Editor’s Note: Matt Taibbi was recently interviewed about the role of the media in the lead up to the Iraq War on Democracy Now!
‘[…] The media quickly piled on. “Jeb Bush’s Iraq Stumble” was the title of the Wall Street Journal’s “Journal Editorial Report” on Fox. “On Iraq Question, Jeb Bush Stumbles and GOP Hopefuls Pounce,” countered the Washington Post.
“Jeb Bush’s Revisionist History of the Iraq War,” wrote New York Times Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal. “Yeah, Jeb Bush’s argument that the Iraq War was right even in retrospect is insane,” tweeted current New York and erstwhile New Republic writer Jonathan Chait early in the story cycle, when Jeb was still defending the war.
A few writers, like Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune, criticized Jeb for not disavowing the “reckless adventurism” of the Bush II era that led to the war in the first place. In other words, Chapman blasted Jeb for being wrong then and now.
But the substance of most of the media mockery in the last week was to whale on Jeb for not admitting quickly enough that the war, in hindsight, given “what we know now,” was a huge mistake.
We can call this the “None of us pundits would have been wrong about Iraq if it wasn’t for Judith Miller” line of questioning. This rhetoric goes something like this: since we invaded, the war has gone epically FUBAR, so it’s obvious now that it was a mistake, and so we can mock you for not admitting as much.’
‘In his opening statement last month before a US Congressional Committee hearing titled “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information,” the Russian-born British author Peter Pomerantsev served his Republican-led audience a piping hot serving of neocon alarmism. Quoting “the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip M. Breedlove,” Pomerantsev described Russia’s 2014 takeover of Crimea as “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare.” To which Pomernatsev added his own chilling warning:
“To put it differently, Russia has launched an information war against the West – and we are losing.”
The hearing was put on by Orange County neoconservative Republican Ed Royce; the purpose of the hearings was to drum up fear about Russia’s “unprecedented” information war on the West — a propaganda battle which obviously exists, but whose dimensions and dangers are being cynically exaggerated — and then convert that fear into budget money for US propaganda and NGOs to subvert Kremlin power.
What made Pomerantsev’s lobbying appearance with the neocons so disturbing to me is that he’s not the sort of crude, arrogant meat-head I normally identify with homo neoconius. Pomerantsev’s book, “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible”, is the most talked-about Russia book in recent memory. His many articles on the Kremlin’s “avant-garde” “information war” and its “political technologists” have been hits in the thinking-man’s press: Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books... His insights into the strategic thinking behind the Kremlin’s “information wars” are often sharp and illuminating; and yet there’s always been something glaringly absent in Pomerantsev’s writings. Not so much what he puts in, but all that he leaves out. Glaring omissions of context, that had me start to question if Pomernatsev wasn’t manipulating the reader by poaching the rhetoric of leftist critical analysis, and putting it to use for very different, neocon purposes . . . as if Pomerantsev has been aping the very sort of “avant-garde” Kremlin political technologies he’s been scaring the Ed Royces of the world with.
And then of course there’s the larger nagging question—what the Hell is a presumed journalist/writer like Pomerantsev, who claims to have been most influenced by literary figures like Christopher Isherwood, doing lobbying the US and UK governments to pass bills upping psychological warfare budgets and imposing sanctions on foreign countries? Where does the independent critical analysis stop, and the manipulative lobbying begin?’
- Adversarial Journalism in Russia and Dissecting the Propaganda Wars: Interview with Mark Ames
- ‘Bloggers’ Compared to ISIS During Congressional Hearing on ‘Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information’
- The Years of Stagnation and the Poodles of Power
- Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (Book)
- Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?
- The Menace of Unreality (NED Talk)
- Peter Pomerantsev’s LRB Blog
- Peter Pomerantsev at The Atlantic
- Anne Applebaum – RightWeb
- Anne Applebaum Is A Dingbat
- Freedom House – RightWeb
- Freedom’s Just Another Word For Fascism
- Ben Judah’s “big scoop” on Putin and Ukraine
- Radek Sikorski Throws Eggs At Ben Judah And Blake Hounshell – Hits Faces
Larry Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. He discusses how Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush recently stated how he would have authorized the US invasion in 2003 of Iraq, which shows little regard for the fact that neoconservative policy created more chaos in the region. (The Real News)
- Jeb Bush Backs Off Iraq War Comments, Says He ‘Misheard’ Question
- Iraq war casts shadow over Republican White House hopefuls
- Jeb Bush Isn’t a Moderate, He’s a Neocon Extremist
- Jeb Bush is terrible at foreign policy
- CNN Debate: Does Jeb Bush have a George W. problem?
