Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 28, 2017

Turning The Corner In Afghanistan

The news about the wars the U.S. is waging all over the world is unreliable. The same statements of progress are repeated year after year. The official numbers, be they of civilian casualties or deployed troops, are mere lies. Every news presentation should be engraved with a warning: "Assertions and numbers are not what they appear." Consider, for example, the various "turned corner" statements officials have made about Afghanistan.

 

On October 5 2017 the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed to the BBC that Afghanistan has "turned the corner":

... when I ask whether he is saying Afghan forces have turned the corner in the fight against the Taliban, there is no hesitation: "Yes," he says.

On October 24 the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson agreed with President Ghani:

"With the mounting military, diplomatic, and social pressure that is building – that we all are collectively committed to sustaining over the coming years – the enemy will have no choice but to reconcile. I believe, as President Ghani says, 'we have turned the corner,’” he concluded.

But a month later General Nicholson seemed to disagreed with his earlier statement:

"We are still in a stalemate," Nicholson, a four-star Army general said in an exclusive interview.

Today, five days after his "stalemate" statement, the general's opinion has changed again. Kevin Baron, the editor of Defense One, reports:

‏JUST IN: Top US general in Afghanistan says war has "turned a corner... " The momentum is now with the Afghan security forces." ...

The General seems confused. But he is not the first to have such a change of mind.

On February 3 2010 then U.S. commander General Stanley McChrystal was cautious about the proverbial corner:

General Stanley McChrystal also expressed confidence that Afghan forces would grow quickly enough to allow a reduction in U.S. troop numbers to begin on schedule in 2011. ... “I‘m not prepared to say we have turned the corner,” he added.

Only twelve days later the turn had been made:

Gen Stanley McChrystal had his own words. Helmand had “turned the corner” in its four year war, he told The Daily Telegraph.

In May 2011 a British General also noted the turn:

The civilians are looking to people such as General James Bucknall, a British Coldstream Guards officer who is second in command of the International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf).
...
[H]e sets out why he thinks a corner has now been turned, nodding to the surge in American troop numbers that has made it possible.

Six years earlier another British General had already seen that turn:

Handing over to 3 Commando Brigade, Brig Butler said: "When we prepared, we knew there would be rocky times ahead, and that things would get harder before they got easier. That has certainly been the case, but I judge we have turned the corner. We have achieved a huge amount."

In May 2011 the U.S. Secretary of Defense was more cautious than the generals but nonetheless optimistic:

I think we could be in a position by the end of this year where we have turned the corner in Afghanistan," [U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates] said.

According to is boss, progress came faster than Gates anticipated. On June 23 2011 CBS headlined Obama: U.S. has turned corner in Afghanistan:

President Barack Obama on Thursday told American troops who've fought in Afghanistan that the U.S. has turned a corner after nearly 10 years of war, and it's time for their comrades still in that country to start coming home.

Obama's victory jump may have been a bit premature, but a month later the local commander agreed that the turning process had at least begun:

I spoke to Gen Petraeus as he stopped off in London on his way home from Afghanistan. In the interview, he spelled out what makes him think the country has begun to turn a corner after nearly 10 years of war.

In September 2012 another U.S. Secretary of Defense asserted that the turn had finally been completed:

[US Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta, however, has rejected suggestions that the strategy is failing, and on Friday he said “we have turned the corner,” in Afghanistan ...

Four month later the Afghan President confirmed the turn:

[President] Karzai also said that Afghanistan has turned the corner in terms of battling the Taliban.

Karzai was very modest in acknowledging the turn. He knew that it had already happened much earlier:

On October 9th, 2004, Afghanistan turned the corner. After decades of invasion, civil war, and anarchy, Hamid Karzai became the first democratically-elected President of a united Afghanistan.

In May 2014 another man was elected President of Afghanistan. This finally turned the corner:

Tonight there is a sense that the country has turned a corner - a new president who will sign the BSA, a continuation of developmental aid and training programmes, and Afghanistan has more than a fighting chance.

A year later the Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani was encouraged by the corner turning progress the new government had made:

With the successful conclusion of the security and political transitions, Afghanistan turned the corner in our path to becoming a self-reliant nation.

