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Total number of comments: 1790 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:39)

Bill Bodden

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  • How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union from Further Embarrassing themselves on Syria
    • Thank you for this link, Smith Boy. Rank does, however, make a difference. The servicemen in this video are at risk of dying for the benefit of others; whereas, the people at the top of the chain of command have to consider their post-retirement prospects for lucrative seats on military-industrial-security complex boards.

    • "Secretary of State John Kerry was asked at a press conference in London Monday morning if there was anything that could forestall a US missile attack on Damascus, and he replied off the cuff that Syria could surrender its chemical weapons stockpile to the international community within a week."

      If this path to avoid war succeeds, watch Kerry take and others give him credit for it.

  • How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes
    • ” ... can hardly be expected to appreciate the sacrifices made by the allies in World War II.

      "In short, this is the absolutists’ argument that the United States and its allies have never done anything worthy of respect and praise."

      Your capacity for getting it wrong is truly remarkable, Bill-no-last-name. I was taken to Britain just before the outbreak of WWII and lived there through the entire war, so I was very appreciative of what the American forces did then and later with the Marshall Plan. I have always considered the Peace Corps one of American's great achievements. The problem with those events for me was that I developed a one-sided view of America as the always-good-guy for much too long and failed to recognize the bad guys who frequently ran the show. I haven't flipped, as you would probably like to believe, so that I now only see the evil that exists in America. Basically, I see the United States as being similar to most human societies as a nation with the best and worst of people with most people somewhere in between. Just as I found it essential to get a cancer out of my body, I see it as equally important to get rid of the cancers destroying the American body politic.

    • Basically, Jeanette, we talk different versions of the same language which helps to explain why I had so much trouble understanding what you wrote and gave it short shrift. I can understand texting in some instance where some laconic statement would suffice, but something like your example doesn't work when it is necessary to make a clear, intelligible statement. You still haven't responded to my question about Democrats and democrats, etc..

    • "That’s interesting, because most of the people pushing for this war on Syria are the same people who got it horribly wrong on Iraq.

      "You mean like Barack Obama?"

      Pay more attention to the words I use, Joe. I said "most of the people" not "all of the people" because I was aware Obama was not one of the promoters.

    • "I can’t help but notice that you didn’t agree with me about hoping the people who get this wrong being discredited.

      "Why would that be, Bill? Wouldn’t you want people who perpetrate a Big Lie to be discredited?"

      What are you talking about, Joe, when you refer to discrediting of people who got it wrong on Iraq? What do you mean by discredit? Bush and Cheney were re-elected after it became obvious the war was a disaster. Most of the politicians in Congress who voted for the war were re-elected. That's discredited? From the senate one of the more rabid promoters of the war became the Republican party's candidate for president. That's discredited? On the Democratic side one became vice president and two became secretaries of state. That's discredited? If Iraq had won the war and applied the same principles against US leadership that the allies applied against the German leadership in Nuremberg, many of those people would have been dangling at the end of a rope a long time ago instead of being on the receiving end of compliments. Many of the pundits supporting the crime against humanity in Iraq are now invited on talk shows to promote aggression against Syria. CNN had two of the worst on last night - Wolfowitz and Lieberman.

    • The opposition to this contemplated attack on Syria includes more groups than just "the odd fellows alliance of neo-isolationist tea partiers and left wing Democrats." That helps to explain why a significant majority of the American people who are not "neo-isolationist tea partiers and left wing Democrats" are opposed to the war.

    • "This illustrates why we need 13 active aircraft carriers and their supporting task forces: to prevail over enemies in rowboats."

      Perhaps if we didn't constantly make enemies around the world we could get by with less than half of our military forces. On the other hand, if we built fleets of hospital ships and aircraft and sent them around the world treating the poor and the sick we might create a new generation of friends instead of another of enemies. At a much lower cost.

    • "I take issue with your last sentence. It looks to me like the American people have absorbed an object lesson that makes the majority firmly against a strike in Syria. They are hardly sleepwalkers."

      Brian: You're looking at the short term. The majority of Americans are notorious for political memories that fail to extend beyond the short term. They have a bad memory problem with history as do some tribal societies. The difference is that some tribal societies dwell on and stew over events that happened centuries ago while many Americans forget political events that happened more than a few weeks ago. Politicians and pundits know that and it explains why they talk so much rubbish at times. Their latest indignation is over the use of chemical weapons because they know the mass of sleepwalkers will have forgotten American use of Agent Orange and napalm in Vietnam and the callous use of mace by thugs in several police departments that had people reeling much like some of the non-fatal victims in the recent videos from Syria. Then there is the use of white phosphorous used by Israel and approved of by the White House and Congress. While they aren't chemical weapons, depleted uranium made in the USA and scattered around Iraq has similar devastating effects.

