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Obama: a yet another Neocon

News Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Recommended Links Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton New American Militarism Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Obama, the Prince of Bait-and-Switch Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Robert Kagan Samantha Power Wolfowitz Doctrine
 "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Hillary Clinton email scandal Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Madeleine Albright Color revolutions Leo Strauss and the Neocons
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Deception as an art form The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept The ability and willingness to employ savage methods Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism  IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Mayberry Machiavellians John Dilulio letter Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Big Uncle is Watching You Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Anatol Leiven on American Messianism
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Guardian paper LA Times Paper by Neal Gabler Washington Post paper by Mike Allen  From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014
Mayberry Machiavellians Corporatism Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few American Exceptionalism Politically Incorrect Humor Etc


It would be wrong to excuse the inaction of the Obama DOJ and SEC crews as being the result of some larger “corrosion of our collective values.”

The capos in those crews are the people doing the corroding, and not one of them was forced to (not) do what they did.

Notice that every last one of the initial bunch is presently being paid, by Wall Street, to the tune of millions of dollars per year. They opted to cover up crimes and take a pay-off in exchange. And they are owed punishment.

According to Wikipedia

Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in retail sales but also employed in other contexts. First, customers are "baited" by merchants' advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, or the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items ("switching").

 Obama is perhaps the most lethal combination of neolib & neocon, a darling of the "deep state". While deception was used by all presidential candidates, past and present, Obama can be called Prince of bait and switch tactics. Even "Slick Willy"  with his "it's economy stupid" did not reach the higher of betrayal of the electorate delivered by Obama  with his famous and completely fraudulent "change we can believe it" slogan.  

Nicknamed "Barack CIA 0bama" and 'teleprompter" he actually represents the second president closely allied with CIA (the first was Bush the Older).  He symbolized the merge of economic/financial interests (neolib) with the imperial ambitions of neocon -- both represented in US intelligence  services, especially CIA, which was actually created by Wall street lawyers for Wall street policies enforcement, despite initial desire of Truman to see informational agency, and not cloak and dagger agency.   The viability of the USA is now tied to the viability of the transnational corporations.

Actually it is proper not to view Obama as a person. Obama is a brand, a puppet that was brought to power by the pure force of advertizing. Advertising is the rule of the political game in the USA probably since Reagan. In this case the real person does not matter. A constructed "image" is enough.  And absence of previous political experience is ideal prerequisite for the construction of the image that electorate wants. BTW, during Presidential elections cycle Obama managed to outspend republican McCain (the darling of MIC) mostly due to financial industry contributions. Tell me who is paying for your election and I will tell what policies you will pursue ;-)

And Obama campaign once again demonstrated old truth: Democratic Party just plays the role of destroyer of radical left, while Republican Party plays the same role for radical right. This provides kind of political stability. to a certain point  being two wings of a singles "Neoliberal Party of the USA."  See  Trump vs. Deep State.

And Obama was preselected by the same "deep state" handlers, which preselected Bill and Hillary Clinton. All talks about democracy after 1963, when "shadow government" came in power in the USA is akin to a slick advertizing trick. All the US people are allowed to do is to confirm one two preselected by deep state politicians (who later can prove to be a complete puppets, or not), providing political legitimacy.

Obama has close ties with the "deep state" are undeniable. Historically Obama spend some time working in Business International Corporation, the CIA outlet (Wikipedia)

In the late summer of 1983, future United States President Barack Obama interviewed for a job at Business International Corporation. He worked there for "little more than year."[3] As a research associate in its financial services division, he edited Financing Foreign Operations, a global reference service, and wrote for Business International Money Report, a weekly financial newsletter.[4] His responsibilities included "interviewing business experts, researching trends in foreign exchange, following market developments. . . . He wrote about currency swaps and leverage leases. . . . Obama also helped write financial reports on Mexico and Brazil.[5]

See also Verified CIA Front, Business International Corp, Paid for Obama’s Columbia College Tuition

 Export Blueprint

After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, Barack Obama went to work for a firm called Business International Corporation (BIC), a firm that was linked to economic intelligence gathering for the CIA.

For one year, Obama worked as a researcher in BIC’s financial services division where he wrote for two BIC publications, Financing Foreign Operations and Business International Money Report, a weekly newsletter. An informed source has told WMR that Obama’s tuition debt at Columbia was paid off by BIC.

In addition, WMR has learned that when Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and his adoptive father Lolo Soetoro, the 20-year-old Obama, who was known as “Barry Soetoro,” traveled to Pakistan in 1981 and was hosted by the family of Muhammadmian Soomro, a Pakistani Sindhi who became acting President of Pakistan after the resignation of General Pervez Musharraf on August 18, 2008. WMR was told that the Obama/Soetoro trip to Pakistan, ostensibly to go “partridge hunting” with the Soomros, related to unknown CIA business.

The covert CIA program to assist the Afghan mujaheddin was already well underway at the time and Pakistan was the major base of operations for the CIA’s support. Obama also reportedly traveled to India, again, on unknown business for U.S. intelligence. WMR has been told by knowledgeable sources that Obama has, in the past, traveled on at least three passports: U.S., Indonesian, and British. BIC also maintained a European subsidiary, Business International S.A., in Geneva. BIC had long been associated with CIA activities since being founded by Eldridge Haynes, a self-professed liberal Democrat. The BIC headquarters was located at the prestigious address of 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in Manhattan. BIC held a series of off-the-record, no press, meetings between top U.S. business executives and top government officials, including the President, and the Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Commerce, and Labor; the Attorney General, Senate leadership, and the heads of the Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. BIC held international meetings in locations like Brussels and Mexico City.

In 1986, BIC was bought by the Economist Group in London and its operations were merged with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). There have been a number of reports that the EIU works as closely with Britain’s MI-6 intelligence service as BIC once worked with or for the CIA. One of BIC’s directors was the late Lord Pilkington, who was also a director of the Bank of England. Obama’s work for a company having ties to the CIA barely registered a blip on the 2008 presidential campaign radar screen. At the very least, Obama helped in providing economic intelligence to the CIA as a contract employee. At most, Obama was, like previous BIC employees who operated abroad for the CIA, a full-fledged non-official cover (NOC) agent. Since President Obama has backpedaled on CIA renditions and torture, as well as warrantless electronic surveillance by U.S. intelligence, he owes the American people a full explanation of the circumstances behind his being hired by BIC, what his job actually entailed, and whether he continued to have a relationship with BIC or any other CIA operation while attending Harvard Law School and thereafter.

In foreign policy Obama was simply a close variation of Bush II, which can be called Bush III. He behaved like a stanch neocon (no unlike Hillary Clinton to whom he "outsourced" his foreign policy during his first term in the office). He was a firm believer in American Exceptionalism (which is a flavor of radical nationalism), in the necessity of the US global dominance at all costs, in the maintenance and expansion of global neoliberal empire led by the USA. During his presidency he never got tied of imperial adventures and bombing brown people (The Bush-Obama-Neocon Doctrine):

It’s official: When it comes to foreign policy, Barack Obama’s first term is really George W. Bush’s third. Bill Kristol, son of the late neoconservative godfather Irving Kristol and editor of the Weekly Standard, declared that Obama is “a born-again neocon” during a March 30 appearance on the Fox News Channel’s Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld. Kristol’s remark came in the context of a discussion of Obama’s consultation with Kristol and other influential columnists prior to his March 28 address to the nation about his military intervention in Libya. Gutfeld quizzed Kristol about the President’s asking him for “help” with his speech. Kristol denied that Obama had sought his help. Instead, Kristol said,

In case anyone missed the significance of Kristol’s comment, Gutfeld made it clear: “We’ve got the drones. We’ve got military tribunals. We’ve got Gitmo. We’re bombing Libya. People who voted for Obama got four more years of Bush.”

Kristol agreed, adding: “What’s the joke — they told me if I voted for McCain, we’d be going to war in a third Muslim country…. I voted for McCain and we’re doing it.”

Of course, to Kristol, calling someone a neocon is a compliment. Indeed, Kristol praised Obama’s speech on the Weekly Standard blog, saying the President “had rejoined — or joined — the historical American foreign policy mainstream.” The speech was “reassuring,” Kristol explained, saying, “The president was unapologetic, freedom-agenda-embracing, and didn’t shrink from defending the use of force or from appealing to American values and interests.” In other words, it was a neocon speech, cloaking the use of violence in the language of liberty and treating the U.S. military as the President’s personal mercenaries to reshape the globe rather than as defenders of the territorial United States.

This is not the first time Kristol and other neocons have lauded Obama’s foreign policy. After Obama made a speech in 2009 announcing he was sending more troops to Afghanistan — that is, he was replicating Bush’s Iraq “surge” in another location — Michael Goldfarb, a Weekly Standard writer, asked Kristol for his reaction to the speech. “He said he would have framed a few things differently,” Goldfarb related, “but his basic response was: ‘All hail Obama!’”

Similarly, when the President last August claimed that “the American combat mission in Iraq has ended” while asserting that “our commitment to Iraq’s future is not” ending, New York Post resident neocon John Podhoretz applauded Obama for his “rather neoconservative speech, in the sense that Neoconservatism has argued for aggressive American involvement in the world both for the world’s sake and for the sake of extending American freedoms in order to enhance and preserve American security.” [Emphasis in original.]

Sheldon Richman, writing in Freedom Daily, reminded readers of just exactly what neocon policies have wrought:

Just to be clear, the neocons were among the key architects of the war against Iraq in 1991, followed by the embargo that killed half a million children. That war and embargo set the stage for the 9/11 attacks, which were then used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq (an ambition long predating 9/11) and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, American’s [sic] longest military engagement — all of which have killed more than a million people, wreaked political havoc, and made life in those countries (and elsewhere) miserable. Let’s not forget the drone assassination and special ops programs being run in a dozen Muslim countries. The neocon achievement also has helped drive the American people deep into debt.

Nice crowd Obama is hanging with these days. And that’s no exaggeration. Frederick Kagan, one of the top neocon brains and a signatory of the Project of the New American Century imperial manifesto, now works for Gen. David Petraeus.

Barack Obama, the candidate of “change we can believe in,” turned out to be the President of “more of the same.” Lest there remain any doubt about this, one need only turn to establishment news organ Time magazine. There Mark Halperin, explaining “why Obama’s Libya address was strong,” states quite bluntly: “George W. Bush could have delivered every sentence.”

In foreign policy the crown achievement of Obama was putsch in Ukraine, which brought in power far right government of Western Ukrainian nationalists, destroyed the Ukrainian economy, plunging the majority of population into abysmal, Central-African-level poverty (less then $2 a day) and unleashed civil war in Donbass region. But strategically it cut the most important of post  Soviet Republic from Russia, and that all that matters for Obama and his handlers. 

In internal, domestic  policy Obama was iether criminally negligent or criminally complicit , serving as a stooge of financial oligarchy. Essentially trying to imitate worst features of Clinton administration (despite deep hate between Obama and Clinton families, especially Michelle and Hillary; the later called Hillary Hilderbeast). He continued, but is much slower page (as after 2008 the wind changed the direction) the same deregulation policies and destruction the remnants of the New Deal.

The crown achievement of Obama is the push for TPP (derailed by Trump), which would  impoverish working Americans, proliferate McJobs and contractor jobs instead of normal full-time well paying jobs (that were the cornerstone of the New Deal) and enlarge the third country that exists within the USA today (50 million Americans who are on food stamps are in reality not a regular "upscale" US citizens, that world wants to imitate, but a citizens of this third world country within the USA).  In other words he was a selloff. The neoliberal transformation of the economy that all three last administrations advocated proved to be a cruel joke.

If you do not pay people well they can't buy the products on their income and go deeply into debts, trying to maintain their sliding standard of living.  While debt is freely available under neoliberalism to "shmucks" (lower 99% of the US population; the upper 0.1% is called  the "Masters of the Universe"), people can carry only so much of it and at some point the system goes into deep crisis and debt reached the critical mass and sink the economy. 

So you get into "let them eat cakes" situation, in which Obama and Hillary Clinton found themselves during the Democratic convention, when Sanders supporters walked out, it is understandable why they unleashed the new McCarthyism campaign against Russia. They faced the problem of  Demexit and fueling anti-Russian hysteria was a convenient way of offloading the responsibility for this political fiasco and preventing Demexit  from becoming a catastrophe for the neoliberalized by Bill Clinton Democratic Party, which betrayed its working class and lower middle class voters in favor of Wall street financial oligarchy.   

The rise of Trump and Bernie Sanders in the recent presidential election also signify the crisis of neoliberal governance within the USA. People simply became fed of immigration,. globalization and, most important, destruction of jobs and the standard of living for the majority of the population.

People are just fed up with the establishment and the prince of "bait and switch Obama, despite  much better  popularly ratings at the end of his presidency, he is as a disastrous president as Buss II was. Just with slightly darker skin, and without the same speech mistakes. Although it is difficult to say for any teleprompter loving President what was his actual level of conversation. Obama mostly avoid "open questions" interviews during his presidency which suggest that he was afraid of such encounters, where teleprompter is not available. 

What features defines the neocon foreign policy

 

The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".

Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated.

That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 3:51:17 PM | 25

The neoconservative impulse became visible in modern American foreign policy since Reagan but became dominant ideology and foreign policy practice during criminal George W. Bush administration, which unleashed disastrous for American people Iraq war and destabilized the region, which eventually led to creation of ISIS. Those disastrous neoconservative policies were continued during Obama administration ("Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place. Especially sinister role was played  Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton  while she was the Secretary of State. She was the butcher of Libya and Syria.

Unlike traditionalist conservatism (which in the USA survived in the form of Paleoconservatism) and preaches noninterventionism, Neoconservatism has nothing to do with conservative doctrine at all. This is neoliberal interpretation of Trotskyism -- neoTrotskyism. Like neofascism it glories militarism (in the form of New American Militarism as described by Professor Bacevich),. emphasizes confrontation, and regime change in countries hostile to the interests of global corporation and which are a barrier of spread of neoliberalism and extension of global, US dominated neoliberal empire. It is extremely jingoistic creed.

The unspoken assumptions of neocon cult have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual wars of neoliberal conquest. It also led to destabilization of the whole regions, creation of political Islam and at the end creation of ISIS and "institutionalization" of  suicide bombings as the only means to fight against global neoliberal empire by people deprived of regular military means.  From which many nations, suffered especially in Russia and Europe.  In Russia neocons supported radical Islam and Wahhabism preaching extremists (sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Gulf monarchies), considering it the lesser evil, and were trying to dismember Russia.  In Ukraine neocons supported far right nationalists with distinct national socialism leanings and history of crime against humanity (Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia - Wikipedia), which make the country a debt slave of IMF and dropped already low standard of living of population almost three times. Making the Ukraine probably the poorest country in Europe where large percent of population (especially pensioners and single mothers) needs to survive of less the $3 a day. Average (note the word "average")  pension in Ukraine is about $1500 grivna which at the current exchange rate is approximately $60. It was three times higher before the Maydan color revolution which State Department so skillfully organized. Everywhere they bring wars and disasters. And they impoverish the US middle class. To say nothing about desperate, completely robbed 50 or so million people with Mcjobs, who are liming essentially in the third world country that exists within the USA now  (Food Stamp Beneficiaries Exceed 46,000,000 for 38 Straight Months ).  They are concerned mainly with enriching themselves and their masters from military industrial complex and bloating government bureaucracy. In other words they behave like the USSR nomenklatura -- a privileged, above the law class, degeneration of which eventually led to collapse of the USSR. Such a conservatives. And not unlike Party bureaucracy of the Third Reich, despite being disproportionally Jewish. 

And in foreign policy they were a real, unmitigated  disaster.  Or more correctly series of disaster of varying magnitudes. Iraq was a huge, humiliating disaster. Probably the biggest one.  Afghanistan was a disaster of lesser scale. Libya were another, more small scale disaster. Syria is a potentially huge disaster, due to international consequences of creating ISIS in this region.  Ukraine is a huge and very expensive disaster, which might lead to the WWIII, a nuclear holocaust (neocons like to speculate on tragedy of Jewish population during the WWII).   which revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (and probably was done in the name of US security, as neocons understand it ;-). Moreover it moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests. Starting from Clinton administration their attitude to Russia was essentially was: be our vassal, or you have no right to exist. Which is reckless attitude to the second most powerful nuclear armed state in the world.  Even taking into account huge difficulties and huge deterioration of the Russia military capabilities after the dissolution of the USSR they are playing with fire. And enjoying every minute of it. Just look at Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was appointed as advisor to State Department by Hillary Clinton) face during his public speeches. This man is definitely enjoying himself and his wit. 

An assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it is clearly wrong. It is a foreign policy equivalent to Al Capone idea that "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone". It is very close to neo-Nazi idea that "War is a natural state, and peace is a utopian dream that induces softness, decadence and pacifism." The problem here is that it's the person who promotes this creed can be shot. Of course neocons are chickenhawks and prefer other people die for their misguided adventures.  

The idea  that disagreement about this postulate is tantamount to defeatism is simply silly. "Global unilateralism" is capable to bankrupt the USA.  Democracy promotion was a nice racket until probably 2008, but now way too many countries understand what it is about. The same is true about color revolutions.

It created level of anti-American sentiment at Middle East unheard before,  provoked rearmament of Russia and armament of China which together represent a formidable force able to turn the USA into radioactive ash no less effectively then the USA can turn them. 

Despite disastrous results of the Neocon foreign policy neocons remain a powerful, dominant political force in Washington. In recent Presidential race neocons are represented by Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton.


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[Dec 10, 2017] When Washington Cheered the Jihadists Consortiumnews

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany. ..."
"... A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .) ..."
"... So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs." ..."
"... The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark. ..."
"... The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place. ..."
"... The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency." ..."
"... ancien régime, ..."
"... With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway. ..."
"... Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad. ..."
"... So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it. ..."
"... It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them. ..."
"... The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. ..."
"... Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business. ..."
"... It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people! ..."
"... The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC. ..."
"... This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end. ..."
"... Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves. ..."
"... On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives. ..."
"... The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria. ..."
"... Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities. ..."
"... An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena." ..."
"... The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)." ..."
"... To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime." ..."
"... The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines. ..."
"... The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime. ..."
"... The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians. ..."
"... In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision." ..."
"... Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making ..."
"... General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria. ..."
"... The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection. ..."
"... That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions". ..."
"... The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces. ..."
"... I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm ..."
"... Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. ..."
"... Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. ..."
"... The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic. ..."
"... Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union. ..."
"... All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth. ..."
"... There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html ..."
"... Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg. ..."
"... The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth. ..."
"... The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292 ..."
"... This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions ..."
"... Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated ..."
"... So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either. ..."
"... From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm". ..."
"... For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree. ..."
"... I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit. ..."
"... Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking. The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences. ..."
"... I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r? ..."
"... Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars. ..."
"... Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy. ..."
"... Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace? ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

When a Department of Defense intelligence report about the Syrian rebel movement became public in May 2015, lots of people didn't know what to make of it. After all, what the report said was unthinkable – not only that Al Qaeda had dominated the so-called democratic revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for years, but that the West continued to support the jihadis regardless, even to the point of backing their goal of creating a Sunni Salafist principality in the eastern deserts.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014.

The United States lining up behind Sunni terrorism – how could this be? How could a nice liberal like Barack Obama team up with the same people who had brought down the World Trade Center?

It was impossible, which perhaps explains why the report remained a non-story long after it was released courtesy of a Judicial Watch freedom-of-information lawsuit . The New York Times didn't mention it until six months later while the Washington Post waited more than a year before dismissing it as "loopy" and "relatively unimportant." With ISIS rampaging across much of Syria and Iraq, no one wanted to admit that U.S. attitudes were ever anything other than hostile.

But three years earlier, when the Defense Intelligence Agency was compiling the report, attitudes were different. Jihadis were heroes rather than terrorists, and all the experts agreed that they were a low-risk, high-yield way of removing Assad from office.

After spending five days with a Syrian rebel unit, for instance, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers wrote that the group "mixes paramilitary discipline, civilian policing, Islamic law, and the harsh demands of necessity with battlefield coldness and outright cunning."

Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, assured the Washington Post that "al Qaeda is a fringe element" among the rebels, while, not to be outdone, the gossip site Buzzfeed published a pin-up of a "ridiculously photogenic" jihadi toting an RPG.

"Hey girl," said the subhead. "Nothing sexier than fighting the oppression of tyranny."

And then there was Foreign Policy, the magazine founded by neocon guru Samuel P. Huntington, which was most enthusiastic of all. Gary Gambill's " Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists ," which ran on the FP web site just a couple of weeks after the DIA report was completed, didn't distort the facts or make stuff up in any obvious way. Nonetheless, it is a classic of U.S. propaganda. Its subhead glibly observed: "So the rebels aren't secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn't much matter."

Assessing the Damage

Five years later, it's worth a second look to see how Washington uses self-serving logic to reduce an entire nation to rubble.

First a bit of background. After displacing France and Britain as the region's prime imperial overlord during the 1956 Suez Crisis and then breaking with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser a few years later, the United States committed itself to the goal of defeating Arab nationalism and Soviet Communism, two sides of the same coin as far as Washington was concerned. Over the next half-century, this would mean steering Egypt to the right with assistance from the Saudis, isolating Libyan strong man Muammar Gaddafi, and doing what it could to undermine the Syrian Baathist regime as well.

William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany.

A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .)

Since the United States didn't like what such governments were doing, the solution was to install more pliable ones in their place. Hence Washington's joy when the Arab Spring struck Syria in March 2011 and it appeared that protesters would soon topple the Baathists on their own.

Even when lofty democratic rhetoric gave way to ominous sectarian chants of "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin," U.S. enthusiasm remained strong. With Sunnis accounting for perhaps 60 percent of the population, strategists figured that there was no way Assad could hold out against religious outrage welling up from below.

Enter Gambill and the FP. The big news, his article began, is that secularists are no longer in command of the burgeoning Syrian rebel movement and that Sunni Islamists are taking the lead instead. As unfortunate as this might seem, he argued that such a development was both unavoidable and far from entirely negative.

"Islamist political ascendancy is inevitable in a majority Sunni Muslim country brutalized for more than four decades by a secular minoritarian dictatorship," he wrote in reference to the Baathists. "Moreover, enormous financial resources are pouring in from the Arab-Islamic world to promote explicitly Islamist resistance to Assad's Alawite-dominated, Iranian-backed regime."

So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs."

The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark.

"So long as Syrian jihadis are committed to fighting Iran and its Arab proxies," the article concluded, "we should quietly root for them – while keeping our distance from a conflict that is going to get very ugly before the smoke clears. There will be plenty of time to tame the beast after Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions have gone down in flames."

Deals with the Devil

The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place.The Islamists were something America could employ to their advantage and then throw away like a squeezed lemon. A few Syrians would suffer, but America would win, and that's all that counts.

The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency."

Where Gambill predicted that "Assad and his minions will likely retreat to northwestern Syria," the DIA speculated that the jihadis might establish "a declared or undeclared Salafist principality" at the other end of the country near cities like Hasaka and Der Zor (also known as Deir ez-Zor).

Where the FP said that the ultimate aim was to roll back Iranian influence and undermine Shi'ite rule, the DIA said that a Salafist principality "is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

Bottle up the Shi'ites in northwestern Syria, in other words, while encouraging Sunni extremists to establish a base in the east so as to put pressure on Shi'ite-influenced Iraq and Shi'ite-ruled Iran.

As Gambill put it: "Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won't have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington."

With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway.

Disastrous Thinking

Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video] War-time destruction totals around $250 billion , according to U.N. estimates, a staggering sum for a country of 18.8 million people where per-capita income prior to the outbreak of violence was under $3,000. From Syria, the specter of sectarian violence has spread across Asia and Africa and into Europe and North America as well. Political leaders throughout the advanced industrial world are still struggling to contain the populist fury that the Middle East refugee crisis, the result of U.S.-instituted regime change, helped set off.

So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it.

It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for.

The forum is particularly well known for its Campus Watch program, which targets academic critics of Israel, Islamists, and – despite Gambill's kind words about "suicide bombings and roadside bombs" – anyone it considers the least bit apologetic about Islamic terrorism.

Double your standard, double the fun. Terrorism, it seems, is only terrorism when others do it to the U.S., not when the U.S. does it to others.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Babyl-on , December 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them.

The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. When that happens the world will return to the gold standard + Bitcoin possibly and US dollar hegemony will end. After that the trillion dollar a year military and the 20 trillion debt take on a different meaning. Before that slaughter non-stop will continue.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

Really, Baby-lon, your first short paragraph sums this piece by Lazare perfectly and makes the rest of his blog seem rather pointless. Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business.

Jerald Davidson , December 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

Babyl-on and John Wilson: you have nailed it. The last thing the US (gov't.) wants is peace. War is big business; casualties are of no concern (3 million Koreans died in the Korean War; 3 million Vietnamese in that war; 100's of thousands in Iraq [including Clinton's sanctions] and Afghanistan). The US has used jihadi proxies since the mujahedeen in 1980's Afghanistan and Contras in Nicaragua. To the US (gov't.), a Salafist dictatorship (such as Saudi Arabia) is highly preferable to a secular, nationalist ruler (such as Egypt's Nasser, Libya's Gaddafi, Syria's Assad).
So the cover story of the jjihadi's has changed – first they are freedom fighters, then terrorists. What does not change is that in either case they are pawns of the US (gov't.) goal of hegemony.
(Incidentally, Drew Hunkins must be responding to a different article.)

BannanaBoat , December 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Exactly Baby right on, Either USA strategists are extremely ignorant or they are attempting to create chaos, probably both. Perhaps not continuously but surely frequently the USA has promoted war prior to the last 73 years. Native Genocide , Mexican Wars, Spanish War, WWI ( USA banker repayment war)

Richard , December 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Exactly Babylon! Looks like consortiumnews is turning into another propaganda rag. Assad was allied with Russia and Iran – that's why the U.S. wanted him removed. Israel said that they would preferred ISIS in power over Assad. The U.S. would have happily wiped out 90% of the population using its terrorist proxies if it thought it could have got what it wanted.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

CN tends to make moderate statements so as to communicate with those most in need of them. One must start with the understandings of the audience and show them that the evidence leads further.

Richard , December 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

Sam F, no, it's a DELIBERATE lie in support of U.S. foreign policy. The guy wrote: "the NAIVE belief that jihadist proxies could be used to TRANSFORM THE REGION FOR THE BETTER." It could have been written as: "the stated justification by the president that he wanted to transform the region for the better, even though there are often ulterior motives."

It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people!

Either Robert Parry or the author wrote that introduction. I suspect Mr Parry – he always portrays the president as having a heart of gold, but, always, sadly, misinformed; being a professional journalist, he knows full well that people often only read the start and end of an article.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm

What we have occurring right now in the United States is a rare divergence of interests within our ruling class. The elites are currently made up of Zionist-militarists. What we're now witnessing is a rare conflict between the two factions. This particular internecine battle has reared its head in the past, the Dubai armaments deal comes to mind off the top of my head.

Trump started the Jerusalem imbroglio because he's concerned about Mueller's witch hunt.

The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC.

Since Trump's concerned about 1.) Mueller's witch hunt (he definitely should be deeply concerned, this is an out of control prosecutor on mission creep), and 2.) the almost total negative coverage the press has given him over the last two years, he's made a deal with the Zionist Power Configuration; Trump, effectively saying to them: "I'll give you Jerusalem, you use your immense influence in the American mass media to tamp down the relentlessly hostile coverage toward me, and perhaps smear Mueller's witch hunt a bit ".

This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end.

How this all eventually plays out is anyone's guess indeed. Let's just make sure it doesn't end with mushroom clouds over Tehran, Saint Petersburg, Paris, Chicago, London, NYC, Washington and Berlin.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Trump's purported deviation from foreign policy orthodoxy regarding both Russia and Israel was a propaganda scam engineered by the pro-Israel Lobby from the very beginning. As Russia-gate fiction is progressively deconstructed, the Israel-gate reality becomes ever more despicably obvious.

The shamelessly Israel-pandering Trump received the "Liberty Award" for his contributions to US-Israel relations at a 3 February 2015 gala hosted by The Algemeiner Journal, a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news.

"We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent." VIDEO minutes 2:15-8:06 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiwBwBw7R-U

After the event, Trump did not renew his television contract for The Apprentice, which raised speculation about a Trump bid for the presidency. Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.

Trump's purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel's commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel's undivided capital, were all stage-managed for the campaign.

Cheap theatrics notwithstanding, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has "1000 percent" support from the Trump regime.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

If Trump were totally and completely subservient to Netanyahu he would have bombed Damascus to remove Assad and would have bombed Tehran to obliterate Iran. Of course thus far he has done neither. Don't get me wrong, Trump is essentially part and parcel of the Zionist cabal, but I don't quite think he's 1,000% under their thumb (not yet?).

I don't think the Zionist Power Configuration concocted Trump's policy of relative peace with the Kremlin. Yes, the ZPC is extremely powerful in America, but Trump's position of detente with Moscow seemed to be genuine. He caught way too much heat from the mass media for it to be a stunt, it's almost torpedoed his presidency, and may eventually do just that. It was actually one of the very few things Trump got right; peace with Russia, cordial relations with the Kremlin are a no-brainer. A no-brainer to everyone but the military-industrial-complex.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Russian. Missiles. Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves.

Whether it was "bird strike" or something more technological that recently grounded the "mighty" Israeli F-35I, it's clear that America isn't eager to have those "Inherent Resolve" jets, so busily not bombing ISIS, painted with Russian SAM radar.

Russia made it clear that Trump's Tomahawk Tweet in April 2017 was not only under totally false pretenses. It had posed a threat to Russian troops and Moscow took extra measures to protect them.

Russian deployment of the advanced S-400 system on the Syrian coast in Latakia also impacts Israel's regional air superiority. The S-400 can track and shoot down targets some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. That range encompasses half of Israel's airspace, including Ben Gurion International Airport. In addition to surface-to-air missiles installations, Russian aircraft in Syria are equipped with air-to-air missiles. Those weapons are part of an calculus of Israeli aggression in the region.

Of course, there's much more to say about this subject.

WC , December 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Here's a good one from Hedges (for what little good it will do). https://www.truthdig.com/articles/zero-hour-palestine/

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:34 am

Surely, Drew, even the brain washed sheep otherwise known as the American public can't seriously believe that their government armed head choppers in a bid to bring peace to the region, can they?

Drew Hunkins , December 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Yup Mr. Wilson. It's too much cognitive dissonance for them to process. After all, we're the exceptional nation, the beacon on the hill, the country that ONLY intervenes abroad when there is a 'right to protect!' or it's a 'humanitarian intervention.' As Ken Burns would say: Washington only acts "with good intentions. They're just sometimes misplaced." That's all. The biggest global empire the world has ever seen is completely out of the picture.

mike k , December 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm

When evil people with evil intentions set out to do something in the world, the result is evil. Like Libya, or Iraq, or Syria. Why do I call these people who killed millions for their own selfish greed for power evil? If you have to ask that, then you just don't understand what evil is – and you have a lot of company, because many people believe that evil does not even exist! Such sheeple become the perfect victims of the evil ones, who are destroying our world.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:36 am

Correction, Mike. The public do believe that evil exists but they sincerely think that Putin and Russia are the evil ones'

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

One of the ways to avoid recognizing evil is to ascribe it to inappropriate, incorrect sources usually as a result of believing misleading propaganda. Another common maneuver is to deny evil's presence in oneself, and believe it is always "out there". Or one can feel that "evil" is an outmoded religious concept that is only used to hit at those one does not like.

Mild - ly Facetious , December 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Oh Jerusalem: Requiem for the two-state solution (Gas masks required)

https://electronicintifada.net/content/oh-jerusalem-requiem-two-state-solution/22521

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm

On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives.

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/24/syria-rebels-nsa-saudi-prince-assad/

Marked "Top Secret" the NSA memo focuses on events that unfolded outside Damascus in March of 2013.

The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria.

Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena."

The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime."

The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines.

The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime.

The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Y274U7QIs

Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

Hasan: "You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn't listening?"

Flynn: "I think the administration."

Hasan: "So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?"

Flynn: "I don't know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision."

Hasan: "A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?"

Flynn: "It was a willful decision to do what they're doing."

Holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan read aloud key passages such as, "there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn did the opposite: he confirmed that while acting DIA chief he "paid very close attention" to this report in particular and later added that "the intelligence was very clear."

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: "In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you're worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?"

Flynn: "I hate to say it's not my job but that my job was to was to to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be."

Flynn unambiguously confirmed that the 2012 DIA document served as source material in his own discussions over Syria policy with the White House. Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during a time when its prime global mission was dismantling Al-Qaeda.

Flynn's admission that the White House was in fact arming and bolstering Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria is especially shocking given his stature. The Pentagon's former highest ranking intelligence officer in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden confessed that the United States directly aided the Al Qaeda terrorist legions of Ayman al-Zawahiri beginning in at least 2012 in Syria.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Full Transcript: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2016/01/transcript-michael-flynn-160104174144334.html

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

"Flynn would later tell the New York Times that this 2012 intelligence report in particular was seen at the White House where it was 'disregarded' because it 'didn't meet the narrative' on the war in Syria. He would further confirm to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that Defense Department (DoD) officials and DIA intelligence in particular, were loudly warning the administration that jihadists were leading the opposition in Syria -- warnings which were met with 'enormous pushback.' Instead of walking back his Al Jazeera comments, General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria.

"In a personal exchange on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, legendary DoD intelligence officer and former presidential briefer Pat Lang explained [ ] that the DIA memo was used as a 'warning shot across the [administration's] bow.' Lang has elsewhere stated that DIA Director Flynn had 'tried to persuade people in the Obama Administration not to provide assistance to the Nusra group.' It must be remembered that in 2012 what would eventually emerge as distinct 'ISIS' and 'Nusra' (AQ in Syria) groups was at that time a singular entity desiring a unified 'Islamic State.' The nascent ISIS organization (referenced in the memo as 'ISI' or Islamic State in Iraq) was still one among many insurgent groups fighting to topple Assad.

"In fact, only one year after the DIA memo was produced (dated August 12, 2012) a coalition of rebels fighting under the US-backed Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo were busy celebrating their most strategic victory to date, which served to open an opposition corridor in Northern Syria. The seizure of the Syrian government's Menagh Airbase in August 2013 was only accomplished with the military prowess of fighters identifying themselves in front of cameras and to reporters on the ground as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

"Public embarrassment came for Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford who reluctantly confirmed that in fact, yes, the US-funded and supplied FSA commander on the ground had personally led ISIS and Nusra fighters in the attack (Ford himself was previously filmed alongside the commander). This after the New York Times publicized unambiguous video proof of the fact. Even the future high commander of Islamic State's military operations, Omar al-Shishani, himself played a leading role in the US sponsored FSA operation."

Obama and the DIA 'Islamic State' Memo: What Trump Gets Right
By Brad Hoff
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/07/01/obama-and-the-dia-islamic-state-memo-what-trump-gets-right/

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

"one first needs to understand what has happened in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries in recent years. The original plan of the US and Saudi Arabia (behind whom stood an invisible Israel) was the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and his replacement with Islamic fundamentalists or takfiris (Daesh, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra).

"The plan involved the following steps:

"It was an ambitious plan, and the Israelis were completely convinced that the United States would provide all the necessary resources to see it through. But the Syrian government has survived thanks to military intervention by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Daesh is almost defeated and Iran and Hezbollah are so firmly entrenched in Syria that it has driven the Israelis into a state of fear bordering on panic. Lebanon remains stable, and even the recent attempt by the Saudis to abduct Prime Minister Saad Hariri failed.

"As a result, Saudi Arabia and Israel have developed a new plan: force the US to attack Iran. To this end, the 'axis of good"' (USA-Israel-Saudi Arabia) was created, although this is nothing new. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States in the Persian Gulf have in the past spoken in favor of intervention in Syria. It is well known that the Saudis invaded Bahrain, are occupying it de facto, and are now at war in Yemen.

"The Israelis will participate in any plan that will finally split the Sunnis and Shiites, turning the region into rubble. It was not by chance that, having failed in Lebanon, they are now trying to do the same in Yemen after the murder of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"For the Saudis and Israelis, the problem lies in the fact that they have rather weak armed forces; expensive and high-tech, but when it comes to full-scale hostilities, especially against a really strong opponent such as the Iranians or Hezbollah, the 'Israel/Wahhabis' have no chance and they know it, even if they do not admit it. So, one simply needs to think up some kind of plan to force the Shiites to pay a high price.

"So they developed a new plan. Firstly, the goal is now not the defeat of Hezbollah or Iran. For all their rhetoric, the Israelis know that neither they nor especially the Saudis are able to seriously threaten Iran or even Hezbollah. Their plan is much more basic: initiate a serious conflict and then force the US to intervene. Only today, the armed forces of the United States have no way of winning a war with Iran, and this may be a problem. The US military knows this and they are doing everything to tell the neo-cons 'sorry, we just can't.' This is the only reason why a US attack on Iran has not already taken place. From the Israeli point of view this is totally unacceptable and the solution is simple: just force the US to participate in a war they do not really need. As for the Iranians, the Israeli goal of provoking an attack on Iran by the US is not to defeat Iran, but just to bring about destruction – a lot of destruction [ ]

"You would need to be crazy to attack Iran. The problem, however, is that the Saudis and the Israelis are close to this state. And they have proved it many times. So it just remains to hope that Israel and the KSA are 'crazy', but 'not that crazy'."

The Likelihood of War with Iran By Petr Lvov https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/09/the-likelihood-of-war-with-iran/

BobH, December 8, 2017 at 7:13 pm

The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection.

That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions".

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

There WAS dissension within the Pentagon, not only about being in a coalition with the Gulf States and Turkey in support of terrorist forces, but about allowing ISIS to invade Ramadi, which CENTCOM exposed by making public that US forces watched it happen and did nothing. In addition, CENTCOM and SOCOM publicly opposed switching sides in Yemen.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/17/us-generals-think-saudi-strikes-in-yemen-a-bad-idea.html

A senior commander at Central Command (CENTCOM), speaking on condition of anonymity, scoffed at that argument. "The reason the Saudis didn't inform us of their plans," he said, "is because they knew we would have told them exactly what we think -- that it was a bad idea.

Military sources said that a number of regional special forces officers and officers at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) argued strenuously against supporting the Saudi-led intervention because the target of the intervention, the Shia Houthi movement -- which has taken over much of Yemen and which Riyadh accuses of being a proxy for Tehran -- has been an effective counter to Al-Qaeda.

The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces.

BobH , December 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Thanks, I never read anything about it in the MSM (perhaps Aljazeera was an exception?). However, this doesn't explain Gen. Flynn's tight relationship with Turkey's Erdogan who clearly backed the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels to the point of shooting down a Russian jet over Syria.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:57 am

The fighter shoot-down incident was before Erdogan's reversals in Syria policy.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

B. THE SALAFIST, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN).

D. THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

–1. THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY

https://geopolitics.co/2015/12/22/dempseys-pentagon-aided-assad-with-military-intelligence-hersh/
London Review of Books Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016
Military to Military: US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war
Seymour M. Hersh

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn't doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,' Flynn told me. 'We understood Isis's long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.' The DIA's reporting, he said, 'got enormous pushback' from the Obama administration. 'I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.'

j. D. D. , December 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. Ironically, the MSM is now going bananas over his support for nuclear power in the region, which he had tied to desalination of sea water, toward alleviating that crucial source of conflict in the area.

Abbybwood , December 9, 2017 at 11:24 pm

I believe Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman that he was handed the classified memo regarding the U.S. overthrowing seven countries in five years starting with Iraq and ending with Iran, in 2001, not 2006. He said it was right after 9/11 when he visited the Pentagon and Joint Chief of Staff's office and was handed the memo.

jaycee , December 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic.

One disturbing common feature across the years have been US sponsored airlifts of Islamist fighters facing defeat, as seen in Afghanistan in late 2001 and just recently in eastern Syria. In 2001, some of those fighters were relocated to North Africa, specifically Mali – the roots of the Islamist insurgency which has destabilized that country over the past few years. Where exactly the ISIS rebels assisted some weeks ago were relocated is yet unknown.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union.

