Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 22, 2019

When U.S. Officials Ignore The President The Outcome Is Chaos

Since Donald Trump became president many of his subordinates have tried to subvert his policies. Instead of implementing Trump's idea and preferences they have tried to implement their own. Some have done so because they believed that it is the "right thing to do" while others have ignored Trump's wishes to play their own game.

A recent example can be found in a Washington Post Ukrainegate story:

Trump’s conversations with Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country — one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 U.S. election, the officials said.
...
The efforts to poison Trump’s views toward Zelensky were anticipated by national security officials at the White House, officials said. But the voices of Putin and Orban took on added significance this year because of the departure or declining influence of those who had sought to blunt the influence of Putin and other authoritarian leaders over Trump.
...
American policy has for years been “built around containing malign Russian influence” in Eastern Europe, a U.S. official said. Trump’s apparent susceptibility to the arguments he hears from Putin and Orban is “an example of the president himself under malign influence — being steered by it.”

The president does not like how the 'American policy' on Russia was built. He rightly believes that he was elected to change it. He had stated his opinion on Russia during his campaign and won the election. It is not 'malign influence' that makes him try to have good relations with Russia. It is his own conviction and legitimized by the voters.

Trump's policies look chaotic. But one big reason for that is that some of his staff, like the 'U.S. official' above, are trying to subvert them. They have tried and still try to cage him in on nearly every issue. When Trump then wields his Twitter sword and cuts through the subversion by publicly restating his original policies the look from the outside is indeed chaotic. But it is the president who sets the policies. The drones around him who serve "at his pleasure" are there to implement them.

Instead they have tried (and try) to make their own ones:

White House and State Department officials had sought to block an Orban visit since the start of Trump’s presidency, concerned that it would legitimize a leader often ostracized in Europe. They also worried about Orban’s influence on the U.S. president.

“Basically, everyone agreed — no Orban meeting,” said a former White House official involved in internal discussions. “We were against it because [we] knew there was a good chance that Trump and Orban would bond and get along.”

The effort to keep distance between Trump and Orban began to fray earlier this year with the departures of senior officials and the emergence of new voices around the president. Among the most important was Mulvaney, who became acting chief of staff in January and was seen as sympathetic to Orban’s hard-right views and skepticism of European institutions.

One "senior official" who tried to sabotage the Orban visit was Fiona Hill who until recently served as the Russia analyst at the National Security Council.

One wonders if Ms. Hill ever read her job description. The people in the NSC do not get hired to implement their own policy preferences. The task of the National Security Council is to "advise and assist" the president and to "coordinate" his policies within the administration. That's it.

The same rules apply to the Pentagon and other agencies.

Aaron Stein points out that those aides who disregarding the declared policy of the president are responsible for the current chaotic retreat from Syria:

Trump has been clear about his intentions in Syria. As he told the world in April 2018, after years of fighting foreign wars, in his view it was time for the United States to withdraw from Syria, passing responsibility for the mission to hold territory taken from the Islamic State to regional states. I was listening, and wrote in War on the Rocks that the longer the president’s own staff continued to treat the world’s most powerful man like an infant, the more likely it became that he would simply order a hasty withdrawal. This chaotic U.S. exit from Syria was obviously coming, for anyone paying attention to the opinion of the man who matters most in the United States: the president.
...
For over a year, it was obvious Trump wanted to leave Syria and, as I wrote in April 2018, Trump “has made his preferences for U.S. policy in the Middle East clear” and it was time “for his national security staff to listen to him and to devise a sequential drawdown policy that fits with the spirit of the president’s demands, but takes deliberate and uncomfortable steps to protect U.S. interests.” This did not happen.

Rather than plan and begin to implement a coordinated withdrawal, the president’s appointed envoy for Syria and the Department of Defense worked to ensure Washington could stay, and ignored the reality that Trump would eventually order an American withdrawal. Such delusions have not served the United States and its friends well.

The lack of planning for the option the commander in chief had already decided on led to the current mess. The Pentagon practically sabotaged trump's announced policies by continuing to build up bases in Syria and by falsely telling the Kurds that the U.S. would stay. It should instead have planned and prepared for the announced retreat from the country.

One can clearly see that this current withdrawal was not prepared for, neither politically nor militarily, in any orderly way. Yesterday the Pentagon said it would pull the troops out of Syria but station them nearby in west Iraq. But no one had asked the Iraqi government what it though of that idea. The inevitable outcome is that Iraq now rejects it:

U.S. forces that crossed into Iraq as part of a pull-out from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday.
...
The Iraqi military statement contradicted the Pentagon’s announcement that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants and “to help defend Iraq”.

