Syria: To Bomb Or Not To Bomb? Doesn’t Really Matter, Does It?
September 9, 2013

As far as the stated reasons the U.S. gives for unleashing cruise missiles on Syria, that the U.S. must warn Assad that he must never use nerve gas again, I see that as a vast hypocrisy. Simple math: 100,000 dead by other means, and no outrage of the sort that would lead to military action; 1400 dead by gas and now they’re upset enough to want to fire some ordnance ‘in a limited way’ at some unspecified narrow range of military targets, accomplishing, in effect, nothing good and very likely vast amounts of bad.

No. I can’t support that. Originally I did support such an idea, but no more. It makes no sense. We sat on our hands for two years while this murderous civil war went on, and now over what amounts to a minor killing we want to risk all out war in the Middle East. And war with Russia and Iran, the latter perhaps being the goal of the whole exercise. The neo-cons, the hawks, the draft dodgers, would appear to still be pulling the strings, pulling Obama’s strings.

Perhaps that’s why he decided to turn to Congress for a vote. If he feels he’s being strung along, he might have decided to open up the bag of influence peddling for everyone to see by throwing the matter into the lap of Congress. But Congress, this Congress, is most likely to do whatever they think will hurt Obama the most rather than what is right for the country. To ask this Congress to demonstrate a high moral standard or a high intellectual standard is to simply make a bad joke.

Frankly I think Obama should simply shut up about Syria, withdraw his request to the Congress, and instruct the military to simply kill Assad and his cronies wherever and whenever they can effectively target them. Assad is the core of the problem. The result will be considerable long-term turmoil in Syria, but that’s going to happen now no matter what anyone does. If the Assad regime collapsed tonight, the infighting among the factions would begin before the news of the collapse got out. If the Assad family and cronies were killed tonight, the infighting would begin before his body even began to cool. But that’s the cost of the world’s inaction for two years. Had the West taken the side of the rebels six months into the conflict, armed, supplied, and trained them, Assad would have been gone within a year, most likely, and Syrians would have stepped into the vacuum. As the situation stands now, the battle against Assad is not being waged solely by Syrians, but by outsiders too, all wanting a piece of the post-Assad pie.

I suspect Israel might want Assad to stay in power because a Syria under his dictatorial control offers less of a threat to Israel than a Syria fractured and factionated into Islamic groups that fundamentally hate Israel and which would make no accommodation with Israel. But then the Israelis are just as bad, frankly, and could easily be seen as wanting to create a fractured Syria so that Israel could grab more land from Arabs.

In a word, the Middle East is fucked. We do not need to drag ourselves into that shitpot of the world. But the oil, the oil… Yeah, if we had put the money we wasted on war in that part of the world into renewable energy in our part of the world the stinking oil wouldn’t matter. But the United States has been, and is, a stupid country full of stupid people whose only redeeming quality is their shortsightedness. And that chicken is coming home to roost.

I think we’re going to have our own civil war in the not too distant future. There are too many guns in too many hands, there are too many people carrying too much anger, and there are too many people who know nothing of American history, of politics, of civility.

Then who will we bomb?

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Alan Grayson, Calling Out The Hawks
September 8, 2013

Florida Representative Alan Grayson’s op-ed from the New York Times:

WASHINGTON – THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.
On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was "no."

The Syria chemical weapons summaries are based on several hundred underlying elements of intelligence information. The unclassified summary cites intercepted telephone calls, "social media" postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached – not even clips from YouTube. (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)

Over the last week the administration has run a full-court press on Capitol Hill, lobbying members from both parties in both houses to vote in support of its plan to attack Syria. And yet we members are supposed to accept, without question, that the proponents of a strike on Syria have accurately depicted the underlying evidence, even though the proponents refuse to show any of it to us or to the American public.
In fact, even gaining access to just the classified summary involves a series of unreasonably high hurdles.

We have to descend into the bowels of the Capitol Visitors Center, to a room four levels underground. Per the instructions of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, note-taking is not allowed.

