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

Putin Stings America

I bring to your attention these two beauties:

“We have a contract for the delivery of the S-300s. We have supplied some of the components, but the delivery hasn’t been completed. We have suspended it for now. But if we see that steps are taken that violate the existing international norms, we shall think how we should act in the future, in particular regarding supplies of such sensitive weapons to certain regions of the world.”

Translation: if you bomb Syria against our wishes, we will make sure it’s much harder for you to bomb other countries in the future.

6. On U.S. failure to bring Snowden home to face justice:

“Representatives of the American special services — and I hope they won’t be angry — but they could have been more professional, and the diplomats as well. After they found out that he was flying to us, and that he was flying as a transit passenger, there was pressure from all sides — from the Americans, from the Europeans — instead of just letting him go to a country where they could operate easily.”

Translation: Your secret services are incompetent.  Why not let him fly somewhere where you can send a drone, or helicopter gunships or covert operatives?

Of course, that’s why Snowden went first to China and then to Russia: they are countries that the US can’t drone without huge repercussions.  Most countries can’t do a damn thing if the US sends in drones or gunships, they just have to take it, they have no real retaliatory ability.

Putin’s a profoundly evil man, as with most world leaders, but he’s also one of the few who is also frighteningly competent.

As for Syria, it is now clear that Obama will almost certainly get his war resolution, unless there’s a huge caucus revolt amongst Republicans.  The Ba’ath will fight, they have no choice because they believe (correctly, in my opinion) that if they lose their families and communities will be slaughtered.  Syria may not have the best Russian AA weapons, but it has better weaponry than any other enemy the US has faced in decades, and has Iranian and Hizbollah support (ie. competent advisers and troops with which to use those weapons.)


The intolerance of genius


Late nineteenth and early 20th century intellectual roots


  1. John Puma

    A truly competent Putin would be lying to hide the fact that the S-300 contract is signed, sealed and delivered.

    Otherwise, we may have ourselves a toasty WWIII before “the holiday season.”

    Jingle Bells!!!

  2. Ian Welsh

    Putin may not want to lose a client state and may be willing to risk escalation.

  3. Celsius 233

    @ John Puma
    Not only is the U.S. acting unilaterally, in violation of the U.N. charter, committing war crimes with impunity; but the U.S. is also claiming the right to deny the right of self defense to whom ever they choose.
    Iran has also signed contracts for this very same system; and Russia denies they have honored the contract.
    What is the truth? I don’t know, but I hope Russia/Putin is lying.
    We’ll likely find out in a couple of weeks, plus or minus…
    The advanced S-300 system is very capable and the U.S. (and Israel) know it’s true and fear it!
    Interesting times I’d prefer not to experience…

  4. par4

    I don’t think Russia or China are stupid enough to start declaring “red-lines” but I’m pretty sure they have some. I get the feeling that the U.S./West are inching real close to some of them. I can’t see them waiting until they are in mortal danger before taking steps to use their R2P. Then we will see just how obsolete surface ships are in a modern shooting war.

  5. Formerly T-Bear

    For one, I would support the argument that any military unit that attacks another sovereign estate without the declaration of war is liable to return attack without the recourse to protection of law until the command of that military unit is subjected to the International Criminal Courts and decision has been enforced. In other words, if a US naval ship fires any missile landing in Syria, that ship is open season by any other force until its command has answered the judgment of the Hague in full. It is time to put some manners on the Washington beast or any other who would take its place.

  6. Julien

    The question become: how valuable is Syria and its Tartus naval base to Russia?

    The recent opening up of the arctic ocean might reduce their need for a warm-water port that is not constrained by NATO, and there might be other alternatives as well. As it stand, Tartus is in a rather pitiful state, in any case.

    I’m also wondering how valuable Syria is as a Russian client state. I wonder how far Putin would go over it. He’ll try to bleed the West with it, for sure, but how much?

    But one thing’s for sure: when the US starts bombing Syria, the Iranians will at least console themselves with the knowledge they’ll finally get those S300 systems they’ve always wanted.

  7. Alcuin

    You say “Putin’s a profoundly evil man.” So is Obama.

  8. amspirnational

    Ian’s already said that, much earlier.

  9. guest

    Alcuin PERMALINK
    September 4, 2013
    You say “Putin’s a profoundly evil man.” So is Obama.

    At least Putin might have enough self-awareness to have an inkling of his true nature. His royal smugness, the preznit probably believes that he deserved that Nobel prize.

  10. markfromireland

    Ian next comment is a drive-by as am horribly busy, and has so many links that I know it will trigger your filters

    Sorry for giving you extra work


  11. markfromireland

    Greetings all,

    Both Al-Rai and as-Safir have reports confirming that President Assad has said that if Syria is attacked that all the ‘red lines’ will collapse:


    في دمشق يبدو ان كأس النظام قد امتلأ حتى النهاية، ولذلك هو يتعامل مع الأزمة على قاعدة «إما قاتل أو مقتول». وتنقل المصادر عن الرئيس بشار الأسد إنه لن يتوانى عن استخدام كل الأسلحة المتوفرة بين يديه، كل الأسلحة وفي كل الاتجاهات، اذا ما تعرضت سوريا لأي ضربة عسكرية.

    In Damascus, it seems that the government’s glass is now full and therefore, it is dealing with the crisis on the basis of "kill or be killed". Sources quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying that he will not hesitate to use every weapon in his possession against all the directions in the event of a military strike on Syria.


