Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 15, 2014

Obama Administration Disagrees With Itself

Reuters today:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday he had seen raw data suggesting Syrian government forces had used chlorine gas in the country's civil war, but added it had not been verified.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said Syria may have used chemical weapons involving chlorine in 14 attacks in recent months.

Today's NYT:

On Tuesday, France’s top diplomat said there was evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons more than a dozen times after it signed the treaty banning them, and the United Nations mediator quit, citing frustrations over the moribund political negotiations.

“We’ve not seen any evidence” of additional chemical attacks, Mr. Hagel said. He said, “Obviously if there has been a continued use, any use, of chemical weapons, that would affect efforts that so far have been pretty successful.”

Time for Kerry to go.

Posted by b on May 15, 2014 at 19:37 UTC | Permalink


I agree, Kerry is shameless. Remember his deviousness and eagerness to start bombing Syria? Obama & Kerry Caught Misleading on Syria & Weapons Inspectors:
or the disgusting disregard for our Constitution:

Posted by: Tom Murphy | May 15 2014 19:43 utc | 1

Seymour Hersh has been saying in his two recent articles in the London Review of Books (which his regular publisher the New Yorker would not run) that the chief opposition within the government to attacking Syria and to the claim that it was Assad's government that had used the sarin came from the military services and the intelligence agencies. Since he regularly uses sources from those agencies, he ought to know.

Posted by: lysias | May 15 2014 19:54 utc | 2

Time for Kerry to go.

And replaced with who?

There are literally tens? hundreds? of thousands of aspiring and already accomplished war criminals in the US Establishment who would love to take this man's place and continue to commit and lie about more war crimes without anyone missing a beat.

Seriously, living here I see ZERO ZILCH NONE ZIP NADA evidence that ANY person picked from the US Establishment would do or say ANYTHING differently from old Horseface. Full disclosure: I do have JK to show at the Preak this weekend.

You Europeans really have to start abandoning any hope of speaking to/negotiating with any American who's NOT a full-fledged member of the WC club.

Not gonna happen any time soon.

Posted by: JSorrentine | May 15 2014 20:06 utc | 3

Kerry is so depressed and furious by what is happening in Syria that will be another failure for him that he is ready to say just anything to stop the wave in the media that are declaring that Bashar Al Assad won.
After having repeatedly said in 2011 that Bashar al Assad's days in power were counted, Kerry, Hollande, Cameron, and the FOS clique look more than ridiculous, they look stupid. Any further threat they make have no credibility anymore. If there is a farce it is the Friends of Syria meeting with the SNC's destitute clowns, still begging for weapons and receiving words of consolation.
The EU and the USA will always surprise us by the degree of childishness, cynicism and impotence in their foreign policy. Ukraine is another example.

Posted by: Virgile | May 15 2014 20:38 utc | 4

the only reason kerry would go is the admin, or powers that be, see what a doofus he is and not a great spokeperson for the propaganda they want to peddle.. otherwise he will be going nowhere - which is about where he is most of the time anyway!

Posted by: james | May 15 2014 20:49 utc | 5

It is called Chaos Game Theory. Designed to Fapolpelsy the human mind.

Posted by: HAHA | May 15 2014 20:59 utc | 6

@ JSorrentine
Kerry, the old horseface - I like that one!
You have to admit it - he's a hell of an actor.
And I agree, they're all of the same breed. But then I lost you:
what is a Preak and what is the WC Club?
greetings from old europe

Posted by: slirs | May 15 2014 21:23 utc | 7

Preakness Stakes

WC = War Criminal although the British Water Closet wouldn't be too wide of the mark.

Posted by: JSorrentine | May 15 2014 21:26 utc | 8

It's pretty easy to square that circle: Kerry is talking about "unverified raw data", whereas Hagel talks about "evidence".

All you need to do is to posit that US-speak regards "raw data" as rising to the level of "evidence" only when it has been "verified".

Do that and both Kerry and Hagel are on the same page, indeed, there is no fundamental difference between the two statements.

The only minor difference is that Kerry is willing to acknowledge that the French had been foisting "raw data" onto the USA (nobody here doubts that the French are the source, do they?) whereas Hagel simply cuts to the chase i.e. nothing that is being presented to the USA by the French is compelling enough to be regarded as "evidence".

