Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 27, 2013

At A Complete Loss

Alexei Pushkov, chair of the Russian Federation State Duma's international affairs committee, saying what I think:
"To us, it looks as though [George W.] Bush, [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld never left the White House. [...] It's basically the same policy, as if US leaders had learned nothing and forgotten nothing in the past decade. They want to topple foreign leaders they regard as adversaries, without even making the most basic calculations of the consequences. An intervention in Syria will only enlarge the area of instability in the Middle East and expand the scope of terrorist activity. I am at a complete loss to understand what the US thinks it is doing."
Or maybe I am not yet enough of a cynic.

Posted by b on August 27, 2013 at 6:06 UTC | Permalink

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Regardless of what might happen next, I am postively surprised by the commenting on articles all of the web, there are a great majority seeing through the propaganda by west and very small minority <10% actually support a war.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 27 2013 17:40 utc | 101

@100 presumably as long as UN inspectors are there, no bombs ...

Could Ban Ki-Moon be showing a little independence?

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 17:47 utc | 102


Comments like this are why I don't trust the Russians. Everybody and his dog knows what the US is doing, it's just no one has the guts to say it out loud.

Including the Americans, Brits, and French. Don't trust them too? This is a basis for judgment?

The least the Russians could do is highlight the fact these wars are being fought for Israel.

Why? What for? And create a diplomatic distraction? Putin has more geopolitical smarts than Obama and his crew, and Russia has enough who lived through WWII to know that they wont walk into that willing anymore. We, on the other hand, are concerned about saving face and our reputation, and like 11-year-olds with premature puberty, ready to get into fights cuz someone is dissing us, or because we think they're bringing a gun to a knife fight.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 27 2013 18:15 utc | 103

Syria does have s-300. This is the reason that the attacks will be done by cruise missiles shot from 700 miles away, and not by bombs dropped from aircraft. Why else?

Posted by: Crest | Aug 27 2013 18:17 utc | 104

Putin is a better man then me. I would have sent his [Bandar's] head back to King Jabba on a silver platter, diplomatic immunity or not (one of the many reasons I doubt I'll ever be President of anywhere). Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 27, 2013 1:27:21 PM | 98
Well, what Putin said, according to the report, if you believe it, was:
We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned.
That sounds much more plausible than Bandar's supposed admission, to me. I can imagine Putin saying the two sentences in that quote (minus 'which you have frankly talked about just now'), as an accusation, before Bandar has a chance to say anything at all. Looking again at Bandar's statement, it seems to me doubly implausible. Let's unpack his whole supposed statement, the one Putin was replying to. Here it is in all its manifold quintogity:
The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.
He is talking as if the entire Syrian guerrilla force was composed of Chechens, which is an absurd distortion. However, the question is not their nationality or their ethnicity, but who (if anyone) controls them. Bandar doesn't actually say: 'we control all the guerrillas in Syria.' He says: 'we can stop the guerrillas currently in Chechnya from going to Syria.' But then, quite illogically, he implies that he does after all control all the guerrillas in Syria, because he says 'We use them in the face of the Syrian regime, but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.' This is meaningless unless it is a statement about all the guerrillas in Syria, not about just the Chechens. He's saying (supposedly): 'I can promise you that they will topple Assad but they will not control or even feature in the government which will subsequently be formed.' Which is a hell of a mouthful, and more in fact than even Bandar can promise. And since Bandar is not stupid or unrealistic, that means that (if he said it) it is a dishonest promise, one he knows he can't keep and therefore cannot honestly make, ie that he is lying. He is in my view the main paymaster now that Qatar is out of the picture (assuming it really is), but he is not omnipotent. So, he doesn't give a damn if Syria ends up like Libya, but he is trying to fool Putin.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 18:19 utc | 105

Rowan #62

Yes there are some but they won't get a penny or a bullet from ksa, Qatar or Turkey.

That doesn't mean they can't get help from someone else and while it seems counter intuitive, the possibility of Iran aiding takfiris to attack Israel (if the Syrian government falls) is plausible even if unlikely.

Moreover, there are plenty of non takfiri Sunnis who will gladly accept protection from the ultra-radicals, and would be ready to fire some rockets Israel's way if it gets them help.

In the event the Syrian government falls, I envision a lebanon 1982-1999 scenario with Iraq and Iran playing the role Syria and Iran played back then with a portion of the takfiris reprising the phalangists whereas some other Sunnis playing as Islamic Jihad (Sunni Palestinian, very close to Iran)

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 18:27 utc | 106

Read this:

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 27 2013 18:32 utc | 107

104) I guess this war is not as feasible as they pretend.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 18:34 utc | 108

The reality is that the political leadership in the US and the US government don't care a rat's ass about world opinion or even the opinion of their voters. This is not something new. This condition has existed for a very long time. Why? It's very simple. The probability of re-election of individual Congressional representatives and senators is astoundingly high irrespective of how they vote in the House or the Senate. No matter their rhetoric during an election campaign when in office they will mostly vote along party lines and there's no substantive differences between the two parties. The voters will always support the candidate of their "party" even if they don't like that person as it will be rationalized as voting for the lesser evil. The politicians will always act based on what they believe is the most politically advantageous to them personally.

Another reality is that no other country can or will contest the US in a direct conventional military conflict in a 3rd country. The only recourse are proxies and insurgencies to thwart occupations.

Another reality is that the US military can inflict massive destruction of fixed assets most anywhere and there is no one that can prevent them or even make that act expensive. In fact with the exception of China, Russia, India and Pakistan, the US can inflict massive fixed asset destruction anywhere on the globe with their standoff strike capability.

Another reality is that the US cannot occupy through military force any country where an insurgency can withstand the destructive power of the US military. Why? The US government does not have the staying power of 50-100 years required to pacify a population willing to fight the occupation at massive cost.

The bottom line is that currently the US can and will destroy fixed assets with impunity in most places in the world and there is not much anyone else can do about it. Of course they will always do it with their European lap dogs and other ass lickers.

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 27 2013 18:34 utc | 109


I was under the impression that the S-300s were capable of shooting down cruise missiles.

If not the S-300, there are also other air defense weapons systems which Syria is believed to possess which are capable of cruise missile defense.