    • When it comes to chemical weapons it appears Uncle Sam speaks with a forked tongue:

      "

      Comment is free

      Obama's rogue state tramples over every law it demands others uphold

      For 67 years the US has pursued its own interests at the expense of global justice – no wonder people are sceptical now
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      George Monbiot
      George Monbiot
      The Guardian, Monday 9 September 2013 15.30 EDT
      Jump to comments (475)

      US fire white phosphorous at Taliban
      US troops fire a white phosphorous mortar towards a Taliban position on 3 April 2009 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photograph: John Moore/Getty

      You could almost pity these people. For 67 years successive US governments have resisted calls to reform the UN security council. They've defended a system which grants five nations a veto over world affairs, reducing all others to impotent spectators. They have abused the powers and trust with which they have been vested. They have collaborated with the other four permanent members (the UK, Russia, China and France) in a colonial carve-up, through which these nations can pursue their own corrupt interests at the expense of peace and global justice.

      Eighty-three times the US has exercised its veto. On 42 of these occasions it has done so to prevent Israel's treatment of the Palestinians being censured. On the last occasion, 130 nations supported the resolution but Barack Obama spiked it. Though veto powers have been used less often since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the US has exercised them 14 times in the interim (in 13 cases to shield Israel), while Russia has used them nine times. Increasingly the permanent members have used the threat of a veto to prevent a resolution being discussed. They have bullied the rest of the world into silence.

      Through this tyrannical dispensation – created at a time when other nations were either broken or voiceless – the great warmongers of the past 60 years remain responsible for global peace. The biggest weapons traders are tasked with global disarmament. Those who trample international law control the administration of justice.

      But now, as the veto powers of two permanent members (Russia and China) obstruct its attempt to pour petrol on another Middle Eastern fire, the US suddenly decides that the system is illegitimate. Obama says: "If we end up using the UN security council not as a means of enforcing international norms and international law, but rather as a barrier … then I think people rightly are going to be pretty skeptical about the system." Well, yes.

      Never have Obama or his predecessors attempted a serious reform of this system. Never have they sought to replace a corrupt global oligarchy with a democratic body. Never do they lament this injustice – until they object to the outcome. The same goes for every aspect of global governance.

      Obama warned last week that Syria's use of poisoned gas "threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by 189 nations". Unravelling the international norm is the US president's job.

      "In 1997 the US agreed to decommission the 31,000 tonnes of sarin, VX, mustard gas and other agents it possessed within 10 years. In 2007 it requested the maximum extension of the deadline permitted by the Chemical Weapons Convention – five years. Again it failed to keep its promise, and in 2012 it claimed they would be gone by 2021. Russia yesterday urged Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control. Perhaps it should press the US to do the same." link to theguardian.com

      No surprise there.

    • "The Obama administration appears to be running out of credible salespersons, and it is questionable that the salesman-in-chief will be able to do the job."

      Given this commentary by the estimable Gareth Porter, come Tuesday evening's grand presentation, Obama's speech writers will have a formidable challenge making gold out of lead.

      "Obama’s Syrian case shows cracks: New cracks have appeared in the Obama administration’s case for bombing Syria. Though the White House’s four-page white paper has been palmed off as a U.S. intelligence assessment, it now appears to have been a political document that cherry-picked evidence" - link to consortiumnews.com

    • An interesting view of the McDonough mission to sell the war on Syria:

      "An obvious choice would have been National Security Adviser Susan Rice, but her reputation for truthfulness got seriously tarnished after she made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16, 2012, and stuck to inaccurate talking points about the attack on the U.S. “mission” in Benghazi, Libya."

      and

      "A second likely candidate would have been Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, but he has admitted to telling “clearly erroneous” things in sworn testimony to Congress regarding the collection of phone data on American citizens." link to consortiumnews.com

      The Obama administration appears to be running out of credible salespersons, and it is questionable that the salesman-in-chief will be able to do the job.

    • "That the Assad forces launched a chemical warfare attack is not what “seems likely.” It is a a well-known fact, like the moon landing."

      It appears more than a few people are not aware of or convinced of your "well-known fact," Joe.

      "Meanwhile, the case against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seemingly coming apart at the seams, as is seen in a comment by the chairman the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, R-California, no peace-monger he: “They haven’t linked it [the evidence on the use of chemical agent] directly to Assad, in my estimation.”" link to consortiumnews.com

    • "The US and other established and emerging democracies ..."

      If the Obama administration orders the Pentagon to attack Syria in violation of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and other international laws and over the objections of a vast majority of Americans, then you can forget about listing the US among the world's democracies.

    • "It is my sincere hope that the people who get this vital question wrong are every bit as discredited in the future as the Iraq War Pundits, who got the question of Iraqi WMDs so very wrong, deserved to be."

      That's interesting, because most of the people pushing for this war on Syria are the same people who got it horribly wrong on Iraq. If this war comes off and proves, as it most likely will, to be another crime against humanity the criminals will probably suffer nothing worse than temporary discredit. That is one of the advantages of being militarily and economically powerful in a nation sleepwalking consumers.

