Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 18, 2020

The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

The Trump administration sees the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an 'imminent threat' has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by U.S. foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on U.S. targets.

In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example, makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear:

On the 3rd of this month, we took one of the world’s deadliest terrorists off the battlefield for good.
But I want to lay this out in context of what we’ve been trying to do. There is a bigger strategy to this.

President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so.
And let’s be honest. For decades, U.S. administrations of both political parties never did enough against Iran to get the deterrence that is necessary to keep us all safe.
So what did we do? We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence.
Qasem Soleimani discovered our resolve to defend American lives.
We have re-established deterrence, but we know it’s not everlasting, that risk remains. We are determined not to lose that deterrence. In all cases, we have to do this.
We saw, not just in Iran, but in other places, too, where American deterrence was weak. We watched Russia’s 2014 occupation of the Crimea and support for aggression against Ukraine because deterrence had been undermined. We have resumed lethal support to the Ukrainian military.

China’s island building, too, in the South China Sea, and its brazen attempts to coerce American allies undermined deterrence. The Trump administration has ramped up naval exercises in the South China Sea, alongside our allies and friends and partners throughout the region.

You saw, too, Russia ignored a treaty. We withdrew from the INF with the unanimous support of our NATO allies because there was only one party complying with a two-party agreement. We think this, again, restores credibility and deterrence to protect America.

This understanding of 'deterrence' seems to be vague and incomplete. A longer piece I am working on will further delve deeper into that issue. But an important point is that deterrence works in both directions.

Iran responded with a missile strike on U.S. bases in Iraq. The missiles hit the targets they were aimed at. This was a warning that any further U.S. action would cause serious U.S. casualties. That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action. Iran also declared that it will expel the U.S. from the Middle East. How is Iran deterred when it openly declares that it will take on such a project?

Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounds as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might.

Russia and China already had no doubts that the U.S. is immoral and willing to commit war crimes. And while 'western' media avoid that characterization for the assassination of Soleimani there is no doubt that it was one.

In a letter to the New York Times the now 100 years old chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, warned of the larger effects of such deeds when he writes:

The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had “taken out” (which really means “murdered”) an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war. As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law.

The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law.

The killing of a Soleimani will also only have a short term effect when it comes to general deterrence. It was a onetime shot to which others will react. Groups and people who work against 'U.S. interests' will now do so less publicly. Countries will seek asymmetric advantages to prevent such U.S. action against themselves. By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicated.

Posted by b on January 18, 2020 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink

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Peter AU1 @ 99

I'd tend to consider Trump as a CEO brought in to oversee bankruptcy rather than make any attempt at pulling back. Pragmatic gangster we're in concurrence on obviously. I also expected he'd be adverse to blatant murder, as opposed to the alternative of Hillary. Perhaps Trump thought he could oversee a soft monetary collapse?

Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 19 2020 10:39 utc | 101

The Navy has had a dismissive attitude toward Mine Warfare and mine sweeping since before WWI!

The USN is vulnerable to mines. The new generation of "smart" mines lie on the bottom and are activated via various means including time stamps, and / or specific propellor signatures.

This specifically means the new mines can be there for months/years then activated by command or date time stamp to target specific classes of ships, or even a specific ship.

The rot is everywhere in the USN.


Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 19 2020 10:42 utc | 102

psychedelicatessen "Perhaps Trump thought he could oversee a soft monetary collapse?"

Trump would like US to be a manufacturing superpower again so I think he would like to see the dollar low. Monetary collapse as in low US$ but not US economic collapse

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 19 2020 10:54 utc | 103

The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq. Trump in so many ways represents the bad ruler Gilgamesh who is poorly advised in his conquest by Enkidu (Pompeo) and they brutally slay the guardian of the forest to steal the precious timber. Then they murder the sacred bull of heaven (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) for prowess and nothing more. This slaughter of the sacred bull enrages the gods and they slay Enkidu which breaks Gilgamesh heart. etc etc. (drastically simplified and likely contested).

This tale is deeply known throughout the lands of the Middle East in all manner of old and modern iterations.

Trump is so unwise and devoid of subtlety that he has ended any chance of salvation in that land and has started every chance of retribution on a scale he could not conceive. His assault on all culture and sacred leaders is bonded to the deepest sense of existential being that any further aggression will simply escalate the payback. The USA urgently needs some cooler heads to intervene but they are not yet impacting on him. Indeed Trump is so eager to pat himself on the back with his adrenalin rush of murdering other leaders that it is disgusting.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 19 2020 10:57 utc | 104

Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 19 2020 10:42 utc | 102

Methinks you may be the troll, that you accuse ChasMark of being...
You do not respond to direct refutation of your accusations...
I will, in the future, make it a point to ignore your drivel; please do not carry on...

Posted by: V | Jan 19 2020 11:04 utc | 105

It seems the American Death Cult needed a big victim.

Posted by: paul | Jan 19 2020 11:04 utc | 106

I had thought Trump may be adverse to pure terrorism but depending on what comes of the Ukie airliner shootdown in Iran, there may be absolutely no rules as far as Trump is concerned.
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 19 2020 9:32 utc | 99

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies, but MEK is in a different class - it is secular, non-ideological pure gangster, and thus a perfect partner for Trump.

Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107

uncle tungsten 104

The concept of martyrdom is something I doubt Trump comprehends. His so called deterrence may work against westerners but not against peoples that believe in martyrdom. Russia and perhaps China although not into martyrdom, seem to be people that would rather die on their feet than live on their knees. This too I doubt Trump comprehends.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 19 2020 11:12 utc | 108

The flight recorder of PS752 may not be sent to Ukraine after all

No Decision on Sending Them to Ukraine Yet - Iranian Media
"We are trying to read the black boxes here in Iran. Otherwise, our options are Ukraine and France, but no decision has been taken so far to send them to another country”

Clearly, the Iranians are not ruling out that the downing of the plane may have been the result of "interference". I would agree with such suspicion.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 19 2020 11:27 utc | 109

@ Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98

You are right one of the pillars of the Iranian asymmetric strategy to counter the USN is using thousands of mines in the Strait of Hormuz and beyond, and probably also around the US bases inside the Persian Gulf.

Back in the day when Iran was a pariah state in 1988 (under full embargo from USA and the USSR), they almost sunk the frigate Samuel B Roberts with a very old WWI mine:

But forget it, they have now thousands of modern mines of russian, chinese, north koreans origin and inverse engineered iranian mines, even better than those.

To try to clear the mines with wooden minesweepers in the Strait of Hormuz is a joke; to clear the mines they have to move sloooowly and they will be sitting ducks to the Iranian coastal defenses in this narrow pass; good luck using slow moving helicopters also, and using hi-tech subs drones taking one by one will take months or years to clear them, if not detected and destroyed before.

As in the case of the missiles threat, USN has no good solutions to the massive minelaying in the Strait of Hormuz, and without massive resupply of the troops inside the Persian Gulf by sea (of weapons, men, spare parts, evacuate wounded, etc...) they do not have a good prospect to continue the war after few weeks; remember that the Iranians missiles have the capacity to destroy all the airstrips of the US air bases in ME and cut dry the use of them for bombing Iran and re-supply (trying to re-suppy a complete army only with helicopters is not an option)

The iranians even do not need high-tech supersonic anti-ship missiles to close the Strait of Hormuz, but they need them to maintain the US air carriers far enough from the iranians eastern shores that their air wings will sit iddle inside the carriers (the operational range of the F15, F16, F18 is around 700-800 Km), so they cannot support the troops in the opposite side of the Persian Gulf, and even the SCG cannot use their cruise missiles (range 1700 Km) against the western part of Iran where their missile force is allocated pounding the US bases all around the Gulf

For US the only remained option would be to use long range bombers and cruise missiles from subs, but they do not have enough of them to stop the rain of missiles and really destroy the command and control centers, especially if they have not destroyed the huge multilayered aerial defense Iran has (that seems to be much better than the american one)

The US then could think to use nukes, and then call a draft, but I do not recommend it, it is better to ask for a truce

Posted by: DFC | Jan 19 2020 11:40 utc | 110

The attack on Solemani had little or nothing to do with policy, it was an attempt to distract from the other scandals coming to light with the opening of his Senate trial by provoking hostilities with Iran.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jan 19 2020 12:59 utc | 111

Peter AU1 @103: "Monetary collapse as in low US$ but not US economic collapse"

I wonder how that could be arranged? There are far more US$ sitting in bank vaults as reserves and investment hedges than there are in circulation. If the dollar goes low enough to bring manufacturing home then it will also be low enough to no longer be a sound or wise investment in and of itself. Wise bankers and investors will attempt to realign their portfolios if the dollar shows signs of dropping like that.

Basically, the value of the dollar that is low enough to re-industrialize America is far below the tipping point that would trigger a global sell-off of dollars. How could that mass sell-off be prevented? Threatening to nuke any country whose central bank sells their dollar reserves?

As I see it, the dollar's value stays high or it tanks totally. I don't see how there could be a moderate balance point in between these extremes. There are just too many dollars in the world.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 19 2020 13:00 utc | 112

Man, have you seen the American boys. Draft! That's not realistic.

The Persians have seen this before, at " Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece - and Western Civilization" [Barry Strauss] (worth was the traitors and spies that shaped the process, and lots more. Better than playing golf, fellas n' gals.)

Walter imagines that the Persians, and the Iranians today, recall the strategic lessons of Salamis.

In nut-shell> Persia was not defeated, the battle was not a defeat, it was terrible and expensive, but not defeat.

It did however, destroy the logistical support necessary to sustain the Persian Army - which support depended on a fleet of supply ships and the freedom of that fleet to navigate in support.

Xerxes had the good sense to get out of that situation, as Empire must never be seen to have been defeated, and his Army would surely be defeated without the littoral merchant sailors and ships.

Not a mirror today of Salamis, but it amounts to the same thing - the Empire is in a zuswang. To avoid defeat it must retreat.

Some may note that there's a vast gulf between the excellence of Xerxes and the Celestial intellects (the Clowns and Chuboids) now so seduced by their delusions.

They may have heard of Salamis...but they probably think it's an Italian restaurant.

They cannot imagine retreat...they always double...

Such a sterling education West Point and rich kids' "Military School" has provided. I am blinded by their brilliance!

