't take "big money" to get the word out to mobs via internet and social media. To think that "big money" provided by "MSM owners" who want to "foment a religious war" is behind the demonstrations and destruction is to willfully ignore the evidence that Islamic militants and Salafists are behind it.

    • "You got any idea what is in the NDAA, the Patriot Act, stuff like that? Or what the various police departments in America are up to, not to mention a whole bunch of federal and state agencies?"

      Do you? if so, please give us the benefit of your wisdom, O Enlightened One.

    • "You tell her, Bill, from the depth and breadth of your personal knowledge and experience about how everything happens in the world. The stilted prose and condescension ought to shut her right up…"

      Although you had no substantive criticism to make (as evidenced by your little rant cited above) does the fact of your rant indicate that you actually agree with her, Mr. McPhee? Do you really believe that agents provocateurs who instigated the demonstrations and destruction, did so, not on behalf of Islam fundamentalists, but at the behest of MSM owners who want to foment a religious war?

      If you believe that, Mr. McPhee, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona to sell you, sight unseen of course.

    • "Just as we don’t want to put the guy who made the trailer in jail, don’t expect Morsi to condemn the protests."

      No one expects Morsi to condemn protests. It is the accompanying violence that should be condemned. Those who violently overrun Embassy walls, set fires, and violate Embassy (and other) property forfeit any moral ground they may have stood on, and they should be dealt with swiftly and with the full force of law.

    • "There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that agents provacateurs (sic) are responsible. I’m not informed enough to argue the point; it’s just that, since fundamentalists are, across the board, so logic-challenged and fear-driven, they are more manipulable than gumby. ... it’s clear that the goal of the MSM owners is to foment a religious war."

      You certainly are correct that you are not informed enough to argue your above-cited point. Your breathtaking conspiratorial turn of mind, suggesting that agents provocateurs, representing MSM owners, are out to foment a religious war, is ludicrous. In fact, your description of the fundamentalists as being "logic-challenged and fear-driven" and thus "manipulable" is, in large part, the explanation for why the mobs, manipulated by Islamic agents Provocateurs (not MSM owners), have been demonstrating, destroying, and setting fires at US Embassies and other establishments.

  • Obama Plays Hardball and Egypt's Morsi Folds
    • "The Civil War did not make our country whole. The dedicated civil rights activists with their determined commitment to non violence did."

      The Civil War certainly did preserve the Union and make our country whole, and that is what eventually made it possible for the civil rights activists to succeed in their mission.

    • "It’s VIOLENCE or LAW. The choice is equal to all humans. Rationalizing it doesn’t work. If the USA wants to be the world leader it should choose LAW"

      Right, let's track down the militants in the tribal areas and deliver subpeonas to them as we simultaneously read them their Miranda Rights and hand them a court date to appear for their hearing.

    • "On the contrary, it has cost tens of thousands of lives and saved few."

      Wrong! It has cost the lives of the militants who, had they lived to fulfill their plans, would have deliberately taken the lives of many in the West and elswhere.

    • Hear, Hear! Well said, Joe from Lowell.

    • "I apologize for getting somewhat off-topic here, but I was wondering if you could shed some light on why Sudan is attacking the German Embassy?"

      Just a guess, but these protests are turning increasingly anti-Western, rather than just anti-US, and perhaps the German Embassy was an easy target.

    • "Morsi, again, has to be responsive to the will of his people, of course he does."

      You bring up a good point about Morsi having to accommodate the will of his people, in light of the lack of support for the US among Egyptian and other Arab citizens. Nevertheless, Morsi will have to be prepared to bear the consequences of any anti-US stance he takes as a result. The US will have to carefully calibrate its relationship with Morsi, depending upon how his policies affect US interests. Morsi cannot expect the US to accept policies that go against its interests while continuing to support him, just in order to allow him to "save face" with his people. He should be prepared to take the heat, if necessary. That's called leadership.

  • Romney Jumps the Shark: Libya, Egypt and the Butterfly Effect
    • To correct my own typo: "And your ANALOGY..." vice "anology."

    • "Most non-Muslims can’t understand the strength of a Muslims’s feelings on seeing this trashy film, because for most of them, religion does not play the same central role in their lives.

      To use another analogy, though, consider the reaction of many Americans to an insult to the American flag. Before anyone knew what happened in Libya, online forums were already flooded with comments calling for killing all Muslims, nuking Makkah, sending them back to the Stone Age, etc. Why? Because some Egyptians had destroyed an American flag."

      That Muslims consider Islam central to their lives does not in any way justify the demonstrations that have occurred. A more rational response would be to denounce the trashy film for what it is.

