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U.S. to stop arming jihadists; Deep State hardest hit

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:07 pm - July 20, 2017.
Filed under: National Security,Politics abroad,Syria war,War On Terror

President Trump has decided that the CIA will stop arming the so-called “moderate” (but really jihadist) Syrian rebels.

With the end of the CIA program, U.S. involvement in Syria now consists of a vigorous air campaign against the Islamic State and a Pentagon-run train-and-equip program in support of the largely Kurdish rebel force that is advancing on Islamic State strongholds in Raqqa and along the Euphrates River valley.

More on the Kurds in a moment. Trump’s move should help to maintain the Syria cease-fire, defeat ISIS and defuse Mideast tensions. In my view, it is as sensible as Obama’s original decision to arm the jihadis was not. Naturally, the U.S. Deep State – which wanted tensions (or even a Syria ground war) – hates the move and besmirches it as pro-Putin, “Russia won”, etc.

In news that is not so good, we’ve also had a flurry of items about the growing rift between Turkey and the West. Turkey remains a NATO ally, but Erdogan is on bad terms with the European Community, and it doesn’t help that the U.S. (or NATO) organized a failed coup against Erdogan in 2016.

So, the Kurds would seem to be a major issue. Decades ago, Western powers drew the borders of Turkey, Syria and Iraq in such a way as to divide the Kurds. Ever since, they’ve dreamed of getting together in a new Kurdistan. That the U.S. would have armed the Syrian Kurds (starting under Obama), sets off alarm bells in Turkey.

UPDATE: Julian Assange on ISIS, key U.S. allies, and the Clintons. Here’s the idea.

  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted Syria regime change and funded the jihadis.
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund ISIS (who, I keep saying, are much the same people as the Syria jihadi-rebels). And, per her leaked emails, Hillary definitely knew it.
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund the Clintons.
  • Could all this be why Hillary wanted to bomb Syria and do Syria regime change so much? And not-so-much to bomb ISIS?

Also, Julian Assange noting how the CIA paid ISIS salaries. He excerpts a Financial Times article, deep inside which is this: “One rebel commander, who asked not to be named, said U.S. support had been waning for months, but noted that the rebels had been given their salaries as normal last month.”

How America armed terrorists in Syria (and ISIS)

I recommend Gareth Porter’s June 22 article on The American Conservative, How America Armed Terrorists in Syria. It tells a story that I already knew (at a high level) – supported by a wealth of details that I didn’t.

In the rest of this post, I’ll share my notes on that and some other articles, re-telling the story with many fewer details. But it will still be a long post. First, a couple of things to keep in mind:
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The mess in Syria

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:38 am - June 19, 2017.
Filed under: National Security,Syria war,War On Terror,World War III

U.S. Shoots Down Syrian Aircraft for First Time.

The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants…

According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.

Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the town, the Pentagon said…

A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, “in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces,” was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said.

“The coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group. “The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them…”

And that’s what doesn’t make sense. ISIS and the so-called “moderate, democratic” opposition to the Syrian government are much the same people. There is a flow of people, weapons and training between them.

Just as no one can “have their cake and eat it, too”, the U.S. must choose between defeating Syria’s Assad regime and defeating ISIS. To attempt both, is to stick with a losing position.

UPDATE: Krauthammer tries to explain it. According to him:

  • ISIS is doomed – will be gone within 6-12 months.
  • Russia, Iran and Syria are working to “inherit” northern Iraq for Iran (the new Persian Empire), and likewise to have all of Syria in the hands of Assad-Russia-Iran-Shiites.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. is working to defeat all that; especially to have a de facto division of Syria along ethnic lines, in which the western half of Syria will be Sunni-dominated and Saudi-friendly. (And northern Iraq, ??? Not sure.)

It still sounds hokey to me, with too much danger of an accidental war with Russia. But I wanted to acknowledge that the side favoring U.S. involvement in Syria might have a strategy in mind.

