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Total number of comments: 409 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:40)


Showing comments 409 - 401

  • Egyptians "shocked" at Lieberman Appointment, note Barak's accusation of "fascism" in Tel Aviv
    • It looks like "our protectorate right or wrong" just went a little more wrong. No doubt that, during the election campaign, the candidates will still double-down on our sworn allegiance.

  • Is Hillary Clinton responsible for rise of ISIL, as Bernie's Campaign Manager Alleged?
    • I remember a comment Clinton made when Mubarak was overthrown. She said the Mubaraks were like family to the Clintons. She seemed quite comfortable with his ilk.

      Though maybe not a prime mover in the birthing of Daesh, she certainly lent her prestige (manufactured rather than earned, in my opinion) to all the neocon rhetoric and actions that brought the Middle East to where it is today. Never the lone or lonely voice of dissent.

  • Syria: More US Weaponry goes to al-Qaeda
    • "Syria’s al-Qaeda reports directly to 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri, who now leads al-Qaeda."

      Slightly off topic but it seems that the US hunt for al-Zawahiri , which must be huge, doesn't get any media or political play. The hunt and capture/killing of bin Ladin was always on the mind, and the his killing was immortalized somewhat like the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.

      You would think that at least the GOP candidates would be nagging Obama (and Clinton of course) about not getting al-Zawahiri, even though he was running al Qaeda at the time bin Ladin was done in. The reason could just be lack of name recognition on the public's part.

      My personal choice for the hunt's code name: "Is there a doctor in the house?" (droned if affirmative)

  • GOP Candidates up ante, Promise 4 Major Ground Wars, murder of Innocents, Large Genitalia
    • More about torture.

      Open Letter on Donald Trump from GOP National Security Leaders (100 signatures) link to

      "His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable."

      My reading of this is that "expansive" is the key word. It implies that a modest use of torture is OK, not zero torture as required by law. Gives Trump the green light as long as his war crimes do not rise to the "expansive " level, however you measure that metric.

      Obviously these GOP National Security Leaders inserted "expansive" to give Bush, Cheney, Tenet, Yoo, Addington, et al breathing room. Presumably their use of torture was modest, as opposed to "expansive".

  • As Coasts Flood, why isn't the Corporate Press asking Candidates about Climate Change?
    • I think it's hard for politicians that pray at the wall of tax cuts to discuss a subject that may require a lot of public spending. Unless of course it's for "defense". There was no political outrage when Obama proposed modernization of the nuclear arsenal that could cost a trillion dollars over the next 30 years, link to No "where's the money coming from?" screaming.

      The commercial mass media knows that it's better all around, for advertising revenue and candidate comfort, to stage food fights instead of challenging the candidates to come to grips with a very significant and unpleasant reality.

      To get things moving it will probably require that some very politically powerful conservative deniers switch sides and take the herd along with them. Sort of a "NIxon goes to China" moment. Hate to say it, but right now only the seriously deficient Trump/Christie combo have that potential, and Christie happens not to be a denier.

      Just one more thing that has to wait till the genetic engineers can get those pigs in the air.

  • Trump's SC Victory and anti-Muslim Hatred
    • "Morning in America" Phase II.

      Obviously Mr Trump gets political correctness (PC) right, in the SC Republican context.

      If there is any money left in the Bush PAC, it should be spent to on John Kasich. I'd still vote for Sanders, but if he loses the country will be better off if it's not to the fascist or the hate-Cuba-Cubans.

  • Why Trump's tiff with the Pope endangers his Political Future
    • I don't think the pope was trying to influence the voting. And I think he was casting a wider net than just Trump. Politicians and many others wear their religion like a brand, like wearing a Green Bay Packers warm up jacket.

      I feel the pope's "Christian" is not a brand but one abiding a social code, i.e. love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, do unto others.... Those Christians are hard to find. And they are not necessarily branded Christians. They could be Jews, Muslims, atheists, or any other identification. You'll know them when you meet them.

  • Top 5 Scalia Rulings that helped Progressives
    • I agree completely that the truth is nuanced. And the mechanism the court has used to address nuance is simple: eight judges ponder in terms of black and white, One judge, O'Connor, then Kennedy, handle(d) nuance, aka the "swing" vote.

      Scalia was a smart, charming, witty, boat anchor. He saw nuance as a lazy reluctance to read 240 year old tea leaves.

  • 5 Worst Foreign Policy Moments of GOP New Hampshire Debate
    • Seems like having the first primaries in Iowa and NH forces the GOP candidates to play "who's the most feral cat in the alley?". Then it's hard to shake off the alleycat image as the campaigns progress.

      And why don't any of the candidates jump Trump (great name for rhymers) when he brags about his intent to be a serious war criminal when he takes office? At least Kasich and Bush have the creds to do this. That alone should disqualify him for consideration.

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  • Dragon & Phoenix: Khamenei Lauds New Sino-Iranian 'Strategic Partnership'
    • I suppose our pundits and politicians will find problems with this. I mean they didn't ask us "May I?". On the positive side the agreement may justify a new carrier task force or two.

  • Palin for Trump: 'Political Correctness' (anti-racism) is a Suicide Bomb Vest
    • It's really a clash of "political correctness" rule books. The liberals, and most Americans use the rule book that discourages ethnic insults and race bating. On the other hand Trump's PC rule book (subtitled "pre-Iowa-caucus rules") encourages those things.

      I remember living in the South during Jim Crow. PC for whites was to not question or criticize segregation. In fact it was PC to lament the end of slavery.

      I guess bringing in Palin is Trump's attempt to put lipstick, rouge, and mascara on his swinish campaign.

  • War Talk, Jingoism and White Supremacy at GOP Debate
    • Fox was part and parcel of this episode where the main objective was to tar and feather Hillary Clinton and Obama. The irony is that the real result is to again expose the American public to the snake-oil-salesman (SOS) competition the GOP is conducting to find a nominee. Maybe gun-oil-salesman is more accurate.

      Aside from the promise of perpetual world wide bullying, there was this chatter about trickledown help for those in need. Their message is not to worry, a butterfly waving its wings in Tierra Del Fuego will ultimately create better jobs and higher wages for tens of million of working class Americans.