- Jeb: George W. Bush is a top foreign policy adviser
- The swaggering idiot returns: George W. Bush reemerges
- Bush won’t cite differences with brother’s foreign policy
- Jeb Bush’s Sleazy Political Payback to Dubya’s Donors
- Jeb and the Neocon Trap
- Why Jeb Won’t Throw Neocons Under the Bus
- Jeb Bush’s foreign policy team is eerily familiar, in one Venn diagram
‘They brought us war against Iraq – what do the hawks in Washington have in store for us now? Panorama investigates the “neo-conservatives”, the small and unelected group of right-wingers, who critics claim have hijacked the White House. Throughout the war with Iraq, Steve Bradshaw was with the neocons in Washington – discovering whether they’re really trying to run the world the American way.’ (BBC Panorama)
- 61 Times Bill Kristol Was Reminded of Hitler and Churchill
- The Kagans: A Family Business of Perpetual War
- The rise of ISIS in Iraq is a neocon’s dream
- Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?
- Neoconservative Resurgence in the Age of Obama
- Project for the New American Century
- Foreign Policy Initiative
- American Enterprise Institute
- A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
- Weekly Standard
- Richard Perle
- Michael Ledeen
- William Kristol
- Robert Kagan
- David Wurmser
- Meyrav Wurmser
- James Woolsey
- Douglas Feith
- Eliot Cohen
- Joshua Muravchik
- Dick Cheney
- Donald Rumsfeld
- Paul Wolfowitz
- John Bolton
- Elliott Abrams
- Condoleezza Rice
‘Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, writing in opposition to the Iran deal recently, observed, “One is reminded — as one so often is these days — of Churchill’s great speech in Commons after Munich … ” It is true that Kristol is often reminded of Churchill and Munich these days. This may not tell us anything about the current situation with Iran, however, since Kristol is reminded of Churchill and Munich on a great many days. It is a historic reference he has used to explain a great many episodes.
I recently asked New York interns Claire Landsbaum and Claire Voon to compile a list of Kristol’s public references to the Munich agreement and its main players. This research ordeal, presented in reverse chronological order, represents the sort of character-building exercise, I am sure Kristol would agree, that today’s youth badly need.’
‘Judith Miller’s publicity campaign for her new book (The Story: A Reporter’s Journey) which has taken her from the Wall Street Journal to numerous television interviews, has been an instructive and engaging media spectacle.
She has shown characteristic passion and energy in attempting to defend her journalistic reputation after being pummeled during her final years at The New York Times for, among other things, writing persuasively that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
But it is discouraging that the truth can be challenged by a determined and wily opponent with a platform to propound discredited ideas. And Miller has long been given such a platform, first by The Times and now by a prominent book publisher.
In my 24 years at The Times I frequently worked with Miller, often unhappily, as I will explain. Her efforts at recasting events have thus not been a surprise to me.’
- Jon Stewart tears into Judith Miller over Iraq reporting
- The Real Problem with Judith Miller
- Maher Confronts Judith Miller: Why Weren’t You More Skeptical About Iraq?
- Judith Miller tries, and ultimately fails, to defend her flawed Iraq reporting
- Judith Miller: ‘No senior official spoon-fed me a line about WMD’
- Now They Tell Us (2004)
- The Times scoop that melted (2003)
‘Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, run a remarkable family business: she has sparked a hot war in Ukraine and helped launch Cold War II with Russia – and he steps in to demand that Congress jack up military spending so America can meet these new security threats.
This extraordinary husband-and-wife duo makes quite a one-two punch for the Military-Industrial Complex, an inside-outside team that creates the need for more military spending, applies political pressure to ensure higher appropriations, and watches as thankful weapons manufacturers lavish grants on like-minded hawkish Washington think tanks.
Not only does the broader community of neoconservatives stand to benefit but so do other members of the Kagan clan, including Robert’s brother Frederick at the American Enterprise Institute and his wife Kimberly, who runs her own shop called the Institute for the Study of War.’
- Neoconservativism Is Down But Not Out of the 2016 Race
- Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?
