Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 18, 2019

Trump Fires Shanahan. Pompeo For Sec Def? Bolton To State?

Trump just fired his acting Secretary of Defense.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump -16:59 UTC· 18 Jun 2019

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family....
....I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job

On May 9 the White House announced that it would nominate Shanahan for the Secretary of Defense position. But it never sent the nomination request to Congress to have Shanahan confirmed. During the usual FBI background check before a confirmation, a 2010 domestic violence incident Shanahan was involved in came up. It seems that it now ended his short career at the Pentagon.

Shanahan had zero experience in the military. He is a former Boeing manager. A recent Politico portrait of Shanahan described him as weak leader who allowed the war hawks in National Security Council to directly talk with regional commanders without even informing him. He was no counterweight for Bolton and Pompeo who are eager to wage war on Iran.

Yesterday ABC News reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would meet with talk with the Central Command and Special Operations Command leaders without Shanahan being there. It was extremely unusual:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Florida on Monday to meet with leaders from U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command on Tuesday. The U.S. is considering "all options," including military force, to respond to Iran's reported attack on two oil vessels, Pompeo said on Sunday, raising concerns of a U.S. strike.
Pompeo will meet with CENTCOM and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on Tuesday to "discuss regional security concerns and ongoing operations," according to Ortagus, after calling several world leaders over the weekend to discuss America's evidence that Iran was behind last week's attacks.

There is no information what plans those talks were about.

Mark Knoller @markknoller - 16:45 utc - 18 Jun 2019

At @CENTCOM at @MacDill_AFB, @SecPompeo says he conferred with military commanders to coordinate State and Defense Dept policy on Iran.
Says US is serious about deterring Iran regime from further aggression in the region.
Says Pres Trump does not want war against Iran.

[Another very unusual sign is that the old war criminal Henry Kissinger visited the Pentagon yesterday and today.]

Trump already had difficulties to find a new Secretary of Defense. Shanahan was not his first choice. To now find a new candidate will be difficult.

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

Bolton and Pompeo obviously want a war on Iran and they try their best to instigate it. They need a new SecDef in place as soon as possible.

Pompeo served five years as an officer in the U.S. army. He has extensive political experience. Would he want to become Secretary of Defense?

That would leave the Secretary of State position open for John Bolton to move in. The confirmation would be a bit difficult but the Senate is in Republican hands and might go with it.

One of Bolton's cronies could then take over the National Security Advisor position.

From the war-hawks' point of view it would be the ideal configuration to launch a big one.

Posted by b on June 18, 2019 at 18:03 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Apparently, he is choosing Mark Esper

Posted by: Blue | Jun 18 2019 18:11 utc | 1

Esper was Trumps third choice for Secretary of Army. He only got the job after two preferred candidates did not want it.

He is now made acting Secretary because someone needs to do that job. But I doubt that Trump really wants him.

Posted by: b | Jun 18 2019 18:17 utc | 2
John Kiriakou's sources indicate Bolton is on the way out. That would support speculation Trump is unhappy with a Sec of Def that cannot control Bolton/Pompeo.

Posted by: Bruce | Jun 18 2019 18:30 utc | 3

@2 b,

Possibly true. I was only looking at this from Sputnick:
"The numerous US media stated that Secretary of the Army Mark Esper had been discussed as a possible alternative choice as defence secretary to Shanahan if Trump decided not to nominate him."

Posted by: Blue | Jun 18 2019 18:35 utc | 4

@ b who wrote
From the war-hawks' point of view it would be the ideal configuration to launch a big one.
What is not to say that Mark Esper, as a military chain-of-command type, would also make for a complicit "...configuration to launch a big one." ???? I hope to be wrong.

The longer that failing empire takes to get its war on, the better chances it will be an abysmal failure which is what the world needs to reject our private finance led Western world forever.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 18 2019 19:01 utc | 5

I have a hard time thinking Trump would appoint either Bolton or Pompeo for that position. Its a guaranteed war if he does, and I don't think he really wants to go to war. It would be impossible for him to win another 4 years if US troops start coming home from the Middle East in bodybags. The American people aren't on board with another war no matter what they may think of Iran

Posted by: DannyC | Jun 18 2019 19:09 utc | 6

Your own article says "... and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper".

Did you miss that or are you not convinced he will be confirmed? Army experience (junior), MIC corporate and political experience, why shuffle Pompeo and Bolton around when they already have the perfect yes-man who can bear the full brunt of any inevitable failure?

Posted by: EtTuBrute | Jun 18 2019 19:16 utc | 7

@ DannyC

Americans don't see coffins coming home any more. It's hard to sustain a war like that so they don't allow it. The wars must go on.

@ b

>"It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place."

Welcome to the new normal.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jun 18 2019 19:24 utc | 8

I have hard time believing that Bolton and Pompeo under consideration. Pompeo isn't gonna wanna leave his current job and as for Bolton John Kiriakou wrote last week that Trump is quietly working behind the scenes to find a replacement for him. If anything it might suggest that Trump is working to covertly reign in Bolton and Pompeo with another SecDef who can better control them.

Posted by: Jonathan Everett Gil | Jun 18 2019 19:34 utc | 9

Oh boy -

Besides Mr. Esper, who was confirmed as secretary of the Army in November 2017, officials said that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and Richard V. Spencer, the secretary of the Navy, are on the short list for defense secretary.

... and I thought I was to far out speculative with the above.

Posted by: b | Jun 18 2019 19:38 utc | 10

Jimmy Dore - Mike Gravel Smashes War Machine With Facts

Posted by: Stever | Jun 18 2019 19:40 utc | 11

From bad to worse.

Posted by: CDWaller | Jun 18 2019 19:40 utc | 12

@ b

WRT Henry the warmonger
He was attending this :

Posted by: Yul | Jun 18 2019 19:48 utc | 13

What would a 'war' on Iran look like, assuming 'war' means much more than economic sanctions, military buildup around Iran's borders, espionage, etc. Strikes on key assets such as nuclear sites, military sites, oil sites, petrochemical sites and/or populated civilian areas? The latter would likely cause people to rally around the flag, so to speak, and so probably not a good idea.

Equally, it is important to ask what would a military attack from Iran look like? Missile strikes, both from Iran and its proxies, on American targets and their allies? What would they target? Naval assets in the region? There are no American civilians in the region to target. There are mostly military personnel spread throughout the region, in the navy and on the ground.

Perhaps a post about possible 'war' scenarios would provide further insights.

