Don’t Hold Your Breath on US Troop Withdrawal from Syria

It would be nice to think the president has final say on foreign policy, given the U.S. Constitution. But the misleading troop withdrawal announcement, followed by Trump’s boastful tweet, suggests the exact opposite, says Patrick Lawrence.

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

The announcement on Wednesday that the U.S. will withdraw all remaining troops from Syria within the next month looked at first like a rare victory for Donald Trump in his admittedly erratic opposition to senseless wars of adventure. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there,” the president tweeted with an unmistakable air of triumph.

Don’t get your hopes up. Just about everything in these initial reports is either wrong or misleading. One, the U.S. did not defeat the Islamic State: The Syrian Arab Army, aided by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah militias did. Two, hardly was ISIS the only reason the U.S. has maintained a presence in Syria. The intent for years was to support a coup against the Assad government in Damascus—in part by training and equipping jihadists often allied with ISIS. For at least the past six months, the U.S. military’s intent in Syria has been to counter Iranian influence.

Last and hardly least, the U.S. is not closing down its military presence in Syria. It is digging in for an indefinite period, making Raqqa the equivalent of the Green Zone in Baghdad. By the official count, there are 503 U.S. troops stationed in the Islamic State’s former capital. Unofficially, according to The Washington Post and other press reports, the figure is closer to 4,000—twice the number that is supposed to represent a “full withdrawal” from Syrian soil.

It would be nice to think Washington has at last accepted defeat in Syria, given it is preposterous to pretend otherwise any longer. Damascus is now well into its consolidation phase. Russia, Iran, and Turkey are currently working with Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for Syria, to form a committee in January to begin drafting a new Syrian constitution.

U.S. forces conducted a precision airstrike near Sarmada in northwest Syria Nov. 18 that Pentagon says killed a senior al-Qaida leader. (Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

It would also be nice to think the president and commander-in-chief has the final say in his administration’s policies overseas, given the constitution by which we are supposed to be governed. But the misleading announcement on the withdrawal of troops, followed by Trump’s boastful tweet, suggest something close to exactly the opposite.

As Trump finishes his second year in office, the pattern is plain: This president can have all the foreign policy ideas he wants, but the Pentagon, State, the intelligence apparatus, and the rest of what some call “the deep state” will either reverse, delay, or never implement any policy not to its liking.

Blocking Few Good Ideas

Syria is a case in point, but one among many. Trump announced in March that he would withdraw American troops as soon as the fight against ISIS was finished. By September the Pentagon was saying no, U.S. forces had to stay until Damascus and its political opponents achieved a full settlement. From the new HQ in Raqqa, The Washington Post tells us, U.S. forces will extend “overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria.”

This is how 2018 has gone for Trump. This president has very few good ideas, but we can count on his foreign policy minders to block those he does have if they fail to conform to the orthodox playbook—the foreign policy “blob,” as Barack Obama famously called it.

Reversal on Military Budget

Earlier this month Trump complained about the Pentagon’s out-of-control budget and pledged to cut it, if marginally, from its current $716 billion to $700 billion in the 2020 fiscal year. “I am certain that, at some time in the future,” he said in one of his inevitable tweets, “President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!”

Raqqa Internal Security Force Training Class receive their initial issue of equipment after training in Ayn Issa, Syria, July 31 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Mitchell Ryan)

Days later the president had a meeting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee. The White House announced immediately afterward that the three had agreed on a 2020 defense budget of $750 billion: from a 2 percent cut to an increase of nearly 5 percent in the course of one meeting.

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Trump’s idea of improving relations with Russia has faced a wall of opposition from the first, needless to say. His summit with President Putin in Helsinki last July ignited a fresh uproar—and his suggestion that Putin come to Washington in the autumn still another. With Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in the lead, that invitation was mocked to death within days. A New Year’s prediction: There will be no second summit with Putin, probably for the duration of Trump’s term in office.

Among the biggest disappointments of the year has been the administration’s failure to build on Trump’s effort to advance a settlement with North Korea after seven decades of tension in Northeast Asia. The Trump–Kim summit in Singapore last May did what initial encounters between heads of state are supposed to do: It established a working rapport. By that measure, any detached judgment of the meeting would have to count it a success.

But the U.S. press uniformly criticized Trump nonetheless for not coming home with the full details of the North’s nuclear disarmament. These same media have since treated us to the usual stories, sourced from the intelligence agencies, that the North is misleading us once again. Result: A second summit appears to have fallen off the White House’s agenda despite Trump’s statement at the UN last autumn that the two leaders would meet again “quite soon.”

One does not have to entertain any liking for Donald Trump to find this pattern disturbing. It suggests that our foreign policy cliques, wedded to an orthodoxy devoted more or less entirely to U.S. primacy, have positioned themselves—over the course of many administrations—to dictate America’s conduct abroad even to our presidents. There is danger in this, no matter who the occupant of the White House happens to be.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is Support his work

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135 comments for “Don’t Hold Your Breath on US Troop Withdrawal from Syria

  1. December 27, 2018 at 20:49

    It is reasonable to assume that the 2-hour Thursday, December 20 meeting in the United Nations exposing crimes of the “White Helmets” was on the agenda, scheduled and known about before Donald Trump’s Wednesday, December 19 announcement of withdrawal from Syria.

    It is not certain if there is any connection between the (2) closely-timed, major Syria-related events, yet it is also reasonable to assume that Donald Trump’s United Nations Ambassador designate to replace Nikki Haley, Heather Neuart, – an unapologetic, strong supporter of the White Helmets – will have profound difficulty in avoiding provision of serious response/commenting on what was revealed in the devastating December 20 U.N. meeting.

  2. SocraticGadfly
    December 27, 2018 at 03:56


    North Korea is ultimately Trump’s own fault, as he holds to the standard US “full disarmament first.”

    Syria? This is the same Trump who went beyond Obama and lobbed cruise missiles. If he really fully wanted out (and he doesn’t; just today he said US troops in Iraq could move into eastern Syria) he’d give direct and peremptory orders to that end.

  3. Gregory Herr
    December 23, 2018 at 14:20

    This incisive and straightforward assessment by Patrick Lawrence is much appreciated. Isn’t it interesting how terrorist mercenaries can be used to carve out territory–and then used as an excuse to level a city? So “pesky” civilian presence is reduced for base-formation?

    Eva Bartlett’s reporting deserves a close look:

    And Maximilian Forte has produced a worthy year-end review. I’ll leave a link to the overview and then the first part of a four-part review:

  4. DavidH
    December 22, 2018 at 17:30

    But Erdogan’s got a lot of jailed journalists over there, doesn’t he, Deniz??

    I agree with Helmut. Patrick Lawrence summarizes well. He summarizes my questions. Maybe others have other questions. Maybe writers parcel it out; guess they’d have to?

    It is looking as though world opinion means something. Erdogan makes a big deal about MbS just before he’s ready to attack the Kurds. Who can think he’d do wrong? Jacques Ellul made a point about world opinion. He said the world sees Palestinians as poor because their cause is taken up in media, but that the world does not see the Kurds as truly poor because their’s isn’t. Who can measure what the world thinks? Cambridge A? Guess we have to have faith folks with facts knit together well will look for the truth till they find it. But few in France knowing about Wanzhou Meng is a measure? I mean if it is, it seems like kind of a warning.

    T’s base was anti-war all along. The Khashoggi thing made other folks question our contacts, AND if SA wasn’t more of an influence than Russia. NPR has a piece finally questioning Mueller’s findings re Russiagate…re how solid they’ll end up

    Patrick Cockburn says T’s possibly pulling out to avoid a war with Turkey. The Turkey/Russia relationship is what’s dicey. Sources I trust tend to say they’re getting tighter, the two of’em. But why would that commenter under John Kiriakou’s article think Russia might covertly assist Greece against Turkey [was that as crazy as it sounded…as it read to me, with the subs & nukes?]?

    Putin hi fiving you know who was weird. What I figured was that MbS had indicated downscaling the Yemen thing, or might have said he’d talk about it…and Putin was feeling good toward him (but MSM had said nothing bout that prior to reporting the hi five; and actually I had been weary from work and mostly found out details re the House res/War Res AFTER a friend told me about the hi five (my progressive sources hadn’t said dudely about it…and still don’t).

    I’d like to hear from Deniz how much really the YPG supports what the PKK does? I suspect most of the journalists in jail do not support PKK tactics. I didn’t know Israel supported the Kurds. The Kurdish/Assad deal that good sources mention now makes sense to me…Rojeva Rojaiva (sp? whatever) could give up some oil lands, or at least all control of the oil to Syria. Cockburn says Russia wants ties to Turkey, and unless I read it wrong…this implies R will not pressure Erdogan not to bomb the Kurds.

