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Total number of comments: 179 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:23)

Kevin

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  • Former CIA Dir.: Trump is afraid of Putin Kompromat
  • Upshot of Mueller Probe: Putin did to US what we did to Iran and Iraq
    • I can't begrudge the Russians for seeking to play the same dirty pool we favor. Educated voters would see through the deceit and make their own decisions; it helps the Russian schemes that US citizens are so disengaged, apathetic, and ignorant. The best defense against foreign meddling -- which most nations do, disguised as "lobbying" -- is an informed electorate. All that said, Texans hardly need encouragement to vote Republican (so that money was wasted!), this state hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since about 1994 and hasn't given its electoral college votes to a Democratic nominee since Jimmy Carter.

      Americans could also do themselves a favor by abolishing the electoral college, without which Clinton would have been elected with a majority of actual voters -- the way almost every other free country chooses leaders. American exceptionalism must extend to exceptionally stupid election processes that are apparently set in stone, since twice in 16 years it's installed the loser of the popular vote yet there is no outcry to change things, no riots or strikes like you'd certainly see in Europe if this happened.

  • Did George W. Bush commit War Crimes & should he get Awards?
    • I'd like to give him an award -- a shoe in the face, every day for the rest of his life. War criminal. His "presidential library" should be painted blood red and the names of the civilians killed by the US military since 2001 be carved into its walls.

  • In Absence of US Leadership, War Breaks out between Kurds and Baghdad
    • The Kurds are finding out how the gratitude of Uncle Sam is fleeting. I wonder if they expected this betrayal and will find new allies soon?

  • Oklahoma's Ominous Earthquakes: the Price of Fracking (Video)
    • This won't be so groovy for big oil and big business if their beloved fracking sets off the New Madrid fault line again.

  • Trump and the Faustian Bargain of Corker and the GOP
    • The Republicans may simply be playing a cold-hearted Machiavellian game. If Trump commits war crimes by attacking NK or Iran (or whoever else offends him), and the world is appalled, and Americans are appalled, and especially if these adventures go badly, then the Republican-controlled Congress will finally feel it has the political cover to impeach him and replace him with their willing errand boy Pence, who not appear to be as scary or irrational but in his own way will be equally bad news. And this will lull much of the former opposition to complacency or apathy. In the end, the oligarchs will still get what they want and a President Pence will be even harder to lever out of office.

  • Plummeting in Polls, will Trump 'Wag the Dog' with Iran, N. Korea?
    • When will the rest of the world put the US on notice, sanction us, stop enabling our rush toward destruction on a continent-wide scale? The UN and NATO are so quick to intervene in petty incidents, but international organizations and spokesmen seem powerless to confront Uncle Sam going rogue.

    • Your first sentence is spot-on. The United Nations should be an organization that can prevent this exact thing, otherwise it's no good at all in keeping the peace in major ways. In this day, NO one man ought to have the power of life and death over the planet, or an entire country.

      We must have a global government structure and complete denuclearization, or we are doomed, even if climate change doesn't do the job for us.

  • Iraqi Kurdistan defiant in face of Baghdad sanctions, threats
    • And yet the Czechs and Slovaks agreed mutually to end their union, peacefully and civilly, when the desire for unity vanished. I wish other countries would follow this example. I sympathize with the Kurds... and the Catalans, and the Scots, where large segments or majorities of the people wish full independence against the control-mania of the central government.

  • Iraq strikes Back: Kurds under air travel ban, Turkey blocks Oil
    • The Americans will stand aside, mouth polite nothings, and sell out their Kurdish cat's paw once the Kurds no longer serve Uncle Sam's purposes, I'd bet the house on it. It's too bad the Kurds didn't see it coming; they should have (remembering the Vietnamese Montagnards, among others).

  • Are US troops in Afghanistan causing Talibanism?
    • To watch the current broadcast of Ken Burns' series "Vietnam" is to marvel at how little has changed in 60 years, how many of the same attitudes and mistakes of the past are still at work in Afghanistan.

  • Iraqi PM to Secessionist Kurds: "You're Playing with Fire!"
    • The Sunnis oppressed the Shiites, now the Shiites can oppress the Sunnis, and everybody oppresses the Kurds!

      Even Uncle Sam. Maybe now the Kurds are realizing that Americans only wanted them to do the heavy lifting as ground troops in pursuit of the USA's objectives -- the US has never been concerned for what's best for the Kurdish people. The US loves a corrupt status quo and dislikes threats posed by new nations that might resist American dominance (altho' we encourage anything like what went on in Ukraine if it threatens the Russians, and favored the Kosovars over the Serbs for somewhat similar reasons).

