A Reprise of the Iraq-WMD Fiasco?

Exclusive: Official Washington’s new “group think” – accepting evidence-free charges that Russia “hacked the U.S. election” – has troubling parallels to the Iraq-WMD certainty, often from the same people, writes James W Carden.

By James W Carden

The controversy over Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election shows no sign of letting up. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators recently introduced legislation that would impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its acts of “cyber intrusions.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

At a press event in Washington on Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, called Election Day 2016 “a day that will live in cyber infamy.” Previously, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, called the Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee “an act of war,” while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, has claimed that there is near unanimity among senators regarding Russia’s culpability.

Despite all this, the question of who exactly is responsible for the providing WikiLeaks with the emails of high Democratic Party officials does not lend itself to easy answers. And yet, for months, despite the lack of publicly disclosed evidence, the media, like these senators, have been as one: Vladimir Putin’s Russia is responsible.

Interestingly, the same neoconservative/center-left alliance which endorsed George W. Bush’s case for war with Iraq is pretty much the same neoconservative/center-left alliance that is now, all these years later, braying for confrontation with Russia. It’s largely the same cast of characters reading from the Iraq-war era playbook.

It’s worth recalling Tony Judt’s observation in September 2006 that “those centrist voices that bayed most insistently for blood in the prelude to the Iraq war … are today the most confident when asserting their monopoly of insight into world affairs.”

While that was true then, it is perhaps even more so the case today.

The prevailing sentiment of the media establishment during the months prior to the disastrous March 2003 invasion of Iraq was that of certainty: George Tenet’s now infamous assurance to President Bush, that the case against Iraq was a “slam drunk,” was essentially what major newspapers and television news outlets were telling the American people at the time. Iraq posed a threat to “the homeland,” therefore Saddam “must go.”

The Bush administration, in a move equal parts cynical and clever, engaged in what we would today call a “disinformation” campaign against its own citizens by planting false stories abroad, safe in the knowledge that these stories would “bleed over” and be picked up by the American press.

WMD ‘Fake News’

The administration was able to launder what were essentially “fake news” stories, such as the aluminum tubes fabrication, by leaking to Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller of The New York Times. In September 2002, without an ounce of skepticism, Gordon and Miller regurgitated the claims of unnamed U.S. intelligence officials that Iraq “has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes … intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium.” Gordon and Miller faithfully relayed “the intelligence agencies’ unanimous view that the type of tubes that Iraq has been seeking are used to make centrifuges.”

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

By 2002, no one had any right to be surprised by what Bush and Cheney were up to; since at least 1898 (when the U.S. declared war on Spain under the pretense of the fabricated Hearst battle cry “Remember the Maine!”) American governments have repeatedly lied in order to promote their agenda abroad. And in 2002-3, the media walked in lock step with yet another administration in pushing for an unnecessary and costly war.

Like The New York Times, The Washington Post also relentlessly pushed the administration’s case for war with Iraq. According to the journalist Greg Mitchell, “By the Post’s own admission, in the months before the war, it ran more than 140 stories on its front page promoting the war.” All this, while its editorial page assured readers that the evidence Colin Powell presented to the United Nations on Iraq’s WMD program was “irrefutable.” According to the Post, it would be “hard to imagine” how anyone could doubt the administration’s case.

But the Post was hardly alone in its enthusiasm for Bush’s war. Among the most prominent proponents of the Iraq war was The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who, a full year prior to the invasion, set out to link Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Writing for The New Yorker in March 2002, Goldberg retailed former CIA Director James Woolsey’s opinion that “It would be a real shame if the C.I.A.’s substantial institutional hostility to Iraqi democratic resistance groups was keeping it from learning about Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda in northern Iraq.”

Indeed, according to Goldberg, “The possibility that Saddam could supply weapons of mass destruction to anti-American terror groups is a powerful argument among advocates of regime change,” while Saddam’s “record of support for terrorist organizations, and the cruelty of his regime make him a threat that reaches far beyond the citizens of Iraq.”

Writing in Slate in October 2002, Goldberg was of the opinion that “In five years . . . I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.”

Likewise, The New Republic’s Andrew Sullivan was certain that “we would find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I have no doubt about that.” Slate’s Jacob Weisberg supported the invasion because he thought Saddam Hussein had WMD and he “thought there was a strong chance he’d use them against the United States.”