We’ve been hearing a long time that energy pipelines (especially liquid natural gas) might be involved in all this. Pipelines to Europe, that need to run through Syria. The Russia-Iran version would tend to make Europe more dependent on them, while the U.S.-Saudi version would do the reverse (or preserve Europe’s dependence on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia).

How To Fight The Establishment Propaganda Machine And Win

That’s the title of an article by Caitlin Johnstone which I came across. She seems more lefty/Democrat than me and I don’t endorse her every notion. Still, she seems populist and has some interesting notions. To start:

…the single best way to take down the oligarchy is by aggressively and relentlessly attacking its propaganda engine.

Johnstone sees “the oligarchy” as more about corporations than about Big Government’s politicians and bureaucrats; while I’m the reverse. But at least we agree there is an oligarchy.

The elites who manipulate your government are more vulnerable now than ever before and they know it — the solution just isn’t in politics, it’s in media…old propaganda systems which have been used to lull Americans into accepting the establishment narrative are wielding less and less influence…

So what can we do? We make them fight our fight. If they’re a shark and we’re a tiger, we make them fight us in the jungle…

1. Increase public distrust of the mainstream media.
…Imagine if [people] knew that CNN has been trotting out a seven year-old Syrian girl with an extremely popular fake Twitter account and making her recite scripted lines in order to manufacture consent for another regime change invasion…The Bana Alabed psy-op is the single most transparent piece of war propaganda that I have ever seen in my life, and we should be talking about it constantly, because they really left themselves exposed with that one.

I think Johnstone is talking about changing the frame. “Bana” was indeed Syria war propaganda. I mentioned it awhile back, but didn’t go far enough. The Resistance Chicks (2 populist-moderate, Christian sisters from Ohio) show Bana literally reading a script while the CNNwhore plays along and pretends it’s real.

When you expose Bana, putting her into a new (and 100% truthful) frame as a propaganda pawn, CNN’s power dissipates.

To continue – I won’t quote it all, but this gives you an idea of the rest of Johnstone’s eight points:

2. Shatter the illusion of normalcy.
…These [media, CNN-type] predators use their trusted, ubiquitous presence in the lives of the public to convince them that everything [bad] that’s happening is normal…It’s normal for your country to be bombing sovereign nations every single day and have hundreds of military bases all over the world…It’s normal that all these politicians seem to do pretty much the same things once elected despite campaigning on very different platforms. It’s normal for elected officials to lie. It’s normal for your government to have the ability to spy on you….We need to snap mainstream America out of this lullaby of normalcy. We need to be the caring friend who tells them that it’s not normal for their boyfriend to be violent and controlling…without the spell of normalcy, the whole thing falls apart.

3. Shatter the illusion of unanimity.
4. Stay loudly politically active.
5. Hold a grudge. [i.e., keep bringing up stuff / reminding people]
6. Always be attacking. [the oligarchy’s / media’s “normal” consensus]
7. Find the others. [telling people “Nah, you’re not crazy — I see it too.”]
8. Have fun. “We have the opportunity to be basically wizards, fighting the word-spells these bastards are casting on the sleeping mainstream and screaming ‘You shall not pass!'”

As always, I’d encourage you to Read The Whole Thing, and/or to share your thoughts.

More conspiracy theories become fact – partly, sort of

On April 8, Cernovich Media claimed that National Security Advisor “H. R. McMaster [is] Manipulating Intelligence Reports to Trump, Wants 150,000 Ground Soldiers in Syria”.

Today, Eli Lake at Bloomberg confirms that McMaster wants to send up to 50,000 ground troops to Syria. And “has been quietly pressing his colleagues to question the underlying assumptions of a draft war plan against the Islamic State that would maintain only a light U.S. ground troop presence in Syria…to facilitate a better interagency process to develop Trump’s new strategy to defeat [ISIS].”

The real news is that Trump has said no to McMaster – at least for the time being. Kudos to those GP commenters who advised me, more or less, that Trump is his own man and wouldn’ t automatically go with McMaster.

As to the rest: it sounds like Cernovich dropped the nuances and exaggerated what was left, but still got much of the essence. And ahead of Bloomberg. Here’s a similar example, this one with Judge Napolitano.

