Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran

Bowing to Israeli-Saudi desires, the Trump administration is abusing the U.S. intelligence process to whip up a war fever against Iran, much like George W. Bush did on Iraq, reports ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

The most widely remembered episode of a U.S. administration using an intelligence-based public presentation to stir up hostility toward a country with which it was intent on picking a fight was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation on Iraq to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003.

Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative to the UN (UN Photo)

That presentation and the Bush administration’s year-long campaign, of which Powell’s speech was a part, to sell the U.S. invasion of Iraq represented a misuse of intelligence — less because of the substance than because of the whole nature and purpose of the exercise. Instead of using intelligence for its proper purpose of informing policy decisions yet to be made, this campaign was instead a selective and tendentious use of intelligence to sell a decision already made.

There was substantive misrepresentation, to be sure. The portion of the speech about terrorist ties was designed to foment a belief about supposed alliances that was contrary to the judgments of the U.S. intelligence community.

But even if everything in the speech about weapons of mass destruction has been valid, the speech missed the most important questions about U.S. policy toward Iraq. These questions included what would warrant the launching by the United States of a major war of aggression, and what the ensuing mess and repercussions would be, in Iraq and in the region, after Saddam Hussein was ousted, WMD or no WMD.

Now Nikki Haley has provided the closest replication yet of the notorious show-and-tell from 2003. She has tendentiously and selectively brandished pieces, including physical pieces, of intelligence to stir up hostility toward Iran, with which the Trump administration seems intent on picking a fight.

The featured piece consisted of remnants of a missile fired from Yemen in the direction of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Haley and the Trump administration have gone beyond Powell and the Bush administration in dragging U.S. intelligence agencies into their hostility-selling campaign.

For Powell’s speech, the imprimatur of the intelligence community was symbolized by Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet sitting in the camera frame right behind Powell. Although Haley is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, such an image in the Security Council chamber evidently wasn’t enough. Instead, she did her show-and-tell at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington. And rather than a small vial that Powell used as a prop in talking about a biological weapon, she displayed a warehouse full of wrecked hardware, including the missile remnants.

Distorting Reality

Just as in 2003, the show missed the fundamental issues involved in the relevant Middle Eastern mayhem. The missile fired at Riyadh was a rather feeble and ineffective response to the continuing air assault on Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition that has turned a civil war sparked by tribal disgruntlement into one of the world’s biggest current humanitarian disasters.

According to the United Nations and other sources, more than 5,000 civilians have been killed, along with the thousands of injuries and other deaths as well as related consequences such as a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands more. The Saudi-led air war is clearly the biggest source of the carnage.

The United States aids that air war. The exact nature and extent of the assistance are unclear, but what is publicly acknowledged includes U.S. provision of targeting information and refueling of Saudi warplanes. The Trump administration reportedly has considered increasing the military assistance to Saudi Arabia, including possible resumption of shipments of guided missiles that the Obama administration had suspended because of the indiscriminate Saudi targeting of civilians.

It is both misguided policy and morally offensive for Haley to try to focus attention on Iranian-related markings on a missile fragment while her own government abets far more suffering and destruction in the same war of which that missile was a part.

On the very day that Haley was showcasing Iran-related munitions came news that one of the latest aerial attacks by the Saudi-led coalition destroyed a prison in the capital Sanaa and killed at least 30 people, most of whom were detainees in the prison. And on the day that Haley was drawing attention to her warehouse full of arms that, in her words, “include parts made in Iran, some by Iran’s government-run defense industry” came reports of how many U.S.- and Saudi-supplied arms wound up in the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS). Evidently a factory marking on a munition is supposed to constitute a case for condemnation of the country of manufacture when Iran is involved, but not when another state is, or at least when the United States or Saudi Arabia is.

Haley’s remarks at the show-and-tell did nothing to explain how the munitions displayed around her demonstrate anything about either Iranian policies or the drivers of conflict and instability in the Middle East, much less about implications for U.S. policy. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had handed over the materiel, and U.S. officials either would not or could not say where much of it had been recovered. Nor could they say when the weapons had been supplied or when they were used. To use such military detritus as a basis for conclusions about what Iran is or is not contributing to violence in the Middle East makes little more sense than holding Mikhail Kalashnikov responsible for all attacks in which AK-47s have been used.

Dirty U.S. Hands

Officials of the United States — the world’s leading exporter of arms — ought to be especially careful about suggesting that factory markings on munitions equate to evidence about a country’s foreign policy, given how U.S.-origin arms have been used even by the likes of ISIS.

Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations on Feb. 5. 2003, citing satellite photos which supposedly proved that Iraq had WMD, but the evidence proved bogus.

Haley’s comments were more telling about the nature of what the Trump administration is trying to do with such displays. She talked about going to “great lengths” to declassify “evidence” and said, “As you know, we do not often declassify this type of military equipment recovered from these attacks.”

That’s right, we do not. And the administration’s upending of normal procedures for the sake of the public hostility-stoking campaign shows how far removed any of this is from a healthy and proper use of intelligence services.

Haley grossly mischaracterized a new United Nations report on implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which is the international community’s official endorsement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that restricts Iran’s nuclear program. She made it sound as if there were united international backing for her blame-everything-on-Iran message, saying, “In its strongest language yet, the Secretary-General’s report describes violation after violation of weapons transfers and ballistic missile activity.”

Haley knows well that the only obligations that Iran undertook in either the JCPOA or the U.N. resolution that endorsed the agreement concern nuclear activities. The reference in Resolution 2231 to missiles was intentionally and carefully worded as a “call” that entails no additional obligation.

The Secretary-General’s report, like most such U.N. documents, is more a compilation of reports and assertions by member countries than the reaching of any grand conclusion. A U.N. monitoring committee did investigate missile firings by the Houthi forces in Yemen earlier this year and expressed agnosticism about who was involved in supplying the weapons, even though they appeared to be of Iranian design and manufacture.

The monitors also stated they saw no evidence of something else Haley has suggested, which was a presence of Iranian missile specialists within Yemen. In the international scrutiny that matters most in assessing Iran’s compliance with its obligations, the International Atomic Energy Agency continues to certify that Iran is meeting its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who must have cringed when seeing Haley’s remarks, spoke to some of the same subjects on the day of Haley’s presentation. Guterres repeated his endorsement of the JCPOA as “the best way” to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program stays peaceful, while expressing concern about how President Trump’s withholding of certification to Congress in October had created “considerable uncertainty” about the future of the agreement.

Scare tactics were a big part of the Bush administration’s campaign of selling its war, with the brandishing of things like vials we were told to imagine might be filled with anthrax spores. Haley got fully into the same mode when she said about the missile that hit close to the Riyadh airport, “Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK, or the airports in Paris, London, or Berlin. That’s what we’re talking about here. That’s what Iran is actively supporting.”

No, Iran isn’t supporting that at all. There is zero evidence of any Iranian move toward obtaining a weapon with intercontinental reach. There is no evidence that Iranian military development and procurement are proceeding with anything in mind other than responding to what Iran sees as threats and rivals within its own region.

The heads of the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guard Corps have talked publicly about 2,000 kilometers being a sufficient range for Iranian weapons to meet that need. Such a range is not just talk and is consistent with the larger strategic logic of Iran’s defense posture.