Hence the birth of the Mujaheddin and Bin Laden, the rest is history.

j. D. D. , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

The article does not support the sub-headline. There is no evidence provided, nor is there any evidence to be found, that Washington's policy in the region was motivated by anything other than geopolitical objectives.

David G , December 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

I think that phrasing may point to the hand of editor Robert Parry. The incredible value of CN notwithstanding, Parry in his own pieces (erroneously in my eyes) maintains a belief that Obama somehow meant well. Hence the imputation of some "naïve" but ultimately benevolent motive on the part of the U.S. genocidaires, as the whole Syria catastrophe got going on Obama's watch.

Anon , December 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

The imputation of naivete works to avoid accusation of a specific strategy without sufficient evidence.

Skip Scott , December 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Although I am no fan of Obama, and most especially the continuation of the warmongering for his 8 years, he did balk at the "Red line" when he found out he was being set up, and it wasn't Assad who used chemical weapons. I don't think he "meant well" so much as he knew the exact length of his leash. His bragging about going against "The Washington playbook" was of course laughable; just as his whole hopey/changey thing was laughable with Citigroup picking his cabinet.

Stephen , December 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Off topic but you can listen to some of Obama's banking handiwork here: https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/201712091059844562-looming-government-shutdown-will-democrats-fight-trumps-pro-rich-plan/ It starts at about minute 28:14. It explains the whole reaction by Obama and Holder to the banking fiasco in my mind. Sorry but I had to get it from the evil Rooski radio program.

Lois Gagnon , December 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth.

Stephen J. , December 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html

MarkU , December 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare." What a load of old rubbish, naïve belief indeed. it is difficult to believe that anyone could write this stuff with a straight face.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

That Gary Gambill character "outed" himself as a Zionist on September 4 of this year. He appears to have mastered the propaganda associated with the breed. At the link see if you can find any mention of the murders, thefts, ethnic cleansing, or apartheid of his adopted nation. Blaming the victim may be this fellow's specialty. Sample:

The well-intentioned flocked in droves to the belief that Israeli- Palestinian peace was achievable provided Israel made the requisite concessions, and that this would liberate the Arab-Islamic world from a host of other problems allegedly arising from it: bloated military budgets, intolerance of dissent, Islamic extremism, you name it.

Why tackle each of these problems head on when they can be alleviated all at once when Israel is brought to heel? Twenty years later, the Middle East is suffering the consequences of this conspiracy of silence.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-accidental-Zionist-504221

Gerry , December 9, 2017 at 4:51 am

The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.

It takes courage to go against the flow of course and one can only hope that the Americans are what they think they are: courageous and strong enough to hear their cherished truths smashed, allow the scales before their eyes to fall and practise free speech and free thought.

Theo , December 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

Thanks for this article and many others on this site.In Europe and in Germany you hardly hear,read or see any of these facts and their connections.It seems to be only of marginal interest.

Josh Stern , December 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292

triekc , December 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions.

Beginning in the 1990's, neocons who would become W's cabinet, wrote detailed plans of military regime change in Middle East, but stating they needed a "strong external shock to the United States -- a latter-day 'Pearl Harbor", to get US sheeple to support increased militarism and global war. Few months after W took office, and had appointed those war mongering neocons to positions of power, Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated

Joe Tedesky , December 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

You commented on what I was thinking, and that was, 'remember when al Queda was our enemy on 911'? So now that bin Laden is dead, and his al Queda now fights on our side, shouldn't the war be over? And, just for the record who did attack us on 911?

So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either.

Knowing the Pentagon mentality they probably have an 'al Queda combat medal' to pin on the terrorists chest. Sarcasm I know, but seriously is anything not within the realm of believable when it comes to this MIC establishment?

Christene Bartels , December 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

Great article and spot on as far as the author takes it. But the world is hurtling towards Armageddon so I'd like to back things up about one hundred years and get down to brass tacks.

The fact of the matter is, the M.E. has never been at total peace but it has been nothing but one colossal FUBAR since the Ottoman Empire was defeated after WWI and the Allied Forces got their grubby, greedy mitts on its M.E. territories and all of that luscious black gold. First up was the British Empire and France and then it really went nuclear (literally) in 1946 when Truman and the U.S. joined in the fun and decided to figure out how we could carve out that ancient prime piece of real estate and resurrect Israel. By 1948 ..violà ..there she was.

So now here we sit as the hundred year delusion that we knew what the hell we were doing comes crashing down around us. Seriously, whoever the people have been who thought that a country with the historical perspective of a toddler was going to be able to successfully manage and manipulate a region filled with people who are still tribal in perspective and are still holding grudges and settling scores from five thousand years ago were complete and total arrogant morons. Every single one of them. Up to the present moment.

Which gets me down to those brass tacks I alluded to at the beginning of my comment. Delusional crusades lead by arrogant morons always, always, always end up as ash heaps. So, I would suggest we all prepare for that rapidly approaching conclusion accordingly. For me, that means hitting my knees.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Middle Eastern people are no more "tribal" or prone to holding grudges than any other people. Middle Eastern people have exhibited and practiced peaceful and tolerant living arrangements within several different contexts over the centuries. Iraq had a fairly thriving middle class and the Syrians are a cultured and educated people.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Syrian society is constructed very much within the construct of close family ties and a sense of a Syrian homeland. It is solely the business of the Syrian people to decide whether the socialist Ba'ath government functions according to their own sense of realities and standards. Some of those realities may include aspects of a necessitated national security state (necessitated by CIA and Israeli subterfuge) that prompts shills to immediately characterize the Assad government as "an authoritarian regime" and of course that's all you need to know. Part of what pisses the West off about the Syrians is that they are so competent, and that includes their intelligence and security services. One of the other parts is the socialist example of government functioning in interests of the general population, not selling out to vultures.

It bothers me that Mr. Lazare wrote: "Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair." Really? Well the Syrian government can hardly be blamed for the vile strategy of using terrorist mercenaries to take or destroy a people's homeland–killing horrific numbers of fathers, mothers, and children on the way to establish some kind of Wild West control over Damascus that can then be manipulated for the typical elite deviances. What was purposely planned and visited upon the Syrian people has had human consequences that were known and disregarded by the planners. It has been and continues to be a grave crime against our common humanity that should be raised to the roof of objection! People like Gambill should be excoriated for their crass appraisal of human costs .and for their contrived and twisted rationalizations and deceits. President Assad recently gave an interview to teleSUR that is worth a listen. He talks about human costs with understanding for what he is talking about. Gambill doesn't give a damn.

BASLE , December 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm".

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:08 am

Yes, Israel is the cut-out or fence for US politicians stealing campaign money from the federal budget. US policy is that of the bribery sources and nothing else. And it believes that to be professional competence. For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree.

Herman , December 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare."

Lazare makes the case very well about our amoral foreign policy but I think he errs in saying our aim was to "transform the region for the better." Recent history, going back to Afghanistan shows a very different goal, to defeat our enemies and the enemies of our allies with little concern for the aftermath. Just observing what has happened to the people where we supported extremists is evidence enough.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men. We hope the conscience of our nation is bothered by our behavior but we know that is not true, and we sleep very well, thank you.

Marilyn Vogt-Downey , December 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit.

There is ample evidence–see the Brookings Institute study among many others–that the Gulf monarchies–flunkies of US imperialism–who "host" dozens of US military bases in the region, some of them central to US war strategy–initiated and nourished and armed and financed the "jihadi armies" in Syria AND Libya AND elsewhere; they did not do this on their own. The US government–the executive committee of the US ruling class–does not naively support the Gulf monarchies because it doesn't know any better! Washington (following British imperialism) organized, established and backed these flunky regimes. They are autocratic, antediluvian regimes, allowing virtually civil rights, with no local proletariat to speak of, no popular base. They are no more than sheriffs for imperialism in that region of the world, along with the Zionist state of Israel, helping imperialism do the really dirty work.

I research this and gathered the evidence to support what I just asserted in a long study printed back in Dec. 2015 in Truthout. Here is the link: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34151-what-is-the-war-on-terror-and-how-to-fight-it

Look at the evidence. Stop the totally foolish assessment that the US government spends all this money on a war machine just to "naively" blunder into wars that level entire nations–and is not taking on destruction of the entire continent of Africa to eliminate any obstacles to its domination.

No! That is foolish and destructive. Unless we look in the face what is going on–the US government since its "secret" intervention in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, has recruited, trained, armed, funded and relied on jihadi armies to unseat regimes and destabilize and destroy populations and regimes the US government wants to overthrow, and destroy, any that could potentially develop into an alternative model of nationalist, bourgeois industrial development on any level.

Wake up!!! The evidence is there. There is no reason to bumble and bungle along as if we are in the dark.

Randal Marlin , December 9, 2017 at 11:26 am

Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking.
The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences.

Behind all this is the thinking that the survival of Israel outweighs anything else in any global ethical calculus. Those who don't accept this moral premise but who believe in supporting the survival of Israel have their work cut out for them. This work would be made easier if the U.S. population saw clearly what was going on, instead of being preoccupied with salacious sexual misconduct stories or other distractions.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

A Russian interceptor has been scrambled to stop a rogue US fighter jet from actively interfering with an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It also accused the US of provoking close encounters with the Russian jets in Syria.

A US F-22 fighter was preventing two Russian Su-25 strike aircraft from bombing an Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) base to the west of the Euphrates November 23, according to the ministry. The ministry's spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov described the episode as yet another example of US aircraft attempts to prevent Russian forces from carrying out strikes against Islamic State.

"The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight," Konashenkov said. He added that the US jet ceased its dangerous maneuvers only after a Russian Su-35S fighter jet joined the two strike planes.

If this story is true, then it illustrates a number of things. First, the US is still providing ISIS air cover. Second, either the F-22 pilot or his commander is dumber than dirt. The F-22 may be a fine airplane, but getting into a contest with an equally fine non-stealth airplane at eyeball distances means throwing away every advantage of the super-expensive stealth.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

https://www.rt.com/news/412590-russia-us-syria-air-force/

Pablo Diablo , December 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Gotta keep the War Machine well fed and insure Corporate control of markets and taking of resources.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

In October 1973, a nuclear armed rogue state almost triggered a global thermonuclear war.

Yom Kippur: Israel's 1973 nuclear alert
By Richard Sale
https://www.upi.com/Yom-Kippur-Israels-1973-nuclear-alert/64941032228992/

Israel obtained operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War. In addition to the Israeli nuclear arsenal, Israel has offensive chemical and biological warfare stockpiles.

Israel, the Middle East's sole nuclear power, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2015, the US-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Israel had 115 nuclear warheads. Outside estimates of Israel's nuclear arsenal range up to 400 nuclear weapons.

Israeli nuclear weapons delivery mechanisms include Jericho 3 missiles, with a range of 4,800 km to 6,500 km (though a 2004 source estimated its range at up to 11,500 km), as well as regional coverage from road mobile Jericho 2 IRBMs.

Additionally, Israel is believed to have an offshore nuclear capability using submarine-launched nuclear-capable cruise missiles, which can be launched from the Israeli Navy's Dolphin-class submarines.

The Israeli Air Force has F-15I and F-16I Sufa fighter aircraft are capable of delivering tactical and strategic nuclear weapons at long distances using conformal fuel tanks and supported by their aerial refueling fleet of modified Boeing 707's.

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, fled to the United Kingdom and revealed to the media some evidence of Israel's nuclear program and explained the purposes of each building, also revealing a top-secret underground facility directly below the installation.

The Mossad, Israel's secret service, sent a female agent who lured Vanunu to Italy, where he was kidnapped by Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel aboard a freighter. An Israeli court then tried him in secret on charges of treason and espionage, and sentenced him to eighteen years imprisonment.

At the time of Vanunu's kidnapping, The Times reported that Israel had material for approximately 20 hydrogen bombs and 200 fission bombs by 1986. In the spring of 2004, Vanunu was released from prison, and placed under several strict restrictions, such as the denial of a passport, freedom of movement limitations and restrictions on communications with the press. Since his release, he has been rearrested and charged multiple times for violations of the terms of his release.

Safety concerns about this 40-year-old reactor have been reported. In 2004, as a preventive measure, Israeli authorities distributed potassium iodide anti-radiation tablets to thousands of residents living nearby. Local residents have raised concerns regarding serious threats to health from living near the reactor.

According to a lawsuit filed in Be'er Sheva Labor Tribunal, workers at the center were subjected to human experimentation in 1998. According to Julius Malick, the worker who submitted the lawsuit, they were given drinks containing uranium without medical supervision and without obtaining written consent or warning them about risks of side effects.

In April 2016 the U.S. National Security Archive declassified dozens of documents from 1960 to 1970, which detail what American intelligence viewed as Israel's attempts to obfuscate the purpose and details of its nuclear program. The Americans involved in discussions with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and other Israelis believed the country was providing "untruthful cover" about intentions to build nuclear weapons.

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

The machinations of those seeking to gain advantages for themselves by hurting others, are truly appalling. If we fail to name evil for what it is, then we fail as human beings.Those who look the other way as their country engages in an organized reign of terror, are complicit in that enormous crime.

Den Lille Abe , December 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

The path the US has chosen since the end of WWII has been over dead bodies. In the name of "security", bringing "Freedom" and "Democracy" and complete unconstrained greed it has trampled countless nations into piles of rubble. To say it is despised or loathed is an overwhelming understatement. It is almost universally hated in the third world. Rightly. Bringing this monstrosity to a halt is a difficult task, and probably cannot be done militarily without a nuclear war, economically could in the end have the same outcome, then how?

Easy! Ruin its population. This process has started, long ago. The decline in the US of health, general wealth, nutrition, production, education, equality, ethics and morals is already showing as cracks in the fabrics of the US.

A population of incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns, in a country with a crumbling infrastructure, full of environmental disasters is 21 st century for most Americans. In all the areas I mentioned the US is going backwards compared to most other countries. So the monster will come down.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I think you are being a little hard on the incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns

I am not sure who is more loathsome the evangelicals who were supporting the Bush / Cheney cabal murderous wars until the bitter end or the liberal intelligentsia careerist cheerleaders for Obama and Hilary's Wars in Iraq and Syria, who also dont give a damn about another Arab country being destroyed and sold into slavery as long as Hillary gets elected. At least with the former group, you can chalk it up to a lack of education.

Linda Wood , December 10, 2017 at 1:52 am

This is possibly the most intelligent and hopeful discussion I have read since 9/11. It says that at least some Americans do see that we have a fascist cell in our government. That is the first step in finding a way to unplug it. Best wishes to all of you who have written here. We will find a way to put war out of business.

Barbara van der Wal-Kylstra , December 10, 2017 at 2:46 am

I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r?

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars.

Luutzen , December 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy.

mike k , December 10, 2017 at 11:05 am

The US Military is part of the largest terrorist organization on Earth. For the super rich and powerful rulers of that US Mafia, the ignorant religious fanatics and other tools of Empire are just pawns in their game of world domination and universal slavery for all but themselves. These monsters of evil delight in profiting from the destruction of others; but their insatiable greed for more power will never be satisfied, and will become the cause of the annihilation of every living thing – including themselves. But like other sold out human addicts, at this point they don't really care, and will blindly pursue their nightmare quest to the very end – and perhaps they secretly hope that that final end of everything will at last quench their burning appetite for blood and gold.

Joe Tedesky , December 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

I'm leaving a link to a very long David Swanson article, where Mr Swanson goes into quite a lot of detail to how the U.S. wages war.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/12/76-years-pearl-harbor-lies.html

Brendan , December 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

What's interesting of course is how not just Washington, but much of the 'left' also cheered on the jihadists.

Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace?

[Nov 05, 2017] The military industrial complex did make a killing in Iraq though (no pun intended). Just a coincidence I suppose

Nov 05, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Scalpel , Website November 3, 2017 at 6:05 pm GMT

@Randal

"Whether the US "won" in Iraq in that sense depends on what you view as the motivation for the attack on Iraq, but for certain the Iraqi state was defeated comprehensively. "

Everybody knows the motivation was to eliminate Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Iraq no longer possesses WMD's so the US won! Small caveat. There were never WMD's so the war was unnecessary. The military industrial complex did make a killing though (no pun intended). Just a coincidence I suppose

[Nov 04, 2017] Duty, Honor, Atrocity

Iraq war was the war for oil... Bush was just a puppet.
Notable quotes:
"... Erik Edstrom is a graduate of the West Point class of 2007. He was an infantry officer, Army Ranger, and Bronze Star Medal recipient who deployed to direct combat in Afghanistan. ..."
Nov 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

In George W. Bush's home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen and at least 210,000 civilians , displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, condoned torture, initiated a global drone assassination campaign, and imprisoned people for years without substantive evidence or trial in Guantanamo Bay, the punishment evidently is to be given the Thayer Award at West Point.

On October 19th, George W. Bush traveled to the United States Military Academy, my alma mater , to receive the Sylvanus Thayer Award at a ceremony hosted by that school's current superintendent and presented on behalf of the West Point Association of Graduates. The honor is "given to a citizen whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature in the civilian community draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives."

... ... ...

Erik Edstrom is a graduate of the West Point class of 2007. He was an infantry officer, Army Ranger, and Bronze Star Medal recipient who deployed to direct combat in Afghanistan.

SolontoCroesus , October 23, 2017 at 4:17 pm GMT
Half right.

Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.
But, the seed does not fall far from the tree (from which both should hang).

Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist and teaches/counsels ethics and morality to West Pointers and helps military personnel deal with post-engagement moral issues. Kilner published this essay a few days ago:

MORAL MISCONCEPTIONS: FIVE FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS CONFUSE MORAL JUDGMENTS ON WAR

https://www.ausa.org/articles/moral-misconceptions-five-flawed-assumptions-confuse-moral-judgments-war

imo nearly every argument Kilner makes to refute the "5 misconceptions" are childishly simplistic; some rely on distortions or omissions of key facts.
For example, Kilner writes:

Misconception 4
Motives must be pure:
The 1990–91 First Gulf War was a paradigm case of a just war. Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and the U.S. and other countries assisted Kuwaiti forces in liberating their country and re-establishing their government. Critics of the war claim that the United States' involvement was motivated by a desire to keep oil prices low. Even if they are right, would it matter?

No, the Gulf War was NOT a "paradigm case of a just war." Just war theory / Jus Ad Bellum Convention holds that the just war must:

have just cause, be a last resort, be declared by a proper authority, possess right intention, have a reasonable chance of success, and the end must be proportional to the means used. . . http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwar/#H2

First of all, if you have to lie to gain assent to wage war, then any moral claim to having a just cause is null.
Incubator babies??

In almost every other way the Persian Gulf war waged by George H W Bush violated jus ad bellum principles but especially:

War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause – all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war.

As Vernon Loeb recorded -- and the George H W Bush archives as examined by historian Jeff Engel affirm, King Hussein of Jordan, in concert with other Arab leaders, had achieved a resolution to which Saddam would have agreed, and repeatedly asked Bush to let the Arabs take care of their own conflict. Likewise, Mikhael Gorbachev persisted to the point of annoyance in calling Bush and urging him NOT to go to war to resolve the conflict. Bush shouted at him and ignored his advice.

All other options had NOT been exhausted.

The Berlin wall had fallen, USSR and Gorbachev no longer had power to counterbalance US power; George H W Bush was King of the Mountain and he wielded his power recklessly. The world is still reeling -- and hundreds of thousands are dead, because of his reckless disregard of thousand-year old principles of Justice in War.

It's astonishing that an ethicist who teaches West Pointers did not make this basic analysis.

In summary, if Lt. Col. Pete Kilner is representative of the "moral foundation" provided West Point cadets, the institution -- and the United States that, according to a Gallup poll, trusts the military more than any other institution in USA -- are in deeper trouble than Erik Erdstrom comprehends.

reiner Tor , October 23, 2017 at 8:06 pm GMT
Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but decent person, manipulated by others. I didn't know for example his eager participation in the speechmaking/lecture circus. This mental picture has changed somewhat in recent years, but I remained greatly ignorant of a lot of details. Now these two articles about him shed some light how he really is a piece of shit, just like the others. Maybe not so extremely dumb, though.
willem1 , October 23, 2017 at 9:20 pm GMT
This article is (sadly) on the money. However, it is just another illustration revealing the mockery that most such prestigious awards have made of themselves in recent years. Awarding Barack Obama the Nobel Prize was one recent instance of this – a president that at one point had us engaged in seven wars at once. But at least in that case, it can be claimed that the award was aspirational, as the totality of his "accomplishment" did not become a matter of record until after the award was made. In the case described above, the honor is being awarded with full knowledge of the recipient's history.
SolontoCroesus , October 23, 2017 at 10:37 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Trump's brutal comment to the dead soldier in Florida was on the money: That's what you signed up for. It would be gratifying to think that Trump knew exactly what he was saying; Scott Adams thinks Trump is a master communicator. Conversely, tragic to hear the Florida Rep gripe that she was so upset at Trump's callousness because she "had mentored the young man and helped him get in the military." That's just like helping you get a job with Goldman Sachs, right? No risk, no moral quandaries. re Lt Col Kilner -- he's Chhristiian: here's a piece he wrote for Christianity Today:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/december-web-only/war-is-hell-but-it-can-be-heaven.html

War Is Hell But It Can Be Heaven

peterAUS , October 23, 2017 at 11:51 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Thank you for that link. A VERY GOOD article. A gem really. Some parts I found particularly good:

This insight is that combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven. At the same time, the dehumanizing suffering and apparent absence of God that characterize a war zone instruct veterans on how awful human existence can be; there's a reason we say "war is hell."

Soldiers are pawns in a conflict started by others.

And for the first time in most soldiers' lives, we encounter undisguised evil.

Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.

The greater the dangers and adversity that soldiers face and overcome, the greater those bonds. Some soldiers become closer to each other than to their own families.

, it explains why soldiers want to be deployed. We're not warmongers; we're longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors. Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.

We've seen what humans are capable of, for better and for worse. Reflecting on our experiences of war, we are alternately inspired and appalled. We have glimpsed what was previously unimaginable: the happiness of heaven, the desolation of hell.

Compliments to Lt.Col Kilner.

wraith67 , October 24, 2017 at 10:06 am GMT
I'm not sure why that's supposed to be surprising. Leadership across swathes of institutions has abdicated their responsibility to lead or govern and instead adopted baby-sitting and appeasement.
Pete Kilner , Website November 3, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Solonto: You've posted more than 2,600 comments on this website? "You" are likely a group of Russians working full time to sow discord. But let's charitably assume that you're a real person. Your knowledge of the history of the 1990-91 Gulf War is terrible. I assume that you were too young to remember the events leading up to it. Watch President George H. W. Bush's speech to the world and learn:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?15723-1/president-bush-announces-beginning-persian-gulf-air-war

That may be the best explanation in terms of Just War you'll ever hear a politician give. He checks every block of jus ad bellum.

Also, about your snide comment, "Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist." I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I've researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years. I may "style" myself a comedian or good dancer, but I'm pretty well-credentialed as an ethicist.

Pete Kilner , November 3, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Thanks, Peter. If you want to read more, I have a column on professional ethics in Army Magazine. You can access my articles at: https://www.ausa.org/people/lt-col-pete-kilner

Cheers,
Pete

LauraMR , November 4, 2017 at 4:34 am GMT
So what.

Obama turned war itself into a prolonged assassination campaign via remote drone and he awarded himself every conceivable medal. Previous administrations successfully circumvented genocide as a crime against humanity by raining annihilation from the skies. Which part of the government of our country do you fail to understand?

Reg Cæsar , November 4, 2017 at 4:53 am GMT
@Carlton Meyer

"This past Summer, after months of private discussions about POW treatment at Gitmo, the Red Cross openly declared the US Government in violation of the Geneva Conventions based upon first hand reports from Cuba "

Why doesn't the Red Cross do something useful, like making the same claim about Puerto Rico? Then we'd be forced to grant them independence. It's way overdue.

Reg Cæsar , November 4, 2017 at 4:56 am GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Bush is a war criminal and should not be rewarded for upholding moral standards, he should be in prison or on the end of a piano wire.

So how is he different from Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry S Truman, who are considered heroes?

utu , November 4, 2017 at 5:25 am GMT
@Pete Kilner

I was around 1990/91 and I followed what was happening. I do not agree with SolontoCroesus take on Bush and Gulf War. I already once had exchanged comments with him about it, I think, but my points did not make a dent.

Bush never looked thrilled to go to this war. I had impression that his arms had to be twisted. He seemed like he would not mind letting Saddam Hussein slide. It was his meeting with Margaret Thatcher in Aspen that changed everything. Bush built broad coalition including many Arab and Muslim nations and went to war. He head to give $500 millions to Israel to keep them away and not retaliating against Iraq in order to not upset Arab allies in the coalition.

The war was won. Bush did not go to Bagdad but only liberated Kuwait. It was reported in papers that his popularity hit 90% which was 20% more than what Hitler got after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, as I remember thinking this at that time.

In summer 1991 Bush decided to use his political capital and tried to say no Israel illegal settlements by holding money slated for Israel. Yitzhak Shamir got furious and the Lobby attacked. Everybody was against hime. Most people did not know what was happening. Bush backed off and instead of turning to American people and leveling with them on what was going on he only complained that he was all alone in WH.

It was decided (I do not know how, when and where and by whom but it was decided nevertheless) that Bush could not be trusted with the 2nd term. He did not take advantage of the golden opportunity to occupy Iraq and then he had audacity to challenge Israel which last time happened in early summer 1993 by JFK when said no to the development of nuclear weapons by Israel. So everything was done what had to be done for him to lose. And he knew that it would be so. He did not fight. He got impatient with the campaign and looked at his watch during the debate to show his disdain. He had no chance to win. Ross Perot played the same role as Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 election to deprive Taft the 2nd term. Unlike Roosevelt Ross Perot probably did not know what role he was cast to play.

Why Bush did what he did? Why he did not occupy Iraq? Why he challenged Israel? My take is that he really did not want this war. That he really believed that after the wall coming down and Soviet Union falling apart America can change the course and start reducing military spending. He seemed to really believe in the peace dividends. The end of the Cold War was his greatest achievement and it was ruined by Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. So the most important question is to find out who TF whispered to Saddam Hussein's ear to convince him that he will get away with his attack on Kuwait? The same people who wanted Iraq destroyed who eventually had it destroyed 12 years later and all those who did not want peace dividends and who feared the cuts in military spending? I think Bush knew who was really behind Hussain? Who screwed up his vision of post Cold War peace, who deprived him of his legacy. So he said no to Israel when he had the highest approval rating in recent history but then he chickened out. He was intimidated by something. In retrospect he was not a bad guy but he wasted possibly the last opportunity to have America extricated from the iron grip of the Lobby.

jilles dykstra , November 4, 2017 at 6:47 am GMT
Just read the chapter on the Vietnam war by Howard Zinn A Peoples History of the USA. Or read an Eisenhower letter, written after WWII, 'we should have killed much more Germans'. James Bacque, ´Der geplante Tod, Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in amerikanischen und französischen Lagern 1945 – 1946, Frankfurt/M, 1989, 1994 (Other losses, Toronto, 1989)
jilles dykstra , November 4, 2017 at 6:50 am GMT
@SolontoCroesus

As Chomsky said ' according to Neurenberg standards any USA president should have been hanged'.

Realist , November 4, 2017 at 7:51 am GMT
@reiner Tor

"Maybe not so extremely dumb, though."

Oh he's stupid alright. His cerebral prowess is being burnished to further the Deep State cause. Like father like son.

Greg Bacon , Website November 4, 2017 at 10:28 am GMT

The United States Military Academy is, or at least should be, a steward of American military values

But they are upholding American values, like lying, cheating, murdering, stealing, which is what many American presidents, but definitely since President Clinton, have engaged in around the world.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the liars with Operation Inherent Resolve, the gangster outfit that is overseeing the 'Wars for Wall Street and Israel' in SW Asia and the ME, bomb to smithereens civilians on a daily basis, then get in front of the cameras and LIE that they didn't do it, it was those Rooskies. Then, when they're outed with evidence, they LIE again, promising to investigate and that's the last you'll hear of the latest American-made mass murder.
Aren't all those command types at Operation Butcher Muslims, sorry, Inherent Resolve West Point or Annapolis graduates, that lie, cheat, steal and murder on a daily basis, yet they get their chests festooned with medals from a grateful nation for being basically, unhinged psycho-killers, so you see, West Point is upholding American values.

RealAmerican , November 4, 2017 at 10:56 am GMT
I have read elsewhere that Mr. Bush had the largest contingent of rabbis in his administration, as advisors behind the scenes, to provide him with moral guidance. What is a person to make of that? Was he that obtuse?
Thank you Mr. Edstrom!
WorkingClass , November 4, 2017 at 11:41 am GMT

The Thayer may be one of the most important awards that hardly anyone has ever heard of.

Not anymore. Sort of like the Nobel Peace Prize. Dark humor.

jacques sheete , November 4, 2017 at 11:51 am GMT
@peterAUS

Thanks for posting those excerpts.

Most of them annoy the bleep outta me because they seem like more of the sappy (unctuous even),over romanticized, self aggrandizing, claptrap that we've come to expect from functionaries of the state.

This, type of nonsense, in particular, galls me.:

Hidden beneath the ugly destructiveness of war, however, is a sublime beauty that is known only to the veterans who have experienced it.

What a disgustingly hollow load of bulshit that is! Oh, but the rest of us, who haven't experienced the "sublime beauty" of war, aren't counted amongst the anointed elite who know things the rest of us mere mortals don't.

"Sublime beauty?"

Who do you think yer kidding? I was a grunt (volunteer, not drafted) in Vietnam, and I never saw any beauty in war, sublime, mundane, or otherwise.

Here's how a man with integrity views the military.:

"Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, that is, absence of all rational and useful work; frees them from their common human duties, also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher ranks than themselves."

― Leo Tolstoy Resurrection Or, The Awakening, 1899
In 1851 Tolstoy and his older brother went to the Caucasus where he joined the Russian army as an artillery officer.
In 1854, during the Crimean War Tolstoy transferred to Wallachia to fight against the French, British and Ottoman Empire and defend Sevastopol.

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872

Here's what military establishments are really about; I wonder if they deal with this at West Point, or in "ethics" classes.

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

James Madison, Speech, Constitutional Convention (1787-06-29), from Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. I [1] (1911), p. 465

Standing armies are un-American, and no amount of cloyingly romantic slight of hand with the truth will change it. Here's all one needs to know about the "ethics" of state sponsored terrorism.:

Wherever an army is established, it introduces a revolution in manners, corrupts the morals, propagates every species of vice, and degrades the human character."

Mercy Otis Warren, Revolution-era historian,
History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution vol. 1, Ch3, 1805

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1872

Ethics my tush!:

" I spent most of my [33 years in the Marine Corps] being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.

In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for [crony] capitalism."

Major General Butler USMC, War is a Racket, 1935

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

So, you see, the truth is nothing new. Anyone with a sense of ethics wouldn't try to smear lipstick on a pig.

jacques sheete , November 4, 2017 at 11:59 am GMT
@Greg Bacon

But they are upholding American values, like lying, cheating, murdering, stealing, which is what many American presidents, but definitely since President Clinton, have engaged in around the world.

True, but one could argue that Lincoln was the first of the worst. Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, and FDR took hypocrisy and mockery of "American values" to new depths and it's been downhill since then.

We have to face the fact that none of us is fit to wield the levers of so much power. To think otherwise is positively deranged.

jacques sheete , November 4, 2017 at 12:08 pm GMT
@Pete Kilner

Also, about your snide comment, "Lt Col Pete Kilner styles himself an ethicist." I have a masters degree in philosophical ethics from an excellent program, and I've researched, written on, and taught ethics for 20 years.

I must tell you that the comment, whether snide or not, is spot on.

Your other credentials are worth about as much as Bush's award or O-bomb-a's "peace" prize, and any adult should know that.

What're the ethics of farces?

n230099 , November 4, 2017 at 12:19 pm GMT
Still, as criminal as Bush and Obama's actions were, between Wilson, FDR, Truman, and Kennedy/Johnson, there are way more Americans dead for nothing than these pikers killed.
DESERT FOX , November 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm GMT
Bush jr. and Bush sr. are both war criminals and were front men for the Zionists who really control this country and both were complicit with Israel and the deep state in 911.

They are evil incarnate with satan and also their henchman Cheney, straight from hell.

TG , November 4, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT
Whatever one thinks of Trump, one must appreciate the public service that he did in utterly humiliating Jeb! Bush and pretty much putting a stake in the heart of the Bush political dynasty. One takes ones guilty pleasures where one finds them.
jacques sheete , November 4, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX

All of your comment is true and I'd like to add that the fetid scent of Zionist sympathies can be detected at least as far back as Wilson and FDR as well, and probably even goes further back.

This quote is interesting though I do not mean to conflate Judaism with Zionism.:

We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time, an element which through historical development – to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed – has been brought to its present high level

In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism. The Jew has already emancipated himself in a Jewish way.

"The Jew, who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines the fate of the whole Empire by his financial power. The Jew, who may have no rights in the smallest German state, decides the fate of Europe. While corporations and guilds refuse to admit Jews, or have not yet adopted a favorable attitude towards them, the audacity of industry mocks at the obstinacy of the material institutions." (Bruno Bauer, The Jewish Question, p. 114)

This is no isolated fact. The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews.

-Karl Marx, On The Jewish Question, First Published: February, 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher; https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/

EliteCommInc. , November 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT
A someone very fond of the Bush family, I have to admit, as someone who opposed both conflict (one outright) the other as to scale and purpose) this article is a very heavy indictment, less of the executive but of members of congress, the foreign policy establishment and the military advocates for invasion (men and women alike).

I have always thought that Pres Bush ignored his bet instincts on the matter and was ill advised. I don't know what recompense the country will garner for our actions, but I don't think it has yet come. We need to pull up and consider the dark space into which are knee-jerking our way into.

-- –

However, I don't think this is about Pres. Bush or even a stamp of approval on needless and careless interventions as much as it an attempt to wedge the military against Pres Trump or tangentially express discomfit by some in the higher echelons with the Pres.

Deeply appreciated this a article. No argument against those invasion penetrated the cloud of revenge the country was bent on exacting. And it is deeply troubling – when the case against invasion was so blatantly clear.

anonymous , Disclaimer November 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

At West Point, it's still possible to believe that we are fighting in the interests of the Afghan people

If that's true then they are mentally deficient. Mercenaries and the mentally defective working under the leadership of the morally corrupt, the perfect dance partners.

jacques sheete , November 4, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT
I apologize to those who may find my comments excessive, but some of the attitudes expressed here need to be confronted. I regret that I can't do it in person.

To those who postulate such insubstantial, quasi-profound, faux-poetic pornography, if not swinishly orgasmic, fanciful hooey as:

combat deployments affect our souls so deeply because they allow us to taste something of heaven and hell, in ways that civilian life rarely does. The profound purpose, unity, and love that soldiers in a small unit experience is almost impossible to replicate outside of war; it is a foretaste of heaven.

we're longing for another taste of heaven alongside other warriors . Second, it explains why life outside of war can seem so mundane and even meaningless. Having gone through heaven and hell , our everyday lives can feel like limbo.

Having gone through heaven and hell, our everyday lives can feel like limbo.

I say that Aristophanes, to name just one, saw through the self adulating humbug, millennia ago.

SAUSAGE-SELLER
you wish the war to conceal your rogueries as in a mist , that Demos may see nothing of them, and harassed by cares, may only depend on yourself for his bread. But if ever peace is restored to him, if ever he returns to his lands to comfort himself once more with good cakes, to greet his cherished olives, he will know the blessings you have kept him out of, even though paying him a salary; and, filled with hatred and rage, he will rise, burning with desire to vote against you. You know this only too well; it is for this you rock him to sleep with your lies.

- Aristophanes, The Knights, 424 BC

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/knights.html

Mulegino1 , November 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama all fit in the category of war criminal, and were there such a thing as authentic and impartial international justice, they could all be in the dock of a new Nuremberg Tribunal – albeit one without the kangaroo court and vae victis characteristics of the eponymous one.
Ris_Eruwaedhiel , November 4, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT
@peterAUS

George Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam and his dad served as a naval aviator during WWII. Quite a difference. At one time, the people who started wars fought in them. The last English king to serve in combat was the much-maligned Richard III, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. James IV of Scotland was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. George II was commander at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.

Prince Harry saw service in Afghanistan and Andrew in the Falklands. So, the denigrated Royals have a better track record than the elites in a democracy. In Robert Heinlein's Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the "cloud people" who dominate the West.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , November 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm GMT
@utu

I remember James Baker's comment: "F -- the Jews, they didn't vote for us anyway."

MEexpert , November 4, 2017 at 3:09 pm GMT
Bush II could be called a war criminal by reason of stupidity. The real culprit is the bastard standing next to him in the picture. He controlled George W. Bush and was the real President. To this day, he continues to push for war against Iran.
Don Bacon , November 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT
Blaming Bush for starting wars is sort of like blaming bin Laden for 9/11 or Putin for Hilary's defeat. There were a lot more people involved in recent and ongoing US wars, including many people from the "opposing" party, Joe Biden and Al Gore come to mind.
anonymous , Disclaimer November 4, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Previously had the impression that Dubya was a dumb but

He's obviously no intellectual and it's unlikely he's ever read any book on his own. He appears to lack curiosity whatever his mental level may be. His speeches, like everyone else, are written by others and just simply read as an actor reads their lines. However, his job was to deliver and that he did in spades. He ratcheted up the security state to a historic level and diverted trillions from the US treasury for the biggest gravy train ever. It's an income transfer scheme, from the masses to the upper classes, all while scaring everyone with nonexistent hobgoblins. He did nothing about unchecked illegal immigration, giving his constituency, the haves and the have-mores, their cheap labor. Historians will argue as to who the worst president of all time was and Bush's name will figure prominently. He'll be seen as one of the downward turning points in American history, a person who ruined what was left of American credibility and pride. He had a lot of enablers though, and did not act alone, standing astride a mountain of bones. So, smart or not, the evil nature of this man will continue to cast it's shadow for years to come.

Carlton Meyer , Website November 4, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
I checked the web and found this award often goes to the most despicable neocon in the nation. I expect McCain to win next year.

Sylvanus Thayer Award Recipients

I stopped with Tom Brokaw because that seems odd to most. Watch this funny and insightful Jimmy Dore clip about how Brokaw was a no newsman, but a Pentagon bootlicker, hence the award.

sample , November 4, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT
I think what we can all be thankful is the fact that we are no longer dependant on the NY time/Washington Post etc to see the World through their prizes l
europeasant , November 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm GMT
President Bush may have been dumb or naive or he may have been smart. It's difficult to know what a person really thinks. The Iraq war was a mistake but Bush the Younger also pushed for implementation of other policies which look to be highly dubious. Does anyone remember "No Child left Behind" or "The Housing Gap"? These two policies were hairbrained to say the least. Only a foolish person could ever believe in such nonsense. He truly believed that we were all created equal, he was they ultimate champion of the "Blank Slate" theory. A delusional fool who I actually voted for in 2000.
Yes I think he was "A True Believer" in Social Justice causes.
Ris_Eruwaedhiel , November 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.

utu , November 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm GMT
@Ris_Eruwaedhiel

I daresay that (((Howard Zinn))) approved of that.

Rather not. Zinn on one of his last missions as a member of USAF bomber crew was sent to bomb with napalm large groupings of German soldiers who were just awaiting to surrender somewhere in northern France. The front line past them and was much further West. He did not like it at all. He thought that the only purpose of the mission was to test how the new napalm worked.

nsa , November 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm GMT
West Point? Isn't that some place where the Jooies indoctrinate their latest crop of servile Goy Gurkhas? Change those posters to: Uncle Samuel Wants You with a pic of Samuel in his beanie pointing a bony finger out at you, the suckers.
J1234 , November 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm GMT

George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point

He's a character alright.

peterAUS , November 4, 2017 at 6:16 pm GMT
@Ris_Eruwaedhiel

Agree.

And, you definitely have a point here:

In Robert Heinlein's Starship Trooper novel, only people who served their society in a dangerous position had the right to vote. That would weed out almost of the "cloud people" who dominate the West.

