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Total number of comments: 145 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:23)


Showing comments 145 - 101

  • Is Trump a bigger danger to the US or Europe?
    • Come on. How can "all of Europe" possibly be threatened by the Russians when Russia's economy is staggering around like a drunk at Mardi Gras and the old Soviet empire is dead as a doornail? Europe and the US need to get beyond the eternal boogeyman that is Russia and create a truly unified Europe that doesn't leave the Russians out in the cold and beleaguered by an increasingly bellicose NATO.

  • Will Turkey leave NATO for Sino-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Council?
    • Well, if it's seen by Europe as an "idle threat", then they will simply ignore it.

  • US Goes to War with Houthis in Yemen (Openly)
    • The Saudis, corrupt and duplicitous to the hilt, have been playing Uncle Sam as a stooge and sap in the Middle East for generations. Americans are being used as a catspaw in regional squabbles by all sorts of factions and we're either too stupid to realize it or we're foolishly pursuing our own schemes and mischief, thinking WE'RE calling the shots. Whatever the case, it's long past time to get out of bed with these Saudi dynasts and schemers.

  • Syria: Russia warns of Mideast Apocalypse if US attacks al-Assad's military
    • It's hard to say for sure what lay behind that attack on the Syrian base. It was *awfully* convenient for the hardliners within he US government and defense establishment who don't like the prospect of a cease-fire agreement and would be happy to see it fall apart, which such an incident was likely to cause. It reminds me of that still-controversial "accidental" bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade back in 1999, brushed off at the time as a mere "snafu" but it sent a message to Chinese intelligence operatives who'd been using that embassy as an HQ and some analysts at the time were skeptical given the background context. Cui bono?

      The Russians may be using their public statements to show cards in their hand to signal they know what the US may be up to behind the scenes (the cards the Americans are NOT revealing). We can't rely on the mainstream Western media to give us the full story, that's for sure.

  • How the JASTA override on Saudi could Bite Americans in the Ass
    • I don't much care about any potential "fallout". I'm sick of the US , along with so many others, kowtowing to the corrupt and duplicitous Saudis. Let them eat sand.

  • "Pigs! Crusaders!": US-Backed Fundamentalist Militias drive US Commandos out of al-Ray, Syria
    • Body armor, impenetrable sunglasses, gadgets galore -- geez, US soldiers look like alien monsters compared to the natives of the places America sends troops into. No wonder we can't "win hearts and minds." Could we project a MORE menacing image?

  • Is Turkey's incursion into Syria about Daesh, or about the Kurds?
    • I constantly wonder how long the Kurds will accept being played as saps, stooges, and cat's paws by Uncle Sam in this region. Maybe they feel they have no choice; but being continually betrayed or backstabbed or sold down the river can't be enough to satisfy their long-thwarted aspirations.

      Perhaps the Kurds think THEY are the puppet-masters in this game, yanking the strings of the Americans, and there may be some truth in this, but in the long run, who is going to realize their goals if they're mutually exclusive?

  • Does this Change Everything? Russia's first strikes on Syria from Iran Airbases
    • Netanyahu must be hopping mad at how this makes an Israeli strike against Iran so much more irrational and impractical.

  • A Sucker is born Every Minute: Our Election From Hell
    • "The world's greatest military" is only great at gorging at the trough and keeping the slop coming down the chute. At warmaking, it's a dismal failure. It can break nations but not rebuild them, it can smash a conventional army like Iraq's but hasn't a clue how to defeat an insurgency (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) that are the wars it always produces as backwash. God save us from future disasters in Syria or Ukraine or Libya, but I fear these or worse are coming.

      I've no answer for the crippling angst created by this election year other than these wise words from Virgil: "Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis" -- "Endure, and preserve yourselves for better times."

  • Donald "Dr. Strangelove" Trump and some of the Times We almost had a Nuclear War
    • I know several Millennials who openly brag they have never seen a movie older than ten or at the outside twenty years, or never seen a black-and-white movie. They seem to think they've nothing at all to gain or learn from ancient junk like that. Dolts.

    • Starting a nuclear war with the USSR over one US pilot is just nuts.

      I've read about the Israeli nuclear alert in 1973, altho' the details change with every account. In one believable story, the Israeli leadership did ready their weapons -- which were not commonly known to exist at that time, if I recall correctly -- early in the war, when the surprised Israeli forces were reeling and it looked for a moment that the Syrians would overrun the Golan and continue down into Galilee, plus the Egyptians pour across the Sinai and enter Israel. Evidently it was thought that an existential crisis was nigh, and Israel would use the Bomb to stop its enemies, whatever the cost. This would likely have produced a Soviet reaction, hence the US alert. I'm not sure what was going on behind the scenes but it must have been a tense time. Then the battlefield situation stabilized for Israel and the threat of their using nukes receded. For the moment.

      But I'm glad they haven't sullied the one and only original Dr. Strangelove with another pointless, s****y Hollywood money machine remake.

  • Long Knives in Ankara: Victorious Erdogan begins Purge of Judiciary, Army
  • The Real Problem with the Iraq War: It was Illegal
    • Excellent piece, thank you Dr. Cole, for putting the words down for the record! This column has been a reliable source of information for me since those dark days of 2002 and 2003.

  • Putin's Winning Hand in Syria, as Turkey Apologizes and Obama Deals
    • "Europe" and Turkey are ones to talk about the sanctity of borders. Ask Serbia how it feels about having Kosovo forcibly removed. Ask why Turkey continues to occupy militarily a third of Cyprus and backs a puppet government there. Does the UN sanction Israel to force a return to its 1967 borders?

      Borders are man-made things and inherently transitory. The issue is when and how borders are changed, not pretending that they are established by divine fiat and eternal.

  • As Putin Slams NATO, Russia loses Patience with US-Backed Rebels in Syria
    • Given that the objective of the NATO war maneuvers was to prepare for the seizure of Russian Kaliningrad, I'm not surprised Russia sees these provocations as more than "defensive".

  • After Trump bashed Brown Immigrants all Year, it's the British White Guy who tries to Kill Him
    • He is a goofball. A competent attacker would simply have gone to any local gun show and bought all the weapons he needed, no questions asked.

      I'm truly surprised no terrorists have done this yet. No need to smuggle arms into the US, just send the teams of kamikaze shooters and give 'em enough cash to buy what they need, openly, easily.

    • I don't see how RFK becoming a martyr helped liberal or progressive causes any, in the world since 1968. Sirhan Sirhan did a pretty good job at ruining things for millions of people by removing the leading politician advocating radical change, who would have transformed the country had he been spared to serve (if not in the 1968 election, surely in 1972). I'd say this assassination, like one in Sarajevo in 1914, truly had far-reaching consequences.

    • Hey, how do we know Trump isn't armed?

  • France: Turkish-Russian 'War' Possible over Syria
    • I'd be interested in reading some informed military analysis on the capabilities and strategic priorities of such a war. It's not the 19th century, I don't expect a Russian drive to liberate Constantinople (sadly), but apart from the Caucasus, the countries are not directly adjacent and can hardly strike at one another directly. I would assume any such war would be largely confined to air strikes, missile strikes, perhaps some minor naval action; something designed to punish, not a full-scale war to conquer territory. A bigger question would be, what might be NATO's response to such a clash? That's where things get interesting.