And it has been widely reported that Russia supplied Syria with anti-ship missiles last spring. Hezbollah was successful in disabling an Israeli warship in 2006 with an anti-ship missile. I imagine that Syria also has the capability.

Will they use it or not?

Posted by: sleepy | Aug 27 2013 18:34 utc | 110

Interesting thoughts, Lysander (106). Let's go further into the contradiction, as I see it, in Bandar's statements. Here he is almost but not quite admitting that in fact he does not control the Syrian theatre:

Bandar said that the matter is not limited to the kingdom and that some countries have overstepped the roles drawn for them, such as Qatar and Turkey. He added, “We said so directly to the Qataris and to the Turks. We rejected their unlimited support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. The Turks’ role today has become similar to Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war. We do not favor extremist religious regimes, and we wish to establish moderate regimes in the region.

There is a lot between the lines there. Comparing Turkey to Pakistan is quite a leap. The implication is that, like Pakistan, Turkey has lost control over at least some of the groups it has been supporting, and indeed in Turkey, like in Pakistan, there have been a few bombings in public places which it is hard to allot exact responsibility for, in that the takfiri groups may be arguing with the secret service of the host nation, trying to demonstrate to them that they are capable of blowback, or they may be under the control of other nations' secret services. And Qatar as I have been saying all along, lost control completely and had to be visibly disciplined by the US, with the forced resignation of its Emir. But now, having made his oblique admission, Bandar gets back on his high horse of supposed omnipotence, and says:
We guarantee you that Russia’s interests in Syria and on the Mediterranean coast will not be affected one bit. In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia's interests and role in the region.

As before, I conclude that Bandar is lying, making promises he knows he can't keep, and that implies to my mind that he doesn't care if Syria ends up like Libya, but is trying to fool Putin.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 27 2013 18:40 utc | 111

Non nuclear cruise missiles only contain around 240 lbs of HE, compared to the average 1000 lb aircraft bomb. They're a big show, and while they're good at destroying infrastructure, they're not especially potent weapons on a tactical level. So I don't know if it would be worth spending s-300s over. If anything, the missile attack might be inviting that, to make it easier for later aircraft sorties to pass through unscathed. Hard to say.

Posted by: Crest | Aug 27 2013 18:44 utc | 112

@110 As for anti ship missiles, these are a very potent threat. The Soviet Navy had a much simpler mission than the US navy, to sink aircraft carriers. So the USSR developed a wide range of missiles to sink carriers, and they basically have no counters, this is why carriers travel with huge groups of ancillary ships. They exist simply to absorb missiles that would otherwise hit the carrier.

This is why the US carriers will stay well out of Syria's territorial waters, and will be only floating threats. There are hidden anti ship missiles all along the Syrian coast, in caves and bunkers that cannot be breached with conventional bombs.

Posted by: Crest | Aug 27 2013 18:49 utc | 113

On whether Syria has S-300's air defence missiles.

Official Line:

Russia has postponed the delivery of a batch of S-300 missile defense systems to Syria, despite having received advance payment, a prominent Russian newspaper reported Friday. The delivery, originally scheduled for spring 2013, has been pushed back to June 2014, Vedomosti business daily said, citing an annual report by the Moscow-based company Avangard, which manufactures rockets for S-300 systems.

However Bashar Assad speaking with Al Manar implied that "parts" of the S-300 had already been received:

Syria has received the first shipment … All our agreements with Russia will be implemented and parts of them have already been implemented.

On top of this US Intelligence seemed to think Syria had received S-300's.

According to the report, the U.S. has been keeping track of the Russian ships for several days, ever since they left a military base in Russia. Satellite data indicates that the ships are carrying cargo that appears to be suitable for use in a weapons system, most likely the S-300.

So official line from Russia is that S-300's will arrive mid 2014, President Assad says a first shipment has already been received and the US thinks it spotted Russian ships loaded with S-300 parts. All this to say who knows. But there was one curious comment today in the face of Western attack.

Foreign Minister Walid Muallem speaking today about the US threats said "Syria is not an easy case. We have defenses which will surprise others". Assad also mentioned something similar in his interview yesterday saying they keep details of there air defence capabilities secret.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 27 2013 18:50 utc | 114


I agree but keep in mind, as Putin no doubt does, that Bandar is the tool not the carpenter. He is in no position to make such promises to Russia even if he personally would be happy with the arangement. It is possible bandar was lead to believe that was the deal that he might lie more credibly. But Putin understands (at least I hope he does) that pushing Russia out entirely is the whole idea.

The other point is that Turkey, Qatar, KSA and the US do not have identical interests but it will be up to the US to give what to whom. For example Erdogan probably thought he could reshape Syria into a Turkish vassal state. Bandar is saying that the turks were...misinformed shall we say.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 19:02 utc | 115

109) cost per cruise missile according to Wikipedia:
US$569,000 (1999)[1] AGM-109H/L version to $1.45 million Tactical version (2011)[2]
not counting cost of the military buildup

Cost to the US plantation in the Middle East i.e. Israel - existential

Israel cannot survive a prolonged missile war - Iron Dome won't make it.

Economic cost of a closed Strait of Hormuz ?

Probability of war going as planned - Nil.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 19:08 utc | 116


This is a really sound reading of the interests involved. The military and strategic realities, in addition to what you mentioned should be the main considerations in evaluating the benefits and the losses implicated with any agressive actions in the region.

Posted by: ATH | Aug 27 2013 19:14 utc | 117

I've read that most or many of the "Chechens" in Syria are from the diaspora and not recently from Chechnya.

The Chechen diaspora is a term used to collectively describe the communities of Chechen people who live outside of Chechnya; this includes Chechens who live in other parts of Russia. There are also significant Chechen populations in other subdivisions of Russia (especially in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Moscow Oblast).

