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Posts Tagged ‘John Bolton’

Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2019

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for
war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim
of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia
in 2015. It was the other way around.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove,

Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Bolton by proxy.

https://original.antiwar.com/paul/2019/09/16/will-trump-take-neocon-bait-and-attack-iran-over-saudi-strike/

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, “It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries…” Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years.” True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they’ve created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran’s role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

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The Fall of John Bolton: Exercising Power with the Grace of a Cockroach — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on September 13, 2019

John Bolton never saw a nuclear arms control treaty he did not hate. He was and is willfully blind to the dangers of Armageddon

Like his brother from another mother McCain who never saw a war he didn’t like.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/09/11/the-fall-of-john-bolton-exercising-power-with-the-grace-of-a-cockroach/

Martin Sieff

 

John Bolton was only national security adviser of the United States for less than18 months but it felt as if he had been there forever. And we are not – alas – done with him yet.

The first thing to be said about Bolton’s fall is that it was entirely consistent with his lifelong pattern. He went reluctantly and departed with all the grace of a cockroach. He showed no loyalty or even courtesy to the president who raised him from being an aged, deserved has-been to briefly being one of the most powerful men on the planet. He could never be graceful or grateful, never be a gentleman. He could never simply shut up.

John Bolton was never a genius: Though like all his neoconservative friends he imagined himself to be. It was always the childish fantasy of a creepy little psychopath who never grew up, always a lie.

For decades, the cockroaches and spiders in the most obscure recesses of all the conservative, libertarian and liberal-progressive think tanks sprinkled across Washington like smallpox scabs spoke with awe of Bolton’s brilliant brain, his remorseless work ethic and his capacious memory. They were only exposing their own even greater mediocrity.

For Bolton always lacked any form of judgment, wisdom, discernment or restraint. He had a simplistic rigid mind that never learned any anything good that was new and never forget everything that was old and vile.

As recently as July, he was lauded at a farcical so-called “national conservative” conference outside Washington as a champion of restraint and peace in foreign policy. Josef Goebbels could not have come up with a more outrageous and ludicrous lie. It was like congratulating Jeffrey Epstein on his chastity and respect for virgins.

Bolton was lauded by unending generations of neocon whores in the American media for his breadth of vision as if he actually understood the world. In fact the only thing he ever understood – and knew how to play – was the media and think tank gossip games inside the Washington Beltway.

John Bolton claimed to defend the national security of the United States: Another lie. As usual in the Infernal Groves of the National Capital, everything is the opposite of what it is presented as being. In fact, he worked endlessly to put his country at unprecedented risk.

To the very end, he sought to keep American soldiers dying in their thousands in an unending war in Afghanistan that he worked so hard with his neocon soulmates to unleash under their brainless puppet George W. Bush. Indeed, it seems to have been his efforts to (at least initially successfully) derail promising peace talks in Qatar between the Trump administration and the Taliban that finally led his longsuffering president to pull the plug on him…

Every one of his policies failed, cost untold hundreds of billions of dollars or took hundreds of thousands of lives. It never seemed to matter. He could count on the indulgent hosts and producers of Fox News to wheel him out endlessly, again and again to trot out the same tired old lies masquerading as wisdom and truth.

No one was ever allowed to call him out on it on national television to his face. He would never allow it. Like so many armchair warriors, he had been a draft dodger and was always a bully and a coward…

Bolton was also a central figure in the destruction of Iraq in 2003. He cheered on the attempt to destroy Syria in 2011. He solemnly and thoughtfully endorsed the destruction of genuine democratic and constitutional government in Ukraine in the Maidan coup of 2011. When it came to unleashing the Dogs of War, he was relentless and remorseless to the end.

Nor should we celebrate prematurely that we have seen the last of him yet: A future President Mike Pence or Nikki Haley is perfectly capable of making John Bolton secretary of defense, secretary of state or national security adviser for a second time.

And do not rule out him appearing magically reinvented as a figure of supposed wisdom and restraint at the side of a future President Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. Compared to the fantastic, terrible and bizarre realities of Washington, Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” is a sober documentary.

John Bolton never saw a nuclear arms control treaty he did not hate. He was and is willfully blind to the dangers of Armageddon…

Who but a cockroach could possibly want thermonuclear war? Who but a cockroach – and John Bolton?

