Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago with a preview in late August before the full-scale rollout in September.

On Aug. 26, 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney – who remains something of a folk hero on Fox News – formally launched the lies leading to the U.S.-UK attack on Iraq seven months later. And on Aug. 30, 2013, another late-summer pitch was made for war on Syria, which came within 20 hours of a major U.S. aerial assault after Secretary of State John Kerry claimed falsely – no fewer than 35 times – to “know” that the Syrian government was responsible for using sarin nerve gas in an attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013.

Vice President Dick Cheney speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002. [Source: White House]

Vice President Dick Cheney speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002. [Source: White House]

Unlike 12 years ago, however, when the Pentagon was run by Field Marshal Donald Rumsfeld and the military martinets who called themselves generals but danced to his tune, war with Syria was averted last year when Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey talked sense into President Barack Obama who was on the verge of bending to the Cheney-esque hawks still perched atop the U.S. State Department.

Now, in late August 2014, as if to mark Cheney’s day of deceit a dozen Augusts ago, the Washington Post editorialized: “Stepping back into the fray: Stopping the Islamic State will require ‘boots on the ground.’” As is its custom, the Post offered no enlightenment on what motivates jihadists to do unspeakably evil things – in other words, “why they hate us” – or why Gulf allies of the U.S. fund them with such largesse.

Sadly, the thinking of Establishment Washington is no more refined today that it was on Jan. 8, 2010, when the late Helen Thomas asked then-White House counter-terrorism czar and now CIA Director John Brennan why the “underwear bomber,” who on Dec. 25, 2009, tried to down a U.S. passenger plane, did what he did. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Answering Helen Thomas on Why”.]

Hardwired to Hate

Thomas: “And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”

Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents… They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”

Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”

Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”

Thomas: “Why?”

Brennan: “I think this is a — long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”

Neither has President Obama or anyone else in the U.S. political/media hierarchy. All the American public gets is boilerplate about how al-Qaeda evildoers are perverting a religion and exploiting impressionable young men. There is almost no discussion about why so many people in the Muslim world object to U.S. policies so strongly that they are inclined to resist violently and even resort to suicide attacks.

It is the same now. Lacking is any frank discussion by America’s leaders and media about the real motivation of Muslim anger toward the United States? Why was Helen Thomas the only journalist to raise the touchy but central question of motive? But I digress.

The Almost-War on Syria

Why did Kerry mislead the world last Aug. 30 in professing to “know” that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical attack near Damascus nine days earlier when Kerry and other senior officials knew there were doubts and dissension within the U.S. intelligence community over who was responsible for the incident? It is crystal clear now that Kerry did not know with any certainty whether the army or the rebels fired the one missile that UN inspectors later found to have carried sarin.

Typically, Kerry adduced no verifiable evidence, and what his minions leaked over the following weeks could not bear close scrutiny. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case”] (Parenthetically, Kerry also does not know what he professes to know about the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17.)

The key question today is whether Gen. Dempsey can hold off the hawks at the State Department again, as he did a year ago to prevent another ready-to-go U.S. attack on Syria … or maybe Iraq again … or how about Ukraine.

A Reluctant Soldier

Late last summer, Dempsey had the good sense to be a reluctant soldier. He had already told Congress that a major attack on Syria should require congressional authorization and that he was aware that the “evidence” adduced to implicate the Syrian government was shaky at best.

Besides, British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the Aug. 21 attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal.

The British warning that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to journalist Seymour Hersh, American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the President, which they believe led to his cancelling the attack. [See Hersh’s “The Red Line and the Rat Line.”]

Actually, it was no secret that Dempsey helped change President Obama’s mind between when Kerry spoke on the afternoon of Aug. 30, all but promising a U.S. attack on Syria, and when Obama announced less than a day later that he would not attack but rather would seek authorization from Congress. Obama was explicit in citing  Dempsey, saying on the early afternoon of Aug. 31:

“Our military has positioned assets in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive: it will be effective tomorrow, next week, or one month from now.”

The failure to stampede Obama and the U.S. military into a bombing campaign against Syria was a major defeat for those who wanted another shot at a Mideast “regime change,” primarily the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies who hold sway inside the State Department, not to mention in much of the U.S. mainstream news media. By happenstance, I was given a personal window into the neocon distress over the Syria bombing that wasn’t when I found myself sharing a “green room” with some of them at CNN’s main studio in Washington. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How War on Syria Lost Its Way.”]