  • Why Americans are Angry: The Minimum Wage Trap
    • I hate these kind of stories, and I've been reading them for a long time. I also did my time at temp work in Texas (for a state university, no less) where I was paid $11/hour to do the work normally a fulltime permanent employee (with benefits) would do. But dept.'s saved money in their budgets by farming out a lot of these jobs to temps for as long as they could get away with it (which is indefinitely in many cases). No sick time, no vacation accrual, no health coverage, no retirement service credit, and you can be dumped at will and never be given a temp assignment by that university again, should it so please the middle manager who "hired" you and can decide what your duties will consist of no matter what you were told you were brought in to do.

      This system is corrupt, exploitive, and immoral. It should be the law of the land that ANYBODY working a fulltime job is paid a LIVING WAGE, no matter what the job or location. Anything less is SLAVERY by another name.

  • George W. Bush, who Mirrored & Inflamed Public passions, attacks Trump for It
    • Well said. I can't stand to see this war criminal flouncing around acting important and avuncular in the face of all the death and misery he created. His hands and soul are stained with the blood of innocents, hundreds of thousands of them. In a just world, Dubya would be in jail and shoes would be flung at him every day by his victims.

  • Has the Turkish-Saudi direct Military Intervention in Syria Begun?
    • The Russians must be aching to bomb those Turkish artillery positions and take revenge for losing their aircraft. I can't blame them.

  • Is our Military-Industrial Complex a Fat Spoiled Brat?
  • How We Learned to Stop Worrying About People and Love the Bombing
    • I've said it before, I'll say it again here: Americans are never going to stop killing people in foreign lands until Americans start to pay a penalty for doing so. In the old days, countries were reluctant to get into cost-prohibitive wars or wars in which they would suffer as much as their enemies. As long as Americans can kill with relative impunity, they see no need to change their behavior. Morality has obviously failed. When others start to drone and bomb us in turn, we may start to perceive that war comes at a cost to all, and our days of punching defenseless foreigners at no cost to ourselves are at an end.

  • Nobelist Malala to Trump: Your Islamophobia is creating the grounds for Terrorism
    • Malala is an intelligent and articulate observer. Moreover, her memoir "I Am Malala" reveals that she is also a truly devout Muslim (all the more why the attack on her by fanatics was so wicked and misguided). I'm glad to see that has spoken up on the rampant Islamophobia being ginned up by the American right wing.

  • Shiite Iraqi politicians denounce Turkish 'Invasion,' call for Aerial bombardment
    • I wouldn't say that the British "colonized" Iraq. They may have dominated it as a client state, but they don't seem to have sent British citizens there to live or run things like in India or Kenya. The British did no more than the Americans have done during 2003-c.2012 and may be on the verge of doing again.

  • Can European Union, Russia & US team up to defeat ISIL?
    • Given the European powers' steady downscaling of their military capacities and ambitions since the 1960s, I question whether any NATO member state or even all in tandem have the wherewithal to intervene militarily in the Middle East without enormous US logistical and material support. It's been a long time since the Suez Intervention. And a long time since the brushfire war in the Falklands. Does France have the transport capacity to send an major expeditionary force abroad, resupply it, protect a naval armada, reinforce where necessary, provide air cover, and field land combat units in the numbers necessary? I have my doubts, so the "war" talk from Hollande is puzzling to me, if it's anything but empty rhetoric. More air raids and missiles alone is not going to destroy ISIL.

  • No, Sending thousands of US Ground Troops won't Fix the ISIL Problem
    • I have to disagree with this assessment. The West showing a willingness to become directly involved in land combat, with soldiers, not just lobbing missiles and bombs from safe distances, would clearly demonstrate a resolve and commitment that otherwise appears to be lacking. Soldiers are expected to put their lives on the line to protect civilians, that's their job -- professional militaries are kept out of harm's way while innocent citizens are bombed or threatened? That's backwards. Time to send in the French Foreign Legion and elite US and British combat units; supported by airpower, these forces would be enough to destroy ISIL and set up some security in these regions. The French are probably thinking now they should have, in fact, deployed the Legion long ago.

  • With Ahmad Chalabi's Death, Passing of an Age of Lies
    • I've often suspected that Chalabi was a CIA asset, if an unreliable one (possibly playing a double game with Iranian intelligence). Any thoughts on this?

  • Syria flying Russia-supplied Drones, Fighter Jets against ISIL/ Daesh
    • Russia has successfully suppressed Muslim extremists within its borders and defeated some small states that got too big for their britches. The Russians will be ruthless if necessary but they tend to get the job done. Afghanistan was an outlier (plus the trouble for the Soviets didn't really begin until the US and its proxies started to arm the mujahedin with advanced weapons, esp. anti-aircraft missiles) -- and NO ONE has a cakewalk in Afghanistan, even an army with less scruples than the Americans. But with Syria, the Near East, the British, Ottomans, and French have a history of conquering or ruling these regions and I could see the Russians assisting a rump government in Damascus in doing something similar. The US is the country that doesn't seem to understand how to occupy a foreign land in a way that doesn't breed such resentment that insurgencies develop and multiply.

      I'm not advocating for Russian intervention, only saying that historically, it isn't unreasonable for an outside power to decide to step in and sort out the local chaos. That's what Europeans did for most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. I wish the French Foreign Legion had been sent to Syria long ago, for that matter. They would have stopped ISIS/Daesh and saved Palmyra, at the least. That is a very self-sufficient and capable reaction force but France doesn't seem willing to commit it lately, apart from Mali. And it would be a good model for how a genuinely effective UN "firefighter" force might operate.

  • America's Dumb Bigots: Sikh Man Beaten Before Anniversary Of 9/11
    • This is so sad. Yet still so typical -- Sikhs were attacked and killed after 9-11 by dumbass American "patriots" for similar reasons. Years later, the same hatred, bigotry, and ignorance holds sway.

  • Russia Ramping up Military Involvement in Syria?
    • I wonder what the current state of Syria's air defenses is, and if any Russian help is designed to bolster these, which would please neither the US nor the Israelis, both of whom prefer unfettered access to Syrian airspace in pursuit of whatever their current objectives are.

      Given that the Israelis have killed several Iranian advisers in Syria (probably deliberately in most instances), one wonders if Russians attached to Syrian units will be under the same threat of accidental or "collateral" attack?

      Israel would probably like to stop weapons from reaching the Assad forces but I doubt it would attack a Russian supply ship or a Russian transport convoy.

  • GOP jumps Shark *again*: Call For Canadian Border Wall
    • We need a wall around Austin to keep out all the Southern Californians, Formula One race enthusiasts, suburbanites from Dallas and Houston, and SXSW tourists. Will Walker send us some money, please?

  • Hard to get Good Help: Are US Generals just Incompetent?
    • Thank you, excellent points about how a military caste separate and unequal from civilian life is toxic to the military and civilian sectors alike.

    • Outstanding essay and critique. This man is the type of thinker and leader our service academies ought to be emulating and producing. How sad that he's probably seen as an anomaly and an apostate. But I would have relished being in his classroom, back in the day when I was in ROTC and considered a military career.

  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    • War hawks like the idea of fighting Iran because they think the US can win and win easily and cheaply -- unlike the USSR, which was a formidable opponent that could have inflicted real damage on the US. Americans are the world's bullies, picking fights with what they see as weaker countries that they dislike but afraid to tackle anybody who might hit back. (Not that Iran would be a pushover anyway, and the US already demonstrated that it couldn't even pacify Iraq or Afghanistan with the all-volunteer Army, but that's irrelevant to perceptions.)

  • Has Iran cut off Hamas? Is Hamas turning to Saudi Arabia?
    • I have read some experts on military affairs say that the Saudi army is a horrible, nepotistic, incompetent shambles -- that the Saudi princes have spent all their military money on fancy planes and technologies and machinery but not on the unglamorous fields of basic infantry combat, and so must rely on hired guns, essentially, do tackle any hard ground fighting like they're finding is necessary to get their way in Yemen.