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John Bolton's zeal for regime change extends to Latin ...

 

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Trump, the New York Times, and John Bolton – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2019

Bolton’s best-known policies have been to bomb Iran and replace the Mullahs with a US puppet government; turn Venezuela into an American oil well; exit the UN; and start World War III

We are well rid but Bolton’s opinion on one thing has always been correct.

Dump the UN.

https://original.antiwar.com/david-bromwich/2019/09/11/trump-the-new-york-times-and-john-bolton/

The New York Times on September 10 ran six articles with the word Trump in the headlines. Two of the stories were clearly warranted – one on Trump’s continuing resolve to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, and one on the way the commerce department played along with Trump’s false message about the Alabama destination of the recent hurricane. The other stories were tabloid-fodder.

Then midday September 10 came the news that John Bolton had been sacked. That deserved a story, so it was fair to predict the Times would run three: one on the event, one on the history of a memorable relationship, and one on “possible consequences.”

The Times on September 11 ran four stories on Bolton. News analysis on page one, by Michael Crowley and Lara Jakes, opened with this sentence: “On one foreign policy issue after another, John R. Bolton was the in-house skeptic who checked President Trump’s most unorthodox instincts.” The word unorthodox is doing a lot of work there. It would be truer to say that Trump cut down Bolton’s most dangerous initiatives: for example his idea of starting a war with Iran by an immediate violent retaliation after the bloodless downing of a US surveillance drone.

Was John Bolton a “skeptic”? An “adult in the room”? Bolton’s best-known policies have been to bomb Iran and replace the Mullahs with a US puppet government; turn Venezuela into an American oil well; exit the UN; and start World War III soon while the US can win (if we don’t tie our hands). And meanwhile withdraw from none of the following countries: Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan…

Bolton was originally appointed by Trump at the request of the casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. It was Bolton’s advocacy of Israeli expansion, and his detestation of the very idea of a Palestinian state, that prompted both Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu to recommend him as the the best choice for Trump’s third national security adviser…

It appears that anyone (no matter how devious and reckless) who opposes Donald Trump can now expect to be rewarded with the honorific title “skeptic” – a word often used in the past to describe a doubter rather than a fanatical supporter of an insane orthodoxy.

We are through the looking glass.

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BREAKING: Bolton Accuses Trump of Lying About His Firing

Posted by M. C. on September 10, 2019

Who Cares!

Bolton is Gone!

Hallelujah!!!

BREAKING: Bolton Accuses Trump of Lying About His Firing

President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he had fired John Bolton, his national security advisor, in a stunning announcement on Tuesday that apparently took Bolton himself by surprise.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump wrote on Twitter, citing disagreements over policy.

Bolton offered a different story in his own tweet, claiming that he had offered on Monday night to resign but Trump brushed him off.

“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,’” Bolton wrote…

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John Bolton's zeal for regime change extends to Latin ...

 

 

 

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In Defense of Tucker Carlson – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 19, 2019

The dreams of creating an empire that encompasses the whole world, enforcing “liberal democracy” on the nations, as supported by Bolton and others, lead down a futile path. And whenever a futile path is pursued through enforcing its policies on the globe, it is no longer futile, but suicidal.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/08/atilla-mert-sulker/in-defense-of-tucker-carlson/

By

Amid rumors that Tucker Carlson may have suddenly been suspended off of Fox News, some are taking this claim even further, predicting that he may be replaced by Ben Shapiro. While these claims have remained only rumors, it is important to not lose sight of the importance of Carlson and his platform. Whether these rumors become reality or not, I fully stand by this defense of Carlson.

Many small government activists, even, have gone as far as to condemn and chastise Carlson for his criticism of Austrian economics. While the claims made by Carlson in this regard are short sighted and unwarranted, many conservatives and libertarians have allowed this to obscure the importance of Carlson. The fact of the matter is that while the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Levins of the world continuously call for more war in the Middle East and elsewhere, Carlson remains a bold anti-war maverick. And one of very few on Fox News.

