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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Politicians Concerned about Violence Should Start by Ending Their Wars and Their Police State | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/politicians-concerned-about-violence-should-start-ending-their-wars-and-their-police-state

David R. Iglesias

On April 8, 2021, President Biden addressed the public concerning new executive orders he is planning on putting through. This will be on top of the forty-eight other executive orders that have already come from the man who just last October was saying, “I have this strange notion—we are a democracy … [there are] things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. We’re a democracy, we need consensus.” He’s already surpassed both Trump and Obama in executive orders issued during the first four months of their respective presidencies.

It looks like the next EOs Biden aims at mandating are related to the topic of gun control: “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say it again. Gun violence in this country is an epidemic.” This is ironic coming from the former vice president of the Obama administration, which started regime change wars in countries like Yemen, Libya, and Syria which in large part included supplying certain “moderate” rebel groups like al-Nusra and ISIS with weapons, cash, and intelligence support that was ultimately used to slaughter innocent men, women, and children.

Weapons to Libya

In his most recent book, Enough Already, Scott Horton (2021) fully displays just how devastating the foreign policies of all the US presidents going back to Jimmy Carter have been for people living in the Middle East. For example, in Libya, the Obama administration had been secretly allowing weapons to arrive from Qatar during the attempted overthrow of then dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The story was that the US was helping “moderate” Libyan rebels overthrow their brutal dictator in order to bring liberty and democracy to the turmoiled country. However, as Scott makes abundantly clear: this was completely false and the Obama administration was really “taking the terrorists’ side against Gaddafi in Libya … they were Libyans who had just come home from fighting America in Afghanistan and Iraq War II” (2021, pp. 163, 165). It is especially worth pointing out that some of these terrorist groups receiving support from Obama were “a bunch of horrible anti-black racists” who had “cleansed the predominantly black town of Tawergha … many of whom were tortured and killed, their property put to the torch” (2021, p. 166). Apart from the murder and rape of innocents in Libya, the US government’s actions under Obama and Biden left the country in a state of devastating civil war and also opened the doors for modern-day chattel slave auctions. Even Obama admits that Libya was a “shit show.”

Weapons to Syria

Libya became a weapons pipeline for rebels in Syria—who were also being backed by the United States government—and it was headed by the CIA’s own director, David Petraeus. Again, Scott Horton, quoting journalist Seymour Hersh, points out that these weapons were being delivered to “jihadists, some of them affiliated with al Qaeda” (2021, p. 172). In Syria, a similar regime change was occurring just as had happened to Gaddafi. This time the target was President Bashar al-Assad. The hope was that if the US could overthrow Assad, they’d “further isolate Iran” by removing “Iran’s only Arab ally,” Syria (Horton 2021, p. 182). It should come as no surprise, however, that in the US’s endeavor to conduct another regime change, they would again be caught up in giving weapons and support to terrorists who also wanted to overthrow Assad. During this time (2012), Libya’s insurgency was basically controlled by terrorist organization al-Nusra. When the US worked to get weapons into the hands of these “moderate” rebels, they were really just ending back up in the hands of Islamist extremists whom the US had been going to war against just years before. Once again, the Obama administration made the US responsible for aiding the some of the most horrific insurgency groups, who

murdered children, used suicide car and truck bombs against civilian and military targets, blindly shelled civilian neighborhoods, used torture, carried out mass-executions of captured army soldiers, executed people with crucifixions and beheadings. (Horton 2021, p. 196)

In 2014, then vice president Biden even admitted to the absurdity of trying to find and support “moderate” rebel groups in Syria, although he tried to frame it as if it were all the United States’s alies’ fault. Thanks in large part to the US’s involvement in Syria, the country has been devastated and

the terrorists ha[ve] carved a new Islamist Caliphate the size of Great Britain out of the sands of western Iraq and Eastern Syria. [Bin Laden] could never have done it without the assistance of the United States of America in the hands of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. (Horton 2021, p. 202)

Weapons to Yemen

In 2015, Obama started yet another unauthorized war alongside the Saudis against the Houthis in Yemen—this being shortly after the Houthis had ousted their “democratically”1 elected president Hadi in 2014. The reason? The never-ending desire to gain more leverage against Iran, as well as to “placate the Saudis“ while the US was in the middle of the Iran Nuclear Deal (Horton 2021, p. 241). The US government was directly supplying the Saudis with bombs, parts for the aircraft dropping those bombs, fuel for tankers, and satellite intelligence over targets (Horton 2021, p. 241); more recently it has been shown that they are still sending shipments of US weapons and armored vehicles into Yemen—as reported by CNN. The US-Saudi coalition against the relatively small country has created what many have called the worst humanitarian crisis.

The destruction that the American politicians and their allies left with the Yemenis is unimaginable. After deliberately targeting nonmilitary infrastructure such as hospitals, water treatment plants, schools (including a school bus full of children), and food production systems, and then placing blockades on the country to further cripple its people, Yemen has been turned into a complete disaster. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, an estimated one hundred thousand people have been killed since 2015. Countless children are suffering and dying from cholera and other diseases. Scott Horton predicts that the number will really turn out to be something like “half a million or more civilians who have been killed by this war, beyond the tens of thousands killed in direct violence.” (2021, p. 252)

Violence at Home

Biden’s newest executive orders come just shortly after the Colorado shooting on March 22. The significance of this event is that the shooter, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was born in Syria and moved to the US when he was still a child. Less than a month before the Colorado tragedy, Biden ordered his first strike on Syria as president in retaliation to an Iranian missile attack on a military base in Iraq. While there hasn’t been any clear evidence that Alissa was motivated by the Syrian bombing, one outlet reported that a Facebook post by Alissa from 2019 addressed in part the “genocide in Syria.” Considering the long list of retaliatory terrorist attacks in the US over the years—e.g., the 2009 Ft. Hood massacre, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Florida, the 2017 Ariana Grande concert bombing (Horton 2021, pp. 271–76)—it isn’t a stretch to believe that Colorado is another tragedy following the trend. The longer the US continues its intervention overseas, the more likely we are going to see the violence come home.

