Tuesday, September 3, 2013


(For translations of the above military acronyms, please see the end of this post. I didn't want to begin with the F word right off the bat. But to paraphrase, let's just say that ever-declining 21st century America has gone from merely crazy to batshit insane.)

Syria. I can't keep up with the developments. Nobody can. But maybe that's the whole idea. When it comes to domestic programs like passing a pallid background check for gun purchases, gridlock rules so that the NRA dollars may flow and the campaign coffers grow. When it comes to war, the speed is lightning fast, because only with war can the defense industry truly profit. Still, it is stunning to witness just how damned fast the support for all-out war is mushrooming, even among the traditional "doves" of the Democratic Party, even among such "progressives" as Keith Ellison. We knew the Democrats were in thrall to Wall Street and big money. If nothing else, war fever is demonstrating once and for all that, with few exceptions, even the so-called Progressive Caucus is corralled by the kinder gentler right wing of the Uniparty. It should probably name itself something else, such as the Loyal Pretend Opposition.

Rather than rehash and repeat some of the best reporting on the situation out there, let me just recommend a few sites: Moon of Alabama, which you can find on the Blogroll to your right. Counterpunch, also on the Blogroll,  today has an excellent in-depth piece on the history of the whole conflict written by Andrew Levine. And nobody can parse the obtuse like Marcy Wheeler.... again on the Blogroll under EmptyWheel. Over at similarly "Rolled" Firedoglake, they're keeping a running rough tally of Congress Critters who are for, against, and waffling. So far, the Fors seem to be winning. Another good overview comes from David Dayen, who in turn points us to a "magnum opus" on the whole conflict by one William Polk (descendent of the same bloody Polk who invaded Mexico during another almost-forgotten military misadventure in the name of pure greed.)  I probably don't even need to suggest that you look outside the United States for information. The Guardian, Al Jazeera and the BBC are just three good sources.

(Reader Larry Lundgren of Sweden points us to the excellent BBC coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis, the under-reporting of which, here in the Land of Weaponized Liberty, is kind of mind-boggling.)

Speaking of waffling, the New York Times is in true schizophrenic mode. It alternates between being an official mouthpiece for White House talking points and doing its own "Doubting Thomas" editorializing. Here's my response to the Editorial Board's latest, calling for a wider international debate: (thanks to AnneEnigma for recommending it in previous thread!)
It strikes me that President Obama's decision to punt the Syria attack to Congress is a cynical fig leaf. It seems designed to give legitimacy and a theatrical democratic flair to an already done deal, and thus finalize the manufactured consent of the governed. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are falling into place like dominoes. There are the usual bloodthirsty hawks, the anguished undecideds obviously looking to make porkbarrel deals, and the usual coterie of staunch doves to add to the contrived suspense. Some of the same Pentagon functionaries who ginned up the Iraq invasion are back in force on cable TV, fomenting fear and patriotism.
John Kerry, according to NBC News, even warned a group of Congressional Democrats that they'd be Neville Chamberlain-like appeasers if they failed to back the Barack attack against Assad. Kerry's bathos should be grounds for immediate firing. But this is America, land of the free and home of Raytheon, whose stock is soaring with anticipated orders of all those $1 million Tomahawk missiles, Sequester be damned. If in doubt, just start following the money. When it comes to war, the deficit scolds and the anti-safety net misanthropes and food stamp cutters all suddenly turn into pliable little balls of humanitarian fluff.
And beware of the propagandistic weasel words, such as "limited", "no boots on the ground", "collateral damage" and "surgical strikes." War is war, and killing is killing. And blowback is inevitable. We never learn.
And speaking of Kerry, here's the shot of the Big Shot now being seen throughout the World (he dined with Hitler before he hated Hitler, I guess):

And it seems like only yesterday when Progressive Hawkess Nancy Pelosi beamingly shook hands with Assad before becoming appalled that he was a tyrannical despot mass murderer of children coming from a long hideous line of mass murderers of children:

SNAFU: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.

FUBAR: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.


Pearl said...

Why am I not surprised that Debby Wasserman Schultz (D.Florida) on CNN is pushing for attacking Syria and that she is positive that Congress
will support Obama.
It will help our friends in the area (Israel, Jordan, Turkey, of course) and America should use all the power available including the military to show our strength and moral right. According to Debby we cannot allow such despicable immoral
behavior shown by Assad to continue (never mind the Israeli history along
equally immoral lines), and even Wolf seemed taken aback by her intensity
and seemed happy to end the interview. She avoided answering whether Obama should go ahead on his own if Congress did not support him.
She sends shivers up my spine.