    • "And if you wete a Syrian child whose family was tortured and murdered by Al Nusra, et al, or Israeli or US missiles, ..."

      Except in this case US missiles will be precision-guided and will only kill the bad guys - no collateral damage among the good ones.

    • Your well-known fact doesn't appear to be that well-known among a group of former intelligence officials with contacts among active intelligence officials.

      "Obama warned on Syrian intel: Exclusive: Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story." - link to consortiumnews.com

      It may eventually prove true that the Assad regime intentionally fired a chemical weapon, but I wouldn't bet on it, especially on the word of people who lied to get the US and its English poodle into the Iraq war.

    • Congratulations, Jeanette. You have just written the longest capital-letter-free sentence ever on this blog. How do you distinguish between Democrats and democrats and between Republicans and republicans? There is a difference, u no.

    • "So US policy is to join with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to encourage a second front at Deraa with anti-al-Qaeda fighters a la sons of Iraq and limiting access for heavy weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra at the northern front by intercepting them in Turkey."

      If a couple of drunks in a bar get into a fight it will most likely be resolved in a short period of time with one party being victorious. If several other drunks pile in and change it to a brawl then it's a new story with carnage all over the joint.

    • "It is unlikely that Russia or Iran has any interest in stopping the use of chemical weapons in Syria ..."

      News reports are saying that the Russian foreign minister has proposed that Assad place his chemical weapons under international control.

    • "Americans do not mature after their senior year of high school; which would go a long way towards explaining this inane and immature charade called coalition building."

      I read recently that the average American's knowledge of history is based on what he or she learned in fifth grade. Despite our Founding Fathers being mostly racists, slave owners, and elitists, these little children advance into sixth grade and beyond into adulthood with the concept, despite all the wars and misery they create, our leaders are really good people at heart and whatever America does is okay.

    • "Seems likely? Obama should rush to start a war in defiance of International Law on what seems likely? Surely going to war requires definite proof and some evidence."

      Except for the corrupting influence of power possessed by whatever administration is in the White House. The rule of law is merely a talking point and something for others to obey, not the rulers.

  • When Syria was a US Ally (or at Least Helpful)
    • ” After 2001, the US sent captured al-Qaeda operatives to Syria to be tortured by that country’s secret police.”

      That was to give them an appreciation of American values.

    • "...it seems to me that the primary reason Americans aren’t rallying to Obama’s attempts at persuasion regarding attacking Syria isn’t that Americans were lied into the Iraq war ... but because most Americans realize that Obama has been actively lying to us about NSA spying,..."

      Many people among the minority paying attention became skeptical of Obama long before the NSA scandal which was just another reason to not trust him.

      This is from a blurb promoting the book, "Hopeless":

      "Edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank. The election of Barack Obama sparked long-dormant tingles of optimism in even the most entrenched political cynics. But the promise of an Obama revolution fizzled out even before his inauguration, as the president-in-waiting stocked his cabinet with corporate hacks, cut secret deals with Wall Street titans and plotted a bloody escalation of the senseless war in Afghanistan."

    • Iran helped the United States against the Taliban, and look at where that got the Iranians.

    • "I just watched WH Chief of Staff McDonough on CNN. He was speaking directly to you and me, Henry James. "

      On CBS Screw the Nation McDonough indicated that the latest videos on the gassing in Syria were all that was necessary to convict al-Assad. Bob Schieffer had the temerity to suggest that the video didn't necessarily prove the Syrian military did it. McDonough ignored Schieffer who knew his role in the fawning corporate media and had by that time exhausted whatever powers of interrogation he brought to the show let McDonough stiff him. McDonough clearly indicated that Congress is expected to just accept the videos without any connecting evidence.

    • If it is from Friedman the odds are it's more BS.

  • American Jews Divided on Syria Strike, Many Oppose AIPAC
    • "Have you ever witnessed Hayes or Perry spend any time showing Americans the dead, injured and displaced in Iraq? Hell no."

      It has been a long time since I watched those phonies on MSNBC, but thank you for letting me know there is no point in going back to that channel. The same goes for the rest of the mainstream presstitutes. I watched a few minutes of Bob Schieffer on Screw the Nation this morning but gave up when he let the White House chief of staff get away with a load of BS and then introduced as his next guests Bill Kristol and Bob Woodward.

    • Regardless of whether they are Jews or Gentiles, why should anyone blindly believe the war propaganda against Syria coming out of the mouths of people who got it so disastrously wrong on Iraq and Operation Cast Lead? (Senate vote: link to govtrack.us) Dianne Feinstein is a prominent example among the hawks. If I recall correctly she was on the Senate Intelligence (sic) Committee during the run-up to the war on Iraq. Some time after that was proved to be a disaster Dick Durbin (D-Durbin) made a speech in the senate during which he said the intelligence the committee received behind closed doors was different from the purported intelligence promulgated by the warmongers. Accordingly, he voted against the war, but Dianne Feinstein still voted to go to war.