Additionally, violence in the US has been exacerbated by policies like those supported and put forward by people like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Biden has a very lengthy and controversial history in his time as a “public servant.” He is notorious for contributing to the tough-on-crime attitude in the US as well as the war on drugs. Harris worked as a prosecutor for California and was rightfully called out by Tulsi Gabbard during the presidential debates for the 2020 elections for locking people up over marijuana charges. Such rhetoric and policies have devastated millions of lives. It was reported that in 2019 alone over 1.5 million arrests were made for drug violations—over 85 percent of those being for mere possession—and a significant portion of those arrests were in relation to marijuana. A 2014 American Civil Liberties Union report showed that between 2011 and 2012, 62 percent of SWAT raids were drug searches. One such raid was conducted on a family who was growing tea leaves. More recently we saw the murder of Breonna Taylor when the Louisville Metro Police Department also conducted a no-knock home invasion over drug charges. Duncan Lemp was murdered just twenty-four hours before Breonna Taylor in the same fashion.

The greatest irony about the claims against United States citizens having “weapons of war” is that while these claims refer to semiautomatic rifles, law enforcement inside the US actually receives equipment from the military thanks to the 1033 program. This program gets military equipment like mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP)2 vehicles, M-16 rifles, helicopters, and even grenade launchers into the hands of local police agencies. During his presidency, Obama used an EO to put an end to the pipeline between police and military, but Trump, in 2017, revived the program. It seems that in all of his work via EOs to reverse certain policies by Trump, Biden has yet to undo the resurrection of the 1033 program. In fact, one statistic shows that in Q1 of Biden’s first year as president there’s been an increase in “flow of military gear.”

Reason to Doubt

While they might claim to be on the “right” side of certain issues now, it is hard to take seriously the words of politicians who claim to care about the people and their safety while they are supporting policies—or at least not making as much a fuss about them as they do about “domestic gun violence” or “Asian hate”—that put weapons and money into the hands of terrorists who help the US government slaughter innocent people overseas or starve children to death while causing others to die of disease because their country’s infrastructure has been blown to bits and blockades prevent the necessary medical aid to save them, tragedy that then inspires people of those countries to retaliate and bring more death upon the rest of us. The absurdity becomes even more apparent when these same “public servants” cry about “weapons of war” being placed into the hands of the people while actual military equipment is being funneled into law enforcement. They might cry and appear outraged about the deaths of victims like Breonna Taylor, but her death comes from the legacy of tough-on-crime and drug war policies that these politicians at one point supported and helped enforce.

  • 1. Democratic in this context meaning that his name was the only one on the ballot.
  • 2. In 2014 it was reported that thirteen thousand of these tanklike vehicles were given to police departments. Dan Parsons, “Repurposed MRAPs Find New Life in Police Agencies,” National Defense, April 2014.

Author:

David R. Iglesias

David Iglesias is a writer and undergraduate student majoring in Economics in Utah.

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The Banality of Blinken’s Evil – RPI 31 March Update

Posted by M. C. on April 1, 2021

He does not say this as an apology for his murderous Syria policy beginning under Obama. Nor as an apology for the sanctions that have only caused suffering among the most innocent, in tandem with the arming and training of psychotic jihadists to burn the sectarian, multi-confessional Syria to the ground.

No, the empty-eyed Blinken cries crocodile tears for the Syrian children as political cover for his re-introduction of policies that killed their country and their parents in the first place.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/blinken?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends:

The 1963, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, written by Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, introduced the world to perhaps the most chilling aspect of the Nazi mass murder of so many Jews, Christians, other religious minorities – and so many others – at the hands of the national socialism of Hitler’s murder machine: the fact that the horror of mass killing on a colossal scale could be undertaken not with the fiery dramatics of drooling monsters, but rather could easily be carried out with the cold precision of the unthinking bureaucrat. The cog in the machine. The Eichmanns of the world, whose defense was, with a shrug, “I was only doing my job.”

For a period after the Nuremburg trials, which sought to criminalize such a defense of evil, it was accepted that the initiation of unprovoked aggression against others could no longer be justified with the excuse, “I was only doing my job.”

Arendt horrified us with the tale of Eichmann’s intellectual emptiness and the moral black hole that appeared at the center of his heart. He was not exceptional in his evil. He was just part of the machine. A bureaucrat.

As she put it:

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.

Which brings us to current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This is not to compare Blinken with Eichmann or to suggest that he is a Nazi. Rather it is to point out that he shares the very same traits with those who actually feel a sense of moral superiority while implementing policies that result in the horrible deaths of tens of thousands – indeed hundreds of thousands and even millions – of innocents in the name of pursuing a “noble cause.”

So here we have this video Tweeted by Blinken’s office where he – shockingly – seeks to lecture us on the morality of his long-time Syria policy (while a senior official in the Obama Administration and now as Biden’s Secretary of State) that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and the displacement of millions. All in the pursuit of “regime change” in Syria.

Is it mere banality – or is it actual malevolence – that leads the co-author of Syria’s misery to Tweet the following about the victims of his criminal foreign policy:

When I think of the suffering of the Syrian people, including Syrian children, I think of my own two children. How could we not take action to help them? Our common humanity demands it. Shame on us if we don’t. 

He does not say this as an apology for his murderous Syria policy beginning under Obama. Nor as an apology for the sanctions that have only caused suffering among the most innocent, in tandem with the arming and training of psychotic jihadists to burn the sectarian, multi-confessional Syria to the ground.

No, the empty-eyed Blinken cries crocodile tears for the Syrian children as political cover for his re-introduction of policies that killed their country and their parents in the first place.

“We have to find a way to do something to take action to help people,” he says, with carefully rehearsed deep emotion, in the video.

But Blinken’s “do something” is no act of contrition for supporting jihadists and sanctioning the country into a hell on earth. It does not mean the US reversing course on “regime change” in Syria and leaving the desperate Syrians to rebuild their country.

No. It means that he intends to reinvigorate a policy gone flaccid under Trump – with some disgusting exceptions – that the US, led again by neocons and demonic “humanitarian” interventionists, would wander about Syria seeking the ruin of innocent lives.

But don’t worry: Blinken justifies the coming slaughter of innocent Syrian children by telling us he thinks of his kids when he thinks of the Syrian children. What a comfort.

