The State Department’s Collective Madness

Exclusive: More than 50 U.S. State Department “diplomats” sent a “dissent” memo urging President Obama to launch military strikes against the Syrian army, another sign that Foggy Bottom has collectively gone nuts, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Over the past several decades, the U.S. State Department has deteriorated from a reasonably professional home for diplomacy and realism into a den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions, a dangerous phenomenon underscored by the recent mass “dissent” in favor of blowing up more people in Syria.

Some 51 State Department “diplomats” signed a memo distributed through the official “dissent channel,” seeking military strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad whose forces have been leading the pushback against Islamist extremists who are seeking control of this important Mideast nation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

The fact that such a large contingent of State Department officials would openly advocate for an expanded aggressive war in line with the neoconservative agenda, which put Syria on a hit list some two decades ago, reveals how crazy the State Department has become.

The State Department now seems to be a combination of true-believing neocons along with their liberal-interventionist followers and some careerists who realize that the smart play is to behave toward the world as global proconsuls dictating solutions or seeking “regime change” rather than as diplomats engaging foreigners respectfully and seeking genuine compromise.

Even some State Department officials, whom I personally know and who are not neocons/liberal-hawks per se, act as if they have fully swallowed the Kool-Aid. They talk tough and behave arrogantly toward inhabitants of countries under their supervision. Foreigners are treated as mindless objects to be coerced or bribed.

So, it’s not entirely surprising that several dozen U.S. “diplomats” would attack President Barack Obama’s more temperate position on Syria while positioning themselves favorably in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton administration, which is expected to authorize an illegal invasion of Syria — under the guise of establishing “no-fly zones” and “safe zones” — which will mean the slaughter of young Syrian soldiers. The “diplomats” urge the use of “stand-off and air weapons.”

These hawks are so eager for more war that they don’t mind risking a direct conflict with Russia, breezily dismissing the possibility of a clash with the nuclear power by saying they are not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia.” That’s reassuring to hear.

Risking a Jihadist Victory

There’s also the danger that a direct U.S. military intervention could collapse the Syrian army and clear the way for victory by Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the Islamic State. The memo did not make clear how the delicate calibration of doing just enough damage to Syria’s military while avoiding an outright jihadist victory and averting a clash with Russia would be accomplished.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Presumably, whatever messes are created, the U.S. military would be left to clean up, assuming that shooting down some Russian warplanes and killing Russian military personnel wouldn’t escalate into a full-scale thermonuclear conflagration.

In short, it appears that the State Department has become a collective insane asylum where the inmates are in control. But this madness isn’t some short-term aberration that can be easily reversed. It has been a long time coming and would require a root-to-branch ripping out of today’s “diplomatic” corps to restore the State Department to its traditional role of avoiding wars rather than demanding them.

Though there have always been crazies in the State Department – usually found in the senior political ranks – the phenomenon of an institutional insanity has only evolved over the past several decades. And I have seen the change.

I have covered U.S. foreign policy since the late 1970s when there was appreciably more sanity in the diplomatic corps. There were people like Robert White and Patricia Derian (both now deceased) who stood up for justice and human rights, representing the best of America.

But the descent of the U.S. State Department into little more than well-dressed, well-spoken but thuggish enforcers of U.S. hegemony began with the Reagan administration. President Ronald Reagan and his team possessed a pathological hatred of Central American social movements seeking freedom from oppressive oligarchies and their brutal security forces.

During the 1980s, American diplomats with integrity were systematically marginalized, hounded or removed. (Human rights coordinator Derian left at the end of the Carter administration and was replaced by neocon Elliott Abrams; White was fired as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, explaining: “I refused a demand by the secretary of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr., that I use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military’s responsibility for the murders of four American churchwomen.”)

The Neocons Rise

As the old-guard professionals left, a new breed of aggressive neoconservatives was brought in, the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Robert McFarlane, Robert Kagan and Abrams. After eight years of Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush, the State Department was reshaped into a home for neocons, but some pockets of professionalism survived the onslaughts.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who was a leading neocon inside President George W. Bush's National Security Council.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, a leading neocon.

While one might have expected the Democrats of the Clinton administration to reverse those trends, they didn’t. Instead, Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” applied to U.S. foreign policy as much as to domestic programs. He was always searching for that politically safe “middle.”

As the 1990s wore on, the decimation of foreign policy experts in the mold of White and Derian left few on the Democratic side who had the courage or skills to challenge the deeply entrenched neocons. Many Clinton-era Democrats accommodated to the neocon dominance by reinventing themselves as “liberal interventionists,” sharing the neocons’ love for military force but justifying the killing on “humanitarian” grounds.

This approach was a way for “liberals” to protect themselves against right-wing charges that they were “weak,” a charge that had scarred Democrats deeply during the Reagan/Bush-41 years, but this Democratic “tough-guy/gal-ism” further sidelined serious diplomats favoring traditional give-and-take with foreign leaders and their people.

So, you had Democrats like then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (and later Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright justifying Bill Clinton’s brutal sanctions policies toward Iraq, which the U.N. blamed for killing 500,000 Iraqi children, as “a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Bill Clinton’s eight years of “triangulation,” which included the brutal air war against Serbia, was followed by eight years of George W. Bush, which further ensconced the neocons as the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

By then, what was left of the old Republican “realists,” the likes of Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, was aging out or had been so thoroughly compromised that the neocons faced no significant opposition within Republican circles. And, Official Washington’s foreign-policy Democrats had become almost indistinguishable from the neocons, except for their use of “humanitarian” arguments to justify aggressive wars.

Media Capitulation

Before George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, much of the “liberal” media establishment – from The New York Times to The New Yorker – fell in line behind the war, asking few tough questions and presenting almost no obstacles. Favoring war had become the “safe” career play.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

But a nascent anti-war movement among rank-and-file Democrats did emerge, propelling Barack Obama, an anti-Iraq War Democrat, to the 2008 presidential nomination over Iraq War supporter Hillary Clinton. But those peaceful sentiments among the Democratic “base” did not reach very deeply into the ranks of Democratic foreign policy mavens.

So, when Obama entered the White House, he faced a difficult challenge. The State Department needed a thorough purging of the neocons and the liberal hawks, but there were few Democratic foreign policy experts who hadn’t sold out to the neocons. An entire generation of Democratic policy-makers had been raised in the world of neocon-dominated conferences, meetings, op-eds and think tanks, where tough talk made you sound good while talk of traditional diplomacy made you sound soft.

By contrast, more of the U.S. military and even the CIA favored less belligerent approaches to the world, in part, because they had actually fought Bush’s hopeless “global war on terror.” But Bush’s hand-picked, neocon-oriented high command – the likes of General David Petraeus – remained in place and favored expanded wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama then made one of the most fateful decisions of his presidency. Instead of cleaning house at State and at the Pentagon, he listened to some advisers who came up with the clever P.R. theme “Team of Rivals” – a reference to Abraham Lincoln’s first Civil War cabinet – and Obama kept in place Bush’s military leadership, including Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, and reached out to hawkish Sen. Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.

In other words, Obama not only didn’t take control of the foreign-policy apparatus, he strengthened the power of the neocons and liberal hawks. He then let this powerful bloc of Clinton-Gates-Petraeus steer him into a foolhardy counterinsurgency “surge” in Afghanistan that did little more than get 1,000 more U.S. soldiers killed along with many more Afghans.

Obama also let Clinton sabotage his attempted outreach to Iran in 2010 seeking constraints on its nuclear program and he succumbed to her pressure in 2011 to invade Libya under the false pretense of establishing a “no-fly zone” to protect civilians, what became a “regime change” disaster that Obama has ranked as his biggest foreign policy mistake.

The Syrian Conflict

Obama did resist Secretary Clinton’s calls for another military intervention in Syria although he authorized some limited military support to the allegedly “moderate” rebels and allowed Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to do much more in supporting jihadists connected to Al Qaeda and even the Islamic State.

Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Under Secretary Clinton, the neocon/liberal-hawk bloc consolidated its control of the State Department diplomatic corps. Under neocon domination, the State Department moved from one “group think” to the next. Having learned nothing from the Iraq War, the conformity continued to apply toward Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia, China, Venezuela, etc.

Everywhere the goal was same: to impose U.S. hegemony, to force the locals to bow to American dictates, to steer them into neo-liberal “free market” solutions which were often equated with “democracy” even if most of the people of the affected countries disagreed.