    Trump seems to be a guy with LOTS of irons in the fire. He knows the anti-war folks are some of his most motivated critics. Between us, his base, Libertarians, and the Khashoggi appalled…maybe he’s going for scraps of approval (MSM being the real meat he can’t get…no more free air time). If he is, he needs to cut off the arms to Ukraine. I would not look forward to R taking west Ukraine, quickly, or slow, slow, slowly. But if there’s nuke war Trump can’t continue asset stripping the US…that he might attempt to stop DS-et-al (DSEA) for that reason is a sign of hope. He’s lost gambles many times; maybe he’s learned something. I see a link to a Nation article that imples (from the heading) impeachment might increase the chances of war with Russia. It’s sad at Christmas to think the the 116th won’t have enough sense to get in the way of the DSEA itself. Even so, I guess the real Christmas message is be ready to get off the wheel…or to finish burning the little karma left in any real alien place one might land. Makes one contemplate burn’n more of the stuff while on Earth.

    • DavidH
      December 23, 2018 at 11:20

      Sorry…that he might attempt to stop DS-et-al (DSEA) for that reason gives one some hope.

      I skimmed over the Common Dream summary of Scahill’s observations, and somehow missed #8 re Erik Prince’s army taking over in Afghanistan. You almost need the whole day to get most of your questions answered. Still didn’t find anything on “Iran Kurd relations.” Googled it and ducked it that way, and everything was old. I have two more-or-less who’s who links, one from CouncilFR and one from Al-Jezeera, but nothing on Iran/Kurds that’s up to date.

      Things are happening so fast that, for articles, Thursday or Friday or Monday isn’t good enough. The date needs to be there with the day of the week.

  5. PJB
    December 21, 2018 at 20:15

    Trump looks like he is really going to fulfil his campaign promise and bring the troops home from Syria. Mainstream media go apoplectic using the same talking points across scores of publications and Hollywood celebs chime in. See good Caitlin Johnstone article on Medium.

    For those of us following ‘Q anon’ – properly reading the posts by ‘Q’ who is allegedly a team of DIA military intel patriots closely associated with Trump – it is not the nutty right-wing racist conspiracy theory the media keeps saying it is. It is highly sophisticated and oriented towards inclusivity and peace and identifies globalist forces who control the media as the problem.

    So it might still be a made up thing – except for all the times Trump has confirmed Q in not-so-subtle tweets that replicate Q posts on 8-chan down to the same typos – or it might be a sophisticated PR campaign by Trump himself and clever people he has hired. Or, it may be legit and there is a covert civil war or at least high-stakes political struggle behind the scenes between American sovereigntists who call themselves ‘Patriots’ and American globalists aka the ‘Deep State’.

    ‘Q’ has implied ever since appearing in late October 2017 on 8-Chan, that the aim is to save the nation by forsaking the globalist empire. Trump’s rejection of the TTP, NAFTA, trade war fights, squabbles with NATO countries to pay their way, peace moves in Korea, and now withdrawal from Syria is actually in line with the plans outlined by ‘Q’ as well as in Trump’s campaign promises.

    My views of Trump keep shifting in a positive direction from very negative during the early 2016 campaign until I pinned some hope he would stick to his promises and avoid WW-III over Syria, whereas it seemed clear Hilary was taking orders perhaps from Saudis who gave her so many $millions as well as Wall Street to keep pushing regime change in Syria to the risk of WW-III.

    • December 23, 2018 at 14:17

      Interesting take on Q-Anon. I have only spent 30 minutes looking at their posts and find it a uniquely strange SM phenomenon.

      Is there a place to download their posts?

  6. Mark Thomason
    December 21, 2018 at 16:39

    “This president has very few good ideas, but we can count on his foreign policy minders to block those he does have”

    The people like me who support this withdrawal are not actual friends of Trump. His helpers in DC (who were many of them Never Trumpers) are people who do not support this.

    So his supporters oppose it, and his opponents support it but not him.

    This is a recipe for a politician to change his position, to please his friends and spite his enemies.

    I do wonder if this can last, just from the layout of things.

    • Steve McGrath
      December 21, 2018 at 18:47

      I understand that the “supporters” of Trump you are referring to are the Never Trumpers that he has surrounded himself with in Washington.

      The purpose of my reply is only to clarify that Trump’s base strongly supports his order for the complete withdrawal of troops from Syria and his proposed drawback of troops from Afghanistan. Bringing an end to these costly foreign interventions was a major campaign theme of Trump’s and it’s apparent from my observations thus far that DefSec Mattis’ resignation has not eroded the support from his base for these initiatives. Conversely, I sense that it has energized his base who I suspect were reticent to express their concerns over his more discordant actions and provocations that preceded the events of this week.

  7. Helmut Scheben
    December 21, 2018 at 11:46

    excellent analysis of the situation. Can’t read this nowhere but in consortiumnews.

  8. Gunter Schenk
    December 21, 2018 at 11:15

    This morning, one of the most serious German diplomatic analysts on Foreign Policy mentioned in national broadcast DLF another reason for Trump’s troop withdrawal from Syria (and, by the way, partly from Afghanistan): war would be in preparation against Iran, after this diplomat, and for this US troops nearby in great number would be in danger. Difficult to judge, but “nothing seems impossible”.

    My personal comment: US troops are on Syrian soil, on International Law, without any legal basis They had never been invited by Assad’s government, were they? This in contrary to Russian and Iranian presence in the country.

  9. vinnieoh
    December 21, 2018 at 10:52

    The only thing we know for certain less than a day later and with Mattis quitting, is that any suggestions of taking the foot off the gas peddle of the forever wars is apostacy in Washington, DC. I believe it has been true since the Iraq fiasco became a fiasco (quickly) polling has consistently shown that the majority of Americans are generally opposed to ongoing US military/foreign policy. This announcement has animated the usual suspects, but has also flushed some cockroaches into the light. I’m curious how this is playing in the safe places of Trump’s unshakable base. I confess to confirmation bias and wouldn’t know which sites to look in on, or whether I have the fortitude to even do so.

    Perhaps America should turn it’s Christmas eyes to our nation’s capital and see that is where our true enemy lies. The whole fetid, rotting mess, Trump included.

    Merry Check mess and a hoppy new Beer! (in fond memory of Walt Kelly)

  10. Brad Owen
    December 21, 2018 at 08:38

    You are not saying what really is. The military CHOSE Trump to front for them, as they are finally executing their decades-long Plan-in-the-making (since JFK was assassinated). The Military has decided NOW is the time to move (since all the pertinent evidence has been assembled); to cease these criminal wars-for-Empire and re-deploy in the Homeland to engage the REAL enemy; the DS that has been entrenching itself and growing since after FDR’s death. Christmas 2018 will be remembered in the history books. (the Christmas War to take back America)

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 21, 2018 at 11:24

      Brad as I think you know, I’ve been aligned with your analysis for years now but from a different prospective, and I think you’re right…

    • Deniz
      December 21, 2018 at 13:02

      “Christmas 2018 will be remembered in the history books. (the Christmas War to take back America)”

      That was a joke right?

      • Brad Owen
        December 22, 2018 at 10:48

        It could be possibly that the the joke is on me. I don’t discount that possibility. It could very well be we are being hit with a one-two sucker punch: friendly, smiling, backstabbing corporate fascism on the one hand, enabled by the rogue, criminal IC (the REAL enemy); heroic, classical military fascism on the other hand, enabled by the military and their own in-house intelligence services (the supposed friends of the people, the Constitution, patriotic nationalists). What people overlook are the view good men and women in military service, Gen. Butler being a typical example of same, who genuinely live “duty, honor, country”, although I know it’s “not cool” to concede such a possibility, and they have supposedly hatched a Plan to round up the rogue criminal IC and their “Secret Society” masters in The Establishment. This could be titled “the Society of the Cincinnati” plot to take back America from the rogues and criminals that are currently ruling the World. 66 thousand sealed indictments and 470 investigators on the case suggest this true and is being launched as we speak…a national emergency goes into effect Jan 1 2019, 230 of the sealed indictments are aimed at congress members probably for evil indulgences involving human trafficking, and also massive voter fraud, duly recorded and allowed to happen to catch them in the act, making an open and shut case against them. Gitmo has been upgraded to “country club status” prison, military tribunals will be involved due to the massive case load. We’ll just see what happens.

    • robin
      December 22, 2018 at 10:03

      Wow , how naive one could be !

      • Brad Owen
        December 24, 2018 at 10:32

        Yeah. Not “cool, hip, and in-the-know”, is it? I personally think it’s the vast majority of citizens who have their heads buried in the sand, listening to the IC- controlled MSM (the main point of all of mergers & aquisitions since the eighties, reducing the MSM corps to a mere six). Check out the citizen-journalists all over You Tube for a story that even somewhat approaches the truth of what is really going on. Do you wonder why there have been hundreds of CEOs resigning of late? The rats are trying to jump ship, but the exits have been covered: the Plan is very elaborate, and vast, involving a lot of help from “special friends” which I won’t even go into, as you can’t handle the truth. I have been slowly spoon-fed the truth since the sixties, I now realize in retrospect. I’ve been able to always lay hands on just the right information, no matter how obscure and buried it may have been. I am the 100th monkey, which means the truth will soon be coming to a mainstream channel near you.

