Raising More Questions Than Answers

The third and final presidential debate was an ugly affair with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dodging or botching many pressing questions about the future of America and the planet, writes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria

At the final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was asked about her dream for “open borders” as disclosed in one of her paid speeches to financial special interests. Instead of giving a thorough answer, she pivoted into an attack on Russian “espionage” for allegedly giving the speech to Wikileaks to benefit Donald Trump’s campaign.

“This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election,” she charged. “Will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of [Vladimir] Putin in this election?”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photos by Gage Skidmore and derivative by Krassotkin, Wikipedia)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photos by Gage Skidmore and derivative by Krassotkin, Wikipedia)

Trump responded by saying Clinton had “no idea” if it was Russia, China or anyone else who had hacked into the account. Indeed, some former U.S. intelligence officials say the emails may have been leaked, rather than hacked. And the U.S. intelligence community has provided no public evidence to back up Clinton’s claim.

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence (which apparently represented Clinton’s “17 agencies”), said the “hack” was “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. … however, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.”

By contrast, Trump espoused the benefits of cooperation with Moscow. “I don’t know Putin,” Trump said “He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good. If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good. [Putin] has no respect for [Clinton].”

“Well, that’s because [Putin would] rather have a puppet as president,” Clinton shot back.

“You’re the puppet,” Trump interjected.

“You are willing to spout the Putin line,” Clinton retorted, “sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race.”

Yet, if Russia prefers Trump it’s probably because he wants dialogue with Moscow, while Clinton has called Putin “Hitler,” made bellicose statement towards the country and dismissed areas of possible cooperation.

On Sept. 9, for instance, the U.S. and Russia concluded a deal on a limited ceasefire in Syria to allow a coordinated air campaign against ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the sort of cooperation that Trump has advocated, but the agreement collapsed after the U.S. said it “accidentally” killed about 80 Syrian soldiers in an airstrike near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria.

But Trump’s comments about the Middle East were muddled by his imprecision on facts and his singular focus on ISIS when it is Al Qaeda’s affiliate, formerly called the Nusra Front, that is at the center of the U.S.-Russian dispute regarding how to combat terrorist groups in Syria.

Nusra Front, which recently changed its name to the Syrian (or Levant) Conquest Front, commands an array of rebel forces, including some backed by the U.S., that have refused to separate themselves from Al Qaeda fighters in east Aleppo and other combat zones.

It is Al Qaeda’s domination of east Aleppo – and the U.S. inability to get its “moderate” rebels to break with Al Qaeda – that is the backstory of the Syrian-Russian bombing raids and the resulting humanitarian crisis in east Aleppo. But Trump failed to articulate that complexity.

“She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way,” Trump said. “All you have to do is look at the Middle East. They’ve taken over. We’ve spent $6 trillion. [Russia has] taken over the Middle East. She has been outsmarted and outplayed worse than anybody I’ve ever seen in any government whatsoever.”

At one point, Trump said that during the ceasefire Russia had taken “vast swaths of land” in Syria, though Russia has no ground troops in the country, further showing Trump’s shaky command of facts.

Fighting in Syria and Iraq

Clinton again called for a “safe zone” and a “no-fly zone” in Syria, though the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, told Congress this month that that would mean war with Russia. And in one of her leaked emails she admitted that enforcing a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians.” She evaded a direct question from the moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, about whether “a President Clinton” would shoot down Russian aircraft, possibly plunging the world into a nuclear crisis.

Map of Syria, showing Golan Heights in the lower left corner.

Map of Syria, showing Golan Heights in the lower left corner.

The two candidates also sharply disagreed on the operation launched this week by the Iraqi Army, the Kurdish peshmerga and Shiite-dominated militia to retake Mosul in northern Iraq from ISIS.

Trump blamed Clinton for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq when she was Secretary of State. “We had Mosul,” said Trump said. “But when she left, she took everybody out, we lost Mosul. Now we’re fighting again to get Mosul.”