      And your anology, equating the Arab demonstrations and destruction with Americans' reaction to burning the flag, does not hold up. Americans are not demonstrating and setting fires in front of Egyptian and other Arab Embassies in Washington or anywhere else. There are rational and irrational ways to protest. You need to distinguish between the two.

    • President Obama has demonstrated that he is the one courageous leader in this whole sorry affair. Romney used this tragedy to play the worst kind of politics and dug himself into a hole. Morsi showed that he does not have the courage to buck his Right Wing and strongly condemn the attacks on our Embassies and killing of our diplomats. As for Libya, sadly, it does not have the capacity to provide the forces that would have been necessary to protect the US Consulate in Benghazi.

      President Obama hit the nail squarely on the head when he said that Egypt is neither "enemy nor ally." This is a new reality we need to come to terms with. We need to support Egypt as long as it remains relatively moderate, but we should distance ourselves from any idea that it will remain a "friend" in the traditional sense of the term. We should be prepared to carefully calibrate our relationship with Morsi, depending upon his policies and how they affect the US. Pandering to anti-US elements, in the hope that we can persuade them to adopt a more benign attitude, will not work. It simply fosters further contempt.

  • Romney Poses, as Militants Burn Benghazi Consulate, killing Ambassador, 3 staffers, & Demonstrate in Cairo, over Islamophobic Film
    • "Need to always get the last word, and try to sow doubt and uncertainty in favor of the Neocon Narrative?"

      Speaking of always having to get the last word...???

    • It has not been established that the Embassy condemnation of the film occurred before the violence, but it was still pandoring to the mob, pre-, post-, or during the violence.

      Sam Bacile is an Israeli-American, not a "Christian" filmmaker. That would be the fundamentalist Terry Jones, who was behind its production, just as he was behind the Qur'an burning.

      Condemnation of this sorry episode is admirable, but it helps to get your facts straight.

    • Thus far, the only reasonable responses to the attack on the US Embassy in Cairo and the attack on the US Consulate, and murder of the Ambassador and three other US diplomats in Benghazi, have come from Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama. Those that preceeded the Secretary's and President's comments were disingenuous and foolish. To wit:

      Mitt Romney's initial, and subsequent doubling down on, comments, condemning the initial statement out of the US Embassy in Cairo, was playing politics at its most crude. He used a terrible situation, which called for support of the President, the US, and its diplomats, to try and turn the situation against the President.

      On the other hand, the initial statement out of our Embassy in Cairo, which condemned the Islamophobic film without condemning the mob attacking the Embassy, was equally despicable. It was the worst kind of pandoring to the mob. I imagine that whoever approved the statement will not see his future career flourish in the Foreign Service.

  • America's 9/11 response subverted our values, liberties (Cole @ Detroit News)
    • "Bill is big on contempt and ridicule. And also big on playing out the usual heavy trumps that lie so well on the American table, that bit about how all Arabs and Muslims and them people are irretrievably Evil Other, and we Christians are all just good and kind and all that. And once again “my country, or at least the part I run with, right or wrong.”

      You are in your usual "over the top" form. Please point out where I mentioned "that bit about how all Arabs and Muslims and them (sic) people are irretrivably Evil Other."

      If you wish to critique my statement, at least get the facts of my statement correct. Do not use it as a platform to spew your own rants.

    • "But once the entire Middle East got slimed with the Al Queda label and a public debate about Islam being a fake religion, we got Benard Lewis’ dream come true, the ‘war of civilizations."

      What on earth are you talking about. I stated that the 9/11 attack was an act of asymetrical warfare perpetrated by unlawful enemy combatants. I said nothing about the "entire Middle East getting slimed with the Al Qaeda label," nor did I suggest a public debate about Islam being a fake civilization."

      If that's what you read into my statement, you either have a hyper-active imagination or you should go back and carefully read it.

    • "However, try broaching the clear and rational logic for framing 9/11 as a crime and you will draw nothing but contempt and dismissive ridicule."

      And rightly so! There is no "clear and rational logic" for framing 9/11 as a crime. It was an act of asymetrical warfare perpetrated by unlawful enemy combatants. To call the attack against the United States a "crime," and thus put it in the same category as knocking off a Seven-Eleven convenience store, deserves the contempt and ridicule to which you refer.

    • "I don’t know if this was due to the outdated theory that terrorism can’t exist without a state sponsor or that they desperately wanted to think that there was a state sponsor."

      I know of no theory, outdated or otherwise, that states that "terrorism can't exist without a state sponsor." There are countless examples of terrorist groups and cells, from 19th century Russia to the Algerian FLN and beyond, that were not "state-sponsored."

