The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Is Trump Trying to Start a War with Iran?

Qasem Soleimani

And maybe with Iraq, too.

Trump has had the second most powerful man in Iraq, the leader of the Qods force, Qasem Soleimani, killed. This is like someone assassinating the Joint Chief of Staff combined with the Leader of the House.

Qasem Soleimani was also very close to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader–a personal friend.

On top of this, US forces in Iraq have arrested the leaders of two of Iraq’s most important militias.

These are, well, acts of war. Iranian sources are saying that there will be retaliation, no question.

Iran has far more power and influence than the US in Iraq, if a real war starts, it is very likely that it will be the US against Iran, Iraq,, and possibly Syria.

Iran and Syria are, effectively, allies of Russia.

Iran, like everyone else who fears the US and has enough resources, has spent the last 20 years preparing specifically for war with the US. They have built a fearsome missile force, designed to hit US ships and bases, and to be too large to shoot down and stop. They have stated that, in war, they will shut down the Gulf, meaning that oil prices around the world will soar, likely causing a financial crisis and severe recession–possibly a depression.

Putin is determined, moreover, to not allow the US to destroy any more Russian allies. One of his huge regrets was allowing Libya to be destroyed. He will want to keep Iran from being defeated.

The funny thing about this is that killing and arresting leaders will make far less difference than the US imagines: In organizations where everyone believes in the mission (like militias and Qods), those leaders will just be replaced. The person who replaces them will be competent, and will want revenge. The US always overestimates the importance of leaders, because a US leader’s job is to get people to do things they don’t really believe are worth doing.

This is an amazing clusterfuck. The Iranians are in a bind: If they do not launch some sort of savage reprisal, then the message is clear, the US can kill any Iranian they want–if they can kill the second most powerful man in Iran, who’s off the table?

Iraqi militias and the government face a similar quandry: If they do nothing, it is clear their independence is a complete sham, and they are still ruled by America.

On the other hand, if they escalate at a symmetrical level, they will have to do so much damage that the US will rally around Trump and scream for Trump to strike them again–and even harder. Various American Rambo-patriots are already flexing their muscles and making threats.

It isn’t hard to see how that could quickly lead to war, but the other option for both Iran and Iraq is essentially to lick the boots that just kicked them.

Fun stuff.

If Trump doesn’t walk this back, hard, there may well be the most serious war in decades. At the far end, though I think it’s unlikely, it certainly isn’t impossible for this to escalate into a war involving both Russia and the US, on opposite sides.

This is a profoundly dangerous moment. Don’t underestimate just how badly this could turn out.

(And remember that Obama normalized this idea, seeded by, Bush Jr., that the US had the right to kill foreigners anytime, anywhere, subject only to the President’s discretion. Not only an evil idea, but a profoundly dangerous one. The US’s entire drone assassination program needs to be shut down, now and permanently.)

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As We Sow: Australian Wildfire Edition


Open Thread


  1. Mark Pontin

    Back in the Bush-Cheney years, when the US was feeling even more aggressive and there was talk of actually invading Iran, I was chatting with a Pentagon consultant and in the course of things I ridiculed the idea of the US invading Iran, citing the latter’s large size, population, etc.

    The consultant agreed the idea was ridiculous, but claimed — and seemed to believe — that on the other hand if the Iranians hit shipping traffic in the Gulf, attacked the 5th fleet in Bahrain, or anything like that, US combined military forces had the capability to flatten all Iranian military assets to within an area 20-30 miles deep on the northern shore of the Gulf, no matter how much those assets could be moved around by the Iranians.

    Putting it another way, the US military has been gaming out and planning the sort of scenarios that you speculate about here at least since at least 2006. Are their projections realistic? Who knows. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, etc.

    Still, this is an extremely hard call for the Iranians on how they escalate.

  2. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    OF COURSE Benedict Donald is trying to start a war, to save his @$$.

    And his master, Tsar Vladimir, will make disapproving noises, but secretly rejoice if the price of Paleozoic Go Juice soars; it’s not as if his puppet-state USA can actually conquer his ally, Iran, after all.

    [Pure Left] But Obama was the Son of Satan, and Hitlery would have been even worse, of course… [/Pure Left]


    What a nutjob. American generals are now fair game. Trump has now made himself fair game. We had to know it would come to this with this freak at the helm. Hang on to your seats. The shit’s about to hit the fan — for real this time.

    Several weeks prior I was going to comment that we should expect Trump’s war to commence in January. I got distracted and never posted the comment. Here we are. It’s January and we’re the eve of another war. One that may break America for good.

  4. kalyptein

    Good thing Trump won’t start a war with Iran, like that war-monger Hillary would have.

  5. Ian Welsh

    The fear with Hilary was a war with Russia, started in Syria.

    The fear with Trump was/is a war with Russia, started in Iran.

  6. Chiron

    Trump run for Presidency because of the Iran deal by Obama, his son said in a interview. I used to follow the blog of a woman who used worked for Neocon think tanks in Washington and she pretty much said that Trump running for the Presidency was a war between the American elite, those who favored the Iran deal and those who want to go nuclear for israel.

  7. I remember reading many years ago that Iran had escalation dominance, and therefore we weren’t going to attack. I’m hardly an expert on military matters, but it’s an easy guess that Iran has extended it’s escalation dominance.

    In spite of this, it does indeed appear like the US is instigating a conflict with Iran.

    I suppose Russia could mollify the Iranians by giving them state-of-the-art anti-ship and anti-missile systems. There were recently joint naval exercises with Iran, Russia and China participating. I think Russia has to respond, also. Fortunately, their leadership is level-headed, and works for de-escalation.

    I’m afraid something is in the works, but we’re not being told what.

  8. different clue

    I must admit to being confused by Trump’s reasoning in all this. Trump ran on wanting to reduce US involvement in Middle East wars in particular. And this could increase US involvment in some new Middle East wars.

    Did Trump originate this idea? Did military people who have long wanted revenge on Iran for Iranian assistance to Iraqi resistance to the US presence in Iraq finally get Trump to permit the revenge they have long sought? Were neocons in government working with military figures to get Trump to authorize this . . . in order to get the regime-change war with Iran that they have long sought?

  9. Herman

    @different clue,

    Trump was always a hawk on Iran, even during the 2016 campaign. Like a lot of people on the left, I thought Trump was more of a dove than Hillary but I think there may have been a lot of wishful thinking in 2016. Now we may get into a major war under Trump.

    Trump has always been surrounded by neocons, just like his judicial nominees have all been typical conservatives. Trump has turned out to be more of a typical Republican than many people expected.

  10. Tom

    I won’t shed any tears for the man’s death as he has the blood 100s of thousands of innocents on his hands, Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians. Still he should have been taken out in a plausibly deniable way in Syria. not an open and brazen attack in Iraq.

    This follows weeks of OpEds by retired NatSec Officials criticizing Trump for not doing more against Iran and calling for his removal. On top of which US Generals are openly disobeying orders from Trump and operating without Congressional consent or oversight. Even if Bernie wins, he may very well be sidelined if he doesn’t tackle the US Military head on and start purging it.

