Coming Attraction: Lunatic Loose in West Wing

As Uber-Hawk John Bolton prepares to take over as national security adviser on Monday, Ray McGovern looks back at when Bolton was one of the “crazies” in the George W. Bush administration.

By Ray McGovern Special to Consortium News

John Bolton’s March 22 appointment-by-tweet as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has given “March Madness” a new and ominous meaning.  There is less than a week left to batten down the hatches before Bolton makes U.S. foreign policy worse that it already is.

During a recent interview with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill  (minutes 35 to 51) I mentioned that Bolton fits seamlessly into a group of take-no-prisoners zealots once widely known in Washington circles as “the crazies,” and now more commonly referred to as “neocons.”

Beginning in the 1970s, “the crazies” sobriquet was applied to Cold Warriors hell bent on bashing Russians, Chinese, Arabs — anyone who challenged U.S. “exceptionalism” (read hegemony).  More to the point, I told Scahill that President (and former CIA Director) George H. W. Bush was among those using the term freely, since it seemed so apt.  I have been challenged to prove it.

I don’t make stuff up.  And with the appointment of the certifiable Bolton, the “the crazies” have become far more than an historical footnote.  Rather, the crucible that Bush-41 and other reasonably moderate policymakers endured at their hands give the experience major relevance today.  Thus, I am persuaded it would be best not to ask people simply to take my word for it when I refer to “the crazies,” their significance, and the differing attitudes the two Bushes had toward them.

George H. W. Bush and I had a longstanding professional and, later, cordial relationship.  For many years after he stopped being president, we stayed in touch — mostly by letter.  This is the first time I have chosen to share any of our personal correspondence.  I do so not only because of the ominous importance of Bolton’s appointment, but also because I am virtually certain the elder Bush would want me to.

Scanned below is a note George H. W. Bush sent me eight weeks before his son, egged on by the same “crazies” his father knew well from earlier incarnations, launched an illegal and unnecessary war for regime change in Iraq — unleashing chaos in the Middle East.


Shut Out of the Media

By January 2003, it was clear that Bush-43 was about to launch a war of aggression — the crime defined by the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal as “the supreme international crime differing from other war crimes only in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”  (Think torture, for example.)  During most of 2002, several of us former intelligence analysts had been comparing notes, giving one another sanity checks, writing op-eds pointing to the flimsiness of the “intelligence” cobbled together to allege a weapons-of-mass-destruction “threat” from Iraq, and warning of the catastrophe that war on Iraq would bring.

Except for an occasional op-ed wedged into the Christian Science Monitor or the Miami Herald, for example, we were ostracized from “mainstream media.”  The New York Times and Washington Post were on a feeding frenzy from the government trough and TV pundits were getting high ratings by beating the drum for war.  Small wonder the entire media was allergic to what we were saying, despite our many years of experience in intelligence analysis.  Warnings to slow down and think were the last thing wanted by those already profiteering from a war on the near horizon.

The challenge we faced was how to get through to President George W. Bush.  It had become crystal clear that the only way to do that would be to do an end run around “the crazies” — the criminally insane advisers that his father knew so well — Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Undersecretary of State John Bolton.

Bolton: One of the Crazies

John Bolton was Cheney’s “crazy” at the State Department.  Secretary Colin Powell was pretty much window dressing.  He could be counted on not to complain loudly — much less quit — even if he strongly suspected he was being had.  Powell had gotten to where he was by saluting sharply and doing what superiors told him to do.  As secretary of state, Powell was not crazy — just craven.  He enjoyed more credibility than the rest of the gang and rather than risk being ostracized like the rest of us, he sacrificed that credibility on the altar of the “supreme international crime.”

In those days Bolton did not hesitate to run circles around — and bully
— the secretary of state and many others.  This must be considered a harbinger of things to come, starting on Monday, when the bully comes to the china shop in the West Wing.  While longevity in office is not the

Bolton: One of the ‘crazies’

hallmark of the Trump administration, even if Bolton’s tenure turns out to be short-lived, the crucial months immediately ahead will provide Bolton with ample opportunity to wreak the kind of havoc that “the crazies” continue to see as enhancing U.S. — and not incidentally — Israeli influence in the Middle East.  Bear in mind, Bolton still says the attack on Iraq was a good idea.  And he is out to scuttle the landmark agreement that succeeded in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon any time soon.

Trying to Head Off War

In August 2002, as the Bush-43 administration and U.S. media prepared the country for war on Iraq, the elder Bush’s national security advisor, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and Secretary of State James Baker each wrote op-eds in an attempt to wean the younger Bush off the “crazies’” milk.  Scowcroft’s Wall Street Journal op-ed of August 15 was as blunt as its title, “Don’t Attack Saddam.” The cautionary thrust of Baker’s piece in the New York Times ten days later, was more diplomatic but equally clear.

But these interventions, widely thought to have been approved by Bush-41, had a predictable opposite effect on the younger Bush, determined as he was to become the “first war president of the 21st Century” (his words).  It is a safe bet also that Cheney and other “crazies” baited him with, “Are you going to let Daddy, who doesn’t respect ANY of us, tell you what to do?”

All attempts to insert a rod into the wheels of the juggernaut heading downhill toward war were looking hopeless, when a new idea occurred.  Maybe George H. W. Bush could get through to his son.  What’s to lose?  On January 11, 2003 I wrote a letter to the elder Bush asking him to speak “privately to your son George about the crazies advising him on Iraq,” adding “I am aghast at the cavalier way in which the [Richard] Perles of the Pentagon are promoting the use of nuclear weapons as an acceptable option against Iraq.”

My letter continued: “That such people have the President’s ear is downright scary.  I think he needs to know why you exercised such care to keep such folks at arms length.  (And, as you may know, they are exerting unrelenting pressure on CIA analysts to come up with the “right” answers.  You know how that goes!)”

In the letter I enclosed a handful of op-eds that I had managed to get past 2nd-tier mainstream media censors. In those writings, I was much more pointed in my criticism of the Bush/Cheney administration’s approach to Iraq than Scowcroft and Baker had been in August 2002.

Initially, I was encouraged at the way the elder Bush began his January 22, 2003 note to me: “It is only ‘meet and right’ that you speak out.”  As I read on, however, I asked myself how he could let the wish be father to the thought, so to speak.  (Incidentally, “POTUS” in his note is the acronym for “President of the United States;” number 43, of course, was George Jr.)

Scowcroft in 1976. (Photo: David Hume Kennerly – Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.)

The elder Bush may not have been fully conscious of it, but he was whistling in the dark, having long since decided to leave to surrogates like Scowcroft and Baker the task of highlighting publicly the criminal folly of attacking Iraq.  The father may have tried privately; who knows.  It was, in my view, a tragedy that he did not speak out publicly.  He would have been very well aware that this was the only thing that would have had a chance of stopping his son from committing what the Nuremberg Tribunal defined as “the supreme international crime.”

It is, of couse, difficult for a father to admit that his son fell under the influence — this time not alcohol or drugs, but rather the at least equally noxious demonic influence of “the crazies,” which Billy Graham himself might have found beyond his power to exorcise.  Maybe it is partly because I know the elder Bush personally, but it does strike me that, since we are all human, some degree of empathy might be in order. I simply cannot imagine what it must be like to be a former President with a son, also a former President, undeniably responsible for such widespread killing, injury and abject misery.

Speaking Out — Too Late

It was a dozen years too late, but George H.W. Bush finally did give voice to his doubts about the wisdom of rushing into the Iraq War.  In Jon Meacham’s biography, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” the elder Bush puts most of the blame for Iraq on his son’s “iron-ass” advisers, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, while at the same time admitting where the buck stops.  With that Watergate-style “modified, limited hangout,” and his (richly deserved) criticism of his two old nemeses, Bush-41 may be able to live more comfortably with himself, hoping to get beyond what I believe must be his lingering regret at not going public when that might have stopped “arrogant” Rumsfeld and “hardline” Cheney from

Powell: Saluting sharply and doing what superiors told him to do. (Air Force Photo)

inflicting their madness on the Middle East.  No doubt he is painfully aware that he was one of the very few people who might have been able to stop the chaos and carnage, had he spoken out publicly.