Today, two and a half years later, General Nicholson is still in the corner turning business.

 

The corner turning in Afghanistan is similar to an earlier war the U.S. had fought in vain:

Of course, the Afghanistan War (ostensibly part of a Global War on Terrorism) differs from the Vietnam War (ostensibly part of the Cold War) in myriad ways. Yet it resembles Vietnam in three crucial respects. First, it drags on with no end in sight. Second, no evidence exists to suggest that mere persistence will produce a positive outcome. Third, those charged with managing the war have long since run out of ideas about how to turn things around.

Another similarity is the constant lying by the military spokespersons. The famous Five o'clock Follies of Vietnam have been replaced by video conferences and drone videos but the central issue is the same. The military is consistently and consciously lying to the public.

How many U.S. troops are there in Afghanistan? By law the Pentagon has to release the deployment numbers every three month. The latest release for September 2017 lists 15,298 soldiers and 1,202 DoD civilians in Afghanistan. But there are 29,092 soldiers listed in "unknown locations". The generals must have lost these somewhere. The report also lists nearly 2,000 soldiers in Syrian and nearly 9,000 in Iraq. The publicly admitted numbers are way lower. They are as trustworthy as all the "turned corner" claims. Indeed:

The Defense Department’s publicly disclosed data, which tracks U.S. personnel levels in dozens of countries, are “not meant to represent an accurate accounting of troops deployed to any particular region,” said Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman.

The Pentagon clearly states that official data and assertions are "not meant to represent an accurate accounting". It is a warning. Whatever officials claim about this or that war, about "turned corners", or casualties, or troop deployments, must be considered to be a lie until it has been confirmed by observation or additional sources.

 

h/t Shashank Joshi

Posted by b on November 28, 2017 at 02:47 PM | Permalink

Comments

When you are on the merry-go-round of endless war, you are always turning the corner.

Reaching for the brass ring gets really more difficult as the corners come faster and faster while the merry-go-round digs deeper and deeper the hole it creates.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Nov 28, 2017 2:53:14 PM | 1

Its the mountain roads in Afghanistan that are the problem. Very winding roads. Gets the generals a little confused.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 28, 2017 3:07:02 PM | 2

#1 and #2 - Agree they are always turning a corner. The problem is what's on the other side of it, which is more Taliban support.

How nice it must be to have a job where you can endlessly say you are getting the job done without ever having to improve anything.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Nov 28, 2017 3:20:30 PM | 3

How is it this military that has not won a war in a very long time and lies continually has such a good reputation at home? A real triumph of propaganda!!!

Posted by: Dave | Nov 28, 2017 3:27:16 PM | 4

Does anybody still believe anything they are told by those willfully working for the machine? People will never hear anything else but lies from these cogs in the machine. It is not their job to tell the truth. It is their job to deceive the American public, day after warring day, after warring day.

'Making America great again, right?' Or is it 'Making America right again, great!'

For decades, Americans have been vaccinated with the hate of communism - enemy number one for predatory capitalism, which is by any other name simply Fascism.

Would anybody believe a general working for Pinochet to speak the truth? Would anybody accept the stories dished out by Franco's generals? Would Hitler's generals have told the public about what is actually really happening on the East front? Or the West front? OR anywhere else? Well, in the latter case, there were a number of high ranking militaries that wanted to get rid of the Austrian wannabe painter turned dictator. But they would not dare to speak about that in public. We know what happened to those who wanted to off the prick. They ended up hanging on butcher hooks till death parted them from their Fascist peers.

Yes, the so called 'United States of America' has turned into what Smedley Butler was able to prevent during his time. A Fascist dictatorship with shopping privileges. When the masses awake to that fact, they will be carted away as in Nazi Germany, Chile, Spain and Italy to name only a few.

We are already living in the time, where silence is betrayal. People either being busy with shopping, or with bare survival. Both factions are unavailable for ringing in change, because the first are corrupted and the latter are hopelessly discouraged and disenfranchised.

The best way to deal with anything the so called military and their paymasters are blabbering about is to know that the opposite is true.

It is always the opposite that is true. George Carlin knew and stated that many times over, and so did Lenny Bruce - with little effect on the masses.