“All U.S. forces that withdrew from Syria received approval to enter the Kurdistan Region so that they may be transported outside Iraq. There is no permission granted for these forces to stay inside Iraq,” the Iraqi military said.

There was also the idea that some 200 soldiers would be left behind in Syria to deny the Syrian government access to its own oil fields in east Syria. Not only would this be obviously illegal but nobody seems to have given a thought on how the logistics for such remote unit could be sustained. The oil fields are geographically large and the 200 strong unit would have to be dispersed into tiny outposts within a hostile country and resupplied over unsecured roads. To defend them from surprise attacks the U.S. would need to put combat air patrols above them for every hour of each day.

One hopes that the Pentagon and State Department recognize that the high political and financial costs of such a deployment are not justified for making a minor political point that will not change the inevitable outcome of the war.

Trump ordered that all U.S. troops leave Syria. An illegal occupation of Syria's oil fields would keep the U.S. in Syria but in an clearly indefensible position. Whoever came up with or supported that idea needs to be fired.

Here is a sign that the Pentagon has finally recognized that its utter lack of planning for the implementation of Trump's decision to leave Syria resulted in a bad outcome. It is now trying to avoid being (again) be caught with its pants down with regards to Afghanistan:

The Pentagon recently began drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in case President Donald Trump surprises military leaders by ordering an immediate drawdown as he did in Syria, three current and former defense officials said.
...
Ending wars like the one in Afghanistan was one of Trump's chief campaign promises in 2016, and administration officials have privately expressed concern that as the 2020 election approaches, he'll be more likely to follow through with threats of troop withdrawal, as he did last week in Syria.

Trump has made clear to his advisers that he wants to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the 2020 election, NBC News reported in August.

Trump made his decision in August but the Pentagon is only now reacting to it. That is too slow.

Trump should have been and should be more rigorous with his staff. Those who sabotage his policies need to be fired early and often. It would make his polices look much less chaotic than they currently seem to be.

Posted by b on October 22, 2019 at 17:24 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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WSWS reports that "Kramp-Karrenbauer called for a massive European Union (EU) force to occupy northern Syria, sup..." and "Imperialist circles in both America and Europe are outraged at the military and financial advantages that could accrue to Russia, Iran and China from their defeat in Syria."

40 thousand?

NATO meeting? Game on?

Oh dear!

Better ask permission, Papa Putin spank...?

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 12:32 utc | 101

Well, contrary to Trump, who has specialized on making money playing the boss, the establishment have some knowledge of what Trump is talking about.

Like leaving some isolated US troops in the desert "protecting oil fields". Trump presumably has a very hazy idea that Syria and Turkey are countries. If you cannot take the boss seriously you look out for yourself.

US establishment is capable of withdrawing when needed, see Vietnam, and I guess the decision was not Trump's. Nor did I notice that Trump's zionist backers mentioned anything about it. Nor do I believe that anyone in US establishment has the slightest interest in protecting Rojava.

People are multi-dimensial and can play a lot of different sides.

Trump needs to get reelected. That's all he cares about. War will not do it.

I am waiting to see how Selensky playing the president will do. I am told he could not get completely rid of Poroshenko's crew.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 23 2019 12:41 utc | 102

juliania @89 said: "We northerners have a winter ahead of us, but way down south it is already spring."

Am I the only one who read that thinking of the Global North/Global South metaphor? Probably not, and I have to say it is a surprisingly concise but deep observation juliania makes. I think a civilizational winter is settling in on the Global North, while a thaw is on the verge of breaking out in the Global South.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 23 2019 13:14 utc | 103

Excellent article...and some very good comments...and also a few very bad ones that miss the point entirely...

For instance the notion that the choice is between 'bad' and 'worse'...but that's hardly the point here...the point is WHO THE FUCK IS REALLY IN CHARGE...?

Is it a bunch of unelected pinheads or a president elected by the people on a very clear and specific platform...?

This goes to the heart of governance of ANY country...especially the US which glowingly imagines itself as state ruled by a CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER...

Where in the constitution does it say a bunch of nobodies can seize the reins of governance from the president...simply based on the fact that they and a huge and very sick pro-war bureaucracy happens to not agree with the president and the will of the people...?

This is a huge problem for a country as powerful and as violent as the United States...

Also it is sickening to hear from some quarters here about how bad Trump is for allowing drilling oil in national parks etc...