  11. December 21, 2018 at 08:24

    Question if the deep state is still really in charge of foreign policy as this written proffers then why would Mattis even think about resigning let alone do it. It is now obvious that Trump is starting to flex his presidential power this time for the good. I just read an article in Russia Insider that this may be just the start and Pompeo and Bolton may be next on the chopping block,

    • Skip Scott
      December 21, 2018 at 09:44

      Time will tell. He’d better move fast, and have some good people around him. Bill Binney recommends 9,000 Samurai.

    • Punkyboy
      December 21, 2018 at 11:39

      What a Christmas present that would be – Pompeo and Bolton both sucked up the chiminey in a puff of sulfurous smoke! Please, Santa, please!

    • KiwiAntz
      December 21, 2018 at 18:45

      Wouldn’t that be a Xmas bonus Gift getting rid of Pompeo & Bolton, now that the Mad dog Mattis is outta there! Get the crazies out now!

    • Guy
      December 24, 2018 at 15:10

      Pompeo and Bolton on the chopping block .Wouldn’t that be a New Year’s gift.

  12. Alois Mueller
    December 21, 2018 at 08:10


  13. Alois Mueller
    December 21, 2018 at 07:53

    Murder of the truth
    The mainstream media are waging a war against freedom of expression.

    Nearly every day, alternative media are under attack – not only by leading politicians, but also by established, supposedly “reputable” media. Not only does the New York Times or the BBC betray their self-imposed obligations to the “truth” by supporting wars that are in violation of international law while accusing alternative media of propaganda. With numerous examples, Shane Quinn documents these increasing attacks on freedom of expression.

    The mainstream media are murdering freedom of expression
    by Shane Quinn

    In early 2017, the New York Times announced the following new motto: “The truth is more important today than ever before.” With this, she has taken on a seemingly noble, but possibly contentious motto, taking a closer look at the newspaper’s recent past , Two international law experts, Howard Friel and Richard Falk, have published a book entitled “The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreport’s US Foreign Policy” after the Iraq invasion of 2003, to which few reviews have been published so far.

    Friel and Falk have focused on the Times because of the importance of this newspaper. The authors emphasize that the terms “International Law” and “UN Charter” are not unique in 70 Times editorials on Iraq – from September 11, 2001 to March 20, 2003. The “truth” did not seem particularly “important” because the Times tacitly watched the destruction of Iraq.

    The American propaganda barrage of propaganda was so strong that 69 percent of the population believed that Saddam Hussein had been “personally involved” in the 9/11 attacks. This is a significant manipulation success. The survey results must have been completely new to the Iraqi dictator, a forgotten former US ally.

    Why Hussein should take it upon himself to initiate a surprise attack against the United States of all, was put there. Maybe, if he had a death wish, but later events showed that he was not a suicidal type.
    Pattern of mainstream coverage

    It was not just the Times that sold the Iraq war to the American people; also television stations from Fox News to CBS and CNN were predominantly pro-war supporters. Fox News, owned by Rupert Murdoch – who strongly supported the illegal conflict – placed a permanent US flag in the corner of his television pictures. Fox employees were told to call the invasion “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, which later killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

    This pattern also runs through reporting on other unlawful interventions, visible in the Liberal Guardian, for example, who advocated the destruction of Libya in 2011, with editorials that “The faster Muammar al-Gaddafi falls, the better.” The Guardian encouraged NATO, “to tilt the military balance further to the disadvantage of Gaddafi”, while later in the same year summed up that “so far everything went well” – at this time, already thousands were killed.

    In 2015, Ian Birrell, then Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Independent, still assured his readership, “I would say that Britain and France were right to interfere [in Libya]. The failures came later. “Obviously, it was not a problem for two old imperial powers to” interfere “to destroy a sovereign state, and then relieve the intruders of responsibility, since” the failures “only came” later “.
    Deterioration of journalism

    In fact, it rarely happens that you hear a prominent journalist question the balance of Western mainstream coverage. However, the same voices speak out when alternative news sources take a different view that does not suit their tastes.

    Nick Cohen accused the Russia Today station – RT for short – of being a “propaganda channel” in the Guardian, claiming that Russia “degrades journalism.” In the following sentence, Cohen describes the BBC and New York Times as “reputable news organizations.”

    Cohen strongly supported the Iraq war; he wrote at that time, “the left betrays the Iraqi population by opposing the war,” and “an American invasion offers the possibility of salvation.” He was not accused of “reducing journalism by supporting this violation of international law.” even if he later advocated other interventions in Libya and Syria.
    The BBC’s reputation, which Cohen had previously described as “reputable,” got a damper when Cardiff University revealed that the station’s coverage of the Iraq invasion “showed the most war-friendly agenda among all broadcasters.”
    In the information war

    Steven Erlanger of the New York Times described RT as a “representative of Kremlin politics” used to “infiltrate Western democracies” and “destabilize the West.” He failed to substantiate these allegations with any form of evidence. To see these attacks from a different perspective, it might be worthwhile to refer to a crucial excerpt from the First Amendment of the US Constitution: “The Congress may not pass a law that […] cuts the freedom of speech or the press [limit]. ”

    This law does not exist in Western democracies, but attempts to restrict freedom of expression are progressing rapidly as power organs increasingly attack alternative media. We have reached a point where, shortly after taking office, French President Emmanuel Macron publicly attacked legitimate sources of news that they “functioned like deceitful propaganda.”

    Perhaps the hidden concern, for example regarding RT, is due to its growing popularity and reach. The station comes to a total weekly audience of 70 million people and this number is increasing. RT is available to audiences in western core areas such as the UK and US, and eight million Americans watch this channel every week. It is quite a remarkable achievement that a broadcaster bearing the word “Russia” in its title can attract millions of viewers, despite the growing anti-Russia sentiment championed by the Western rulers.

    It speaks volumes that elitist figures like Hillary Clinton have lamented in the past: “We are in an information war and we are about to lose this war.” For the first time in history, populations have broad access to alternative news perspectives – perspectives, which they probably consider more balanced. The undisputed monopoly on public opinion no longer exists.

    • mgr
      December 21, 2018 at 12:41

      Thank you for that. What need for state a owned and run propaganda media machine when you have a “free press” that is voluntarily co-oped. Even better as it also disguises and makes it easier to assimilate. This is perhaps why the mainstream media (I hate using Ms. Palin’s terminology..!) so vehemently hate Glen Greenwald who consistently calls them out for their lack or journalistic integrity and sheer hypocrisy.

      The scary thing is that so many people take what the NYT and other mainstream media say as gospel. On TV, in that sense, Rachael Maddow is the new Judith Miller. The damage she and others is doing is ubiquitous and immense.

  14. mgr
    December 21, 2018 at 07:30

    The NYT is certainly wetting its pants over a reduction in American involvement in foreign wars.

    I recently saw “Shock and Awe”, by all accounts, including from those who were there, an accurate rendering of the neocon drive to expand the American empire starting with a successful overthrow and democratization of Iraq. I guess Iraq was meant to showcase America’s unquestionable “rightness” in leading the world. Paul Wolfowitz was a leading “intellectual” light in that endeavor along with the more Neanderthalic Cheney, Rumsfield and others.

    A couple of things stood out to me from the film. One thing that was a shock was to learn that the independent (from the traditional) “intelligence agency” within the Pentagon that was created to justify the invasion of Iraq and that included Mr. Wolfowitz, was being primarily supplied by “intelligence” from Israeli operatives. Makes you wonder who was/is wagging who. In any case, we can see the result.

    The other thing that stood out in bold relief was the primary, even indispensable, role that the New York Times played in leading us into possibly the stupidest, most self-serving and self-destructive war in history. Or, at least in modern times. Had the NYT actually exercised some journalistic integrity, we might have very well avoided everything, including the world as it now is, that has followed hence. That is a sobering thought because it seems that the NYT continues doing exactly the same thing, acting as a stenographer for government interests that are wedded to the “neocon empire”. Of note, the Russia-gate/collusion narrative which serves that cold war view and the establishment Democrats and now of course the sheer panic revealed at the thought of endless war perhaps not being so endless. It seems that any notion of such a thought must be immediately stamped out like a spark in a field of dry grass before it catches on fire.

    Really, it makes you wonder at the new face of government propaganda wielded by the “free” press. In many instances, the reporting is accurate and valuable, which means they certainly have the ability. But when it comes to certain interests, it’s simply Judith Miller to the core.

    I once read Mr. Lawrence say that he read the NYT times, not to discover the truth of things but rather to find out what he was supposed to believe. I completely agree with him and it seems ever more true. For those interested in the BDS movement, perhaps consider boycotting the NYT as well. Unless you think it will become more accountable by simply asking nicely.

    • vinnieoh
      December 21, 2018 at 11:19

      Whenever folks say throw out your TV, I reply that I watch to know what it is we are supposed to believe. Read between their lines and compare it to what you glean from alternate sources and you get a better picture overall. Like was said of former Soviet experience “at least we knew it was propaganda.” I KNOW that tv is there to influence me, what is it they are trying to convince me of?

      i.e.: When NBC’s morning show came on this 7am their first banner was SHOP! SHOP! SHOP! golly gee whiz, thanks for the reminder, I’d nearly forgot.