- Robert Kagan Strikes a Nerve With Article on Obama Policy
- Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire
- Superpowers Don’t Retire, but Robert Kagan Should
- Ukraine’s Poison Pill for Peace Talks
- Nuland’s Mastery of Ukraine Propaganda
- What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis
- Ukraine: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call
- Obama’s True Foreign-Policy ‘Weakness’
- Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran?
- Neocons Guided Petraeus on Afghan War
- Robert Kagan
- Victoria Nuland
- Donald Kagan
- Frederick Kagan
- Kimberly Kagan
‘Sometimes I’m challenged over my linking belligerent neoconservatives with “liberal interventionists” who justify U.S. military invasions under the “humanitarian” banner of “responsibility to protect” – or R2P – meaning to intervene in war-torn countries to stop the killing of civilians, like the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda.
And, most people would agree that there are extraordinary situations in which the timely arrival of an external military force might prevent genocide or other atrocities, which was one of the intended functions of the United Nations. But my overall impression of R2Pers is that many are careerist hypocrites who voice selective outrage that provides cover for the U.S. and its allies to do pretty much whatever they wish.
Though one can’t generalize about an entire group – since some R2Pers act much more consistently than others – many of the most prominent ones operate opportunistically, depending how the dominant narrative is going and where the power interests lie.’
- The Dangerous Neocon-R2P Alliance
- The untold story of the Maidan massacre
- Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine
- Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions
- The ethics of the responsibility to protect
- Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?
- Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?
- A New Neocon Push for Syrian War
- Top 10 warning signs of ‘liberal imperialism’
- Selective Use of R2P to Secure Regime Change, Says India at UN
- Libya, ‘R2P’ and the selective business of ‘accountability’
- What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance
- Not All Interventions Are the Same
- Responsibility to protect – Wikipedia
‘Judith Miller, the correspondent whose mistaken reporting on Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program routinely decorated the front page of the New York Times in the run-up to the Iraq war, has launched a staunch defense of her work in a newspaper essay published Friday and in a forthcoming book.
The essay, published in the Wall Street Journal, describes Miller’s frustration at the “enduring, pernicious accusation that the [George W] Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war”.
Miller writes that both she and the Bush team acted in good faith out of an honest belief that Hussein had a functioning WMD program based on faulty intelligence and misleading sourcing. US soldiers who began to search the country after the March 2003 invasion of Baghdad discovered that no such program existed.’
- Judy Miller: Hans Blix Bears More Responsibility For The Iraq War Than I Do
- Soldier Demands Apology From Karl Rove; Rove Says No Apology Needed For Iraq War
- The Unknown Known: New Doc Tackles Unrepentant Iraq War Architect Donald Rumsfeld
- George W. Bush: I Don’t Regret Waging War Against Iraq
- Dick Cheney Says Iraq War Was ‘the Right Thing’
‘If nothing succeeds like failure, then the neoconservatives who championed democracy promotion and regime change against Saddam Hussein are very successful indeed. After the Iraq war went south, the reputations of leading neocons such as former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz came into disrepute. But as the Obama administration has worked toward its controversial nuclear deal with Iran, the neocons have once again become the dominant voice on foreign policy in the Republican Party.
Writing in National Review on the eve of the agreement, the historian Victor Davis Hanson declared, “Our dishonor in Lausanne, as with Munich, may avoid a confrontation in the present, but our shame will guarantee a war in the near future.”
Over the last few decades, the neocons, who are mostly based at think tanks and magazines in Washington, have come to constitute a kind of military-intellectual complex. Their credo is as sweeping as it is simple: No compromise is ever possible with America’s foreign enemies. Instead, they are championing a liberation doctrine that allows them to present bombing and invading other countries at will as an act of supreme moral virtue.
Exhibit A is Iran.’
- Skeptical Senate Puts New Iran Sanctions on Hold
- Obama: “This deal is not based on trust”
- Iran nuclear deal reached … Now what?
- Iran Breakthrough: Framework Agreement Reached
- Iran deal best option, military actions can’t stop nuclear program, says Obama
- Jamal Abdi: ‘Deal a beginning of new relationship between Tehran and Washington’
- The Deal: It’s a good one – but can it survive the US Congress?
