MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

US-Led Strikes Kill Scores of Civilians in Eastern Syria Displaced Camp – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on February 13, 2019

Kurds save them, Pentagon kills them.

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/02/12/us-led-strikes-kill-scores-of-civilians-in-eastern-syria-displaced-camp/

Jason Ditz

The Kurdish YPG’s attempt to take the last of ISIS-held towns and villages in eastern Syria has focused heavily on getting civilians out of those areas, as not to worry about casualties. What happens to those civilians when they flee the village of Baghouz, however, is a problem of its own.

According to Syrian officials, the US-led coalition attacked a camp for internally displaced persons who had fled from Baghouz. Scores of civilians, including women and children, were reported slain, and many more wounded.

It is not clear why the camp was targeted, and the US has not commented on the matter. Local officials say the toll is expected to rise further, as many of the wounded are in critical condition, and have little to no access to medical care in this remote, war-torn part of Syria.

US airstrikes have been killing growing numbers of civilians in and around these “last” ISIS-held towns, and while the heavy US air support has been key to keeping ISIS on the defensive, the civilian casualties are likely to breed resentment among those left in the area.

Be seeing you

drone-strikes-Leaked-report-shows-high-civilian-death-toll-from-CIA-drone-strikes

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : President Starts a War? Congress Yawns. Threatens to End One? Condemnation!

Posted by M. C. on February 12, 2019

Al-Qaeda and ISIS did not emerge in Iraq because US troops left the country – they emerged because the US was in the country in the first place. Where was al-Qaeda in Iraq before the 2003 US invasion the neocons lied us into? There weren’t any.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2019/february/11/president-starts-a-war-congress-yawns-threatens-to-end-one-condemnation/

written by ron paul

Last week’s bipartisan Senate vote to rebuke President Trump for his decision to remove troops from Syria and Afghanistan unfortunately tells us a lot about what is wrong with Washington, DC. While the two parties loudly bicker about minor issues, when it comes to matters like endless wars overseas they enthusiastically join together. With few exceptions, Republicans and Democrats lined up to admonish the president for even suggesting that it’s time for US troops to come home from Afghanistan and Syria.

The amendment, proposed by the Senate Majority Leader and passed overwhelmingly by both parties, warns that a “precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from the on-going fight…in Syria and Afghanistan, could allow terrorists to regroup.” As one opponent of the amendment correctly pointed out, a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is hardly “precipitous” since they’ve been there for nearly 18 years! And with al-Qaeda and ISIS largely defeated in Syria a withdrawal from that country would hardly be “precipitous” after almost five years of unauthorized US military action. Read the rest of this entry »

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Capitol Hill Cowards: Why Congress Is Trying to Undermine Trump’s Troop Withdrawal Plan | Cato Institute

Posted by M. C. on February 11, 2019

Almost comical is the resolution’s reference to “hard-won gains.” Coincidentally, earlier the same day the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released his latest quarterly report. The reality on the ground is accurately described as “hard-won,” but there are few “gains” to record. More territory and population are under Taliban control. Afghan troop numbers are down. Corruption and opium production remain at crisis levels. Increased allied participation in combat has been necessary to slow Taliban gains. The Director of National Intelligence warned that Afghanistan is likely to continue deteriorating even with Western support.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/capitol-hill-cowards-why-congress-trying-undermine-trumps-troop

By Doug Bandow

Afghanistan is America’s longest war, at seventeen years and counting. It has run longer than the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and Korean War combined. Yet Congress has conducted minimal oversight and done nothing as the executive branch’s aim devolved into pushing failure onto the next administration.

In Syria Washington chose to enter a civil war of minimal security concern to America. Syria was allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Washington’s previous forays in similarly imploding Middle Eastern nations—Lebanon and Libya—turned out badly. The executive branch concocted ever more outlandish duties for American military personnel: extirpate ISIS, exclude Iran, confront Russia, pacify Turkey, protect Kurds, and pressure Damascus. Yet Congress never voted on the continual usurpation of legislative power.

If legislators want to carp because the president has sensibly decided to terminate foolish, unnecessary, and unproductive military interventions, then they should have voted on initially authorizing those deployments.