      Too bad global warming wasn't brought up. It would have been fun watching them fight over who is the most sincere and dedicated denier.

  • The Question isn't of Saving the World via Renewables but of how Much can be Saved
    • I think one of the pillars of climate doom is the anti-tax rhetoric and philosophy of the Right (which easily seeps into the Left because no one has figured out how to put lipstick and rouge on taxation).

      As people discover they are in harms way from global warming (say by reading this blog), their instinct will be to expect the government to come to the rescue, as it does with localized disasters. But on the scale of harm pointed by Prof Cole, massive action will require massive funding, thus massive taxes. Unfortunately, with the current political climate, nearly every politician in the US will call in sick, or spout anti taxation cliches, if the subject of raising taxes is on the docket.

      We have no political problem spending half a trillion a year on Defense. So maybe a pervasive mantra of turning aircraft carriers into windmills and bombers into solar panels could work. Probably not.

  • When did Justifying Large Scale Civilian Deaths in Bombardments become a Bipartisan Consensus?
    • When? August 6, 1945, atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It's easier to find the Red October than any remorse about civilian deaths resulting from the bomb.

  • Is Clinton right that Trump is Helping ISIL?
    • "and understand that Trump represents a small but vocal minority in American society"

      Judging by the past complacence of most of American society to the death and destruction of our vast Middle East military operations, e,g. the four million displaced by the Iraq war, I would liken the Trumps to sheep herders, leading us numerous, and willing, sheep to more alluring pastures.

  • Roof, Dear and Tashfeen Malik: 'Self-Radicalized,' 'Terrorism,' 'Lone Wolf' and Double Standards
    • Hmm. Advertisers as citizen soldiers?

    • Most of the talk is about a clash of ideologies and values between Daesh and the West - radical Islam 24/7. But there is another clash that gets slim attention, the Coalition (mainly US) bombing campaign waged against Daesh.

      Since August 2014 the Coalition has dropped over 28,000 bombs or other weapons on Daesh. And claimed to have destroyed or damaged over 16,000 targets. The bombing missions are virtually without risk to Coalition forces.
      link to
      link to

      Of course Daesh does not have the resources to retaliate in kind, but certainly retaliation should be expected. So maybe that's what Paris and San Bernardino are about.

      When we kill innocents (in a jurisdiction that offers no threat to the US), it's collateral damage. When they kill innocents, it's terrorism.

  • Trump's call for Spying on US Muslims recalls FBI bugging of MLK, Black Churches
    • The progressives desperately need a Trump like figure, but one knowing and spouting the true facts. There is no hesitation on the part of the Republican candidates to bash Clinton at every opportunity. But responses or criticisms by Clinton lack any fire in the belly. I kike Sanders but I don't think he's going to start throwing expletives around.

      A progressive Trump-like creature would have a field day just exploiting the lies and stupidity of the real Trump and his fellow candidates, let alone the 1% issues, climate change denial, vagina regulation, and war mongering.

  • Kurdish Fighters cut Road between ISIL centers of Raqqa and Mosul
    • "On Wednesday night, some 7500 Peshmerga troops converged on Sinjar in a convoy along with Yazidi fighters from nearby Mt. Sinjar"
      Plus US air strikes

      "Daesh has some 600 fighters in the town of Sinjar"
      with no air strike capability

      Considering that Daesh has occupied Sinjar for 15 months, how do they do it with an almost trivial force? Some news reports say there was no Daesh opposition at all to the city's capture. And there was extensive damage from the airstrikes .

      I agree with all the epithets and pejoratives hurled at Daesh, but given their remarkable ability to survive against far larger forces, seems we aught to be engaging it as a nation state rather than a bunch of terrorist rabble.

  • Iran's Attendance at Syria talks in Vienna marks its Emergence as Regional Power
    • Since Assad and his armed enemies will not be conference participants, how could any decisions made there be implemented and enforced?

      To get Assad to stops his violence, at least for a truce, his armed enemies would have to cease also. At least Assad has Russia and Iran to represent his immediate interests, but who is going to stand up for the other side? I can't imagine the US allying itself with al Qaeda led forces. Seems to be another one-way dead end street.

  • American Hypocrisy: Against Muslim Sharia law at home, Calls it "Moderate" in Syria
    • From a mass (sponsor funded) media standpoint it is so much easier to nourish US-Russian rivalry than to try and explain Syria. A picture of Putin, smug in a tee shirt, is worth thousands of words about what's going on in the Middle East, if you want to hold the audience.

      What this excellent article makes clear is that we have very clear rules about our use of empathy. Hospital bombed by us, eh, Israeli stabbed by who else, manifest terrorism.

  • Debate: Clinton slams Iran, Putin & supports Syrian Rebels; Sanders rejects Intervention
    • Assad must go, Daesh must be destroyed, any entity with an al-Qaeda association is unacceptable, Russia cannot be permitted a leadership role in the area, and endless no-boots-on-rhe-ground-bombing is core of our strategy to get what we want. Actually should add: arming the ally-of-the-month, and secretly hoping the Kurds will clean the whole place up (with Turkey's benign blessing).

      Since non bombing diplomacy is not an option, our present policy is "burn baby burn" and hope an altruistic democratic phoenix will rise from the ashes.

  • No, Donald Trump, Mideast wouldn't be more Stable under Saddam & other Dictators
    • Seems to me that, for the common citizen, stability is day to day predictability. That at least gives the citizen the ability to best adapt to the local environment. If a brief, possibly bloody, surge of instability results in a predictable, but better life for the citizen, then I would have a positive feeling about it.

      The US and its allies have spared no wealth and action in the Middle East to generate trasformative instability, but long term instability, with no notion of what the final form will take, is what has resulted.

      I don't think we have yet seen a recent result that proves Trump wrong.

  • The Final Collapse of Bush's Nation-Building: Kunduz falls to Taliban
    • I suppose it won't take long for the GOP to proclaim that "Obama lost Kunduz". Then US domestic political considerations will be the guide for what to do next in Afghanistan. Of course, politically benign airstrikes will probably ramp up - blowing things up from safe altitudes, any time, anywhere, is what we do best.

