Can Obama Level with the People?

Exclusive: Another terrorist outrage this one in Paris is spreading fear and fury across Europe. Which makes this a key moment for President Obama to finally level with the American people about how U.S. “allies” — such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar — have been aiding and abetting extremists, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The atrocities in Paris, killing more than 120 people, have brought forth the usual condemnations against terrorism and expressions of sympathy for the victims, but the larger question is whether this latest shock will finally force Western leaders to address the true root causes of the problem.

Will President Barack Obama and other leaders finally level with the American people and the world about what the underlying reasons for this madness are? Will Obama explain how U.S. “allies” in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, have been fueling this Sunni extremism for years? Will he dare recognize that Israeli repression of the Palestinians is a major contributing factor, too?

President Obama and King Salman Arabia stand at attention during the U.S. national anthem as the First Lady stands in the background with other officials on Jan. 27, 2015, at the start of Obama’s State Visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and King Salman Arabia stand at attention during the U.S. national anthem as the First Lady stands in the background with other officials on Jan. 27, 2015, at the start of Obama’s State Visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On a practical level, will Obama finally release those 28 pages from the congressional 9/11 report that addressed evidence of Saudi support for the hijackers who attacked New York and Washington in 2001?

Does he have the courage to explain how this scourge of Sunni terrorism can be traced back even further to the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter started a small-scale covert operation in Afghanistan to destabilize a Moscow-backed secular regime in Kabul and that President Ronald Reagan then vastly expanded the program with the help of the Saudis, pouring in a total of $1 billion a year and giving rise to Saudi militant Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda?

Can Obama be convinced that telling hard truths to the American people is not only vital to a democratic Republic in a philosophical way but can have the practical effect of creating crucial public support for rational policies? Will he realize that propaganda schemes or “strategic communications” may be clever short-term tricks to manipulate the American people but they are ultimately counterproductive and dangerous?

Will Obama finally take on Official Washington’s well-entrenched neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” junior varsity by challenging their innumerable false narratives? Will he pointedly blame the neocons and the liberal hawks, including those who run the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times, for the disastrous Iraq War? Will he take on the “deep state” dug in at the big-name think tanks, not just at neocon havens like the American Enterprise Institute but at the center-left Brookings Institution?

Can the President muster the courage to ally himself with the American people, arming them with real information, so they can act like true citizens in a Republic rather than cattle being herded toward the slaughterhouse? Can he shake his own elitism or his fear of social ostracism to somehow become a true leader in his last year in office, rather than a timid follower of the prevailing “group think”?

Just because the “important people” have fancy credentials and went to the “right” schools, doesn’t mean that they have any monopoly on wisdom. Indeed, in my nearly four decades covering Official Washington, these “smart” folks have been wrong a lot more than they have been right. A leader of historic dimensions recognizes that reality and takes on the know-it-alls. In this case, a leader who enlists the American public by giving them reliable information could change this depressing dynamic.

If Obama could muster such courage and show trust in the people, he could bend the prevailing false narratives in the direction of truth and reality. On a practical level, he could help make the current Syrian peace talks succeed by stopping his endless repeating of the neocon/liberal-hawk mantra blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the entire mess and insisting that “Assad must go.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.”]

Twist Some Arms

Instead, Obama could twist the arms of his Saudi, Qatari and Turkish “friends” to get them to halt their financing and military support for Sunni jihadists associated with Al Qaeda and its various spin-offs, like the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. And he could work cooperatively with Russian President Vladimir Putin to squeeze concessions out of both the Assad regime and the U.S.-financed “moderate” opposition so a unity government can begin to restore order in Syria and isolate the extremists.

Once some security is achieved, the Syrian people could hold elections to decide their own future and pick their own leaders. That should not be the business of either Obama or Putin.

As part of this effort, Obama could finally release the U.S. intelligence analyses on both jihadist funding and the circumstances surrounding the lethal sarin attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, which the Obama administration hastily blamed on Assad’s regime although later evidence pointed toward a likely a provocation by Sunni extremists. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria Sarin Case.”]

To create crucial space for cooperating with Putin, Obama also could let the American people in on the reality about the Ukraine crisis in 2014, which was used by the neocons and liberal hawks to drive a wedge between Obama and Putin. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

U.S. intelligence analysts know a lot about key turning points in that conflict, including the Feb. 20, 2014 sniper attacks, which set the stage for ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych two days later, and the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was used to build an anti-Putin hysteria. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking.”]

I’m told that these tragedies became propaganda weapons to deploy against Assad, Yanukovych and Putin rather than horrific crimes that deserved serious investigation and accountability. But whatever the ultimate conclusion about who is to blame for these crimes, why has Obama withheld from the American people what U.S. intelligence analysts know about those three incidents?

It was Obama, after all, who talked so much about “transparency” and trusting the American people as a candidate and during his first days in office. But since then, he has conformed to the elitist Orwellian approach of managing our perceptions rather than giving us the facts.

Yet, if Obama could get his cooperation with Putin back on track recognizing how useful it was in 2013 when Putin helped Obama get Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons and assisted in wresting important concessions from Iran about its nuclear program then the two powers could also weigh in on securing a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, another major irritant to peace in the region.

Indeed, it appears that the possibility of Obama and Putin working together to force the Israelis to make meaningful concessions for peace was a factor in the neocon determination to turn an eminently manageable political dispute in Ukraine over the pace of its integration into Europe without rending its ties to Russia into the dangerous frontlines of a new Cold War.

The neocons and liberal hawks outmaneuvered Obama who fell in line with the Putin-bashing, all the better to fit within Official Washington’s in-crowd.

