The Fallacy of a ‘Goldilocks’ War Policy

Official Washington’s new “group think” is that the next president must pursue a “Goldilocks” foreign policy not as aggressive as George W. Bush but more warlike than Barack Obama, but ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar says that’s nonsense.

By Paul R. Pillar

There is a time-honored technique, familiar to veterans of policymaking in the U.S. Government, for ostensibly giving the boss a choice of options but in effect pre-cooking the decision. That is to present three options, which can be aligned along a continuum of cost or risk or whatever, and to list as the middle option the one that the option-preparers want to have chosen.

Often this option is indeed chosen; as presented, it appears to be the most balanced and reasonable one, avoiding excesses of the alternatives on either side. But the appearance is an artifact of how the issue and the choices are framed.

President Barack Obama talking on the phone in the Oval Office , Oct. 5, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talking on the phone in the Oval Office , Oct. 5, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The whole framework may be skewed. The offered alternative on one side may be inherently more extreme than the one on the other side. If a more complete list of options were presented, the additional alternatives may be mostly on one side, and the pre-cooked “middle” option would be revealed to be not in a moderate middle after all.

Similar dynamics apply not just to manipulation of options papers but also to public debate about foreign policy. The nation’s recent history and the sheer volume of argumentation on one side of an issue or another create powerful framing effects. A commonly felt sense of what is extreme and what is reasonable may derive mostly from the framing, detached from any more broadly based standard.

So it has been recently with discussion of how the next U.S. administration should use military force. A common refrain has been that George W. Bush used too much, Barack Obama used too little, and the next U.S. president, like Goldilocks, should use some amount in between. This theme appears, for example, in an article by Peter Baker in the New York Times about the next administration’s choices in the Middle East.

“If Mr. Bush was judged to be too assertive,” writes Baker, “many here consider Mr. Obama too restrained, and hope to see some middle ground.”

Baker quotes James Jeffrey of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as articulating the same theme: “Bush’s excessive use of military force disillusioned the American political base for engagement. Then Obama’s timid use of military force disillusioned the American regional diplomatic base in allied governments.”

Skewed Debate

All of this loses sight of how much the framing effects have skewed this entire discussion. Bush’s signature use of military force and the defining initiative of his presidency — the invasion of Iraq — was an unusually extreme act as measured either by past U.S. foreign policy or standards of international conduct that the United States expects of others.

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech about the Iraq War.

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech about the Iraq War on May 1, 2003.

The invasion was the first major offensive war that the United States had launched in more than a century. The whole notion of forcefully bumping off regimes one doesn’t happen to like (assuming it is not, like World War II, the denouement of a war started by someone else) has not been part of internationally accepted standards of state behavior since the Peace of Westphalia.

But the frame of discussion in the United States has shifted so much that today “regime change” gets talked about as if it were just another tool available to policymakers in dealing with disagreeable foreign governments.

A full sense of where Bush’s policies fall on a spectrum of alternative ways to use military force cannot be gained by looking only at what his immediate successor has done in struggling to get out from under the ill consequences of those policies. A truer range of alternatives would include other ones more in line with America’s traditions when it was not searching for monsters to destroy [a warning tracing back to President John Quincy Adams].

Such a fuller framework not only would show the extremity of Bush’s approach to military force but also would show President Obama’s policies to be either close to the middle of the spectrum or perhaps even more on the Bush side of the middle than on the other side. For some observers not stuck inside the current framework of American discourse (and observers that matter include more than just an “American regional diplomatic base in allied governments”), “restrained” would not be the first adjective that comes to mind in describing some of Obama’s use of force.

Not Bookends

Decision-making in the Bush and Obama administrations on such issues was so different that they do not appropriately represent bookends on the same spectrum. One of the most extreme and extraordinary things about the decision to invade Iraq was the absence of any policy process leading to that decision. By contrast, decision-making in the Obama administration on issues of national security and military force appears to involve laborious dissection of alternatives, costs, and risks.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the third debate with Republican nominee Donald Trump. (Photo credit:

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the third debate with Republican nominee Donald Trump. (Photo credit:

Mr. Obama is not “timid” about the use of military force; rather, his decisions reflect a full-spectrum review of what can go right and what can go wrong. His decision-making thus has represented the very consciousness of the pros and cons of alternatives on different parts of the spectrum that the Goldilocks people are ostensibly arguing for.