      "But that move sets up the paradox that it makes Ashraf Ghani look like an American puppet, and encourages even more young Afghan men to join the Taliban." And somehow these young men will get the training to be soldiers enough to beat the US trained army. Does that sound right?

  • Top Signs Pope Francis is an Honest Conservative
    • Given the current political circus, especially the Republican candidate contest, an "honest conservative" like Pope Francis is not welcomed by "US conservatives". In my view if an honest conservative is one who encourages fair and adequate solutions to the problems we face, then that person is a progressive.

      The Pope cannot walk away from church dogma, but I don't see him pointing towards dogma as a way to solve the worlds problems.

  • US Intel Chief: Iraq and Syria may not Survive as States
    • Regardless of the political/sectarian/nation state outcomes, I suppose we will be seeing hate and blood vengeance as ubiquitous community values. And the US, having shed its fig leaf promotion of free market democracy, can select its allies and adversaries using the most self serving criteria imaginable. Kingdom Saudi, junta Egypt, and occupier Israel form a solid base to build on.

  • Obama's Journey: Top 10 signs of Extreme Climate Change in Alaska and why it Should Scare Us
    • Our country spent the last decade or so destroying a nation of 30 million, with little detectable remorse for its suffering population. Is it possible for us to concern ourselves with predicted climate change problems in a remote state of 730,000 residents including 14,000 natives? Yes it is possible, as long as there is no call for resources to to help them, i.e. no burden placed on us in the lower 48.

      Considering Obama's recent approval for Royal Dutch Shell to do exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska is the perfect location for a presidential much-a-do-about-nothing. Having set the stage for thousands of new Chukchi oil related jobs, an much state revenue, I'm sure that carbon easily trumps (dictionary meaning, not proper name) harm to native habitat and indigenous species.

      And let's not forget Obama's realpolitik proposal to increase our icebreaker fleet so Russia's big icebreaker fleet won't bully us around in the icebreaking cold war (pun intended).

  • Top 5 Green Energy Breakthroughs Today
    • I seem to remember that a long time ago, maybe 30-40 years, a defense contractor had a very similar project. There were pictures of a barge that held the apparatus. Of course then it was merely a curiosity.

  • How many thousands US troops would GOP Hopefuls send to Iraq and Syria?
  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
  • Top 5 Ways Obama's 'All of the Above' Politics led to Sanders & Trump
    • I think the prime source of Obama's failure to live up to promises was his virtual rejection of the left as an ally in governing, even though his promises were intrinsically very leftish. He didn't think he needed anything but his high intelligence, rhetorical superiority, and fascination with compromise. As a consequence no one was watching his back, or fighting with hard conviction to support his policies. Especially when his fascination with compromise turned out to be a longing for right wing/Wall St/MIC acceptance.

      But I think Obama will be remembered well because he did do some progressive stuff, and his opposition was a bunch of inflexible lunatics. He might have been a truly great president if he had stuck with the powerful, enthusiastic, intelligent, and industrious mob that got him elected.

  • Iraqi Government halts al-Anbar Campaign over Sectarian Fears, US Pressure
    • When Daesh is gone, al Qaeda is gone, Assad is gone, Iran has focused on domestic things, and the US did its last airstrike, what's next? It seems our goal is to have a level playing field for the Sunnis and Shiites to have fight to the finish, without outside interference.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
  • Did rise of Daesh/ ISIL ensure Iran Nuclear Deal?
    • I think a major accomplishment of this plan is to emasculate Netenyahu. I don't see how he could sustain the notion that Iran is an international pariah that must be cleansed with military force. Iran's severe concessions set the stage for discussing the need for Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile, if someone has the balls to get on the stage - maybe John Kerry.

      Considering the constant drumbeat, from Israel and its powerful US allies, to take military action against Iran, if this plan is obstructed then Iran will have s strong rationale for building a bomb or two.

  • Why defeating ISIL/ Daesh with military might is starry eyed idealism
    • Maybe we need practice grounds to test our strategies for improving the lot of the people and promoting democracy. Places where we have a strong enduring relationships with the ruling class. Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia come to mind. We are not at war with them and their populations (or segments there of) certainly could use some egalitarian and altruistic infusions.

  • As Glaciers Melt in Ecuador, Pope Francis challenges Technocrats, touts "Keeping" the Environment
    • In my view the Pope is the sole prominent spokesman trying to frame the adverse affects of global warming as problems the world community must deal width, as opposed to each state looking after its own.

      What we have now is sort of a "reverse triage". The rich nations have the resources to smooth out the global warming affects, and continue to prosper. The poor nations do not have the resources to sustain themselves in the face of the global warming threat..

      As global warming takes its toll, reverse triage will result in extreme increase in inequality between the rich nations and the poor, and the prospect for violence and instability ( much more of that than we have today).

      Pope Francis can't possibly turn the tide by force of his own words, but to cope with global warming in a global way, we need a renaissance. and right now the Pope is our most prominent and articulate Renaissance Man.

  • If Southerners want a Symbol, Why not the Moultrie Liberty Flag?
    • "Unfortunately we owe this awakening to a coward and disgrace to his southern roots." Opinions differ, but in my view the contemporary "Southern roots" are deeply planted in the soil of Jim Crow. Liberal and progressives are often considered a disgrace to their southern roots.

      Jim Crow lost it's legality in the 60's, but it's roots are atrophying at a rather slow rate. The killer had no problem finding contemporary kindred spirits.

  • What South Carolina needs to do for Racial equality (taking down the flag is just symbolic)
    • There might have been a chance for substantial change after the passage of the civil rights legislation in the 60's, but that was killed off by the Republican party's "Southern Strategy".

      That strategy embraced and coddled the white anti-civil rights populations in the South as well as anywhere they could be found. Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" got its strength from the big winks he gave to anti-civil rights movement.

      I don't believe that the leaders of the Republican Party were racists. They were seeking political power anywhere they could find it, and any way they could get it. But what a boon to the real racists to have a major political party watch their backs.

    • It will be very interesting to watch SC's legislature cope with the state's race problems, given how it is now in the national, and perhaps global, limelight. I agree that removing the flag is symbolic, but legislators like SC's are known to choke on small bones.