I just saw this comment in an article about her opinions about attacking
Syria in the Miami Herald

irem naan

The searing images of children burned alive by white phosphorus on the gaza
strip didn't make debbie invoke "never again," I wonder why not?

Read more here:

ste-vo said...

War IS the answer.

Will said...

Following the very cool lead of 4Runner, Tara & Noodge, I'd like to join in & express my feelings today through the passionate work of an artist. Here's Black Sabbath with "War Pigs." (Lyrics included with video)


P.S. Yes, that's the amazing Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals. :)

annenigma said...

I simply can't believe everyone is swallowing the big lie about Obama's Syrian War being 'limited'. Everyone seems to believe that that the world is such a vacuum that there will be no reaction, response, or retaliation against the USA. Are they spiking the water in D.C. with Obama Kook-Aid?

We only hear minor concern about possible retaliation against the Syrian people - for US air strikes. Or against Israel - for US air strikes. But we hear no discussion about certain retaliation against the USA - for US air strikes and for arming the rebels to the teeth.

Obama's Syrian War will be a godsend to the NSA. Obama's Syrian War will get attention off the NSA controversy and will provide unlimited opportunities for the USG to make up secret evidence about how the NSA is saving us all.

And we can forget about Russia again helpfully warning us about Boston Bombing type terrorists in the future, not that we paid any attention. The USG didn't believe the Russians just as they don't believe Assad now. I'm afraid the similar results, if not exponentially worse, are coming very soon.

Oh well. We knew WWIII would come sooner or later and it would start in the Middle East. All Hell is about to break loose.

annenigma said...

When Congressmen say they need 'more information' they mean more favors before they get on board the War Train.

Imagine how good this war will be for the economy. All those defense contractors with all those jobs in all those Congressional districts getting more government contracts for more materiel.

Ka-ching! Let the good times roll.

James F Traynor said...

And to think it all started with the guns of August, 1914. Really because Willi wanted more colonies. And then they divvied up the Ottoman Empire - more trouble down the road. FDR had it right. He wanted to end colonialism and Henry Wallace would have followed up or at least tried to. But no, we got Truman instead, a haberdasher and WWI artillery officer who had read a couple of books but didn't even know about the bomb. Right now we really need Gore Vidal and George Carlin.

Pearl said...

I Have a Dream.

That Congress will not support Obama in his attempt to start WW111 and then
draw up papers for impeachment should he go ahead on his own. I would even
be willing to put up with Joe Biden for awhile which will then end any
possibilities of Hillary running for office.
Meanwhile, Israel announced that they are starting missile exercises, which
they say has nothing to do with the events in Syria (??!!).

James, I am glad that you are not enamored of Truman and his miserable
record involving destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki to say nothing of being the instigator for the Cold War. I flinch everytime he is extolled as being such a great president.

And ste-vo I don't understand your comment: "War IS the Answer" ?

Karen you have outdone yourself with your column and reply in the NYTimes.
Thank you for helping me face another day of secrets and lies.

tara said...

Excellent post, though I will school you on one important point. Being an advocate for the mentally ill, I take exception to your characterization of the NYT as "Schizophrenic." If you mean they are speaking out of both sides of their mouth, then say so. Schizophrenia is often misunderstood as a multiple personality disorder, and it is not that at all. Just here to shed a little light on the darkness.

annenigma said...

If both wings of the Corporate War Party vote to authorize this war, and if all those voters now opposing it can be persuaded by their anger to permanently bail out on both of them, then it could open up a real solid opportunity for a third party!

Wow, that drug I overdosed on in 1976 must not have fully cleared my system. I'm either still hallucinating or I've got brain damage.

James F Traynor said...

It has been pretty clear that the majority of people wanted single payer, repair of our infrastructure (it really needs it), banking and securities reform, do not think corporations are people, and on and on. They elected Obama twice in the hope for change. They believed that it was Republican opposition that prevented Obama from doing the things he promised.

But finally, with this Syrian thing they must know, and I think a large majority, from what I see in the NYT's comments, do realize finally that there is no material difference between the parties. Trouble is, what now?

Zee said...


I pretty sure that ste-vo was being sarcastic. Very sarcastic, and appropriately so.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Somebody, please help me with the links. In Karen’s article (1) I can’t find the Marcy Wheeler essay at EmptyWheel and (2) where on Firedoglake is that tally of congressional votes? Thanks.