Bush-41’s not-to-worry note to me had the opposite effect with those of us CIA alumni alarmed at the gathering storm and the unconscionable role being played by those of our former CIA colleagues still there in manufacturing pre-Iraq-war “intelligence.”  We could see what was going on in real time; we did not have to wait five years for the bipartisan conclusions of a five-year Senate Intelligence Committee investigation.  Introducing its findings, Chairman Jay Rockefeller said: “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”

Back to January 2003: a few days after I received President Bush’s not-to-worry note of January 22, 2003, a handful of us former senior CIA officials went forward with plans to create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).  We had been giving one another sanity checks before finalizing draft articles about the scarcely believable things we were observing — including unmistakable signs that our profession of intelligence analysis was being prostituted.  On the afternoon of February 5, 2003, after Powell misled the UN Security Council, we issued our first (of three) VIPS Memoranda for the President before the war. We graded Powell “C” for content, and warned President George W. Bush, in effect, to beware “the crazies,” closing with these words:

“After watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Team B

When Gerald Ford assumed the presidency in August 1974, the White House was a center of intrigue.  Serving as Chief of Staff for President Ford, Donald Rumsfeld (1974-75), with help from Dick Cheney (1975-76), engineered Bush’s nomination to become CIA Director.  This was widely seen as a cynical move to take Bush out of contention for the Republican ticket in 1976 and possibly beyond, since the post of CIA director was regarded as a dead-end job and, ideally, would keep you out of politics. (Alas, this did not turn out the way Rumsfeld expected — damn those “unknown unknowns.”)

If, at the same time, Rumsfeld and Cheney could brand GHW Bush soft on communism and brighten the future for the Military-Industrial Complex, that would put icing on the cake.  Rumsfeld had been making evidence-impoverished speeches at the time, arguing that the Soviets were ignoring

“Iron-Ass” Rumsfeld

the AMB Treaty and other arms control arrangements and were secretly building up to attack the United States. He and the equally relentless Paul Wolfowitz were doing all they could to create a much more alarming picture of the Soviet Union, its intentions, and its views about fighting and winning a nuclear war.  Sound familiar?

Bush arrived at CIA after U.S.-Soviet detente had begun to flourish.  The cornerstone Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was almost four years old and had introduced the somewhat mad but stabilizing reality of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).  Crazies and neocons alike lived in desperate fear of losing their favorite enemy, the USSR.  Sound familiar?

Bush was CIA Director for the year January 1976 to January 1977, during which I worked directly for him.  At the time, I was Acting National Intelligence Officer for Western Europe where post-WWII certainties were unravelling and it was my job to get intelligence community-wide assessments to the White House — often on fast breaking events.  We almost wore out what was then the latest technology — the “LDX” (for Long Distance Xerography) machine — sending an unprecedentedly high number of “Alert Memoranda” from CIA Headquarters to the White House.  (“LDX,” of course, is now fax; there was no Internet.)

As ANIO, I also chaired National Intelligence Estimates on Italy and Spain.  As far as I could observe from that senior post, Director Bush honored his incoming pledge not to put any political gloss on the judgments of intelligence analysts.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, of course, had made no such pledge.  They persuaded President Ford to set up a “Team B” analysis, contending that CIA and intelligence community analyses and estimates were naively rosy.  Bush’s predecessor as CIA director, William Colby, had turned the proposal down flat, but he had no political ambitions.  I suspect Bush, though, saw a Rumsfeld trap to color him soft on the USSR.  In any case, against the advice of virtually all intelligence professionals, Bush succumbed to the political pressure and acquiesced in the establishment of a Team B to do alternative analyses.  No one was surprised that these painted a much more threatening and inaccurate picture of Soviet strategic intentions.

Paul Warnke, a senior official of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at the time of Team B, put it this way:

“Whatever might be said for evaluation of strategic capabilities by a group of outside experts, the impracticality of achieving useful results by ‘independent’ analysis of strategic objectives should have been self-evident. Moreover, the futility of the Team B enterprise was assured by the selection of the panel’s members. Rather than including a diversity of views … the Strategic Objectives Panel was composed entirely of individuals who made careers of viewing the Soviet menace with alarm.”

The fact that Team B’s conclusions were widely regarded as inaccurate did not deter Rumsfeld.  He went about promoting them as valid and succeeded in undermining arms control efforts for the next several years. Two days before Jimmy Carter’s inauguration Rumsfeld fired his parting shot, saying, “No doubt exists about the capabilities of the Soviet armed forces” and that those capabilities “indicate a tendency toward war fighting … rather than the more modish Western models of deterrence through mutual vulnerability.”

GHW Bush in the White House

When George H. W. Bush came into town as vice president, he got President Reagan’s permission to be briefed with “The President’s Daily Brief” and I became a daily briefer from 1981 to 1985.  That job was purely substantive.  Even so, my colleagues and I have been very careful to regard those conversations as sacrosanct, for obvious reasons.  By the time he became president in 1989, he had come to know, all too well, “the crazies” and what they were capable of.  Bush’s main political nemesis, Donald Rumsfeld, could be kept at bay, and other “crazies” kept out of the most senior posts — until Bush the younger put them in positions in which they could do serious damage.  John Bolton had been enfant terrible on arms control, persuading Bush-43 to ditch the ABM Treaty.  On Monday, he can be expected to arrive at the West Wing with his wrecking ball.

Even Jimmy Carter Speaks Out

Given how difficult Rumsfeld and other hardliners made it for President Carter to work with the Russians on arms control, and the fact that Bolton

has been playing that role more recently, Jimmy Carter’s comments on Bolton — while unusually sharp — do not come as a complete surprise.  Besides, experience has certainly shown how fo

Carter: First advice to Trump: Fire Bolton

olish it can be to dismiss out of hand what former presidents say about their successors’ appointments to key national security positions.  This goes in spades in the case of John Bolton.

Just three days after Bolton’s appointment, the normally soft-spoken Jimmy Carter became plain-spoken/outspoken Jimmy Carter, telling USA Today that the selection of Bolton “is a disaster for our country.”  When asked what advice he would give Trump on North Korea, for example, Carter said his “first advice” would be to fire Bolton.

In sum, if you asked Bush-41, Carter’s successor as president, how he would describe John Bolton, I am confident he would lump Bolton together with those he called “the crazies” back in the day, referring to headstrong ideologues adept at blowing things up — things like arms agreements negotiated with painstaking care, giving appropriate consideration to the strategic views of adversaries and friends alike. Sadly, “crazy” seems to have become the new normal in Washington, with warmongers and regime-changers like Bolton in charge, people who have not served a day in uniform and have no direct experience of war other than starting them.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then as a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years.  In January 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and still serves on its Steering Group.

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79 comments for “Coming Attraction: Lunatic Loose in West Wing

  1. Rhys Jaggar
    April 17, 2018 at 5:04 am

    You Americans have organised assassinations of Heads of State, including your own, for decades: are you saying you cannot find a lone crazy who will blow John Bolton’s brains out?

  2. Whitewash
    April 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Bush’s elevation to DCI and beyond requires more than a coy joke about known unknowns. In the first place, Russ Baker’s work (e.g. whowhatwhy.com) shows that GHW Bush was career CIA, dynastically linked to the agency’s inception, and involved in CIA’s coup d’etat against JFK. CIA was the Bush family business. Secondly, Bush was the first of four presidents drawn from the families of CIA nomenklatura: Cord Meyer boasted of recruiting Clinton, G.W. Bush was a spy brat and DO cadet, as was Obama, son and grandson of spooks. Clearly, CIA’s operations directorate decided to rule hands-on starting with Bush 41. Third, Bush as Vice President almost succeeded his running mate during Operation Nine Lives, http://www.voltairenet.org/article164191.html

    Bush’s ineluctable accession to the presidency shows that he could have stopped Bolton if he wanted to. GHW Bush may be less nuts than Bolton, but he evidently considers himself equally unconstrained by law.

  3. George Collins
    April 7, 2018 at 12:17 am

    I agree with James Douglas’ wonder about the seeming unseemly implicit “accolade” for George Herbert Walker Bush, as if he were an innocent or good “Crazie…”.

    Ray, understandably perhaps, wanted to avoid any unnecessary direct rebuke of his apparent friend, Poppy Bush, and so, a graduate of Jesuit Fordham University, took cover in the Jesuitical recourse of the “distinction without a difference” with his exegesis on the degrees of membership within the “crazies”.

    We’ve all likely read or otherwise are aware of some or all of Russ Baker’s opus: The Bush Crime Family.