As C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

Somewhere Blinken’s mentor, Madeleine “it was worth it” Albright, cackles with glee…

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Bipartisan Senators Seek to Strip Biden of War Powers

Posted by M. C. on March 6, 2021

At long last we see action to kill war power authorizations used by three presidents.

Those bills were never necessary and never should have been passed at all, in any form.

https://www.thestreet.com/mishtalk/economics/bipartisan-senators-seek-to-strip-biden-of-war-powers

Mish

Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would repeal decades-old authorizations for the use of military force in the Middle East, amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the region.

Kaine (D-Va.) and Young (R-Ind.) unveiled the measure as lawmakers have expressed frustration with President Joe Biden’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria last week without first seeking congressional approval. It also comes just hours after an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops and civilian contractors was hit by rocket attacks.

The bill would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations that cleared the way for a prolonged military conflict in Iraq, culminating in calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to end the so-called “forever wars” in the region.

Senators from across the ideological spectrum signed onto the Kaine-Young bill as co-sponsors on Wednesday, including Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. “Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary.”

Biden angered congressional Democrats when he launched airstrikes against Iran-backed military installations in Syria, with lawmakers lamenting that the White House did not consult with Congress ahead of time and did not properly notify them about the strikes.

Congress has largely abdicated its constitutional authority to declare war, and presidents from both parties have used outdated authorizations to legally justify U.S. military action — including, and perhaps most notably, the 2001 authorization for the use of military force against al Qaeda and the Taliban, which was approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Kaine-Young bill, though, only deals with the 1991 and 2002 measures, which are entirely focused on Iraq.

No Longer Necessary?!

Not quite. Those bills were never necessary and never should have been passed at all, in any form.

Bush, Obama, and Trump all made terrible use of those bills. 

Congress and Congress alone should authorize war and be damn careful when it does. 

Warmongers on both sides, notably Hillary Clinton, agreed to fight a stupid second war with Iraq on what any reasonable person should have seen as a pack of lies by Bush and Cheney. 

We are still there needlessly and senselessly. 

Republicans would not strip Trump but some will be happy to strip Biden. Better late than never, but still not enough.

One Step Further

Congress should go one step further and set a timeline for all troops to return from everywhere starting with the Mideast and Cuba, preferably immediately.

Mish

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Breaking: Biden Bombing Syria! – RPI 25 Feb Update

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2021

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/syriabomb?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends:

According to breaking news reports, including by Reuters, President Biden has ordered and the Pentagon has carried out military airstrikes on Syria, attacking a structure inside the country that the US government claims houses “Iranian-backed” militia.

US missiles struck tonight near the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal, on the Iraqi border. The strike is said to be in retaliation for recent rocket attacks against US facilities in Iraq. After another rocket attack earlier this month, the US State Department pointed the finger at Iran and threatened a US military response.

The Iraqi parliament voted in January, 2020, to expel US troops from the country after then-President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The US government ignored the vote of the democratically-elected Iraqi parliament, however Trump later announced his decision to pull US troops out of Iraq. 

President Biden wasted no time in reversing Trump’s disengagement strategy for the Middle East. After just over a month in office, President Biden is re-igniting the failed US intervention launched in 2014 against Syria under the Obama Administration.

Within 24 hours of Biden being inaugurated commander-in-chief, US military convoys began pouring into northern Syria. His Administration, from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on down, enthusiastically supported the US “regime change” policy for Syria under President Obama – a policy that only benefitted al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region,

Earlier this month it was reported that the US was building a new military base in Syria, near the Iraq and Turkey borders. New military bases carry with them new missions, so there is plenty of reason to believe that Biden plans to return the US to the “Assad must go” policy of his former boss.

Biden coming out of the gate with bombs blazing should be of little surprise to those who have watched his early foreign policy appointments. For example, he tapped noted neocon and aggressive interventionist Dana Stroul to head his Middle East Desk at the Pentagon and no doubt this airstrike at least indirectly reflects her influence and that of many others like her who have taken up positions in the Biden Administration.

Stroul hails from the AIPAC-founded “think tank,” the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where, as former CIA official Phil Giradi writes, “she has been the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fellow in the Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.” She is an extreme Iran hawk and has advocated and worked for regime change in Syria and US retention of large areas of Syrian territory.

So within a month of assuming office, President Biden looks to be on the cusp of launching a new Middle East war. Will a Left-Right-and-beyond peace coalition emerge to challenge the hawks driving this new push to war? We must remain open to any alliance and be willing to put other issues of potential disagreement aside. There are plenty of antiwar progressives who will increasingly find themselves uncomfortable with this Administration. We must be willing to work with them in good faith.

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists!
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Why the U.S. needs to lose in Syria

Posted by M. C. on February 23, 2021

https://mailchi.mp/6c7e10276b1b/the-us-celebrates-30-years-of-bombing-iraq-4205261?e=de2d0eded6

The U.S. supported Al Qaeda in Syria. John McCain called them “moderates,” in the same way the Washington Post called ISIS leaders “austere religious scholars.”It is hard to believe that U.S. intervention in Syria is not a satire written by someone with a truly dark sense of humor.The Al Qaeda moderates that the U.S. supported cut off the heads of children, eat dead mens’ hearts, and sell journalists to ISIS to be beheaded.The Republican and Democratic establishment are allied with Al Qaeda, the butchers of New York City, who spilt innocent American blood.In Chapter 11 of Gus Cantavero’s video adaptation of Scott’s new book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, Scott explains why the U.S. is in Syria and how we know our politicians supported Al Qaeda there.
https://youtu.be/dK7U5OmGU_A
Arm yourself with knowledge so you can fight for peace. Buy Scott’s new book, Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism

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What Biden’s Warmongering Will Actually Look Like – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/24/what-bidens-warmongering-will-actually-look-like/

author: Caitlin Johnstone

There’s a news story about a US military convoy entering Syria being shared around social media with captions claiming that President Biden is already “invading” Syria which is getting tons of shares in both right-wing and left anti-imperialist circles. The virality of these shares has inspired clickbait titles like “Joe Biden Invades Syria with Convoy of US Troops and Choppers on First Full Day as President“, which are being shared with equal virality.

