Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2012

Do They Really Believe The People Are This Dumb?

David Ignatius, unofficial spokesperson for the CIA, has a new "scoop":

A defector’s account of Syrian chemical weapons on the move

Reports from inside two Syrian chemical weapons facilities offer some chilling new evidence that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime developed special vehicles last year for moving and mixing the weapons — and an unconfirmed allegation that Lebanese allies of the regime, presumably in Hezbollah, may have been trained 11 months ago in the weapons’ use.

If you believe Ignatius' story, please contact me for further information about our large bridge sale.

Do those folks really believe that the people are dumb enough to fall for this bullshit again?

Or is the a clever ploy by the Obama administration, launching obvious nonsense nobody sane will believe, to create pressure against an open U.S. intervention in Syria?

Posted by b on December 18, 2012 at 01:36 PM | Permalink

Comments

Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.

Posted by: oboblomov | Dec 18, 2012 2:16:22 PM | 1

Or the US administration, for that matter.

Posted by: oboblomov | Dec 18, 2012 2:18:13 PM | 2

"Do those folks really believe that the people are dumb enough to fall for this bullshit again?"

yes

Posted by: nikon | Dec 18, 2012 2:20:52 PM | 3

Seems like they're hitting us with a double here :

Appearing on the “Today” show Tuesday morning, Engel, 39, said his captors were part of a government militia known as Shabiha, which is loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Engel described the kidnappers as Shiite Muslims, trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and allied with Hezbollah.

Get beloved and renowned US reporter "kidnapped" by .... whomever, and then run this story. Because the two tales barely pass the smell test on their own.

I am seeing this meme EVERYWHERE today! (Hezbollah/Iran "Shabiha")

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 18, 2012 2:27:02 PM | 4

1] Yes [they believe we are that dumb.]
2] No [I believe they are too dumb.]

Posted by: harpie | Dec 18, 2012 2:35:19 PM | 5

Tragically Americans are that dumb, to a man.

Posted by: revenire | Dec 18, 2012 2:37:05 PM | 6

@4 re Engel

The Angry Arab has this to say:

"Engel said the captors were trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and allied with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militant group." Now how did Engel arrive at this conclusion? Let me guess: his captors told him the following: look. We were trained by Iran, which has a nuclear weapon aimed at the US, and that Hizbullah also trained us on kidnapping and we want you to tell the world through you that we also support the Cuban government and we were on the side of the USSR during the Cold War and we were with native Americans during the white settlement of the US, and we are aligned with the Italian mafia. So basically, instead of the confession being extracted from the hostages, Mr. Engel (with a long undistinguished career as a Middle East correspondent) was able to extract confessions from his captors who were mysteriously defeated by the heroic Free Syrian Army gang. Let me go on the record and state: this story is as believable to me as the story of Christopher Hitchens when he ran into Abu Nidal at a street cafe in Baghdad.

Posted by: oboblomov | Dec 18, 2012 2:41:46 PM | 7

George W. Bush - "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on."

Winston Churchill - "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

Take your pick.

But as @4 points out, Engel takes the biscuit - accusing his kidnappers of being trained by Iran. Good job those brave rebels found him when they did..
Does the man have any integrity? It just beggars belief.


Meanwhile, the Russians are coming.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Dec 18, 2012 2:48:13 PM | 8

Americans are deadbrained.

Michele Bachmann says Obama wants to 'lift up the Islamists' and allow Sharia law in America

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2247024/Michele-Bachmann-says-Obama-wants-lift-Islamists-allow-Sharia-law-America.html

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.)

Carl Sagan,

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 18, 2012 2:52:43 PM | 9

Here we go again.

Posted by: ben | Dec 18, 2012 2:53:05 PM | 10

Can't say I defer to AA as I used to but that is spot on, of course.

Why was he there in the first place? I haven't heard of any msm-aligned journo even setting foot in Syria until now. So why now? I'm thinking that that's why the media FORBAD discussion of this until he was "released". No speculation allowed as to what the Angel, oops I mean the Engel, was getting up to over there "all on his lonesome".

These Richard Engel types are grown in specialized terrariums so that when they are released into the real world they only have their steno pads and their terrarium training to rely on. Of course Engel would believe whatever the scary beardy weirdies tell him at face value. Haven't the press done so from the very beginning? Bet he felt really high that he got to see the "evil" first hand. Can't we give him a medal or something?

If this newest false-flag of the high-profile kidnapping variety isn't cornered-animal behavior from the higher ups I don't know what is. Frightening.

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 18, 2012 3:00:48 PM | 11

That was quite a telephone conversation that Ignatius had, with all those details! And it was helpfully "arranged by the Syrian Support Group, an organization in Washington that speaks for moderate elements of the opposition Free Syrian Army." There is something moderate about some elements of the anti-Syria terrorist army! Imagine that. Do they take Sundays off?