Thus, the Syrian crisis was left to fester with Obama acquiescing to neocon/liberal-hawk demands for arming and training “moderate” rebels although the President recognized that the idea was a “fantasy.” He also resisted some of the more extreme ideas, like an outright U.S. military invasion of Syria framed as a humanitarian “safe zone.”

But the Paris tragedy is another reminder that it is well past time for Obama to resurrect his helpful relationship with Putin and restore the teamwork that held such promise toward settling conflicts through negotiations, along the lines of the Iran nuclear deal.

If Obama were to choose that route  which could be implemented through a combination of truth-telling to the American people and pragmatic big-power diplomacy with Russia he could at least start addressing the underlying causes of the violence tearing apart the Middle East and now spreading into Europe.

Or will Obama’s reaction to the Paris attacks be just more of the same more tough-guy talk about “resolve,” more “targeted” killings that slaughter many innocents as “collateral damage,” more tolerance of Saudi-Turkish-Qatari support for Sunni militants in Syria and elsewhere, more acceptance of hard-line Israeli repression of the Palestinians, more giving in to neocon/liberal-hawk demands for “regime change” in the neocons’ preferred list of countries?

If the history of the past seven years is any guide, there’s little doubt which direction President Obama will choose. He will go with Official Washington’s flow; he’ll worry about what the editorialists at the Post and Times might think of him; he’ll accommodate the neocons and liberal hawks who remain influential inside his own administration. In short, he’ll continue down the road toward destruction.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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58 comments for “Can Obama Level with the People?

  1. rrooks@nlx.com
    November 14, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    You left out the elephant in the room: Israel.

    • Gregory Kruse
      November 14, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Perhaps Parry didn’t write out the exact dimensions, colors, and shapes of the elephant, but most of us have seen one, and know what it looks like.

    • Ray McGovern
      November 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      please read it again; Israel is the article, very clearly, as well as in the room.

      • Helga Fellay
        November 14, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        Then why not call the elephant by its name? Doesn’t that make Parry guilty of the same cowardice as Obama – both afraid of the elephant’s retaliation experienced by everyone who dares criticize it?

        • Steve Jones
          November 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

          Second paragraph: “Will he dare recognize that Israeli repression of the Palestinians is a major contributing factor, too?” If you want to argue that Israel is the single factor, you’re going to have to work at it.

          • John E. Reuter, Esq. (Ret.)
            November 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

            It really makes me wonder gentlemen if you bothered to read the essay when Steve Jones has to point out to you the very elephant that’s IN the room. Admitedly, the “Israeli oppression of the Palestinians” is a “major problem,” but unreformed Islam and the Sunni-Shiite Divide are at the core of the conflagration. Islam is wholly and fundamentally in direct opposition to civilized society as characterized by Western political values no matter how imperfect the latter may be. More basic to this conundrum is whether the internicine intellectually incestuous Abrahamic religions will destroy Humanity or wither into the sands where Ozymandius stands.

          • Lusion
            November 14, 2015 at 5:17 pm

            The 7th paragraph from the end seems even more important to me :

            “Indeed, it appears that the possibility of Obama and Putin working together to force the Israelis to make meaningful concessions for peace was a factor in the neocon determination to turn an eminently manageable political dispute in Ukraine – over the pace of its integration into Europe without rending its ties to Russia – into the dangerous frontlines of a new Cold War.”

            Actually, this is quite boldly drawing an arc from neocons and Israel to the manufacture of the Ukraine crisis and further attempts to drive a wedge between Putin and Obama.

            Thanks Robert Parry – a fine article!

          • zman
            November 18, 2015 at 11:08 am

            While Israel is not the single factor, it is however through its influence peddling in our government, an effective and primary element. Reuter, below, contends that Islam is at fault because “wholly and fundamentally in direct opposition to civilized society as characterized by Western political values no matter how imperfect the latter may be”. This is the problem with our foreign policy, exceptionalism. Some contend (Reuter) that it is Islams fault for not being civilized, while excusing our ‘imperfections’…what a self serving deluded position. As far as I can remember it was the western governments that destroyed national boundaries, overthrew legally elected governments and perpetrated war upon them in the western tradition of colonialism over the last 100 years or more. Now they want shed of us, how quaint. Then there is the whole problem of fake terrorism, which apparently is to be disregarded, being used to shred our constitution and usurp civil rights. How, may I ask, are Muslims to be responsible for that?

        • Pavlusha
          November 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

          Helga, Israel is clearly mentioned 6 times!

        • bobzz
          November 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

          Folks, Parry has written an article, not a tome covering all the details we might like to have. He, as Ray and Gregory pointed out, did mention Israel, and he has covered this subject extensively in other pieces, including critiques of Netanyahu, AIPAC, etc. As far as I can tell Robert is one of the courageous ones.

    • Steve
      November 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      “…. then the two powers could also weigh in on securing a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, another major irritant to peace in the region.

      Indeed, it appears that the possibility of Obama and Putin working together to force the Israelis to make meaningful concessions for peace was a factor in the neocon determination to turn an eminently manageable political dispute in Ukraine – over the pace of its integration into Europe without rending its ties to Russia – into the dangerous frontlines of a new Cold War.” — It seems to me we get an impression of the elephant here.

    • Peter Loeb
      November 15, 2015 at 7:10 am

      WHAT TO DO IN/WITH SYRIA???

      One often hears the question about what to do with
      Syria phrased with the prejudices of a speaker.

