Is U.S. Policy to Prolong the Syrian War?

Many are claiming that Trump is being inconsistent in illegally attacking the Syrian regime with cruise missiles. 

After all, he had been saying the U.S. should focus on defeating ISIS, and now he seems to be going after Assad. But contradictions from Trump are a dime a dozen. 

A closer examination shows a deeper pattern of remarkable consistency in U.S. policy toward Syria that is far more critical than the perennial contradictions of politicians like Trump.  

To summarize U.S. actions and non-actions in terms of direct publicly announced U.S. air attacks targeting the Syrian regime: In 2013, when Assad was losing the war, Obama refrained from strikes that may well have ended his regime. Now, four years later, when Assad seems close to winning the war, Trump with a revamped NSC does a 180 on his previous pronouncements and attacks Assad.

Push away the personalities. Dispense with the rhetoric. Free yourself from the spin cycle that much of the media obsess over. Just follow the policy. 

The evidence is that the underlying U.S. policy -- whether the president is Obama or Trump -- is to prolong the Syrian war as much as possible. Let Assad off the hook when he's cornered, hit him when he's about to win. 

Martin Luther King Escalated his Attack on Vietnam War and Establishment Media 50 Years Ago

After Martin Luther King, Jr was denounced by major media following his April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, he actually responded in stronger terms, including in this Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967:

Excerpts on YouTube:

The sermon which I am preaching this morning in a sense is not the usual kind of sermon, but it is a sermon and an important subject, nevertheless, because the issue that I will be discussing today is one of the most controversial issues confronting our nation. I'm using as a subject from which to preach, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam." 

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice. The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. 

Ilan Pappe Response to Questions on Expulsion And Genocide

I asked author Ilan Pappe what -- exactly --was preventing Israel from doing another mass expulsion. The following question was about why he doesn't use the term genocide. I don't agree with all Pappe said, and will likely come back to this with some depth, but it was a thoughtful reply on some of the core, long term issues. (I'd be happy to post if someone transcribed this.)

Behind the Liberal Embrace of Trump's Speech

I can't say I'm surprised by the liberal turn on Trump. I said a couple of weeks ago that Trump and the establishment media were like George and Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" What I meant was that they are a deranged, destructive couple who argue like mad, but ultimately collude to destroy others. So, anger and hate give way to insidious bond and admiration in how they each fulfill their roles in the larger manipulative project.

So, Van Jones is admiring of Trump now really "becoming the President" because of Trump's emotional manipulation in the person of Carryn Owens. Jones did this because he's a triangulator himself and because he is very much part of the continuing imperial project.

Some of this rather reminds me of how the media used Jessica Lynch to pretend she was in danger to continue selling the invasion of Iraq at a critical moment in 2003. The actual scandals are pushed aside: The criminal invasion of Iraq then; the US-backed Saudi destruction of Yemen now.

Disinformation and emotional manipulation for the privileged "race" of USians is the order of the day. Feminism and femininity are weaponized as all emotion is focused on one person to the exclusion of the suffering of others. I imagine it's how The Passion Plays were used to fuel hatred of Jews; it's how Israel uses the Nazi Holocaust to excuse all its criminality.

The other major such manipulation last night was highlighting African American "victims" of public schools and "illegal immigrants". This allows Trump to ridiculously pose as an anti-racist xenophobe. As Martin Luther King warned in his final days: "We're integrating into a burning house."

Video: Schumer Eventually Calls Israel's Nuclear Arsenal a "Fact", Cuts off Further Questioning

A day before President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at the National Press Club Newsmaker on February 27, 2016. 

Sam Husseini questioned Chuck Schumer about Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal:


Full exchange here

Sam Husseini: You voted for the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, claiming Iraq was vigorously pursuing nuclear weapons. Do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons?[another question directed at Nancy Pelosi] ...

SH: Senator Schumer -- on Israel's nukes -- do you acknowledge --

Chuck Schumer: I didn't get your question.

SH: Do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons, sir?
 
CS: I'm not -- you can -- go read the newspapers about that. [walks away from podium] 

SH: You can't acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons, sir?

CS: It is a well known fact that Israel has nuclear weapons, but the Israeli government doesn't officially talk about what kinds of weapons and where, etc.

SH: Should the U.S. government be forthright?

CS: Ok, that's it.

Jeff Ballou (National Press Club President, news editor at Al Jazeera): Ok, we'll move on.

----

There are a number of problems with Schumer's response. 

Roger Mattson, author of Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel notes: "First Schumer tried to duck the question, then, trying to be forthright, he went further than anyone of his stature has gone before, at least to my knowledge. Too bad the moderator did not realize you were plowing new ground, or maybe he did realize that and cut [it] off intentionally."

Another is that Israel does not simply not "officially talk about what kinds of weapons and where" -- it refuses to acknowledge that they exist at all. This has been echoed by U.S. administration after U.S. administration which have refused to acknowledge the existence of Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal. See: The Absurd U.S. Stance on Israel’s Nukes: A Video Sampling of Denial." 

Grant Smith of Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy has noted: "DOE Classification Bulletin WPN-136 on Foreign Nuclear Capabilities’ forbids stating what 63.9 percent of Americans already know -- that Israel has a nuclear arsenal.” See: "Israel Silently Lapping Field in “Mideast Nuclear Arms Race

Smith suggests: "So a final question would be: 'Since aid to non-NNPT countries is subject to the Arms Export Control Act sanctions, why do you keep passing it?'"