    Whether for deference or diplomacy, certainly not lack of awareness, Ray elides over the history of Prescott Bush, his Brown Harriman bank financial aid in support of the Hitler regime, conviction for treason, rise as a Connecticut US Senator and his close relationship with Allen Dulles, the architect of the Bay of Pigs blunder and the linkage of Allen Douglas to the Kennedy Assassination investigation and so on.

    It may be true that Rumsfeld and Cheney maneuvered Bush Sr. into his sinecure as CIA Director “for their own purposes” but that does not mean that Poppy was any innocent, or tool in the hands of the diabolical Rumsfeld/Cheney Duo.

    It’s seems “highly probable” that Poppy Bush was at least aware of the plot to kill JFK, that it was he who wrote the message to
    J Edgar on the eve of the Dallas assassination coup, regarding a suspicious character, and that his motive was to create an alibi as to his own whereabouts. Seems, barring photo shopping or the like, the photo of the GWH Bush look alike outside the Book Depository was “the” Bush of relevance and not some other George Bush as Potus 41 claimed in the 80s.

    Conclusion, Ray’s colorful depiction of the crazies may be apt but his deferential “saving” of Poppy Bush from inclusion within the ranks of those who have committed the ultimate war crime is not to be taken literally or seriously, or convincing. How can his involvement in the October Surprise, likely involvement in the shooting of Ronnie Reagan, invasion of Panama, dealing with Noriega, suckering of Saddam into the Kuwait invasion, allowing the moral atrocity of the Highway of Death, and so on, be considered outside the destructive amorality of the most heinous crime? Is Poppy Bush really better than the others?

    On the issue of Ray’s own CIA history: from memory, in different forums, Ray has described the two tiered realm of the CIA: simplistically there is or were the earnest idealistic brainy recruits, ironically & disproportionately, it seems, drawn from Jesuit bastions such as Fordham, Georgetown etc.. including Ray, who used their smarts for some would say the noble cause of intelligence gathering, and so these analysts were the “sane and dutiful” versus the dark, clandestine any end justifies the most abhorrent means corps of swashbuckling CIA noble criminal CIA crazies who did or directed or overlooked the dirty, purportedly for the greater good.

    Truman, prior to his death, protested too much his responsibility for the heinous clandestines. His enthusiasm for Hiroshima and Nagasaki apparently had the approbation of many “eminent” religious personages, including Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Cardinal and warrior cheerleader Spellman, the Vatican’s guy in New York, an the handsome, charismatic Bishop Fulton Sheen, ratings beater of Milton Berle sometime tennis partner of Clare Boothe Luce, wife of hawkish Henry Luce, of Time..Life. Personal sampling indicates many continue to believe the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaski was moral because it saved the lives of Americans. That seem oblivious to the bombing having a dual purpose of a brush back pitch to contain our ally, Joe Stalin, said to have been a retired altar boy.

    Was it a morally deprived or intellectually stunted era post WWII when, perhaps like slavery and other depravities, war, at least ‘aggressive war’ was not as clearly recognized as the inherent evil that the Nuremberg victors had so recently proclaimed. We know there’s another more recent wing of “Crazies” who preach a religious dubiously sincere responsibility to protect, and may have kinship with the Inquisitors. The wonder as to how Hillary lost and the ignoble Trump won is answered in part by Hillary’s membership in the responsibility to protect crowd and her disgraceful chortling upon viewing the video of Gaddafi’ murder.

    It may be a tortuous task to differentiate too finely the history of good and bad CIA, may be unfair to assume that the analytical side of the Company was always aware or naïve to assume it was not, implicitly approved what their dark side cronies were doing: Kermit Roosevelt in Iran and so on, and on.

    Both Ray and Dan Ellsberg share the sentiment that they “would rather have” discerned and outed the evils they witnessed earlier than they did. While I think it odd that Ray seems to highlight his CIA service as a credential, it’s unfair and unfounded to dismiss his insights as coming from a tainted career with the Company.

    All that said, the “Crazies” rhetoric, however historically accurate in describing the likes of the Neo Cons, Bolton and so on, is a distractor. “Crazies” can embrace those who with bravura courageously violate the norms for higher worthy goals, implying thereby, a mix of the noble (armchair-at-least warrior) as well as the lunacy of those who would destroy civilization and all of us for the sake of narcissistic hegemony, and a dose of capitalist bounty

    A valid takeaway from Ray’s article is that all crazies may not be equal but they are all viral and need to be countered. The now sainted General Mattis was apparently the architect of the crimes associated with Fallujah, including white phosphorous and depleted uranium collectively inflicted on a civilian population with continuing suffering wreaked upon Iraqis and their children, likely for generations.Yet Mattis.an intellectual killer said to always keep 000s of digitized books at hand, is said to be a bulwark against our Ill Duce. Are we also “crazies” for tolerating the service of General Mattis, aka “Mad Dog Mattis”.

    Is not impeachment the inescapable moral imperative that our exceptional populace does not demand?

    • David G
      April 7, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Interesting comments, George Collins. Thanks.

  4. Obama's boyfriend
    April 6, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Wow, someone who was a pal of both the Bushies! That’s akin to be an intimate of Hitler and Stalin or perhaps Obama and the Hildabeast. Or more likely Barney Frank and the NAMBLA crowd.

    Pathetic.

  5. April 6, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Jerry Rubin liked to say the revolution would be run by the crazies, he being one of them. Jerry later went mainstream, but he still stayed crazy. Now the mainstream is just as crazy and his prophecy came true.

  6. Tom
    April 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    The thing Carter should be ashamed of is his overthrowing Goth Whitlam in Australia back in the early ’70s. And for what? Being “too progressive”?

    Corporate media won’t challenge Bolton because they know if they do, he’ll cut them off. Then he’ll call their boss and get them fired. Then they’ll be just another out of work “news star”.

  7. Shellie Ann
    April 6, 2018 at 10:11 am

    John Bolton has dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship (as many of the neo-cons do) and was given the Guardian of Zion award by Israel in 2017. There is no question where his loyalties are.

    http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/ambassador-john-bolton-to-receive-the-2017-guardian-of-zion-award-2215862.htm

    • Dutch
      April 7, 2018 at 11:45 am

      No doubt everyone is dirty. But Israel is dumping 1000 container loads of herion in our cities? No. GHWB was the architect of that 40 years ago and it’s done far more damage than our mostly mutually beneficial relationship with Israel. I’m not alt-right enough to buy the whole ‘jews are the source of all evil’ nonsense. Israel itself is a very divided nation. Simply invoking Israel does not immediately raise my hackles. Go preach that to your bretheren. Our relationship with Afghanistan is far more detrimental. Trump has talked about pulling out troops and whaddya know, here comes McGoverns hit piece. Which you buy Hook line and sinker. Because it gave you a chance to take a cheap shot at Israel. Thanks for enlightening us.

      • Abe
        April 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

        Hasbara 101: The “everyone is dirty” troll.

        Talk about rabid pro-Israel Lobby shill John Bolton and whaddya know, here come the Hasbara trolls with hackles raised.

        Conventional Hasbara (pro-Israel / pro-Zionist) propaganda trolls get busy whenever Israel or the pro-Israel Lobby are invoked on the web.

        Hasbara troll army “brethren” are always on hand to preach that “beneficial” Israel is “very divided” when it murders unarmed civilians, threatens war, and routinely bombs its neighbors.

        Mention Israeli warmongering and interference in American foreign policy, or Israel’s meddling in U.S. electoral politics, and Hasbara trolls like comrade “Dutch” can always imagine something, anything “far more detrimental”.

        Thanks for enlightening us, comrade.

        • Dutch
          April 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

          Just a realist Christian from North Carolina. 100% European Spanish (what were my ancestors were doing from 800-1491?) Former USAF commissioned officer too. How were you so wrong about that Special Agent Twit? A $20 background check could have told you that and more. You sound like a crazy person. Netanyahu is under house arrest for corruption and most of the Israeli population is anti zionist like you (and me). It’s the primary political divide there. Your head is clearly full of more nonsense and conspiracy than facts. Facts that you could easily verify by simply going online and reading the Israeli press like I do. So that I don’t embarrass myself or get so easily duped. Instead you isolate yourself somewhere with only blinders, earmuffs and your deep belief in easily debunked nonsense.