- Iranians hail negotiators, celebrate announcement of deal
- Nuclear deal means more Iran oil – just not this year
- No, the Iran nuclear negotiations aren’t Munich in 1938
- Yes, Mr. Waldman, the Iran Nuclear Negotiations Are Munich in 1938
- Why Iran Distrusts the US in Nuke Talks
- Gareth Porter Interview Series on His Book Manufactured Crisis
‘The CIA Officers Memorial Foundation has awarded former President George W. Bush with the Ambassador Richard M. Helms Award, named after the Cold War-era CIA director. The honor appears somewhat odd as the president and the CIA, along with the National Security Agency, had a rather troubled relationship during the president’s administration.’ (RT America)
‘Nothing sums up the warped foreign policy fantasy world in which Republicans live more than when House Speaker John Boehner recentlycalled Obama an “anti-war president” under which America “is sitting on the sidelines” in the increasingly chaotic Middle East.
If Obama is an anti-war president, he’s the worst anti-war president in history. In the last six years, the Obama administration has bombed seven countries in the Middle East alone and armed countless more with tens of billions in dollars in weapons. But that’s apparently not enough for Republicans. As the Isis war continues to expand and Yemen descends into civil war, everyone is still demanding more: If only we bombed the region a little bit harder, then they’ll submit.
In between publishing a new rash of overt sociopathic “Bomb Iran” op-eds, Republicans and neocons are circulating a new talking point: Obama doesn’t have a “coherent” or “unifying” strategy in the Middle East. But you can’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy in an entire region that is almost incomprehensibly complex – which is why no one, including the Republicans criticizing Obama, actually has an answer for what that strategy should be. It’s clear that this new talking point is little more than thinly veiled code for we’re not killing enough Muslims or invading enough countries.’
- John Boehner Calls Barack Obama An ‘Anti-War President’ Who Won’t Lead
- Syria Becomes the 7th Predominantly Muslim Country Bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate
- New York Times Accidentally Undermines John Bolton “Bomb Iran” Op-Ed in Own Pages
- Leading U.S. Newspapers Incite “Supreme International Crime”
- The Confused Person’s Guide to Middle East Conflict
- Micah Zenko: “If 30 years of US as military hegemon in the Middle East resulted in the region today, why would more suddenly stabilize things?”
- U.S. to Delay Pullout of Troops From Afghanistan to Aid Strikes
- The US Has Given Over 465,000 Small Arms to Afghanistan. Where the Hell Are They?
- How the Taliban got their hands on modern US missiles
- U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands
- More American Weapons for ISIS
- 11 Photos Of U.S. Weapons Used By ISIS — And Some Rockets From America’s Friends
- How U.S. weapons will play a huge role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen
- U.S. Boosts Aid in Saudi-Led Fight To Defeat Rebel Force in Yemen
- In Yemen, U.S. airstrikes breed anger, and sympathy for al-Qaeda
- Pentagon loses track of $500 million in weapons, equipment given to Yemen
- Gregg Carlstrom: “US praises US ally for bombing US-equipped militia aligned with US foe who is partnering with US to fight another US-equipped militia.”
‘With the Likud Party electoral victory in Israel, the Republican Party is on a roll, having won two major elections in a row. The first was winning control of the U.S. Congress last fall. The second is the victory by the Republicans’ de facto party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s recent election. As the Israeli Prime Minister puts together a coalition with other parties “in the national camp,” as he describes them, meaning the ultra-nationalist parties of Israel, it will be a coalition that today’s Republicans would feel right at home in.
The common thread linking Republicans and Netanyahu’s “national camp” is a belief of each in their own country’s “exceptionalism,” with a consequent right of military intervention wherever and whenever their “Commander in Chief” orders it, as well as the need for oppressive laws to suppress dissent.
William Kristol, neoconservative editor of the Weekly Standard, would agree. Celebrating Netanyahu’s victory, Kristol told the New York Times, “It will strengthen the hawkish types in the Republican Party.” Kristol added that Netanyahu would win the GOP’s nomination, if he could run, because “Republican primary voters are at least as hawkish as the Israeli public.”
The loser in both the Israeli and U.S. elections was the rule of law and real democracy, not the sham democracy presented for public relations purposes in both counties. In both countries today, money controls elections, and as Michael Glennon has written in National Security and Double Government, real power is in the hands of the national security apparatus.’