How does a 'news' report about Afghanistan sound when one knows that the opposite is true? Is it really so hard to understand that, when people speak about stuff being 'Orwellian', that it means nothing but the opposite is true?

War is Peace? Freedom is Slavery? False Flags are Humanitarian Help? How about "Victory is Failure?" "Rich is Poor?" Okay, enough already. Of course I am not preaching to the choir, but can only hope that someone reads things like that and starts to think critical again, or even for the first time.

.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Nov 28, 2017 3:31:52 PM | 5

Well, some people have to understand that each 4 "turn of corner" leads to the exactly same point.
That's why they are always "turning the corner".
Poor Afghans, they have to pray for an odd number of Americans morons (redundancy) to say this cr@p.

Posted by: SCan | Nov 28, 2017 3:53:17 PM | 6

The maw of the MIC beaat has an unquenchable hunger.

Posted by: chet380 | Nov 28, 2017 3:55:09 PM | 7

Of only a small amount of relevance to this thread yet an excellent read is Dave Lindorff's take on the Foreign Agent" issue, "Suddenly, I'm a Russian Agent," https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/28/suddenly-im-a-russian-agent-2/

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 28, 2017 4:10:31 PM | 8

'driving off a cliff' is more like it.. so general, when did you realize you had driven off a cliff? they never realize it.. it is the ordinary people that see it for what it is.. these stooges - political, or military - say what they have to say to perpetuate the insanity... they both have full time jobs and they have to rationalize whatever excuse they can come up with.. bottom line - afgan war - that is driving off a cliff.. forget about turning a corner... call a spade a spade..

Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2017 4:25:50 PM | 9

Perhaps the pentagon and Trump will start winding up CIA drug operations to end the war in Afghanistan?

Ashraf Ghani‏Verified account
@ashrafghani
Nov 20
Last night, Afghan and US forces launched operations in Helmand to abolish opium processing labs. 8 labs were destroyed on day one. We're determined to tackle criminal economy and narcotics trafficking with full force. It's the main source of financing violence and terror.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 28, 2017 5:16:14 PM | 10

I like what McMaster said, 'We haven't turned the corner in Afghanistan after 10yrs, we have turned the same corner 10 times'

Being a General in the U.S. means never having to give account for past statements to a fawning press corps.

I'm still fuming when Lt. Gen. Harrigan said that the Houthi missile fired at Saudi Arabia had 'Iranian markings'. I am convinced that he was just repeating what the Saudis told him, that no one in the U.S. military inspected and saw the 'Iranian markings' but he knew that if he repeated their statement that it would falsely give that impression. https://apnews.com/f132794ad69b42f78ca3e39727432d2f/US-Air-Force-official:-Missile-targeting-Saudis-was-Iranian

It just feels like a lie, it's perfect, on the outside chance someone in the press corps called him out he could always walk the statement back but he knows that they never challenge what an officer says. In my book, this makes him a war criminal. God how I wish someone in the press corps asked him if the U.S. military saw these markings.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Nov 28, 2017 5:38:10 PM | 11

It reminds me of Robert Komer in Viet Nam who said we are always making progress, but sometimes the other side progresses faster than we do.

Posted by: John Neal Spangler | Nov 28, 2017 5:43:17 PM | 12

10 cc.. lt. gen harrigan is just working for the military industrial complex that aches for another war anywhere... it is his full time gig.. lying goes with the terrain it seems..

Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2017 5:51:15 PM | 13

trying to figure what trips the filter.. it seems the at symbol does it... test - @

Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2017 5:51:58 PM | 14

well, whatever it is - my post from earlier never made it... it will get released later after the conversation has ended, lol..

Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2017 5:52:51 PM | 15

Foreign policy wise, what is the difference between "turning a corner" and "going round the bend"?

Posted by: x | Nov 28, 2017 6:03:12 PM | 16

All decent humans can do is trust the people of Afghanistan to stay strong. Kia Kaha

Some will inevitably succumb - a few always do, but given the amerikan warmonger's reluctance to spend much on anything other than ever more abstruse (and correspondingly costly) machines of war, it is unlikely that sufficient young citizens of Afghanistan can be lured into the population centers, get seduced by consumerism to create the numbers of Call of Duty derps required to reduce the availability of Real World action afghans enough to weaken resistance to invasion.