Well you know what...these people need to go back and actually get their pre-school diploma...because obviously they have not even developed, in all the years to this point in adulthood, the thinking capacity of even a fucking hamster...

These kinds of people will never get it...but I will say it anyway...NOT ALL PROBLEMS CARRY THE SAME WEIGHT AND DANGER...

The biggest disaster the world has faced in the last 30 years is that of unipolar imperialism and completely merciless military destruction of many nations and peoples...

Including Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and others...

This is NOT the same as drilling for oil in national parks...

The other aspect of this is who the hell on earth is even going to come in and run for POTUS on a platform of getting out of the senseless wars and invasions business...?

WHO...?

Look at what the powers that be are doing to Tulsi Gabbard...it makes Hitler's 'democracy' look like a shining beacon of human freedom by comparison...

Trump for all his warts at least gets the most important issue by far exactly right...but the fact is that he is being undermined by an extremely powerful opposition that actually has ZERO LEGITIMACY...

In fact most people are oblivious to this extremely eye-opening fact...that there can even be such a hugely powerful UNELECTED bureaucracy that can cut down even a president...

Esxcuse me BUT THIS IS BIG FUCKING NEWS...

Because we've been led to believe otherwise...yet this fact also flies right over the heads of these total clowns I see here...

This article and others like it [PCR has focused on this issue many times] are extremely important to waking up the zombie-slaves...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 23 2019 13:47 utc | 104

@97 -- "Trump is so good at firing because he's so horrible at HIRING!"

I suspect he hires in order to fire (in due course).
Not only his game show rules, but also reinforces his myth and image as #1 in the hierarchy.

Posted by: imo | Oct 23 2019 14:01 utc | 105

@ 104 Flankerbandit>

While you're on track, the "un-elected bureaucracy that can cut down..." was in operation in 1963 - ergo not new. News, true, but not new. A curated cut-down was what happened in the Lincoln affair - with England deep in the plot...a foreign/american junta bureaucracy...as old as power, betrayal.

You may discover that an a-priori assumption in your view is non-true.

I think you assume that the people have political power in, at least potentially, having approximately political power equitable to the Client or Ruling Class.

This may not be so. However, it is circimstance that determines opportunity and power, time are changing... It may well come to pass that the people acquire power.

Client and Ruling Classes fear this...beyond all, they seem to say by actions... Obama's "pitchfork" speech come to mind...

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 14:16 utc | 106

Somewhere in this thread someone remarked that MoA has been around for 14 years? I had no idea, or what I was missing. Some of the most prolific posters here I recognize from other forums, some not. I only regularly comment on CN, because like this site, a commercialized platform that harvests our data is not required. I realize that is little cover from scrutiny or tracking, but I won't so willingly give those platforms what they want.

So this current thread debate boils down to whether one believes Trump is in charge or not, and whether his current Syrian adventures are honest and the US is really going to leave. Since I'm new here I'll plainly state my biases. I've loathed Donald Trump long before he entered politics, and continue to believe that Donald Trump is for himself, and himself only. That said, he may actually be trying to disengage the US from Syria, an effort that has failed and failed miserably, that effort being of course to remove Assad from power. Conflictingly, or just as rote to his pathological mendacity he has claimed several times that it was the US effort that defeated ISIS. I'm guessing most readers here know that is certainly not the truth; It was Assad's Syrian army, with the help of Hezbollah, Russia, Iran, and of course the Kurds that moved the ball, so to speak, to where it is today.

I read the other day over on TRNN remarks made by Rep. Ro Khanna, possibly as honest an assessment as we're likely to hear from any current US pol. To summarize and paraphrase, he said that Syria is a mess of the US own making as is much of the ME conflicts, there would never be any easy or clean way for the US to withdraw, but none of this justifies abandoning the Kurds to ethnic cleansing, no matter how you view their history or their plight. Of course since it was honest and direct, hardly anyone heard his remarks, and is actually blasphemy to both halves of the duopoly.

This current chapter of geopolitical affairs which I'll just call "Syria" is far from over. How will all of the interests arrayed against Assad's government play out their hands? Israel, and their proxy the US, Turkey, and the Sunni gulf monarchies? If any one interest can be labeled "most malign" in this shitty affair it is certainly Turkey via Erdogan. I do understand Turkey's real and ongoing dilemma of Kurdish regional insurrection, but he played his hand badly and if he now hosts a festering array of jihadists and criminals within his borders, it is a situation of his own making.