Given that much of President Obama’s foreign and security policy, and especially the part of it involving use of U.S. military forces, has involved dealing with messes he inherited, there is misunderstanding about cause and effect and what is due to solutions rather than underlying problems. Similar confusion has come up with domestic economic policy, where Mr. Obama also inherited a big mess in the form of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

An example of such confusion was an ill-formulated question from Chris Wallace (in what was otherwise a mostly competent performance as moderator) in the last presidential candidates’ debate, in which he pressed Hillary Clinton about her economic plan being “similar to the Obama stimulus plan in 2009, which has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949.”

Ample evidence from both home and abroad indicates that what was most needed to pull out of the recession was stimulation of demand, that the stimulus program that was enacted did a lot of good in accomplishing such a pulling out, and that a substantially bigger stimulus would have led to faster recovery but the plan that was enacted was the most that the political traffic could bear.

As economist and columnist Paul Krugman observes, “When you spend money to fight a terrible slump, weren’t any disappointments in performance arguably caused by whatever caused the slump, not by the rescue operation?”

Similarly with U.S. military expeditions in troublesome regions: when, after scaling back from earlier damaging and costly interventions, there is still trouble in those regions, that is not a reason to reverse course again and do more of what was damaging and costly in the first place.

Obama has done what domestic political traffic would bear in the way of cost-reducing scaling back. That does not mean he ever reached, much less overshot, the optimum level of military force. Goldilocks is looking in the wrong place by searching for some supposedly happy medium between Bush’s policies and Obama’s.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.) 

29 comments for “The Fallacy of a ‘Goldilocks’ War Policy

  1. Joe Tedesky
    October 28, 2016 at 00:46

    Obama was the man. If you recall I think in 2007 candidate Obama gave his Cairo speech, and filled the world’s population with ‘Hope’. If as President Obama he had followed through with just half of that hopeful rhetoric the world would now be a better place. This battle the U.S. is having with the other super powers like Russia and China is being waged in the most stupid and awful way. It is sad, that with the oratory Obama has that more wasn’t done with it to truly improve the world. We could have waged peace over war. The new Cold War is being fought 80% in the media, and the U.S. is losing badly by public opinion. I thought the U.S. held a monopoly on charisma, so what are we doing wrong?

    • Realist
      October 28, 2016 at 05:03

      It was “bait and switch” from day one of Obomber’s run for the presidency. As backwardsevolution makes clear above, the man had to first audition before the 0.001% to have the slightest chance to run a credible campaign in a single primary. He had to convince the ruling oligarchs that he could represent one set of promises to the voting public while secretly planning to enact a completely different agenda at their behest. With their blessing, the American corporate media built up his image of “hope and change” just as effectively as they have been tearing down Trump in the general election after first setting him up to be the designated punching bag, I mean nominee, in the primaries. Bush, Christie, Cruz or one of the other GOP candidates, clowns though they all were, would probably have defeated the publicly-loathed but establishment-certified heir apparent to Obomber. Once again, it has all unfolded according to the plans from on high.

  2. Taras77
    October 27, 2016 at 22:17

    Good article!
    Not very difficult to guess what the options will be when one views the neo cons lining up and auditioning for job interviews by writing pro war articles, and issuing think tank “studies.”
    This where the money and power resides: war is profitable, war is peace, war is just, war is humanitarian!

    When viewed in its broad sense, it becomes evil, psychopathic, but it is what we do; we must do something, so lets bomb somebody!

  3. Abe
    October 27, 2016 at 15:32

    Obama conveniently “inherited” the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT). He has rarely used the term, but in his inaugural address on 20 January 2009, Obama stated “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In March 2009, the Obama administration requested that Pentagon staff members avoid use of the term, instead using “Overseas Contingency Operation” (OCO).

    Overseas Contingency Operations under the Nobel Peace Prize laureate have shifted from covert to overt support for Al-Qaeda brand affiliates (including Al-Nusra and ISIS):

    “The US government, together with the MSM, blatantly supports terrorists. The nexus between politicians, terrorism and the media is well known to the intelligence community. However these links and cozy connections are usually written off as mere coincidence. We are told that the arms and funding which they illegally receive are but an accidental by-product of supporting ‘freedom fighters,’ and that no one planned for these groups to be transformed into terrorist organisations.