Outside Russia, Chechens mainly descendants of people who had to leave Chechnya during the 19th century Caucasian War (which led to the annexation of Chechnya by the Russian Empire) and the 1944 Stalinist deportation to the Soviet Central Asia in the case of Kazakhstan. More recently, tens of thousands of Chechen refugees settled in the European Union and elsewhere as the result of the First and Second Chechen Wars, especially in the wave of emigration to the West after 2002.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 19:22 utc | 118

time for investigation
--Aug 26, The Team is spending up to 14 days, with a possible extension
--Aug 27, the inspection team might need longer than the planned 14 days to complete its work

This looks better all the time -- over a fortnight is an eternity at the current fever pitch and anything could happen in the meantime. Meanwhile the US has to sit on its hands and bluster.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 19:26 utc | 119

Sorry, Tomahawk cruise missiles have 1,000 lb warheads. I transposed the numbers in my head. A typical aircraft delivered bomb, like the gbu 115, has a 2000 lb load of HE.

Posted by: Crest | Aug 27 2013 19:27 utc | 120

somebody @116

Cost of war - print moar! Larry Summers will do as Obama wants.
Israel threat - existential: Only if Syrian army has the capability & will to deliver CW to Tel Aviv. We will find out soon enough.
Prolonged missile war: Only if Syria has enough missile strike assets with the range & accuracy to strike and they survive the continuous onslaught.
Closed Straits of Hormuz: Only if Iran chooses to enter the conflict directly. Highly doubtful. They will only work behind the scenes.
Probability of war going as planned - Nil. Dead on correct!

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 27 2013 19:30 utc | 121

It's good to remember that General Dempsey has wisely warned about the consequences of a too-strong military attack that would cause the state to collapse, without a viable alternative. This is more germane now that the anti-Syria military forces have become more radicalized (my #63), probably as a result of recent setbacks.

"We have learned from the past 10 years; however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state,” Dempsey added in the response to Levin and McCain. “We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.”

This would seem to rule out a kill-Assad scenario, but of course that would require rationality.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 19:38 utc | 122

121) as I understand US strategy

they signal the strike will be limited - counting on no one wanting a confrontation with the US
aim at shifting momentum to the "rebels" ie degrade, intimidate the Syrian Army enough for that purpose or
intimidate Assad for that purpose

for me in my armchair this cannot work as
obviously Syria realizes that they have got no chance against the rebels if in the moment of near victory the US/GB/France keep intervening, so
best option for them is to start a war with Israel, which Israel could not sustain for very long (if Hezbollah has enough missiles, Syria has too)

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 19:44 utc | 123

@119 "This looks better all the time -- over a fortnight is an eternity at the current fever pitch and anything could happen in the meantime. Meanwhile the US has to sit on its hands and bluster."

Obama is being offered a way out.....if he wants to take it.

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 19:55 utc | 124

@ somebody, ab initio, crest, ozawa

Stop mongering for a wider, regional war; stop pretending you're an armchair general. Put your efforts into asking for evidence that Syrian govt launched the attack, calling for peace and insisting that cooler heads prevail.

Posted by: ess emm | Aug 27 2013 20:07 utc | 125

@ 124 That would be nice. It would be awfully hard to walk it back at this point. "Oh, on second thought, maybe he didn't launch a gas attack. Forget all that stuff we said before."

We can always hope that behind the scenes Putin is telling Obama the real deal and that it isn't very pretty. Also Jeffrey "the juggler" Feltman was in Tehran yesterday and met with FM Zarif. Maybe they didn't fall for the "it will only be a couple of cruise missiles. They won't even feel it" line.

But Obama would look like a whupped mutt if he doesn't at least do 'something' and the neocons will never let him hear the end of it.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 20:15 utc | 126

Much of what we see in the media about the Syrian situation is psychological war. Best to take everything with a grain of salt

Posted by: Andoheb | Aug 27 2013 20:23 utc | 127

125) I am not mongering just elaborating on "at a complete loss" ... I guess there is no evidence but they will come up with something.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 27 2013 20:27 utc | 128

There seem to be quite some misunderstanding concerning Russia. One typical example is to measure Russia along a zusa perspective. That's bound to fail.

Sorry, it's a little more complex (and hence longer):

Russia is and has a very old culture while zusa (don't get me wrong, this is not hate stuff but a cold blooded view) has been created by collecting european lowest class scum and shipping them across the Atlantic. After the first work had been done and there was some habitable land and infrastructure, their masters arrived.

It's important to know that because it's a major driver for what happens. Russia has never been conquered; it just can't happen. Geostrategically, Russia can afford to - and is - extremely souvereign. Having that much land there also simply is no need whatsoever so want more. Accordingly Russia cares more or less about itself only and usually rather peacefully.
zusa, on the other hand, likes to think they are in a geostrategically excellent position, and at first sight that might seem true, but they actually arent. This and their origins makes them aggressive, in great part to a quite complete lack of self-conscience; Yes, I know, they look soo powerful - but look at how they act!

This leads to a somewhat seemingly paradoxical situation. On one hand Russia wants peaceful good relations with zusa (like with others) and has no interest whatsoever to harm zusa. On the other hand Russia has experience how brutal and merciless zusa harmed and served themselves at Russias expense when Russia was broken and weak after the fall of the Sovjet union. Furthermore, zusa broke each and every contract and promise ever made with Russia.

- jump -

Putin is *Russias* president. He is acting in the best interest of Russia - not of other countries, nor against other countries. If Syria is strategically important to Russia (and it is), Putin will help them. In one way or another. Don't expect Russia to act like zusa, i.e. loudmouthed, dumb, and aggressive. They won't do that. They will act the Russian way.

Another point: Russia has what it needs to defeat and kill zusa, no question. But: Would it be smart? Again, from a zusa way of thinking, yes; war = need to repair = money to be made; war = broken enemy = chance to completely take them over and remote control them as a part of ones empire. But that's not Russia way. Russia wants zusa to put in its appropriate place, which is a good place, a major power place but a place way below ehere insane zusa sees itself. And Russia wants zusa to to be healthy and well being and to then make business on a fair basis.

Summary: As long as Russia has a chance to act reasonably and responsibly they will do that and care about themselves. If, however, Russias core interests would be attacked, Russia will strike back at zato with all it's power and chances are that China will do some cleaning up, too. zatos chance to win? Close to zero.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 27 2013 20:35 utc | 129


it's possible US and europe will just try to partition syria into sunni and alawi states.