How About Ukraine?

Many neocons fumed about Gen. Dempsey’s role in pulling the plug on their Syrian war plans. And, if the world is lucky, the neocons may have more reason to grumble about Gen. Dempsey if he deters direct U.S. military involvements in one or another of their hoped-for wars now, especially their reckless efforts to escalate the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. It is a safe bet that Dempsey is again warning the President that there are risks that the Russian bear will do more than just snarl if it continues to be poked by the U.S.-installed coup government in Kiev.

 

One can hope that at the Sept. 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, Dempsey and other cool heads, who have had some experience in war, will again be able to head off the hotheads advocating gratuitous threatening gestures toward Russia.

This will take courage and stamina, since ill-informed “group think,” aided and abetted by the mainstream media, has taken hold in Washington in a way reminiscent of this same time 12 years ago.  Sadly, there was no Martin Dempsey at hand then.

The malleable careerist generals whom Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld picked to serve him – like JCS Chairman Richard Myers – could be counted on to salute smartly to all of the boss’ decisions – even on torture. Ex-General Colin Powell – who was Peter-Principled up to be Secretary of State – was cut from the same cloth. So Rumsfeld together with his partner-in-crime Vice President Dick Cheney had a free hand.

By all appearances, except for Dempsey and his immediate staff, hawkish “group think” continues to reign supreme in the foreign policy and defense councils of Establishment Washington. It is as though nothing was learned from the destruction and chaos left behind after the U.S./UK invasion and occupation of Iraq beginning in March 2003.

Anatomy of a Consequential Lie

With Rumsfeld controlling the Pentagon, Vice President Dick Cheney led the charge exactly 12 years ago. Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002, Cheney launched the propaganda campaign for war on Iraq, falsely claiming, “We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. … Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.”

Cheney went on to warn that UN inspectors were worse than useless since they fostered a false sense of security.

Cheney’s speech provided the recipe for how the intelligence was to be cooked in September 2002. In effect, the speech provided the meretricious terms of reference and conclusions for a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) requested by Congress a few weeks later and completed on Oct. 1.

We now know that Robert Walpole, the intelligence official selected to chair the NIE, was receiving guidance from Cheney during the record-short drafting period. We also know that the NIE was wrong on every major judgment. Its purpose, though, was to deceive Congress out of exercising its constitutional prerogative to declare or otherwise authorize war. And the stratagem worked like a charm.

To their discredit, many in the intelligence community knew of Cheney’s and Walpole’s playing fast and loose with the evidence and the White House’s determination to pave the way to war. Those intelligence officials, however, simply held their noses. No one spoke out. Careers of bureaucrats were placed before lives of soldiers and civilians.

The whole orchestration was a fairy tale, and Cheney and his co-conspirators knew it full well. A leading spinner of such tales, Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, later bragged about his role in facilitating the spurious claims of WMD in Iraq. He said, “Saddam is gone. … What was said before is not important. … We are heroes in error.”

Keeping Mouths Wide Shut

Back to the VFW convention on Aug. 26, 2002: sitting on the stage that evening was former CENTCOM commander Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who was being honored by the VFW. Zinni later said he was shocked to hear a depiction of intelligence (Iraq has WMDs and is amassing them to use against us) that did not square with what he knew.

Although Zinni had retired two years before, his role as consultant had enabled him to keep his clearances and stay up to date on key intelligence findings. Zinni is among a handful of senior officials, active duty and retired, who could have obstructed the path to war, had they spoken out at the time.

Three and a half years later, Zinni told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “There was no solid proof that Saddam had WMD. … I heard a case being made to go to war.” Zinni had earlier enjoyed a reputation as a straight shooter, with occasional displays of actual courage. And so the question lingers: why did he not make inquiries and – if necessary – go public before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq?

It is an all too familiar conundrum. In such situations, when there is powerful political momentum for war, senior military leaders, like Bre’r Fox, usually don’t say nuthin’. And, almost always, their reticence comes out badly for everyone else, but they still get to sit on corporate boards and make a ton of money.

It is a safe bet Zinni now regrets letting himself be guided – or misguided — by what passes for professional courtesy and/or slavish adherence to classification restrictions, when he might have prevented the U.S. from starting the kind of war of aggression branded at Nuremberg as the “supreme international crime.”