It is a harmful waste of the time and attention not only of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but also of all the intelligence officers who were involved in putting together that display at DIA, to be hyping an imaginary intercontinental threat when the United States faces a real one from North Korea.

We still don’t know exactly where Trump, Haley, or anyone else in the current administration wants or expects to go with their campaign of stoking maximum tension with, and hostility toward, Iran. But more and more of their campaign sounds a lot like what the Bush administration and neoconservatives were saying about Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Add to the other similarities a perversion of the relationship between policy and intelligence.

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.)

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76 comments for “Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran

  1. Joe Tedesky
    December 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Nikki Haley is projecting the guilt of Saudi U.S. war crimes in Yemen onto Iran…priceless, yet so sad.

    • GMC
      December 16, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Yes Ted – excellent word -Projectionist. I’m hoping that the Syrian UN Ambassador sends a barge load of spent ordinance and shell casing to Nikki Haley then rips her a new …. while introducing a reparations package to be paid for the destruction of his lands. A disgusting, undiplomatic UN representative Israel has placed in the UN , disguised as a US citizen.

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 17, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        Wouldn’t it be a gas if the Iranian missile had American parts on it? Although, lookout world if the truth should reach the shores of America of how the U.S. aided ISIS? Plus, in the death and destruction department nobody beats the U.S., so does Nikki not know this? Thanks GMC for the support. Joe

        • Kianoosh
          December 19, 2017 at 1:19 am

          The so called Iranian missile has American parts in it. This is already reported.

          • Anna
            December 19, 2017 at 9:30 am

            The lesson of Syria, which is finally spelled out where it should hurt: https://www.rt.com/op-edge/413550-syria-imf-damage-west/ “$200bn to reconstruct war-torn Syria… the US and its partners should pay”
            “The United States and its NATO allies, Britain, France, and Turkey, were the main driving forces behind the war in Syria, which resulted in up to 400,000 deaths and millions of citizens displaced from their homes. Other key regional players sponsoring the campaign against the Syrian government were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel.
            Most of the militants who fought in Syria to overthrow the state authorities were not Syrian nationals. Self-styled jihadists from dozens of countries around the world made their way to Syria, where they were funded, armed and directed by covert forces from Western and Arab states. The barbarian-like gravitation to Syria indicates the degree to which the effort to overthrow the Syrian government was orchestrated by foreign powers.
            This was a planned, concerted project for regime change. The systematic violence imposed on Syria was very arguably due to an international criminal conspiracy perpetrated by the US and all of the above “partners.” The case can, therefore, be made for criminal responsibility. That, in turn, means that financial reparations and damages can be sued by the Syrian state against those foreign powers which waged the war, albeit indirectly through proxy militant groups.”
            — The NATO/US/Israel/Saudi war of aggression against Syria must lead to reparations.

    • Sam F
      December 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Those who directly caused the Iraq WMD hoax were all zionists seeking wars for Israel, as is Nikki Haley.

      Zionist DefSec Wolfowitz appointed known Israeli agents Perle, Wurmser, and Feith to run the offices at CIA, DIA, and NSA that “stove-piped” known-bad WMD “intelligence” to start a war for Israel. So probably they had plenty of cooperation from zionists in those agencies. See Bamford’s Pretext for War. Those three had long worked together to persuade Netanyahu to trick the US into fighting wars for Israel. One was an Israeli agent.

      Zionist Nikki Haley’s career has been largely sponsored by the “extremely rich, ultraright Zionist Sheldon Adelson” according to MoA at http://www.moonofalabama.org/ also at Info Clearing House.

      These acts to involve the US in wars, and to create enemies of the US are acts of war against the US, and all of these fakers should be prosecuted for treason. They should tremble to propose wars of choice, but there is no one in the corrupt US government to enforce the Constitution.

      • N Dalton
        December 17, 2017 at 4:59 am

        Absolutely nothing has changed ….. except the names of Zionist – Israeli agents as well as another despicable President.

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 17, 2017 at 10:40 pm

        Sam the Zionist are giving everyone a bad name. The Jewish people for certain, and the United States of America, would do well to dump this mad ideology the Zionist bring to the table.

        Sam I’m leaving a link to an article which goes into some detail about the British and the Balfour Declaration. Although, I know you know this, I’m hoping that for you it will be one more read that sheds light on this subject. Joe

        https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/palestine/2059-balfour-trump.html

    • Annie
      December 16, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      She’s suggesting that nuclear missiles could be used by Iran and may one day be directed at us. She makes her point when she says what if JFK and Dulles airports were bombed which I think references the attack on 9/11 when planes were flown into the Twin Towers in NY and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

      • Anon
        December 17, 2017 at 7:38 am

        Not sure what you are stating here.
        Missiles could one day be used by Anybody against Anybody.
        That in no way argues for war against any power having missiles.
        Nor does it argue that the US should attack particular powers simply because they have missiles.
        And the entirety of her argument that it was from Iran is false and unsupported.
        What are you arguing?

      • Al Pinto
        December 17, 2017 at 11:35 am

        @Annie…

        I also don’t know what you are trying to say….

        “She’s suggesting that nuclear missiles could be used by Iran and may one day be directed at us”

        Is “may” an actual reason to nuke a country? If it is, the US needs deplete their nuclear weapons against Chine Russia, India, Pakistan, etc., with nuclear weapons. One day, they may use them against the US.

        For the same reason, they should lock up all of the cops, citizens with carrying permit for weapons, etc. After all, of them drive by a bank on one day, or another and could rob it. We need to eliminate this threat….

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 17, 2017 at 10:35 pm

        Fear is a big motivator, and Annie you are right Nikki is using it to the fullest. Joe

      • MichaelwMe
        December 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm

        Trump needs a war. He blusters about the DPRK, but every president since Truman has desperately wanted regime change in the DPRK, and has known that regime change would cost far more than the US can afford. So most presidents stayed silent. Trump tweets and goes on international TV and blusters, but he hasn’t done anything.

        Trump has been forced to declare Russia a great enemy, but as Consortium News reiterates, Russia is the only nation that can obliterate the US.

        That leaves Iran, an easy target for regime removal.

        The usual year would be ’19. Bush, sr went to war with Iraq in ’91; Bush, jr went to war with Iraq in ’03. Obama removed the Libyan regime in ’11.

        But Trump has already started demonising Iran, so, if he needs a war, it’ll be Iran.

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 17, 2017 at 11:15 am

      David Swanson goes into some detail here regarding the U.S. and it’s pursue to blame Iran as a nuclear threat.

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/12/case-iraqing-iran.html

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 17, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Here is a report exposing the U.S. for supplying ISIS with weapons.

      https://www.rt.com/news/413448-isis-illicit-arms-us-iraq/

      • Al Pinto
        December 17, 2017 at 11:40 am

        @Joe…

        “Here is a report exposing the U.S. for supplying ISIS with weapons.”

        Sarcasm… But… but… but.. that’s for good cause, like protecting our freedom, democracy, eliminate tyranny in the country at hand and restore our freedom and democracy for them. End of sarcasm…

        Besides, why would other countries have it better than the US. Have some oligopoly, will ya? :)

        • Joe Tedesky
          December 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm

          It’s another fine example of ‘outsourcing’.

      • Annie
        December 18, 2017 at 4:37 am

        I read that too.