Let’s go through some of the various warmongers and neocons that Carlson has exposed on his show. Beginning with one that is prominent in the current administration- John Bolton. In an interview with Bolton last year, before his appointment to national security advisor, Carlson caught Bolton off guard, and began to grill him on whether we should go to war with Iran. “There haven’t been any Iran sponsored terror attacks in this country”, Carlson pointed out, as he proceeded to rightfully connect terror attacks on the U.S. to “Saudi Arabians, the Gulf States, and the Sunni Arab World”. A disgruntled Bolton then proceeded to say that it’s Iran’s “support for terrorism generally, that should concern us- not neccessarily specific attacks on the United States”. Of course, here, Bolton is alluding to the dream of the liberal international order, in which our interests lie in the promotion of “liberal democracy” worldwide.

Carlson then blatantly noted that to commit any number of troops or increase military spending, it would make much more sense to “go after the people who are attacking us here first”. Sidestepping this, Bolton then began to put the blame on North Korea, and their nuclear weapons. Bolton then returned to point out that had Israel bombed Iran 15 years before, we’d be in a much better place now. Carlson then pointed out that regime change in Iraq and Libya turned out to be a disaster, leading Bolton to immediately stop him there. Bolton ended the interview, saying that the analysis of Carlson and like minded non-interventionists, was “simplistic”, his final defense.

On many other occasions, Carlson has pointed out his abhorrence to the idea of war with Iran, grilling Bolton and the war lobby following the recent threat of war with Iran. “How many people will be killed? The most basic of all questions, but a question too rarely asked by leaders contemplating war”, Carlson asserted. Carlson also rebuked a clip where someone on CNN criticized the president for being indecisive on whether to strike Iran, as Trump decided last minute not to follow through with the prospective attack on Iran. Of course, in Washington, being indecisive is a greater sin than killing hundreds in a strike.

Carlson also once faced, perhaps the most crazed of all war mongers, Ralph Peters, who helped lead the anti-Russia hysteria. Peters branded the Russians as “terrorists” who hate the United States, thus it is wrong to seek alliances with them in any ways. To Peters, Putin “is as close to pure evil” as he can think of. Like Bolton, in pursuit of the liberal international order, Peters asserted that “we should be strengthening our alliances with democracies”. When Carlson asked why the Russians constituted a threat to the U.S., Peters compared Carlson to a Hitler apologist, saying “you sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying Hitler hasn’t attacked us”. Of course, this is a classic move in the neocon playbook. Carlson’s scuffle with Peters is reminiscent of when John McCain called out Ron Paul in a debate for supporting “isolationism”, which “allowed Hitler to come to power”. All Paul was doing was pointing out the failures of the war in Iraq.

University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer notes that “the (liberal international) order contains the seeds of its own destruction”. For if the dream of liberal hegemony, i.e., that the United States can impose its will on the rest of the world, is to prevail, a unipolar world would be needed. This is not so, as China has emerged as a major world power, bringing back “balance of power politics”. But China’s emergence as a major world power was inevitable, Mearsheimer explains, through integrating it into the liberal international order, “making it richer and richer”. Thus the quest to achieve a liberal international order lead back to balance of power politics, making the former a futile endeavor…

 

 

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : How Trump’s Arch-Hawk Lured Britain into a Dangerous Trap to Punish Iran

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2019

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2019/july/21/how-trump-s-arch-hawk-lured-britain-into-a-dangerous-trap-to-punish-iran/

written by Simon Tisdall

John Bolton, White House national security adviser and notorious Iraq-era hawk, is a man on a mission. Given broad latitude over policy by Donald Trump, he is widely held to be driving the US confrontation with Iran. And in his passionate bid to tame Tehran, Bolton cares little who gets hurt – even if collateral damage includes a close ally such as Britain.

So when Bolton heard British Royal Marines had seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar on America’s Independence Day, his joy was unconfined. “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions,” he exulted on Twitter.

Bolton’s delighted reaction suggested the seizure was a surprise. But accumulating evidence suggests the opposite is true, and that Bolton’s national security team was directly involved in manufacturing the Gibraltar incident. The suspicion is that Conservative politicians, distracted by picking a new prime minister, jockeying for power, and preoccupied with Brexit, stumbled into an American trap.

In short, it seems, Britain was set up.