But if you read the original report everyone jumped on, accurately titled “US military convoy enters northeast Syria: report”, you don’t have to read too far to get to this line: “Other local media report that such maneuvers are not unusual as the US often moves transfers equipment between Iraq and Syria.”

So while this is a movement of troops between illegitimate military occupations which have no business existing in either country, it is nothing new and would have been happening regardless of which candidate had won the last US presidential election.

Another inaccurate narrative that’s gone completely viral is the claim that Biden is sending more troops to Iraq. This one traces back to a single Twitter post by some Trumpy account with the handle “@amuse” who shared a Jerusalem Post article with the caption “BREAKING: President Biden is considering reversing Trump’s drawdown in Iraq by adding thousands of troops to combat growing terror threats in the region as evidenced by Thursday’s attack near the US embassy.”

If you read the actual JPost article titled “Baghdad bombing could be the Biden admin’s first challenge” you will see that it contains no such claim, and if you were to search a bit you would find @amuse claiming that they were sharing something they’d learned from “sources” in DC instead of accurately summarizing the contents of the article. Unless you know this person and know them to be consistently trustworthy, there is no valid reason to believe claims allegedly said by alleged anonymous sources to some openly partisan anonymous account on Twitter.

But the bogus tweet was amplified by many influential accounts, most notably by Donald Trump Jr with the caption “Getting back into wars on the first full day. The Swamp/War Inc. is thrilled right now.” Its virality then caused it to work its way outward to dupe many well-meaning anti-imperialists (myself included until I looked into it) who are vigilant against Biden’s notorious warmongering, and now there’s a widespread narrative throughout every part of the ideological spectrum that Biden is escalating warmongering in both Syria and Iraq.

It is entirely possible–probable even–that reliable warmonger Joe Biden will end up sending more US troops to Iraq and Syria at some point during his administration. But if the antiwar community keeps staring at the movement of ground troops with hypervigilant intensity, they won’t be paying enough attention to the areas where the more deadly aspects of Biden’s hawkishness are likely to manifest.

Donald Trump is the first president in modern history did not start a new war.

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 22, 2021

Trump’s base has been forcefully pushing the narrative that the previous president didn’t start any new wars, which while technically true ignores his murderous actions like vetoing the bill to save Yemen from US-backed genocide and actively blocking aid to its people, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, rolling out many world-threatening cold war escalations against Russia, engaging in insane brinkmanship with Iran, greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reducing military accountability for those airstrikes. Trump may not have started any “new wars”, but he kept the old ones going and inflamed some of them. Just because you don’t start any new wars doesn’t mean you’re not a warmonger.

Rather than a throwback to “new wars” and the old-school ground invasions of the Bush era, the warmongering we’ll be seeing from the Biden administration is more likely to look like this. More starvation sanctions. More proxy conflicts. More cold war. More coups. More special ops. More drone strikes. More slow motion strangulation, less ham-fisted overt warfare.

It is certainly possible that Biden could launch a new full-scale war; the empire is in desperate straits right now, and it could turn out that a very desperate maneuver is needed to maintain global domination. But that isn’t the method that it has favored lately. The US empire much prefers nowadays to pour its resources into less visible acts of violence like economic siege warfare and arming proxy militias; the Iraq invasion left Americans so bitter toward conventional war that any more of it would increase the risk of an actual antiwar movement in the United States, which would be disastrous for the empire. So rather than tempt fate with the bad publicity of flag-draped coffins flying home by the thousands again imperialism is now served up with a bit more subtlety, with the military playing more of a backup role to guard the infrastructure of this new approach.

It appears clear that this would be the Biden administration’s preferred method of warmongering if given the choice based on who’s going to be in it. The incoming Secretary of State Tony Blinken now advocates replacing the old Bush model of full-scale war with “discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors”. Biden’s nominee for CIA Director William Burns urged caution in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and later expressed regret that he didn’t push back against it. Rather than picking bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy for Defense Secretary as many expected, Biden went with the less cartoonishly evil Raytheon board member Lloyd J. Austin III. All this while depraved coupmonger Victoria Nuland is being added to the administration and the murderous Venezuela coup is folded into its policy.

Nominee to lead State Department Tony Blinken recently explained that Biden’s pledge to “end the forever wars” means the US will reduce large-scale deployments while expanding secret wars waged by special forces and proxies.

Watch the full exposé here: https://t.co/1lY62RBl9X https://t.co/QHccVwnqSl pic.twitter.com/bW8DQc4bbk

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) November 23, 2020

Too much of the antiwar community is still stuck in the early 2000s. The western war machine just doesn’t generally kill that way anymore, and we need to adjust our perspectives if we want to address the actual murderousness as it is actually showing up. If you keep looking out for obsolete ground invasions, you’re going to miss the new form of warmongering completely.

Trump supporters who claim to oppose war missed this completely throughout the entirety of his presidency, confining the concept of “war” solely to its most blatant iterations in order to feel like their president was a peacemaker instead of a warmonger. One of the few positive developments that could potentially arise from the Biden administration is helping such people to recognize acts of violence like starvation sanctions as war, since they will be opposing Biden and that is how this new administration will be manifesting much of its murderousness.

The political/media class likes to keep everyone focused on the differences between each president and his immediate predecessor, but we can learn a whole lot more by looking at their similarities. Biden’s warmongering is going to look a lot like Trump’s–just directed in some different directions and expressing in slightly different ways–despite all the energy that has been poured into painting them as two wildly different individuals. Once you see beyond the partisan puppet show, you see a single oligarchic empire continuing the same murderous agendas from one sock puppet administration to the next.

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World Braces for New Round of ‘American Leadership’ – RPI 24 Jan Update

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

But just as President Biden proclaimed that “America is back” at his inauguration, the rest of the world could see that “regime change is back” as the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Suddenly Assad faces the prospect of a new war against him and his secular leadership and the Russians see a direct threat of a jihadist resurgence masquerading as a “democracy movement” in Syria… and beyond.

But wait…there’s more! After re-igniting the totally failed “regime change” policy in Syria, the incoming Biden Administration reignited the also utterly failed – and perhaps far more dangerous – “regime change” policy in Russia!