Which amounts to following the path to utter defeat. The "policy" of deliberate murder probably sealed their own fates... Film at 11, as they used to say during Vietnam...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 19 2020 13:12 utc | 113

Almost all of the "terrorism" affecting the West has been Wahabbi Salafist Sunni driven. Iran, despite their religious head, is a more modern sectarian nation than Saudi Arabia. ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed. It is time to align with Iran and the Shia for a change. They also have oil! Would send a nice message to our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Posted by: michael888 | Jan 19 2020 13:19 utc | 114

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies,

@Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107


Revealed: US moves IS leaders to Al-Anbar, Iraq

After only a week or so after this heinous crime, we are assisting already to a new campaign on whitewashing Trump at each of the US military blogs...SST at the always...but following the it a editorial level, be it at commentariat level...

What part of Trump admitting he personally ordered the murder you have not understood?

What part of Soleimani and Al Muhandis being the main strategic heads of real anti-IS front have you not understood?

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 13:23 utc | 115

Thanks for the update. J

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 19 2020 13:26 utc | 116

... In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger...

Is this, broadcasting this statement, a warning to us cyber activists?

As if this would be a new happening...This has been the modus operandi of the symbiotic association to commit crimes US/Israel + NATO/GLADIO...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 13:27 utc | 117

Against new intents on whitewashing Trump from his own ME policy...

WAR DRUMS: David Wurmser, responsible for planning the Iraq War in 2003, is today responsible for planning Iran's policy for Trump

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 13:36 utc | 118

Soleimani’s Only Public Interview

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 13:43 utc | 119 warned by Adel Abdel Mahdi Iraq caretaker PM, he was menaced by Trump himself through phone call...Terrorism and provocations non stop...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 13:49 utc | 120

Likklemore @ 83.  thanks for the great article by Tom Luongo.

Of course the Gangsternomics have been going on for some time as chronicled in 'Shock Doctrine' and 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman'.

But as Trump has often done, probably mostly by mistake, he has brought these actions more clearly into the public eye. This in combination with the new power dominance of Russia, China and Iran is definitely leading to a new reality.

I like this quote from Perkins' 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman'

""Nearly every culture I know prophesies that in the late 1990s we entered a period of remarkable transition.  At monasteries in the Himalayas, ceremonial sites in Indonesia, and the indigenous reservations in North America, from the depths of the Amazon to the peaks of the Andes and into the ancient Mayan cities of Central America, I have heard that ours is a special moment in human history, and that each of us was born at this time because we have a mission to accomplish.

The titles and words of the prophecies differ slightly.  They tell variously of a New Age, the Third Millennium, the Age of Aquarius, the Beginning of the Fifth Sun, or the end of old calendars and the commencement of new ones.  Despite the varying terminologies, however; they have a great deal in common, and "The Prophecy of the Condor and Eagle" is typical.  It states that back in the mists of history; human societies divided and took two different paths:  that of the condor (representing the heart, intuitive and mystical) and that of the eagle (representing the brain, rational and material).  In the 1490s, the prophecy said, the two paths would converge and the eagle would drive the condor to the verge of extinction.  Then, five hundred years later, in the 1990s, a new epoch would begin, one in which the condor and the eagle will have the opportunity to reunite and fly together in the same sky, along the same path.  If the condor and eagle accept this opportunity, they will create a most remarkable offspring, unlike any ever seen before.

"The Prophecy of the Condor and Eagle" can be taken at many levels - the standard interpretation is that it foretells the sharing of indigenous knowledge with the technologies of science, the balancing of yin and yang, and the bridging of northern and southern cultures.  However, most powerful is the message if offers about consciousness; it says that we have entered a time when we can benefit from the many diverse ways of seeing ourselves and the world, and that we can use these as a springboard to higher levels of awareness.  As human beings, we can truly wake up and evolve into a more conscious species.

The condor people of the Amazon make it seem so obvious that if we are to address questions about the nature of what it is to be human in this new millennium, and about our commitment to evaluating our intentions for the next several decades, then we need to open our eyes and see the consequences of our actions - the actions of the eagle - in places like Iraq and Ecuador.  We must shake ourselves awake.  We who live in the most powerful nation history has ever known must stop worrying so much about the outcome of soap operas, quarterly balance sheets, and the daily Dow Jones average, and must instead reevaluate who we are and where we want our children to end up.  The alternative to stopping to ask ourselves the important questions is simply too dangerous.""

Now that Trump has, probably inadvertently, helped open our eyes I see Tulsi Gabbard as the best person to help us fit in to a more multipolar world in a more responsible manner.

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 19 2020 13:51 utc | 121

Damascene, as to the assassination plans and techniques by the
exceptionalists... just ask the Cuban aides of Fidel Castro. Most of them alive today. They have a a helluva expertise on this business having foiled them for over 45 years. Against all odds cause at 90 miles from the enemy, the logistics were vastly against the cubans.
As to the purposeful intent of bringing more pressure to foes in the future... just recall what happened to M
uammar Khadafi. After the attempt to blow up his family tent in the desert he fairly but surely managed to build up FREINDSHIP with the bosses of France, Italy and UK.
To no avail, since the rest if history.
The lesson has been learned.

Posted by: augusto | Jan 19 2020 14:07 utc | 122

Why was US so mad with General #Soleimani?

Condoleeza Rice on the 2006 War on Lebanon ( quoted by Qassem Soleimani in the interview posted above..): "These are the "birth pangs" of the Middle East"....

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 14:08 utc | 123

You can agree...may be in part...or not....Uncertainty is the plate of the day...I hope the ME players will change this forecast to their benefit...

