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Total number of comments: 11 (since 2013-11-28 16:38:21)

James Eric

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  • American Hypocrisy: Against Muslim Sharia law at home, Calls it "Moderate" in Syria
    • We like to think that behind all this is some coherence that makes the whole thing meaningful. But what if behind the Syrian chaos is, well, nothing? What if the Syrian chaos is just the Syrian chaos, nothing more, nothing less?

  • Yes, George W. Bush bears some Responsibility for US Vulnerability on 9/11
    • Thanks, Dr. Cole, for your sketch of the invasion of Iraq, one of the most stunningly stupid events of modern political history—right up there with Hitler’s decision to open a second front to the east or Merkel’s decision to open Europe to unlimited migration. Wow. And I had heard that we had reached the end of history. Nope. I’m sure there are even more stupidities to come. Stay tuned . . .

  • Tunisian Nobel Recognizes role of Labor Unions, the Left in Democratic Transition
    • That’s a good post, Professor Cole. It raises three points I would like to comment on:
      • That the mainstream press (as Chomsky has so well shown) is a propaganda creation institution for the interests of capitalism.
      • In politics, it is the group that is best organized that succeeds. In Tunisia labor was best organized. But in Egypt, although the overthrow of Mubarak was a student movement, the students never had a chance at ruling. They had no organization. The groups that did succeed Mubarak were the one well organized—the Muslim brotherhood and the army. Astute observers at the time of the overthrow predicted this.
      • The importance of Pope Francis is that he is the leader of a massive, worldwide organization. His embodiment of environmental and labor ideals, should give us all reason to hope.

  • Deal with Saudis? Why does the US care if Russia bombs al-Qaeda and its Allies in Syria?
    • So the deal is that Obama pretends condemnation of Putin and the Saudis pretend satisfaction? Maybe. Certainly isn’t the stupidest thing that has occurred recently in the Middle East. Probably one of the more intelligent.

  • Why Obama and Putin are Both Wrong on Syria
    • Professor Cole’s thumbnail sketch of the history of the conflict does much to illuminate the nature of the dilemma: we need a unified Syria. Although Assad is the most likely candidate for being the leader of such a unified state, because of his brutality, the rebel factions would never submit to his rule. Conflict theory teaches us that this is one of the worst scenarios in terms of human suffering—a stalemate in which neither side can obtain a decisive victory. What to do? Come down on the side of Assad against the rebels with overwhelming force. Make it clear they have no chance and will be obliterated if necessary. And if necessary, destroy a few rebel cities as we did with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It quickly brought peace (of a sorts) to Japan. I imagine it would still work here. And in the end, it just might “save lives.” That’s what we all care about. No?

  • NSA monitored visits of "Radicalizers" to Chat Rooms, Skin Sites to Discredit Them
    • If some of my online activities were exposed, I would say that yeah I did it. So what? I’m single, it was my own computer, and no one was harmed. At worst it’s a bit venal. It’s nothing like the real obscenities that “respectable” members of the government have routinely committed such as authorizing the use of torture for supposedly necessary reasons of security.

      That is indeed what I would say. But I do wonder how many of my “respectable,” “tolerant” and “liberal” friends and colleagues (I’m a university professor) would quietly drop me.

  • Ghoul's Glossary: Shutdown
    • The term fall guy usually means someone who takes the blame for something. Probably soldiers and veterans are not so much fall guys as suckers or chumps. No?

  • Is Iran out of the US War Queue? The Twilight of the Hawks
    • This is the best of the many excellent pieces I have read here. It provides a succinct, well-informed picture of the relation of economics, politics, and war that underpins Washington’s fundamental orientation.

  • A US attack on Syria will Prolong the War
    • Professor Cole,

      Thanks for another well informed article. I have just read a piece by John B. Judis at the New Republic.

      link to

      After listening to four hours of testimony by the administration to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Judis thinks he has divined the true intentions of the Obama administration. They consist of the following three points:

      “—The administration is not just contemplating a single punitive strike against Syria’s Bashar al Assad for using chemical weapons; it is planning a repeatable military campaign that would strike again if he were to use these weapons again.
      —The military campaign would also have the “collateral” or “downstream” result of weakening Assad militarily and politically. It would cause defections and significantly weaken the Assad government.
      —The goal of the military campaign, combined with aid to the opposition, would not be to defeat Assad. Instead, the war would be ended by an international negotiation in which Russians would play a very important role. Such a deal would eliminate any role in Syria’s future for jihadist elements, but it might include a role for allies of Assad, if not for Assad himself.”
      I’m curious as to what you think of this. Specifically, might this be the administration’s plan? And does the plan have any chance of success? Perhaps you already answered that in the following paragraph from your piece:
      “It should be remembered that the US couldn’t end the Iraqi civil war despite having over 100,000 boots on the ground in that country. It is highly unlikely that Washington can end this one from 30,000 feet.”
      The whole thing strikes me as utterly insane, but I don’t have a particularly strong background in either the Middle East or what goes on during Senate hearings. I would appreciate the opinion of someone who does.

  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • I think I've seen this movie (at least several times) before. It's getting a little stale. Can't we get something else?

  • Everything you wanted to Know About NSA Surveillance *but were afraid to ask (Stray)
    • The gist of the article is that, if it puts its mind to it, the NSA can learn just about anything we have communicated either through phone or the internet. Now consider what is going to happen with the consolidation and centralization of medical records. Of course such a consolidation is necessary to “bend the cost curve down,” and to determine the most effective “outcomes of medical interventions.” But all it takes is an executive order, given in complete secrecy, and the NSA will have access to our medical records. And voila, the NSA will know just about everything there is to know about us. Welcome to the brave new world we have created for ourselves.

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