Anyhow, Ignatius moved cautiously: "Seeking corroboration for the Syrian report, I checked it with knowledgeable, independent sources, who confirmed some of the details." These independent sources knew all about this chemical situation -- so why didn't Ignatius go to them in the first place rather than get all those details in an international phone conversation with an unknown source? And the "knowledgeable, independent sources" only confirmed SOME of the details? Which details were NOT confirmed?

Ignatius:

According to the defector’s account, two senior Syrian officers moved about 100 kilograms of chemical weapons materials from a secret military base in January. The base was in a village called Nasiriyah, about 50 to 60 kilometers northeast of Damascus.

Wow, a secret military base in a village called Nasiriyah. It couldn't be An Nasiriyah Air Base, could it? Some secret.
The officers placed the chemicals in a civilian vehicle and were seen driving across a bridge in the direction of the highway toward Lebanon, the Syrian source said.

Across a bridge? In the direction of the highway toward Lebanon? Fascinating information, but rather useless. But anyhow this startling information is only hearsay supposedly provided by a "source" who claims he got it from "a Syrian defector."
A Syrian source provided a detailed account in a telephone conversation over the weekend, drawing on intelligence provided to him by a Syrian defector who worked inside the chemical weapons network.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2012 3:14:00 PM | 12

Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.

We have been taken over by a corrupt and dictatorial cabal whom propagandizes the collective society 24/7 using industrial psychobiology against the very foundation of the republic. It has nothing to do with the "stupidity" of anyone. Any country as barraged as we are would fall pray to these jackals, and most certainly will. Most already have including those who think they haven't. It has been and incremental, and generational dumbing down.

Stop with the 'blame the victim' mentality.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 18, 2012 3:14:03 PM | 13

@ neretva'43 #9 -- Americans are deadbrained.

That is an amazing insight. Where are you from that brains are so alive?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2012 3:15:46 PM | 14

@Uncle $cam #13 -- Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.

What is this, an epidemic of dump on Americans today? I'll have you know that half of the US population is of above-average intelligence.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2012 3:17:47 PM | 15

The system isn't broke, it's just the way they want it... the American people are overworked underpaid and brain washed and tortured on a limbic level. Any you blame a broken people?


I didn't create this shit,i was born into it ! Like I didnt create the projects,I didn't create the homelessness,I didn't create poverty,I didn't create unemployment,I didnt create this poor educational system,I was pushed into it,I was pushed into it,and now you wanna blame me for not rising above it?Shit I may not be that strong!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 18, 2012 3:20:29 PM | 16

T-K.A.S.H. – Made In America

@15

I was commenting on #1

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 18, 2012 3:24:25 PM | 17

Americans allowed Wall St. rape them over and over. They allowed Bush and then Obama. They allowed the wars against Iraq, Aghanistan, Libya and now Syria. They allowed drugs to lay waste to their children. They allowed the banks that launder the drug money to stay in business even though the drug money supports scum like al-Nusra.

Intelligence? I don't see any American intelligence or bravery.

Posted by: revenire | Dec 18, 2012 3:38:04 PM | 18

1. many people are that dumb.
2. what does it matter as the people have little influence on the politician.

Posted by: brian | Dec 18, 2012 3:40:21 PM | 19

@13 Uncle $ -- "stupidity"

I agree with you, absolutely: " Any country as barraged as we are would fall pray to these jackals, and most certainly will. Most already have including those who think they haven't. It has been and incremental, and generational dumbing down. " The word "stupidity" is code for what results from this "dumbing down" and more; especially the desperation with which we Americans avoid our personal responsibility.

Posted by: oboblomov | Dec 18, 2012 3:44:26 PM | 20

Intelligence is a liability in America. Intelligent school children learn this before they even learn to read. Adapt and suppress, or founder.

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 18, 2012 3:46:23 PM | 21

White House turns the screws on Congress over 9 percent approval kettle black pot...etc..


"Americans allowed..."??

Don't you people think before you post?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 18, 2012 3:50:32 PM | 22

b, I think you underestimate the gullibility/stupidity of the main stream media's audience.

I want to believe their audience almost want to hear such "news" so they fix the news to fit the narrative.

They love hearing stuff like "chemical weapons", "evil dictator" etc. etc.