2020 Forecast: Revealing the Future of the #MiddleEast by María and Shehab Makahleh for Russian Council...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 14:27 utc | 124

...Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounds as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might...

Extremely naive. And.or short memory.

Ambassador Ankara, Andrei Karlov, December '16.
Senior Diplomat, Moscow Foreign Ministry, Peter Polshikov, December '16.
Ambassador UN, Vitaly Churkin, Augst '17.
Ambassador Delhi, Alexander Kadakin, January '17
Athens Consul, Andrei Malanin, January '17.
Consular commander NY, Sergei Krivov, November '16
Former KGB chief, Oleg Erovinkin, December '16
Ambassador Khartoum, Mirgayas Shirinsky, August '17.
Not to mention the civial planes brought down through US agency, including the Red Army Choir massacre of December '16 en route to Latakia .

Posted by: Petra | Jan 19 2020 14:35 utc | 125

Yeah, the murder of Qassem Soleimani will deter no falling lower...

New role of post-Brexit UK...may be these are the new manners taught at Eton...

Behold the future of Brexit Britain — a handkerchief in Washington’s pocket

But, man, what is new here, after we have known, by article linked in previous thread on the Persian Embassy to Spain in the XVI century, that it was an English "traveler" ( who made his appearance as if by casuality at the starting point of this long odisey ), who stole all the rich presents this Persian Embassy was carrying to award their hosts at destiny and passing several European countries, including the Vatican?

The flagrant reality is that the UK has been always through its whole history a rogue state.
That it now joins in partnership with the other historical rogue state is what is not to be surprised at all...Amongst pirates the game goes on...

Stolen 'Divan of Hafez' heading to #Germany after discovery in UK

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 15:11 utc | 126

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2020 7:34 utc | 95

Are you talking about 'earth and water'? The symbolic gesture of submission to the Great King? That's a very different thing altogether. You make it sound like 'water rights'... I did indeed watch the film I'm sad to say, but Xerxes was not after water.
Well that is what a Persian emissary told Spartans that they want from them, before he was kicked down to the pit.
And that is in essence the thing America wants from Iran, to submit. To kiss the ring of Don Trompolone. If you think Xerxes was fine to ask Spartans that, then what is the problem if the orange Mussolini asks the same thing from Xerxes descendants?

I'd like to know what proportion of the pre-1979 population of Iran qualified as 'middle-class' and what that meant in real terms. Outside of Tehran, Shiraz, etc there probably weren't a lot of Iranians skiing in St Moritz.
Well we can make a rough estimate by a number of Persians left their homeland since 1980. It is quite lot, and they are still leaving. Mostly smart educated people who do not want to live in the theocratic paradise that Persia has turned into.

Posted by: hopehely | Jan 19 2020 15:51 utc | 127

On those arguing Xerxes was searching for "highly likely" have not traveled to Iran ever....As happens in Lebanon, and part of the several reasons they are under attack non-stop to be seized/invaded, people in Iran can do skying without leaving the country at their own resorts...and not for any astounding reason the Persians invented canalization of water from the mountains to main cities through porcelain tubes and make it flow in the very desert through qanats...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 15:59 utc | 128

Now that Trump has, probably inadvertently, helped open our eyes I see Tulsi Gabbard as the best person to help us fit in to a more multipolar world in a more responsible manner.
I'm not going to specify the source of this sentiment. I see it scattered across the Internet.
Fact: Tulsi Gabbard was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She resigned in embarassment when it became known. If it was a non-issue then why resign? Goes to motive.
Tulsi is not the person she appears to be. She entered the US Army to avail herself of funding she did not have access to. Go to any search engine and search her by name then go through the pictures that come up. Look for the undoctored ones. Familiarize yourself with basic human anatomy. You will see it.
Yes. Tulsi is not a genetic female. She has had throat surgery to hide her adam's apple. Her brow ridge has been shaved.
The Mass Media is deeply implicated in this. Major figures routinely have their photos doctored and airbrushed. Now, the question is why? The first question though is how I found this.
I did not watch tv for 20 years. I got tired of a superficial view of everything in addition to the blatant lies. I was an insider in several events where I knew the facts and then saw how the media portrayed the event. Night and day. Instead of sitting like a zombie in front of a box, I meditated and read extensively. I'm not a superman but by abandoning the search for external stimulation and excitement(a basic premise of modern tv and other forms of media) I can read for 12 hours a day without getting tired. Mental exercise builds mental muscles. The benefits of this are incredible mental freedom and the ability to rapidly discern truth from fiction.
I did not have internet until 3 years ago. I watched clips on youtube. I quickly noticed a pattern of square jawed, female news anchors and media 'characters'. This transgender movement has much deeper roots and purposes than most people are comfortable admitting. It goes to the very essence of what it means to be human and our relationship to ourselves (or lack thereof) and our relationship to God/Cosmos (or lack thereof).
Currently pervading the West's political systems are the transgenders; in every nook and cranny. Gina Haspel is one. They are in the Senate and Congress at State and Federal levels. They are in the bureaucracy. They are in Media and Hollywood.
The question to ask after examining this claim is why? Cui bono? What is this about? Is it about human freedom or is there more to it?