    “This is but the tip of the iceberg as nowadays Radical Islamists are now just considered as rebels by the main stream media or described as ‘spoilers’ by the US State Department, whose main spokesman, John Kirby just recently referred to Al-Nusra in East Aleppo as a spoiler to the ceasefire in Syria.

    “The way the US government and the MSM support terrorists is nothing that should come as any surprise. And this is not accidental, because a specific spokesperson [retired Rear Admiral Kirby] has been appointed to run this media spin operation.”

    John Kirby, US State Department Blatantly Supports Terrorists
    By Henry Kamens

    • backwardsevolution
      October 27, 2016 at 23:03

      Abe – good article. Thanks for posting it.

    • Realist
      October 28, 2016 at 04:43

      Either Obama can recognise the best talent out there in the fields of warmongering, propaganda and dissembling, or he has allowed “his” administration to be fully assembled by unseen powers who are not only familiar with these essential cogs but actually helped create and cultivate them. My biased opinion leans greatly towards the latter.

  4. backwardsevolution
    October 27, 2016 at 13:27

    Mr. Pillar – good article. You are right to point out that it’s all in the way they frame the narrative. Just realize that that’s exactly what the mouthpiece Paul Krugman does in his articles at the lying newspaper he works for, the New York Times. Why do you think they keep him on? Because he says what they want you to hear. Why do you think he won the pseudo Nobel in Economics? Because he said and continues to say what the monied elite want you to hear. He’s the Samantha Power or the Victoria Nuland of the economics field.

    And President Obama inherited problems from his predecessor? Yes, they all do. But President Obama didn’t get into the position of President by going against the establishment. He was invited to a Bilderberg meeting where it was discovered (or confirmed) that he was a “player” who could be trusted to do what the 1% wanted, and so they threw their money behind this virtually unknown man from Illinois. He was the right color, spoke well, read a good teleprompter, and because of this would fool a lot of dupes who thought he would represent them. Had the 1% had any inkling, any at all, that he would not play ball, they would have fried him in the press. He was going to do what they wanted.

    Everyone has their limits (there’s always someone more hawkish than you), and he has shown his limits, but he has mostly gone along (in between golfing and holidays). He brought us Eric Holder (a complete disaster; not one banker jailed), Loretta lie-down-on-the-tarmac Lynch, and I-see-nothing Comey. Justice under Obama? More like injustice. After the 2008 crisis, Obama called all of the bankers into his office, and instead of reprimanding them or going after the fraud, he joked with them. He appointed Yellen, Bernanke in a skirt, who has continued the same ridiculous policies as her predecessor.

    To anyone who follows economics and who sees Krugman as the “yes” man that he is, Obama is nothing more than an enabler for the corrupt financial industry. Ditto for the military.

    When Obama could have acted, he chose not to. Obama will go down as the worst President ever.

    • Realist
      October 28, 2016 at 04:34

      You got that jackass pegged.

  5. Richard Steven Hack
    October 27, 2016 at 12:46

    Mr, Pillar gives Obama a lot more credit than he deserves. Obama destroyed FOUR more countries during his watch. He did not “inherit” Ukraine, Libya, Syria or Yemen. His administration’s State Department was DIRECTLY involved in the coup in Ukraine which has turned that country into a failed state, turned a “humanitarian no-fly-zone” into regime change and a failed state in Libya, his CIA and State Department continued to plot against Assad in Syria and deliberately ignored the rise of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in order to achieve regime change in Syria until Russia was forced to intervene thus placing the world at risk of World War Three, and has explicitly supported the massive war crimes in Yemen by a nation known for its involvement in 9/11.

    So this “pass” Pillar wants to give Obama is precisely why we’re facing World War Three with Russia over Syria when Clinton gets in.

    • backwardsevolution
      October 27, 2016 at 14:10

      Richard Hack – really good points!

    • exiled off mainstreet
      October 27, 2016 at 15:03

      An excellent, accurate, telling response to establishment hackery. The uniparty, of which the harpy is the major acolyte, has the blood of millions on its hands.

    • Patrick
      October 27, 2016 at 19:21

      you forgot Egypt where Obama was strongly in favour of the elected “Muslim Brotherhood.” That did not work out too good and luckily the army was strong enough to restore order. To his credit Obama has resisted increasing involvement if Syria.