          But by all means tell me how it is not YOU invoking the “everyone is dirty” mantra by calling me a troll for making rational and verifiable statements regarding Israel. It is so clear that you are really just paranoid and disturbed. All you are ‘exposing’ is you own lunacy. While simultaneously working against the cause you are clearly trying to support by making all of us look crazy by association.

          I get it. We were all called crazy for believing in ‘reds under beds’ only to have history reveal they were really there. And so I get the ‘wont be fooled again’ mindset. But the whole ‘jews are the news’ nonsense is so hollow it has led to you attacking someone on your own side. I appreciate your tenacity, but absent any supporting facts, it’s basically just insanity. Your big victory has only proven to be self sabotage. Great work there GI Joe.

          • Dutch
            April 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm

            BTW just noticed that the post I left yesterday explaining who I really am and what my real take is on all this has mysteriously disappeared. Why?

            Are you really so sure you know who is controlling the narrative?

            I won’t be back to see your answer. Or ever.

        • Abe
          April 8, 2018 at 7:37 pm

          Hasbara trolls keep popping up out of their holes, one right after another, shrieking that they’re under attack and their posts have been deleted.

          Hasbara troll “WC” vomits up “They are trying to control the narrative.” (April 6, 2018 at 9:38 pm)

          Hasbara troll “Dutch” vomits up “Are you really so sure you know who is controlling the narrative?” (April 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm)

          The same canned Hasbara propaganda phrases get puked by these clowns.

          With increasing frequency as Apartheid Israel implodes, Hasbara hilarity ensues.

    • Alcuin
      April 12, 2018 at 10:55 am

      I think Bolton is Lutheran; where do you see that he has Israeli citizenship? Are you sure about that?

      It’s worth listening to some speeches of his on youtube to see if he really qualifies as a neo-conservative. He may, but he doesn’t seem to be a typical neocon.

  8. john showel, M.D.
    April 6, 2018 at 9:28 am

    the Iran deal was a sucker deal made by a President with a Messiah complex who was constantly backpedaling on American international leadership. We had Iran exactly where we wanted them; squeezing economically. If any nuclear deal was to be made, it should have begun with thorough inspections not sponsored by IAEC whose leader was/is probably a Muslin sympathizer.. At that point a careful stepwise deal could have been entertained. One prohibiting missile testing. The sanctions could have been slowly eliminated in a careful stepwise fashion. So at least in that particular I have more faith in Bolton than you do.

    • Abe
      April 7, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Hasbara 101: The “leadership” troll.

      The Israeli government and the pro-Israel Lobby, backed by a network of pro-Israel “regime chnage” media pundits and think tanks like the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, all preach that “American international leadership” is doing whatever Israel wants, whenever Israel wants.

      The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a comprehensive agreement between Iran and the P5+1 and EU, ensures that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.

      The Hasbara propaganda line is that good Israel had bad Iran “exactly where we wanted them” (thanks to the machinations of the pro-Israel Lobby in the United States), but their brilliant plan was destroyed by Obama “backpedaling”.

      So now good Israel is hysterical about an imminent “Second Holocaust”.

      Nothing new there.

      For more than four decades, good nuclear-armed Israel has been screaming that bad Iran is “six months away from a nuclear bomb”.

      Hasbara troll army faith-based analysts like comrade “john” here clearly “have more faith in Bolton”.

  9. James Douglas
    April 6, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Odd to hear accolades for 41, a guy who went into Iraq the first time under false premises, talked often about bringing about a New World Order, and joined the Obama bandwagon bashing Trump. By the way, when he was CIA, he also used his fruit company in South America, to launder CIA drug money, a known fact.

  10. Joe Tedesky
    April 6, 2018 at 12:55 am
  11. April 6, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Don’t think they are or were crazy or that G.W. Bush was not with them. They are arrogant and lust for power. They don’t want to understand how to lead the world toward decency. They understand their own worldly power and how to crush the weak. They were amongst the cowards who created our various false flags, provocations, entrapments and propaganda lies — Ft. Sumter, Lusitania, the Maine, Pearl Harbor, Ruby Ridge, JFK assassination, U.S.S. Liberty attack, WWI Rape of Belgium, Gulf War I incubators, Gulf War II weapons mass destruction, Afghan War bin Laden video tape,etc. The Lord’s Prayer asks, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” These folks tempted us and delivered us into evil. Ray, quit pussy-footing around. These people are murderers and plotters.

    • mike k
      April 6, 2018 at 7:57 am

      “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
      ? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

  12. mike k
    April 5, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Mental disturbances are widespread in America, they are not confined to a few at the top. We use more mind fixing pills here than any other nation by far. Bullying and psychopathy are not the relatively rare conditions they are usually thought to be, they are very common. Sanity is what is rare in America.

    • April 6, 2018 at 3:27 am

      It is also true that at the top of most of our hierarchies sits a psychopath…..Many Americans are medicated because the have crossed paths with a psychopath! Psychopaths literally have a brain structure that prevents them from feeling empathy or conscience! They lack the traits that define the rest of us as human.

  13. April 5, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you, Kay for making the “extreme exception” to “armchair diagnose.” Your comments ring alarmingly true. And one can take only small solace in the fact that Bolton will not be in the military chain of command.

    So, quick, somebody tell Defense Secretary Mattis that Bolton is the archdeacon of end-runs — and that Bolton is likely to regard Mattis just as he regarded Colin Powell back in the day; i. e., as a wimp to be circumvented. Most alarming, Bolton will have the CIA (and the Israeli and other liaison services) at his beck and call, and will be able to start a war in the time Mattis takes to put his socks on. Will Mattis see it coming?

    Oops, almost forgot, Mattis is a slim reed to rely on. He has said he thinks it’s “fun to shoot people,” and apparently he’s got no family. One can only hope that he does care about his Marines, and that he’s smart enough to avoid being mousetrapped by Bolton into wasting them on a fool’s errand in Iran.

    • Sam F
      April 5, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks Ray, for a very illuminating article, bravely stated.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 6, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Thank you Ray McGovern.

    • Abe
      April 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      “Oops, almost forgot, Mattis is a slim reed to rely on. […] One can only hope that he does care about his Marines, and that he’s smart enough to avoid being mousetrapped by Bolton into wasting them on a fool’s errand in Iran.”

      The last time Mattis ‘cared’ about his Marines:

      AARON GLANTZ: James Mattis got the nickname “Mad Dog” for his command responsibility as a general during the April 2004 siege of Fallujah. This was a battle that I covered as an unembedded journalist, where the U.S. Marine Corps killed so many people, so many civilians, that the municipal soccer stadium of that city had to be turned into a graveyard. U.S. Marines there shot at ambulances. They shot at aid workers. They cordoned off the city and prevented civilians from fleeing. Some marines posed for trophy photos with the people that they killed.

      And what we say in the story is that all of these events that occurred in Fallujah when James Mattis was the commanding general are the same sort of events that other commanders in other countries have been convicted of war crimes for, including General Yamashita, who was a general in World War II for the Japanese, who was tried and executed by a U.S. military tribunal, and his execution was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. We found that James Mattis likely committed similar war crimes.

      AMY GOODMAN: You covered the siege of Fallujah yourself as an unembedded reporter, Aaron. We’re going to do Part 2 of this conversation after the broadcast and post it at democracynow.org. But what came of what he did there?

      AARON GLANTZ: He, when that assault happened—and, importantly, he argued against the attack beforehand. And he said, very presciently, that so many civilians would be killed, that it would be ultimately damaging to the U.S. military’s overall occupation effort. But once that attack was launched, that’s exactly what happened. There was massive outcry across the Arab world, including in Iraq, a rise of insurgency across the country and a complete devastation of the city. I remember walking through the city shortly after the Marines pulled out, and there were rotting bodies all over the streets, because during the actual siege, U.S. Marine snipers would shoot at anyone who was outside, so people were afraid to go and bury the dead. Shopping centers were destroyed. And this gets to an important issue of disproportionality. […] This whole assault was launched because of the killing of four Blackwater security contractors. And, you know, in response, James Mattis leveled the city.

      https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/12/investigation_did_trumps_defense_secretary_nominee

    • David G
      April 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      Actually, I think this “chain of command” issue merits some sustained attention. I think it’s an underappreciated symptom of the deep rot in the U.S. regime.