    • Zachary Smith
      December 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      I think Nikki Haley is running for the US Senate from South Carolina. Her recent “distancing” of herself from sex predator Trump was a significant indicator of political ambitions, and IMO the White House is out of range for someone like her. Unless she managed to “Pull A Pence” and become VP on a future Republican ticket. Pence is, on a scale One to Ten, a Zero, but compared to Haley he looks like a rocket scientist by comparison.

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 17, 2017 at 10:33 pm

        A career politician looks for every advantageous opportunity they can find, as to elevate themselves to their believed fullest expectations. Haley, is more than obvious at this game, and with that that maybe her downfall. In fact Nikki is Hillary without Bill, and without Bill makes her less a potential for the Oval Office than let’s just say Sarah Palin (remember her?)

        If Pence has any chance at all he could end up being our next Harry Truman. Truman was limited also, and as history dictates Truman was just the guy to take orders from all the wrong people (like Winston Churchill, & Clark Clifford). So if Pence does end up happening to become our next president, then leave the country, because it will all be just like 1944 and we all know how that worked out.

        Take care Zachary and keep writing those comments of yours. Joe

      • Joe Tedesky
        December 17, 2017 at 10:57 pm

        Zachary here is an article which goes into the reason we Americans should make it illegal for our politicians to accept lobbyist money. Towards the end of the article the author talks about Mike Pence.

        https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/17/why-washington-support-for-israel-remains-unconditional.html

      • Anna
        December 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

        “…distancing” of herself from sex predator Trump”
        Vey, vey… Has silly Haley distanced herself from the predatory name of Clintons? It was Hillary’s husband who took dozens of flight on Lolita Express staffed with underage sex slaves (some girls were 12 – do you like this age?) The Pink Pussy idiots should have been paraded against Clinton-Obama’ lawless years when the main procurer of underage girls for orgy Island – certain Epstein, a financier who also happened to be a major contributor to the Democratic Party — had received only 13 months of comfortable accommodation going as a prison. Your idol’s husband was not punished at all.
        Trump, with all his failings, prefers beautiful and smart women as his wives. He has children with them. Compare him with your Clinton, Epstein, Dershowitz, Weistein, and likes.

  2. Drew Hunkins
    December 16, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Towards the end Mr. Pillar gets one thing basically incorrect in his otherwise very fine piece: the US doesn’t face any threat whatsoever from the DPRK per se.

    If Washington would finally sign off on ending that decades long war (to this day essentially only a cease fire has been in effect for 70 years); end the astonishingly provocative military exercises directly off North Korea’s coastal areas; dismantle and remove the ABM system from South Korea (which is primarily targeted at Beijing); and stop invading, demonizing and attacking every single independent state and leader; the US would not face any sort of threat from “crazy” Kim.

    Once folks come to understand that there has never in the history of the world been anything close to what the Washinton-Zio-militarist empire has brought to the global stage, one can move from a liberal complaint to a radical analysis.

    • Sam F
      December 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      The NK allusion is unfortunate, although perhaps only to create contrast. Other articles contrast the Haley warmongering about one missile of unknown origin, with the known and intentional supply by the US to KSA of large quantities of weapons used against the Houthis, and the fact that the US weapons have caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths, while the one missile caused none.

      The missile from Yemen apparently contains US parts as well as Iranian, and is of a type common in the Mideast, based on old Soviet Scud missiles, bought long ago, or modified, or copied and produced in several nations including Yemen.

      Haley also ignores that fact that the US has been sending to Syria and elsewhere weapons based on old Soviet designs, made in Bulgaria and central Europe and shipped secretly so as to obscure the US source.

      • Drew Hunkins
        December 16, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        Excellent point regarding how it was likely an allusion for contrast.

      • Zachary Smith
        December 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm

        What Mr. Pillar wrote:

        It is a harmful waste of the time and attention not only of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but also of all the intelligence officers who were involved in putting together that display at DIA, to be hyping an imaginary intercontinental threat when the United States faces a real one from North Korea.

        Mr. Pillar has it exactly right. Iran has neither long range rockets nor nuclear weapons. North Korea has both. One “threat” is totally imaginary while the other is most definitely not.

        • Drew Hunkins
          December 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm

          The DPRK poses absolutely no threat whatsoever to the people of the United States.

          • Zachary Smith
            December 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm

            No point of a discussion with somebody living in a dream world.

            Everybody repeat after me: North Korea did NOT capture the USS Pueblo. It did NOT torture the crew members of that ship. And if it did either one of those things, it was fully justified because the US is an evil nation and is always in the wrong in all matters.

          • Gregory Herr
            December 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm

            There is no justification for what happened to the crew members of the USS Puebla 40 years ago…but it may be understandable that North Korean hate for the U.S. was still pretty raw at the time considering how most of the population that was left after their country was obliterated in the 50’s had relatives killed in the carpet bombings.
            As to the current threat…I believe the point in question was about intercontinental ballistic capability.

          • Zachary Smith
            December 19, 2017 at 9:38 pm

            As to the current threat…I believe the point in question was about intercontinental ballistic capability.

            Mr. Pillar was speaking of a threat from another continent. Probably he was referring to North Korean ICBMs, items which they will have fully functional within a very few years. That’s because unlike the US and the USSR, they don’t have to reinvent all the technical work. There are lots of experts of all age groups and nationalities who will assist them with the guidance systems. Probably they’ve gotten their hands on some functional old systems. A 40-year old inertial system stolen/sold from a warehouse in Ukraine, or from a scrapyard, or even from a museum would be a tremendous help in speeding up the work. They’re going to have fully functional ICBM systems before very long!

            As others have pointed out, shorter range missiles can be launched from ships. North Korea has both cargo types and submarines. A bomb be put into one of those big boxes the freight carriers tote around. One might be landed by a commando squad at the beach during a storm, put on a pickup truck, and they can take it anywhere. Finally, I’ve spoken of “suitcase” bombs. Once inside the country, these would be an immense threat. Just because two nations are on different continents means nothing these days.

            …but it may be understandable…

            That one is a classic. It was “understandable” the Slave South bombarded Fort Sumter in The War Of Northern Aggression. Evil Lincoln! Docile and happy subhuman darkies! Freedom!! It was “understandable” that Nazi Germany attacked the USSR in 1941. The Aryans were a super race, and the Slavs were Untermensch. OF COURSE those inferior people should be exterminated. It was “understandable” that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor because of the injustices heaped on that poor nation by the warmongering Roosevelt. It was “understandable” the Israelis pulled a sneak attack on surrounding nations in 1967. Poor Little Israel was merely recovering some of their property from the illegal squatters in the Holy Land. Naturally the same nation “understandably” killed all those USS Liberty sailors, and narrowly missed getting them all. Why? Because Israel ordered the Liberty to leave, and it didn’t! How could any reasonable person fault them after such a provocation? After all, the Liberty was reporting on Israeli troop movements to the north for the coming attack on Syria. Denying God’s favorite thieves and murderers in their 1967 Land Grab War is a form of blasphemy, so “understanding” people realize the necessity of all the dead sailors. Just ask any of the Zionist Trolls here.

          • Gregory Herr
            December 19, 2017 at 10:01 pm

            I guess I wasn’t clear about what I was referring to as “understandable”. North Korean “hate” for the U.S. in 1968 is, to me, understandable. I made a point of saying that there was no justification for the USS Pueblo incident. Capice?