Posted by: ninel | Jun 18 2019 19:51 utc | 14

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

Well, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 18 2019 19:52 utc | 15

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 14

Purely euphemistic of course, though it actually did used to be called the Department of War.

Posted by: Ash | Jun 18 2019 20:07 utc | 16

"From the war-hawks' point of view it would be the ideal configuration to launch a big one."

Gosh, and I thought that Hillary was the big warmonger...guess it would've only been worse under her.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 18 2019 20:07 utc | 17

Pentagon releases new high definition photos of Iranian mines

We in the U.S. are in real trouble. The Iranians have developed invisible mines ...">">

But our criminal MSM repeats the line, Iranians tied to Tanker attack just because our military said so. I really like the second pic where they have the cross hairs on the hull showing nothing.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 18 2019 20:11 utc | 18

b - thanks.. no speculation is too great! this reminds me of shuffling chairs on the deck of the titanic before it hits a major iceberg..

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2019 20:12 utc | 19">">

Sorry about the previous link ...

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 18 2019 20:13 utc | 20

Obama didn't have a problem getting re-elected with all of his own secret foreign wars and dronings going on. If indeed Pimpeo and Bolt-On get their way, Trump will execute the same type of campaign against Iran except there will be no boots on the ground, even "advisors" given the relationship status of the countries surrounding Iran. The U.S. has exhausted its credibility and goodwill. So we'll be funding terrorists, perpetrating false flags, using drones to attack Iranian seagoing military vessels and launching the occasional "precision" cruise missile strike against alleged nuclear weapons and maybe even chemical weapons processing facilities.

If there is a land war, Israel will fight to the last American troop.

Posted by: KC | Jun 18 2019 20:19 utc | 21


Would this not indicate that the US are behind the tanker attacks?

...or, if your view of Iran's strategy is correct, that Iran's strategy has been seriously deluded?

There will be those that will believe that an attack by the US will go wrong for the US and the whole of the West (and I believe it will as well) but the US will just up the ante (that's what happens when war starts and the US have already laid the groundwork for the acceptance of the use of nuclear weapons). For every 100 US deaths there will be 10,000 Iranian deaths and for every US ship there will be an entire Iranian city. I see nothing in the US or West to stop this.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 18 2019 20:24 utc | 22

Trump's list of Most Unsuitable Candidates for Higher Office is getting perilously short. Assuming our most famous U.S. billionaire capitalists are not interested, what are Cheney and Condoleezza doing these days? Erik Prince? Some aging Grand Wizard of the KKK? A random death row inmate? The mind boggles.

Posted by: dus7 | Jun 18 2019 20:31 utc | 23

i said this on the last thread, but i would be curious for others feedback on it..

"think about it... is there going to be more money made and generated starting a war on iran, or not?? the choice is obvious for those into money... create mayhem and raise a lot of money off of it.. and what countries seem to excel at that??"

as for innocent people dying, that has never been a concern for those into money...

criag murray has a good article up from yesterday i read earlier today that is relevant..
The Broader View Reveals the Ugliest of Prospects

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2019 20:32 utc | 24

Just to see how far we've come, or how bad the situation is, I'd consider Kissinger going on his own to check things out with the top military brass to actually be a good sign. He's no fool and knows that war with Iran will only confirm to Russia and China that they have to stand together, strong, against the USA, and that they'd probably better back Iran up on this one. I wouldn't be surprised if Kissinger is back to his old ways, and that's it's a similar move to when he warned the generals to call him right away if Nixon ever gave the order to use nukes. The guy is slimy and ruthless, but knows the limits and doesn't plan to suicide half the planet.

Colonel Pat Lang assumes that Shanahan just resigns in disgust because Pompeo and Bolton are running the show without consulting with the military. Not sure which is right.
One can hope that the neo-con buddies overplayed their hands and that they just put Trump in such a shitty situation that he's going to tell them to go to Hell soon - hopefully before anyone does something *really* stupid. But right now, that's just that, hope.

NYT saying Pompeo is considered for SecDef might just be Pompeo and his neo-con buddies saying dumb shit and leaking false information to appear important, and trying to force Trump's hands. I really hope that's what happened - because then it would piss Trump off and he might be looking for a way of getting rid of him. If the leak is genuine, on the other hand, that's a terrible sign.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 18 2019 20:37 utc | 25

@21 ADKC

Yes, I believe the US would use nukes if they think they could get away with it... that's how crazy works. Would the other nuclear powers step in,,, highly doubtful. If that happens then the US might even threaten them with annihilation. They would believe the US is sooo insane that it would really risk planet destruction and could decide to cave to the US wishes.

Acting totally mad and indicating you don't care is a good way to defeat those who is your equal. Isn't this is exactly how the US government has been acting lately?

Posted by: ken | Jun 18 2019 20:46 utc | 26

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

[...] One of Bolton's cronies could then take over the National Security Advisor position.

Come to think of it, unless Dick Cheney is busy with other priorities, he ought to be available for a reboot of Shock & Awe.

Posted by: Ort | Jun 18 2019 20:49 utc | 27

"I believe the US would use nukes if they think they could get away with it...that's how crazy evil works."

and Sean Hannity would say ... "never has a country had so much power and abused it so little, the Iranians [10 minute Litany of robotic talking point lies] left us no choice."

Pompeo, Pence and Haley all declaring it the most righteous and justifiable act ever.

Trump would close the border to any Iranian refugees and embargo any Iranians who survived just like he is doing to the Syrians and Venezuelans now.

These people are depraved.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 18 2019 21:04 utc | 28

where does Mario Draghi new quantitative easing fit into that?

Posted by: Mina | Jun 18 2019 21:05 utc | 29

Isn't the Secretary of State the most senior member of the cabinet and regarded as more powerful that POTUS? The position where real power resides? How could a buffoon like Bolton even be considered for Secretary if State? Just another one of Trump's ricaldoodlelus appointments? What a lark!

Bolton graduated from Yale in 1970. I wonder if he is a member of the Skull & Bones? Or closely associated? If so, that makes him much, much more than a mere buffoon but, rather, the very embodiment of the Deep State's and neo-Con's war strategy; that would make Bolton a very, very dangerous person in a very, very powerful position.

Trump would appear to be nothing more than a facilitator.

Both George H.W & George W. Bush were bonesman. Cheney only went to Yale but didn't graduate. Far from Cheney being the controlling influence over George W. (as presented in media and movies) maybe Cheney was just following orders.

Marie Colville (did she ever really exist?) also appears to have been an alumni of Yale (was a fake background constructed?).

Supposedly, the Skull & Bones control Yale; what a very strange place. Anyone, associated with Yale (like Bolton) should be kept well away from power!