    • "By the way, American Muslims are also divided. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is supporting the strike on Syria. Andre Carson (D-IN) is undecided and wants more proof."

      Do American Muslims have the same Sunni-Shia divide that is such a problem in the Middle East and South Asia?

    • "There is a good reason for which the proper diction for AIPAC is “an Israel lobby” rather than “a Jewish lobby.” AIPAC doesn’t represent the views of most American Jews, ..."

      One of the problems, however, is that AIPAC is in alliance with many key players in Congress and the White House, both Jewish and Gentile, which overrides to some degree many of the people of Jewish heritage who are opposed to the machinations of the Israel lobby.

    • "By the way, American Muslims are also divided. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is supporting the strike on Syria. Andre Carson (D-IN) is undecided and wants more proof."

      Carson, Ellison and anyone interested in this debate about Syria, especially the chemical weapons episode, would do well to check this open letter from the (retired) Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) who apparently acquired some information from active professionals. In part, "Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. "

      The VIPS' open letter to the president is here: "Obama warned on Syrian intel: Exclusive: Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story." - link to consortiumnews.com

    • "I wouldn’t be surprised if the population in American society..."

      There are people who are not in the least surprised when a majority of American people get it wrong.

  • Obama Isolated at G20 on Syria, No 'Coalition of the Willing'
    • "China expressed fears that US military action in Syria would cause a spike in oil prices and slow the world’s economy."

      Following questions about attacking Syria if Congress does not support him, we should all fear for the chances of US military action judging by Obama's responses suggesting he still appears to believe he has a responsibility to act.

      If he does act without the approval of Congress, then it would appear impeachment should be on the table. If Congress does support him, then impeachment should extend to all those senators and representatives who voted for an illegal war.

  • Obama's Syria Strike Part of 'Broader Strategy' (Germanos)
    • "Republican Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who have pushed for an aggressive attack on Syria, left a Labor Day meeting with Obama "encouraged the administration appeared to be developing a plan for Syria ..."

      And after those bullies left Chuck Hagel looking like a hapless wreck at his confirmation hearing, Assad will probably write him off as someone to not worry about. There can't be many people other than those sucking up for a promotion inspired by Hagel after he allowed himself to be abused in such a crude and squalid manner. How's that for emasculating the man in charge of our war department?

      Given the evidence of the senior bully of that pair being caught playing poker and thus considering it more interesting than a declaration of war that will kill thousands of innocent people, it seems fair to conclude this hearing was nothing more than a typical senate charade.

    • "Although, as McClatchy reports, the administration's case to use force against Syria "is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence," Obama signaled he was confident his request for authorization to use force would win votes from Congress next week."

      What does that say about the senators who voted for a war on Syria after the charade promoted by the foreign relations committee? "Riddled with inconsistencies" could pass as a synonym for BS and "mainly circumstantial evidence" as "maybe true, maybe a lie."

  • Former Iranian President Slams Syria for Gassing own People: Sign of deep Divisions in Tehran
    • The senate hearing on a proposed illegal war against Syria gave Secretary Kerry and others sharing his position an opportunity to engage in Orwellian-speak.

      According to the secretary, this proposed attack on Syria is not an act of war. There are American Navy destroyers and cruisers at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. They are warships. They have missiles on board primed for an attack on Syria. Those missiles are weapons of war. If firing weapons of war from warships to cause severe destruction in another country is not an act of war, then what is?

      On CNN Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) invoked the moral imperative to justify an attack on Syria. Where was the moral imperative in Congress when all but very few of its incumbent senators and representatives endorsed the mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israeli Defense (sic) Forces in Operation Cast Lead in Dec. 2008/January 2009?

    • "I can’t help but notice that none of the people assuring me that Kerry must by lying ..."

      There is a great deal of understandable skepticism about what is coming out of Kerry's mouth, but most skeptics seem to have refrained from calling him a liar because they are like Kerry in not having solid evidence one way or the other. Anything less than conclusive evidence beyond a reasonable doubt should be unacceptable when so much is at stake.

      After Kerry's failed presidential bid when it should have been a cakewalk for Anybody-but-Bush, there are few reasons for anyone with a memory extending longer than a couple of months trusting Kerry on any issue. He was capable of getting it disastrously wrong on Iraq and could be just as wrong on Syria. There are reports related to Kerry getting advice from Bob Shrum that suggest Kerry's vote for war on Iraq was based on what was perceived to be his then-immediate political interest and nothing to do with what was right or wrong.

    • Obama and company apparently plan to just lob a few missiles into Syria to send a message. That will be tragic for the Syrians on the receiving end. But it could be worse if Washington decided to "bring democracy" to Syria. Iraq and Libya were intended beneficiaries of that program, and now they are basket cases.

  • Obama goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses
    • "Israel wonders where they stand should Iran’s nuclear program accelerate."

      A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program, so Israel should have no fear of a nuclear program that has nothing to do with weapons. Israel is reputed to have 200 to 400 nuclear weapons, including nuclear-armed submarines so why should it fear Iran even if it did have a few? I guess paranoia is a possible answer to that question.