And here, to the chagrin of all the collective "US" the truth finally emerges. It was always only Russia which might bring some closure and possibly some justice to this whole affair. The reason is simply because Russia is the only party that can honestly negotiate between Erdogan and Assad. Syria has long been a USSR/Russian client state and because Turkey is geographically significant in Russian military power projection they have been careful not to let Tukey slip fully into the NATO fold. Russia has an interest in both Syria's and Turkey's real interests, and can honestly broker some kind of "peace" between them. The odd ones out of course, and as always, are the Kurds. Russia could burnish their international credentials by finding some way of bringing a modicum of justice to the Kurds. A good first step would be to refuse to let them be slaughtered. Though Russia itself has its own concerns with Islamist jihad, the Kurds don't seem to fall into that category and do not threaten Russia's internal security.

Many here are much more well-informed than I am, and if my conclusions are faulty or unfounded, I'm sure you'll let me know.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Oct 23 2019 14:57 utc | 107

About the oil...

William Gruff early on makes a very good point about logistics...we have already had some debate on this with various maps being studied...

My position is that I don't think a US contingent in the oil patch in Deir Ezzor province is feasible...I also think that Peter's analogy with the al Tanf garrison is not valid...reason being that the US controls a major highway and border crossing with Iraq in that zone...

The oil patch has no roads capable of logistical supply much less getting oil out by tanker truck...

[This debate can be seen on the tail end of the very long comments section on the March 18 article...]

This map posted by another commenter is a CIA map from Syria from 2004...

I have marked up the area of the oil patch showing the one single road that leads toward Iraq...first we see by the map legend that a thin red line denotes a LOOSE SURFACE ROAD...

On this 2004 map that roads leads to a border crossing with Iraq...however that road has since been cut, as Peter established by linking to a more recent map which shows this quite clearly...I have marked up the area of interest at the Iraq border...here

Probably that road was cut sometime in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq...Peter has estimated that the two roads on either side of the border could be connected by grading a strip of about 2 km long, and this is borne out by the distance scale in the bottom right corner.

Peter has also pointed out that the US has improved several small airstrips in their occupation zone in northeast Syria over the years...however, we note that those are small airstrips that can support only small turboprop aircraft and not transports or jet fighters.

Also, this was made possible because the SDF controlled the M4 highway into Iraq in the northeast...and thus could easily bring in heavy road construction equipment.

How are they going to bring in heavy equipment now...that one single road leading out the oil patch is not even paved [the CIA map makes that clear]...

When it comes to logistics details are everything...like the details WG pointed about getting in fuel supplies...and the details we see here about a road into and out of Iraq.

I think there is no chance for any kind of extended US presence in that oil patch...

I will also note that another commenter here pointed out the sharp tone of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about 'foreign occupiers' needing to leave within '90 minutes' [after the 120 hour deadline for the Kurdish militants to withdraw to positions agreed to in Sochi]...

I have never known the Russian military command to speak off the cuff...when they say something they mean it...

[This of course raises questions like what would Russia actually do...if anything...but I will leave that alone for now...]


Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 23 2019 15:21 utc | 108

vinnieoh @107: Assad is not going to slaughter the Kurds. He might punish some leaders, he might not. He needs all the people he can get, as long as they behave. They offer some leverage against Turkey too, Erdogan has to take them into account when he wants to piss off Assad, as long as they work for Assad.

Russia is guaranteeing the safety of the Kurds, as long as they submit to Damascus. Turkey is being used as a threat to make them obey. On the other hand, Turkey was not going to leave them be in any case, so there is a good argument that Putin stepped in at the right time and saved their ass. Assad was not in a position to save their ass, that is why we have these "pauses", so they can interpose between the Kurds and the Turks.

I share your views about Trump, anybody who thinks a gold toilet is a good idea is a moron. I think he is trying to get re-elected, and other people are trying to stop him. Syria is just the latest thing they fighting for control over.

If Trump is guilty of anything here, it is seeing an opportunity to get out of Syria and taking it. I'm not going to fault him for that. All the people attacking him for doing it have no better answer, they just want to stall as long as they can.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 23 2019 15:26 utc | 109

Walter said...

While you're on track, the "un-elected bureaucracy that can cut down..." was in operation in 1963 - ergo not new.

I don't think anyone could consider this a reasonable analogy.

JFK was assassinated under admittedly murky circumstances that the majority of Americans are not even aware of...

BUT...there was no OPEN INSURRECTION beforehand as we have seen with Trump...