Double-talk and double-think replaced reality-driven policies. “Strategic communications,” i.e., the aggressive use of propaganda to advance U.S. interests, was one watchword. “Smart power,” i.e., the application of financial sanctions, threats of arrests, limited military strikes and other forms of intimidation, was another.

Every propaganda opportunity, such as the Syrian sarin attack in 2013 or the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down over eastern Ukraine, was exploited to the hilt to throw adversaries on the defensive even if U.S. intelligence analysts doubted that evidence supported the accusations.

Lying at the highest levels of the U.S. government – but especially among the State Department’s senior officials – became epidemic. Perhaps even worse, U.S. “diplomats” seemed to believe their own propaganda.

Meanwhile, the mainstream U.S. news media experienced a similar drift into the gravity pull of neocon dominance and professional careerism, eliminating major news outlets as any kind of check on official falsehoods.

The Up-and-Comers

The new State Department star – expected to receive a high-level appointment from President Clinton-45 – is neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who orchestrated the 2014 putsch in Ukraine, toppling an elected, Russia-friendly president and replacing him with a hard-line Ukrainian nationalist regime that then launched violent military attacks against ethnic Russians in the east who resisted the coup leadership.

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

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

When Russia came to the assistance of these embattled Ukrainian citizens, including agreeing to Crimea’s request to rejoin Russia, the State Department and U.S. mass media spoke as one in decrying a “Russian invasion” and supporting NATO military maneuvers on Russia’s borders to deter “Russian aggression.”

Anyone who dares question this latest “group think” – as it plunges the world into a dangerous new Cold War – is dismissed as a “Kremlin apologist” or “Moscow stooge” just as skeptics about the Iraq War were derided as “Saddam apologists.” Virtually everyone important in Official Washington marches in lock step toward war and more war. (Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, making them one of Washington’s supreme power couples.)

So, that is the context of the latest State Department rebellion against Obama’s more tempered policies on Syria. Looking forward to a likely Hillary Clinton administration, these 51 “diplomats” have signed their name to a “dissent” that advocates bombing the Syrian military to protect Syria’s “moderate” rebels who – to the degree they even exist – fight mostly under the umbrella of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham.

The muddled thinking in this “dissent” is that by bombing the Syrian military, the U.S. government can enhance the power of the rebels and supposedly force Assad to negotiate his own removal. But there is no reason to think that this plan would work.

In early 2014, when the rebels held a relatively strong position, U.S.-arranged peace talks amounted to a rebel-dominated conference that made Assad’s departure a pre-condition and excluded Syria’s Iranian allies from attending. Not surprisingly, Assad’s representative went home and the talks collapsed.

Now, with Assad holding a relatively strong hand, backed by Russian air power and Iranian ground forces, the “dissenting” U.S. diplomats say peace is impossible because the rebels are in no position to compel Assad’s departure. Thus, the “dissenters” recommend that the U.S. expand its role in the war to again lift the rebels, but that would only mean more maximalist demands from the rebels.

Serious Risks

This proposed wider war, however, would carry some very serious risks, including the possibility that the Syrian army could collapse, opening the gates of Damascus to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front (and its allies) or the Islamic State – a scenario that, as The New York Times noted, the “memo doesn’t address.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Secretary of State John Kerry before meetings at the Kremlin on Dec. 15, 2015. (State Department photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Secretary of State John Kerry before meetings at the Kremlin on Dec. 15, 2015. (State Department photo)

Currently, the Islamic State and – to a lesser degree – the Nusra Front are in retreat, chased by the Syrian army with Russian air support and by some Kurdish forces with U.S. backing. But those gains could easily be reversed. There is also the risk of sparking a wider war with Iran and/or Russia.

But such cavalier waving aside of grave dangers is nothing new for the neocons and liberal hawks. They have consistently dreamt up schemes that may sound good at a think-tank conference or read well in an op-ed article, but fail in the face of ground truth where usually U.S. soldiers are expected to fix the mess.

We have seen this wishful thinking go awry in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and even Syria, where Obama’s acquiescence to provide arms and training for the so-called “unicorns” – the hard-to-detect “moderate” rebels – saw those combatants and their weapons absorbed into Al Qaeda’s or Islamic State’s ranks.

Yet, the neocons and liberal hawks who control the State Department – and are eagerly looking forward to a Hillary Clinton presidency – will never stop coming up with these crazy notions until a concerted effort is made to assess accountability for all the failures that that they have inflicted on U.S. foreign policy.

As long as there is no accountability – as long as the U.S. president won’t rein in these warmongers – the madness will continue and only grow more dangerous.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party” and “Would a Clinton Win Mean More Wars?’]

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).

image_pdfimage_print

112 comments for “The State Department’s Collective Madness

  1. angryspittle
    June 17, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    State used to be filled with statesman. Now it is apparently manned by those who would be more comfortable in that 5 sided building across the river. In fact many of those in that 5 sided building exhibit more restraint and statesmanship than those in State.

    • Larry
      June 17, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      There’s a good metaphoric reason State is called Foggy Bottom. Something about their heads stuck up their bottoms as well with a forecast of ‘foggy with turds’.

      I’m guessing though that hundreds of real diplomats refused to sign The Anti-Nuremburg manifesto.

      • Roberto
        June 17, 2016 at 11:34 pm

        Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland must be livid over their integrity.

      • Anthony Shaker
        June 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm

        How true!

        Besides the lucidity of his analyses, Robert is a first-rate writer. I believe that the mark of a creative NONFICTION writer is to have, as he does, the patience to formulate a thought creatively with words but in such a way that the meaning reflects something that’s true. For that, one has to know what one is talking about, and he’s been around long enough to take the words right out of my mouth.

        I find it harder and harder to find the words to express the man-made mayhem I see in front of my eyes and which I am witnessing in countries I have visited and where I have done research over the decades. I can see that Mr. Parry is a doing a great job controlling his sense of loss at what he sees, because the choice of words that remains can’t be that wide.

        It’s much harder today, as he says, than in 1970s to describe without emotion the ilk that determine policy. It’s emotionally hard to describe the future that awaits us that these men and women who rule over us and who claim to dictate to the rest of the world are busy creating. That future will not be pax americana, but chaos.

        Far from dictating, they are themselves ruled–by the basest human impulses. They are the product of decadent times, and the consequences of their actions and decision are affecting billions around the world, because they are worse than useless.

        This is not the mark of absolute power, but absolute failure–to be followed by absolute, measurable losses in short order. In fact, I think those people are themselves part of the losses that are beginning to afflict us dangerously.

      • Gregory Kruse
        June 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

        I’m more concerned about how many of them are Zionists, and Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians.

    • June 17, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      An over demanding Interest in the foreign decision of the USA would have them place their loyal minions in the key places of the Department. And so it is that our FAD is acting strangely to America First citizens. Hillary was the selection of those special interest people. hint hint

    • Karl Kolchack
      June 20, 2016 at 12:07 am

      The State Department is, and always has been, full of Foreign Service career opportunists. Add that to the fact that most of the younger officers were little kids on 9/11 and don’t know a time when America was somewhat less belligerent towards the rest of the world and you have the current sad state of affairs, as it were.

    • hbm
      June 21, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Figure a six-sided one would be even more to their taste.

      • Gregory Kruse
        June 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        We could change the nickname of the State Department from “Foggy Bottom” to the “Hexagon”.

  2. Joe L.
    June 17, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    One thing that I wonder sometimes is when is China going to get off of the sidelines? I seem to remember that both Russia and China sent destroyers into the Mediterranean Sea when Obama first threatened to invade Syria. Maybe if China sent some planes or military help to Russia/Syria then maybe the Syrian Army could finally win and the US would move back to diplomacy rather than risking WW3. Then I don’t believe that Assad should be forced to go, that is not our right to do that, but I do believe that the Syrian people themselves should decide their own future – irrespective of any outside pressure on either side (especially since I believe US 4-star General Wesley Clark when he spoke of US plans, predating 9/11, for regime change all across the Middle East).

    • Jean-David
      June 18, 2016 at 8:27 am

      ” don’t believe that Assad should be forced to go, that is not our right to do that, but I do believe that the Syrian people themselves should decide their own future”

      Is it not ironic that that is the very position Mr. Putin holds? It feels so strange to me that it is easier to believe what Putin says, vs. what the U.S. government says. I find it curious that Russia is working to help protect the Syrian government from the revolutionaries at the invitation of the Syrian government, but the U.S. is in there without permission, so is an invading foreign power.