      • mgr
        December 21, 2018 at 12:27

        Yes, agreed, and well put.

      • rosemerry
        December 21, 2018 at 14:18

        I could not bear to watch TV “news” and have not had a TV for 18 years. I prefer to have a life! Speaking to friends here (in France) I find they have no idea of events I consider important eg the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou, and keep to local issues, recipes and families. I check websites I have found reliable (CN of course, ICH, tomdispatch, recently the Greanville blog to get extra information. I had never heard of Huawei before this latest bombshell, but found out that all this year the USA has been persuading/forcing its “five eyes” minions to abandon Huawei and getting Japan, EU countries to do so, as obviously only China would be spying on anyone!!

        • WALDRON
          December 22, 2018 at 05:57

          NO PLACE TO HIDE by Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden / Julian Assange on 1984 revelations. The facts speak for themselves. NSA wrote the book on cyberspace spying using warrantless mass surveillance of whole populations. The rise of the Chinese telecommunications blocked as not “trustworthy”. Chinese competition and loss of access limiting NSA reach?

    December 21, 2018 at 04:51

    The Iraqi government requested the US to withdraw their army in Iraq; no such luck.

    US arms deal with Turkey to buy US Patriot missiles contingent on US pullout from Syria?
    Turkey will then be able to defeat the remaining Kurdish armed groups on their border.

    Continued US military presence in Afghanistan after 17 years rates as a more serious issue?

  16. Rong Cao
    December 21, 2018 at 04:01

    President Trump long ago thought that out-sourcing the war in Afghanistan to the private contractors could save the Pentagon lots of money since that war has been in its 17 years. So if the US Army pull off the Syria, the private military contractors would have taken over the fight against Iran and President Trump could also announce he has delivered his campaign promise or something

  17. Steve McGrath
    December 21, 2018 at 01:20

    I assume that many here are surprised by today’s developments which suggests that Trump’s order was sufficiently authoritative to compel DefSec Mattis’ Resignation. If you support the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan then it is incumbent that you each decide if you hate perpetual war more than you hate President Trump.

    It is certainly understandable that you have questioned his will and competence to achieve these ends but now that he has poked the empire loyalists with his big stick, he needs our support.

    • Skip Scott
      December 21, 2018 at 09:38


      I hope you are right, but I smell a rat. His entire presidency thus far has been some kind of weird Theater of the Absurd. His original campaign position was that we don’t have any skin in the game in Syria. But starting day one he went right to kissing Bibi’s butt. Bibi wants us in Syria as far as I can tell. I see another false flag on the horizon, and the puppet master’s strings coming back into play. Trump will get to say “Look I tried, but Assad is gassing his own people again”, and we’ll be back to square one.

      My support will depend on his next pick for SecDef, and whether he falls for the next false flag op. So far his team absolutely SUCKS. Trump is as slithery as an eel, but he’s probably not the sharpest tool in the shed. He mostly cares about his image.

      • Steve McGrath
        December 21, 2018 at 18:03

        I don’t agree with your characterization of Trump’s presidency but I’m not here to defend his performance in office.

        My concern is that there is a growing insurgency by Washington elites and our military command structure to challenge Trump’s authority to lead our foreign policy. I expect that more military leaders will follow Mattis and resign with similar fanfare in protest of Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. The implications of such could prove calamitous to American civil-military relations but perhaps a challenge to the civilian control of our military is what we need more than anything at this moment in our history.

        The current partisan intransigence over Trump causes me great concern because those Americans who might otherwise reject an establishment insurgency to override Trump’s orders to withdraw troops may support it as a means to damage the President or remove him from office. We have already seen how the Russiagate Psyop contributed to the rise of Russophobia among the American population. I’m not suggesting that we must suspend our grievances with the President. Instead, I see this as an opportunity for libertarians, the anti-war left and Trump’s loyal base to rally together behind the cause to bring closure to these disastrous U.S. interventions.

        I understand your distrust of Trump due to his close ties with Bibi but as their relationship applies to Syria, Trump has not ceded his ground. Before he passed, Robert Parry published an article here at CN that highlighted Trump’s resistance to Bibi’s attempts to draw him deeper into the Syrian War. I have included a link below to Parry’s article which was titled “The Possible Education of Donald Trump.”

        It’s an excellent piece of journalism in that it has proven to be accurate in light of the events that have transpired since it was published. I suspect Parry included the word “Possible” in the title because he believed at the time that Trump’s “political toughness” had not yet been tested;

        “Still, a major Israeli attack on Iranian positions inside Syria would test Trump’s political toughness, since he would come under enormous pressure from Congress and the mainstream news media to intervene on Israel’s behalf. Indeed, realistically, Netanyahu must be counting on his ability to drag Trump into the conflict since Israel could not alone handle a potential Russian counterstrike.”

        As you may recall, in May of this year, after Iran launched 20 or so missiles at Israel from inside Syria, Israel responded with a sustained bombing attack on Iranian positions. I’m not sure that the bombing sorties met the scale of an Israeli attack that Parry envisioned, but many viewed it as an attempt by Netanyahu to test Trump’s resolve. President Trump seemed to just shrug and his response was limited to a brief White House statement defending “Israel’s right to act in self-defense.”

        Nevertheless, your cautionary vibe should not be dismissed. I share your expectation that another false flag attack may be imminent and should one occur, Trump’s response will be telling.

        Thanks for your response Skip.

        • Skip Scott
          December 22, 2018 at 09:24


          I agree that the MIC will be pushing back against Trump, and I hope that Trump prevails on this one. I agreed with Trump’s campaign position regarding Syria and Russia, forging bi-lateral trade agreements, and returning manufacturing jobs to the US. But his cabinet choices left me puzzled as to whether these were his true intentions. And his moving the embassy to Jerusalem, his stance on Iran, and reliance on Kushner doesn’t sit well with me. And to be honest, I have always abhorred his personality. Interesting times ahead! Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

          • Steve McGrath
            December 22, 2018 at 13:40

            I generally align with your appraisal of our enigmatic President with the exception that I’m more tolerant of his misgivings. I feel that I owe him some latitude for what I will forever regard as his greatest accomplishment; blocking the ascension of Hillary Clinton to our nation’s highest office. Accordingly, my enthusiasm runs high and my expectations low because my audits of his performance are rarely divorced from consideration of the frightening alternative we narrowly evaded.

            In your earlier reply, you stated that your support for President Trump will hinge on who he selects to replace Mattis.. I will also be watching this closely and it’s my inclination that Trump will prioritize loyalty over experience. If loyalty to Trump will effect loyalty to his mission to constructively disengage our military from Syria and Afghanistan, then I will be on board. It would not surprise me to see him nominate someone from outside of Washington such as a governor of a large state or CEO of a large company. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s name has been mentioned but there are no reports that he is under consideration.

            Are there any specific qualifications or names you could offer that would satisfy your expectations? Thanks Skip…

          • Skip Scott
            December 22, 2018 at 16:46

            My major qualification would be someone willing to seek peace and stand up to the warmongers entrenched in the MIC. Someone who sees that RussiaGate is BS, and that detente with Russia is in everyone’s best interest. And someone who will not sabotage peace seeking efforts and the downsizing of the military. Maybe Scott Ritter?

            Of course the problem is any pick has to be approved by the Senate, unless I’m mistaken. That hamstrings the whole thing, given the Neanderthals in Congress.

            BTW, I totally concur with being saved from HRC.

          • Oscar Shank
            December 23, 2018 at 06:01

            Ditto here.

  18. Jon Lisle-Summers
    December 20, 2018 at 23:12

    It’s complicated. Erdo?an wants the USA out of the Kurdish-held zones so he can launch an ethnic cleansing of all the Kurds. Erdo?an has used the appalling Khashoggi murder astutely so that he can ‘threaten’ Saudi Arabia.
    That, in turn, threatens US support for Saudi Arabia and gives strength to his obsession with getting Gulen extradited for allegedly engineering the failed coup. Did he really? He’s old and a long way from home.
    Let’s not forget that Erdo?an’s secret service were providing arms and materiel to Daech before Kobane because Daech was fighting the Kurds. So it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that the failed coup was an Erdo?an honeypot all along.
    Being a consistent and reliable ally isn’t in his playbook. He’s an old-fashioned percentage player.
    As for the USA and their allies, the Kurds, America has a sketchy record of loyalty in the past, as the Koreans and Vietnamese can attest. With #45 in charge, that goes double. He demands uncritical, unbreakable loyalty from others but has no hesitation in throwing whoever is at hand under the bus when his more transparent fantasies evaporate.
    Frankly, you could have a more intelligent conversation with Captain Hook’s parrot.