  • Top 5 Reasons Confederate Flag should stop Flying at SC Statehouse
    • I lived in the South for a few years in the early 60's, before the civil rights legislation was passed. The general impression I got was that all five of your "reasons" were actually points of white pride. In other words, five reasons to keep the flag flying, not to take it down.

      The moral rationale supporting slavery and Jim Crow was that the Blacks liked things that way. It was all for their own good.

  • Another White non-Terrorist Kills 9, Makes Bomb Threats
    • This episode is in the the classic American tradition of violence - get a gun and start shooting people. Except for Ft Hood, the domestic "terrorists", aka any Muslim angered to violence, have not been following along.

      Maybe that's because the FBI creates and channels their presumed terrorists to do the exotic with bombs and such.

  • Modest Increase in Iraq Training Mission shows Obama still Uninterested & Maybe he's Right
    • I think the big dilemma is not defeating Daesh, but replacing it with something better.

      At the rate Daesh is metastasizing, defeating it will take a GWOD (Global War on Daesh). The GWAD is winnable if the US goes all in and throws everything it has at the enemy, disregards the extent of collateral damage, and assumes unilateral control, sort of a combination of Desert Storm and the 2003 invasion and occupation. And add another trillion or two to the national debt.

      When Daesh finally waves the white flag (and goes guerrilla) what might be left is a colossus version of Libya. Maybe that is what's on Obama's mind.

  • US Kneejerk support for Israeli Nukes Torpedoes UN Disarmament Talks
    • If any country needed a nuclear deterrent, it is Iran.

      Nuclear Israel has made no secret of its desire to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities back to the stone age. If that should happen, I'm sure a few bombs will miss their target and accidentally hit strategic facilities across the country. Stuff happens.

      The most nuclear musclebound country in the world, USA, has always kept this option "on the table".

      Faced with any such threat the US would bomb the threatener with everything it takes.

      North Korea has shown that a small number of nuclear weapons is enough to keep the giants at bay. Are we giving Iran any option they can trust?

  • Iraq: 25,000 Shiite Militiamen gather for Battle of Ramadi
    • I hope that our temporary convergence of objectives with Iran, i.e. take back Ramadi, does not weaken our resolve to punish Iran for not doing exactly as we say with regard to their nuclear programs. Sure, Daesh is the most immediate target of opportunity for US air power, but we have cultivated Iran's enemy status for so long that we can't slide back now just because we find significant mutual interests.

      Besides, assuming the Tikrit model, if Ramadi falls to the Shiite forces, the aftermath will just be another failure of our "bombing for egalitarian democracy" strategy. Getting attention back to Iran, the eternal peril, is important.

  • Israel's Government Ratchets even Further Right: Great Moments in Colonialism
    • Netanyahu's governance may be inconsistent with Western liberal values, but does seem consistent with our other allies in the Middle East, Egypt and the monarchies. Sure, we want a two state solution, but we also have little objection to Israel's bomb, bulldoze, and starve solutions.

  • If Climate Change ends Capitalism, what good are Climate Economists?
    • During the Cold War I don't recall any significant economic debates about whether or not to proceed with the next Pentagon iterations of improved nuclear weapons systems. Cost was irrelevant even though the threat was largely a product of geo-political oneupsmanship. And had these steadily improved weapons systems been used , the likely result would be destruction of modern civilization. Yet the growing certainty of the vast destruction that will be caused by global warming has hardly resulted in a call to arms.

      The role of economics in wealthy industrial countries does play a role in helping decide the appropriate strategies to combat the affects of global warming, because the wealthy will have choices (a primary attribute of wealth).

      But, while the concerted, resource consuming, actions needed to avoid disastrous global warming, must be lead by the wealthy industrial countries, economics combines with politics to stimulate a "what's in it for us" attitude. We will use our wealth and resources to survive global warming affects, but not to prevent them. The poor are on their own.

      Will self serving free market economics determine the fate of the world? Quite possbly.

  • President Rand Paul's Middle East Policy
    • I don't know about Rand, but back when Obama was first elected, I had the idealist thought that it would best for the nation if his father was given the both the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State portfolios. Seems like Rand has some of the old man's genes, but not the backbone one.

  • Obama with Drama: Translating his comments on Israel's Netanyahu from the Vulcan
    • This translation has got to go viral.

      Maybe Obama could issue a brief statement saying: "Juan Cole's version is quite consistent with the my views and thoughts on the matter. Thank you Juan for scraping away my knee-jerk gravitas, and telling the American people what I really meant to say. And would you please stand by to help me out when I give my next AIPAC speech.

  • Apartheid Forever: Israel's Netanyahu rules out Palestinian Citizenship Rights
    • Thankfully Netanyahu has forced into the dead archives decades of gravitas blarney about "The Two State Solution", aka "Mideast Peace", that our political leader have uttered with a straight face.

      It would be incredulous if Obama, Kerry, and all should henceforth use the phases in public, unless coupled with a call for sanctions on Israel.

  • Iran's Khamenei: GOP Letter Disgusting, shows Decline of American System
    • Israel is really a small nation in terms of population and geographical area, but it is a huge nation in terms of military might. Since Israel and Iran don't share a common border, a war would not be in terms of our big horde against your little horde.

      The match up would be based on what Israel could throw through the air at Iran and vice versa. For the last few decades and for the foreseeable future, Israel has nuclear weapons at the ready, and and Iran has none.

      Without being totally specific , it sure sounds to me like there are powerful politicians in both Israel and the US who would like to wipe Iran off the face of the earth, or maybe reduce it to marginal, unstable, status like Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that Israel has a working fifth column in the Senate Office Building, Iran might just have a good reason to start a Manhattan Project.

    • The precedent is not in the specific incident, but in the ability of the Republicans to act with incomprehensible arrogance and get away with it. They paid no penalty, and in fact made major electoral gains, by threatening to default on the national debt, shut down Homeland security, fraternizing with and encouraging global warming doubters, relentlessly attempting to replace the ACA (Obama-care) with a vacuum, the birth certificate frenzy, the Benghazi calamity, doubting, evolution, .
      embracing church influence on the state, deliberate hindering of voter participation,etc.