Trump’s imprecision was on display again. Though he continued to insist that he had always opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he seemed to be saying that once the U.S. military had occupied Iraq, U.S. troops should have stayed there indefinitely. Also, the military withdrawal schedule was negotiated by President George W. Bush with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, not by President Obama and Secretary Clinton.

Without providing any details, Trump added that Iran would benefit most by the liberation of Mosul. “Iran should write us a thank-you letter,” he said. “As I said many years ago, Iran is taking over Iraq. Something they’ve wanted to do forever. But we’ve made it so easy for them.”

Trump also claimed that ISIS leaders had already fled Mosul because the U.S. had unwisely advertised the operation months in advance. “Whatever happened to the element of surprise?” Trump said, adding that the timing also was a boon to Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton rejected Trump’s allegation that the timing was designed to help her win. “I’m just amazed that he seems to think that the Iraqi government and our allies and everybody else launched the attack on Mosul to help me in this election,” she said.

However, it’s true that a victory in Mosul would undercut Trump’s criticism of Clinton’s record as Secretary of State. It also would boost Barack Obama’s legacy, something he, like other Presidents, obsesses over in his final months in office.

Landing Some Zingers

Wallace’s questions touched on a variety of topics, but he didn’t mention climate change, government surveillance of citizens, energy policy, police violence or tension in the South China Sea. Despite the testiness, the debate saw the two contenders largely reiterate positions that they had taken throughout the campaign.

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office following an all-appointees summer event on the South Lawn, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On domestic issues, the candidates disagreed on abortion, guns, immigration, health care and the economy.

Trump said he wants to cut taxes on all Americans including the wealthiest, while Clinton said she’d make the rich and big corporations pay “their fair share.” It will certainly bear watching whether she follows through on this pledge should she win, given her very strong ties to Wall Street.

Trump landed a few zingers, exposing Clinton’s hypocrisy in defending women’s rights while cozying up to the Saudis. He pointed out that Saudi Arabia had given $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.

“You talk about women and women’s rights. So these are people that push gays off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you have taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money?” Trump said.

But it was one of Trump’s remarks late in the debate that sent the corporate media into a frenzy. He said he wouldn’t know until the Nov. 8 election results were in whether he would accept them as free and fair. Over the past week, with polls showing Clinton heading toward victory, Trump has repeatedly warned that the election process would be “rigged.”

Commentators hysterically called Trump’s remarks an unprecedented challenge to America’s democratic process. They read Trump’s remark as a suggestion that he would countenance violence to prevent the “democratic transfer of power.”

But America’s democratic process has at times displayed significant problems. The 2000 and 2004 elections were marred by evidence of election fraud – mostly favoring George W. Bush – and a close result in three weeks could again open the results to contention. Given what happened in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, it is a completely reasonable for a candidate to withhold judgment on whether an election was fair or not.

Lacking a Leader

Corporate media’s concern over Trump’s comment appeared to reflect an alarm over the volatile class anger that has underscored the entire 2106 campaign. Americans who have suffered under neoliberalism since Ronald Reagan are fighting back.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016. (Photo from cloud2013 Flickr)

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire on July 12, 2016. (Photo from cloud2013 Flickr)

Unfortunately, these Americans have yet to find the right leader. Sen. Bernie Sanders was certainly on the right track, railing against Wall Street, the trade deals, college debt and other issues, and he was without Trump’s personal baggage and problematic temperament.

But Sanders promised to support Clinton and thus save his standing in the Democratic Party although – at its leadership levels – it did what it could to sink his candidacy. He turned down becoming head of the Green Party ticket to make an independent run that could have siphoned votes from both Clinton and Trump.

Trump is seriously flawed because he’s a billionaire demagogue whose commitment to the interests of the embattled middle class is doubtful. For instance, he wants tax cuts for people as rich as he is, peddling the discredited trickle-down view that making rich people richer will somehow create middle-class jobs and increase wealth for all. Economists recognize that demand creates jobs and that means putting money into the pockets of ordinary people, not those at the top.

Trump also denies climate change and wants to reinstitute torture, and he’s shown extreme intolerance towards Mexicans and Muslims. And he wants to increase military spending when the U.S. spends as much as the next ten countries. He has talked about Japan and South Korea getting nuclear weapons, as Clinton pointed out in the debate.