Members also sat like potted plants as presidents illegally made war in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and threatened to unilaterally strike Iran, North Korea, and now Venezuela. Legislators preferred to avoid committing themselves. If the ensuing conflict goes well, then they will applaud the president; if it goes badly, then they will criticize his impetuous incompetence. They routinely refuse to live up to their constitutional responsibilities, unless forced to do, as when President Barack Obama tossed the issue of bombing Syria to Congress.

Now, however, the Senate has voted to condemn “the precipitous withdrawal of United States forces” from both Afghanistan and Syria. Doing so “could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security.” The measure was offered by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has spent his entire career cheerleading every unconstitutional action military taken by every president. He recently, and doggedly, resisted allowing a vote on an authorization of force against the Islamic State. Thus, the fight against ISIS and consequent military deployment remain illegal. Even now McConnell and the vast majority of his colleagues refuse to abide by the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Trump Thwarted Calculated Israeli Effort to Keep U.S. in Syria | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2019

Will congress ever get from under the Likud’s thumb? Do they want to?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-the-israeli-effort-to-keep-trump-in-syria-failed/

By GARETH PORTER

The Pentagon was not the only party pressing Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria last year. It turns out the Israeli government and its supporters in Washington were working very hard to get the Trump administration to use America’s military presence there to support an Israeli campaign of airstrikes aimed at threatening war with Iran.

The Israeli strategy was aimed at dividing Russia from Iran and thus putting pressure on Tehran to withdraw its military personnel from Syria. A campaign by a pro-Israel think tank actually succeeded in getting such a policy ready for Trump’s approval last fall—although it was not supported by some Pentagon officials.

The story of the Israel lobby’s latest attempt to capture American policy, recounted here for the first time, reveals just how far Israel was able to reach into the Trump administration before the president personally intervened… Read the rest of this entry »

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War Whores Scramble To Say Syria Attack Means Troops Must Remain – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/01/17/war-whores-scramble-to-say-syria-attack-means-troops-must-remain/

Author: Caitlin Johnstone

A suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria has reportedly killed 19 people including four Americans, two of whom were US soldiers and two of whom worked with the US military. ISIS, which has an extensive history of falsely claiming responsibility for attacks it had nothing to do with, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Despite the fact that ISIS would claim responsibility for a housewife stepping on a Lego block, and despite the complete absence of evidence that it had anything to do with the deadly explosion, all the usual cheerleaders of endless war are pointing to the Manbij suicide bombing and shrieking “See?? Trump said ISIS is defeated and it’s not!”

“ISIS is still a very real threat here,” CNN international corespondent Clarissa Ward told Jake Tapper from northern Syria. “And the real concern that we are hearing over and over again on the ground, Jake, is that when US troops withdraw, a power vacuum is created, and that only gives them more strength.”

Virulent Syria war pundit Charles Lister, who is notorious for praising Al Qaeda and is a senior fellowat the Gulf state-funded neoconservative think tank Middle East Institute, told AFP that this attack invalidates Donald Trump’s order last month to withdraw troops from Syria.

“Trump’s order was reckless and driven far more by domestic political concerns than it was by facts on the ground,” Lister said, adding, “To suggest ISIS is ‘defeated’ because it no longer controls territory is to fundamentally misunderstand how ISIS and similar organizations seek to operate.”

Former John McCain ventriloquism dummy Lindsey Graham pounced like a rat on a cheese doodle on the opportunity to call for continued US troop presence within hours of the attack, interrupting the confirmation hearing of Attorney General nominee William Barr with an ejaculation about Trump’s Syria withdrawalRead the rest of this entry »

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The shameful insubordination of John Bolton

Posted by M. C. on January 10, 2019

I wonder what arms manufacturer rewards Bolton with a job when he “retires”.

https://theweek.com/articles/816140/shameful-insubordination-john-bolton

W. James Antle III

“Don’t upstage the boss” is a powerful maxim in Washington, and usually it applies to President Trump’s White House. But National Security Adviser John Bolton doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

“Bolton puts conditions on plan for withdrawal from Syria,” reads one recent headline. “Contradicting Trump, Bolton says no withdrawal from Syria until ISIS destroyed, Kurds’ safety guaranteed,” blares another. “John Bolton says certain conditions must be met before U.S. withdraws from Syria,” states a third.

Trump has been talking about U.S. troops leaving Syria for months. “We’re coming out of Syria very soon,” he said in March. “Let the other people take care of it now — very soon, very soon, we’re coming out.” By December, he’d lost his patience with those inside the government resistant to the move and abruptly announced a change in policy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Terrorists Seize Anti-Tank Missiles U.S. Intended for Syrian Rebels

Posted by M. C. on January 3, 2019

They are just figuring this out now???