    Al-Rai: Sources close to Al-Assad threaten France, Jordan and UNIFIL

    كشف قريبون من الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ان «التحضيرات العسكرية في سورية تجري على قدم وساق وكأن الحرب واقعة غداً». وقالوا لـ «الراي» انه «في حال فُتحت الجبهات على الرئيس الأسد لقلب النظام فإن كل الخطوط الحمر ستسقط».
    وعكس هؤلاء تقديرات للقيادة السورية بان «المجموعة الدولية، لا سيما اميركا وحلفاءها بدأوا مناوشات لفتح جبهة القلمون – الزبداني في عملية هدفها إشعال اكثر من جبهة في وجه الجيش السوري وتشتيت قواته تمهيداً لغزو بري من ناحية الاردن، بالتزامن مع القصف الصاروخي الاميركي من البحر والجو حين تدقّ الساعة صفر».

    وقال هؤلاء وهم من الحلقة الضيقة التي تحوط الأسد، عن ان «فتح جبهة القلمون – الزبداني سيدفع بحلفاء دمشق (في اشارة ضمنية الى حزب الله) للهجوم من سلسلة الجبال الشرقية في اتجاه تطهير منطقة الحدود اللبنانية – السورية، بعدما كانت تأجّلت هذه العملية الى ما بعد الانتهاء من السيطرة على الغوطة الشرقية».

    ولفتوا الى ان «السيناريو الأكثر احتمالاً الذي تتحضّر له الولايات المتحدة وأعوانها يقوم على القصف، انطلاقاً من مبدأ الصدمة والترويع، والإفادة من الارض من خلال تقدُّم بري تتولاه المجموعات السورية التي درّبتها القوات الاميركية من الاردن».

    ولوحوا بان «الرئيس الأسد سيتخذ قرارات صعبة في ضوء هذا السيناريو، منها إستعمال اسلحة تقليدية وغير تقليدية تستهدف، ليس فقط القوات المهاجمة، بل أمكنة انطلاقها ومعسكرات تدريبها ومراكز الاتصال والسيطرة داخل الاراضي الأردنية، ما يجعل المملكة الهاشمية في نطاق خطّ النار».

    واوضحوا ان «العاهل الأردني الملك عبدالله الثاني دأب على إرسال تطمينات شفوية للقيادة السورية، بينما الحركة الميدانية تعاكس أقواله، وتالياً سيكون مشتركاً مباشرة وشخصياً في حال حصول هجوم على النظام من الاردن الذي بات يمثل الخاصرة الضعيفة لسورية».

    وأكدوا الموقف الذي أعلنه الأسد من امكان مشاركة فرنسا في الضربة العسكرية، بان «مصالح ورعايا فرنسا او اي دولة تعلن الحرب على سورية ستكون أهدافاً متنقلة»، مهدّداً بأن «القبعات الزرق في جنوب لبنان (في اشارة الى قوة «اليونيفيل») لن تكون فوقها خيمة زرقاء».

    Sources close to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad disclosed that "the military preparations in Syria are continuing as if on the basis of the war taking place tomorrow". They told Al-Rai:  "In the event that an assault is launched against to topple President Al-Assad from government, then all the ‘red lines’ will collapse.

    These sources said that the Syrian leadership believes that "the international group, mainly America and its allies, have launched skirmishes in order to open the front of Kalmoun-Zabadani in an operation aimed at igniting several fronts in the face of the Syrian army and dispersing  its forces in in preparation for a ground invasion for a land invasion from the Jordanian side in conjunction with an American bombardment from the sea and air".

    The sources, who are members of Al-Assad’s most trusted circle, said that "opening the Qalamun -Zabadani front will cause Syria’s allies (an implicit reference to Hezbollah) to attack from the Eastern Mountain Range in order to clear the Lebanese-Syrian border region and that [being forced to engage in] this process would delay completing regaining control of East Ghouta.

    They pointed out that "the most likely scenario , that the United States and its allies are preparing for is a bombardment , based on the principle of shock and awe, and taking advantage [of this] a territorial invasion to be carried out by the Syrian groups trained in Jordan by the American forces there".

    They went on to indicate that  "President Al-Assad will make some tough decisions in light of this scenario such as using conventional and conventional weapons to target not only the attacking forces but also their original locations and training camps as well as their command control and communication centers on Jordanian terrritory thus placing the Hashemite Kingdom in the line of fire". They went on to add,  "the Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah II has repeatedly sent verbal reassurances to the Syrian leadership while events in the field in fact contradict his words. He will therefore be directly and personally involved in the event of any attack against the government launched from Jordan, which at present is Syria’s soft spot"

    The sources stated further that "France’s interests and citizens and the interests and citizens of any country that participates in the war against Syria will be targeted. The peacekeepers in southern Lebanon (a reference to UNIFIL) will not be immune".


    English Language Coverage:

    Putin says that Kerry is telling lies well yes, and how is that surprising? What is far more alarming are the sources Kerry is using to persuade Americans including senators and members of congress of the case for launching yet another war.

    Putin warns against ‘illegal’ military action in Syria, bypassing UNSC — RT News:
    “Even in the US there are experts who question the reliability of the facts presented by the administration. These experts do not exclude the possibility that the Syrian opposition has conducted a pre-planned provocation in order to give their sponsors a reason for military intervention,” he acknowledged.

    Putin later leveled criticism at US Secretary of State John Kerry as he spoke to human rights activists on Wednesday, saying Kerry “lied” by claiming there was no Al-Qaeda militants fighting in Syria and that the military strike against President Assad will not boost the terrorist network’s presence in the region.