Though there’s been media overkill on the story about his sexual misconduct, Trump’s graphic words and alleged deeds mar his character. Arguably, his strongest suit has been his defense of cooperation with Russia, rather than a costly and risky confrontation, but even that is undermined by his failure to master important details or to advance an effective argument.

For instance, he didn’t demand to see the evidence against Russia regarding the alleged hacks. He also doesn’t flesh out his argument that the Obama-Clinton foreign policy team fostered the rise of ISIS (and Al Qaeda) in Syria as part of another harebrained “regime change” scheme that ignored warnings from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Trump’s many flaws have given the Establishment plenty of ammunition to use against him and to clear the way for a likely Clinton victory, despite her private comments in a speech and in leaked emails that reveal her disdain for Americans whose interests are being threatened.

It’s going to be a very long four years as we wait to see if class resentments explode into full-scale social unrest.

Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached [email protected]  and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.


35 comments for “Raising More Questions Than Answers

  1. Abe
    October 21, 2016 at 14:28

    Back on September 7, 2016, prior to the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent Donald Trump answered questions on national security and foreign policy during a “commander-in-chief forum” on NBC News. Clinton vowed never to send American ground troops into Iraq or Syria.

    QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, as an Army veteran, a commander-in- chief’s to empathize with service members and their families is important to me. The ability to truly understand implications and consequences of your decisions, actions, or inactions. How will you determine when and where to deploy troops directly into harm’s way, especially to combat ISIS?

    MATT LAUER: As briefly as you can.

    CLINTON: “We have to defeat ISIS. That is my highest counterterrorism goal. And we’ve got to do it with air power. We’ve got to do it with much more support for the Arabs and the Kurds who will fight on the ground against ISIS. We have to squeeze them by continuing to support the Iraqi military. They’ve taken back Ramadi, Fallujah. They’ve got to hold them. They’ve got to now get into Mosul.

    “We’re going to work to make sure that they have the support — they have special forces, as you know, they have enablers, they have surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance help.

    “They are not going to get ground troops. We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again. And we’re not putting ground troops into Syria. We’re going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops. So those are the kinds of decisions we have to make on a case-by-case basis.”

    During the third presidential debate on October 19, 2016, Clinton declared that “we can” continue to “press into Syria” and “move on into Syria” See VIDEO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_JCUtfRhMA

    CLINTON: “The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.”
    (video minutes 1:10-1:25)

    CLINTON: “It’s going to be tough fighting. But I think we can take back Mosul and move on into Syria and take back Raqqa. This is what we have to do.”
    (video minute 6:30-6:40)

    Candidate Clinton has brazenly flip-flopped on Syria from no “we are not” to yes “we can”.

    Non-journalist Chris Wallace raised no question about Clinton’s declaration during the debate.

    Donald Trump raised no question about Clinton’s declaration during the debate.

    Two weeks before the US presidential election, we should at least ask the question: is there a conspiracy of silence on the subject of Clinton’s Yes We Can war plan for Syria?

    • backwardsevolution
      October 21, 2016 at 19:13

      Abe – really good points! You’ve done a great job of getting right down to what Clinton IS going to do, and, yes, the press should be nailing her on this.

  2. Zachary Smith
    October 21, 2016 at 11:51

    My link isn’t exactly on topic except for being Hillary’s Vision Of America: a recent gift to her from Time Magazine. That’s not a site I have ever bookmarked, but the Saker milblog helpfully pointed it out.


    If there’s one core belief that has guided and inspired me every step of my career in public service, it’s this: the U.S. is an exceptional nation. And when you add up all our advantages, it’s clear we’re indispensable too—a nation all others look to for leadership.

    America is indispensable in part because we have the greatest military in history, with the best troops, training and technology. And it’s essential we do everything we can to support our men and women in uniform, and our veterans.

    She continues with the standard dreck of the US just being so darned good and pure, but that very first point was the bloated military. We’ll kick your teeth in and stomp you flat if any of you pissant nations dare to cross us.