Now, there is one country which adheres to that rule a bit:Israel. Interesting, isn't it? Easy, especially on sites like this, to heap abuse on, say, Netanyahu. Just from Wikipedia, though:

Netanyahu joined the Israel Defense Forces shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit . Netanyahu took part in many missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), Operation Gift (1968) and Operation Isotope (1972), during which he was shot in the shoulder . Netanyahu fought on the front lines in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, taking part in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then leading a commando assault deep into Syrian territory.[3][4] Netanyahu achieved the rank of captain before being discharged.

You have to give them: they got that right. Now, we'll see, say, 20 replies with 20 links each about .. .them . Will keep the article busy though. Interested in topic could just skip them.

edNels , November 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm GMT
Thanks for the article about how the elite soldiers are morally conditioned in these days.

Did they teach anything about General Smedley Butler? Some of his second thoughts he had?

What's the matter with these academics who run everthing now, are they senile?

Or, much worse, (maybe not though,) there is a policy on high, to effect the intentional dilution, and then destruction of standards. Prominently, auspicious prizes given to idiots and worse scoundrels! what's that do to the mental and moral health of the youths, will they wise up and see through it and not show up?
No, just replaced with a lower order, who will be more monstrous .

All this decay of stuff is everywhere, who benefits Cui Bono? They don't need smart soldiers what with robots and AI etc. and the real work is in dumbing down the peeps, for the eventual enclosures .

Antiwar7 , November 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm GMT
Really well written. I honor the author's service in writing this piece.

Also, I thank him for pointing out that W. Bush shares another thing with Adolf Hitler, besides war-mongering: painting.

Sane Left Libertarian , November 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm GMT
Most of it's already been said above, but we've been a war nation for more than a generation. Mr. Bush's predecessor bombed Iraq for years. Bush himself (or Cheney or whoever) turned it into an official and seemingly permanent war, using what are now known to be bold-faced lies. Torture as a matter of routine also started during Cheney's reign. Nobel Peace Prize Obama ramped us up to 6 or 7 wars, normalized drone murder, and in his usual unctuous way told us to stop harping on Abu Graib ("It's important we don't get too sanctimonious"). Now Mr. Trump is starting/threatening even more war, complete with nukes, and bragging about the torture.

My point is that someone we don't even see is calling the shots, for all of them. These guys on TV just work for them, and are paid handsomely. The awards they get mean even less than their elections. I don't see us (the proletariat, wage slaves, trying to raise a family) ever even figuring out what's going on, much less doing anything about it.

lavoisier , Website November 4, 2017 at 9:29 pm GMT
"The former president deserves a cold metal bench in a stockade awaiting trial, not an award and a warm round of applause from the academy. No coffee table books featuring his paintings -- a perverse form of macabre exhibitionism -- will atone for his actions. If West Point and its Association of Graduates want to maintain any credible pretense of adhering to the values they claim to espouse, they should revoke the most recent Thayer Award immediately."

NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Excellent essay. What has happened to West Point to act this way?? No one with any sense could think of Bush as anything other than a moron at best, a traitorous moron at worst. There must be an explanation–FOLLOW THE MONEY.

[Nov 01, 2017] JFK The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty

Notable quotes:
"... The president, he claims, had angered the military-industrial establishment with his procurement policies and his determination to withdraw from Vietnam, and had threatened to break the CIA into "a thousand pieces" after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. ..."
"... His death was in effect a coup d'etat that placed in the White House a very different man with a very different approach -- one much more acceptable to what Prouty consistently calls "the power elite." ..."
"... Mr. Prouty points to what he calls "the power elite" as the movers of geopolitics and war. JFK had other ideas as to what makes the world turn. It's the age old battle, as Lincoln put it, "between the divine rights of kings and the common rights of man"... ..."
"... Mr Prouty is no "conspiracy theorist". He worked in the Pentagon and arranged the support for the CIA operations until he retired in 1964. He knew everyone from Allen Dulles to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ..."
"... He was in a particularly excellent position, due to his official responsibilities, to know intimately of the OSS and later CIA operations, as well as the White House positions under various presidents, for he saw and worked with their communications. ..."
"... His book is full of specifics, many to most of which few people know or knew. He served under three presidents. He was liaison between the Joint Chiefs and the CIA In 1954 he was ordered to establish the Office of Special Operations, and in 1964 retired as chief of Special Operations. In 1963 he wrote the formal directive on covert ops used by Joint Chiefs of Staff for all military services.. What this man, Prouty, said cannot be tossed aside. He knew the subject, and he knew what was done. ..."
"... His book really has two entwined themes, the role of CIA operations including the real power which drives those operations and the assassination of JFK. ..."
"... As for the assassination, he takes apart the Warren Commission in detail, point by point. He knew what was at stake between interested parties, and provides quotes from key JFK White House documents. He goes into the source and evolution of the Indochina / Vietnam war, beginning in 1943, as he was present at those allied high level meetings. He provides eye-opening historical material about which I expect few of our citizens are cognizant. ..."
"... The premise of this book is that Pres. Kennedy wanted to pull out of Vietnam, and the military-industrial complex didn't want that to happen. Today there is contention whether this is indeed true or not. I think JFK was uncertain himself ..."
"... After Pres. Kennedy was assasinated it is undeniable we went head first into Vietnam. He had made numerous enemies. The banking industry, the military, the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover, etc. He was a maverick going against conventional thinking and he had to be removed. As the author states those gunshots on Elm street(which by the way, isn't it interesting that the Hollywood "cabal" chose to use as a title to a famous movie series) were a message to all future Presidents that the "secret team" is running the show now. ..."
"... According to prouty kennedy was a victim of a military-industrial complex plot triggered by his plan to withdraw from vietnam, the most important was a top secret National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM 263) drafted only six weeks before the assassination once NSAM 263 was signed, kennedy was, for all intents, a dead man. ..."
"... It's not hard to understand why Obama hasn't pulled out of Iraq or Afghanistan. He can't. The military industrial complex and their bankers won't let him. ..."
"... ***Note: Anyone interested in the Kennedy Assassination should realize that there is a "misinformation plant" in the Library Journal review department. Every honest book on the subject has been unconvincingly discredited by them, while they praise and try to steer you towards known flake CIA-financed writers such as Gerald Posner. ..."
"... It's rather common to hear of wrongdoing by the CIA I saw a graph recently that showed American citizen's belief in their government plummeting after the Kennedy Assassination. Almost no one accepted the Warren Commission Report and such a cover up has casted doubt on our government ever since. ..."
"... However, for all its problems as a book, the info contained herein meshes with several other books I've read recently that all point to the fact that Kennedy was moving from a Cold Warrior to a peacenik, (elsewhere attributed to his taking LSD with his mistress Mary Meyer. Who knows?) ..."
"... Oh yes, another of Prouty's big ideas is that the weapons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a huge error on the part of the Cabal/Elite, since it made normal war impossible, hence a turn to guerrilla warfare by proxy. Again, the belief that everything is part of a master plan. The outcome is valid, but the idea of an invisible hand behind the scenes stage-managing all this is not reasonable to me. ..."
"... Is it credible that the CIA could have been involved in Kennedy's assassination? On this point, I think the answer is yes. The old objection that people wouldn't be able to keep quiet if there were a conspiracy is pretty much moot if we're talking about the CIA, since by definition, these are guys who could do unimaginable things, have a cigarette, and then never speak of it again. ..."
"... I think there is pretty decent evidence that Oswald was connected to the CIA (The defection and then un-defection in and of itself is pretty incredible, and his statement that he was the patsy is more likely if he was in fact a patsy, than if he were a either a nut job or a Castro sympathizer. Both of those types want credit!) ..."
"... And this book also confirms the feeling that I often get that in fact the US has many of the characteristics of a fascist state, minus the concentration camps for Jews. It is true that we have wrought havoc in many other people's countries, that we maintain a near-constant state of war, and that *if* a president tried to go in a different direction, there are forces within the military-industrial-intelligence complex that might both want and be capable of taking them out. ..."
Nov 01, 2017 | www.amazon.com
From Publishers Weekly Prouty, who was a Washington insider for nearly 20 years--in the last few of them as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Kennedy--has a highly unusual perspective to offer on the assassination and the events that led up to it. Familiar to moviegoers as the original of the anonymous Washington figure, played by Donald Sutherland in the Oliver Stone's movie JFK , who asks hero Jim Garrison to ponder why Kennedy was killed, Prouty leaves no doubt where he stands.

The president, he claims, had angered the military-industrial establishment with his procurement policies and his determination to withdraw from Vietnam, and had threatened to break the CIA into "a thousand pieces" after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

His death was in effect a coup d'etat that placed in the White House a very different man with a very different approach -- one much more acceptable to what Prouty consistently calls "the power elite." Although he declares that such an elite has operated, supranationally, throughout history, and is all-powerful, he never satisfactorily explains who its members are and how it functions--or how it has allowed the current East-West rapprochement to take place.

Still, this behind-the-scenes look at how the CIA has shaped postwar U.S. foreign policy is fascinating, as are Prouty's telling questions about the security arrangements in Dallas, his knowledge of the extraordinary government movements at that time (every member of the Cabinet was out of the country when Kennedy was shot) and his perception that most of the press has joined in the cover-up ever since. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Library Journal Prouty, the mysterious "X" in Oliver Stone's JFK , promises to explain why Kennedy was assassinated. Instead, he delivers a muddled collection of undocumented, bizarre theories, most significantly that a super-powerful, avaricious power elite engineered the Cold War and all its pivotal events -- Korea, Vietnam, the U-2 incident, the Bay of Pigs, and the Kennedy assassination.

Although they are never identified, these shadowy technocrats, working through the CIA, allegedly had Kennedy murdered because he was on the brink of ending America's commitment to Vietnam, along with its billions of dollars of military contracts.

Prouty avoids some very important issues. Would Kennedy, a Cold War warrior's warrior, have indeed ended American support for Diem? And why couldn't the omnipotent power elite ensure the election of Richard Nixon, its preferred candidate, in 1960--especially since Kennedy won by only .02 percent? A much better choice is John M. Newman's JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power ( LJ 3/15/92). See also James DiEugenio's Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case , reviewed in this issue, p. 123.--Ed.

Emil Petardi on October 1, 2014

We are living through that kind of paradigm except they now wear suits and carry briefcases and never get theirs hands dirty. Mr

Mr. Prouty points to what he calls "the power elite" as the movers of geopolitics and war. JFK had other ideas as to what makes the world turn. It's the age old battle, as Lincoln put it, "between the divine rights of kings and the common rights of man"... .

We are living through that kind of paradigm except they now wear suits and carry briefcases and never get theirs hands dirty.

Mr Prouty is no "conspiracy theorist". He worked in the Pentagon and arranged the support for the CIA operations until he retired in 1964. He knew everyone from Allen Dulles to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Coolfire VINE VOICE on May 17, 2012
Content of highest importance.

This is a very important book. It is difficult to read, because Prouty's writing is disorganized, perhaps not so to him, but to a reader. The fact is he had first hand knowledge of a great deal of what went on and into the period covering the latter part of WWII, all of Indochina / Vietnam, and into the Cold War. He was in a particularly excellent position, due to his official responsibilities, to know intimately of the OSS and later CIA operations, as well as the White House positions under various presidents, for he saw and worked with their communications.

His book is full of specifics, many to most of which few people know or knew. He served under three presidents. He was liaison between the Joint Chiefs and the CIA In 1954 he was ordered to establish the Office of Special Operations, and in 1964 retired as chief of Special Operations. In 1963 he wrote the formal directive on covert ops used by Joint Chiefs of Staff for all military services.. What this man, Prouty, said cannot be tossed aside. He knew the subject, and he knew what was done.

His book really has two entwined themes, the role of CIA operations including the real power which drives those operations and the assassination of JFK. The lessons are real. It would have helped had his writing been more organized, rather than jumping around with much repetition, but he does provide abundant specifics in support of his positions. In many cases he uses first person, as he was present. He knew what he was talking about. He has specifics.

As for the assassination, he takes apart the Warren Commission in detail, point by point. He knew what was at stake between interested parties, and provides quotes from key JFK White House documents. He goes into the source and evolution of the Indochina / Vietnam war, beginning in 1943, as he was present at those allied high level meetings. He provides eye-opening historical material about which I expect few of our citizens are cognizant.

His material, cleaned up, should be taught in schools, but such history is never taught in classes. It is only learned `in the field' so to speak. And no nation wants it advertised exactly what drives covert operations and to whose benefit.

V-ROD on September 15, 2010
New information here

I agree with the author's premise of a conspiracy to murder JFK. There is information in this book that I have not read in any other historical reference. For example, the author states that the CIA transported the northern based people of Vietnam called the Tonkin and moved them to the south. He claims that this created a turmoil in the land as people began to fight for resources(food)to live. He states that it was this turmoil that was made to look like a communist infiltration of the country. All of this being a CIA manipulated event. Another interesting aspect is that we had been aiding the French occupation of Vietnam. This continued up until 1954; a few months before Diem being installed as President. We had been helping the enemy of the South Vietnamese people just prior to Diem's installation.

The premise of this book is that Pres. Kennedy wanted to pull out of Vietnam, and the military-industrial complex didn't want that to happen. Today there is contention whether this is indeed true or not. I think JFK was uncertain himself and that is why you can find facts supporting both schools of thought. For example, Pres. Kennedy stated he wanted to be the first to put a man on the moon. A direct challenge to the cold war enemy Russia. Yet the book states later that Kennedy signed a memorandum desiring cooperation with Russia in the exploration of space. This is obviously an affront to the "cabal" that wanted the cold war to continue. There was alot of money to be made. I was disappointed the author didn't write about Pres.Kennedy issuing silver certificates in defiance of the Federal Reserve.

After Pres. Kennedy was assasinated it is undeniable we went head first into Vietnam. He had made numerous enemies. The banking industry, the military, the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover, etc. He was a maverick going against conventional thinking and he had to be removed. As the author states those gunshots on Elm street(which by the way, isn't it interesting that the Hollywood "cabal" chose to use as a title to a famous movie series) were a message to all future Presidents that the "secret team" is running the show now.

This book is not an easy read. One negative about this book is that the author's points are repeated. It also left me feeling dismayed and bewildered. If you take the author's premise at face value, almost everything we see and read now has the possibility of being a planned event. The fascinating aspect about the JFK assassination is to see how this "secret team" that works behind the scenes is in control of almost all positions of authority that we have in this country. A chief justice resides on the Warren Commission and signs off on the absurd Warren report, police in Dallas allowing reporters direct access to Oswald; at the time the suspect for the murder. Police allowing Jack Ruby to just waltz up to Oswald and shoot him. LBJ and Hoover having a conversation about not wanting a congressional investigation of the assassination and just wanting to use the Hoover/Warren reports. This is way too many coincidences not to have been a conspiracy. Fletcher Prouty may not be 100% accurate, but I'll believe his version over our official history any day.

Tamango on May 6, 2012

"Let the truth rein, or let the heaven's fall."

"This is one of the greatest books written on the assassination of John F. Kennedy,the author Col L. Fletcher Prouty contribution from his work in the pentagon and his common sense view that someone needed to level the playing field-to let the public know that military spending and goals are completely unrealistic. We have to learn from the past and Col. Prouty is one of the few who explain the uncomfortable truth. This uncomfortable feeling goes on today. How do we know when we've won in Iraq or Afghanistan? Will this repeat in Iran and North Korea? What is the next military action that will be another unwinnable war designed to keep the Defense Department in business despite the astronomical costs as it bankrupts the nation? It's time that everyone examine what Col. Fletcher Prouty wrote as a warning of what was really going on as opposed to what was reported regarding the Vietnam war and the removal of John F. Kennedy.

Col. Prouty blows the lid right off our official history and reveal what is probably the closest to the truth that we will ever get regarding the assassination of JFK, this is a true example of what is done in the dark will come to the light..anyone who wants to continue to hide from the truth, then this book is not for you because you cannot handle the truth,it's too much for you.

This is a very important book unique in this big mess that continues to surround Kennedy's murder it is a story that has been buried for decades. It is an account the government didnot want you to hear, and actually fabricated evidence in order to keep you from hearing the truth. There are no crackpot theories here, these are facts this great cabal ( the power elite) has control high enough in government or at least in the councils of government, to be able to influence the travel plans of the president, vice-president and a presidential candidate (Nixon) and all members of the kennedy cabinet. They were powerful enough to have orders issued to the army, and were able to mount a massive campaign to control the media during and after the assassination. Now if that is not power in the wrong hands, i donot know what is..there is something about Col. Prouty manner that speaks of authority, knowledge and above all, old fashioned honesty."

According to prouty kennedy was a victim of a military-industrial complex plot triggered by his plan to withdraw from vietnam, the most important was a top secret National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM 263) drafted only six weeks before the assassination once NSAM 263 was signed, kennedy was, for all intents, a dead man.

Vietnam for the powers that be... represented the potential of tens of billions of dollars. This is what caused him to be murdered, it was a military-style ambush from start to finish, "a coup d'etat."

One of the most memorable lines in the book and the movie JFK: "Sometimes i think the organizing principle of any society is for war, the authority of the state over its people resides in its war powers war readiness accounts for approximately a tenth of the output of the world's economy. This power elite together they stand above the law, can any president ever be strong enough really to rule?

And what about the outright theft of the president's brain from the national archives? And the total and complete failure of the secret service to protect JFK in dallas? It boggles the mind, they tagged him as a dangerous traitor plotted his assassination, and orchested the subsequent cover-up. This is an unspeakable refers to an evil whose depth and deceit seemed to go beyond the capacity of words to describe.

If you are not afraid to face the truth then this book is were you would want to start. So many things make sense when you start to put the piece's of the puzzle together and facts and common sense go a long way. That is why most people want to remain ignorant,they cannot face the truth so they try to discredit people like Col. Prouty, Oliver Stone, Jim Garrison, Jesse Ventura to make them sound like lone nuts, sound like de'ja vu huh?

Col. Prouty was a Washington insider for nearly 20 years as chief of staff under president Kennedy this man lived this part of our history, who can better tell us the real deal than someone who was there and lived though it and who does not have anything to gain by keeping the biggest lie told to the american people on-going. Just sticking to the facts of this case and what just take basic common sense is to ask yourself "Why? that's the real question isn't it--why? the how is just scenery,Oswald, Ruby, Cuba, Mafia it keeps people guessing like a parlor game, but it prevents them from asking the most important question--why?

Why was kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who had the power to cover it up? This book is a must read for anyone out there who still believes in truth and justice for all. Don't believe me or anyone else..do your own thinking for yourself and you might surprise yourself in the process of searching for that truth. I would like to end this by saying thank-you to Col. Prouty, Mr. jim garrison, Oliver Stone, and Jesse Ventura for being courageous enough to step forward to shine a light on the truth.

And for the non-believer's out there i feel sorry for you that you are satisfied with never really knowing the truth and how much it still effects your life today. I was not even born yet when president kennedy was assassinate but i was born one year later..and the deferences between me and you is i will always search for the truth and question it until i do find it.

I leave you with this quote: Those who can't remember the past, are condemned to repeat it. Everyone should own a copy of this part of history go out now and purchase this book before it disappear,just like the truth about JFK assassination.

bruce Lasch on June 29, 2013
JFK

I read this book a second time, about 1 year after I read it the first time. Mr Prouty had a very long and interesting career in the Air Air Corps which became the USAF. He has first hand knowledge of much of what he writes about in this book. His book is really the history of the USA since WW II with respect to the warnings of IKE "Beware of the military industrial complex".

If you did not like President Kennedy but wonder why the US has constantly been "at war" somewhere in the world since WW II then I think you will get a lot out of this book. When I was in the USAF back in the 1970's the higher ranking pilots that I flew with told me that Viet Nam was not a great war but it was the only war they had. Well, wars were good for career building if you were in the war, if you were the military industrial complex war was very good and necessary for profits.

The Radio Patriot on July 18, 2010
International Power Elite Pulling the Strings

I'm reading a stunning book written by the late L. Fletcher Prouty who served as the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy presidency. A retired colonel of the U.S. Air Force, Prouty was in charge of the global system designed to provide military support for the CIA's secret activities. He knew where the bodies were buried and the file cabinet containing the paperwork used to cover it up.

Prouty was a source for Oliver Stone's movie "JFK" and was portrayed as "Mr. X" by Donald Sutherland, the man in black who advised New Orleans DA Jim Garrison (portrayed by Kevin Costner) that he was on the trail to the truth.

If you have ANY interest whatsoever in learning the truth of the events that led to what happened to our country on Nov. 22nd, 1963 and changed the course of its direction, read it.

A brief excerpt from the 375+ page book that is the most detailed account of the inception of the CIA and the events that culminated in the coup d'etat on Elm Street in Dallas on a sunny day in November.

Excerpt:

From Chapter 16 - Government by Coup d'Etat

The year was 1964. Pres. John F. Kennedy had been shot dead months before by bursts of "automatic gunfire" in Dallas by "mechanics," that is, skilled gunmen, hired by a power cabal determined to exert control over the United States government. Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK's successor, had been only a few feet under the bullets fired at Kennedy as he rode two cars back in that fatal procession.

By 1964 Johnson was becoming mired in the swamp of the Indochina conflict. Kennedy, who had vowed to "break the CIA into a thousand pieces," was dead. LBJ, who had heard those fatal bullets zing past his ears, had learned the ultimate lesson; and for good measure, Richard Nixon was in Dallas on that fatal day, so that he, too, had the fact of this ever-present danger imprinted on his memory for future use by his masters.

From Chapter 18 - Setting the Stage for the Death of JFK

"The significance of all this was that I had introduced President Kennedy's Vietnam policy statement NSAM #263, into these discussions. It is my belief that the policy announced so forcefully by Kennedy in his earlier NSAM #55 and in NSAM #263 had been the major factor in causing the decision by certain elements of the power elite to do away with Kennedy before his reelection and to take control of the U.S. government in the process.

Kennedy's NSAM #263 policy would have assured that Americans by the hundreds of thousands would not have been sent to the war in Vietnam. This policy was anathema to elements of the military-industrial complex, their bankers, and their allies in the government. This policy and the almost certain fact that Kennedy would have been reelected President in 1964 set the stage for the plot to assassinate him."

I can't put this book down. It is without doubt, the most thorough explanation of the rogue CIA, it's influence and impact on America's involvement in paramilitary operations around the world and subsequent growing conflicts. It is, as Prouty describes:

"...For the world as a whole, the CIA has now become the bogey that communism had been for America. Wherever there is trouble, violence, suffering, tragedy, the rest of us are now quick to suspect the CIA had a hand in it. Our phobia about the CIA is, no doubt, as fantastically excessive as America's phobia about world communism; but in this case, too, there is just enough convincing guidance to make the phobia genuine...

"This is what the destruction of sovereignty and disregard for the rule of law means, and it will not stop there. With it will go property rights -- as we have witnessed in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union -- and the rights of man."

It's not hard to understand why Obama hasn't pulled out of Iraq or Afghanistan. He can't. The military industrial complex and their bankers won't let him.

This is a fascinating look into the world of the power elite: the supremely powerful international bankers who keep the books and balances for each side.

"They make these transactions possible by offering the loans, issuing letters of credit, and collecting the interest on the entire package. In many LDCs (third world "less developed countries") the total amount of interest paid to the banks and their international financing structure amounts to more than half of the total value of dollars earned by their exports. For this reason, annual payments are seldom more than the interest involved and none of the principal. This is one reason why the principal never comes back to the United States." (p. 243 - Ch. Sixteen - Government by Coup d'Etat)

Though the title focuses on the CIA, Vietnam and the plot to kill JFK, this 355 page (not including six pages of notes) book goes much further. It lays out and explains the real power -- the international power elite -- that designs the strategy and moves the pieces on the global chess board of politics, finance, and wars, domestic and international.

Prouty's very detailed book is based on a 19-part magazine series first developed by Prouty, with and published by Freedom Magazine. Prouty served as the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy presidency. A retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Prouty was in charge of the global system that provided military support for the CIA's secret activities. He was witness to activities, machinations and policy-making in the Pentagon and the White House that few others can claim. Prouty died in 2001.

"The year was 1964. Pres. John F. Kennedy had been shot dead months before by bursts of "automatic gunfire" in Dallas by "mechanics," that is, skilled gunmen hired by a power cabal determined to exert control over the United States government. Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK's successor, had been only a few feet under the bullets fired at Kennedy as he rode two cars back in that fatal procession.

"By 1964 Johnson was becoming mired in the swamp of the Indochina conflict. Kennedy, who had vowed to "break the CIA into a thousand pieces," was dead. LBJ, who heard those fatal bullets zing past his ears, had learned the ultimate lesson; and for good measure, Richard Nixon was in Dallas on that fateful day, so that he, too, had the fact of this ever-present danger imprinted on his memory for future use by his masters. (Ch. Sixteen, Government by Coup d'Etat - p 232)

~~*~~

When World War II ended with the nuclear bomb, the military industrial complex had a dilemma -- it understood that the next world war would be the final one, Yet it needed a way to keep the lucrative business of war making alive and profitable. How? By fighting a war waged for dollars, without a true military objective, under the control of civilian leaders, a war never intended to achieve victory. Enter Vietnam. Sound familiar?

Chapter Eighteen - "Setting the Stage for the Death of JFK"

[p 267]

Kennedy's NSAM #265 policy would have assured that Americans by the hundreds of thousands would not have been sent to the war in Vietnam. This policy was anathema to elements of the military-industrial complex, their bankers, and their allies in the government. This policy and the almost certain fact that Kennedy would be reelected President in 1964 set the stage for the plot to assassinate him.

[snip]

First of all, NSAM #263, October 11, 1963, was a crucial White House document. Much of it, guided by White House policy, was actually written by my boss in the Pentagon, General Krulak, myself, and others of his staff. I am familiar with it and with events which led to its creation.

[snip]

Our history books and the basic sources of history which lie buried in the archives of government documents that have been concealed from the public, and worse still, government documents that have been tampered with and forged. As I have just demonstrated above, this most important policy statement, NSAM #263, that so many historians and journalists say does not exist, has been divided into two sections in the Pentagon Papers source history.

~~*~~

Chapter Nineteen - Visions of a Kennedy Dynasty

[pp 289-290]

"With Kennedy's announcement that he was getting Americans out of Vietnam, he confirmed that he was moving away from the pattern of Cold War confrontation in favor of détente. He asked Congress to cut the defense budget. Major programs were being phased out. As a result, pressure from several fronts began to build against the young President. The pressure came from those most affected by cuts in the military budget, in the NASA space program, and in the enormous potential cost -- and profit -- of the Vietnam War.

Kennedy's plans would mean an end to the warfare in Indochina, which the United States had been supporting for nearly two decades. This would mean the end to some very big business plans, as the following anecdote will illustrate.

It was reported in an earlier chapter that the First National Bank of Boston had sent William F. Thompson, a vice president, to my office in the Pentagon in 1959, presumably after discussions with CIA officials, to explore "the future of the utilization of the helicopter in [clandestine] military operations" that had been taking place in Indochina up to 1959.

A client of that bank was Textron, Inc. The bank had suggested to Textron officials that the acquisition of the near-bankrupt Bell Aircraft Company, and particularly its helicopter division, might be a good move. What the bank and Textron needed to determine was the extent of use of helicopters by the military and by the CIA then and the potential for their future in Indochina.

Both parties were satisfied with the information they acquired from the Pentagon and from other sources in Washington. In due time the acquisition took place, and on October 13, 1963, news media in South Vietnam reported that an elite paramilitary force had made its first helicopter strike against the Vietcong from "Huey" Bell-Textron helicopters. It was also reported in an earlier chapter that more than five thousand helicopters were ultimately destroyed in Indochina and that billions of dollars were spent on helicopter purchases for those lost and their replacements.

Continuing the warfare in Vietnam, in other words, was of vital importance to these particular powerful financial and manufacturing groups. And helicopters, of course, were but one part of the $220 billion cost of U.S. participation in that conflict. Most of the $220 billion, in fact, was spent after 1963; only $2 - $3 billion had been spent on direct U.S. military activities in Vietnam in all of the years since World War II up to and including 1963. Had Kennedy lived, it would not have gone much higher than that.

It is often difficult to retrace episodes in history and to locate an incident that became crucial to subsequent events. Here, however, we have a rare opportunity.

The success of the deal between the First National Bank of Boston, Textron, and Bell hinged on the escalation of the war in Indochina. A key man in this plan was Walter Dornberger, chief of the German Rocket Center at Peenemunde, Germany, during World War II and later an official with the Bell Aircraft Company. Dornberger's associate and later protegé from Peenumunde, Wehrner von Braun, who had been instrumental in the development of the army's Pershing and Jupiter rocket systems, became a central figure in NASA's plans for the race to the moon. Such connections among skilled technicians can be of great importance within the military-industrial complex, as they generally lead to bigger budgets for all related programs.

Kennedy had announced a reduced military budget, the end of American participation in Indochina, and a major change in the race to the moon. It takes no special wisdom or inside knowledge to understand that certain vested interests considered the Kennedy proposal to defuse Vietnam and these other major budget items to be extremely dangerous to their own plans.

The pressure brought to bear on Kennedy was intense, but some sort of major event was needed that would stir emotions and trigger action. It is very likely that the death of President Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, on November 1, 1963, in Saigon was one of those events. There were at least eight or nine more that, in retrospect, indicate that a plot against Kennedy had begun to unfold."

~~*~~

Is it any wonder that despite his campaign rhetoric to the contrary, Obama is still in Iraq and Afghanistan???

If you apply what Prouty reveals, it follows that Obama does not do anything unless it is decreed by the international power elite -- from pulling out of Iraq/Afghanistan to protecting our Gulf Coast oil-stained states.

JFK didn't dance to the tune of his masters. He did it his way. It cost him his life. Obama is the creation of his masters. He serves at their pleasure. He won't make JFK's mistake. You can count on it.

By Theodore M. Herlich on August 11, 1999
Mr. Prouty's book is excellent as autobiography

Mr. Prouty served in the Pentagon's Office of Special Operations during a significant portion of his professional military career. In this role, he observed first-hand how the CIA arranged/staged coups d'etat in the Phillipines and other nations around the globe. In the Office of Special Operations, Mr. Prouty was responsible for providing U.S. military support for CIA operations. This experience serves as the basis for Mr. Prouty's strong inference that the assassination of President Kennedy was a CIA-style coup d'etat. The "why" of the coup d'etat is strongly established by Mr. Prouty. JFK intended to withdraw 1,000 military personnel from Vietnam by the close of 1963 and hoped to complete the full withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Vietnam by the close of 1965. To do this, JFK needed to get re-elected. His decision to withdraw from Vietnam was based upon the McNamara-Taylor report of early October, 1963 and codified in National Security Action Memorandum#263 of October 11, 1963. [For a thorough, scholarly analysis of the evolution of JFK's Vietnam policy, see "JFK and Vietnam" by John M. Newman (New York: Warner Books, 1992). Mr. Newman is a professional historian and a faculty member at the University of Maryland]. Powerful interests in the CIA, Pentagon and the corporate world were "gung ho" in favor of large-scale military intervention in Vietnam. The prospective war promised billions of dollars in military contracts for the defense industry. JFK's intention to withdraw from Vietnam would deny these elements in the CIA, Pentagon and corporate communities their pot of gold. Immediately after the assassination of JFK, LBJ issued NSAM#273 on November 26, 1963 which was a complete reversal of JFK's policy. NSAM#273 authorized U.S. military raids into North Vietnam. These raids precipitated the Gulf of Tonkin incidents of July-August 1963, led to Congress' Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and massive U.S. military intervention in Vietnam. LBJ gave the CIA, Pentagon and defense contractors what JFK would have denied them: billions of dollars in defense contracts in support of the full-scale war in Vietnam. For Mr. Prouty, the ultimate inference is irresistible: to effectuate the complete turn-around of Vietnam policy proposed by JFK, a CIA-style coup d'etat was carried out in Dallas on November 22, 1963. LBJ's NSAM#273 reversing JFK's Vietnam policy [from withdrawal to establishing the foundation for massive U.S. intervention] was issued on November 26, 1963. The goals of the coup were obtained immediately following the assassination. Prouty gives us the "why" of the coup. Further research remains to be done in order to give us "who" and the "how". Prouty's work is a valuable starting point for further inquiry and deserves our appreciation for its autobiographical honesty and heartfelt analysis.

By doctordave77 on January 3, 2016
Very disappointing.

Very disappointing. I was looking forward to reading this book primarily because the author was so close to the action. But as other reviewers have pointed out, the focus of the book is a far reaching review of US history since 1944-45. Unfortunately, in this regard, the book is a failure.

Prouty isn't a historian and I'm sure that he doesn't claim to be one. But to attempt to cover the ground that he does, he's lacking a lot of background knowledge. This shows up quickly in the book - let me give you a couple of examples;

- He states that President Roosevelt died suddenly, unexpectedly is the word he uses, and this simply isn't true. Roosevelt was bed-ridden for about 6 months before his death and the US government was effectively run by his advisors during this period.

- He claims that the USA and Russia were allies at the close of WWII (true), but also that an atmosphere of trust existed between the two countries (false). He continues to make the claim that but for the actions of the CIA, the Cold War would not have happened. That's simply not the case - Roosevelt and his advisors weren't happy with Stalin and vice versa. The CIA didn't even formally exist until Truman created them in 1947 and they didn't act without full political approval of the US governments of the time.

Look, I'm no fan of the CIA, and I completely agree with him that they plotted and achieved the death of JFK. But that doesn't mean that they and the KGB were responsible for creating the Cold War! Does Prouty think that the KGB could have acted in anyway without the full and knowing approval of Stalin himself? And that the Dulles brothers somehow manipulated the USA into the Cold War without the support and approval of Roosevelt and Truman? Apparently, he does!

Much of his thesis is based on the concept that there is a "power elite" that has actually been in control of world of US and Russian actions since 1944. Perhaps he is correct that a cabal currently sits behind our governments and influences events, but I disagree with his notion that they have controlled political events in the detailed way that he suggests throughout the world since 1944.

This really isn't a book about JFK and his assassination as it is a somewhat innacurate attempt to describe world history since WWII.

By Jeff Marzano on November 16, 2014
Dark And Sinister Revelations

This book presents a very strange and sinister theory.

People who are into conspiracy theories talk about groups like the Bilderberg Group who collude in secret to make decisions that are good for them but disastrous for everyone else. Those types of groups, so the theory goes, are not associated with any one particular government or country. Author Fletcher Prouty describes something like that although he says it is not the Bilderberg Group.

I've always believed in the JFK conspiracy but I never thought this conspiracy extended beyond the United States government and Lyndon Johnson. But yet I have to ask myself, if Fletcher is wrong what is the alternative ? Could he be right ?

Fletcher Prouty was deeply saddened by what he observed first hand in Vietnam. People who had lived in peace for many thousands of years in northern Vietnam were uprooted from their ancestral lands and moved to the south with nothing but the clothes on their backs. This was done to create hopelessness and a boiling cauldron of despair which was the perfect environment for igniting the inferno of warfare.

This was all accomplished by that most sinister of organizations called the CIA This agency is expert at creating confusion, human misery, and death on a massive scale with no regard for human life whatsoever.

Fletcher spends a few chapters analyzing the official story about the Kennedy assassination as far as Oswald's involvement (he was not involved), the number of shooters, and the many unexplained lapses of following official and long held procedures for protecting the president.

He was able to easily see through the smoke screen of lies created by the government about the JFK assassination and many other things because he saw all this from the inside. He was part of the very machine that caused the escalation in Vietnam and the JFK assassination. The Warren Commission's story does not hold up for many, many reasons. For one thing there were too many bullets fired. What a strange coincidence that on the day JFK was killed Fletcher happened to be in Antarctica serving as a military escort for a bunch of diplomats on some sight seeing excursion.

But yet it seems the nefarious group that ordered this assassination didn't really care if people thought there was a conspiracy because they knew nobody can do anything anyway. That's what's so scary about all this.

Fletcher feels this High Cabal, as Winston Churchill called it, has existed for 2,000 years or more in some form. Perhaps this is that great, lying beast and multi headed hydra described in the bible in the Book Of Revelation.

Some of the groups Fletcher feels are part of this cabal are the CIA and the other American intelligence agencies, the American military, international bankers, industrialists, and the Dallas police department. But beyond that even Fletcher doesn't know who is really at the very top of this super elite power structure.

For Fletcher this cabal is much more powerful than the president of the United States and they will disregard what the president says if they want to. That's exactly what happened when the CIA sent Gary Powers on a U2 spy plane mission over Russia and made sure the plane malfunctioned. As a result a planned peace summit between president Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev was cancelled. Ike had given orders to stop all covert activity until this summit was over.

They also cancelled a mission to shoot up Fidel Castro's three aircraft before the Bay Of Pigs fiasco. That was a direct failure to follow president Kennedy's orders to make sure these planes were destroyed before the invasion. They did this to embarrass president Kennedy. That's because peace is the High Cabal's greatest fear and enemy.

The election of president Kennedy was a disaster for the High Cabal. JFK was interfering with their plans to spend, not billions, but trillions of dollars in Vietnam and on their other Cold War projects. JFK was interfering with their ability to control the American government. So they killed him and regained that power, partially through their murderous accomplice Lyin' Lyndon Johnson.

After World War II the High Cabal created the perception in the public's mind of an epic struggle between Communism and the West. They used this false premise to create limited, protracted warfare all over the world. But they had to ensure the fighting did not become too intense because of the ever present menace of nuclear weapons.

Could it really be that the High Cabal doesn't care about the ideological struggle between Communism and the West or any other ideology for that matter ? Could the CIA, the KGB, and other similar groups really be providing weapons to the combatants on all sides just to prolong warfare forever ? That's what Fletcher Prouty says in this book.

Another point is the Vietnam conflict did not have any well defined military objective so it was doomed to become a protracted and ultimately unsuccessful bloodbath with the body count being the only measure of success.

Here's an exchange between Lyin' Lyndon Johnson and military legend General Creighton Abrams and his aide:

Lyndon:

"Abe, you are going over there to win. You will have an army of 550,000 men, one of the most powerful air forces ever assembled, and the invincible Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy offshore. Now go over there and do it."

Aide:

"Mr. President, you have told us to go over there and do 'it'. Would you care to define what 'it' is ?"

Johnson remained silent as he ushered General Abrams and his men out of the Oval Office.

Fletcher appears in an episode of the documentary 'The Men Who Killed Kennedy'. The hypocrites have taken legal action to have some of those episodes pulled off the market and the DVDs are no longer available for those 'Final Chapter' episodes. However 'The Men Who Killed Kennedy' can still be watched on the internet which I highly recommend.

Fletcher served as an advisor for Oliver Stone when Stone created his JFK movie. Stone's movie created a lot of controversy with the public and as a result people called for more hearings about the assassination. But those later investigations ran into the same brick wall of secrecy and deception that continues to this very day.

Fletcher drops another bomb shell in the notes section at the end of the book. He says on the day of the assassination JFK was shot with a poisonous flechette that was launched from an umbrella. A flechette is a very small, rocket propelled dart which travels at a very high velocity and which is very difficult to detect during an autopsy. Why they poisoned JFK even though they were planning on shooting him anyway I don't know. This may have been insurance in case JFK was not shot or not shot fatally.

The people who did this were professional killers. They leave very little to chance and account for many different scenarios.

On the Trail of the Assassins: One Man's Quest to Solve the Murder of President Kennedy

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ

The Men Who Killed Kennedy

Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination

David Ferrie: Mafia Pilot, Participant in Anti-Castro Bioweapon Plot, Friend of Lee Harvey Oswald and Key to the JFK Assassination

Dr. Mary's Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses Are Linked to Lee Harvey ... Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics

Top Secret/Majic: Operation Majestic-12 and the United States Government's UFO Cover-up

UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973

The Men Who Killed Kennedy DVD Series - Episode List

1. "The Coup D'Etat" (25 October 1988)

2. "The Forces Of Darkness" (25 October 1988)

3. "The Cover-Up" (20 November 1991)

4. "The Patsy" (21 November 1991)

5. "The Witnesses" (21 November 1991)

6. "The Truth Shall Set You Free" (1995)

The Final Chapter episodes (internet only):

7. "The Smoking Guns" (2003)

8. "The Love Affair" (2003)

9. "The Guilty Men" (2003)

By A Time Traveler on February 7, 2014
As Told By a Pentagon/Military Insider Since WWII

For all intents and pruposes, Prouty was serving behind the scenes of US Intelligence services in one capacity or another since before WWII (as special duty at both the Cairo and Tehran Conferences), until the day he retired. So how do you know he isn't just like all the other shills and "company men" from the inside who tell the public only what the elite want them to know? There is no better illustration of Prouty's willingness to tell his whole story -- with the vast information at his disposal -- than Page 260, which in this edition, is in Chapter 17 JFK's Plan to End the Vietnam Warfare:

"Why did the US government in 1945, before the end of World War II, choose to arm and equip Ho Chi Minh? Why did the United States, a few short years later, shift its allegiance from Ho Chi Minh to the French in their losing struggle that ended ignominiously with the battle of Dien Bien Phu? Why, after creating the Diem government in 1954 and after supporting that government for ten years, did the United States shift again and encourage those Vietnamese who planned to overthrow it? And finally, why, after creating an enormous military force in Indochina, did the US government fail to go ahead and defeat this same Ho Chi Minh when, by all traditional standards of warfare, it possessed the means to do so?"