  11. I recall telling everyone who was around here way back when that the nationalist right did not actually have the special redeeming merit of being “non-interventionist” in any sense. On this point, I am yet again correct. Identity politics is real politics, and the lines a lot of people on the “guns-and-butter” left foolishly think are fake are likewise real.

  12. Hugh

    It is likely that Trump did this to distract from his impeachment. As always, super important to remember that Trump doesn’t do strategy. The Israelis and Saudis will have no problem with Soleimani’s assassination. They have always been willing to fight to the last dead American. In Iraq, it’s a mixed bag. Iranian influence in Iraq is an irritation even among many Shia. Iran-backed militias are also part of the pervasive corruption in Iraq that many ordinary Iraqis were demonstrating against and it was these militias that have been responsible for many of the attacks on these protesters that have so far left 500 hundred dead and more than 20,000 wounded.

    I would dearly like to know who the American “contractor” was. Just some Joe in the wrong place at the wrong time or a significant intelligence operative who got offed? In any case, a convenient pretext. Also Soleimani got arrogant and sloppy. He operated too much out in the open for his line of business. And while the US could have targeted him on its own, it is likely that we got Iraqi help to do so.

    I supported the US-Iran nuclear deal and think Trump has been a complete disaster. I also think the most recent tit for tat should have ended with the Iranian-backed groups pull back from the US Embassy. Both sides had made their points and saved face. That should have been the end of it, unless this contractor ran our intelligence operation in Northern Iraq or something. On the other hand, Trump’s pathological need to change the subject when he’s feeling pressured seems a lot more likely.

    The force calculus is that the US with Israel, the KSA, and the Emirates has overwhelming force in the area. Russia will not become directly involved. They and we have been doing these proxy wars for nearly 70 years. Putin will supply and will be looking around to pick up any handy pieces, as he did recently in Syria. While the Russian presence in Syria is significant, it has little force projection potential outside Syria, and there is Israel with much larger forces right next door. You also have to look at Iran’s regional proxies. Syria and Yemen are train wrecks, and Lebanon and Iraq are semi-train wrecks. Iran itself is hurting severely economically under sanctions. (Parenthetically, Soleimani’s brand of foreign adventurism was seen by many Iranians as an unwarranted diversion from domestic needs.) Its armed forces are spotty but significant. Its infrastructure and command and control structure are acutely vulnerable. We are not going to invade Iran, but we could leave it an irredeemable wreck in an armed conflict. We will see all the Iran neocon kooks coming out of the woodwork. I would say we should be looking for asymmetrical responses, but the odds of miscalculation are quite high. Iranian leadership probably feels it needs a major response and if that response originates directly from Iran or does too much damage or kills too many Americans, there will be war.

    As Antoine Jacques Claude Joseph, comte Boulay de la Meurthe said so long ago, “C’est pire qu’un crime. C’est une faute.” It’s worse than a crime. It is a mistake.

  13. Nutjob John Bolton has praised Trump

    ““Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran’s malign Quds Force activities worldwide,” he tweeted of the strike ordered by President Trump that killed Soleimani and six others. “Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.””

    With friends like this, what could possibly go wrong?

  14. @hugh

    “It is likely that Trump did this to distract from his impeachment.”

    While personally irritating to Trump, he has been rising in the polls. Tucker Carlson helped talk Trump out of escalation, in the past, mentioning the political implications. (He has similar sentiments this time around: )

    “As always, super important to remember that Trump doesn’t do strategy. ”

    At best, this is a political own-goal. As the Saker has recently posted,

    “Frankly, I was hoping that Trump and/or Netanyahu had enough brains NOT to claim the attack, whether they did it or not. ”

    Good luck to us getting any honest reaction, by Trump, to any honest question about his strategic thinking. He probably has none, at all. I expect the dilettante-in-chief to parrot neocon talking points; probably only with some low-investment tweets. Too bad Tucker Carlson was on vacation, lately.

  15. The moron-in-chief has recently signed an un-Constitutional executive order, showing his subservience to pro-Israeli interference in our affairs:

    The Israeli government is probably even more giddy about Trump’s assassination of Soleimani.

    Meanwhile, Trump has been silent about reports of Israeli brutality, including the blinding of 50 Palestinians since 2018: (caveat: I’m not sure about how credible this particular report is. 50 is a suspiciously even number.)

  16. bruce wilder

    Not Talleyrand then?

  17. I started [my] blog fifteen years ago as a Chronicle of the End Times, but that attracted traffic I didn’t want (here’s looking at you, Sarah)… it has been my contention from the start, indeed all of my life, that the Christian’s have taken it upon themselves as Manifest Destiny to initiate the Apocalypse, to fulfill a prophesy their precious lord and master will come rescue them. If there is a Deep State, this is it. It may have taken a thousand years, but all the pieces are in place, ducks in a row: Israel, the sacrificial lion two-thirds of which is to be destroyed is well into her second generation; the Bear of the North, Russia aligned with Iran, against the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet, the Bull of the West; and Iraq the battlefield: Armageddon. Not to mention all those signs and potents in the skies; the floods, the fires, the calamities. Wars and rumors of War.

    Better git right with Jesus, just as soon as the blood rises to a horses’ bridle he’s gonna’ float down out of the sky on a flying rainbow unicorn with thousands of helpers on flying rainbow unicorns to carry all the faithful off to paradise. The unfaithful, of course, get left behind.

  18. Mallam

    There isn’t going to be war with Russia. Israel has been targeting and killing Iranian forces/proxies in Syria for years now — with Russian approval. Turkey has hit Russian targets (on purpose and by accident) and similarly no war. We’ve killed Russian mercenaries and it didn’t spiral. There wasn’t any realistic danger of “war with Russia” over Clinton’s policy in Syria. It was just propaganda used in favor of Trump’s election that some people convinced themselves was true. Now obviously miscalculations can lead to unintended consequences, but anyone screaming about “WWIII” with direct war between Russia and US were fooling themselves.

    Everything now depends on how Iran decides to respond. I doubt that they’d foolishly escalate in a direct confrontation of sorts. It’s just as likely if not more so that they use the moment to push US out of Iraq completely and take that as a win. Of course, US hardliners frequently overstate Iran’s control over their own militias/proxies, and these militias might have their own plans for revenge.

    One thing for sure is that while many thousands of Syrians and Iraqis and Lebanese are justifiably celebrating his death, as he was responsible for deaths of many in the region, it’s that no man is indispensable and that it is not US who will feel the brunt of the reverberations but the thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped in the crossfire of US and Iranian imperialism.


    For once I agree with metamars. Trump’s ordering of this is a brain stem, reptilian response that involved no higher thinking. Trump can’t play chess. Instead, he throws stones at toddlers or what he thinks are toddlers. Iran is no toddler as Trump, and all of us, will soon find out. Iran is no Iraq. Iran is no Syria.

    My wife had planned to attend a conference in February. I advised her to cancel her attendance because it requires air travel. Your chances of winning the exploding plane lottery if you plan on traveling by air have just increased dramatically.

    Eric Trump bragged about this assassination several days prior and yet many in Trump’s administration claim they had no knowledge of this and it took them completely by surprise which means Trump is off-the-hook and beyond-the-pale. This is uncharted territory.