      • Joe L.
        June 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        Jean-David… Well I just find what is happening in the Middle East to be really twisted. I mean people were rightfully angry at Al Qaeda for 9/11 but I don’t see, especially Americans, people angry to the fact that either the US Government is directly supporting Al Qaeda in the Middle East as it pulls of the “regime changes” that the US wants OR that the “moderates” that the US Government are supporting are fighting “along side” Al Qaeda (Al Nusra) in Syria where the US actually asked Russia to stop bombing Al Qaeda in Syria (Al Nusra) because “moderates” were fighting along side Al Nusra – as not to bomb to so called “moderates” (which I don’t believe exist). Then you add in things like VP Joe Biden speaking about our allies Saudi Arabia/Turkey/Qatar etc. being so hellbent on “regime change” in Syria that they are funding and arming Al Qaeda along with ISIS – and this really turns into a circus where we are supposedly fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda while our “allies” are arming/funding them yet they are still our allies. Then, as you rightly point out, there is the little fact of “international law” where western countries, my own being Canada, are violating international law by invading Syrian territory – Article 2(4) of the UN Charter where Russia was invited by the Syrian Government and actually has a military base in the country. This is about as Orwellian as it gets yet most people are completely clueless and are instead preoccupied with Kim Kardashian’s butt or their latest gadget.

    • Duglarri
      June 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      The position of the Chinese or the Russians with respect to Syria is just all that much more disturbing with respect to the Neocons at State. The Russians, for example, with their base at Latakia, and their S-400 missiles on hand, are the equivalent of the guy playing poker with the loaded gun sitting on the table. Play nice, the gun says- but these State people are like the guy who seems quite oblivious to the gun right there in plain sight. Putin has repeatedly tried to draw attention to the gun.

      “We are a nuclear power,” he says, often, and openly expresses his astonishment and dismay at the fact that these Americans seem to have no idea that Russia is, in fact, a nuclear power.

      You just can’t play cards and claim the pot with a pair of twos when there’s a gun on the table.

      And you can’t lift a finger against Assad when a nuclear-armed Russia has S-400’s in Latakia.

      And Putin is stuck with a question: are these people really that stupid? Is that possible?

      China and Russia are both very much off the sidelines, and have been signalling as much with all lights red for quite some time. But the neocons, and these morons at State, blandly plough ahead as if neither country even existed.

      They could kill us all. It’s that bad.

    • Miriam
      June 21, 2016 at 8:15 am

      Joe L….actually what Wesley Clark and others were learning about was neocon plan taken directly from the YINON plan published in “Kivunim” the WZO journal in 1982 which concisely explained the IDF plan to dismember all major countries in the M/E region piece by piece, into its smallest confessional region as we have seen in Iraq, Libya, Sudan…it was translated by scientist/scholar Israel Shahak and is available online…I strongly recommend folks read it and understand that Richard Perle and Wolfowitz who wrote speeches for Netanyahu in the early 90s based their PNAC (Project for a New AMerican Century) ….which called for a “new Pearl Harbor” that would enable the neocons and likudniks to bring the US into the service of the YINON plan….rinse repeat.

  3. Steve
    June 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Robert, How about asking Ray McGovern and other Veteran intelligence officers to publicly counter this State Dept. neo-con/neo-lib cultism? They have a gun pointed at the head of humanity and we are all being held hostage by their madness. How can so few threaten so many?

    • June 17, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      That’s a great idea, only the VIPS memos are always ignored by the Obama administration. It would be potentially more effective if they wrote such a memo and had it published as an ad in the NYT and Washington Post so it couldn’t be ignored.

    • JosephNYC
      June 18, 2016 at 7:38 am

      How can so few threaten so many?
      Say these letters: NRA
      Now you have another answer.

      • John
        June 19, 2016 at 4:51 pm

        Try these letters instead: CFR

        The Rockefeller/CFR has dominated the State Dept and the CIA since the Dulles brothers in the 1950s. See list of directors and members at their website.

        “It’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go *to be told what we should be doing and how we should think* about the future.”

        — Clinton speech at CFR, 2009-07-15, video and transcript:
        http://www.cfr.org/diplomacy-and-statecraft/conversation-us-secretary-state-hillary-rodham-clinton/p34589

        • June 20, 2016 at 12:26 pm

          AIPAC,PNAC

  4. exiled off mainstreet
    June 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Obama was unable to clean up the state department because he made the deal to give it to Hillary Clinton, war criminal and neocon in chief. Parry rightly is concerned about survival and the threat of nuclear war engaged in on behalf of el qaeda. That is why keeping the harpy out should be the primary concern. Therefore the Trump bashing by establishment lackeys should be kept to a minimum.

    • Zachary Smith
      June 17, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      The State Department’s Collective Madness

      I loved the title, and was busy composing some of my own remarks as I read the essay, but further reading showed that Mr. Parry had already anticipated me.

      Also, I believe you nailed it with that “deal” business. Obama was given the job of coddling the bankers, and Hillary was given the State Department with the understanding that she’d have full rein. Obama had enough leeway (and probably barely adequate support from whoever is yanking his chain) to avoid a full-blown Syrian campaign – but he very nearly folded with that one too.

      Those 51 State Department fellows ought to be given jobs better suited to their real skills – something like processing the documents tourists and businessmen need to visit and trade with Upper Volta.

    • Larry
      June 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      To Zachary Smith — I like your idea about Upper Volta but would instead suggest firing them.

    • Larry
      June 17, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      To “exiled off mainstreet” — Your misogynist/sexist language reflects very poorly on your character, not Clinton’s.

      • Quentin
        June 20, 2016 at 3:39 am

        Obviously you don’t know what ‘misogynist/sexist’ means. Hillary Clinton gets off on war and cruelty: ‘We came, we saw, he died’, cackle, cackle, gloating cackle, so civilized and humble.

        • thomas
          June 20, 2016 at 10:33 pm

          Y aaa the bitch is a witch…

      • June 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        Naw,he’s correct.

    • Patricia P Tursi
      June 17, 2016 at 11:36 pm

      Is HRC holding a gun to Obama to make him us the drones? He is carrying out the One World Order plan to take over the 7 middle East countries that Gen Wesley Clark talked about. http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166 Obama is also a front man for the same ones that HRC works for.

    • June 18, 2016 at 12:08 am

      Agree. tonight on Fox news O- Reilly was tutoring Trump on the problem he caused by denying all Syrian Moslem entry in the USA which Hillary Support. My tutoring would be to tell Hillary at all
      would she be willing to sign a document assuring us none of those people have jihadist views. That ALL have been properly checked and they are clean. Should something happens she will be held responsible and no hog wash excuses will be acceptable. After all, that is all TRUMP is asking and he should spell it out to her, short and to the point end of argument.
      And I apply this to all who enter not properly documented. Nothing new here, after WWII war Brides and all immigrant went through a strict questioner backed by document that she/he would not become a public charge and women (this is funny now) were asked if thy had sexual relations with more than four men. Four being the passage to “immoral person”.

  5. Bob Van Noy
    June 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    “But such cavalier waving aside of grave dangers is nothing new for the neocons and liberal hawks. They have consistently dreamt up schemes that may sound good at a think-tank conference or read well in an op-ed article, but fail in the face of ground truth where usually U.S. soldiers are expected to fix the mess.” Robert Parry

    I can’t thank you enough for that remark Mr. Parry, that is so the problem with this neocon bunch, they won’t be available to pay the price of their abhorrent policy; and that is so totally maddening. The combination of back room scholars and military academy warriors trying to advance their lot, has been the bane of American policy for a generation. Enough.

  6. ltr
    June 17, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I found the article in the New York Times truly frightening. Never could I have imagined such crazy militarism running through the State Department. Nuland and a couple of others I could understand, but this group is really, really frightening and beyond Nuland.

    • Bill Cash
      June 17, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Not beyond Nuland. She is with them.