And this makes-up the majority of this work by Prouty. He wisely stays with the evidence that HE has at his disposal. In other words, what Prouty effectively laid out for the reader, is the "Why" in the Kennedy assassination. He does so without assuming very much, as when reading the book, you see very well that there was quite a large swath of the Military Industrial Complex that stood to loose billions if Kennedy had lived. And thankfully, Prouty effectively explains in great detail that any myth about Kennedy escalating the Vietnam war is just that -- a myth. And Prouty's evidence of this? Documents from his time in the Pentagon and White House, not to mention press members and administration members who backed Kennedy's own words that US forces would be pulled out of the region after he was reelected.

For those who wish to research this subject further than the events in Dealey Plaza, Prouty's book is for you. If you want an idea as to "why" Kennedy was killed, I couldn't recommend this book highly enough.

By Acute Observer on October 20, 2014
Memoirs of an Insider

JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy

Events in the real world and society are mostly planned, they do not just happen. This book presents selected events from 1943 to 1990. The major events of this time were craftily and systematically planned by the power elite. This book will attempt to explain the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the effects of the development of the hydrogen bomb, and why the "military-industrial complex" removed JFK from the Presidency. L. Fletcher Prouty spent 1955-64 as chief of special operations. Page xxxiii tells of one incident he witnessed of the "power elite". Page 4 explains how an agent for the East India Company created an ideological justification for eliminating unwanted people. Page 8 says that neither H-bombs or "Star Wars" can prevent warfare by terrorists.

Pages 15-16 tells of the driving force of acquisitiveness. Mineral wealth is controlled by corporate interests directly, or by the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Genocide is regularly practices to limit the "excess population", particularly those who object to this exploitation. He repeats Elliot Roosevelt's story about Stalin's claim that FDR was poisoned (he had spies everywhere?). "Many of the skilled saboteurs and terrorists of today are the CIA students of yesterday" (p.37). "The first aerial hijackings were publicly solicited by the US in return for big cash awards, plus sanctuary". Page 56 tells why so many of our leaders are lawyers: they are trained to work under the direction of their clients. Their "lawyer-client confidence" ensures secrecy, even in court; they work for international law firms in government, banks, and major industries.

Chapter Six, "Genocide by Transfer", tells how over a million Tonkinese were moved to Cochin China; it caused a rice shortage in a previously rice-exporting country! The destruction of self-sufficient villages created consumers of imported food (like post-1962 Burma), and enriched merchants and shippers. It also created a source of cheap labor? Chapter Seven tells of the destruction of the village economy, and the resulting banditry. The depopulation of rural counties and the "urban renewal" in the big cities caused internal migration and a rise in the crime rate here in America too. After Textron Corporation bought Bell helicopters, there was now a need for these helicopters in Vietnam. Page 108 tells how 43% of lives lost were "not from action by hostile forces" - just accidents! The high cost of machines and their need for maintenance (supplies, personnel) helped to lose the war.

L. Fletcher Prouty says the massive slaughter in Cambodia, the Iran-Iraq war, "Desert Storm", and the Middle East hostilities are an example of Malthusian social engineering (p.187). Chapter 16 explains the economic reasons for coups d' etat, whether Marcos in the Phillipines, Batista, Somoza, or Trujillo (pp. 236-7). Once a puppet ruler in s country tries to counteract its exploitation, its goodbye. Page 238 tells how "foreign aid" is used to support American companies moving their factories and machinery to foreign countries. Page 240 explains why Vietnam (like Korea) was a limited "unwinnable" war.

On November 22, 1963 JFK was removed from office by a powerful group that wanted to escalate the war in Vietnam, and increase government spending (p.257). Pages 261-4 answers those who mistakenly claim JFK did not want to withdraw military forces from Vietnam. Prouty presents information from the public record and his personal experience. NSAM#263 shows that JFK did plan to withdraw military personnel from Vietnam in 1963. The death of JFK changed the war in Indochina from low-intensity to a major operation. Page 291 lists the many things done as standard security procedure which were NOT done on 11-22-1963. If the Warren Report is wrong on any key point, then it is false. Governor Connally contradicted the key point of the Warren Report to his dying day. The assassination of JFK demonstrated that most major events of world significance are masterfully planned and orchestrated by an elite coterie of enormously powerful people (p.334). You can read Jim Marrs' "Rule by Secrecy". The August 31, 1983 downing of Korean Air flight 007 resulted in the largest Defense Department budget ever passed in peacetime.

By Liz KS on November 24, 2015
Hard to put down.

A must read if you're wanting answers. I was and I've read a lot of books about this era because I lived through it and wanted answers to questions I had. Now it all makes sense. I would also suggest reading "Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover" by Anthony Summers. I had a hard time putting that book down too.

By Herbert L Calhoun on October 31, 2013
The Long Journey to Dallas Texas

JFK The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy

by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty

The Long Journey to Dallas Texas

Spoiler alert: This is neither the shortest version, nor the shortest route to understanding the JFK assassination. But it is as close to the complete canonical text and understanding of the assassination as there is ever likely to be. It is told by an insider, the high priest of understanding about the JFK assassination if you ask me (or Oliver Stone), one who has been around long enough, and has resided deep enough inside the bowels of the US government to know where all the skeletons are buried.

Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty was also a member of "The Secret Team," which he wrote a very revealing book about, of the same name. It has proven to be a critical part of the unfolding of the 50-year old drama of the JFK assassination. (Read my Amazon review of it.)

Here Col Prouty takes us by the hand and guides us on a journey, moving slowly but steadily and deliberately along a long winding path, through the historical underbrush beginning at the end of WW-II. He then leads us out into a clearing called "the Cold War," where events are craftily orchestrated around the threat of a nuclear holocaust. But it is orchestrated in such a way that the right to continue endless conventional wars is preserved and the world is made forever safe "for wars of profit" by other more novel means. Korea, would be the first but not the last of the "make money wars." The mother of all such un-winnable "money wars," however was Vietnam. It would represent a signature turn in the road that would "vector" directly to the JFK assassination. However, along the way the reader will also be introduced to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the oil angle, and then on to Cuba and the threat of nuclear war, finally ending up at high noon on 11/22/63 with the assassination of our 35th president.

As enlightening as the journey is it is not an easy trip for a "democratically trained mind." For along the way, we must unlearn the old rules of democracy in favor of learning a new set, with a new unwritten covenant, as well as a new vocabulary of reactionary and self-destructive power politics. And with them, we must also adopt and adapt to wearing a new kind of emotional straitjacket, armor better to make us comfortable granting involuntary consent to these altered understandings of how our more twisted and diminished democracy is supposed to work.

To wit: We the people, and they, our new anonymous ruling power elite, consent to govern us from above but forever behind the screen, promising nothing but to be unreliable invisible puppet-masters. And in return "we the people" are expected to close our "lying eyes" and pretend that when "we" see JFK's head snap violently back and to the left, it did not really happen? Now, and henceforth, our only reality tests are those prepared for us by our "lying media," the lemmings bought and paid for by our new invisible rulers. In short, the new contract mandates that we go along quietly, without whimpering, and accept the fact that "we the people" have been robbed of all previous contractual understandings of what a democratic government is supposed to mean.

What government "by," "for" and "of" the people used to mean, has been permanently altered. In this new "hyper real context" of being governed by an anonymous power elite, who are constantly pulling the strings from behind the curtains, government "by," "for" and "of" the people now means whatever our anonymous puppet-masters' media outlets tell us it means.

Those steeped in the conspiracy paranoia of the likes of the Bilderburghers, the Trilateralists, and the Council of Foreign Relations, must understand that what Colonel Prouty is telling us here is not the same. They will find no comfort here on this journey for cheap conspiracy nonsense. Instead, they will find here just the clean facts, with all of the dots connected, convincingly written by one of the last of America's authentic patriots. When readers complete this book, they will then understand why the Bilderburghers, the Trilateralists, and the Council of Foreign Relations, are all superfluous and unnecessary. All of the questions one can imagine about the JFK assassination are answered here.

A "Rough" Summary of Colonel Prouty's Story

After World War II, and owing primarily to the creation of the CIA, the U.S entered a new "hyper covert reality" in which, just as General Eisenhower had warned in his farewell address, the machinery of government was effectively commandeered by reactionary warmongers and war profiteers. The post-war power elite ruled by calling for continuous wars, with the CIA and the military acting as their vanguard and shock troops. There was nothing subtle about this take over, nor is reference to it just knee-jerk conspiracy nonsense. Colonel Prouty provides us a framework and a clear discrete paper trail that reveals every step of the "take over process," steps that he argues convincingly led inexorably to the JFK assassination.

Step one was carefully embedded within policy memorandum NSC-5412, which among other things, gave all covert operations over to the CIA, and specifically prohibited the active military from engaging in them. However, after the spectacular debacle of the John Foster Dulles led Bay of Pigs operation, JFK issued (and was in the process of implementing at the time of his very timely assassination), a reversal of this policy with NSC-55, which would have given the responsibility for covert operations back to the active military through the JCS. Not only was this reversing directive never implemented, but with JFK's death, all of the generals running the Vietnam War, were actually CIA officers operating under military cover and rank. According to Colonel Prouty, this was nail #1 in the JFK coffin.

Nail number two involved an excruciatingly carefully worked out policy directive, NSAM-65 by the JFK national security team. It was the policy directive initiating the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam by 1965. NSAM-65 was drawn up after an unprecedented 23 high-level meetings by JFK's and his national security team. Not only was NSAM-65 not implemented, but it was reversed in a week after the assassination by LBJ initiated policy directives NSC-273 and NSC-288.

The final nail in the coffin, according to Colonel Prouty, the one that actually signaled that assassination plans were already afoot, is the tell-tale fact that in the Pentagon papers that had been released within the government before JFK was assassinated (and later exposed publicly by Daniel Ellsberg), one-page cover sheets were entered in the text at the point where the substance of JFK's two policy directives should have been? Twenty-five stars

By Luc REYNAERT on August 24, 2007
Today America has become the nightmare (Arnold Toynbee)

Prouty's autobiography is very revealing indeed. Of course, it contains controversial items (Would JFK have stopped the Vietnam War?). But, it is the general picture that counts, and here, the author is prophetic.

Prouty presents his world view as follows: `The world is ruled by a power elite. The basic motivations are always the same. Money lays at the root ... the enormous amount spent on military matériel.'

This elite wields its power partly and most importantly through invisible intelligence agencies. `The power of any agency allowed to operate in secrecy is boundless'.

Nationally, JFK would probably be reelected in 1964, also via carefully directed investments, which should have influenced favorably the voting in heavily contested states. This reelection for another 4 years was very hard to swallow for a part of the power elite. JFK had promised to cut the defense budget and destroy one of its power bases (`split an intelligence agency into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.')

JFK's masterfully planned assassination was a coup d'état, not less than a total takeover of the US government. The cover-up of the assassination, which is still going on, shows the immense power of the culprits. They controlled the Warner Commission and could (can) force, until today, the media and Congress to pay lip service to them. Congress was never capable to launch an adequate investigation into the murder.

Internationally, `the world's power elite benefited splendidly from the staggering sums involved in the Vietnam War.' The author's moving evocation of the fate of a pastoral Vietnamese village shows that `people's lives are valueless when they get in the way of elitist interests.' (Mark Curtis)

The powerful show absolutely no respect for national sovereignty (e.g., Vietnam, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Panama, Iraq, the Philippines, even Grenada), which is the principle on which `the family of nations exists, with its property rights and the rights of man.'

At the end, Prouty is even prophetic: `the power elite utilizes all manner of plots to achieve their ambitious goal. That gamesmanship is called `Terrorism'.

This book is a must read for all those wanting to understand the world we live in.

By Thomas J. Farrell on December 25, 2014
Well written and ably researched

In his perceptive book JFK: THE CIA, VIETNAM, AND THE PLOT TO ASSASSINATE JOHN F. KENNEDY (2011), Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty (Retired, U.S. Air Force) admirably demonstrates that he understands the dynamics involved in the Vietnam War. Time and again, Col. Prouty draws on his own personal experience to elucidate various matters he discusses.

Concerning the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson used trumped-up charges to escalate the conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam into a major tragedy - and a defeat for the United States. Col. Prouty sees the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as having orchestrated the conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Allen Dulles was the director of the CIA - until President John F. Kennedy fired him as a result of the CIA adventure to invade Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs debacle. During the Eisenhower administration, Allen Dulles' brother, John Foster Dulles, served as the Secretary of State. The Dulles brothers were fervently anti-communist. Moreover, they regarded nation-states not aligned with the U.S. as aligned with the communists - the enemy in the Cold War.

Concerning the Dulles brothers, see Stephen Kinzer's book THE BROTHERS: JOHN FOSTER DULLES, ALLEN DULLES, AND THEIR SECRET WORLD WAR (2013). In my estimate, Kinzer does fine job of tracing the American anti-communist spirit back to the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. But Col. Prouty does not advert to this earlier history of the American anti-communist spirit. Instead, he picks up the story in the waning times of World War II (WWII). As he points out, Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union was one of our allies in WWII against Adolf Hitler's Nazis in Germany. As Col. Prouty also points out, Chiang Kai-shek's China was one of our allies in WWII against Japan. (Subsequently, Chiang Kai-shek was defeated by Moa Tse-tung's communist forces.)

Col. Prouty explains how 1.1 million peasants had earlier been transported about a thousand miles from their traditional culture in what then became known as the nation-state of North Vietnam and had been relocated in what then became known as the nation-state of South Vietnam, where they were landless and poor. Their relocation was orchestrated by the CIA

As a result of their dire needs for food, many of them became bandits. As Col. Prouty repeatedly explains, those bandits had been relocated in the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is so far to the south of North Vietnam as to preclude their having infiltrated from North Vietnam. Unfortunately, those bandits were considered to be communist "infiltrators" from North Vietnam - the enemy. Those bandits came to be referred to as the Vietcong.

With admirable clear-sightedness, Col. Prouty also explains the complicated logistics of helicopter warfare in the Vietnam War.

Because President Harry Truman had dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to get Japan to surrender, most powerful Americans had subsequently figured out that another all-out war like WWII would result in the nuclear destruction of human life on the planet. As a result, Col. Prouty claims, President Johnson would not authorize the American military to fight for victory over North Vietnam because such a fight would of necessity run the risk of expanding the conflict to bring in China and perhaps the Soviet Union - and thereby risk the dreaded nuclear holocaust. Thus American forces were consigned to waging the Vietnam War without risking victory - and the dreaded nuclear holocaust.

Even though Col. Prouty's overall discussion of the Vietnam War is astute, his major thesis in the book is that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, by experienced assassins hired to do the job. In CIA parlance, such hired assassins were referred to as "mechanics."

President Kennedy had ordered that all American advisers would be out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. Moreover, he was likely to win re-election in 1964, which would mean that he could make his order stick.

However, for years, the CIA had been cultivating Vietnam for a war there. A war there would serve the purposes of enriching what President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address had referred to as the military-industrial complex - in plain English, war profiteers. No doubt the war profiteers did profit enormously from the Vietnam War. (Of course the war profiteers employed many Americans in their civilian work force.)

Despite the fact that Col. Prouty suggests that the CIA was probably involved in President Kennedy's assassination, he stops well short of naming specific CIA and other government officials who were involved in the carefully orchestrated plot to assassinate President Kennedy. In this respect, we could say that Col. Prouty paints the big picture - but he ably paints the big picture.

In conclusion, Col. Prouty's book JFK: THE CIA, VIETNAM, AND THE PLOT TO ASSASSINATE JOHN F. KENNEDY (2011) is well written and ably researched.

By John Duddy on August 21, 2015
Who runs this planet?

This is a shocking book. L. Fletcher Prouty is a world class whistleblower. After reading this masterpiece take another look at the official 9/11 report. The secret cabal running our planet has been exposed by many writers and few politicians; this is an insider's report on that cabal. False flag attacks are now used by the cabal, not only in USA but in any country where the locals are not towing the line as demanded by the banksters.

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. -- Voltaire"

Amazing, the cabal has kept the lid on the murder of JFK for over 50 years. How long will we be kept in the dark about 9/11?

By W. Wilt on March 11, 2014
So somebody finally pulls it all together--the conspiracy is not a theory, it's all facts. Circumstantial, but no lies

Best editorial trick revealed: Leslie H. Gelb, who was to the Watergate papers what Phil Zelikow was to the 9/11 Commission novel, used the neat writer's trick (Gelb was a New York Times editor, you may recall) to hide something in black ink on a white page. Gelb uses the title President to avoid mentioning that JFK's presidency was ended with bullets. The President (JFK) had NSAM #263 written & promulgated, 1 Oct 63. The memo noted that the troops could be pulled out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. Ending the CIA-guided Indochina war they'd begun in September of 1945. So Gelb has "The President" as author of #263, have a mind-change with his cabinet, all of who had decided to go to Honolulu for the 22nd. On the 23rd, when an official speaks with The President, and a new NSAM is issued--#273, which called for an escalation of Conflict. The President of #263 has changed his mind and issued #273. The title stays the same, but the brain of the President who commissioned #263 was blown away by, what, Hornady hollow-point, boat-tail bullets (the kind the Abteilung der Heimats Versicherheit (dept of "home" "security"). And "The President" of the second instance just happened to be a different president, LBJ.

That's some clever and wondrously deliberate writing. The words are there in front of your nose, in plain sight. And yet they hide the circumstances, that, in the brief period between Nov. 21 and Nov. 23, the title President had not changed--just the life and body for which it represented. (In the newspaper biz, novices are instructed to "write around" facts that are missing. In this case, a few years after the Assassination of JFK, i think most people had gotten the news that JFK was dead and gone. Gelb and his boss were in that news loop, so I doubt Gelb would testify that he didn't know that JFK had been murdered (by a head shot fired from the Grassy Knoll, of course, but who's quibbling). No reason to fail to mention that The President (JFK) had been replaced by The President (LBJ), except if you want to avoid the "chance" that people will notice that Presidential Policy on Nov 21, 1963 (NSAM 263 (JFK) hand changed 180 degrees to Presidential Policy (NSAM 273) on Nov. 23 (LBJ).

So in the murder investigation, you'd want to bring Gelb in to get his story. You might want to set a water-board in the witness box right next to him--perhaps the special, autographed KSM (Khalid Sheikh Mohammad) model, guaranteed to last at least 168 uses (whether by one "detainee" (POW) or a succession of them. And you'd want to get all this moving while at least a few of the players are still alive. I'd like to hear what David R. and the rest of the Wall Street Banksters and lawyers have to say about JFK, RFK, Tonkin, USS Liberty, 9/11, etc. And also what Cheney and Shrub I and Shrub II and Rumsfeld & Wolfowitz and Pearle, etc., have to say about all the above.

At any rate, Prouty is a must-read. As is William Pepper's "An Act of State: The assassination of MLKjr." which puts the quietus to the phrase "conspiracy theory". Not a theory any longer, but a conspiracy fact. But who will prosecute members of the High Cabal? They run the government, with their private army, the CIA, and have since Nov. 22, 1963. Not that anybody cares, of course.

By Acute Observer on October 20, 2014
Memoirs of an Insider

JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy

Events in the real world and society are mostly planned, they do not just happen. This book presents selected events from 1943 to 1990. The major events of this time were craftily and systematically planned by the power elite. This book will attempt to explain the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the effects of the development of the hydrogen bomb, and why the "military-industrial complex" removed JFK from the Presidency. L. Fletcher Prouty spent 1955-64 as chief of special operations. Page xxxiii tells of one incident he witnessed of the "power elite". Page 4 explains how an agent for the East India Company created an ideological justification for eliminating unwanted people. Page 8 says that neither H-bombs or "Star Wars" can prevent warfare by terrorists.

Pages 15-16 tells of the driving force of acquisitiveness. Mineral wealth is controlled by corporate interests directly, or by the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Genocide is regularly practices to limit the "excess population", particularly those who object to this exploitation. He repeats Elliot Roosevelt's story about Stalin's claim that FDR was poisoned (he had spies everywhere?). "Many of the skilled saboteurs and terrorists of today are the CIA students of yesterday" (p.37). "The first aerial hijackings were publicly solicited by the US in return for big cash awards, plus sanctuary". Page 56 tells why so many of our leaders are lawyers: they are trained to work under the direction of their clients. Their "lawyer-client confidence" ensures secrecy, even in court; they work for international law firms in government, banks, and major industries.

Chapter Six, "Genocide by Transfer", tells how over a million Tonkinese were moved to Cochin China; it caused a rice shortage in a previously rice-exporting country! The destruction of self-sufficient villages created consumers of imported food (like post-1962 Burma), and enriched merchants and shippers. It also created a source of cheap labor? Chapter Seven tells of the destruction of the village economy, and the resulting banditry. The depopulation of rural counties and the "urban renewal" in the big cities caused internal migration and a rise in the crime rate here in America too. After Textron Corporation bought Bell helicopters, there was now a need for these helicopters in Vietnam. Page 108 tells how 43% of lives lost were "not from action by hostile forces" - just accidents! The high cost of machines and their need for maintenance (supplies, personnel) helped to lose the war.

L. Fletcher Prouty says the massive slaughter in Cambodia, the Iran-Iraq war, "Desert Storm", and the Middle East hostilities are an example of Malthusian social engineering (p.187). Chapter 16 explains the economic reasons for coups d' etat, whether Marcos in the Phillipines, Batista, Somoza, or Trujillo (pp. 236-7). Once a puppet ruler in s country tries to counteract its exploitation, its goodbye. Page 238 tells how "foreign aid" is used to support American companies moving their factories and machinery to foreign countries. Page 240 explains why Vietnam (like Korea) was a limited "unwinnable" war.

On November 22, 1963 JFK was removed from office by a powerful group that wanted to escalate the war in Vietnam, and increase government spending (p.257). Pages 261-4 answers those who mistakenly claim JFK did not want to withdraw military forces from Vietnam. Prouty presents information from the public record and his personal experience. NSAM#263 shows that JFK did plan to withdraw military personnel from Vietnam in 1963. The death of JFK changed the war in Indochina from low-intensity to a major operation. Page 291 lists the many things done as standard security procedure which were NOT done on 11-22-1963. If the Warren Report is wrong on any key point, then it is false. Governor Connally contradicted the key point of the Warren Report to his dying day. The assassination of JFK demonstrated that most major events of world significance are masterfully planned and orchestrated by an elite coterie of enormously powerful people (p.334). You can read Jim Marrs' "Rule by Secrecy". The August 31, 1983 downing of Korean Air flight 007 resulted in the largest Defense Department budget ever passed in peacetime.

By Michael Tozer on September 1, 2006
Simply Great!

In this volume, Colonel Fletcher Prouty captures both the secret history of the United States from 1945 to 1975 and the reasons behind the plot to kill President Kennedy. Herein, the courageous Colonel illustrates quite clearly that the clandestine history and the assassination plot were intrinsically linked.

From the important information in this book, we learn that the war in Vietnam actually began on September 2, 1945, when Ho Chi Minh was established as the new leader of Vietnam by our OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, and the US Army. The United States was thoughtful enough to provide all the weapons, ammunition, and supplies necessary for Ho and Giap to pursue their war against the French, which culminated in the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. Following that defeat, the CIA arranged for the transfer of 1.1 million "refugees" from the North of Vietnam to the South. These folks caused such disruption in the fragile agricultural economy of the South that their arrival ultimately drove the orginal residents to banditry in order that they might survive. These displaced bandits became what was later known as the Viet Cong. Hence, the CIA created the conditions necessary for a full scale war in Vietnam.

On coming to office, Kennedy, a brilliant and studious man, came soon to understand the perfidy of the CIA One of first his acts on realizing this was to fire CIA director Allen Dulles. Soon thereafter, he issued one the most important, and unknown, documents of US history, NSAM 263. Issued in October of 1963, this document called for 1,000 US military personnel to come home from Vietnam by that Christmas. The remainder were to be out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. Had John Kennedy lived, what Americans know as the war in Vietnam would never have happened.

Prouty demonstrates herein that the powers that be ultimately made the decision that they could not allow Kennedy to live. He makes it clear that assassination researches who make a career of examining the details of the government's false cover story truly miss the point. What matters is not how the President was killed, but why. And the answer to that question is that the assassination was a coup d'etat, transferring control of the government of the United States to a power elite, which has been in control ever since. Hence, we have the strange silence of every succeeding President on the issue of the cover up of the Kennedy assassination.

The book is well written and extraordinarily important. He would understand our nation and how it came to be in the condition that now obtains would be well advised to read carefully this terribly important book. God bless.

By Bill Crowley on June 27, 2015
Finally, a man on the inside talks

This book is written by someone who was sitting in the middle of Eisenhower's feared military-industrial complex, instead of an outside researcher. Col Prouty lived what he tells us for several years. He saw the Korean & the Vietnam War buildup from the inside; he watched as the Bay of Pigs went down and No, it was not JFK's fault.

I was most impressed that Col Prouty is the actual person depicted as "Mr. X" and portrayed by Donald Sutherland in Oliver Stone's JFK.

If only half of what he tells us is the truth, then we need to demand another look at JFK's murder.

By Peter Cimino on November 6, 2012
Fascinating read, from a man inside the Military Complex

Overall, this was a fascinatiing read, and an awesome addition to my already humongous JFK Assassination collection. My only points of contention: 1)The name of it (and I realize the name needs to attract the reader) should have been The Military Complex / The Power Elite: How it works and it's connection to the JFK Assassination. The first three quarters of this book was all about the High Cabal and the Military complex. Incredibly detailed and compelling reading, but I just could not wait for it to end so we could get to the JFK part. But when it did...BAM! I could not put the book down. 2) This may be minor, but parts were extremely repetitve. I stopped counting how many times he referred to the one million Vietnemese who migrated to South Vietnam. I know he was trying to bang the point home, but it got to a point where it was not needed. 3) Once he got to the assassination itself I truly thought he would get into names...who made up this High Cabal or Power Elite that is more powerful than the President and US Government. I understand this could be dangerous...but a little hint would have been nice. 4) I thought he would get into more detail how the Assassination was pulled off. He drops a lot of hints and possibilities, but never really gives details to his personal thoughts. I cannot believe Mr. Prouty, after all his years serving in the military in the sensitive positions he held, could not come up with some kind of idea. Be that as it my, I truly believe this is as close the truth that we could ever get. I think this give the Why and Who would benefit. But would love even more detail. Maybe that's asking too much... Whether or not you are a JFK Assassination buff...this is truly an amazing read.

By Gianmarco Manzione on February 12, 2005
An Admirble Attempt at Truth-telling by a Good Man

If you have come to this book looking for another lean, persuasive investigation of the various conspiracies that could have led to the killing of JFK, you have come to the wrong place. prouty's book reaches far wider than that narrow scope, exploring every square inch of his vast, first-hand knowledge of the workings and consequences of the so-called Cold War (though I don't see how the bloody loss of millions of lives during that time constitute a war that was anything but blazing hot).

Prouty, a former Air Force colonel and CIA insider, manages to observe his life's work from an objective standpoint that raises countless probing and often hair-raising questions and warnings. Reaching back to the origins of the cold war and its effects on the policy and history that would soon be made, Prouty paints an expansive, thorough and detailed account not only of the JFK assassination, but of the entire political and industrial framework festering in the 20 years leading up to that moment that allowed such a tragedy to take place.

Contrary to most other books that deal --either obliquely or directly -- with JFK's murder, prouty's endures with a relevance that has as much to say about our own time as it does about Kennedy's. He foresees all the problems of a tyrannically powerful CIA that functions as the President's puppet master. "Many of the skilled saboteurs and terrorists of today are CIA students of yesterday," Prouty asserts in what amounts to an astonishing revelation when one considers that, among others, Osama Bin Laden is one of those "CIA students of yesterday." But it isn't only terrorists: it is the people we put in place as American puppets around the world. Take Hamad Karzai, for example, former CIA agent and millionaire now serving as President of Afghanistan.

The intimate and omnipotent mingling of money, military, covert intelligence operations and politics is precisely the network of power Prouty implicates not only in the crime that was the JFK murder, but the crime of so many brutal wars and coups performed by the CIA throughout the world to this very day. We are under the tyranny of an intelligence elite, an elite that happens to have the most powerful military and political machines on the planet at its service.

As prouty shows, Truman regretted his approval of the formation of the CIA toward the end of his presidency. Eisenhower tried to curb its powers but failed miserably, and when Kennedy fired Allen Dulles -- CIA chief at the time -- and not only threatened but actually worked to break the CIA "into a thousand pieces," he was killed. If that strieks you as an irrational logical leap, you need to read Prouty's book.

It is admirable that he undertook the writing of the book himself, rather than resorting to the services of some professional writer as so many politicians and military officials do for their memoirs and other books. Consequently, Prouty's book suffers a bit from a lack of the kind of polish it might have had. He struggles to organize his vast knowledge into the kind of coherant narrative he envisions and promises to no avail throughout. The reader has to work a little harder here to put the many pieces together that prouty lays out.

Nonetheless, Prouty's book reads like a desperate, angry and even frantic attempt at telling the truth by a man whose writing voice belies a remarkable warmth and sincerity. He knows so much and is so appalled at the hypocrisy he witnessed throughout his career -- hypocrisy that turned to horror -- that his book reads like the result of a minor god angrily shaking his fists and roaring in a locked room. His background, littered with merits and accolades, backs up every claim he makes here.

Prouty's book is entirely based on first-hand knowledge and expertise he gleaned over the course of a distinguished career: the precarious security arrangements in Dallas that day, Kennedy's advocacy of a US note that would compete with the federal note, his vow to remove all troops from Vietnam by 1965 and how this threatened the money-making machine that was the Vietnam "conflict," the utter astonishment in Washington at Kennedy's victory over Nixon, a man for whom various war and intelligence initiatives had already been drawn up for him to sign off on at the start of his presidency -- before he was even elected!

From its first hour, Kennedy's thousand-day presidency threatened so many established powers, so many benefactors of the military industrial complex, that there was no way it could have ended up otherwise. Even Robert McNamara, a great admirer of the president and godfather to one of Bobby Kennedy's kids, understood that a helicopter-augmented war like Vietnam would "churn out big dollars," that the war itself was capable of creating the $500 billion in military-industrial profits it eventually raised. Any former Ford executive understands the profits inherent in the collusion between military and industry.

As Prouty reports, quoting the controversial novel "Report From iron Mountain," "The war system is indispensable to the stable political structure . . . war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power." This is precisely the bleak "necessity" that Kennedy eventually grew to rebuke, and it was that rebuke that put the nails in his coffin long before his trip to Dallas.

By A customer on June 15, 1996
Very, very good.

I am a fan of Col Prouty, ever since I read The Secret Team.

Oliver Stone is in excellent company, because both of these men aren't afraid to tell the truth.

It is exactly the lack of truth that is killing the

United States.

Those who attack this book, and Stone, with the usual ignorant hysterics, are part of the cancer that is destroying the very innards of the last, great democracy on earth.

JFK's assasination was just a symptom of disease that is ravageing us today. This book supports this point.

By the way, if you believe the results of the Warren Commmission, (the House Select Comm. on Assasinations didn't, in 1976-78),then you are part of the problem.

This book gives an excellent pre-text to the take-over plans of the war-industy complex,starting after World War II. Prouty clearly states how the US Navy took part in the destabilization of Viet Nam by assisting in exporting tribes to the south. The resulting mess fell into Kennedy's hands.

You can understand why the fascists would have to dispatch a man like Kennedy, because he tried to do what was right. He was too charismatic, and he was correct. He could move too get emotionally involved, and then to act. This was viewed to be a dangerous thing.

Kennedy's Presidential Memorandum #263 was the spark the could ignite a conflagration, pulling the armed forces out of Viet Nam. This correct moral action would lead to other positive events, such as the deconstruction of the war machine at home. If this course was allowed to be taken. It didn't , of course.

The Military Right Wing and Ultra Hawks of the US had to liquidate Kennedy. Then, later, Bobby, Malcom X, King... and I am sure that it was They were all done in by the same smoking gun. They couldn't stand in the light of truth, like a vampire can stand the light of the sun.

The prolem is still rampant today, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Read this book before revisionist history forces it from the shelves. Keep it alive, talk about it. You'll find that you will defend it when you see the context that is carefully presented by Prouty.

Also, think about how (now) Sen. Arlen Specter told us how the "magic" bullet is proof of the single assasin theory. Then think about how he told us that this same bullet dediced to wait in the air 1.6 seconds before striking Gov. Connally, and then move on to kill President Kennedy, and still later was recovered with absolutely no loss of mass. Think, then reject the fantasy tale outright.Specter was a liar, then as he is today, and the Warren Commisssion's finding are pathetically false.

You should then read this book. It's not fantasy.

The cancer grows as you read this, but it is not too late... I think. If enough people get informed, and then act according to their conscience, they can then eradicate the cancer.

There are not enough liar/fascists to stop a revolution of the truth. Today, they are afraid, and for good reason.

Thank you.

MBF

By A customer on December 24, 1998
"The Truth Shall Set You Free" - Plaque at CIA's entrance

These words of St. John are displayed at CIA's Head Quarters in Langley, VA. The DCI, (Director of Central Intelligence), Allen Dulles, was not known for his ability to write good "original" material... At one time, he commissioned one E. Howard Hunt to ghost write for him. That might be likened to a liar who hires a thief to tell the truth! Colonel Leroy Fletcher Prouty was not cast from the same "mold" that produced the likes of Colson, MacGruder, Hunt, Sturgis, McCord, Liddy, Mitchell, Hoover, LeMay, Lansdale, and all the rest... No, he was cast from a very different mold... a mold of integrity and dedication to his country, the United States of America.

Imagine a patriotic young man, who enlists into the military, sees combat as a subordinate on the front lines, is commissioned by his superiors (as they recognized the leadership capabilities that he possessed), and is eventually placed in a newly created position: Chief of Special Operations, as an adjunct to his previous title of "Focal Point Officer/Military Liaison" in support of all CIA Clandestine Operations, as per National Security Council Directive #5412. It is from this very perspective that the good Colonel speaks... and he does, in fact, speak the truth.

I would do a disservice to those who seek an accurate account of the CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate JFK, if I failed to mention the following:

Those who criticize or attack the content of this most important "work" of Fletcher, have failed to understand that: "In the interest of a LEGITIMATE National Security Agenda" many covert activities were necessary to insure the continued security of the United States. In such instances any and all of the brave men and women, be they CIA, military, or civilian personnel, who have engaged in such activity, including Fletcher Prouty, are to be commended for their heroism and dedication to the freedom of us all, as unpalatable as many of these activities may seem to those of us who have only known "peace" in our home land. Without the work of the many "human assets" whose dedication to preserving our security at times included, what is euphemistically called "Black Ops"-- we would not be free today to speak of these issues. In this context, "Black Ops" can be seen as a necessary, albeit "unfortunate choice" - However, choosing the lesser of two or more evils MUST be made at times.

At what point does one say "enough is enough?" I believe Colonel Prouty's insight is extremely acute because of the honesty of the man AND the unique "position" he held at the fulcrum of the meeting point between the military, industrial and intelligence complex, of the United States. If one who is in such a position:

1. "Knows the signature of black ops" from years of experience;

2. Witnesses the "breakdown" of the Law mandated by Congress as a "Control Mechanism" -- i.e., the NSC's ability to DIRECT the activities of the intelligence community;

3. Ultimately recognizes that the removal of the main member of the NSC, President John F. Kennedy, was saturated with the "fingerprints" of a very carefully orchestrated "coup d'etat";

Then, (if such an individual is a true patriot), he is under an obligation to "right the wrongs" to the best of his ability... even if it may mean speaking of things that, despite their truth, will tend to strain the credibility of the messenger.

I applaud Colonel Prouty's courage, dedication, wisdom, excellent reportage, attention to detail, and finally, his relentless committment... He is an excellent messenger.

In the words of Jim Garrison: "Do not forget your dying king..."

GO_SECURE

Gregory Burnham

VISAC

By Acute Observer on January 22, 2002
Memoirs of an Insider

Events in the real world and society are mostly planned, they do not just happen. This book presents selected events from 1943 to 1990. The major events of this time were craftily and systematically planned by the power elite. This book will attempt to explain the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the effects of the development of the hydrogen bomb, and why the "military-industrial complex" removed JFK from the Presidency.

L. Fletcher Prouty spent 1955-64 as chief of special operations. Page xxxiii tells of one incident he witnessed of the "power elite". Page 4 explains how an agent for the East India Company created an ideological justification for eliminating unwanted people. Page 8 says that neither H-bombs or "Star Wars" can prevent warfare by terrorists.

Pages 15-16 tells of the driving force of acquisitiveness. Mineral wealth is controlled by corporate interests directly, or by the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Genocide is regularly practices to limit the "excess population", particularly those who object to this exploitation. He repeats Elliot Roosevelt's story about Stalin's claim that FDR was poisoned (he had spies everywhere?).

"Many of the skilled saboteurs and terrorists of today are the CIA students of yesterday" (p.37). "The first aerial hijackings were publicly solicited by the US in return for big cash awards, plus sanctuary". Page 56 tells why so many of our leaders are lawyers: they are trained to work under the direction of their clients. Their "lawyer-client confidence" ensures secrecy, even in court; they work for international law firms in government, banks, and major industries.

Chapter Six, "Genocide by Transfer", tells how over a million Tonkinese were moved to Cochin China; it caused a rice shortage in a previously rice-exporting country! The destruction of self-sufficient villages created consumers of imported food (like post-1962 Burma), and enriched merchants and shippers. It also created a source of cheap labor?

Chapter Seven tells of the destruction of the village economy, and the resulting banditry. The depopulation of rural counties and the "urban renewal" in the big cities caused internal migration and a rise in the crime rate here in America too. After Textron Corporation bought Bell helicopters, there was now a need for these helicopters in Vietnam. Page 108 tells how 43% of lives lost were "not from action by hostile forces" - just accidents! The high cost of machines and their need for maintenance (supplies, personnel) helped to lose the war.

L. Fletcher Prouty says the massive slaughter in Cambodia, the Iran-Iraq war, "Desert Storm", and the Middle East hostilities are an example of Malthusian social engineering (p.187).

Chapter 16 explains the economic reasons for coups d' etat, whether Marcos in the Phillipines, Batista, Somoza, or Trujillo (pp. 236-7). Once a puppet ruler in s country tries to counteract its exploitation, its goodbye. Page 238 tells how "foreign aid" is used to support American companies moving their factories and machinery to foreign countries. Page 240 explains why Vietnam (like Korea) was a limited "unwinnable" war.

On November 22, 1963 JFK was removed from office by a powerful group that wanted to escalate the war in Vietnam, and increase government spending (p.257). Pages 261-4 answers those who mistakenly claim JFK did not want to withdraw military forces from Vietnam. Prouty presents information from the public record and his personal experience. NSAM#263 shows that JFK did plan to withdraw military personnel from Vietnam in 1963. The death of JFK changed the war in Indochina from low-intensity to a major operation. Page 291 lists the many things done as standard security procedure which were NOT done on 11-22-1963. If the Warren Report is wrong on any key point, then it is false. Governor Connally contradicted the key point of the Warren Report to his dying day.