  • Iraq: 30,000 Sunnis flee as Shiite Militias, Army, approach Tikrit
    • What I mean is that the US is withholding air support from an ally in a situation where , if it were a US operation, close air support would be an absolute necessity.

    • "The US is not giving it close air support"

      Hmm. Isn't close air support a major factor in every US ground operation? It's inconceivable that the US would undertake something like the Tikrit offensive without virtually unlimited availability of close air support.

      I guess when Iran is in the neighborhood, winning is not the "only thing".

  • What does Iran think of Netanyahu's Interference in Talks?
    • "They see the GOP obstructionists in league with Netanyahu as “extremists.” "

      Outrageous characterization. Shutting down Homeland Security, threatening to default on the national debt, exposing the grotesque global warming hoax, unfooled by the phony claims of evolution, establishing an independent foreign policy regarding Iran, exhaustive birth certificate scholarship, and acting as faithful vagina cops are symptoms of extremism? Hmm...

  • Leonard Nimoy's Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine
    • "a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state"

      Maybe I'm over parsing, but why is "secure" appended to the Jewish state, but not the Palestinian state. Hints a little like the Pit Bull/Chiwawa relationship that presently exists e.g. a bomb goes of in an Israeli tanning salon, and the entire Palestinian state is put under lockdown, and Palestinian state's only recourse is to complain to the UN.

  • Giuliani & Obama: Immigrant Families and Really Loving America
    • The information about Giuliani's father is something I never heard before. Of course Giuliani cannot be held responsible for his father's behavior, but I wonder how this information has not, to my knowledge, been widely presented by the main stream media.

      If Obama's, or most any Democrat's, father was a convicted gangster, mug shots, rumors, conviction documents, etc., would be ubiquitous media meat in the heat of a presidential campaign.

  • Is ISIL's 'Shock and Awe' more Awe-ful because One Victim?
    • Interestingly, the bar for declaring an explosive device to be "a weapon of mass destruction" is quite low.

      The indictment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bomber, includes this count:
      "knowingly conspired with Tamerlan Tsarnaev to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely, a destructive device as defined by
      Title 18, United States Code, Section 921,........"

      And here is the weapon's description in the indictment:
      "The IEDs that exploded at the Marathon were
      constructed from pressure cookers, low explosive powder,
      shrapnel, adhesive, and other materials."

      Maybe there is a distinction between between whether the weapon is used by terrorists/enemies, or used by the US. If this is not the case,BLU-82B should certainly qualify,..

    • "There were human casualties–military and civilian–and some were in fact incinerated; but there is no evidence that the US went after civilian targets."
      The US declaration of war was simply a unilateral proclamation to invade Iraq and dictate its future. To suppose that such actions would not inflict extreme harm on Iraqi civilians, including death and maiming of hundreds of thousands, and dislocation to millions, is either a case of profound stupidity, or the crass disregard mountains of worldwide contrary opinions.

      The US went right after the Baaths and the Sunni minority, aka rejectionists. Our allies were the majority Shiites who in turn instigated the bloody civil war to gain dominance and control of Iraq.

      Maybe there is no evidence that the US went after civilian targets but there is massive evidence that declaring war on Iraq, then invading, would cause extreme harm and hardship to a country of 30 million civilians. After disbanding the Iraqi Army, civilians were all that was left.

    • US and allied air strikes on Daesh forces are more like shooting fish in a barrel than war. The airstrikes are conducted at the discretion of the air forces, without being hindered by the threat of Daesh air defenses. Of the thousands of sorties, the Jordanian loss seem to be the only one.

      The US has not declared war on Daesh, and vice versa. The US is engaged in a campaign of relentless endless punishment of Daesh by dropping bombs, and hoping for some favorable outcome on the ground.

      Given the rage, and the need for revenge, generated by the method used to execute the Jordanian pilot, one wonders what the reaction might be if Daesh had used lethal injection instead,

    • In the last five months of 2014 US air strikes dropped about 6000 bombs or other ordinances on Daesh. Quid pro quo?

  • GOP's Scott Walker: Pitches possible Syria War to make us Like Him
    • I think Walker is appealing to that segment of the voters that are more comforted by perpetual military punishment of "Islamic Extremists" than by winning or losing wars. And in the Middle East that could be anyone we choose to label as such. No questions asked.

      In the last five months of 2014 US air strikes released almost 6,000 weapons on Daesh targets, and who is clamoring to know if we are winning or losing. The GOP candidates may talk of ultimate victory, but they know that there are lots of voters that will be satisfied with punishment and the notion of 9/11 blood revenge.

  • 5 Top Reasons Romney ought to have Withdrawn
  • Obama, Modi and India's Solar Future
    • Is it the nation state that counts or the population of the nation state?

      Hypothetical. Let's say you took the 900 million residents of India that now have electricity and divided it into three states with a 300 million population each. That makes each comparable to the US in population.

      The US total emissions would be about 24 times as large as each of the other three. So what counsel would a US president give to the leaders of these three other nations that, each on their own, belch only 4% of what the US does.?


    • Looking at the per capita greenhouse gas emissions for the US and India, the difference couldn't be starker. The US per capita emission is about ten times that of India, If the the 300 million people with no electricity are discounted, and the per capita number is just attributed to 900 million or so with electricity, then the ratio is eight to one.

      It must be hard for Obama to keep a straight face when telling India's leader that India must become more austere in the use of fossil fuels, when the majority party running the US congress doesn't believe that global warming is caused by human activity.

      This burn-baby-burn congress is unlikely to support any significant government role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. More likely the GOP will try to use the cheap oil situation to smother progress on renewables. That's what they have been paid to do,

      So while we gorge on steak and lobster, we implore the skinny Indians to tighten their belts.

  • Why Egypt's Threat to Arrest Amal Clooney will hurt its Economy
    • I think Knucklehead has it right. The judiciary flaws pointed out are really pluses for a fascist kleptocracy. The lessons learned from the turmoil of the last few year will help the new regime build improved bulwarks to protect against against any future uprising. Obviously the judiciary bulwark needs very little tweaking.

      The US , especially with a congress fully run by the GOP, will do its routine "turn the other cheek, and reward with military assistance" policy as long the Egyptian regime does Israel's bidding, and provides some lucrative sweetheart deals to American investors.