In March, Napolitano claimed that, in spying on Trump, Obama went around U.S. laws that would restrict such spying by having a British intelligence agency access the U.S. NSA surveillance databases, then pass along findings. Obama and the British denied it vehemently.

Today, CNN confirms that “British intelligence passed Trump associates’ communications with Russians on to US counterparts.” CNN suggests that the British did the surveilling themselves, a difference from Napolitano’s story. Still, the British did it under intelligence-sharing agreements and to me, it sounds like Napolitano was in the ballpark.

The real news is that CNN still has no substantive Russian collusion to report against Trump.

Syria: Whom do you trust?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:45 am - April 12, 2017.
Filed under: National Security,Syria war,War On Terror,World War III

As former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter has put it:

…chemical attacks had been occurring inside Syria on a regular basis… International investigations of these attacks produced mixed results, with…the majority being attributed to anti-regime fighters, in particular those affiliated with Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.

Some sort of chemical event took place in Khan Sheikhoun; what is very much in question is who is responsible…

A critical piece of information that has largely escaped the reporting in the mainstream media is that Khan Sheikhoun is ground zero for the Islamic jihadists who have been at the center of the anti-Assad movement…

The Russian Ministry of Defense has claimed that Liwa al-Aqsa [anti-Assad jihadists] was using facilities in and around Khan Sheikhoun to manufacture crude chemical shells and landmines…

Al Nusra has a long history of manufacturing and employing crude chemical weapons; the 2013 chemical attack on Ghouta made use of low-grade Sarin nerve agent locally synthesized, while attacks in and around Aleppo in 2016 made use of a chlorine/white phosphorous blend.

If…the building bombed in Khan Sheikhoun on the morning of April 4, 2017 was producing and/or storing chemical weapons, the probability that viable agent and other toxic contaminants were dispersed into the surrounding neighborhood, and further disseminated by the prevailing wind, is high.

Emphasis added. Although the article is at PuffHo and written by a sex offender (teenage girls), it’s a detailed article and worth reading in full.

So, there’s that. The whole thing could have been an accident, when a Syrian government jet did a conventional attack on a facility where the rebels were storing their own, illegal, home-grown(?) chemical weapons.

On the other hand, we have Defense Secretary Mattis stating, “The Syrian regime attacked its own people with chemical weapons. I have personally reviewed the intelligence and there is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself.”

Fifteen years ago, deciding whether to believe the U.S. defense secretary would have been easy: Just believe him! But, disturbingly, Mattis’ briefing gave almost no supporting details – for a story which makes little sense on its surface.

And a lot has changed, in the last 15 years. We now know to a certainty that the U.S. intelligence agencies get things wrong or even mislead on purpose.

  • Most recently, the proverbial “17 intelligence agencies” supported highly doubtful claims of Russian election hacking.
  • Also, they leaked surveillance information in an effort to stoke fires of McCarthyism (hysteria) against a newly-elected President – who, it seemed at the time, wouldn’t go along with the agencies’ desire to attack Syria.

As such, I’m not comforted to know that Mattis “personally reviewed the intelligence” (a fancy way of saying just that he read the agency reports). I remain a skeptic of the official story. As always, feel free to disagree or to tell me what I missed, in the comments.

As to the larger picture: Trump says, “We’re not going into Syria.” But… Spicer is comparing Assad to Hitler and Nikki Haley is still talking Syria regime change. As is McCain. Yuck.

UPDATE: Zero Hedge lists more reasons to question the official story, including:

  • Evidence that it was anhydrous ammonia or chlorine, not sarin. Supposedly, the “first responders” handled the victims without gloves, which should have killed them (if it was sarin).
  • A statement from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), claiming that local U.S. Army officers in Syria agree with the accidental-release theory (mainly faulting the rebels).

The Tyranny of Fake News

I was advised to google “Syria hoax footage” and see what comes up. A lot comes up. For one thing, here’s video from November 2016 of Syrian “White Helmets” (a pro-rebel group; thus pro-Islamist) carefully STAGING a scene of man whose legs were supposedly crushed in a government attack.