The assassination of JFK demonstrated that most major events of world significance are masterfully planned and orchestrated by an elite coterie of enormously powerful people (p.334). You can read Jim Marrs' "Rule by Secrecy". The August 31, 1983 downing of Korean Air flight 007 resulted in the largest Defense Department budget ever passed in peacetime.

By A customer on December 24, 1998
"The Truth Shall Set You Free" - Plaque at CIA's entrance

These words of St. John are displayed at CIA's Head Quarters in Langley, VA. The DCI, (Director of Central Intelligence), Allen Dulles, was not known for his ability to write good "original" material... At one time, he commissioned one E. Howard Hunt to ghost write for him. That might be likened to a liar who hires a thief to tell the truth! Colonel Leroy Fletcher Prouty was not cast from the same "mold" that produced the likes of Colson, MacGruder, Hunt, Sturgis, McCord, Liddy, Mitchell, Hoover, LeMay, Lansdale, and all the rest... No, he was cast from a very different mold... a mold of integrity and dedication to his country, the United States of America.

Imagine a patriotic young man, who enlists into the military, sees combat as a subordinate on the front lines, is commissioned by his superiors (as they recognized the leadership capabilities that he possessed), and is eventually placed in a newly created position: Chief of Special Operations, as an adjunct to his previous title of "Focal Point Officer/Military Liaison" in support of all CIA Clandestine Operations, as per National Security Council Directive #5412. It is from this very perspective that the good Colonel speaks... and he does, in fact, speak the truth.

I would do a disservice to those who seek an accurate account of the CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate JFK, if I failed to mention the following:

Those who criticize or attack the content of this most important "work" of Fletcher, have failed to understand that: "In the interest of a LEGITIMATE National Security Agenda" many covert activities were necessary to insure the continued security of the United States. In such instances any and all of the brave men and women, be they CIA, military, or civilian personnel, who have engaged in such activity, including Fletcher Prouty, are to be commended for their heroism and dedication to the freedom of us all, as unpalatable as many of these activities may seem to those of us who have only known "peace" in our home land. Without the work of the many "human assets" whose dedication to preserving our security at times included, what is euphemistically called "Black Ops"-- we would not be free today to speak of these issues. In this context, "Black Ops" can be seen as a necessary, albeit "unfortunate choice" - However, choosing the lesser of two or more evils MUST be made at times.

At what point does one say "enough is enough?" I believe Colonel Prouty's insight is extremely acute because of the honesty of the man AND the unique "position" he held at the fulcrum of the meeting point between the military, industrial and intelligence complex, of the United States. If one who is in such a position:

1. "Knows the signature of black ops" from years of experience;

2. Witnesses the "breakdown" of the Law mandated by Congress as a "Control Mechanism" -- i.e., the NSC's ability to DIRECT the activities of the intelligence community;

3. Ultimately recognizes that the removal of the main member of the NSC, President John F. Kennedy, was saturated with the "fingerprints" of a very carefully orchestrated "coup d'etat";

Then, (if such an individual is a true patriot), he is under an obligation to "right the wrongs" to the best of his ability... even if it may mean speaking of things that, despite their truth, will tend to strain the credibility of the messenger.

I applaud Colonel Prouty's courage, dedication, wisdom, excellent reportage, attention to detail, and finally, his relentless committment... He is an excellent messenger.

In the words of Jim Garrison: "Do not forget your dying king..."

GO_SECURE

Gregory Burnham

VISAC

By jrbednorz@earthlink.net on February 24, 1999
Constitutional Implications of the JFK Assassination

A recent poll taken by CNBC and a "news-eum" shows that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was the 6th most important event of the twentieth century. How or why those polled justify this choice is not clear. But anyone familiar with American history, American culture, and the myths and assumptions most Americans carry as a foundation of their beliefs -- can deduce the relevance of November 22, 1963 and its implications.

Every school kid is taught that we live in a country where there is no need for coup d'etat. We don't assassinate our leaders; we retire them at the voting booth. In this, derives the faith we have in all our other institutions, and especially, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. From the dawn of our individual consciousness, we are made to believe and assume that we are "safe," that we can think and say and do as we please, so long as we don't tread on the rights of others. And every school kid learns by rote the Preamble to the Constitution -- "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense . . secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity . . . ."

So for thirty-five years, most of us have been living in some form of illusion and denial. We were told and made to accept the story that the President of the United States was killed by a single, crazed person -- a relative nobody, an insect. The Warren Commission Report assured a majority of people over some part of those 35 years that our institutions are safe. It attempted to assure us, among other things, that our public officials continue to be honest; that our judges continue to value and protect Justice and Truth above everything else; that our policemen and local officials can be relied upon to protect us; and that the government, when it tells us to send the flower of our youth to war, does so for good reason. In a way, the Report was a means of continuing the myths that we all believe, especially, that "We the People" are the ultimate source of authority and power in our government.

Unfortunately for the authors of the 26-volume Report -- but fortunately for the rest of us -- it has lost its credibility. That credibility began to erode almost as soon as the Report was published, as Jim Garrison, District Attorney of New Orleans parish, resurrected his investigation into the activities and actors of the building at Lafayette and Camp streets. Almost from the beginning, the work of Garrison and his staff was hampered by the seemingly unexplainable efforts of the FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency. Since that time, we have been slowly awakened to the possible involvement of as many as three elected presidents in the Warren Commission coverup, and there are echoes of something worse, something more sinister.

We owe this awakening in part to the efforts of Garrison, and to the contribution of the man who anonymously assisted him in that investigation of the late 60's. Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, the "Mr. X" of Oliver Stone's "JFK," retired from the CIA not more than a year after the assassination. New facts in the assassination have slowly accumulated, partly due to the efforts of Prouty, Garrison, an emerging army of quiet and persistent historical researchers, investigative journalists, and -- yes -- even elected officials.

Now there are several variations on the conspiracy theme, which polls show is now accepted or suspected by as much as 78 percent of the American population. Some believed that Castro was the source of the plot to kill JFK. Others accepted the most reasonable theory that organized crime, namely Carlos Marcello, was the dark force behind the assassination. How comforting. We can now change the TV channel to "The Brady Bunch" -- we are still safe as long as the identity of the bogeyman that robbed us of a President and half a century's history doesn't challenge our basic beliefs in the institutions of government. And of course, the institutions of the powerful are also safe from a skeptical and inquiring public.

Other theories are more troubling, and as Prouty tells us apologetically, advocates of these theories perennially suffer the labels of "conspiracy nut" and "paranoid." But Prouty was the post-war pilot who shuttled dignitaries to the major conferences of World War II and facilitated the "rescue" of Nazi intelligence officers from their potential Soviet captors. He was on Okinawa when the thousands of tons of war materiel suddenly deemed unnecessary for an invasion of Japan were unexplainably shipped to Haiphong Harbor for the VietMinh. He was privy to the CIA's covert operations from that point forward which slowly enmired America in a war without strategic objectives -- the war in Vietnam. He was in the midst of CIA staff who planned the covert initiatives against Castro, notably Operation Mongoose and the Bay of Pigs. He presents detailed, plausible explanations of the reasons why these efforts failed. This provides a basis for a most incredible argument that a "High Cabal" of individuals and agencies -- above politics, even above government itself -- set in motion the decisions, events, and coordination that enabled the murder of a President.

Prouty was Oliver Stone's closest consultant in forging the epic movie "JFK." The underlying theory of the movie has been labeled "Conspiracy-a-Go-Go," the essence of a plot masterminded by a "High Cabal." The features of such a plot are merely hinted by the movie. Viewers may take away from the film an awakened sense of suspicion mixed with disbelief, and this does not detract from the film as good cinematic art. But Prouty's book offers some solid history and autobiography. It doesn't digest as impassioned rhetoric or the rantings of an extremist paranoid. It comes off as the ruminations and reflections of a witness who has both feet on solid ground.

The author consistently reminds us that an explanation of Kennedy's murder must be grounded in economic reasoning. "Who stood to benefit?" "Why?" He tells us that he doesn't want to concern himself with the identities of the contract assassins themselves, and indeed he informs us that it is in the nature of this underworld thick with professional "mechanics" that their identities may never be entirely known. Instead, he provides us a review of history and foreign policy during the initial and most frightening stages of the Cold War, and he reminds us that individuals are at the core of power where decisions of enormous scope are made frequently without either the participation or the knowledge of the public. So rather than point the finger explicitly at conspirators -- whose identities may be suggested or mentioned as part of the book's historical message -- he leaves it to the reader's judgment.

I cannot fault the book for its failure to present solutions. Ted Kazynski, in his "Manifesto," levels accusations against the same dark, if not anonymous forces, and most people will overlook the scribblings of someone diagnosed as criminally insane. But we cannot ignore any longer the existence of a "power elite" and the imperatives of large-scale global organization which support its existence. If we wish to live in society and partake of the benefits of a civilization thousands of years in the making, we have to accept these distortions to the democratic myths that saturate our consciousness and perceptions. Offering a practical prescription for controlling those forces was never Prouty's objective in writing this book. More aptly, "JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy" is a profound wake-up call.

Prescriptions do not come easily. Those interested in what should prove to be a long and protracted debate should read Gerry Spence's "Give Me Liberty." But one cannot address the problem unless he or she is aware of it. To this end, Prouty's book provides sharp historical focus.

Randy Bednorz

By Smith_Dick@msn.com on September 11, 1998
This vital work is a MUST READ for ALL Americans.

Col. Prouty's most informative book exposes the vicious, greedy, and super-anonymous hand of the "High Cabal" as none other has dared attempt. It clearly demonstrates the bizarre and disgusting chain of events (created by the OSS and CIA) that began before the end of WWII; events that led to President Eisenhower's unprecedented farewell address (and warning) to the nation. These events also led to the creation of President John F. Kennedy's National Security Action Memorandum #263, which called for de-escalation of the Vietnam War and withdrawal of all troops from Vietnam; the memorandum that ultimately led to his death.

This work exposes the planned genocide of millions of innocent, non-combatant Southeast Asian civilians, under the guise of such noble sounding terms as "pacification." Readers learn that none of these attacks on the peace-loving Southeast Asians were undertaken to protect any nation or preserve any ideology. Rather, they were thrust upon the Southeast Asians to further feed the exceedingly bulging pockets of greedy international bankers and the insidious military-industrial complex. These events also served to further perpetuate the High Cabal's iron-fisted, though ultra-secret, control over American government, among others, and the world economy. Vietnam is but one homeland that the High Cabal has decimated to serve its own purposes. There have indeed been many others throughout history. The question is: who's next? Perhaps us? Every American should read this vitally important book. And, think about it...

Hats off to Col. L. Fletcher Prouty. A truly great American! I proudly salute you, Sir.

By Mike Bartus on February 23, 2000
A great book among others

I want those readers who have not read this book to read my opinions below.

First, this is a great book simply because Prouty has provided more inside ammunition for researchers to mine the depths of our secret government. This is the government of men who controlled the secret programs of assassination, the secret slush funds of counterintelligence, the operatives who dilligently carried out their secret orders,their programs of stealth, quasi-law breaking, and other publically inaccessible information. Prouty's book quite correctly points the finger at Dulles, Lansdale, and others in CIA, who were paranoid about communism and Castro. They viewed Kennedy as a traitor and he stood in the way of the war machine they were operating, both overtly, but especially covertly. The termination of raids to Cuba, the failure of follow-up air support at the Bay of Pigs, the promise not to invade Cuba after the Cuban missile crisis, were all blamed on Kennedy. The firing of Dulles, Cabell, and Bissell contributed to the intelligence community wanting JFK removed from command. It is astonishing that so few have commented on the contrast between now and then: in 1963 we were fed lies depicting Oswald as a crazed nut, a loner, and defector. These days we have mountains of evidence he was much more than these pictures of him. He associated with Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, anti-castro cubans, and others. He returned to the US without a hitch, but in those days a defector would have been hounded and closely watched. If this were true,then why wasn't the FBI catching all his associations and illegal activities? Prouty has produced the superstructure of the conspiracy by showing the history, and context of the cold war and the CIA

If one can view a supposed loser like Oswald pulling off this assassination as being totally ridiculous, then one can entertain other possibilities. Why was Lyndon Johnson reversing NSAMs so quickly concerning Vietnam? Why did Johnson appoint Warren, Dulles, Ford, et al? Why wasn't the Dulles appointment perceived as a conflict of interest? Here is the fired subordinate investigating the dead boss! Dulles definitely kept information from the panel, especially about the assassination plots being orchestrated by the CIA, with the Mafia as the gunmen. In this connection, another book of importance should be read and that is by Peter Dale Scott: Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. It is a difficult book because he describes a quasi government,over-and-above government institutions, which controlled the plot and the outcome. This corresponds to some observations about Prouty's book, which fails to name names. But that isn't quite correct. Prouty does name many persons who were in command positions and had the power to orchestrate the assassination.Two prominent persons were Dulles and Lansdale. Any clever and alert reader who watched Stone's movie JFK will see a very short (about 2 second)sequence in the movie where General X is making the call to the network to carry out the plot and kill JFK. On his desk is a nameplate which clearly says "Lansdale".

The Prouty book establishes that Kennedy "was getting Americans out of Vietnam, he confirmed that he was moving away from the pattern of Cold War confrontation in favor of detente.He asked congress to cut the defense budget.Major programs were being phased out. As a result, pressure from several fronts began to to build against the young President.The pressure came from those most affected by cuts in the military budget, in the NASA space program, and in the enormous potential cost-and profit-of the Vietnam War."

It is very ironic that his enemies in government brought about detente with the Soviet Union. The notion that Oswald was a lone killer is preposterous and if it were true, why would the full truth be kept from us so long after the collapse of communism? This was the facile justification for locking up the evidence until 2025: that our outrage against a communist conspiracy would demand a war against the communists. The real truth was to control the information to the American public, so as to cover their tracks, and establish a legend to the JFK killing.

Everyone should read this book. I heartily recommend this book to anyone seeking insight into the question about insiders being involved in the killing.

By basement@dnai.com Tim Canale on January 6, 1999
Highly Recommended!!

Prouty gives us the point of view of both an ace historian and an insider taking us from the origins of the cold war up through the assassination of President Kennedy, and then on up through tomorrow night's evening news. It's haunting how the power elite's patterns of military strategies and propaganda tactics of that era correlate with many of today's current events. Just the other day somebody on TV was screaming, "Why wasn't there an objective in Desert Fox?!" while at the same time I'm reading the answer in Prouty's book, yet the book was written 6 or 7 years ago.

This isn't a book only on the Kennedy assassination, but Kennedy's bold decisions which led to his death and the forces behind it all. He explains clearly the post-H-bomb military strategy of aiding both sides of the fence in Vietnam to win the REAL war - big business. We get an inside look at the Dulles brothers and their direct line to the "High Cabal" which overrules even the White House.

I once heard Col. Prouty say in an interview that he's never read a page of the Warren Commission's 26 volumes of hearings on the assassination. He said he didn't have to because he knew who did it. I thought that was a bit odd, but after reading this book I understand what he means. Prouty had worked with these guys! These are the same forces that overthrew the Philipines, Greece, Iran, Bulgaria and Guatemala (to name just a few).

Out of all the books written about the Kennedy assassination this is easily one of the best. Check out his website!

By A customer on October 22, 1999
A disturbing and enlightening insight into the Cold War

This book uncovers the many reasons for the Korean & Vietnam conflicts. It clearly implicates the OSS/CIA during the end of World War II in their involvement in providing supplies for the Koreans and then later for the Vietminh. Colonel Prouty indicates how the CIA are quite often able to live in a secret world while manipulating other federal agencies to their desired ends. When Kennedy took office in 1960 he inherited $6.5 billion in surplus from the previous administration. When he planned not to include a major defense manufacturer to build the TFX and gave that bid to General Dynamics the CIA and their constituents were vey upset. Prouty points out that Kennedy never had any intention in building great offensive systems for war. Kennedy wanted to create a united peace in the world through his reelection by implementing domestic policies that would focus on the problems "at home." He also desired better foreign relations with the Soviet Union. Kennedy planned to bring 1000 troops home from Viet Nam by Christmas of 1963. McNamara's report on the Indonesian situation indicated that all military units in Vietnam could be home by Kennedy's due date of 1965. But major corporations having an investment in the manufacturing of war machines do not thrive during peacetime. This was a critical area for Kennedy because of his change in the national policy. Prouty shows that the President's shift prompted many businessmen to seriously think about Kennedy's position as president. This book answers the whys of the cold war period as well as the assassination motives. Prouty's book points out the wasted time in focusing on a "patsy" as the lone assasin of JFK. In all probability Oswald was a soldier carrying out commands from his superior officers not fully knowing the extent of the damage. L. Fletcher Prouty wrote this history from his personal experiences with covert operations and his involvement with government agencies. After reading this book the author leaves one feeling disturbed, yet enlightened by the rich insight he has provided. I am grateful to Colonel Prouty for his willingness to share his knowledge so that many may have an alternative view and perhaps a better understanding regarding the Cold War era.

By Jon W. Davis on October 20, 2004
A Sobering Look Into the Past of JFK and the CIA

Prouty was well postioned to tell his story as seen from inside the intelligence community. Unknown to most people Kennedy challenged the hegemony of the privately owned and controlled Federal Reserve. In the summer of 1963 Kennedy signed an executive order to create 4 billion dollars in United States Notes, in direct competion to Federal Reserve Notes. Why? The United States Notes were based on the government silver stores and their creation did not create interest payements to the world bankers and owners of the Fed. Bills in denominations of $2, $5, $10, and $20's were authorized and the $2's and $5's were printed and in circulation. The $10's and $20 were being printed when Kenndy was killed. In Johnsons first month in office the US Notes were recalled from circulation. Go to any good coin shop and ask to buy a 1963 US Note. See it for yourself! The one gem in Prouty's book that ties Kennedy to this issue is a few sentences where he discusses Kennedy sending Robert McNamara to meet with the Governors of the Federal Reserve to let them know that there are going to be big changes in the nations money system. There is very little information out there about Kennedy and money and Prouty clearly knew there was a connection. Why is the topic of Kennedy and the money he created so obscure and unknown? The only other president in the history of the country to create US Notes directly from the authority of the US Government was Lincoln with his greenbacks during the civil war. The only two presidents to buck the money powers were both assasinated in office. I think Prouty shows a possible origin of one of the smoking guns.

By A customer on January 4, 1998
The key to the mystery of the crime of the century.

As a United States Marine in the Vietnam war, I never challenged my country's intentions to stem the tide against communist aggression throughout the world. After my extended tour of duty in that war zone, I came home to ponder how we became involved in such a protracted war that divided the country (USA) so. It all points back to the tradgic event on 22 November 1963. With the death of our beloved President Kennedy, the powers to be had free reign to curtail the planned withdrawl of the small amount of troops in that zone. Only 16,000 at that time. This book is an excellent reference to how real events were managed to create so much grief for the people of South Vietnam and the United States. As a former Marine who left enough of his friends to pay the ultimate sacrifice, I highly recommend Colonel Prouty's fine book. "Those of us who made it have an obligation to find the goodness in man and make this world a better place in which to live." Long live the memory of JFK.

Semper Fidelis

Ronald E. Springer on September 22, 2005
America has Waited a Long Time to Hear the Truth...

Finally, those involved are getting old enough not to place concern about their own welfare above truth anymore.

This book provides so many connections, such a depth of behind the scenes knowledge and inner workings of the specific programs operating at the time, you can't help but be bowled over.

***Note: Anyone interested in the Kennedy Assassination should realize that there is a "misinformation plant" in the Library Journal review department. Every honest book on the subject has been unconvincingly discredited by them, while they praise and try to steer you towards known flake CIA-financed writers such as Gerald Posner.

It's rather common to hear of wrongdoing by the CIA I saw a graph recently that showed American citizen's belief in their government plummeting after the Kennedy Assassination. Almost no one accepted the Warren Commission Report and such a cover up has casted doubt on our government ever since.

This "High Cabal" as Churchill called them obviously doesn't start with the CIA, or the Federal Reserve. It predates Christianity, but it's quite simple. There are bums who seek handouts and never try to rise, and there are bums who gain a position over others but still yearn for that same handout, taking it by force, by skimming, whatever is necessary to defeat justice, honor and civility. These are not great men and they will not be remembered like an Edison or a Ford. They are the most creative parasites on the planet, and the most deeply engrained.

Currency control has changed EIGHT times since America's inception. The most vocal fighter against irrational banking was Andrew Jackson; not Kennedy or Lincoln (google "Jackson Bank Veto"). He fought and defeated in his time what has morphed into the Federal Reserve Bank. Before the Civil War, such bankers were buying politicians, planting press stories, steering elections, stealing freedoms, killing people--anything to assure a fascist cushion between themselves and existence.

Do we ever hear anything bad about the Federal Reserve? In Jackson's time, they were entrenched 16 years deep and it was difficult to rout them out then. They did try to kill him. Now they are ninety years deep. They have owned many Presidents, they control the Justice and State Departments, and the CIA secretly furthers their agenda.

Nothing happens at the Assassination Level without their approval. In today's world, America is struggling in recession (bankruptcy) mostly due to the $360 Billion we now pay to the Fed for their generous "Debt-Money" System, and that is an exponentially increasing burden. EVERY dollar in our country has interest being paid on it as if it were borrowed! Due to this, bankruptcy for America is a mathematical certainty. (Imagine if you had to pay interest not just on every dollar you owed, but on every dollar you made! America IS!)

With changes in the laws, soon none of us will be permitted to walk away from our debts and start over--as if our hard economic times is our own personal fault.

We are all about to become debt slaves, as they intend. If you want to have a chance at recovery, if you want your kids to have a chance at a decent future, join me and I'll give you the Moral Armor neccessary to beat down these parasites and restore America to what it was meant to be. They CAN be defeated, but not without YOUR empowerment. If you can't stand up or are afraid to, I'll show you how. Invest in yourself right now and let's save this ship!

Joshua Lewis on October 4, 2014
They must be pretty well organized

Hard to believe for various reasons. First, other reviewers have commented on the "logic" of the author's arguments. There are, however, numerous fallacies in the book. Lots of, "X happened, and then Y happened, THEREFORE..." but the conclusions are never proven and don't follow logically from the premises. Second, the author doesn't seem to notice some of the absurdities in his thesis when applied to November of 1963. For example, we're told that an international elite working above the leaders elected to the highest offices of government have created and controlled world wide war efforts, power transfers, government overthrows, and economic and monetary conditions among other things, since the end of WWII.

They must be pretty well organized, financed and intelligent to do so. Yet, they were unable to ensure the election of Nixon in the closest election in history up to that point?

Seems odd to be able to start wars but not rig an election that was lost by .02 percent. And, if that isn't a good enough example, let's try another one.

The author gives us several photos in the book of the Dallas "Police" who transported a band of vagabonds on the day JFK was killed and points out the facts that their uniforms aren't standard DPD issue, their uniforms don't match, and their caps and weapons are not standard.

The obvious allusion is that they weren't real policemen and were somehow a part of or hired by this power elite who operated to kill on that day. Yet, wouldn't a "High Cabal" capable of all I mentioned above, have made sure to procure authentic police uniforms, caps, badges and weapons for such an important day, leaving nothing to chance, and preparing for every contingency? It seems like a very sloppy oversight by a group with such limitless powers and ability.

These are just two examples of many where common sense seems to trump the passionate arguments of the author. That being said, there is some interesting information in the book on the inner workings of the CIA and government especially during the Vietnam War. If you are going to read it, just be on the lookout for the faulty logic and use common, critical thinking skills to help sort possibility from probability.

Gary P on January 2, 2013
A few nice nuggets burried in the muck.

In "JFK", Fletcher Prouty shares numerous fascinating observations garnered from his position as a mid-grade officer in what I call the "Conglomerate of Covert Cold Warriors" (OSS/CIA/Military Intelligence/Special Operations/etc) from the 1940s until the early 1960s. Some of the conclusions he draws, however, are completely unsubstantiated and require a real stretch of the imagination.

Chief among these is the existence of some sort of secret "high cabal" of bankers and industrialists (but not the Illuminati, Bilderbergs, Council on Foreign Relations, Freemasons, Trilateral Commision, Pentaverate,or any other previously speculated secret organization) which has been manipulating the governments of the world into conflicts large and small for at least the last hundred years for the purpose of generating profits on the sale and/or financing of war materials.

Prouty further supposes that the CIA and KGB were the two principal levers with which this supposed cabal have exerted their influence on the world in the post-WWII era.

Prouty also suggests that the Korean and Vietnam Wars were prearranged prior to the close of World War II, and that everything that happened in Vietnam from '45 on was part of a master plan by the OSS/CIA to set the table for a protracted large-scale US engagement in a later decade. Kennedy's intent to deviate from this carefully and painstaking constructed plan for Vietnam supposedly was the instigation for the high cabal to orchestrate his murder.

While Prouty brings to light many interesting connections between the "Conglomerate" and world events, the need to attribute credit/blame for everything to some "invisible elite" group of power brokers who pull the strings of the CIA is difficult to accept. It seems to me that the fact that the CIA was a very insular group, created and led by a small cadre of extremely ambitious ideologues who operated with a nearly unlimited budget and almost no accountability means they were likely responsible on their own for most things that Prouty blames on "the cabal."

At times Prouty contradicts himself, suggesting on one hand that various apparent CIA miscalculations that drag us farther into the Vietnam war were actually intentional, while later claiming that the CIA were surprised when the same actions did not yield any strategic gains.

One last criticism I have is that Prouty often repeats himself. Certain themes are addressed over and over, with little or no additional detail brought to the table. Some passages were so similar to ones in previous chapters I wondered if my kindle was malfunctioning and moving me back to pages I'd already read. I blame this more on the editors than Prouty; they should have restructured his ideas more logically and could have cut 50-100 pages from this book without removing any value.

If you can look past the cabal angle and sloppy organization, there are some interesting ideas presented. Prouty makes a strong case that JFK intended to take the country in a direction in Vietnam that was counter to the aims of the "Conglomerate" and that certain individuals were conspicuously well prepared to reverse that policy in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. He also fairly criticizes the failure of the "Pentagon Papers" to put the the dramatic shift in Vietnam policy that occurred in late November, 1963, in the context of of a violent change in the presidency. His theory that the CIA-sponsored relocation of ~1,000,0000 Tonkinese Vietnamese from the North to the Mekong Delta in the South spawned the Viet Cong is compelling, whether or not you buy his supposition that it was a calculated result.

The fact that Prouty is the mysterious "Mr X" from Garrisons book "On the Trail of the Assassins" and Stone's movie "JFK" is reason enough for any assassination buff to read this book despite the shortcomings. That there are other interesting and salient nuggets burried in the muck of the "high cabal" theme is a bonus.

A customer on September 5, 1999
Prouty long on entrigue - short on facts.

I once had the opportunity to ask Col. Prouty (via e-mail) if he had retained any of the orders he states he received, or could produce another officer who shared his perspective on events surrounding the assassination of JFK. Instead of answers, what I got in return was a geriatric tirade and a sermon on respect for the men who have served this great nation. His thesis on the Bay of Pigs, given documentation now available (_Bay of Pigs Declassified_, 1998 National Security Archive, [...]) demonstrates that, where facts are concerned, Prouty is victim to his own perspective. Prouty reports that JFK was advised through CIA channels that Castro's air force had to be disabled prior to the April 17, Bay of Pigs attack, by Cuban exiles/CIA forces. Prouty states that JFK gave the green light for the initial April 15 attack, which decommissioned all but three of Castro's T-33 aircraft, and conveys that when JFK was advised on April 16 that three planes remained, he authorized their destruction with a second wave attack. Col. Prouty contends that McGeorge Bundy made a secure call to General Charles Cabell (brother of the Dallas mayor when JFK was assassinated, Earle Cabell) giving the president's approval, but that Cabell delayed deployment of the exile air force at Nicaragua. The Colonel contends that Cabell's delay in passing the order was the reason Kennedy later had him relieved of duty, and that the Mayor of Dallas retaliated for his brother's dismissal by participating in JFK's assassination.

Prouty makes the case that Cabell foiled any chances of success for the maritime operation by delaying the order for the B-26 aircraft to return to Cuba and destroy three remaining T-33s. But, Prouty is way off the mark on this one. Recently released documentation proves JFK wanted deniabilty and did not authorize the second wave of air attacks. While a question may remain as to whether the CIA adequately briefed Kennedy on the importance of the second wave attacks by the Cuban exiles, there is little doubt that whomever or whatever caused Prouty to print his version of the events will not contribute to Prouty's reputation for accuracy when confidently stating things as fact.

In a realm where hard evidence is a must, Prouty tells interesting tales. If his accounts of the events are to be believed, Col Prouty should furnish us military sources who agree with the Colonel, or concede that historically he simply cannot prove his assertions.

Evelyn Uyemura VINE VOICE on September 15, 2013
Half Credible, Half Not

What a sad mess of a book. It is really unfortunate that the people who were active adults in 1963 are now approaching their dotage, 50 years later, and in addition, that few serious publishers will touch the more controversial points of view with a 10-foot pole. As a result, we get books like this, from someone who might actually know something, but who can't write or edit a book into shape so that we can tell whether it makes any sense.

Prouty has several bugs in his bonnet:

  1. There is a secret Cabal of elites who run the entire world and have for centuries. Presidents and generals are puppets, mostly clueless as to what is really going on. (barely credible.)
  2. The fact that the earth is round, plus Malthus and Darwin, are the keys to the past 500 years of history, and the source of private property, colonialism, and pretty much all evil. (not credible to me.)
  3. Before WW2 had even ended, the US had already decided that its ally, the USSR, was going to be its next enemy and that Germany would be its ally, and started acting on this in the closing days of the war. The reason for this decision is that we, like all countries, need perpetual war to maintain sovereignty. (semi-credible--I doubt that any of this was conscious, if it happened at all.)
  4. A decision was made in 1945 that after WW2, we would next fight in Korea and Vietnam, and we sent weapons there for that purpose. (not credible to me. Yes, we may have sent weapons there, but I really doubt that there was a master plan in place.)

By now you're probably wondering what any or all of this has to do with the assassination of JFK. Well, that's the problem--this book is so all over the place that he spends essentially the whole book on deep background stuff, and the actual explanation of what this has to do with Kennedy is scattered throughout the book. He keeps bringing the story up to 1963 in every chapter, and then backtracking again and again. And again!

However, for all its problems as a book, the info contained herein meshes with several other books I've read recently that all point to the fact that Kennedy was moving from a Cold Warrior to a peacenik, (elsewhere attributed to his taking LSD with his mistress Mary Meyer. Who knows?) He *did* found a thing called the Peace Corps. He did give a speech at an American university that is called his Peace speech. Supposedly, he and Khrushchev were sort of pen pals, and they had both stared into the nuclear abyss and decided to make love not war.

Oh yes, another of Prouty's big ideas is that the weapons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a huge error on the part of the Cabal/Elite, since it made normal war impossible, hence a turn to guerrilla warfare by proxy. Again, the belief that everything is part of a master plan. The outcome is valid, but the idea of an invisible hand behind the scenes stage-managing all this is not reasonable to me.

Is it credible that the CIA could have been involved in Kennedy's assassination? On this point, I think the answer is yes. The old objection that people wouldn't be able to keep quiet if there were a conspiracy is pretty much moot if we're talking about the CIA, since by definition, these are guys who could do unimaginable things, have a cigarette, and then never speak of it again.

I think there is pretty decent evidence that Oswald was connected to the CIA (The defection and then un-defection in and of itself is pretty incredible, and his statement that he was the patsy is more likely if he was in fact a patsy, than if he were a either a nut job or a Castro sympathizer. Both of those types want credit!)

And this book also confirms the feeling that I often get that in fact the US has many of the characteristics of a fascist state, minus the concentration camps for Jews. It is true that we have wrought havoc in many other people's countries, that we maintain a near-constant state of war, and that *if* a president tried to go in a different direction, there are forces within the military-industrial-intelligence complex that might both want and be capable of taking them out.

I am fairly knowledgeable about the assassination scenarios, but I found this book rough going, because it goes into a lot of political detail about the internal politics of Vietnam as well as very detailed descriptions of Washington politics. Perhaps if you are a bit older than me (I was 11 in 1963), or more knowledgeable about all the names and politics of that time, it would all come together. But a good editor would have helped tremendously to make it accessible to the general public.

Curt Butler on March 2, 2008
Who was Maj. Gen. E.G. ?

In Oliver Stone's film "JFK" in the Mall Scene meeting between D.A. Jim Garrison (played by Kevin Costner) and "Man X" (played by Donald Sutherland), a flashback scene presented a nameplate from the desk of an Air Force military general speaking on the phone, and partialy showing his name as Maj/Gen. E.G. (unknown)?

Who was Stone attempting to make reference to and cast aspersions upon Maj. General E.G. Lansdale?

Does anybody know?? Will check back from time-to-time is see "IF" any comments are posted to my inquiry. Thanks!

R. Anderson on March 28, 2005
Completely Ludicrus

Contrary to popular belief today, Kennedy was a cold warrior. There is no evidence at all that he was (in his second term, if he even got one) going to end the cold war, or pull out of Vietnam. Michael Lind in his book 'Vietnam: The Necessary War' addresses this issue, and points out that the record clearly shows otherwise.

Several of the people who claim that Kennedy told them he was going to pull out of Vietnam revealed this information in the late 60's after the war had become traumatic for the country. Robert McNamara (one of the original architects of the Vietnam War), who has speculated for years that Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam, admits that Kennedy never told him he was going to pull out.

In an interview with Walter Cronkite a few months before he was assassinated Kennedy said (about Vietnam): "I think it would be a mistake to withdraw." Oliver Stone (cleverly), only shows bits and pieces of the interview at the beginning of JFK. Editing the interview to make it look like Kennedy was going to withdraw. In fact, the day he was assassinated Kennedy gave a speech endorsing our involvement in Vietnam. The claim that Kennedy was going to pull out of Vietnam is speculation at best. Go to : [...]

This post details many of the myths surrounding JFK's policy stances, and shows that (by today's standards) Kennedy (most likely) would have been a moderate Republican. There was no motive (as Prouty claims) to kill Kennedy.

Also go to: [...]

For some more of Prouty's crackpot opinions.

Kennedy was a cold warrior: he was conspicuously absent (as a representative from Massachusetts) when the House of Representatives voted to censure Joseph McCarthy (he even praised McCarthy on several occasions). He ran against Nixon in 1960 on the missile gap (i.e. we were behind the Soviets in the number of ICBM's). He said in his inaugural address: "......Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Doesn't sound to me like he was going to "bug out" of Vietnam.

Also, check out: [...]

This further debunks the idea that JFK was going to withdraw from Vietnam.

[Oct 27, 2017] How Saddam Hussein Predicted America's Failure in Iraq

Oct 27, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

b. , says: October 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Maybe US foreign policy as well as the popular sentiments expressed in the thread are well explained by the fact that the US does not have to worry about any bridges connecting it with the nations it attacks and devastates.

With two shining seas on either side, and no apparent military concern about the borders north and south, maybe all wars to be pursued for profit and "interest" are by definition elective, hence aggression, hence unconstitutional and illegal.

Kent , says: October 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm
How did the US "succeed" in Iraq? What did it gain? What is the measure of success in Afghanistan?
PJ London , says: October 26, 2017 at 11:39 am
Hamdani was a soldier and Hussein although a competent soldier was first and foremost a politician.(Qusay was a spoilt child).
Soldiers can win battles and even 'wars' but do not have the end-game in mind.

The only thing that USA could gain was some oil, some gold and a few more years of Bretton-Woods hegemony. Hussein attacked USA where it hurt. Refusing to go along with the Dollar exchange and insisting on Euro. Gaddafi did the same with a Gold based Dinar, and see where it got him. Iran has the same idea with the Tehran oil exchange, which is why they were/are so hated.

China and Russia and Hussein knew that it is only the first step to win a battle. If you take ground, you must then occupy that ground. Russia moved millions of Russians to all the occupied territories, and therefore could rightly claim that Crimea (and Kiev) were Russian territory inhabited by Russian speaking people. China in Tibet, Israel in Jerusalem. To win the battle is only a minor step, you need to occupy the land with your people to keep it.

There was/is no way that Americans are going to resettle in Afghanistan or Iraq and therefore they can never win the war. USA has 'occupied' Europe for as long as their troops have the 'Russians are coming' was believed and that the US army could enforce the Bretton-woods diktat. Both are now discredited and the USA will lose everywhere. It is trying to gain Africa, but there are already a million Chinese who have settled and USA has no chance. Of course the fact that the Chinese and Russians have gone to Africa with money and trade whilst the US has only drones and guns to offer will not make them popular either.

USA is dying and the final death throes are painful to watch, but it comes to all eventually. You had a good run but now is the time to say goodbye.

The British recognised it after the Second World War and handed over the colonies to the natives. Which then ran them into the ground with Australia, Canada and India being prime examples of why people need a strong hand to control them, but USA cannot or will not let go.

Unfortunately it is sad rather than amusing to watch the demise.

Wilfred , says: October 26, 2017 at 7:58 pm
Considering how events unfolded, both for Iraq and for Saddam personally, it's hard to take seriously the notion that he was a far-sighted seer.
M Murqus , says: October 26, 2017 at 11:11 pm
Despite all that is said, the USA has not "failed" in Iraq. The invasion of Iraq, as well as the invasion of Afghanistan and the destabilization of Libya and Syria, are all steps in the plan to control natural resources and dismember any threat to the zionist entity of israel whose lackeys actually control the U.S.

In addition, every country that was attacked was placed directly under the control of the bankers who finance the zionists. Every threat to the hegenomy of these bankers has been snuffed out and everywhere gold reserves were stolen, and oil, gas and mineral deposits are now under their control.

Whether you believe it ot like it or not, this is what is happening.

[Oct 15, 2017] Is Trump the Heir to Reagan? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Bastard neoliberalism by Trump (and Bannon) are inconsistent. You can't be half pregnant -- to be a neoliberal (promote deregulation, regressive taxes) and be anti-immigration and anti-globalist. In this sense words Trump is doomed: neoliberal are determined to get rid of him.
Reagan was a former governor of California before becoming the President. hardly a complete outsider. Trump was an outsider more similar to Barak Obama in a sense that he has no political record and can ride on backlash against neoliberal globalization, especially outsourcing and offshoring and unlimited immigration, as well as ride anti-globalism sentiments and popular protest against foreign wars. Only quickly betraying those promised afterward. Much like king of "bait and switch" Obama .
Notable quotes:
"... Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first. ..."
"... Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot. ..."
"... He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more. ..."
"... Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military. ..."
"... Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security. ..."
"... Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time. ..."
"... As Ingraham writes, Trumpism is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s. ..."
"... Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill. ..."
"... And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics." ..."
"... It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class. ..."
"... Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment. ..."
"... There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive. ..."
"... Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently. ..."
"... As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves. ..."
"... Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup. ..."
"... Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. ..."
"... you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.

Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it.

Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.

Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.

He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more.

Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military.

Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. "An amiable dunce" said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.

The awesome victories Reagan rolled up, a 44-state landslide in 1980 and a 49-state landslide in 1984, induced some second thoughts among Beltway elites about whether they truly spoke for America. Trump's sweep of the primaries and startling triumph in the Electoral College caused the same consternation.

However, as the Great Depression, New Deal and World War II represented a continental divide in history between what came before and what came after, so, too, did the end of the Cold War and the Reagan era.

As Ingraham writes, Trumpism is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s.

Which bring us to the present, with our billionaire president, indeed, at the barricades.

The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark. Reagan had won a landslide. The attempt on his life in April and the grace with which he conducted himself had earned him a place in the hearts of his countrymen. He not only showed spine in giving the air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work, and then discharging them when they defied him, he enacted the largest tax cut in U.S. history with the aid of boll weevil Democrats in the House.

Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill.

Greg Bacon , Website October 13, 2017 at 10:24 am GMT

And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics."

It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class.

The only parts of the economy it helps are the builders of luxury mansions, antique and pricey art dealers, and the makers of luxury autos and private jets.

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
@Mark James

when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process

Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment.

Two pieces here at Unz you ought to read, and fully take on board the implications of, if you want to even begin the process of grasping reality, rather than living in the manufactured fantasy you appear to inhabit at the moment:

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive.

Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently.

As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves.

Here's the German government being unusually blunt yesterday about the stupidity of the Trump regime's seeming plans in this regard:

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday said that any move by US President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal would drive a wedge between Europe and the US.