Posted by: Zico | Dec 18, 2012 3:53:20 PM | 23

I also cautiously agree that people in the US are extremely gullible and will repeat this crap about chemical weapons while waiting for the commercial to finish and they can get back to the game. I have heard some really absurd comments from what would otherwise be considered learned men and women. We as a society mostly believe what we hear on the teevee. If you consider yourself a democrat then you probably believe what you see and hear on MSNBC, if you consider yourself a republican then Fox is your trusted news source. Well, here is a news flash, they both tell the same story....while somehow convincing their listeners that only they have the real deal. There is NO critical questioning in the media of facts and sources, it is the rule now to attribute things to "senior officials", "sources", "experts", "administration officials", and so on. One can tell outright lies on a news show and no-one will question it, just nod and say something slightly different. weasel words prevail.

having said that, I find the exact to be true in the all of the other places I have lived in and visited. So US folks are not any more stupid than anyone else, it is just that they have the largest show in the world and are calling the shots right now, or so it seems to me.

it is not so much what we believe anyway, there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. that was painfully obvious in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. good grief, MILLIONS turned out to march and protest. the internets were buzzing with dissent. I think GWB said he was not interested in "focus groups" and committed the nation to war.

perhaps this stuff is done as some kind of masturbation so the decision makers can convince themselves to do what they know is wrong but want to do anyway.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 18, 2012 4:19:20 PM | 24

well, the context is this here

Syria's U.N. ambassador is warning that extremist groups could use chemical weapons against the Syrian people and blame the government.

Bashar Ja'afari reiterated in letters, circulated Monday, to the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the Syrian government is "genuinely worried" that foreign countries could provide chemical weapons to armed groups "and then claim they had been used by the Syrian government."

Although the West has shown little desire to intervene in Syria, President Barack Obama has said the regime's use of chemical weapons against the rebels would be a "red line" and change his "calculus" about a conflict.

As the prospect of intervention gains traction, the Syrian government has been careful to never actually confirm it has chemical weapons and is instead trying to raise fears it may be framed by rebels using such weapons to spur an outside attack.

Recent U.S. intelligence reports, however, showed the Syrian regime may be readying its chemical weapons and could be desperate enough to use them.

Ja'afari in his letter reiterated that "Syria will not under any circumstances use any chemical weapons that it may have."

and Ignatius ends his piece with

This new information underlines that the war in Syria contains seeds of a wider and more dangerous conflict. The warning light is flashing: Handle urgently, and with care.

and he puts this in

This information comes with a caveat: The Syrian sources want to alert the United States to dangers there partly in the hope of encouraging greater American involvement with the opposition. For some historical context, readers should recall the Iraqi defector known as “Curveball,” who made allegations about Iraqi chemical weapons a decade ago that bolstered the case for war — but turned out to be fabrications. Seeking corroboration for the Syrian report, I checked it with knowledgeable, independent sources, who confirmed some of the details. With that support, I want to share it with readers.

So after this piece of news as a US citizen I would expect some unspecified action. I cannot imagine anyone would translate "handle with care" into "military intervention".

Posted by: somebody | Dec 18, 2012 4:21:26 PM | 25

Angry Arab has a link to the Richard Engel video during captivity. Plus further comment he considers it a setup.

There are six NBC employees in the video - two still missing.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 18, 2012 4:30:11 PM | 26

@Don Bacon

Amazing or not, that's how it's.

...and no this is not the only characteristic of some particular state, region or continent. It is human traits. This is world wide phenomenon, if it is phenomenon at all. Since, original post is questioning what's questioning, do not be offended.

In addition, since US is "beacon of freedom" and since we are into "democracy" meaning empowerment of people its contribution to suffering, misery, murders, and massacres of innocent is directly proportional to political and physical violence imposed by US - on those affected countries.

People who are affected by that violence, would like nothing but to enjoy life and to be self-sufficient, not to be pushed into war against a neighbor, into poverty, which is regular occurrence. For those more politically conscience they would like to manage with own political and economical life not being tutored by NATO, US or EU.

In my mind that's their natural right, not what's IMF and WB, aka Department Treasury, dictate them.

Posted by: neretva'43. | Dec 18, 2012 4:32:23 PM | 27

"How did the U.S. government lead its people to war"

Leading to War

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 18, 2012 4:45:46 PM | 28

Q: Engel described the kidnappers as Shiite Muslims, trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and allied with Hezbollah.

R: Wow. A true terrorist home run. 'Shit Muslimes, Iranian Repo Guard and Hezblahblah.' Someone, somewhere must be having a hard-on when reading this golden nugget of blatant propaganda. This beats the 'birth pangs' and 'smoking guns/mushroom' crapola by a landslide. Well done!

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 18, 2012 4:57:27 PM | 29

@neretva'43. #27 -- Amazing or not, that's how it's.
Only in your mind, which leads to --Do They Really Believe The People Are This Dumb?

You're talking policy not intelligence, and Americans have the intelligence to have a very poor opinion of US politicians and their policies.
RCP polls:
--direction of country right/wrong 39/54
--Obama job approval approve/disapprove 53/42
--congressional job approval approve/disapprove 20/74

Total 'em up and Americans disapprove 170-112
That's because Americans are smart enough to dislike bad people and bad policies.

In other words this particular story will only carry anyone who personally benefits from it. Ask somebody in the Safeway grocery store about their opinion on chemical weapons in Syria and they'll think you're a wackjob (to borrow a term from another thread).