      • William
        June 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm

        Publish the names of the State Dept officials who signed the letter! Publish the names!!
        Infiltration of all departments of govt. exploded during WWII. Mostly Communists, and I think that the majority of influential Communist voices were, and still are, Jewish. Victoria Nuland, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Sandy Berger, Elliot Abrams, plus literally dozens and dozens of others.
        The generosity of this nation has devolved into a kind of ignorant acceptance of a massive Fifth Column working and growing right beneath the noses of our great vaunted press, and our scorned congress. We don’t have to wave a white flag. But, in the next few years, we will either hoist the Star of David over the White House or continue to fly the Stars and Stripes. Our Choice!
        Empires, almost without exception, fall from within.

        • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
          June 20, 2016 at 6:56 pm

          Be anti-Semitic somewhere else.

    • June 20, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Nudelman,Albright and Hillary are sadistic caricatures of women.Womanoids.

  7. jpteschke
    June 17, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Perhaps the headline should read yankee diplomatic thugs urge no-fly zone to protect el qaeda.

    • June 18, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Closer to reality that one might believe. Originally it was Netanyahu clamoring for removal of Assad because he wanted to attack anti Israel forces in Syria. Obama was refused war option by Congress so Obama supported the local protesters and opposition. BUT, Bibi not happy, he said that opposition would not go to war fast and he wold back the El Qaeda forces that come in to fight Assad.
      Now it makes sense on helping El Qaeda. As it turned out, the El Qaeda split with El Nustra that was backed by Bibi, and ,here we go. Bibi was loosing control on what they did, so here comes ISIS.. Ops ISIS decided they had their own war motive….etc etc. That is what the Founders meant when they urged us to stay out of FOREIGN INTRIGUE. NOW,tell Bibi find anther way to get his enemies, put Syria back together (expensive) and let the refugees go home. FIRE NULAND my suggestion to Obama back then playing with the Nazi

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:30 am

      If you think these people consider themselves Yankees,you need your head examined.They are Zionists,or toads.

  8. Bill Cash
    June 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I read the comments for that article and they were very negative which is a good thing.

  9. ltr
    June 17, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Also, I wonder how the letter was leaked to the Times and the Wall Street Journal. What does the leaking mean?

  10. Anonymous
    June 17, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Contrast with PBS News Hour’s coverage of the same news item today:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/state-department-officials-push-for-military-intervention-in-syria/

    • Gregory Herr
      June 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      PBS may as well be NBC, ABC, CNN, or even FOX. They kowtow to the line that the conflict is of Assad’s making and that he used sarin. And oh those conscientious souls at State just want to help!

      Russia will not sit back if the Syrian Army is directly engaged by U.S. force. The conflict is not a civil war, it is engineered from outside of Syria and is waged by mercenary proxies of a virulently sectarian nature. Assad is the “moderate” and Russia is on the side of international law.

      • June 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm

        Well said.

  11. TC Burnett
    June 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Hillary will push the US into WWIII because Goldman-Sachs has paid her to bluff Russia and China back into line and off of the world stage. Personally, I believe that is a failed strategy.

  12. Sam F
    June 17, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    There is really no constitutional basis for a state department to exist under the executive branch, other than to negotiate “by and with the consent of the Senate” because the executive has no policy making power under the Constitution. Any concept of use of the US military by the executive, except to “suppress insurrections and repel invasions” is high crime, and all of these people should be in Guantanamo, under trial for Treason where they may be serving a foreign power like Israel in its efforts to control the US government.

    When the executive pretends to make foreign policy, Congress should intervene. All of these scoundrels should be arrested, and if that doesn’t work, Congress should create a Congressional militia and militarily seize the executive agencies until they are again in control. Congress should also repudiate the NATO treaty and all other treaties, to the extent that these increase executive powers to allow military adventurism.

    The Constitutional Convention well understood that a group of executives must not be allowed to make policy, and very definitely limited the executive powers for that reason. A soon as they have power they decide that they deserve it, and that it is the solution to all problems. And as soon as they have the opportunity to steal power they do that.

    But with elections and mass media controlled by money, neither the executive nor Congress represent the people. They are tyrants who must be deposed by all means.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      When the executive pretends to make foreign policy, Congress should intervene.

      Other than the Keystone Kops can you name any other entity more useless than Congress?

      • Sam F
        June 18, 2016 at 7:25 am

        Agreed at present that Congress is corrupt also, as noted in the comment closing, because both it and the Executive are elected by the same corrupted means, the elections and mass media controlled by money. But it is important to see both corruptions of the intent of the Constitution.

        A solution would be to make constitutional amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited personal contributions. That too goes nowhere because those tools of democracy are already corrupted by money. So real solutions require “watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants” as Jefferson suggested would be necessary far more often than has been done. But the US is far too cowardly and selfish for such sacrifice.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 18, 2016 at 10:14 am

          Sam, I like your ideas. What thoughts do you have about the media?

        • Bill Bodden
          June 18, 2016 at 12:07 pm

          Sam: You’re correct in the suggestion that the people must rise against this corruption, but I believe it could be achieved by non-violent means. However, neither is likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Many Americans are, as you suggest, too cowardly and selfish for such sacrifice. The present system works for others, so they are not going to go out of their way to make changes. It isn’t true we are 99 percent against the one percent. Among that 99% are many enablers and accomplices of the one percenters, and that includes their bought and paid-for politicians and their staffs in the White House, Congress, state capitols, and state legislatures down to local city councils. The plutocrats and their courtesans in the political arenas call the shots and decadence throughout the nation lets them get away with it.

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm

            Bill, you just made a good case of why there still maybe hope to change the system from within. I’m not so sure how, but it is worth pondering such a change. My hope rest on the up and coming generation, who hopefully will do what’s needed to make things right…or at least, as right as possible. It would appear though for now, we are looking at a rugged four years ahead. If we do survive Hillary’s reign, then maybe that young generation could gain enough traction to really, for real this time make a difference. I want to leave this earth, still believing the glass is half full. You, and the many other commenters here, give me such hope. Stay well Bill & Sam F, your opinion counts.

  13. Bill Hessell
    June 17, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Absolutely amazing that Victoria Nuland moved from Sec. Of State Hillary Clinton’s staff planning the Libya debacle to a lead Eastern European position encouraging the governmental overthrow in the Ukraine, which unleashed the turmoil that has racked that country ever since. And now she may move even higher in State if Hillary is elected!? How many failures are allowed before a person’s canning?? Pres. Obama even granted a deferential interview to her husband Robert Kagan! Our nation’s public is war weary, against regime change endeavors overseas, neocons are discredited after their known failures in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, but our foreign policy, and potentially our next president, are still under the grasp of their hawkish, war-inducing influence? Truly frightening! I appreciate Robert Parry’s valiant efforts to reverse the scenario.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 17, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      How many failures are allowed before a person’s canning??

      Failures in government are like violations of the law. If you have a sufficiently high-ranking position or the right connections, you are beyond reproach.

      On the other hand, if you are like former Ambassador Robert White – ” White was fired as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, explaining: “I refused a demand by the secretary of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr., that I use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military’s responsibility for the murders of four American churchwomen.”) – then you’ll be given the chop.

      • June 18, 2016 at 12:42 am

        That is another scandal never imagined now coming out. DRUGS, all for drugs billions and our
        OFFICIAL beyond suspicious wallowing in drug money. Is it any wonder they fight o hard to get another one of their …..in the office?

    • Gregory Herr
      June 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Unfortunately Bill, what you and I consider as “failures” are thought of quite differently by the ones in charge.
      The moral implications of the actions taken that you disagree with are of no consideration to the ones in charge.They, like the example of Albright, will say “it’s worth the price,” though they aren’t the ones paying it.

  14. A. K.
    June 17, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Political embeds remain after administrations leave. It is a problem

  15. Randal Marlin
    June 17, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Excellent piece, Robert. I think of the young, capable and principled, John Brady Kiesling, who resigned his diplomatic position in Athens because he could not support the imminent invasion of Iraq in 2003. His articulate letter of resignation was widely circulated and can be found with a Google search using his name. Perhaps he foresaw the disaster that was about to happen.

    Hillary Clinton’s “We came. We saw. He died. (In reference to Muammar Ghaddafy)” has to be one of the most nauseating boasts ever uttered, especially when we consider the fate of someone else who died as a consequence of her meddling, namely U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.

  16. Bill Bodden
    June 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    And, what does this say about the “elite” universities in the United States that produced all, or most, of these immoral and neocon fools and “diplomats”? And, no doubt, chickenhawks.

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Poison ivy league.