    “They lie, plainly. I watched the Congressional debate. A congressman asked Mr. Kerry: “Is there any Al-Qaeda [in Syria]? There are reports they have been growing stronger.” He [Kerry] replied: “No. I say with all responsibility: there is no [Al-Qaeda] there,” Putin explained.

    The Russian President then said the Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization, which pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda, has been at the forefront of the rebel groups fighting Assad’s forces, and that the US is well aware of that.

    “Well, he [Kerry] lies. And he knows that he lies. This is sad,” Putin remarked.

    Putin says he “does not exclude” that Russia may agree with a military operation if it is proved that the Syrian government is behind the attack, however he emphasized that in accordance with international law a decision of the UN Security Council is needed for that.

    “All other reasons and means that excuse using military force against an independent sovereign state are unacceptable and cannot be classified otherwise but as an aggression,” Putin noted. 

    “We would be convinced by a detailed investigation and direct evidence of who exactly used chemical weapons and what substances were used. Then we’ll be ready to take decisive and serious action,” said the president.

    Answering a question about video records of dead children that allegedly died in the chemical attack in Damascus, Vladimir Putin called the material with dead children “horrible”.

    “The questions are what exactly was done and who is to blame. This video does not answer these questions,” Putin said, sharing an opinion that this video is a compilation made by the militants who – even the US acknowledges – have links with Al-Qaeda and are notorious for extreme atrocities.

    Putin recommended to pay attention to the fact that in the video with dead children there are no parents, children’s relatives or even medical personnel, while people who do appear in the video remain unidentified. However terrible the picture could be, it cannot be proof of anybody’s guilt, Putin said, and called for investigation of the incident. …

    Attacking Syria would open the floodgates of Islamist terror and destroy the secularism of the Syrian state, the speaker of the Damascus parliament has written in an open letter to French lawmakers.

    Underlining the threat to secularism — which is a core value of mainstream French political parties — Jihad Lahham told FRANCE 24: “Anyone who attacks Syria is essentially supporting terrorists and strengthening them. France cannot take part in such an aggression.”

    Source:  emphases in original.

    In this report from Reuters "Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports | Reuters" Kerry cites Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War a neocon body about which I have written repeatedly:

    "I just don’t agree that a majority are al Qaeda and the bad guys. That’s not true. There are about 70,000 to 100,000 oppositionists … Maybe 15 percent to 25 percent might be in one group or another who are what we would deem to be bad guys.

    "There is a real moderate opposition that exists. General Idriss is running the military arm of that," Kerry continued, referring to General Salim Idriss, head of the rebel Free Syrian Army. Increasingly, he said, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are funneling assistance through Idriss.

    Kerry cited an article by Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War think tank, in which she wrote that Islamic extremist factions are not "spearheading the fight against the Syrian government," but rather that the struggle is being led by "moderate opposition forces."

    Read in full: (emphasis mine).

    For those of you who need a refresher on The Institute forthe Study of War the Right-web profile is here: a brief quote:

    Founded in 2007, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that has supported long-term U.S. military intervention abroad, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although closely connected to neoconservative advocacy circles, ISW claims to be “a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization” devoted to advancing “an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education.”[1]

    As of early 2013, ISW did not publicize on its website the members of its board of directors. However, according to 2011 tax documents, directors included: ISW founder and president Kim Kagan; Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney and founder of the right-wing advocacy group Keep America Safe; William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative flagship magazine the Weekly Standard; Jack Keane, a retired four-star general who coauthored with Kim Kagan’s spouse Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute “Choosing Victory,” a 2007 study that served as a blueprint for the “surge” in Iraq; Dennis Showalter, a military historian; Hal Hirsch; and Bill Roberti.

    The profile for Retired General Keane who is being quoted and interviewed repeatedly on American media makes for very interesting reading a sample:

    Jack Keane – Profile – Right Web – Institute for Policy Studies:

    Institute for the Study of War: Board Member

    Academi LLC (Formerly Blackwater and Xe): Senior adviser

    Fox News: Military analyst

    U.S. Army: Former four-star general, Vice Chief of Staff

    John F. “Jack” Keane, a 37-year U.S. army veteran, former four-star general, and former vice chief of staff of the Army, is a vocal advocate of hawkish U.S. foreign policies. Well connected among both defense contractors and the neoconservative advocacy community, Keane has served as a board member at the Institute for the Study of War—a hawkish military policy institute that has been directed by Kimberly Kagan and chaired by Liz Cheney—and is a frequent guest on Fox News.


    Since leaving the military, Keane has enjoyed a successful private-sector career that has often appeared to dovetail with his political advocacy. In addition to serving on the corporate boards of MetLife, General Dynamics, and Allied Barton Security, Keane is also a co-founder of Keane Advisors LLC, a financial consulting firm that specializes in working with military contractors.[2]

    In June 2012, Keane was named a “senior adviser” to Academi LLC, the most recent incarnation of the notorious military contractor Blackwater. Announcing Keane’s selection, Academi board member and former White House Counsel Jack Quinn called Keane “an American hero” whose “commitment to our national security is second to none.” Quinn promised that Keane “will help continue to bring Academi to an even higher level of performance.”[3]

    Read in full

    More on that Israeli  missile launch:

    ITAR-TASS : Russian expert says Mideast made narrow escape from major war Tuesday

    MOSCOW, September 3 (Itar-Tass) – Launching of two ballistic missiles in the Mediterranean water area testifies to the ongoing U.S. preparations for air strikes against Syria, a top-rank Russian military expert said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass Tuesday night.