    Let’s assume, hypothetically, Iran strikes back by murdering one of Trump’s sons. I have no doubt if that were to transpire, Trump would order a nuclear strike on Iran. What does the Pentagon do at that point? Comply? If the Pentagon complies, what would Russia’s response be? These are the scenarios that become highly plausible when you throw out the rule book and go unconventional.

    Henry Kissinger, you may be wise to triple your security right about now. Quadruple it, even. Iran’s retaliation will be symbolic if nothing else and let’s face it, Kissinger, as much as any legacy establishment survivor, is responsible for what Iran has ultimately become and Kissinger is a Trump fan and supporter. He helped birth the rogue golem that is Iran.


    It’s amazing what cowards the top brass in America are that they can stand by and let this happen without condemnation. Soleimani wasn’t hiding in some spider hole like Saddam Hussein. He didn’t have an entourage of security like Trump. He traveled freely and announced his travel plans. He was ready at every moment of every day to be a martyr and Trump obliged. To assassinate Soleimani was not a brave and noble act. It was a strategic blunder. And the Pentagon enabled it. America has a military budget of three quarters of a trillion dollars and it commits a military blunder like this? This is what Americans are getting for their nearly trillion dollars of military might? One military blunder after another and a Clown In Chief as defense contractors continue to get fabulously wealthy at the expense of the planet?


    The Mouth couldn’t stay silent for long before he started gloating about his blunder. Miraculously, CNN is no longer Fake News. Here is Trump retweeting, of all people, CNN’s Jim Sciutto and another CIA-approved blue check Twitter commentator Sam Dagher.

    I’m watching Donald Trump and Jim Sciutto and I don’t consider Iran and its leaders and military and its people my enemies. I do consider you all my enemies because you are capable of doing much more harm to me and my family, and you are doing that harm every day, than Iran could ever hope to inflict if it ever had any such intentions.

    Make no mistake, the press will be solidly behind Trump in his war on Iran and at this point Trump will have no choice but to engage in war on Iran considering his actions last night which are for all intents and purposes an act of war. He stepped in it in a BIG WAY.

    Also, since when has Trump been concerned about what Assad has done to his people? Putin doesn’t have a problem with it so Trump shouldn’t have a problem with it. Plus, didn’t America tell the Shah to do the very same thing to his people before he was deposed and fled in exile. We’ve all read the NYT’ recent piece about the released Chase documents where Rockefeller enabled the Iranian Revolution. In those documents it was revealed that the Shah’s security apparatus was advised to aim for the chest of protesters rather than above the head. The Shah’s security apparatus didn’t oblige. In otherwords, Dagher, America has no moral high road here. America cannot condemn that which it supports in the shadows until light is shed on those shadows 45 years later via FOIA requests.


    No, you fundie fat-ass piece of shit, the Americans killed in the middle east are not patriots. They were/are mercenaries protecting corporate interests at American taxpayers’ expense where American taxpayers’ are coerced by law to support these egregious mercenary activities to protect oil profits. Trump has said it himself in a tweet. The soldiers are there to protect the oil, not America or Americans or any single person in the ,middle east unless they’re corporate executives and corporate employees and unless they’re foriegn despots who are aligned with Western corporate interests. You and your ilk don’t have a humanitarian bone in your blubber-bound, bloated bodies. Half the planet or more could die so long as it served your corporate interests.


    Trump has now challenged Putin’s red line in the middle east. Putin has drawn a red line and indicated he would not tolerate another American invasion in the middle east like the Syrian adventure. I recollect Obama took a lot of guff about not enforcing his red line. Will the same people ridicule and criticize and taunt Putin of he doesn’t make good on his red line word? If Putin truly is varsity versus jayvee, he will need to step up and support Iran in its defense against America in the imminent war. That may include allocating nuclear weapons to Iran for that defense. Will we get a Cuban Missile Crisis Redux Middle East style? We’ll see. We’ll see. Pompeo and his fundie freak brethren may just get their Armageddon afterall. How much does the Middle East really matter to Putin. We’re about to find out.

    MAGA — Make Armageddon Great Again.

  24. Will


    I remember when the Iraq invasion was being prepped and Hussein refused to allow further inspections. Some idiotic overpaid talking head said he would not do so unless he had something to hide. I remember thinking that no, this was exactly the kind of man he was. He had a lot of pride and he was drawing a line in the sand that he was powerless to resist. It was his nature.

    I’m amazed at how poorly men are at reading other men. The analysis of Trump by those who cannot read him would be comical if it didn’t cause so much harm. I think he knows this and gets a kick out of playing with their minds.

    Not that he should be in a position of power. He is the worst standard bearer conceivable for many issues I care about deeply. Ah well.

    Truth is all of this confirms an opinion I’ve had for many years. No one should be allowed to order the military to take combat actions unless he/she has at least once in their lives been in a real live fist fight that they lost. Preferably when they were in the right.

    That rules out about 95% of the citizenry of the US. That sounds about right to me.


    Some sanity from Bernie. Of course, I’m not sure there’s much he can do about it. It’s baked in at this point. His fellow Dems gave Trump the green light on this by overwhelmingly approving his most recent military budget proposal that substantially increased military spending. That approval sent a load and clear message to Trump that the hypocritical Dems will support Trump in any and all military aggression he deems fit. It was a license to kill. It was a license to conjure Armageddon.

  26. Mark Pontin

    This is interesting …..

    ” ….it was possible to track the entire deployment by the use of ADS-B, Mode S and MLAT allowing us to discover some details of the operation through Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tools ….”



    Going to war with Iran will be the end of America. That\’s the long and short of it.

  28. ricardo2000

    Trump would love to pick a fight with anyone as this is a key election tactic. Rally around the Prez, remember the Alamo, Pearl Harbour, are staples of US politics. Trump will want an early fight so he can show effective responses; Iraqis and Iranians will want it late so that massive casualties occur and maximum electoral chaos with damage to the election.
    The Iraqis and Iranians will carefully consider their options, knowing they have one chance for effective revenge. I imagine quiet buildups with plenty of smiling faces surrounding US bases. Then massive rocket barrages against the bases and NATO air forces, followed by overwhelming attacks launched from concealed tunnels that pulverize US bases in Iraq.
    Massive mining of the Straits of Hormuz and littoral waters southwest of the Arabian peninsula between Aden and Djibouti. Limpet mines attached to passing shipping designed to explode on command in the Red Sea and Suez Canal could terrorize shipping all over the Indian Ocean.
    Four strategic keys are Diego Garcia, Turkey and the Kurds, Afghanistan, and, Russian/Chinese support and responses.
    Can Iranian missiles reach Diego Garcia and inflict damage?
    Will the Kurds, Iraqis, and Iranians make defence pacts that secure their flanks, and prevent Turkey from exploiting chaos and US panic?
    Will any attacks on Afghan bases lead to Taliban exploitation of this war?
    Will the Russians and Chinese offer more than words of support?
    Will they send massive military aid, in particular, anti-aircraft batteries and effective naval vessels?
    Also, will Iranian authorities be able to rally their people for a war, considering the unrest sanctions have caused?

  29. Mark Pontin “If Putin truly is varsity versus jayvee, he will need to step up and support Iran in its defense against America in the imminent war. That may include allocating nuclear weapons to Iran for that defense.”