Never have we seen such an open and brazen campaign of subversion...the peak of which was that 'anonymous' [and in fact treasonous] op-ed in the NYT that plainly described how the 'steady state' was 'correcting' the president's 'worst impulses'...

Sorry but you need to rethink this analogy...

Clearly the only analogy that even remotely approaches is that with Carter...and that does not rise nearly to this level...

So yes, we are in brand new territory right now.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 23 2019 15:29 utc | 110

Latest on Syria...

The Russian MOD has just released a map showing the Sochi agreement...

Southfront has good coverage here...

The Syrian govt is to establish a chain of 15 observation posts on the Turkish border as denoted by the green triangles on the map.

The Kurd fighters are to withdraw [within 120 hours] to that dashed-dotted line 32 km south of the border...

The Russians and Turks will conduct joint patrols in two corridors, both to the west and east of the Turkish incursion zone, shown by the dotted line, which extends 10 km south of the border.

This is a great deal for Syria and the Kurds...for the latter simply because the Turks have been stopped where they are...had they not agreed to the deal with the SAG negotiated under the auspices of the Russians at Hmeimim, Turkey would have grabbed that entire corridor from the Euphrates to Iraq, thus also consolidating with their already held territories stretching all the way to Idlib...

Now no one can say that the Kurds are not getting off very very easy...nor am I interested in any talk about Kurdish history or heroism or any other such crocodile tears...

The fact is the Kurds allowed themselves to be used by the US, only to be thrown away like a used condom...as is always the case with the Outlaw Empire.

I think for all intents and purposes this is the beginning of the end of the war in Syria...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 23 2019 16:24 utc | 111

Excellent article, B! As flankerbandit @104 emphasised, this was always the biggest and most crucial news since Trump was elected.

The parallels with Poland in the 1990's are very interesting. Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement won elections and expected to put their policies into practice, but were unable to govern because the entirety of the bureaucracy was made up of holdovers from the former communist government - not a few key people, not even a majority, but 100% of the bureaucracy. Also the most important elements of the media were completely controlled by the communists. In their first government, every single thing they tried to do was blocked. They would pass laws, but the bureaucracy would simply not implement them. They would give orders to the bureaucracy, but officials would simply ignore them and carry out their own policies, as though the Solidarity government did not even exist. Because they were unable to operate, the communists were elected back in power at the next elections. Solidarity again won the following elections, but then had to try to work out how to get their policies put into effect by the bureaucrats.

How to understand Trump, his declarations, his appointments (and de-appointments), and his intentions?

A critical component of Trump's actions seems to be determined by those who funded his election campaign - primarily Sheldon Adelson. Recently some of Trump's actions have seemed to depart from his former unwavering support for Netanyahoo - interesting is that this was about the time that Sheldon Adelson parted company with Netanyahoo due to some hostile actions of Netanyahoo against the Adelson's political interests.

Still more interesting, though, is the question of where Sheldon Adelson will feature in Trump's policies after the 2020 election, if reelected. Recently I read - not unfortunately explained in the article - that Trump's election funding has now radically changed, and that as a result he is no longer dependent on Sheldon Adelson for election funding for 2020. Unfortunately I can't find my reference, so I cannot provide a link. But from memory, the point was that Trump had some new kind of funding source, which I understood to mean large numbers of small personal donations from the so-called "deplorables", and that this allegedly would make Trump independent of Sheldon Adelson in 2020. I hope I have understood that correctly.

Combined with what I read as pivotal advances in the Barr/Durham investigations (if, that is, they are genuine investigations not a sham, which remains to be unambiguously established) and supported by the Ukrainegate "impeachment" farce, Trump seems to have gained a dramatic boost in his confidence to be able to take actions more in line with his intentions.

Thus, I believe a better understanding of Trump's election funding is crucial to understanding how he is going to run the 2020 election campaign, and what fundamental changes of policy will take place if he is reelected.

That would make a highly worthwhile article for B!

It's important, B!

... type, type, type, tip, tap, type ...

Posted by: BM | Oct 23 2019 16:29 utc | 112

@68 peter au.. yes, regardless if trump is still getting funding and support from adelson, he is definitely working to look after israel, but maybe his promise to get out of wars is also on tap? the money for the white helmets is more confirmation he wants to remain on good terms with the headchoppers in some small way, or that he remains ignorant of the nature of the white helmets... i doubt he will be able to see the error of his ways here all that quickly unless someone points it out to him.. a lot of folks are well brainwashed on the nature of the white helmets and i am sure he is also one of them...