      On the other hand, Al-Qaeda's terrorist activities, both planning and execution, while in Afghanistan were certainly "state-sponsored." The Taliban, then ruling the country, were actively complicit in providing training camps and support for Al-Qaeda's activities. The situation did not exist because the US (or any other government) "desperatly wanted to think that there was a state sponsor."

  • CIA Drone Strikes on Pakistan: Infographic (Leo)
    • "And the American public does not care in the slightest. As long as the American people feel safe, can do their shopping and watch baseball, their government can do whatever pleases it wherever in the world. Including murder."

      It is unfortunate that drone strikes have killed innocents, but the majority of the strikes have been on target, killing unlawful enemy combatants who mean to do as much harm as they can to the U.S. The strikes are perfectly justified under the right of self defense.

  • Dear Mitt: *You* Don't Get to Say That
    • "I think if you looked into it you’d find that you’re way over-estimating the degree to which India has moved away from socialism."

      As you suggest, India has not completely adopted the free-enterprise model. Nevertheless, to the extent that it has gone in that direction, the result has been a much higher growth rate than under the old socialist model.

    • "The theory is well-established, but ignored by mainstream media. It’s called “neoclassical economics”, or “bankrupt the state until it cuts all money to the poor.”

      Actually, the term currently in vogue is "neoliberal" economics, and you have got it precisely wrong. It involves privatization and entrepreneurship, and the chief exponents of it in the world are China and India. Over the past thirty years, beginning with Deng Xiao-Ping, China has practiced "neoliberal" or market economics, and the result is that China has averaged a 9 percent GDP over the last thirty years and lifted literally millions of its citizens out of poverty. In order to alleviate poverty, a country must grow its economy, and the greatest engine of growth is the free enterprise system.

      Likewise, while India stagnated under the old Soviet-style "five year plans" throughout the '60s, '70s, and most of the '80s, since it turned to the free=market system, its economy has grown, on average, 7 and 8 percent annualy. Neoliberal (or the old classical)economics) definitely is the way to go if the goal is lifting people out of poverty.

  • Morsi Reaffirms Israel Peace Treaty to Clinton
    • "Ironically, some Egyptians, and perhaps including the officer corps, have a strange conspiracy theory that the US wanted to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt."

      Nothing ironic about it, within the Egyptian context. Anything that occurs that runs against the planned script must be a "conspiracy." Nothing ever just happens as a matter of course. Take the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, and, in fact, much of the Arab World, could not believe the attack was carried out by Arab terrorists. Newspaper editorials and commentators stated that no "Jews" showed up for work on 9/11, suggesting the attacks were the work of Jews. Others suggested that the U.S. planned the attacks in order to have a raison d'etre to wage war against Muslims. Unfortunately, the Arab World in general, and Egypt in particular, thrive on conspiracy theories.

  • Morsi and Brotherhood isolated vs. Military, Courts, Secularists
    • "It is a bad sign that whereas the Egyptian stock market rose when Morsi was elected (on hopes of stability), it fell when Morsi called for the old parliament to meet."

      Whether or not it is a "bad sign," it is perfectly consistent with the desire for stability. Whereas Morsi's election portended potential stability, his calling for the old parliament to meet (against the wishes of the military and the court) was guaranteed to create more instability.

  • Dear Rick Perry: Would Teddy Roosevelt have extended Medicaid to all? (Poster)
    • Teddy Roosevelt was a very enlightened man for his time and hardly the "scumbag" your caricature suggests. He was the original "trust buster" against large trusts and monopolies, and he brokered the peace agreement that ended the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War, among many other accomplishments.

  • Top Ten Surprises on Libya's Election Day
    • "You’ve taken too much crap from dishonest, lying, neo-Stalinists (if not right wingers in disguise)."

      There are enough true neo-Stalinists on the extreme Left around (evidenced by comments on this forum over time) without implicating "right-wingers in disguise."

  • States with Highest Infant Mortality Rates most Opposed to Obamacare
    • Those parents opting out of vaccines for their children are doing so under the erroneous belief that the vaccines (MMR--Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) cause autism. In 1998, a British medical researcher, Andrew Wakefield, wrote an article in a medical journal suggesting that his research had confirmed the link. It was subsequently found to be not only shoddy research, but actually fraudulent.

      There is absolutely no medical or scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism. Parents who continue to deny their children vaccines are putting their children at risk based on a fraud that has been debunked. I doubt that Obamacare "dictates" that parents have to vaccinate their children, but if it were to do so, their kids would not be at risk. Such parents should be more rigorous in conducting their research, and they should not be so gullible as to believe every shoddily-constructed and fraudulent "fad" that takes on a life of its own.