    Oh, grow up. Putin will do whatever he calculates is most strategically and tactically astute in terms of Russia’s interests. Everyone miscalculates, but Putin far less than the clowns who dictate our policies. We’re going to miss him when he’s gone.

    In the meantime, he probably appreciates Trump’s ability to make a sudden, shocking move that changes the whole state of play as he himself is adept at that kind of move. It’d be interesting to hear what he’s telling Tehran.

    Because the basic fact of the assassination is that Trump has challenged Iran to take the current US -Iran conflict out of the proxy Cold War context and into a traditional war. Presumably, Trump doesn’t actually want a war, though maybe clowns like Pompeo et al do. Considered coldly, it may turn out to be be a massive mistake or it may not. But it’s a big move and is going to take a while to be understood.

  30. It was just propaganda used in favor of Trump’s election that some people convinced themselves was true.

    This. Some folks were desperate to believe that stopping Hillary would lead to some kind of purification of the Democratic party or the American left, so they were willing to believe anything when a Republican candidate sent out the right “virtue” (vice) signals that annoyed the “woke establishment” while telegraphing a fake “isolationism”.

  31. anon

    I have been looking at real estate for the last several months, but I may put a hold on buying a house for the time being. I was already worried about another recession in 2020. Several people told me that any recession likely won’t be as bad as the 2008 recession. Now, I’m not so sure. Trump is a petty person who would have no problems with taking the entire world down with him if he doesn’t win reelection. I really wanted to buy a house now, but I may wait until late 2020 to ensure that I don’t lose a fortune. With an impending war and the presidential election, anything can happen.


    You’re right, Mark, thanks for schooling me. You’re correct, of course, Putin has no ideology and is amoral. His whole life was spent locking up and murdering innocent people, first under the aegis of communism and now under the aegis of capitalism. All those poor people in East Germany who suffered under his oppressive yoke when he squashed them into submission and impotence in the name of communism when he was, all along, a wannabe crony capitalist in communist clothing. So yeah, you’re right, he’s a clever, conniving little pipsqueak weasel who looks to game any situation that arises anywhere to see how he and his cronies can gain from it and add further to their already fabulous stolen riches.

    And you’re also correct that Trump’s latest move is pure genius and game-changing. It sets a new precedent. The old game board has been discarded and we have a new one. It will be interesting to see how the new game transpires. VIPs of all stripes are now fair game. That means, necessarily, that should leftists of any form come to power in the West or elsewhere, oligarchs are fair game for drone strikes. Won’t that be a glorious day when oligarchs like the Diamond King Lev Leviev can be turned into hamburger meat by remote control from thousands of miles away. When that time comes, if it comes, we have Trump to thank.

    Pursuant to that and considering this new and improved war-fighting philosophy the military genius Trump has rolled out, I vote the Soviet Lev Leviev as the recipient of the next drone strike. He’s a nexus between Putin, Trump, Israel and the Israeli Settlements. Pompeo’s recent announcement about America’s stance vis a vis the Israeli Settlements is directly related to what is discussed and revealed in the following video. Let’s drone strike Lev Leviev!! According to Mark, Putin will approve because he likes any move that “changes the whole state of play.” Here’s the opening we need to take out the oligarchs.

  33. Stormcrow


    The force calculus is that the US with Israel, the KSA, and the Emirates has overwhelming force in the area.

    Any force calculus that ignores geography is less than worthless.

    And Iran’s geography makes it at least as hard a target as North Korea. The population is located in mountainous areas which are, by their nature, curst hard to fight through with any sort of conventional force. Recall that once the Chinese forces in North Korea stopped trying to force their way south and simply dug in, the Korean War turned into a stalemate PDQ.

    Here are a couple of maps which lay out the topography and population density.

    Read ’em and weep. Nobody in their right mind wants to try to invade a place like this.

    But Trump isn’t IN his right mind.

  34. nihil obstet

    I learned history in a context of respect for the Geneva Convention, the agreements that civilized nations observed to lessen as much as possible the horrors of war. I’m not sure that isn’t a monstrous effort, making war more acceptable. Thinking about the U.S. assassinations of foreign leaders, I’m beginning to agree with it. If leaders are at risk for their decisions, they may think twice, three, five hundred times about making war. Trump’s sons, Trump himself, leaders of Congress, should be considered target just as much as any resident of a country we’re bombing.

  35. Mark Pontin wrote: ‘VIPs of all stripes are now fair game. That means, necessarily, that should leftists of any form come to power in the West or elsewhere, oligarchs are fair game for drone strikes … Let’s drone strike Lev Leviev!! … Here’s the opening we need to take out the oligarchs.”

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  36. Mark Pontin

    nihil obstet wrote: “If leaders are at risk for their decisions, they may think twice, three, five hundred times about making war.”

    I agree absolutely. The fuckers need to be made to have skin in the game.

  37. Hugh

    Not Talleyrand or Fouché but Boulay de la Meurthe. Like so many quotes, this one is often misattributed.

    The geography that works strategically in Iran’s favor is primarily a long coast line in the Persian Gulf and secondarily borders with Iraq and Afghanistan. Again we are not going to invade Iran. And the mountains of which you speak mean all kinds of chokepoints for transportation, communication, pipelines, and electricity.

    And while a lot of neocons are going to have a hard on over this, much of the defense, military, and intelligence Establishment realizes there will be major consequences from this and is concerned that Trump for his part is making this up as he goes along.

    Tucker Carlson and the other crazies at Fox intersect with reality by accident occasionally and very briefly.

  38. bruce wilder

    Hugh: . . . much of the defense, military, and intelligence Establishment realizes there will be major consequences from this and is concerned that Trump for his part is making this up as he goes along.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand why you would think this; you apparently have a quite different image of this “deep state” establishment from the one than I do.

    The glimpses of that d,m,i Establishment that I get from cursory glances at the news over the last 20 years suggests to me a fairly reckless, degenerate, incompetent group. I am pretty sure Trump does not initiate strategy and would not know what Quds was unless he had heard the name on Fox News in the previous half-hour segment, so watching this situation unfold, I have to ask myself, what group of people thought it would be a good idea to manipulate Trump into this course of action? Bolton would be a candidate, but he was supposedly already gone, milking his possible star turn in the Senate Impeachment trial for what it is worth. I presume it was a team effort, involving the same sort of collective genius that thought WMD was a good storyline, advocated a surge in Afghanistan for Obama after the surge in Iraq had done its work of failure for Bush II, thought torture would produce valuable intelligence, thought imprisoning innocent people at Guantanamo and calling them “worst of the worst” was being tough, sold Obama on “training and arming” moderate liberal Syrians to overthrow Assad, corrupted, thought backing Mr Bone Saw in Yemen was a grand idea, think Netanyahoo an exemplary ally, . . . . [many examples of amoral incompetence by leaders of the American military and intelligence community and the stupidity of their cheering section among The Blob(tm) omitted due to time and space considerations]. We are not in Iraq today, 17 years after a war crime of an invasion on a false pretext, because this establishment are “concerned with consequences”.

    I admit I do not understand every nuance of the hostility some elite “professional” diplomatic, military and ic types evidence toward Trump. But, I do not see any evidence to support a presumption that the anonymous “they” are ethical or competent or honest, let alone foresightful.