      • Realist
        October 28, 2016 at 04:30

        Is that what you call it? Too bad he lifted not a finger to scale back our involvement. In fact, as he repeatedly duped Russia into scaling back, he inevitably broke his word to them and would sucker punch them with attacks as they stood down. Such duplicity makes his actions even worse in my book. But what do I know, perhaps choosing people for death as part of a routine Tuesday schedule erodes one’s sense of honor and morality. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

    • Realist
      October 28, 2016 at 04:18

      You said everything I thought needed saying. Well put, sir.

  6. Tom Welsh
    October 27, 2016 at 12:29

    “The invasion [of Iraq in 2003] was the first major offensive war that the United States had launched in more than a century”.

    I BEG your pardon?????

    The first major offensive war the USA had launched since, say, 1900? Well, I suppose that just about eliminates the blatantly offensive “Spanish-American War” (which was more of a lynching, anyway).

    Has the USA launched any offensive wars since 1900? Now let’s see… hmmmm… that’s a tough one, especially if you don’t know any history. And of course, it all depends on how you define “major”. If you define it as meaning, “No casualties or damage on the mainland of the USA”, there haven’t been any. But if you define it as meaning, “Responsible for over a million deaths”, there have been quite a few.

    Russian Civil War 1918-20. The British, French, Japanese and Americans joined with troops from Poland, Serbia and Italy to support the “White Russian” forces trying to restore the Tsarist regime. While the USA sent only 13,000 soldiers to invade Siberia, the war was quite serious from a Russian point of view, costing over 300,000 dead. How would Americans feel if Russia had sent soldiers to fight for the Confederacy?

    Korean War 1950-53. The USA sent over 300,000 soldiers plus aircraft and ships. At least 1.2 million soldiers died, plus an unknown but huge number of civilians.

    Vietnam War 1965-73. As is well known, the death toll was over 3 million (perhaps well over). Several nations were hit so hard that they have still not recovered. “The U.S. dropped over 7 million tons of bombs on Indochina during the war—more than triple the 2.1 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, and more than ten times the amount dropped by the U.S. during the Korean War. 500,000 tons were dropped on Cambodia, 1 million tons were dropped on North Vietnam, and 4 million tons were dropped on South Vietnam. On a per capita basis, the 2 million tons dropped on Laos make it the most heavily bombed country in history…” (Wikipedia)

    Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 2 1990-2016. The USA launched an unprovoked war of aggression – the supreme international crime – against Iraq, which had done nothing whatsoever to deserve such an attack. In all,about 3 million Iraqis are estimated to have died as a result. The nation was cast into chaos and its very existence threatened. It’s hard to allocate the casualties between the two wars and the euqally damaging “sanctions”, which Madam Secretary Albright publicly admitted had killed 500,000 Iraq children.

    Yugoslavia 1994-99. The USA launched an unprovoked attack on the Yugoslav states to force their partition. While this may have seemed like a minor news item to Americans, it wasn’t to Yugoslavs who were heavily bombed. “The bombing killed between 489 and 528 civilians, and destroyed bridges, industrial plants, public buildings, private businesses, as well as barracks and military installations”. For instance–ten.html

    Afghanistan 2001-16. Another utterly unprovoked war of aggression against a virtually defenseless nation. It is impossible to obtain any even approximately accurate figures for civilian casualties, as by this time the Western media were simply not publishing them. Many thousands of civilians have certainly died; and opium production, which the Taliban had almost stamped out, has now risen to make Afghanistan the world’s leading supplier of opiates. The war continues and shows no sign of ever ending.

    Those are the “major” wars the USA has started – including those it cynically provoked. Of course there were dozens of “minor” wars, minor because they were so grotesquely one-sided that the victims could hardly defend themselves before being overcome.

    • backwardsevolution
      October 27, 2016 at 14:09

      Tom Welsh – thank you.