      "Report Shows Iranian Nuke Restraint: A new inspections report about Iran’s nuclear program prompted the usual alarmist headlines in U.S. newspapers about the growing need to attack Iran. But details in the report suggest that Iran is holding back from any “breakout” capability to build a nuclear bomb, reports Gareth Porter for Inter Press Service." - link to consortiumnews.com

    • Congress won't have any problem with Obama violating the War Powers Resolution or shredding the Constitution as long as extra-marital sex in not involved.

    • Unfortunately, one of my state's senators with an excellent record on other issues keeps issuing statements about Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons despite my notifying him of a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate saying the Iranians had abandoned that project.

      Gareth Porter reports that Hassan Rouhani was opposed to the development of nuclear weapons, but apparently rogue scientists were in favor. As Iran's new president, Rouhani will very likely maintain his opposition to nuclear weapons.

      "Fresh doubts on Iran’s nuke program: Though Israeli leaders and U.S. neocons still beat the drum for war on Iran, new evidence suggests top Iranian officials did not sanction nuclear weapons research a decade ago but rather the work originated from scientists who resisted the will of political leaders to shut it down, Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service." - link to consortiumnews.com

    • "All he really needed for his international support was that pair of the largest and most active European nations in trying to do something about al-Assad’s slaughter of his own people for little more reason than to keep the rulership of Syria purely a family matter, with his family enjoying that privilege."

      The Iraq warmongers used a similar line about how evil Saddam Hussein was (true) and if we got rid of him everyone in Iraq would live happily ever after. Have you checked the news out of that disaster area lately? Getting rid of evil dictators is a great idea, but wars rarely are the answer. World War II was one of the rare exceptions.

    • "And that is the whole point of why I think American military intervention is not a bad idea, and that’s been so for some time.. It would be a truly humanitarian effort to cut down and even end this bloodbath, ..."

      If only it were that simple!!!

    • Victors' justice is part of the story, but what about the millions of American voters who keep re-electing these war criminals to offices where they can commit more crimes?

    • "I can’t understand why none of the mainstream media journalists ask Obama about use of CW by the US and others in the not-too-distant past."

      To qualify as a mainstream journalist applicants must know that they dare not ask challenging and embarrassing questions of politicians doing the bidding of the ruling plutocracy; otherwise, they will be dumped. During the hiring process the would-be mainstream journalist is made aware of corporate standards that dare not be breached. The politicians can be asked challenging questions on nickel-and-dime issues that few people care about, but that's the limit. An ability to transcribe accurately whatever spokespersons say and relay it to the masses is essential.

    • British government let British company export nerve gas to Syria - link to independent.co.uk

      Apparently, the Brits didn't tell the Syrians not to use it - just pay for it.

    • "(Nobody thinks its OK to use chemical weapons on their own people)"

      "The Risk from Distorting Intelligence: The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains." - link to consortiumnews.com

    • There is something very bizarre about the warmongering talk promoting wars against Iran and now Syria. If, instead of both Iraq and the United States both losing the war on Iraq, Iraq had won and applied the same principles against the American and British leadership that the Allies applied to the Germans at Nuremberg, then many of the advocates for that international aggression and crime against humanity would have been dangling at the end of a rope a long time ago instead of promoting more wars in the Middle East as they are now doing.

    • "Obama, Congress and Syria: The president is celebrated for seeking a vote on his latest war even as his aides make clear it has no binding effect" by Glenn Greenwald - link to commondreams.org … According to the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman, Secretary of State John Kerry, this morning on CNN, said this when asked whether the Congressional vote would be binding: "[Obama] has the right to do this no matter what Congress does."

      "Obama Will Launch a Huge Propaganda Blitz -- and May Attack Syria Even If He Loses the Vote in Congress" by Norman Solomon - link to commondreams.org

      If Congress opposes a war on Syria and the Obama administration shows contempt for that vote and Congress and the American people remain mute after the war begins it will, in effect, say that there is no longer any doubt that the United States' experiment in democracy is over.

    • The votes in Congress should be interesting. We know who the warmongers are and who their opponents are, but what about the silent majority who were probably happy in their anonymity? It's time for the people to let them know their positions on this. No doubt, the Israel Lobby will be "explaining" their position to their representatives in Congress.

  • The Ghost of Iraq haunts Obama on Syria as British Parliament Defects
    • "I’d like Obama to have congressional approval for military action in Syria."

      That might make the attack on Syria Constitutional, but it would still be immoral and illegal attacking a country that is not attacking us. But I suppose with all the protagonists on both sides morally bankrupt anything goes.

    • "Obama should pivot now and choose vigorous diplomacy over a military strike. The latter will now have no legitimacy in international law,..."

      When was the last time "international law" dissuaded the United States government from any aggression it had in mind?

    • "If Al Gore would have won the presidency instead of GW Bush I doubt seriously he would have invaded Iraq or Afghanistan."