So the horror will continue - for the time being. Eventually something will occur which cannot be dismissed by a war monger's soundbite. What? Who knows, I read a history of the Tet Offensive a while back there are a kazillion different theories about what 'actually happened', but one thing everyone can agree on is that the amerikan invaders had become so blinded by their own bullshit that no one had predicted the possibility of a large scale counter-attack.

It was Tet more than any other factor which pushed amerika outta that war - since we know that the drongos who 'lead' amerikan slaughters are always so caught up in the previous fuck ups of their antecedents that they cannot discern the actual situation they confront, much less predict the direction the next hammer blow will emanate from, we shouldn't be waiting for 'another Tet' however that doesn't mean give up. Something will happen but it probably won't be a massed uprising.
The nature of such wanton butchery and the hubris it generates amongst the perps is inescapable, these arsehole generals, along with their pol enablers, will eventually get hoist by their own petard - sooner rather than later I reckon.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 28, 2017 6:32:29 PM | 17

Nice tracking of the "turned corners" b.

It's really only an analogy of turning corners of the pages of an epic poem.

Posted by: Forest | Nov 28, 2017 6:55:22 PM | 18

Very tough to know when a corner has been completed when moving on an elliptical plane. Unless a turned corner is a reference to Lockheed share price heading north all of a sudden.

@Did 16 re:tet
We saw the same blind arrogance with Obama and Kerry in Syria: 'umm, yeah, we didn't think the Russians would jump in.'which now becomes another blue print for dealing with the hegemon. Game, set, match Syria. Lucky for hegemon they only sacrifice a wad of cash, a tonne of weapons and a casualty list of forces that are not their own - no American body bags in the MSM, just your run of the mill weekend wahabbis. No lesson learned.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 28, 2017 8:16:10 PM | 19

I get the feeling that the Russian Federation and China never turn any corners but rather forge ahead making alliances and building economies (yes and sometimes invading places like Tibet). But they never seem to turn any corners.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 28, 2017 8:22:41 PM | 20

Turning a corner is an expected event in Afghanistan. Reminds me messages from a computer game: "you are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike" and "you are in a maze of twisty passages, all different". "Seeing light at the end of the tunnel" would be much less accurate.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 28, 2017 9:04:20 PM | 21

I am not sure how many here have read this article on 'counterpunch', that will turn three years in January.
Seems like stuff like this - no matter how well it is written - makes it to the center stage of public attention. Very pitiful that is and no less disturbing.
The article is called Who-should-be-blamed-for-muslim-terrorism

Needless to mention that Afghanistan plays a larger role in this article, explaining how it was destroyed by the Western 'Christocapitalist' establishment and for what reasons.

The US is simply continuing what has been going on for a long time in the countries adhering to Islam and more so to Islamic countries that dared to incorporate socialism into their governments, as socialism harmonizes with Islam. It does not with Christianity, which is antagonistic to any notion of social justice.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Nov 28, 2017 9:18:43 PM | 22

Well US propaganda has made some progress since the Vietnam War. Then it was always the "light at the end of the tunnel". When in 1975 it turned out that light at the end of the tunnel turned out to multiple NVA divisions storming out of the central highlands and overrunning Saigon, the US decided to abandon that metaphor. Perhaps b's ridicule of corner turning will have a similar effect in the future. Alas, all that would mean is that the latest cliche will be replaced with something else.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 28, 2017 10:34:38 PM | 23

Why should the US leave Afghanistan when the CIA controls the world's heroin trade with unlimited supplies of opium coming from... Why should the US leave Afghanistan which borders Iran when the option to invade Iran remains on the table? It doesn't matter to Empires to win or lose little wars.