    The kind of “move” Trump just made required, by its nature, detailed intelligence and military advice from the bureaucracy. One might speculate a form of prompting was involved. My fear is that it isn’t Trump making it up as he goes along — that he is being fed his lines by factions unnamed. That Trump doesn’t understand what he is doing is a given. But, I presume that those with at least temporary access to power thru access to Trump’s addled worldview are not trustworthy or responsible in any sane sense.

  39. bruce wilder


    A forlorn hope for the “purification” of the Democratic Party did not pan out. The Democratic Party is still controlled by corrupt war-mongering fools, who now think a senile Biden is an appealing alternative sure to beat Trump at the polls. What’s your point?

  40. Tom

    Iraq will vote to evict us from Iraq. That will be the test. Does Trump pull out or does he go to war with Iraq and Iran plus PUK as they are an Iranian Puppet and the reason why KDP was unable to hold Kirkuk.

  41. Steve Ruis

    Re “The US’s entire drone assassination program needs to be shut down, now and permanently.” Couldn’t agree more. What happened to the federal investigation into state sanctioned assassinations in this country and the policy we wrote that said we would no longer do that. There was a commission, a great hubbub and then a new policy. Did that get swept under the rug, too?

    Foreign policy by assassination is not a good idea as we will find out when our diplomats start getting picked off too.

  42. Hugh

    Bruce, I don’t know anyone in our defense Establishment who will mourn Soleimani but most, not all, thought that the cost of taking him out simply wasn’t worth it. After the attack by Iranian-backed militias which killed the US contractor, the intelligence community and military put together a package of force options. After the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, these options were further expanded. It would have been remiss of our agencies not to have done this. But with some neocon kook at Mar-a-Lago whispering Benghazi in Trump’s ear, his own desire to take the focus off his impeachment, and who knows with what timely contributions from the Israelis, Saudis, and groups in Iraq, the Soleimani option came up and Trump took it.

    Tom, I have no problem with the Iraqi Parliament voting us out. I wasn’t that eager for us to go back in. If they want to increase the power of Iran in Iraq and the militias it backs even further let them cut their own throats. Quds has been dictatorial and corrupt in Iran. Its militias in Iraq have followed the same model. With us gone, the likelihood of an ISIS 2.0 also goes up. So if the Iraqis are stupid enough to put themselves between Iran and ISIS, again, I say let them.

    In terms of climate change, overpopulation, and political collapse, the Middle East is already gone: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iran, Israel, Egypt, the KSA, and Turkey. All we were doing was managing the collapse, sometimes slowing it, often accelerating it. If they want us out, I say we can’t leave fast enough.

  43. Willy

    My fear is that it isn’t Trump making it up as he goes along — that he is being fed his lines by factions unnamed.

    Are these same factions maintaining a mysteriously respect for Trump, from his former help, after he’s fired them?

    Maybe it’s just the kind of yesmen players Trump prefers, but you’d think that more of the “you’re fired” would turn against Trump himself and expose something.

  44. bruce wilder

    Is Trump Trying to Start a War with Iran?

    What if this is not Trump’s initiative?

    I just finished reading Craig Murray’s The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative and I was duly terrified. He was inspired not by Trump’s murderous violation of Iraq’s sovereignty but by the quiet scandal that has enveloped the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and its investigation of alleged chemical weapons use at Douma.

    Actually, it wasn’t Murray’s essay that really frightened me, it was when I turned to Wikipedia’s account of the alleged chemical weapons use at Douma and the subsequent investigation that I really did become aware of what it means to live in a post-fact world.

    We don’t know anything about why anyone does anything. I do not think it is inappropriate to wonder about the factional struggles around any President, but with Trump, the issue has been heightened for a variety of reasons, including reasons not related to Trump’s . . . conspicuous limitations.

    And, given those limitations, quite apart from the inside baseball, it seems like politics needs some considered deliberation and good judgment — and these are also increasingly scarce or ignored.

    We used to find out some things, and the news on that was often bad, but we did not (collectively) react. We heard some wise judgments, but did not respond. We forgot, or seemed to, or pretended otherwise.

  45. A forlorn hope for the “purification” of the Democratic Party did not pan out. The Democratic Party is still controlled by corrupt war-mongering fools, who now think a senile Biden is an appealing alternative sure to beat Trump at the polls. What’s your point?

    That the entire discourse of punishment and purification that is the mainstay of this comments section is, as I have been saying for years and years, fatally flawed? That the “guns and butter” economic left’s refusal to update its model of politics actually makes it partly complicit in the perpetual Groundhog Day we’re living in?

  46. Ché Pasa

    This is quite obviously the application of Israeli policy of so-called ‘targeted assassination’ of Iranian targets — by the United States. Israel has been deeply engaged in eliminating ‘threats’ in the region, particularly and provocatively in Iran, for decades. So far, they’ve gotten away with it. Therefore, why should the United States do anything different, especially when the US embassy compound — inside the fortified Green Zone, no less — is ‘under attack’ by ‘Iran-aligned militias’? It’s all about teaching the Wogs a lesson, isn’t it?

    As there’s been no war qua war between Israel and Iran, or for that matter between the US and Iran, despite all the provocations over decades, why should leaders of Our Valiant Military and Foreign Policy Establishment believe that this latest provocation will lead to another MidEast quagmire? If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to happen, right? If by some chance it happens anyway, oh well. By definition, Iran loses, Trump wins. Netanyahu wins. MBS wins. Regardless of what really happens. Post truth world, remember?

    Our media appears to be all in for another war in the tattered and battered MidEast. Need to boost ratings and readership, right? Doesn’t matter whether it turns into another debacle. Millions more dead and displaced. Doesn’t matter a bit. Even the dead can be made to produce revenue, right?

    While there have been ongoing global protest movements for many months, I noted with interest that the one in Hong Kong received obsessive media focus and was surrounded with many lies and disinformation, whereas the one in Iraq was largely ignored, despite the fact of hundreds and hundreds killed by the authorities and their militias and many thousands injured. The dead and injured protesters in Iraq received no more attention than the Palestinians facing Israel’s snipers, maybe even less.

    What gives?

    We’re starting to see the stage management. The point, all along it seems, is to ‘confront’ Iran and China, confrontations Trump has eagerly and purposefully engaged in from the outset of his campaign. In this he has the support and collaboration of the factions of the foreign policy establishment and military who have long advocated taking down these supposed existential threats to US hegemony. He and they are on the same side, always have been.

    Trump stays in office because, no matter how addled he may be, he serves their interests and they serve his.

  47. bruce wilder

    @ Mandos

    Ian’s commentariat is almost defined by its remoteness from the mainstreams of American political discourse. People hear echo some of the memes to be sure or maintain a rooting interest in the various on-going horse races, but mostly, left or more left, commenters here are alienated idealists and everyone in their alienation (from whatever “home” context of family, friends or acquaintances) is a contrarian. It is not just you, Mandos.

    And, just as universally, commenters all fantasize about having influence, winning an argument, changing minds or even just being on the right side of history, even if it is only for a moment before oblivion when we might savor being right about the coming apocalypse. (It is coming, right after Godot?)

    Meanwhile, just to amuse ourselves, we have all written occasionally provocative, ephemeral prophecies and semi-polemics.