      • Bill Bodden
        June 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        Poison Ivy league. Excellent, dahoit.

  17. Joe Tedesky
    June 18, 2016 at 12:03 am

    It’s been twenty years since the ‘Project for the New American Century’ club, wrote their mantra for how America must move forward with our quest for world dominance into the 21sy century. Back then the U.S. had the strongest military, and a first strike nuclear weapon advantage (at least that was the thought). The PNAC authors based their whole theory of American world dominance on that then overwhelming superiority, that once was. Now, here we are in 2016 and it appears that Washington is appearing to have missed reading some of those new memos that have been said to be floating around out there about the new kids in town. Both Russia, and China have advanced their military, and nuclear weapons programs themselves quite extensively. While American leaders of state plan our future war strategy as a matter of process, Russia is planning their defense with their eye on their very survival. Russia has already said that if you bring this war to us, we will in return bring it to you. This time the North American Western Hemisphere will not go untouched. Inside Russia’s new Kalibr cruise missile the Russians have developed a Club-K variant, which is disguised as a shipping container that can be placed on a truck, train, or merchant vessels. How hard would it be for Russia to deploy these cruise missiles right off the US coast in regular container ships? Or just keep a few containers in Cuba or Venezuela? This new weapon that the Russians have come up with, should be taken as a serious game change, to anything that was ever written from as long ago as 1996. Pay attention PNACer’s, Neocon’s, R2Pers, and Hillary…are you listening? So, I say less military, and more statesmanship, is what’s needed. Madeline Albright once said to Colin Powell, ‘what’s the point of having a military, if you don’t use it,’ well I say to Madeline, ‘what’s the point of having a State Department if you don’t use it’. If our leaders push the envelope to far, they may never be able to come topside from their hidden bunkers…it will be to toxic!

    Here is a link, which would compliment this fine article Mr Parry has presented here;

    http://thesaker.is/how-russia-is-preparing-for-wwiii/

    • June 18, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Great contribution. Many of us who started when few dared to end up in a nut house have come a long way writing ugly facts. Still fighting on still a bit like the underground papers. We will get there,
      time is short for those of us who have facts in our memories. Google and clan, as reported in the news as well,is busy changing our words and wiping out fact we send.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Not to mention their state-of-the-art Air Force.

  18. WorldCommenter
    June 18, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Get Russia out of Crimea and eastern Ukraine!

    Russia was the agressor in Chechnya twice, in Moldova, in Georgia and now in Ukraine. Russia wants to dominate eastern Europe, the Caucus and Central Asia. Russia will intimidate, bribe, harass and corrupt its neighbors political and economic systems to control tem.

    • Silly Me
      June 18, 2016 at 4:25 am

      Sorry, this site is visited by mostly informed and relatively intelligent people who don’t buy your official narrative. Not that it makes a lot of difference what we think.

      Please, troll somewhere else.

      Thanks.

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

      World commenter based in Tel Aviv!hahahaha..You clowns are going down.

  19. Paul
    June 18, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Agree with the other comments. Excellent review of the tragic fate of the State Department. We should be grateful all the same that these dissenters are not yet calling the shots. God help us when they do.

    Bureaucracies of all types exist to perpetuate themselves, to expand, and to settle down into a secure career. If thought happens within a bureaucracy it is by accident. Perhaps better to call it a miracle. Pray for miracles.

  20. WackedOutVet
    June 18, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Interesting article, but what is not said is often as important as what is. It is not mentioned that many of the senior neocons also worked for the Israeli government and some even have dual citizenship. The now rabidly pro-Israeli policy of “foggy bottom” reflects an “America Second” attitude by these “diplomats”. Israel and it’s fifth column in America is willing to spill the last drop of America’s blood and squander the last dollar of her wealth for their megalomania of domination.
    I wonder how many of these dissent signers were Jewish? And I know simply asking the question makes me an “anti-semite”, which in turn makes it all the more pertinent

    • Sam F
      June 18, 2016 at 7:39 am

      I had the same thought, without any prejudice. The extreme right among Jews is among the greatest and most instructive ironies of the post-WWII era. Its control of US foreign policy by campaign bribes, with a tiny fraction of the resources controlled, is a lesson in the failure of democracy when its institutions are controlled by money. But as noted above, except for a powerless minority, the people of the US are too cowardly and selfish to correct anything, coddled by their affluence and breast fed even in adulthood by their TVs.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      There are many admirable people of Jewish heritage – Michael Lerner, Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy, Amira Haas, etc. So they don’t get tarnished by activities inspired by Israel or its lobby or other adherents there is much to be said for referring to the latter as pro-Israel, pro-Israel’s right wing, Israel Firsters, or Zionists.

    • Phock Zayos
      June 20, 2016 at 4:10 am

      I grew up a liberal convinced that all the right-wing (foreign, not US christian, who have been in bed with Israel for decades) jew-attacking was ignorant bigotry. Since 2001, however, I feel like I have learned the reality of what is happening in the world. However, part of the ziocon rise was clearly the fall of the Soviet Union. When the fight used to be military/economic/philosophical, then the balance of power in the world was much more broadly spread around between different interests of different peoples.

      Since the collapse of the Soviet Union’s support for many nations around the world, but particularly in the Arab world, the zionists have had free reign, or so they think, to come up with any nutcase idea they fancy. That these people came out of tragedy themselves makes them that much more dangerous and selfish. It’s not all zionists, though. It’s a good dose of nutcase christian arms-dealing psycopaths, and blind, entitled, elitist new democrats, who have zero to do with the old values of the democratic party.

      The most incredible thing is that a nation of 300 million like the USA has allowed itself to be run by a handful of seditionists. The real issue is whether this has always been an endemic problem among jews themselves, who really seem to have a problem sticking to themselves at the cost of whatever host nation they live in. At this point the dirt done is so extreme, that jews have to expose their brethren involved in this treason, or be tarred with the same brush, yet jews occupy key positions in all power structures of American life.

      It isn’t going to be changed, because most Americans aren’t even aware of the problem, since blaming zionists means instant attack by the media. Fact is, they’ll have to get us into even more foreign policy disasters before they get exposed.

      What’s more likely is economic implosion from the stupid ponzi economy they’ve also built. At that point, the american populace of 294 million non-jews won’t be interested in protecting the rich of any race.

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        June 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm

        “Host nation”? Sorry, but you ARE anti-Semitic. Be stupid somewhere else. I am pro-Palestine and anti-Israel, by the way.

  21. John Puma
    June 18, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Madeleine Albright’s “justifying Bill Clinton’s brutal sanctions policies toward Iraq, which the U.N. blamed for killing 500,000 Iraqi children, as ‘a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it’,” took place in 1996, halfway through Bush I/Clinton I war crime of sanctions.

    Therefore, until the second half* of the sanctions are proven to have killed significantly fewer Iraqi’s than the first half, attribute a nice, round 1 million dead children to the Clinton biumvirate.

    When do we get an analysis of the status of the US’s mercenary armies, which are presumably under control of the State Department?
    ——-

    *The “economic sanctions,” of course, prepared for and were ended by, Bush II’s invasion in 2003.

  22. June 18, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Another absolutely first-rate article by Robert Parry which should be disseminated as widely as possible. I’m not sure how this is done, but please help. I have a list of selected websites (not all of which are progressive but included just for comparative purposes) that you can use to forward the article, and of course there are many more:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Nqg30pXddw0ej7w2T-gL41gKpXUKDb7yMAuLNBMclOw/edit#gid=0

    I have a suspicion that many readers here are former govt officials, so you could be especially helpful.

    And does anyone have a way to get this into the inner circle of Donald Trump? He appears to be the only candidate who might listen, but one could try Bernie as well.

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:37 am

      You can’t tell from the Zionist MSMs total war on Trump that he is anathema to these traitors?WTF?

  23. Silly Me
    June 18, 2016 at 4:19 am

    We are living in the Matrix by now.

    I am expecting a war presented by the media, while there will not be a single shot fired in reality, conveniently enforcing martial law in order to keep the exploited masses at bay. That will also enable our rulers to take away our weapons. Both the US and the Russian aristocracies will love the outcome and, boys and girls, it’s already in the works while you are chewing on fake problems.

  24. June 18, 2016 at 4:22 am

    A source of constant amazement to me is how many U.S. generals there are willing to stand by as their men are ordered into needless slaughter by the insane.