Posted by: Johnboy | May 15 2014 22:47 utc | 9

To his credit, Kerry recently used the taboo "apartheid" word re the I/P situation.

Posted by: chet380 | May 15 2014 23:56 utc | 10

Kerry is obvious. He is the embodiment of the Peter Principle. Hollande is a far more interesting speculation. He's obviously also working above his pay grade, but the French establishment are actually pretty good at sorting out the grain from the tares, and he had a competent civil service. He pretty much follows Le Monde, which is owned by rhe owner of the telecom company Free, about whom I know nothing and would be happy to be informed by those who know. Hollande was a Mitterand apparatchik and learned his methods bur would never have the Master's genious. He's truly third rate. But we need more explanation. Who's telling him what to do? Or is he just congenitally stupid?

Posted by: Knut | May 16 2014 0:01 utc | 11

There's no point in crediting or debiting him with anything. I call him 'Jackass'. He spouts word salad. Just two days ago there was a flat contradiction between him and the Chinese Foreign Ministry over whether he had called their latest oil rig (on the Spratlys) "provocative" or not. He just talks nonsense. I say, ignore him or make fun of him, but don't treat him like a serious interlocutor, unless you're Sergei Lavrov and you want to be the last man standing on the deck of the good ship "Diplomacy" as she goes down.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16 2014 0:03 utc | 12

In this moment there are two options: 1)war 2)diplomacy

We'll all go down if WWIII results. I say thank dog for Lavrov and his diplomacy...

Posted by: crone | May 16 2014 1:00 utc | 13


Echoing JSorrentine's MOA post from earlier today about the US being a brainwashed and moronic nation led by a murderous collection of unrepentant war criminals, the POTUS, Barack Obama, had this to say at Disney's newly opened False Flag-o-seum in NYC:

"Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us. Nothing can change who we are as Americans."


Y'all are prolly like, "When is the US gonna stop murdering/maiming/torturing/imprisoning/displacing us innocent people around the planet? When are they gonna like act like human beings, dawg?"



Posted by: JSorrentine | May 16 2014 1:06 utc | 14

Time for Kerry to go.

Delurking now because I cannot resist responding to this... you are a great analyst 'b' so surely you know that even if Kerry were to leave the Animal Farm Principle would hold. The empire is corrupt and it will simply be "new boss same as the old boss"

Your post reminded me of the good old days of Baghdad Bob... some classics from
"It has been rumored that we have fired scud missiles into Kuwait. I am here now to tell you, we do not have any scud missiles and I don't know why they were fired into Kuwait."

"They're not even [within] 100 miles [of Baghdad]. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion ... they are trying to sell to the others an illusion."

Posted by: Valissa | May 16 2014 1:09 utc | 15

But Valissa, poor old Bob was an enemy of Usaia, not one of its nonsense-spouting apparatchiks. We oughtn't make fun of him, really.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16 2014 1:18 utc | 16

How many times Assad personally sprayed chlorine gas on innocents will not have enough publicity effect to swing the conclusion of the conflict. Unless he kidnaps 300+ schoolgirls, Assad regime will survive for say another two, three years. The blood spillage and destruction in that time period is directly proportional to the amount of aid given to the rebel factions by the coalition of Mid-east Western "strategists" who are trying to win wars by waging battles. There really should be a special place in hell for those who pursue losing wars just to make them feel better.

Posted by: YY | May 16 2014 1:27 utc | 17

Rowan, surely you are aware that...

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain

Baghdad Bob at least has the dubious honor of being a better comedian that Kerry ;)

Posted by: Valissa | May 16 2014 1:29 utc | 18

The thing that always got me about Kerry was his "mystic hand flap" photo ops. He was the first person I noticed doing this. One has to stop being naive about photos in newspapers: they aren't just snapped, they're posed. In the case of a celebrity subject, they're posed by his PR team. The photographers are told, this is the shot you're going to take, and they take it. And in Kerry's case, this means the "mystic hand flaps." Every time, these hand flaps. I've seen it elsewhere but with him (or his PR team) it has been a matter of absolutely rigid policy. The photo will show Kerry making a "mystic hand flap" gesture.