    • Colleen Clark
      December 21, 2018 at 02:09

      I agree that the US withdrawing from Syria is bad news for the Kurds. This complication is surely not understood by Trump, nor by most the of the US press. Nearly 50 years ago I was a Peace Corps volunteer English teacher in a province in southeastern Turkey with a large Kurdish population. The official Turkish position was that there were no Kurds. Of course, they knew there were Kurds they just preferred to keep them out of the news. Most of the US press doesn’t know much about deep Turkish prejudice against the Kurds. Withdrawing our troops from Syria would embolden the Turks.

    • Deniz
      December 21, 2018 at 02:51

      When did it first dawn on you that a military alliance with US and Israel would not end well for the Kurds?

      • Bear
        December 21, 2018 at 16:10

        Israel supports the Kurds.

        • Deniz
          December 21, 2018 at 17:13

          Then perhaps Israel should show the Kurds their support by giving the Kurds some of their territories, rather than militirizing them to take over the oil fields in Iraq and Syria and fraction Turkey.

    • Alois Mueller
      December 21, 2018 at 06:40

      “Did he really?” Good question! Fuller and Henry (both CIA) could answer your question! Both had been on “Holydays” siiting in a Hotel on Princess Island during the failed operation!

  19. Don Bacon
    December 20, 2018 at 20:08

    “It would be nice to think the president has final say on foreign policy, given the U.S. Constitution. . .It would also be nice to think the president and commander-in-chief has the final say in his administration’s policies overseas, given the constitution by which we are supposed to be governed.”
    There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives “final say” to the president in foreign affairs. In fact the U.S. Constitution implies just the opposite: Article II, Section 2: “2: [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”
    Recently we have seen presidents act unconstitutionally to conduct foreign affairs and even devise treaties, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s just further proof that we really don’t have a democracy in the U.S.

    • Brian
      December 21, 2018 at 00:23

      Article 2 Section 2:
      The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States.

      • michael
        December 21, 2018 at 07:46

        Pretty clear that the Deep State has its own agenda and considers itself above the Constitution and Law. Trump is hamstrung by deliberate incompetence in “following orders” and slow-walking the same. He has no people of his own to get things done and the Establishment doesn’t seem to mind taking down America if Trump goes with it. The “Resistance” and refusal to accept Election results is probably the new normal in the partisan banana republic that now is the United States.
        Both the NY Times and Wall Street Journal had photos or mentions of John Brennan, who was stripped of his clearance, attending the closed door Senate meeting on Khashoggi. Not sure he actually went in, but you can be sure CIA subordinates briefed him on the facts so he could pontificate from his perch at MSNBC spouting propaganda made legal by the 2014 gutting of the Smith Mundt Act. America has become a Police State ruled by whoever rules our intelligence agencies and their mainstream media.

      • Don Bacon
        December 21, 2018 at 11:11

        So what? Commanding the military when called up is entirely separate from “the final say in his administration’s policies overseas.” Also:
        >”when called into the actual service” implies extraordinary use of military.
        > Section 8’s congressional powers —
        12: “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
        13: To provide and maintain a Navy;”
        also implies minimal usage of Armies, and again, congress rules.

  20. December 20, 2018 at 19:17

    So what will happen if Sanders runs and wins in 2020?

    • Skip Scott
      December 21, 2018 at 09:21

      I don’t put much faith in Sander’s foreign policy creds, but his domestic policy platform scares the bejesus out of the Oligarchy. He’d better watch out for the long knives if he wins.

  21. Skip Scott
    December 20, 2018 at 16:22

    Off-topic but important. For the past two days I’ve been unable to access Information Clearing House? I am actually getting a message that says FORBIDDEN. Is anyone else getting this?

    • ML
      December 20, 2018 at 20:37

      I have gotten that message in the past, but not lately. It’s spooky, but predictable.

    • Lois Gagnon
      December 20, 2018 at 20:40

      I just pulled it up on Firefox. What server are you using? I had that happen with OpEd News on FF. It turns out the site had upgraded its security which caused problems with some servers. I can access it fine with Chrome and Safari. Maybe try a different server.

      • Skip Scott
        December 21, 2018 at 09:18

        Thanks. It’s back this morning. I’m using malwarebytes on a Mac. Maybe they were temporarily blocking it. I just did an upgrade on malwarebytes this AM, maybe that fixed it?

  22. LJ
    December 20, 2018 at 15:16

    Yeah. Sucks. Don’t think this President or maybe any other can do anything about this even though the majority of the American People do not support aggressive War, extra-Constitutional Occupation or support of Recognized Terrorists (Former Senator John McCain notwithstanding: God Rest his Soul, wherever it may be). Most all of us learn from experience, most of us would like to see the USA refrain from attacking other nations to institute Regime Change. It is costly and the unintended consequences are unmanageable. This makes clear an institutional inadequacy, basically, a problem in Post-Democratic Society. Entrenchment in the various bureaucracies at all levels wants/needs to validate and reproduce itself and their budgets, Of course eventually (Read Now) this leads to endemic corruption. Made more severe by a narrowed and politicized cabal in charge of National Media. We all know the old legend about the little girl at the parade blurting out, The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes. She’s too busy now practicing for an appearance on American Idol to sing like that.. In fairness, it was no different in the Soviet/Socialist Model and that’s what brought them down, nor in the State managed economies today. I/we do not like Change. We got this far by resisting change, muddling along, now change is coming fast and we are not adapted for this kind of thing. We are primates that can organize ourselves adequately for crisis events in small groups, not Billions. This is a failing in our species. So far. Maybe I can get on a Rocket ship with a couple Billionaires and some Squeezes and go live in an artificial environment on Mars and things will be better. We won’t have to take the take the Truth we will be free to evolve into something better. Trump is taking vengeance on the pundits and “liberals” in the media that say that he’s the dumb one. They get to taste the bitterness of their own hypocrisy. It’s kind of like Susan Boyle singing to an audience that looks down on her. Isn’t she gross, ugly, kind of retarded. PS I very much enjoy Boyle’s version of Don’t Dream It’s Over.Peace, Merry Christmas.

  23. Jeff Harrison
    December 20, 2018 at 14:43

    Well, here is where the rubber hits the road. The media needs to be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help them God. But they don’t. We read of the II (integrity initiative) an effort by the US and UK to feed CIA and MI6 narratives to compliant media outlets and/or staffers. We see the French going so far as to alter the meaning of a sign held up by a protester and the media propagated the altered image! Not to be outdone, Germany’s Der Spiegel admitted that many stories from one of their staffers were fake news. One could go on like this for a while, actually. Is there any wonder that, as several commenters have noted, the majority of on-line commenters seem to be demanding Assad’s head? I mean, what do they know? They only know the propaganda promulgated in the MSM by the USG. They don’t have Patrick telling them the difference between what’s said and what’s done, for example.

    • December 20, 2018 at 19:20

      The media are a big part of the problem. You can’t expect them to help with the solution.

    • Alois Müller
      December 21, 2018 at 06:51

      “Even if the US president really wants to pull out of Syria, in reality the Pentagon and the CIA are determining US policy on Syria and what to do.” The Pentagon and the CIA seem to think and operate completely independently of the president These are also some insights that I have gained in my work in Syria, these two institutions are the real masters who decide whether to go or stay in troops, “said war correspondent Asirov, explaining the contradictory statements from the US.”

      May Trump overcome the real eval!

    • Alois Mueller
      December 21, 2018 at 07:28

      The pawn sacrifice
      Der Spiegel separates from one of its fake news producers to distract from the actual scandal.

      The current Spiegel scandal is a big uproar. Reporter Claas Relotius has apparently invented many or all of his reports partially or completely. The excitement about it, however, is lying, because the former news magazine has failed at least since the reporting to 9/11.

      In 2004, when I had talked about 9/11 on a television program with two “Spiegel” editors, and then we had a chat over a coffee, they said that they had a lot of good things in my books – they were on the program before and accused me of “conspiracy theories” and “bad research” – only that I always refer to their magazine as a “former news magazine”, that they would not like at all. This term once slipped out on a lecture when I commented on a mirrored story titled “9/11 – What really happened”, and how that is – when the audience laughs, we take the gag into the repertoire – pulled it Clarification of the top-class brand “news magazine” then as a mendacious word its circles. To learn that the “Spiegel” people were annoyed about that, of course, was pleasing.

      It was, among other things, this story – a story of the “real” events assembled in a reportage style by a dozen reporters – and a book that they made out of what I did in 2002 with the “Spiegel” editor Ulrich Fichtner at the “Funkhausgespräch” in the WDR radio discussed. And because the Internet, and my hard drive, does not forget anything, I’ve just re-uploaded the transcript of the program:

      Bröckers: No, you make it too easy, because you keep claiming that DER SPIEGEL researches properly and tries to be as truthful as possible etc ….