            O.K. I guess we had better launch a preemptive war against North Korea before they get fully functioning ICBM capability. Or maybe, just maybe, we could stop with the war games pivot to Asia, sit down like grown ups, and work out some understandings with North Korea. I’m sure South Korea and China would be willing to help.

          • Zachary Smith
            December 19, 2017 at 10:36 pm

            Or maybe, just maybe, we could stop with the war games pivot to Asia, sit down like grown ups, and work out some understandings with North Korea.

            Or maybe, just maybe, Santa Claus really will come down the chimney this year.

            All the authors here harp on the same theme. It’s all the fault of the US. Just talk, be reasonable, and all will be well.

            I’ve yet to hear any sensible explanation as to why North Korea would halt their programs – in the absence of any real pressure – now when they’re almost at the finish line.

            They have decades of sacrifice and effort and national wealth invested in their projects, and to stop now would be unthinkable.

            If I were in young Kim’s shoes, I sure wouldn’t. Why should he?

          • Gregory Herr
            December 19, 2017 at 11:23 pm

            I would say the behavior of the United States has been hyper-aggressive, provocative, destructive, and quite deadly towards quite a number of nations over quite a long period of time.
            North Korean is certainly well aware of that fact.

            I neither expect Santa nor do I expect the U.S. to back off and recalibrate. But carrots do work better than sticks if peace is the goal and I don’t believe North Korea is so intransigent that a better way forward could not be worked out among the most closely interested parties if that’s what the U.S. wanted. But peace and fair shakes aren’t what the U.S. is interested in and so North Korea will continue to work on deterrence. But that’s their fault, right?

          • Zachary Smith
            December 20, 2017 at 12:18 am

            I don’t believe North Korea is so intransigent that a better way forward could not be worked out ….

            “believe”

            What I’m asking for is a specific “better way” things could work out for North Korea than for its nuclear/missile program to continue to maturity, something which isn’t far off. A vague answer about a ‘belief’ puts it all back into Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus time.

          • Gregory Herr
            December 20, 2017 at 7:07 am

            So apparently Zachary, you think (or believe) that “real pressure” is needed to get North Korea to halt their programs of deterrence (or perhaps you think they are programs of aggression). I don’t know what exactly that “real pressure” entails, but U.S. bluster isn’t doing the trick now, is it? Explain to me the “real pressure” you think this situation calls for.

            My remark about preemptive war, to be clear to other readers, was a facetious one. Provoking disasterous consequences (supposedly in order to prevent hypothetical disaster) is not a thinkable option (unless your name is Lindsay Graham among others). The better way forward, Zachary, is not about North Korea operating in a vacuum…it includes the U.S. and should also involve China and South Korea.

            Thinking that North Korea is not completely intransigent is not on the order of believing in Santa. But go ahead and equate the two Zachary. Unfortunately for those of us who hope for a better way forward, the fairy tale is that the U.S. will be something other than intransigent.

          • Zachary Smith
            December 20, 2017 at 11:41 am

            Explain to me the “real pressure” you think this situation calls for

            Fair enough question. In my opinion anything “we” do short of a violent attack must be in coordination with China. Naval blockade would be an act of war if North Korea decides it wants to go that route, but as long as the Chinese border is open the blockade would be mostly ineffective.

            Rex Tillerson has proposed to China a small/limited invasion of North Korea. Still an opinion, but that’s the worst of all worlds. Lots of people end up dead, and the US would have started the shooting.

            Speaking in Washington last Tuesday, Tillerson said US officials had told Chinese counterparts that if a crisis forced US troops to enter North Korea, they would not stay there.

            “The most important thing to us would be securing those nuclear weapons they have already developed,” he said, adding: “We’ve had conversations with the Chinese about how might that be done.”

            “We have given the Chinese assurances we would… retreat back to the south of the 38th Parallel,” he said, referring to the line that divides North and South Korea.

            There is the added factor that the US has thrown away every bit of credibility we might once have had, so why should China believe a word of it?

            In the absence of any other proposals, I’m still in favor of shutting down North Korea’s electricity which flows to the missile and nuclear factories and keeping the lights out. Naturally the Chinese and Russians ought to be in agreement. No regime change and no invasion might do the trick.

            I believe we are in agreement that the Trumpies could mess up a 1-float parade, and that would surely be an issue. But commercialization of nuclear weapons systems will be at least as much of a problem for Russia and China down the road, in my opinion. It is not unthinkable to me that they might end up getting on board with some limited but effective pressure on NK.

            If preliminary discussions with them show that’s not the case, then I’m in favor of folding my hands and waiting quietly for whatever happens. I do predict that “whatever” is probably going to be ugly.

          • Gregory Herr
            December 20, 2017 at 7:38 pm

            Thank you Zachary for this latest bit of information and for your thoughts on the matter. I think we do essentially agree.

    • Homina
      December 17, 2017 at 1:51 am

      “One thing”?

      This is a bizarre hagiography to Colin Powell, via Nikki Haley criticism, and desiring better liars to present the UN with equally idiotic and fact-less presentations that maybe this time could lead to war with North Korea.

      • Sam F
        December 17, 2017 at 8:04 am

        The article neglects to criticize the very poor factual basis of the Haley speech, but does call it “misguided policy and morally offensive” given that the US supplies arms and assistance to KSA to kill tens of thousands of civilians in a religious war, as you point out below. It does not seem any more positive about Powell’s performance, described here as a “misuse of intelligence” to “sell a decision.”

  3. robjira
    December 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Ha! She really had me going there, for a moment. I commend Ambassador Haley’s adept use of satire and irony, and I eagerly await her actual statement on the “international community’s” complicity in the KSA’s ham-handed attempt at genocide.

  4. Annie
    December 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    That missile, now a hunk of junk, which was Haley’s background, that struck Riyadh killed no one. Of course the weapons we supply to Saudi Arabia have killed thousands, as the result of the US and Saudi Arabia injecting themselves into what was a civil war in Yemen. Her selection of airports, JFK and Dulles was significant in that it was to remind us of those 9/11 attacks that hit the Twin Towers in NY and the airplane that hit the pentagon in Washington. The tone of her voice, I heard her speech, had the same tone as former president Bush when he threatened us with a mushroom cloud. Hopefully Israel and the neocons will not get their long held wish of having the US engage in a war with Iran.

    • Homina
      December 17, 2017 at 1:58 am

      Yeah, how terrible of her. Meanwhile, she is yes terrible yet the author of this article bizarrely compares her to the orders-of-magnitude worse [in exact similar circumstance and status and decision] Colin Powell. His position, his UN presentation, his silence, his complicity in creating tens of millions of death and destruction and displacement around the ME, and North Africa. And other Africa etc.

      Get Donald Trump via a Nikki Haley UN presentation about [x] that did as much damage as Powell’s, come back to this. Otherwise this is, not to you necessarily, but to the author here, a cynical tribalist political BS and sad article.

      Wouldn’t pass 10th grade English if the topic was “Nikki Haley vs. Colin Powell how many more tens of millions of deaths.” Why are you championing this shit article?

      US hasn’t yet invaded Iran due to Haley’s silly BS. US did invade Iraq in no small part due to Powell’s BS.