"It's imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue," Gabriel told Germany's RND newspaper group. "We also have to tell the Americans that their behavior on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA."

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-warns-donald-trump-against-decertifying-iran-deal/a-40933703

It's difficult to know whether the likes of Gabriel actually believe all the boilerplate nonsense they talk about a supposed Iranian nuclear program – the real reason the European nations want the deal to continue is that it stopped them having to pretend to believe all the outright lies the US told about Iran, and having to kowtow t0 costly and counterproductive sanctions against Iran that did immense general harm for the benefit only of Israel and Saudi Arabia and their US stooges.

The US pulling out of the deal would at least bring that issue of US dishonesty on Iran and past European appeasement of it to a head, I suppose.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT
Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup.

Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. Assuming they won't kill Pence with the same bomb.

YetAnotherAnon , October 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Mark James

"As for Trump I think it's crystal clear his campaign involved the Russians in our election. "

It's crystal clear that some people will believe any crap that The Media Formerly Known As Hillary's broadcast.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety.

Often I feel like it'd be better if Hillary did the same insane policies. It's always worse when our guy does something wrong, and better when the hated enemy does it.

Hillary was a danger that she would start WW3 in Syria, but I don't think we can be certain she'd have started it. Given how risk-averse women are in general, I think the only issue was whether the Russians could've made it clear that shooting at Russian soldiers would mean war with Russia. And I think even Hillary's advisers would've blinked.

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran. As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Randal

Unfortunately I can see Orbán and the Poles torpedoing a common EU stance. I'm sure that will be the price for Netanyahu's meeting with the V4 leaders a few months ago.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT
I think one good thing would be if US conservatives stopped their Reagan worship. He was certainly not a bad person, but he allowed the amnesty to happen, couldn't stop the sanctions on Apartheid South Africa, didn't (or couldn't?) do anything against the MLK cult becoming a state religion, and started the free trade and tax cuts cults, he's also responsible for promoting the neocons to positions of power. So overall he was a mixed bag from a nationalist conservative viewpoint.
Chris Mallory , October 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Mark James

Private citizens are forbidden to ask for help from a foreign country, when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process.

You forgot the Clintons, Bush, McCain, Romney, and Obama. China and Israel worked on behalf of all five of them, even though three of them lost

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Yes, that's quite possible, but a common EU stance is not really all that important. What really matters is how far the Germans, and to a lesser extent the less relevant but still big European nations such as France and Italy and the more subservient US tool, the UK, are prepared to continue to kowtow to US and Israeli dishonesty on Iran.

All the signs seem to be that repudiating the deal and trying to return to the days of the aggressive and counter-productive US-imposed sanctions will be a step too far for many of those players.

As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

Actually I suspect that repudiating the JCPOA, whether openly or by de facto breach, will go immensely farther, and much faster, towards destroying practical US influence and therefore power globally than any of those domestic policies, at least in the short run.

You can see that Trump is at least dimly aware of that likelihood from the way he keeps bottling and postponing the decision, despite his clearly evident and desperate desire to please his pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian advisers and instincts.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran.

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

1) There's a chance foreign policy insanity starts a nuclear war, in which case all domestic policy issues will pale before such horror.

2) The US already has de facto open borders. Why does it matter if it becomes majority nonwhite in 30 or just 20 years?

3) For non-American whites, it's better the earlier the US sphere disintegrates. I bet you it's better for American whites as well. As long as this political/cultural center holds, the rot cannot be stopped.

The Alarmist , October 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT
I watched the movie Independence Day last night: Can we have that guy for President after Trump, or do we have to have an obligatory Democrat (Chelsea Clinton?) President for the next 8 years?
German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

That's understandable, but obviously the calculation must be somewhat different from a non-US perspective. Given how strongly many white Americans are in favor of pro-war policies and mindless Israel worship (how many US blacks or Hispanics care about Israel or confronting Iran?), I'm not even sure nationalists in Europe should really lament the Hispanicization of the US. It might at least have a positive effect in restricting US interventionism and eroding US power. The sooner the US is unable to continue with its self-appointed role as a global redeemer nation, the better.

RadicalCenter , October 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Mark James

Glad you think it's "crystal clear." How about evidence?

nsa , October 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
History repeats first as tragedy (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly white air traffic controllers), then as farce (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly afro NFL jocks). Reagan was at least an American Firster. Trumpenstein is an obvious traitorous Izzie Firster, with little concern for the so-called deplorables except to convert them into deployables at the service of his jooie sponsors. Maybe Paddy should have titled his screed "Heir to Begin, not Reagan"?
Aren Haich , October 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT
Pat Buchanan points out that " it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush."

As for President Trump; Let us hope that war DOES NOT BECOME "The Last Refuge Of This Scoundrel"!

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Orban has been critical of regime change wars.

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT
@German_reader

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

If only non-White votes were counted, Hillary Clinton would have been elected unanimously by the electoral college, and Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

The few reliable voices for foreign policy sanity in congress, such as Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Walter Jones, John Duncan, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash, represent overwhelmingly White, Protestant, old-stock American districts.

German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 10:39 pm GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

Maybe, but is there any data indicating many blacks in Washington DC actually voted in the Republican primaries? Why would they when most of them are a solid Democrat voting block? I'd guess Rubio got his votes from white elites in DC.
As for Puerto Rico, I didn't know they actually have primaries, seems odd given they don't vote in US presidential elections.

Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

Hillary was horrible all around, and I agree she might well have been disastrous as president given her dangerous proposals for no-fly zones in Syria, and the potential of conflict with Russia this entailed. But I'm no longer sure Trump is really better regarding foreign policy. His behaviour on the North Korea issue is irresponsible imo, and his willingness to wreck the nuclear deal with Iran at the behest of neoconservatives and Zionist donors like Sheldon Adelson is a big fat minus in my view. Sorry, but I think you guys who hoped for something different have all been (neo-)conned.

Jonathan Mason , October 13, 2017 at 11:42 pm GMT
Reagan said: My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Trump said: We will totally destroy North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies.

Reagan was a joker, Trump is a wildcard.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 1:51 am GMT
The only similarities I see between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump is that both live (lived) in a sort of la-la land, totally out of touch with reality. The only difference between them is that Reagan had sensible people around him (like Pat Buchannan) who wrote good speeches and make good decisions which he took full credit for. Trump, on the other hand delivers abbreviated, one-sentence speeches via Twitter while surrounded by mental midgets with military minds.
Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT
@Randal

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

but you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process.

Randal , October 14, 2017 at 7:48 am GMT
@Carroll Price

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Well, yes and no. In both cases. It really is more complicated than that.

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:18 am GMT
Reagan didn't undo Arab Israel Camp David Peace Treaty He didn't keep the Israeli side and undo the Egyptian side of the American obligation . He kept both.

Trump is dangerous malevolent anti-American and anti- anything that hurts his ego or pocket . He has malcontent displaced sycophants as inner circle supporters who want a piece in the pie denied to them by the establishment .

Here is a quote from antiwar -"In other words, it's all about the war that Trump and his still-loyal lieutenant Steve Bannon, assisted by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared on the "deep state."

Also, Trump and Bannon aren't really interested in draining the foreign policy swamp in DC. They simply want to install their own cronies who will ensure that war and globalization benefit them rather than Kissinger and his ilk. It's a shell game designed to fool Trump's base, but the rest of the world has kept its eye on the ball." http://original.antiwar.com/feffer/2017/10/13/trump-signaling-unprecedented-right-turn-foreign-policy/

This war between elites have been predicted by a CT professor in an article in 2016 , to get more serious and dangerous by 2020 . The fights among elites are not new but another pathway an empire takes additionally to the final fate of the destruction from within

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:49 am GMT
@KA

"A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions."

Another visible sign of increasing intra-elite competition and political polarization is the fragmentation of political parties

cliodynamic research on past societies demonstrates that elite overproduction is by far the most important of the three main historical drivers of social instability and political violence (see Secular Cycles for this analysis).

But the other two factors in the model, popular immiseration (the stagnation and decline of living standards) and declining fiscal health of the state (resulting from falling state revenues and rising expenses) are also important contributors.

: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-social-instability-lies.html#jCp

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Ideally Europe would be strong together, without US and more sane policies on morals and immigration.

Yes v4 is connected to CC, Neocon, Zios.

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much, and being stuck between Russia and Germany which would isolate it from Europe in some ways. Obviously Poles are not uniform, views on US, Russia, Germany, Ukraine are all over the place. I wish Poland was just European (in politics) but the US-EU connection is still strong.

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm GMT
Commenting on US presidents. Presidents are puppets. All of them. Modern leaders in Western world are unlikable. Reagan at least had some balance, had some Catholic and Paleocon involvement. It wasnt all Neocons and Zios. Im quite sure Reagan (and his dad), people like Buchanan had connections to groups like Knights Malta or Knights Colombus. Cant prove it though. Kennedy was KC.

Today Neocon/Zionist influence is even stronger. Trump policies on NK and Iran are nuts. At best a war is avoided.

On the other side you have Clintons, Obamas. They would destroy the US, and have similar policies because again they are puppets. Clinton would likely be involved in Syria, just like Obama was.

German_reader , October 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
@polskijoe

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much

Yes, that's a problem, and I think Polish national conservatives are somewhat in denial about what the modern US stands for the "values" pushed by the US establishment today are incompatible with the Polish right's vision for Poland (e.g. conservative values in sexual morality – no homo-lobbyism and transgender nonsense -, strong public role of Catholicism, restrictive and selective immigration policies that keep out Muslims).

I can understand to some degree why the Polish right is so pro-US, given history and apprehensions about Germany and Russia, but they should at least be aware that alliance with the US could have a rather pernicious influence on Poland itself.

[Oct 13, 2017] Sympathy for the Corporatocracy by C. J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Biting satire...
Notable quotes:
"... The Tonight Show ..."
"... Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook. ..."
"... No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that. ..."
"... a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without ..."
"... Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'. ..."
"... A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. ..."
"... "Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Well all right, let's review what happened, or at least the official version of what happened. Not Hillary Clinton's version of what happened, which Jeffrey St. Clair so incisively skewered , but the Corporatocracy's version of what happened, which overlaps with but is even more ridiculous than Clinton's ridiculous version. To do that, we need to harken back to the peaceful Summer of 2016, (a/k/a the "Summer of Fear" ), when the United States of America was still a shiny city upon a hill whose beacon light guided freedom-loving people, the Nazis were still just a bunch of ass clowns meeting in each other's mother's garages, and Russia was, well Russia was Russia.

Back then, as I'm sure you'll recall, Western democracy, was still primarily being menaced by the lone wolf terrorists, for absolutely no conceivable reason, apart from the terrorists' fanatical desire to brutally murder all non-believers. The global Russo-Nazi Axis had not yet reared its ugly head. President Obama, who, during his tenure, had single-handedly restored America to the peaceful, prosperous, progressive paradise it had been before George W. Bush screwed it up, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming home the TPP . The Wall Street banks had risen from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, and were buying back all the foreclosed homes of the people they had fleeced with subprime mortgages. American workers were enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the new gig economy. Electioneering in the United States was underway, but it was early days. It was already clear that Donald Trump was literally the Second Coming of Hitler , but no one was terribly worried about him yet. The Republican Party was in a shambles. Neither Trump nor any of the other contenders had any chance of winning in November. Nor did Sanders, who had been defeated, fair and square, in the Democratic primaries, mostly because of his racist statements and crazy, quasi-Communist ideas. Basically, everything was hunky dory. Yes, it was going to be terribly sad to have to bid farewell to Obama, who had bailed out all those bankrupt Americans the Wall Street banks had taken to the cleaners, ended all of Bush and Cheney's wars, closed down Guantanamo, and just generally served as a multicultural messiah figure to affluent consumers throughout the free world, but Hope-and-Change was going to continue. The talking heads were all in agreement Hillary Clinton was going to be President, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Little did we know at the time that an epidemic of Russo-Nazism had been festering just beneath the surface of freedom-loving Western societies like some neo-fascist sebaceous cyst. Apparently, millions of theretofore more or less normal citizens throughout the West had been infected with a virulent strain of Russo-Nazi-engineered virus, because they simultaneously began exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of what we now know as White Supremacist Behavioral Disorder, or Fascist Oppositional Disorder (the folks who update the DSM are still arguing over the official name). It started with the Brexit referendum, spread to America with the election of Trump, and there have been a rash of outbreaks in Europe, like the one we're currently experiencing in Germany . These fascistic symptoms have mostly manifest as people refusing to vote as instructed, and expressing oppressive views on the Internet, but there have also been more serious crimes, including several assaults and murders perpetrated by white supremacists (which, of course, never happened when Obama was President, because the Nazis hadn't been "emboldened" yet).

Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.

No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that.

This hypothetical leftist analysis might want to focus on how Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to Despotism, and is essentially a value-decoding machine which renders everything and everyone it touches essentially valueless interchangeable commodities whose worth is determined by market forces, rather than by societies and cultures, or religions, or other despotic systems (wherein values are established and enforced arbitrarily, by the despot, the church, or the ruling party, or by a group of people who share an affinity and decide they want to live a certain way). This is where it would get sort of tricky, because it (i.e., this hypothetical analysis) would have to delve into the history of Capitalism, and how it evolved out of medieval Despotism, and how it has been decoding despotic values for something like five hundred years. This historical delving (which would probably be too long for people to read on their phones) would demonstrate how Capitalism has been an essentially progressive force in terms of getting us out of Despotism (which, for most folks, wasn't very much fun) by fomenting bourgeois revolutions and imposing some semblance of democracy on societies. It would follow Capitalism's inexorable advance all the way up to the Twentieth Century, in which its final external ideological adversary, fake Communism, suddenly imploded, delivering us to the world we now live in a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without , and where any opposition to that global ideology can only be internal, or insurgent, in nature (e.g, terrorism, extremism, and so on). Being a hypothetical leftist analysis, it would, at this point, need to stress that, despite the fact that Capitalism helped deliver us from Despotism, and improved the state of society generally (compared to most societies that preceded it), we nonetheless would like to transcend it, or evolve out of it toward some type of society where people, and everything else, including the biosphere we live in, are not interchangeable, valueless commodities exchanged by members of a global corporatocracy who have no essential values, or beliefs, or principles, other than the worship of money. After having covered all that, we might want to offer more a nuanced view of the current neo-nationalist reaction to the Corporatocracy's ongoing efforts to restructure and privatize the rest of the planet. Not that we would support this reaction, or in any way refrain from calling neo-nationalism what it is (i.e., reactionary, despotic, and doomed), but this nuanced view we'd hypothetically offer, by analyzing the larger sociopolitical and historical forces at play, might help us to see the way forward more clearly, and who knows, maybe eventually propose some kind of credible leftist alternative to the "global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism" double bind we appear to be hopelessly stuck in at the moment.

Luckily, we don't have to do that (i.e., articulate such a leftist analysis of any such larger historical forces). Because there is no corporatocracy not really. That's just a fake word the Russians made up and are spreading around on the Internet to distract us while the Nazis take over. No, the logical explanation for Trump, Brexit, and anything else that threatens the expansion of global Capitalism, and the freedom, democracy, and prosperity it offers, is that millions of people across the world, all at once, for no apparent reason, woke up one day full-blown fascists and started looking around for repulsive demagogues to swear fanatical allegiance to. Yes, that makes a lot more sense than all that complicated stuff about history and hegemonic ideological systems, which is probably just Russian propaganda anyway, in which case there is absolutely no reason to read any boring year-old pieces, like this one in The European Financial Review , or this report by Corporate Watch , from way back in the year 2000, about the rise of global corporate power.

So, apologies for wasting your time with all that pseudo-Marxian gobbledygook. Let's just pretend this never happened, and get back to more important matters, like statistically proving that Donald Trump got elected President because of racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, or some other type of behavioral disorder, and pulling down Confederate statues, or kneeling during the National Anthem, or whatever happens to be trending this week. Oh, yeah, and debating punching Nazis, or people wearing MAGA hats. We definitely need to sort all that out before we can move ahead with helping the Corporatocracy remove Trump from office, or at least ensure he remains surrounded by their loyal generals, CEOs, and Goldman Sachs guys until the next election. Whatever we do, let's not get distracted by that stuff I just distracted you with. I know, it's tempting, but, given what's at stake, we need to maintain our laser focus on issues related to identity politics, or else well, you know, the Nazis win.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

jilles dykstra, October 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Yesterday evening on RT a USA lady, as usual forgot the name, spoke about the USA. In a matter of fact tone she said things like 'they (Deep State) have got him (Trump) in the box'.

They, Deep State again, are now wondering if they will continue to try to control the world, or if they should stop the attempt, and retreat into the USA.
Also as matter of fact she said 'the CIA has always been the instrument of Deep State, from Kenndy to Nine Eleven'.

Another statement was 'no president ever was in control'.

How USA citizens continue to believe they live in a democracy, I cannot understand.

Yesterday the intentions of the new Dutch government were made public, alas most Dutch also dot not see that the Netherlands since 2005 no longer is a democracy, just a province of Brussels.

You can fool all people .

Che Guava, October 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Jilles,

I am thinking you take the article too literally.

jacques sheete, October 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT

Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'.

No doubt many do want their country back, but what concerns me is that all of a sudden we have the concept of "independence" plastered all over the place. Such concepts don't get promoted unless the ruling elites see ways to turn those sentiments to their favor.

A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. (And everything else.)

"Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories.

Does anyone else smell a rat or two?

Anon-og , October 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT

"Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook."

Very impressed with this article, never really paid attention to CJ's articles but that is now changing!

[Oct 10, 2017] Izreal gets 77 percent of oil from Kurdistan. No wonder Israel is making ties to Kurdistan and bucking the central government of Iraq

Notable quotes:
"... The Kurdish leadership is being very short-sighted – no one is going to back them if they get attacked by those three parties. Is the US going to tango with a NATO member? But it could just be that their army gets trounced in the field after putting up a solid resistance and they are able to use that to get reassurances from those various states that Kurds will have a better seat at their respective national assemblies. I certainly don't know the future, but it just seems like the current trajectory is bad. ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm GMT

@RobinG Hi Talha,

Here's an articulate source. Until the web gets outright censored, beyond the select eliminating and demonetizing that's happening now. See also Ryan Dawson's interview of Phil at comment #28. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybIee-u7qnY

War for Oil? (((Whose oil?))) Wow – thanks RobinG! I actually had no clue about that angle!!!

This article backs that up – 77% – that is massive!

http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Israel-importing-77-percent-of-its-oil-from-Iraqi-Kurdistan-report-says-413056

No wonder Israel is making ties to Kurdistan and bucking the central government of Iraq. If the central govt was to assert control, those numbers would change fairly quickly.

And – damn – Kushner's in on this stuff (it's amazing what that guy is up to in a completely unofficial capacity): http://al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/04/us-politics-iraq-kushner-diplomacy.html

The Kurdish leadership is setting themselves up for disaster.

Peace.

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT

@iffen

What's going to happen when "the Iranians" attack the Kurds?

Not sure if that'll happen – there's still time to prevent that from taking place. But if it does, it'll likely come from three sides; Turks, Persians and Arabs – since a new Kurdish territory is going to affect the territorial integrity of each one of those existing states.

Uncle Sam to the rescue?

The guy who spilled the milk comes back to spill some more – no thanks. Certainly Israel isn't going to lift a finger – maybe they'll give the Kurdish leadership exile status in Haifa or something for being good pets.

The Kurdish leadership is being very short-sighted – no one is going to back them if they get attacked by those three parties. Is the US going to tango with a NATO member? But it could just be that their army gets trounced in the field after putting up a solid resistance and they are able to use that to get reassurances from those various states that Kurds will have a better seat at their respective national assemblies. I certainly don't know the future, but it just seems like the current trajectory is bad.

Peace.

iffen, October 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm GMT

@Talha

What's going to happen when "the Iranians" attack the Kurds?

Where there is war, a cause can be found.

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT

@RobinG Hey RobinG,

I've had some good exchanges with iffen – though rarely on the subject of Israel. We agree to disagree. But others might gain benefit in a serious reply that brings together some things they haven't thought about.

I think what the Kurdish leadership is doing is deplorable and will not lead to anything good – but unfortunately it seems much of their desire for a Kurdistan is being backed by a lot of their population. That being said; I do not want any more Muslim blood (or anybody else's) being shed by other Muslims in that region.

This fratricide has to end: "The believers are but a single brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your brethren; and fear God, that you may receive Mercy." (49:10)

Peace.

[Oct 09, 2017] Autopilot Wars by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality. ..."
"... Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ..."
"... The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. ..."
"... On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. ..."
"... Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. ..."
"... Blather crowds out substance. ..."
"... Besides, we're too busy. ..."
"... Anyway, the next president will save us. ..."
"... Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. ..."
"... Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question. ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.unz.com

Autopilot Wars Sixteen Years, But Who's Counting?

Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts. First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven . Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less.

Nor can it be said that we don't care because we don't know. True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient. Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of presidential tweets. Here, for anyone interested, are press releases issued by United States Central Command for just one recent week:

Ever since the United States launched its war on terror, oceans of military press releases have poured forth. And those are just for starters. To provide updates on the U.S. military's various ongoing campaigns, generals, admirals, and high-ranking defense officials regularly testify before congressional committees or brief members of the press. From the field, journalists offer updates that fill in at least some of the details -- on civilian casualties, for example -- that government authorities prefer not to disclose. Contributors to newspaper op-ed pages and "experts" booked by network and cable TV news shows, including passels of retired military officers, provide analysis. Trailing behind come books and documentaries that put things in a broader perspective.

But here's the truth of it. None of it matters.

Like traffic jams or robocalls, war has fallen into the category of things that Americans may not welcome, but have learned to live with. In twenty-first-century America, war is not that big a deal.

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ]?

Perhaps just posing such a question propels us instantly into the realm of the unanswerable, like trying to figure out why people idolize Justin Bieber, shoot birds, or watch golf on television.

Without any expectation of actually piercing our collective ennui, let me take a stab at explaining why we don't give a @#$%&! Here are eight distinctive but mutually reinforcing explanations, offered in a sequence that begins with the blindingly obvious and ends with the more speculative.

Americans don't attend all that much to ongoing American wars because:

1. U.S. casualty rates are low . By using proxies and contractors, and relying heavily on airpower, America's war managers have been able to keep a tight lid on the number of U.S. troops being killed and wounded. In all of 2017, for example, a grand total of 11 American soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan -- about equal to the number of shooting deaths in Chicago over the course of a typical week. True, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the U.S. is engaged in hostilities, whether directly or indirectly, plenty of people who are not Americans are being killed and maimed. (The estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed this year alone exceeds 12,000 .) But those casualties have next to no political salience as far as the United States is concerned. As long as they don't impede U.S. military operations, they literally don't count (and generally aren't counted).

2. The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. In a famous speech , dating from early in his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower said that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Dollars spent on weaponry, Ike insisted, translated directly into schools, hospitals, homes, highways, and power plants that would go unbuilt. "This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense," he continued. "[I]t is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." More than six decades later, Americans have long since accommodated themselves to that cross of iron. Many actually see it as a boon, a source of corporate profits, jobs, and, of course, campaign contributions. As such, they avert their eyes from the opportunity costs of our never-ending wars. The dollars expended pursuant to our post-9/11 conflicts will ultimately number in the multi-trillions . Imagine the benefits of investing such sums in upgrading the nation's aging infrastructure . Yet don't count on Congressional leaders, other politicians, or just about anyone else to pursue that connection.

On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. Others have made the point so frequently that it's the equivalent of hearing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at Christmastime. Even so, it bears repeating: the American people have defined their obligation to "support the troops" in the narrowest imaginable terms , ensuring above all that such support requires absolutely no sacrifice on their part. Members of Congress abet this civic apathy, while also taking steps to insulate themselves from responsibility. In effect, citizens and their elected representatives in Washington agree: supporting the troops means deferring to the commander in chief, without inquiring about whether what he has the troops doing makes the slightest sense. Yes, we set down our beers long enough to applaud those in uniform and boo those who decline to participate in mandatory rituals of patriotism. What we don't do is demand anything remotely approximating actual accountability.

4. Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. While international terrorism isn't a trivial problem (and wasn't for decades before 9/11), it comes nowhere close to posing an existential threat to the United States. Indeed, other threats, notably the impact of climate change, constitute a far greater danger to the wellbeing of Americans. Worried about the safety of your children or grandchildren? The opioid epidemic constitutes an infinitely greater danger than "Islamic radicalism." Yet having been sold a bill of goods about a "war on terror" that is essential for "keeping America safe," mere citizens are easily persuaded that scattering U.S. troops throughout the Islamic world while dropping bombs on designated evildoers is helping win the former while guaranteeing the latter. To question that proposition becomes tantamount to suggesting that God might not have given Moses two stone tablets after all.

5. Blather crowds out substance. When it comes to foreign policy, American public discourse is -- not to put too fine a point on it -- vacuous, insipid, and mindlessly repetitive. William Safire of the New York Times once characterized American political rhetoric as BOMFOG, with those running for high office relentlessly touting the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. Ask a politician, Republican or Democrat, to expound on this country's role in the world, and then brace yourself for some variant of WOSFAD, as the speaker insists that it is incumbent upon the World's Only Superpower to spread Freedom and Democracy. Terms like leadership and indispensable are introduced, along with warnings about the dangers of isolationism and appeasement, embellished with ominous references to Munich . Such grandiose posturing makes it unnecessary to probe too deeply into the actual origins and purposes of American wars, past or present, or assess the likelihood of ongoing wars ending in some approximation of actual success. Cheerleading displaces serious thought.

6. Besides, we're too busy. Think of this as a corollary to point five. Even if the present-day American political scene included figures like Senators Robert La Follette or J. William Fulbright , who long ago warned against the dangers of militarizing U.S. policy, Americans may not retain a capacity to attend to such critiques. Responding to the demands of the Information Age is not, it turns out, conducive to deep reflection. We live in an era (so we are told) when frantic multitasking has become a sort of duty and when being overscheduled is almost obligatory. Our attention span shrinks and with it our time horizon. The matters we attend to are those that happened just hours or minutes ago. Yet like the great solar eclipse of 2017 -- hugely significant and instantly forgotten -- those matters will, within another few minutes or hours, be superseded by some other development that briefly captures our attention. As a result, a dwindling number of Americans -- those not compulsively checking Facebook pages and Twitter accounts -- have the time or inclination to ponder questions like: When will the Afghanistan War end? Why has it lasted almost 16 years? Why doesn't the finest fighting force in history actually win? Can't package an answer in 140 characters or a 30-second made-for-TV sound bite? Well, then, slowpoke, don't expect anyone to attend to what you have to say.

7. Anyway, the next president will save us. At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well. Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation. Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again. Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans -- members of the media above all -- pretend to take all this seriously. Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like, and ever less substantial. One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right. Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion! Corruption! Obstruction! Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution. The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice.

8. Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. As recently as the 1990s, the U.S. military establishment aligned itself with the retrograde side of the culture wars. Who can forget the gays-in-the-military controversy that rocked Bill Clinton's administration during his first weeks in office, as senior military leaders publicly denounced their commander-in-chief? Those days are long gone. Culturally, the armed forces have moved left. Today, the services go out of their way to project an image of tolerance and a commitment to equality on all matters related to race, gender, and sexuality. So when President Trump announced his opposition to transgendered persons serving in the armed forces, tweeting that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," senior officers politely but firmly disagreed and pushed back . Given the ascendency of cultural issues near the top of the U.S. political agenda, the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism and from being called to account for a less than sterling performance in waging wars. Put simply, critics who in an earlier day might have blasted military leaders for their inability to bring wars to a successful conclusion hold their fire. Having women graduate from Ranger School or command Marines in combat more than compensates for not winning.

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America. But don't expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact. Even to notice it would require them -- and us -- to care.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

Dan Hayes > , October 9, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

You have enumerated ten general reasons why Americans "don't attend" to ongoing wars.

Let me add a further specific one: the draft or lack of same. If there were a draft in place either the powers-that-be would not even dare to contemplate any of our present martial misadventures, or failing that the outraged citizenry would burn down the Congress!

BTW I had never thought about reason #8: the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism. This explains General Casey's inane statement that diversity shouldn't be a casualty of the Fort Hood massacre by a "diverse" officer!

Carlton Meyer > , Website October 9, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

One reason Trump won is that he promised to pull back the empire, while suggesting the Pentagon already has plenty of money. After the election, he demanded a 10% increase, and threatens North Korea to justify it! This increase alone is bigger than the entire annual military budget of Russia! The public is informed that this is because of cuts during the Obama years, but there were no cuts, only limits to increases.

How did the Democrats react? Most voted for a bigger military budget than the mindless increase proposed by Trump! That news was not reported by our corporate media, as Jimmy Dore explained:

Miro23 > , October 9, 2017 at 6:52 am GMT

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.

Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question.

So who are Mr & Mrs Indifferent, the emblems of contemporary America? https://www.yahoo.com/news/29-couples-boudoir-photos-almost-172445904.html ?.tsrc=fauxdal – Thanks to Priss

Backwoods Bob > , October 9, 2017 at 7:37 am GMT

Structurally, you have arms production, military bases, hospitals, and related service industries across nearly all the congressional districts in the country.

So it is an enormous set of vested interests with both voting power and corporate money for campaign treasuries.

Quoting Ike was good, and he mentions the opportunity cost in schools, roads, etc. – but also the organizing political and economic power of the military industrial complex.

The government schools are with some exceptions worthless. No subject, let alone war, is taken on seriously.

The legacy media has been co-opted by the MIC/Financial interests. The state is spying on everyone and everyone knows so. Free speech, free association, free assembly, right to bear arms, confront your accuser, trial by jury, habeas corpus – all gone now.

So the sheep behave. They walk by the dead whistling, and look straight ahead.

Robert Magill > , October 9, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

He was dead wrong about this in the 60′s as it soon became obvious to everyone else. But we learned how "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." Cut out the military draft and embed the press into the ranks so they dare not report the actions they witness.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

[Oct 04, 2017] Wheels and Deals Trouble Brewing in the House of Saud by Pepe Escobar

The quote attributed to Mark Twain and Yogi Berra "It's Difficult to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future" still holds. This assessment by Pete Escobar about forthcoming bankruptcy of KAS need to be verified in three years from now. It is unclear whether the key future events (such as prediction that the current Crown Prince might be deposed with the CIA help) will take place.
It is, nevertheless, clear that KAS economics is under considerable stress due to low oil prices and that eventually can bankrupt the kingdom as foreign currency reserves shrink rapidly. What such economic crisis might entail for KAS we can only guess by reshuffling at the top is quite probably in this case. So in a way the future of KAS hangs on how soon oil prices will be pushed back into $100 range.
Notable quotes:
"... MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else. ..."
"... "the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested." That may prompt "vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October." And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together. ..."
"... Asia Times' Gulf business source stresses how "the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership." ..."
"... MBS's pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy). That's completely misguided, according to the source, because "the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people." ..."
"... The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – "possibly" to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal. ..."
"... I n parallel, MBS's war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. ..."
"... The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles." ..."
"... Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the "baby you can drive my car" stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious "books" and "principles." ..."
"... In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country's population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan , Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported "moderate rebels" reduced to road kill. ..."
"... In Enemy of the State, the latest Mitch Rapp thriller written by Kyle Mills, President Alexander, sitting at the White House, blurts, "the Middle East is imploding because those Saudi sons of bitches have been pumping up religious fundamentalism to hide the fact that they're robbing their people blind." That's a fair assessment. ..."
"... In terms of what Washington wants, the CIA is not fond of MBS, to say the least. They want "their" man Nayef back. As for the Trump administration, rumors swirl it is " desperate for Saudi money , especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt." ..."
"... This piece first appeared in Asia Times . ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

No wonder, considering that the ousted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef – highly regarded in the Beltway, especially Langley – is under house arrest. His massive web of agents at the Interior Ministry has largely been "relieved of their authority". The new Interior Minister is Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, 34, the eldest son of the governor of the country's largely Shi'ite Eastern Province, where all the oil is. Curiously, the father is now reporting to his son. MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else.

Former King Abdulaziz set up his Saudi succession based on the seniority of his sons; in theory, if each one lived to the same age all would have a shot at the throne, thus avoiding the bloodletting historically common in Arabian clans over lines of succession.

Now, says the source, "a bloodbath is predicted to be imminent." Especially because "the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested." That may prompt "vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October." And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together.

ISIS playing by the (Saudi) book

Asia Times' Gulf business source stresses how "the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership."

MBS's pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy). That's completely misguided, according to the source, because "the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people."

The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – "possibly" to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal.

I n parallel, MBS's war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. Egypt and Pakistan have refused to send troops to Yemen, where relentless Saudi air bombing – with US and UK weapons – has accelerated malnutrition, famine and cholera, and configured a massive humanitarian crisis.

The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It's now public domain that the organization's funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS' leadership "draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles."

Which brings us to the ultimate Saudi contradiction. Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the "baby you can drive my car" stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious "books" and "principles."

In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country's population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan , Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported "moderate rebels" reduced to road kill.

And then there's the economic blockade against Qatar – another brilliant MBS plot. That has only served to improve Doha's relations with both Ankara and Tehran. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was not regime-changed, whether or not Trump really dissuaded Riyadh and Abu Dhabi from taking "military action." There was no economic strangulation: Total, for instance, is about to invest US$2 billion to expand production of Qatari natural gas. And Qatar, via its sovereign fund, counterpunched with the ultimate soft power move – it bought global footballing brand Neymar for PSG , and the "blockade" sank without a trace.

"Robbing their people blind"

In Enemy of the State, the latest Mitch Rapp thriller written by Kyle Mills, President Alexander, sitting at the White House, blurts, "the Middle East is imploding because those Saudi sons of bitches have been pumping up religious fundamentalism to hide the fact that they're robbing their people blind." That's a fair assessment.

No dissent whatsoever is allowed in Saudi Arabia. Even the economic analyst Isam Az-Zamil, very close to the top, has been arrested during the current repression campaign. So opposition to MBS does not come only from the royal family or some top clerics – although the official spin rules that only those supporting Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, Iran and Qatari "terrorism" are being targeted.

In terms of what Washington wants, the CIA is not fond of MBS, to say the least. They want "their" man Nayef back. As for the Trump administration, rumors swirl it is " desperate for Saudi money , especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt."

It will be immensely enlightening to compare what Trump gets from Salman with what Putin gets from Salman: the ailing King will visit Moscow in late October. Rosneft is interested in buying shares of Aramco when the IPO takes place. Riyadh and Moscow are considering an OPEC deal extension as well as an OPEC-non-OPEC cooperation platform incorporating the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

Riyadh has read the writing on the new wall: Moscow's rising political / strategic capital all across the board, from Iran, Syria and Qatar to Turkey and Yemen. That does not sit well with the US deep state. Even if Trump gets some Rust Belt deals, the burning question is whether the CIA and its friends can live with MBS on the House of Saud throne.

This piece first appeared in Asia Times .

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). His latest book is Empire of Chaos . He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com .

[Oct 04, 2017] How Kurdish Independence Underpins Israel's Plan to Reshape the Middle East by Jonathan Cook

Notable quotes:
"... It began with Israel's founding father, David Ben Gurion, who devised a strategy of "allying with the periphery" – building military ties to non-Arab states like Turkey, Ethiopia, India and Iran, then ruled by the shahs. The goal was to help Israel to break out of its regional isolation and contain an Arab nationalism led by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser. ..."
"... Israeli general Ariel Sharon expanded this security doctrine in the early 1980s, calling for Israel to become an imperial power in the Middle East. Israel would ensure that it alone in the region possessed nuclear weapons, making it indispensible to the US. ..."
"... Sharon was not explicit about how Israel's empire could be realised, but an indication was provided at around the same time in the Yinon Plan, written for the World Zionist Organisation by a former Israeli foreign ministry official. ..."
"... Oded Yinon proposed the implosion of the Middle East, breaking apart the region's key states – and Israel's main opponents – by fuelling sectarian and ethnic discord. The aim was to fracture these states, weakening them so that Israel could secure its place as sole regional power. ..."
"... The strategy of "Balkanising" the Middle East found favour in the US among a group of hawkish policymakers, known as neoconservatives, who came to prominence during George W Bush's presidency. ..."
"... Heavily influenced by Israel, they promoted the idea of "rolling back" key states, especially Iraq, Iran and Syria, which were opposed to Israeli-US dominance in the region. They prioritised ousting Saddam Hussein, who had fired missiles on Israel during the 1991 Gulf war. ..."
"... Last month at the Herzliya conference, an annual jamboree for Israel's security establishment, justice minister Ayelet Shaked called for a Kurdish state. She has stated that it would be integral to Israeli efforts to "reshape" the Middle East. ..."
"... The unravelling of Britain and France's map of the region would likely lead to chaos of the kind that a strong, nuclear-armed Israel, with backing from Washington, could richly exploit. Not least, yet more bedlam would push the Palestinian cause even further down the international community's list of priorities. ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Palestinians and Israelis watched last week's referendum of Iraq's Kurds with special interest. Israeli officials and many ordinary Palestinians were delighted – for very different reasons – to see an overwhelming vote to split away from Iraq.

Given the backlash from Baghdad and anger from Iran and Turkey, which have restive Kurdish minorities, the creation of a Kurdistan in northern Iraq may not happen soon.

Palestinian support for the Kurds is not difficult to understand. Palestinians, too, were overlooked when Britain and France carved up the Middle East into states a century ago. Like the Kurds, Palestinians have found themselves trapped in different territories, oppressed by their overlords.

Israel's complex interests in Kurdish independence are harder to unravel.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the sole world leader to back Kurdish independence, and other politicians spoke of the Kurds' "moral right" to a state. None saw how uneasily that sat with their approach to the Palestinian case.

On a superficial level, Israel would gain because the Kurds sit on plentiful oil. Unlike the Arab states and Iran, they are keen to sell to Israel.

But the reasons for Israeli support run deeper. There has been co-operation, much of it secret, between Israel and the Kurds for decades. Israeli media lapped up tributes from now-retired generals who trained the Kurds from the 1960s. Those connections have not been forgotten or ended. Independence rallies featured Israeli flags, and Kurds spoke of their ambition to become a "second Israel".

Israel views the Kurds as a key ally in an Arab-dominated region. Now, with Islamic State's influence receding, an independent Kurdistan could help prevent Iran filling the void. Israel wants a bulwark against Iran transferring its weapons, intelligence and know-how to Shiite allies in Syria and Lebanon.

Israel's current interests, however, hint at a larger vision it has long harboured for the region – and one I set out at length in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilisations.

It began with Israel's founding father, David Ben Gurion, who devised a strategy of "allying with the periphery" – building military ties to non-Arab states like Turkey, Ethiopia, India and Iran, then ruled by the shahs. The goal was to help Israel to break out of its regional isolation and contain an Arab nationalism led by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Israeli general Ariel Sharon expanded this security doctrine in the early 1980s, calling for Israel to become an imperial power in the Middle East. Israel would ensure that it alone in the region possessed nuclear weapons, making it indispensible to the US.

Sharon was not explicit about how Israel's empire could be realised, but an indication was provided at around the same time in the Yinon Plan, written for the World Zionist Organisation by a former Israeli foreign ministry official.

Oded Yinon proposed the implosion of the Middle East, breaking apart the region's key states – and Israel's main opponents – by fuelling sectarian and ethnic discord. The aim was to fracture these states, weakening them so that Israel could secure its place as sole regional power.

The inspiration for this idea lay in the occupied territories, where Israel had contained Palestinians in a series of separate enclaves. Later, Israel would terminally divide the Palestinian national movement, nurturing an Islamist extremism that coalesced into Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In this period, Israel also tested its ideas in neighbouring southern Lebanon, which it occupied for two decades. There, its presence further stoked sectarian tensions between Christians, Druze, Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

The strategy of "Balkanising" the Middle East found favour in the US among a group of hawkish policymakers, known as neoconservatives, who came to prominence during George W Bush's presidency.

Heavily influenced by Israel, they promoted the idea of "rolling back" key states, especially Iraq, Iran and Syria, which were opposed to Israeli-US dominance in the region. They prioritised ousting Saddam Hussein, who had fired missiles on Israel during the 1991 Gulf war.