Zee said...

According to The Independent, this is how well our "intervention" in Libya has gone:

"A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin “packing their suitcases” and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

In an escalating crisis little regarded hitherto outside the oil markets, output of Libya’s prized high-quality crude oil has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. Despite threats to use military force to retake the oil ports, the government in Tripoli has been unable to move effectively against striking guards and mutinous military units that are linked to secessionist forces in the east of the country.

Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law. Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire; 31 demonstrators were shot dead and many others wounded as they protested outside the barracks of “the Libyan Shield Brigade” in the eastern capital Benghazi in June.

Thanks a bunch, BHO and NATO!

How much worse will it go in Syria, where chemical weapons are involved?

Karen Garcia said...


Marcy Wheeler writes most of the stuff for her own blog and has, I believe, a couple of other writers assisting her. I wasn't recommending any one particular essay; her area of expertise lies in parsing a whole variety arcane documents and deriving their true meaning or lack thereof. The FDL whip tally is being updated about once a day. Keep scrolling down and look for Jane Hamsher's byline.

Pearl said...

Roger Cohen just wrote a disappointing column, Red Lines Matter, supporting all the plans for
rushing into Syria and mentioning the bravery of President Kennedy in having the courage to end the Cuba Missile Crisis and save our world. Practically all the comments criticized him greatly for his support for attacking Syria
and I found the following comment especially interesting as this is the
first time I remember reading the following information. I recall us being suspicious about the hoopla over the Cuba Missile Crisis when we were living in Israel all those years ago. The more things change, etc.

Kenan Porobic

Mr. Cohen,

Your knowledge of history is terribly bad.
The Russian missiles in Cuba had a defensive objective to serve as a
counterweight to the US nuclear missiles previously installed next to their borders in Turkey. The very moment president Kennedy agreed to dismantle those missiles, the USSR agreed to withdraw theirs from Cuba.
Actually, the Russians were kind enough to hide the details of the deal from the world public so that president Kennedy could have looked like a decisive leader.
It's so bad when a personal hubris comes in front of the security of the
entire world. Just imagine if all of us died over who should look like a leader with steel
backbone and immense courage...

Sept. 3, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

Karen Garcia said...

Postscript to Jay,

To clarify further, Marcy Wheeler herself writes under the byline "Emptywheel".

ste-vo said...

Pearl asked..."And ste-vo I don't understand your comment: "War IS the Answer"

I was feeling nostalgic. We had an Adult Chamber Workshop at Point Counterpoint this past week, ending on Sunday. There were 22 adults attending and I saw at least three cars had those MoveOn.org decals "War is not the answer." It's coming, it's going to be a clusterfuck and I just wanted to prepare myself.

annenigma said...

Going to war against the will of our own people and against all common sense and laws suggests that the CIA has been behind the Syrian uprising for the past two years. It's another CIA project gone bad (successful, that is) that the USG desperately needs bring to completion. Obama can't reveal that part. Thus War, come Hell or high water. There's a reason the CIA's budget is even bigger than the NSA and is Top Secret. They are Obama's personal secret army. He does love his secrets - he even kept who he really was a secret.

There have been too many evolving explanations for why we HAVE to go to war there. When it doesn't seem to add up and the reasons keep changing, then we can deduce that another secretive CIA project is operating behind the scenes. They've brought Syria to the tipping point and now need to push it over the edge so 'our guy' can rule. They've been playing those revolting games around the world for decades and toppled numerous governments.

When Obama says openly that this isn't about regime change, that's EXACTLY what it's about. His lies are very revealing, especially when they don't make sense. Why wouldn't we want regime change? Even Congress didn't buy that and Obama is changing his tune already as he gets desperate for votes.

As far as saving face goes, Obama can always get a new one - like John Kerry did. *Meow*

Jay - Ottawa said...

Karen, Aha. Got 'em. Thanks.

James F Traynor said...

Wars are really, really dangerous. They remind me very much of models, the mathematical kind, that we're always coming up with and erroneously use to predict complicated problems.The trouble is that models aren't created to predict the complicated situations but to try to understand them. Both models and wars are not solutions but symptoms of our befuddlement. The difference is, of course, that models are useful, wars aren't. But, to many, the latter seem like reasonable ideas at the time.

Yesterday I looked at a Frontline film about one typical Syrian location, Alawites on on one side and Sunnis on the other and both doing their best to kill each other. A descent into madness.

Pearl said...