Even after it was becoming clear that the war was a debacle, the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer declared that the inability to find WMDs was “troubling” but “only because it means that the weapons remain unaccounted for and might be in the wrong hands. The idea that our inability to thus far find the weapons proves that the threat was phony and hyped is simply false.”

Smearing Skeptics

Opponents of the war were regularly accused of unpatriotic disloyalty. Writing in National Review, the neoconservative writer David Frum accused anti-intervention conservatives of going “far, far beyond the advocacy of alternative strategies.” According to Frum, “They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation’s enemies.”

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney receive an Oval Office briefing from CIA Director George Tenet. Also present is Chief of Staff Andy Card (on right). (White House photo)

Similarly, The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait castigated anti-war liberals for turning against Bush. “Have Bush haters lost their minds?” asked Chait. “Certainly some have. Antipathy to Bush has, for example, led many liberals not only to believe the costs of the Iraq war outweigh the benefits but to refuse to acknowledge any benefits at all.”

Yet of course we now know, thanks, in part, to a new book by former CIA analyst John Nixon, that everything the U.S. government thought it knew about Saddam Hussein was indeed wrong. Nixon, the CIA analyst who interrogated Hussein after his capture in December 2003, asks “Was Saddam worth removing from power?” “The answer,” says Nixon, “must be no. Saddam was busy writing novels in 2003. He was no longer running the government.”

It turns out that the skeptics were correct after all. And so the principal lesson the promoters of Bush and Cheney’s war of choice should have learned is that blind certainty is the enemy of fair inquiry and nuance. The hubris that many in the mainstream media displayed in marginalizing liberal and conservative anti-war voices was to come back to haunt them. But not, alas, for too long.

A Dangerous Replay?

Today something eerily similar to the pre-war debate over Iraq is taking place regarding the allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Assurances from the intelligence community and from anonymous Obama administration “senior officials” about the existence of evidence is being treated as, well, actual evidence.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

State Department spokesman John Kirby told CNN that he is “100% certain” of the role that Russia played in U.S. election. The administration’s expressions of certainty are then uncritically echoed by the mainstream media. Skeptics are likewise written off, slandered as “Kremlin cheerleaders” or worse.

Unsurprisingly, The Washington Post is reviving its Bush-era role as principal publicist for the government’s case. Yet in its haste to do the government’s bidding, the Post has published two widely debunked stories relating to Russia (one on the scourge of Russian inspired “fake news”, the other on a non-existent Russian hack of a Vermont electric utility) onto which the paper has had to append “editor’s notes” to correct the original stories.

Yet, those misguided stories have not deterred the Post’s opinion page from being equally aggressive in its depiction of Russian malfeasance. In late December, the Post published an op-ed by Rep. Adam Schiff and former Rep. Jane Harmon claiming “Russia’s theft and strategic leaking of emails and documents from the Democratic Party and other officials present a challenge to the U.S. political system unlike anything we’ve experienced.”

On Dec. 30, the Post editorial board chastised President-elect Trump for seeming to dismiss “a brazen and unprecedented attempt by a hostile power to covertly sway the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.” The Post described Russia’s actions as a “cyber-Pearl Harbor.”

On Jan. 1, the neoconservative columnist Josh Rogin told readers that the recent announcement of sanctions against Russia “brought home a shocking realization that Russia is using hybrid warfare in an aggressive attempt to disrupt and undermine our democracy.”

Meanwhile, many of the same voices who were among the loudest cheerleaders for the war in Iraq have also been reprising their Bush-era roles in vouching for the solidity of the government’s case.

Jonathan Chait, now a columnist for New York magazine, is clearly convinced by what the government has thus far provided. “That Russia wanted Trump to win has been obvious for months,” writes Chait.

“Of course it all came from the Russians, I’m sure it’s all there in the intel,” Charles Krauthammer told Fox News on Jan. 2. Krauthammer is certain.

And Andrew Sullivan is certain as to the motive. “Trump and Putin’s bromance,” Sullivan told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Jan. 2, “has one goal this year: to destroy the European Union and to undermine democracy in Western Europe.”

David Frum, writing in The Atlantic, believes Trump “owes his office in considerable part to illegal clandestine activities in his favor conducted by a hostile, foreign spy service.”