Posted by: skybox | Aug 27 2013 20:40 utc | 130

How immoral it may seem, we have to understand that the least this US administration cares for , is the safety of the Syrian people, or the safety of Humans in general.We are talking about the one country that used an atomic bomb on civilian populations for christ sake.

They really do not care about international laws, and chemical weapons being used or not. They only care about their strategic ability to destroy the Syrian regime, and partition Syria, offer it to the jihadis to wreak havoc on it untill the end of times, or not. If they are sure that they can, Nothing, Nothing, will stop them.

More. If they had the ability to go it alone in 2011 with insignificant casualties , they would have done it alone.

Obviously, they cant. And since 2011, not much has changed.

Posted by: Nabil | Aug 27 2013 20:58 utc | 131

To all the doomsayers--
Syria has been attacked various times in various ways for a couple years now. Attacks are nothing new to Damascus. The government has endured. Damascus has taken a licking and kept on ticking. (Old Timex slogan, before your time.) So if, or when, the US attacks with missiles it won't be the first time.

A few airstrips cratered? They can be repaired. Airplanes destroyed? They can be replaced, and they have been only a small part of the picture. Command centers wiped out? Plan for it, and keep on fighting.

Syria's ground forces and pro-government partisans are rather impervious to attack, that's the main thing, and that's where Syria will prevail. On the streets, in the towns and cities, with the political knowledge that the alternative now is obviously worse to everyone. Everyone that's left, that is. Russia knows this, too. The bear wouldn't be betting on a loser.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 21:22 utc | 132

At the State presser yesterday:

QUESTION: Does that mean that there’s no point to these [UN] people going there anymore?
MS. HARF: I would make a few points on that, Matt, and it’s a good question. I think, first, it’s important for everyone to remember what the mandate of this team was. It wasn’t to determine culpability into who would have used chemical weapons, it’s to determine whether they were used, which the whole entire world now agrees has happened. So that’s, I think, point A.

Point B I would make is that we don’t at this point have confidence that the UN can conduct a credible inquiry into what happened, and we are concerned that the Syrian regime will use this as a delay tactic to continue shelling and destroying evidence in the area. And quite frankly we – its – we don’t want the Syrian regime to be able to use it as a delaying tactic. As we saw this morning, it’s not even entirely safe for them to be there operating on the ground. So we believe that it is too late for a credible investigation at this point.

QUESTION: Is it – is the question no longer whether there will be a military response, but when and exactly what kind? Is that the question now?
MS. HARF: No. That’s not the way I would characterize it at all. The President has a range of options that he’s currently looking at with his national security team. Clearly, some of those, as we’ve talked about for a year, include military contingencies. But he’s looking at a range of options and has not yet made a decision on how to respond.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 22:03 utc | 133

Could respond by e mail!!!

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:07 utc | 134

Now make this easy, RED LINES WHERE SET , of which one has been crossed, next move will cross the other ( the Iranian ) red line. And there we are. No way back.
Meanwhile if Russia don't back up back up it's ally they will loose all future credibility.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:14 utc | 135

@133 QUESTION: Would one of these options be apologizing to everybody for the hysteria and agreeing to help the Syrian government combat global terrorism?

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 22:17 utc | 136

What the diplomats say here and say there is just a game of telling what you want to hear.
One should watch to old neighbors as Jordan.
They might not be so west friendly as the seem.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:19 utc | 137

Like I said yesterday, the Le Figaro pub regarding troops entering from Jordan could easily give Assad excuse to attack Jordan.
He did not as good old neighbor.
So there is something tricky going on there.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:23 utc | 138

At today's State presser, the US is sure that a chemical weapons attack occurred but doesn't know what the chemical was.

QUESTION: -- beyond a shadow of a doubt that chemical weapons were used, do we know what kind – what type of chemical weapons were used? Is it sarin? Is it nerve gas? Is it even worse than that?
MS. HARF: I don’t have --
QUESTION: What is it?
MS. HARF: I don’t have additional details about that, Said. Again, the intelligence community will be sharing as many additional details as we can in the coming days.

So let's wait for the intelligence community to describe how this is a slam-dunk.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 22:25 utc | 139

@139 "So let's wait for the intelligence community to describe how this is a slam-dunk."

Sounds like a job for Colin Powell. Or will they bring Samantha back from Ireland?

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 22:28 utc | 140
August 27, 2013

At least 22 members of the House of Representatives have signed a petition pleading president Obama to honor the Constitution, in addition to the War Powers Resolution, and seek congressional approval before launching a military offensive on Syria.


Now they make a petition of what normally should be his obligation -TO HONOR THE CONSTITUTION-

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:36 utc | 141

Sorry 60 %

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:37 utc | 142

But what the hell or WTF, is he really an American to honor the constitution of USA?

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:39 utc | 143

@ Don Bacon
These are milestones and there you go:
So let's wait for the intelligence community to describe how this is a slam-dunk.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:46 utc | 144

Samantha Powers in a gas mask holding a few test tubes should do the trick.

Posted by: dh | Aug 27 2013 22:48 utc | 145

As it seems right now US has problems to start up aggression because of heavy delay, and probably that why Cammeron rushes in to this, but he will need an incident to justify the start up. Things got screwed up down the line, at the same time as Israel can't wait much longer.
We should wait for some sudden provocative event very soon.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:52 utc | 146


The tricks are over-finished or better say fiasco.
Now is the for Assad to act if he wants to be ahead.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 22:57 utc | 147

The lapdog may be off his leash, temporarily.

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Monday it was still possible for a U.N. team of chemical weapons experts to gather evidence necessary to investigate last week's alleged gas attack in suburbs east of Damascus, despite the lapse of time.

"Despite the passage of a number of days, the Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) is confident that the team will be able to obtain and analyze evidence relevant for its investigation of the 21 August incident," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. The U.N. team visited the site on Monday.

The US doesn't agree; today--
MS. HARF: We do believe that it’s too late to be credible.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 22:58 utc | 148

The Syrian Electronic Army returned today, taking down the New York Times website and replacing it with a huge "Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army" banner.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 27 2013 23:01 utc | 149

Invite them ( the so called coalition ) over for business lunch to discuss, as ironic gesture.
Because Mr.Obama your own congress says you are fishing in wrong waters.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 23:02 utc | 150

The counterplan of the resistance, and I think someone here alluded to it, may be for Syria, HA and possibly Iran to pummel Israel with cheap rockets ala 2006 until they ask the Americans to stop.

