Obama Does ‘Stupid Stuff’ in ISIS War

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama famously counseled his foreign policy team “don’t do stupid stuff,” but he is now violating his own principle by plunging into an incoherent war policy in Iraq and Syria rather than challenging the stupid “group think” of Official Washington, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett explain.

Official Washington’s Syrian ‘Fantasy’

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. (Photo credit: Aude)

Exclusive: It is perhaps not news that the U.S. government bases wars on illusions, such as the nonexistent WMD in Iraq, but it is rare when there is a broad consensus before the conflict begins that a war’s success rests on a “fantasy” like the chimera of “moderate” Syrian rebels, reports Robert Parry.

Ellsberg Sees Vietnam-Like Risks in ISIS War

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers exposing the Vietnam War lies, is alarmed at the many parallels between Vietnam and President Obama’s new military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as Barbara Koeppel reports.

Standing Up for Lessons of Dissent

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, a powerful example of how dissenters have addressed injustice in America and given meaning to democracy.

There is a general belief that Americans don’t care much about history, preferring to bask in self-reverential “exceptionalism” with U.S. behavior beyond criticism. But students outside Denver are taking to the streets to protest right-wing efforts to strip dissent from the history curriculum, writes Peter Dreier.

A Poison Pill for the Iran-Nuke Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

Many in Congress continue to march in lockstep with the dictates of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who wants endless hostility toward Iran even if that torpedoes a deal to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. That includes a pointless demand for a past confession, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Oh, What a Webb We Weave…

Journalist Gary Webb.

Despite overwhelming evidence linking the CIA to drug traffickers, that sordid reality remains one of the great taboos of the mainstream U.S. media, which rallies to destroy anyone who points out the facts, a fate that befell journalist Gary Webb, as Greg Maybury explains.

Beheadings v. Drone Assassinations

A Predator drone firing a missile.

As gruesome as the Islamic Front’s videotaped beheadings are, there is ambiguity over whether the U.S. government’s death-by-drone is any less horrific, with some victims crawling about with severed limbs and others just collateral damage, a moral dilemma addressed by ex-FBI official Coleen Rowley.

Neocons’ Noses Into the Syrian Tent

Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post.

Exclusive: The neocons say the next step in President Obama’s bombing raids inside Syria must be to move from attacking the terrorist Islamic State to destroying Syria’s air force and air defenses, all the better to achieve the neocons’ long-sought “regime change,” reports Robert Parry.

Hung Out to Dry

Contra-Cocaine Poster by Robbie Conal (robbieconal.com)

From the Archive: With Hollywood poised to release “Kill the Messenger,” a movie showing how the mainstream U.S. media destroyed journalist Gary Webb for reviving the Contra-cocaine scandal in the mid-1990s, we are reposting Georg Hodel’s 1997 account of how Webb was betrayed by his own editors.

The Case of Tariq Khdeir

A map showing Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

Even as President Obama launches a new war against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, the politics of Official Washington won’t allow for pressure on Israel to end one of the principal drivers of that extremism, oppression of the Palestinians, as shown in the case of Tariq Khdeir, described by Marjorie Cohn.

The Chile Coup, 9/11 and James Foley

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an ISIS operative.

Time and history sometimes intertwine in ways more poetic than linear, such as the multiple crimes associated with the date September 11 and the legacy of bearing witness to suffering that led journalist James Foley to his death in Syria, as Martín Espada explained to Dennis J Bernstein.

The CIA/MSM Contra-Cocaine Cover-up

Journalist Gary Webb holding a copy of his Contra-cocaine article in the San Jose Mercury-News.

Exclusive: With Hollywood set to release a movie about the Contra-cocaine scandal and the destruction of journalist Gary Webb, an internal CIA report has surfaced showing how the spy agency manipulated the mainstream media’s coverage to disparage Webb and contain the scandal, reports Robert Parry.

Obama’s Propagandistic UN Address

President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2014. (Screenshot from White House video of speech)

Exclusive: The longer President Obama has been in office the less honest he has become, a problem growing more apparent in his second term as he reads speeches containing information that he knows to be false or at least highly misleading, Robert Parry recounts.

Argentina v. the Hedge Funds

Paul Singer, principal of Elliott Management at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2013. (Copyright by World Economic Forum. swiss-image.ch/Photo Remy Steinegger)

Exclusive: A battle between Argentina and U.S. hedge funds, which gambled on the country’s defaulted bonds, is raising questions about how far U.S. courts can go in requiring governments to pay and whether developing nations can defy the U.S.-dominated financial system, reports Andrés Cala.

Hoping Bombs Will Solve Iraq/Syria Mess

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea launches a Tomahawk cruise missile as seen from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, Sept. 23, 2014.  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Garst)

Contradictions beset the U.S. war over Iraq and Syria. The principal target ISIS wouldn’t even exist but for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria have benefited from defections of U.S.-backed “moderates.” But now warplanes and missiles are supposed to fix things, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria

President Barack Obama talks with Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: The U.S. government likes international law when it serves Washington’s purposes, but not when it constrains U.S. desires to use military force. Then, the rules are bent, ignored or subjected to novel lawyering, as President Obama is doing with airstrikes into Syria, reports Robert Parry.