Obama was a product, sold as 'Hope and Change'. Trump is a product, sold as 'America First'. I expect he will betray everything he ran on by the end. I don't think the status quo allows for real reform or real change. I don't have a magic prescription but I know destroying norms, by killing foreign heads of state, is not an answer but an indication of how truly idiotic and morally bankrupt the people holding power in the West have become. To me, these politician aptly reflect their sponsors. Pomparse is about what I'd expect an Evangelical Zionist heretic to do as a Cabinet member, ie. to blindly and idiotically kill 'enemies'. I would expect Tulsi Gabbard to be a new type of con in a long history of con artist going back to Wilson and his selling of America's sweat to Bankers in 1913.

Posted by: dorje | Jan 19 2020 16:00 utc | 129

@ 3 "Pompeo speaks as though he wants to provoke an assassination attempt on himself."

It would be nice for a reasonable, peaceful psychologist to write about the obvious psychopathic, yet puerile, behaviors of the past 6 or 7 Secretaries of Offense. Sorry, typo, "defense". (I know the pysch world in North America has mostly been taken over by the Pentagram.)

Mafioso hardly describes them. They're Dantean in behavior and look. Like some, filthy feral man child spewing incomprehensible venom having been interrupted from its she-wolf mother's teat. The basest of behavior, animal or human.

Posted by: W Baker | Jan 19 2020 16:15 utc | 130

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 15:59 utc | 128
On those arguing Xerxes was searching for water...
Ok, fine, he was not searching for water. What was he searching for then? Holy grail? Golden fleece? Unobtanium?

Posted by: hopehely | Jan 19 2020 16:18 utc | 131

Note individuals in this thread discussing a Hollywood production that was based upon a comic book as if it were reality.

This is the delusion that defines America and has metastasized to much of the West. This is the lunacy that underlies the West's casual acceptance of their most hideous crimes.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 19 2020 16:18 utc | 132

@ 126, re: perfidious Albion.

Just reading a great book on the English. An Angry Island by A. A. Gill. It doesn't get political: mainly social. The English are simply a construct. Always have been.

Posted by: W Baker | Jan 19 2020 16:19 utc | 133

dorje @129

CFR and trans? Is that all your you've got for your mental exercising?


Deep State has chosen: Tulsi-Biden 2020


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2020 17:19 utc | 134

hopehely @131: What was he searching for then?


What every Empire searches for, of course.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2020 17:22 utc | 135

@129 dorje.. hi dorge... thanks for your posts which i have found quite interesting and haven't commented on before.. but, this last one has me scratching my head! are you saying tulsi is trans?? it sounds like it.. thanks.. as for gina haspel being trans - i doubt it very much! trans is more a younger generations dilemma, but i know some older folks make the transition too.. i think you are wrong here if this is what you are saying..

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2020 17:32 utc | 136

Dorje @ 129
I have nothing against Tulsi Gabbard having been a member of CFR. It was a responsible thing to do, to find out what this major power center is up to. Her membership was for a fixed term, and when it ended she did not renew it.

Posted by: sarz | Jan 19 2020 18:19 utc | 137

@ Idland | Jan 19 2020 4:00 utc | 77

Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?

I have no idea what the facts are, but I speculate that he was somehow outed as another potential (fake) "whistleblower", i.e. another "Resistance" mole.

The "tell" is that only the "Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight" Democratic Party/Clintonista apparatchik masterminds would deploy an undercover source surnamed "Peek".

One way or another, we may safely conclude that Andrew peeked too soon.

Posted by: Ort | Jan 19 2020 18:47 utc | 138

On the strength or weakness of the Dollar relative to the resuscitation of manufacturing within the Outlaw US Empire:

As Hudson reminds us constantly, it's the overheard costs that exist within the Empire that make manufacturing and related business uncompetitive--specifically housing, health care, and personal debt. Look at the average price for new automobiles--$34,000+--in 1919, it was $826. Average housing cost in NYC is $4,500/mo, but in the depressed coal region of Virginia where my daughter resides, her rent's $450/mo. I've linked to EPI's Family Budget Calculator several times, and here I randomly chose Akron, Ohio where for a family of 4 it costs $6165/mo or almost $74,000/yr to cover what're deemed basics--one wage earner must make $36/hr working 2,080 hours/yr--full time no vacation.

The only way to return the domestic part of the Outlaw US Empire to competitive manufacturing is to greatly reduce the overhead costs born by both workers and employers, which are truths both Trump and the neoliberal gurus for the Duopoly are in denial over as they actively attempt to lower wages and benefits but not overhead costs.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2020 19:52 utc | 139

From Encyclopedia Brittanica (online):

Terrorism: The systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.

Soleimani's assasination.

Posted by: Jared | Jan 19 2020 21:17 utc | 140

Resorting to murderìng an enemy in cowardly manner is an admittance of powerlessness. The USA is far too weak to face Suleimani, far too weak to face Iran militarily, so it used drones to kill a powerful man in a car who has no way to defend himself. That is an act of pure cowardice that makes America and its leaders look weak, small and pathetic.
Iran will never kill a defenseless man to show its power. By destroying 2 US bases without killing one human, it shows its greatness and the respect of human lives while the USA showed its cruel immaturity and its lack of dignity. Trump wants to make America great again but what we see is an America obsessed by money and retrograding into greed and amoral childishness.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 19 2020 22:18 utc | 141

terrorism and cowardice go hand and hand with the usa bully... when they bump into someone whose not afraid - they're in deep trouble.