      For instance, I’ve long thought it was odd that when Cheney was VP, he was apparently running much of the “national security” apparatus while not part of *any* constitutional chains of command, military or civilian.

  14. Kay
    April 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    It’s not appropriate to armchair diagnose mental health issues that present themselves within the echelons of power, but in this case, I make an extreme exception. Democratic party advanced rights grabs with censorship, voting to keep spying on Americans and ruthlessly exploiting children to disarm the population, ‘mental illness’ in particular (1 in 2 Americans will have an MI diagnosis in their lifetime, depression, anxiety etc, and most are more likely to be VICTIMIZED and not the victimizer), there equally needs to be a conversation about the extremes of mental illness on display with those in positions of power who determine policy outcomes upon the American people.

    John Bolton is a case in point. The topic of mental DISORDER is rarely discussed and hence the Cluster B disorders that permeate the Washington landscape almost as a pervasive contagion and that is antisocial personality disorder, or put simply, psychopath, sociopath, narcissist. These disorders are the most dangerous and escape public awareness, even though the behaviors are obvious andvthe American people are subjected to them on a daily basis.

    The political elite and the billionaire UNELECTED power establishment are psychopaths and government policies, both domestic and foreign are nothing more than a projection of the behaviors associated with these disorders. Gaslighting, pathological lying, EXPLOITATION, manipulation, an overwhelming sense of entitlement, arrogant and haughty behavior, grandiosity, a complete DISREGARD for social norms, bullying, criminal behavior, lack of empathy, remorse and regret.

    War, censorship, spying, is all of these and more and Bolton is the poster child for a psychopathic, corrupt, rogue, fascist regime.

    Psychopaths are addicted to power. Much like people who are addicted to drugs is the psychopath who gets into a position to do harm to many. The pain they cause AND.THE. REACTION. of their victims to that pain caused is the HIGH that psychopaths derive. This is why scum like Kissinger, Cheney, and Bolton see people’s lives as objects to be destroyed, especially when those objects are in their way. Whether personally or professionally, psychopaths use and hurt people to reach a goal that is always about POWER AND CONTROL. How intoxicating to rule over the lives of hundreds of millions of not billions of people.

    I often am sked why these wealthy individuals want more money or why they are so stingy. Good question. It’s not about money, it’s about control. Among billionaires and probably trillionaires now, they compete, size each other up, not just in terms of who is first through ten on the Forbes list but money = POWER. And it’s why these psychopaths are insatiable. It is never enough.

    Until a few years ago, I wrote a blog about psychopaths and mentored hundreds of survivors as I am also a survivor, and one of the most frustrating things for me today is to see how well psychopaths deceive, manipulate, but most of all EXPLOIT the emotions of the population into giving up their rights as well as sleepwalking them into war.

    I often wonder what it will take to wake people up. But if there is one individual who is among the ‘crazies’ to make our corrupt psychopathic government more than painfully obvious it is Bolton. And should a third world war break out, which now feels ominously REAL, this man would not hesitate to show the American people just who the enemy is, just like Hitler, the very behaviors shown the German people prior to the invasion of Russia are being visited upon us.

    To say this is frightening is truly an understatement. And just one more reason that public education on the most dangerous disorders on the planet is long overdue.

    • Sam F
      April 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      Excellent remarks. I often observe the “antisocial personality disorder… sociopath, narcissist” in people from DC. Even when they are retired or on vacation, they are campaigning for themselves constantly, willing to say anything and do the opposite, concerned with nothing but spending and power, measuring themselves by their abuses. It is a form of bullying that works very well everywhere, and leads to trouble everywhere.

      People assume that extremes of personality would be obvious, so they ignore the information. They learn by becoming victims as persons or organizations, but the population does not learn because it is their own weaknesses of reasoning and character that are exploited by the bully. They must learn of their own weaknesses to see the pathology of their leaders. By the time they learn by experience it is too late. So they must be taught their own weaknesses, by literature or drama about the professional bully and self-campaigner.

    • April 6, 2018 at 3:16 am

      Thank you Kay. I agree 100%! I’ve concluded that given the fact that Yahweh was a war god those of us born into the Judeo-Christian faith have been brainwashed into thinking violence/psychopathy is divine; there is a lot of psychopathy in the bible when it is read literally. My sense is that Americans have got to face up to who/what Yahweh was if we want to escape our perpetual cycle of violence

      • historicus
        April 6, 2018 at 8:07 am

        In 1792, our own patriot hero Thomas Paine summed up the Old Testament in his great work, The Age of Reason, “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

        The great poet Shelley wrote this in his 1816 epic poem “Queen Mab”, about the lead character in the New Testament:

        He led
        The crowd; he taught them justice, truth and peace,
        In semblance; but he lit within their souls
        The quenchless flames of zeal, and blessed the sword
        He brought on earth to satiate with the blood
        Of truth and freedom his malignant soul.

        • April 7, 2018 at 2:33 am

          Dear Diana and Historicus:

          I used to share many of those same thoughts. For what it might be worth, though, my “continuing education” has led me to — among other things — two extraordinary books, which address many an inexplicable biblical conundrum and provide instructive insights. Both authors — Wes Howard-Brook and Daniel C. Maguire — enjoy wide respect among biblical scholars — especially progressive ones.

          1 —
          “Come Out My People”
          God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond
          By Wes Howard-Brook, Orbis Books

          In “Come Out My People,” Howard-Brook presents the Bible as a struggle between two competing “religions”: not “Judaism” and “Christianity,” but the “religion of creation” versus the “religion of empire.” He demonstrates how, throughout the Hebrew scriptures, these two religions battled for the hearts and minds of the people in claiming radically divergent views of who YHWH is and what it means to be YHWH’s people.

          In the Christian scriptures, the prophet Jesus of Nazareth embodied the “religion of creation” and denounced the “religion of empire.” (That’s, of course, why they killed him.) Ideally, those who follow his path can practice no violence or domination in his name.

          Earlier books have studied the imperial context of the Christian scriptures; this is the first one to trace this theme throughout the entire Bible. Wes Howard-Brook teaches at Seattle University, a Jesuit university.

          ++++++++++++

          2 —
          “A Moral Creed for All Christians”
          By Daniel C. Maguire, Fortress Press

          Maguire digs into the Hebrew as well as the Christian scriptures, seeing them as a continuum — particularly with respect to the strong common mandate to do Justice. He examines Christianity’s fundamental moral tenets about God’s care; God’s rapport with the earth; the illogic of militarism; and the bond between Justice and Peace (Justice must come first. In the Biblical sense, Peace is simply the experience of Justice.

          Daniel Maguire has been Professor of Ethics at Marquette University for more than four decades. Equally important, in recent years has been a contributor of topical (often witty) articles to Consortiumnews.com. Catholic bishops have problems with Dan Maguire’s openly espoused views on what he calls the “below-the-belt issues” that seem to pre-occupy them. His professional credentials could not be more impressive, however, and same goes for his popularity as a teacher. So far, the bishops have been unable to dislodge him as professor of ethics at Marquette, a Jesuit university.

          Ray McGovern

          • David G
            April 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm

            Thank you for sharing that, Ray McGovern.

    • Z
      April 6, 2018 at 3:37 am

      Spot on Kay

    • Dave P.
      April 6, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks Kay for your very informed, excellent comments – right on the mark. Also many thanks to Ray for his outstanding contributions to Consortium News.

  15. April 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Ray McGovern is a truth teller. He is correct re: corporate media refusing to let anyone on TV that new the truth about Bush/Cheney lies re: wmd in Iraq. Bolton was one of the lunatics who came up with the Project for a new american century, calling for the invasion of 7 nations in 5 yrs….to get their oil for Israel..

    • Al Pinto
      April 5, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Is Ray really a truth teller, or just partial truth teller? Please keep in mind that he had been part of the same government for 30 years, from the Army to the CIA. I take his article with a grain of salt, even if I pretty much agree with him.

      If you’d see an article in the NYT, that praises Bolton, you’d have no problem calling it fake news. Well, Ray’s article could be the opposing “Fake News”. And yes, this is the world we live nowadays, we just don’t know…

      • mike k
        April 5, 2018 at 7:46 pm

        You apparently are the one who just doesn’t know the difference of a legitimate article and a fake article. Can’t help you there, you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself – or not.

      • geeyp
        April 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm

        Ray is perhaps a little to close to it all there in D.C. Outside perspectives can help. also.