Tenet Completely Complicit

Zinni was not the only one taken aback by Cheney’s words. Then-CIA Director George Tenet recounted in his memoir that Cheney’s speech took him completely by surprise. Tenet wrote, “I had the impression that the president wasn’t any more aware than we were of what his number-two was going to say to the VFW until he said it.”

Tenet added that he thought Cheney had gone well beyond what U.S. intelligence was saying about the possibility of Iraq acquiring a nuclear weapon, adding piously, “Policy makers have a right to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts. … I should have told the vice president privately that, in my view, his VFW speech had gone too far.” Tenet doesn’t tell us whether he ever summoned the courage to tell President George W. Bush, although he briefed him several times a week.

Actually, Cheney’s exaggeration could not have come as a complete surprise to Tenet. We know from the Downing Street Minutes, leaked to the press on May 1, 2005, that on July 20, 2002 — more than a month before Cheney’s speech — Tenet himself had told his British counterpart that President Bush had decided to make war on Iraq for regime change and that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

When Bush’s senior advisers came back to town after Labor Day 2002, the next five weeks were devoted to selling the war, a major “new product” of the kind that, as then-White House chief of staff Andrew Card explained, no one would introduce in the month of August. Except that Cheney did.

After assuring themselves that Tenet was a reliable salesman, Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowed him to play a supporting role in advertising bogus claims of yellowcake uranium from Niger, aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment, and mobile trailers for manufacturing biological warfare agents, in order to scare Congress into voting for war. It did on Oct. 10 and 11, 2002.

Bush’s Knowledge

Was President Bush not warned of the likely impact of his attack on Iraq? He had been earlier, but the malleable Tenet opted to join the “group think” and told his minions that, if the President wants to make war on Iraq, it’s our duty to provide the “evidence” to justify it. Forgotten or suppressed were earlier warnings from the CIA about how an attack on Iraq would mean a growth industry for manufacturing terrorists.

In a major speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, four days before Congress voted for war, the President warned that “the risk is simply too great that Saddam Hussein will use instruments of mass death and destruction, or provide them to a terror network.”

In a sad irony, on that same day, a letter from the CIA to the Senate Intelligence Committee asserted that the probability is low that Iraq would initiate an attack with such weapons or give them to terrorists — UNLESS: “Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.”

In a same-day assessment of Colin Powell’s deceptive speech at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) warned the President to beware of those who “draw a connection between war with Iraq and terrorism, but for the wrong reasons. The connection takes on much more reality in a post-US invasion scenario. Indeed, it is our view that an invasion of Iraq would ensure overflowing recruitment centers for terrorists into the indefinite future. Far from eliminating the threat it would enhance it exponentially.” We continued:

“We recommend you re-read the CIA assessment of last fall [2002] that pointed out ‘the forces fueling hatred of the US and fueling al Qaeda recruiting are not being addressed,’ and that ‘the underlying causes that drive terrorists will persist.’ We also noted that a “CIA report cited a Gallup poll last year of almost 10,000 Muslims in nine countries in which respondents described the United States as ‘ruthless, aggressive, conceited, arrogant, easily provoked and biased.’”

But the “group think” had already set in. And courage at senior ranks in the military was in short supply. No one had the guts to properly discharge the responsibility of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the principal military adviser to the President. This is the role that Gen. Martin Dempsey stepped up to a year ago and, in the process, prevented wider war in the Middle East.

One can only hope that President Obama, in current circumstances, will keep listening to military advisers who know something about war — and why it should never be casually commenced.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and CIA analyst for 30 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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23 comments on “Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

  1. AlfredHimmelfarber on said:

    I agree with the sentiment of you and the VIPS, but you presume incorrectly that the Bush administration and so many within the U.S. establishment were, and are, interested in the truth or concerned with the lives of anyone on Earth, least of all the Americans citizens themselves. To them we are all as commodities to be extracted and sold, resources to be exploited, or just rubbish to be incinerated and swept out the way. (Here goes…) They are worse than the NAZIs! The Nazi’s, at least, had style. What did we get? George W. Bush, a man who could not even speak American English.
    But really, all of your American military, “intelligence” business, and other branches of putative government do seem determined to create war, death, destruction and misery, not to avoid or prevent it, domestically as well as internationally. U.S. citizens suffer domestic abuse.