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2020 23:01 utc | 142

james @143--

The "when" is now. In fact, it also happened long ago when the winner was Vietnam. And before then it was China in Korea. We ought not to forget the ongoing bravery by Cubans. And I'm sure I've omitted some who also ought not to be forgotten.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2020 23:14 utc | 143

@Jared #141

US State Department definition of terrorism:

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).


Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 19 2020 23:24 utc | 144

ChasMark @ 47

Thank you for setting Dick straight.
These constant refs to Hitler and the Third Reich are ridiculous, from people who don't understand history.

The firebombing of German cities was perhaps the greatest war crime of WW2. Dresden in particular was not only a world cujtural heritage site (although those terms were not yet in use) and was packed with refugees from the east.

Americans and British have yet to acknowledge and atone for this war crime---not that I know of. I believe Churchill was the driver of the campaign to bomb civilian Germans into some kind of submission. Germans are still groveling in guilt, which prevents them from truly mourning and coming to terms with their own war trauma.

Americans' self-righteousness and Hitler obsession are absurd but also sickening.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 20 2020 2:40 utc | 145

It is kind of fun to ruminate on who might be targeted for take-out after the Solameini outrage.

IMO maybe a big MIC CEO such as the CEO of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics---something like that would be a fitting target. Like, who manufactures the drone that was used to kill Solameini? per Wiki it is made by General Atomics. How about taking that guy out with a Reaper drone? That would be poetic justice. I don't know his name and his company is not as "iconic" as the three I mentioned above, but it would send a message, that's for sure.

The name "Reaper" is totally creepy, by the way. Reaper, as in Grim Reaper? Designed for assassinations. Ugh.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 20 2020 3:06 utc | 146

Churchill bombed Berlin early in the war in order to force Germany to bomb London, thus assuring that Churchill would have the war he wanted and obviating any realistic chance of a negotiated peace. That's one of the reason Hess was intercepted and years later murdered in Spandau.

It's there in the diaries... read Irving if you like, or perhaps the guy's on YT declaiming the facts so many do not like to hear.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 10:33 utc | 147

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 10:33 utc | 148

I think this is rewriting history. Rotterdam was first.

Hitler probably would not have attacked Britain if Britain had let Germany be the main power in Europe sharing Eastern Europe with the Soviet Union. This is not what British foreign policy used to be about.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2020 12:28 utc | 148

Friend, I did say who bombed first, Guernica one might propose...or for that matter New York in the Black Tom sabotage prior to the US entering W1. The first bombing in history happened right after they invented bombs, just as the first pornographic pictures happened the day after they invented photography..'

Rotterdam is neither in Germany nor UK, who bombed it is irrelevant to my post.

My point is that Churchill forced Hitler to bomb London by bombing Berlin, because he wanted domestic support for war, domestic resistance to war was silenced when the German bombs fell on London. Similarly, so long as Germany was bombed, Hitler and the nazi sate was safe from their domestic antiwar opponents.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 12:56 utc | 149


And before Rotterdam, Warsaw, and before Warsaw, Guernica.
The significance of Rotterdam was that before that was bombed by the Germans, RAF Bomber Command was prohibited from hitting civilian targets. The day after the destruction of the center of the Dutch city that restriction was lifted.

In retrospect the bombing of cities can be seen to have been ineffective and immoral, but that is a judgement from the comfort of the present after Nazism has long been defeated. From the standpoint of 1941 the situation looked very different, and the views expressed by Harris when he said : "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind." inevitably had general support in the allied nations.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 20 2020 12:59 utc | 150

Perhaps Iran's restrained response is to buy time to get the latest antiaircraft and missile defenses installed.

Posted by: Morongobill | Jan 20 2020 13:49 utc | 151

Jan 20 2020 12:59 utc | 151 Immoral yes indeed. However bombing cities is very effective in creating consent and support for war and whatever government rules, particularly among the bombed population.

When party A bombs the people of party B, those people don't like it. After that it can become a positive feedback of reprisal series. This was Churchill's design. But of course it is also common to all empires.

In conflict couples, bombing people actually assists the opponent in or by creating gleichaltung for him at the $ expense of the attacking party.

If the opponent does not oblige by bombing the party that desires war, then often-times the bombing is done by that same party desiring war. Examples abound, but of course the Überfall auf den Sender Gleiwitz, and the "Pearl Harbor" bit worked, so did the the Maine explosion, and we have the more recent example of "911".

The recent Imperial murders by rocket fall under this rubric, as does the Iranian response. Evidently the Clowns desire Iran to fight back. Presumably they calculate that this will then create "consent" to liquidate Iran.

It's a sucker-bet. Persians have been around lots longer that this little transient paper "empire" of bandits and pirates.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 14:24 utc | 152

@ Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 12:56 utc | 150; @ Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 20 2020 12:59 utc | 151

Bombing of cities during WWII had nothing to do with morality, but with military doctrines: for many historical reasons, Western Europe had always approached aerial bombing as strategic (i.e. strategic bombing) while the USSR almost always considered aerial bombing as tactical (i.e. tactical bombing).

In practice, however, all the belligerent sides never hesitated in using both when necessity arose: during 1941-1942, the VVS - in an act of desperation - tried to bomb (unsuccessfully) Berlin as a deterrent to a seemingly unstoppable Lüftwaffe, while the Lüftwaffe used tactical bombing masterfully in its conquest of France in 1940.