- In Washington, the Real Power Lies With the Spooks, Eavesdroppers and Assassins
- Vote all you want, the secret government won’t change
- Neoconservatism – Wikipedia
- A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm – Wikipedia
- Project for the New American Century
- Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire
- A Family Business of Perpetual War
- Don’t Get Weak
- Carl Schmitt – Wikipedia
- Leo Strauss – Wikipedia
- Nemesis of Power: The German Army in Politics 1918-1945 (Book)
- The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism (Book)
- Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (Book)
- Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right (Book)
- Walter Benjamin: Fascism and Crisis
- Reactionary modernism – Wikipedia
‘After the New York Times printed John Bolton’s “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” (3/26/15; FAIR Blog, 3/26/15), following the Washington Post publishing Joshua Muravchik’s “War With Iran Is Probably Our Best Option” (3/13/15), veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry made an excellent point (Consortium News, 3/28/15):
If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the US government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness” and “behavior not fitting the 21st century.”
But when the newspapers are American – the New York Times and the Washington Post – and the target country is Iran, no one in the US government and media bats an eye. These inflammatory articles – these incitements to murder and violation of international law – are considered just normal discussion in the Land of Exceptionalism.
Advocating for war is not like advocating for most other policies because, as peace activist David Swanson points out, war is a crime.’
‘The New York Times yesterday [March 26th] published an op-ed by the characteristically bellicose John R. Bolton, headlined “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration.
In an unusual touch, a link added to the original online edition of Bolton’s op-ed directly undermines Bolton’s case for war:
… Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure. The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq … can accomplish what is required.
U.S. and Israeli politicians often claim that Israel’s bombing of Iraq in 1981 significantly set back an already-existing Iraqi nuclear weapons program. The truth is almost exactly the opposite.’
- John Bolton’s Love of Bombs
- Stop Listening to John Bolton
- Letting a Warmonger Rant
- New York Times Publishes Call to Bomb Iran
- John Bolton: To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran
- Prof. Wilson: Available evidence “suggests that the bombing did not delay the Iraqi nuclear-weapons program but started it”
- Incorrect, incomplete or unreliable information can lead to tragically incorrect decisions
- An Israeli attack against Iran would backfire — just like Israel’s 1981 strike on Iraq
- To Ousted Boss, Arms Watchdog Was Seen as an Obstacle in Iraq
- Bolton Often Blocked Information, Officials Say
- The New York Times and Iraq
- Washington Accuses Cuba of Germ-Warfare Research
- Cuba Bio Weapons Effort Revisited
‘Having experienced several more weeks of mainstream media jingoism about the “Iranian threat,” culminating in the outrageous Joshua Muravchik op-ed advocating war with Iran as the “best option” for dealing with that country, one has to ask why it is that a gaggle of self-proclaimed “experts” has been able to capture the foreign-policy narrative so completely, in spite of the fact that they have been wrong about nearly everything?
Neoconservatives have two core beliefs. First is their insistence that the United States has the right or even the responsibility to use its military and economic power to reshape the world in terms of its own interests and values. Constant war thus becomes the new normal. As Professor Eliot Cohen, a former State Department adviser under George W. Bush, put it, “For the great mass of the American public … and for their leaders and elites who shape public opinion ‘war weariness’ is unearned cant, unworthy of a serious nation… .”’
- A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
- Project for the New American Century
- Foreign Policy Initiative
- American Enterprise Institute
- Washington Institute for Near East Policy
- Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
- Committee for the Liberation of Iraq
- US thinktanks give lessons in foreign policy
‘It’s hardly controversial to suggest that the mainstream media’s performance in the lead-up to the Iraq War was a disaster. In retrospect, many journalists and pundits wish they had been more skeptical of the White House’s claims about Iraq, particularly its allegations about weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, though, media apologists suggest that the press could not have done much better, since “everyone” was in agreement on the intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons threat. This was never the case. Critical journalists and analysts raised serious questions at the time about what the White House was saying. Often, however, their warnings were ignored by the bulk of the corporate press.
This timeline is an attempt to recall some of the worst moments in journalism, from the fall of 2002 and into the early weeks of the Iraq War. It is not an exhaustive catalog, but a useful reference point for understanding the media’s performance. The timeline also points to missed opportunities, when courageous journalists—working inside the mainstream and the alternative media—uncovered stories that should have made the front pages of daily newspapers, or provided fodder for TV talk shows. By reading mainstream media critically and tuning into the alternative press, citizens can see that the notion that “everyone” was wrong about Iraq was—and is—just another deception.’