Do They Really Believe The People Are This Dumb? No. But they believe that war is a racket and that some will want to profit from it. In other words, national policy to some isn't merely a cerebral, academic exercise -- it's a moneymaker. Power too.

This article was written not for ordinary people but for warmongers who need a crutch.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2012 4:58:59 PM | 30

Learn some history schmucks...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 18, 2012 5:00:06 PM | 31

"Learn some history schmucks..." -- classy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2012 5:05:39 PM | 32

"developed special vehicles last year for moving and mixing the weapons"

You mean the bastards have trucks? We are so screwed. My God, who would have ever believed those people would have trucks. Next, it'll be airplanes. Then what will we do?

Posted by: Mooser | Dec 18, 2012 5:07:10 PM | 33

And boxcars. Whatever you do you must nevar forget about TEH BOXCARS!

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 18, 2012 5:39:20 PM | 34

Re: Obama --

Trust only what Obama actually does.

Do not trust his words.

Some of his words foretell what he will do, but those words seldom are spoken to inform the general public. As in his editorial meeting this past election with an Iowa newspaper, he expected his comments about going after SocSec and Medicare to be kept private by the editors. But they let the transcript go public.

At that point, most people still decided Obama was the lesser of the two evils and still voted for him.

Alas, he has made enough of these statements to make it pretty clear that his objective is to, indeed, make cuts to SocSec and Medicare.

Because, since one third of the national deficit is caused by the unfunded tax cuts to the very wealthy under Bush/Cheney, SocSec must be cut to make the innocent pay for the sins of the politicians and those pushing for wealth distribution upward. Hey, makes sense...to Wall Streeters and the Uberwealthy...and to Obama.

Now he is the process of making good on his promises to his Wall Street and Uberwealthy sponsors and paymasters.

His voters? Screw them.

Re: Syria, I frankly have no idea what he thinks he's doing, but if it helps his Corporatist buddies he'll try to do what they want and think they need.

Posted by: jawbone | Dec 18, 2012 6:09:16 PM | 35

@Lbean#4

I picked up on that, it's just too cheesy and a Funny story – Flag 1.NBC Correspondent Richard Engel Has Been Freed From Kidnappers In Syria
Syrian rebels allied with Flag 2. al-Nusra saved the day and killed two of the kidnappers - It all smells like ammonia, or is it water to dilute something? NBC and al-Nusra helping out when the group was Flag3. recently labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government – Could it be that this group is needed and a bit of hearts and minds is required?

The issue of media blackout was in many blogs - Gawker refrained from reporting "rumors" on this story until it had been confirmed by a Turkish newspaper (Hurriyet); the question Flag 4. why would one use a Turkish tabloid as accreditation or even the push to sell the code of ethics? . After Gawker published a story then the news was rebroadcast by hundreds of journalists on Twitter and news organizations around the world, including Drudge, The Daily Mail, The Houston Chronicle, The Atlantic, and more by the minute. At this point, the media blackout does not exist, it never has existed unless enforced by power to be, likewise this story was spread by the very same, at least that is my assumption – Thoughts?

Posted by: KJS | Dec 18, 2012 6:29:38 PM | 36

Well at places like Dailykos the community self-censors, and I'm not talking about the ratings system. Soon after the first post about Engel missing, the community decided to go along with msm and not discuss, period, until he was freed and the official story line could be more convincingly crafted.

Posted by: L Bean | Dec 18, 2012 6:37:59 PM | 37

What bravery!

Those NBC reporters looked very calm. This is highly suspicious. Are US journalists this courageous?

They can face death in the face for 5 days and yet, they appear self-confidently cool as cucumbers?

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Dec 18, 2012 6:52:24 PM | 38

Well I don't know the truth of this kidnapping but it hardly merits a full scale intervention. More bloodshed needed.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2012 7:02:52 PM | 39

"Do They Really Believe The People Are This Dumb?"

Yes.

And with regard to Americans, a good many of them are. And most of the rest are simply disinterested since the death of foreigners is hardly important in comparison to nightly television "fix" or their latest over priced toy.

That's how the zionists/fascists get away with these war crimes.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 7:03:08 PM | 40

oh, searching for the two people NBC did not name

And Mohammed Cheikh Omar, a brother of Ammar Cheikh Omar, one of the captured members of the NBC team, told CNN that his brother said the kidnappers were a group claiming to be Free Syrian Army.

Ammar Cheikh Omar said the group that freed the crew was a Free Syrian Army brigade called Ahrour el Sham.

The Observatory named the rebel group that freed the crew as the Freeman of the Levant Brigades.


The "British engineer" can be seen in the captivity video here however remains anonymous elsewhere.


Posted by: somebody | Dec 18, 2012 7:17:53 PM | 41

29

"Wow. A true terrorist home run. 'Shit Muslimes, Iranian Repo Guard and Hezblahblah'."