      Al Gore would have done whatever was in Al Gore's interest, and with Senator Joe Lieberman (Likudnik-CT) transitioned to VP a war on Iraq under Al Gore would have been possible. Al Gore showed his true colors when he was prepared to sell little Elian Gonzales down the Miami River to get the Cuban vote instead of reuniting this little boy with his father.

  • The Kosovo Fallacy and Syria (Axworthy-Cole Debate)
  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • "would it not make sense to let the UN inspectors complete their work to at least identify which chemical agent was used, whether it was weapons-grade and how it may have been delivered before drawing conclusions on who did it."

      The point is not to make sense. It is to avoid the possible inconvenience of discovering the Assad regime is not to blame.

      "Militarily attacking a country based on guesswork, without UN authorization, without any clearly defined goals and against the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans is not only a violation of international law but a recipe for disaster."

      The United States helped to write those laws, but that doesn't mean its new leaders have to obey them, especially when they can get away with flouting them. In the case of Iraq, it wasn't really guesswork about WMDs. Everyone except the gullible knew, or at least considered it a good bet, that Saddam Hussein didn't have any.

    • "Does Obama know he's fighting on al-Qa'ida's side?" by Robert Fisk - link to independent.co.uk

    • The people who are indignant about this use of chemical weapons that killed how many? 1100? 1200? 1300? are mostly the same people who approved of Binyamin Netanyahu's Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009 that killed an estimated 1,400-plus Palestinians, including around 600-700 women and children. When Netanyahu addressed his puppets in Congress after that event they gave him 29 standing ovations. Another of the countless examples of hypocrisy that is rampant among our so-called leadership and accepted by the legion of American consumers. Perhaps, this is evidence of our national insanity.

      One break in this for John Kerry is the fact he can concentrate on Syria now that the Israelis have scuttled Kerry's vaunted "peace talks" by murdering three Palestinians.

      "Though some intelligence analysts still doubt that the Syrian government launched a chemical attack, the political momentum for a U.S. retaliatory strike may be unstoppable. But the broader framework of the crisis involves the Israeli-Iranian dispute and the future of regional peace, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern." - link to consortiumnews.com

    • "Obama and allies should act to send a message to Assad and other tinhorn dictators: ..."

      Washington has two messages for dictators: If they don't do Washington's bidding then it is some form of aggression. For the dictators who do Washington's bidding, it's all kumbaya even to the point of supplying their death squads with guns and bullets. Or, as noted above, supplying some with chemical weapons to kill their mutual enemies.

    • Having John Kerry in the forefront pushing for military intervention demonstrates the hypocrisy that attends the debate about Syria. This is from his recent speech:

      "What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians (see below), the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable."

      Cited in "US Complicity in 'Some of the Most Gruesome Chemical Weapons Attacks' Revealed
      Foreign Policy magazine provides new details in how the CIA helped Saddam gas Iran" link to commondreams.org

      That was followed by shock and awe (voted for by Senator Kerry) and other unspeakable US crimes in Iraq: Cluster bombs, depleted uranium, torture, indiscriminate killings such as "Collateral Murder" and obliterating wedding parties.

      US bombing of Iraq: The toxic legacy continues; New study links heavy bombing of Falluja and Al Basrah to staggering rise in birth defects, miscarriages - link to commondreams.org

      This is from Paul Craig Roberts:

      "The war criminals in Washington and other Western capitals are determined to maintain their lie that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. Having failed in efforts to intimidate the UN chemical inspectors in Syria, Washington has demanded that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon withdraw the chemical weapons inspectors before they can assess the evidence and make their report. The UN Secretary General stood up to the Washington war criminals and rejected their demand." link to counterpunch.org

      This is reminiscent of Bush and Cheney having the UN weapons inspectors evicted from Iraq before they could prove the non-existence of WMDs.

  • Obama's Limited Options: Bombing Syria unlikely to be Effective
    • "It’s obvious that “he,” nominally on our behalf and “for the greater good,” will “do something,”"

      Like the "surge" in Afghanistan.

    • "I see no reason why at this stage any Government should be sabre rattling until such time as independent and objective proof is found."

      Perhaps, we could check with Colin Powell.

    • Regardless of which side to support - US to attack or not attack Syria - the United States remains consistent in its hypocrisy as applied to foreign policy.

      This is from the transcript of John Kerry's speech on Syria:

      "What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable." link to theguardian.com

      But shock and awe was appropriate against Iraq. Right, Mr. Secretary? Or should we say Senator Kerry who voted for the war on Iraq that makes this latest horror in Syria by comparison look like a fender bender? Chemical weapons are without question abominable, but what about the cluster bombs and the depleted uranium that are still taking their toll a decade later in Iraq?

  • Does the World Care? 1 Mn Syrian Children Refugees & Aid Money Running Out
    • "When it is all over and the shooting eventually stops ..."