    The U.S. and Israel actually wanted to watch the reaction to the launch on the part of Russia, China and Iran, said Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, Ret. From 1996 through to 2001, Gen Ivashov was chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Department for International Defense Cooperation. He is President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems at present.

    He believes that the missiles were launched for the purposes of reconnaissance.

    “The thing is ballistic missiles won’t be used if the U.S. and their allies begin an intervention in Syria,” Gen Ivashov said. “While a cruise missile can hit directly not only the target as such but even a separate element of it, a ballistic missile very definitely won’t hit the target due to the impact dispersal effect. Hence it’s inefficient for the purpose.”

    “Those who launched the two ballistic missiles towards Syria obviously hoped Iran would consider this launch as an attack on Damascus, its ally,” Gen Ivashov went on. “The Pentagon clearly wanted to see if the Iranians would respond to this by delivering a ballistic missile strike at Israel.”

    Read in full:

    David Cameron rules out in parliament any future military action in Syria

    David Cameron has publicly ruled out in Parliament in response to a direct question the prospect of British military action in Syria. The quote below is from the British parliament’s transcript:  END OF DISCUSSION:

    The Prime Minister: Last week the House of Commons voted clearly, and I have said that I respect the outcome of that vote and will not be bringing back plans for British participation in military action



  12. Celsius 233

    September 5, 2013
    So, once again the American people are duped, lied to, and bullshitted into a very stupid decision?
    Gee, that’s such a surprise (not in the least)!
    I gave up more than a decade ago on changing anything there; and for more times than I care to count; I’ve been proved correct!
    Thanks so much for your diligence and reportage…

  13. The Tragically Flip

    Well, I guess we’re on our way to a multi-polar world again, and maybe even a good old cold war, sans the ideological facade, just an old school overt struggle for power and empire.

    Is this why the neocons want to hit Syria so bad? So they can provoke Russia into doing something that hits the general public’s attention marking Russia as a threat?

  14. S Brennan

    “They lie beautifully, of course. I saw debates in Congress. A congressman asks Mr Kerry: ‘Is al Qaeda there?’ He says: ‘No, I am telling you responsibly that it is not’,” Putin said at a meeting of his human rights council in the Kremlin.

    “Al Qaeda units are the main military echelon, and they know this,” he said, referring to the United States. “It was unpleasant and surprising for me – we talk to them, we proceed from the assumption that they are decent people. But he is lying and knows he is lying. It’s sad.”

  15. S Brennan

    Caution: the video shows seven captured Syrian soldiers, tortured and trussed…being murdered. Your US tax dollars at work.

    Assad a Brutal dictator? Sure. Ever wonder why? These are the people he’s dealing with. That the US, [under the Bush/Obama regime], has given weapons and training to these Al Qaeda murderers since 2007…and now wants to support with bombing is beyond redemption. Obama, Biden, Kerry, Clinton are evil for forcing US taxpayers to fund these murderers in their terrorist takeover of Syria.

  16. S Brennan

    “Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports”

  17. 1) Putin’s Russia doesn’t really have client states. Russia has customers. Cash on the barrelhead, baybee. The reason Putin has not fulfilled the contract is not because of US concerns, but because Assad has not delivered sufficient briefcases full of dollars to Putin’s cronies. The problem being that with the drought, starting in 2007 Syria’s wheat exports, a major cash flow generator, slammed to a halt and they started having to actually import wheat instead.

    2) That said, Russia has to be concerned about the notion that the US is systematically offing their customers. Iraq was once a steady customer for Russian weapons, for example. Now… not so much. Libya was once a steady customer for Russian weapons. Now … well. At some point they will get annoyed enough to actually deliver weapons without cash up front, just to stem the bleeding of their customer base. Which is the warning Putin is delivering here.

  18. amspirnational

    Ian indeed should have offered a timely contextual comment that Putin is probably no more or less evil than Obama.

    Tom Udall, NM Dem, admirably voted “no” on the war, but he spent almost all his NPR early news interview depicting Assad as brutal and the US government as capable of punishing him thru the UN and by convincing Russia and China he’s evil.

    Udall represents a government which brutalized Iraq to the tune of hundreds of thousands of innocents, using false intelligence.

    Now, what makes Udall believe the US government is capable of doing whatever he defines as good in the Middle East when it has the same political class, comprised of war profiteers, imperialists for Empire’s sake, and Zionist Lobbyists whoring out Congress?

    Udall might have said “when we replace our own political class, we can deal with
    brutal Assad.”

    Kerry is “alarmingly” using neocon sources says MarkfromIreland? How about “predictably?” Does anyone believe there is the slightest difference between a neolib and a neocon?

  19. BC Nurse Prof


    Ian, how is Stirling doing?

  20. S Brennan

    Good point BT, it reinforces my contention that this de-stabilization program the US/Israel is imposing is counterproductive to both US & Israel interests. Customers of Russia would be more approachable/pliable than Al Qaeda ruled territories. Iraq has gone from being a regulated basket case, to a Iranian client state. And after committing almost 150,000 troops for four years, Afghanistan is less pacified than before Obama’s huge troop escalation…and Libya’s high-quality oil production has plunged from 1.6-1.4 million barrels a day under Gaddafi, to just 160,000* barrels a day under the Bush/Obama de-stabilization program. I’ve always found the lunacy of Israel’s contention that being surrounded by destabilized countries poses less of a threat itself misguided and counterproductive to their interests.–it-has-but-into-lawlessness-and-ruin-8797041.html–it-has-but-into-lawlessness-and-ruin-8797041.html

  21. Ian Welsh

    BC Prof Nurse: he’s doing better than expected, and a full recovery is at least theoretically possible, though some time out. Still some right side paralysis, still some language problems, there was significant brain damage, how much will heal, we will see.