    • Sam F
      April 5, 2018 at 7:41 pm

      Was the PNAC goal to get oil for Israel? I had heard only of destabilizing ME states for Israeli security.
      The zionist motive would lend far more credibility to the “oil interests” theory, and it is very plausible.
      It might clarify a great deal of history. If anyone has sources on that, I would much appreciate the information.

      • mike k
        April 5, 2018 at 7:49 pm

        Oil and water and land and Power. Tiny little Israel wants to be a big shot.

  16. FreeSociety
    April 5, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I respect Ray McGovern, but I do not believe that George H. W. Bush was that much any less of a “Neocon”, “regime change”-er, or War Monger that the “crazies” that he refers to. It is only a matter of degree and not kind.

    George H. W. Bush was directly involved in many crazy criminal activities of his own — including the the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Assassination, obstruction of the House Committee’s Kennedy Assassination inquiry in the 1970s, the crooked 1980 October Surprise, the Banking Scandals of the 1980s, the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, the assassination of John Lennon, the U.S. Panama Invasion, CIA Drug Trafficking (decades of involvement), the Reagan-era Covert Wars against Central America, the Iran-Contra gun-running to Iran criminal activity, the First Iraq War Invasion (sold also by fake propaganda) which was the father to all the other aggressive attacks and chaos wrought upon the Middle-East that would follow.

    And it was George H.W. Bush that was meeting with Salem Bin Laden on the day of Sept 11., and then for no apparent reason caught a flight to Michigan where he was trapped and not allowed to fly back home — to give himself an “innocent looking” cover on that day. And while his first son had started the criminal “shock and awe” Iraq Invasion slaughtering in 2003, it was his other son Jeb Bush who was a direct participating member in PNAC (Project for the New American Century) that had planned and dreamed up the utter madness of the natively targeted Sept 11 attack, and the resultant U.S. Scorched-Earth War and Foreign occupation/Regime-Change chaos that followed.

    So George H.W. Bush was never the sane man in the room here. Let’s not kid ourselves.

    He is a big, big part of the High Cabal AGAINST The United States, and the Godfather and Ring-leader of the larger criminal Bush Family wide CIA-Dynasty. That is why the Langley CIA headquarters are named after him. He has even exceeded even Allen Dulles as the big patriarch of the Deep State complex, and the patriarch of the CIA Black-Ops Tyranny that has sucked our Country down the black hole of darkness and depravity and global violence.

    I’ll bet you anything that George H.W. Bush was in lock step with the designs of PNAC, Sept 11, and the Iraq bloodbath strategy. Not just one but BOTH of his sons are guilty, and he is hosting a meeting with the Bin Laden family on the morning of Sept 11.

    George H.W. Bush just simply hides his criminality better than the others. That’s why he was able to actually win an election for the Presidency (unlike his moronic son who required to have the election stolen on his behalf to get there). George H.W. Bush is the supreme madman, because precisely because he is so effective at hiding it from casual sight.

    • April 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Not the elder Bush, Bush JR….google: project for a new american century.

      • FreeSociety
        April 5, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        I had the name wrong, but George H.W. Bush (Sr.) knew the Bin Laden family very well and made business arrangements with them as part of The Carlyle Group (which profiteers from Global War Making). Shafiq bin Laden and George H. W. Bush met in the plush surroundings of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel ON SEPTEMBER 10-11, 2001. Also in attendance at the Ritz Carlton meetings were former secretary of defense Frank Carlucci, the corrupt former secretary of state James Baker III, and other unnamed members of the bin Laden family. I’m reminded of the quote” “Either your WITH the Terrorists or your against them”.

        The bin Laden – Bush Carlyle Group meeting was also confirmed by The Economist in a June 2003 article entitled “C- for Capitalism”:

        The Carlyle Group is embroiled with the defense and intelligence establishment. It is widely regarded as an extension of he National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Pentagon. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, when no one was being allowed in or out of the United States, many members of the bin Laden family in America were spirited home to Saudi Arabia.

        George H W Bush profits directly from this Global War Making (and the Bin Laden relationship). His son Jeb was a direct member of PNAC planning group. His other son approved the 9/11 plot against U.S. citizens, and initiated the pre-emptive War treachery.

        • John
          April 6, 2018 at 1:06 pm

          Bolton, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, Scowcroft, Baker, and Warnke are/were members of the Rockefeller CFR. Also Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. GHW Bush is a former CFR director, along with Dick Cheney and George Soros. Welcome to the “liberal world order”. See lists in the CFR annual report.

          • John
            April 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm

            I forgot to mention that David Rubenstein, founder of the Carlyle Group and a trustee at Brookings, is now the chairman of the Rockefeller CFR which has dominated US policy since WW2.

    • Tannenhouser
      April 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Bush Sr, may actually have been a ‘shooter’ in the Kennedy assassination. .

    • Al Pinto
      April 5, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      George H.W. Bush was “The Crazies 1.0”, who was fine with his son becoming the “The Crazies 2.0”. How else one could explain that his son’s running mate was Dick Head Chaney? And it was downhill from there with the papa sitting back and enjoying his son spreading “freedom” around the world and taking revenge for “They tried to kill my daddy”….

      On the other hand, we have the name for the “Crazies”, or the “Shadow Government”, but it’s not like it matters much. The oligarchs, who could actually do something about this, are making a ton of money and they don’t mind crazies running around. Even if it means that “The Crazies 3.0” is just around the corner.

      For that matter, the US has started to be this way with the reign of George H.W. Bush and downhill ever since…

    • Gregory Herr
      April 5, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Excellent post. If Chavez thought he smelled sulfur around the Chimp, he would have really got a good whiff from Poppy. A thoroughly despicable creature.

    • mike k
      April 5, 2018 at 7:41 pm

      True points. There’s not a good apple on the Bush family tree.

    • geeyp
      April 5, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      FreeSociety: You nailed it. You get the award for truth telling today!

    • Lex
      April 8, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Eactly what I was thinking. It’s an excellent arcticle, but I find the downplaying of Bush-41 quite disturbing. He kept the “crazies” at bay precisely to hide the criminality of the deep state from plain sight.

  17. Pablo Diablo
    April 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    All my life I tried to bring down the American Empire. I marched, I protested, I boycotted, I picketed, I signed petitions. All to no avail. When all I had to do was vote for Trump. USA = an Empire in decline.

  18. April 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    How will it all end?
    —————————————-
    “The Maniacs of Militarism”

    The maniacs of militarism are creating wars
    Countries are bombed by warmongering whores
    Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
    Are hell holes of the earth, “The work,” of this insane crew

    Enabled by politicians in positions of power
    These well dressed war criminals hide and cower
    The generals salute their political masters
    Then the brainwashed obey these bemedaled disasters

    Cities are destroyed and reduced to rubble
    Where are the perpetrators that created all this trouble?
    They are residing in luxury and given fancy titles
    War crimes trials are needed, and are so vital

    But this is not happening: the system is corrupted
    And these evil beings, by some are worshiped
    Blood-soaked villains that never do the fighting
    They are the “experts” that do the inciting

    They are the producers of death and destruction
    Others are profiteers of all the bloody actions
    Missiles, bombs and horrendous weapons
    There is no end to the endless aggression

    Millions are dead, and millions are homeless
    Millions are refugees, and all this is atrocious
    Once they had jobs, families, and homes as well
    Then their countries were bombed by the agents from hell

    Setting the world on fire is what these war arsonists do
    The money for their depredations comes from me and you
    They have made us all accessories to their criminal acts
    Our Taxes are the blood money and that is a fact

    Will the people ever say: “We have had enough”?
    And put all these villains in secure handcuffs
    Then lock them up in maximum security prisons
    Then, we can say “goodbye” to the maniacs of militarism…
    [ more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/04/the-maniacs-of-militarism.html

    • April 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      The US has killed, slaughtered 20 million people since WW2! One day the chickens will come home to roost, and the US will get what they gave. We will be nuked…wait and see. What country claiming to be our friends will come to our rescue, in my opinion, NONE, their people will say, Finally the US has got what it deserves…Trump will bring it on, and the evangelicals will love Trump, after all they only support him because of his 100% support for Israel, as they believe the end times will come IN THEIR lifetime.

    • mike k
      April 5, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      Excellent Sephen.