    Earlier today I ran into a clickbait link ranking US presidents and candidates. Guess who topped the list? Hillary with 169! My first thought was no-way-in-hell, but then I remembered Robert MacNamara. This was a fellow who had that arrogant better-than-you attitude like Hillary’s, and like her he screwed up everything he touched.

    Still, the 169 number is a crock. Get out your time machine and put Hillary Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower in the same room at age 40, and he’d make her look like a relative moron instead of the other way around on any topic I can imagine. Yes, that site had Eisenhower more than two standard deviations dumber than Hillary. BS.

    Abraham Lincoln was supposedly 29 IQ points dumber than Queen Hillary. BSx2

  3. October 21, 2016 at 11:01

    Hillary Clinton’s claim that DT is getting help from the Russians is just a plain childish, diversionary tactic. And she was SOS talking like that? How could they help him if he can hardly help himself? It’s a very unvarnished accusation, not to mention a total oxymoron, to say that these “evil” people are now helping him. How could that be? If they are “helping” him, shouldn’t they be exemplary?That’s completely ludicrous. It’s obviously a distraction from her own email mishandlings and marital sexual misbehavior issues. And have we already forgotten her meddling in Putin’s 2011 election? But who in the highly informed American public would remember that?

    Trumps’ plan to get along with Russia is probably the sanest idea to come out of the entire election season. I remember when they were our allies in WWII, and then when they DIDN’T shoot me down as I was patrolling the coast of Kamchatka as a U.S. Naval Aviator, escorted frequently by Mig-17s (1956-9). Breaking up NATO is not a new idea. It has been around since 1992 when the Soviet Union imploded and was no longer a threat and we promised NOT to take it East, and our merry band of neoconservative shyster money geniuses ripped Russia off during the 1990s. If anyone is a “puppet”, it is Hillary, bought and sold to Jewish financiers.They own her. And who owns Trump. It’s easy to tell – nobody.!

    • backwardsevolution
      October 21, 2016 at 14:47

      Robert Keith – very well said. My sentiments exactly!

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        October 22, 2016 at 17:00

        You anti-Semitic morons better listen to Abe’s comment.

    • Abe
      October 21, 2016 at 17:26

      Meet Donald Trump’s personal Jewish financier, billionaire casino magnate and conservative mega-donor Sheldon Adelson

      Adelson can turn off the tap now that the Donald Golem has performed so brilliantly, protecting Republican majorities in Congress by almost single-handedly propelling Hillary Clinton into the White House.

  4. Ray Dio
    October 21, 2016 at 10:46


    Good article in general, but I wanted to give you particular kudos on a couple of key points. The “17 agencies” is garbage as that is one man, Clapper, making statements relative to that and his exact comments didn’t even specifically say that Russia was at fault. Yet, the “17 agencies” misinformation is still being put out that by various media outlets. As an example, my wife had NPR on this morning and they discussed the whole Russia hacking thing and spoke in a definitive manner as if Russia was at fault. Their “proof” of this? The “17 agencies” that “confirmed” this fact. Oy.

    Secondly, after the screw jobs Gore received via Florida and the supreme court and Kerry received in Ohio, Trump’s right to be skeptical about election results, fraud and tampering, so the pearl clutching/fainting couch nonsense going on about his acceptance of election results is exactly that- nonsense.

  5. Joe B
    October 21, 2016 at 08:22

    Both candidates are utter trash. We can choose between foreign policy disaster and everything bad in domestic policy (Killary), or the other way around. Voting Trump might prevent foreign aggression while worsening domestic suffering enough to permit a real democrat to emerge later.

    There is so much to be done to achieve America the beautiful and just, and it is so practical to do, but no candidate to begin the job, thanks to oligarchy and greed, and their control over mass media and elections. There will be no reform in the US; it has the incurable cancer of oligarchy. We must wait for BRICS and others to recycle the monster into something like civilization.