Once we leave, we are not permitted to discuss the classified summary with the public, the media, our constituents or even other members. Nor are we allowed to do anything to verify the validity of the information that has been provided.

And this is just the classified summary. It is my understanding that the House Intelligence Committee made a formal request for the underlying intelligence reports several days ago. I haven’t heard an answer yet. And frankly, I don’t expect one.

Compare this lack of transparency with the administration’s treatment of the Benghazi attack. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to her credit, made every single relevant classified e-mail, cable and intelligence report available to every member of Congress. (I know this, because I read them all.) Secretary Clinton had nothing to hide.

Her successor, John Kerry, has said repeatedly that this administration isn’t trying to manipulate the intelligence reports the way that the Bush administration did to rationalize its invasion of Iraq.

But by refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct. Perhaps the edict of an earlier administration applies: "Trust, but verify."

The danger of the administration’s approach was illustrated by a widely read report last week in The Daily Caller, which claimed that the Obama administration had selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes in Syria, with one report "doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report."

The allegedly doctored report attributes the attack to the Syrian general staff. But according to The Daily Caller, "it was clear that ‘the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions.’"

I don’t know who is right, the administration or The Daily Caller. But for me to make the correct decision on whether to allow an attack, I need to know. And so does the American public.

We have reached the point where the classified information system prevents even trusted members of Congress, who have security clearances, from learning essential facts, and then inhibits them from discussing and debating what they do know. And this extends to matters of war and peace, money and blood. The "security state" is drowning in its own phlegm.

My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.

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America: Ship of Fools
March 6, 2012

In the Middle East the people of Syria are being slaughtered.  Thousands have been killed by the Syrian army.

In America we are debating the potty mouth words of a fat man calling a female law student a slut because she testified before Congress on health care and contraceptive drugs.

In Syria civilians are bombarded by tanks and artillery of the Syrian army under the control of a certifiable psychopath, al Assad.

In America candidates for the Presidency throw money and insults at each other as they try to prove to an ignorant, thoughtless, narcissistic mob of voters which of them is more Christian, which of them is more rigidly and mindlessly ideological.

In Syria soldiers are dragging old men into the street and shooting them in the head.

In America a President threatens yet another Middle Eastern country with destruction as he backs them into a corner, leaving them little option but to snarl and fight and do the thing he says they shouldn’t do, while the Israelis do their best to pervert the American government into doing their paranoid dirty work for them.

In Syria children’s throats are being slashed open by soldiers and the blood of children runs in the streets.

In America families lose their homes. Workers lose their jobs. Bobbling head media ‘personalities’ spew nonsense and call it ‘news’. Roads and bridges crumble. Schools cut education. And ugly men and women collect millions of dollars from amoral and immoral corporations as they spew hatred and bigotry and a vision of ignorance and greed over the broadcast frequencies owned by the people of the United States.

In Syria thousands flee for their lives from their murderous government, spilling over the borders into other countries, fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their back, running from armies of their fellow Syrians wielding artillery, tanks, automatic weapons, and knives dripping with the blood of children.

In America one political party seeks its sole goal of chasing that nigger from their White House and are willing to bring the government to its knees in order to accomplish that goal. And the other party tries hard not to make anyone upset at them, so they adopt the position of standing for nothing.

In Syria the blood of old men, women, and children flows freely in the dirt and gutters.

In America the politicians say they support the Syrian people. One might ask which Syrians the Americans support: the dead ones or the ones about to be slaughtered.

In Syria the government of a murderous tyrant murders its citizens at will, by the scores, by the thousands, freely, without reservation, without reason.

In  America the Attorney General of the United States and the President of the United States publicly seek to justify the murder of American citizens on  the order of the President, with no charges made, no judicial review, no recourse. 