Posted by: gepay | Nov 29, 2017 12:49:36 AM | 24

We should finally turn a corner in this corner turning business and invent a new term. That will improve the situation in our imaginary bubble of understanding overnight.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 29, 2017 3:04:28 AM | 25

notheonly1 | Nov 28, 2017 3:31:52 PM | 5
I quit believing the U.S. MSM in the late 60's; the western MSM in 2002; and left in 2003, 8 weeks after GWB invaded Iraq.
I barely even notice any western press sources; getting my information from myriad Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and any other independent reporters; Escobar, Jatras, Zuesse, Engdahl, Kunstler, Luongo, and PIERACCINI; to name a few.
As some wag said; don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 29, 2017 3:32:44 AM | 26

@21 notheonly1

That reminds me, there is an updated edition of Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam by Mark Curtis coming out in January, from the blurb -

This updated edition of Secret Affairs covers the momentous events of the past year in the Middle East and at home in the UK. It reveals the unreported attempts by Britain to cultivate relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the fall of Mubarak, the military intervention on the side of Libyan rebel forces which include pro-al-Qaeda elements, and the ongoing reliance on the region's ultimate fundamentalist state, Saudi Arabia, to safeguard its interest in the Middle East.

It illuminates path of Salman Abedi, the bomber who attacked Manchester in May 2017, and his terror network: how he fought in Libya in 2011 as part of a group of fighters which the UK allowed to leave the country to go and battle against Gadafi to topple him.

Posted by: TJ | Nov 29, 2017 5:00:09 AM | 27

Always turning the corner, as B says ... that's why the national dance of the United States is the square dance. Washington calls the tune and the movement and 'Murikans takes their pardners ... pardners, take care y'all don't get trampled on or beat up ... or nuked.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 29, 2017 5:34:52 AM | 28

Jen | Nov 29, 2017 5:34:52 AM | 27
Wonderful analogy; square dance calling out the moves...
Usians surely dance to the piper (caller)...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 29, 2017 5:43:53 AM | 29

In Vietnam it was called "light at the end of the tunnel".

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Nov 29, 2017 7:17:11 AM | 30

The MIC, and its gluttony and fear of becoming irrelevant. The alphabet agencies making billions from the export of illicit narcotics. The thousands, if not millions, of people who depend on conflict itself, whereby any, I repeat any, outcome could negate and/or jeopardise their status quo. The serotonin uptake in the billions of brain-dead wankers who erroneously perceive themselves to be on the "good" side, or "winning" side, or the "righteous" side. The "politicians" who craft this devious fuckery because they have lost the ability to empathise entirely. Each one of these reasons by itself could be enough to maintain a paradigm of incessant, unceasing war, and the somnambulist public to see or hear or feel enough of the suffering to bring an end to it, in which case it will just move location. However, combine all these reasons, and you have an unstoppable, seething ocean of endeavour, and even the sleepy masses wailing, incessantly consuming, cannot find the cajones to bother lying in the way of that fucking steamroller .
I got my own corners to turn, and tricks as well.
Aah, now I feel better...

Posted by: dan | Nov 29, 2017 7:19:55 AM | 31

dan | Nov 29, 2017 7:19:55 AM | 30
Good you cleared your angst; but little else contributed...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 29, 2017 7:48:51 AM | 32

Someone mentioned 'the Tet Offensive', there will be no Tet moment in the U.S. because unlike then, we have a totally complicit MSM that is dedicated to defending the Pentagon.

I was just a child back then so my memories are vague, but I have read a little about the MSM coverage of the war and it rings true. Even then, the MSM wanted to believe the military but a credibility gap occurred because some couldn't reconcile the happy reports with the prolonged nature of the conflict. Correspondents showed up and started seeing the collateral damage first hand and other things that were not being reported.

Contrast this to now where the Pentagon releases absurd figures for civilian casualties in U.S. airstrikes and the MSM admires our wormanship.

I'd love to know how our Vietnam press corps died over the years. I'm not idealizing them as being perfect but at least they weren't the shameless, Stepford Wives of today. If I could change one thing, I would want an MSM that was skeptical of govt institutions like the Pentagon, State Dept, Intelligence agencies and not enthralled with them.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Nov 29, 2017 7:48:53 AM | 33

my version of Berman @ 20

Operation Labyrinth.