They forgot the ultimate evil behind everything - China and Russia. Where are the "Chi-coms" and "Roosskies" bankrolling and instructing their Iranian and Hezbollah "terrorists"? Surely Israel-America's brave journalists must have seen AK wielding Russian and Chinese speaking brutes directing the show, and periodically shooting a kid here and there for sport? Somebody obviously messed up at hasbara central.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 7:18:37 PM | 42

@41 Ammar Cheikh Omar? Funny name. Probably brown. Not newsworthy. Please try harder.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2012 7:26:29 PM | 43

dh he is a German citizen :-))

apart from doing conscript service in the Syrian army and defecting.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 18, 2012 7:38:11 PM | 44

and being an FSA member, whatever that is supposed to mean.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 18, 2012 7:40:38 PM | 45

I see. Being an FSA member seems to mean great flexibility. One just needs to be a good judge of wind direction.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2012 7:51:49 PM | 46

Doesn't matter whether anyone believes it or not... once it has been spouted out of the Mighty Wurlitzer, it's there to be cited again and again until there's too much noise for the average person to keep up with. As a matter of fact, flimsily constructed pretenses that keep coming back to be debunked multiple times are probably more exhausting to discourse than one big lie that stays down.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 18, 2012 8:57:34 PM | 47

These completely irrational chem weapons stories are getting downright alarming. Obama has drawn a red line -- if Syria uses chem weapons then we will militarily intervene in that war. Now we have stories like this coming out. Obvious nonsense, but still believed by millions of Americans. Now all the Islamist insurgents need to do is release a few pounds of sarin against their own backers and, presto, the US is committed to going to war against Assad.

It makes no difference in the short term if these stories are outright lies, if enough people believe them then the US is that much closer to going to war against the Assad regime. One small false flag operation is all that it will take to make that happen.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 18, 2012 9:53:31 PM | 48

Funny how the "bad guys" have "regimes" and the "good guys" have governments.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 18, 2012 10:45:34 PM | 49

In a country where the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck can achieve revered celebrity status, one need wonder whether or not the average American is dumber than a square tire????

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 18, 2012 11:17:02 PM | 50

I offer an anecdote...

yesterday I called the number on a newly acquired credit card for activation... had to input a/c# and zip code for computer, then got a human ~ who wanted same info. I was having difficulty setting up account online, so I asked to be connected to customer service. "Just one moment and I'll connect you" ... moments later, I get computer request again for a/c# and zip code, then another human asking for same info, and asking me if I am calling for activation of credit card... to which I reply "no" ~ I am trying to reach customer service... "Just one moment and I'll connect you" ~

I'm beginning to feel I'm in a feed-back loop or the movie GroundHog Day, as I continuously experience the same thing with four different human beings. On the 5th call, I relate my frustration and ask for the number for customer service and declare my intention to dial it myself. I'm then given the number ~ which happens to be the same number I originally called to activate the account. I bring this to the human's attention, and they refute my statement, saying "oh no, this is the number for customer service, I'll connect you ~ and my plea to not transfer me again is unheard. When the sixth human picks up the phone and asks if I'm calling to have card activated I am yelling "NO, and please don't transfer me to customer service, give me your supervisor...

Now you probably think I should have hung up after the second human, but I had a balance on the new card which I wanted to pay before I incurred a late payment so I tried patiently again and again to resolve the online problem with my account. The supervisor, apparently the only one in the company with ears and a brain, realized right away what I was telling her... that the operators not only had the wrong number for customer service, but they were actually giving out their number! Supervisor thanked me and said she would advise her supervisor, but that didn't help my problem, she herself didn't know the number for customer service! While I was venting my frustration with her, I found the number on their website and gave it to her. Then I called customer service and told them they could cancel the damn credit card, I didn't want to do business with such a poorly organized company.

This sort of garbage happens everyday because 1)the company hires the cheapest labor and 2)they don't train their employees, they give them a written statement to make ("Your call may be monitored, etc.) ~ but more importantly, people DON'T LISTEN! They DON'T HEAR what is being said. They DON'T THINK for themselves...

Posted by: crone | Dec 19, 2012 12:02:23 AM | 51

I hope it makes people feel better to call Americans stupid. superior, even.

but I would bring up something I've brought up before, and it's this: what are you doing to make your communities better places?

IRL I've figured out how to talk to people from very different perspectives. even the "stupidest" people have taught me amazing things about the human predicament.

just this week I learned a developmentally delayed young woman finally got the courage to flee the control of her very mentally ill mother. I know them from my work at a shelter, and the mother fixated on me to a degree that forced me to get a court-enforced order of protection. it was really quite sad, because they had been bouncing around the northwest for years, living in motels and shelters.

so despite all the America-hating going on this thread, allow me to humbly suggest it might be of collective benefit to try understand how the schizophrenic American psyche is being shaped and smashed, shaped and smashed, over and over.

just a few thoughts from a stupid American. carry on, barflies.