Although often assumed to be an unfortunate side effect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Washington's oversight of the country's bloody disintegration into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish fiefdoms looked suspiciously intentional. Now, Iraqi Kurds are close to making that break-up permanent.

Syria has gone a similar way, mired in convulsive fighting that has left its ruler impotent. And Tehran is, again, the target of efforts by Israel and its allies in the US to tear up the 2015 nuclear accord, backing Iran into a corner. Arab, Baluchi, Kurdish and Azeri minorities there may be ripe for stirring up.

Last month at the Herzliya conference, an annual jamboree for Israel's security establishment, justice minister Ayelet Shaked called for a Kurdish state. She has stated that it would be integral to Israeli efforts to "reshape" the Middle East.

The unravelling of Britain and France's map of the region would likely lead to chaos of the kind that a strong, nuclear-armed Israel, with backing from Washington, could richly exploit. Not least, yet more bedlam would push the Palestinian cause even further down the international community's list of priorities.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net .

[Oct 02, 2017] The Kurdish independence referendum was a political miscalculation

Independence of small nations always depends on great powers. They are essentially pawns in a bigger game, national aspirations and all that as a tool in often pretty dirty game.
Notable quotes:
"... The Iraqi government has banned international flights to the Kurdish capital Irbil from 6pm this Friday, isolating the Kurds in Iraq to a degree they have not experienced since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The isolation is political as well as geographical as traditional Kurdish allies, like the US, UK, France and Germany, have opposed the referendum on Kurdish independence while near neighbours in Turkey, Iran and Baghdad are moving to squeeze the Kurds into submission. ..."
"... The four countries with Kurdish minorities fear that secessionism might spread, but a further problem is that they do not believe that an Iraqi Kurdish state would be truly independent, but would shift into the orbit of another power. The Iranians are paranoid about the possibility that such a state would be an American base threatening Iran. Politicians in Baghdad say that, if the Kurds are serious about self-determination, they would cling onto the oil fields of Kirkuk and be dependent on Turkey through which to export their crude. ..."
Oct 02, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Iraqi government has banned international flights to the Kurdish capital Irbil from 6pm this Friday, isolating the Kurds in Iraq to a degree they have not experienced since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The isolation is political as well as geographical as traditional Kurdish allies, like the US, UK, France and Germany, have opposed the referendum on Kurdish independence while near neighbours in Turkey, Iran and Baghdad are moving to squeeze the Kurds into submission.

The referendum succeeded in showing that the Kurds, not just in Iraq but in Turkey, Iran and Syria, still yearn for their own state. Paradoxically, the outcome of the poll has demonstrated both the strength of their demand for self-determination and the weakness of their ability to obtain it. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is revealed as a minnow whose freedom of action – and even its survival – depends on playing off one foreign state against the other and keeping tolerable relations with all of them, even when they detested each other. In the past an American envoy would go out one door just as the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards came in the other.

The referendum has ended, perhaps only temporarily, these delicate balancing acts at which the Kurdish leadership was very skilled. In the last few weeks, the US has denounced the referendum in forthright terms, emboldening Iraq, Turkey and Iran to punish the Kurds for their undiplomatic enthusiasm to be an independent nation.

The poll was always a dangerous gamble but it is too early to say that it has entirely failed: minority communities and small nations must occasionally kick their big power allies in the teeth. Otherwise, they will become permanent proxies whose agreement with what their big power ally wants can be taken for granted. The skill for the smaller player is not to pay too high a price for going their own way. Iraq, Turkey and Iran have all made threatening statements over the last few days, some of them bombast, but they can hit the Kurds very hard if they want to.

The Kurds are in a fix and normally they would look to Washington to help them out, but under President Trump US foreign policy has become notoriously unpredictable. Worse from the Kurdish point of view, the US no longer needs the Iraqi Kurds as it did before the capture of Mosul from Isis in July. In any case, it was the Iraqi armed forces that won a great victory there, so for the first time in 14 years there is a powerful Iraqi army in the north of the country. We may not be on the verge of an Arab-Kurdish war, but the military balance of power is changing and Baghdad, not Irbil, is the gainer.

Anxious diplomats and excited journalists describe Iraq as "being on a collision course", but the different parties will not necessarily collide. Muddling through is not only a British trait. But there is no doubt that the situation has become more dangerous, particularly in the disputed territories stretching across northern Iraq from Syria to Iran.

The referendum always had a risky ambivalence about it which helped ignite the present crisis. It all depended on what audience Kurdish President Masoud Barzani was addressing: when he spoke to Kurdish voters, it was a poll of historic significance when the Kurds would take a decisive step towards an independent state.

But addressing an international and regional audience, Barzani said he was proposing something much tamer, more like an opinion poll, in which the Iraqi Kurds were politely indicating a general preference for independence at some date in the future. Like many leaders who play the nationalist card, Barzani is finding that his rhetoric is being taken more seriously than his caveats. "Bye, Bye Iraq!" chanted crowds in Irbil on the night of the referendum.

Much of this was born of Barzani's bid to outmanoeuvre his political rivals in Kurdistan by re-emerging as the standard bearer of Kurdish nationalism. He will benefit from his decision to defy the world and press ahead with the vote when it comes to the presidential and parliamentary elections in KRG on 1 November.

But the price of this could be high. It is not only Barzani who is facing an election in which national self-assertion is an issue in the coming months. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has a parliamentary election in 2018 and does not want to be accused of being insufficiently tough on the Kurds. Banning of international flights to Irbil is far less than many Iraqi MPs say they want.

By holding a referendum in the disputed territories, Barzani promoted this issue to the top of the Iraqi political agenda. It might have been in the interests of the Kurds to let it lie since the contending claims for land are deeply felt and irreconcilable. Optimists believe that Irbil and Baghdad could never go to war because they are both too dependent militarily on foreign powers. It is true that the Iraqi armed forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga alike could not have held off and defeated Isis without close air support from the US-led coalition. But by putting the future status of the KRG and the territories in play, Barzani has presented the Iraqi government, Turkey and Iran with a threat and an opportunity.

The four countries with Kurdish minorities fear that secessionism might spread, but a further problem is that they do not believe that an Iraqi Kurdish state would be truly independent, but would shift into the orbit of another power. The Iranians are paranoid about the possibility that such a state would be an American base threatening Iran. Politicians in Baghdad say that, if the Kurds are serious about self-determination, they would cling onto the oil fields of Kirkuk and be dependent on Turkey through which to export their crude.

Once the KRG dreamed of becoming a new Dubai with gleaming malls and hotels, but since 2014 it has looked more like Pompeii. The skyline is punctured by dozens of half completed tower blocks beside rusting cranes and abandoned machinery. The boom town atmosphere disappeared in 2014 when the price of oil went down, money stopped coming from Baghdad and Isis seized Mosul two hours' drive away. The state is impoverished and salaries paid late, if at all. This will now all get a lot worse with airports and border crossings closed and 35,000 federal employees no longer being paid.

At all events, the political landscape in Iraq and Syria is changing: we are at the beginning of a new political phase in which the battle to defeat Isis is being replaced by a power struggle between Arabs and Kurds.

[Oct 01, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here by Cornel West

Notable quotes:
"... The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness. ..."
"... This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. ..."
"... In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome! ..."
"... The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang ..."
"... The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised. ..."
"... if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial! ..."
"... The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. ..."
"... Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back. ..."
"... He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. ..."
"... Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties.

Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one Liza Featherstone By banking on the idea that women would support Hillary Clinton just because she was a female candidate, the movement made a terrible mistake Read more

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence.

In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election Hannah Jane Parkinson The 'alt-right' (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media. But tech companies seem unwilling to admit there's a problem

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

To be replaced by a form of capitalism that is constrained by national interests. An ideology that wishes to uses the forces of capitalism within a market limited only by national boundaries which aims for more self sufficiency only importing goods the nation can not itself source.

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

Really? The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised.

That in recent decades middle ground politicians have strayed from the true faith....and now its time to go back - popular capitalism, small government, low taxes.

if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial!

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

Maybe, West should have written that we're now in neoliberal, neofascist era!

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

Well in all fairness, Donald Trump (horse's ass) did say he'd 'pump' money into the middle classes thus abandoning 'trickle down'. His plan/ideology is also to increase corporate tax revenues overall by reducing the level of corporation tax -- the aim being to entice corporations to repatriate wealth currently held overseas. Plus he has proposed an infrastructure spending spree, a fiscal stimulus not a monetary one. When you add in tax cuts the middle classes will feel flushed and it is within that demographic that most businesses and hence jobs are created. I think his short game has every chance of doing what he said it would.

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did.

But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

I agree with some of this, but do we really have to throw around hysterical terms like 'fascist' at every opportunity? It's as bad as when people call the left 'cultural Marxists'.

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

True, it's sloganeering that drowns out any nuance, whoever does it. Whenever a political term is coined, you can be assured that its use and meaning will eventually be extended to the point that it becomes less effective at characterising the very groups that it was coined to characterise.

Keep "fascist" for Mussolini and "cultural Marxist" for Adorno, unless and until others show such strong resemblances that the link can't seriously be denied.

I agree about the importance of recognising the suffering of the poor and building alliances beyond, and not primarily defined by, race though.

l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 6:40
Hang about Trump is the embodiment of neo-liberalism. It's neo-liberalism with republican tea party in control. He's not going to smash the system that served him so well, the years he manipulated and cheated, why would he want to change it.
garrylee -> l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 9:38
West's point is that it's beyond Trump's control. The scales have fallen from peoples eyes. They now see the deceit of neo-liberalism. And once they see through the charlatan Trump and the rest of the fascists, they will, hopefully, come to realize the only antidote to neo-liberalism is a planned economy.

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

Not sure Neo-Liberalism has ended. All they have done is get rid of the middle man.

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

[Sep 30, 2017] Yanis Varoufakis Schauble Leaves but Schauble-ism Lives On by Yanis Varoufakis

Notable quotes:
"... Why did Dr Schäuble aim at maintaining the eurozones fragility? Why was he, in this context, ever so keen to maintain the threat of Grexit? The simple answer is: Because a state of permanent fragility was instrumental to his strategy for using the threat of expulsion from the euro (or even of Germanys withdrawal from it) to discipline the deficit countries – chiefly France. ..."
"... Deep in Dr Schäuble thinking there was the belief that, as a federation is infeasible, the euro is a glorified fixed exchange rate regime. ..."
"... It really seems that the outcomes of both versions of economic conservatism produce similar neoliberal outcomes in aggregate: reduced wages, precarious working conditions, increasing economic inequality, reduced services, tax money being funnelled to businesses, and vanishing/crumbling infrastructure ..."
"... Then again, Obsourne* was all about the rhetoric of balanced budgets – that is, balanced budget for the poor, unbalanced budget stimulus for the rich. So, there can also be a Tory similarity with the German type of economic conservative strand. ..."
"... For the average working punter the situation, in toto, just keeps getting worse. ..."
"... I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble, a lawyer not an economist, and one with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence (bribes being acceptable business expenses in Germany until recently). ..."
"... I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble ..."
"... with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence ..."
"... I agree that he is on board with ordoliberallism which is basically a nutcase extremist version of neoliberalism that is mainstream in Germany but I didn't want to over-egg the pudding. Let us not forget that the non-ordoliberal IMF has fronted for the Troikas tender ministrations to debtor countries during pretty much all of Schaubles tenure, save its pushback in the latest round of financing for Greece over the refusal of EU state lenders to Greece to write off some of the debt owed. And the IMF still capitulated. ..."
"... So if the IMF stood shoulder to shoulder with Schauble, does the fact that he was an ordoliberal as opposed to neoliberal make any difference in practice? ..."
"... On the other hand, while Neoliberals are True Believers on the benefits of free movement and trade, Ordoliberals are far more pragmatic, and are at heart mercantilists and corporatists (and this includes being quite happy to keep Trade Unions and other social sectors on board rather than seeing them as enemies). This is clearly reflected in the constitutional make-up of the EU. ..."
"... Its also worth pointing out that while in the Anglosphere liberals have a unified approach and dominate the main parties, in many European countries, in particular Germany, there are, and always have been, distinct parties representing the different shades of liberal views, with Christian Democrats being Ordos, while smaller parties such as the Free Democrats representing a purer form of liberalism. As Yanis points out, a strengthened FDP is a disaster for Europe, we can only hope that the Greens somehow manage to wrestle away some of the economic portfolio from them. ..."
"... Philip Mirowski, who seems to have tried as much as anyone to clarify what is and isn't neoliberalism, considers ordoliberalism one of at least three or four variants: ordo, Austrian, Chicago School and, probably, James Buchanans public choice. He identifies Carl Schmitt as a key influence on Hayek, particularly Schmitts notions that the economy was too important to be left to the whims of democracy (only a strong state can preserve and enhance a free-market economy) and the exception, which is to say that the state should stay out of the economy at all times (i.e. no bailouts for you) except when preserving the market requires state intervention. Think Obama and big banks. ..."
"... I agree that Im surprised so many German workers have blithely accepted this constriction on their incomes. ..."
Sep 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Yves Smith

Originally published at his website

Yves here. It was painful to read the encomiums for Wolfgang Schäuble yesterday as he is about to leave his post as German finance minister and become speaker of the Bundestag.

The New York Times and Financial Times, among others, praised for his role as austerity enforcer and depicted him as the truest defender of European unity. In fact, the neoliberal policies that Schauble backed increased the centrifugal forces in the Eurozone, weakened an already anemic recovery, and provided powerful evidence that Europeans are anti-democratic, which in turn helped fuel Brexit and the rise of nationalist parties, particularly in France and Germany.

These accounts also either failed to mention or greatly underplayed the fact that Schäuble took bribes from an arms merchant, which put an end to his aspirations to become Chancellor.

Yanis Varoufakis

Wolfgang Schäuble may heave left the finance ministry but his policy for turning the eurozone into an iron cage of austerity, that is the very antithesis of a democratic federation, lives on.

What is remarkable about Dr Schäubles tenure was how he invested heavily in maintaining the fragility of the monetary union, rather than eradicating it in order to render the eurozone macro-economically sustainable and resilient. Why did Dr Schäuble aim at maintaining the eurozones fragility? Why was he, in this context, ever so keen to maintain the threat of Grexit? The simple answer is: Because a state of permanent fragility was instrumental to his strategy for using the threat of expulsion from the euro (or even of Germanys withdrawal from it) to discipline the deficit countries – chiefly France.

Deep in Dr Schäuble thinking there was the belief that, as a federation is infeasible, the euro is a glorified fixed exchange rate regime. And the only way of maintaining discipline within such a regime was to keep alive the threat of expulsion or exit. But to keep that threat alive, the eurozone could not be allowed to develop the instruments and institutions that would stop it from being fragile. Thus, the eurozones permanent fragility was, from Dr Schäubles perspective an end-in-itself, rather than a failure.

The Free Democratic Partys ascension will see to it that Wolfgang Schäubles departure will not alter the policy of doing whatever it takes to prevent the eurozone s evolution into a sustainable macroeconomy. The FDPs sole promise to its voters was to prevent any of Emmanuel Macrons plans, for some federation-lite, from being agreed to, and for pursuing Grexit. Even worse, whereas Wolfgang Schäuble understood that austerity plus new loans were catastrophic for countries like Greece (but insisted on them as part of his campaign to discipline France and Italy), his FDP successors at the finance ministry will probably be less enlightened believing that the tough medicine is fit for purpose.

And so the never ending crisis of Europes social economy, that feeds the xenophobic political monsters, continues.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 3:23 am

Just a slight – perhaps pedantic – point. Im not sure its correct except in its loosest sense to say that Schauble is a neoliberal. I think it can be deceptive sometimes to label everything we leftists dont like as neoliberal. He comes from quite a distinct line of German thought which explicitly rejects Keynesianism (even though the German economy has in reality many carefully built in counter-cyclical stabilisers) but mixes some Hayek with old fashioned mercantilism. The obsession with trade surpluses is one obvious differential between them and what we would consider neoliberalism. There is a good discussion of the distinctiveness of German conservative economic thought here .

As for the praise Schauble gets, it continually astonishes me, even in the victim countries, that Merkel and Schauble get such a free pass for the enormous damage they have done to Europe in the past 10 years, and that includes from many on the notional left. I think it shows just how hard it is to shift the notion of balanced budgets and living within our needs as a form of virtue . The (in many ways justified) worldwide admiration for the German economic model is such that people find it very hard not to feel somehow that they are always right. Even in Germany of course the potential for long term ruin has been set by the almost complete absence of investment in infrastructure over the last 2 decades.

Frenchguy , September 29, 2017 at 4:48 am

While I agree that German economic thought is archaic and that Merkel/Schauble were quite narrow-minded during the euro crisis, one criticism that I think is unfair is the one where they supposedly imposed austerity. Schauble in particular was always quite clear: if you want to stay in the Eurozone, you have to respect the fiscal rules that were agreed beforehand otherwise no worries, we will help you leave. Ill repeat that, Schauble was aware that Grexit might be the better option and was prepared to help but he left the choice to Greek leaders (side note, its actually the French that ruled out an exit from the Eurozone). The rules might have been dumb but the time to complain was before signing them, not after (newsflash: Germans are stickler for rules). Of course, peripheral countries knew that exiting the eurozone was actually not a panacea and Varoufakis in particular hoped to blackmail Germany into accepting his plans, that went well

So yeah, to say that they saved the Eurozone is far-fetched and they were certainly not visionnary in any sense of the world but they did bend the rules and they did spend a lot of domestic political capital on that (on the other hand, a bailout for the periphery was not that unpopular in France but French leaders pretty much capitulated on the issue). If you want a comparison, Merkel allowed the AfD to take flight in order to help the periphery while Tories in the UK did bail out of the EU in order to woo back UKIP voters. And of course, I am still waiting for the US governement to send any money to the Euro periphery since it is so simple.

There were few good guys during the euro crisis: Trichet was a disaster, Sarkozy signed on the Deauville accord a bit too enthusiastically, the Greeks did fake their deficit numbers (something that people forget too quickly, it was a major breach of trust) and Varoufakis played the blackmail game, Spanish politicians gunned for new records of corruption, Ireland set up one of the biggest corporate tax heavens of all time, Berlusconi was morally the worst of the bunch, even Draghi was perhaps a bit too slow to push spreads back to down (though he probably did the best he could) Among all of that mess, I think you can argue that Merkel was relatively the best of all, not that much of a compliment though.

makedoanmend , September 29, 2017 at 4:55 am

Yes, these are all very good points, excellent points in fact. And one should be able understand and delineate the differences between German conservatism and its UK variety of tory conservatism for instance. Id just interpret/input your points in a slightly different perspective.

It really seems that the outcomes of both versions of economic conservatism produce similar neoliberal outcomes in aggregate: reduced wages, precarious working conditions, increasing economic inequality, reduced services, tax money being funnelled to businesses, and vanishing/crumbling infrastructure.

It really seems to be a matter of degree rather absolutes.

UK infrastructure seems to be in decent shape and with PPP even the Tories can buy into a degree of Keynesian stimulus via public works, whilst it seems the Germans have largely dropped the ball. Then again, Obsourne* was all about the rhetoric of balanced budgets – that is, balanced budget for the poor, unbalanced budget stimulus for the rich. So, there can also be a Tory similarity with the German type of economic conservative strand.

So, I suppose, like everything else, the complexity is revealing in itself; and knowing how the different strands of economic conservatism evolved might help us understand how to counteract the pernicious effects.

For the average working punter the situation, in toto, just keeps getting worse.

[*To all NCers, Osbourne was finance minister under Cameron in the UK. If you should ever meet him, dont ask him what the product of 8 x 7 is. He thinks that kind of question isnt cricket and is basically a subversive type of activity.]

paul , September 29, 2017 at 5:37 am

To be fair, he was the only person to publicly shed tears over Margaret Thatcher's quite natural death. I'm sure he mopped his eyes afterward with an old hang mandela t shirt (de rigeur for his generation) before popping out to walk the dog with his old pal natalie rowe

skippy , September 29, 2017 at 4:56 am

Its not all black: European Parliament members decide to bar Monsanto lobbyists

https://www.ft.com/content/5c1c61e6-a457-11e7-b797-b61809486fe2

paul , September 29, 2017 at 5:20 am

I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble, a lawyer not an economist, and one with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence (bribes being acceptable business expenses in Germany until recently).

That gross chancellor kohls bagmans career was eclipsed by agent Angela must have been a terrible stone in his shoe.

I still remember him gelatinising Michael Portillo in one of his many TV license funded flounces around Europe. He pummelled poor Michael with his hausfrau hogwash as mercilessly as he vivisected Greece.

It was noticeable that Michael assumed that Germanys strength was due to Schaubles character rather than seeing a rather rank case of institutional inheritance.

Mark P. , September 29, 2017 at 5:56 am

I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble

It is. And the first responder to the OP, Plutonium Kun, up top, in fact provides a link to an analysis of ordoliberalism, and how it played out during and since the GFC.

with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence

I like the way you put that

Yves Smith Post author , September 29, 2017 at 6:06 am

I agree that he is on board with ordoliberallism which is basically a nutcase extremist version of neoliberalism that is mainstream in Germany but I didn't want to over-egg the pudding. Let us not forget that the non-ordoliberal IMF has fronted for the Troikas tender ministrations to debtor countries during pretty much all of Schaubles tenure, save its pushback in the latest round of financing for Greece over the refusal of EU state lenders to Greece to write off some of the debt owed. And the IMF still capitulated.

So if the IMF stood shoulder to shoulder with Schauble, does the fact that he was an ordoliberal as opposed to neoliberal make any difference in practice?

paul , September 29, 2017 at 6:27 am

It is probably splitting hairs from the same mangy dog, but I think ordoliberalism captures the prim sanctimony of monsters like schauble.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 6:57 am

Second try here (I wrote a reply to you which disappeared into cyberspace, it may pop up again).

I agree that the distinction between ordoliberalism, liberalism and neoliberalism is a bit irrelevant when the outcome is the same. And they do agree with each other on most subjects. I just think its worth paying attention to the distinct differences between the mainstream German version of liberalism and Anglo liberalism.

To take the issue of austerity, it always seems to me that the Germans are True Believers. They have a moral belief that excess spending, government deficits, and trade deficits are wrong in every circumstances. Neoliberals pay lip service to this but (correctly) ignore this in practice. Tories and Republicans are always quite happy to bust budgets when it suits them and in reality dont seem to care about trade deficits.

On the other hand, while Neoliberals are True Believers on the benefits of free movement and trade, Ordoliberals are far more pragmatic, and are at heart mercantilists and corporatists (and this includes being quite happy to keep Trade Unions and other social sectors on board rather than seeing them as enemies). This is clearly reflected in the constitutional make-up of the EU.

I think that one of the crucial failures in the Eurozone is that for a whole series of reasons the structural design of the Eurozone was hijacked by liberal True Believers, and much of the fault for this was the intellectual failure of the broader left to understand the importance of controlling monetary policy.

Its also worth pointing out that while in the Anglosphere liberals have a unified approach and dominate the main parties, in many European countries, in particular Germany, there are, and always have been, distinct parties representing the different shades of liberal views, with Christian Democrats being Ordos, while smaller parties such as the Free Democrats representing a purer form of liberalism. As Yanis points out, a strengthened FDP is a disaster for Europe, we can only hope that the Greens somehow manage to wrestle away some of the economic portfolio from them.

Left in Wisconsin , September 29, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Philip Mirowski, who seems to have tried as much as anyone to clarify what is and isn't neoliberalism, considers ordoliberalism one of at least three or four variants: ordo, Austrian, Chicago School and, probably, James Buchanans public choice. He identifies Carl Schmitt as a key influence on Hayek, particularly Schmitts notions that the economy was too important to be left to the whims of democracy (only a strong state can preserve and enhance a free-market economy) and the exception, which is to say that the state should stay out of the economy at all times (i.e. no bailouts for you) except when preserving the market requires state intervention. Think Obama and big banks.

For those who arent familiar with Mirowski, here is a good piece on Defining Neoliberalism (in which, parenthetically, he provides an excellent takedown of Wikipedia as a forum for learning about anything controversial). To some, he takes a bit of getting used to but he is a terrific writer and you are bound to learn some new words. Have dictionary at the ready!
Defining Neoliberalism

PlutoniumKun , September 30, 2017 at 5:15 am

Ive read a little of Mirowski before, a very good writer, thanks for the link.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The basic problem with EU is that what left there is present in it, is of the student/champagne left that is more about glitz and humanitarian causes than they are workers rights and similar that used to define the left both before and after WW2.

I keep bumping into students and young professionals that praise the EU because first of all they got to study abroad under some EU scheme, and now can take their credit card and smartphone and set up camp anywhere their hearts desire within the euro zone.

They are effectively blind to the problems this freeflow cause for long fought for rights and protections of the working man and woman. This while parroting the idea that EU is what has not caused a major European war in a generation or two

makedoanmend , September 30, 2017 at 4:32 am

Being a European leftist myself, I seldom bump into my compatriots who are drinking champagne as if its fizzy water, flashing credit cards and so on. Many are working middle class people struggling to get by; many others are working poor; and some are getting along just fine. In other words, there is an entire gamut of socio-economic backgrounds represented in the left in Europe.

Many of my compatriots are educated. When did leftists have to eschew higher and further education? One of the primary acts of socialist leaning peoples in the late nineteenth century was to lobby for and provide additional channels of education to sections of the community who previously didnt have the resources to study, or simply didnt have time during the day and were denied physical facilities when they did have the time.

Yes, there are many people who seem to be doing fairly well and might espouse leftist viewpoints without bothering to understand better why they espouse such views. I would suggest this is the case with many of our compatriots, whatever their political leanings. And its not so easy either to categorise and identify the working class. I know of several manual labourers who would go ballistic if you suggested they were anything less than middle class citizens.

Also, its rather easy to conflate liberals with leftists? I would argue they are not the same political beast.

Some students in my biology course (an admixture of biochem & agrics) just started an anarchist society. The first in the universitys history. I hope these young and well educated people, who come from many different backgrounds and from several European countries, can explore what leftism means and how it impacts on everyone for good or ill. Equally, I hope they are successful in better understanding the human condition as they down pints of wallop in some pub around town.

Terry Flynn , September 29, 2017 at 7:58 am

Thank you. Just an anecdotal observation that supports this based on 15+ years of Spanish holidays. I always had an apartment so I had options to go eat out with friends I made in the complex or cook for myself.

Spanish restauranteurs, if you got them to give their private views, hated German tourists compared to Brits: the latter would far more often go sod it, were eating out thus benefiting the local hospitality industry (and deal with the resulting credit card debt later!) . I and others noted how less often Germans did this. They clearly had a food budget which dictated finding the nearest LIDL/ALDI and cooking dinner for themselves in their apartments. In the shops (in areas that definitely werent dominated by German holidaymakers) youd see a disproportionate number of Germans buying pasta/bread/sauces – obviously intending to cook most nights.

Ive read on NC the increasing pressure on German domestic budgets following the schroeder reforms etc and anecdotally I saw plenty of living strictly within ones means on display on holidays And Spanish restauranteurs saw it too.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 8:07 am

Ask any tourist town hustler and theyll tell you the way to sell to Brits is to say its on discount! while the way to sell to Germans is to say its the best quality!.

Mind you, its also a cultural thing. I had a French acquaintance say that the big complaint in her small village is that the Dutch insist on bringing their horrible tasteless tomatoes with them on holiday. The Brits will always eat out of course, there is no point to being on holiday otherwise and quite right too.

But on a purely anecdotal basis Id agree with you that Germans seem much less inclined to splash out on holiday (Ive noticed that about supermarkets in Spain/France too). German incomes certainly have been squeezed unnecessarily for 2 decades now (its still amazes me that the German workers blandly accept this in most sectors). Germans used to be known as big spenders when they holidayed in Ireland, but they dont have that reputation anymore.

Terry Flynn , September 29, 2017 at 8:28 am

I agree that Im surprised so many German workers have blithely accepted this constriction on their incomes.

Again, there must be cultural factors at play that mean they have accepted that this is all part of how Germany apparently works so well as a country /society.

I am curious how long this mindset will continue as neoliberalism – even with the better German constraints on its effects – inevitably creeps further up the income distribution. Things like the balanced budget law (if fully adopted and adhered to) will cause increasing problems The AfD electoral success may be the canary in the coalmine.

paul , September 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

while I havent been in Germany in the last few years,last time I was in berlin,amid the cranes(the parliament island seemed to be a noble attempt at architectural landfill) and the infrastructure that was clearly behind demand, I was astonished at how many familiblogged characters were there, on the trams,busses, streets.
Went into a local bar, (much to my better 50% advice), we were the only ones that were not chronically disabled,no beer on tap but they all could hardly been nicer to us.
The german miracle is being worn to a thread was my conclusion.

paul , September 29, 2017 at 10:01 am

Wander into a german village town and you will see how unhappily this is playing out. Visiting the charmingly understated max ernst museum outside koln, I remember a well pensioned hausfrau rolling her eyes in our direction at a couple of young lads (dark skinned of course),her face would have turned milk.
They were just young lads talking loudly.
Because we are both tall and blue eyed she did not seem to have a problem with us at all.

Left in Wisconsin , September 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

I agree that Im surprised so many German workers have blithely accepted this constriction on their incomes.

The German manufacturing economy is very strong but German workers in the exposed sector are no less subject to job relocation blackmail than workers anywhere else. The macro-economic data might prove that German workers are underpaid, but German wages are based off the export economy and the relocation threat is real. German manufacturing workers are already probably the highest paid in the world (depending on choice of measure). Widening the cost differential with Eastern and Southern Europe, not to mention other places with even lower wages, I think is rightly perceived as risky.

Ignacio , September 29, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I think you have a point here and it has to do with mercantilism. Probably, those workers employed in large factories exporting all around the world know that such mercantilism helps them keep their positions and relatively well paid positions compared with their peers in other countries. This must be the way CDU attracts labor to their side.

Nevertheless, if german tourists spent more in Spain, we would have more money to spend in their factories, somebody should educate them, HA,HA, HA!!!

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Apparently it has been sold as a way to keep Germany as an export powerhouse, thus allowing the nation to run a trade surplus.

Never mind that especially since the intro of the Euro, this has lead Germany to effectively operating a beggar-thy-neighbor policy.

Keep in mind that before the Euro, many neighboring nations would operate with a exchange rate hitched to the D-Mark. So if ever (West) Germany tried to push ahead, the others would devalue, and appear to drag Germany back down.

But since the Euro, Germany have been (not necessarily intentionally) using their domestically suppressed wages to muscle the products and services into neighboring markets.

Notice btw that much of the loans causing troubles in the PIIGS came from German banks (French banks were also involved, but to a lesser extent as France do not have the suppressed local wages). So if they fold, effectively Germany banking folds.

Oregoncharles , September 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm

one obvious differential between them and what we would consider neoliberalism is Germanys enormous economic and political success over the last decade or more. Of course, the recent election indicates that a lot of Germans disagree with that judgement, so evidently the bag is mixed in ways not so obvious from here.

That huge accumulation of power is the reason for the sometimes grudging respect granted to Schaueble and Merkel. Its also a great danger to Germany, because in a continent with long historical memories (compared to Americans), it looks more and more like a Fourth Reich. Even though his domestic policies are so extremely neoliberal, Macrons speech looks like the beginning of a rebellion, from the country qualified to lead it. Well see how that goes.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Economic might that has since at least the reunification, if not earlier, have been predicated on a, in practice, beggar-thy-neighbor trade policy.

This by suppressing German wages to make German products and services cheaper than local equivalents.

This has been particularly effective since the Euro came into use, as now the Euro nations cant devalue their currencies to counteract this effect.

pietro gori , September 29, 2017 at 5:39 am

What is remarkable about Dr Schäubles tenure was how he invested heavily in maintaining the fragility of the monetary union, rather than eradicating it in order to render the eurozone macro-economically sustainable and resilient

Well, yes, but the fact is that the eurozone cannot possibly be redered maco-economically sustainable
and resilient. That is just well-entrenched wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Varoufakis

Yves Smith Post author , September 29, 2017 at 5:51 am

Thats not quite right. Varoufakis and Jamie Galbraith published a series of finesses, the biggest of which would have been creating an infrastructure bank that would invest, particularly in deficit countries.

A big flaw of government accounting is that it does everything on a cash-flow basis, when private sector accounting separates balance sheet and income statement items. Germany could have supported this work around, using the accounting justification or other pretexts. It didnt want to. By contrast, theyve been extremely creative in figuring out ways to create much more complicated facilities and financial structures to shore up the banks.

Chauncey Gardiner , September 29, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Thank you for this suggestion. I appreciate the values, intelligence, energy and experience of Yanis Varoufakis, and especially his insightful thoughts here on both the nature of the eurozone, Schaubles desire to preserve its fragility, and his wish to strengthen it.

Jamie Galbraith is no slouch, either. I would like to see their suggestions regarding policy initiatives both within and outside existing EU and other supranational structures that they believe could enable Greece to negate further abuse of its citizens, minimize the effects of Teutonic ordoliberal austerity, reverse privatization of the nations public assets, and strengthen the Greek economy. Hard to do when you dont have a sovereign currency and must seek to build alliances. Might have applications elsewhere in the world.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

That is sadly the one big flaw of Varoufakis, that he is of the champagne left that think the EU both can be saved and is worth saving.

This means that when push comes to shove he will not go all the way, driving for reforms rather than disbandment.

Ignacio , September 30, 2017 at 6:55 am

Well, despite it flaws, the EU is worth saving if it is to the better. There are quite good initiatives coming from the EU and it provides a political framework above traditional nationalism that by itself is very positive. I like that from Varoufakis, his priorities are well positioned.

Mickey Hickey , September 29, 2017 at 6:17 am

@Frenchguy

You hit the nail on the head with Ireland set up one of the biggest tax heavens of all time.. With the help of corporate lobbyists at the European Commission in Brussels without that it would have been shut down quickly. My take on Germany is that they have still not recovered from the Weimar era hyperinflation and economic collapse. Germany tends to cling tightly to strategies whether they be winners or losers. The currency printing presses were cranked up to insane levels. Money was something to be turned into goods or services within minutes.

Then overnight the gold backed Reichsmark was introduced and became an object of adoration that should under no circumstances be spent except for absolute necessities.

The Reichsmark precipitated economic collapse. The inflation phobia of todays Germany stems from the 1920s. Frau Merkel was not and is not a political leader. She is above all a successful politician who tests the direction of the political winds daily and makes micro adjustments accordingly. As for Germans being sticklers for rules, I have a 9 year old grandson who is a stickler for rules even a good portion of Irishness did not save him. I found that he was amenable to changing the rules so I encouraged that and now he is almost Irish.

With respect to German spending on infrastructure over the past twenty years. German infrastructure is in excellent shape compared to the rest of the developed world. Their public transit system is amongst the best in the world. Only in Canada (where I live normally) will you find better infrastructure than in Germany and that is due to large population increases resulting in newer infrastructure. Infrastructure lobbyists are preaching gloom and doom all over the developed world, a grain of salt is advised.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 7:08 am

Its complete hyperbole to describe Ireland as one of the biggest tax havens of all time. It is dwarfed within Europe by Luxembourg (which is a true tax haven in the literal sense) and the various UK off-shore havens. Vastly more money is moved through Switzerland and London for crooked or tax purposes and the Netherlands is an equal in using questionable rules to encourage investment.

Irelands dodgy tax policies, largely designed by T.K. Whitaker , actually predate membership of the EU (1958 to be precise) and were implicitly accepted upon its membership.

Oregoncharles , September 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Sort of like Greeces dodgy balance sheets (if thats the right term), intentionally overlooked when it applied for Eurozone membership?

Of course, if youre right about the others, the EU had compelling reason to overlook a few foibles. I gather Ireland rather paid for it after the GFC, though, and Greece is still paying for it.

PlutoniumKun , September 30, 2017 at 5:28 am

Not really – Ireland was a pioneer in using favourable taxes to bring in jobs to poorer areas. So much so that even China essentially copied the Irish model (so the Tiger economies were actually copying the Celtic tiger, not vice versa to some extent). Essentially, the Irish model was to allow transfer pricing in exchange for screwdriver plants – in addition to special secret deals for promising new companies, like Apple (its often forgotten just how small Apple was when it first moved into Ireland – it was something of a triumph of the Irish development agencies to have identified it). This was all open and obvious when Ireland joined the EU. Essentially, it was considered legitimate at the time for smaller countries to use tactics like this – it was completely in line with academic theory on the time in development economics, especially clustering theories (the idea that if you get enough factories in one area together, they will organically develop into more integrated industries). There was nothing hidden from the EU. If anything, the EU approved as it was seen as important to have star pupils among the smaller members.

Ireland is not a tax haven in the sense that its not a large repository for dodgy money. There are some elements of tax haven laws in the Irish banking system, but its not considered a tax haven in international terms. The main issue is that manufacturing companies based in Ireland are allowed to use loopholes in Irish laws to hide profits. Thats something of a different matter – all countries do this to some extent, Ireland is just a more egregious offender.

And its not really appropriate to compare it to Greece. Greece has been ruined by its poor model and its betrayal by the Eurozone. Ireland has gone from developing country status in the 1950s to one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. The losses from the crash of the Celtic Tiger have been more or less made up. Much as I hate to say it, the Irish economic development model has by any measures been a stunning success. This is why neoliberals love Ireland so much.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm

You are right, and perhaps what is making the workforce willing to accept wage suppression.

This because the cause of the hyperinflation was exchange rates and trade deficits. Germany were forced to pay reparations denominated in foreign currency, but had little to no export industry to earn said currency with (the Ruhr were under French administration for one). Thus they had to print ever more notes to buy the currency to make the payments, and each round would lead to worse inflation.

The crazy thing is that Keynes warned about this, but was ignored.

So based on this, it may well be that German leadership is hell bent on maintaining a trade surplus, even if it means beggaring neighbors and in the long run create a massive buildup of ill will against Germany.

Distrubed Voter , September 29, 2017 at 6:38 am

Thanks for quoting Varoufakis, and thanks for allowing wonderful commentaries again by such knowledgeable readers.

Futility , September 29, 2017 at 10:18 am

Incidentally, Der Spiegel published today an article about a photographer who documented the plight of prostitutes in Greece. There one can see the real world consequences of Schäubles policies. The women (and men) work for 15 Euro or less per customer. A lot of people see this as their last resort to feed their family. The article mentions that Greece increased the VAT from 13% to 24%, making condoms prohibitively expensive for the prostitutes which resulted in a marked increase in HIV infections. How Schäuble can live with himself, I dont know.

WARNING: The article is in German and some of the pictures are not fit for work.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , September 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

There was once an article that was I believe posted here which outlined the fact that the legalised & supposedly efficient German prostitution industry was not all it was cracked up to be – it appeared around the same time that a German woman had her benefits sanctioned due to refusing to work in the industry.

I would just like to say that there is at least one Englishmen who finds cooking a pleasurable experience when on holiday, which when I can manage it due to the lady in my lifes preference would be Italy. Beautiful bread, real mozzarella, white creamy butter, divine proscuitto, & large perfect for Caprese salad tomatoes bought from small grocers – Just some of the treats on offer the make the break very special.

Synoia , September 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Even worse, whereas Wolfgang Schäuble understood that austerity plus new loans were catastrophic for countries like Greece (but insisted on them as part of his campaign to discipline France and Italy), his FDP successors at the finance ministry will probably be less enlightened believing that the tough medicine is fit for purpose.

And now perhaps one understands the 30 years war, the Franco-Prussian war, WW I and WW II.

The Im certain Im correct in the face of a other reasonableness.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 7:27 pm

It is effectively a variant of the problem of becoming a monster while one believe one is defeating monsters

Scott , September 29, 2017 at 11:28 pm

Keynes was perceptive, and I can believe his warnings were understood, if not at the time, later. His portrait of Woodrow Wilson out of his depth completely when seated with politicians of France who were adept at bypassing and then destroying the Points the Germans had signed the Armistice because of.

America was not successful at out witting the French. Moral leadership? Wilson just turned into a sidelined ignored & defeated character. It is no wonder Germany went to war again.

The question now is whose warnings are we to hear now?