  2. F. G. Sanford on said:

    Please see article posted on OpEdNews.com by Eric London entitled, “Former CIA Lawyer Defends Torture in Der Spiegel Interview”. London writes,

    “Nevertheless, Rizzo is sufficiently confident that he faces no legal threat from the Obama administration, Congress or the courts, and can rely on the American media to cover up his crimes, that he boasts of his role in the torture program to a major international publication.”

    “Rizzo’s interview should be taken as a warning to the working class. It reveals the prevalence within the highest echelons of the American state of fascistic elements who would have had no problem serving as functionaries of Hitler’s Gestapo or SS.”

    This article should scare the living daylights out of Americans, but no “mainstream” media sources have reported on it.

  3. While the US is using the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) as a pretext to carry out these intrusions into Syrian territory, it was the US itself that created and to this day perpetuates ISIS and other extremist militant fronts amid a documented attempt to reorder the entire Middle East.

    What is expected to follow is an incremental expansion of US military intervention in eastern Syria that will include further arming and funding of the very terrorist networks it claims it is violating Syria’s borders to attack, culminating in eventual military operations carried out against the Syria government itself.

    …the US claims that the Syrian government holds no control and therefor no jurisdiction over its eastern most territories, allowing the US and its partners to invade, occupy, and control the region. Under the pretense of fighting ISIS, the US has already declared it would provide greater funding, arms, and support for “moderates” who would then be able to seek refuge in eastern Syria with absolute impunity from Syrian forces, allowing the West’s terrorist proxies to operate deeper and more effectively in territory closer to Damascus.

    In reality, these so-called “moderates” demonstrably never existed. The West has so far failed to explain how their funding, arms, training, and aid programs amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars and representing the collective resources of America, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have somehow been “eclipsed” by ISIS forces. This is of course because the collective resources of the West and its regional allies were intentionally directed into the hands of ISIS and other extremists from the onset of the Syrian conflict.

    Order Out of Chaos

    By creating ISIS, directing it to this very day, while simultaneously using it as a pretext for direct military intervention, the West sets a dangerous precedent where in any nation that is able to create sufficient chaos within the borders of another nation, can then use this chaos to reorder politically and economically any society they will.

    America’s Creeping Into Syria Will Hang Itself in Ukraine
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2014/08/americas-creeping-into-syria-will-hang.html

    • Joe Tedesky on said:

      Abe to further your point as per your link article. On Tuesday evening 8/26/14 Chris Hayes MSNBC interviewed Marie Harf Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. State department (formerly spokesperson for the CIA). Marie Harf made the comment that Syria has allowed IS to expand. I found her wording very troublesome considering that IS has been an enemy of the Syrian government. She was making the point how right it would be for us to go into Syria chasing this IS terror group. Marie Harf made it sound as though Syria condoned the IS terror group. So we will need to see what our U.S. military does within the Syrian borders.

      Also, does our U.S. government invading across other countries borders suggest that this is okay …like Russia attacking Ukraine????

    • Yes, J.T., the official conflation will no doubt intensify as the US leverages its ISIS proxies in order to open a back door bombing campaign against Syrian government forces.

      If this endgame is allowed to proceed, a post-Assad Syria will resemble post-Gaddafi Libya, and Israel will advance further into Syrian territory to establish a generous “security zone.”

  4. Hillary on said:

    “ I should have told the vice president privately”
    Quoted as from the “ malleable Tenet” who did like everyone else looking to preserve their careers opted to join the “group think” and told his minions that, if the President wants to make war on Iraq, it’s our duty to provide the “evidence” to justify it.

    Tenet went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush obviously for a job well done.

  5. “The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”: How the U.S. is Using ISIS as a Pretext for War Against Syria
    http://silentcrownews.com/wordpress/?p=3320

  6. Who ya gonna believe, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, or your own lyin’ eyes?
    ————–
    ‘No Russian troops in Ukraine’: Moscow’s OSCE rep responds to Kiev’s claims
    http://rt.com/news/183356-russia-poroshenko-invasion-ukraine/

    The OSCE was told there was no Russian presence spotted across the Ukraine border, refuting Thursday’s claims that a full-scale invasion was underway. Both the Ukrainian monitoring team head and Russia’s representative have given a firm ‘no.’

    The chorus of allegations about Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine had President Poroshenko calling for an emergency meeting of the country’s security and defense council, while Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on Thursday called for a Russian asset freeze.

    No actual evidence has been given either by either foreign governments or the media, apart from claims that photographs exist that someone had “seen.”