Jacob Weisberg agrees, tweeting: “Russian covert action threw the election to Donald Trump. It’s that simple.” Back in 2008, Weisberg wrote that “the first thing I hope I’ve learned from this experience of being wrong about Iraq is to be less trusting of expert opinion and received wisdom.” So much for that.

Foreign Special Interests

Another, equally remarkable similarity to the period of 2002-3 is the role foreign lobbyists have played in helping to whip up a war fever. As readers will no doubt recall, Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, which served, in effect as an Iraqi government-in-exile, worked hand in hand with the Washington lobbying firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey (BKSH) to sell Bush’s war on television and on the op-ed pages of major American newspapers.

Ahmed Chalabi

Chalabi was also a trusted source of Judy Miller of the Times, which, in an apology to its readers on May 26, 2004, wrote: “The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles.” The pro-war lobbying of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has also been exhaustively documented.

Though we do not know how widespread the practice has been as of yet, something similar is taking place today. Articles calling for confrontation with Russia over its alleged “hybrid war” with the West are appearing with increasing regularity. Perhaps the most egregious example of this newly popular genre appeared on Jan. 1 in Politico magazine. That essay, which claims, among many other things, that “we’re in a war” with Russia comes courtesy of one Molly McKew.

McKew is seemingly qualified to make such a pronouncement because she, according to her bio on the Politico website, served as an “adviser to Georgian President Saakashvili’s government from 2009-2013, and to former Moldovan Prime Minister Filat in 2014-2015.” Seems reasonable enough. That is until one discovers that McKew is actually registered with the Department of Justice as a lobbyist for two anti-Russian political parties, Georgia’s UMN and Moldova’s PLDM.

Records show her work for the consulting firm Fianna Strategies frequently takes her to Capitol Hill to lobby U.S. Senate and Congressional staffers, as well as prominent U.S. journalists at The Washington Post and The New York Times, on behalf of her Georgian and Moldovan clients.

“The truth,” writes McKew, “is that fighting a new Cold War would be in America’s interest. Russia teaches us a very important lesson: losing an ideological war without a fight will ruin you as a nation. The fight is the American way.” Or, put another way: the truth is that fighting a new Cold War would be in McKew’s interest – but perhaps not America’s.

While you wouldn’t know it from the media coverage (or from reading deeply disingenuous pieces like McKew’s) as things now stand, the case against Russia is far from certain. New developments are emerging almost daily. One of the latest is a report from the cyber-engineering company Wordfence, which concluded that “The IP addresses that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia.”

Indeed, according to Wordfence, “The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.”

On Jan. 4, BuzzFeed reported that, according to the DNC, the FBI never carried out a forensic examination on the email servers that were allegedly hacked by the Russian government. “The FBI,” said DNC spokesman Eric Walker, “never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers.”

What the agency did do was rely on the findings of a private-sector, third-party vendor that was brought in by the DNC after the initial hack was discovered. In May, the company, Crowdstrike, determined that the hack was the work of the Russians. As one unnamed intelligence official told BuzzFeed, “CrowdStrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate.”

Perhaps not. Yet Crowdstrike is hardly a disinterested party when it comes to Russia. Crowdstrike’s founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, is also a senior fellow at the Washington think tank, The Atlantic Council, which has been at the forefront of escalating tensions with Russia.

As I reported in The Nation in early January, the connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council is highly relevant given that the Atlantic Council is funded in part by the State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk. In recent years, it has emerged as a leading voice calling for a new Cold War with Russia.

Time to Rethink the ‘Group Think’

And given the rather thin nature of the declassified evidence provided by the Obama administration, might it be time to consider an alternative theory of the case? William Binney, a 36-year veteran of the National Security Agency and the man responsible for creating many of its collection systems, thinks so. Binney believes that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked, writing that “it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government and WikiLeaks. Unless we are dealing with a leak from an insider, not a hack.”

Former National Security Agency official William Binney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City. (Photo credit: Jacob Appelbaum)

None of this is to say, of course, that Russia did not and could not have attempted to influence the U.S. presidential election. The intelligence community may have intercepted damning evidence of the Russian government’s culpability. The government’s hesitation to provide the public with more convincing evidence may stem from an understandable and wholly appropriate desire to protect the intelligence community’s sources and methods. But as it now stands the publicly available evidence is open to question.