‘Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked “specific information” on “many key aspects” of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
But that’s not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign to sell the war to the American public. Those officials, citing the same classified document, asserted with no uncertainty that Iraq was actively pursuing nuclear weapons, concealing a vast chemical and biological weapons arsenal, and posing an immediate and grave threat to US national security.
Congress eventually concluded that the Bush administration had “overstated” its dire warnings about the Iraqi threat, and that the administration’s claims about Iraq’s WMD program were “not supported by the underlying intelligence reporting.” But that underlying intelligence reporting — contained in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to justify the invasion — has remained shrouded in mystery until now.’
- CIA Whites Out Controversial Estimate on Iraq Weapons
- Senate Select Committee on Postwar Findings About Iraq’s WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare with Prewar Assessments
- Senate Committee Report on the US Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq
- Blinders, Blunders and Wars: What America and China Can Learn
- The Black Vault
‘[…] The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.
The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove’s comments as “dangerous propaganda.” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove’s comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.
But Breedlove hasn’t been the only source of friction. Europeans have also begun to see others as hindrances in their search for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict. First and foremost among them is Victoria Nuland, head of European affairs at the US State Department. She and others would like to see Washington deliver arms to Ukraine and are supported by Congressional Republicans as well as many powerful Democrats.’
- Breedlove’s Statement to Der Spiegel
- Germany downplays report of rift with NATO over Breedlove comments
- The War Next Door: Can Merkel’s Diplomacy Save Europe?
- NATO Commander: US Lethal Aid to Ukraine Won’t Stop Russia
- Top NATO General, European DMs Oppose US Plans to Arm Ukraine
- General Breedlove calls for a retooling of NATO’s Response Force
- Bilderberg on Ukraine: Military chiefs, arms bosses and billionaire speculators
‘Last week a debate erupted over how “Islamic” the so-called “Islamic State” group (ISIS or ISIL) in Syria and Iraq is, and whether it is legitimate to speak of “Islamic” terrorism. It was provoked in part by a Graeme Wood article in The Atlantic and President Obama’s speech to a conference on Combating Violent Extremism. Obama was slammed by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani as allegedly not loving America, in part because he declined to speak of “Islamic” terrorism. On Sunday, former defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, interviewed on CNN’s State of the Union show, called Obama’s refusal to use the phrase “Islamic terrorism” “silly,” saying, “I think people understand that Islam has something to do with what we’re fighting, and when you deny it, you lose a lot of support.” This debate is actually about what philosophers call “essentialism,” and, as Giuliani’s and Wolfowitz’s own interventions make clear, it is about absolving the United States for its own role in producing the violent so-called “Caliphate” of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.’
- Jeb Bush’s foreign policy team is eerily familiar
- Jeb Bush brings in foreign policy team with several faces from brother’s
- Jeb Bush: ‘I love my father and my brother…but I am my own man’
- Jeb Bush says Islamic State strategy should be to take them out
- The Romney national security transition team that might have been
‘As a federal inquiry begins in the killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina and an Islamic center in Houston, Texas, was intentionally set on fire Friday, we look at a new report that exposes the people who fund and stoke anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. The investigation by the Center for American Progress is called “Fear, Inc. 2.0, The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America,” an update of a 2011 report. We are joined by the report’s co-author, Yasmine Taeb, Islamophobia project manager at the Center for American Progress.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America
- Islamophobic network fuelling hate sentiments in US: Report
- Connecting The Dots: The North Carolina Murders And Anti-Muslim Hysteria
- Using Islamophobia To Win Elections Doesn’t Work
- NYPD Shutters Muslim Mapping Unit – But What About Other Tactics?
- Factsheet: The NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program
‘[…] Several reports have mentioned Carter’s work as a consultant to the defense industry between stints as a full-time official at the Department of Defense (DoD). But the Project On Government Oversight has found that Carter’s role, like that of many other members of Washington’s defense policy establishment, went deeper. While working in the private sector, he has held plum positions on government advisory boards that called for reforms with potential ramifications for his defense industry clients and other companies that receive DoD dollars.