  • Why did the US fail in Iraq? Roots of American Overstretch
    • "General Breedlove" -- too much! Where do these characters come from, the "Dr. Strangelove" deleted scenes?

  • South Carolina removes the Physical Flag: Can it remove the Spiritual Illness of Racial Discrimination?
    • Too bad for the rebel flag that it does not have as powerful a lobby as the NRA to defend it whenever an act of typical American gun violence takes place. Americans can take down a flag, but challenge insane gun laws or take on a violence-obsessed culture? Those are way too hard. Everybody go back to shopping and watching TV and eating junk food, now. Nothing more to see, until next time. If the next shooting spree involves a national flag or the Lone Star Flag -- both of which have seen atrocities or rebellions under them -- it will be fascinating to watch the spinning and the excuse-making.

  • Obama: No more US troops to fight Daesh/ ISIL, but more Training
    • Exactly. American managerial-style warfare backed by endless resources and a ponderous supply chain just don't seem to be winning strategies anywhere, not even for the US since, oh, 1945.

      I mean, sure, we can kick a Grenada or Panama's butt and break countries like Iraq, but we are miserable at taking on an asymmetrical enemy or training unmotivated troops from a foreign culture.

    • A very apt observation, ta!

    • I can't help but suspect that perhaps this is just the sort of stalemate that serves powerful interests all around. Syrian fanatics keep the state weak and unable to oppose Israeli ventures and makes life hard for Hezbollah. The Turks get to flex their regional muscles but not risk deeper involvement. The US gets the same benefits as Turkey and Israel. And if the worst happens and ISIL or another unattractive group ousts Assad, so much the better, any of these three powers has a ready-made excuse to intervene more directly without risking world or internal dissent to the same degree as otherwise would be the case. I think the Syrian people are being sacrificed to the Machiavellian maneuverings of the outside powers (plus the ever-meddlesome Saudis).

  • Ghosts of King George III: Top 5 Things that threaten American Independence Today
    • Right on about gerrymandering in Texas (where it might also be called Perrymandering). It's so bad that my home of Austin is split into FIVE separate congressional districts. Is any other major city or capital treated like this anywhere in the US? The Republicans have been trying to gerrymander Lloyd Doggett (and every other white Democrat) out of Congress for years and years but he still wins, even though he now only represents a small fraction of Austin residents.

  • America's "Wars on . . ." have become an unhealthy Addiction
    • It's distasteful to say, but the truth hurts: Americans will go on loving and glorifying war, like the old Prussian Junkers caste, until Americans really feel the pain of war themselves. If Americans had to face the carnage and destruction and deprivation and hopelessness of a true war in the same way they so casually and eagerly inflict it on others, they would learn a harsh lesson quickly. But as long as war is so painless or invisible for most Americans (if not a spectator sport from which they enjoy vicarious thrills and power fantasies), it will go on and on. The military corporatists want it this way. Maybe the inevitable blowback or national bankruptcy will be so painful one day we'll change our ways.

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  • If Southerners want a Symbol, Why not the Moultrie Liberty Flag?
    • The Gadsden flag has been so thoroughly co-opted by the Tea Partiers in the last eight years that it has lost all its original meaning, and now I have got to get rid of mine that I've had for over two decades because if I fly it, people will assume I'm a right-wing anti-gummint radical. Sort of like what happened to the CSA battle flag, I suppose.

  • Top 5 Reasons Confederate Flag should stop Flying at SC Statehouse
    • If only the frequent school massacres in the US sparked as much outrage against gun violence and the plague of guns that is an American cult, and spurred action to correct this, as the Charleston killings have produced against a mere symbol and piece of cloth. But Americans usually favor symbolic action over practical action, and won't question the death-grip the gun lobby and gun worshippers have over national policy. Much easier to pick on those despised rednecks and bigots of the South and target a flag that doesn't have a well-funded political action committee to defend it.

    • Cotton was not going to be a suitable crop to grow west of the Mississippi, in most of the "new territory" you claim the South wished to expand into. So I'm not sure this argument has a grounding in reality. Then there's the matter of Indian lands, which most of this territory consisted of. The Civil war curtailed white expansion into Indian lands for a short time but after thew war, the restored national government eagerly resumed its genocidal war against the Indians. So much for moral high ground.

    • A little devil's advocating, perhaps: First, the pledge of allegiance post-dates the Civil War. And I see no reason why this should be considered a sacred text. Second, what the Civil War did was establish by force of arms that the Union could be preserved only against the wishes of many of its inhabitants. Might makes right is not a constitutional doctrine, is it? In short, the winners do what they want and justify it afterward however they wish and the losers must accept what they must. If the American revolution had failed, we'd be taught today that the "founding fathers" were all traitors.

      I'm not going to defend the CSA flag or the battle flag at the center of so much controversy, but I will note that stoking the fires of white southern resentment by attacking a symbol that their ancestors may have fought for is a needless provocation; also, that the KKK also marches under the stars and stripes, so is that flag also now corrupt? And also, atrocities were committed wholesale against American Indians by soldiers flying the national flag. Perhaps Indians should demand the stars and stripes be removed from reservations or public buildings, too? They certainly have the same right to be offended by its display. Finally, if we're going to take a moral high ground against the Confederacy simply on the slavery issue, let's remember that the Northern states also denied women the right to vote and that the Greeks and Romans also were slave societies -- should we remove all classical civilization literature from schools and ancient art from museums and stop teaching Plato or Greek drama?

  • US Air Force Absent as Daesh/ ISIL advances on North Aleppo against Sunni Rebels
    • I can see several very cynical but perhaps realistic short-term strategies being pursued here: 1) the US allows ISIL to overrun Syria and do its work for the Americans in driving out Assad (A US objective), then using ISIL's dominance of Syria as an excuse to intervene to take out an even "worse threat" than Assad; and 2) Assad's forces let ISIL take out the other anti-government groups, thinking they can beat ISIL on its own or that the US will intervene to prop up Assad rather than allow ISIL to overrun the entire country.
      The two strategies aren't necessarily complementary, but they would be consistent with how policymakers think.

  • Kurdish Muslims abandoning Islam for Zoroastrianism in Disgust at ISIL/ Daesh?
    • Interesting. Zoroastrianism is a faith of great antiquity. It would be fascinating to see it revive in a major way and reestablish itself in part of its original homeland. I believe the sects surviving in Persia and India are still very small.

  • Armed Bikers Protest at Arizona Mosque
    • And how is all of this not an incitement to riot, or a disturbance of the peace, and subject to arrest or dispersal notice? Right wing gun nuts and evangelicals continue to get a free pass on bigotry.

  • Hawks think the US alone can Still Garrison the Planet: How's that Working Out?
    • I am always astounded to think back on how nobody, not a one of all the so-called Soviet experts and Kremlinologists, saw the collapse of the USSR coming. (Did anyone?) It seemed to catch an entire industry of specialists and scholars by surprise. And US policy has been winging it ever since in a spirit of unbridled triumphalism.