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 18 2019 21:14 utc | 30

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Just when you think the US of A's Generalissimo Bone Spur and President Chief Kaiser of Ignorance Arrogance, Stupidity and Hypocrisy (aka: Donald Trump) could not sink to any lower level of idiocy than he already has, he does so. What a country! Only in America!

Posted by: GeorgeV | Jun 18 2019 21:16 utc | 31

Shouldn't be difficult for Iran, if bmobed at all by US/NATO, to hit Israel - in a big way - from a number of geographic locations and a variety of methods. It would be major and catastrophic.

It poses too great a danger to good friends, with whom the USA maintains an "irrevocable bond", according to the US Congress, the Apartheid State of Israel.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 18 2019 21:28 utc | 32

I guess Shanahan resigned so he could spend more time abusing his family.
I find it interesting that one of the ships attacked, the Front Altair, had a crew of Russians and Filipinos.
This was the crew saved by the Iranians. The US story is that they were picked up by a Dutch tanker and then kidnapped by the Iranians. Clearly, the Iranians still saved them, no matter who actually picked them up first.
If the Dutch had turned the crew over to the US, who believes that they would already be released? (The Iranians already released them).
I know that B thinks that this attack was from the Iranians, but the fact that one ship was Japanese, while Abe was in Tehran, and the other had a crew of Russians and Filipinos, both countries under attack from the US, makes me believe that those men were destined to be held for leverage.
Damn straight they were saved by the Iranians.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 18 2019 21:39 utc | 33

For a preview of what things would look like with Pompeo and Bolton in those positions, I recommend a viewing of the movie Vice. (Vice, as in Cheney, working with Rumfeld and narcissistic poodles such as Powell to start the current ME quagmire.)

Posted by: fx | Jun 18 2019 21:40 utc | 34

Trump went too far with Iran under the devilish advice and initiatives of Heckle and Jeckle...
If he wants to stop the escalation with Iran, before it gets out of control, the only way is to move Pompeo to Sec of Defense where he will have to face the powerful and war-reluctant military. Trump would also simultaneously fire Bolton.
Depending on the reactions of the neocons and Jewish lobby, he will then choose a new sec of state, 'brilliant' Jared Kushner?

Posted by: Virgile | Jun 18 2019 21:49 utc | 35

@33 wagelaborer

"I know that B thinks that this attack was from the Iranians"

I haven't read anything from "b" to validate your claim. Where do I find it?

Posted by: SharonM | Jun 18 2019 21:56 utc | 36

Sharon @ 36. I was going by this post....

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jun 18 2019 22:14 utc | 37

I think the US has become very skilled at fighting wars without taking casualties. I think the air attacks in Syria - on Iranian forces - have made it pretty clear that Iran has no meaningful defense capabilities vs air attack. What Trump is probably counting on is a turkey shoot and I think that is exactly what it will be.

Posted by: paulll | Jun 18 2019 22:16 utc | 38

What is Trump’s motivation to be provocative with Iran?’ Pelosi asks– and the answer is Adelson
Adelson called on the last president, Barack Obama, to nuke Iran in 2013 its a war for israel

Posted by: brian | Jun 18 2019 22:16 utc | 39

@38 paulll.. that has all to do with the fact the war has never been brought to the usa - yet..

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2019 22:29 utc | 40

We should take heart from readers comments in the New York Times in response to an article by the NYT Editorial Board.
There were 473 of them before the Times closed the discussion, and we could not find a single one that is supportive of war or of U.S. efforts to continue pressure on Iran. So Bret Stephens gets to spur on a war in his Times column, but the paper’s readers are universally against the idea. Moreover, they hold the Times responsible and see through the equivocations in the editorial. Several point out that the press was the handmaiden of the Iraq disaster.
The US position is an attempt to keep hegemony over the region because both Israel and Saudi Arabia feel the US is losing it, they are correct. Trump walked away from the JCPOA at the behest of Israel with the accusation that it was a bad deal, the deal did in fact rule out enrichment of uranium above 3.5%, approx 90% enrichment is required to build a nuclear device. The Ayatollah issued a decree to the effect that nuclear weapons were un-Islamic, therefore Iran should not have them. The real reason Trump walked away was because Iran was in rapid production of highly accurate conventional ballistic missiles some of which would find their way to Hezbollah, the UN Resolution banned the building of missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload, but not conventional warheads, to ban the latter would have rendered Iran defenseless, which was the whole idea of the Israeli and Saudi Arabian intervention. Being incapable of defending itself is not something any state could countenance, that’s why it will never happen, hence the stand off.
In my opinion there will be no war with Iran, too many losers, Saudi Arabia/UAE, Israel, the US fleet [in Bahrain] the US bases all over the Middle East, of course Iran and its friends could be destroyed [but at what cost?] The Strait of Hormus is bristling with Iranian anti ship missiles, the first sign of war would see the US fleet depart from Bahrain, the lumbering giant and vulnerable B52’s based in Qatar would not get off the ground and US airbases in the region well within range if Iranian missiles would be reduced to rubble. As for any US carriers in the area and why US carriers are obsolete, especially in the Iranian situation here is an article by Gary Brecher from 10 years ago and very witty..

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 18 2019 22:34 utc | 41

Interesting this WaPost op/ed totally trashing Trump/Pompeo foreign policy and their utter inability didn't generate any further comment on the previous thread. Sure, it came from BezosPost, but it surely represents some powerful faction that's totally at odds with the directionlessness of Trump and Pompeo.

After so many fiascos, there seems to be very little appetite for armed conflict amongst the Vassals except for UK. There's lots of domestic uproar over Trump policies the tanker attacks have muted so far but won't go away anytime soon--particularly the Concentration Camp charges, which are 100% correct, extremely damning and damaging. Look at the situation from overseas. Escalating belligerency across the board aimed at enemies and allies alike is combined with visibly repressive, likely unconstitutional and, in the world's eyes, morally reprehensible actions toward vulnerable innocents from which horror stories occur on a daily basis. Oh, and don't forget Assange and the War against Truth. And your government is being asked to support TrumpCo's policies?! I bet plenty of leaders are biting their tongues. The G-20's in ten days.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 22:39 utc | 42

At least Gates resisted the Obama/Hillary mission to destroy Libya (worked with JCS to contact Gaddhafi's sons). Hillary put a stop to that. One wonders if Pompeo and Bolton are playing a multi-view game of picking a SecDef that they (and Kushner/Netanyau) approve of.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 18 2019 22:49 utc | 43

Oops. It wasn't so much Gates as Kucinich leading that effort with the JCS. But Gates was hesitant in a TIME article about a meeting with Obama and KerryHillary to discuss possible military action against Iran. At the time, I figured it was posturing for Israel. I focused on the description of Kerry and Hillary as "interventionists."