      In fact, the UN Security Council as ALREADY decided
      what to do in Syria. The Resolution was adopted
      UNANIMOUSLY. That is, including the US. It diverged
      obviously from official Washington line (“Bashar must
      go” and “it is all B. Assad’s fault” etc.). As a result, the US
      and its western “followers” (to be kind) pretend no
      Security Council Resolution has ever been adopted
      and to use, once again, the well-worn Orwellian
      formulation, the UN words were put down the memory
      hole of history. (Only Russia has followed the
      principles set out below and has also recognized
      Syria’s “right and obligation to defend itself”
      which the US unilaterally accords only to its closest
      clients (eg Israel).

      Excerpts from the resolution aqre below:

      “S/RES/2139 (2014) Security Council Distr.: General

      22 February 2014 14-24339 (E) *1424339*

      Resolution 2139 (2014)

      Adopted by the Security Council at its 7116th meeting,
      on 22 February 2014 The Security Council, Recalling its
      resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012) and 2118 (2013),
      and its Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012,
      5 April 2012 and 2 October 2013,

      Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty,
      independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and
      to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations…

      14. Strongly condemns the increased terrorist attacks
      resulting in numerous casualties and destruction carried
      out by organizations and individuals associated with Al-Qaeda,
      its affiliates and other terrorist groups, urges the opposition
      groups to maintain their rejection of these organizations and
      individuals which are responsible for serious violations of
      international humanitarian law in opposition -held areas,
      calls upon the Syrian authorities and opposition groups
      to commit to combating and defeating organizations
      and individuals associated with Al-Qaeda, its affiliates and
      other terrorist groups, demands that all foreign fighters
      immediately withdraw from Syria, and reaffirms that terrorism
      in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the
      most serious threats to international peace and security,
      and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable,
      regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by
      whomsoever committed…”

      Within days of this unanimous resolution the US was shouting—
      “Bashar must go!!” etc. defying the unanimous resolution of
      the United Nations Security Council as cited above.

      With these facts clearly in mind all must recognize the
      fabrication of the various code words (“political transition”
      etc.) .

      Repeat: The above decision was last February 22, 2014.

      TO ROBERT PARRY:

      I respectfully dissent from all the premises that Barack
      Obama, those politicians with whom we works, or
      indeed almost all other Washington politicians
      will have the “will”, “courage” etc. One is
      presuming once more the illusion that Obama
      is a savior of some kind with backers, and
      desires to solve these international problems.
      There is no “courage” here nor has there been
      such “courage” etc. for many decades (going
      far beyond Obama only).

      There is a wide gap between “citizen” and “advocate”.
      A “citiZen is obligated to vote—again and again and
      again even when the result is meaningless. Ad
      “advocate” takes a strong and passionate stand on
      a particular issue or complex of issues. Can we
      compromise the lives and well-being of Palestinians
      because no one is listening? Instead we should
      recognize the reality that the present Administration
      will not act either in Syria or Palestine or the Ukraine,
      nor will any future Administration of either party.

      Our focus must instead be on how we will deal with
      these tragic realities, not on dreamworlds that will
      never be now or in the future. (Eg BDS is one example
      but must be followed by others as well.)

      The word “respect” is used above with great purpose.
      All of us are deeply indebted to Robert Parry for his
      insightful analyses as well as to many of the other
      columnists who regularly write for Consortiumnews.
      The above article is unfortunately not worthy of his
      enormous past accomplishments.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  2. November 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    is any country with a u.s. military base a u.s. colony? is “allies” newspeak for “puppets”?

  3. Bill Bodden
    November 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    “Yet, if Obama could …”

    “If Obama were to choose … ”

    Like Mr. Parry we have all seen this movie before:

    “If the history of the past seven years is any guide, there’s little doubt which direction President Obama will choose.”

  4. John
    November 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I’m cynically inclined to say that last night, we saw some moderate Syrian rebels voice complaints to France that they weren’t satisfied with their freedom. Knowing the kind antagonists in question, it’s surprising, perhaps even disgraceful, that Western leaders were so firmly opposed to siding with the Syrian government. Same goes for places like Libya or Yugoslavia.

  5. Pablo Diablo
    November 14, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    USA hubris that they can rule the world with no challengers (for the sake of corporations) and keeping the war machine well fed. The neocons and their corporate sponsors make money off of war. Lots of money. Whether they win or lose the war. WE PAY. We sell weapons to our allies (Israel and Saudi Arabia) so that they can sell them to our enemies. Don’t count on Obama to stop this (or Hillary).

  6. November 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I agree with most of this intelligent and well formulated article, though the repeated use of the phrase“Assad Regime” disturbs me, because the word “regime” usually has a derogatory meaning. If this phrase means “the Syrian government under President Assad,” I accept it, but I nevertheless have to wonder, why the US administration is not called “Obama regime,” and why there is no Netanyahu regime, Cameron regime, or Merkel Regime.

    One can of course discuss the democratic legitimacy of the US versus the Syrian government, but a point by point comparison of the election process or the level of benevolence and integrity of elected officials could yield surprising result.

    Beside this minor grievance, I want to add, that social and cultural deficiencies are also root causes of terrorism. All financial, material, and logistical support for terror groups would be in vain and achieve nothing, if there would not be an ever growing pool of confused, uneducated, unemployed, disillusioned and desperate young men in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    These men have no future, no chance to do meaningful work, no chance to attract women, no chance to build or buy a comfortable home and found a family. They feel unneeded and unwanted, they feel sidelined, shortchanged, abandoned. Their world is changing disturbingly fast or falling apart around them.