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/usleadership?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:

Say what you will about President Biden’s foreign policy team, they’re no slouches. Biden had not been president for one full day when a convoy full of military equipment and a reported hundreds of US troops rolled (illegally) into Syria from Iraq.

Readers will recall that it was the Obama/Biden Administration that came up with the brilliant idea that funding, arming, training, and equipping jihadists and terrorists in the Middle East would be a terrific way of bringing democracy to Syria.

As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad faced defeat at the hands of US-backed rebels (often, as with al-Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaeda) and ISIS, he in 2015 formally requested Russian assistance. Facing the prospect of al-Qaeda and ISIS on its doorstep if they succeeded in Syria, Russia accepted the request and Assad was able to slowly regain much of Syrian territory. 

The hysterical warnings that Assad would genocide his people if he re-took control of the major cities proved to be all hot air – or more likely just pure war propaganda.

The US retained military control of parts of Syria, predominantly Kurdish areas, and proceeded to help itself to the Syrian oil in those areas. Though President Trump did order two attacks on Syria in response to bogus charges that Assad gassed his own people, he more or less gave up on the Obama/Biden “Assad must go” policy. Or at the least he was less enthusiastic about it than the neocons he put in charge of Middle East policy.

But just as President Biden proclaimed that “America is back” at his inauguration, the rest of the world could see that “regime change is back” as the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Suddenly Assad faces the prospect of a new war against him and his secular leadership and the Russians see a direct threat of a jihadist resurgence masquerading as a “democracy movement” in Syria… and beyond.

But wait…there’s more! After re-igniting the totally failed “regime change” policy in Syria, the incoming Biden Administration reignited the also utterly failed – and perhaps far more dangerous – “regime change” policy in Russia!

Four years of the US mainstream media relentlessly parroting the bogus “Russiagate” narrative has resulted in many if not most Americans still believing the utterly shredded conspiracy theory that somehow former President Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin and that the Russians were conspiring to impurify our precious bodily fluids

With the anti-Russia hysteria still – incredibly – at a fever pitch, imagine what would have happened if it came out that the Russian Embassy in Washington had posted information that made it easier for the perpetrators of the January 6th “melee at the Capitol” to launch their “insurrection” (or…as Schumer calls it), 

Anybody doubt the war drums would be at a fever pitch, particularly from the Democrat and mainstream media circles?

But that is just what the US Embassy in Moscow did for the violent anti-government protests in Russia yesterday. Though Washington has long wanted to crown the deeply unpopular Alexei Navalny the Juan Guaido of Russia, taking down the Russian government has unsurprisingly proven a bit more tricky than Hillary Clinton’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Honduras.

But the US Embassy, Moscow, is never discouraged by its failures. Under the guise of warning US citizens to avoid the planned demonstrations across Russia, the US Embassy published on its website all of the specific locations of the protests and the times they were to take place.

The US posting even included a strangely familiar helpful mention of a planned “march towards the Kremlin” – sounds like the “march on the Capitol” on the infamous 1/6 “insurrection day.”

Unsurprisingly, Russian officials were not amused over US officials encouraging an unauthorized protest in Moscow just a few days after those same US officials were calling for the identification and arrest of Americans participating in an unauthorized protest in the US Capitol.

Hypocrisy has always been the central organizing principle of US interventionist foreign policy. And boy it is back in vogue these days!

Oh, and the neocon buffoon Juan Guaido? The Biden Administration has announced that it will continue Trump’s boneheaded policy of recognizing the corrupt (and unelected) Venezuelan politician as that country’s legitimate president. 

Plus ça change

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How rock star Roger Waters was hung out to dry by Amnesty and Bellingcat for his views on Syrian ‘chemical attack’ — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2020

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/503461-roger-waters-douma-syria/

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist.

A leaked phone call reveals that outside pressure caused Amnesty to pull its promotion of a webinar featuring Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters – a vocal skeptic of the Douma ‘chemical attack’ that prompted Western powers to bomb Syria.

In August this year, environmental pressure group Amazon Watch broadcast an online panel discussion in support of Steven Donziger, a crusading attorney who dared try to hold US energy giant Chevron to account for widespread environmental destruction in the Amazon, and was left fighting for his life, livelihood and liberty as a result.

In February 2011, Chevron was found liable by an Ecuadorian court for contamination resulting from crude oil production in the region by its subsidiary Texaco between 1964 and 1992, in a legal action that was many years in the making and led by Donziger.

Chevron is yet to pay a penny of the settlement though, for the landmark ruling was overturned in March 2014 by a US Federal Court on highly dubious grounds – in reaching his decision, presiding Judge Lewis A. Kaplan relied heavily on the evidence of a former Ecuadorian justice who subsequently admitted to fabricating his testimony. Donziger has since been charged with contempt of court and sat under house arrest for over a year awaiting trial.

Donziger himself was present on the Amazon Watch webinar that August evening, and was joined by a number of prominent campaigners, including Simon Taylor, founder of NGO Global Witness, and Roger Waters, co-founder of rock institution Pink Floyd.

The talk was widely promoted in advance by a number of prominent human rights activists, and NGOs, perhaps most prominently Amnesty International.

However, the organization’s endorsement triggered a deluge of criticism on social media from a number of notorious advocates for regime change in Syria. This led to a post advertising the webinar published by Amnesty USA’s official Twitter account the day before broadcast to mysteriously disappear without explanation.

I would appeal to @amnestyusa not to promote this event given Roger Waters participation because slandered #WhiteHelmets repeating Russian propaganda putting their lives at risk when saved over 150,000 lives & cannot remain silent as know them well as a filmmaker @SyriaCivilDefhttps://t.co/8e311Xcj2S— Ronan L Tynan (@RonanLTynan) August 5, 2020

In response to one critic, Amnesty UK Campaigns Manager Kristyan Benedict said promoting the talk was “not good at all” and confirmed that the offending tweet had “been deleted.”

Yep – not good at all – it’s been deleted.— kristyan benedict (@KreaseChan) August 5, 2020

A leaked recording of a September 25 phone call between Waters and two senior staffers at Amnesty International USA – Matt Vogel, head of artist relations, and Tamara Draut, chief impact officer – sheds fascinating light on the episode.