      • Annie
        December 17, 2017 at 3:12 am

        Homina,

        No one would disagree that during the Bush years their were many lies told that got us into wars that destroyed the lives of millions of people. Not only deaths, but displacements, and hardships which most Americans seem indifferent to. However the neocons who operate with a lot of control in the political arena, as well as the Israeli lobby, are, and have been pushing for a war with Iran. That would have devastating consequences for the entire region, and could possibly bring us closer to a third world war, since Iran and Russia are allies. I don’t understand why you are so negative about this article, or defensive about Nikki Haley. When I listened to her speech there was no doubt in my mind she was saying that Iran supplied the weapon that targeted an airport in Riyadh, and there is no proof of that. It was done to further undermine the nuclear agreement with Iran, and spew propaganda that Iran cannot be trusted, and is on the level of those who attacked us on 9/11. She was laying the ground work for breaking that agreement, and in all likelihood a future attack on that country.

        • Homina
          December 17, 2017 at 6:19 am

          I mean I lived through 2002 and 2003.

          Nothing, whatsoever, like this Iran war push.

          Akin to this current Russia-gate push yes.

          Tossing BS that might stick, but intent is to push the people into a general sense of “Iraq must be evil and WMD, we need to invade!” and a “Trump colluded with Russia and uh…” I don’t know what that end-game is. War with Russia? Might be what insane Hillary wanted. But otherwise? Syria influence and continuation of warmongering?

          Anyway…I’m not defensive about Nikki Haley. If this leads to Iran War, yowza. My point is more about comparing here with Colin Powell. Who sticks in my craw. Of watching his sorry ass years ago. And never apologizing until too late. Sorry if too focused.

          But in any event this presentation doesn’t have a “final US resolution” or a “AUMF” behind it.

          Sorry. I simply do not grok any comparison, including seeming apologetic words.

          If I could put a finger on my mistake, nice. If I could put a finger on this strange attempt to make Colin Powell a non-warmonger, well that’s my sense but apparently just my only, and sorry for that.

          • Sam F
            December 17, 2017 at 8:13 am

            The article is no less critical of Powell’s performance, described here as a “misuse of intelligence” to “sell a decision” with the intent in both cases to start disastrous wars.

          • Annie
            December 18, 2017 at 4:46 am

            How about they’re both SOB’s and the reason Powell trumps Haley for you is that you have not seen the consequences of a war with Iran which would, I think, turn Europe against us, and lead to a war even more devastating then the one in Iraq. We are so crazy, so destructive, I trust nothing.

          • Homina
            December 20, 2017 at 4:04 am

            Annie: Yes. Agreed. I hope for peace.

  5. mike k
    December 16, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    The number one war monger in the world taking part in the UN, which is dedicated to peace, is a sick joke. The US is only present to further it’s plans for military domination of the world. Hugo Chavez was right on in comparing Bush’s speech at the UN some years ago as like a visit from the Devil. Nikki Haley certainly has all the aura of a demon from Hell.

    • Sam F
      December 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Perhaps this is the time for all nations not economically controlled by the US to withdraw from the old UN and form a new UN. No veto powers; taxation scaled to GNP; aid proportionate to need. Perhaps a bicameral body with lower house representation proportionate to population, and an upper house with deeper examination of proposals of the lower house. The corruption of the old UN by US money and veto power should be specifically deplored in the founding documents. All nations should be recognized, forcing those controlled by US money to publicly withdraw under US pressure.

      This would be a major first step in isolating and embargoing the US, Israel, and perhaps NATO members for violations of international law.

  6. Abe
    December 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    “US President Donald Trump’s administration capitalized on developments in Saudi Arabia’s losing war in Yemen, as well as a missile test conducted by the Iranian government, to portray Iran as ungrateful for a diplomatic deal the administration’s now resigned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn suggested should never have been made in the first place […]

    “And while Flynn’s comments before his abrupt resignation sound like the genuine, if not hypocritical stance of Trump presidency, those who have followed the actual brokers of US foreign policy recognize the very familiar script Flynn is reading from – and it is a script written not by the Trump administration, but by unelected corporate-financier funded policy think tanks, years before ‘President Trump’ took office. […]

    “The Brookings Institution paper titled, “The Path to Persia: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran” (.pdf), would explicitly lay out America’s regime change conspiracy arrayed against Tehran, stating :

    “‘…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.’

    Brookings’ ‘superb offer’ was clearly presented to both the public and Tehran in the form of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the ‘Iran Deal’ in 2015. And while Washington attempted to convince the world it sought rapprochement with Tehran, even as it pursued this deal, it poured money, weapons, and even direct military support into the attempted overthrow of Iran’s ally, Syria – another prerequisite enumerated by the 2009 Brookings report ahead of war with Iran.

    “The deal then, was disingenuous from its inception, its betrayal all but inevitable when Washington felt the political and strategic climate was optimal for portraying Tehran as duplicitous, and justifying a wider confrontation – particularly with both Syria significantly weakened after 6 years of war, and Iran significantly tied up financially and militarily in Syria’s fate.”

    US Predictably Turns “Iran Deal” into Confrontation
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/03/us-predictably-turns-iran-deal-into.html

    • Abe
      December 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      The June 2009 Brookings Institution document on Iran was authored by a team of pro-Israel war hawks headed by Martin Indyk, a former staffer at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

      Which Path to Persia?
      Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran
      https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

      On 3 December 2017, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East/Israel issues, gave his first on-the-record appearance at the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution.

      Haim Saban, a Democratic mega donor who was a key supporter of Hillary Clinton, praised Kushner for attempting to derail a vote at the United Nations Security Council about Israeli settlements during the Obama administration.Kushner reportedly dispatched former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to make secret contact with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 in an effort to undermine or delay the resolution.

      Addressing the audience at Brookings, Kushner said, “It’s really an honor to be able to talk about this topic with so many people who I respect so much, who have given so much to this issue.” He acknowledged that “We’ve solicited a lot of ideas from a lot of places.”

      Kushner’s understanding of “regional dynamics” mirrors “a lot of ideas” from pro-Israel war hawks from the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.

      Kushner used pro-Israel Lobby bellicose rhetoric about “Iran’s aggression” and claims about “their nuclear ambitions and their expansive regional mischief”.

      Indyk, the “director” of the Saban Center. cofounded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in 1985 with the wife of AIPAC Chairman Lawrence Weinberg and former president of the Jewish Federation, Barbi Weinberg. Despite his well known affiliation with the Israel Lobby and his Australian nationality, Bill Clinton appointed Indyk as the first foreign-born US Ambassador to Israel in 1995. The issuance of his US nationality had been expedited for his previous appointment by Clinton in 1993 as Middle East adviser on the National Security Council.

      Kenneth M. Pollack, the “director of research” at the Saban Center, is a former CIA analyst and National Security Council staffer under Bill Clinton. A prominent “liberal hawk” cheerleader for the Iraq War, Pollack is credited with persuading liberals to endorse the invasion of Iraq. His 2002 book, The Threatening Storm, was influential in selling the “WMD” case. His 2005 book, The Persian Puzzle, recycled many of the same arguments, this time directed at Iran.

      Michael E. O’Hanlon, the “director of foreign policy research” at Brookings, is a war hawk and frequent op-ed writer for major news outlets like the Washington Post. In recent years, O’Hanlon has pushed for U.S. intervention in Syria. In April 2007, O’Hanlon and Fred Kagan urged the United States to invade and occupy Iran.