    These men witness mindless and disgusting consumerism, the criminality of slick and devious billionaires, the cynicism and coldness of a system where egoism, competition, greed have replaced compassion, partnership, sharing.

    Many of the young men come from families where the parents had no time to spend with them because they were working, had to care for many, many children, were just trying to survive somehow in a hostile world. For these reasons the young men never received attention and love and so they never learned love.

    Many are traumatized by war and grinding poverty. Many are confused by the fairytales of Western media, by the dream world of advertising, movies, TV shows, by the deluge of lies from propagandists of all camps.

    When the Pied Pipers of Hamelin arrive, the young men eagerly and enthusiastically take the chance to escape from the prison of their dismal and tragically pointless existence, go through terrorist bootcamp, take the AK47 and the explosives. They know that they are used, that they are pawns, tools, cheap and expendable cannon fodder. They know that they will not live long, will maybe buried in unmarked graves.

    They are psychopaths, sociopaths, but their mental sickness is never adequately treated, because their only councilors are their peers, the Salafi Takfiri imams, their handlers from the Western spy agencies — which are all psychopaths and sociopaths themselves.

    These men live in a world of horror and pain, with captagon and the occasionally rape being bright spots. Consequently they indulge in spreading horror and pain, it excites and satisfies them.

    When they are nearly burned up, when they feel that their end is near, they will try to go with a bang, cause as much mayhem as possible, end their lives in a horrid suicide attack. They will mix among the refugees flooding into Europe, try to slip into the colonial nations with forged papers, go back to their birth country which failed to bring them up properly, failed to integrate them, provide them a meaningful life.

    They will turn onto their handlers and onto the society which ignored and excluded them.

    Like the author Robert Parry, I’m not hopeful that this could be a wakeup call, leading to a sea change and a significant transformation of views and aims. The Western nations will increase mass surveillance, curtail citizen rights (Patriot Act), and pour even more weapons into the Middle East.

    In the world of the sociopathic freedom fighters, Islamic revolutionaries, and more or less moderate rebels, the attackers will be hailed as heroes who ended their life purposefully and in glory. Many will make plans to follow their example. Money, guns, and explosives will be still plentiful, provided promptly and speedily by the Gulf potentates, Turkey, and all other nations who think they could benefit from the ensuing chaos.

    Has WW III already started?

    Nobody knows hoe this will end, but one thing is for sure: There will be more blowback, much more!

    • Jens
      November 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Interesting thoughts. (… and so few hope being heard in an adequate way by as many humans as needed)

      But I’m afraid that WW III will overcome in a much more destructive way, far beyond our darkest fantasies today.

      And the hope to cope with such provocations by overboarding surveillance and more weapons will be another step away from an insitution we once knew as democracy.

    • Anthony Shaker
      November 14, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      With all due respect to Mr. Parry, who has written many fine articles and who has won prizes in journalism, I honestly fail to understand his constant use of the word “regime” when referring to the government in Syria. Whatever his opinion of that government, journalistic objectivity–while possibly a forlorn hope–should be pursued at the very least in one’s choice of words. It is not only reporting and arguing that one betrays personal or ideological bias and prejudice.

      “Regime” reinforces not only a widespread misconstruction about the nature of this conflict, but more importanly also a blithe disregard for the sovereignty of nations, which I know Mr. Parry strongly upholds. It is, frankly, irrelevant what anyone thinks about what Syrians do in their own house, any more than outsiders think about what Americans do inside theirs, as long as Americans do not overreach and and start a new cycle of violence abroad on the pretext that the President is unable to get past his Congress.

      Mr. Parry has rightly denounced often enough the ideological nature of the “humanitarian wars” that former Pres. Clinton inaugurated, for which predecessors had lain the groundwork. But it is high time that we all drop the lingo used by those who, consciously or unconsciously, have been reinforcing a Mickey Mouse view of the world. Syria is the most egregious case.

      Mr. Parry does not belong to that crowd at all! He is extremely well informed and his pieces sometimes display brilliance in a popular Internet medium where brilliance is painfully rare. However, a mere word can sometimes function like a self-reproducing virus.

      • Steven Hunt
        November 15, 2015 at 5:43 pm

        Whomever uses the word ‘regime’ in their narration of events in Syria is helping further an imperialist narrative that by now is discredited.

        The demonization of the Syrian leader and government is part of a years long pattern of of illegal aggression against a legitimate state.

        The internalization of propaganda memes is so deeply entrenched that even more honest journalists like Perry feel the need to deploy this term to maintain credibility within more open-minded elements within the US “regime”.

        So many debilitating frames and memes that bolster US imperialism and ‘exceptionalism’ are incorporated by the intelligencia that even pointing them out requires tremendous argumentative effort–but the people being criticized are most often not amendable to self-reflection.

        A simply term in a frame of reference/assumption/meme can tip the balance–hundreds of thousands can suffer imperialist aggression if people that are vocal about exposing distortion and lies don’t muster sufficient courage to develop cogent counter-narratives that can alter the unfolding course of events in our world.

        Stop using
        ‘regime’–in the case of what is happening in Syria using this term signals being obsequious to the jackal propaganda apparatus.

        Syrian people facing terror sponsored by the US and its allies deserve better on the part of the people outside of the region that voice concern about these people’s plight and prospects for peaceful life.

    • Anthony Shaker
      November 14, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      And one more point, if I may. Wahhabism is not “Sunni” extremism. It is not Sunni at all except in name, any more than Nazism was “German” beyond those who wrapped themselves in the German flag or were brainwashed by that death cult.

      I suppose that this is the paradox we constantly face whenever we refer to any vile rabble with ultranationalistic or racist self-worshipping views pretending to defend their own.