  • ISIL beheaded Dozens in Palmyra, but how Strategic is the City?
    • I have begun to wonder if the West, or most especially, the US, is playing a very diabolical, Machiavellian game in Syria whereby Washington planners are looking at the situation now and thinking, "Hmmm, public and congressional opinion was against intervention in Syria for the past few years, but now, the Assad regime may be on the ropes anyway and the dirty work on the ground is being done by someone else, and those someone else's are so much worse than Assad, and their threats have been played up by the Western press so prominiently, that we should just stand aside, let the fanatics finish off Assad and the government forces, and THEN we'll have the perfect rationale for Western intervention to toss out the really bad guys and install a compliant puppet regime. The citizens will back this, the Republicans will grudgingly back this, and once images of Palmyra being leveled hit the media, even the Europeans will back this. It will be like Iraq only this time we'll make it stick."

      Is this too devious and clever by half, or could some cold-hearted thinkers be seeing this sort of opportunity?

  • Bush blames Obama for lack of Wars ('Follow-Through' on 'Threats')
    • How wonderful to have the worst president of the 20th century back in the saddle again! Showing us he's just as shameless and clueless as ever. Retirement has been good to him, obviously.

      In a more just world, Bush II would be met with flung shoes wherever he went. Which wouldn't be that far, actually, because he'd be pacing a jail cell in the Hague after his war crimes trial.

      But I guess this serves Obama right for sucking up to him and those other Republicans who'd sooner stab him in the back than assist him in any tangible way.

  • War with Iran, by the Numbers
    • "War's good business, so give your son," as Grace Slick sang in 1967.

    • I can't think of a better reason for ANY country to want nuclear weapons than being constantly threatened with "preventative" attacks by the US, or Israel. Our own policies are fueling this desire but we seem to think we don't have to obey rules other countries must. The UN Charter forbids unprovoked attacks on others, but how many times since WWII has the US wantonly invaded or struck from the air another country or overthrown a government the Americans didn't like?

    • Yes, it does often feel like only a thorough and crippling American defeat that affects ALL citizens and not just the mercenary military might be enough to wean the American public and its elected officials from their love of inflicting war on other people. Nothing cured the Europeans faster of their traditional martial fervor than the brutal realities of WWII devastating their nations.

  • Yemen Bombing: It's not ISIL and it's not Sunni-Shiite Conflict
    • Yes indeed, I found this a very informative and clear-eyed essay. Yet another reason why this site has been on my daily news "Go To" list for over ten years now.

  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel
    • During the course of the war both countries conducted offensives against the opposing armies and seized territory beyond their original borders, but when the war was settled the original border was ultimately restored. This is obviously what Prof. Cole meant.

  • Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy: Peddling old Iraq Myths Again
    • Sure does! The US ruled by a cabal of corrupt corporatists and a woefully inept and crooked dynasty as their stooges. Or dynasties, if you want to include the possible Clinton dynasty in the wings, a shadow dynasty as it were. Makes you wonder what the American Revolutiuon was all for, if two centuries later we go back to the rule by kings, and very bad excuses for kings at that. Remember when many people were scared and agitated at the notion of a "Kennedy dynasty?" That never really came to pass but it was a favorite Republican boogeyman for decades. What hypocrites they are, now that their preferred dynasty is taking the reins.

  • GOP's Scott Walker: Pitches possible Syria War to make us Like Him
    • Since 2001, the US has been at war continually, broken several countries beyond repair, and accomplished little beyond hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, and creating thousands of new enemies. Maybe, just maybe, these wars aren't such a brilliant idea? Not that anyone gets elected in the US saying such things in the face of psychopathic worship of "heroes" like professional assassins (snipers).

    • Hmm. Is that final sentence a purely rhetorical question? (There IS yet another Bush dynast seeking the presidency, after all. Another stooge.)

  • New Saudi King to Obama: Lower-price Oil Policy won't Change
    • As recently (?) as 1973, the Saudis were willing to use an oil boycott against the West to attack Israel and Israel's pereceived allies. The Saudis were seen (by Westerners) as intransigent and hostile. Pundits discussed military operations to seize Saudi oil fields (I still have a board wargame on this topic, "Oil War", 1975). But since about the late 70s, the Saudis seen to have slid into a basically pro-Western stance, at least on the part of the ruling dynasts. They've abandoned their stance against Israel -- even ally with Israel, if not openly -- and schmooze with American presidents, buy military toys from the US, participate in military exercises, support wars against Iraq -- what gives with this? Did the Saudis become pragmatists, opportunists, or is this a demonstration of what the ruling class there will do to preserve its own power and interests, which have nothing to do with the cause of pan-Arabism, or pan-Islam, or being the guardian of Islam's holy sites?

      It's somewhat puzzling, how this change occurred and how the Saudis and US administrations since Nixon and Ford have been so cozy with each other. I'm sure there are Big Oil reasons involved. But is that all? Simple greed and money and economics?

    • Heh! I live in Texas (then and now) and remember those times! Same as it ever was...

    • I can't be the only person who sees collusion at work between the US and the Saudis to keep oil prices low for a while in an attempt to wreck the Iranian and Russian economies, whatever the collateral damages or domestic concerns, which both partners believe they can absorb in pursuit of their greater goals. Low oil prices also hurt ISIL financing.

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • If the Saudis acquire The Bomb (as it used to be called), it would be as likely for a deterrent against the US as Israel, since the US is the nation most likely to want to seize Saudi oil resources in the event of a global crisis. I've read before about elaborate sabotage mechanisms in place at Saudi oil installations, ready to be triggered in the event of an invasion or attack. Atomic weapons would be even more useful to forestall or negate such a move. But I'm sure it also will displease the Israelis, who have grown accustomed to holding a nuclear monopoly in the Mideast and want nothing more than to maintain this.

  • Top 5 Reasons Obama is Seeking Congressional Approval for War on ISIL
    • Yes, it's great that people in the Middle East continue to be the pawns in US political theatre.

  • Shock & Awe In Syria: It never Works
    • UN? What UN?
      But when the US does it, it's not against international law!

      How 'bout those evil Russkies in Ukraine, eh?

      Lots of refugees and crimes created by Boko Haram, and there's OIL in Nigeria, too, but we aren't in any hurry to get involved in African squabbles, are we?

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
    • Oh, exactly. Ukraine is in Russia's back yard and historically a part of Russian empires/confederations. Since when has the Mideast been the 51st state of the USA? Or is it just Israel?

  • Should Americans be allowed to Serve in Foreign Armies?
    • Americans serve today in the British army and French Foreign Legion as well (service in the latter for 5 years earns one a French/EU passport, if desired). They seem to stay off the radar and are tolerated by all sides. Last time I inquired, non-citizens today cannot enlist in the Canadian regular forces but can join their reserve units.

  • One Nation, under SWAT: The undemocratic Militarization of the Police
  • The Long Knives Come out in Baghdad
    • PS (my original edit got accidentally deleted while typing) -- further censure to the NATO puppets and American lapdogs who also sent soldiers to kill and be killed in support of neo-Con hegemonist fantasies. Praise be for the French, who saw through this pernicious yet half-baked scheme and refused to be suckered into it, and were rewarded for their intelligence by being subject to tantrums from the American media and public.

    • Yes, I like this perspective. I hold Tony Blair in only slightly less contempt than Bush. He acted as enabler and cheerleader when he opught to have known better. I'm still not sure what his objective was in that -- to curry more favor with the Americans? (To what end?) Or was he subject to the same brand of wishful thinking/self-delusion that Bush was patently addicted to?

  • Why is Obama bombing Iraq, Really?
    • I have to wonder about the actual (not media-friendly version) quality of Kurdish units or leadership. The Kurds have had years to dig in and prepare to defend their region. Yet ISIS rolls over them in a week? Something isn't right with this picture. ISIS didn't become the Wehrmacht overnight.