Now, there are three or four basic types of these mystic hand flaps that Kerry always uses. His PR team tell him to pose with such and such a "mystic hand flap" gesture on each such occasion. The commonest type of "mystic hand flap" is the "reaching out" gesture. There he is, sitting in his comfy chair, and ten feet from him, at an angle of about 15 degrees towards him but not more, because essentially they're both facing the cameras, not each other, is (shall we say) Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is just sitting there, looking slightly ill at ease but attempting a sort of tentative chummy grin (again, not at Kerry but at the cameras). Or he may (and increasingly he does) sit there looking rather grumpy. But either way, Kerry is making the "reaching out" gesture in his direction with one hand. Over and over, they pose this type of photo. Kerry's team are the absolutely most obvious and monotonous of all PR teams for photo ops in this respect.

The next "mystic hand flap" (also used on poor old Abbas) is the "minatory" or "warning" hand gesture. Kerry's hand is raised in a gesture, not quite of reproof, but of cautioning the suspect, the victim, the interlocutor, the other guy. A third "mystic hand flap" is the "embracing" gesture, for which Kerry is required to use both hands. It isn't an open embrace, but a sort of gathering-in with both hands of an imaginary unity, useful when he is dealing with plural interlocutors, a whole meeting of foreign ministers for instance. He is gathering them all in with his hands, into a large convenient imaginary puffball which he can take back to Foggy Bottom and put on his desk, to gaze at. Finally, before this comment gets too long, I shall come up with one more. This is the latest, it's the "who, me?" gesture, when he throws both hands up in mock surrender. I saw it yesterday.

In none of these, by the way, can he get his horrible horsy face to do anything relevant. He has no control over his eyes or mouth, and his PR team must have given up trying to coach him in this right at the start, realising he just couldn't do it, and ever since they have concentrated solely on the mystic hand flaps. It must be horrible being a pool photographer at these sessions, because I bet the PR team insist on shooting these posed shots over and over again, until they get one that's just about the best they know will be forthcoming on that day. What a terrifically phony world, and what amazingly inept people, and what submissive clones to implement it all.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16 2014 2:44 utc | 19

Yes, whoever they pick will have to be a member of the establishment criminal class, but I'm sure they could find someone who doesn't make an ass of himself and embarrasses the US every time he opens his yap. That's about as much as we can hope for in America at this point in time. Not that I wouldn't love an American Lavrov, but does that person even exist?

Posted by: Colinjames | May 16 2014 2:46 utc | 20

Johnboy | May 15, 2014 6:47:20 PM | 9

Actually there is major difference between Hagel and Kerry's statements. Hagel represents the Us military. They have no interest in another war at this point. For whatever reasons (probably over extension) they want to rebuild US forces for effective interventions in more war in the future. Kerry, on the other hand, thinks he can order US forces across the world to fulfill his desires without having any understanding of military limitations.

I have been following Pat Lang's blog at 'turcopileir'. There is no way that he could be called a "leftist". He is definitely an American Patriot also with strong affinities to the Southern Confederacy. PL is a retired US military officer and is really pissed that the political leadership (both Dems and Repubs) take on tasks that the US military cannot fulfill.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 16 2014 2:52 utc | 21

@ 21

So, 'Leftists' can't be 'Patriots'? But one with strong affinities to the Southern Confederacy is an American Patriot? Didn't the 'southerns' secede? How is that patriotic? (The question comes from an ol' southern lady with ancestors who fought for the Confederacy)

I'm interested in your definition of an 'American Patriot'.

I've read PL's blog... as you said, he is retired US military.

Here's what Bill Moyers said about patriotism:

I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans.

Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I had been born in a country whose institutions sustained me, whose armed forces protected me, and whose ideals inspired me; I offered my heart's affections in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother's picture on my lapel to prove her son's love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15.

So what's this doing here? Well, I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo - the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little red book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.

But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war.

So I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing (after they first stash the cash.) I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what Bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government. And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war - except in self-defense - is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomacy. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country.

I particularly like the last line: Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country.

imho (ymmv) honest to goodness "Leftists" do as good a job of standing up to our government as any one else - at least this lefty thinks she does.