At the start of the conversation, Waters recalls he was not only informed Amnesty would promote the panel discussion on Twitter in advance, but also personally retweeted the endorsement so it reached his circa 375,000 followers at the organization’s express request.

However, an associate informed him just before the webinar began that they couldn’t locate the post. When the talk was over, he went about getting to the bottom of the tweet’s absence.

After conducting “a bit of sleuthing,” he determined that the removal followed pressure being brought to bear by a number of individuals, in particular his “old adversary” Eliot Higgins, founder of controversial website Bellingcat, due to Waters’ views on the Syrian Civil Defense, aka White Helmets. Seeking answers, he attempted to reach out to Amnesty, but was repeatedly stonewalled before finally being put in touch with Vogel and Draut.

In response, Draut confirmed that the tweet’s removal was indeed prompted by a “difference of opinion” on the White Helmets. “We believe they’re really champions for human rights, and have fought for their protection and freedom. When the tweet went up on our end, it wasn’t fully vetted as it should’ve been, and immediately we heard from folks in the White Helmets, asking why we were promoting you, due to comments you’ve made about them. We also heard from other Syrian human rights activists, who were quite hurt by our support of you…” she began, before Waters interrupts, asking what relevance his views on the group has to “the plight of rainforest dwellers in northern Ecuador.”

“People interpreted our promotion of an event at which you were speaking as promoting your position on the White Helmets. I got involved in this process too late, I wouldn’t have taken down the tweet, that’s not the policy I like to follow, I would’ve much rather dealt with this openly and honestly…” Draut explains.

Waters made headlines the world over in April 2018, when he stopped mid-set during a concert in Barcelona to talk about a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, which had allegedly taken place six days earlier.

Branding the White Helmets a “fake organization” creating “propaganda for jihadists and terrorists,” he suggested that Western public opinion was being manipulated in order that “we would be encouraged to encourage our governments to go and start dropping bombs on people.” Mere hours later, his prediction came to pass, as France, the UK and US carried out a series of military strikes against multiple government sites in the country.

In May 2019, Waters was again the subject of intense criticism when he claimed on his official Facebook page that a leaked document had vindicated his position. The file in question was an engineering report produced by an Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding team that visited Douma in the days following the contested strike, which concluded there was a “higher probability” that cylinders found at two locations in Douma, alleged by the White Helmets to have been dropped from Syrian Air Force helicopters, were “manually placed… rather than being delivered from aircraft.”

Photos of the cylinders circulated widely in the Western media and on social networks in the wake of the claimed incident. Such images, along with footage of Douma residents being hosed down in hospitals, children seemingly foaming at the mouth, and piles of dead bodies in a housing complex – all produced and disseminated by the White Helmets – were all damning evidence offered in favor of the idea that the Syrian government had targeted civilians with chemical weapons, a notion which in turn provided Paris, London and Washington with a pretext for military intervention.

The OPCW team’s dissenting appraisal was, for reasons unclear, entirely unmentioned in the organization’s final report on Douma, published two months prior to Waters’ Facebook post.

Despite making few if any public comments about the White Helmets or the ongoing crisis in Syria since, Waters has nonetheless been subject to an unending deluge of online abuse from their Western supporters.

Back on the call, an indignant Waters cites a since-deleted tweet from Eliot Higgins, which stated that Amnesty International “needs to explain why Roger Waters is an appropriate person to talk about human rights.” Rather than responding constructively to the question, the organization opted to simply yield to critical pressure.

Read the rest here

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What U.S. Troops Are Really Doing In Syria | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on September 25, 2020

One of the greatest contradictions in Washington’s Syria policy is not the reason(s) that we’re there but the fact that we haven’t left. At least twice now, there has been an order to withdraw that has never been carried out.

U.S. policy toward Syria is defined by an absurdity that can’t be neatly untangled—a low-intensity regime change mission defined as anything other than its central mission. Every now and then, we’re offered a new explanation for why our troops are in Syria. At this point, the best response is to say, “enough is enough.”

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/what-us-troops-are-really-doing-syria-169410

by Michael Hall

James Mattis famously resigned from his secretary of defense post citing opposition to President Donald Trump’s order to remove U.S. troops from Syria. So it came as a mild surprise when it was recently confirmed that Mattis opposed a plan to assassinate Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria. This opposition was a prudent move as deposing Assad would not end Syria’s civil war but throw the country into deeper chaos. But this seeming incongruity of Mattis the hawk contra Mattis the dove is representative of the larger contradictions in Washington’s Syria policy.

 

These contradictions arise from the fact that U.S. policy in Syria has always been centered around opposition to Assad, rather than the defeat of ISIS, whose caliphate was destroyed long before Trump’s withdrawal order.

 

Perhaps this contradiction is most glaringly seen in the justifications Washington offers for the U.S. military presence in Syria. We are frequently told we’re there for one reason only to be given a new reason a few months later. It’s hard not to notice.

We were told the ISIS caliphate had to be defeated. But they lost their last scrap of territory in March 2019. Denied a physical base of operations, those going under the name of ISIS today are—as far as legitimate U.S. interests are concerned—indistinguishable from any other ragtag Sunni militias. But a defeated ISIS still wasn’t enough to convince Washington to withdraw.

 

ISIS’s caliphate was destroyed, completing the military mission that brought U.S. troops to the country. Why then are our soldiers still there? We’ve also been told they’re over there to counter Iran (which, by the way, had the same goal of destroying the ISIS caliphate).

 

Years ago, we were told that it’s important to be in Syria to counter Russia too. But today this mission—if it can be called that—amounts to the occasional road rage incident involving convoys representing the world’s only two nuclear superpowers pathetically struggling for space on a road or wheat field. It’s notable that this reason was recently revived to justify the decision to send more troops to Syria.

We’re also told that it’s important to support the Kurds and, though Washington has been quieter on this front lately, we were once told training and equipping anti-Assad militants was also vital. This latter notion resulted in an embarrassing situation where the CIA’s favored militants were fighting the Pentagon’s favored militants. These local groups have their own interests, but they shouldn’t be confused for America’s interests.