      That could be a long time from now if some people have their way. This is from Mondoweiss:

      "You may have noticed that John Kerry's peace process, by excluding Hamas among other measures, is aimed at managing the conflict. Not resolving the basic justice issues, because they seem too overwhelming, but putting the conflict on the back burner so it doesn't boil up. Trying to sustain the unsustainable status quo by making it more sustainable.

      "Inthe New York Times, Edward N. Luttwak has the very same prescription for Syria. "In Syria, America loses if either side wins." Luttwak wants endless bloodshed-- "four of Washington's enemies" tied down in neverending war. It seems like these include Israel's enemies, Hezbollah and Iran."

    • "Does the world care?"

      Some people in the world do care, but they are in a minority, and many of them are already overwhelmed with helping other charities. I have said to friends that if I donated to every worthwhile charity that asks me for a donation via my email I would be broke in no time. Their response? "I know what you mean."

      My understanding is that the oil sheiks of the Arabian peninsula are largely instrumental in creating this Syrian crisis. The UN should, but won't, go after them to pay up.

  • NSA abuses include Stalking ex-Girlfriends
    • "Our leaders/power controller are not up to the task."

      The Peter Principle has it that people rise to their level of incompetence.

    • "it was harder to perceive corruption 25 years ago."

      The evidence was available, but you're right. It wasn't easy to get to with the curtain created by the mainstreat media blocking the view. Nothing new there. It has been going on for generations. A few months ago I read a history of the First World War. The Times of London was apparently as dishonest then as the New York Times has been for years.

      Walter Karp and I.F. "Izzy" Stone revealed much of the corruption during the latter half of the 20th Century. Much of what they had to say then is still relevant. Karp exposed the duopoly of the Democratic and Republic parties. The only difference now is that the Repubulican right wing wants to change that to a monopoly.

    • Too late, Pam. You're already in the database, but you're in good company.

    • 13 things the government is trying to keep secret from you: Constitutional black out by Bill Quigley - link to counterpunch.org

    • Quiet please. Don't raise your voices too loudly. You'll wake up the sleeping masses.

    • I have it from a relie-able source that Davy Gregory of "Beat the Press" and Bubba Sheeper of "Screw the Nation" were very impressed by how Andy Coma grilled Obama this week on CNN. Did you notice how the president wiped his brow when he staggered off the set? Accordingly, check the boob tube tomorrow for how Davy and Bubba will follow suit by laying into officials from the NSA and the chairpersons of the House and Senate intelligence (sic) committees to make sure the data scooper-uppers don't every spy on us again.

      I also still have that bridge across New York's East River for sale.

    • Comparatively speaking, the LOVEINT issue doesn't even rise to the level of a nickel-and-dime event, but it does reveal that many people have access to data about many other people that is ripe for the most extreme forms of abuse, including political blackmail. Ponder that one for its possibilities.

  • Is the US Government the Managing Committee of the Pirate Banks?
    • “What Marx got wrong is that apparently people will put up with this sort of thing if you just provide them with some cheap consumer electronics and televised gossip about celebrity scandals.” -J. Cole

      Or as as acquaintance of mine put it: The people will put up with this abuse until they can no long afford Happy Meals.

    • More likely, Summers is Wall Street's choice and it it Obama's task to see that Summers is installed as Fed Chairman. Obama will be ably assisted in this by Wall Street lobbyists "persuading" senators to confirm Summers.

    • These bubbles did not evolve of themselves. They were created by the big players in the prevailing capitalist system that made them possible.

    • "The point that should be more than obvious by now is that the plutocrats have taken over completely and Obama is on their team."

      And Slick Willie's Lady Macbeth is waiting in the wings to take over in 2016.

    • Not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Two strikes against such an event: Corrupt campaign financing and an apathetic populace.

    • "Prof. Cole deserves his own political talk show, possibly replacing Schieffer or Gregory."

      Never happen. Only lapdogs make it on the mainstream media. Cenk Uygur went beyond the bounds of corporate-approved liberal talk on the neo-liberal MSNBC and was dumped. Helen Thomas, the only journalist with integrity and guts in the White House stenography pool, was gotten rid of at the first opportunity for telling the truth.

    • "Summers should be doing time or at least be recognized for his dishonesty; Obama seems to have a talent for picking exactly the wrong people for any given task/job."

      The point that should be more than obvious by now is that the plutocrats have taken over completely and Obama is on their team. The evidence was completely exposed when President-elect Obama had an economic team assigned to him of Wall Street agents, by Wall Street power brokers, and for Wall Street profiteers.

      This is just another variation on our "justice" theme. Protect the criminals and jail the whistleblowers.

  • Bradley Manning in a World of Cheneys, Hadithas, and NSA Domestic Surveillance
    • Any supporting evidence for that statement?

    • Anyone interested in learning something about transgender experiences will probably find "Conundrum" by Jan (formerly James) Morris of interest. Travel books written under both names were, and still are, very popular. "Conundrum" is about the operation and life shortly thereafter as Jan who now lives in Wales. The book is probably out of print but is available through used book dealers.