This would cause enormous embarassment to the puppets as well as pain to the Israelis. It also puts the US in the very awkward position of fighting alongside Israel against an Arab nation.

There would be enormous pain but it would be the only chance Syria has to survive.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 27 2013 23:06 utc | 151

And if he should give the green light(against congress will) for invasion, I think it would be on place for the Nobel committee to take back the price they initiated him. But once again I may be wrong...

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 23:07 utc | 152

Another option for Assad is to go to UN and call for a mandate against invading forces.
The opposite of what happened with IRAQ-KUWAUT.
And after all a strike is inference in independent country's internal affairs.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 23:17 utc | 153

Imagine this:

Syrian navy parks vessels at the margin of their territorial waters to prolong missiles area to cover. At the same time Assad invites a couple of allied submarines to 'fish' back of the vessels and outside the coast. Will the attack? What a disgrace for president Mr. ...

But probably just a stupid scenario.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 23:31 utc | 154

Anyone hear anything more about Russia's supposed satellite footage of the attack?

Posted by: L Bean | Aug 27 2013 23:31 utc | 155

You see Lysander, there are a lot of chances to survive, but I think it is matter of taking back lost pride after so many assaults.

Posted by: Christos | Aug 27 2013 23:34 utc | 156

big danger! #dangerous @SusanDirgham

Posted by: brian | Aug 27 2013 23:41 utc | 157

I ran into a comment in another website to, of all places, worldnetdaily. Who would have thunk it?

EVIDENCE: SYRIA GAS ATTACK WORK OF U.S. ALLIES Contrary evidence arises as U.S. considers punishing Assad regime

Posted by: JaimeInTexss | Aug 28 2013 0:12 utc | 158

A grim “urgent action memorandum” issued today from the office of President Putin to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is ordering a “massive military strike” against Saudi Arabia in the event that the West attacks Syria

Posted by: Caroll | Aug 28 2013 0:46 utc | 159

Now it is all game theory.

My guess: the attacks are a serious escalation, but it waits to be seen if this will really take things to the next level or if it will be more of the same. There is undoubtedly much going on behind the scenes.

It is in the west's interest to keep the Syrian's thinking that the attacks won't change anything substantively. The US will present the strikes as being "slap on the wrist" while in reality they'll be aggressively trying to eliminate Syria's retaliatory capabilities before they can use them (and probably trying reduce the Syrian government to the operational level of the militias they are currently fighting). Syria, on the other hand, is playing this as if it is going to change the whole war, that they will raise holy hell, all the while hoping that they can just get through the strikes no matter what the cost so long as they are still in a position to defeat the rebels when things are all over.

Certainly the idea that the west are just going to "punish" the Syrian government is ludicrous. The rebels will be free to launch another chemical outrage at any moment so really, that is out of the Syrian governments hands anyway.

The Syrian's are not in a good position, but they do occupy the moral high ground: they'll be protecting their homeland against a foreign attack. What help Iran and Russia can offer is probably limited, though I'd expect to see some "coincidental" upheavals in unexpected places. The US and the west can only go so far even if Damascus does retaliate: no one is going to invade Syria, not even Israel. Israel will certainly take this opportunity launch a murderous campaign of their own.

Things are likely to spin out of control, especially with the chemical weapons on the ground, tens of thousands of al Qaeda in the country, and Iran needing desperately to keep Syria as an ally.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 28 2013 1:31 utc | 160

I don't think it is a coincidence either that there was a plot to kill Venezuela's Maduro underway. The west will not let this chance for a free pass (while the media is focused on Syria) slip by.

As for Israel and al Qaeda, of course they walk hand in hand. That's why this seemed out of place: Al Qaeda Spinoff Claims Rocket Attack on Israel from Lebanon

It could be anything from them making an attempt to refresh their image among those who now consider them the zionists favorite tool to a completely mistaken report.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 28 2013 1:39 utc | 161

Regarding "punishing" Syria, I just left the following comment at Arms Control Law -- where the chief lawyer is pushing military action -- go figure.

When should a violation of international law bring legal action, and when should it bring military action? Several people (mostly Africans) have been referred to the International Criminal Court for such transgressions, and their countries were not subjected to military action. They were not attacked with Tomahawk missiles which kill innocent people. Why is Syria different?

The United States regularly commits atrocities in other countries, and nobody has raised a finger. But an alleged atrocity in Syria, even without proof, is considered to be a “threat to international peace and security. ” Why is that? Why is Syria different?

Practically we know why it’s different. Syria is an ally of Iran, a long-time US enemy, and is a bridge to Israel’s enemy Hezbollah. But that’s politics, it’s not law. So legally, why is Syria different?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 1:50 utc | 162

Sorry for repated link to Saudi/Russia, but the comments paging confused me.

This is new, I hope:

North Korea has sent military advisers to Korea in an attempt to aid President Asad’s Army. While military advisors are not fighting along side the Syrian Army. They have been based at defense factories and regular forces stations in Syria. As well as helping with logistical movements across the county and military planning. Including tactics and the use of artillery on rebel forces. Co operation between both country's goes back a few years now.

Posted by: Caroll | Aug 28 2013 1:55 utc | 163

I don't see how Syria can watch their capabilities be reduced without retaliating. If they do think that they have to put up with some strikes, then they should draw some very clear red lines of their own on the other side of which lie definitive action.

If Obama doesn't have this very carefully planned out, he is a bigger idiot than even I gave him credit for. The fact that the strikes haven't happened means talks are going on, which is a good thing. Other than that, he is running incredible risks here for rewards that seem non-existent.

Choice bits of the most mainstream sources:

The Obama administration has rejected the possibility of rebel culpability, asserting that only the government has possession of the weapons and the rockets to deliver them. This just doesn't even pass the test of basic reasoning. There are so many quotes showing the Obama administration has simply jumped to conclusions based on people passing them "intelligence", meaning the rebels and the Israelis.