    Perhaps the time comes where you have to allow a pot to boil over before removing it from the stove completely. The Kagans and their neocon acolytes need dethroning.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      A source of constant amazement to me is how many U.S. generals there are willing to stand by as their men are ordered into needless slaughter by the insane.

      If you are amazed by U.S. generals willing to stand by as their men are ordered into needless slaughter you need to read some military history. First of all, it is the generals doing the ordering. Generals have been ordering men into certain death throughout history. Some of the worst and most criminal incidents occurred during the First World War when British, French and German generals ordered thousands of their soldiers out of their trenches to certain death day in and day out to gain a few yards one day that they might lose the next.

      I attended a talk early during the Iraq war given by the father of a dissenter who was up for court martial. He was asked if any of his son’s colleagues agreed with his son. He said there were, but they couldn’t join him because they had mortgages to pay. What incentives kept the generals from refusing to obey an illegal and immoral order in accordance with the Nuremberg Principles? How about a post-retirement appointment to a board of one of the military-industrial complex corporations?

  25. bill
    June 18, 2016 at 4:26 am

    “anyone but Killary” must at some time inevitably morph into supporting a pro-Trump Presidency,painful to even write, and something truly nauseating to even contemplate UNLESS a serious Stein/Sanders opposition can come together in coming weeks or somehow Killary fail at Philadelphia and the outrageous voter suppression of the primaries become widely known esp through the many lawsuits pending( despite the party judges),with mass resignations in the offing as 10,000s reconsider their DP membership….rumors abound.Has S endorsed K already? Certainly many of his foreign policy positions are as disturbed as Killarys but he at least is a more balanced personality……..((The US isnt even appraised on elections by the Carter Center as it doesnt even meet the most basic of criteria to merit such observation.Rampant voter suppression and computer fraud flipping votes.The worlds biggest democracy comes in at Num 47 of 139 countries,last among the ” established ” democracies http://ivn.us/2016/03/24/united-states-worst-elections-long-standing-democracy/ ))

    • Sam F
      June 18, 2016 at 7:50 am

      The US legalized bribery and election fraud long ago to get to the top of the list of nations in corruption. We now have no Corruption(trademark), and export fake Democracy(trademark) everywhere. All hail fake democracy! Long live fake democracy!

  26. Deschutes
    June 18, 2016 at 5:09 am

    God, I fucking hate the US State Department! Victoria Nuland, John Kerry, Elliot Abrams, Killary Klinton…the list of neocon assholes in the State Dept. is long indeed. Maybe they should change their name from ‘State Department’ to ‘State Sponsored Terrorism Department’? I mean, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq and Yemen. These people are war criminals and belong in jail, the death and misery they have sowed worldwide for global domination is utterly disgusting.

  27. June 18, 2016 at 6:07 am

    The State Department now seems to be a combination of true-believing neocons along with their liberal-interventionist followers and some careerists who realize that the smart play is to behave toward the world.

  28. Brad Benson
    June 18, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Great article and spot on. Here’s something I wrote the last time that these “foreign policy experts” wrote a letter.

    Why the Washington Power Elite fears Trump
    http://off-guardian.org/2016/03/31/why-the-washington-power-elite-fears-trump/

  29. Peter Loeb
    June 18, 2016 at 6:47 am

    AN APPRECIATION OF ROBERT PARRY’S ANALYSIS

    With deepest thanks to R. Parry for this excellent essay.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Bart Gruzalski
      June 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Peter, me too:
      Dear Robert,

      As I’ve told you in an email, I approach any paper “up my alley” on your site much as I would approach a presentation at an American Philosophical meeting: my analytical scalpel is ready, perhaps a bit of paper for reminding me of the “hot” spots of what I’d heard, and then, when it’s time, I’d engage in the discussion.

      Furthermore, the APA encourages commentators and those in the audience to do the best possible. The most famous APA exchange happened when a young philosophy, likely untenured, gave a talk on the “Double positive.” Part of his thesis (I know, everyone who reads this will wonder what this has to do with philosophy, which is an excellent question) was that while a double negative becomes a positive [“I did not fail not to feed the horse”]; the double positive NEVER becomes a negative. At the back of a relatively full room, a well-known senior philosophy, said (loud enough so everyone in the room could hear him), “YEAH yeah.” So at the professional meeting level, it’s a tough profession.

      If you’ve read some of my comments, I am not opposed to give out high praise (to ex-Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr for “America’s Many Mideast Blunders”) mixed comments (“The War Risk of Hillary Clinton”) to comments that are totally negative without being rude (“Going Global: Bernie Sanders’s Challenge” and “Campaign 2016’s Brave New World”). If I ever again publish on Consortium, I hope that readers will be willing to point out areas of disagreement, offer counterexamples, or add conforming instances. And, as I wish all author would do, I will respond to comments.

      With all of that out of the way, I did read Robert Parry’s piece with my scalpel in hand. I’ll go through Parry’s article focusing on points as they come up seriatim.

      (1) The first point, which was a reminder to me since I used to frequent “Foggy Bottom,” was that there’s a huge difference between State Department people who are prepared to practice diplomacy (not gunboat diplomacy).

      (2) That 51 State Department personnel signed a petition asking for military strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad—is no less than stunning.

      (3) These hawks are so eager for more war that they don’t mind risking direct conflict with Russia, “breezily dismissing the possibility of a clash with the nuclear power by saying they are not ‘advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia.” Robert Parry writes: “That’s reassuring to hear.” What else can one say in the face of such insanity—willingly risking a nuclear WWIII for nothing!

      (4) You write: “These hawks are so eager for more war that they don’t mind risking a direct conflict with Russia, breezily dismissing the possibility of a clash with the nuclear power by saying they are not ‘advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia.’” That is absolute insanity!

      (5) My limited contacts with State Department folk was in the 60s, when pursuing a career at the State Department was a noble career in which a person could do good. What you wrote in the following is tragic: Human rights coordinator Derian left at the end of the Carter administration and was replaced by neocon Elliott Abrams; White was fired as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, explaining: “I refused a demand by the secretary of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr., that I use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military’s responsibility for the murders of four American churchwomen.”

      (6) No one should forget Madeleine Albright of the “500 thousand dead Iraqi children were worth it” fame. Women voters who want a woman in the White House should think of Albright and hopefully come to the right conclusion. In the same way, those arguing for a closer relationship with Israel or upping the annual $3Billion give should reflect on the Israelis deliberately firing on the USS Liberty, killing 34 American military (navy) and wounding 171.

      (7) The State Department is overrun with Neocons. In contrast, “more of the U.S. military and even the CIA favored less belligerent approaches to the world, in part, because they had actually fought Bush’s hopeless ‘global war on terror.’” It is appalling that the neocons who are condemning US military to killing and being killed, and who throw around citizen tax dollars as if it is there to just throw around, are all armchair military.

      (8) We have seen how the neocon playbook plays out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Ukraine. “Yet,” your write, “the neocons and liberal hawks who control the State Department – and are eagerly looking forward to a Hillary Clinton presidency – will never stop coming up with these crazy notions until a concerted effort is made to assess accountability for all the failures that that they have inflicted on U.S. foreign policy.” Meanwhile, they continue to do the same things while expecting a very different result. According to Einstein, that is a mark of the insane.

      Robert, eight stars out of five. It’s nice to read an account based on experience. Thanks for putting it out there.

  30. Bart
    June 18, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Haven’t read all the posts, yet, but could this not be a false flag being sent up the pole to see how it flies with the Pentagon & public?

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:40 am

      False Flag?No they are quite vocal in their total support for destroying Israels irritant,Assad.Just like every irritant to Zion.