    • Brad Owen
      October 27, 2016 at 14:18

      “how would Americans feel if Russia sent forces to fight for the Confederacy?”
      As a matter of fact the Russians were the ONLY European ally to the U.S.A. (the Federals and Lincoln) sending a fleet to New York City and a Fleet to San Francisco, with orders to fall in with the Federal Fleet, should Britain and France go to war against U.S.A., and FOR the C.S.A (I’m sure there would be more to follow, in the way of Russian assistance. They were grateful that we declined an offer to fight the Russians in their Crimean War against the British, French,and Turks), and it was the British and French Empires who were ready to fight for the Confederacy. And THIS is BECAUSE it ENTIRELY depends upon WHICH Americans you are talking about: the descendents of the American Patriots (pro-Republic, pro-Independence, anti-British) or the Descendents of the American Tories (pro-Empire, pro-Subjects to the Crown, Anti-Russian and anyone who is a friend to the Patriot Cause, and pro-any enemy of the Patriots like the Confederacy, Indian Nations allied to the Crown, etc…). And the Russians have been a friend to the Patriot Cause since Catherine the Great and her League of Armed Neutrality. You see, the Revolution never ended, nor reach a decisive conclusion, and the very wealthy & powerful American Tories are still with us, and in the ascendency for most of the post-WWII era. BTW, the Russians sold us Alaska because they felt, post-Civil War, that WE had the best capability to keep British mitts (via their Canadian Colony, since “54-40 or fight” was a failed policy) off of Alaska, what with over 2.5 million battle-seasoned veterans at our disposal, at that time, with fairly modern means of supply. There even was talk of a rail bridge between Alaska and Siberia, bypassing Britannia’s rule of the waves. It wasn’t technologically feasible then. It is now, and will be part of the Silk Road Program, once the Patriots are back on top.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      October 27, 2016 at 15:02

      This is an excellent response to the most transparent absurdity in the article. The crushing of the Aguinaldo resistance in the Philippines by the yankee imperium around 1900 was where they developed modern “counterinsurgency” war and pioneered 20th century war crimes. Since Iraq the US has been involved in quite a few more episodes of war crimes, particularly in Libya, Syria, and still in Iraq where the bombed a wedding party in Kirkuk. They are also on board with war crimes in Yemen. George Clooney’s boutique war in Sudan (He is the quintessential “liberal” supporter of the harpy and “well-intentioned” US thuggery) has led to the creation of multiple failed states there. If the yankee regime was subject to war crimes jurisdiction, most of the leadership would be rattling cages.

  7. October 27, 2016 at 12:24

    Well nothing new really. All three policy choices recommend war. So American, Just like apple pie and baseball.

  8. Tom Welsh
    October 27, 2016 at 11:54

    “If Mr. Bush was judged to be too assertive,” writes Baker, “many here consider Mr. Obama too restrained, and hope to see some middle ground.”

    I think I see. Of course, Americans talk a different language from British people like me. Apparently, in their language, “assertive” means “killing millions”, whereas “restrained” means “killing hundreds of thousands”.

    One sees Mr Pillar’s point at once. Is it conceivable that a US president would be content to kill no one at all?

    • exiled off mainstreet
      October 27, 2016 at 12:01

      Not in his universe. His chosen candidate needs to be defeated for rationalism to triumph over armageddon. The reality is, of course, that Obama, for his storied “moderation” actually consolidated the Bush regime’s militarism into a uniparty consensus, one which Mr. Pillar certainly shares. War crimes were committed in both presidencies, and we can be assured that they will continue if the harpy gets in, and the risk things getting out of hand and going nuclear is a spin of the barrel that all of those voting for her should take into account and, in an ideal world, would be a disqualifier. It shows how far things are skewed when even the website most sceptical of the imperialist power sees it necessary for diversity to publish articles exhibiting such loyalty to the criminal, fatally dangerous imperialist power structure.

      • Patrick
        October 27, 2016 at 19:16

        I think you should reread the article. There was no overt praise for Obama. The article was thought provoking and the three alternative trick in the opening paragraphs was a new idea to me.

    • rosemerry
      October 27, 2016 at 15:24

      To think of peace or non-aggression seems to be unAmerican. War, threats, invasions are considered the normal behavior of a “strong”‘ leader in any conditions, wherever the potential conflict may be, and regardless if it has any link to American national security.