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 18 2019 22:55 utc | 44

This is rather ominous. Sounds a bit like cleaning house and removing potential witnesses who aren't will the program or may soon have a grudge to bear.

Its June and you know who loves blood to be spilled in June, and right before July 4 you know.

Look for a limited aerial strike per PCR, and then they hope Iran retaliates and gives an excuse for them to escalate.

Americans are so brainwashed into buying into US militarism and exceptionalism that Trumps approval ratings will go up. Anyone criticizing the military or war is labelled anti-American and censored by Social Media. Declining IQ’s and chronic illnesses due to vaccines and other environmental toxins will limit any protests. Besides, the military is the one way to get a free college education while getting paid to go to school. The young will continue lining up to serve and fight these threats to the American way of life. Shouting America First. MAGA. Waving their Made in China flag. God blesses US. Might makes right, etc

Puppet regimes in occupied Europe will go along. Fellow Fake wrestlers in China and Russia will make squeaky noises. So predictable

Posted by: Pft | Jun 18 2019 23:01 utc | 45

It dawned on me that those outside the Outlaw US Empire don't know about TrumpCo's Concentration Camps and the surrounding, escalating controversy. As I've written, conflation of Concentration with Death Camps and decades of propaganda are fueling the issue:

"'The Holocaust did not begin with the murder of six million Jews,' writer Bess Kalb tweeted in response to Cheney. 'It began with the same dehumanization, deportation, and internment we see today. You, sickeningly, invoke the Holocaust to minimize their suffering. Shame.'

As you might imagine given the level of Jewish/Zionist support, Cheney and the Republicans have made an enormous mistake.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2019 23:02 utc | 46


“Come to think of it, unless Dick Cheney is busy with other priorities, he ought to be available for a reboot of Shock & Awe.”

There are some who believe he is the unofficial President running things from his underground city built as part of the Continuity of Government that kicks in during National Emergencies such as the one declared 18 years ago and still in effect

Not 100% sure this is true but I suspect his voice is being heard

Posted by: Pft | Jun 18 2019 23:07 utc | 47

President Trump made the announcement with a pair of midday tweets that Shanahan was withdrawing and that Army Secretary Mark Esper would take his place as acting Defense secretary

On Esper, in April Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that the president nominated Army Gen. Mark Milley to serve as the next JCS chairman which would be effective in about September when General Joseph Dunford leaves after four years on the job. His predecessor was an Army general, so it was considered odd to select another Army general to be top dog.

Now, Esper is Army too and if he were nominated for SecDef that would shake some people. What about Air Force and Navy? What are they, chopped liver?

. . .more on Esper from The Hill:

Esper graduated from West Point in 1986 and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring. His Army career includes a combat tour in Iraq during the Gulf War. Several Republican senators have already said they’d support Esper should he be nominated.

. . .(but) Esper was a lobbyist at defense contractor Raytheon for seven years prior to becoming Army secretary. Esper’s lobbyist past could bring up some of the issues that dogged Shanahan on potential conflicts of interest.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement that Esper “risk[s] being tainted by his previous work for a major defense contractor. The group’s allegations against Shanahan in part prompted the inspector general investigation.

“While Esper may not have had sway over these types of deals as secretary of the Army, as acting secretary of Defense he will have potential influence over such deals, as well as over the controversial proposed merger of Raytheon and UTC to become the second largest defense company in the U.S.,” Bookbinder said. “His ethics agreement — and his ability to follow it — will be something we will be watching closely.” . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2019 23:08 utc | 48

SecDef: A Poisoned Chalice

Seems that Shanahan balked at being the scapegoat for the next war so they found another. Shanahan is said to be pretty smart (Masters and MBA from MIT).

Is it that he's not a strong manager or did he just play along to get his ticket stamped? I wouldn't be surprised if he's made the new CEO of Boeing (It's now clear that Boeing will have to do more to recover from their 737Max debacle). Or perhaps he'll join a Defense-focused Private Equity firm, or simply sit on the Boards of several defense-related enterprises. Any of these will be better than accepting the Trump Administration's Poison Chalice.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 18 2019 23:11 utc | 49

SecDef: A Poisoned Chalice

Seems that Shanahan balked at being the scapegoat for the next war so they found another. Shanahan is said to be pretty smart (Masters and MBA from MIT).

Is it that he's not a strong manager or did he just play along to get his ticket stamped? I wouldn't be surprised if he's made the new CEO of Boeing (It's now clear that Boeing will have to do more to recover from their 737Max debacle). Or perhaps he'll join a Defense-focused Private Equity firm, or simply sit on the Boards of several defense-related enterprises. Any of these will be better than accepting the Trump Administration's Poison Chalice.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 18 2019 23:11 utc | 50

Has Trump been misled by his advisors,when he twitted about he infamous video shot in the dark by modern means that would surprise the Iranians?I mean ,because now it turns out to be made in clear daylight with the newly published images.Is Trump angry about being cheated or did he play with the game and was his twitted remark kind of an inside joke?
Previously we had G.Haspel showing non-pertinent to the matter camera shots of duck and children to convince him into expelling a max number of Russian diplomats.And much earlier it was pictures shown to Melania and him of dead or agonizing syrian children that made him order missile attack on Syria.Is that the way he is being handled by his surroundings in his decision process?Is there a doctor around at the White House?

Posted by: willie | Jun 18 2019 23:30 utc | 51

Reading Harry Law's post @41, it looks like the US needs another Pearl Harbour to carry its people to war.
Plenty of Pearl Harbour type assets around the Persian Gulf. Problem for the US is getting Iran to react and hit some of these.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 18 2019 23:33 utc | 52

Henry Law @ 41 and Peter Au 1 @ 52 might find the content of this link very interesting.

I am sure there are many Americans interested to know who is in charge at the USA..

Posted by: snake | Jun 19 2019 0:06 utc | 53

willie @51: Has Trump been misled by his advisors ...

The media promote Doublethink

... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality... Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

Such that Trump is both peace-loving nationalist and empire-loving antagonist. Except that the latter is expressed as a positive: "staunch ally", "tough negotiator", "protector", etc instead of a negative. Some people fall for it (Kool-Aid drinkers) and MSM ignores those that talk about the meta issues of MSM complicity.