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They all scream on cue, at about 0:22. Afterward, the man – that is, the actor – looks cheerful and takes a photo with his fellow actors. Click here and scroll down to see.

CNN lately has been hitting the “Won’t somebody PLEEEZ think of the children??!” button extra hard, with its clips of Bana, an adorable, wide-eyed Syrian 7-year old who pleads for the freedom to play and go to school.

Here, CNN throws Bana into the face of a rather sensible Congressperson, starting around 1:50.

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It turns out, of course, that each of Bana’s performances and Tweets are scripted and staged by her politically-motivated mother.

Note to CNN: A seven-year old isn’t a U.S. foreign policy expert. Her opinion, even if unscripted, would still be Fake News in the sense that it simply isn’t news. And oh yeah, if we did invade Syria (or bomb it further), it would become even harder for Bana to play or go to school. Tell her that.

The U.S. Intelligence and foreign policy bureaucrats (Deep State) wanted Hillary because, for some reason or other, they want a war in Syria at the least; if not a full-on war with Russia. Along with a few billionaires – like Carlos Slim (New York Times) and Jeff Bezos (Washington Post) and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild (Economist magazine) and some others (Time-Warner / CNN) – the Deep State controls the proverbial Controlled Media, which spews War propaganda on command.

That’s reality. That is the world we live in: A tyranny in which relatively non-accountable, secretive bureaucrats manipulate the media – and have the media, in turn, manipulate us with FAKE NEWS.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the recent Syria chemical attack was a hoax or a false flag. But it means that we’re right to wonder. We’re right to ask our leaders for caution. We’re right to question “the narrative.”


Guess what else? We just got a little more information on how it could have been the murdered DNC-insider Seth Rich, and not the Russians, who hacked/leaked the DNC emails in the 2016 election.

“The consensus of 17 intelligence agencies is that the Russians did it!!1!” was always a shaky story. For one thing, the DNC didn’t even allow the FBI in to look at the alleged crime scene for a couple of weeks after it happened.

Its investigation hampered, the FBI then relied mostly on a report of Russian hacking from CrowdStrike, a Democrat-funded company. And CrowdStrike’s report/story has been more or less debunked. The other 16 agencies then relied on the FBI. I say, phooey. This isn’t the first time the proverbial “17 intelligence agencies!” have gotten it wrong – or even tried to deceive us.

UPDATE: On further reflection, the GatewayPundit link above (after “Guess what else?”) is a NothingBurger. As such, I apologize for having brought up that link.

Nonetheless, Julian Assange of Wikileaks has strongly denied Russian involvement in the DNC leaks (try here) and implied that Seth Rich was his source (try here). That continues to be my hypothesis.

UPDATE: On the other side of the spectrum, Cernovich goes on a limb, claims that McMaster has been lying to Trump in an effort to get 150,000 boots on the ground in Syria. If true: it’s a bad moment for America. And if false: it’s a bad moment for Cernovich – who has been shaky on some things, and astoundingly right on some other things.

Lindsey Graham is insane

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In the clip above: Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC) takes the position that we should now fight ISIS plus every major faction in Syria at the same time plus the Russians if they should dare to oppose us, with ground troops and “advisers” to do nation-building in Syria, which somehow isn’t nation-building because it’s letting the “Syrians take care of Assad”, and all of which is directly needed to protect “the homeland” because it would have prevented 9-11 (a strike over here by Saudi terrorists) if only we had done it 16 years ago in Afghanistan. Also, it will save us money.

Even the intelligent Tucker Carlson can’t make sense of it.

Graham’s tone is so deadpan – so authentically uncaring about the lives involved, whether U.S. troops or Syrian locals or even U.S. taxpayers – that it gave me the creeps, once my head stopped spinning.

At the end of the clip, Carlson notes that articles in the Democrat-leaning New York Times and Washington Post have declared that anyone who would OPPOSE the U.S. bombing the brown people of Syria is somehow a “white nationalist”. Anyone who would oppose the Establishment’s new war plans is somehow – did you see this coming? – “racist, anti-Semitic and sexist”.