The consequences of the Gibraltar affair are only now becoming clear. The seizure of Grace I led directly to Friday’s capture by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of a British tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz. Although it has not made an explicit link, Iran had previously vowed to retaliate for Britain’s Gibraltar “piracy”. Now it has its revenge.

As a result, Britain has been plunged into the middle of an international crisis it is ill-prepared to deal with. The timing could hardly be worse. An untested prime minister, presumably Boris Johnson, will enter Downing Street this week. Britain is on the brink of a disorderly exit from the EU, alienating its closest European partners. And its relationship with Trump’s America is uniquely strained.

Much of this angst could have been avoided. Britain opposed Trump’s decision to quit the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the trigger for today’s crisis. It has watched with alarm as the Trump-Bolton policy of “maximum pressure”, involving punitive sanctions and an oil embargo, has radicalised the most moderate Iranians.

Yet even as Britain backed EU attempts to rescue the nuclear deal, Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt, foreign secretary, tried to have it both ways – to keep Trump sweet. They publicly supported Washington’s complaints about Iran’s “destabilising” regional activities and missile programme, and berated Iran when it bypassed agreed nuclear curbs.

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the full article here.

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John Bolton's zeal for regime change extends to Latin ...

 

 

 

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Lies About Iran Killing US Troops in Iraq Are a Ploy to Justify War – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 10, 2019

https://original.antiwar.com/porter/2019/07/09/lies-about-iran-killing-us-troops-in-iraq-are-a-ploy-to-justify-war/

One of the many myths that have been used to justify the push for war with Iran led by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is that Tehran is responsible for the killing of more than 600 U.S. troops during the Iraq War.

Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, whose job is to round up international support for the Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, presented the charge at a State Department press briefing on April 2. “I can announce today, based on declassified US military reports,” Hook said, “that Iran is responsible for the deaths of 608 American service members. This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of US personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.”

Navy Commander Sean Robertson followed up with an email to media outlets pushing that same line. When this writer asked Robertson for further clarification of the origins of that figure, however, he acknowledged that the Pentagon doesn’t have any study, documentation, or data to provide journalists that would support such a figure.

In fact, the myth that Tehran is responsible for killing over 600 US troops in the Iraq War is merely a new variant of a propaganda line that former Vice President Dick Cheney used to attempt to justify a war against Iran more than a decade ago. Reviewing the history of that earlier effort is necessary to understand why the new myth is a palpable lie…

The New York Times, Associated Press, and other outlets released stories claiming that Bergner had said Iranian agents helped plan the Karbala attack. Within hours, Sen. Joe Lieberman issued a press release saying that the Iranian government had “declared war on us.” Bergner’s comments and Lieberman’s statement set the stage for the unanimous passage the following week of a Senate resolution that the murder of American military personnel by Iran was “an intolerable act of hostility against the United States.”

Around the time Lieberman was introducing that resolution (in partnership with four Republican senators), Cheney proposed in a meeting with other senior officials that if the United States obtained hard evidence of Iranian support for Shiite militias killing US forces in Iraq, such as fighters or weapons crossing into Iraq from an IRGC base in Iran linked to that assistance.

Defense Department officials quashed the proposal, however, by demanding that Cheney’s staff explain how this military escalation would unfold, and how it would end, according to J. Scott Carpenter former deputy assistant secretary of state, in a 2008 interview with this writer. Cheney’s staff couldn’t provide satisfactory answers.

When officials of the Trump administration claim that Iran is responsible for US deaths in Iraq, they are following Dick Cheney’s playbook. As the Bolton-Pompeo team tries to steer the US toward attacking Iran, it is important to draw that parallel to Cheney’s strategy, and understand the history behind this push for war.

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Bolton Demands Iran Abandon Non-Existent Nuclear Arms Program – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on July 9, 2019

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/07/08/bolton-demands-iran-abandon-non-existent-nuclear-arms-program/

US officials are continuing to express demands that Iran get rid of its nuclear weapons program. This is a long-standing demand, and Iran is well aware of it. The problem is Iran doesn’t have such a program, and has repeatedly disavowed ever having a program in the future.