Oh yah, Syrian rebels ARE terrorists (Al Qaeda/ISIS).

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/01/03/report-terrorists-seize-anti-tank-missiles-u-s-intended-syrian-rebels/

by John Hayward

…It is not just American-made weapons vanishing into the Syrian quagmire. All of the regional and world powers that tossed weapons into the fighting pits of the Syrian civil war have reason to worry about those weapons coming back to haunt them:

A U.S. program begun in mid-2013 provided weapons including ATGM missiles to rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria. President Trump later canceled the program, saying in a 2017 interview with The Wall Street Journal that it allowed weapons to fall into al Qaeda hands.

“There is absolutely the possibility that the U.S. may face some of the same ATGMs it has delivered in the past to the Middle East,” said Omar Lamrani, a senior military analyst with the Austin, Texas-based defense-intelligence firm Stratfor. Islamic State and al Qaeda offshoots, among others, now possess American-made missiles, he added.

Those and other nonstate actors in the Middle East also have antitank missiles—some of them based on U.S. designs—manufactured in Bulgaria, China, France, Iran and Russia, according to analysts who track weapons proliferation.

As the article explained, guided anti-tank missiles are far more dangerous than the ubiquitous rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs. Reports suggest the Islamic State, the Taliban, and Hezbollah possess missiles they can launch from over a mile away and that can punch through a thousand millimeters of armor. Enterprising militia fighters have found ways to use the missiles against targets other than tanks, such as taking out grounded military helicopters and attacking entrenched infantry positions.

Defending against these weapons is difficult because fighting vehicles cannot be armored enough to withstand them or made agile enough to evade them. The WSJ reported that the U.S. is developing active defense systems (in other words, shooting down incoming missiles) but has fallen behind, in part due to “the Army’s complex acquisition system.” The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, has indicated streamlining these systems will be a high priority… Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Scores, Breaks Generals’ 50-Year War Record | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on December 29, 2018

The entire episode thus represents a new variant of a familiar pattern dating back to Vietnam in which national security advisors put pressure on reluctant presidents to go along with existing or proposed military deployments in a war zone.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-scores-breaks-generals-50-year-war-record-syria-mattis-dunford/

By GARETH PORTER

The mainstream media has attacked President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops  from Syria as impulsive, blindsiding his own national security team. But detailed, published accounts of the policy process over the course of the year tell a very different story. They show that senior national security officials and self-interested institutions have been playing a complicated political game for months aimed at keeping Trump from wavering on our indefinite presence on the ground in Syria.

The entire episode thus represents a new variant of a familiar pattern dating back to Vietnam in which national security advisors put pressure on reluctant presidents to go along with existing or proposed military deployments in a war zone. The difference here is that Trump, by publicly choosing a different policy, has blown up their transparent schemes and offered the country a new course, one that does not involve a permanent war state…

But when Mattis and Dunford sang the praises of the “rules-based, international democratic order” that has “kept the peace for 70 years,” Trump simply shook his head in disbelief

Then in early April 2018, Trump’s impatience with his advisors on Syria boiled over into a major confrontation at a National Security Council meeting, where he ordered them unequivocally to accept a fundamentally different Syria deployment policy.

Trump opened the meeting with his public stance that the United States must end its intervention in Syria and the Middle East more broadly. He argued repeatedly that the U.S. had gotten “nothing” for its efforts, according to an account published by the Associated Press based on interviews with administration officials who had been briefed on the meeting. When Dunford asked him to state exactly what he wanted, Trump answered that he favored an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and an end to the “stabilization” program in Syria.

Mattis responded that an immediate withdrawal from Syria was impossible to carry out responsibly, would risk the return of Islamic State, and would play into the hands of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, whose interests ran counter to those of the United States.

Trump reportedly then relented and said they have could five or six months to destroy the Islamic State. But he also made it clear that he did not want them to come back to him in October and say that they had been unable to defeat ISIS and had to remain in Syria. When his advisors reiterated that they didn’t think America could withdraw responsibly, Trump told them to “just get it done.”