  • Top 7 Ways Assassination Fails USA as Policy
    • Maybe a little introspection would help. The Pentagon could do a simulation that eliminated the entire general staff, accompanied by field promotions of competent majors, lt colonels, and colonels to fill the vacancies. Would the absence of self serving careerists hurt?

  • World's Poor to be hit Hardest by Global Warming: World Bank
    • Another boost for the "What, me worry." point of view in the US. Helps cancel out the the antarctic glacier melts problem. Frack baby frack, and, with cheap gas, let's get some more gas guzzlers back on the showroom floor. Having a GOP congress can't hurt. .

  • A Day Late & a Dollar Short: Obama & China agree on Languid Climate Goals
    • The patient is dying!! Quick, bring in more administrators and insurance executives!!!

  • When will US admit Boots on Ground in Iraq (3000 Troops)?
    • Putting a few US soldiers in harms way, or even close to harms way, has a huge multiplier affect in terms of any manner of support needed for their safety. It provides the rationale for virtually unlimited air support, logistical support, facilities construction, intel, medevac, and of course control over types and quantities of weapons provided to the allied forces..

      This sort of halo affect can allow a much larger and fiercer war fighting American role against IS----. No politician is going to turn a general down on requests that protect "trainers on the ground".

      The morale of the trainees will no doubt improve when they see how much war fighting support they gain from having a few American soldiers around.

  • Why McCain & GOP are Slamming Obama for Writing Iran re: ISIL
    • The US is perfectly content to participate in, and support, any military violence that makes sense at the break of day, and move on to other strategies at dusk, in case of problems. The constant is that the indigenous populations will be subjected to this violence for a long in-determinant future. Our empathy for their misery is more difficult to find than the Red October.

      The Republicans, now in power, are more concerned about the most serious threat to American life, abortion clinics.

  • How a Republican Congress could Entangle the US further in the Middle East
    • I think it's hard to tell what the Republicans might do. After being the "Party of No" for six years, it might have trouble advocating any self conceived action that doesn't focus on attacking Obama, or increasing wealth inequality.

      On the other hand I do think that philosophically they will be even more "America first" at the expense of any international cooperation. And the Military Industrial Complex may urge them to wean off the Middle East wars and concentrate on developing more severe anti China and anti Russia .antagonisms. Those antagonisms will bring in the big bucks for the MIC - more, bigger, and better of everything.

      On the other hand, by just acting a bit more rational, intelligent, and, yes, progressive, the right can succeed in completing the vaporization of the liberal/progressive political force that Obama started six years ago..

  • Iraq: US dismayed Shiite Gov't hasn't Armed Sunni Tribes fighting ISIL
    • The enemy of my enemy's enemy's enemy's enemy's enemy's.............enemy is my????

      Don't bather to knock, just go in ad hoc.

  • Iraq: Is the Sunni-Shiite Slaughter at Jurf al-Sakhr really a US Victory?
    • Seems like the US is attempting to orchestrate a bar brawl, with the serious intention of prolonging it as long as possible.

      I guess it was just a pipe dream to imagine our troops returning to the barracks. We'll keep handing the tail of the tiger to the indigenous forces and they'll keep handing it back. The Pentagon can't afford to get its butt kicked again, so it will do all it can make victory over ISIS a national obligation.

  • Top 5 Good News Solar Energy Stories Today
    • Just being sarcastic, but depending on the November election, maybe a little prophetic.

      I'm firmly in the professor's camp.

    • And by extensive use of modern technology, arctic drilling and domestic fracking and shale oil recovery will eliminate any US dependence on renewable energy sources. The reliance on Chinese made solar panels and Danish wind turbines will be at an end. Burn baby burn!

  • Is Baghdad next? ISIL takes Hit Base in Iraq, loots it for Weapons
    • I think the world has had ample proof of our credibility from our accomplishments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia ...

      I just hope that our ongoing secret talks with ISIL can bring about some moderation of their viciousness, in exchange for diplomatic recognition. (Nutty as it sounds, what can be nuttier than the Middle East. Think about "degrade then destroy" as rationale.)

  • $22 Billion to Fight ISIL in same Year Congress cut $8.7 bn in Food Stamps
    • ISIS is an entity engaged in conquering land and populations to form a new country. I believe this type of activity has been vigorously pursued since the beginning of communal organizing..

      Violence is typically used to quell the indigenous population. The Spanish Conquistadors' devotion to Christianity certainly gave them a moral basis for their extreme viciousness. .ISIS gets theirs from the Muslim faith. . But conquest is the objective, and ISIS has succeeded. Like an invasive species, they have no natural enemies (with military strength) in their portions of Syria and Iraq.

      Seems like it might be worthwhile to stop trading airstrikes for beheadings, and start looking for restraining accommodations. Obama's three years of airstrikes mean an awful lot of collateral damage.. .

  • Why Obama underestimated ISIL in Syria and Iraq
    • To give credit where credit may not be due, I don't think Obama speaks his mind, or relies on his own knowledge of circumstances when he makes decisions, especially concerning international relations, and actions.

      Basically he just garnishes the standard exceptionalism cliches that have run our foreign, aka military violence and intimidation, policy. The notions of bombing for economic, educational, and social improvement can't make real sense to anyone who thinks beyond the cliches, even Harvard Law School graduates.

      In this piece Prof Cole lays out the reality of what we are warring against, and the near inevitability of our failure. Obama, the good captain, has chosen to go down with the ship, as he tries to kick the crap out of the icebergs.

  • Syrian Media Hail America as Damascus Ally, Support UN Ban on Foreign Fighters
    • If and when ISIS vanishes from the face of the earth, it will be the boot owners who will decide how to fill the void. I don't recall Obama making any mention of what comes after.

      To our way of thinking, craters, rubble, and a fair dose of human collateral damage make for a good start to build an egalitarian democratic nation.

  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces
    • We broke it, so we own it. That's why we broke it in the first place.

      Simple, we'll just have to add al Sadr and his corps to the rejectionist list for you know what.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment?
    • Seems as if IS landed in our earthbound "Sea of Tranquility". Imagine a strange violent quasi state appearing within two peaceful, altruistic, law abiding states, Iraq and Syria. The contrast is shocking. Were that true, a war to destroy IS may be justified.