 

More recently, President Trump has touted a plan to “secure the oil” and his administration has paved the way for a U.S. company to manage some oil fields in the war-torn country. Trump has cited this as a reason for keeping the last few hundred U.S. troops in Syria. The thing is, ensuring American access to Syrian oil demands a certain level of security. More bluntly, it necessitates an endless occupation of Syria.

But, like any of the above reasons, it would be a mistake to accept that oil serves as the principal justification for the U.S. presence in Syria.

 

Trump has also defended the decision to keep a small contingent of troops in Syria by stating that Israel and Jordan asked him to keep our forces there. This justification was reaffirmed in a recent Trump rally where the president characteristically stated off-the-cuff, “The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel.”

What are we to make of this flurry of reasons for staying in Syria? It may be a little bit of each, but the overarching reason has always been to engage in a campaign of “regime change-lite,” tragically keeping Syria territorially divided in a simmering civil war and making Syrians bear the brunt of any—and there are many—negative consequences. This is why the United States originally armed anti-Assad rebels and why troops that were ostensibly sent to defeat ISIS have remained after the fall of the caliphate.

 

But viewing all these reasons together, it is dizzying to keep track of them. It is perhaps tempting to just take Trump at his word and assume that we’re actually there for the oil. While the amount of oil in Syria is a significant amount for Syrians, it’s nowhere near enough to be a vital concern for the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, the amount of oil in Syria is not even two percent of what Iran or Iraq boast, never mind America’s own status as the number one oil producer in the world.

In fact, this is what’s striking about all of the above reasons in this list—not one of the justifications is about something vital to the security of the United States. Instead of carefully deconstructing each reason, this bird’s eye view is all we need to make sense of this confusing list of inconsistent and constantly evolving justifications for staying in Syria.

 

One of the greatest contradictions in Washington’s Syria policy is not the reason(s) that we’re there but the fact that we haven’t left. At least twice now, there has been an order to withdraw that has never been carried out.

U.S. policy toward Syria is defined by an absurdity that can’t be neatly untangled—a low-intensity regime change mission defined as anything other than its central mission. Every now and then, we’re offered a new explanation for why our troops are in Syria. At this point, the best response is to say, “enough is enough.”

 

We don’t need to keep playing this game of roulette where Washington spins the wheel and tells us why our troops are there—it’s a racket and should be recognized as such. Syria’s problems aren’t our problems and the only sensible option that comports with U.S. interests is a full withdrawal of American forces.

Michael R. Hall is the communications manager of Defense Priorities and a geopolitical analyst. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelryhall.

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The Syria Boondoggle: Who’s Ready to Die in Vain? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 22, 2020

Finally, take a breath and remember the trivial scale of what this latest reinforcement is actually immediately responding to. No shots were fired in a side-swiping road rage incident on Syria’s Mad Max-like roads. As a result, seven American troops – who shouldn’t have been in the damn country in the first place – were treated for concussion-like symptoms and have already returned to duty.

https://original.antiwar.com/?p=2012340985

Mark my words: an American soldier will soon die for next to nothing in Syria. Here’s a mission that takes all the absurdity of America’s post-9/11 wars of choice to their logical conclusion. As such, this muddled and aimless operation must stand forever tall in the pantheon of U.S. foreign policy folly – right up there with the three Seminole Wars (1817-18, 1835-42, 1855-58, 1,608 dead troops); Nicaraguan “Banana Wars” (1910, 1912-25, 1927-33, 159 dead); the Russian Civil War’s “Siberia” intervention (1918-20, 424 dead); “Desert One” botched Iran hostage rescue (1980, 8 dead); Beirut “peacekeeping” (1982-84, 265 dead); the Grenada invasion (1983, 19 dead); and Somalia (1992-94, 43 dead). So, in Trump’s defense – and that of the Washington crowd that’s repeatedly pressured him to stay the Syria course – his latest folly is in good company.

Of course, US service-members have already died in Syria – about ten so far. Not that many Americans much noticed. When the last soldier died in a “very unfortunate mishap,” General Kenneth P. Ekman, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (the ongoing mission in Iraq and Syria) assured reporters that there were “no indications that any Russian activity existed in the area” or that the patrol was “anything other than a normal patrol.” Have no fear though, since Ekman added that the deceased was “important to the mission.”

Well now, amidst a whole range of post-Russiagate alarmism, an Afghan “bounty” scandal that wasn’t, and in response to the (gasp!) Russian “ramming” of an American party three weeks ago, Washington is sending in reinforcements to buck up that US military non-mission in Syria. This ought to up the odds of another service-member dying for nothing, or, if we’re really lucky – kick off an unnecessary shooting war with the world’s only other nuclear superpower. Either way, we’ll largely have the Trump-obsessed Democrats and hawkish establishment Republicans to blame.

So what sort of cavalry is inbound to save the day and – per the New York Times headline – “counter the Russians” in Syria? You guessed it: just enough to get a handful of Americans killed and/or spark a foolish fight, but far too few to change the combat calculus on the ground. Wait for it now. The Pentagon just added about 100 troops – some mechanized infantry, Sentinel radar and an increased the frequency of fighter jet patrols – to the existent 500 or so soldiers in Syria. Striking!

Well, what will they do there exactly? Demonstrate “US resolve to defend Coalition forces in the [Eastern Syria Security Area], and to ensure that they are able to continue their Defeat-ISIS mission without interference,” according to the lifeless email language of US Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban. But wait – I thought this essential infusion of troops was meant to counter the nefarious Russians. No, no, Uncle Sam only sends its armed peacemakers 6,000 miles from home to defend themselves, God, country, and worldwide freedom, naturally. After all, Urban added, “The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation in Syria, but will defend Coalition forces if necessary.” That’s refreshing.

This much is increasingly, if disturbingly, clear: the folks reporting, advising, and crafting strategy for Syria, haven’t the faintest idea about what’s really going on there. Seriously, it’s no longer mandatory for pundits, politicians, or policymakers to know any things about Syria in order to tell us what to think, and decide what to do in our name.

The cycle of farce goes something like this: partisan self-styled “experts” gin up an ostensible interest in a far-flung land; then send in some troops, who enter a confusing complexity that looks nothing like they’d been briefed; a few get killed; their bodies are flown in the night to that ubiquitous Dover, Delaware airbase; then, either no one notices nor remembers why they’d been deployed in the first place, or chickenhawk pundits and politicians wave their flag-draped coffins to blame Russia, Iran, or whichever “enemy” favor-of-the-moment will win them partisan points. Rinse and repeat – devastated mothers and spouses from forgotten corners of America be damned!