      Wahhabism has always been profoundly heretical to Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a. This has been true in a sprawling fourteen-century Islamicate civilization where there is no rigid mechanism for determining “religious heresy.” That civilization has always been multiconfessional and like a mosaic. Wahhabism very much a modern movement born in the late 18th century under specific conditions characterized by the social uprootedness of desert Arab marauders in the far-flung Najd province of the Arabian Peninsual. It was quickly crushed by the Ottomans around 1816 with the army of Muhammad Ali, the then leader of Egypt.

      However, the British revived the Wahhabi House of Saud to help dismember a decaying Ottoman empire and finally placed Wahhabism in power, thanks to a vast Anglo-French balkanization scheme of the Middle East, in order to make way for the Zionist colony in Palestine, which the Saudi monarchy readily accepted and began early on to collaborate with.

      • Fran
        November 15, 2015 at 6:33 pm

        Thanks to Anthony Shaker’s for contribution about Wahhabi and not Sunni extremists.
        We really need to know more about these people we see as terrorists.

    • Bart
      November 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      As I read down through the comments the word ‘blowback’ came to mind and I see you beat me to it.

      I was going to suggest that Obama could give a fireside chat with a name like ‘Facing Blowback’.
      One can only hope what Parry hopes.

    • Peter Loeb
      November 15, 2015 at 7:51 am

      APPRECIATION

      Many thanks to many of the commenters. My own contribution
      is apparently formalistic but provides basic material (ezxcerpted)
      as a basis. (My comment is “WHAT TO DO IN/WITH SYRIA”.

      Many have added to my thoughts and expanded with eloquence
      on my scepticism of what I called Robert Parry’s “premises.”

      “Wolf Mato”‘s comment is one of many that is on target.

      With thanks!

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • LAMAR TOLAND
      November 15, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Well put, Wolf.
      Hope you share some info on facebook.

  7. November 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    i THINK THIS COLUMN IS DEEPLY INADEQUATE TO THE MATTER AT HAND……

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] retired. POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775
    802 645 9727 dmorso1@netzero.net

  8. Zachary Smith
    November 14, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Can Obama Level with the People?

    I’m in agreement with Mr. Parry on two counts here. First, what Obama does or doesn’t do in reaction to this terrorist attack matters a lot. Second, my own thoughts after watching BHO for 7 years are that the prospects of him doing the right things aren’t very good ones.

    The conspiracy folks are already out in force, and so far they’ve been scoring a lot of points with me.

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2015/11/attack-in-france-state-sponsored-terror.html

    But as the article says – “Which State?”

    The pieces I’m reading constantly remind me about the 9/11 attacks here in the US. They pushed Americans into such a blind rage that the Bush/Cheney swine had an easy time directing the anger into an attack on Iraq – the one nation which had nothing at all to do with the carnage in New York. Who benefited from those attacks? The Police State almost instantly had the Patriot Act passed. Israel had another regional enemy totally destroyed. And Big Weapons made boatloads of money. So who made it very easy for the 9/11 attackers? It might even have been a coalition effort, but who knows?

    Back to the current situation, if Obama (or Hollande) starts braying about a NATO attack on Syria, we’ll have a hint of the answer.

    A bitter reflection I read on the Xymphora site was this:

    “Police in Paris are trying to determine if the terror attacks were committed by terrorists or “moderate” terrorists”

    Good luck with that one.

  9. M Awan
    November 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Whose interests does it serve to jump into conclusions regarding the perpetrators of this and previous similar attacks without even preliminary investigation of these attacks? The premise Robert Parry has started this article with is part of same group think he is often found to complain about.

  10. Bill Bodden
    November 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    President Hollande reportedly said, “This is an act of war” after learning of the attacks in Paris. It looks like the various “terrorist” groups beat him to it when they decided to retaliate against what appeared to them as Western attacks on them and their homes. But must they be so barbaric? Can’t they fight clean with drones and bombs dropped from 30,000 feet?

  11. Drew Hunkins
    November 14, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    The Washington/pro-Israel/Saudi alliance is directly responsible for the Paris carnage!

    Over the last 70 years Washington and the Zionist power configuration have been dead set on subverting genuine democracy in Arab and Muslim lands across the globe.

    From Iran in the 1950s under the popular Mosaddegh, Indonesia in the 1960s under the much beloved Sukarno to Egypt under the democratically elected Nasser and Iraq under its populist gov’t in the 1960s to Afghanistan in the 1970s under its reformist gov’t, and Libya under Qaddafi and Assad under Syria ALL of these gov’ts and popular leaders have been murdered, drummed out of office via Western-Zio proxy forces or are currently being attacked (Assad) by Western supported jihadists who just annihilated 130 Parisians.

    Enough is enough! The American public is hoodwinked and bamboozled on this issue. Putin and Russia are fighting the good fight. The refugee crisis that brought the lunatic Sunni ISIS fundamentalists to Paris was totally caused by the Washington/Saudi/pro-Israel sponsored and funded ISIS terror network! Once the refugee crisis was reaching outrageous proportions Putin finally stepped in and said no more.

    Putin’s wearing the white hat here! Whether Americans or the New York Times or NPR or the Wash Post or Brookings want to concede that point or not!

    For further reading see the books and articles by Andre Vltchek, Paul Craig Roberts, Dr. James Petras and Dr. Michael Parenti.

  12. F. G. Sanford
    November 14, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Tis the season to be jolly,
    Fa la la la la, la la la la
    These are shades of Boston, Charlie,
    Can’t you see the need – for martial law!