      In the long term is there any expectation that Iraq and Syria will be of better quality, by Western standards, than they are today, and much preferable to a Saudi-like IS?

      Speaking of Saudi, how would our well connected emotional public react if videos of a bunch of Saudi beheadings went viral on YouTube.

  • Middle East "Allies" decline to Commit Forces, Resources against ISIL
    • Are there many young souls in the Middle East that are willing to leave safety to subject themselves to being maimed and killed in a war with ISIS?

      Poor Obama. It must be painful to realize that the US has the only significant ground fighting force in the world that can be put on planes, flown anywhere, and fight with professional fury whomever is pointed out to be the enemy. If he wants additional fight and die help, he'd be better off telling Kerry to visit state capitals to drum up support for activating the National Guard. .

  • Obama's ISIL Actions are Defensive, Despite Rhetoric of going on Offense
    • Aren't we confronting an administered territory, rather than a roving gang of thugs? Without praising ISIS in any way for the way it does this administration, when we bomb them and the unfortunate collateral's, we will be eliminating or degrading local governance without the slightest hint of what will fill the vacuum.

      Vengeful Shiite boots on the ground may well result in rape and pillage replacing ISIS's nasty stuff. Somalia and Yemen are so deep in the periphery of of our awareness, that who rapes and pillages who is not a public concern in the US. ISIS is as big a spot on our radar as you can get.

      Metaphorically, last night Obama announced a clumsy stroll through the Pottery Barn.

  • 3 Years War? Obama to Bomb Syria in fight against ISIL
    • In a nutshell.

    • Those three years of giving IS the "Gaza" treatment will give us time to assemble an army of egalitarian legislators and professionals that will move in as soon as all is quiet on the Western Front. (Of course they will be showered with Sunni thrown flowers as soon as they arrive.). Yawn, it's all so predictable.

      "Light at the end of the tunnel" will make a comeback in administration rhetoric and political cartoons. And shopping, at its most patriotic level, will prove that we are all in the fight.

  • New Iraqi Government: Less than Meets the Eye?
    • Seems to me that the visceral elements of this situation will smother any formal political and legislative plans. Sectarian hatred and distrust may make if difficult for Baghdad Sunnis to wage long term warfare against the IS Sunnis, especially in alliance with the US and its planned, mammoth, long term air campaign.

      Then there's the $64 question. Should IS be destroyed, who and what will take its place? A cozy (new, improved) Shiite - Kurd run regional government would be the darling of the US, but how hard will Baghdad Sunnis fight and die for this outcome?

  • Obama & Cameron find little Enthusiasm at NATO for new Iraq War
    • I feel sorry for Obama. He's cornered into a fight with an adversary that knows exactly what what our forces can and cannot do, On the other hand we have admitted that ISIS surprised us, and we know little about them. Supercomputers vs the abacus, Unlimited air power against roadside bombs, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA against a bunch guys sitting around a fire. Obama, being pretty smart, taking this all in, and looking at recent history where there were similar conditions, must know that he is entering the swamp of no return.

  • Would a US/ NATO war in Syria be Legal in International Law?
    • Loic, I've been curious about what is intended to fill all those bomb craters that we are anxious to dig in Iraq and Syria, and I think your scenario is the the most likely. Never (leave) again.

  • What the Hackers did to Celebs? The NSA has been Doing that to All of US instead of Predicting ISIL
    • Maybe we are so used to looking for terrorists, whose acts are generally brutish and random, that we are missing the "territorialists" and their "mongol hoard algorithm".

      And knowing how devoted we are to connecting dots, ISIS may have been flooding NSA detectors with juicy irrelevant dots.

      Let's not be too harsh on the MSM for not digging into the contrast between the Snowden revelations and the ghee wiz ISIS intelligence. At this time the MSM is concerned with promoting a lunatic right senate, come next November.

  • Top 5 Reasons "Labor Day" isn't for Laborers Anymore
    • A couple of (hidden) prevailing mantras:
      Labor is a commodity, don't humanize it.
      We need a "buyer beware" constitutional amendment to defang the nanny state and its lawyers..

  • US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge
    • I should have mentioned the doctrine that supports our responses to those pains, the doctrine of limited sovereignty. Basically: The US reserves the right to violate the sovereignty of other nations when US interests are in any way threatened, where interests can range from a direct attack on the US, to such things as trade, energy policy, political gain etc. Other countries have no right to adapt a similar doctrine, and the US looks unfavorably on any attempt to employ it, the exception being when such action is an supports US objectives.

      Exceptionalism at work.

    • How easy it would be for the MSM and the politicians to convert the global warming threat in to an "us against them" threat, "them" being any foreign political entity that can be tagged as a party that contributes to "global warming damage to the USA".

      As Prof Cole points out, the public is quite malleable when it comes it imagining that distant localized events could be a direct security threat to Americans, i.e. kill us right on US soil.

      The US is now an octopus like creature with a world wide network of.pain receptors. Events in almost any part of the world can trigger our pain and cause a response, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, lots of African countries, China, to name some well known locations.

      To put it in harsh terms, we are bulking up to take on global warming as an external threat to the US, which will be dealt with the only way we know how, military violence.

  • Iraq: Bombs & Bullets vs. Political Process
    • The mother of all demolition derbies. One of Tip Oneal's well known wisdoms was "All politics are local". In my view, playing musical chairs in Baghdad is pretty local.

  • What do Iraq's Sunni Arabs have in common with Ferguson, Mo. African-Americans?
    • I don't think a civil war based on religious differences, and control of oil lands, has clear cut "San Juan Hill" military situations. A decisive win by either side would probably result in extreme punishment of the losers. Winning isn't everything, or the only thing.

  • ISIS to US: We'll drown you in Blood; beheads US Journalist, Holds Tikrit
    • I believe that in his remarks today, Obama has clearly declared the position that IS must be eliminated. That can only mean one thing, one more Middle East windmill to tilt at until public and political fatigue set to

      Seems that our presumption that Iraqi regulars will willingly and enthusiastically kill Iraqi irregulars, to support central government that barely represents any interests of the Iraqi people, should be vetted by the psychology community. What would motivate a Sunni conscript to make war on Sunni IS at the behest of Shiite leaders and the US President? It is quite possible that the beheading of an American reporter is not the most atrocious event they know of.