      Fichtner: SPIEGEL is doing its best, that’s the problem. SPIEGEL is doing its best and I admit that it is by no means perfect. I admit that SPIEGEL was not in a position to handle these events …

      Bröckers: You completely failed. Since 9/11, no investigative journalism has taken place in your country. (Applause)

      As far as a small excerpt from the long conversation that moderated Walter van Rossum – and I remembered when I read the article by Ulrich Fichtner on the fake reports of the “mirror” reporter Claas Relotius: a self-incrimination in just this stupid reportage style with which the imaginative Relotius had mended the editorial offices. Bit factual, a bit human, with “authentic” protagonists, atmospheric background, quotations that are suitable as teasers and – most importantly – with stories that fit the general spin. The great horror, how such a thing could overcome the documentation department of the “Spiegel”, I understand, but I not take it seriously. And if it were really about cleaning up with pseudo-journalism and fake reports and creating transparency, I would have a rather hot tip for Ulrich Fichtner, meanwhile vice-editor-in-chief at the “Spiegel”, how to no longer lead the readers behind the spruce and from the “former” again can make a useful news magazine:

      start at 9/11!

      • Gene Poole
        December 21, 2018 at 08:18

        Alois Müller: Could you tell us what language that was written in?

    • Marb
      December 23, 2018 at 01:55

      Since when has any media, told unbiased truth?, such media whether state , corporate or independent has never ever existed… Absolute truth has never ever existed, such are the conceits of ideology and religion .. Unbiased ,impartial Media has never ever existed… Human beings are incapable of “Absolute” impartiality… The concept is a beautiful pipedream.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 14:29

      Great link-thanks.

  24. john doe
    December 20, 2018 at 13:26

    Trump is just an actor playing a role and the media assigned him the role of the negative character. Why they did it can be easily explained. Our instincts push us to rely heavily on associations in our judgements to speed up our decision, we tend to judge positively a negatively something depending on what is associated with it rather than the thing itself. This is well known and it is a weakness often exploited by the propaganda. The media keeps always alive strong positive and negative profiles and then use them to alter our opinion about anything by association.
    Now Trump is saying that he wants to withdraw the troops because they know that when it won’t happen people will simply associate it with another failure of the incompetent Trump. Like the eternal chaos in Iraq was blamed on the incompetent neocons. Thus nobody realize that the eternal chaos is the purpose, not the result of a failure, furthermore the eternal chaos is continuously fuelled it is not just the result of past mistakes.

    • Alois Müller
      December 21, 2018 at 06:54

      “that the eternal chaos is the purpose, not the result of a failure”: right! But there is always some hope!

  25. December 20, 2018 at 12:41

    December 20, 2018

    “A War Criminals Christmas Card”

    Greetings to all our war criminal friends
    You know how on each other we depend
    We bomb and invade countries that never attacked ours
    But, hey in our war business killing never sours

    We kill millions, and millions in many lands
    We create millions of refugees, because war is our brand
    We destroy and pollute the seas and the air
    We are powerful villains and we don’t care

    We are untouchable and we are the ruling elites
    We kill children with drones as they play in their streets
    We sell and produce weapons of mass destruction
    And those that use them get hellish satisfaction

    We are satanic savages in expensive suits and dresses
    We even get medals and praise for our obscene excesses
    We reside and inhabit the halls of political power
    We have fancy titles to our names, wherever we gather

    We hide all our atrocities under the title of “national security”
    We are clever villains and masters of duplicity
    Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
    Were reduced to heaps of rubble by our warmongering crew

    We rule the masses and call the system “democracy”
    We have “experts” and “marketers” to promote our hypocrisy
    So from one war criminal to another, I send best regards
    Best war wishes for you all in this war criminals Christmas card…

    • Alois Mueller
      December 21, 2018 at 07:04

      Thanks for the simple truth!

  26. Deniz
    December 20, 2018 at 12:38

    The US is simply not a democracy or any type of representative government, it does not matter what any of the politicians think personally they all answer to special interests. Politicians create a fiction of change to sell themselves to the public and obtain office. Once they get in, they are completely subservient to the MIC, Israel, Oil, the Banks, the CIA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Billionaires, and a great number of of assorted anonymous behind the scenes power players.

    Ironically, I noticed this in a recent trip to Turkey. Erdogan is constantly hustling to get his ideas out to the people to make sure they vote and support him. Even though he is certainly a dictator, he is still ultimately accountable to the people through the ballot box. He is also a politician who is clearly in charge of Turkey’s destiny. He decides what happens and in Turkey and he is an elected politician, nobody in the country has the power to circumvent him. He does not answer to a corporation, a bank, or an ethic identity group, they all answer to him. I was simply amazed to understand that Turkey’s deeply flawed system operates at a higher standard of representative government than we do in the US.

    • Alois Mueller
      December 21, 2018 at 07:09

      Who really controlles us:
      From the mouth of Netanjahu in his “Invective speach in Finks Bar” 1990:

      “If we are caught, we are only replaced by persons of the same kind. So do not be interested in what you are doing. America is a golden calf, and we will suck it, chop and sell it bit by bit until there is nothing left but the greatest welfare state in the world that we create and control. Why? Because that is the will of God and America is big enough to cope with the blow and we can do it again and again. This is what we do to the countries we hate. We are destroying them very slowly and let them suffer for refusing to be our slaves. “(Credit to the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States Department of Defense)

    December 20, 2018 at 11:25

    In Aljazeera, Putin is quoted as saying pulling out the troops was a good idea, but he also said, importantly, ‘Nevertheless, Putin cast doubt on Washington’s plans, saying “we don’t see any signs of withdrawing US troops yet, but I concede that it is possible.”‘

  28. Gerald
    December 20, 2018 at 11:06

    Lawerence got it right: one step forward, two steps down (deeper: can’t be seen)

  29. Michael Kenny
    December 20, 2018 at 11:00

    I tend to see this as part of Trump’s attempt to find money for his wall.

    • Skip Scott
      December 23, 2018 at 08:46

      I am wondering if instead of trying to pass it by congress, he will try to find some legal way as “Commander in Chief” to have the military actually build the wall.

  30. December 20, 2018 at 10:55

    The two Korea’s working to improve relations, the decision of Germany to continue with the gas pipeline, progress in Syria despite our opposition, all these are good signs not only for the rest of the world but ultimately for America. Putin once articulated the proposition that this must be a multipolar world and we hated him for, but he is right. and our arrogance and insensitivity are aiding those forces moving away from dependence and obeisance to the United States. At least we can hope.

    Great summation and analysis by Patrick Lawrence.

    When I see the damage done by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other major media outlets, we are long past due to apply some of the early twentieth century thinking that applied to financial concentrations of power to concentration of information dissemination power. They need to be broken up.

    Thinking of two major problems as the election process and the media arrangements, both need to be addressed. How we elect our representatives and how the flow of information to our citizens, both need to be addressed. Too, they are interconnected.

      December 20, 2018 at 11:47

      While I agree with the direction of your comments, you use the word “need” a couple of times.

      Need from whose point of view?

      That’s not intended as a flip or glib question.

      The people actually running America have no desire for either major change – elections or the press – let alone “need.”

      Things work nicely for them, an establishment of very wealthy individuals supported by ”bought” legislators and an empire-supporting military-security monstrosity, so from where do we see an impulse to change?

      Citizen wishes count for awfully little in the set-up.

      Otherwise, there’d be a genuine national healthcare, proper gun control, and assistance to America’s worst hellhole slums, of which there are many.

      • rosemerry
        December 21, 2018 at 14:38

        Gilens and Page’s survey in 2014, widely disseminated, showed that what the population wants is rarely even discussed, let alone pushed ahead as laws voted on and passed by the “Representatives of the People” in congress, while the “needs” of the very rich are often those passed into law. The SCOTUS and also State governments contribute to this 1% winners/the rest ignored situation.

  31. mike k
    December 20, 2018 at 10:44

    Israel and the globalist oligarchs dictate American foreign policy. How to unseat these forces (our real leaders) is the huge problem we must solve otherwise nuclear and/or ecological catastrophe will be our likely fate.

  32. December 20, 2018 at 10:28

    We’ve heard “Trump says we’re leaving Syria” before. Yet Patrick Lawrence is one of the few who remembers.

    You would think the press would have learned by now that knee-jerk repetition of Trump’s impulsive tweets only confuses everyone. It and helps spread his propaganda agenda of there being no objective reality in the news through the illusory truth effect.

    But they don’t. They repeat Trump’s gibberish without critical thinking. Again. It’s almost as if the media profits by spreading manure around the farm. Almost…

    We never should have allowed Twitter tweets and twats to become a medium for “real news” in the first place. It’s about the same as publishing notes confiscated from high school students passed during Spanish class.

    ‘Trump Says…’ The Journalist Malpractice of Echo-Chamber Headlines

    • flashlight joe
      December 20, 2018 at 14:36

      You are right on. My only disagreement is “Almost”. My take is it is deliberate. Entertain, distract, and confuse the people and they will be paralyzed, not knowing what is real.

      I know people who continuously watch “The Trump Show” on Fox News and they are addicted junkies. They think they are watching news but they are emotionally engaged like they are watching a sports game, complete with rooting for their team, booing the other team, and talking back to the refs.