"Western intelligence agencies had their own video images, sent to them by their own informants"

Instead of seizing on Syria's decision to let the inspectors visit the site to tone down its rhetoric and avoid an escalation, the White House appeared to be digging in.

"The investigation is…too late, and will actually tell us what we already know: CW was used," Ms. Rice wrote, using the abbreviation for chemical weapons. "It won't even tell us by whom, which we already know."

"Mr. Obama's position already had shifted by Saturday morning, when he convened a National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room, officials said. "The going-in proposition, even leading into the meeting, was everything was pointing to the same conclusion," a senior administration official said."

Evidence being gathered by United Nations experts in Syria was important, Kerry said, but not necessary to prove what is already “grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense.”

The negotiating is going on in the media: The U.S. could hit Syria with three days of missile strikes

Options under consideration would target military installations, avoiding Syria’s numerous and widely dispersed chemical storage sites, many of which are in civilian areas.

“I think it should be surgical. It should be proportional. It should be in response to what’s happened with the chemicals,” Corker said in an NBC interview. Meaning what, it should kill a few hundred civilians?

An attack meant more to send a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad than to topple him or cripple his military

growing drumbeat around the world You can't have a war without some cliche prose I guess.

American's react: Somebody's got to do something

U.S. Tomahawk missiles are so precise that they can hit not just buildings but also specific windows

The White House began contacting leading lawmakers for briefings that congressional officials said were to inform rather than seek permission.

But much of international law is untested, and administration lawyers are also examining possible legal justifications based on a violation of international prohibitions on chemical weapons use, or on an appeal for assistance from a neighboring nation such as Turkey. Read: we make it up as we go.

And the old Benghazi massacre bit: In Syria, the top general in the Free Syria Army... told NBC News' ... 'If there is no action, we are afraid that in the coming days, not coming weeks, Bashar will use chemical weapons and chemical materials against very wide areas and, I'm afraid, to kill maybe 20,000 or 30,000 more people,' he said.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 28 2013 2:34 utc | 164

Looking at my #133 (State: there is a range of options including military and others) and my #162 (one legal option is referral to the International Criminal Court), we should be prepared for the US to select a non-military option, particularly given the opposition to military action and other factors including the UN investigation. That might be a referral to the International Criminal Court or some other non-military action.

SecState Kerry, in his remarks, assuming a government weapons attack without proof, talked about accountability. Kerry did not mention a military reaction, which we know the Pentagon is against because it would worsen the US position, not help it. Congress (on vacation) hasn't been fully heard from.

The continuing UN inspection will delay any precipitate action. Perhaps some reason will prevail. There are many advocates for reason, and not only in Russia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 3:05 utc | 165

@164 Don

If Obama can say no to strikes after what has been put out in the media - "strikes appear inevitable" "three days of strikes" "US prepares to act" congress-slime and senate-rats saying "it's imminent" etc etc - then I'll have new found respect for him. But I don't think he can do it.

That would take an incredible amount of courage to say no at this point. And I don't only think he's uncourageous, I think he's a warmonger too.

It looks to me like the Saudis and Israelis have pulled out all the stops for this one.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 28 2013 3:24 utc | 166

Ess emm,

Hey, I've wanted cooler heads to prevail since the end of the Cold War. All we've seen is aggression of one form or another from the Anglo-American Empire. But I think a better way of calling for cooler heads to prevail is to say "if A, then B, which is terrible". If the supporters of this war think that the Iraq and Libyan wars were big successes, talking about morality and the danger of al-CIAduh is useless. And that's what we've heard from Assad and Russia.

From your perspective, which is fine, we need to find a way of delaying the missile attack. If ZATO waits two weeks for the UN inspectors, momentum will have been lost.

Posted by: Ozawa | Aug 28 2013 3:30 utc | 167

@ guest77 | 165

"That would take an incredible amount of courage to say no at this point."

Not really, if plan was not to attack in the first place. Assad is simply being heavily pressured for concessions for Geneva 2, and/or to slow down his advances.

Lets not forget we have heard similar "imminent attack" threats if "red line is crossed" from US against Iran for many years now.

Therefore its just a psychological tactic, because even IF US attacks, it would be just some missiles from long distance, which would absolutely change nothing on the ground. If US wants to "tip the balance", they will need to invade, and that wont happen for sure.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 28 2013 3:33 utc | 168

Of course Obama has no character, little intelligence and few achievements. But even given 'executive privilege' these decisions have never been all about what the president wants. Bush-43 took a lot of heat for Iraq, but the truth is that he had a lot of help from the Dems, including Biden, Gore, Clinton and Kerry. Bottom line -- it's not about Obama's personal courage, it's bigger than that. (Anything is.)

So yes, there's been a lot of rhetoric toward some military action, but there are a lot of unknowns involved, and the time to realize them. And yes, there may still be some military action, but its effects (as Dempsey has said) probably won't be decisive or might even be in the US's favor.

Meanwhile, there are other possibilities, is all I'm saying. It's not just me. The State Department has said the same.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 3:37 utc | 169

. . .or might NOT even be in the US's favor.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 3:39 utc | 170

This whole story is amazing. If the UN team was allowed into the area where the chemical attack occurred there is little doubt that they would be able to answer the following questions:

What were the toxins employed. I mentioned in a the earlier thread that once detoxified chemical signitures are left behind this is not a difficult question. All that is needed is for some technical competent people who will collect samples.

What killed those people who were shown in all of those youtube images? If they were killed by neurortoxins it would be on very trivial effort by an objective medical examiner with access to a toxicoligal lab to establish that point.

The US state department is claiming that it is too late -- the data is now so degraded that it is not possible to collect accurate information. Nope, they are lying. If a sarin attack really happened then there will be evidence in the ground and in the clothing of the supposed victims. If the US state department claims that it is too late to collect that information then they are lying.