Posted by: lizard | Dec 19, 2012 12:24:36 AM | 52

Now we have the Clinton clinch with the curve ball, two journalists very in touch with geopolitics write a piece – The timing impeccable and the outcome; well, as expected, someone or a few in the state dept heads will role (The classic scapegoat), by this it will mean reassigned, even promoted, and the end of the story.

The inquiry was headed by; wait for it – an ex Clinton staffer, Thomas R. Pickering (Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the Clinton administration) and an ex US UN ambassador along with Mike Mullen. The inquiries read more like a who’s who within, and nothing independent at all.

Eric P. Schmitt & Michael R. Gordon both NYT article; Benghazi Panel Strongly Assails Role of State Dept. in Attack:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/us/politics/inquiry-into-libya-attack-is-sharply-critical-of-state-department.html?hp&_r=0

I guess the job is done, no need for further inquiries, but the outcome does allocate more funding to security, so in a nutshell the state Dept get's a hit, but in return they get more funding, funny old game init!

Posted by: KJS | Dec 19, 2012 1:07:29 AM | 53

lozard #52

I agree the American people are not stupid. Many are simply not interested in politics for the simple reason they see that the whole game is rigged. They have therefore withdrawn. I disagree with them, but it is not a stupid decision on their part. I play in politics because it makes me feel like I am doing something, not that I expect to make much difference.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 19, 2012 1:11:47 AM | 54

"I agree the American people are not stupid"

Then how do you explain the popularity of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 19, 2012 1:21:19 AM | 55

UN voices fears over Syria chemical weapons

But not as one would think ...

The United Nations is "genuinely worried" that some countries could supply chemical weapons to extremist groups in Syria and then claim that they were unleashed by the Syrian government, the country's UN envoy argued in correspondence made public on Monday.

Posted by: b | Dec 19, 2012 1:48:02 AM | 56

I thought it was obvious, but here goes.

The American people are not doing anything in foreign policy. They have no influence, their opinions don't count, and even elections -- that vaunted attribute of democracy -- don't matter. The establishment does what it does, and certainly there is no public referendum on it. In fact the people don't agree with what is done, as I illustrate in my #30.

It's the same in every country. Don't blame the people for what the government does. I would think that intelligent people would know that.

This Ignatius piece was never meant to influence citizens. They don't matter. It was written to give the warmongers some more fodder for their nefarious deeds, that's all. They are all propaganda parrots. Scuds, chemicals -- it's all baloney but it feeds the warring class.

Blaming the people for what the government does is a fool's game, in any country.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2012 1:58:46 AM | 57

Don if you're arguing the America people are innocent sheep and therefore blameless I can't agree. That argument abdicates any responsibility we have as citizens.

Who elected the leaders? Who didn't support other candidates? I believe everyone knows the system is corrupt and allows it one way or the other. If the population wanted it changed they'd change it. I believe the American population is MORE corrupt than the leaders or government.

If things like Syria or banks laundering drug money or the economy counted people would do something about it.

Your argument relieves the American people of any guilt and they are actually as guilty as Bush or Obama etc.

Posted by: revenire | Dec 19, 2012 2:13:26 AM | 58

51) you might have called India without knowing. From Germany I used to get connected to Bratislava who clearly was not interested.

I get most computer stuff from a closeby no name shop now and do banking with local banks. It makes my life much easier.

52) agree and Germans are just as stupid. We just have more competition amongst parties (and powerful state television controled by political parties) so a better chance that at least one party "might"* act as a whistleblower (yes it is always a party that is not in government).
*if they feel their constituency is interested.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 19, 2012 2:18:00 AM | 59

45)more on Ammar Cheick Mohamed - he made it into the New York Times in February

Posted by: somebody | Dec 19, 2012 2:28:15 AM | 60

Broad brushes malign the finesse of any layered and multicultural society in which the haves laugh all the way to the bank and the have-nots fight amongst themselves to... What? Oh, wrong audience. Anyway, to paint the entire American society as one big basket case..., no, fellas, that dog just won't hunt. Excesses, waste, ignorance, yes, they're all part of any society anywhere in the world, likewise in the US, but to use every single shooting as a sign from haven that we finally should hand over [our] weapons, no thank you. I like my grandmother to be able to shoot intruders. If any Europeans roam around this board, would you be so kind and present the [or some of the] local crime rate figures? The last time I checked they were staggering. I do agree with one thing though: when spraying bullets the number of victims will be likely much higher, but that didn't help anyone blown to bits and pieces in Madrid, Spain [11-M].

side note: this just in Israel lobby rails against Pentagon favorite - Chuck Hagel

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 19, 2012 3:15:50 AM | 61

61, agree the US is very diverse and general statements on any country are stupid in itself. However, b. did not ask "Are US citizens stupid?"
but "Do those folks really believe that the people are dumb enough to fall for this bullshit again?"