  6. Peter Loeb
    October 21, 2016 at 06:44


    (I will vote GREEN and criticize whomever wins as

    I can say with pride that I did not watch a single so-called “debate”.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Lois Gagnon
      October 21, 2016 at 08:58

      Peter from Boston: I will vote the same way and can say the same regarding the so called debates. This is not a campaign, it’s a freak show.

      Lois from Belchertown, Ma.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 21, 2016 at 11:11

      I had to use a “write-in” to vote for Jill Stein, but I finally did manage it. The woman is pretty naive about a lot of foreign policy issues, but she’s still in a class by herself when compared with Hillary, Donald, or the clue-less Libertarian.

  7. backwardsevolution
    October 21, 2016 at 02:48

    I am so sick and tired of hearing that Donald Trump is stupid, ignorant. He’d have to have given up his business in order to be up to snuff on everything the U.S. is pulling off. This stuff is an actual science.

    But what if none of this was going on, what if the U.S. wasn’t always stirring up sh*t and causing trouble, what if they hadn’t messed with Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria? Well, none of us would have to know any of it. Besides, all we do is follow around after them and expose their lies. What a complete waste of time! Get out of these countries. Get out, and get back to thinking about your own country, its economy, its borders.

  8. Abe
    October 20, 2016 at 23:44

    Joe Lauria is the third contributor to Consortium News in 24 hours since the third presidential debate (the others being Consortium News editor Robert Parry and former sheep dog Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich) to mention Hillary Clinton’s “no-fly” remarks but completely ignore the fact that Clinton TWICE declared her plan for a direct military invasion of Syria:

    Debate VIDEO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_JCUtfRhMA

    “The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.”
    (video minutes 1:10-1:25)

    “It’s going to be tough fighting. But I think we can take back Mosul and move on into Syria and take back Raqqa. This is what we have to do.”
    (video minute 6:30-6:40)

    Planning and preparation are essential to the making of war. In the opinion of the Nuremberg Tribunal, aggressive war is a crime under international law. The Nuremberg Charter defined this offense as planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of an aggressive war.

    Consortium News generally demonstrates a higher standard of journalism than the vast majority of mainstream or alternative media.

    Messieurs Lauria, Kucinich, and Parry: Why have you failed to even mention the glaring fact that Hillary Clinton has twice declared her plan to wage an aggressive war?

      October 21, 2016 at 01:08

      Good point! The Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi {Shia} Army are not going to push on to Raqqa in Syria. That leaves only Special Forces and “other Americans on the ground”, who are way too few in number. Hillary again promises to push for a No-Fly Zone and Safe Havens (pl.) (for whom?), yet she talks of US air support to take back Raqqa. Who will provide boots on the ground, then? Even Assad is not rabid enough to join the siege of Raqqa That leaves only US boots on the ground.


      • Joe Lauria
        October 21, 2016 at 01:42

        On the contrary I believe there are plans for Syrian ground forces ( perhaps with Iranian, Hezbollah and Iraqi shia militia support) and Russian air cover to take back Raqqah. It could well be a race to take the city with the U.S.-backed forces.

        • Abe
          October 21, 2016 at 18:12

          The purported “race” to Raqqah would actually be a re-deployment of U.S.-backed Al-Qaeda (both ISIS and so-called “anti-ISIS”) forces under the cover of a Clinton no-fly zone to engage Syrian government and allied ground forces in a decisive land battle, precisely the sort of Libya scenario that Russian air power is present to prevent.

    • Joe Lauria
      October 21, 2016 at 01:39

      I actually had those quotes in the story and removed them to keep the focus on Mosul and it would have required a lengthy explanation of what she meant. She is not talking about a US ground invasion of Syria but working with US “moderate” rebels, Syrian Kurds and I presume the Turks, but that has not been fleshed out enough yet to fully report on it.

      • backwardsevolution
        October 21, 2016 at 02:39

        Joe Lauria – she shouldn’t be talking about anything. The U.S. has no business being in Syria at all, and there are no “moderates”. What the hell are the Turks in there for? Get the hell out! These guys weren’t invited to the dance.