More coming on this issue. 

[Thanks to Ingrid Monkiewicz and Andrew Stewart] 

Video: Pelosi Ducks Question on Impeachment

[A day before President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at the National Press Club Newsmaker on February 27, 2016.] 


Sam Husseini: "You said that there are no grounds for impeachment against Donald Trump, but legal scholars from Catherine Ross at GW to Laurence Tribe at Harvard say there is. Laurence Tribe recently said, 'Congress cannot give consent to a President's violation of the domestic emoluments clause.' Are you not giving such consent?" 

Nancy Pelosi: "We have to -- the case is being made about the emoluments, and you have to have evidence, and the rest, but the case has not fully been made.

"The fact is, is that when I was Speaker, after we won in '06, and in '07 people wanted me to impeach President Bush because the war in Iraq. But there's a big -- I've never recovered with the left on this subject for not impeaching President Bush because of the war in Iraq. Well, you don't impeach somebody because you don't like their policies. When they break the law, that's when you have grounds for impeachment. And at the time of the war I said, as a top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee: 'The intelligence does not support the threat,' and so did Senator Bob Graham. 

"But the administration was making this strong case with the American people, and perhaps misrepresenting [to] the American people could be cause for impeachment. If so, there's plenty of grounds right now with the current President, but it just, just isn't the case. That doesn't mean nobody's listening to cases that are being made in a very scientific, methodical way, as to whether there are grounds for impeachment. But the fact is, is that many of, we're trying to unite the country, and many of the president's supporters are just not ready to accept the fact that their judgment might not have been so great in voting for him, and by the time the case is made perhaps they'll be ready to accept that. It's very hard, impeachment. It's very hard.

Thanks to Ingrid Monkiewicz and Andrew Stewart. 

On Alan Colmes

I'm genuinely saddened to hear of death of Alan Colmes, but to be honest, next thought to go through my head was that perhaps his death shows you can only be a liberal punching bag for so long before major health risks arise. I think Alan would appreciate that in his own way.... I remember the first time I went on the old "Hannity and Colmes" Show and they explained Colmes would be in my corner. I joked he'd take a bullet for me. He was like, yeah, right and we all had a good laugh.... Colmes' death is a good time to note that at the beginning, in the 90s, FNC -- while it obviously skewed right -- did offer up serious debate. Lots of allies would get on regularly. That's actually how it built up its audience in large part. It's rather similar to how Al Jazeera Arabic built up its viewership around the same time -- by offering up freewheeling debate. And, after building up an audience, both networks would use that power to push their own horrible agendas.

The Irony of Trump's Sweden Comment: What Bin Laden said

Re Trump's recent comments on Sweden

People of America this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan, and deals with the war and its causes and results.

Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom.

If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example -- Sweden?

-- Osama bin Laden in a 2004 videotaped address to the American people on the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

Progressives Need to Think Through Implications of Flynn's Resignation

[A slightly edited version of this was first published by The Progressive.]

Many so-called progressives are stoked that Trump's National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned charges surrounding his discussions with a Russian ambassador while Trump was president-elect.

Congressional Democrats want to use this to go after Trump. Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "After Flynn resignation, FBI must accelerate its investigation of the Trump Administration's Russian connection."

Even before Flynn's resignation, Rep. Maxine Waters did a segment on "Democracy Now:" "Trump Should Be Impeached If He Colluded with Russians Ahead of Election." 

There's certainly reasons to want to see Flynn go -- he recently put Iran "on notice" while the White House tried to gin up the case against Iran

And there are obvious reasons to try to impeach Trump that don't require congress people to qualify them with an "if" -- his violations of the "emoluments clauses."

But it's perhaps easier, more "nationalistic" and ultimately horrifying for "progressives" and others with an alleged interest in peace to be harping on the Russian angle. 

The Clinton campaign repeated that time and again during the campaign -- with disastrous results. Clinton talked about Russia and Trump talked about jobs in the rust belt. Guess who won the presidency?  

Many so-called progressives are in effect making an alliance with the most war-mongering parts of the U.S. establishment. They are in effect buttressing incredibly dubious notions of U.S. victimology and demonizing official enemies that increase U.S. militarism and the likelihood for confrontation with the other nation on the planet that could destroy the planet a hundred times over. 

Farid Yousef Husseiny, 1932-2017

My dad died this [Thursday] morning in Amman -- as he had been saying he wanted. It was fairly fast. I was with him. I'd gotten up around 9, saw him going back to bed from the bathroom, gave him a rub on the back as he went for more sleep and a few minutes later, I heard gasping. I thought maybe he was having a bad dream, but he was gasping for breath, seemed to pull away his oxygen tube. I put it back, kept rubbing and patting, called my cousin Hind who was coming over and neighbors who called 911. We were supposed to fly to the US tonight for a TAVR heart valve operation. He spent last night talking to pastor neighbor, saying he wanted to be with Jesus, that his sins were cleansed. I took this picture of him yesterday, proudly showing his file of documentation of our family's property around Tiberius, stolen by the Israeli state agencies.