      Trump is just the MC. The MIC rules. While the CEO is changed every few years, just to give people something to hold onto, the board of directors is the same.

  33. December 20, 2018 at 10:06

    It’s news all over the Western world this morning, but I very much share the author’s scepticism.

    It would be a very good thing, if true. Syria and Russia could get on with establishing a new peaceful order, and this beautiful land could set itself to rebuilding and calling its refugees home.

    Of course, Presidents are not really in charge despite what it may say on the dusty old parchment in the National Archives.

    And the Neocons now surrounding Trump have rather intense loyalties to Israel, as does Trump himself.

    And a great deal of the impulse, as well as supplies and support, for the mercenaries in Syria came from Israel and its covert partner, Saudi Arabia.

    The Pentagon’s new “full spectrum dominance” view of the world is not in keeping either. That is the view supporting Washington’s drive for an American imperial resurgence in all directions.

    So, I’m not sure whether fundamentals for America have changed. And I’m not sure I see an ounce of courage in Trump to do anything against the advice of the Pentagon and Israel’s powerful lobbies.

    It is a ridiculous position for America to be in, occupying part of a country against the will of its national government and training separatist elements.

    But America has done a lot of ridiculous things in recent decades. And terribly brutal things.

    Washington often resembles a crowd of rich brats playing in a giant sandbox, using other people’s lives as toys.

    With all of America’s own immense problems ignored, almost all the attention of its leaders and available resources go to pushing people around in various parts of the world.

    It’s brutal and in many ways senseless and extremely dangerous for the world, and America has yet to leave any of the places in which it interferes improved. No they are left in ruins with bodies and military poisons such as depleted uranium spread across the countryside.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 14:44

      We can notice now too the continued support after 4 years of chaos for the terrible “government” and military action of Ukraine since the USA helped overthrow a leader they did not like (while Russia had managed to work with a pro-Western lot since 2010). Also the USA-not NATO or anyone else, wants to build an army in Kosovo, the huge US base posing as a country. Anything to stay anywhere and cause trouble.

  34. RnM
    December 20, 2018 at 09:59

    The war planners of the MIC need to take a close look at their career positions, and then go looking for another job, not another theater of war.

    Merriam Webster definition of “decencies”:
    ….conditions or services considered essential for a proper standard of living…

    By definition, your life works are indecent. Your work lowers the population’s standard of living. Get a real job!

    • December 20, 2018 at 20:08

      There is a competing “health industrial complex” that gets more than double of MIC’s share of GDP, enjoys excellent profit margins and lobbying power to much. And some lesser “complexes”. MIC is unique in terms of prestige, but the largest profits are elsewhere, which may drain MIC from the best (well, most efficient) minds. Those who could, probable changed carriers already.

      • Sam F
        December 20, 2018 at 22:42

        Yes, our economy has descended from actual production of goods and services to an economy of extortion, false advertising, billing fraud, and markups. The military can extort only by inventing external risks in collusion with primitive tyrants who demand power as protectors. The medical industry extorts on the basis of real risks, but it is still extortion.

        • RnM
          December 21, 2018 at 08:44

          In many ways, there is a history of how medicine and MIC wash each other’s hands. I worked as a surgical tech alongside surgeons serving in Viet Nam, as well as some WWII vintage guys (no women allowed back then). They developed saleable skills and techniques in theaters of war. True then, and true now. I suppose therein lies some “benefit” from carnage. To some minds, anyway.

  35. GKJames
    December 20, 2018 at 09:39

    I disagree with the narrative that, but for the “the deep state’s” obstruction, the US would have a more enlightened foreign policy under this president. First, the president has impulses, not ideas and even less “policies”. For him, the sole concern is appealing to his voters, for whom the primacy of facts is hardly vital. The obvious consequence is that constituencies, in this case the Pentagon, are easily able to fill the vacuum in the presidential cranial space. Certainly, DOD has its views on policy, but first comes the money (doled out to the service branches in equal measure, as is customary, to keep the officer class happy). It’s hardly news that in post-WWII America, more money to the military is a perpetually winning political formula. The Pentagon asks, and gets; which is why it keeps asking.

    Second, the proposed narrative omits reference to Congress which, for better or worse, does represent the public and its general worldview. That worldview may be outdated and delusional, but it accurately reflects the public’s preferences, of which meddling in other countries and a global (and expanding) military presence remain keystones. Certainly, there are voices advocating something different, but they’re simply outnumbered by those who, knowingly or not, are just fine with the status quo.

    • Skip Scott
      December 20, 2018 at 15:34

      It is a lie that congress represents the people. Here is a Princeton study that shows otherwise.

      • December 20, 2018 at 20:22

        At the very least, the elective representatives pretend to do something on issues that voters care about, bragging about attempts and (with luck) achievements, and on other issues, they have wide latitude and they can follow their minds, or their hearts or the money that they can get.

        What representative democracy can give is a relative ease of changing the personnel in charge in case of major discontent. Actual “representations of people’s interest” requires people to articulate them. Alternatively, there exists an avant garde that can divine those interest and get to power somehow (a revolution?).

        No system that I know assures that a replacement of people in control is for the better or even, not for the worse. But the public can hope that trial and error will give them “good guys” more often than not, but again, on issues that they care about.

        • GKJames
          December 21, 2018 at 07:14

          @Piotr Berman Agreed; the essence of representative government is the process by which voters can choose and, subsequently, un-choose the persons to represent them. Which is why I don’t understand the contention that Congress doesn’t represent the people. There have been elections held every two years for more than two centuries; there’s not a single thing that happens in Washington, which some constituency or other doesn’t want to happen. The current state of things, then, accurately reflects what the public, as a whole, wants (or can’t be bothered to oppose). Certainly, there are advocates for a change in direction on certain issues. But that the direction doesn’t change simply means that its advocates are outnumbered. And while their unhappiness is understandable, their allegation that Congress doesn’t represent what the public wants is not.

    • Sam F
      December 20, 2018 at 22:35

      Yes, the “perpetually winning political formula” is more money to the military, Israel, and WallSt, because they always feed back a few percent as political bribes. Until we restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited personal contributions, we shall not have democracy.

      On Congress, the majority acquiesce in any status quo, whether by desperation, ignorance, apathy, or amorality. No one can really agree with Congress because it does not make policy rationally or in accordance with any interest, but only bribes and tribal kleptocracy.

      • GKJames
        December 21, 2018 at 07:31

        @ Sam F Your reference to “desperation, ignorance, apathy, or amorality” is right enough and, not surprisingly, reflected in the quality of human capital sent to Congress to do the public’s business. Some of us may believe that term limits and publicly funded election campaigns would be useful (and that Buckley v. Valeo, which deemed money to be speech, was wrongly decided), but such ideas get no traction for the simple reason that not enough people want that. What you refer to as “bribery” is in fact squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease. If there were a broad enough consensus, the public could insist on doing things differently.

  36. December 20, 2018 at 09:04

    USA is ISIS & Terror
    Chump approves over $2 billion for terrorist arms: The Department of Defense has budgeted $584 million specifically for this Syrian operation for the financial years 2017 and 2018, and has earmarked another $900 million of spending on Soviet-style munitions between now and 2022. The total, $2.2 billion, likely understates the flow of weapons to Syrian rebels in the coming years. – Fredi Hazeem

  37. Kim Dixon
    December 20, 2018 at 07:58

    Wanna read something scary?

    Head over to the NYT’s coverage of Trump’s alleged pullout in Syria. The reader comments are telling. Order them by Most Popular, and it’s a cavalcade of demands that we take down that monster Assad, that Trump is a traitor to Russia, etc. It seems that the Deep State, through its mainstream media arm, has managed to slowly turn the slice of the US public once most likely to be in favor of peace into ignorant Neocon warmongers.

    These same DNC sheep would be touting Obama as the Peace President, were he the one to be pulling out of the Syrian disaster. Amoral tribalists, every one.

    • Bart
      December 20, 2018 at 19:49

      “Full disclosure” I am a subscriber, and the comments at the Post and Times represent a sad commentary on education in America and the ability of the MSM to brainwash.

      How can I invest in Kool Aid shares, as it flows like wine there?

      • RnM
        December 21, 2018 at 08:50

        I prefer not to acknowledge the existence of those rags. I hope they go out of print and pixel. Bloody handed, sinister minded, and evil intentioned minions.

  38. Realist
    December 20, 2018 at 05:41

    Don’t know how well-developed this story is, but I read one source that said Uncle Sam has struck a deal with Erdogan giving him carte blanche to attack the Kurds in Syria in return for which Turkey reneges on its contract to buy S-400 missiles from Russia and buy Patriots from Washington instead. This is meant to put Putin in a bind, as the Russian Turkstream pipeline is at risk if relations with Erdogan sour going forward. Washington will perpetrate just about any dastardly deed to get in another lick at Russia. This time it is selling out the Kurds. The report further said Washington has no intention of vacating the Al Tanf quadrant of Syria. So much for the definition of “complete” withdrawal. It must be said that the report I read was not from Russian sources, which have remained mum on the “promised” American withdrawal and breathed not a word about any changes in the S-400 contract other than to speculate about possible Turk plans to turn over the S-400 system to American analysts. Washington makes sure things get more complicated every day.