But meanwhile the steady drumbeat of “blame Russia” is having an effect. According to a recent you.gov/Economist poll, 58 percent of Americans view Russia as “unfriendly/enemy” while also finding that 52 percent of Democrats believed Russia “tampered with vote tallies.”

With Congress back in session, Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain is set to hold a series of hearings focusing on Russian malfeasance, and the steady drip-drip-drip of allegations regarding Trump and Putin is only serving to box in the new President when it comes to pursuing a much-needed detente with Russia.

It also does not appear that a congressional inquiry will start from scratch and critically examine the evidence. On Friday, two senators – Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse – announced a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigation into Russian interference in elections in the U.S. and elsewhere. But they already seemed to have made up their minds about the conclusion: “Our goal is simple,” the senators said in a joint statement “To the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy.”

So, before the next round of Cold War posturing commences, now might be the time to stop, take a deep breath and ask: Could the rush into a new Cold War with Russia be as disastrous and consequential – if not more so – as was the rush to war with Iraq nearly 15 years ago? We may, unfortunately, find out.

James W Carden is a contributing writer for The Nation and editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord’s eastwestaccord.com. He previously served as an advisor on Russia to the Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department.

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39 comments for “A Reprise of the Iraq-WMD Fiasco?

  1. Wm. Boyce
    February 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I’d be surprised if the crazy man who’s president goes this way against the Russians. McClatchy is reporting today that he’s relaxing sanctions against them imposed by former President Obama in 2014 over the Crimea annexation. He may owe them – literally.

    But don’t worry, with his mouth, and lack of any judgement, and boy Bannon advising him, there’s gonna be a heap of trouble ahead.

    • Stephen Sivonda
      February 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      As you say….and I think that Bannon is on to the think tank group think. Everyone should know by now that anything that Mad John (McCain) and Lindsey Graham say is a pathway to conflict and war. The media as always ,being corporate directed will act in the best interests of the MIC.

    • Cosmic
      February 3, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      What annexation of Crimea are you speaking of ? The people of Crimea voted in an open referendum, they did not want to be subjected to the terror-tactics of the neo-nazis regime the US. Installed in the Kiev coup.

      • Wm. Boyce
        February 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm

        McClatchy referred to it that way, hence my phrase.

        • Jason
          February 4, 2017 at 1:53 am

          if Crimea name was kosovo…the US would argue it as a “special case” and that nations should get over there decision to break and choose their own Destiny….

          however since Crimea is the oil n energy sector of Ukraine America’s push for influence through a coup ended up costing them forever the very thing they wanted…access to Crimea energy.

          so now the west is forced to pump money into Ukraine just so the population won’t turn on them for backing the coup and making their lives spiral into war and hardship.

          • peter parry
            February 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

            And most importantly, Jason, they lost the Naval Seaport in Sevastopol which they had already drawn up plans for the upgrading etc. Nato thought they would finally get a port on the Black Sea. Silly boys….Putin saw this coming.

  2. Mark Thomason
    February 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    This controversy is driven by Democratic denial of defeat, and infighting in which those defeated seek to hang on to power inside the Democratic Party. It is the Hillary crowd. It can be evidence free because it is driven by political calculation of private power needs, not truth.

    And the WMD fiasco is a perfect comparison, because the same people drove the same sort of fact-free theme for private reasons, as Wolfowitz put it, the story around which varying separate interests could be rallied.

    • February 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      This all goes SO much deeper and higher than Hillary and associates as to make them almost insignificant.

    • Michael Hoefler
      February 3, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Well said! The Clinton machine and DNC sabotaged the primary to cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. Then they must have tried something in the general election – that didn’t work. Why would they not have pushed very heard for a recount in MI, WI and PENN – if they weren’t afraid that something might be discovered?

  3. Tania Messina
    February 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Ah, yes, we’ve always needed a boogeyman to keep us all crazed with fear and the neocons busy with their destruction of society. If there is a crazy out there today, it is those neocons and their puppets who were so intent on destroying “seven countries in five years” and not being able to achieve that diabolical end as so neatly planned. And, now, they’re throwing temper tantrums, because, surprise of surprises! a non career politician comes along who uses common sense for a change and dares to say, “Why can’t we be friends with Russia?” With that comment many exhausted Americans perked up and listened while the Dulles boys turned somersaults in their graves!