    • I do not claim to be an expert in this field, but some reading of WWI history has opened my eyes to what a close run thing the Gallipoli campaign actually was for the British and what a narrow escape from disaster for the Turks. If things had gone only a little differently at the beginning of the operation, it would be seen today as a daring, bold attack worthy of Alexander or Napoleon. A lot of things went wrong for the British, such as the naval commander losing his nerve at taking more losses than anticipated from mines and not forcing the Dardanelles as could have been achieved at the onset; and the troops that landed did not push inland as fast or capably as they should have. And a lot went right for the Turks, beginning with British bad luck and uncoordination and ending with the rise of Attaturk in the nick of time. Their army almost broke, too, but the British finally gave up first.

      Things could have easily gone the other way, as Allenby's dramatic victories in Palestine and the Levant showed in 1917-18, and had the British seized Caonstantinople in a lightning assault as planned, the Ottomans might have capitulated years early and who knows what the results might have been for the rest of the combatants? An early settlement among the powers? Maybe no Russian revolution? Fascinating counterfactuals.

    • Simple. He's doing it because it's safe -- politically and militarily. He gets to look like a real tough guy at home and abroad and it's very easy to act tough when you pick fights with enemies who basically can't hit back. So we bomb Iraqis again, not Syrians or Iranians or No. Koreans or (heaven forbid) Russian separatists.

  • A Discourse of sexualized violence rises among the Israel Firsters, including on Bill Maher
    • This is all very disturbing.
      I begin to see strange parallels with Israel's rising militarism, segregated social order, and cult of zealous patriotism with ancient Sparta. Once both were seen as resolute underdogs fighting to achieve liberty and freedom. Great victories were won against all odds. Then beleagured Sparta /Israel turns to militarizing its society from top to bottom in order to maintain itself in what it sees as a hostile neighborhood. It subjugates natives (Palestinians = Helots) and reduces them to non-citizen status and increasingly fears them and their greater numbers, lest they turn subversive. The ruling class grows corrupt and decadent and oppressive at home and abroad. Its military might is supreme -- for a while -- but eventually it alienates so many rival states and has such a high level of internal suppression that it becomes rigid, stratified, and ripe for disaster. Finally its minority of full citizens can no longer control all their subjected peoples and one military defeat crumbles the entire rotten edifice. Former slaves are freed and the old rulers never regain their former power or status. Israel is following in the footsteps of history.

  • British Cabinet Member Resigns over UK Gov't Gaza Stance, wanted to go to ICC
    • Good on her. British politicians seem to resign on matters of principle far more regularly than their American counterparts. We could learn from their example.

  • Israel Still Holding Gaza Civilians Hostage, Doesn't Get Geneva Conventions
    • If only there was some enforcement mechanism at the UN to these international conventions, maybe this sort of thing would mean something. Sadly, until then, Israel can continue to thumb its nose at the world community. There are two sets of standards that apply to the behavior of nations, and Israel and the US do not subject themselves to the same rules they apply to others.

  • Proposition 1: How to Swindle the Middle Class
    • This is sad and infuriating at the same time. These sort of three-card monte games played on average working taxpayers are becoming all too common. I have been evaluating other states to which to retire and this sort of stunt pretty much hammers Michigan out of the running (and it was already not looking like a great bet compared with other states, in terms of tax policies and other economic indicators).

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • This is not even a "war", it is a vast siege -- the Siege of Gaza, like the Siege of Lenningrad from 1941-44. An awful, brutal, cruel spectacle. I'm surprised that there isn't already a new armed uprising in the West bank in reaction to the slaughter of fellow Palestinians, to say nothing of what was once a sense of pan-Arabism. If Jordan, Egypt, Syria, or Hezbollah threatened to enter the war, Israel might have to reconsider its actions. But this is not 1973. Syria is torn apart with internal strife, Egypt has been co-opted by the US and Israel (shrewd move on their part), Jordan is a prostrate state just glad to hang on to some stability; Iraq and Libya have been eliminated as active opponents of Israel, as they once were; only the West Bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon have any real capacity to make trouble for Israel in support of their suffering brethren. But they also have self-interested reasons for standing by. So the misery of friendless Gaza goes on and on.

      meanwhile, the US pushes for sanctions against Russia, because Russia, you know, is a threat to world peace. And also Iran.

  • Night of Destiny in Palestine: A Third Uprising?
    • The US could stop this in a day if they subjected Israel to the same threats and sanctions the Americans routinely invoke against nations on their enemies list as disturbers of world peace. But since the US and Israel both use the other as their cat's paw in Mideast meddling, this will never happen.

  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • I'm curious about one item you touched on -- insurance coverages for air flights. Do insurance companies pay for damages caused by acts of war? Will this be a way for insurers to dodge having to cover the loss of Malaysian Air 17 (or similar flights)?

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity
    • Russia vs Ukraine, well, I have read items describing how NATO has been conniving with Ukrainian puppets in order to establish NATO/US military bases in the Ukraine and particularly the Crimea. So it may be understandable why Russia would regard this as unacceptable and take counter measures. Not that this excuses the pro-Russia rebels for firing on a civilian aircraft, even though this was probably a ghastly mistake rather than a deliberate act of terrorism. The Americans shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988 and offered similar excuses, so methinks the US doth protest a bit too much in this regard, esp. given the thousands of civilian deaths American gunfire, drones, and bombs have created since 2001. There are no clean hands here. And "blowback" pretty aptly describes the results of American policies to arm an Islamic fundamentalist resistance to the Soviets in Afghanistan, doesn't it?

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • Having your club dancing disturbed by noise is clearly far more traumatic and dangerous than being shelled by tanks and artillery or being bombed from the air and assaulted by land units, not to mention being subjected to an air-sea-land blockade and your family denied normal access to healthcare, education, employment, political rights, or security.

  • What the West means by "stability" in the Middle East
    • A very accurate analysis. The US only supports "democracy" when it gets the results it likes from a puppet state. And as many commentators are beginning to realize and address, the US is no longer a functional democracy -- through many means and mechanisms, it is now a de facto oligarchy.

      I am old enough to remember a brief time when Lebanon was a beacon of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Near East and Beirut was referred to as "Paris on the Levant." How very sad that it has been torn apart by power politics and outside meddling. That post-WWII interlude of tranquility didn't last long.

  • Rand Paul to Rick Perry: Why Send US Troops to an Iraq that Won't Defend Self?
    • Democrats have been thinking they're about to turn Texas blue with Hispanic voters for a decade at least and it still isn't close to happening. The Democrat Party in Texas is a joke, they haven't won a statewide election in 20 years, and the state has never been redder. A lot of things have to happen before Texas will even be in play nationally, including Hispanic voters actually VOTING in numbers proportionate to their percentage of the population, an end to the gerrymandered districts that Republicans are using to suppress voter turnout and give themselves safe districts, and the Dems fielding candidates that know how to win at the state level.

  • Netanyahu's Bad Faith: From Gag orders to War as Bread and Circuses
    • Not to wish for a larger or bloodier clash, but it does seem that the history of these recurring low-level Israeli wars against their neighbors or occupied lands have gotten more common and one-sided since the time the Israelis stopped worrying about getting into a larger war against enemies who could seriously hit back. What I mean to say is, it's been 1973 since the state of Israel was actually attacked in a meaningful way by Arabs. Everything since has been tit-for-tat terrorism OR Israeli aggression against a perceived threat. Once Israel feared its neighbors and was more circumspect. Now that Israel has the bomb, and the US as its poodle, and has divided or co-opted its former enemies, Israel has little to fear by starting these wars and feels it has nothing to lose or risk. I can't help but think that lack of serious Arab deterrence has caused more violence in this region, not less. Once one side thinks it holds all the cards, what's to stop it from doing as it pleases?