      In March 2003, shortly after the United States invaded Iraq, O’Hanlon contributed his name to an open letter published by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative advocacy outfit closely associated with American Enterprise Institute that played a major role generating public support for the invasion of Iraq and pushing an expansive “war on terror.” Among those contributing their names to the document were hardline neocons like Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Joshua Muravchik, and William Kristol, as well as liberal interventionists like O’Hanlon and Ivo Daalder, also a scholar based at Brookings.

      In a March 2006 update on activities of the Israel Lobby, American political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt noted that media mogul Haim Saban is an “ardent Zionist”.

      In their landmark book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007), Mearsheimer and note that the Saban Center at Brookings is “part of the pro-Israel chorus” (pg 156).

      Mearsheimer and Walt observed that “Saban Center publications never question US support for Israel and rarely, if ever, offer significant criticism of key Israeli policies.

      The annual Saban Forum hosted by Brookings since 2004 includes Israeli government officials.

      In short, Trump’s foreign policy and Middle East Peace “ultimate deal” is ultimately made in Israel.

  7. godenich
    December 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    A bouquet of options are also available depending upon one’s taste. There is the Jameson that rolls smoothly off the tongue and then there’s the Jameson of the Leander variety. That is to say, Erik Prince, mild-mannered businessman of a great metropolitan logistics firm[1] who fights a never-ending battle[2,3],… for your tax dollars.

    [1] Erik Prince | Oxford Union | 5/3/2017
    [2] What is Blackwater founder Erik Prince up to now? | Caucus99Percent | 12/7/2017
    [3] Trump White House weighing plans for Private Spies | Intercept | 12/4/2017

    • Abe
      December 16, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      De gustibus non disputandum est:

      “U.S. businessman Erik Prince – who has just been accused of trying to set up a back-channel for communications between the Trump administration and Russia – has deep Israeli connections as well, including business dealings with Ari Harow, the disgraced former bureau chief to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. […}

      “Prince used to do business in Israel with Harow, the former chief of staff to Netanyahu. Harow turned state’s evidence in August after pleading guilty to fraud and breach of trust, and is collaborating with the police on two investigations into Netanyahu’s affairs.

      “Prince also has long-standing ties with the Israeli financier Dorian Barak, formerly Harow’s business partner.

      “A former Navy Seal, Prince is reportedly close to Trump – so much so that, according to U.S. media reports, he was present at the Trump election party in New York’s Trump Tower in November 2016. He also advises Trump and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on topics related to American foreign policy – from refugees to U.S. policy on Afghanistan. Prince reportedly has opinions on everything and isn’t shy about sharing them. His sister is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. […]

      “Beyond Prince’s investments in Israel, the deeper significance of Harrow’s relationship with Prince may have been in introducing him to Barak. Previously, Barak worked as head of the mergers, acquisitions and business development division at Bank Hapoalim’s international division. He also prays at the same synagogue as Naftali Bennett, to whom he donated 1,800 shekels ($510) when the latter was successfully running for the leadership of Habayit Hayehudi in 2012.

      “Barak became an adviser to Prince on investments and finance, and served on the boards of […] companies worldwide in which Prince had stakes […]

      “With various people now touting Prince for a Senate run (including Steve Bannon), his Israeli ties could prove significant.”

      Revealed: Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s Business Ties With Netanyahu’s Disgraced Chief of Staff
      By Hagai Amit
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.827137

  8. david
    December 16, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Here are a few items you all may not know about the Iran US relations that I put together, Some you may know some you may not know. You can add Operation Merlin to the list…… 1) Bush’s National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft pointed out in the 1999 book “A World Transformed”, co-authored with George H.W. Bush, when Iran’s Rafsanjani personally facilitated the release of the Lebanon hostages in late 1991, the Bush administration “didn’t do anything.” Goodwill, as it turns out, did not beget goodwill (In other words, Bush welched on a promise to Iran, and there goes the trust)……2) May 2nd 2003, Iran, through the Swiss Ambassador, presents the US State Dept. with a “Roadmap” to mending Iran/US relations. Everything for both sides was on the table to be negotiated. US Top State Dept. officials decided not to reply (Ignored) to Iran’s offer to normalize relations….. 3) The downing of Iran Flight 655 in July 1988 by the US Navy…… 4) 1953 overthrow of their democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh complements of the CIA’s Operation Ajax…. 5) Multiple times sanctions place on Iran lead by the US……. 6) November 2001, Iran assisted the USA (via the 6+2 meeting at the UN) in the taking of Kabul with a plan of freeing up the Northern Alliance. Iran’s plan succeed for the US to take Kabul from Taliban. Then in a January 29th 2002 speech George W Bush labels Iran a part of the “Axis of Evil” thus worsening relations….7) 2017, Iran is found to be certified by the US government to be COMPLIENT with the multination nuclear agreement, yet more sanctions are imposed on Iran by the USA. JCPOA, noting that “according to Article 29, the US is committed to refrain from any policy intended to affect ‘the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.” Also, President Donald Trump is reported to dissuaded other foreign leaders from doing business with Iran at the 2017 G20 summit, thus a violation of the agreement …….8) 2010 to 2012, Israeli Intelligence assassinates 5 Iranian scientist. Oct 2011, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich supported “taking out [Iranian] scientists,” and presidential candidate Rick Santorum called the killings “A wonderful thing”…….. 9) Four fairly recent wars just outside Iran’s borders, twice in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria….. 10) Continued bad mouthing by the goons in the Trump administration…… 11) December 2011 US CIA Drone flying in Iran airspace then falls out of sky..….12) 2010 Cyberattack called “Stuxnet” on Iran by Israel and the US July 18th ….. 13) The US has up to 42 military installations surrounding Iran (My count, I could be wrong). I provided a link for a map to verify, or do your own search: https://www.juancole.com/2012/02/ring-of-iranian-bases-threatens-us.html this does not count Israeli military or ships at sea in the area..…. Now who are the real terrorists? (As I study this, the list keeps getting bigger and bigger)….. 14) US support of SADAM’S INVASION of Iran in Iran/Iraq war (Sadam used chemical weapons on Iran and no world condemnation)…….. 15) On March 14th, (2016) Iran announced that it will never pay the $10.5B that a U.S. court demanded it pay for the 9/11 attacks. The same Bill-Clinton-appointed judge who had ruled, on 29 September 2015, that Saudi Arabia has sovereign immunity for 9/11 and so can’t be sued for it, ruled recently, on March 9th that Iran doesn’t have sovereign immunity and fined Iran $10.5 billion to be paid to 9/11 victims and insurers; but, on March 14, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Iran won’t pay, because, as the Ministry’s spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari put it, “The ruling is ludicrous and absurd to the point that it makes a mockery of the principle of justice while [it] further tarnishes the US judiciary’s reputation.” Source: by Eric Zuesse March 16th 2016…… Yet they still cheer for US wrestlers when they came to Iran in Feb 2017 for a tournament. Now who are the real terrorists? (As I study this, the list keeps getting bigger)

    • Sam F
      December 17, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Very nice list, David. The example of corruption of the US judiciary is especially instructive to the US sheeple:

      “The same … judge who had ruled… that Saudi Arabia has sovereign immunity for 9/11 … ruled recently… that Iran doesn’t have sovereign immunity and fined Iran $10.5 billion to be paid to 9/11 victims and insurers; but… Iran won’t pay, because… ‘The ruling [mocks] justice while [it] further tarnishes the US judiciary’s reputation.’”