Geographical distance and the high costs of an amphibious invasion reinforced even more the Western allies' preconception of bombing as an essentially strategic weapon, but it also influenced Germany's strategy towards the UK.

The canonization of D-day makes many people today to think amphibious invasions are easy-peasy, but the fact is that, during WWII, they were extremely difficult to plan, execute and were very costly in casualties for the attacker/invader. The Channel - that tiny strip of ocean that separates Britain from the European Peninsula - alone saved the UK from being completely defeated and conquered by the Germans. That induced the Germans to invent the V-2 - the first ballistic missile of history - in order to keep the British in check.

Inversely, a quick look at the strip of land from Germany to Moscow makes you realize that a full-fledged war would be decided by land from the beginning, so it was only natural the Armed Forces of the USSR to approach aerial bombing from a tactical perspective.

All things considered, it's true the UK was the only foreign nation Hitler sincerely respected and that his model for a Third Reich was ultimately inspired - on a practical geopolitical level - on the British Empire. He never really intended to conquer the UK, but only to create another empire - to the East - that could mirror the British one in the West. In this regard, he made the wrong diagnosis on the geopolitical conjuncture of his time, since it was already the USA, not the UK, that was the true inheritor of the Western Civilization (i.e. capitalism) by the early 1940s.

Posted by: vk | Jan 20 2020 15:41 utc | 153

Posted by: Walter | Jan 20 2020 14:24 utc | 153

I am not sure it works that way. I would say, the intention is to demoralize. It certainly does that, but in a war everyone is threatened by a gun. Germany's army waited till near defeat until they attempted a coup.

The US are playing a game of chicken with Iran. Neither side can afford to carry out their threats.

Iran might go nuclear now. I am sure that was the goal.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 20 2020 15:51 utc | 154

Posted by: ChasMark | Jan 18 2020 20:05 utc | 7

Well done Mark !!! I was about to get heavy in calling out this canard of Justice but I see you did a good job.

I'll be brief. Nuremberg was a show trial to clean up people who knew too much. It had nothing to do with Justice.

International Court of Justice plays a similar role today as did the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia with Milosovic. These are courts for the "losers".

If there was such a thing as Justice then Clinton should have been invited to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for what he did in Serbia.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 20 2020 17:18 utc | 155

@VK #154

"Bombing of cities during WWII had nothing to do with morality.."

So by your assessment are you suggesting that the US could carpet bomb Tehran including those 52 sites of cultural heritage that Trump blustered about and people should just accept it as meeting a strategic objective?

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 17:20 utc | 156

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 20 2020 12:59 utc | 151


And before Rotterdam, Warsaw, and before Warsaw, Guernica.
The significance of Rotterdam was that before that was bombed by the Germans, RAF Bomber Command was prohibited from hitting civilian targets. The day after the destruction of the center of the Dutch city that restriction was lifted.

That poor RAF had the same problem at the start of the war in 1939. Except then it was not allowed to bomb Germany's military/economy lest it injure/kill the Germans. Instead the Brits were dropping millions of leaflets to convince the Germans to "STOP THE WAR".

The Confetti War

Though they weren’t ready to bomb the Germans, the British government did send its planes. Over the course of September, British bombers dropped over 18 million propaganda leaflets across Germany, in what former army officer and Conservative MP Edward Spears mockingly labeled a “confetti war.”

There were two purposes to the leaflet campaign. One was to try to convince Germans that Hitler’s government was evil and should be opposed. The other was to prove that the British could reach them, thus provoking fear.

Neither aim succeeded and several bombers were lost.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 20 2020 17:31 utc | 157

@ Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 17:20 utc | 157

I was specifically talking about WWII. A completely different historical context.

Posted by: vk | Jan 20 2020 18:10 utc | 158

@ vk 157

Got it!

On the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani and the question of deterrence I'd be interested in your views on whether you think it will deter Iran from further retaliatory strikes on the US, possibly including assassination of an equally important and revered American, and if there is, whether you think that would trigger/justify a military response from the US to proceed to a hot regime-change war with IRAN and all the death and destruction that would follow.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 18:41 utc | 159

I think the deterrence is the proof of insanity in those recent assassinations. And that proof is so blatant that it has deterred the United States, sufficiently enough that the world now waits to see what this country can do to correct itself.

We all wait.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 20 2020 18:48 utc | 160

@ Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 18:41 utc | 160

My opinion on the issue is on comment #37 of this thread.

Posted by: vk | Jan 20 2020 18:55 utc | 161

I'm still trying to square where/if morality fits into war's objectives either now with Iran being in US crosshairs, or say in WW2. I'd have thought at the beginning of WW2 when it enjoyed a degree of air supremacy, Germany could have included Buckingham Palace or Westminster in its bombing campaign. But it didn't because why? Was it a question of morality that the German High Command considered such targets (cultural heritage?) to be off limits? If so, one might reasonably conclude that Churchill and Roosevelt considered any moral implications of fire bombing Dresden, city with no military importance had no relevance.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 20 2020 19:40 utc | 162

Carciofi @160: "...possibly including assassination of an equally important and revered American..."

That is an impossible task for the Iranians. There is simply no American as "equally important and revered". If Iran were to somehow completely eradicate America's entire Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government, few Americans would care beyond the symbolic insult of it. America has no military officers worth even a small heap of feces. Trump was correct when he called them all losers, and Trump himself is a loser that nobody would miss if he were assassinated. If they were to all die no one would shed a tear for them. America has no heroes that exist in the real world. There is no one even remotely close in all of contemporary American culture. That culture and its icons are all as disposable as a paper soda straw.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 20 2020 21:24 utc | 163

I wrote a long response. I'm not going to post it.