The only difference between the European and US assault rates and the subjective feeling of safety across the country seems to be the higher US homicide rate - and that presumably is caused by the amount of very effective guns lying around.

And no, being European, I would not trust my grandmother to find her gun, as is I would not trust myself to remember where I last put it.

But frankly I do not know any US citizen who feels the need to carry a gun over here, so people seem to be able to adapt quickly :-))

Posted by: somebody | Dec 19, 2012 3:45:34 AM | 62

of course there is also this re chemical weapons

The diplomatic sources say defense contractors hired by the US and its European allies have recently conducted training exercises with Syrian rebel forces in Turkey and Jordan. The programs were intended to prepare brigades to handle chemical weapons sites and materials they might encounter, as Assad troops lose control of over parts of the country. US contractors have also been on the ground in Syria to monitor the status of regime stockpiles, said an employee with a major US defense consultancy that has been engaged in that work.

“They’re probably trying to provide near real-time surveillance at all these sites. There’s no point in limiting yourself,” said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He emphasized that any training of rebel fighters would represent just one element of contingency planning underway and said it would be incorrect to assume that training rebels is “the only hope”.

The State Department affirmed its concern over Syria’s chemical weapons, concerns that have been discussed with opposition leaders, but would not comment directly on the details of this report. The Defense Department hasn’t responded to a request for comment on the revelations.

Tim Brown, a defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, said he would be “shocked” if the US did not already have covert counter-proliferation forces on the ground, working with allies and regime defectors to monitor chemical weapon stockpiles.

including this gem

“Mostly you’d use them as collectors of information,” said the former US security official. “The rebel groups are totally untrustworthy themselves.”

Posted by: somebody | Dec 19, 2012 5:01:09 AM | 63

and now more German speaking Syrians double down

AP Interview: Syria Rebels Fear Chemical Weapons

Gen. Salim Idris, who defected from the Syrian army in July, said he is "very afraid" a cornered Syrian President Bashar Assad will unleash such weapons on his own people.

Syria is said to have one of the world's largest chemical arsenals. Earlier this week, Syria's U.N. ambassador said the regime would not use such weapons under any circumstances. However, recent U.S. intelligence reports indicated the regime may be readying chemical weapons and could be desperate enough to use them.

Idris, a 55-year-old German-trained electronics professor, was chosen earlier this month as chief of staff by several hundred commanders of rebel units meeting in Turkey.

I think it is an effort by part of the Syrian opposition to torpedo the Iranian and Syrian proposal for a transitional government and elections.

Presumably it is part of the deal making, the New York Times coverage of Aleppo is not really calling for war quite the opposite.


Posted by: somebody | Dec 19, 2012 5:34:10 AM | 64

Where is Col Riad al-Assad? I've not heard anything about him since the newly established FSA HQ was identified and bombarded by the Syrian airforce in Northern Syria three weeks ago. Two weeks after this, Salim Idris is announced as new commander..
Sure, al-Assad has his twitter account, but he writes about the use-by date of milk and uses smileys in his posts, which leads me to question whether this is really him. But maybe it is, and that's why he's been sidelined.

Or perhaps he's been 'rendered ineffective'.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Dec 19, 2012 6:08:49 AM | 65

I think it is a case of the US officially distancing themselves from terrorists but in reality supporting them on the ground.

They basically got rid of the Non Muslim Brotherhood opposition politically and militarily.

As I do not think they are prepared to intervene militarily (no good options), the US has now the choice to continue what it is doing or agree to a deal.

I am afraid continue does not cost much. It might be costly to US allies, though and I think Abbas inviting Palestinians from Yarmouk camp might trigger some genuine Israeli alarm.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 19, 2012 6:30:48 AM | 66

“Mostly you’d use them as collectors of information,” said the former US security official. “The rebel groups are totally untrustworthy themselves.”

They are "sand niggers" for them anyway. Which is to say, "exercise target".

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 19, 2012 8:12:07 AM | 67

Americans may use chemical weapons in Syria – Sajjadi

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_21/US-preparing-chemical-arms-provocation-in-Syria/

"In a similar manner, we are currently seeing that the Americans inject information that the Syrian army is capable of employing chemical weapons against the armed opposition, who are engaged in mass murder and extreme violence in the country. For us, Iranians, such information serves as a signal. We understand that by that, the USA gives a signal to the rebels, literary untying their hands to employ chemical weapons. After that, there is no doubt, that the responsibility for the use of chemical weapons would be placed on the legal power represented by Syria's president Bashar al-Assad.

The current events in Syria are not a revolution, but an armed uprising supported by intervention. The Americans have been repeating for almost two years that al-Assad is not capable of preserving the power and is about to be overthrown. But as we can see, the positions of the legal government in Syria are still quite strong and it can resist. And the weaker the pressure exerted by the so-called “opposition” in Syria becomes, the more tempted it is to prepare a horrible and bloody provocation."