    • Sam F
      April 5, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Good work, Stephen. Usually I avoid poetry due to the difficulty of reaching the meaning while struggling to rhyme. But actually your window on the big picture is often a valuable complement here. Thank you.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

      It’s your Soul Stephen J that attracts me. I will thank you each time you publish an emotional truth.
      In this Ray McGovern essay, we (as readers) are treated with honesty And Courage in the face of near overwhelming power. Thank You Stephen J, you bravely represent hundreds of sincere and silent good people…

      • Bob Van Noy
        April 6, 2018 at 8:06 am

        Before reading this article, I was reading and researching William Colby and ran across a photo made in the White House entitled”Director of Central Intelligence, briefs President Gerald Ford and his senior advisors on the deteriorating situation in Vietnam, April 28, 1975,” looking at each of the participants of that meeting, I thought, each of you could have made a dramatically important positive contribution to the wellbeing of our country that very day in 1975, but you didn’t.

        Normally I’d link that page but I won’t because it doesn’t take much effort to find it; to do your own research. If you really care, you can do it. Stephen does, every day…

  19. DHorse2
    April 5, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Q: How do we make Trump look good?

    A: Have Bolton make him appear sensible.

  20. Vierotchka
    April 5, 2018 at 11:18 am

    He’s an uber chicken hawk.

  21. April 5, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Bolton is the only one that would give up their gig at Fox to take the job?

  22. April 5, 2018 at 10:01 am

    That Team B concept is a beaut. Now it seems everyone in policy making and execution positions are members of Team B. The latest charade is our president’s decision to quit Syria when ISIS is defeated. It could be now, next week, or never. Simply saying so is enough and I doubt that the President has the muscle, even if he has the inclination to declare victory and get out of Syria, where we had no legal right to be anyway.

    A whimsical wish: The President orders the evacuation of all US military and military contractors.

  23. mike k
    April 5, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Much thanks for this insider’s look at our government, Ray. The character of individuals in powerful positions counts for a lot in determining historical events, trends, and outcomes. In spite of the power and influence of the vaguely defined category “the deep state”, that reality is comprised of distinct and often opposed individuals whose unique makeup plays an important role in determining what comes out of this deep state as concrete acts and policies. So, in spite of the pressures on individuals like Bolton and Trump, what goes on in their heads has major impact on what happens at the government level. They are puppets to some degree of greater powers, but these prominent guys have minds of their own that count for a lot in what comes out of the great sausage making factory of the US Gov.

  24. David G
    April 5, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Ray McGovern unambiguously numbers Dick Cheney among the “crazies” – few would disagree.

    And he writes: “By the time [George H.W. Bush] became president in 1989, he had come to know, all too well, ‘the crazies’ and what they were capable of. Bush’s main political nemesis, Donald Rumsfeld, could be kept at bay, and other ‘crazies’ kept out of the most senior posts …”

    But Cheney was Bush Sr.’s Secretary of Defense for almost his entire four years in office. Does SecDef not count as one of “the most senior posts”?

    • April 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Keep your friends close but the crazies closer? I’d expect all defense secretaries to be hawks but not in control of policy. Too bad it hasn’t worked out that way.

    • geeyp
      April 5, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      To try to unpack this Ray McGovern piece, I would have never accused Ray of not telling the truth. He seems like a truth-teller to me. If he stated, as he did, that H.W. called them that, I didn’t think for a minute it wasn’t true. Where I differ, and Ray has the clear advantage of knowing H.W. personally, is in the hinting at what a good guy he was. Perhaps I am reading into it. What this crime family has done to me and my country I simply cannot forgive. Period. Please don’t whitewash their many traitorous acts against this country. I want to add that Paul Warnke’s comment pertaining to the Strategic O. P. applies to the choosing of commissions and other “experts” for recommendations since then and prior. Pick the outcome with people who will do what you want done. Or, let Johnson decide if it’s Novichek or not, is another way it’s done.

      • geeyp
        April 5, 2018 at 8:06 pm

        Once again, this is the wrong, damn person to pick for National Security Advisor. I cannot stress that enough.

  25. KiwiAntz
    April 5, 2018 at 7:49 am

    President Crazyman Trump, running a crazy delusional Govt, ruling over a gun mad, brainwashed, gaslighted people & appointing the ultimate warmongering lunatic neocon crazy in Captain Walrus, John Bolton. Looks like America has really lost its collective mind, big time & is going to be responsible for starting WW3, thanks to its own arrogance, self importance & hubris? From its demonic, hegemonic ambitions with the illegal coups from Libya to Ukraine & illegal invasions of Middle East countries such as Iraq, Aftganistan & Syria, America really is a unhinged, out of control, crazed rogue Nation, acting with utter contempt & disregard of other Countries sovereignty & in blatant, immoral unsanctioned, breaking of International laws? From the fake lunacy of Ruusia gate & the demonisation of Russia & China with the ridiculous US Trade sanctions & now starting Trade wars with China & others, America is going to collapse in on itself under its own dead weight, hopefully one day soon, like a dying star collapsing under its gravity creating a black hole? When that happens, will America take down every other Nation of the World in its death cult plunge into the nuclear abyss? It’s becoming patently obvious that America will need to be taken out or taken down, either militarily or economically, before this lunatic, crazy Country kills everyone in the World!

  26. Sally Snyder
    April 5, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Here is a detailed look at what John Bolton has said about North Korea and how to control the nation:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2018/03/john-bolton-and-how-to-start-war-with.html

    Mr. Bolton never saw a war that he didn’t like.

  27. April 5, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Trump, after a year, has embraced the deep state. (Notice the leaks have almost disappeared) War is coming.

  28. john wilson
    April 5, 2018 at 6:59 am

    This piece makes us think its all the more alarming that this psychopath is now back in a position of great power and worse, that the president has appointed this nut case without regard for Bolton’s past. I am surprised that Cheney, Wolfowitz and others from the cabal of war mongering crooks aren’t also in the white house, no reason why they shouldn’t be.

    • Sam F
      April 5, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Putting Bolton and the “crazies” in position to distort intelligence ensures that the Trump admin will do as they say, as did Bush2 when zionist DefSec Wolfowitz appointed known zionist conspirators Perle, Wurmser and Feith to the offices at DIA, CIA, and NSA that “stove-piped” known-bad “intelligence” to Cheney & Rumsfeld to start Iraq War 2. See Bamford’s Pretext for War for details.

      The degree of political influence exerted by social “bullies” like the warmongers over careless politicians is nearly total. Carter is exactly right that their appointment is “a disaster for our country.” That is inevitable when money power controls elections and mass media, because it is the bully boys who predominate in business, and use corporate/oligarchy money to control our former democracy. Carter was right again when he said that the US is “no longer a democracy.”

      Democracy in the US cannot be restored by the political process, because it is no longer democratic. We no longer have the basic tools of democracy, a free press and fair elections, because these are controlled by the dictatorship of the rich.

    • Abe
      April 5, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      “Bolton has – for years – lobbied for a terrorist organization guilty of kidnapping and killing both US service members as well as US civilian contractors, along with an untold number of Iranian civilians and politicians in a campaign of terror that has stretched over several decades and continues today.

      “Worst of all, the terrorist organization Bolton lobbied for was literally listed on the US State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list during his lobbying activities – in direct violation of US counter-terrorism laws. That organization – Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and its political front, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – has since been delisted as of 2012. However, the organization was delisted not because it has fully given up armed terrorism, but because the US has planned since at least as early as 2009 – according to Washington’s own policy papers – to use MEK as armed proxies against the nation of Iran. […]

      “In the 2009 Brookings Institution policy paper, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran,” US policymakers openly admitted MEK’s candidacy as a US proxy […]

      “Brookings policymakers also openly acknowledged that MEK was without doubt a terrorist organization […]

      “It should be noted that Brookings’ mention of MEK was made under a chapter titled, ‘INSPIRING AN INSURGENCY Supporting Iranian Minority and Opposition Groups,’ indicating that groups being considered for US sponsorship would undoubtedly be armed and carry out a campaign of violence – if not terrorism, then the full-scale military operations similar US-sponsored militant groups have been carrying out in Syria.

      “Brookings recommendation that MEK be removed “‘from the list of foreign terrorist organizations’ would eventually be fully realized by 2012 – spearheaded by lobbyists led by prominent US politicians and policymakers including US National Security Advisor John Bolton. […]

      “Considering the undeniable terrorist nature of MEK past, present, and Washington’s own admitted plans for its terrorist future, the troubling nature of John Bolton’s advocacy for the group comes into full focus. This is particularly so within the context of Bolton’s new role as National Security Advisor.”