Carter is hardly alone. Federal ethics laws allow scores of advisers at the Pentagon and other agencies to serve in these influential positions while keeping close ties to big businesses overseen by the government. Carter’s nomination [which has since been confirmed] serves to illustrate how the government allows members of the policy establishment to straddle both sides, and how it’s become a fixture of the military-industrial-congressional complex.’
- Defense secretary nominee pushes for more military action in Pentagon confirmation hearing
- Defense Secretary Nominee Supports Arming Ukraine
- Defense nominee Carter would reconsider Afghan withdrawal plan
- Ashton Carter: “the next coming of Paul Wolfowitz”
- Republicans See a New Ally at the Pentagon
- Likely Pentagon Chief Who Wanted to Bomb North Korea
- Meet the Guy Who Could Soon Be Running America’s Wars
‘It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it “the long war,” an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent. It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation of that disaster as well. Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a “Groundhog Day” kind of repetition. Just when you thought it was over (Iraq, Afghanistan), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again.
Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition. Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can’t stop making war. More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here’s a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America. In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I’m planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).’
‘What if Vladimir Putin really was tough? What if he would prefer to fight to the death rather than see his country humiliated by the West or his regime collapse into chaos—outcomes he likely regards as equivalent. Is this not possible? There is no shortage of American politicians ready to attribute the most vile traits to Putin: Hillary Clinton, far from America’s most extreme rhetorician, likened him to Hitler. It’s not, of course, a remotely legitimate comparison. But if Putin were one-tenth as reckless as he is commonly depicted, what conclusions ought we to draw?
Leading papers of the Anglosphere are now promoting American plans to escalate the fight against Russia and its Ukraine intervention. Former government officials, polishing up their tough-minded credentials in preparation for their next administration job, recommend we begin major weapons shipments to Ukraine. Are trainers and advisers on how to use them included as well? Strobe Talbott in theWashington Post, Ivo Dalder in the Financial Times, the Washington Post editorial board, other major figures from Clinton-land and the permanent government are all on board for a major roll-out. Their idea is to make Russia pay a higher price in casualties if it continues to intervene on behalf of anti-Kiev rebels in the eastern parts of Ukraine.’
- Top NATO general warns of Russian reaction to arming Ukraine
- European defence ministers oppose sending weapons to Ukraine
- Obama to decide ‘soon’ on U.S. weapons for Ukraine, says Kerry
- Zbigniew Brzezinski: Arm Ukraine, But Keep It Out of NATO
- US threats to arm Ukraine a ‘bluff’, say EU diplomats
- Russia’s EU Ambassador: Sending arms to Ukraine is ‘the worst possible idea’
- U.S. Senators Push To Arm Ukrainians
- Poroshenko calls on NATO to send arms
- Ukraine crisis: Pentagon ‘chief’ inclined to send weapons
- Merkel: Germany Won’t Give Weapons to Ukraine, Favors Talks
- March to Folly in Ukraine
- ‘Group-Thinking’ the World into a New Cold War
- Strobe Talbott and Steven Pifer: Ukraine needs America’s help
- Bloomberg Editorial: Why Arming Ukraine Will Backfire
- War in Eastern Ukraine Has Only Just Begun
‘If you wonder how the lethal “group think” on Iraq took shape in 2002, you might want to study what’s happening today with Ukraine. A misguided consensus has grabbed hold of Official Washington and has pulled in everyone who “matters” and tossed out almost anyone who disagrees.
Part of the problem, in both cases, has been that neocon propagandists understand that in the modern American media the personal is the political, that is, you don’t deal with the larger context of a dispute, you make it about some easily demonized figure. So, instead of understanding the complexities of Iraq, you focus on the unsavory Saddam Hussein.
This approach has been part of the neocon playbook at least since the 1980s when many of today’s leading neocons – such as Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan – were entering government and cut their teeth as propagandists for the Reagan administration. Back then, the game was to put, say, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega into the demon suit, with accusations about him wearing “designer glasses.” Later, it was Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and then, of course, Saddam Hussein.’
- March to Folly in Ukraine
- US Mulls Sending Ukraine Anti-Tank Missiles, Other Weapons
- The Media’s Dangerous Anti-Russian Jingoistic Game: Interview with Stephen Cohen
- Kissinger, Gorbachev separately warn about Ukraine crisis blowing out of control
- The truth about Ukraine finally emerges
- When Henry Kissinger Makes Sense
- Stephen Cohen: The New Cold War and the Necessity of Patriotic Heresy
‘[…] According to a new report, there was an ulterior motive for setting up Guantanamo: It was the ideal long-term interrogation facility, a “battle lab” where detainees would be subjected to untested interrogation methods and “exploited” for their intelligence value in what turned out to be a massive “experiment.”