        The U.S. took out two bridges across the Euphrates in Deir Ezzor Province. “Deir Ezzor Province is the same site where US warplanes accidentally attacked a Syrian Army base earlier this month, killing scores of Syrian troops and allowing ISIS forces to quickly overrun the base and take it over.” Under what authority did they do this? Oh, was that a mistake too, just like the one-hour mistake of bombing the Syrian Army position and killing some 80-odd Syrian soliders?


        She is talking about a “no-fly zone”, which would take out Syrian and Russian planes and bases. Under what authority? She needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming, tied to a friggin’ stake, and then placed right in the center of a Syrian airstrip. Better yet, plop her down in East Aleppo and let the “moderates” have at her.

      • Abe
        October 21, 2016 at 02:56

        Hillary Clinton certainly made no effort to “keep the focus on Mosul”.

        Clinton repeatedly and unequivocally declared her plan to “press into Syria” and “move on into Syria” directly after the military “take back” of Mosul.

        With all due respect, sir, what is the basis for your speculation about “what she meant”?

        Regardless of whether she is “talking about a US ground invasion” or cobbling a ‘coalition’ of ‘willing’ forces, Clinton has declared a plan for aggressive war.

        It is not necessary to wait until Clinton’s war plan is “fleshed out” to report on this critical fact.

        • Joe Lauria
          October 21, 2016 at 09:34

          Excuse me but this is not new, has been written about numerous times about the US being in Syria illegally and wanting to free Raqqah. I have written about it myself. I’m not giving her a pass because I did not want to turn this into a 4,000 word article. There were plenty of other things in that debate I wanted to and could have written about. What Trump said on Haiti for instance. It’s just not possible. That’s what I meant by focusing on Mosul. On Sept. 30 I published a piece here reporting that some ISIS may have been fleeing Mosul to go to Syria to put pressure on Assad and the Russians on behalf of the US..We all know she is a war-monger and is dangerous. You don’t need every detail, especially when she’s talked aggressively about Syria before, to prove that.

          • backwardsevolution
            October 21, 2016 at 14:44

            Joe – good job! I’m new here. I just wish all articles on Syria would start out with the headline: “Fact: The U.S. is in Syria illegally, against international law.” It’s like we give the U.S. government licence to continue when we leave out “that line” and start discussing the intricacies of what they’re doing. For people not in the know, they might think it’s perfectly okay for the U.S. to be there.

            Thanks, Joe. I’m sorry if I offended you.

          • Abe
            October 21, 2016 at 16:30

            Excuse me, Joe, I am not criticizing what you wrote in your 800 word September 30th article on Mosul or your 1900 word October 20th article on the third presidential debate.

            I am pointing out what is new that you and others have not written about.

            Sure, we all know Clinton is a war-monger and is dangerous.

            Yes, Clinton has talked aggressively about Syria before, especially when saber rattling on behalf of her neocon and liberal interventionist patrons in the US and Israel.

            What definitely is new is the Yes We Can “move on into Syria” direct war rhetoric Clinton deployed in the third debate.

            Donald Trump and the media have given Clinton a pass on her declared plan to “press into Syria”.

            Consortium News readers are still waiting for an analysis of the third debate that doesn’t sidestep or minimize Clinton’s declaration of war.

        • Joe Lauria
          October 21, 2016 at 09:44

          My basis for what she meant is what she said, if you were listening: no US ground troops in Syria.

          • Abe
            October 21, 2016 at 12:31

            Yes, we see, because it is so obvious that what Hillary Clinton means is what she says.

            So when Clinton says “we can” continue to “press into Syria” and “move on into Syria” she means… what?

            Not only did I listen to the entire debate, I read and quoted the transcript.

            One thing is absolutely clear.

            During the third presidential debate, Hilary Clinton DID NOT say: “no US ground troops in Syria”.

            What she said was “I will not support putting American forces into Iraq as a force.”

            That is why your narrow “focus on Mosul” ignores Clinton’s declared plan to “move on into Syria”.

      • Zachary Smith
        October 21, 2016 at 11:15

        I actually had those quotes in the story and removed them to keep the focus on Mosul and it would have required a lengthy explanation of what she meant.