    • "...as international law dictates; ... and don’t follow illegal orders"

      Which is what all of our military and naval personnel from the chiefs of staff down to the lowest-ranking grunt who participated in the invasion of Iraq violated. Only one officer (I won't bring up his name to protect the anonymity he probably now prefers) objected to being assigned to Iraq because he believed it would have violated his oath to defend and uphold the Constitution.

      At his kangaroo trial, the defense wanted to make the legality of the war an issue, but the judge for understandable reasons to avoid embarrassment for the military ruled against that. Thereafter, it appeared the Army was glad to see the end of this trial and let the officer go with a comparatively light penalty.

    • "And the government took us another step down the road to authoritarian government..."

      It doesn't appear we are any longer walking towards an authoritarian state - more like we are already there and this is another bolt locking the prison gates.

      It is only those of us in the minority on the fringe of society who are offended by this kangaroo trial. As for the appeals to Obama to pardon Manning or commute her sentence, they will just prove Obama is firmly fixed in his authoritarian mode. And that will be one of the few instances where he will enjoy bi-partisan support.

    • "Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden deserve the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize..."

      Except it is unlikely that the Norwegians on that committee would have the audacity and moral courage to do such a thing.

    • As President Obama said in another instance, "It's time to look forward, not backward."

      I agree. Give Chelsea Manning a bus or plane ticket to wherever she wants to go and forget the embarrassing exposure of our nation's hypocrisy.

    • If if weren't for the dominant role hypocrisy plays, this would probably be time to delete "Honor" from the West Point military academy motto.

    • This is from a summary of Chelsea Manning's* statement after her sentencing as reported by Norman Solomon -

      "“Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps — to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light. As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’”" link to counterpunch.org

      To her* list we might add Eugene Debs, one of the first victims of the Espionage Act and the hysteria and hypocrisy that created it. Then there were ... too many to add to the list.

      *In response to and respect for her request.

    • "I guess the thing I can’t quite wrap my mind around is this; where’s the outrage that I grew up with when injustice was attempted?"

      I have made this point of moral apathy in Amerika in a variety of fora where whatever I wrote appears to have just vanished into the ether. Welcome to our little club, Arn.

  • Alleged Torturers sue Abu Ghraib Torture Victims (Lazare)
  • Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
    • There's more on the If-you-aaren't-doing-anything-wrong theme at link to dailykos.com

    • Thanks to our resident trolls we have been diverted to some degree from discussing the Kafkaesque abuse of powers by the British Gestapo working in happy compliance with their colleagues in the United States. The law cited by those supporting the extraordinary detention of David Miranda was cobbled together to detain terrorists. No fair-minded, independent thinker (trolls excluded) would have attached the terrorist label to Greenwald, Miranda or Poitras. They do, however, disturb the emotions of those people of an authoritarian mold who are offended by exposure of embarrassisng truths.

    • This is from one of the better commentaries of the Miranda affair:

      "Two great forces are now in fierce but unresolved contention. The material revealed by Edward Snowden through the Guardian and the Washington Post is of a wholly different order from WikiLeaks and other recent whistle-blowing incidents. It indicates not just that the modern state is gathering, storing and processing for its own ends electronic communication from around the world; far more serious, it reveals that this power has so corrupted those wielding it as to put them beyond effective democratic control. It was not the scope of NSA surveillance that led to Snowden's defection. It was hearing his boss lie to Congress about it for hours on end." link to theguardian.com

    • Not only that, but the senate intelligence (sic) committee was getting the facts that contradicted the propaganda from the Bush/Cheney administration, and all the senators remained mute allowing the United States and its British poodle to wage an illegal and immoral war on Iraq that has destroyed the lives of millions of people in one way or another. Where were the profiles in courage then? Where are they now?

    • "War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses." Smedley Butler

      Smedley Butler based that statement on American aggression in the early 20th Century against Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and China. War remains a racket in the 21st Century. The only differences are our war on terror is more global and the weapons more high tech and we have the military-industrial-security complex added to the profiteers.

    • More from Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian:

      "David Miranda, Schedule 7 and the danger all reporters now face: As the events in a Heathrow transit lounge – and the Guardian offices – have shown, the threat to journalism is real and growing by Alan Rusbridger" - link to commondreams.org

    • The evidence just continues to accumulate that the US and Britain are on a trajectory towards authoritarians states that have no use for democracy:

      "Later, as Rusbridger (editor of The Guardian) describes, "one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred" when a pair of GCHQ agents oversaw the "the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement" which contained portions of the Snowden documents." link to commondreams.org

    • It is interesting that 70 years ago British and American soldiers, sailors and airmen fought to rid Europe of fascist regimes, and now their children and grandchildren are aiding and abetting or aquiescing to Britain and America converting to fascism.

    • “What will it take to get the attention of a sleepy, fat, lazy, public?”

      What will it take to get the trolls in touch with reality instead of spinning their rants to conform to their illusions?

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