Posted by: rjj | Nov 29, 2017 9:08:26 AM | 34

There are some other inexplicable trends like that. For instance, I yet have to read something else on Yemen that millions are "on the verge of starvation" or "threatened with mass starvation", and that's been going on for years. Why does nobody, and I am talking about dissident medias, ever dare to say "millions in Yemen are starving", I don't know.

Same for the "danger of triggering a new Cold War", or "Are we on the brink of a new Cold War?". I have read that again and again for years. Why does nobody say "we are in the middle of a new Cold War"?

Seems that people get hooked on something that disquietingly looks like buzzwords or catchphrases, or maybe they just get mentally stuck in something that looks mildly comforting to them. The Yemeni mass starvation is forever something that might happen tomorrow, and the same goes for the new Cold War. Well, it's happening NOW, and it has been underway for quite some time.

There. I've said it.

Posted by: Lea | Nov 29, 2017 9:17:37 AM | 35

@3 How nice it must be to have a job where you can endlessly say you are getting the job done without ever having to improve anything.


i think it's possible to actually do a worse job, than the previous.=) i bet the generals are wishing it was 2002 afghanistan. they have indeed turned a corner in getting taliban attack effectivness upgraded every "spring offensive".

everytime someones says they have turned a corner without any measure (other than we will work with ISIS now) means, the other side just got a morale boost and absolutely sent you packing. in fact this person thought he could sway a good part of the isis to be used against al qaeda...... it turned out not so much. the taliban were ready for isis or..... it would be syria already.

Posted by: jason | Nov 29, 2017 9:37:10 AM | 36

Great point Lea at 34.
In my sad travels, I came across and then dismissed an all too typical article
https://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2017/11/28/kremlin_untruths_boomerang_112641.html firing a salvo in the New Cold War.
This is a 'best of' edition re-counting the usual hack claims from the RAND corporation ...
1. The Russians are untruthful and their untruthfulness is hurting them (crocodile tears).
2. The Russians have lied about attacking the 2016 elections (he left western Europe out this time), Syria's WMD breathlessly citing the new UN report that we arranged, the great crime fighting 'lawyer' Magnitsky, Ukraine, and the Olympic doping conspiracy (theirs, not ours).

Every one of these charges was instrumented by us against them in order to harm their economy and bring them to heel.

Regarding Yemen, 10,000 people have been killed, this makes it sound like a minor skirmish as opposed to the demon Assad. The number is closer to 100,000 and we don't even know the true number because of the Saudis. To get the true number you have to count the 'malnutrition related deaths', something that our MSM slavishly avoids.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Nov 29, 2017 11:39:24 AM | 37

In 70's drug parlance, "turn" meant to successfully complete a drug deal, as in the New Riders of the Purple Sage song "Henry":

EV’RY YEAR ALONG ABOUT THIS TIME IT ALL GOES DRY
THERE’S NOTHING ROUND FOR LOVE OR MONEY
THAT’LL GET YOU HIGH
HENRY GOT PISSED OFF AND SAID HE’D RUN TO MEXICO
TO SEE IF HE COULD COME BACK HOLDIN’
TWENTY KEYS OF GOLD

NOW THE ROAD TO ACAPULCO IS VERY HARD INDEED
AND IT ISN’T ANY BETTER IF YOU HAVEN’T ANY WEED
HENRY’S DRIVING HARD AND STRAIGHT
ON TWISTY MOUNTAIN ROADS
THERE’S FIFTY PEOPLE WAITING BACK
AT HOME FOR HENRY’S LOAD

AND NOW HE’S ROLLIN’ DOWN THE MOUNTAIN
GOING FAST, FAST, FAST
AND IF HE BLOWS IT THIS ONE’S GONNA BE HIS LAST
RUN TO ACAPULCO TO TURN THE GOLDEN KEYS
HENRY KEEP THE BRAKES ON FOR THIS CORNER IF YOU PLEASE

The word "corner" refers to achieving a monopoly of a particular commodity in a marketplace, i.e., "to corner the market," as in the perennially popular card game, "Pit," developed not by Milton Friedman as one might expect, but by the psychic Edgar Cayce interestingly enough

The commodity? Need we ask?

Velvet Underground

The geopolitical objective?

Off the books money for the personal purse and the prosecution of proxy wars, and distribution to destabilise Central Asia.