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • Thanks. I figured there was a disproportional cost involved. Not that this seems to make any strategic difference, as long as Israel and the US are prepared to spend whatever it takes to maintain a technological edge. Hamas' funding can't match what the US gives Israel and no doubt it is harder than ever for Hamas to receive imported/smuggled weapons or weapon parts.

    • I would like to see an analysis of the cost-benefits ratio of the exchange of missile fire. How much do the crude rockets fired by Palestinians cost to make, how much are Israeli interceptor missiles costing? Is it possible for Israel to exhaust its supply of Iron Dome missiles before the Palestinians run out of their cheaper ones? Or can Hamas swamp the defensive systems with more launches than can be defended against? Then what? Also, despite American subsidies, can the Israelis indefinitely afford to spend more on their military than it costs Hamas (in terms of dollars, not lives) to wage these low-level wars?

    • I have often referred to the British and Ireland as an example of how NOT to go insane in response to terrorism. During the IRA bombing campaigns that frequently targeted England (even the Prime Minister) as well as in Ulster (and even assassinated a member of the royal family, Lord Mountbatten), the British government did NOT invade Eire in response, or bomb Dublin. The IRA was dealt with by police action, supported by military resources. A wider and needless war did not result from decades of Irish "troubles."

  • Neo-Zangid State erases Syria-Iraq Border, cuts Hizbullah off from Iran
    • By this map, I am looking forward, at least , to the eminent restoration of the Byzantine Empire! Finally, Greeks in charge of Constantinople again!

  • Don't Trust the Bombers on Iraq: "Shock and Awe" Never Works
    • If the US bankrupts itself hurling multi-million dollar missiles, bombs, and planes at cheap pickup trucks and hovels, who really "wins" the conflict? The battlefield is only part of the picture.

    • Exactly. Glad someone else pointed this out. Milosevic lost his nerve, the Serbs were not cowed by American might and I read at the time that US analysts were very surprised to see so many Serbian assets emerging after the ceasefire to withdraw, forces the Americans never suspected existed. The Serbs learned very quickly how to conceal and disperse their forces. NATO land units would have walked into a bloodbath had they been ordered to invade before Milosevic folded his hand.

    • The effects of Allied bombing on the ability of Germany to resist are hotly debated. However, it is instructive to note that German war production increased throughout WWII until late 1944/early 1945, when Germany itself was being overrun by Allied armies. Only that put an end to the German military's ability to fight.

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • Che macello! It's a Machiavellian mess! The Americans hate the Iranians in part because the Israelis hate and fear the Iranians. And the US opposes Iran-backed Assad in Syria. But we favor Iran-backed Alawi in Iraq. We favor the Syrian rebels, who are Sunnis, allied with Sunni extremists in Iraq, who we now dislike. The American public doesn't understand any of this (but hates the Iranians reflexively anyway). The American government seems to be planning to attack both pro and anti-Iranian groups, which will either please, anger, or simply confuse Iran. Meanwhile, Netanyahu looks on and glowers at everybody. Won't somebody make up their minds??

  • Did a Karzai No-Show Spoil Obama's announcement of end of Afghanistan War?
    • I as well. I would have thought this would have been the first thing the Russians squelched in response to ham-handed US intervention in Ukraine and the threats and sanctions since.

  • Operation American Spring aims to drive Obama from office this Friday
    • These are yet more unmistakable signs that America has become seriously, psychotically, demented.

  • Condoleezza Rice, Charged with War Crimes at Rutgers, withdraws as Commencement Speaker
    • Good for Rutgers, giving this war criminal the heave-ho. Shame on them that she got that close in the first place. Rice and all the senior Bush administration lackeys ought to have shoes thrown at them wherever they go for the rest of their lives. It's the least they should receive, since they seem likely to escape the legal prosecution at The Hague they so richly deserve.

  • Is Russia a "Regional Power" or "Geopolitical Threat"? Obama argues with Romney from the Hague
    • Good specific comments above. And as a general observation, I would volunteer that it is better to be "weak" but wise rather than "strong" but stupid. "Strong" America tore apart Iraq based on lies and deceit. Very, very stupid, as well as immoral. I see no virtue or strength in folly.

  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • The Russians have been playing these games a long time now, against experts, and the neo-con Americans are callow rookies at it. They'll be taken to the cleaners by savvy operators like in the Kremlin. They've already been outmaneuvered in Georgia and Ukraine and no amount of hysteria over Crimea can change it.

    • While I have no trust in the neo-cons or their enablers, I seriously doubt they really want a war with someone who is capable of fighting back in a major way. So not Russia, then -- but quite possibly a proxy, like Iran, is in their sights. Iran has been for years anyway, the agitators are just waiting for the right casus belli. And they only *think* Iran can't fight back in a significant way.

      We certainly do want to surround, isolate, and intimidate Russia, but I don't see it leading to an open military clash. Too risky even for idiot neo-cons. Too much chance of NOT making money out of it.

    • Thank you for that, Andreas Lord. The lies of the Iraq war have been swept under the rug and everyone in power pretends not to see. No wonder we keep repeating the same bloody mistakes. But as long as the suffering is confined to "other" places and "other" peoples (including the professional American military caste), Americans blithely go about inflicting war on others at their whim, on their way to the shopping mall or while watching corporate-controlled TV.

  • Russian Annexation of Crimea, Israeli Annexation of Palestine
    • If only Israel had annexed the Crimea, all would be well! (wink)

    • PS: I am mortified that I neglected mentioning Tibet!

    • Perhaps. But I can't help but feel that international law is often a toothless beast when there is no reliable enforcement mechanism. As long as NATO and the UN serve the wishes of American geo-political interests, as I would argue they generally do, international law is too often a smokescreen for the powerful to do as they please, and the weak accept what they must accept. Otherwise, a lot of the Bush II administration would be at The Hague right now in the docket.

    • Oh, and I just remembered how the Argentines attempted to take the Falklands by force and force the British to accept a fait accompli. The Argentine position seems to be that geographical proximity trumps the rights of the islanders to self-determination. And they evidently have not abandoned that stance. Nor has mainland China forsworn their "right" to conquer Taiwan by force if they so choose.

    • If we start going over population transfers, immigrations, and colonizations, this issue will never resolve. Where is the statute of limitations drawn? A hundred years ago? Ten? Two hundred? Americans better be careful how they define this, since most of North America belonged to Indian tribes not so very long ago. Perhaps the US should evacuate non-Native Americans from the Dakotas, Oklahoma, much of the Great Plains and Southwest, at the least, and return it to indigenous inhabitants? That's not gonna happen, so the moral high ground here is very murky.

      I recall India absorbing Sikkim; Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and still controls a third of that island via a puppet regime; there have been break-ups of established states into new states (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Bangladesh, Eritrea), sometimes with violence. We may come to see this era of relatively stable borders as an anomaly rather than a new standard.

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA
    • Of course. This goes back to J Edgar Hoover keeping FBI files on anyone in government he suspected he might need to control. He effectively blackmailed every administration until his death to retain his power and position. This has been well documented. To expect no less of the CIA and its allies is sheer naivete.

  • A Russo-Iranian Bloc against the United States?
    • If the Russians want to really cock a snoot at Uncle Sam becoming a big buttinski over the Crimea (ANOTHER in a long list of places "vital to US interests" all of a sudden that 99% of Americans couldn't find on a map) then they ought to move full steam ahead on delivering and deploying that snappy new air defense system they've sold to the Iranians but not fully supplied. And beef it up. Make both the Americans and the Israelis cry foul.