Posted by: dorje | Jan 20 2020 22:03 utc | 164

 hopehely | Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85

I should think that the chief attraction of Iran, apart from the Oil, of course, was its proximity to the USSR and the desire to prevent it having good relations with the USSR and still more to prevent it having a Communist Government!

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 20 2020 22:24 utc | 165

at tomlx==the u.s. under reagan declared it was no longer under the jurisdiction of the international court. of course nuremberg was hypocritical, given events since, but what is this about "cleaning up people who knew too much"?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 20 2020 22:37 utc | 166

I want to see tit for tat until they're all gone.

Posted by: EWM | Jan 21 2020 0:00 utc | 167

Carciofi #163

The reason the german govt excluded bombing Buckingham Palace and other 'Windsor' sites is because the occupants were sympathetic to Nazism and could serve the Fuhrere's interests when the British people capitulated. The behavior of the current Queen in the decades since is a testament to the 'House of Windsor' absolute commitment to oligarchy rule.

Should the USA be criminal enough to bomb Iran, I suspect their Iranian stooge premises to be exempt from destruction for the same reasons.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 21 2020 0:15 utc | 168

augusto #122

Precisely that. There is no accommodating these conquerers, there can be no genteel negotiating. These contemporary thugs are likely the descendants of the Venetians that ruled in the 15 and 1600's, then diversified across the globe. They strove continuously to have an absolute grip on trade so that it always passed through their hands. The made duplicitous alignments with other nations and fomented perpetual strife to enable their machinations. They had no compassion, no restraint on their use of assassination as a deterrent or tool.

They initiated the Jesuit order within the Papacy to exert control. The published the reformist ideas of Martin Luther as a means of intervention and destabilisation of the Papacy as it suited their agenda. They beguiled (if not instigated) the crusaders.

Their immense wealth enabled them to then disperse to London, Amsterdam etc., in the 1600's They were the genesis for the British East India Company and the Dutch east India Company.

Their descendants and immense wealth abound and secure their ruling status today. IMO THEY are the permanent state. Michael Hudson proposes an effective solution in democratising capital.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 21 2020 0:53 utc | 169

ChasMark:'Is it just' me who makes the argument reductio ad Hitlerum?

"No, it's you and every other moron who gets his history from teevee and Hollywood."

How to lose an argument 101; attack the person not the argument!

For the sake of brevity, I do not get my knowledge of history from Teevee or hollywood; Neither am I American. My knowledge comes from fifty years studying history and extensive travel experience through Europe, Mideast, and Russia. I do not attack others who comment, but counter or re-enforce their argument based on my knowledge with courteous respect. You have made some valid arguments on several other comments, but I would drop the personal name calling. It weakens your post.

My post was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek anyway and yes I do see a physical similarity between Pompeo and Goering. Have a nice day, Chasmark.

Posted by: Dick | Jan 21 2020 9:31 utc | 170

REVEALED: Iraqi armed factions not ready to strike US forces, commanders say

The Iranian-backed Iraqi armed factions are lost, distracted and unable to effectively strike American forces in Iraq after the loss of two key leaders last week, Shia leaders have told Middle East Eye. (cont.)

If true then this would mean the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis has been extraordinarily successful in "damaging" the PMUs.

The article also has information that indicates that Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was not doing what Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi wanted. Abdul Mahdi restructured the Hashd al-Shaabi and cut the deputy head position but al-Muhandis continued as if nothing had changed.

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 21 2020 19:32 utc | 171

Why did you delete my comment?
Because there was a link to an article of mine on the VERY same subject?

Have you have heard about synergy? Or Mutual-aid, or common interests?
Of course you didn't.

You have great articles, wonderful analysis, but you are too damn Yankees to understand social-sympathetic values.

Because I a very reasonable person, I will continue to read your wonderful work and learn more from it.

On the other hand, I will never make again any reference to your articles/website. I will not recommend it or share has I used to do.

By the way, in my article in the comment you CENSORED, I invited my readers to read Moon of Alabama. See how counterproductive Yankee selfishness is?

NOT my best regards!
Luís Garcia

Posted by: Luis Garcia | Jan 23 2020 6:38 utc | 172

As I tried to say weeks ago to some people here that erroneously claimed differently - US will not leave Iraq:

"Saleh, Trump Agree on Need for Continued US Military Role in Iraq"

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2020 12:05 utc | 173

@ 171 (similarity Pompeo and Goering). It's mostly a visual similarity. Anybody can see it. Trumpie the Clown also reminds people of a particular Italian gentleman, who ended badly. Terrible how people treat their faithful servants, is it not? History rhymes as Farce.

Goering was not a coward (flew in combat) and he was IQ tested @ (if memory serves) 140.

Pomperz ? Dumb as a hammer and terrified.

The similarities are superficial.

Of course both men were/are not suitable for decent people to, for example, share a meal with. Both were/are odious. I'd leave the room.

Was it Goering who said of the Nuremberg Trial that it was a "Pumimspiel"? Alas, events since then seem to confirm his claim, and even mitigate his guilt.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 23 2020 12:57 utc | 174

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