Posted by: crone | May 16 2014 3:27 utc | 22

PS to #22

You mentioned that "PL is a retired US military officer and is really pissed that the political leadership (both Dems and Repubs) take on tasks that the US military cannot fulfill."

Well, I'm really pissed that our government (forget political leadership, that ship sailed along time ago) is heavily engaged in killing people all over the planet...

Posted by: crone | May 16 2014 3:33 utc | 23

@23 crone.. the usa needs more patriots like you! thanks for sharing bill moyers thoughts on patriotism. i enjoyed his commentary.

Posted by: james | May 16 2014 4:04 utc | 24

Well, all supposed to deflect from this war on the civilian population in Aleppo.

The Syrian city of Aleppo is suffering an extreme water shortage days after an antigovernment Islamist faction shut down two pumping stations, government officials and a pro-opposition monitoring group said.

The shutdown has left more than 2 million residents struggling to find water in the city, which is divided between sections loyal to President Bashar Assad and those controlled by opposition forces in the country’s civil war.

Aid organizations and the government have been scrambling to find alternative water supplies. Some people, including children, have resorted to scooping up murky water alongside roads. Residents turned to social media for discussions of where clean water could be obtained.

LA Times puts it into the context of the Syrian government shelling civilian areas - which is war crime, too. As is the use of civilians as human shields which includes the Al Jazeera strategy of making use of killed children, on the "rebel" side.

This new type of warfare has now been introduced into Europe via Ukraine. It threatens anyone, as obviously it is easy to do with very few "rebels", or, potentially, with very few hackers targeting essential infrastructure.

Posted by: somebody | May 16 2014 6:14 utc | 25

YouTube: cat saves boy from dog

To keep this on topic:

cat = Russia
dog = USG
boy = the world

Posted by: Demian | May 16 2014 6:17 utc | 26

Well as one who been attacked for not being a patriot (I actively opposed our wars against Vietnam, Serbia and Iraq) I use the term "patriot" loosely. Pat Lang is not someone who would have opposed any of those wars while he served in the military. But now that he is retired, he has some interesting things to say about America's desire to go to war all over the planet. Not sure how to describe that in one simple noun.

And yes, it may seem a contradiction to call southern military types "patriots" when their ancestors fought to break up the union (not that would have all that bad, by the way).

Posted by: ToivoS | May 16 2014 6:21 utc | 27

@Demian: nice analogy!

Posted by: catlady | May 16 2014 6:32 utc | 28

"cat saves boy from dog"

I too loved that ytube. Let me say as one who has been very close to cats. That cat was not acting to save the boy. Cats do not have that kind of loyalty to primates. I was obvious in a territorial dispute with that dog. Once the dog entered his territory and was distracted seizing its prey, the cat saw an opportunity to attack its distracted enemy and then pounced. Poor dog was blindsided by a foe about 1/5th its size. The cat won. Not only that but the cat is now an international hero while the dog is going to be put down.

Yes, this could be a metaphor for what is going on in Ukraine. Weak Russia pounces while super power America is distracted trying to seize Ukraine and America is now running in circles trying to salvage face.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 16 2014 7:30 utc | 29

I am British by birth and residence, and under no circumstances would I agree to being described as a patriot. But you Usaians are still driven by the famous exceptionalism: other patriae are not worth being patriotic about, unless they have gone through the same process of republican self-actualisation as yours supposedly did, though you then slither away from reality by saying that your patria immediately decayed into a crypto-military or crypto-banker dictatorship and never recovered. Thus you can defend what is in reality no more than an ideological mirage, as the patria to which you wish to be loyal. Of course, anybody could construct some version of this: for instance, some British Marxists appear to think of themselves as patriotic in relation to the moment in the early part of the Civil Wars when the Levellers held the field!

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16 2014 7:47 utc | 30

@21 No, ToivoS, I don't think there is any difference between those two statements.

Kerry admits that someone is shopping around "raw data", but he accepts that what is being shopped isn't "verified" i.e. the USA refuses to accept it at face value.

Hagel simply cuts through all the bullshit: there is no evidence. But, really, that's nothing more - nor less - than the shorthand version of what Kerry said.

"Hagel represents the Us military."

No shit, heh?

"They have no interest in another war at this point."