Posted by: james | Oct 23 2019 16:39 utc | 113

@ : flankerbandit | Oct 23 2019 15:29 utc | 110

There was insurrection. I was a young fellow and traveled around the West, I saw evidence of it. Peter Dale Scott has done quite a bit of work along these lines.

Seems to me that Kennedy had to federalize the Alabama National Guard at one point... And fired Generals... But if you know any old US Navy officers from those times you may hear a great deal. JFK was held in contempt quite widely.

If we say that the insurrection this time is of another character, which I think it is, then we may agree.

Seems essentially Trotsky-ist in method, as a face from darkness - Orwellian / Globalist So it may seem.

The previous insurrection... "Shay's Rebellion and on... Murkin tradition? Well Capitalist anyway...

Later Old Man. No Sweat.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 17:28 utc | 114

These are arguments made by someone who has drunk the Kool-Aid.

Of course, from that perspective, it looks like *I'm* the one who's drunk the Kool-Aid. I guess we'll see.

Posted by: CT | Oct 23 2019 19:46 utc | 115

Trumps actions, when taken in the context of this article, make perfect sense. He. a novice politician but our President, has been faced with most egregious pushback by every agency. That he has kept his composure, while walking through the muck called Washington D.C., should be commended by all, h's had to fight tooth and nail against all odds to get this far. I'm sure he is aware of the danger to himself and his family. i.e. JFK. Can we expect a crazed Kurd, ala WW1, to make a name for himself. Not without

Posted by: joetv | Oct 23 2019 21:59 utc | 116

@ Bemildred 109

I didn't mean to imply that Assad was going to slaughter the Kurds. From what I've seen and read it is the forces that Turkey is funneling into the border areas that are doing the killing.

"Russia is guaranteeing the safety of the Kurds, as long as they submit to Damascus." I wasn't aware of that guarantee - I hope you're correct.

Thanks for your reply. As a US citizen I sincerely want no more blood on our hands or in our name there. As Ro Khanna said there was never going to be an easy or clean way to disengage. I just hope it doesn't devolve into a (further)huge human tragedy.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Oct 24 2019 13:28 utc | 117

vinnieoh @118: My apologies, my only defense is MSM were yapping loudly about Assad massacreing the Kurds, so I was primed. Not your fault. The Kurds and Assad have had civil relations throughout the war, they don't agree about lots of things, but they are not enemies.

The US-Kurd current relationship started out with us actually rescueing them, and Turkey helping too, in Kobane against ISIS. But we could not resist the temptation to try to use it for purposes. A big mistake.

I am not inclined to blame the Kurds too much, I don't see they had a lot of options, and Assad himself has said "Oh well I'm not going to play the blame game now."

As a fellow USA-ian I share your feelings. It gives a sense of fellow feeling with all the other humans on the planet living with crappy/corrupt/venal/grasping governments to realize yours is no better.

Best Regards.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 24 2019 14:10 utc | 118

Ben 69
"This "man" has never been anything else but a grifter and giant con. Virtually everything
he has done, he's done to enrich himself and his family. That is, besides deconstruct the U$ govt. to enrich his class of people,(the malignantly rich) by dialing back regulations
that protect everyday Americans from the greed of the mega-corporations."

This is totally irrelevant in the context. Even maybe outside the context. I find your post to be truly immature.
Stop pouting. You are not the POTUS.
Trump is the POTUS. Get over it.
Plan to vote for someone else in November.
Until then, just quit the whining ad hominems as to how bad a man Trump is and therefore he should be impeded in *everything* he does. In fact, this is moral and ethical. That is BS.

Ben, you don't want the US to pull troops out of Syria and end the foreign adventures?
Then say it. Just say it!
Ben does not want US troops pulled out of Afghanistan and Syria. Ben was doubtless A-OK with the destruction of Libya and the resulting chaos because Trump was not responsible for that.

The only value to type of asymmetry and goose/gander thinking is to expose this very weak logic. Orange man bad = I am for against everything he is for. Yep, it takes a lot of gray cells to come up with that brilliant syllogism!

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 24 2019 20:04 utc | 119

Circe 79

"All this time I thought swimming against the current was worth it for the sake of truth, but not when you realize that all this time you've been trying to speak truth to the Ministry of Truth."

If you think MoA is the "Ministry of Truth" (heavy sarcasm intended) then by all means do consider strewing your own pearls of TDS-fueled "truth" elsewhere!

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 24 2019 20:13 utc | 120

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