  • President Obama's Doubtful Grounds for Military Action against Syria
    • Bravo! Well said, Dr. Cole. No nation that built its foundations on genocide the way the US has (just ask the next American Indian you chance to meet, IF you ever do) has a right to wag fingers at other nations and preach about higher morality. The illegal and still-unpunished invasion and dismantling of Iraq is an even more recent example of this country's shameless in advancing its own imperial agenda at the expense of whatever hapless civilians get in its way.

  • Iraq: A country whose Future was Stolen (Jamail)
    • Truly a sobering story. Have any lessons been learned by the US? I see little evidence of it. The American public has learned nothing and remembers nothing. I feel sorrow for the Iraqis who have been the victims of American dreams of hegemony. The US is very good at breaking countries, not so good at putting them back together. I wish these "anniversary" features the US media is producing -- usually centered on more military worship -- would instead replay a loop of the brave Iraqi who throw his shoes at Bush. That summed up the whole ugly experience. I hope people line up to throw shoes at Bush's presidential library when it opens.

  • After Benedict: Religions have to Democratize if they are to Survive
    • Humans are fallible and an individual's time on earth is brief but the central truths of the Church are held to be eternal. Too many people are looking at the messengers and not the message when they criticize organized religion (ANY religion), which has always been a problem with the religious impulse.

      The Catholic Church is right to maintain and defend its core doctrines in a world that is devoted to fashion trends, shallowness, and lack of reflection. This is not to say that doctrine does not and should not evolve -- it is meant to say that the Church should not be expected to sway with the prevailing winds and concern itself with popularity polls. That's not its job.

      There is a benefit to organization and "bureaucracy" that explains why some religions prosper and endure and other movements are mere personality cults that wither when their prime movers leave the scene. Institutionalization allows the message to be preserved and disseminated through the generations. The wheel doesn't need to be reinvented over and over again. This is a strength of all the organized religions, although there is always a downside, the effect of human failure and folly. That's life.

      I defend the Church but I do not defend the indefensible actions of individuals. All too frequently, the Church and its stewards have forgotten the immortal wisdom of Stan Lee's Spider-man -- with great power also comes great responsibility. It's corny but it's true.

  • Russia slams Israeli bombing of Syria as Violation of UN Charter
    • If I were a patriotic Russian leader or soldier, I would be quite incensed at the state of the world from my perspective. Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, Russia has been truncated geographically and militarily, hollowed economically, and sees its former satellites becoming American proxies now and American military bases surrounding what's left of Russian territory. American bases in central Asia! Never in the bad old Communist days would the Soviets tolerated this level of threat. I don't know why the West doesn't expect a potentially vicious reaction by the Russians at some point, after decades of humiliations and sabotage, and they may not find many allies left when they look abroad.

  • Blaming Gen. Petraeus for the Wrong Mistakes: Remembering Afghanistan (Cook)
    • The American army is just so top-heavy, reliant on excessive logistical support and massive firepower. They are usually both ignorant/contemptuous of and frightened of local civilinas and call for heavy weapons or aerial support at the slightest whiff of hostile fire. They can't seem to survive overseas in combat zones without huge bases, junk food and drugs, creature comforts, and overwhelming conventional superiority. The guerillas, innurred to the land, culture, and hardship, run rings around the ponderous Americans and their body armor, cyber-weapons, and vehicles. This war was never going to be won. What Afghan would regard these alien, robotic-looking infidels with their invisible eyes, profane speech, arrogant attitudes, and callousness toward Afghan lives as any sort of trustworthy allies or friends? Our presence breeds enemies. The sooner we learn this, the better.

    • Yes. As long as the military places its priority on protecting AMERICAN lives, they will continue to forfeit mission successes and thus lose wars. Soldiers are conditioned to expect to sacrifice their lives for each other and only sometimes for "the mission' and almost never for non-combatants -- the reason the "mission" exists. In insurgencies, the PRIME focus of an outside force (e.g., the US in Afghanistan) has got to be to protect civilians even at the cost of greater military casualties. Otherwise you alienate the locals and lose the political struggle, and any tactical military successes are so much dog-wash.

      You'd think Vietnam would have taught this lesson, but no. I see that once again a concerted military effort is underway to portray the latest wars as lost by namby-pamby politicians, craven diplomats, and weasely generals and REMFs, same as in the post-Vietnam era.

      Going into Afghanistan with guns blazing and no-holds barred didn't succeed for the much more ruthless Soviets, so why do some American officers think we only needed to "take off the gloves" to blast the Taliban away? The idea that any army can kill its way into victory in a guerilla war has been proven wrong countless times in the modern period. Why doesn't the US military get it?

  • Drone, Sanctions affecting Medicine, Intensify US-Iran Tensions
    • Israel can defy UN resolutions with relative impunity. But Iran defies Uncle Sam, and scares Israel, so they must pay and be threatened with attack. yep, seems fair and even-handed to me.

  • Brandeis U. Owes Jimmy Carter an Apology: Israelis agree they run Apartheid State, as Far Right Wing Coalition Emerges
    • Maybe this is indeed the wave of the future. More repression, more state control, more surveillance, far fewer civil rights or liberties. Maybe this is just part of a receeding wave of democracy and freedom that is being replaced by police state fascism and corporate feudalism. In which case apartheid in Israel will not necessarily wither away and more such practices will become commonplace. We shouldn't be complacent about "progress" in human affairs.

  • A Letter from Benghazi on Crappy Republican Talking Points
    • It seems to me that the Libyan authorities have plenty of self-interested reasons for wanting to push the blame for this attack on rogue militias, "outsiders", or "foreign jihadists", whatever the truth to the matter. I would take whatever is said by Libyan officials for public consumption, esp. to American listeners, with a big grain of salt.

  • Israel Lobbyist suggests False Flag attack to start war with Iran
    • RE: false flag attacks, how about an Israeli sub sinking a major US warship in the Persian Gulf? The Iranians get blamed, and voila, brand new oil war.

  • Top Seven Errors President Obama has made on the Middle East
    • Viz. point 2 above, there are also in Afghanistan no significant insurgent groups willing to allow themselves to be bought off, as the Americans bought off many Sunni rebels via the "Awakening" plan. Paying Iraqi guerrillas not to fight us was the key to tamping down Iraq, from an American perspective.

  • Netanyahu in 1992: Iran close to having nuclear bomb
    • And these so-called warnings continued through the first decade of this century as well. The goalposts keep getting pushed back, but the same dire predictions continue.

  • Top Ten Bad Signs for Romney
    • It's just like the primaries -- the more people get to see and hear Romney, the less enthused they are about him.

  • Mitt Romney's coming War on Iran: A Tale of Two Conventions
    • War is about the only thing the US can still do better than anyone else -- up to a certain degree (Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the US still cannot fight an insurgency with any great success). No one in the Mideast trusts us, no one much admires us. and we're in over our heads when it comes to diplomacy and intrigue with far more accomplished players. If the US didn't have its Big Stick, no one would take us seriously at all, with our economy wrecked and our finances tottering and our leadership wholly corrupt and unprincipled.

      The American willingness to use force or the threat of force to get its way, combined with bribery and deceit, is bound to produce disaster after disaster for themselves and others.

  • Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others
  • Top Ten Signs you Might be a Nazi Loser
    • It is sad to think that the US military now includes a substantial "skinhead" white supremicist element. Some of the entries in this list could easily apply to a number of well-documented and in some cases well-publicized cases of soldiers who speak of and treat Middle Easterners/Muslims as "sand niggers" and "ragheads", pose with SS-rune Nazi flags, and celebrate atrocities carried out against helpless villagers as much as any German force running amok on the WWII Eastern Front.