      Maybe now the Kurds are waking up to ponder the fate of abandoned peoples after Uncle Sam no longer needs them as cat's paws.

  • Russia rebuffs Israeli demand for 40 mi. Buffer with Iran in Syria (Haaretz)
    • Israel seems peeved at the idea that they might no longer be able to punch Syria and Lebanon around with impunity, as it has grown accustomed to. Israel has been evoking that aphorism about every problem looking like a nail when your only tool is a hammer, and it needs to learn that a heavy-handed military approach is not a viable long-term solution to its perceived security problems. Perhaps a new balance of power overseen by the Russians will be a wake-up call.

  • Space Wars: The Pentagon Wants Trillions for High Tech
    • I used to believe that the militarization of space had been outlawed by a JFK-era treaty, but I must be wrong about this in crucial aspects. This is a depressing article, and it makes me wonder why the UN isn't more involved in crafting law for schemes like this that affect the entire planet, or is the UN so American-dominated now that Americans can determine policy for all the Earth? Why other independent nations of any stripe, let alone other great powers like China or Russia, should consent to being monitored from the skies and subject to sudden attack or threat of attack, is beyond me. This seem to be a play for total global hegemony by the US, and when was this ever openly debated or approved by all affected?

  • The rise and rise of Iran: How Tehran has become pivotal to the future of the Middle East
    • Indeed, I have often thought the same thing. Iran would be a much more pragmatic ally than the Saudis. But we can't forgive that hostage thing from 1979 any more than we can forgive Cuba for defying us back in the late 1950s. Uncle Sam nurses some grudges for generations.

  • Turkey-Backed fundamentalist Militias attack US Troops in Syria
    • The potential for false-flag attacks in Syria, or attacks designed to look like false-flag attacks, has probably never been greater, nor the incentive to do so. Desperate groups will do anything to ignite a US involvement if they think they can benefit from it.

  • Remember GOP in Texas opposing Aid for NY after Sandy? Now they want Aid
    • What, Texas leaders had to give up an entire day of suing and defying the federal government in order to go a-begging, cap in hand? That must have hurt!

      And they haven't shouted about secession in at least twenty minutes!

  • Trump flip-flops on Afghanistan, opts for Years-long Quagmire
    • I see. Thanks for the clarifications! I'm not entirely convinced that an arrangement couldn't have been made, according to what I've read from other Afghan and regional experts; but no one pursued anything other than invade, break the state, STILL fail to corral Bin Laden or his main leadership, then wonder what to do next.

    • If anyone in Washington in 2001 had known anything about Pashtunwali, the Taliban could have been successfully negotiated with and Bin Laden could have been handed over or expelled (to a place where he could have been picked up), al-Qaeda could have been broken up, and this whole bloody, futile, endless mess could have been avoided. And STILL American leadership is clueless and heartless.

      I can't tell if Afghan policy is dictated by mere stubborness and stupidity, or something more insidious and deceitful. Harder and harder to tell the difference these days.

  • Remembering the White Rose anti-Nazi Activists
    • "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" is a riveting and award-winning 2006 film that fills in the gaps left by the 1982 movie, using contemporary court records only recently discovered in the archives. It will break your heart. The White Rose Lives! link to amazon.com

  • What to do with Confederate statues?
    • When the next secessionist movement comes to pass, it will be likely the "blue" states seeking separation from "red" state domination. This will also be "treason" to people who are more concerned with the letter of the law than the spirit.

  • If an Iranian president talked like Trump we'd think them all nut cases
    • The Aussies have already been signed up as partners in this madness, thanks to their PM, a faithful puppet of Uncle Sam. No more thoughtless questions asked about Australian citizens gunned down by trigger-happy cops in Minneapolis.

  • The U.S. Empire is 'Fraying' and 'Collapsing': Pentagon Study
    • The DoD's answer to everything, in the end, even the failure of US imperialism to rule the world, seems to be "More military!" Quelle surprise!

  • Why it Matters that the World thinks US under Trump is Laughingstock
    • Hey, no fair! We kicked Grenada's butt! USA! USA! USA!!

      Also Panama. And we punched Serbia real good, since they couldn't hit back.