And it's not just Trump. Whenever a President does things that might cause cognitive dissonance, apologists and the feckless press explain it away as a positive or blame subordinates for "sabotaging" the hero President.

TLDR: stop falling for MSM false narratives.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 19 2019 0:17 utc | 54

@ Clueless Joe | Jun 18, 2019 4:37:50 PM #25

I found the address of the Sic Semper site to read that post. It made a lot of sense, but then I scrolled down the page and saw some really cringe-worthy stuff. Trump as a wonder-POTUS. Nuclear Power as the solution to every known problem. Top four Dem candidates are worthless POS people.

Well, some folks seem to be able to sort it all out and have hung on as loyal retainers.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 19 2019 0:22 utc | 55

snake @53: I am sure there are many Americans interested to know who is in charge at the USA..

IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 19 2019 0:24 utc | 56

They appointed a VP of Raetheon as Secretary of Defense which is appropriate because that is who is selling the US the missiles to demolish Iran.

US intelligence learns from a highly credible source that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have completed preparations for a large-scale assault on an important Saudi oil facility within days.


You know this stuff is being fed to the military industrial congressional complex. It looks like they will start some limited bombing of Iran prior to the 2020 elections to get everyone waving their flags and shouting Hurahh.

Posted by: dltravers | Jun 19 2019 0:38 utc | 57

@ Harry Law | Jun 18, 2019 6:34:19 PM #41

I hope there isn't a war, but there is one nation you didn't mention which doesn't figure it'll be hurt much by an outbreak of violence. A large number of goyim ending up dead doesn't bother them the least bit. I'd imagine the smashing of Iran would be worth receiving a few bombs on their stolen land. But not a lot, for if that happened they'd start waving around the nuke option and cause Trump to keep on till the job was done to their satisfaction.

Thanks for the old War Nerd link. If the situation with aircraft carriers was bad then, a 2019 update would show them to be even worse in the death-trap category. But we're still building them.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 19 2019 0:50 utc | 58

In light of what the WaPost published I linked to above regrading the utter lack in confidence in both Trump and Pompeo to conduct a rational foreign policy, I seriously doubt the change at SecDef will provide optimism for improvement. Some apparently think such dissent is just shadowplay; IMO, they are mistaken. And I will again note the dissent isn't just about Iran; rather, it's about the conduct of overall foreign policy, especially Trade Policy, which is eating into corporate profitability.

Which side will take the next move is the question now. Perhaps another Houthi attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, which present very soft, vulnerable targets. Perhaps a Houthi ballistic missile attack on UAE port facilities. The Idlib offensive will begin again after the non-ceasefire that saw continual al-Qaeda attacks and mounting Terrorist losses; perhaps, the long awaited push West from Aleppo will occur. But Syria is tangential to the Iranian confrontation. Maybe the EU will announce something significant that shows independent thinking? Time marches inexorably onward to the next event.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2019 0:57 utc | 59

Peter AU1 - 52
That would be a terrible miscalculation from US leadership. The one reason why Pearl Harbour wasn't a lasting disaster for the US is that the carriers survived. What if Iran actually manages to sink a carrier air group? I mean, nukes and nearly untouchable power projection through aircraft carriers are the two main reasons why the US is still the supreme superpower around. Show people that the carriers can be taken out and actually begin to take them out, and plenty of people and countries will begin to consider leaving that mad army parading as a country to itself - not to mention some will soon openly rebel.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 19 2019 0:58 utc | 60

@60 Clueless Joe - "..mad army parading as a country"

nice one. Good analysis too.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19 2019 1:11 utc | 61

The US has 50,000 troops and a carrier strike group "protecting American interests" in the Persian Gulf area of the Middle East. Somebody in government ought to tell us what those "interests" are, which require such an investment. That would be nice.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 1:18 utc | 62


I think that article is about Iran having a reason to do it, but I didn't read in it that "b" believed that Iran had done it. I took him as more musing about the possibility without believing it himself?

Posted by: SharonM | Jun 19 2019 1:18 utc | 63

The Guardian--The Iran crisis was created in Washington. The US must be talked down

Unnecessarily aggressive, ill-considered – and deceptively presented – US policies have once again brought the Middle East to the brink of an accidental war very few want. America’s European friends, including Britain, have an urgent responsibility to talk it down – and drag it back from the abyss.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 1:24 utc | 64

@ Zachary Smith 55
Well, some folks [at SST] seem to be able to sort it all out and have hung on as loyal retainers.
The "some folks" are the folks who weren't banned (as I have been) from SST. The "colonel" doesn't take prisoners. Toe his line or you're out. . . .So much for free speech! That's lost, but "loyal retainers" live on.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 1:35 utc | 65

perhaps should have kept Shanahan, and FIRED john bolton

I would have said, arrested him and sent him off to the ICC at The Hague for trials, but that would be too much in the realm of fantasy

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jun 19 2019 1:37 utc | 66

@ Don Bacon with the additional info on Esper...thanks

So, you data confirms my suspicions that Esper, as a revolving MIC door fixture, is capable putting truth to b's last sentence
From the war-hawks' point of view it would be the ideal configuration to launch a big one.

I suppose it is a given that empire has to fail big time for humanity to move forward but the suffering is going to be significant enough to bury the concept of private finance forever.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 19 2019 1:55 utc | 67

Did Iran do it? We don't know, but it sure makes some sense from the Iranian point of view.
. . .from Asia Times:

. . .this kind of non-lethal warning, which caused a spike in oil prices, has been in the hardline Iranian playbook since the Trump administration signaled it would take steps to squeeze the Islamic republic’s ability to sell its petroleum.

“It was being debated even before the oil waivers were revoked [in November], but largely as a possible response to an attempt to zero [eliminate] Iran’s exports,” an Iranian source told Asia Times on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

“The idea was to raise costs for global markets and the Gulf states to get them to more directly intercede with Trump” and to drive home the potential fallout of US sanctions, the source said. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 1:56 utc | 68

What is the core dynamic of the US neocons?

I've observed them for some years now, and there seems to be one common aspect to them, which is a competition among peers to establish status in the pecking order. I liken this to an academic dynamic of professors competing to see who can publish the most popular paper.

Dogs in the village will run after cars, barking and frenzied, while the humans wonder, what on earth will the dogs do with the car if they ever catch one?

The same situation seems to me to apply to the neocons. I an deadly serious about this - far more serious, I think, than the neocons themselves are about the scenarios they paint so lavishly.

And so when b ponders the matter of a Sec Def that can "stand up" to the neocons, I think this is not so much because the military needs the push-back against the neocons as that the neocons themselves need the push-back, so they can continue their vainglorious posturing.