    Here’s a news flash for you, Mandos: there has not been a true “guns and butter” economic left since Hubert Humphrey. The Democratic Party’s politics is anchored in its remunerative alliance with Finance, Tech and Hollywood and sealed by its recruitment of candidates for Congress with military, intelligence and finance credentials. This is a politics of top-down manipulation — that is “the model”. The Democratic Establishment of which we sometimes speak, is peopled by operatives engaged in generating and selling narrative into a media ecology of corporate networks engaged in processing those manipulative narratives for ratings. The political operatives, the pundits, the talking heads, the politicians — they are all just pursuing careers navigating the system. Ché Pasa in his comment above captures the flavor of this aimless politics. These people are not only not working toward any desired and intended consequences of power and governance, they appear unaware that there are consequences.

    “Groundhog Day” indeed. Groundhog Day III: the Prequel!


    We can argue Trump’s reasoning, if he had any, and his motivation for this blunder until the cows come home but it’s water under the bridge at this point. What’s done is done so now it’s a matter of what comes next. Right now, for a few days at least or maybe a few weeks or months, it’s the calm before the mighty storm. And then all hell breaks loose. Iran must do something at least proportionate to what was done to them otherwise it loses face and credibility entirely. It’s die a martyr or die a bitch. Iran’s Mullahs are at a crossroads.

    As well, Bernie is not the answer despite his level-headed rhetoric for which he’s famous where he throws catnip to the “left.” As this article proves, and there is much more proof where this came from to include his capitulation to the DNC in 2016 after they screwed him royally, Bernie is an impotent fraud. He’s “leftist” containment and neutralization.

    The two party system will not provide a solution to itself and what ails us and the planet. The solution must come from without because it could never come from within the establishment.

  49. bruce wilder

    “punishment and purification” ?

    As opposed to our existing politics of model spokesperson politicians who do nothing but preen for the teevee cameras in the latest bad re-write of Watergate?

  50. John E Zimmerman

    For all those claiming that Sulieman had so much “American blood” on his hands, I would like to know how much of that blood came from US civilians on US soil? Any? Or did it all come from US combat personnel who illegally invaded and occupied a foreign nation?

  51. @John E Zimmerman

    Your question/point is addressed in a very worthwhile youtube “US escalates war on Iran and Iraq – LIVE with Rania Khalek, Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, Aaron Mate” @

    I’ve only listened to the first 26 minutes of it, so far. The most interesting part (so far) is about the Iraqi, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), that was killed along with Soleimani, who is considered a national hero, by Iraqis, and a savior, by the Yazidis, since he successfully led the fight against ISIS. Killing him was unbelievably stupid, as now even the more pro-American Iraqis will not be able to defend our presence in their country.

    The 2nd most interesting part (if true) unfortunately confirms my suspicion that there was no strategy behind this; and furthermore that Trump’s pseudo explanation of preventing war is a complete fabrication, made up after the fact. Listen from 23:10 until 25:37. (The explanation doesn’t quite ring true, because Soleimani has been tracked for many years, and his presence in Iraq was not concealed.)

    Although not discussed (so far), it seems unlikely that everybody around Trump was ignorant of not only Soleimani, but also Mahdi al-Muhandis. And hence, it seems some of the Deep State devils whispering in Trump’s ear actually WANT conflict with not just Iran, but also Iraq.

    I don’t want to discuss the potential calculi, but 2 possibilities are: 1) they want to force Trump to go “all in” or 2) they want to embarrass Trump as the US is forced out of Iraq

  52. highrpm

    thx for the bs link. talk is cheap. bs ain’t cut out for [the] battle. i’ll keep repeating, i donated to what i took as the most revolutionary candidate in 2016, not a party hack. and bs caved, into the party line. live & learn.

  53. nowar

    Americans are Nazis now. Congrats you pigs.

  54. Willy

    We don’t know anything about why anyone does anything.

    Of course we do, eventually. They might need a tactical diversion, it can be a psychopathic jolly, the financial advisors they’re most vested in have suggested a covertly lucrative course of action… or he’s a just plain idiot in power.

    Just because Trump is crazier than Bush doesn’t mean people can’t figure out what dysfunction ails him.

  55. Mark Pontin

    [1] Bruce W. mentions Craig Murray’s The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative and it’s definitely worth a read.

    Bruce professes to be terrified by the state of affairs that Murray diagnoses, but I don’t think what Murray says will be news to many of us. If anything, Murray — who, after all, is international relations and diplomacy orientated — is a little provincial in pointing to the Iraq WMD narrative as a turning point in terms of elite stonewalling. Well, maybe, but nation-states have usually been lied into wars throughout history e.g. “you provide the pictures, I’ll provide the war.”

    More of a civilizational turning point, IMO, was the 2008 GFC and the absolute, staggering criminality of the big players on Wall Street and Washington — the Obama administration and the Democrat establishment, above all — during both the crisis itself, and then while ‘foaming the runway’ and the cold-blooded repression of any threat to the banks and the wealth structure of the 1 percent that that entailed.

    [2] Ché Pasa wrote: ‘This is quite obviously the application of Israeli policy of so-called ‘targeted assassination’ of Iranian targets — by the United States.’

    Indeed. Not merely that, but there’s a 95 percent probability that Israeli intelligence literally handed off the targeting opportunity of hitting Sulameini and co. at Baghdad airport to Trump and the US, but didn’t want to do it themselves because it was going to be such a hot potato.

  56. Hugh

    Is FoxNews part of the deep state? Is Putin? Is Stephen Miller? Is Netanyahu? Is MBS? Is whatever Trump crony at Mar-a-Lago who whispered Benghazi in his ear? Because these are the people that Trump does what they tell him.

    John E Zimmerman, the US invaded Iraq, not Iran, and Soleimani was Iranian. And we overthrew the guy who started the Iran-Iraq War in which hundreds of thousands of Iranians died or were wounded. Soleimani helped lead the Shia resistance to the US occupation and later presence in Iraq (in which hundreds of Americans died), but Soleimani was doing this not to help Iraqis but to increase Iranian influence and expel the US. The first two Iraqi prime ministers were al-Jaafari and al-Maliki, both were Shia sectarians from the pro-Iranian Dawa party. al-Maliki’s anti-Sunni policies helped foster the rise of ISIS. He was also notoriously corrupt and hollowed out the army, turning it into a patronage machine. The recent anti-corruption protests in which 500 have died and 20,000 have been wounded are part of his legacy. Soleimani, the Iranians, and their Iranian-backed militias had no problem with any of this until the fall of Mosul and the increasing threat that ISIS just might push on to Baghdad. It was this, especially the corruption from which they benefited, threat that finally energized the Iranian-backed militias into the combat against ISIS. They were aided by US airstrikes. As for those they were liberating, they looked on these militias with almost as much trepidation and fear as they had with ISIS.

    I do not mean to sanitize the role of the US in Iraq. I am just trying to point out the unsanitized role of the Iranian presence in Iraq and of the Iraqis themselves in creating and then failing to address their own problems. Without the US re-entrance, ISIS would still be in Syria and Iraq. Once ISIS was dealt with, Soleimani and the Iranians went back to trying to expel Americans from Iraq. It’s not just the Saudis and the Israelis who are willing to fight to the last dead American. It’s pretty much everyone in the Middle East, including when they need it, the Iraqis and even the Iranians.