The claims in the 66-page report, “Guantanamo: America’s Battle Lab,” prepared by Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy & Research and shared with VICE News, aren’t new. In 2009, the Senate Armed Services Committee released the findings of its investigation about the treatment of detainees in custody of the US military and reached similar conclusions.
But the Seton Hall study, co-authored by the university’s adjunct professor and senior research fellow Joseph Hickman, a former Guantanamo guard who challenged the military’s narrative surrounding the June 2006 deaths of three detainees – the government called them suicides, Hickman came to believe they were murders – makes a much stronger case. The report relies exclusively on internal government and military documents and statements public officials have made since Guantanamo opened 13 years ago to show how the detention facility “was covertly transformed into a secret interrogation base designed to foster intelligence’s curiosity on the effects of torture and the limits of the human spirit.”‘
- Guantanamo: America’s Battle Lab
- New Gitmo Commander: ‘Majority of Detainees Have… a Relative Degree of Freedom’
- What Excuse Remains for Obama’s Failure to Close GITMO?
- How Gitmo’s Existence Helps Al-Qaeda Recruit More Terrorists
- Obama’s non-closing of GITMO, kind NYT headlines, and US government irony
- The Obama GITMO myth
- Five years on, no end to the horror that is Guantanamo
- The Gitmo Fallout
- Rumsfeld News Conference December 2001
- John Yoo’s Torture Memo
‘First, a hat tip to Elias Groll, assistant editor at Foreign Policy, whose report just a few hours after the killings on Wednesday at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, included this key piece of background on the younger of the two brother suspects:
“Carif Kouachi was previously known to the authorities, as he was convicted by a French court in 2008 of trying to travel to Iraq to fight in that country’s insurgent movement. Kouachi told the court that he wished to fight the American occupation after viewing images of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.”
The next morning, Amy Goodman of Democracynow.org and Juan Cole (in his blog) also carried this highly instructive aspect of the story of the unconscionable terrorist attack, noting that the brothers were well known to French intelligence; that the younger brother, Cherif, had been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a network involved in sending volunteer fighters to Iraq to fight alongside al-Qaeda; and that he said he had been motivated by seeing the images of atrocities by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib.’
‘For some time now, I have been analyzing American history in the light of what I have called structural deep events: events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, are mysterious to begin with, are embedded in ongoing covert processes, have political consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records.
The more I study these deep events, the more I see suggestive similarities between them, increasing the possibility that they are not unrelated external intrusions on American history, but parts of an endemic process, sharing to some degree or other a common source.
For example, one factor linking Dallas, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11, has been the involvement in all four deep events of personnel involved in America’s highest-level emergency planning, known since the 1950s as Continuity of Government (COG) planning, or more colloquially inside the Pentagon as “the Doomsday Project.” A few of these actors may have been located at the top, as overseers of the secret COG system. Others – including some I shall talk about today – were located further down in its secret communications network.
I see this planning group as one among many in what I have chosen to call the American deep state, along with agencies like the CIA and NSA, the private groups like Booz Allen Hamilton to which more than half of the US intelligence budget is outsourced, and finally the powerful banks and corporations whose views are well represented in the CIA and NSA. But if only one group among many, the COG planning group is also special, because of its control of and access to a communications channel, not under government control, that can reach deeply into the US social structure.’
‘The year 2015 will surely mark a watershed in relations between the United States and Russia, one way or the other. However, whether tensions increase – to war-by-proxy in Ukraine or an even wider war – or whether they subside depends mostly on President Barack Obama.
Key to answering this question is a second one: Is Obama smart enough and strong enough to rein in Secretary of State John Kerry, the neocons and “liberal interventionists” running the State Department and to stand up to the chicken hawks in Congress, most of whom feel free to flirt with war because they know nothing of it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, experienced the effects of war at an early age. He was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) eight years after the vicious siege by the German army ended. Michael Walzer, in his War Against Civilians, notes, “More people died in the 900-day siege of Leningrad than in the infernos of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki taken together.”’