Michael Hudson would say that capitalism is destroying itself. I have yet to see him on Rachel Maddow who often has David Cay Johnston on, though the questions are about Trump, not the Tax Code. Mr. Johnston could give us a good Tax Code.

Mr. Hudson? Who in Government is listening to him?

Mark P. , September 30, 2017 at 4:08 am

Whos listening to Hudson in the U.S. government?

Well, maybe they arent now. Lots of folks at the DoD and State read him in 1972, right after he left off working for David Rockefeller and wrote SUPER IMPERIALISM: THE ECONOMIC STRATEGY OF AMERICAN EMPIRE as a diagnosis of how the dollar as global reserve currency was going to work once Nixon and Kissinger had taken the U.S. off the gold standard. They used Hudsons book as a how-to manual and did their best to buy up all the copies.

You arent going to see Hudson on the Rachel Maddow show, in short.

[Sep 29, 2017] Escalating Tensions Over Kurdish Referendum by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... A unilateral declaration of independence wont be accepted by any of the surrounding states, and very few other governments would recognize the new state because of the manner of its separation. ..."
"... Turkey, Iran, and the Iraqi government were already ratcheting up economic pressure on the region because of the vote, but a declaration of independence would likely trigger immediate military responses from one or more of them. ..."
"... The situation has quickly escalated to a point where none of the governments involved is willing to back down or compromise, and that makes it much harder to avoid the worst-case scenario of a major armed conflict breaking out. Both Turkey and Iran fear the creation of a Kurdish state because of the possible implications for the aspirations of their own Kurdish minorities. ..."
Sep 29, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
... continue to rise following the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan:

Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in a referendum on Monday, which Mr. Ali said obliges Mr. Barzani to negotiate independence from the rest of Iraq. Baghdad has refused to enter such negotiations, and Mr. Ali said that if it maintained that attitude, Kurdistan would be forced to unilaterally declare independence.

A unilateral declaration of independence wont be accepted by any of the surrounding states, and very few other governments would recognize the new state because of the manner of its separation.

Turkey, Iran, and the Iraqi government were already ratcheting up economic pressure on the region because of the vote, but a declaration of independence would likely trigger immediate military responses from one or more of them.

The situation has quickly escalated to a point where none of the governments involved is willing to back down or compromise, and that makes it much harder to avoid the worst-case scenario of a major armed conflict breaking out. Both Turkey and Iran fear the creation of a Kurdish state because of the possible implications for the aspirations of their own Kurdish minorities.

Ariane Tabatabai explained the Iranian governments view earlier this week:

Rather than seeing it as a single, contained event, Tehran views it as opening the door to a more comprehensive effort at cleaving the Kurdish territories off Iran, Syria, and Turkey to create a new country in the region.

Because Baghdad opposed the referendum and opposes the creation of a Kurdish state, Turkey and Iran can both dress up their respective responses as helping the Iraqi government to preserve its territorial integrity.

If Barzani were reckless enough to follow through on the threat his spokesman made, he would be setting up his new state for a fall.

The U.S. should do what it can to dissuade Barzani from doing this, and it should appeal to all of the parties to dial down their rhetoric and refrain from taking any more provocative actions. If tensions continue to escalate as they have over the last week, the disaster that many observers feared will follow.

[Sep 28, 2017] John Kiriakou on blowing the whistle on the CIA torture network

Notable quotes:
"... Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison ..."
Sep 15, 2017 | www.antiwar.com
Famed whistleblower John Kiriakou, the former chief of counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan, returns to the show to discuss his latest book on Abu Zubaydah "The Convenient Terrorist" which he co-authored with Guantanamo whistleblower Joseph Hickman. Kiriakou retells his history at the CIA and explains why the crux of the Abu Zubaydah saga were Zubaydah's lies about supposed ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which helped the U.S. spin the lies that led to the Iraq War. Kiriakou explains the American fetish with torture and his role in blowing the whistle on the torture network within the CIA and explains how the United States made the decision to invade Iraq long before the invasion. Finally Kiriakou discusses how the drone program is the greatest recruitment tool for Islamic terrorists.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA officer and author of Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison. Kiriakou was the only CIA officer to be jailed over the CIA's torture regime-for telling the truth. Follow him on Twitter @JohnKiriakou .

[Sep 27, 2017] Come You Masters of War by Matthew Harwood

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Middle East was now a U.S. military priority, and the pursuit of direct American domination of the region came from none other than the supposed peacenik, Jimmy Carter. ..."
"... The result was the Carter Doctrine. Delivered to the American people during the 1980 State of Union Address, Carter started Americas War for the Greater Middle East. ..."
"... he declared Americas right to cheap energy. Let our position be absolutely clear, he said. An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. ..."
"... Analyzing the Carter Doctrine, Bacevich writes that it represented a broad, open-ended commitment, one that expanded further with time -- one that implied the conversion of the Persian Gulf into an informal American protectorate. Defending the region meant policing it. And police it America has done, wrapping its naked self-interest in the seemingly noble cloth of democratization and human rights. ..."
"... They didnt see that the U.S.-armed Afghan mujahideen also believed they were the victors and that they had every intention of resisting Americas version of modernity as much as they had resisted the Soviet Unions. (Americas self-destructive trend of arming its eventual enemies -- either directly or indirectly from Saddam Hussein to ISIS, respectively -- is a recurring theme of Bacevichs narrative.) ..."
"... History cannot be controlled, and it had its revenge on a U.S. military and political elite who somehow believed they could see the future and manage historical forces toward a predestined end that naturally benefitted America. As Reinhold Niebuhr warned, and Bacevich quotes approvingly, The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning. ..."
"... Another piece of connective tissue, according to Bacevich, is the belief that war is not the failure of diplomacy but a necessary ingredient to its success. The U.S. military establishment learned this lesson in Bosnia when U.S.-led NATO bombing brought Serbia to the negotiating table at the Dayton Peace Accords. The proper role of armed force, writes Bacevich, was not to supplant diplomacy but to make it work. Gen. Wesley Clark was more succinct when he called war coercive diplomacy during the Kosovo conflict. U.S. military force was no longer a last resort, particularly when technology was making it easier to unleash violence without endangering U.S. service members lives. ..."
"... The people on the ground, as the D.C. elites just learned in November, have a way of not going along with the best-laid plans made for them in the epicenters of power. ..."
"... Without any unifying aim or idea, according to Bacevich, the Obama administrations principal contribution to Americas War for the Greater Middle East was to expand its fronts. ..."
"... As Bacevich clearly shows over and over again in his narrative, the men and women who make up the defense establishment have a fanatical, almost theological, belief in the transformational power of American violence. ..."
"... Expect Uncle Sams fangs to grow longer, his talons sharper, his violence huge. ..."
"... Bacevich, himself, is not hopeful. In a note to readers that greets them before the prologue, Bacevich is refreshingly terse with his assessment of Americas war for the Greater Middle East: We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome. ..."
Sep 26, 2017 | www.fff.org

Review of America's War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew J. Bacevich (New York: Random House, 2016; 480 pages)

Americas War for the Greater Middle East. Over time, other considerations intruded and complicated the wars conduct, but oil as a prerequisite of freedom was from day one an abiding consideration.

By 1969, oil imports already made up 20 percent of the daily oil consumption in the United States. Four years later, Arab oil exporters suspended oil shipments to the United States to punish America for supporting Israel in the October War. The American economy screeched to a halt, seemingly held hostage by foreigners -- a big no-no for a country accustomed to getting what it wants. Predictably the U.S. response was regional domination to keep the oil flowing to America, especially to the Pentagon and its vast, permanent war machine.

The Middle East was now a U.S. military priority, and the pursuit of direct American domination of the region came from none other than the supposed peacenik, Jimmy Carter. Before him, Richard Nixon was content to have the Middle East managed by proxies after the bloodletting America experienced in Vietnam. His arch-proxy was the despised shah of Iran, whom the United States had installed into power and then armed to the teeth. When his regime collapsed in 1979, felled by Islamic revolutionaries who would eventually capture the American embassy and initiate the Iranian hostage crisis, so too did the Nixon Doctrine. That same year, the Soviet Union rolled into Afghanistan. The world was a mess, and Carter was under extreme pressure to do something about it, lest he lose his bid for a second term. (He suffered a crushing defeat anyway.)

Furies beyond reckoning

The result was the Carter Doctrine. Delivered to the American people during the 1980 State of Union Address, Carter started Americas War for the Greater Middle East. Months earlier, in his infamous malaise speech, Carter asked Americans to simplify their lives and moderate their energy use. Now he declared Americas right to cheap energy. Let our position be absolutely clear, he said. An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

Analyzing the Carter Doctrine, Bacevich writes that it represented a broad, open-ended commitment, one that expanded further with time -- one that implied the conversion of the Persian Gulf into an informal American protectorate. Defending the region meant policing it. And police it America has done, wrapping its naked self-interest in the seemingly noble cloth of democratization and human rights.

It is illustrative, and alarming, to list Bacevichs selected campaigns and operations in the region since 1980 up to the present, unleashed by Carter and subsequent presidents. Lets go in alphabetical order by country followed by the campaigns and operations:

  1. Afghanistan (Cyclone, 1980–1989; Infinite Reach, 1998; Enduring Freedom, 2001–2015; Freedoms Sentinel, 2015–present);
  2. Bosnia (Deny Flight, 1993–1995; Deliberate Force, 1995; Joint Endeavor, 1995–1996);
  3. East Africa (Enduring Freedom -- Trans Sahara, 2007–present);
  4. Egypt (Bright Star, 1980–2009);
  5. Iraq (Desert Storm, 1991; Southern Watch, 1991–2003; Desert Strike, 1996; Northern Watch, 1997–2003; Desert Fox, 1998; Iraqi Freedom, 2003–2010; New Dawn, 2010–2011; Inherent Resolve, 2014–present);
  6. Iran (Eagle Claw, 1980; Olympic Games, 2007–2010)
  7. Kosovo (Determined Force, 1998; Allied Force, 1999; Joint Guardian, 1999–2005);
  8. Lebanon (Multinational Force, 1982–1984);
  9. Libya (El Dorado Canyon, 1986; Odyssey Dawn, 2011);
  10. North/West Africa (Enduring Freedom -- Trans Sahara, 2007– present);
  11. Pakistan (Neptune Spear, 2011);
  12. Persian Gulf (Earnest Will, 1987–1988; Nimble Archer, 1987; Praying Mantis, 1988);
  13. Saudi Arabia (Desert Shield, 1990; Desert Focus, 1996);
  14. Somalia (Restore Hope, 1992–1993; Gothic Serpent, 1993); Sudan (Infinite Reach, 1998);
  15. Syria (Inherent Resolve, 2014–present);
  16. Turkey (Provide Comfort, 1991);
  17. Yemen (Determined Response, 2000)

While Bacevich deftly takes the reader through the history of all those wars, the most important aspect of his book is his critique of the United Statess permanent military establishment and the power it wields in Washington. According to Bacevich, U.S. military leaders have a tendency to engage in fantastical thinking rife with hubris. Too many believe the United States is a global force for good that has the messianic duty to usher in secular modernity, a force that no one should ever interfere with, either militarily or ideologically.

As Bacevich makes plain again and again, history does not back up that mindset. For instance, after the Soviet Unions crippling defeat in Afghanistan, the Washington elite saw it as an American victory, the inauguration of the end of history and the inevitable march of democratic capitalism. They didnt see that the U.S.-armed Afghan mujahideen also believed they were the victors and that they had every intention of resisting Americas version of modernity as much as they had resisted the Soviet Unions. (Americas self-destructive trend of arming its eventual enemies -- either directly or indirectly from Saddam Hussein to ISIS, respectively -- is a recurring theme of Bacevichs narrative.)

Over and over again after 9/11, America would be taught this lesson, as Islamic extremists, both Sunni and Shia, bloodied the U.S. military across the Greater Middle East, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. History cannot be controlled, and it had its revenge on a U.S. military and political elite who somehow believed they could see the future and manage historical forces toward a predestined end that naturally benefitted America. As Reinhold Niebuhr warned, and Bacevich quotes approvingly, The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning.

Yet across Americas War for the Greater Middle East, presidents would speak theologically of Americas role in the world, never admitting the United States is not an instrument of the Almighty. George H.W. Bush would speak of a new world order. Bill Clintons Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would declare that America is the indispensable nation. George W. Bushs faith in this delusion led him to declare a global war on terrorism, where American military might would extinguish evil wherever it resided and initiate Condoleeza Rices 'paradigm of progress -- democracy, limited government, market economics, and respect for human (and especially womens) rights across the region. As with all zealots, there was no acknowledgment by the Bush administration, flamboyantly Christian, that evil resided inside them too. Barack Obama seemed to pull back from this arrogance in his 2009 Cairo speech, declaring, No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other. Yet he continued to articulate his faith that all people desire liberal democracy, even though that simply isnt true.

All in all, American presidents and their military advisors believed they could impose a democratic capitalist peace on the world, undeterred that each intervention created more instability and unleashed new violent forces the United States would eventually engage militarily, such as Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda, and ISIS. Bacevich explains that this conviction, deeply embedded in the American collective psyche, provides one of the connecting threads making the ongoing War for the Greater Middle East something more than a collection of disparate and geographically scattered skirmishes.

War and diplomacy

Another piece of connective tissue, according to Bacevich, is the belief that war is not the failure of diplomacy but a necessary ingredient to its success. The U.S. military establishment learned this lesson in Bosnia when U.S.-led NATO bombing brought Serbia to the negotiating table at the Dayton Peace Accords. The proper role of armed force, writes Bacevich, was not to supplant diplomacy but to make it work. Gen. Wesley Clark was more succinct when he called war coercive diplomacy during the Kosovo conflict. U.S. military force was no longer a last resort, particularly when technology was making it easier to unleash violence without endangering U.S. service members lives.

This logic would run aground in Iraq after 9/11 during what Bacevich calls the Third Gulf War. In an act of preventive war, the Bush administration shocked and awed Baghdad, believing U.S. military supremacy and its almost divine violence would bring other state sponsors of terrorism to heel after America quickly won the war. Vanquishing Saddam Hussein and destroying his army promised to invest American diplomacy with the power to coerce. Although the Bush administration believed the war ended after three weeks, Bacevich notes, the Third Gulf War was destined to continue for another 450. The people on the ground, as the D.C. elites just learned in November, have a way of not going along with the best-laid plans made for them in the epicenters of power.

There was hope that Barack Obama, a constitutional professor, would correct the Bush administrations failures and start to wind down Americas War for the Greater Middle East. Instead, he expanded it into Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and West Africa through drone warfare and special-operations missions. Without any unifying aim or idea, according to Bacevich, the Obama administrations principal contribution to Americas War for the Greater Middle East was to expand its fronts.

Now this war is in the hands of Donald J. Trump. If there is any upside to a Trump presidency -- and I find it hard to find many -- its the possibility that the intensity of American imperialism in the Middle East will wane. But I find that likelihood remote. Trump has promised to wipe out ISIS, which means continued military action in at least Iraq, Syria, and Libya. He has also called for more military spending, and I find it hard to believe that he or the national-security establishment will increase investment in the military and then show restraint in the use of force overseas.

As Bacevich clearly shows over and over again in his narrative, the men and women who make up the defense establishment have a fanatical, almost theological, belief in the transformational power of American violence. They persist in this belief despite all evidence to the contrary. These are the men and women who will be whispering their advice into the new presidents ear. Expect Uncle Sams fangs to grow longer, his talons sharper, his violence huge.

Bacevich, himself, is not hopeful. In a note to readers that greets them before the prologue, Bacevich is refreshingly terse with his assessment of Americas war for the Greater Middle East: We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome. And to this its not hard to hear Trump retort, Loser! And so the needless violence will continue on and on with no end in sight unless the American population develops a Middle East syndrome to replace the Vietnam syndrome that once made Washington wary of war.

That lack of confidence in the masters of war cant come soon enough.

This article was originally published in the July 2017 edition of Future of Freedom .

[Sep 24, 2017] Trump allies see vindication in reports on Manafort wiretapping

Obama did spied on his political opponents... He really was a well connected to intelligence agencies wolf in sheep's clothing.
Sep 24, 2017 | www.msn.com

For some of President Trump's staunchest allies, reports that former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was under U.S. surveillance are nothing short of vindication of the president's widely-dismissed claims that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

... ... ...

Longtime advisor Roger Stone has gleefully circulated a segment from Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News in which the host says "all those patronizing assurances that nobody is spying on political campaigns were false" and "it looks like Trump's tweet may have been right."

... ... ...

A spokesperson for Manafort, Jason Maloni, has characterized the court orders as an abuse of power by the Obama administration, which he says wanted to spy on a political opponent.

"It's unclear if Paul Manafort was the objective," Maloni told The Journal. "Perhaps the real objective was Donald Trump."

Surveillance experts are skeptical of that suggestion. For one thing, it is illegal for investigators to "reverse target" a U.S. person by spying on a person with whom they know their true target to be in communication.

If the president were in fact the oblique target of government surveillance - either as a candidate or as the president-elect - both Eddington and Shedd say, it would have been so explosive that it would have almost certainly been leaked to the press.

... ... ...

The disclosure of the warrants targeting Manafort have drawn legitimate scrutiny as a violation of Manafort's civil liberties and a possible criminal leak - the mere existence of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, warrant is classified.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who first raised alarm about the practice of "unmasking" the names of Americans caught up in government surveillance, is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly exposing classified information when he disclosed his findings to reporters.

[Sep 24, 2017] How Sony, Obama, Seth Rogen and the CIA Secretly Planned to Force Regime Change in North Korea by Tim Shorrock

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S., he warned in a recent speech on Capitol Hill that I attended, must deliver Kim a simple message: "We know the only thing you care about is your regime's survival. Either denuclearize or we will take actions politically to destabilize your regime." His talk was a basic primer for this "uprising" from within, which is exactly what the Bush administration sought in Iraq when it invaded in 2003. ..."
"... K-Pop, the South Korean musical genre that's popular around the world, could be another weapon: "It's acidic as far the regime is concerned." And commercials about South Korean life planted in DVDs smuggled into the North "would be terrible for Kim Jong-un." ..."
"... The purpose of the operation, he said, is to convince the people of the DPRK that their "paranoid" leader is not a "god," and to plant the idea that his country is unstable: "If that's in his mind, it will affect his behavior." In short, a psy-op. ..."
"... Why Bennett? His official biography states that he has worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Forces in South Korea and Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command as well as the South Korean and Japanese militaries. According an email he wrote to Sony's Lynton in 2014, he got his start in Asia as a Mormon missionary to Japan and began working on Korea in 1989 "at the request of the Pentagon." By 2014, he said, he had made over 100 trips to South Korea to advise the U.S. Army and senior South Korean military personnel "on how to deter North Korea." Even though he has never been to the DPRK, he bases his knowledge of the country on his "extensive interviews with senior North Korean defectors." ..."
"... The film allegedly sparked North Korea to hack Sony and leak thousands of internal Sony emails. North Korea also warned the Obama administration not to allow the film to be released, branding it "an act of terrorism." So, when Bennett invited questions at his congressional briefing, I asked him: what was his involvement in The Interview , and did he think it was effective? ..."
"... As Americans come to grips with Trump's confrontational policies with North Korea, it's easy to forget that U.S. relations with North Korea reached a nadir under Barack Obama. Here's why: Bennett's regime change proposals were, and are, the culmination of policies hatched by Obama's left-liberal administration to weaken Kim's hold on power and hasten what they considered North Korea's inevitable collapse. Obviously they failed, yet elements of the plan still abound. ..."
"... To head off that development, in 1994 President Bill Clinton negotiated an agreement with North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il-sung, that sought to allay his government's fears by ending America's hostile policies. Under the "Agreed Framework," the DPRK shut down its one test reactor -- its only source for plutonium -- in return for U.S. shipments of oil for its power grid and two new light-water reactors to be built by an international consortium. Most importantly, both sides agreed to end mutual hostility by fully normalizing their economic and political relations. ..."
"... The agreement, which froze North Korea's nuclear program for 12 years, held for several years. But in 2002, the Bush administration accused the DPRK -- falsely it turned out -- of building a secret uranium program as a second route to a bomb and tore up the framework. In response, North Korea, which was by now led by Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's father, restarted its nuclear program, and by 2006 had exploded its first nuclear device. ..."
"... Surprisingly, Bush reopened negotiations only three weeks later, and by 2007, under the rubric of the Six Party Talks, the DPRK agreed again to freeze its program. That accord was still pending when Obama was elected in 2009. He had run for president pledging to talk to Iran and North Korea, but quickly changed course on Korea. ..."
"... Obama and his top adviser on Asia, Jeff Bader, decided in 2009 to side with the new, conservative president of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak, who had campaigned against engagement and demanded stronger pressure tactics against the DPRK. Soon, the idea of direct talks and regular was abandoned. Officially, the doctrine for replacing direct engagement with pressure tactics was known as "strategic patience." Behind it was a mistaken assumption!the same one made by Bennett today!that North Korea was headed for collapse, making even the chance of an agreement a futile exercise. ..."
"... It's difficult to overstate how reactionary Obama's policies became. In contrast to Bush, and even Trump, Obama flatly rejected the idea of negotiating with the North without a prior commitment to denuclearization. He also expressed no interest in the DPRK's offer to sign a peace agreement. More disturbingly, he was the first president in history to refer to the Korean War, which has been universally recognized as a bloody stalemate, as a "victory." In doing so, Obama revived a right-wing trope that was first used in the 1950s and resurrected during the Bush years by David Frum and other neocons. So from the onset, Obama caused America's policy toward Korea to take a sharp right turn. ..."
"... But the U.S. government had no doubts at all. In January 2015, Obama called the DPRK's alleged hack an "act of war" and used it as an excuse to launch one of the most aggressive American actions on behalf of a private corporation in U.S. history. His executive order imposed sanctions against three North Korean agencies and nearly a dozen "critical North Korean operatives" in retaliation for the hack. The Treasury Department said the sanctions were in direct response to North Korea's "numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment." The action marked a major escalation, returning "the U.S. to a posture of open hostility with its oldest remaining Cold War adversary," the Wall Street Journal noted . ..."
"... Shortly after these actions were taken, the New York Times published a revelation that raised serious questions about the hack, reporting that the NSA had broken into the DPRK's computer systems as early as 2010 and "penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies." If that was true, the NSA might have watched the alleged hackers and allowed them to do their work. Here's what the Times concluded: ..."
"... Today, Kim Jong-un remains firmly in control of North Korea, and the Trump administration -- despite Trump's tweets on Sunday equating engagement with "appeasement " -- appears to be slowly moving toward negotiations of some kind with his government. Bruce Bennett continues to fantasize about bringing the leader down. Kim, he argued in a recent post , craves his weapons not for self-defense but because "nukes are one way to show his subjects he's a god." Kim is "a weak leader consumed by paranoia," he wrote in a separate piece. ..."
"... And on August 29, in a departing interview with Fox News, ousted White House adviser Sebastian Gorka let it slip that the cyber attacks on North Korea probably continue. "On the more covert side of things, you have seen a lot of missile tests fail," he said . "Most tests actually fail. Sometimes there may be reasons beyond just incompetence by North Korea." ..."
"... And there was an intriguing exchange recently between one of Obama's top national security officials and South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in . On August 4, Moon spoke out against Korean right-wingers who send anti-DPRK propaganda over the border in large balloons!one of the tactics frequently suggested by Bennett and carried out by neocons Kirchick and Halvorssen. These actions, he warned , unnecessarily aggravate the North, and particularly during times of severe tension, "could prompt accidental clashes." ..."
"... That sparked an angry tweet from Samantha Power, the Obama administration's former U.N. ambassador and perhaps the most famous proponent of "humanitarian intervention" against enemy states like North Korea. "So mistaken," Power tweeted in response to Moon. "Information is what Kim Jong-un fears most. ..."
Sep 05, 2017 | www.alternet.org

Grayzone Project 294 COMMENTS

Over the past month, President Trump's incendiary threats to rain " fire and fury " on North Korea in response to its ballistic missile program set off a chain of military escalations that climaxed this week with Pyongyang's sixth test of a nuclear device , a hydrogen bomb three to five times more powerful than the American bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As the crisis unfolded, the Rand Corporation, a military-intelligence think tank founded during the Cold War, relentlessly promoted the views of Bruce W. Bennett, a defense researcher it calls "one of the leading experts on the world's most reclusive country." Two or three times a day, Rand's media shop tweets out links to Bennett's writings on Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old who rules the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK), its formal and preferred name.

While Trump has vowed to use sanctions, war threats and diplomacy to stop Kim from developing a ballistic missile that could fire nuclear weapons at the United States!exactly what Kim claimed to do on Sunday!Bennett believes that the only target worth considering is North Korea's " Supreme Leader " himself.

Bennett's basic theme is that North Korea is teetering on collapse and internal unrest because the military and technocratic elite who run the country have given up on Kim and his dynastic family. It's a theory that's been around for decades , but has picked up steam in reaction to Kim's recent purges, including possibly his own brother and a string of high-level defections that includes Thae Yong-ho , the erudite former North Korea ambassador to London.

In glossy books and pamphlets ("Preparing North Korean Elites for Unification") and in appearances from CNN to Fox to Teen Vogue , Bennett lays out his plan for overthrowing the North Korean government by saturating the country with leaflets and propaganda and providing assurances to potential plotters in the North that they would have a place within a new, unified Korea!but only under South Korean and U.S. control.

The U.S., he warned in a recent speech on Capitol Hill that I attended, must deliver Kim a simple message: "We know the only thing you care about is your regime's survival. Either denuclearize or we will take actions politically to destabilize your regime." His talk was a basic primer for this "uprising" from within, which is exactly what the Bush administration sought in Iraq when it invaded in 2003.

The plan, Bennett said, might begin with the U.S. Air Force dropping leaflets on North Korean missile bases that invite North Korean soldiers to defect. "If there were one or two, that would be a political loss of face." K-Pop, the South Korean musical genre that's popular around the world, could be another weapon: "It's acidic as far the regime is concerned." And commercials about South Korean life planted in DVDs smuggled into the North "would be terrible for Kim Jong-un."

The purpose of the operation, he said, is to convince the people of the DPRK that their "paranoid" leader is not a "god," and to plant the idea that his country is unstable: "If that's in his mind, it will affect his behavior." In short, a psy-op.

As I listened to his spiel, I was reminded of Bennett's advisory role in the 2014 Seth Rogen comedy The Interview , about two Hollywood stoners hired by the CIA to kill Kim. It depicted, in graphic detail, Kim's head being blown apart by a guided missile fired by fed-up North Korean "elites" who had come over to the U.S. side after their conversations with the fake American journalists, played by Rogen and his sidekick James Franco.

The film was produced by Japan's Sony Pictures, but finalized only after receiving critical advice and assistance from the Obama State Department, the Rand Corporation, and according to a 2014 interview Rogen gave to the New York Times, the CIA ("We made relationships with certain people who work in the government as consultants, who I'm convinced are in the CIA") But it was all under the tutelage of Bruce Bennett, who was brought into the project by Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, a prominent member of Rand's board of directors and a close confidante of President Obama.

Why Bennett? His official biography states that he has worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Forces in South Korea and Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command as well as the South Korean and Japanese militaries. According an email he wrote to Sony's Lynton in 2014, he got his start in Asia as a Mormon missionary to Japan and began working on Korea in 1989 "at the request of the Pentagon." By 2014, he said, he had made over 100 trips to South Korea to advise the U.S. Army and senior South Korean military personnel "on how to deter North Korea." Even though he has never been to the DPRK, he bases his knowledge of the country on his "extensive interviews with senior North Korean defectors."

The movie's plot closely follows Bennett's vision for regime change from within, and is illustrated in two key scenes.

"We're aware of a small faction in the existing leadership that already wants him gone," the CIA agent overseeing the assassination plot tells her American recruits early on. "They want change and they're too scared to act alone. And they need you two to go in there and remove Kim and embolden them to revolt." Later, "Sook," the sexy assistant to Kim who joins the regime change plot, pleads with Rogen: "How do you prove to the 24 million people of North Korea that their god is a murderer and a liar? The people need to be shown that he's not a god."

The film allegedly sparked North Korea to hack Sony and leak thousands of internal Sony emails. North Korea also warned the Obama administration not to allow the film to be released, branding it "an act of terrorism." So, when Bennett invited questions at his congressional briefing, I asked him: what was his involvement in The Interview , and did he think it was effective?

At first, Bennett was elusive, saying, "I did not work on the movie." When I reminded him that he had been listed as an adviser, he changed course. "I heard about it for the first time when I was sent a copy of the DVD by the president of Sony Pictures, who was asking, do we need to be worried about this?" he explained, inspiring a ripple of laughter throughout the room. Bennett continued: "So I had a tail-end role in trying to help them appreciate what they might be worried about."

But there's a lot more to the story. Now that Kim is dominating the news once again, it's time to revisit this film and how it became a weapon in the long-running American war against North Korea.

Obama's hard line on DPRK

As Americans come to grips with Trump's confrontational policies with North Korea, it's easy to forget that U.S. relations with North Korea reached a nadir under Barack Obama. Here's why: Bennett's regime change proposals were, and are, the culmination of policies hatched by Obama's left-liberal administration to weaken Kim's hold on power and hasten what they considered North Korea's inevitable collapse. Obviously they failed, yet elements of the plan still abound.

Let's start with some basic background. The hostile U.S. relationship with the DPRK dates back to the Korean War, when U.S. bombers turned the country into cinders in a destructive campaign of carpet-bombing that killed millions of people. In 1953, an armistice ended the fighting, leaving the country divided and in a perpetual state of war. A peace treaty was never signed. Sometime in the late 1980s, with the border still tense and the U.S. showing no signs of withdrawing its military forces from the South, the DPRK decided to embark on a nuclear program to defend itself from wars of regime change and guarantee its sovereignty.

To head off that development, in 1994 President Bill Clinton negotiated an agreement with North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il-sung, that sought to allay his government's fears by ending America's hostile policies. Under the "Agreed Framework," the DPRK shut down its one test reactor -- its only source for plutonium -- in return for U.S. shipments of oil for its power grid and two new light-water reactors to be built by an international consortium. Most importantly, both sides agreed to end mutual hostility by fully normalizing their economic and political relations.

The agreement, which froze North Korea's nuclear program for 12 years, held for several years. But in 2002, the Bush administration accused the DPRK -- falsely it turned out -- of building a secret uranium program as a second route to a bomb and tore up the framework. In response, North Korea, which was by now led by Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's father, restarted its nuclear program, and by 2006 had exploded its first nuclear device.

Surprisingly, Bush reopened negotiations only three weeks later, and by 2007, under the rubric of the Six Party Talks, the DPRK agreed again to freeze its program. That accord was still pending when Obama was elected in 2009. He had run for president pledging to talk to Iran and North Korea, but quickly changed course on Korea.

According to Leon Sigal, a former State Department official who has met with North Korea many times in unofficial talks, Obama and his top adviser on Asia, Jeff Bader, decided in 2009 to side with the new, conservative president of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak, who had campaigned against engagement and demanded stronger pressure tactics against the DPRK. Soon, the idea of direct talks and regular was abandoned. Officially, the doctrine for replacing direct engagement with pressure tactics was known as "strategic patience." Behind it was a mistaken assumption!the same one made by Bennett today!that North Korea was headed for collapse, making even the chance of an agreement a futile exercise.

It's difficult to overstate how reactionary Obama's policies became. In contrast to Bush, and even Trump, Obama flatly rejected the idea of negotiating with the North without a prior commitment to denuclearization. He also expressed no interest in the DPRK's offer to sign a peace agreement. More disturbingly, he was the first president in history to refer to the Korean War, which has been universally recognized as a bloody stalemate, as a "victory." In doing so, Obama revived a right-wing trope that was first used in the 1950s and resurrected during the Bush years by David Frum and other neocons. So from the onset, Obama caused America's policy toward Korea to take a sharp right turn.

The tensions were exacerbated by the covert cyber war Obama launched against North Korea to damage and slow its missile program. During the Obama years, North Korea tested three more nuclear bombs, and despite the cyber war, rapidly expanded its missile abilities. As the situation deteriorated, Obama embarked on a series of military exercises with South Korea that increased in size and tempo over the course of his administration. They included unprecedented overflights by B-52 and stealth B1-B bombers as well as training in " decapitation strikes " designed to take out Kim and his leadership. All of this led straight to the crisis Trump inherited and has only made worse.

But while Trump critics rightly chafe over his reckless allusions to a nuclear attack on Korea, it's often forgotten that Obama himself made similar statements, couched in his trademark cool. "We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals," Obama told CBS News in April 2016. A few months later, Daniel Russel, the president's senior diplomat on Asia who had earlier viewed The Interview at Sony's request, actually threatened North Korea's destruction. If Kim gets "an enhanced capacity to conduct a nuclear attack," Russel told defense reporters, he would "immediately die."

At the time, these threats hardly caused a ripple in the media, and sparked few complaints from the liberals who now criticize Trump for pushing the U.S. to war or the progressive reporters who criticized Bush for his invasion of Iraq.

Seth Rogen 'melted head' assassination scene

Although the idea for The Interview had been around for a while, the real inspiration, director Seth Rogen told the Los Angeles Times, was some "idle kidding around" he did with his friends after the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011. He and Sony were also encouraged by the wild success of the 2004 hit movie Team America , which ridiculed Kim Jong-il's big glasses and bouffant hair-do. But what sparked Sony's decision to go ahead with its $35 million investment was the crisis that shook the Korean Peninsula when the DPRK tested its third nuclear device in February 2013.

The nuclear test vaulted Kim Jong-un into the headlines for the first time, giving Sony the moment it had been seeking. In a "strategic marketing and research" paper later leaked by hackers, the studio told promoters to push the theme of "the dictator's bizarre behavior!he's a young, inexperienced guy with self-esteem and 'daddy' issues." The film used every racist image and trope that Rogen could dream up, from the sing-songy caricatures of Asian speech that were a film staple in the 1940s and '50s, to the concept that Koreans are either robotic slaves (like Kim's security guards) or sex-starved submissives who crave American men (like Sook, the "elite" aide to Kim who falls for the Rogen character).

In the end of the film, the Hollywood rebels triumph after badgering Kim with tough questions about his ability to feed his own people, an allusion to the terrible famine that occurred in the late-1990s. Kim goes crazy, forcing "a man once revered among mortals to cry and shit in his pants," the Rogen character explains. After the stoner character screams, "he's no god, he's a butthole," Kim is struck on his helicopter by the fatal missile shot by Sook's rebels, and his head explodes in a fireball. The rebels' job now "is to make sure power is transferred to the right hands," the Americans explain.

It was that ending that caused most of the controversy, both at the studio and when the film was later pre-screened to select officials of the Obama administration. When the first takes were shown in June 2014, some of Sony's Japanese executives were disturbed by both the violence and the racism. By this time, North Korea (which relentlessly monitors U.S. media) had got wind of the film and its theme of assassinating its head of state. So the studio asked Rogen to tone it down by removing one scene in which moviegoers watched Kim's face slowly melt and slide off his head. This sent Rogen on a tirade.

"We feel the story of censorship and trying to appease North Korea WILL in fact hurt the film critically, and thus financially," he wrote to Amy Pascal , Sony Pictures' top executive at the time. "The head melting shot described vividly in all these articles is universally received as awesome by the articles writing about them, and when these critics see a shot that is decidedly LESS awesome, regardless of what story we put out there, the truth will be apparent: it's a compromised product." (The head-melting scene was removed, but Rogen's Hollywood version of selective morality was revealing nonetheless).

By this point, North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was denouncing the film as tantamount to "an act of war," and threatening "a decisive and merciless countermeasure" if the Obama administration allowed it to be shown. That was apparently the result Rogen was looking for.

"There was a lot of high-fiving," he told the Los Angeles Times. Even if it caused a war?

"Hopefully," Rogen said, "people will say, 'You know what? It was worth it. It was a good movie!'"

It was then that Sony turned to the government for help, through Rand and its Korea expert, Bruce Bennett.

With top Obama contacts, Sony and Rand collaborate on coup narrative

The Rand Corporation first became famous in 1971, when Daniel Ellsberg, a Rand analyst, leaked the Pentagon Papers that exposed the secret history of the Vietnam War. The incredible tale of official lies that unfolded in pages of the New York Times and other papers helped end the war four years later and triggered the beginning of the end of Richard Nixon. After shaking off that incident, Rand emerged as one of the premiere research centers for the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence.

As a result of 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Rand returned full force to refining the practice of counterinsurgency , or COIN, the "soft power" side of empire-building that got its start in Vietnam and aims at winning "hearts and minds" of countries that the United States invades or subverts. Bennett's policy proposals to divide members of the North Korean "elite" from their government with offers of political support and financial assistance come right out of the COIN playbook .

The link between Rand and Sony was made shortly after the first public viewing of the film by Rand CEO Michael Rich, a lifelong employee of the think tank. Under his leadership, Rand developed close ties with U.S. intelligence. In November 2014, for example, Rich presided over a "rare dialogue" with the National Security Agency that took place at Sony's headquarters in Century City and included then NSA director Michael Rogers as well as Michael Leiter, the former director of the CIA's National Counterterrorism Center.

In June 2014, after the first clips of the movie where shown, Rich emailed Bennett, informing him he had recommended that Rand "trustee Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, get in touch with you for some quick assistance." Lynton, too, had high-level connections. As the hacked Sony emails collected by Wikileaks would later reveal , he had attended dinners at Martha's Vineyard with President Obama, and as a Rand board member, had contacts throughout government. From June on, Bennett, through Lynton, became a critical adviser to the film and acted as a liaison between the studio and the Obama administration.

The makers of The Interview were especially interested in advice on crafting the ending of the film. The scene of Kim's head exploding pleased Bennett, as he wrote in one of his emails. "I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government," he wrote .

Bennett continued: 'Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone."

Bennett firmly believed the film could spark the U.S.-led coup he had dreamed about for so long. "There are many ways that United States and even Sony Pictures could affect North Korean internal politics," he wrote on the Rand website. "Slipping DVDs of at least parts of The Interview into the North, including a narration describing what their 'god' Kim is really like is one way." (In fact, a version of this stunt was attempted right after the film came out by two of the more fanatical regime-changers in Washington, the neocon writer Jamie Kirchik and right-wing human rights hustler Thor Halvorssen .)

To make sure the film was on the right track, Sony arranged to show the ending to officials at the State Department. Lynton emailed Daniel Russel, who was the assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, that the studio was "concerned for the safety of Americans and American and North Korean relations." He and other U.S. officials gave their blessing to the film's violent ending. After word of Russel's involvement leaked out, the State Department denied any role, only to be contradicted by Russel himself. In a 2016 speech in Los Angeles, he said , "I'm the U.S. government official who told Sony there was no problem 'greenlighting' the movie The Interview ."

Despite the official go-ahead, Sony agreed at first to only release The Interview on DVD. Then, when Sony temporarily pulled the film in December 2014, Obama became its champion, declaring that "we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States." That led to the remarkable sight of Hollywood actors and directors from the liberal left, led by the likes of George Clooney and Michael Moore, defending the film as an act of free speech and urging Americans to defy Kim's "censorship" and go see it in a theater.

By this time, Sony had been hacked by a group that called itself the " Guardians of Peace ." The FBI later claimed this group was secretly working for North Korea. The Obama administration agreed, and said its top intelligence officials had concluded that North Korea was "centrally involved." This finding was questioned by many cyber-security experts (especially Gregory Elich's critique in Counterpunch and Kim Zetter's analysis in Wired). They concluded that the FBI's "evidence" found in servers in Thailand, Singapore and elsewhere was thin and speculative, and found signs that the real hackers (who had an uncanny insider knowledge of Hollywood) could still be at large and might have been former Sony employees.

But the U.S. government had no doubts at all. In January 2015, Obama called the DPRK's alleged hack an "act of war" and used it as an excuse to launch one of the most aggressive American actions on behalf of a private corporation in U.S. history. His executive order imposed sanctions against three North Korean agencies and nearly a dozen "critical North Korean operatives" in retaliation for the hack. The Treasury Department said the sanctions were in direct response to North Korea's "numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment." The action marked a major escalation, returning "the U.S. to a posture of open hostility with its oldest remaining Cold War adversary," the Wall Street Journal noted .

Shortly after these actions were taken, the New York Times published a