  57. different clue


    If you are writing from EUrope, when will you people seek to abrogate NATO? When will you people set up your own NEATO ( North East Atlantic Treaty Organization) withOUT America in it?

    There are any number of Americans who would like to bring home their ( our) hundred thousand or so NATO hostages back from EUrope.


    More irony for the irony mill. A Chinese or Russian truck would be more fitting, don’t you think? On second thought, a Chevy pickup is perfectly appropriate I suppose.

    The heartbeat of America …………. is today’s Chevrolet.

  59. bruce wilder

    We don’t know anything about why anyone does anything.

    @Willy: Of course we do, eventually. . . .
    Just because Trump is crazier than Bush doesn’t mean people can’t figure out what dysfunction ails him.

    I am not sure we do. Did we ever settle on a consensus explanation for why Bush II invaded Iraq? I understand Vice-President Pence tried to link Soleimani to 9/11 to justify the assassination. Up thread, Will appears to think Hussein refused to allow further inspections and this refusal played a critical part in the chain of events.

    With the principle lever of power the persuasive narrative and an elite so supremely careless of consequences that facts do not matter to them, I think standard methods of using notions of intent and motive to build explanations of behavior are subtly undermined. If facts do not matter and power is a good story, maybe people pursue the power of a good story recklessly; pretty soon, our elites are operating in a dream world of sorts. A good story beats a true story. Inspired by true events is close enough for guvmint work.

    I think this happened with the Russia-stole-the-2016-election story and continues with the Impeachment of Trump on an objectively silly charge. But, people manage to convince themselves that great emotional investment in synthetic outrage is appropriate. Very few people thought Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell should have been impeached. Nancy Pelosi had some crackpot rationalization for why not then with Bush and the most serious crime, but yes now, when the President asks for an investigation of a routinely corrupt Dem. The British at least had their Chilcot Report, though I noticed they did not hang Blair.

    Of course, I am a fool for touting an outdated model of punishment and purification, when we are post-fact all this week and into next, and after that no one remembers a damn thing.

  60. Hugh

    Of course, we know the reasons why Bush invaded Iraq. It took me forever to A) find my old Bush Scandals List on the web and then B) download it so I could C) copy out item 192 on this subject.

    192. Selling the war: Part 1. Iraq the reasons. Some say there was no reason for the war. This is untrue. Many reasons were given for it, just no good one. Here are a dozen of them grace of Bush, Cheney, the neocons from the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and the 2002 AUMF.

    1. WMD
    2. Saddam Hussein behind 9/11
    3. Saddam Hussein connected with al Qaeda
    4. Fighting terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here
    5. Spreading democracy
    6. Saddam Hussein was a bad man
    7. Iraqi violations of UN Resolutions
    8. The 1993 assassination attempt against GHW Bush
    9. Oil
    10. Bases
    11. Defending Israel
    12. Bad intel

  61. bruce wilder

    I agree that none were good reasons.

    No. 9 and No. 10 differ from the others.

    Still, I do not know the actual motivations of those deciding on this course of action.

  62. MojaveWolf

    Various life circumstances prevent me from spending much time here at present, but thank you to Bruce Wilder for saying much of what I would have said plus adding a bit, and also Mark Pontin for your much needed perspective.

    Theirs were not the only interesting/ good comments, apologies to others.

    My ultra simple take on which it seems we can all agree: this was a bad, stupid thing to do with potentially catastrophic consequences. Hopefully we (meaning the whole world, regardless of ideology) will be lucky enough to avoid the various most-terrible scenarios.

    What no one has brought up, which I wonder very much, is why the war-profiteering faction who seem desperate to push any/every US president into a perpetual war (who the war is with seems barely to matter) has so much influence relative to every other oligarchical faction, most of whom really don’t stand to benefit in any way but could potentially stand to loose lots in these sorts of scenarios. I could concoct theories, but honestly got no idea.

  63. MojaveWolf

    For the various people who for some bizarre reason see this as an opportunity to say “see, see, Hillary should have won, neolibs are the preferred alternative”, wtf? “Trump in 2020 just did something that MIGHT result in the sort war landscape you expected HRC to go all-out with in 2017, so we were right and you were wrong!” ????

    Disaster in 3 years is better than disaster now, so even if war ensues, bad argument. Likewise, as BW pointed out, saying “the DNC leadership you hated then is just as godawful as they used to be” fails to be a convincing argument that we should have just capitulated back then (or that we ever should again, which appears to be the subtext and primary point of this line of reasoning). If voting for candidate A inevitably leads to doom, and candidate B probably leads to doom but not-inevitably, then Candidate B makes more sense. Even if candidate B still leads to doom in the end, then even in retrospect, candidate B still made more sense. The view of most of us back then, regardless of how we voted, can be best summed up by the election night NC commenter whose name I’ve sadly forgotten, “my greatest fear is that one of them will win.”

    No one expected Trump to be Ghandhi.

    None of that matters for the current situation, but given that this sort of attempted voter shaming is a typical tactic of those trying to herd people into “vote for our team & ignore reality” crowd, it seemed worth an answer.

    (If anyone cares, yes, I do think HRC in balance would have been overall worse. And I don’t think those who made a bet on introducing an element of chaos and unpredictability in hopes it would produce a more successful version of Bernie’s 2016 Hail Mary have lost their bet, just yet. The most likely outcome is still an ever worsening state of affairs with no good outcome in sight, but paths to better futures aren’t fully closed off just yet, and some of them, while not mist likely, are among the more-likely scenarios. For whatever my calculations are worth. )

  64. Hugh

    bruce, 9, 10, 11 were part of the PNAC project. The Iraqi invasion was originally called Operation Iraqi Liberty for a reason. After Khobar Towers, the neocons thought the KSA was too unstable and too undependable and that bases in a “liberated” secular Iraq were the way to go. And the Israel thing goes without saying.

  65. Ten Bears

    Y’awl are making way to much of this. It’s penis envy. Obama “got” binLaden.


    I’ll vote shame your ass all I want. If you voted for Trump, you are a scumbag. I’ll say it to your face if you like. Let’s make that happen. You former military shitbirds are a bunch of freaking cowards. You couldn’t hold Soleimani’s jock. Instead, you set up blogs on the internet where you and your fans can pretend how smart you are. Fuck off, you bastards. You’re part and parcel of why we’re in this mess. You’ll fucked up and continue to fuck up and never take accountability for your fuckups. Your opinion means less than zero to me. You have no credibility whatsoever.

  67. Z

    Well, Trump stepped us further into a mess. The first inflection point towards the decline of U.S. power was the U.S. reaction to 9-11, but this action could very well steepen the gradient. The U.S. shouldn’t even still be in Iraq, which was the original sin in this situation, but one U.S. arrogance, prodded along by their Zionist influences, won’t step out out of.

    Trump deserves blame for this obviously. As many here, even his conditional defenders, have said in so many different ways: he is emotionally unfit to be president. That being said, thus far, and that could definitely change, he is the least worse of Clinton, the abominable Bush that the scum democrats have rehabilitated, Obama, and himself.