America, the enlightened democracy of the twenty-first century? Or a ship of babbling fools playing to an American mob of ideological and theocratic conformists raptly listening to ugly voices promoting hatred of American against American and American against all non-white , non-English speaking people in the world.

Choose.

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Iran: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
November 12, 2011

America’s wading into the Big Muddy again.

How many times, America, how many times?

They’re at it again…

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Libya
August 22, 2011

Congratulations to the Lions of Libya.

They probably don’t call themselves that, but they should. A few months ago they were a ragtag amateur collection of angry young men seeking freedom from a forty-year tyranny.

They didn’t have a chance in hell of succeeding but they charged into battle against professional, disciplined forces. And got their collective ass kicked. And refused to quit.

NATO forces saved them, kept them going, helped train them and turn them into a force that could survive and learn. But those guys did it themselves, did the fighting, did the dying. Their blood stains the sand from one end of Libya to the other. And as of this morning they’ve bloodied Tripoli and are on the verge of ending Kadhafy.

I hope they hold it together and develop a rational, egalitarian government with a minimum of bloodshed.

Was the United States right to get involved?

Morally? Yes.

Financially? No.

The United States is failing to care for its own people, to take care of its own governance. Does it have the right to interfere in the governance of other countries?

Does such interference nonetheless make the United States a moral country in such matters?

No.

Syria’s tyrant continues to slaughter the Syrian people and continues to lie to the world about his actions. The United States does virtually nothing, its proclamation of sanctions an empty gesture, unsupported by other major players in the sanctions game. Will the Syrians, if they get rid of al-Assad, look to Libya and ask where was the United States when we fought and died?

And Bahrain, what of Bahrain? The people rose up, were slaughtered, were further victimized by Saudi troops, while the United States looked on, supported the Saudi move, said nothing, did nothing, unwilling to risk losing its military assets in Bahrain. What will the Bahrainis ask when they look to Libya?

Afghanistan? The United States, and its so-called allies, continue to brutalize that country by fighting, on the ground, in a civil and religious war. They have succeeded only in destabilizing the entire region, and continue to honor their own dead by insuring that more Americans and many more Afghanis will die in pursuit of a vague goal that makes no sense on any level, to wit, that no terrorist ever attacks the United States from Afghanistan again, completely ignoring that the attack in question came not from Afghanistan, but from airports and flight training centers in the United States and could just as easily have been organized in Peoria and operated from Dallas. But the killing and the waste goes on under the aegis of bobblehead politicians in Washington and their profiteering corporate masters.

Iraq? What’s to be said of Iraq? Only that George W. Bush and his cohort of amoral greedmeisters should long ago have been arrested and locked up in Guantanamo with the so-called terrorists from overseas. The Bushies would have been the real terrorists in Gitmo cages.

So while the Libyan fighters deserve their victory, the United States, which helped the Lions of Libya defeat their tyrant, once again appears to be the clumsy elephant in the room, the amoral giant which has eyes only for its bright and shiny drug of choice – oil – and cares not a whit who dies as it pursues its addiction, pursues it right to the graveyards of Asia and the Middle East as it makes a graveyard of the world.

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The March of Orwell’s Lemmings (You Listening, Barack?)(No, I’m Not!)
August 21, 2011

Good piece (short one) by Ray McGovern over at Common Dreams on the United States’ lemming march to the sea of Afghanistan (and other istans, if you will).

And BTW, according to one commenter (dreamdancer), the whole lemmings march into the sea myth was a cruel deception created by those wonderful animal abusers at the Disney Empire of Bambi.

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The Progressive Rips Obama’s ‘More War’ Speech
June 23, 2011

Matthew Rothschild over at The Progressive Magazine site takes apart President Obama’s speech on the so-called troop drawdown in Afghanistan.

Obama and his crew are bullshitting us, plain and simple. Thousands of people will die for his political rhetoric and his pandering to the forces of right-wing warmongering and stupidity.