    The arrogance and superiority of those who constantly blame Russia for their alleged expansionist ambitions seem blinded to our own aggressions. Fifteen years in Iraq? We finally have a president who talks of peace and we demonize him as the warmonger ready to press the button, while I seem to remember that it was the other candidate who arrogantly referred to Putin as Hitler!

    It is articles like this one by James Carden that we should be teaching in our schools, researching the facts and discussing in our classrooms so that hopefully a new generation might grow up with intelligent exchange rather than the brainwash that has been strangling our society for too many years.

    • Cosmic
      February 3, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Great comment Tania!

      • Tania Messina
        February 3, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Thank you, Cosmic, and double thanks for commenting on the so-called “Crimea annexation.” It was actually that first comment that compelled me to respond.

    • peter parry
      February 5, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Agreed. Change is Good.

  4. stan
    February 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    You can read chapter 6 of Mein Kampf if you want to see how this war propaganda stuff works. It is not group think or mistaken ideas. It is deliberate lies to scare you and a carefully crafted false narrative to make it all seem reasonable. People cannot believe that their leaders would tell such a big lie, and that’s why it works. The goal is murder and conquest to get territory, natural resources, and control of business and commerce. Controlling markets for drugs, gambling, and prostitution is for nickel and dime crooks. Controlling markets for natural resources, banking, and consumer and industrial goods is where the real money is. Think of governments as criminal business syndicates and you aren’t far off. Remember, President Obama had a hit list, flew around plane loads of secret cash to make illegal payoffs, and bragged about offing his opponent in the head and dumping his body in the river.

    • Cosmic
      February 3, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Another great spot-on !comment

    • Jeremy
      February 4, 2017 at 11:33 am

      Yes, Stan,well put! you will never see this sort of talk in the articles here, as the consipiracy theorist label is always one to avoid, but I agree that when we think in terms of a group of people trying to attain “security” the same way any other gangster does, it becomes much less far fetched. George Carlin said, “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it!” Men and women of power and wealth will always do what they have to in order to preserve that power and wealth for their children. There is really no conspiracy needed, just a bunch of people at the top looking after themselves and their families.

  5. February 3, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    The mainstream media in th USA and, increasingly in the rest of the West are vehicles for propaganda from various factions within the Imperial Deep State. All these outlets are good for is to map the power relations between these factions at least this the case in the major issues of the day.

    This misbehavior going on right now. One factions close to Trump wants to go to war with Iran because, of course there has to be war or the Deep State as a whole stuffers and the people will begin to look at their shakles. The other faction wishes to go to a brinksmanship sort of Cold War situation. The Trumpists believe that making friends with Russia and then destroying Iranian power is the best approach to controlling the MENA region by creating a loose alliance of KSA, Israel, Turkey and Russia in which a weak Iran would be forced to enter the Empire and Russia in return would be given more control of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. I suspect Trump may also want to undercut NATO and the EU. That is my guess. To put it another way, Russia is strong and well led and Iran is not.

  6. Sue Crow
    February 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Vladimir Putin’s Russia is responsible for the assassination of political opponents, the last attempt just yesterday! Vladimir Putin’s Russia has eyes on and troops in the sovereign territory of non-Russians. Vladimir Putin’s Russia cannot be trusted to speak openly with the United States President and Trump is too willing to speak secretly with her. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is up to no good. BRING THE FACTS INTO THE OPEN and we’ll quit working with what we’ve got.

    • D5-5
      February 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Can you supply some evidence for this neocon type of surmising? Or does it come straight from The Washington Post?

    • February 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      So Russia having troops in non Russian territory is bad? Hmmmmmmm lets see now the US has troops in 160 nations but I guess according to you thats good. And of course you never heard of Obama´s hit list drone murder program did you? No one was safe from that even Americans.

    • John
      February 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      I agree, bring the facts into the open… where are yours?

      You make many allegations, but present no facts.

      Why would a leader with approval ratings over 70% have any need to assasinate political appointments?

      Why would a country with far more resourse-rich land than it could develop in the next several centuries have a desire to take over some puny, inconsequential neighbors with no resources to speak of?