      We are the Number One Tough Guys at picking on smaller, weaker nations that can't fight back! (Guerrilla war is cheating! Those big cheaters!!! )

      USA! USA! USA!!
      hahaha!!

  • Terror and Geopolitics: Manchester 2017 and 1996
    • This is a good and succinct analysis. Once again, American-led and instigated actions have resulted in blowback among Europeans who went along with Uncle Sam, being dragged into this morass. Something to consider historically is how differently the UK reacted to Irish terrorism -- no matter the provocation, the UK did NOT send troops into the Republic of Ireland or bomb Dublin. IRA terrorism was treated as criminality, not an excuse to make war against an entire people or nation. That's a lesson the US would have done well to heed after 2001, but of course American policy since that time has been about a lot more than simply "fighting the bad guys" (terrorists). Unfortunately, American desires for global hegemony are creating more terrorists every year.

  • American Amnesia in the Garden of War
    • The unpleasant truth is that Americans are addicted to violence now, even if only vicariously, and they will not stop making war until they feel the suffering of war, especially a losing war. It's the same as it was for European colonial powers last century fighting in faraway lands -- a professional military caste did the fighting and dying and citizens back home enjoyed the benefits, entertainment value, and the feeling of superiority. Once wars were fought in Europe again, and the true cost was brought home, Europeans lost their taste for it, and by and large they still feel this way. Americans have not had to see a war fought on their soil for a long, long time, nor have they truly shared the costs or losses since the end of the draft (which invested ordinary citizens in a way that has since been lost). I fear we won't learn our lesson except by the hard way, like the British, French, and Germans did, to their lasting sorrow. See also the Roman Empire, which coasted on arrogance and exceptionalism a long time until suddenly the game was up.

  • Trump sends US Troops to Patrol Turkish-Syrian Border as Ankara Threatens US Allies
    • Eventually the Kurds will realize that Uncle Sam has been using them as catspaws (as he has to numerous other groups) ,in pursuit of objectives that have no relationship to Kurdish aspirations but everything to do with American interests. I feel sorry for the Kurds, so often betrayed and abandoned. But they should have known better; perhaps they thought they were using Uncle Sam as THEIR catspaw, but it isn't turning out that way for them.

  • AG Jeff Sessions implies Asian-Americans in Hawaii not Real Americans
  • Washington's demonization of Foes jumps Shark with Sean Spicer on Hitler
    • Astute observations on Prof. Cole's superb essay. I get the impression that the US does not much care about the vacuums it leaves in its wake -- it just likes breaking nations seen as opponents into tiny pieces of powerlessness and in-fighting. The weaker perceived American enemies are, the more powerful Americans feel. It's not a sustainable foreign policy, let alone a moral one, but the Pentagon and State dept. are not exactly channeling the better angels of our nature.

  • Russia's not Leaving: Syria is about old-Fashioned Sphere of Influence, not Oil
    • If the Russians truly want a warm-water port in the Med to project naval power, they could probably obtain one by wooing the Greeks away from their NATO alignment. Greece is poor and desperate and there is no civil war to complicate matters. And there is probably a better port facility available than little Tartous.

  • Trump intervenes in the Great Mideast Civil War in Syria
    • It's interesting that the US media, and Trump's supporters among fervent Christian groups, almost never comment on how the "despicable" Syrian government is in fact supported by and protective of Christian Syrians, who normally would be treated as sympathetic figures worthy of our backing, unlike the Muslim fundamentalists the US *is* backing. No one is talking about the fate of the Syrian Christians should Assad really fall -- much as the Iraqi Christians were ignored while the US broke Iraq apart and made possible the rise of numerous anti-Christian factions.

  • Washington's Supreme Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons and Civilian Deaths
    • This attack certainly got the Mosul bombing out of the news (such as the US media covered it at all), and the cameras were conveniently rolling in time for the US national news to broadcast the images. Cui bono?

  • Are Progressives Suffering from Trump Fatigue?
    • When I watch this blitzkrieg of banana oil rain down from the White House, I have to wonder, Why haven't the Democrats shown the same level of manic energy when THEY held the presidency? Why didn't Democratic presidents after FDR set a similar standard of hyperdrive policymaking, except for Good? Why wasn't all this abrupt and decisive action taken for Worthy causes when we had the chance? I have to blame Clinton and Obama in particular for singular sins of omission. They could have delivered the goods on a range of concerns, but they lacked the drive, vision, or resolution. Instead, all the gains go to the enemy.

  • 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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