  22. S Brennan, Israel’s philosophy appears to be similar to Pakistan’s when Pakistan created the Taliban. Destabilizing Afghanistan and putting it into the hands of people with a medieval mentality meant that a modern state capable of threatening the western portions of Pakistan (which Afghanistan’s Pashtun population has coveted as part of a “Greater Pashtunistan” for many centuries) would not arise there. The notion being that loony religious crackpots who think science is evil and anything more advanced than the 15th century is heresy can’t fight a modern war.

    Thing is, maybe they can’t fight a *conventional* war, but they do seem capable of inflicting quite a bit of suffering upon both themselves and neighboring countries… and those are the people that Israel apparently wants in charge of Syria. What charming people.

  23. Celsius 233

    It’s rather remarkable, the level of U.S. bullshit in trying to justify an attack on Syria. Leaving aside the blatant hypocrisy, it shows the U.S., as a nation of children/infants, who haven’t matured past an 8th grade level of understanding.
    My pet theory is that 99% of Americans never mature past their senior year of high school; well, make that 8th grade. I tend towards being generous with assessments, giving the benefit of doubt fair play and I’ve been proved wrong.

    The current debate(?) is ludicrous (to be generous[again]) and by any measure of sanity shouldn’t even be on the table.
    Diplomacy has ceased to exist and the civility between nations with it!
    One way or another, we’re bound to launch a conflagration in which we lack any understanding beyond our own greedy, hegemonic, and imperialistic desires…

  24. S Brennan

    C233, it wise to remember, none of the Bush/Obama Administration wars have been supported by a plurality. What has changed is that, under Obama, the anti-war “leaders” have been seen for what they are…tools of the Democratic party apparatus.

    Here’s an example of how easily anti-war Democrats can be muzzled…note Obama’s overt use of racism. As I have said many times, Obama’s first contact with an African-American community came at the age of 24. Culturally, Obama doesn’t have a black bone in his body… Obama looks down on black folks.

    “As an increasing number of African-American lawmakers voice dissent over the Obama administration’s war plans in Syria, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus has asked members to “limit public comment” on the issue until they are briefed by senior administration officials. A Congressional Black Caucus member…said the request was designed to quiet dissent while shoring up support for President Obama’s Syria strategy.”

    And a lot of folks think the antebellum era is over…but perhaps Obama just wants to make sure that white people can talk without being interrupted… know who.

  25. Celsius 233

    S Brennan
    September 6, 2013
    Sorry, your response is somewhat incomprehensible; almost all of the lawmakers (worthless politicians) lined up behind Bush!
    So, just what’s your point? Frankly it escapes me and totally dilutes my point!

  26. Celsius 233

    Addendum: Yes, I understand there were a few citizens (damn few) who were against Iraq; however; the majority bought the whole spiel. Your memory isn’t accurate on that point!
    Hell, it’s why I left!
    I stand by my post…
    Infants all…

  27. I have a question that perhaps you and your readers being more familiar with the US media may be able to answer: Who, exactly, are the people in or around the White House who have jacked, or jerked, Obama into this sudden belligerency? He gave no sign of it until very recently when he suddenly executed this about turn and marched his country into deep, deep mire. I know he tripped on his own ‘red line’ but any politician even of limited ability could have smoothed his way past that. So, who is pulling his strings?

  28. alyosha

    Who, exactly, are the people in or around the White House who have jacked, or jerked, Obama into this sudden belligerency? He gave no sign of it until very recently..

    That’s a really good question David. I would argue that there have been signs. I can’t provide a link, but the United Nations filed some sort of complaint or investigation against Obama , saying that he personally has been setting the hit list for our drone/cruise missile strikes. Not the generals, but the President. This is detailed a bit in the movie Dirty Wars.

    I have a psychotherapist friend who has been saying for years, that Obama likes to kill people. He says he can see it in his eyes. My friend showed me the UN complaint as evidence.

    Obama’s pre-disposition is one thing (if that’s what it is), the geopolitics and the people around him are another, which I don’t claim to understand, apart from Israel’s belief that they would benefit.

  29. S Brennan

    C233, from Wikapedia…

    “Approximately two-thirds of respondents wanted the government to wait for the UN inspections to end, and only 31% supported using military force immediately… Polls also suggested that most Americans would still like to see more evidence against Iraq, and for UN weapons inspections to continue before making an invasion. For example, an ABC news poll reported than only 10% of Americans favored giving the inspectors less than a few weeks; 41% favored giving them a few weeks, 33% a few months, and 13% more than that.[2]

    A consistent pattern in the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion was that higher percentages of the population supported the impending war in polls that offered only two options (for or against) than in polls that broke down support into three or more options given (distinguishing unconditional support for the war, opposition to the war even if weapons inspectors do their job, and support if and only if inspection crews are allowed time to investigate first).

    Some polls also showed that the majority of Americans believed that President Bush had made his case against Iraq. The Gallup poll, for example, found that 67% of those who watched the speech felt that the case had been made, which was a jump from 47% just prior the speech. Following Powell’s February 5 speech at the UN, most polls, like one conducted by CNN and NBC, showed increased support for the invasion… Powell’s presentation, most viewers felt, offered strong evidence for action against Iraq. Only 27% opposed military action, the smallest percentage since the polls began in April 2002. “

  30. alyosha

    My pet theory is that 99% of Americans never mature past their senior year of high school; well, make that 8th grade.