      Your allegations lack basic common sense, much less the status of “fact”…

  7. Bill Bodden
    February 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    One of the more astounding points made in this excellent article is the reference to the accomplices who promoted the war on Iraq and who are still engaged in more evil promotion of more wars. Julius Streicher, who was hanged after the Nuremberg Trials for publishing articles promoting Hitler’s wars, must be rolling in his grave at how current warmongers are getting away with their promotions – over and over again.

    • Ira Dember
      February 3, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Streicher would be laughing. Graveyard humor, you might say.

      After his Nuremberg necktie party in 1946, Herr Streicher’s ashes were strewn with those of other executed war criminals in the river Isar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Streicher). A final pollution after the Final Solution.

      What of today’s accomplices who enrich their careers by repeatedly promoting US wars of aggression, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, most of them civilian?

      One might imagine sending them on a group excursion to The Hague. In handcuffs.

      • peter parry
        February 5, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        Like the David Frum ilk. Agreed.

    • February 5, 2017 at 12:43 am

      Most of the names mentioned in the article suggest an attachment to a certain shitty little Middle Eastern country whose main motive is to involve the United States in more hostilities created by Israels’ puppet masters.Can nothing be done about these people?

  8. D5-5
    February 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    The question of Trump as hot-headed contradictarian is not yet clear, and involves whether his staff and advisors can lead him more effectively. At this point campaign-style hot air and braggadocio will not work (example his reaction to the problems at Berkeley the other day in the tweet indicated here:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-02/).

    It interests me how some apparently flaming issues seem to abate, as with his denial of Russia hacking followed by his seeming agreement Russia might have been involved. We have seen Trump in the campaign as tough, wily, contradictory, resilient. Several times I thought he was going down nose-first into a flaming crash and he came back. His deliberate cultivation of people to assist him in cabinet and staff who might disagree with him indicates he might yet not be entirely predictable. He has been in office two weeks and must learn that antagonism against Iran, for example, will not bode well for “partnership” with Russia. His mixed bag of intentions and policies has to cure out at some point, until we can predict him more accurately. Assessing his intelligence against his impulses, as with all of us, is particularly difficult.

    • peter parry
      February 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      The morons who still run things are bombarding him with info, data, stuff, overloading the guy, who’s bombast has been “I can work 24 hrs a day”. Before he has a breakdown he should grab his beautiful squeeze and take a 2 week secluded vacation and refocus quietly and deliberately.
      Most major CEO ‘s and managers etc. know the trick for takeover. The new guy(boss) rolls in, doesn’t make any waves, just quietly learns the make up of the farmyard, and then a few weeks later, calls a meeting of the managers etc. and lays down the law. The Donald must do this.
      The Donald is being attacked by this smokescreen methodology of overload and he should realize it and separate himself from it NOW!

      • Jack Flanigan
        February 6, 2017 at 11:43 am

        I think you are right.But why isn’t he doing it.

        jack

  9. Michael K Rohde
    February 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    This is beginning to look exactly like Iraq 2 and why the same players that led us into that fake war which is still not paid for because the initiators made sure and get themselves a tax cut before they launched it are still being listened to makes it clear. Even with a change in administrations and party our government continues in the same wrong headed direction, to war with the enemies of Israel. When will it stop? When will we take back control of our foreign policy and destiny.

    • Michael Hoefler
      February 3, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      As Ray McGovern said several times (not quoting): that Israel is the elephant in the room. Netayahu will not rest until he has all of the Arab states fighting among themselves. IMO he thinks that that will guarantee Israel protection.
      IMO – all that does is put Israel into a continuing worse situation. There will always be someone stronger to come along to overcome them – someday – sometime. If they made peace with those nations and worked with them, traded with them – they would be much safer in the long run.

    • Jack Flanigan
      February 6, 2017 at 11:53 am

      “When will we take back control of our foreign policy and destiny.” Speaking as an Australian; when we tell you yanks to go and f*** yourselves.

      regards,

      jack

  10. February 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Why am I blocked from Comments?

  11. February 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I guess not.

  12. John
    February 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Folks….Really !! You people gotta look behind the curtain….It’s there for a reason….To keep you people out……Lots of fake news or news that’s promotes a PAID narrative……DIG DEEP…..I may need some medical marijuana….Lol

  13. yugo
    February 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Hysteria has reached fever pitch. Russia’s fake news is apparently so beguiling that it even threatens western democratic discourse. Combine this with its cyber weaponry and Moscow, so we are told, may interfere in this year’s German elections to benefit the hard-right. Such incessant fear mongering has already prompted calls for the censorship of Russian propaganda. It won’t be long before a witch-hunt emerges, directed against ‘fellow travellers’, those who dare to doubt the Russian threat.