  9. Brad Owen
    October 27, 2016 at 11:51

    We need a touchstone, to show how far we have strayed from what should be. Here’s one, for example: (I wrote this in a letter to the Stein campaign, along with a donation), In Providing for the Common DEFENSE, in the modern, post-WWII U.N. Era, we should re-organize all U.S. military forces into a new National Guard Sea/Air/Land/Space forces. All young citizens should serve a 2-year apprenticeship (longer for more advanced technical areas) learning the military arts & sciences. The most “glamorous” component of these forces should become the Nat’l Guard Corps of Engineers, and “Special Operations” Forces should be greatly de-emphasized. No U.S. Guardsman, or -woman, shall set foot outside U.S. territory, unless wearing the Blue Helmet and executing U.N. mandates (thus giving over Foreign Policy to the U.N. The Sec. of State shall be busy seeing to it that we are complying with U.N. mandates). The hundreds of military bases overseas shall be turned over to the U.N. to use or dispose of as they see fit. I would imagine that our Corps of Engineers will be very busy overseas, in Blue Helmets, repairing a lot of war damages the previous U.S. military had caused.(end of the letter part)
    Now THIS was the general thinking immediately in the post-war forties, and our “Touchstone” for judging how far astray we are. This was before the “silent coup” happened in the post-war forties, and ultra-conservative, “anglophile” American Tories occupied the intelligence/covert ops services, purging the pro-FDR O.S.S. agents, and generally, gradually purging all things “FDR” (not finally completed until the 90’s); and The Deep State and its’ would-be Shadow Government began digging in, and stirring up “dire threats” to “National Security” starting with the “Red Scare” (a slap in the face of our LONG-TIME ally Russia in its’ then-current Soviet formation). So, there is one and only one genuine Confrontation to be waged; a Global Civil War (don’t know how hot or cold it has to be), between the following two combatants: the DEEP State & its’ Shadow Government in all its’ manifestations infecting MANY Nations all around the World; AND the Nations of the U.N., unified for this last confrontation, whose battles will take many forms, some non-lethal, some lethal, some with “economic weaponry”, some with “psychological weaponry”, some with conventional weaponry, some with very visible weaponry, some with invisible silent weaponry. The enemy will fight very dirty. The U.N Nations will fight in accordance with its’ honorable Rules of War, established at such a high price over the centuries. This will be very hard, BUT WE are MANY, they are few. THEN we’ll have the long-sought-for peace.

    • Joe B
      October 27, 2016 at 18:17

      Interesting ideas. I would suggest a service emphasizing building infrastructure etc. in developing nations, perhaps a shorter term for such a number.

      • Brad Owen
        October 28, 2016 at 03:43

        I also mentioned, in that letter, a PERMANENT CCC/WPA organization specifically tasked with that mission you’ve mentioned. They’ll be permanently occupied with maintenance and upgrades of infrastructure, and will be the U.S.’s contribution to the world-wide Silk Road/World Land Bridge projects. The CCC will be our “green-collar workers” tasked with the mission to Green up the deserts and abandoned city developments, creating new grasslands and forests to bring MORE CO2 breathers into existence, who will re-absorb the excess CO2 and exhale oxygen for us. We shall be occupied greatly with these things and no longer obsessed with war. The CCC shall be in charge of the massive WaterWorks program for this task…it is a water planet after all. These are the two services; Nat’l Guard and CCC/WPA.

  10. Jay
    October 27, 2016 at 09:51

    And yesterday the AP was reporting an American general’s comments about moving on to Raqqa after the “retaking” of Mosul. How like Hillary Clinton in debate number 3.

    Even the AP had to admit that Raqqa is in Syria not Iraq.

    • journey80
      October 27, 2016 at 20:26

      Why does everyone think he mis-spoke? Our mercenaries, the ISIS jihadists in Mosul, are being taken out of Mosul in a fake battle, and sent to Syria, with our protection. I think he meant exactly what he said.

    • Peter Loeb
      October 28, 2016 at 07:36


      As sarcasm (mine!) I wonder how the West would react if
      Russia/Syria announced plans they are carefully (?) laying
      about air strikes on Mosul. Mosul after all is under ISIS
      control. After all, Russia and its “partners” have
      invited the US to join them again and again. All these
      invitations have been turned down point blank because
      there was no provision to eliminate Assad. (The West
      calls it “peaceful transition”. )

      Of course, the West would be horrified if Russia/Syria
      decided on plans to attack Mosul on their own. We are all
      supposed to believe that Mosul is the West’s battle…

      So why should the West invade a city in Syria? Without
      invitation —and explicit cooperation—with the government
      of Syria (Assad)?

      In short, such statements and policies make
      a mockery of international law etc.[Article IV (2) I think,
      UN Charter].

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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