Les Fleurs du mal...

And so it goes...

Posted by: Alternate Reality | Nov 29, 2017 12:30:24 PM | 38

I'd love to know how our Vietnam press corps died over the years. I'm not idealizing them as being perfect but at least they weren't the shameless, Stepford Wives of today. Christian Chuba @32

Indeed, the process of decadence is progressing. The journalists of that time are mostly gone, some are senile or otherwise mentally decrepit, and perhaps a few still exist somewhere in the wilderness of unquotability. It reminds me the words of Lermontov (Borodino):

Да, были люди в наше время,
Не то, что нынешнее племя,
Богатыри — не вы!

[literal translation: yes, there were people in our time, unlike the tribe of today, heroes -- not you!]
– Yea, were there men when I was young,
Whose songs your tribe is not to 've sung:
They'd fight,– you 're none as good!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 29, 2017 12:31:00 PM | 39

Lea #34

This notion that we are entering a new cold war was first proposed by Stephen Cohen in about 2008. After Maidan in Ukraine in 2014 he started saying the cold war was back. This simple and obvious idea was ridiculed by his colleagues in foreign relations world and ignored or denied by the mass analysts and think tank cretins. Since Trump beat Hillary the liberal press is finally beginning to accept this concept but it required them to believe Putin stole the presidency from Hillary.

This is all part of wide political debate over the political consequences of US actions. Back in 2008 to that a new war cold war was emerging involved seeing that US actions were provoking Russia by interfering in Russia's legitimate national interests. Today, the liberals at least, can blame the outcome on Russian aggression against US elections.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 29, 2017 12:39:09 PM | 40

@35 lea.. fully concur... as i said in my post which finally got published @9 - driving off a cliff is more like it... but no one will say that.. instead it is a cheap meaningless catchphrase - turning a corner.. that is supposed to sooth the brain of some i suppose! bullshit reigns supreme in the western msm...

Posted by: james | Nov 29, 2017 2:36:24 PM | 41

@ Christian 37

The UN report of 10/26/17, so breathlessly referenced in the linked article says this, clearly, on page 22.

To date the Mechanism* has not found specific information confirming whether or not an SAAF Su-22 operating from Al-Shayrat airbase launched an aerial attack against Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.
*Joint Investigative Mechanism," the commission set up by the UN to carry out the investigation (such as it was).

In other words, they've got nuthin'.

There are several other indications in that report that constitute warnings for readers not to take the "conclusions" seriously. I can list them if requested.

Short quotations and brief descriptions of conclusions from the report, leaked to the press while the report itself was withheld, indicate a desire to convince the public that absolute proof has been found of Syrian government responsibility for a chemical attack against the civilian population of Khan Sheikhoun, while the weak, contradictory and weasel-worded content of the actual report militates against belief in such conclusions, and the above quoted text from the report says all that anyone need ever know about it.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Nov 29, 2017 4:09:46 PM | 42

Christian Chuba @ 33, Piotr Berman @ 39:

Seymour Hersh who exposed the My Lai massacre is still alive and still doing good work (as in his report to Die Welt on the CW incident in Khan Sheykhoun in April 2017) though at the age of 80 years he may not have very many years left.
https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

Posted by: Jen | Nov 29, 2017 4:20:28 PM | 43

I think that "turning the corner" is one of the "honest weasel phrases" that are truthful because they do not mean much. I guess everyone here had an incident of being lost in a city and turning corners, like, forever.

Another cute phrase is "honest broker". Can American maintain its role as the honest broker? What does it mean? Boys and girl, a broker is an agent of sellers or an agent of buyers. A broker that represent the sellers takes care to disclose as little about a car, house or whatever as possible under "caveat emptor" (empty cavities :-) ). Honest broker, presumably, does not BLANTANTLY LIE, but replies "I do not know, it was not tested, etc" to inconvenient questions. Even more honest strategy is to change the subject. And USA is honest Israeli broker in negotiations that putatively could take place at some point in the future (it used to be that so-called piece process was a zombie, but now it is a cadaver gives signs of "life" only when one replicates Volta experiment).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 29, 2017 10:36:11 PM | 44

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