I know what I am saying here having worked in this area (more than a decade ago for sure) but we should note that the US government is now insisting that the UN inspection teams must withdraw because events have moved beyond them. Perhaps the US government is right that events have moved beyond them but do not be fooled that the evidence has been degraded. It is still there for any one who wants to collect and evaluate that evidence.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 28 2013 3:43 utc | 171

165) Agree. The UN does not seem to be on board though. Negotiations with Iran also complicate the issue. The messaging is strange to say the least ("we do not really want to do anything, just give a message, please do not shoot back").
It is quite possible this is the Syrian version of the Libyan "No fly zone" which ended with the rebels having a Nato airforce. Just Syria is not Libya and Hezbollah has prepared for this since 2006 - that is a whole new generation.
Of course the region will flare up. It is complete folly.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 28 2013 3:45 utc | 172

Gareth Porter kicks arse again...

In Rush to Strike Syria, U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 28 2013 3:50 utc | 173

@Don 168 and Harry 167

You two may be right and I hope you are.

The facts of the rejection of the investigation by the US as well as public statements by Hollande and the description of the strikes down to how long they may last and their being imminent point to a different conclusion. If they intend to have a way out of this, they'd have left themselves some wiggle room. They have left none.

If, Don, you are right when you suggest a deal could be worked out where the US would tell the Syrian's the US would only strike specific sites that may be possible, but that would require a level of trust that is hard to think is there.

Part of me thinks the US is being outmaneuvered by its own "allies" in the region. The Israelis will not want to let this go to waste, the Saudis are obviously pushing through some grand plan having given Qatar the boot out of Egypt. The US/UK/France may see this as a chance to stay relevant in light of Saudi moves.

We'll know soon enough.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 28 2013 3:58 utc | 174

on the Syria 'delay'

SecState Kerry:

I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallim and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate – immediate transparency, immediate access – not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. Failure to permit that, I told him, would tell its own story.

Instead, for five days, the Syrian regime refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack that would allegedly exonerate them. Instead, it attacked the area further, shelling it and systematically destroying evidence. That is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide.

Inner City Press
Ban's High Representative on Disarmament Angela Kane "stepped forward with the request" -- on August 24, Saturday. It was granted the next day.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 3:59 utc | 175

Everything we see is not all that there is.
Everything in the daily media is not news.

I bet you knew this was coming.

The news we hear, for the most part, is not news to our genius. It is the stalest repetition. You are often tempted to ask why such stress is laid on a particular experience which you have had, — that, after twenty-five years, you should meet Hobbins, Registrar of Deeds, again on the sidewalk. Have you not budged an inch, then? Such is the daily news. Its facts appear to float in the atmosphere, insignificant as the sporules of fungi, and impinge on some neglected thallus, or surface of our minds, which affords a basis for them, and hence a parasitic growth. We should wash ourselves clean of such news. Of what consequence, though our planet explode, if there is no character involved in the explosion? In health we have not the least curiosity about such events. We do not live for idle amusement. I would not run round a corner to see the world blow up. -- Thoreau

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 4:04 utc | 176

A delay of a couple days in Syria is a big deal to the US, which doesn't stop the US from continually agitating about looking at Parchin in Iran for evidence from alleged tests of long ago.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 28 2013 4:21 utc | 177

Noah Schachtman says US intelligence intercepts tipped the US that it was Syrian Govt behind the attack.

An anonymous email reprinted by Pat Lang says it was an Israeli intelligence agency's intercept. Email only given a luke-warm endorsement by Lang.

As far as I can tell, neither intelligence agency managed to intercept the order to launch the attack. Funny that.

Posted by: ess emm | Aug 28 2013 4:33 utc | 178

That foreignpolicy "scoop" is massively unimpressive.

All the "intercept" appears to demonstrate is that the Syrian Ministry of Defence was running abound like a headless chicken trying to find out What The F**k Just Happened?????.

Which, of course, the MoD wouldn't need to do if it had ordered that CW attack....

After all, if you start hearing news reports that a CW attack had just taken place then the first thing you are going to do is to call up your CW Elite Unit and ask "was that you?".

Posted by: Johnboy | Aug 28 2013 6:47 utc | 179


Hope you are right but then zusa reckons eveyones fair game

Posted by: mike1 | Aug 28 2013 8:32 utc | 180

b said (on Pat Lang's SST site) ...

I am told that Israeli intercept is actually quite old.

They recorded it from their CNN feed when Powell played some tapes in the UNSC of intercepts in Iraq that exposed the WMD cover up by Saddam.

and Lang (who has on occasion been less than tender with our esteemed moderator) indicated agreement.

I would be grateful for further elaboration on this point, including
the bit about the CNN feed. Are you saying that this is just a rehashing of the same "data" used by Powell and recorded from CNN by the Israelis? If so it would seem to be incredibly shoddy tradecraft, one vice which is not always associated with Israeli intelligence operations (although such lapses have, of course, happened in the past).

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Aug 28 2013 10:16 utc | 181

b said (on Pat Lang's SST site) ... Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Aug 28, 2013 6:16:10 AM | 181
Could you give a link to that? Thanks.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 28 2013 10:48 utc | 182


b said (on Pat Lang's SST site) ...I am told that Israeli intercept is actually quite old.

They recorded it from their CNN feed when Powell played some tapes in the UNSC of intercepts in Iraq that exposed the WMD cover up by Saddam

. I would be grateful for further elaboration on this point, includingthe bit about the CNN feed. Are you saying that this is just a rehashing of the same "data" used by Powell and recorded from CNN by the Israelis? If so it would seem to be incredibly shoddy tradecraft, one vice which is not always associated with Israeli intelligence operations (although such lapses have, of course, happened in the past).

I suspect he was using sarcasm

Posted by: hmm | Aug 28 2013 11:03 utc | 183

b said (on Pat Lang's SST site) ... Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Aug 28, 2013 6:16:10 AM | 181 Could you give a link to that? Thanks. Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 28, 2013 6:48:40 AM | 182
Never mind, I found it. But AFAICS, there's no there there.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 28 2013 11:19 utc | 184

Juan Cole is quite simply an "asshole".....

Posted by: georgeg | Aug 28 2013 12:21 utc | 185

"I am at a complete loss to understand what the US thinks it is doing."
Try taking into account the Israel lobby.

Posted by: Edward | Aug 28 2013 12:47 utc | 186

186) Even that does not make sense as obviously Israel is the first target of retaliation. Israel and Syria had a balance of deterrence, that got worse with Hezbollah in Syria, not better.