  31. Geoffrey de Galles
    June 18, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Were the US (and/or its allies) to seek to decapitate Syria by means of a military campaign, inexorably that would open the door to seven devils worse. Erdogan would instantly seize the opportunity, and presumably the assistance of NATO, to try to restore throughout Syria the Ottoman empire — also the Ottoman Caliphate, answering to him alone — and inevitably all of the Kurds of Syria (< and Iraq) would find themselves the victims of a de facto genocide. (A civil war in Turkey, of whose citizens some 20% at least are of Kurdish ethnicity, would also likely erupt.) As for the Russians, they would hardly rest content with their access into and out of the Black Sea through the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara to the Mediterranean thrust into peril and, understandably enough, would threaten dire consequences — which of course would bring the world to the edge if not also the actuality of a WW3. #HillaryNeverBernieForever

    • Geoffrey de Galles
      June 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Bizarrely, my comment disappeared for a time, before its apparent reinstatement, which caused me to worry that Mr. Parry and/or others might have found simply too far-fetched what I had to say re: Erdogan and his aspirations. But these, I maintain — as someone who has lived in the Middle East this past decade, and from where I now write — are something altogether real. Under the historical & quasi-intellectual tutelage of his former PM Ahmet Davutoglu, whose doctoral thesis years back had been grounded in the German proto-nazi Karl Haushofer’s doctrine of Lebensraum, the incorrigibly vain Erdogan bought into the seductive fantasy that, by virtue not merely of the territory of the former Ottoman empire but the fact that a large number of Turkoman people still today inhabit certain regions of modern Syria, albeit scattered therein among any number of ethnic Kurds and Arabs, it is Turkey’s glorious destiny [Kismet!] to achieve political, religious, and cultural hegemony over that nation with — and through — such an overthrow of Assad as, back in 2012, it seemed more than likely that, one way or other, the US would seek to engineer. Erdogan’s recent banishment & replacement of Davutoglu as his PM would suggest that, in the wake of recent geopolitical developments, most particularly Russia’s unpredicted arrival on the scene, his Ottoman revivalist fantasies, but for those that powerfully shaped the absurdly kitsch decor of his new presidential palace @ Ankara, have been put into hibernation — at least for the time being. But, given an overthrow of Assad by the US et al, then guaranteed — this raving narcissist & religious maniac’s grandiose fantasies of himself as Sultan and Caliph would be powerfully rekindled, virtually overnight.

  32. lizzie
    June 18, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Well, I hope our mass media moguls are pleased with themselves. Due to their own sicknesses, whatever they may be, the U.S. is likely to soon be represented on the world stage by a pure, 100%, narcissistic sociopath/psychopath. And that is probably why “normal human” Bernie Sanders will not pretend to “support” the Democratic Party version, even as he is “presumed” to have lost his bid for candidacy.

    Everybody who is normal (not insane — and psychopathy is an extreme form of mental disability), and keeps up with the “news,” has witnessed the symptoms over and over again in both “presumptive” candidates — despite the differences in their public personalities. Hillary’s cackle as she delights in the manner of death suffered by a foreign country’s legitimate leader, and Donald Trump’s consistent babbling about all the various “minorities” who love him or “like me very much,” are all you need to see.

    The best chance we have is the potential for revolution within one or both of the only two political parties, leading the PTB to understand that their dumbed-down masses aren’t really so totally dumb yet, after all, as to allow an insane person anywhere near that “nuke or not nuke” button. Did anybody see the video clip of Trump talking about how much he is liked by the LGBTs (presumably because he will protect their 2nd Amendment rights) and then miming the death by-bullet-in-the-forehead of the “Orando shooter” — and coincidentally describing it as, “Beautiful, just beautiful !”? Any astute observer of human behavior knows that man is crazy, because despite the importance of cleaning up his rhetoric now, he cannot help himself. We desperately need for the FBI/DOJ to take H. Clinton out of the picture ASAP, but of course they are busy with all these so-called “home-grown terrorists” they entrap, entrapment being one of their main traditional specialties (equaled only, perhaps, by blackmail). I suspect that J. Edgar is, like Elvis, not yet really dead.

    Even conservative opiner David Brooks has noticed (see link below), but of course he’s part of the dump-Trump class. Whether he can/will now deliver a similarly accurate opinion of Hillery and her best buds remains to be seen. It’s way past time for some of these MSM loyalists (to their employers, whoever they may really be) to jump ship and speak out — our Controllers have chosen two mentally ill sickos for us (those who believe they are “voting”) to choose from.

    Can Bernie “jump ship” and go over to the Green Party and represent sanity? I do not know. I think that, having been in and around D.C. (and politics in general) for a long time, he probably understands what that would mean — sort of like self-immolation on the Capitol steps is my guess.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article192279.html

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Lizzie I hear you. I am starting to believe that Trumps rise to presumptive nominee status, is really a favorite pick of soon to be Queen Hillary. Trump is that awful loud uncle who everyone talks about sitting at the family table during Thanksgiving. That crazy uncle never did speak for the majority of us, no he’s just that loud, that’s all. The Donald’s of our nation perform well in barber shops, and rear tables at weddings, but he never was to be taken that seriously. Donald Trump belongs on the WWE circuit, and nothing more. Now, Hillary on the other hand, is quite the real deal. My concern about her, is that she will play the woman card when it comes to showing those boys over at the CFR a thing or two, in the way of conquering the unconquerable. My wife, daughters, and even our granddaughters, are not Hillary supporters. For this I am glad, because I see Hillary as a very poor choice for her to become this country’s first woman president. If only the Hillary supporters could see beyond her gender, and see her for what she is. Hillary has a very bad track record for her successes. What should be more worrying is, is her rhetoric used when she describes her vision for this country’s continuation towards furthering on with our world hegemony plan. Hillary love of Israel borders on the line of treason, and yet by some standards this is Washington’s group think in mass, and that’s accepted by and large. An objective news media could reveal all of this, but an objective news media is not to be found. I just hope that whatever fate is allowed us, that it doesn’t include a nuclear winter. At this point the best I feel I can do, is vote Green…if it’s Hill, I’m with Jill!

  33. Tom Welsh
    June 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    ‘U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (and later Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright justifying Bill Clinton’s brutal sanctions policies toward Iraq, which the U.N. blamed for killing 500,000 Iraqi children, as “a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”’

    ‘But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea’. – Matthew 18:6

  34. jaycee
    June 18, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Another factor in evaluating these State Department warmongers is that the entire legal basis for military operations in the mid-east is the Authorization for Military Force (AUMF) from 2001. The continuing war is based on: “That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

    Operations which would have the very real affect of assisting al-Qaeda are implicitly an affront to the legal basis of the US military presence, and these state department officials are committing to something bordering on treason, as did John McCain and others who earlier made common cause with the Syrian radical opposition. This is why General Petraeus, for example, who also supports using al-Qaeda to see the regime-change through, called last year for a new AUMF to replace the old one, so the language could be changed.

  35. Robert Burns
    June 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    All a natural outgrowth of Disaster Capitalism as it was envisioned and practiced from our policy in Viet Nam, then guided by Milton Friedman’s vision of unfettered capitalism (and mass murder) in South America, the insanity of Nixon/Kissinger, Ronnie Ray-gun, Bill Clinton, Bush, Obama and now, apparently we will continue to be treated to the ongoing corruption and myopia within the State Department (the new Dept. of Endless War); helped along by the career criminal we have come to know and despise as, Hillary Rodham Clinton (the faux “Democrat” in an expensive GOP suit). Hillary and Bill are blatant career criminals and need to be incarcerated for life (BTW, this writer has voted straight Democrat since 1966).
    Now, America has morphed into a neo-con One-Party system controlled by the wealthy and arrogant. Perhaps massive non-violent resistance, if it arises soon enough, will reverse this trend toward American neo-Nazism, but if not, expect domestic cyber attacks and many burning buildings in America’s future. Civil War, Class War, terror from belief systems that are more common outside the U.S. and guerilla war….yes, it can all happen here. Wake up Americans – IT IS HAPPENING HERE.
    What America is today is not the land I loved and honored in my youth. I’ve served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and my father served in WWII in the Philippines (U.S. Army Major). I would still lay down my life to keep America free and to maintain our democracy. But, that is not what we have in 2016. This is rapidly becoming a New World Order police state where the oligarchs are not subject to the law and where our heritage of freedom for all citizens is being obliterated. Unless you and your loved ones plan to move to Sweden or Iceland – GET INVOLVED – HELP STOP THE MADNESS! [Yes, I am a Bernie supporter and damn proud of it!]

    • Bill Bodden
      June 18, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Unless you and your loved ones plan to move to Sweden or Iceland – GET INVOLVED – HELP STOP THE MADNESS! [Yes, I am a Bernie supporter and damn proud of it!]

      Forget Sweden. Given its treatment of Julian Assange, it seems to have become another satrap of the US empire.