And does no one dare mention the role of religion in all this conflict?
Each religion believes they know the way to permanent glory and have no
patience with anyone else's train of thought. It flourishes full blown in
countries like Syria, and at a bit lower decibel in "advanced" nations like ours. Even knowledgeable historians have trouble explaining the religious road map in Syria as they did for Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and now Israel vs. Palestine.

Religious history includes unending conflict and wars as far back as it can be recorded and is the reason why it is impossible to resolve these issues in Syria or elsewhere.
We have to find another way of subscribing to beliefs that make sense.

annenigma said...

Obama is now saying 'I didn't set the red line for Syria, the world did'.

'Right Candy?'

Cirze said...

Thanks be for you Karen. Your commentary is always priceless in any venue.

And James T, Annenigma and everyone else, I thank you for your insightful comments too.

I follow everything that goes on as well as a used-to-be-connected can, and I'm wondering right now if a lot of that suspicious hoohaw we've seen with this president hasn't been "planned events" hoping to put a stop to what was going on in the WH. Oh, and that that Obama security mess in South America (passed off as more bad boy sex crap) was really about some of his guards who overheard the plans for war and decided to put an end to them right there.

We'll know the genesis of these events many years in the future, of course, as everything always comes out eventually (if some vast unseen accident doesn't upend these plans sooner).

It has always surprised me that after Hitler, Stalin, et al., that dictators (or dictatorial governments) aren't knocked off all the time by those who refused to go along with the received enlightenment about the "goodness" of wars, wars, wars. I know it was tried in both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

Seems to me the hour is getting late for such to occur.

Not that I blame Obama personally (although I do Cheney and Bushboy), but somewhere at some time someone has got to say "No!"

But I could be entirely off base, of course, and wars in the Middle East could be just the ticket to get our economy moving again with jobs and healthcare for the troops!

So, rah rah.

And, this oculd have been the plan behind the bailout of the banksters and the too-little jobs funding all along.

Love you guys!

Zee said...

An interesting House "Republican tally" over at Firedoglake.


Are those Republicans who are counted as "Leaning Nay" or "Nay" doing so simply because they want to embarrass Barack O'Bomb'Em (and the Dems) and/or show that he's weak, or are they doing so out of principle?

Call me cynical, but my guess is, the former.

Still, it's nice to dream that maybe--just maybe--they have finally learned from Iraq and Afghanistan that "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy.

Something that Barack O'Bomb'Em--Bush-Emulator-in-Chief--has yet to discover.

The Black Swan said...

Sorry to be late to the party, but everyone should watch this video to get a true understanding of just how sick and criminal the actions of our 'government' are.


The apparatus of our enslavement is the tool of our liberation.

May all beings be happy.

Zee said...

@The Black Swan--

Thanks for the link to the video featuring Mairead Maguire. Hers is a sobering commentary that further convinces me that the American Congress is being stampeded into war for nefarious purposes, as annenigma, Cirze and others have already suggested.

It seems that our so-called "Arab allies" want us to bomb Syria, too, perhaps launching a regional or world war.


Well, a major war in the Middle East would certainly spike oil prices, wouldn't it?

And maybe reduce pesky ol' Israel to rubble as a side "benefit" for all concerned?

As many have noted, war will certainly line the pockets of many a member of the MIC.

But could Obummer be so callous and stupid as to imagine that war will get the U.S. out of its economic doldrums as some have suggested WWII did for FDR?

The mind boggles at the possibilities!

I am truly sickened by the endless, tragic, unintended consequences that could occur should Obummer and Congress decide to bomb or othewise attack Syria.

valerie Long Tweedie said...

You really outdid yourself on this one Karen! One of your finest!
- and thanks for the great links.

. . . So glad I didn't vote for Obama. Hope those who did realise they have blood on their hands.


annenigma said...

Taking us to war in Syria against the will of the American people will be crossing a RED LINE. Our own military regime, masquerading as the USG, is determined to use military and subversive actions to once again manipulate and facilitate violence abroad. Those immoral and illegal activities endanger us and the entire world.

This USG military regime, currently lead by our Nobel Peace Prize winning Commander-in-Chief, has missiles for eyes and bombs for brains. They don't believe in peace because they are intoxicated with power and there's simply no money in it. To them, war is an investment in the national economy, particularly the banking sector, and a jobs program for the vast defense and surveillance industries.

If we don't do something to stop the USG's global warmongering, it will only embolden them to defy the people's wishes again and again. Their goals of punishment, deterrence, containment, and even regime change could apply to the USG just as well.