Do you need more evidence that, by now in 2017, America is in the grip of a war-mongering, out-of-control Deep State? Which opposed Trump fiercely – until a few days ago, when apparently he caved? And that what we have been calling “the mainstream/liberal media” and “the party Establishments” all this time are really the Deep State’s servants?

Syria smells like a hoax

…or more precisely, like a False Flag attack to stampede President Trump into attacking Syria (and indirectly Russia) rather than ISIS. Here’s why. Please note:

  • I’m NOT claiming that it *is* a hoax or a false flag. Only saying why it might be, on present information. Why we should want everyone to take a deep breath and slow down.
  • For brevity, I’ll say Deep State to mean “the consensus of the U.S. intelligence agencies” or “the permanent bureaucracy of the U.S. intelligence community”.
  • For brevity, I’ll say Controlled Media to mean “the mainstream media, largely controlled by Deep State and certain billionaires”.

Now for the reasons.

  1. Syria’s dictator Assad has nothing to gain by chemical attacks on his own people. He gains no strategic territory. He does not intimidate his opponents, nor kill many of them, nor destroy much of their equipment. He only unites the world against him. It does not help him win.

    Even if Assad is the New Hitler testing the nerve of the West: History shows that megalomaniacs always test their opponents’ nerve by going for a worthwhile objective, a genuine win. For example: Hitler in 1936 re-militarized the Rhineland; Saddam in 1990 seized Kuwait and its rich oil fields. Nothing like that, here.

  2. Until recently, Deep State claimed that Assad had absolutely NO chemical weapons. Here’s a Rewind reel to refresh your memory.

    Of course the Deep State could have been wrong (whether mistaken or deceptive), when its politicians and Controlled Media said those things. The point is: They were said. The sudden reversal requires explanation and accounting. Which, so far, has not been given.

  3. ISIS and the Syrian rebels (they’re much the same people, on adjoining territory) do have chemical weapons. Even Foreign Policy magazine says so.
  4. ISIS and the Syrian rebels, and the Deep State factions which back them, do gain by a false-flag attack that gets President Trump to bomb Assad – instead of moving to “eliminate” ISIS, as he was promising.
  5. Suddenly, it’s The Children. Normally, the Controlled Media will avoid showing pictures of maimed children. The exception is when they’re out to whip people up toward some specific end – like, say, a war. This time, they’ve been showing the dead kids (whom we all pity) a great deal.

    Yesterday, I watched both Nikki Haley’s speech to the U.N., and President Trump’s statement to the nation. Both were high on emotion and very short on facts, evidence or logic. That’s a giant red flag.

  6. Deep State and Controlled Media have hoaxed us before. Some would bring up the Iraq War and WMD, as an example. I wouldn’t, but that’s a long story. It doesn’t matter, because we have other examples.

    Are you old enough to remember Nariyah? She got us into the first Gulf War with her tearful tale of Iraqi soldiers ripping babies from incubators – and it was fake, fake, fake.

  7. We’ve had reports in the not-too-distant past, that Deep State was planning false-flag chemical attacks in Syria. Click on this one, allegedly from the Daily Mail. So, the idea isn’t all that far-fetched.
  8. The wrong people are praising Trump’s response of bombing Syria.
  9. When known, Deep State-backed war-mongers like Hillary Clinton, John “Landslide” McCain, and the Saudis approve of your attack on some country, it’s a good time to think twice.

I’m open to solid evidence that Assad did the attack. But if it’s a hoax: then it’s a pity that it has worked; Trump is bombing Syria. After months of failed and ridiculous “Trump is a Russian spy!!1!” innuendo, have the Deep State and Controlled Media found a different way to manipulate him into doing their wars?

Trump’s emotional statement, yesterday, was all-too genuine and sincere. Pictures of dead kids are, it seems, a way to corner him into changing policy and doing your bidding.