  36. Shrikant Modak
    June 19, 2016 at 12:13 am

    SM
    Yu’ve given more credit to Obama than he deserves. A spine less President who deceived public with the promise of a real change. When asked by someone from where will the change come while persisting in the administration with Bush’s appointees, he had assured he would as the commander in chief be calling shots. Clearly instead of calling shots he allowed himself to be sidelined.
    If he had any dignity left, he would not have endorsed warmongering presumptive nominee, especially knowing what the former president had said of him as a black presidential nominee of the democratic party in 2008.

  37. June 19, 2016 at 2:49 am

    They haven’t gone “nuts.” This has been the consistent policy of the US for 15 years. Now they think they have a winning product to sell: war on ISIS.

    Their own partners created ISIS, and no one talks about Al Nusrah Front, the Al Qaeda branch that the White House just told Russia not to bomb last week. It’s all a bit complicated:

    Why ISIS Exists: The Double Game
    http://intpolicydigest.org/2015/11/29/why-isis-exists-the-double-game/

  38. June 19, 2016 at 11:27 am

    You have left unmentioned one of the prime characteristics of the neocons/liberal-interventionists: they are overwhelmingly Zionists, starting with the Kagans and working down.

    John J.

  39. Mark McCarty
    June 19, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    At least when the Bush Administration fomented its illegal war on Iraq, it went through with the formality of (dubiously) claiming that Iraq threatened us. There is no credible scenario for Syria posing an imminent or non-imminent threat to us, so “diplomats” demanding that we attack Syria are full-on war criminals, as fundamentally evil as any of the aggressive nations who have made the world a continuing blood bath down through the centuries. And the fact that HIllary, who appears to fully support this planned aggression against Syria, seems to have the inside track to become President, means that the U.S. as a whole has become a nation of war criminals.

  40. Jochen Scholz
    June 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    If the same had happend in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs the 50 would have their certificates of discharge on their desks the following day. What a tough guy, the Secretary of State John Kerry!

  41. June 19, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    The insanity of war has built to such an extent that peace activists would be wise in considering raising the discussion to a far higher, maximum-power – spiritual – level. Humanity simply must put an end to life-destroying war. Leo Tolstoy may have put it best: “We must say what everybody knows but does not venture to say. We must say that by whatever name men may call murder – murder always remains murder… They will cease to see the service of their country, the heroism of war, military glory, and patriotism, and will see what exists: the naked, criminal business of murder!””

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 19, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      Jerry, seriously you got my vote. JT

  42. Phock Zayos
    June 20, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Humans are indeed scourged by great irony. The irony that the children of the holocaust are destroying the planet with the protection of their creation, that six million Israelis are wrecking the future of a planet of seven billion, is something only humans could have the bad luck and stupidity to create for themselves. Either zionists are removed from power in the USA, or the world may very well end, if not in an accidental nuclear confrontation, then in the environmental and/or economic destruction of a global system that is not having its actual real problems addressed.

  43. the lion
    June 20, 2016 at 8:20 am

    For years we have been fed the line that Al Qaeda is the most evil group on the planet, failing to take that the Governments that are supplying them with their funding, materiel in the form of supplies weapons are far far worse! We know without doubt that the State Department is in fact supplying Al Nusra Front, and we know that Al Nusra Front has several problems as an organisation at least in relation to US Domestic Law, Al Nusra Front used to be called Al Qaeda in Iraq, America has specific legislation in relation to those who have dealings with Al Qaeda, yet ironically Not one person in State, not one person in the CIA, not one person in the Cabinet has even been hinted at as breaching those laws! We also should note that Senator John McCain met up with Al Nusra Front in an illegal incursion into Syria and told the world that we should be helping these people! The reality is that the United States of America is without doubt giving material support to Terrorists, Al Qaeda and ISIS no less and it is coming through from the top of the White House all the way down to the the State Department and CIA and other agencies nd has been doing this for over 40 years, and is actively supplying weapons to overthrow a foreign Government! We should also not forget some other matters that relate to Syria here Israel has been providing medical services to Al Nusra Front injured, Turkey has been both Funding and allowing stolen oil from Isis, as has Qatar and the Saudis! My final comment is that if the US hadnt have gone on their regime change spree, there would not be a Refugee Crisis in Europe, because the reality is there was not a Syrian Refugee Crisis under Assad, and the Syrian Government didnot go around blowing up there ancient monuments like Al Qaeda and ISIS did! The United States Government are todays greatest supporter of Muslim Terrorists on this planet whilst telling the public that they are trying to stop them! Time for mass impeachments and trials for Treason on both sides of the Isle and in huge mega numbers sadly that will not happen, it is hard to get an indictment when the majority of the Establishment are the Criminals!

    • Gregory Herr
      June 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      So some of the bad guys who were killing Americans in Iraq are now on “our side” because they’re killing Syrians.

  44. ABDICHE
    June 20, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Political responsibility must be punished criminally sometimes when thousands of civilians are killed and young soldiers die. otherwise it means the rule of law or democracy when a leader uses lies to justify wars to dominate, destabilize and ruin sovereign countries to plunder their wealth. All we hear in the official discourse on human rights and democracy are not the true motives of miltaires interventions, why the US leader would they like both the Libyan and Syrian people to get rid of their dictator while people monarchies of the Gulf of Jordan or Morocco do not enjoy the favor. on the contrary, all these dictatorships are allies.
    H. Clinton supported the strikes against Libya will become President but libya is now in civil war and delivered to the militias and Daesh and threatens the security of neighboring countries. George Bush does not worry thousands of dead Iraqis he is not accountable to anyone in the best of cases just Tony Blair apologizes on lies. what is the difference between Hiltler and any ideology that considers human beings as rats I do not think that those who built the United State would like their country to be like that.

  45. Joe Hill
    June 20, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I suggest that Mr Parry and most of the commenters need to review grade school US history. Have they all forgotten the Monroe Doctrine of 1823? It was a declaration of war on Central and South America, a war which continues to this day in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and any other nation brave enough to stand up to Uncle Sam’s economic hit men.

    As soon as the brandy-new U.S. kicked out England, the Americans turned their gun sights on native peoples and even Canada. In fact, the U.S. is the only nation to attack Canada – something the Canadians should think about long and hard.

    Mr Parry suggests that the State Department prior to Reagan was staffed with diplomats, while apparently forgetting that anyone with knowledge of Russia or who spoke Russian were purged as Evil Commies, especially during the McCarthy era “Red Scares”. Does the phrase “Better Dead than Red” sound even vaguely familiar?

    Uncle Sam, and that includes the State Department, have *never* been about diplomacy, except for the gunboat kind.

  46. Joe
    June 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

    It is very puzzling that President Barack Obama, who ran for office on an anti-war platform, forgot his promise once in the White House. He then became a president of the status quo. Why?
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/barack-obamas-meager-legacy-incomplete-accomplishments-and-provoked-wars-what-happened/5528365

  47. incontinent reader
    June 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    The truth of the matter is that the Israeli lobby highjacked the Middle East Desk of the State Department decades ago, and made certain that the Arabists who knew what was what would be purged or marginalized. And now with the Department in a virtual neocon strait jacket, while what happened recently is a shock, it is no surprise.

    In this reader’s opinion, the Foreign Service officers who signed the ‘dissent channel’ letter with knowledge that the State Department protocols ensuring confidentiality of sensitive matters would be violated and the letter leaked to lobby Congress, should be terminated- no ifs ands or buts- if they are not also brought up on charges. These are not patriotic whistleblowers disclosing Government crimes or misconduct, but officials violating their oath to advocate the commission of war crimes.

    If they want to work as lobbyists, or wish to resign in protest, then that is their right, but they should not be allowed to compromise the national interest, or the Administration and its State Department which they serve, or violate what are reasonable and necessary confidentiality requirements of their employer. Nor should they be able to blackmail, OR BE USED AS A TOOL BY OTHERS, to coerce our nation or Government.

  48. Fr3ddy
    June 21, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Jews.
    Figures.

  49. Old American
    June 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I keep thinking every job (except VP) would be a great one for Sanders. LOL!

  50. Abe
    June 21, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Neoconned At State: ‘Diplomats’ Urge War
    Former U.S. Representative Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRqfHzp3EdI

  51. JayHobeSound
    June 24, 2016 at 5:00 am

    The US is so devoid of collective humanity that ‘blunder’ and ‘mistake’ are accepted terms to describe the unprovoked destruction of countries and the shattering of societies.

Comments are closed.