I must repeat that I am serious about this. I have watched the US fall into misadventures because it believed the brinkmanship posturing of the US neocons, but the neocons themselves are unaffected by these results. The neocons are detached from the reality of events and exist in a dream world. This means that it can be simplicity itself to disregard their fantasies, and nothing need be won or lost.

This is the framework in which I believe the US neocons fit. One step above Boris Johnson. One step below Netantahu.


I think there is a true evil that exists in the back and as the source of the US neocons. I think this evil begins to be discerned through the century-old Zionism movement, and becomes further revealed through its banking family creators - the banking dynasties ever desiring henchmen to carry out ploys in the world to further the plunder of capital assets.

But consider from this, that the US neocons are the furthest remove and the weakest strain of this malevolence. They largely exist in an ivory tower. Fools believe fools and foolishness results. But fools don't have to be believed.

The US can disregard any neocon at any moment and suffer no consequences. It cannot do the same with the global Zionist effort, and it absolutely cannot do the same with the banking families. But these are different matters.


And that the US political body should have fallen so low as to be influenced by the US neocons, who are below so many other benchmarks, is an indication of the decline of the US - and also a signifier of one other thing.

The weaker in substance the domestic US political power becomes, the closer to the power of the people it draws. The weaker, the more inane, and the more insane the US body politic becomes, the closer it comes to being overthrown by the very considerable power of the people of the US, when aroused and in clear view of the right to be wronged.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19 2019 1:56 utc | 69

@ Don Bacon | Jun 18, 2019 9:35:22 PM #65

I took down the bookmark to the site when I left. People change with age, and the site owner appears to have adopted an attitude of 'infallibility' which just wouldn't have worked when he was younger and still in government employment.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 19 2019 2:00 utc | 70

@ Clueless Joe | Jun 18, 2019 8:58:11 PM #60

What if Iran actually manages to sink a carrier air group?

I fear what would happen would be the use of the new "tactical" nuclear weapons to smash everything in sight except the cities. All the air defenses, and after they were gone systematic demolition of the water supply systems and power generation facilities and factories would begin. A new "Coalition of the Willing" would be thrown together to occupy a large chunk of southwest Iran. Mostly mercenary forces of course, but enough of them to do the job under the circumstances.

Then the apartheid Jewish state would rejoice.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 19 2019 2:11 utc | 71

ADKC | Jun 18, 2019 5:14:59 PM | 30

"Trump would appear to be nothing more than a facilitator"

No apologies for Trump are meaningful, no lessening of his responsibility could even be considered reasonable.

Trump barks the orders, Trump is designing this show, minions, no matter how disgusting, jump to it. Let's not explore that line about how poor Donald is hostage to the deep state shall we? Trump IS the deep state as is Kissinger and Bolt-on and Pompeo and so on. Trump is so far on the brink that he will be lucky to have any credibility should he back off, and that is the current danger. His only way back is to appoint a secretary of defence that takes the fall.

As for draining the swamp, Trump was simply referring to the Democrats and their stacked minions in the establishment. People like McCabe, Strzok, Rosenstien etc.

If humanity is fortunate another Vasily Arkhipov might emerge on the US side but I doubt it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 19 2019 2:14 utc | 72

You know I meant the wrong to be righted - right? (phone calls, real life...)

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19 2019 2:16 utc | 73

@ Grieved | Jun 18, 2019 10:16:54 PM #73

It's really a shame we don't have a 15-minute "edit" window. Even when I use the Preview I tend to miss too many errors.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 19 2019 2:19 utc | 74

@ Grieved 69
What is the core dynamic of the US neocons? . .I think there is a true evil that exists in the back and as the source of the US neocons.
It isn't only neocons, the libs have been full onboard war and destruction, including: Clintons, Gore, Biden, Obama etc. War profits appeal to all these people!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 2:28 utc | 75

@ Zachary Smith 70
re: P Lang
He's been correct on some things, e,g. he was against Iraq. But he cut his teeth as a young snake-eater involved in Operation Phoenix in 'Nam, working assassinations with CIA. "They were only doing what South Vietnam wanted" . . .hah.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 2:34 utc | 76

Thank you Grieved 69

I hope you are correct in your last paragraph regarding the power of the US people to seize the political class and transform their country. Given recent uncontrollable police actions throughout the USA, I fear that would lead to a severe and uncontrolled slaughter as witnessed before against peaceful protest and occupation initiatives.

Responding to other comments regarding possible US bombing strategies against Iran, one thing is awfully obvious. The most sophisticated remaining weapon after such a bombing raid need only be a drone and an rpg. The USA has demonstrated in every warmongering invasion to date that the guerrilla movement is their nemesis and no where more so than in the middle east. Even if Trump bombs Iran to dust, there will be thousands seeking vengeance in every sea channel, every port, every harbour. Both sunni and shia will have factions that are uncontrollable. Everywhere.

There are two classes of people that might constrain Trump and his rapture insanity: one is the USA masses and the other is the non-zionist oligarchy that does not subscribe to the rapture nonsense. We live in hope but not optimism.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 19 2019 2:34 utc | 77

@ Grieved | Jun 18, 2019 9:56:53 PM | 69

Hey – VERY well said!

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 19 2019 2:37 utc | 78

War pays . .These news articles, covering a couple years, featuring Yemeni sandal-wearing peasants destroying Saudi invader vehicles -- caught my eye:
>Yemeni forces destroy Saudi armored vehicles in Jizan, Najran
>Houthi forces destroy 3 UAE armored vehicles in western Yemen
>Houthi Rebels Smash Multiple Coalition Armored Vehicles
>Houthi fighters also destroyed 16 armored vehicles of the coalition
and then ....
>For Saudi Military Vehicle Deal, Canada Weighs Jobs And Human Rights . . workers with the Canadian division of U.S. defense company General Dynamics Corp. are building the eight-wheeled, amphibious vehicles for Saudi Arabia's National Guard.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 2:59 utc | 79

NYT:Pompeo warns Iran about trigger for U.S. military action as some in administration question aggressive policy

“What happens if Americans are killed? That changes the whole thing,” said a senior administration official involved in Iran policy who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely. “It changes everything.”

Military must stop following orders from these people. They are going to use you as pawns.

Administration officials interviewed by The Washington Post said that national security adviser John Bolton has dominated Iran policy, keeping a tight rein on information that gets to the president and sharply reducing meetings in which top officials gather in the White House’s Situation Room to discuss the policy.