War on Terror v. Climate Change

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, one of the new U.S. "allies" in the bombing campaign against the Islamic State and other targets inside Syria.

Despite President Obama’s support for global cooperation on the pressing crisis of climate change, he was back at the more destructive and distressing business of cobbling together a new “coalition of the willing” for the latest expansion of the “war on terror,” as Danny Schechter notes.

Obama’s Risks of Escalation

President Barack Obama announces U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State and other targets in Syria in comments at the White House on Sept. 23, 2014. (Screenshot from White House.gov)

As President Obama launched the first waves of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State and other targets in Syria, the risks of further military escalation or other expected developments abound, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

High Cost of Bad Journalism on Ukraine

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Exclusive: By driving a wedge between President Obama and President Putin over Ukraine, America’s neocons and the mainstream media can hope for more “shock and awe” in the Mideast, but the U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill, including $1 trillion more on nuclear weapons, writes Robert Parry.

How Money Silences Criticism of Israel

A portion of the separation wall built by the Israeli government jutting into the town of Bethlehem to enclose the tomb of Rachel within the Israeli zone.  Many portions of the wall contain graffiti and artwork by the Palestinians and their visitors. (Photo credit: Ted Lieverman)

Israel’s never-ending persecution of Palestinians is opening a chasm between the world’s public, which is growing disgusted by Israeli behavior, and Western elites who shy from criticism because of career fears and financial dependence, observes Lawrence Davidson.

Neocons Grow Frantic over Iran Progress

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

With an agreement on constraining Iran’s nuclear program within reach, Official Washington’s neocons are getting apoplectic about the need to rev up new animosities toward Iran, an approach not helpful to real U.S. security needs, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Do One Thing to Help Consortiumnews

Journalist Robert Parry.

From Editor Robert Parry: Over the past 19 years, Consortiumnews has challenged Official Washington’s misguided “group think” – from exposing Nixon-Reagan dirty tricks to standing up for journalist Gary Webb to exposing false arguments for war. Now we ask you to take one of the following actions to help us continue.

Blocking a ‘Realist’ Strategy on the Mideast

President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington’s influential neocons appear back in the driver’s seat steering U.S. policy in the Middle East toward a wider conflict in Syria and away from a “realist” alternative that sought a Putin-Obama collaboration to resolve the region’s crises more peacefully, reports Robert Parry.

The Self-Interest in Climate ‘Denial’

The image of the Earth rising over the surface of the moon, a photograph taken by the first U.S. astronauts to orbit the moon.

Even in the face of new scientific reports on the escalating dangers from global warming, the “deniers” continue to pick at the now overwhelming data and pick up their checks from oil and other industry groups, write Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

How Obama’s New War Could Backfire

President Barack Obama receives a briefing from Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command, and his top commanders at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Sept. 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The political imperative to “do something” against the brutal Islamic State has brought President Obama and congressional majorities together on a plan for a limited U.S. military response, but this strategy could actually make matters worse, says the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland.

Cameras to Detect ‘Abnormal’ Behavior

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

In the chimerical pursuit of perfect security, Western countries are turning to advanced technology to detect and stop terrorist attacks. But these expensive schemes often fail to deliver greater safety while further eroding personal freedom, as Sander Venema observed in the Netherlands.

Braveheart, Edward I, and Bush

Scottish street musicians including one in costume as William Wallace as portrayed in "Braveheart" by Mel Gibson. (Photo credit: Don North)

From the Archive: As Scots vote on independence from Great Britain, part of the motivation for those voting “aye” is the brutal history of English repression of Scottish freedom, dating back centuries but fresh in the minds of many Scots, a lesson about unintended consequences of violence that should be remembered by today’s politicians, as Robert Parry noted in 2005.

Reported US-Syrian Accord on Air Strikes

President Barack Obama in his weekly address on Sept. 13, 2014, vowing to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. (White House Photo)

Exclusive: A problem with President Obama’s plan to expand the war against ISIS into Syria was always the risk that Syrian air defenses might fire on U.S. warplanes, but now a source says Syria’s President Assad has quietly agreed to permit strikes in some parts of Syria, reports Robert Parry.

More Neocon Hypocrisy in the Mideast

Dennis Ross, who has served as a senior U.S. emissary in the Middle East.

America’s neocons are now advancing their “regime change” goals in the Mideast by tarring “enemies,” like Syria’s largely secular government, as “Islamist” while shielding “friends” like Saudi Arabia despite its intense religiosity, yet one more double standard, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

The Lost Logic of ‘Perpetual War’

President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama’s plan to bomb Islamic State targets inside Syria amounts to an expansion of America’s “perpetual war” without either a clear legal basis or a likely expectation of success, as Nat Parry explains.

Hiding Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Reality

Far-right militia members demonstrating outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. (Screen shot from RT video via YouTube video)

Perhaps the biggest taboo of the U.S. mainstream coverage of the Ukraine crisis is to block out the role played by neo-Nazi militias in both the Feb. 22 coup and this summer’s bloody offensive in eastern Ukraine, but the ugly reality occasionally breaks through, as William Blum noted in Anti-Empire Report.