    Don we now our body armor
    Putin warned, but we scorned, his advice
    Tsarnaev was quite a charmer
    Fa la la la la, la la la la!

    Hollande and Merkel rued those sanctions
    Fa la la, la la la, la la la
    Comic books got shot with real guns
    Just because of things – that they could draw!

    Marine LePen was sorely smitten
    Fascists cried, that they lied, xenophobes!
    She would not be NATO’s kitten
    Fa la la la la, la la la la

    There was talk of EU break-up
    Fa la la, la la la, la la la
    That would mean a NATO shake-up
    All those Strangelove blow-hards then would fall!

    Santa Claus would not be joyous
    Jihad John, counted on, public fear
    Terrorists might come destroy us
    Fa la la la la, la la la la

    Air disasters get attention
    Fa la la, la la la, la la la
    Kerry’d call for intervention
    That could get some boots – upon the ground!

    The CIA is a one trick pony
    all their schemes, change regimes, with false flags
    Jihad John would call his crony
    Fa la la la la, la la la la

    We won’t get to read those pages
    Fa la la, la la la, la la la
    They’ll be classified for ages
    Just like all the stuff – on JFK!

    Americans are gutless wonders
    They will buy, any lie, and believe
    All the deep state’s reckless blunders
    Fa la la la la, la la la la

    They still think we killed bin Laden
    Fa la la la la, la la la la
    All that bunk is now forgotten
    And we let them tap – our telephones!

    Winter winds have begun blowing
    We may freeze, from disease, and blow-back
    Drone attacks are never slowing
    Fa la la la la, la la la la

    Christmas spirit fills our hearts now
    Fa la la, la la la, la la la
    There’s one thing that no one knows how
    You can’t buy a gun – in Paris France!

    There was terror in the streets there
    Hand grenades, fusillades of small arms fire
    Who supplied all of that hardware?
    Fa la la la la, la la la la

    Jihad John has warmed the season
    Fa la la, la la la, la la la
    I bet you can’t guess the reason
    Ask the guy in charge – at CIA!

    NATO’s safe for the time being
    Fa la la la la, la la la la
    From membership no one is fleeing
    Fa la la la laaaaaa – la la la la!

    • Abbybwood
      November 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Very good….

  13. November 14, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I love Robert Parry’s work. But the constant, wistful appeal to some mythical, really-truly progressive “Obama” character who, intimidated by all the bad people around him, has been hiding inside the actual President we have had for the last six years, if only we can persuade him it’s safe to come out, is, at this point, quite silly. Obama is, and always has been, a center-right political opportunist, totally steeped in the ideology of the empire, with the particularly useful (to his patrons) skills of an excellent con-man who is especially adept at getting a progressive audience to believe, precisely, that there is something else there.

    Don’t we all know this by now?

    • Lusion
      November 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      Very well put.
      I had to force myself through watching Obama’s UN speech, dripping with self-satisfaction and thinly veiled menace. Only Netanyahu’s *Resounding Silence* evoked even more uneasiness…

    • Roger Milbrandt
      November 15, 2015 at 4:27 am

      Yeah, Polemicist, I agree on both counts.
      Parry’s work is great. But he is exactly like Obama in at least one sense. Obama recognized that the idea of a significant force of moderate opponents to Assad was a “fantasy” but he acted as if it was a reality. Similarly, Parry seems to me to be pinning some degree of hope on the idea that Obama will suddenly tell his citizenry everything he and his government knows. This seems to me to be a fantasy for two reasons: (1) it is not consistent with Obama’s previous behaviour; and (2) it might even put his life at risk.

  14. Drew Hunkins
    November 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    The pro-Israel power configuration in Washington along with the Saudis are so intent on toppling Assad that they were in cahoots with the lunatic terrorist ISIS freaks (and notice how ISIL/ISIS/el Nusra Front never seem to attack Israel) and didn’t much give a rip if these violent fanatics ran roughshod over much of central Asia, east Asia, northern Africa, eastern Europe and now western Europe.

    The madness needs to be contained. And the only states making a legitimate effort to do so is Russia, Iran and Assad’s forces in Syria.

  15. ltr
    November 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Brilliant, poignant essay.

  16. ltr
    November 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    There is no question but that the Russia approach in Syria will work, that approach is cripple all the crazily violent insurgents by air and gradually allow the Syria Army and ground allies to take back lost territory and force a continual retreat by the insurgents. The United States should have immediately joined with Russia as should France, but the absurd and strategically destructive regime change intent of the French and Americans only undermines their efforts against the insurgents.

    We gave Libya to impossibly violent insurgents and we have yet to learn. Can we learn? Can the French learn? I do not know.

    Join with Russia, that is the answer.

  17. Eddie
    November 14, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    To answer the rhetorical title of this article – an emphatic ‘NO’ is the correct answer, as R.Parry & other commenters so ably noted. And a brief reading of our presidential history quickly shows that our POTUS’s will ONLY do the ‘right thing’ if it’s politically advantageous to them in the near term — for instance, T. Roosevelt & FDR did economic reform but only when there was a political advantage and (in FDR’s case) a desperate populace suffering under the long Great Depression. The whole political process in our culture is normally a virtual filter to REMOVE any idealistic, benevolent candidates before they get to the ‘final two’, with rare exceptions (usually due to dire conditions). Even when the occasional peace-promoting candidate does manage to slip through the vetting (ala a G. McGovern), he is quickly dispatched by an electorate who normally prefer militaristic platitudes even when they come from a source like Richard Nixon.

  18. November 15, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Great Article, concise, well written, truthful.
    This is what American Journalism should be.