For three years we’ve watched this guy, waiting for some real change, some real courage, only to discover he hasn’t got the balls to take on the right-wing scum whose only goal is to scuttle a Democratic administration and sink the country into a fascistic theocracy to enrich themselves.

He’s delusional. His policies are delusional. His advisers are delusional. They all fit right in with a delusional Republican-dominated government of greed, willful ignorance, and stiff-necked arrogance.

Nuts to the whole bunch of them.

I’ve got to go feed the cats. At least they’re smarter, and better company, that this bunch of Washington fools, clowns, and sociopaths.

Blacks Not As Dumb As Conservatives Like To Think
October 7, 2007

Republicans, Conservatives, Klanners, and Faux American Nazis, take notice. One of your big myths that you stroke yourselves with has always been that black people are dumber than you.

Now there’s absolute proof that you’re wrong, and that there really isn’t anyone dumber than you.

Front page of today’s Globe, lead story. Black enlistment in the military down by 58 percent over the last  six years.

Blacks aren’t so stupid, are they? They can read. They can make political judgments. They know a bad deal when they see one. They know a sleazy, lying President and a sleazy, lying Republican party when they see them. 

And hell, even white enlistment is down, but only by ten percent.

Could it possibly be that young people see right through the crap the Bush administration is throwing out there?

Can they be looking at multiple extended combat tours? Failed veteran’s healthcare systems that treat vets like dirt? Bush lies about ‘progress’ in Iraq? Iraqi lies about ‘progress’ in Iraq? Rich people not paying taxes? Wealthy white kids (like Romney’s five little hypocrites) not signing up while flapping their mouths to support the death and destruction in Bush’s wars? Incompetent and politicized military leadership?

And where are the kids of Congressmen? Not in Iraq, that’s for damn sure, and especially not the kids of Republican Congressmen who support the war.

Could it be that the economically and educationally and racially disadvantaged among us realize that the so-called war on terror is really a war by the United States government on its own people?

If so, they’re way ahead of the white middle class, and way way far ahead of anyone calling themselves a Republican or a Conservative.

Defense Department Awarding Employees The Iron Cross For Hate
October 2, 2007

The woman in the picture is Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Photo courtesy Common Dreams (commondreams.org) When several British Members of Parliament visited her at the Department of Defense on September 11, she said to them “I hate all Iranians.”

Here’s the original article.

The MPs were shocked, shocked that a member of the United States government could say such a thing. Apparently they’ve been unaware of the kind of people running the American government for the past several years.

The Lion would like to know why she is wearing a German Iron Cross while representing the government. Can we expect government employees soon to be mandated to start the day with a ‘Sieg Bush’? Perhaps Ms. Cagan is primping for a position as commandant of a Midwestern concentration camp for Iranians, and any others she can fit under her canopy of hatred?

Why is this woman still employed in a sensitive position in the Department of Defense?

How many others share her views but are not so stupid as to publicly declare such violent prejudices? They need to be rooted out,  then dropped naked in the middle of the night in Sadr City or some other equally inhospitable place where they can answer for American crimes against Iraqis. And that should happen before they can commit the massive crimes against the Iranian people that Crazy George has in mind.

These Republicans, these sociopathic degenerates who have brought so much useless, needless death and destruction into the world, belong in cages, not in American government.

Under All The Fancy Talk It’s The Same Old War
October 1, 2007

With all the talk of IEDs and EFPs, a person could lose sight of the facts.

IED = Improvised Explosive Device in Army talk.

EFP = Explosively Formed Penetrator in Army talk. It also equals an excuse for Crazy George to attack Iran.

But what are we talking about, really?

IED = land mine.

EFP = more sophisticated land mine.

How about Al Qaeda in Iraq equals guerrilla fighters, mostly native Iraqis who don’t much give a damn about Al Qaeda?

How about insurgents equal Iraqi patriots fighting against an invader?

Same old crap, just fancier names to make us think it’s different so we’ll be more anxious, more fearful, more knee-jerk patriotic instead of pissed off at and ashamed of the United States government.

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