      US National Security Advisor John Bolton Backs Terrorists
      By Tony Cartalucci
      http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/03/us-national-security-advisor-john.html

      • Abe
        April 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm

        “Saddam was put on it when he allied with the Soviets in the early 1980s, then was taken off when the US wanted to arm and fund him against Iran in the mid-1980s, then he was put back on in the early 1990s when the US wanted to attack him.

        “And now, with the MEK, we have a group that, at least according to some reports, appears to have intensified its terrorism, and yet they are removed from the list. Why? Because now they are aligned against the prime enemy of the US and Israel – and working closely with those two nations – and are therefore, magically, no longer ‘terrorists’. […]

        “In other words, the best and most efficient way to be removed from the list is to start engaging in terrorism for and in conjunction with the US and its allies (i.e. Israel) rather than against them. […]

        “The US government did not even pretend that terrorism had anything to do with its decision as to whether MEK should be de-listed. Instead, they used the carrot of de-listing, and the threat of remaining on the list, to pressure MEK leaders to adhere to US demands […] This list has nothing to do with terrorism. It is simply a way the US rewards those who comply with its dictates and punishes those who refuse.”

        Five lessons from the de-listing of MEK as a terrorist group
        By Glenn Greenwald
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/23/iran-usa

      • Abe
        April 6, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        Lunatic former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants everyone to know “how hard-working, serious and intellectual” John Bolton is
        http://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/381203-john-bolton-will-be-a-strong-national-security-advisor

        Gingrich has a lot more in common with Bolton than membership in the American Enterprise Institute.

        Besides the cast of “crazies” like Dick Cheney and Richard Perle, Gingrich was a key member of the Defense Policy Board with direct input into “Office of Special Plans” (OSP) unit in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia (NESA) section.

        The OSP was under the direction of Abram N. Shulsky, a close associate of Perle and Gary Schmitt, executive director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). OSP operations were run by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti and his colleague William Bruner. both former aides to Gingrich in 1996.

        The OSP formed a close relationship with a similar office created in the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon. The Israeli group provided alarmist reports about Iraq. Israelis visited the OSP without going through the usual Pentagon procedures.

        Luti and Shulsky cherry-picked pieces of uncorroborated, anti-Iraq “intelligence” and churned out propaganda talking points that hyped the Iraqi “threat”. Bruner served as a handler for Perle and Wolfowitz’s beloved Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Chalabi was a pipeline for lurid but fraudulent claims of Iraqi biological weapons, mobile labs, and nuclear activities.

        Ensconced as Trump’s the National Security Advisor, Gingrich’s pro-Israel war hawk pal Bolton aims to reinforce the “intelligence” pipeline of lies to launch a new war within Iran.

    • Abe
      April 6, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      Ray McGovern notes that Bolton has “ample opportunity to wreak the kind of havoc that ‘the crazies’ continue to see as enhancing U.S. – and not incidentally – Israeli influence in the Middle East”. He also notes that Bolton is “out to scuttle the landmark agreement that succeeded in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon any time soon”.

      More specifically, Bolton has been appointed to advance the Israeli-Saudi-U.S, Axis “regime change” agenda and ongoing direct support for terrorists:

      John Bolton as National Security Advisor
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W197RF0sp8k

    • Abe
      April 7, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      A pro-Israel Lobby zealot for U.S. Wars for Israel, John Bolton is closely involved with several pro-Israel think tanks, policy institutes and special interest groups, including the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA):

      “The most interesting and sickly funny of think tanks in our nation’s capital, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America does a whole lot of talking and not much thinking about how Israel lobbying is looking to intelligent folks. Let me quote from the lead story at their website:

      “’Consistent with the Trump Administration’s stated intention of pushing back against Iran’s increasingly malign behavior throughout the Middle East, American policymakers urgently need to rebuild credibility and positions of strength by contesting Iran’s rising influence across the region. Most urgently, the United States must impose real obstacles to Tehran’s pursuit of total victory by the Assad regime in Syria.’

      “For those of you wondering if the tail is wagging the dog. If anybody out there needs to know who wanted Assad gone. Should a European woman who’s been raped by one of those majority male refugees question her plight…. You have your perpetrators. End of story here – idiot think-thanks, brilliant JINSA. This one is run by Bibi Netanyahu’s boy, Dr. Michael Makovsky, who’s another psychopath along the lines of John McCain.”

      https://journal-neo.org/2018/04/07/got-troubles-blame-them-on-think-tank-row-and-not-putin/

      In addition to JINSA, Bolton has served as Chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based pro-Israel think tank whose founder and President Nina Rosenfield, an heiress to the Sears Roebuck fortune, is an ardent Zionist.

      Rosenfield was vice president of Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and has served on the board of directors of many pro-Israel organizations, including Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Center for Security Policy (CSP), and the Hudson Institute. In 2003, Rosenfield was given an award by the Zionist Organization of America for her pro-Israel advocacy. She also serves on the board of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), headed by former IDF Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin.

      In February 2015, Bolton launched his own pro-Israel Lobby organization, the Foundation for American Security and Freedom (FASF). An April 2015 New York Times piece revealed how Bolton’s PAC is partly financed by “major pro-Israel donors” like Irving Moskowitz and that it “spent at least $825,000” to support the successful 2014 Senate bid of Tom Cotton (R-AL).

      After Iran and the P5+1 group of nations reached a comprehensive nuclear agreement in July 2015, Bolton vociferously denounced it and reiterated his call for U.S. military action against Iran. In an August 2015 op-ed for the conservative National Review, Bolton declared that “a preemptive Israeli strike is a legitimate exercise of Israel’s inherent right of self-defense”.

      Bolton has long dismissed the legitimacy of the United Nations and other international institutions. Following President Trump’s announcement in November 2017 that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. An article by Bolton on the FASF site declared that Trump’s announcement “means that [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 181 (creating an Arab and a Jewish state out of Britain’s Palestinian mandate and establishing Jerusalem as a corpus separatum — an independent city under U.N. Trusteeship Council authority) is a dead letter. Moreover, the so-called ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees arising from Israel’s 1947-49 war of independence, long out of date and flatly rejected by Israel, is now also on history’s trash heap.”

      The reality is that “lunatics” and “crazies” like Bolton are slavishly pro-Israel warmongers hell bent on ginning up the next round of U.S. War for Israel.

    • Abe
      April 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      “The US media is now priming the global public for US intervention in Syria following alleged ‘chemical attacks’ carried out in the remaining pocket of US-backed militants in Douma, just northeast of Damascus. […]

      “just days after President Trump expressed a supposed desire to leave Syria, allegations of Syrian government chemical attacks on Douma have provided not only the prefect pretext to delay any withdrawal, but to in fact justify a US-led military intervention directly against the Syrian government.

      “While some have attempted to portray this as ‘Trump vs. the Deep State,’ it is in fact a textbook example of US deception described in US policy papers – a deception President Trump played a central role in creating. […]

      “For those who have invested hope into President Trump – his role in a documented scheme to deceive the global public and make US military aggression appear as a last resort after apparently withdrawing from confrontation – is sufficient evidence that it is not ‘Trump vs. the Deep State,’ but that ‘Trump is the Deep State.’

      “It should be remembered that recent appointments to President Trump’s administration included prominent pro-war advocates including John Bolton and Mike Pompeo – both eager for a US-led military intervention in Iran which makes President Trump’s recent calls for a withdrawal from Syria all the more questionable. […]

      “It is also worth noting that US-backed militants in Douma are essentially gassing people to advance the West’s political agenda. This comes as the UK’s case against Russia regarding the alleged assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal and his daughter unravels.

      “Considering Washington and London’s history regarding false accusations surrounding chemical weapons – as well as policy papers plotting to stage provocations, the US and UK emerge as the prime suspects in serial crimes against humanity involving so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction.’

      “It is becoming abundantly clear that in addition to the West fueling the very terrorism it claims to be fighting globally, it is also the West that poses the primary threat to the globe regarding the use of chemical weapons.”

      Trump’s Syria “Withdrawal” Was Textbook US Deception
      By Tony Cartalucci
      http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/04/trumps-syria-withdrawal-was-textbook-us.html

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