I think we should still be going after ISIS. Given that ISIS is largely a creation of the Saudis and certain U.S. Deep State factions, it makes perfect sense to me that the latter – and their minions in the Controlled Media and both U.S. political parties – would be so determined to either knock Trump out of office, or yank him over to their preferred policy of war on Syria/Assad/Russia (largely ignoring ISIS).

SYrial appeals to emotion

Last night, President Obama made an emotional appeal for…America to NOT act in Syria. Transcript here.

If you only caught his conclusion, you’d never know that Obama has spent the last few weeks loudly war-mongering on Syria, seeking unilaterally to plunge America into a new war that over 60% of Americans oppose.

Obama started out his speech with a lot of “Oh! Won’t somebody please think of the children!” But he offered only a series of assertions (no evidence) on a crucial point: whether Syria’s President Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons attacks. (The intelligence is still weak; since the rebels are some nasty people, it’s still worth considering whether they did the attacks as a ‘false flag’ operation to draw the U.S. in, or if it was perhaps a rogue Syrian general.)

Obama then offered a thin connection to U.S. security interests: (more…)

Obama administration in diSYRray

I don’t even have to comment; HotAir’s headlines alone make all the points. OK, I’ll throw in a few little ones.

Sorry if my title pun was too painful.

UPDATE: Gaffe-tastic: Hillary pretty excited about Kerry’s accidental proposal for international control of Syria’s WMD arsenal. With the way this Obama-Syria mess writes itself, blogging has never been easier. I promise I’ll try harder, next time.

Making sense of Syria

Why would President Obama want to commit U.S. forces, basically to help al Qaeda (with the occasional cannibal among them) in a Syrian civil war? What is the compelling U.S. national interest?

I’ve noticed something odd in the administration’s arguments for attacking Syria. They emphasize that chemical weapons were used, but on the crucial dispute over “who did it”, they offer almost nothing beyond mere assertions. (One example here.) It’s almost as if the administration has not wanted people to stop and think about Syria.

I am still keeping an open mind, that the administration’s version of events in Syria could be true. But, for sake of argument, here are some articles giving reason to question it:

It may be worth considering “who benefits” from Obama attacking Syria. Reports say that Saudi Arabia backs the rebels (although I am not sure why they do, unless it’s part of their complicated dance with Russia over the future of OPEC and world energy). Wouldn’t it be ironic, if the Obama administration is acting at the Saudis’ behest?

But I must admit that Obama has finally done something right, in seeking Congress’ authorization to attack Syria.

I think it would be a great mistake for Congress, and especially for the GOP, to authorize in haste – before the many serious, open questions about Syria have been answered to the public’s satisfaction. I do not agree with Speaker Boehner, yet, on supporting a U.S. attack on Syria.

FROM THE COMMENTS: mixitup reminds us that, actually, Obama himself benefits from his attacking Syria. How? “Benghazi, IRS scandal, NSA scandal, gun running scandal [ed: Fast And Furious], unemployment, sad economy…are off the front pages…”

UPDATE: Michael Synder (the Economic Collapse Blog) suggests that the Syrian crisis could really be about which powers get to build pipelines where, to sell whose natural gas to Europe.

I rejected “pipeline thinking” in debates over the wars of a decade ago (Afghanistan, Iraq) – because U.S. security interests were a good-enough explanation for those wars. Again, Syria in 2013 is different. With U.S., NATO, Israeli and even Saudi security *not* obviously at stake in Syria, one may as well start wondering about other explanations for the crisis.

Congress shouldn’t let Obama Pass the Buck On Syria

When I first heard that President Obama was asking Congress to vote on a resolution authorizing him to act against Syria, I thought he was doing the right thing, but then the more I considered the issue, the weaker I realized the move was. And the more political.

My gut sense is that Obama really doesn’t want to take action against the Syrian regime.

And perhaps he is hoping that this move will further divide Republicans. And a Republican Party at war with itself can’t do a good job taking the fight during in the 2014 election cycle.