    I don’t think that’s too far off the mark. The important thing, is that whether this fraction is 99% or 30%, this segment controls the country. My shorthand way of saying it to others: “The stupid people have taken over”. It’s why genius is not tolerated any more. And we have a media in America that keeps it this way.

  31. amspirnational


    Truthfully, I believe Israel trusts that it can zigzag US foreign policy to prevent jihadists
    of the takfiri brand from actually ruling Syria or much anywhere else.

    David Duff

    You don’t believe drone bomb recklessness and choosing to surge in Afghanistan
    against many advisor’s opinions isn’t belligerent? Setting aside, Obama telling Iraq vets of the
    “bad war” they performed a noble and effective service in what he then implicitly said was a good war.

  32. S Brennan

    Umm…it’s not a recent development, Obama’s sociopathic nature has been evident from day 1.

    A Chicago Defender* Article from 1996 picked up on Obama’s utter lack of empathy and noted it in an unflattering article on Obama.

    Through chance, a Chicago high school classmate told me to watch Obama in 2002, his position as a former editor of Newsweek influenced me pay attention to Obama before most people. An autobiography at the age of 32 is laughable, but nevertheless very revealing, here was a man who was clearly a serial fabricator, a complete supplicant to the cherished myths of white oligarchy.

    His speech at the 2004 convention…should have told anybody who was paying attention what he planned to do those who stood in the way of his societal affirmation by those that matter. Some brief history, the Kerry/ Edwards ticket had been selling [correctly, I believe] the idea that America was splitting into two segments, the haves and the have nots. Then along comes Barack…to give the nomination convention speech in “support” of the Kerry/ Edwards ticket…and what does Barry say? Obama goes out and tells the world that “there is but one America” and by inference, Kerry and Edwards are full of shit..[they may well be…but not on this particular point]. Conventions are a springboard for a November election…and in the late summer fall of 2004 Democratic funders were talking about how Obama theme was far more reassuring than what the Kerry/ Edwards ticket selling.

    Only a true sociopath could pull off a fully televised backstab like that…I remember watching that speech and saying to myself “Four more years of Bush…With guys like Obama, who needs Republicans”. That speech translated into 2.5 – 4 % points in the polls, Bush won with 50.34%. Barry got what he wanted, like all who have no purpose, he had a short shelf life…eventually people notice you are an empty suit, repeating the fine platitudes formed by brighter minds.

    Barry Obama, as he was known in his formative years, was abandoned by his father at birth and his always distant mother, abandoned Barry when he was 5 years of age. Non-bonding mothers and Sociopaths have a strong correlation. While female sociopaths are rare, Non-bonding mothers seem to be the source of sociopaths…and Barry certainly was a victim of a God-awful mother.

    My attacks on Obama’s policies indicate an unmitigated antipathy towards him, but that is not the case. I am one of the few here who has repeatedly pointed out his mental illness as the proximate cause for his evil actions. While he should never have been made president by our nation’s elite and supplicant minions…and it is they…that should bear the brunt of the blame. That said, Obama’s low information supporters [that would be the vast majority] unquestioning devotion to El Duce have made Barack’s administration far more damaging than it otherwise would have been…at this late date they make excuses and even for those, for whom the scales have finally fallen, will only concede a small “who could have known”…eerily reminiscent of Bush.

    *A publication run and directed towards African Americans, BAR was my original source to the link…I can’t find it now, but it exists

  33. Everythings Jake


    I think you may be referring to Adolph Reed’s article, “The Curse of Community,” which was published in the Village Voice, but is not available in its entirety online, though a paragraph on Obama is quoted quite frequently by Paul Street:

    “In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices: one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable credentials and vacuous to repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program – the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle class reform in favoring form over substances. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics here, as in Haiti and wherever the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.”

    Here is Chomsky on an unnamed prominent black activist reporting that Obama has no moral center. I grew up in a politically active middle class black neighborhood in D.C. Even if I don’t know the name of the person he’s talking about, I know and admire dozens he could be talking about, and this scared the shite out of me:

    And on Ian’s post itself. Yep, competent criminals, gotta love e’m. I’m recently nostalgic for the mafia, not because I want their darker days, but because their darker days were better than the reign of the crony capitalists, skim (and kill and make mayhem outside your neighborhood), but provide the services. I’ve wondered, is it coincidental that America’s decline starts with their dismantling?

  34. Ian Welsh

    The Mafia was dismantled through the use of RICO, which is, on the face, unconstitutional restraint of the right of association.

  35. The Mafia was dismantled…

    …dismantled, and their turf co-opted by the FIRE sector (money laundering, fraud, extortion, usury, HIGH stakes gambling, protection rackets, etc.)


  36. S Brennan

    EJ, I stand corrected.

  37. Antifa

    I think Obama and Kerry’s mad drive to make war this month, even if Congress says no, is because Israel delivered a private ultimatum that they will hit Iran before October, so get on board or be dragged into it unprepared. Obama chose to get on board, and take another one of Russia’s client states as our price for participating in Israel whacking Iran. Israel set the timetable.

    Although it’s clear this is about Iran, not Syria, we must stand back and see that in the larger picture this isn’t just about Iran or even the total domination of the Middle East by Israel, the Saudis and America.

    Neocons don’t stop conquering at some point. They never stop conquering and looting.

    Even after Syria and southern Lebanon are annexed by Israel, after Iran is a docile client state of America, after Afghanistan and Pakistan are friendly Islamic Republics happy to have our pipelines running through them the neocons will want to do the same thing with all the small muslim nations up in the Caspian Basin, the soft underbelly of Russia.