A three way fight does not change the deterrence/escalation equation. Like the US hit a military center in Syria, Syria hits one in Israel in retaliation, Israel and the US hit back, Syria hits two in Israel ... Israel is not such a big country. The time the US or Israel could finish off all of the military capacity of another country and feel safe are over since Lebanon in 2006.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 28 2013 13:35 utc | 187

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

delendum (and not ...dam) because it is not a real state and doen't deserve to be addressed as one, no matter what zameriscum "thinks".

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 28 2013 13:53 utc | 188

A grim “urgent action memorandum” issued today from the office of President Putin to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is ordering a “massive military strike” against Saudi Arabia in the event that the West attacks Syria

Posted by: Caroll | Aug 27, 2013 8:46:51 PM | 159
(and by: brian | Aug 27, 2013 7:41:05 PM | 157)

The links timed out for me so I googled the article(s) directly. The EUtimes article is a reprint of a Sorcha Faal article at BeforeItsNews. It would be cute/lovely/ironic if Putin really had issued such a 'memorandum' but I imagine that an unprovoked Russian attack on Saudi Arabia in retaliation for a US attack on Syria would dislodge Russia from its "moral high ground" stance.

At the very least, Russia would have to issue formal ultimatum to Saudi Arabia demanding that it take a specific course of action, or refrain from pursuing a specific course of action, by a specific date, to be even semi-legal.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 28 2013 14:42 utc | 189

Minor comments.

On the quote in the top post, Pushkov. Snippets from link (Lobe):

“... a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives published a letter Tuesday urging Barack Obama to go far beyond limited military strikes against Syria ... Signed by 66 former government officials and “foreign policy experts” – almost all of them strongly pro-Israel neo-conservatives – the letter ... called for Washington and other willing nations to consider direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime ... The letter’s most prominent signatories included ... senior officials ... (...) French writer Bernard-Henri Levy ...

Surprisingly absent from the list were some of the most visible and controversial architects and supporters of the Iraq war and those who had previously associated themselves with PNAC or FPI, such as Cheney, Wolfowitz, Libby, former CIA director James Woolsey, and AEI’s Richard Perle.

Why this is so is an open question.

There are definite signs of rifts. E.g. Lobe, again.

On Bandar. According to G. Galloway, talking to Max Keiser, Bandar made an explicit threat of terrorist attack to Tony Blair.

video 12 mins.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 28 2013 15:44 utc | 190

JaimeinTexas 60

funny you mentioned the debt limit.

Posted by: heath | Aug 28 2013 15:48 utc | 191

Lysander says it @1.
zionism and the global weapons market want the same things. as long as Americans have their pretty pink houses and SUV's, they will go to work for the beasts and ignore dead bodies, as they always do.

question is, where does this lead? Syria is almost defenseless and will be flattened. Iran will be targeted. and around the world, billions of people will be getting sick of hunger, foreign bombs, and their own government's guns. then, what?

Posted by: anon | Aug 28 2013 16:43 utc | 192

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 28, 2013 10:42:01 AM | 189
Horsy, I've been blundering around in the Internet undergrowth for over a decade, and I don't remember Sorcha Faal ever being right.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 28 2013 16:55 utc | 193

Yeah, not evar

Posted by: hmm | Aug 28 2013 21:58 utc | 194

"Surprisingly absent from the list were some of the most visible and controversial architects and supporters of the Iraq war and those who had previously associated themselves with PNAC or FPI, such as Cheney, Wolfowitz, Libby, former CIA director James Woolsey, and AEI’s Richard Perle.”

Why this is so is an open question. "

Seems quite obvious to me why they'd be left off the list. Would send your child to a birthday party hosted by John Wayne Gacy?

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 29 2013 1:44 utc | 195

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 28, 2013 12:55:39 PM | 193

Thanks, RB.
It was a hazy recollection of your (now confirmed) opinion of Sorcha Faal which prompted me to soberly weigh his claims and submit the comment you responded to.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 29 2013 9:52 utc | 196

Thanks to Rowan Berkley @184 and to hmm @183 for gently pointing out that I completely failed to get the point of b's little joke.
It was dumb of me, and thanks for not underlining that now obvious fact. Meanwhile, thanks to all for the generally high quality of the
Syria threads. I assume that the worst will indeed come to pass fairly soon (some sort of joint military action by US, UK, and France) with a "humanitarian" justification that won't convince any of the doubters, or satisfy any of the hawks.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Aug 29 2013 12:56 utc | 197

The fundamentalists threaten China and Russia;This,along with Israel security are main impetuses for our policy of AlCIAda support.
And Russia isn't going to start WW3 over Syria,but will do what it can to support their fellow secularist Assad.
China,with its debt holdings of American prosperity,are the real players here.They have our balls in the sling,and can make US pay for our perfidy and bellicosity.But of course,China would also be hurt economically.Russia holds European prosperity chips with their energy supply,again it will hurt Russia also.
But the longer they fail to curb our martial idiocy the more interests will be attacked by the Ziomonsters(historical emnity towards Russia,and everybody sheesh)and their co-opted traitorous neolibcon scum as the old give em an inch and they take a mile truism rears its ugly head.
If these clowns were really intelligent,their machinations wouldn't be as transparent as glass,which it is to non poorly informed(MSM)people,which of course is our biggest obstacle,their total control of our political discourse on every TV,radio and newspaper outlet.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 29 2013 16:47 utc | 198

83,84;The Arabs and whomever in the neighboring nations of Israel should just rush the villa in the jungle(arrogance of the extremist).Sure,their will be a lot of casualties,but less than the thousands of pinpricks the neighbors currently endure.
And then,a swim to France?,by the current occupiers.
As with American alleged martial superiority,(of course hardware wise)I have a distinct feeling that the Israeli armies prowess is only measured against weak and outgunned nations,and a fight among its own territory will certainly preclude using a lot of the superior and outlawed hardware(CW,nukes)as their own will suffer.
And before the wackos get their panties in a knot,I have nothing against,and would love to see,a safe secure benevolent Israel,one that is that light unto nations that is in their religious texts,but we have never seen,despite the BS that its the Arabs that are the initiators of all this madness.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 29 2013 17:02 utc | 199

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