Posted by: вот так | Dec 21, 2012 1:16:16 PM | 68

As an American that lived in Canada for seven years, I would say that Americans are very stupid. I also believe they could do something about it, but they seem determined not to do so.

Posted by: Susan | Dec 22, 2012 5:30:07 PM | 69

Speaking as an American who has lived in South Korea for ten years, I would say that Americans are not any more inherently stupid than anyone else. However, as it has been pointed out above, this was not b's assertion.

The question which was posed is: "Do those folks really believe that the people are dumb enough to fall for this bullshit again?"

The answer to this question is that it is entirely moot whether the average person, American or otherwise, does or does not believe the narrative. The narrative is the consensus reality, arrived at by committee, and forced down the collective necks of the citizens of the world. Citizens of every nation may believe it or not believe it as they choose, but they are compelled, by ad baculum measures if necessary, to adhere it.

Citizens not under immediate American jurisdiction may use their relative liberty to voice their opposition as an opportunity to feel personally superior if they like. They have that prerogative. However, it would be charitable not to lose sight of the fact that these arguments are not produced in order to persuade the average person; they are used to lay the groundwork for petty legalities and are therefore divorced from popular opinion... and even objective reality itself.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 23, 2012 10:22:37 PM | 70

Every holiday season I get together with relatives I don't normally see otherwise and my faith in the massive gullibility of Americans is renewed afresh. Renewed is the wrong term, reinforced is a better choice, as most Americans I talk politics or current events with are overly influence by what can only be described as obvious BS and very, very cheesy used car sales pitches.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 24, 2012 1:35:12 PM | 71

@ Monolycus [#70]

It's like one orange leaning hard on two others to feel bigger, stronger and taller; at the end of the day it'll still be squashed into a glass of fresh juice. This perpetual nepotism acts like an unnatural pheromone, meant to trigger semi-emotional receptors and make the receiver 'feel good' or, if lucky 'feel better.' Most of us, no matter how active, are helpless when it comes to national and international policies. Obomber 'The Peace Prize Fighter' has blessed over [an estimated] 300 drone attacks in Afghanistan alone this year, killed hundreds in Pakistan, scores of innocents elswhere and is still seen as the 'go-to guy' to build bridges. To me, as a dislodged vagabond, elections look like a rigged fights. You get two 'opponents' who don't differ that much [and are always willing to 'compromise'] on most of the policies together in a set 'arena,' and when a winner emerges, s/he still has to pledge allegiance to those who bankrolled his/her billion $$ campaign. Adelson's millions? A small contribution. Murdoch offering his Fox News wall to wall coverage to a possible candidate? Freedom of speech. To think that we, as mere subjects, are better than the next guy or gal, is ludicrous, because we're all pumping our little feet on the same corporate/banking/interest treadmill. So, yes, I agree with your pov.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 24, 2012 6:47:35 PM | 72

Co worker the other day....."Well, at least Fox tries to give us the truth".

Its like watching Romney speak, and thinking, "Hey, I can trust this guy".

I don't know? Is it stupidity? Seemingly intelligent people swallowing Limbaugh's dick, whole. I'm baffled. Maddow, worshipped by a huge contingent. Sean Hannity, brain-fucking a huge segment of the right. Stupidity??? If not, than what is it???

Mobile chemical labs. Uh huh.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 24, 2012 7:53:24 PM | 73

@ PoA [#73].

Limbaugh, Hannity, Maddow don't run the show. They're on a show. Paymasters decide what will be the truth and [unfortunately for us] most Paymasters are on the same side [definitely not our side].

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 25, 2012 6:42:44 AM | 74

"Limbaugh, Hannity, Maddow don't run the show. They're on a show."

No.....they aren't actors, they're sales reps. The sad part??? That there seems to be a market. Thats where the "stupidity" part comes into play.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 25, 2012 7:52:29 PM | 75

@ PoA [#75]

Q: No.....they aren't actors, they're sales reps.

R: In my eyes all four categories pretend something to be true, that isn't.

Sales rep: Product X even gets your polka dress white...

Talking head: Israel only defends itself...

Actor: "Luke, I shouldn't have sexually abused you..."

POY-N: We provide the heavily redacted news..., you decide...

I'm sure there are difference in nuances, but as a whole, this bunch serves nothing but empty air. Sadly, yes, there's a market for it out there, I agree.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 25, 2012 10:57:21 PM | 76

Religion has taken a back seat. 'Infotainment' ist das Opium des Volkes.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 26, 2012 1:54:20 AM | 77

Happy Mithra, to Billmon and fam, wherever he is out there...

Ditto, What Monolycus, says at #77.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 26, 2012 2:18:41 AM | 78

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