    OMG there is so much oil and natural gas up there! And Kazakhstan has more uranium than anybody! And getting control of all that will leave Russia with turnips and snow and not much else! So what’s not to like?

    This larger chess game is why Putin, why Russia, prefers to stop America with proxy wars in the Middle East, before the fighting spreads north into the Caspian region.

  38. S Brennan

    While the documentation appears weak for the headline, this article dovetails with statements made by Obama the Saturday before the toxin release. In that statement; Obama indicated that the events in Syria would be brought to a conclusion within a few weeks.

    After reading that, I assumed, US supported terrorists would be engaging in a Libyan style offensive. In Libya* the US used air assets to supply Close Air Support [CAS] for ground attacks and suppressive fire missions to compensate for our Al Qaeda ground forces natural weakness in large scale fire and maneuver.

    But when the toxin release occurred the next week, Obama’s cockiness, displayed in his willingness to telegraph his next move, is neatly explained. While the depravity of such a plan is shocking, the boldness is impressive…but if multi-source documentation is ever found, Obama’s plan of financial reward for his service to the 1% may be put on hold indefinitely. Call me naive, but I just can’t see people shelling out $50,000 a plate to be seen with a notorious war criminal. Even for Puritans, a blow job just doesn’t have the same
    gravitas as perpetrating such an heinous act in order to start a war.

    Such a possibility, however, may have occurred to Obama and explains his new found timidness and a curious change of course in asking for congressional approval. In fact, if this story develops legs, perhaps Obama may call his operation off in order to have the crime swept under the rug? On the other hand, what better way to obscure mass murder, than the fog of war? Yep, that’s the stuff that can keep sociopaths up at night.

    “Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?:”

    *In Libya, we also used US planes to destroy high quality civilian infrastructure, such as schools, water distribution, electrical generation et al which put previously debt free Libya…now in need of massive western loans to rebuild assets destroyed by the US. Apparently, we are using bombs to create orifices for blood funnels.

  39. Phoenician in a time of Romans

    @Formerly T-Bear In other words, if a US naval ship fires any missile landing in Syria, that ship is open season by any other force until its command has answered the judgment of the Hague in full.

    Both US military doctrine and common sense say to go beyond this – i.e. if a ship fires a missile at you, go after its base and its support craft as well. As we’ve seen in the Iraq war, the US military rules supreme in head-to-head conflicts – so the opponent will strike at other interests that they can reach. Saddam started against domestic civilians and lobbing missiles against Israeli cities. Assad may well do the same, and he actually has chemical weapons.

    I wonder how complicated life would become if he transferred these weapons to Hamas.

  40. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Phoenician in a time of Romans

    What you speak of is the traditional theory of war between equal powers. Think asymmetrical power. Put a price upon command directly for following illegal orders, a price that command pays directly, at any time, in any place, without having the protective benefit of the entire force to cover everywhere that unit may be, create the vulnerabilities of isolation for that command. Think of the USS Cole in Yemen, recall the Iranian civilian flight shot down in the Persian Gulf, connect some dots, the ones OBL did, quite successfully too.

    Don’t bother to suggest any command cannot know if an order is legal or not and decide whether to execute it or not, their measure of such things is in the Constitution they’ve sworn their allegiance to, not in any expedient ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ authorization. This is a central and unavoidable responsibility inherent in command; as in law, ignorance is no defense.

    By the by, change the name back to the Department of War, stop coding yourselves it’s much of anything to do with defense anymore.

  41. Yonatan

    Antifa wrote: “This larger chess game is why Putin, why Russia, prefers to stop America with proxy wars in the Middle East, before the fighting spreads north into the Caspian region.”

    Precisely. They see the US surrounding them with military bases. They also see the US ‘missile defense system’, supposedly targeting Iran, but clearing targeting Russia. This is all very dangerous. It is clearly aimed at allowing the US to mop up the few Russian missiles surviving a US first strike. I believe Russia has stated that its only option now is to ‘launch on warning’.

    China should also note the heat, with the US ‘pivot’ to the Far East.

    There is another aspect relating to urgency of the US’ actions. The big strength, and weakness, of the US is the mandatory use of the US dollar for oil/gas sales. If that link is broken, then the US has nothing. It can print all the dollar bills it likes, but they will be useless toilet paper. The world is awash with dollar debt that anyone with any sense now knows will never be repaid. The US is going for broke.

  42. S Brennan

    This is for all the “liberals” out there that are steadfast in their support of Obama

    True Courage Is Knowing You’re Wrong But Refusing To Admit It
    Commentary • Opinion • ISSUE 49•36 • Sep 5, 2013 By Ryan Arrington

    Courage requires us to remain steadfast in our beliefs. It asks that we stand by the convictions we express and never give an inch, no matter what the cost. However off base, wrongheaded, or patently false a position we’ve staked out may be, courage nonetheless demands that we blindly pound home our stupid fucking point, never letting up.

    True valor is the moment in a conversation when you realize that what you’re saying is completely and utterly wrong, but you continue to say it over and over again anyway, only louder.

    Suppose you’re discussing current events with a group of friends, one of whom politely challenges an assertion you’ve made about a particular issue. In such congenial gatherings, it can be tempting to back down, especially when someone has just put forth evidence that soundly debunks everything you’ve been saying. The courageous path takes more discipline. It means looking that friend in the eye and—though you know full well that you are totally wrong—saying, “No, I’m right.”