And should a coalition of libertarian Republicans, partisans who put bucking Obama ahead of the national interest and dovish Democrats opposed to any flexing of American muscle manage to defeat the (unnecessary) legislative authorization, Obama will blame not his fellow Democratic, but the opposition Republicans for denying him the ability to act.

My advice to Speaker Boehner would be to ask all House Republicans to make statements similar to this one: “I don’t think the president needs our approval to act. (President Bill Clinton didn’t ask for congressional authorization before initiating airstrikes against Yugoslavia on behalf of Kosovo.) But, the president has asked for our permission. We are voting for the resolution to show we recognize his responsibility in the matter; we hope he will act in the best interest of the country.”

This at least would make it more challenging for Obama to blame Republicans. And the explanation would help prevent this from becoming a precedent, potentially hamstringing future presidents.

Obama could have delivered a speech similar to that Secretary Kerry gave.  And with that, authorized our armed forces to attack Syrian airbases.  Or he could have explained why it was not in our national interest to act.  Instead, he has advertised his indecision on the matter.  Never a good strategy for a leader.

ADDENDUM:  A test of Obama’s sincerity on the matter will be how aggressively he lobbies Congress on behalf of this resolution.  If he doesn’t actively lobby legislators to pass the bill, then he shouldn’t blame them for its failure.  (Bear in mind my word choice; “shouldn’t” doesn’t mean “won’t.”)

RELATED:  Shortly after posting this piece, I caught a related editorial in the Washington Times: (more…)

Roundup of some Syria news & opinion

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:35 am - August 29, 2013.
Filed under: National Security,Obama Watch,Syria war,War On Terror

– President Obama has “concluded that the Syrian government in fact” carried out chemical weapon attacks.

– But the intelligence in favor of Obama’s conclusion is considered to be thin. Some agree that it was the Syrian Army, but not President Assad; perhaps a rogue commander.

– Obama is not waiting for the U.N. to agree on it, much less Congress. Why won’t he? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tells him to “give peace a chance”.

– Even if the Syrian government did carry out the attacks, Donald Rumsfeld points out that Obama has yet to justify attacking Syria, in terms of U.S. security interests.

– George Will, Obama is talking America into a war. Among many good points, Will notes a weird Obama quote to justify attacking Libya back in 2011: “It is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions”. Umm…so the U.S. must fight whenever, and only when, mysterious “others” tell us? Also, wouldn’t that argument justify the Iraq war, too? Will proceeds to delve into Obama’s equally-tortured language on Syria; RTWT.

– Bruce McQuain makes an argument that Obama has already doomed his own Syria mission, with his wildly-flailing public build-up to it.

Bonus: Did you know that President Smart Power, per the New York Times, insulted Vladimir Putin as “looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom”? (Via HotAir.) Item #35,221 for the “If Bush Did It, The NYT Would Make An International Crisis Of It” file.

UPDATE: Via ZH and Michael Krieger, here is Candidate Obama’s declaration in 2007:

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

UPDATE: The UK pulls out. It looks like Obama must launch his unauthorized, highly questionable attack on Syria by himself.

Syria vs. Iraq

With the 2003 Iraq war, President Bush dealt with a widely-acknowledged threat to world peace, a dictator who had attacked no less than four of his neighbors (at different times, with one such war costing probably over a million lives), and who sheltered and supported various terrorists.

Bush had the participation of 40 other nations in a coalition. The move was authorized by an accumulation of 17 U.N. resolutions, which had effectively voided the dictator’s sovereignty and promised him action over his continued flouting of the U.N.

Most important, Bush’s move was authorized by Congress (as required by the U.S. Constitution) and as well, was supported by clear majorities of the American people at the time.

We can still argue (with hindsight) about the wisdom of the move, if its aftermath was planned right, etc. But the above were and are facts. Do any of them apply to what President Obama has done in Libya, or may be about to do in Syria?

Lefties bleated that Bush had plunged America into a unilateral, illegal/unauthorized “war of choice”. Their claims were wrong on the facts, but let’s set that aside. Has not their President Obama actually plunged America into one near-unilateral, unauthorized “war of choice” – and threatens now to do a second?