    “I have made a decision to cancel my working visit to the Republic of Turkey due to sharp aggravation of the situation in Donetsk region, particularly in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo, as Russian troops were brought into Ukraine,” Petro Poroshenko said in a statement on his website.

    The Russian representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin, meanwhile, has given a firm response to the allegations, saying that “we have said that no Russian involvement has been spotted, there are no soldiers or equipment present.”

    “Accusations relating to convoys of armored personnel carriers have been heard during the past week and the week before that,” he said. “All of them were proven false back then, and are being proven false again now.”

    Poroshenko, in the meantime, is going to call for a meeting of the UN Security Council. “The world must provide assessment of sharp aggravation of the situation in Ukraine,” he added.

    The Ukrainian president added that on Thursday there will be a meeting of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to elaborate the plan for further action.

    “The President must stay in Kyiv today,” he said.

    Given the confusion arising out of the recent capture of Russian paratroopers and the subsequent videos with interviews released by the Ukrainian security services, tensions were easily stoked over Thursday’s supposed invasion. Now, the government is going to the US, EU and the G7 to ask for a freeze on Russian assets until their troops withdraw.

    Meanwhile, the OSCE has announced that it’s calling an emergency meeting in Vienna – for the second time in August.

    When the head of its Ukraine mission, Paul Picard, was asked if the monitoring team saw any evidence of Russia crossing the border with troops and tanks, the answer was “no.” He told journalists of round-the-clock surveillance by a team of 16 people. The team said “we are hearing shooting, but it’s difficult to tell just how far.”

    This didn’t stop the Ukrainian government from alleging that the border town of Novoazovsk in the south-east has fallen under Russian control – a mix of troops and members of the eastern-Ukrainian uprising.

    Ukraine’s own representative to the OSCE, Ihor Prokopchuk also said that “what we registered was a direct invasion of the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine… an act of aggression.”

    For his part, Russian envoy Kelin said “We only know that the mayor of Novoazovsk said that after 10 rounds of artillery were heard, the Ukrainian soldiers retreated from the city, and the self-defense forces entered,” .

    He added that “the Ukrainian ambassador has offered no claims to counter this information.”

    The Western media has been exploding with allegations, with everyone from the CNN to the New York Times going about the task in a very similar manner: quoting Ukrainian politicians’ views on Russia, as well as US figures, the ambassador to Ukraine and the State Department. One similarity could be spotted: they all centered on passionate statements – no evidence – and were followed by a big background into things that took place over the past week.

    Whenever there was any mention of someone actually seeing Russian tanks, it seemed a mobile phone was never on hand to take a photograph.

  7. Who ya gonna believe, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, or your own lyin’ eyes?
    ————–

    ‘No Russian troops in Ukraine’: Moscow’s OSCE rep responds to Kiev’s claims
    http://rt.com/news/183356-russia-poroshenko-invasion-ukraine/

    The OSCE was told there was no Russian presence spotted across the Ukraine border, refuting Thursday’s claims that a full-scale invasion was underway. Both the Ukrainian monitoring team head and Russia’s representative have given a firm ‘no.’

    The chorus of allegations about Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine had President Poroshenko calling for an emergency meeting of the country’s security and defense council, while Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on Thursday called for a Russian asset freeze.

    No actual evidence has been given either by either foreign governments or the media, apart from claims that photographs exist that someone had “seen.”

  8. UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman briefed the Security Council on developments in Ukraine
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?321183-2/un-security-council-meeting-ukraine

    Without providing evidence, Feltman spoke of “deeply alarming reports of Russian military involvement in this new wave of escalation.”

    Feltman served as US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2009 to June 2012. He was previously the United States Ambassador to Lebanon from July 2004 to January 2008.

    Before becoming Ambassador to Lebanon, Feltman served at the Coalition Provisional Authority office in Irbil, Iraq, from January to April 2004. Prior to his work in Iraq, he was at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, where he served first as Deputy (August 2001-November 2002) and then as Acting Principal Officer (November 2002 to December 2003).

    Feltman served in the US Embassy in Tel Aviv as Ambassador Martin Indyk’s Special Assistant on Peace Process issues (2000–2001). Before that, from 1998–2000, he served as Chief of the Political and Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia. From 1995 to 1998, he served in the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv covering economic issues in the Gaza Strip. From 1991 to 1993, he served in the office of the Deputy Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, as a Special Assistant concentrating on the coordination of U.S. assistance to Eastern and Central Europe.