    We need to find a way to get Parry a 60 Minutes News Spot Weekly,
    if one of our ‘mass media’ outlets was smart, they would not only put him on, but also put in a monthly debate on Prime Time for the world to see.

    1. Without truth in Journalism all you have is Fascism. Even if you don’t agree with Robert Parry (while the evidence supports his statements) Putting him on Prime Time Weekly would only serve both sides of the American Political System.

    2. Something by Robert David Steele
    “The truth at any cost, lowers all other associated costs”
    #TrueCostEconomics #OpenSourceEverything (intelligence too)
    #Community Sustainability #RDS #RobertSteele #RobbertParry

  19. November 15, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Unfortunately, your suggestions would require some reason and sense.

  20. James lake
    November 15, 2015 at 3:24 am

    why do you keep hoping Obama will do the right thing. This man couldn’t even send condolences to Russia on the plane crash, his hatred is so deep and personal.
    He looks at Syria like all neo cons as a competition to beat Russia – not as a fight against ISIL et al; after all ISIL et al are controlled and supported by US allies! Why would he fear them.
    Hollande is the perfect weak patsy to encourage to fight a ground war with Turkey and the other MIddke East nutcases to bring down Assad.

  21. Joe Tedesky
    November 15, 2015 at 3:33 am

    I agree, we Americans need to think of Assad as a government, and not a regime. Remember this, in Russia, Assad is a government, and by law Russia is the only legal country now bombing ISIS by the request of the Assad government. America, on the other hand, is bombing in Syria against the law, and trying to oust a sovereign government, which Americans insist on calling a ‘regime’. But, that’s okay, because per the likes of John Yoo, what America does is always legal….end of story. This is exceptional!

    Zachary, pointed out how the continually of government kicked in, as planned, after 9/11. Then to take matters even further, the U.S. drummed up enough of mass hysteria, as to gain the sufficient support, as to go to war with selected nations, who had no involvement what so ever with the 9/11 attacks, but ‘why let a good crisis go to waste’, is the ingrained mine set that plaques this nation’s administrators. Apparently, America learned nothing from the Nuremberg trails, and that’s okay. Once again that’s exceptional!

    If the Paris attack nightmare were a ‘false flag’, in order to gain the waning support of the Europeans, as towards their much needed support of NATO, then our European brothers and sisters, should be guided to think this all the way through. For instance, who attacked Paris? Not Assad, who NATO wants to unseat, but ISIS, who Putin wants to defeat. So, would it not make better sense, to join arms with Putin? What rational will develope from this? If the MSM has it’s way, we here on this comment board won’t be happy, with the result? From, what I am gathering from watching the cable news networks today, it’s getting to that part, where good Americans are saying how we may have to put boots on the ground (in Syria I guess)…..but anyway, you know the drill. Another, exceptional trait is we kill people good, mustn’t forget that.

    The Yinon Plan is an ambitious plan, that’s for sure. If, as General Westley Clark stated back in 2005, that the Pentagon has a plan to conquer 7 nations within 5 years, well guess what? Their 5 years are up, and it is now going on to 11. It is time to change course. My guest, and it is only my guess, is these brainiacs aren’t even half way through with their demented war maneuvers. Call what happened in Paris anything you would like, false flag, or terror attack, it doesn’t matter, because at this rate we should all expect more. How, exceptional is that?

    These corporatist are killing this planet, and all the people on it. It is time, the world elect new leaders. It is time that laws really do mean something. Somehow, the world’s people need to remove the ‘gatekeepers’, and allow good government to rule. The NWO is nothing more, than a very small few, who by their standards deserve to own everything, and everybody…history, does sometimes allow the little guy to win. It would certainly be exceptional, if this were that time…..lets hope!

    • Abbybwood
      November 15, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Sibel Edmonds blows the whistle on government blackmailing:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc3esnkqM7E

      My question is: Why does every single member of the U.S. Congress consistently back Israel’s desire to enact the Yinon Plan?

      I think Sibel Edmonds has the answer.

      Mossad fights dirty.

  22. kasbas
    November 15, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    SURPRISED TO NOTE IGNORANCE OF WESTERN MEDIA AS THEY TERM CALL TALIBAN, ISIS, AL-QUAIDA AND OTHER RELIGIOUS TERRORIST OUTFITS AS SUNNI. BEING A MUSLIM I KNOW THAT SUNNI SECT OF ISLAM IS PEACE LOVING PEOPLE. THE TERRORIST ALSO INCLUDING MANY GROUPS IN PAKISTAN BELONG TO WAHABI SECT AND NOT SUNNI. IN PAKISTAN BOTH SUNNI AND SHIA MUSLIMS AND THEIR PLACES OF WORSHIP MOSQUES AND IMAMBARGAHS ARE MADE TARGET OF BOMB BLASTS BY WAHABI TERRORISTS. SO PL MAKE CORRECTION.

  23. David Smith
    November 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    When so-called “conspiracy theories” and loopy fragments from the Book of Reveletions make more sense than ATTEMPTS at rational analysis, you better believe we are living in twisted times. You will never be in error if you apply Occam’s Razor to any problem. Williiam of Occam tells me there is a big, big, BIG rumble at a one donkey town by the name of Meggido scheduled for the near future. When? 2023 sounds about right to me. Anybody up for a friendly wager?

    • Lance
      November 16, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      I don’t gamble, but the battle on the plain of Megiddo is going to happen much sooner than 2023. In case you hadn’t noticed, the nations of the world are gathering together and being drawn into that area of the world right now! The buildup to the BIG rumble, as you put it, is occurring as you read these words. When exactly will it occur? Don’t know. All we can do is watch and wait.