    I do not agree however that Trump did this in reaction to the impeachment. IMO, he sees that, and I agree with it, as a political asset. It “proves” what he has been saying all along: that the reason that so many powerful people oppose him is that he is sticking up for the people against powerful interests. Again, I’ll make the point too that Trump for someone in his position cares relatively little about power. He cares about a very shallow idea of winning. He is a reality TV performer turned president. He gets his jiggers from winning popularity contests. He’s Charlie Sheen playing president in real-life.

    Neither do I believe that Trump is going against the wise, sober advice of our foreign policy apparatus. What wise, sober U.S. foreign policy apparatus? That got ran out of power during the Georgey Jr. days and there was never any price paid for being wrong in Iraq. Only rewards. Scumbag idiots like Bolton still have plenty of influence. The military leadership probably has some sober minds left in it, but they wouldn’t have had as much influence on this decision as our intelligence services IMO. The military leadership may not have even been consulted before the strike.

    I agree that Trump was much more likely misled by the foreign policy establishment into this action than otherwise. That absolutely does not excuse him from his actions, but that’s the greater likelihood by far.

    If you ever wonder why the U.S. continually conducts foreign policy that is reckless to its interests, look no further than what country benefits the most from it: Israel. The Zionist influences in our foreign policy are the greatest influences in it. Some point to Saudi Arabia at times, but the Saudis are just dumb money. Sure, our foreign policy “experts” may take money from them and play them like they are actually buying influence, but only when the Saudi’s aims run the same direction as Israel’s. The difference between the two influences is that there are powerful people that truly believe in the Zionist cause, while the only thing that the Saudi’s got going for them is their oil and money. Sure, that’s something, but it’s not as great as belief. And there is no way that the Saudi’s are as entrenched in our government, or have influence in it, as the Zionists do. Obviously. The U.S. government will never betray Israel’s interests for the Saudis in any meaningful way.

    *As a side note, the only reason Epstein was allowed to do what he was able to do even after his conviction was because he was a Mossad informant. That’s the only thing that makes any sense, otherwise there would have been too much pressure from various entities to save him. But the Mossad pulled strings with the CIA probably, most likely by giving them damaging blackmail intel on Epstein’s clients, or maybe even threatening to cash in on some chits they got from him on some powerful people in the U.S. ruling class, to let Epstein to continue to run his operation. That Trump administration fall guy, Acosta, said it straight out that he backed off when he was in working in Florida because of he was told that Epstein was a U.S. Intelligence asset.


  68. nihil obstet

    @Mojave Wolf

    Why [does] the war-profiteering faction who seem desperate to push any/every US president into a perpetual war . . .ha[ve] so much influence relative to every other oligarchical faction. . . . I could concoct theories, but honestly got no idea.

    I can concoct theories too, and have much less self-control than you. Remember Eisenhower warned against the military-congressionalindustrial complex, and advisors told him to take out the congressional part. The war-profiteering faction has put military bases, shipyards, weapons manufacturing plants and the like in a very large proportion of congressional districts. That’s federal money and good-paying jobs that the population directly experiences. Threats to close one of those facilities in a state or a district will result in votes against the incumbent who has tried to cut the military budget. Other oligarchic factions don’t have that reach of direct threat or reward to lots of voters.

  69. Z

    In regards to Mossad, Epstein, and U.S. Intelligence, the most effective method of persuasion is not a question of either choosing the carrot OR the stick to match the occasion, it is the carrot AND the stick. It not only buys you acquiescence, it buys you loyalty.



    Kudos to Ian for retweeting this. I was going to comment about this very same thing. How the mainstream, despite feigning to be anti-Trump, must pay homage to the meme that Soleimani was a “bad guy” with “blood on his hands.” What complete disingenuous, hypocritical bullshit. Soleimani, unlike Eddie Munster Gallagher, was a TRUE WARFIGHTER. Blood on his hands? Of course, but don’t they all including “our’s?” The guy beat the shit out of Daesh in Syria and Iraq. He beat the shit out of the Taliban and al Qaeda. He cut his teeth in the brutal, bloody war with Iraq where America backed Saddam with military intelligence and weaponry to include chemical weapons. Yes, chemical weapons. Let’s review that history once again for those who conveniently forget. Iran has the moral upper hand here. America is the devil. Soleimani wasn’t in Mexico or Latin America or Canada with his garrisons trying to surround America and choke it off. He was in his sphere of influence fighting for the survival of his country. His was an existential mission. The American mission in the Middle East is a mission of profit in perpetuity, not an existential mission.


    Ten Bears, that comment was not aimed at you. I know you served in Vietnam. It’s aimed at the military higher ups and their faithful followers. A certain somebody in fact who is covered in Vietnamese Operation Phoenix blood. Such son-of-a-bitches should never have a say, or any influence, in anything again in the least. In fact, they should be in jail.


    Stunned, my ass. What a bunch of cowards. It proves my point. They refuse to be held to account. For anything. Soleimani was ten times, a hundred times even, the stud Donnie Droner dreams of being. He had hardly any security versus Trump’s layers upon layers of security. He didn’t fear death.

    Be careful, Donnie Dumbass. That Deep State you keep harping on about may make you the sacrificial lamb for their next 9/11 as pretext to official declared war on Iran. Perhaps they’ll prepare an opening for Iran to get to you — at Mar-a-Lago even and then Pence steps in as POTUS and gives them the green light on Iran entirely and Pence can be relied on to be predictable and consistent just as LBJ was with the military and the Vietnam War.. Afterall, it’s Pence who is making the case (as if a case could be made for it) for the fabricated nexus between Iran and 9/11 which is signaling that an invasion of Iran is in the works just as it was signaling that an invasion of Iraq was in the works 17 years earlier. Donnie, perhaps you’re being hoisted by your own petard, you retard. If so, I won’t shed any tears but instead say I told you so to all your braindead supporters. Soleimani and you may be together in the afterlife as martyrs to each’s respective cause. Soleimani’s cause to and for his people and your cause to and for yourself.

  73. realitychecker

    I just wish some of the prolific mind-readers would share their psychology credentials from time to time.

  74. Willy

    Deep State is a cross between Fight Club and that place where wings take dream. Except that everybody talks about Deep State because the more you talk about Deep State the less likely people will think you’re a part of Deep State. At least in Deep State game theory.

    Deep State is why Boeing crashes planes, why the latest household appliances only last a few years, why caveman mullahs kick American Greatness ass, why everything important seems in some state of breaking or being broken. Membership in Deep State means isolation from failures and freedom from consequences. Being There is the whole point, vastly more important than actually accomplishing anything successful or meaningful.

    I now return you to our regularly scheduled commentary.

  75. Ten Bears

    None taken five-oh, you ain’t sayin’ anything guys like me haven’t been sayin’ for fifty fucking years. Problem is, like the rest of the damned country, while we are in the majority we have been hijacked by a highly vocal minority, imposing a tyranny of the minority upon the majority. In my reading of The Constitution a call for a Second Amendment solution. Guess I’m getting ‘liberal’ in my old age, cuz I’d settle for deporting the lot of ’em to Russia, but if any of you young bucks want
    to frag the bastards, throw a rope on ’em: gut, hang and barbeque ’em, I won’t get in your way.

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