Today as yesterday, I’m a bit skeptical of the Obama administration’s version of events in Syria. Not because Syria has just accused Kerry of lying (and, sadly, both Assad and Kerry are known to lie about important matters). Not even because reports continue to suggest that Obama means to bypass Congress, as well as the U.N.

No, I’m still skeptical because of the slap-dash feeling to the public buildup of this crisis. Many of us have heard reports that the U.S. military has been building up to move against something/someone, for weeks if not months. I myself have a friend in the Army who was put on a rather mysterious regime of 80-hour work weeks, starting over two months ago. I thought maybe they were getting ready to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. And then suddenly, just in the last few days, Kerry is there to claim justification for some sort of military action on Syria, from a very recent chemical weapons attack which – while quite horrible and tragic – is still in active debate as to its authorship.

The Obama administration could be telling the truth, like I said yesterday, but… it still doesn’t smell right. The Iraq war build-up was relatively more ‘in the open’, the culmination of years of public debate about a long-term threat.

Obama ready to strike in Syria…against America’s will?

To borrow a few lines that Bruce re-tweeted, “I’m so old, I remember the press having a healthy skepticism for military involvement in the Middle East…I’m also glad we amended the constitution to exclude that congressional authorization for war…”

I’m so old, I remember that President Bush actually troubled himself to get approval from Congress for the Iraq War, including a majority of Senate Democrats. But President Obama, with Syria? I doubt he’ll try.

According to Reuters this weekend:

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act. More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days…

…just 27 percent said they supported his decision to send arms to some Syrian rebels; 47 percent were opposed…

About 11 percent said Obama should do more to intervene in Syria than sending arms to the rebels, while 89 percent said he should not help the rebels…

Obama is considering a range of options. The most popular option among Americans: not intervening in Syria at all. That option is backed by 37 percent of Americans…

If “Obama” (was Reuters disrespectful for calling him that?) intervenes in Syria, he will be doing it without the support of the American people.

There may be no good options in Syria. Just to review: An Iranian-backed dictatorship is fighting rebels who are, basically, al Qaeda. We have claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons; and counter-claims that it was the rebels, running a vicious false flag operation.

UPDATE: Kerry says it was the Syrian government. I must be frank: Hearing it from Kerry makes me a little more skeptical than I was before. The man has been a gigantic, shameless liar on public issues ever since he slandered a generation of veterans in testimony before Congress, in 1971.

I realize that Kerry is backed up, in this instance, by hundreds of functionaries in the Obama administration, and that makes deception less likely (or harder to pull off). But not impossible; and because of Benghazi among other scandals, we know that the Obama administration can be untruthful on foreign policy. They may be telling a true story this time; but skepticism is not wholly unwarranted, and should not be faulted automatically.

If President Obama wanted trust to come forth in a more automatic fashion, then he should have (1) not let his administration mislead the American people on Benghazi, and (2) not chosen a figure known for his decades of lying, as Secretary of State. Having said that, could the administration’s version of events be true? I’m keeping an open mind. Kerry has promised more evidence in days to come; we’ll see.

Open thread: Syria

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 4:18 am - June 20, 2013.
Filed under: National Security,Obama Watch,Syria war,War On Terror

What’s going on? ‘Syriasly.’ I understand where Iran and Hezbollah are in this: they’re Assad allies and want their interests preserved. But:

  • Do Assad’s troops really use chemical weapons?
  • Are the rebels worth supporting? Aren’t they basically al Qaeda?
  • Is this Obama’s Iraq War: where he must build a coalition (both domestic and international) in favor of a “regime change” on the word of intelligence agencies, thus becoming Bush?
  • Is this a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia/Iran? Does it lead to a serious confrontation?
  • What is the U.S. security interest in this, really? Has Assad become a worse international citizen than he was five years ago – say, a greater threat to Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq?
  • Or is this Obama’s Wag the Dog moment, where he tries to distract from his many scandals? Should I trust a war that Lindsey Graham believes in?

The Left seems to be all over the map on this.