        I’d had to do that sort of thing with some of my remarks here to keep from straying from and diluting whatever point I was trying to make. Not that I always remember to do this…..

  9. Joe Tedesky
    October 20, 2016 at 23:40

    Thanks Mr Lauria for bringing to light something about Donald Trumps delivery when reporting the facts, that has been driven me nuts this whole campaign season. From the time the Donald referenced the ‘Dancing Arabs’ who I believe may have been the ‘Dancing Israelis’, too when he makes it sound like the sanctioned money that belongs to Iran is somehow America’s taxpayer money, and this type of stuff with Donald just goes on and on. Trump reminds me of the boss who gets every third word right when relaying a briefing he was given. People like Trump either change the narrative for dramatic flair or they just get it wrong when retelling a story, or even a joke. Ad lib is all they know, so they just absorb the outline of any script. This may work for Larry David, but it sucks when a presidential candidate does it up against ‘Fact Checker’ sites who attempt to keep politicians honest. So thanks again Joe Lauria, for shedding light on this aspect of Donald Trumps rhetorical style.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 21, 2016 at 00:41

      I would like to add, how the only way you can drown out the Clinton noise, is to have an even louder noise coming from Trump.

      Hypothetically speaking, it would be a great exercise to analyze and study this 2016 campaign under the light of if it all had been fixed and scripted this way, and would the events over a two year period reflect that enough to prove this whole election cycle for the presidency of our country was staged? Probably not, but you must admit this whole election has been like watching ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ reality mixed in with ‘Wrestle Mania’ highlights to have become a two year run reality TV spectacular. Hollywood writers would be tasked to the limits to write something this good, or better yet, would they?

      This election for me ended with the primaries. I’ll vote Jill knowing there is no chance of winning, but still being able to live with my vote. I truly hope Hillary defys our predictions of her stupidity and evil, and goes on to do the right thing, and serve America and the World well ….but there again she never was the hope and change candidate, but neither was the ‘Hope & Change’ candidate either.

  10. joey
    October 20, 2016 at 23:28

    No doubt Trump is a bit weak on the Middle East.. But consider that he has spent a lifetime in business, and mostly left slimeball politics alone.
    Also, considering that the Western governments, and the mainline media press, despite knowing the truth about the Middle East, actually daily prints and broadcasts lies and falsehoods about that area; considering that fact, is it any wonder that most citizens know so little truth about that area of the world??

    The point is, do we trust Trump to continue the deliberate lies, or not?? I think not.

    Climate change is a natural occurrence, easily proven with a small amount of grade eight science research . It is of eons. Ever since there was a climate. Forget that one.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      October 22, 2016 at 16:57

      Go to RationalWiki: global warming scepticism consists of points refuted a thousand times.

  11. exiled off mainstreet
    October 20, 2016 at 22:17

    I agree that Trump makes some statements on Iran which are throwing red meat to the rightwing base he needs to beat the harpy. The fact is, however, that there are no “moderate” rebels. All are barbarian jihadi thugs who would be referred to disparagingly as “ragheads” or some similar term if they were not in some way on the payroll of the yankee imperium. The Syrian government has exposed the propaganda lies of the phony pictures of kids “surviving” bombings in Aleppo. The Russians Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah represent civilisation. The yankees, Israel, and el qaeda represent the barbaric element. The idea of a nuclear war in defense of barbarism is not only criminal but stupid and appears to be the centrepiece of the harpy’s campaign.

    • Stephen Sivonda
      October 20, 2016 at 23:12

      Exiled… yes ,we are part of the Barbarians along with the Saudi’s , Qatari’s and the UAE also. I have been amused by the oxymoron that is the term “moderate rebels”. Sort of like calling a child molester a “gentle pedophile”. If I recall , it was said that program spent 500 M in training those moderates…..such a waste of taxpayer money. Assh–es !

      • rosemerry
        October 21, 2016 at 14:53

        Remember the time of Condi Rice and the “troubling” Israeli settlements, which someone compared with “naughty rape” or “unfortunate incest”. Words can be misused so easily.

    • louris dides
      October 22, 2016 at 15:47

      I can’t put it any better

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