Pentagon and State Department officials have complained, however, about the difficulty of getting an adequate hearing for these debates under Bolton. As a result, arguments about policy frequently are not aired and do not reach the president. The process is “very exclusionary, and Bolton has very sharp elbows,” the senior administration official said.

Bolton is traitor dressed up as a weasel. Listen to this "man"'s advice at your own peril.

One person familiar with the recent discussions said that Pentagon officials, including Shanahan, have been “the ones putting the brakes” on the State Department and the White House. “DOD is not beating the drums of war,” the person said.

While the White House has already approved requests for thousands of additional forces for U.S. Central Command, its commander, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, may well make additional requests in coming weeks.

Does the president want to send more troops? No. Will he be convinced to do it? Yes,” the senior administration official said.

The department that is responsible for war is having to put brakes on the dept that is responsible for diplomacy.

United States of America 2019.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 19 2019 3:25 utc | 80

Re Abe's trip to Japan.

"Pompeo said, “President Trump had sent President Abe to take a message of his to the leadership in Iran."

So Abe was Trump's messenger boy.

Tean Trump long ago decided on war against Iran. If whoever is new secretary of defence is not enthusiastic enough, he she will also be given the flick.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19 2019 3:27 utc | 81

@Grieved -

Interestingly enough, even the term "neocon" has been branded "anti-semitic" - which would make a lot of sense given your explanation.

BTW, what are these banking families you mention? Please name names.

Posted by: KC | Jun 19 2019 3:39 utc | 82

The only deterrence to American aggression is the amount of pain that the targeted country can impose on the Americans.

That--and that alone--is the only language the Americans have ever understood since the first bloody Pilgrim put his filthy boots on the North American continent and began the process of fulfilling America's "Manifest Destiny" to steal this land from the Native Indians.

Don't hold delude yourself and wait for the (snicker) "peace-loving" American people to stop any war.

American "antiwar" individuals in general are a Controlled Opposition.

Nothing more.

They have failed miserably, time and again, with their empty, symbolic peace "protests"--likely, by design.

This includes the Vietnam War "peace" movement, which self-servingly tries to take credit for ending that war, when in fact it was the massive resistance of the North Vietnamese NLF (backed by Russia and China) that put enough hurt on the Americans to compel them to beat an ignominious retreat with the legs danging from helicopters as they fled from the US Embassy in Saigon.

Posted by: AK74 | Jun 19 2019 4:02 utc | 83

Looks like China and Russia have great incentive to back Iran if the US decides to attack Iran

Declassified: The Sino-Russian Masterplan To End U.S. Dominance In Middle East

“The growing dominance of heritage-based dynamics throughout the developing world, including the greater Central Asia and the greater Middle East, makes it imperative for the PRC to rely on historic Persia/Iran as a western pole of the New Silk Road. It is this realization which led both Beijing and Moscow to give Tehran, in mid-May 2019, the original guarantees that Washington would be prevented from conducting a “regime change”.

Posted by: Stever | Jun 19 2019 4:10 utc | 84

SharonM @63:

... but I didn't read in it that "b" believed that Iran had done it. I took him as more musing about the possibility ...

Apparently, you missed this:

Your host is quite proud about the above scoop on Iran's new strategy. I developed the idea that Iran runs a "strategy of tension" by putting myself into Iran's role...

After I wrote that up in the update of the first post, I became convinced that it was the right idea.

I sense that there's now an effort to essentially 'shout down' or otherwise sideline those that argue that the attacks are more likely to be a false flag by an anti-Iranian organization (probably connected to Mossad or CIA) and question the efficacy of a Iranian strategy stealth attacks.

karlof1 and Peter AU 1 described the likely subterfuge of the US claim that Iran attached a "limpet mine". But I haven't seen much desire to discuss or spread their theory. Reporting (by JPost, initially) about USA plans to bomb Iran (really just rumors) have worked their magic and turned the page on the question of who attacked the ships. How convenient!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 19 2019 4:18 utc | 85

@ KC with his response to Grieved
BTW, what are these banking families you mention? Please name names.
I agree and was surprised to read that from Grieved.

All we really know is that finance in the West is mostly private which is like being mostly pregnant.

And we know that those that own global private finance are the reality behind the myth of capitalism....but we don't necessarily know who they are

Hence, my position that it is a fools game to attack people because we don't know the pecking order

And further hence, it only makes sense to attack the social construct of private/public finance that China and others are attacking at this moment.....because the structure of our social contract is the problem

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 19 2019 4:18 utc | 86

I was 90% certain that Shanahan was headed for the dustbin of history when his demeanor in a recent photo was reminiscent of a rabbit caught in the glare of a spotlight. In a position of High Authority it is essential to not only play the part, but to look the part as well.
Trump has mastered that art.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19 2019 4:25 utc | 87

@ AK74 83
There's a lot of truth in what you say, countries that can't inflict pain on the US are attacked. That includes Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Libya too, after it gave up its nukes and became a US ally. Big mistake! So North Korea is not about to do that, and the US won't attack Iran because of the pain it could cause.
Marching in the streets? Been there done that. It was some fun with our Smedley Butler Society banner but didn't accomplish a damned thing.
I would just correct you on the Vietnam war end. Yes it wasn't the protests, it was the resistance of the drafted soldiers to a war continuance. This included mission refusal and fragging, rolling a live grenade under a superior's bunk. The army was broken and couldn't function any longer. The MSM doesn't talk about that but it's the truth. . And then they ended the draft and went to an all volunteer army. Voila! No more protests in the ranks.
But yes, you're correct with your central point.
And with the rise of asymmetric war, including the use of drones and missiles, small countries and even sub-national organizations (e.g. Hezbollah) can cause some pain, can counterattack a US assault.
It's a new world in that respect, and the US will be stymied more than it was.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 19 2019 4:30 utc | 88

Jackrabbit @85

I still have a very hard time believing Iran did it. It is the US that has released a blurry B&W video that shows people on a boat with life vests - looks very much like being rescued. Why did they not release a longer length zoomed out video in color, why did the US produce the video shown to us this way. Also the video looks to have been tampered with. Anyway the mines as the ships owner said did not cause the explosion but a projectile. The US had ships and reaper drones nearby that could shoot missiles. Also the explosion happened at around 4am, but the rescue video ( read taking off mine) video was not til the afternoon. Why didn’t the US nearby ships take off the mine earlier? Many questions and also Iran was hosting Japan PM at the time - so why then?

Why hasn’t the US released video of the mines being placed, they surely have it.

I believe that Sheldon Adelson/ Mercers are afraid Trump may lose as recent polls show, so have demanded Iran be attacked while they still have their stooge in office.