  9. Hillary on said:

    If this endgame is allowed to proceed, a post-Assad Syria will resemble post-Gaddafi Libya, and Israel will advance further into Syrian territory to establish a generous “security zone.”
    Abe on August 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm :

    Yes Abe you are right and that has been the plan pushed by the PNAC neocons since 1996 ..

    Somehow Israel’s goal of divide , control and dominate from the Suez to the Persian Gulf is being carried out with immense cost in blood and treasure by successive US Administrations on Israel’s behalf .

    Meanwhile the annexation of Palestine will proceed as Ben Gurion had intended.

    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” – David Ben-Gurion,Prime Minister of Israel (1948-53, 1955-63)
    http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/israel/documents/exchange/01-02.htm

    Our latest national Middle East nightmare that was kicked started with 9/11 is far from over as the status quo continues to protect the status quo.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIm8SwQlbVw

  10. F. G. Sanford on said:

    My guess? IS…will fizz. We’re not talking about a “geo-strategic force” here. True, a lot of effort has been expended to inflate the notion that they are an “apocalyptic” force. We’ve heard that they are supermen, practically invincible, unstoppable, an expanding force with no geographic limits, etc. etc. etc. The truth is, they are a bunch of assholes wearing black pajamas. Estimates of their strength ranges from 20-100 thousand (Precise, isn’t it?). Sure, they are committing atrocities, which means they lack any moral restraint. That should confirm that they also lack any cohesive ideology, so there is really no motivation to loyalty based on common interests. As long as they get paid, they’ll keep doing it. They have no “lines of communication and supply” as would a cohesive military organization. They steal stuff to survive, and that is destroying any sympathy they might garner from local populations. Mainly, they have expanded into territory that is sparsely populated, so they are “holding territory” that is mostly sand. The essence of insurgency warfare is, “hold no territory”. They are breaking the first rule. As a hodgepodge force made up of fighters from a dozen countries (estimates include 300 Americans), many of them can’t even speak each others’ languages. Most of their accomplishments have been murdering civilians and children and committing horrific atrocities which result in “newsworthy” over-coverage. This ramps up moral outrage in the U.S. in order to justify an intervention. But, these atrocities are also leading to infighting among their own ranks, which is demoralizing even some of the most ardent “true believers”. Yes, it’s true, the goal is to create a casus belli to justify American intervention in Syria. The trick is whether or not the whole train-wreck will hold together long enough to permit the lying mainstream media to whip up sufficient public support for another American open-ended debacle with no end game, no exit strategy and no prospect for a stable peace after the inevitable disaster. Yes, open ended war is attractive to the DC war hawks. But at some point, the Wahhabist underpinnings of this whole abortion may turn whatever wrath it has left against Saudi Arabia. Americans are sure to enjoy the resulting eleven dollars a gallon at the pump, which is what the Europeans are paying. I think it’s gonna be a cold winter for everybody, not just the Nazis in Ukraine.

  11. ISIS/al-Qaeda ad nauseum is a “geostategic power tool” not because it constitutes an actual force majeure, but because it has been successfully portrayed as such. Wer hat Angst vorm Schwarzen Mann?

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      I can’t comment on your German, but you’ve spelled geostRategic wrong…TWICE!

      • Ach du lieber Himmel! Thanks for the alert, F.G. That verdammte keyboard placement of r and t is clear evidence of a conspiracy.

        Wer hat Angst vorm schwarzen Mann? (Who is afraid of the black man?) is an active game for children.

        The common German expression “der schwarze Mann” (the black man in English) refers to some inhuman creature which carries children away, hides in dark corners under the bed or in the closet, or lurks in the forest. Not sure if black pajamas and decapitation are part of the lore.

  12. Actually it all started with the attack on Serbia.

  13. Bill Michtom on said:

    “the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago.”

    This leaves out the sanctions against Iraq that began in 1990 and continued until 2003, killing roughly half a million children under five, as was made clear by Lesley Stahl’s interview with Madeleine Albright. Stahl: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” and Albright replied “we think the price is worth it.”

    And that’s ONLY the children.

  14. Scott Fulmer on said:

    It is important not to forget the deadly lies. But now it seems that people are powerless to stop the culture with its established money, media, and military. The “group think” doesn’t seem like it’s limited to Bush/Cheney. We never have gotten full, honest explanations of deep politics like the 63 coup, etc. What is it going to take?