      I should add that US citizens no longer have constitutional rights against injury by their own government, because since 2006 the Court of Federal Claims is using an obviously false quotation of the Tucker Act that created the court, to pretend that it does not have the one purpose that it was created for, to permit citizens to present claims of injury by the government itself. That was just upheld on appeal without any legal argument, because courts no longer need to even simulate a rational basis for decisions of the oligarchy.

    • December 17, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Another possible entry in your list: The Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi’s father, wrote an impassioned letter to Franklin Roosevelt pleading that the U.S. intervene on behalf of Iran after Britain and the Soviet Union launched an invasion of neutral Iran in WW II invoking the noble Atlantic Charter.
      FDR responded more or less telling the Shah to go pound sand and the the Atlantic Charter was nothing more than window dressing.

  9. jaycee
    December 16, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    One difference between the presentation in 2003 and the one this past week is the US, in 2003, was speaking from a predominantly powerful position. Today, that position is rather diminished and in numerous ways. A very quick indicator of this diminishment is a comparison between the persona of Colin Powell, who was largely considered internationally as one of the “good” Americans (despite his many flaws), and that of Nikki Haley, who is obviously a lightweight nitwit.

    American credibility has been largely downgraded since 2003, and is probably not recoverable in the short-term. Surely the Iraq War and its weak justification played a role, although it was widely understood that the Bush/Cheney gang were a bad crowd. The real damage occurred during Obama’s terms, since it was assumed that his administration was going to right some of the Bush team’s wrongs but instead continued forward with the American Hegemony agenda and added a pivot to China, a new Cold War with Russia, and a massive surveillance program to the docket.

  10. Gregory Herr
    December 16, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Next thing you know Haley will show us a pile of rocks as evidence of Iranian weapons transfers to the Palestinians to explain why white phosphorous is again rained down upon Gaza.

    This article does well to exposes the disconnect of policy rationales with truth and with the fundamental issues of objectives and how best to achieve those objectives. (But of course we know the supposed objectives of Mideast policy are smokescreens based on false premises anyway). The exposure of rank hypocrisy and moral offensiveness is warranted as well.

    Thanks to Abe for reminding us that the dastardly geopolitical objectives of U.S.-Israel in the Middle East have drawing boards and are not willy-nilly “reactions”.

    I, as well, thought the comment about a North Korean threat was the only wrong-headed thing about an otherwise excellent piece. Iran neither threatens Europe nor the U.S. and no “contrast” (particularly a dubious one) is needed to support that truth. I’m also curious as to when was the last time the U.S. needed to be “tricked” into warmaking and how much “persuasion” Netanyahu ever needed to be “tricky”.

    • Sam F
      December 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Yes, Netanyahu needed persuasion to use a particular gambit, not trickery in general. Bamford’s Pretext for War details the prior Perl/Wurmser/Feith efforts to get the US into wars for Israel. No doubt the MIC & zionist politicians jumped at the first cue from AIPAC to support any zionist media trickery of the people of the US.

      • Gregory Herr
        December 17, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        Yes I understand Perle, Wolfowitz, and gang diligently pursued their agenda….made efforts of persuasion so to speak. I doubt those efforts required much heft. A little more effort may have been required to reassure Netanyahu that getting away with 9/11 would be a piece of cake.

  11. Homina
    December 17, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Good article except for some weird Colin Powell apologist grammar.

    “of which Powell’s speech was a part”

    Gee, maybe even someone else actually publically worded that speech. Who knows.

    “For Powell’s speech, the imprimatur of the intelligence c”

    Sorry, wrongly tried to save/paste etc. but at now can’t find “imprimatur”. Maybe enlighten us. Probably useless passage in any event.

    “And rather than a small vial that Powell used as a prop in talking about a biological weapon, she displayed a warehouse full of wrecked hardware, including the missile remnants.”

    Which has at this point led to War on Iran and tens of millions dead and displaced.

    Oh, it didn’t.

    What in the motherfucking hell is with your bizarre choice to apologize for Colin Powell? Weasel-words, or choice to ignore or spin destruction and murder.

    If Pol Pot wrote a book telling how sorry he was for murdering 30% or so oh his population, I guess you’d view that tiny mistake as similar to Powell’s vial at the UN and his other utter silence.

    “Instead, she did her show-and-tell at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington. And rather than a small vial that Powell used as a prop in talking about a biological weapon, she displayed a warehouse full of wrecked hardware, including the missile remnants.”

    And her show and tell has so far led to nothing. Colin Powell’s has led to hundreds of millions dead and displaced and the US declining as a primal state (if one cares about that…)

    And finally….”all the intelligence officers who were involved in putting together that display at DIA, to be hyping an imaginary intercontinental threat when the United States faces a real one from North Korea.”

    US faces real threats wherever it wants to transfer money from poors to the rich, and to MIC. My god. A tapestry of ignorance. How was this article ever found or published here.

    • Homina
      December 17, 2017 at 2:19 am

      And

      “Instead, she did her show-and-tell at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington. And rather than a small vial that Powell used as a prop in talking about a biological weapon, she displayed a warehouse full of wrecked hardware, including the missile remnants.”

      Sorry to keep repeating this, but I’m just aghast and boggled.

      Apparently Powell’s “small presentation” was some proper thing of comparison, even as it led to tens of millions of dead Arabs. I guess Haley’s would be bad, if it was a bit bigger and in an alternative Universe a casus belli, and a billion Arabs died. Poor Colin, trusting sort, should be forgiven.

      Last post here. Drunk. And no desire to forgive warmongers from Powell to Obama to Trump just a bit so far to etc. I hate Trump of domestic values. Big liberal and progressive on that. Also hate all of hegemonic global genocide and murder, which Hillary would’ve continued. Which Trump may yet but not totally certain as yet.

      Rice, Powell, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Wolfowitz…why would any moral person ever one time thank them or praise them or compare their depravity to someone more depraved, ever.

    • Pumpkin
      December 17, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      “Colin Powell’s [actions at the UN] led to hundreds of millions dead”. I must have told you a million times, never exaggerate.

      • Homina
        December 20, 2017 at 4:09 am

        “Colin Powell’s has led to hundreds of millions dead and displaced”

        Tell me more about your truncated, devious rhetoric. And there’s even a case to be made that perhaps hundreds of millions of dead (or Iraqis, Syrians, all that then happened) is an exaggeration.

        So uh yeah, great reply. Sorry for exaggerating. Colin Powell’s actions only killed millions. Let’s do a go-fund paypal thing to buy a statue for him.

        • Homina
          December 20, 2017 at 4:21 am

          I meant tens of millions would also be an exaggeration. And oops sorry about that. Anders Brievik 80 dead, barely compared to Colin Powell’s body count. Charles Whitman. Roof. Klebold. Seung-Hui cho.

          There are some moral philosophies that focus more on results than intent.

  12. cbrown
    December 17, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Ha ! definition of ‘Intelligence’ never have been as skewed as in the US !

  13. December 17, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I first took notice of Vickie Hailey when she said any solution in Ukraine must begin with or include Russia leaving Crimea. Since this is a non-negotiable issue for Russia, what was this lady up to and who was she anyway. Trump is suggesting détente and his ambassador to the UN is playing Cold War. For those who hope for sanity in the new Administration, perhaps that was an obvious signal that things were not changing for the better.