Posted by: Stever | Jun 19 2019 4:44 utc | 89

@ Stever who wrote
I believe that Sheldon Adelson/ Mercers are afraid Trump may lose as recent polls show, so have demanded Iran be attacked while they still have their stooge in office.
This can still be true as well as b's contention that Iran might have done it.

In defense of b's contention I suggest you read or re-read for me Sun Tzu's "The Art of War. Voltaire wrote "Act, but stay apart from action" and I think Sun Tzu had something to say about how to act right in situation like this but too lazy to refresh for you.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 19 2019 4:59 utc | 90

i always wear my bright red lifejacket when I remove mines from tankers. Legit.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Jun 19 2019 5:17 utc | 91

Since a lot of this is or appears to be concerning Israel, does anyone here think Trump might try to bring back his most odious minion, Nikki Haley, to replace Bolton in this scenario?

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jun 19 2019 5:40 utc | 92

I have been reading All comments, some as usual very interesting
thanks b for your work.

If, it is a big IF, US do enter in military confrontation, most likely it will be by air strikes on Iran. I will keep aside the efficiency of Iran air defenses and ripost on US military. Iran whatever losses has no immediate interest in spilling too much US blood at this stage.

Iran will retaliate immediately in many asymetric ways:
- Ryad for the pleasure of it, maybe Barhein royals also
- all petrol wells, refineries and transport systems including harbors storage in the Gulf
- keep Hezbollah quiet or at least low to keep the threat on Israel (and Haïfa)

There you have crude prices going up (the saouds desire coming true... unfortunately can't profit of it).
Trump who wished exactly the opposite will face a hard choice.

My educated guess is that the Pentagone will consider and reconsider.
And basically that what Trump wishes for.

Posted by: Charles Michael | Jun 19 2019 6:13 utc | 93

Off topic but a good read. Guaido has bad people around him it seems.
It was only ever a question of time.

pardon while I laugh over a beer.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 19 2019 6:16 utc | 94

I agree with AK74 at #83

"The only deterrence to American aggression is the amount of pain that the targeted country can impose on the Americans."

assuming that Iran and its allies are indeed behind the recent attacks on oil tankers, I notice that so far there have been no attacks on US bases or troops - it's been sending messages via economic targets, of forthcoming pain for the world economy.... if Iran is (massively) attacked. I can see that message as a credible deterrence. and I can see some of the stupid war mongering Political Elites in the US not giving a damn - or maybe they think they can knock out all of Iran's capabilities with an initial 'shock and awe' - remember that?

who says the Elites in the US are going to act rationally? - I know the DoD has done many war games on this and every time the US loses big, economically and strategically. but that doesn't mean the neo-cons are going to pay attention to any of that....

I am not the least optimistic that war can be avoided at this point, they've moved too many pieces into play and after a certain point these things take on a deadly logic and life of their own.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jun 19 2019 7:10 utc | 95

the US has become a thoroughly rogue nation, and none of the wisdom or counsel of restraint or adherence to international law and the UN Charter from China, Russia or any other nation, is going to deter the crazy Elites in the US from attacking Iran at some point - And as so often happens in history, empires or aggressive nations think that they can get away with something they consider a 'surgical strike' which then proceeds to snowball into a major conflagration.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jun 19 2019 7:41 utc | 96

Uncle Tungsten @74

That was dishonest of you to take my comment out of the context of the post it was written.

To extend the implication of "your" post would mean that it is not really the responsibility of Trump, who you accuse of barking the orders. Surely, as the elected President of the US the responsibility truly lies with those that voted him? That would mean that the Skull & Bones are not responsible? The Deep State are not to blame? No, according to you (by implication), the people responsible are the American people because they voted for Trump and they didn't do anything to stop him!

The truth is Trump is out of his depth and nothing more than a pasty (no more how willing or unwilling he maybe). The idea, pushed by you, that he is the controlling influence, the mastermind is patent nonsense. The American people are, at worst, easily manipulated and their votes, as in who they choose for President and the reasons why, seem to make little difference.

I did another post, on another thread, where I suggested that something disastrous would happen and that Trump and those that voted for him were being set up to take the blame, while those truly responsible, who would gain greatly (or believe they will), are never identified. So, Uncle Tungsten, I regard you as being just like Trump; another facilitator.

Posted by: ADKC | Jun 19 2019 8:29 utc | 97

Don Bacon - 88
Indeed, the army breaking down was a significant part of the end of Vietnam War. Not the first time either. There was fragging going down at the end of the Algerian War as well, except that's barely mentioned and French, who seem to want to forget everything about the war, are specially keen not to comment or analyze the way their army became screwed up after years of counterinsurgency, massacres and officers acting like complete jerks towards their troops. Knew a French guy, decades ago, who once, after having drunk enough wine not to bother with appearances anymore, was quite graphic about how ugly the whole war was, and finally admitted to shooting his captain in the back during an ambush, because he had been humiliated one time too many by the guy.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 19 2019 8:40 utc | 98

All the characters at the top in this drama are fascinating in themselves, Pompeo and Pence are ‘end time’ believers waiting for the 'rapture' who think that Trump might be on a mission from God. Thankfully we have two first class cowards in Commander in Chief Donald ‘bone spurs’ Trump and his advisor John Bolton, the former said that his reasons for avoiding service in Vietnam were his feet, and that his personal Vietnam at the time was his ability to avoid sexually Transmitted diseases. John Bolton said “I confess I had no desire to die in a southeast paddy” “I considered the war in Vietnam already lost”, what he probably omitted to say was I am at ease with others going to die in Vietnam, just so long as it is not me. If these whack jobs are the best the "masters of the universe' have, I despair for the future.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 19 2019 9:49 utc | 99

They talk about - - doing what is in America’s best interest !
But beyound doubt that’s the big lie. The truth is they do what is in the interest of the Arms industry and there share holders, also the banks who make money funding death and distruction! It’s a public diseption to defraud , extort public taxes, to steal land and resources from weaker country’s not for the US public gain, but there own personal gain (2 victems including you)
For the American public / tax payer it’s an insane buseness plan, investing trillions of your dollars for what benifit ? None !
Invest that same money in infrastructure, agriculture, productive manufacture and care for your public ! Look at the returns you would reap !
You have no enemy’s you are not under attack ! It’s a lie !
Your enemy is your leaders.

Here’s a good read ! And remember build bridges

How much will a war with Iran cost and what will ‘you’ personaly gain ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 19 2019 9:57 utc | 100

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