They might as well not bother to have spent the last 16 years disavowing arms, with hawkish John Bolton clearly acting like it never happened, saying the US is determined to “increase the pressure on the Iranian regime until it abandons its nuclear weapons program.”…

US officials have been reiterating the idea of an Iranian “nuclear threat” so long, and against all reason, that at this point the facts don’t matter for most US officials. Policy is to escalate sanctions, and the escalation has become an end unto itself…

This puts Iran in a tough position with the US, because it plainly doesn’t matter what Iran promises, what Iran does, or what Iranian leaders declare as religiously forbidden. The US will always lead with the same nonsensical demand, and US officials will always feel justified with threatening Iran over plain lies.

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Trump: War President or Anti-Interventionist? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on June 25, 2019

Yet, what vital interest of ours does Iran today threaten?

https://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2019/06/24/trump-war-president-or-anti-interventionist/

Visualizing 150 Iranian dead from a missile strike that he had ordered, President Donald Trump recoiled and canceled the strike, a brave decision and defining moment for his presidency.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence had signed off on the strike on Iran as the right response to Tehran’s shootdown of a U.S. Global Hawk spy plane over the Gulf of Oman.

The U.S. claims the drone was over international waters. Tehran says it was in Iranian territory. But while the loss of a $100 million drone is no small matter, no American pilot was lost, and retaliating by killing 150 Iranians would appear to be a disproportionate response.

Good for Trump. Yet, all weekend, he was berated for chickening out and imitating President Barack Obama. U.S. credibility, it was said, has taken a big hit and must be restored with military action…

Monday, the president tweeted: “The U.S. request for Iran is very simple – No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!”

But Iran has no nuclear weapons, has never had nuclear weapons, and has never even produced bomb-grade uranium.

According to our own intelligence agencies in 2007 and 2011, Tehran did not even have a nuclear weapons program.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA, the only way Iran could have a nuclear weapons program would be in secret, outside its known nuclear facilities, all of which are under constant U.N. inspection.

Where is the evidence that any such secret program exists?

And if it does, why does America not tell the world where Iran’s secret nuclear facilities are located and demand immediate inspections?

“No further sponsoring of terror,” Trump says.

But what does that mean? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Fact That Americans Need To Be Deceived Into War Proves Their Underlying Goodness – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on June 24, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/06/22/the-fact-that-americans-need-to-be-deceived-into-war-proves-their-underlying-goodness/

Last night Fox’s Tucker Carlson praised Trump’s decision not to go forward with a planned attack against Iran which the president claims would have killed approximately 150 people in response to a downed drone, which if true would have been a profoundly barbaric response to a broken toy plane and would have led to retaliations from Iran, followed by a chain of military actions which could have escalated God knows how far.

Carlson, who has been credited with persuading Trump against further military escalations with Iran, lit into the neoconservative elements of Trump’s cabinet with unprecedented viciousness. He called National Security Advisor John Bolton a “bureaucratic tapeworm” who never suffers any consequences for his relentless warmongering and accusing him and his collaborators of deliberately engineering a provocation to lead to direct military confrontation. Carlson urged Trump to expunge the influencers who are pushing for a war with Iran, and cautioned that it would cost him re-election.

“Bombing Iran would have ended [Trump’s] political career in a minute,” Carlson said. “There’d be no chance of re-election after that.”

Carlson’s first guest, The American Conservative‘s Robert Merry, plainly stated the likely reason for Bolton’s deceitful manipulations, saying that Americans are typically reluctant to go to war and citing a few of the historical instances in which they were tricked into consenting to it by those who desire mass military violence.

“So, you’re saying that there is a long, almost unbroken history of lying our way into war?” Carlson asked his guest rhetorically.

“Lying sometimes, not always lying, sometimes it’s manipulations, but yeah,” Merry replied. “America’s warmaking history indicates that there’s been significant instances of that kind of maneuvering, manipulations, and in some instances lying–Vietnam is a great example–to get us into wars that the American people weren’t clamoring for.”

Both men are correct. The US empire does indeed have an extensive and well-documented history of using lies, manipulations and distortions to manufacture consent for war from a populace that would otherwise choose peace, and a Reuters poll released last month found that only 12 percent of Americans favor attacking Iranian military interests without having been attacked first.

Watching Americans react online to the jarring report about how close they may have just come to a war which would have impacted most of the world to varying degrees, I’ve been experiencing a deep appreciation for what truly, sincerely good people they are underneath all the propaganda and deceit.