  • The Great Wall of . . . Arizona (Miller)
    • Nobody (i.e., the surveillance state and its operatives) ever went broke in the US selling fear and snake oil to the rubes (i.e., the rest of us scared sheep).

  • CIA ‘revives attacks on rescuers’ in Pakistan (Woods)
    • The Slate ran a feature on this very issue today, here: link to

    • Why isn't Pakistan shooting down a few drones, to get its point across? Time for the Pakistanis to stop letting themselves be used as American punching bags. Can the CIA be paying off EVERY Pakistani general and politician? I would think there might be one or two patriots there who object to being seen as helpless stooges for Uncle Sam's wargames in South Asia.

  • Romney wants to Fight Whole Muslim World, not Concentrate on Bin Laden
    • This is a great statement by Dr. Cole. Romney is simply a bonehead, even when he tries to throw red meat to his supporters he dumbs down every discussion he's involved with. How did American politicians get so clueless about the world, it's history, and the different people and cultures that dominate it? American exceptionalism is mainly exceptionally ignorant.

  • Rubio Calls for War on Iran, Syria-- as Israeli Army Rejects Strike
  • The Arab Revolutions Continue, its Just not Mostly on American TV
    • The Tuareg situation is very interesting to me (and not because they've become a car somehow), as a history buff. I have a lot of inherent sympathy for the wild men of the world, what few there are, and the nomadic, stateless peoples who have been under such oppression from settled peoples and governments. I think there needs to be some provision made to respect the rights and lifestyles of such people, be they Tuaregs, Australian aborigines, Inuit, American Indians, Kurds, Baluchi nomads, Gypsies/Roma, Bushmen, and etc.

      The Tuareg remind me of the Highlanders of Scotland, historically. Seen as savages by the urbanized, settled, "civilized" folk whom they had traditionally been a thorn in the side to. Ruthlessly suppressed by the forces of modernity and "progress".

      Ideally, the Tuareg would have an area of their traditional homeland in the Sahara to roam freely. They shouldn't be imprisoned by artificial national borders and they do not really have anything in common culturally or historically with the other Malians. A lot of the troubles with the Tuareg result from the blinkered attempts of authorities to force them to abandon their lifestyles, as authority always seems to want to do to free people who won't obey the Rules. There is a better way to approach this problem than forcing the Tuareg into militancy to defend what they see as a threat to their existence.

  • Israel's Atom Bomb Factory in 3D
    • Why would Israel possibly think it needs 400 nuclear weapons? Is it considering war with Russia or the US? Really, this is a preposterous attitude for them to take, at a time when the rest of the world is calling for nuclear disarmament or ongoing reductions in warheads as a goal.

  • Afghanistan Massacre: Unstable Soldiers, Untreated Brain Injuries, PTSD
    • Soldiers with scant regard for local inhabitants, desecration of enemy (or just suspected enemy) dead, shoot-first tactics, night-time raids on civilians, poses with the SS flag, coal-scuttle helmets, and massacres of villagers. Achtung, baby, the Wehrmacht has returned, and we are the new Reich.

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • If the US REALLY disapproved of an Israeli strike on Iran, and wanted to stop it, then the US should make it clear that if they detected such an attack was imminent or underway, then American jets and missiles would interdict Israeli attackers and stop them by force. THAT would deter an attack. Otherwise, the US is just blowing smoke.

  • Egypt Soccer Protests Challenge Military Regime
    • This strangely reminds me of readings from Byzantine history -- the racing factions in the hippodrome of Constantinople, particularly the Blues and the Greens (known by the color of the livery of the various racing teams) had the power to break Emperors by taking to the streets. See the Nika riots of the sixth century, for example. Everything old is new again!

  • Can Obama Prevail against a Romney-Netanyahu Ticket? - Robertson
    • One hopes that the spate of successful US special forces operations doesn't create a false sense of omnipotence in the Oval Office or a reliance on military options as somehow predictable and decisive.

  • Will Pakistan's Crisis affect US in Afghanistan
    • The last I read, the Pakistanis were still denying the US access to their land transportation routes, and are planning to implement new taxes on the supplies once the roads are reopened. This will increase costs of supplying the military in Afghanistan even beyond the already stratospheric heights. Guess who pays for that?

  • Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions
    • Well, thanks to the electoral college, there's not much point in WHO we vote for in all but a handful of states. Since I live in a deep Red state, I can vote for Nero or Minnie Mouse for all the difference it makes.

    • It's almost the same policy as viz. Cuba -- once Uncle Sam takes an irrational hatred against a government ("regime" is usually trotted out to indicate a government we don't support -- no one in Washington talks about the British "regime" or the Canadian "regime" -- there's nothing that government can do, short of unconditional surrender, that will please the US.

      If Iran didn't want nuclear weapons before, this past decade will have underscored why they should covet them. Only then would the Americans and Israelis back off.

    • It's almost like Israel (this looks like Mossad work to me, altho' they could also be working with the CIA) is daring Iran to retaliate to these constant provocations, perhaps to then justify the full military strike so many in Israel would like to see.

      Given this legacy of murder, what sort of harvest does Israel expect to reap, should Iran or another hostile Muslim state ever truly gain nuclear weapons? It's not like they might not bear a grudge after all this terrorism.

      It's very sad to see the Israelis, of all people, become a mirror image of the evils they have historically faced.

    • BLAM!! Another Iranian civilian scientist, plus his driver, murdered by obvious foreign or foreign-sponsored assassins.

      Really, these are acts of covert war. If Iran doesn't respond in some way, they only invite more of the same (that's always been Israel's policy toward aggression, anyway). You have to ask, how long would the US tolerate the assassination of its nationals on its own soil by foreign provocateurs? What an ugly double-standard is at work in the world.

  • GOPers Promise you War on Iran & Torture & Poverty
    • "War's good business, so give your sons." -- Grace Slick, from "Rejoyce"

      It is horribly shameful that the US has descended to this -- behaving like any of the worst, most arrogant empires through history, full of fear, ready to launch sneak attacks on any perceived rival, no matter how nebulous the threat. It was only as recently as 1962 that RFK argued against attacking Russian missile sites in Cuba on the grounds of not wanting his brother to be "the American Tojo." We've had a number of American Tojos since then, and the prospect of more to come.

      All out of fear and paranoia -- fear of a country that has not attacked us, is not threatening to attack us, a fear that's more Israel's than America's. To launch a war on the basis of what you fear *might* happen is simply immoral and illegal. I might fear all sorts of imagined terrors from my neighbors, but that doesn't entitle me to open fire on them in their homes. That would be the act of a madman -- what do we call it when a nation acts in this way?

      The rest of the world needs to clamp down on this unilateral US aggression and hegemonic behavior, sooner than later, before millions more suffer.

  • Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We've Seen this Picture
    • I am following this story very keenly and would like some followup information or comments on a few items. One, what happened to the sophisticated air defence system the Russians were once slated to deliver to Iran? Was that scuttled for good? Seems that anything the Russians could do to significantly deter an Israeli attack would be a helpful counterweight to American enabling of Israel's aggressive tendencies. And following on this, if the Israelis are able to reach Iranian air space (and exactly how? Over Iraq? From submarines and naval vessels? From friendly bases in the Caucasus?), could the Russians themselves directly interdict such an attack with their own air forces? Would they do so? Or would such a threat itself act to deter the Israelis?

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