Trump’s national security team had prepared carefully for the meeting in order to steer him away from an explicit timetable for withdrawal. They had brought papers that omitted any specific options for withdrawal timetables. Instead, as the detailed AP account shows, they framed the options as a binary choice—either an immediate pullout or an indefinite presence in order to ensure the complete and permanent defeat of Islamic State. The leave option was described as risking a return of ISIS and leaving a power vacuum for Russia and Iran to fill…

Trump is now well aware that it is virtually impossible to carry out the foreign policy that he wants without advisors who are committed to the same objective. That means that he must find people who have remained outside the system during the permanent war years while being highly critical of its whole ideology and culture. If he can fill key positions with truly dissident figures, the last two years of this term in office could decisively clip the wings of the bureaucrats and generals who have created the permanent war state we find ourselves in today.

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War_Is_a_Racket_(cover)

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Endless War Has Been Normalized And Everyone Is Crazy – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on December 26, 2018

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/12/22/endless-war-has-been-normalized-and-everyone-is-crazy/

Since I last wrote about the bipartisan shrieking, hysterical reaction to Trump’s planned military withdrawal from Syria the other day, it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse. I’m having a hard time even picking out individual bits of the collective freakout from the political/media class to point at, because doing so would diminish the frenetic white noise of the paranoid, conspiratorial, fearmongering establishment reaction to the possibility of a few thousands troops being pulled back from a territory they were illegally occupying.

Endless war and military expansionism has become so normalized in establishment thought that even a slight scale-down is treated as something abnormal and shocking. The talking heads of the corporate state media had been almost entirely ignoring the buildup of US troops in Syria and the operations they’ve been carrying out there, but as soon as the possibility of those troops leaving emerged, all the alarm bells started ringing. Endless war was considered so normal that nobody ever talked about it, then Trump tweeted he’s bringing the troops home, and now every armchair liberal in America who had no idea what a Kurd was until five minutes ago is suddenly an expert on Erdoğan and the YPG. Lindsey Graham, who has never met an unaccountable US military occupation he didn’t like, is now suddenly cheerleading for congressional oversight: not for sending troops into wars, but for pulling them out.

“I would urge my colleagues in the Senate and the House, call people from the administration and explain this policy,” Graham recently told reporters on Capitol Hill. “This is the role of the Congress, to make administrations explain their policy, not in a tweet, but before Congress answering questions.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Packed Bags in Washington: Mattis, Haley, and The Weekly Standard

Posted by M. C. on December 26, 2018

The neoconservatives today are on the run. Their major outlet, The Weekly Standard, is no more. Its staff was fired on December 14. Its final edition is dated today, December 24. On the cover is Nikki Haley, Trump’s now-departed ambassador to the United Nations. She is sitting on top of a packed bag. The title: “Not the Retiring Type.” Maybe she isn’t, but the Weekly Standard is. It was sent packing by its owner.

We can only hope.

https://www.garynorth.com/public/18964.cfm

Gary North

Donald Trump is the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the United States. Everybody agrees on this. They agree with the Constitution. This is rare unanimity for Constitutional questions.

On December 19, the White House announced the imminent withdrawal of 2,000 US troops from Syria. I don’t think most Americans had any idea that we had 2,000 troops in Syria. Of those who did know we have troops there, probably fewer than 5% of them knew how many troops were there. Now we know. That is because they will not be there much longer. They are packing their bags.

Candidate Donald Trump always said that he did not see any reason for America to be involved in the Middle East. This is from a Left-wing site in August 2017.

On April 27, 2016, then-Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump used an invitation-only event at Washington’s ornate Mayflower Hotel to argue that presidents of both parties had gotten the US ensnared in too many costly, grinding foreign wars.That, Trump promised, would change once he moved into the White House.

“I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V,” he thundered. “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies.”

The speech was part of Trump’s attempt to make a decisive break with the more hawkish and interventionist wings of his own party, which he blamed for the Iraq War and Washington’s icy relationship with Moscow. He wasn’t just trying to argue that he’d be a different kind of president than Democrats like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. He was also arguing that he’d be a different kind of president than Republicans like George W. Bush.

Flash-forward to last Monday night, when President Donald Trump announced that he would be sending more American troops to Afghanistan. He stressed that there would be no timetable for when those troops would come home, guaranteeing that the longest conflict in American history would drag on well into the future.

This was nothing new. George W. Bush as a candidate had said that his administration would never get involved in nation-building. But that is exactly what his administration got actively involved in, beginning no later than September 12, 2001… Read the rest of this entry »

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