The fact that Americans have had to be tricked into every major military action since the Spanish-American War is telling in itself. If Americans were truly a war-hungry mob, the hawks wouldn’t need to do that. Notice too how these tricks almost always hinge on manipulating Americans’ desire to help others. The manipulators literally have to use people’s goodness to manufacture consent for war by making it all about a “dictator” who is harming his people or some variation of this theme. The hawks could try to play off of hatred or fear, but they know it wouldn’t work nearly as effectively as manipulating the already-installed “Save the day!” helping desire that most Americans live and breathe.

Now, these tricks are becoming more and more conscious for an increasing number of Americans. For instance, on the day of the Gulf of Oman incident, “Gulf of Tonkin” briefly trended on Twitter. As it becomes more apparent that they’ve been lied to, you could expect people to compartmentalize away from the bloodshed by arguing for exceptionalism and for strengthening the petrodollar and US geostrategic interests no matter the cost. They could simply switch gears and take their cues from Bolton and the neocons. But the large majority don’t. They are horrified. There is shame and there is palpable grief. They hate the thought that they might be the baddies, and they want to do what they can to stop the next senseless military bloodbath.

And then something like this near-miss happens in Iran and the responses on social media make it very clear that the will for war with Iran is almost non-existent everywhere except DC. On the contrary, Americans came out in force over the last two days to mock, deride, argue and demand that Trump cease this madness immediately. I’ve been reading all day and just swelling with so much love.

I’ve often had the thought that American culture creates the kind of people we need to save the world, but they’re also subject to the most sophisticated propaganda in the world, so so far they’ve put all that get-up-and-go goodwill into fighting shadows and each other. If the veil of the propaganda gets too thin, these guys might really end up being the superheroes, but for real this time.

And that gives me so much hope. If the US-centralized empire were built upon a foundation of cold, uncaring people, I’d probably pack it in right now and seek out a low-effort job so I can buy chips and booze to take the edge off while I wait for armageddon. But it’s not. All that’s holding our world back from health is a thin, wispy leash made of propaganda.

Whenever I try to talk about this I get a lot of pushback, not from outsiders like myself but from Americans themselves. When you’re in the thick of a society that keeps seeing itself manipulated into war after war after war, it can feel like being in the middle of an endless zombie apocalypse, and it’s easy to grow impatient with one’s countrymen.

But it’s so important that the blame be placed in the right place. We must be vigilant in directing our anger at the manipulators and not the manipulated. It’s always the conman’s fault, never the victim. That’s how it works in fraud law and how it works in life. Blaming people for being “stupid” is not only victim blaming, it’s also unlikely to be true. Being susceptible to propaganda has very little to do with intelligence. You will notice that some of the smartest people you know not only fervently believe the propaganda, they are able to gaslight themselves and others more effectively than most with their own clever arguments. A high IQ does not inoculate you against propaganda, in fact it can work against you because agile minds are able to create the most convincing kinds of reframes.

They’re not stupid, they’re trusting. And is being trusting something we really want to mock? Aside from mocking a beautiful attribute that we should be trying to protect, it also is a bad strategy if you want to help someone into seeing that they’ve been duped. Our brains are very adept at avoiding the feeling of shame, and people will use many strategies to avoid feeling the shame of being duped. So when you mock people as “stupid” you’re literally just strengthening their shame cage by making them defend it. Get angry at their abusers instead and encourage them to get angry at them too. It’s the manipulators who we should be staring down right now, not their victims.

What we are watching with Iran is a war propaganda narrative failing to get airborne. It was all set up and ready to go, they had the whole marketing team working on it, and then it faceplanted right on the linoleum. This is what a failed narrative management campaign looks like. It is possible for us to see this more and more.

Today I have a lot more hope. It’s becoming clear that the manipulations of the US war machine are becoming more and more obvious to more and more people and that everyday, regular Americans are reacting with a healthy amount of horror and revulsion. There was always the risk that the US population would already be sufficiently paced ahead of these revelations and there would be little to no reaction, but that didn’t happen. Americans are seeing what they’re doing, and they don’t like it, and they don’t want it.

And that makes me so happy. Come on Captain America. Save the day. The world is counting on you.

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