  • Iraq: Al-Abadi garners Iranian, US, Saudi Support: But can He Unite Iraq?
    • In my simplistic view when the royal courts (official and unofficial) herald al-Abadi as the potential uniter, he is given the green light to hold his head high and request the US to demolish ISIS, since ISIS can logically be considered a serious impediment to his uniting efforts, and the Iraqi military is supposedly not up to the job.

      Violence, military and otherwise is the coin of the realm (which includes us), so it's only natural for al-Baradi to request some to fill his purse. Having advocated him for an impossible job (certainly no US politician could handle something like that), it's only fair to help him, actually in the only way we know how.

      It's going to be the same old story. Instead of the Pentagon giving the new war a cute name, I think deja vue is adequate.

  • The Long Knives Come out in Baghdad
  • Why is Obama bombing Iraq, Really?
  • Obama & Airstrikes to Protect Iraqi Kurds: 1991 Deja Vu all Over Again
    • "Apparently not only has the Iraqi federal army almost completely collapsed...."
      I've always been curious about the huge armies we developed in Iraq and Afghanistan (and maybe Vietnam). Their purpose is to fight an die in civil wars against forces the US considers enemies.

      A soldier in the Iraqi Army is expected take the lives of other Iraqis, and risk his own life, for a central government birthed out of the US invasion and occupation. Seems it might be perfectly natural for there to be Army members who would rather fight on the ISIS side than against ISIS. ISIS seems a force of Iraqis unlikely to collapse or be intimidated.

      And poor Obama has only one button on his action console - BOMB

  • Israel Still Holding Gaza Civilians Hostage, Doesn't Get Geneva Conventions
    • Hamas does have one of out cherished rights: the right to remain silent. I think that's about the limit of Israel's graciousness.

  • Top 5 Ways the US is Israel's Accomplice in War Crimes in Gaza
    • The State Department, aka Obama in this context, is telling Israel that, dwellings, infrastructure, government and private sector locations are OK targets - just leave anything with UN involvement alone.

      We don't want the IDF to sully the the pristine rectitude of precision bombing. Our wars without end are depicted as killing "bad guys (9/11 wannabees) only". Sure, once in a while we take out a wedding, funeral, kids playing in the dirt, etc. but we always follow up with a full investigation to prove the honesty of the mistakes. If only our enemies used the tactic of skirmish lines on open fields, these mistakes wouldn't happen.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)
    • Let's see, Israel has one of the best air forces in the world, warships, well armed and well trained ground forces, and the usual superb collection modern communications and warfare electronics. And the threat from the other side is tunnels.

      So Gaza gives up it's formidable tunnels, which have obviously been around long before the latest fighting, yet have not facilitated an MSM level attack on Israel. Then what does Israel give up? Not even the right to do it all over again. Hamas dare not grab a shovel, but Israel will repair its damaged equipment, replace it's lost equipment, and probably shop the US for newer and better stuff.. .

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • With our military might, our long suit is to create absences (with a little help from our friends):Hussein, Gaddafi, The Taliban (temporarily), bin Ladin. But we don't have the tools or power to fill the absences with the the indigenous Thomas Jefferson's whom we assume are waiting in the wings. In the case of bin Ladin we assumed that al Qaeda couldn't possibly function without his brain. For a while we had our sights on Assad, but someone in the Administration took a good look at out wake, and counseled against it.

      Israel, on the other hand, functions like the dictators we deposed, with regard to the occupied territories. And we are politically incapable of accepting that view of Israel.

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians?
    • Fortunately for Israel the MSM is busy right now helping to rewarm the Cold War. Surfing the headlines one would conclude that Putin ordered the east Ukraine ethnic Russian rebels to shoot down a civilian airliner. Won't be happy until Putin does a perp walk at the Hague.

      But Israel is being helped by the alarms raised about the Gaza tunnels. Sure, Israel has nukes, but Gaza has TUNNELS!!!!!

  • Israel, Gaza and the Fatal Spirit of Versailles
    • "Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel, with an Israeli man being killed by one (the only Israeli killed in the current conflict). Over 200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombs since the current round of hostilities began a week ago."

      I think the MSM was coming breathlessly close to invalidation of the Gaza-Israel symmetry notion. Evidence of asymmetry was showing its ugly head. Now, with the death of an Israeli, the notion is safe, e.g. hypothetical headline: "Death on Both Sides"

  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • Don't underestimate the cleverness and mendacity required to preserve the notion of ubiquitous symmetry between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In a boot on the throat situation it's not easy to develop public sympathy for the boot, but the media does its best.

  • Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq
    • I'm probably just naive, but is it possible that the Iraqi army soldiers are less than enthusiastic about killing fellow Iraqis for the sake of a corrupt sectarian government, and the corroded fantasies of US hegemony?

      The MIC is lulabying Obama with "Baby It's Cold Outside" - link to - and he's having a problem putting his coat on. (Just a romantic interlude.).

  • Faced w/ Global Warming Threat, Obama fudges EPA Carbon Reduction
    • Seems to me that the operative mantra is "tickle the markets and hope for the best". The notion of directly attacking the global warming menace like we attacked the Cold War Red Menace, with trillions invested nuclear warfare hardware, is just not an option. What about something financially comparable to the building of the Interstate Highway System or space exploration? No, that would be a betrayal of market faith.

      Of course if India and China ignore reliance on the markets and initiate deliberate state funded programs to reduce carbon emissions (as they are doing), we would applaud them, as long as they didn't hinder imports of US made materials.

      As far as Republicans torpedoing the EPA goals, I think that once the natural gas/fracking/cabon industries tell the political money men to back off because those goals will turn gas into gold - the kind that shows up in GOP coffers..

  • Mr. Kerry: Why Snowden can't "Make his Case" in "Our System of Justice"
    • Of course if Snowden did "man up", came home, and somehow got to tell his side (with a duct taped mouth), that would only add to the charges against him since anything he would say will be labeled classified.

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