    The same dilemma applies when you’re arguing with someone who obviously has far more information about a subject than you do. Basically, you have two choices: You can admit that you are out of your depth and that your lack of knowledge led you to the incorrect conclusion. Or you can dig in your heels, grit your teeth, and defend your misguided, uninformed opinion with every fiber of your being—even to the point of hysteria. What is the measure of bravery? I think part of it has to do with how firmly we stand our ground when we have absolutely no fucking clue what we’re talking about.

    Another part involves having the mental strength to steel our minds against any reasonable argument that might challenge one of our beliefs. This means cultivating the ability to remain totally impervious to logic, so that when someone points out a blatant error in our line of thought, we can simply shrug and ignore them.

    Can you make statements you know to be false in a determined and measured tone of voice? Can you then continue to reel off untruths by pulling idiotic examples out of your ass to further illustrate your faulty point, all the while giving no one else a chance to respond? Can you look basic common sense in the face and laugh? Because that is what courage asks of us.

    It can get lonely sometimes, aggressively defending your false beliefs until you’ve alienated everyone around you. Bravely shouting over someone’s sensible comments in order to hammer home your idea—your idea that is wrong—won’t win you any popularity contests.

    Meanwhile, anyone can fold in the face of facts, or listen to a well-reasoned argument and say, “You know what? You’re right, I never thought of it that way.” But that’s the coward’s way out. Listening carefully to a friend’s point, synthesizing the new information, and letting it influence your own perspective—these are all gutless acts.

    You want to know what does takes guts, though? Smugly making the timeout sign and repeatedly shouting “No, no, no, no, no, you’re wrong!” to interrupt a person you know without a doubt is absolutely right.

    Is courage scary? Sure. It can be terrifying. Do you think it’s easy to stand there while someone looks at you with an expression that says, “Wow, I don’t even think you believe what you’re saying”? Or to suddenly realize that everything you’ve been saying is moronic, but to forge ahead anyway, no matter what bullshit comes flying out of your mouth? No, that takes balls of steel. But courage has its rewards, too. Sticking to your guns means never, ever having to own up to your mistakes. And it’s hard to put a price on that.,33742/

  43. amspirnational


    “Israel delivered a private ultimatum that they will hit Iran before October, so get on board or be dragged into it unprepared.”

    Do you really, believe, however, a skillful administration could not in some manner convey this info to dissenting non neo-con domestic “Zionist-lite” organizations and in concert with the latter, and perhaps non neo-con “realists,” take it to the public with a checkmating result?

    My own view is that if your analysis is correct, the administration finds little fault with the Israel government decision.

  44. S Brennan

    On this day in particular, I would encourage all who still read my posts to take 3 minutes out of their lives to read this. I have issues with some minor details, but Vlad is being far more truthful than anything emanating from DC pols…or the media voices of the 1%.

  45. Formerly T-Bear

    @ S Brennan

    Thanks for the link, it’s refreshing to see original material coming from the national paper of record, the Pravda on the Hudson. It is more interesting to read the selected comments attending, a marvelous display of assumptions, presumptions and downright ignorance from the US national public (I’m avoiding using American as an adjective, some innocent Canadian may be involved and Yankee is problematic; some genius needs to work on this).

    Has anyone mentioned the reason Syria has this stockpile of chemical weapons may be because their neighbour has an ‘undisclosed and unregulated’ stockpile of nuclear weapons? It is only rational that a state without the same armaments would do something to assure the use of the nuclear weapons would involve some cost to the user. The zionists know this and have distributed breathing apparatus to most of their population assuming some of the population would survive such an encounter. Read the comments in light of just this and it soon becomes apparent that the US’s intentional national ignorance is pervasive to the point the public needs keepers and the nanny state to decide their opinions for them.

  46. celsius 233

    @ T-Bear

    You have echo’d my thoughts exactly.
    This is not an honest gambit with the U.S. the Machiavellian player.
    Obama has finally shown his true, twisted, policies as regards his latest speech; which, frankly, is mind boggling in its hypocrisy, hubris, and hyperbole.
    He has surpassed Bush in utter Orwellian politispeak!

  47. celsius 233

    I would add that Putin has evidenced a consummate ability as a global leader and trumped the child who would be Obama, if only he had the maturity.

  48. Celsius 233

    Regarding O’s speech;
    Obama’s speech on Syria was child like. Full of the hubristic, hypocritical, hyperbolic, fantastic, American dreams; sold as a bill of goods to the world. Full of the tired and worn-out bullshit of American exceptionalism. Full of the lame entreaties about women and children as victims and the barbarities of war; all of which is demonstrably part of U.S. policy, as evidenced in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and even the U.S. itself (Chelsea Manning) and Gitmo.
    Putin sees all of this and will have none of it; he may ultimately save the U.S. from itself! How ironic is that?
    Make no mistake; Putin is a player; just a better one in this game.
    By it’s own actions, the U.S. has weakened it’s moral standing in the world and now resides in the proverbial glass house; yet continues to cast stones…

  49. Celsius 233

    Argh, its, not it’s….

  50. S Brennan

    Putin… may ultimately save the U.S. from itself! How ironic is that?

    Well Vlad’s certainly a “player”, but he may not want to get in bed with the Chinese just yet…and the DC/Wall Street crowd are doing their level best to ensure that is the outcome. The idiocy of US leaders is without parallel…talk about a country in need of regime change.

  51. Celsius 233

    S Brennan
    September 13, 2013
    The idiocy of US leaders is without parallel…talk about a country in need of regime change.
    Absolutely no argument there…

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