    They insist the west made matters worse in Ukraine by not acknowledging that it was a classic example of a young state that didn’t naturally command the allegiance of all its peoples. Other examples are Georgia’s Abkhazians and South Ossetians, Moldova’s Trans-Dniester Slavs and Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians.

    They also doubt the Russian threat to the Baltic states. What is amazing is Moscow’s temperate response to Estonia and Latvia’s gross violation of international norms in denying citizenship to those of its Russian minority who are not conversant in Estonian and Latvian respectively. Nato and the EU turned a blind eye when membership was granted to these two states.

    Fellow travellers furthermore claim the west will keep on floundering in the Middle East as long as it persists in treating Saudi Arabia as a valued ally, while viewing Iran as a permanent enemy. We have for far too long ignored Saudi Arabia’s promotion of Wahhabism and its playing of the destructive sectarian card against ‘apostate’ Shiites. Take the merciless attacks on Shiite worshippers by Sunni jihadis of a Wahhabist persuasion. It occurs with sickening regularity throughout the Middle East. The terrorists attacking westerners are invariably Sunni jihadis, not Shiites. Worse still, Saudi Arabia together with Nato member Turkey facilitated the emergence of Isis. We bizarrely gave priority to toppling Syria’s secular regime.

    The first loyalty of these fellow travellers is to their nation state rather than unfettered globalism. No wonder the western elite disparage their national patriotism, calling it populism. It was, after all, the Achilles Heel of Homo Sovieticus. The elite fear the same fate awaits Homo Europaeus and globalist Homo Economicus.

  14. Don G.
    February 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Questioning whether the Russians hacked or didn’t hack is playing into the US narrative to demonize Russia. (Putin)
    It simple doesn’t matter as all nations hack as much as possible to enhance and protect their national interests. Surely Russia has hacked against the US no more than a tenth of what the US had done against Russia.

    The narrative is nothing but a propaganda lie but it’s been accepted by the American people and mostly because of the fight that goes on due to domestic politics, one major party against the other.

    There’s a very good reason to stop promoting the narrative because it only helps to bring Americans onside with more efforts to demonize Putin and to keep all sides in the US promoting their aggression worldwide. Americans are likely easily 90% prowar now and will show little or no resistance to the coming war on Iran.

  15. Mark Thomason
    February 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I agree. This represents the resurgence of the War Party that had gathered around Hillary expecting to ride her coronation into its continued power. It is Washington-think from inside the Bubble of DC, driven by their own theories rather than connection to facts.

    Then again, connection to facts is not Trump’s strength, so he is vulnerable when his support must be reality based in defiance of group think.

  16. geoff
    February 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    circus after circus. the empire crumbles. the power elite is lashing out and their criminal deeds go unpunished. the veil lifts on the eyes of the populace and the screams of the fearful will be heard coast to coast in their gated communities. they are naked and know it. the irony of ‘assange’ the truth displayer is imprisoned and ‘snowden’ locked in his bear cave country will all change. the heroes will be released,the slaves of america will be freed and the american people, if lucky, will get an ounce of truth. hope for this and prepare your hearts.

  17. the lion
    February 9, 2017 at 9:04 am

    So McCain says it was an act of War, what does he call unlawfully entering Syria to visit Foreign Fighters which even the US calls Insurgents but were really Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters using the name of Al Nusra Front and then saying we should be funding these guys! Becaus John McCain YOU entered Syria without permission from that nation to meet up with Terrorists inside that country to give them aid and support! Now as a sitting US Senator THAT WAS AN ACTUAL ACT OF WAR! Of course then there is that little Fiasco that you were involved with relating to an Invasion of Russia by the Georgian Military at the same time that country tried to breach a UN Nations Security council resolution, that was at the time you were running for President of the United States, that to by the way was a real act of war, Your very own Campaign Manager was heavily involved in that Fiasco while working directly for you. Then there was that little Problem of the Chechen Terrorists being trained in Georgia at the very same time. Who was funding THEM! So John you actually have been very active in actual acts of War on Sovereign Countries yourself.

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