So back to that inevitably future dead American soldier(s). Let us review just what he or she will die for exactly when his or her vehicle accidentally rolls over, aircraft crashes, patrol is bombed, or a futile firefight goes south. Well there’s always the ISIS-defeat sub-mission (disingenuously billed as Inherent Resolve’s inherent resolution raison d’être) – but the caliphate is kaput and the pervading presence of America’s infidel crusaders only justifies the jihadis lingering terror campaign. Then there’s the mission that speaks Trump’s language – protecting the corrupt and illegal concessions of Delta Crescent Energy. In other words staying on in Syria, “only for the oil” – according to the president. Of course, it’s not much oil – only an anemic 24,000 barrels per day – something like 1/500th the daily output of Saudi Arabia. So that by itself won’t do.

Enter the establishment favorite mission not-so-secretly proffered by foreign policy insiders in-the-know: “Stay in Syria to Counter Iran” (a Republican congressman in The Hill); for “as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders” (former National-Security Adviser John Bolton); lest we “hand northern Syria to Turkey” as a “gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS” (per former Syria special envoy, Brett McGurk, in CNBC); otherwise, “Russia Is Pleased to Fill an American Void” (New York Times).

All of which amounts to what a rare astute Atlantic headline diagnosed as “America’s Indefinite Endgame in Syria.” And that’s just what this madness is – an indefinite, intractable intervention without any positive prospects or exit strategy to speak of. In other words, par for the strategically senseless post-9/11 American course.

You know, I remember all the right-wing (and alarmist, if not altogether inaccurate) pejorative pronouncements about a “feckless” President Barack Obama. Yet what if not feckless should we call a current commander-in-chief who’s repeatedly – and ironically – allowed himself to be bullied into maintaining multiple Mideast missions he’s persistently promised to end? I thought The Donald was supposed to be a tough guy, a truth-teller, a system-shaker, and altogether above the swamp-like establishment fray. That was all bunk – as oughta been obvious from Jump Street.

No, President Trump’s foreign policy is at best a vaguely transactional web of ignorance, insecurity and cognitive dissonance. Heck, this new deployment came on the same day the man declared that American troops “are out of Syria,” except to guard oil fields – “Other than that, we are out of Syria.” Plus, none of Trump’s meager troop and equipment infusions have a chance in hell of deranged Democrats made mad by the smell of impending electoral blood.

It’s too very late for all that. No, the opposition-in-waiting has already seized on the vehicle-ramming-episode to reemphasize Trump’s supposed failure to challenge Moscow’s meddling, over-hyped electoral interference, and unproven bounty program in Afghanistan (evidence for this “searched for” but as yet unseen, per, you know, Gen. Frank McKenzie, US military commander of the entire Middle East).

In fact, Trump’s current Syria reinforcement comes three full weeks after his November opponent Joe Biden rebuked him in a Pennsylvania speech for failing to publicly address the Russia-“altercation” in Syria: “Did you hear the president say a single word? Did he lift one finger?” Yet now that The Donald has acquiesced to lifting about 100 (sets of ten) extra troop fingers in the region, don’t expect any applause, retractions, or rebuke-relief from his opponents in both wings of the hawkish duopoly. And whatever you do, don’t expect anything approaching victory, meaningful improvement, or even marginal alteration of the facts on the Syrian ground as a result of a few additional armored vehicles, radars, and combat aircraft sorties. The mission remains a quixotic quagmire – as all asinine adventures must.

All the while, in reading the key mainstream media headlines and obligatory politician soundbites on this latest Syria reinforcement, I’ve yet to hear tell of one salient, if inconvenient, fact: the Russians, unlike Uncle Sam’s usurpers, were invited to Syria. Now, I don’t think for a second that the host, Assad, is a do-gooder, or that Putin patronized the party out of the kindness of his heart. Still, General McKenzie’s word choice for his Russia-blaming last week felt strangely obtuse, yet uncritically accepted by his New York Times interviewers. “They [Russian troops] were in an area they were not supposed to be,” he said. “They were not in an area that they had received permission to go to. And their actions were frankly reckless at the tactical level.” Says who? Permission from whom? – one might ask, in a country with a truly independent and oppositional free press.

Oh, and here’s another tidbit to ruminate over: the Assad regime’s Moscow/Tehran-assisted de facto victory in the Syrian Civil War is hardly a setback for “core US interests.” Rather, it amounts to little more than the pre-2011 status quo. Assad’s relationships with Russia and Iran are decades old, and the Washington never had much influence or interest in Damascus anyway. The original (purported) mission in Syria is now obsolete.

The Islamic State’s physical caliphate is history, and none of the players in Syria’s conflict cornucopia would countenance its reprise – not Assad, Putin, Khameini, nor the Kurds; heck, probably not even Turkey’s Erdogan. Postwar Syria is a broken mess, a less serviceable ally for Moscow or Tehran, and a Levantine land full of risks and without detectable reward. So, let’s keep our troops out of needless harm’s way, and let the “bad boys” have the place.

Finally, take a breath and remember the trivial scale of what this latest reinforcement is actually immediately responding to. No shots were fired in a side-swiping road rage incident on Syria’s Mad Max-like roads. As a result, seven American troops – who shouldn’t have been in the damn country in the first place – were treated for concussion-like symptoms and have already returned to duty.

Per McKenzie, again: “What saved the situation was the very good judgment of small unit US Army commanders on the ground…I’m just glad I got those kind of people out there making decisions.” Well, ole Kenneth now has 100 more good people of sound judgment to order around in this meaningless maelstrom.

Some are bound to get killed. Thanks Obama Donald!

Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer, contributing editor at Antiwar.com, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy (CIP), and director of the soon-to-launch Eisenhower Media Network (EMN). His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, The American Conservative, Mother Jones, ScheerPost and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War. Along with fellow vet Chris “Henri” Henriksen, he co-hosts the podcast “Fortress on a Hill.” Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet and on his website for media requests and past publications.

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