  • "America Does not Go Abroad in Search of Monsters to Destroy" - John Quincy Adams (Poster)
    • "She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

      Wise words indeed! And if they were followed, we never would have assisted the Libyans get rid of Qadhaffi. Nor would we, in the future, assist countries trying to move from autocracies to something else in the so-called "Arab Spring."

  • Tens of Thousands of Syrians Protest Peacefully after Ceasefire, 6 Killed
  • China hopeful Iran will compromise with the UNSC
    • China's definition of Iranian "compromise" is liable to be very different from that of the US, UK, France, and others.

  • Washington's Dangerous Blockade of Iran (Cole at Tomdispatch)
    • Historically, Iran has had a lot more to fear from Russian (read "Soviet") adventurism than from the United States. After World War II, the USSR occupied a large swath of northern Iran, withdrawing only under pressure from the United States and Great Britain.

    • The United States stopped exports of scrap metal and oil to Japan after it invaded and occupied all of Vietnam, including the southernmost part, Cochin China. Japan was using its conquests in order to take the prize, the Netherlands Indies (today's Indonesia) with its oil fields.

      Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, not because of the U.S. scrap metal and oil embargo, but because it wanted to knock out the U.S. capacity to deliver a counter-blow to Japan's aggression. Japan's plans to knock out the U.S. at Pearl Harbor long pre-dated the U.S. embargo against Japan.

  • Arab revolutions Continue
    • "Egyptian secularists and democrats are worried about the decision of the Muslim Brotherhood to put Khairat Shater up to run for president."

      There is good reason for secularists and democrats to be worried. It is beginning to look like the Muslim Brotherhood has been using a "bait and switch" strategy to gain power. They first said they would not contest every parliamentary seat, and then they did just that. Then they said they would not run a candidate for president, and now they are. Perhaps a zebra does not really change its stripes after all.

  • Iraq Slams Saudis, Qataris for Plans to Arm Syrian Rebels
    • Exactly!

    • Russia's autocratic government is exactly what eventually led to the demise of the Soviet Union, AA. It was, and is, a sclerotic system that cannot change and became hollowed out. It has no flexibility, AA. Read up on your history. I would place my bets any day on the more democratic, flexible system in America. Mark my word, Russia will become more democratic and flexible as well over time. The Russian people will force the change as they become more modern and middle class. Putin already understands his surge in unpopularity, even though he won the (fixed) election.

      So, don't place a large amount of money on Russia overtaking America in international influence, AA. The apex of Russian influence occurred with the USSR during the Cold War. It has gone down ever since. Don't expect it to rise again.

    • One post-script to my post, AA. Your statement about the U.S. not wanting "Russia taking over South America" appears to draw an equivalency between that event, should it occur, and U.S. interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. There is no equivalency, as the U.S. has not "taken over" any of those countries.

    • Oh, now I get it. The U.S. "gets what it wants." We sure got a gem in Libya, wouldn't you agree? We sure are reaping the benefits of a fractured system that is virtually leaderless. Must've been what we "wanted" though. And Iraq? I'm sure the U.S. "wanted" Iraq as politically close to Iran as it is now after the war. That, according to your logic, must have been what we "wanted" when we first invaded. And Afghanistan? Although the pullout has yet to be completed, it is hard to see how what we originally "wanted" will align with what we eventually "get".

    • Of course Russia does not want any intervention in Syria. But not for any altruistic motives. Russia wants to keep Assad in power in order to keep its naval base on the Mediterranean in Tartus, and to maintain the flow of Russian arms sales to the Assad regime. No mystery there.

    • "Ask Bill how it really works. If he’ll share all that with you."

      I don't reply to the throwing of tantrums and unintelligible rants, much less to the use of my name to camouflage the gibberish on display in this post.

  • Polish PM Reveals that US Tortured at Black Sites in his Country
    • Agree or disagree with Roland, at least he presents a cogent case, unlike some on this forum whose only posts consist of tantrums and unintelligible rants, Mr. McPhee.

    • "Gee, as a practical matter, is there a substantive difference in that picayune distinction"

      Only a dilletante or a fool would consider as "picayune" the distinction between maintaining sovereignty while granting permission for the use of sovereign territory and the actual transfer of sovereignty.

    • "first, high Polish officials surrendered sovereignty over Polish territory to the US Central Intelligence Agency."

      I don't know if your above-cited statement was meant to be literal or figurative. If literal, it is clearly wrong. Polish officials may have granted the Central Intelligence Agency permission and authority to use "black sites" in Poland, but that certainly does not equate to granting to the CIA "sovereignty" over Polish territory.

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