  24. Stefan
    November 15, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    It is no difficult trick to stand upright without a spine.
    It only takes weakness, lack of conscience and bad character to allow yourself to operate under strings.

    Obama has no spine, and he will not grow any overnight either.

    • Yuliy
      November 16, 2015 at 5:09 am

      You put it very well…

  25. delia ruhe
    November 15, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    As his last paragraph indicates, Parry knows the answers to all of his rhetorical questions. Obama is much too comfortable with the Deep State to undertake anything courageous.

    As some prominent whistleblowers taught John Feffer, “Barack Obama who ran for president was a different person than the one who occupied the Oval Office. As soon as he entered the White House and received his first top-secret briefing, the president was ushered into a new fraternity. He was dazzled by the potential of raw executive power, the godlike ability to determine life and death, as when the president conducts a weekly meeting to review the “kill list” of drone targets.

    “The president, in other words, was initiated into what amounts to a cult of national security. The first rule of this cult is to preserve its existence at all costs. Those who threaten the cult are, like any apostates, to be dealt with as ruthlessly as possible. After all, cult members who break the law are still acting according to the principles of the cult; apostates, however, challenge the very legitimacy of the cult.

    “The world of checks-and-balances, of an executive branch bounded by Congress and the court system, is meaningless to the national security state. This “deep state” remains impervious to elections, partisan passions, congressional inquiries, and legal challenges. It’s not a conspiracy any more than the Vatican is a conspiracy. It’s simply an institution with an imperative: to survive.”

    Read the rest of Feffer’s “Mouth Wide Shut” at FPIF.

    • Eddie
      November 16, 2015 at 12:05 am

      Interesting quote and analysis about the “… cult of national security…”, which sounds like a very real seduction for any new president – – – much ‘sexier’ than sitting in endless meetings where the outcomes are often nebulous and indeterminate. But we shouldn’t elect a POTUS to just take the easy, ‘sexy’ way out, we should elect him to make the hard but fair decisions necessary for our survival and security.
      However, I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that Obama’s core beliefs changed at that point, since I recall reading warnings — before the 2008 election — about Obama from left critics like Paul Street who was active in the Chicago area the same time that Obama was rising to prominence around there. They essentially warned that he was not a left/progressive as he implied, and that was borne out…

    • Eddie
      November 16, 2015 at 12:05 am

      Interesting quote and analysis about the “… cult of national security…”, which sounds like a very real seduction for any new president – – – much ‘sexier’ than sitting in endless meetings where the outcomes are often nebulous and indeterminate. But we shouldn’t elect a POTUS to just take the easy, ‘sexy’ way out, we should elect him to make the hard but fair decisions necessary for our survival and security.
      However, I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that Obama’s core beliefs changed at that point, since I recall reading warnings — before the 2008 election — about Obama from left critics like Paul Street who was active in the Chicago area the same time that Obama was rising to prominence around there. They essentially warned that he was not a left/progressive as he implied, and that was borne out…

  26. Abbybwood
    November 15, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Obama “slip of the tongue”?:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2NkjNvwuaU

  27. Abbybwood
    November 15, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Has anybody else noticed the money Congress has given to Ukraine in military/intelligence in the latest military budget bill?:

    http://theantimedia.org/heres-what-the-media-wont-tell-you-about-the-2016-ndaa/

  28. Angel
    November 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Saint-Pierre d’Uccle, Abdelhamid Abaaoud morphed into Belgium’s most notorious jihadi has chosen to become nothing more than Murderous Terrorists! He and others live by their own criminal words. ” “All my life, I have seen the blood of Muslims flow,” Abaaoud said in a video made public in 2014. “I pray that Allah will break the backs of those who oppose him, his soldiers and his admirers, and that he will exterminate them.” Whether you are Democrat, Republican or Independent, Americans stand united with our President. Just like the three of brave Americans of which two off-duty members of the U.S. armed forces stood together to overpower the “heavily-armed passenger who boarded an Amsterdam-to-Paris Thalys high-speed train at Brussels opened fire in a train car” to save lives of many innocent people. But be clear if we should support our allies, but if we deploy troops, we will spend to put “boots on the ground” at our Airports, any border ports of entry and on shores, not over there! We did that and its didn’t work! The game of Fear Mongering Politics and name calling by any political coward here must STOPS at our waters edge.http://news.yahoo.com/belgian-jihadi-idd-mastermind-paris-a…

  29. Lance
    November 16, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    The litmus test for me as to whether or not to trust any news source, political or governmental, involves statements by those making the reports that the events of 9/11 were carried out by a bunch of Muslims who hijacked airliners wielding boxcutters. Those spouting this official story, despite all the evidence to prove this story to be false, are either deceived, or deceivers.

  30. November 16, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    “Instead, Obama could twist the arms of his Saudi, Qatari and Turkish “friends” to get them to halt their financing and military support for Sunni jihadists associated with Al Qaeda and its various spin-offs”
    -Wouldn’t the USA have to stop selling the Saudis weapons to stem the flow to the terrorists?

  31. November 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Got to line up with several others: have huge respect for Robert Parry (his column on Victoria “Cuppa” Nuland’s testimony to Congress, boasting that, thanks to Western intervention, Ukrainians’ retirement age has been raised, their pensions slashed, was a classic), but since we all know the answers to the questions he poses (will the president do this, can the president do that; no, no, and no) one does wonder why this column was written how it was, or why it was written at all.

    Now, if deadlines are the issue … say no more.

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