Yeah, again, you aren't telling me something that I don't know.

But, again, that's not what b is commenting on.

"Kerry, on the other hand, thinks he can order US forces across the world to fulfill his desires without having any understanding of military limitations."

Hmm, odd comment, since Kerry hasn't *actually* started any US military interventions on his watch. Unlike Hillary before him, or Condi before that.

But let's stick to the subject of b's post: he suggests that Kerry and Hagel have just contradicted each other. I'm saying that "raw data without verification" (Kerry-speak (tm)) is simply a long-winded way of saying what Hagel just said.

Going on and on about The Dark Motives That Drive These Two Men doesn't help us with this question: is "raw data without verification" = "evidence", or isn't it?

b thinks that it is, and I think that it isn't.

Posted by: Johnboy | May 16 2014 12:02 utc | 31

personally i hate the word 'patriot' myself.. it is almost always used for propaganda purposes only in my lifetime..

Posted by: james | May 16 2014 16:57 utc | 32

The Obama admin. can’t agree on anything much imho.

Plus, Obama can’t control the various actors. He ends up cobbling together all kinds of stupid positions, and thus in appearance changing tack, etc. (e.g. Syria.) Remember Clinton (iirc it was her) spouting that tall tale that Benghazi started off because of a demo turned wild mob about some film that nobody had seen? That was such blatant BS and he must have known it (if i can tell Obama certainly can.)

Contrary to Putin, say, who will sit down with a circle of advisors who all understand the present situation, don’t try to muddle it, discuss, and then Putin come up with some tempered, middle-of-the road, position or guide-line, which remains flexible, and allows for immediate response or action (e.g. Crimea.) Which goes some way to grasping the present *apparent*, underline, ineffectiveness and insanity of the US.

I always had the impression that Obama was kinda genuine and naive in his presidential bid, a semi-true believer. Semi, but ppl fool themselves, specially when adulation is there in gobs. He was snookered into it and thus played his role of renewal bozo to a T. Once elected, he was informed of some truths, hard facts of life, as he was not an insider (like say Jeb Bush), which must have been a shock. Something like that, just guessing. Not to defend Obama, he is not an honorable man, an outdated concept I know.

As for the Syria chem attacks, before Ghouta (and there were some all really minor stuff, very much provocative propaganda) the Obama admin ignored them and even denied them until the Ghouta BS hit the MSM. Gone into a length in an old thread.

Kerry is part of the State Apparatus, he is a chosen representative, figure. The Obama admin can do no better.

Kerry is set up to fail (e.g Israel) and/or to push whatever BS.

The problem is systemic, and not particularly with Kerry though he is an ass.

Advice to Kerry: As a true Catholic, shake it up, re-make yourself for the end of your life, and join Pope Francis in his ‘crusade’ for the poor. :) :) That would be right in line with Tom Wolfe like US ‘freedoms’ .. YOU can decide!

Posted by: Noirette | May 17 2014 14:50 utc | 33


some syrian officials were seen giving UN provided fluoride toothpaste to captured rats, sorry, rebels.

syrians prefer fluoride free paste.


kerry meant these tubes of dental fluoride paste.

they can be hazardous.

Posted by: 5 dancing shlomos | May 17 2014 18:01 utc | 34


some syrian officials were seen giving UN provided fluoride toothpaste to captured rats, sorry, rebels.

syrians prefer fluoride free paste.


kerry meant these tubes of dental fluoride paste.

they can be hazardous.

Posted by: 5 dancing shlomos | May 17 2014 18:01 utc | 35

sorry for the duplicate. problems with posting. delete one.

Posted by: 5 dancing shlomos | May 17 2014 18:03 utc | 36

Baghdad Bob had his points:

"They are superpower of villains. They are superpower of Al Capone."

Posted by: guest77 | May 19 2014 2:04 utc | 37

In line with my theory that Hagel is commendably anti-Neocon, and definitely not pro-Israel, he consistently avoids telling outright porkies.
It wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that the "Israelis" refer to him (privately) as Spanner ...aka 'spanner in the(ir) works.'
Imo, Hagel is the reason Bibi has kept his public insanity in check in recent months.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 1 2014 4:09 utc | 38

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