    “It is a harmful waste of the time and attention not only of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but also of all the intelligence officers who were involved in putting together that display at DIA, to be hyping an imaginary intercontinental threat when the United States faces a real one from North Korea.”

    A real one in North Korea? Really?

  14. Piotr Berman
    December 17, 2017 at 10:30 am

    “Bowing to Israeli-Saudi desires,”

    I really like it. Usually people refer to “XXX’s interests”, but these are more whims than interests. Various politicians want to “look serious”, “do something” etc., and the main battlefield is lobbying in Washington, getting proofs of success there is sufficient to look glorious back at home. In the meantime, what happened to a timid American request that GCC coalition relent on the blockade of Yemen? Does starving Yemenis make Arabs ruled by Saudis, and their kin in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, any better? And does USA Administration care, or it pretends at some occasions for reasons that I cannot guess?

  15. Chris Chuba
    December 17, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    When I read 2231, all I found regarding restrictions on Iranian weapons transfers was a prohibition on countries receiving Iranian arms. So even this hysterical cry by Haley isn’t an Iranian violation.

    This ONE missile was a standard Scud C with a couple of alleged Iranian components and one U.S. made component among the wreckage http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/08/u-n-panel-finds-evidence-of-iranian-hardware-in-yemeni-rebels-missile-and-american-middle-east-iran-saudi-arabia-human-rights-blockade-white-house/
    Even U.S. vassal states in Europe eager to rubber stamp U.S. accusations are making some very interesting distancing statements, ‘we haven’t completed our investigation, ‘we can’t tell when or where these parts came from’. It’s as if they distrust the Saudi chain of custody. How do we know that the Saudis didn’t throw in a few parts in the wreckage? Iran did launch a missile attack at Deir Ezzor, the Saudis could have gotten some of that wreckage and accidentally picked up some U.S. clutter from their Sunni allies.

  16. mike k
    December 17, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Some good news from the Sec of Defense USA. North Korea cannot deliver a missile to the USA at this point. Negotiations are ongoing.

    https://sputniknews.com/military/201712171060082153-mattis-says-dprk-cannot-strike-us/

    • Marko
      December 18, 2017 at 2:17 am

      War with North Korea becomes significantly less likely the moment they achieve the ability to strike us. And , based on our actions against Hussein , Gaddafi , and Assad , should NK ever submit to our demands for them to dismantle their WMD program , war with them becomes inevitable.

  17. Abe
    December 18, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    “If Trump’s allegedly precipitous declaration to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has neither terminated a non-existent policy of US neutrality nor interrupted the virtual mirage of the peace process, why, exactly, has he done it? Is it because he’s ‘stupid’? After all, shortly after issuing his declaration he disowned it, saying the American embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not happen for at least six months. Taking advantage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, providing for an executive prerogative of consecutive six months for delaying the move, he acted exactly the way his predecessors, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, had acted: sustaining the move in principle but delaying it to safeguard the equilibrium of US alliances with both Arab and Israeli clients […]

    “He’s not stupid (in the self-congratulatory and comforting sense)—that’s the conceit of those Democrats who follow Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of half of Trump’s constituency as ‘a basket of deplorables.’ What’s been ‘stupid’ is the pursuit by the Bush-Obama administration of the plan to attack seven Middle-Eastern countries in five years. Apart from wrecking several countries, committing war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the plan has stalled in Syria at the end of the Obama administration. What’s ‘stupid’ is that Trump inherits and presides over a blocked US strategy in the Middle East.

    “The US-Israeli-Saudi axis has been defeated in the attempt to “re-stabilize” the Middle East in their interests—significantly through the agency of Isis in Syria and Iraq. This defeat has strengthened Iran as a regional power, lately consolidated by Iran’s winning alliance with Hezbollah and Russia in Syria. The disastrous consequences of the Bush-Obama Middle-Eastern misadventures now require a drastic change of course. If the road to Iran can no longer pass through Damascus, why not try through Jerusalem? Why not use the Jerusalem card to provide the Arab satrapies with a diplomatic excuse to officialize the subterranean alliance lately become de-facto, for example, between Israel and Saudi Arabia? If the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, well, that becomes a fact on the ground. It means the US has taken sides; it means an unambiguous alliance between the US and Israel against Iran. Can the Arab satrapies reject the opportunity to join the alliance when the objective is Iran and its fabulous spoils? After all, it used to be said that if America sneezes, the world catches cold, so when Trump coughed up the snot that ‘Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,’ his advisors may well have calculated that the Arab leaders would catch bronchitis and seek the remedy in Tel Aviv. It may not matter that the mucous was immediately wiped off: the blip of the White House’s proclamation may provide enough diplomatic cover to justify an official alliance with Israel in the quest to overwhelm Iran.

    “Or so the White House’s thinking goes: an Arab-Israeli NATO with a capital in Jerusalem. The world laughed when ‘stupid’ Trump floated the idea of an ‘Arab NATO’ in Riyadh April last. But here it is […]

    “Trump’s Jerusalem gamble is thus less about the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace than about whether Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran can be achieved in its absence. Israel’s tacit cooperation with Gulf states against Iran, long kept in the shadows, has increasingly been brought into the open despite the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Jerusalem gambit may well force a public reckoning over this semiprivate alignment.

    “[…] Trump’s move on Jerusalem is a gamble. It drops the comedy of the ‘peace process,’ the US fake persona of the ‘honest broker,’ and the whole charade of neutrality. It privileges one side in the former equilibrium of alliances—Israel’s—and coerces the Arab sides to formally accept the imbalance, holding the carrot of Tehran at the end of the nasty stick.

    “Will the deal work? Only time will tell, but it is certainly a sign of American decline in diplomacy and power in the Middle East, since it points to its inability to ‘govern’ regional allies with even the former appearance of neutrality. It sanctions the historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, who wanted East Jerusalem as the capital of their promised future state. Their capital expropriated, how serious is the promise of a state? And in apartheid Israel, what choice do they have but to rise up or submit? The only things we can expect from this change of course are, therefore, increased tension, violence, illegality, while Iran remains—and fortunately for the feeble peace of the world—a wild, desperate, and madly obstinate long shot.”

    Operation Jerusalem Capital: Second Balfour Declaration or Arab-Israeli NATO?
    By Luciana Bohne
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/15/operation-jerusalem-capital-second-balfour-declaration-or-arab-israeli-nato/

  18. Mild -ly- Facetious
    December 20, 2017 at 3:53 pm
  19. Randal
    December 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    I don’t agree. The president does not control foreign relations. On top of that, how do you know what this great chess player is thinking? So far, he has allowed them to dig themselves into a big hole. I await the results of Mr. Trump doing what most of us could not, focus, be patient and know your limits. Not that I disagree with your analysis of our country’s total evil doings in the middle east, we have no business there! We will see.

  20. rosemerry
    December 21, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    For a country supporting the vicious campaign against Yemen by its close ally Saudi Arabia, helped by US and UK weapons and a blockade of this poor country which imports its food and has thousands starving and diseased, this blaming of Iran for ONE Houthi rocket when there is no respite from attacks on the Houthis and other Yemenis, is beyond disgusting.

    US/Israeli disdain for the UN and international law have long been noticed by the rest of the globe, but Haley is trying to outdo even her predecessors.

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