    • Bear
      December 20, 2018 at 13:57

      This is quite possible but I still have hope that somehow the Kurds will manage to survive, if not with the help of the U.S. then with Russia’s help.

    • Skip Scott
      December 20, 2018 at 15:35

      Sounds about right to me Realist.

      • RnM
        December 21, 2018 at 08:53

        The lesson is don’t become landlocked. Figuratively or actually.

    • LJ
      December 20, 2018 at 21:14

      Syria’s Kurds do not have the possibility of creating a self sustaining state. They need the Syrian OIL fields that US surrogates are lurking in. They cannot hold these fields themselves. This was always a problem for the Syrian Kurds and made a lot of people wonder why they would do the US”s bidding when they were even more certain to eventually be cast adrift than were the Iraqi Kurds. When you say Kurds what you are actually saying is Mercenaries and they get what they deserve . Turkey cannot afford unrest in its Kurdish areas and they are a very important player in that part of the world. Erdogan sells people out and ships position faster than anybody with the possible exception of the Lebanese Druse politician Walid Jumblatt who’s family has been in the game for 700 years. What I’m guessing is Turkey takes the oil and the S-400 but finds another way to help the USA leverage Russia.

  39. December 20, 2018 at 02:21

    So who dictates America’s conduct abroad to even US presidents?

    Ron Unz asks and answers this question too.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 14:53

      I have read this article, which sounds possibly plausible. I then read a comment that the Macau casinos are in a special zone not actually under China’s control-I do not know any more.

  40. Miranda M Keefe
    December 20, 2018 at 01:31

    I thought I’d replied.

    But it showed no comments. So the system is acting up again.

    • tester
      December 20, 2018 at 08:32

      Not just acting up: commenters are being censored by political viewpoint.

      • Realist
        December 20, 2018 at 15:40

        What seems to be happening, at least in my experience, is very erratic. Sometimes a comment will simply be entered permanently on the board straight off. That’s the outcome we all expect after we craft an essay and click “post comment.” However, sometimes one is immediately told that his work is going to “moderation.” There it may stay for an indefinite period before unpredictably appearing if you’ve said nothing obscene or ad hominem. But sometimes it might go directly to the board before being disappeared later. This is what irritates me the most. As in case two, your work may or may not later reappear. It may reappear long after any vibrant discussion of your point has already passed by. This is also quite aggravating. CN says this is not censorship, and most especially not based on political view. But, in the absence of profane language or the use of certain PI stereotypes, I cannot discern what the disappearances and delays are based upon. Whether the actions are the result of some machine logic or actual live human logic, I cannot tell.

        Another annoying feature of this site is the faulty spell-check it employs which has me constantly doubting my spelling abilities. The robot will underline some word I’ve entered in red (indicating a misspelling), but which I’m sure is correct. I’ll check the spelling on google and, sure enough, I’m right, most of the time. Maybe the spell check program is embedded in Windows or Chrome, because the problem occurs even on emails, and I shouldn’t be blaming this site. Anyone else notice the problem?

        • Skip Scott
          December 20, 2018 at 15:48

          Yes to all, Realist. I’ve got a Mac, and I get the phony misspelled underlines as well on occasion, especially on names, and even the author’s name. I have no idea why, but occasionally I’ll have a comment withheld for a couple days or more, and then suddenly reappear.

        • vinnieoh
          December 20, 2018 at 19:13

          I’ve got another theory, but haven’t expressed it because it’s probably hokum. A relatively small group of trolls can poison a forum on a site like this. I regularly (daily) check several sites for interesting articles, one of them being Truthdig. Recently I noticed that, at least on my PC the comments feature (at Truthdig) was shut down or unavailable. I remember thinking that was just as well, because a relatively small collection of posters commandeered the conversation with the usual direction towards negativity, partisanship, and narrow-mindedness. I’m guessing it wasn’t just my PC because I noticed some of the same names appearing on other sites’ forums that had previously been untouched or ignored. Don’t ask me why I would read comments on a forum I don’t participate in; maybe I’m a masochist and don’t realize it.

          I decided to post, vent, or lament here on CN because their forum is strictly their own and you don’t need an account on some social media platform to have a say. I used Disqus a very long time ago but when the site I had been on for years suddenly required the use of a social media platform or signing on anew with Disqus, well I read their UTA which plainly states how aggressively they will harvest your data, profile, etc. to make money. Seeing as how my interests and comments concern the political, and not mainstream in the least, I decided to avoid Disqus like the plague. Yes, what I say here can be apprehended, retrieved, and stored somewhere I would not like, but it would take extra effort and would hardly be worth anyone’s while.

          Now, the way this forum has been operating since it began to “malfunction” would be very discouraging to trolls or groups of trolls trying to shut down conversation and discussion, or bend opinion this way or that on certain hot-button stories and issues. Yes, it does hamper a free-flowing discussion for everyone, but it does seem to keep the worst of the conversation-smashers away. I don’t know anyone at CN, and only they know why the forum acts the way it does; by design, or through lack of funds or manpower, or perhaps they’re under an ongoing technical attack. Operating the way it does also is conducive to original postings and not just follow-ons, pilings-on. Like many others, I’m more than a mite curious.

          • Skip Scott
            December 21, 2018 at 12:03


            I think you are on the right track with your theory. I too believe it is by design. We’ve had no comment from CN despite numerous complaints posted here throughout the entire time period.

      • Skip Scott
        December 20, 2018 at 15:40


        It’s not censorship by viewpoint. The comment system is messed up and has been since mid-October. There is a work-around.
        Post a test comment, and you will see your comment reappear and all the latest comments as well. You can then reload the page within 5 minutes, select edit comment, and then delete your test comment. It’s a pain, but it does work. If you don’t do that you may not see many comments until later, even the following day.

    • Diana
      December 20, 2018 at 08:43

      You did. Yours was the first comment. Go all the way to the bottom, and you’ll find it.

  41. December 20, 2018 at 01:02

    i believe t here needs to be justice for the people of Syria and other countries invaded by the war criminals in our midst in illegal wars.
    “A Christmas Report on the Crimes of the War Criminals”

    There is no “Peace on Earth” because of what you do
    Millions are dead and their homes destroyed, all “thanks” to you
    Some cities have been reduced to burning, smoking rubble
    And some countries are now in chaos; you started all this trouble

    Millions are in refugee camps, and millions wander the earth
    Many refugees are drowning in the sea, or lying dead in the surf
    Bombing, killing, blood and gore is your legacy to humanity
    All of you posture on the world stage and promote more bloody insanity

    So as you toast each other and drink glasses of blood red wine
    Perhaps in your hypocrisy you don’t realise that you are, the “Gadarene Swine”
    Fiends dressed in expensive suits, with “honourable” titles to your names
    When you all should be in prison gear, and hanging your heads in shame…

    As you all relax for the holiday season, no doubt you will be sending each other Christmas Greetings or Happy Holidays. It has been a busy war supporting year, 2018, for many of you. Supplying the weapons that destroyed and decimated many countries, and attending meetings with other war criminals, oops, I mean with other world leaders….
    [read much more at link below]

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 20, 2018 at 09:33

      Stephan J., I’m not going to thank you for your diligence as I always do, I’m simply going to encourage other readers to appreciate your research and your effort to record the deep injustice being committed by the TPTB. I completely agree that crimes have been committed and that justice must be served…

      • December 20, 2018 at 12:45

        Thanks Bob Van Noy
        Merry Christmas to you and yours and to all at CN.

  42. December 20, 2018 at 00:52

    Excellent piece Patrick…..and quick off the starting blocks.


    Ray McGovern

  43. Tom Kath
    December 20, 2018 at 00:09

    Every leader must have support to actually implement his policies. It is merely a reflection of the flawed type of “Democracy” USA has. The voters have NO say, except to endorse the power of money.

  44. Bear
    December 19, 2018 at 23:44

    Not one mention of the Kurds in this entire article? The Kurds were instrumental if not essential in the fight against ISIS. Oh, but since the U.S. is allied with the Kurds in Syria we can’t mention them, is that it? And if the U.S. pulls out the Turks will be more likely to launch a devastating attack on the Kurds, so I’m for leaving the U.S. troops in place.

    • MBeaver
      December 20, 2018 at 05:44

      The Kurds really didnt do much. They also didnt have the manpower in any case.
      In Raqqa they let ISIS run (google for BBC Raqqa deal), all the territory they conquered from ISIS, was because ISIS retreated. Either because they didnt have enough soldiers left themselves because of Assads/Russias campaign or because of deals between them and the Kurds. The little region left proves how weak Kurds really are. They cant for the sake of god get this little area under control. They even got pushed back to the Iraqi border a few month ago.

      • Bear
        December 20, 2018 at 14:09

        On 17 July 2013, Kurdish fighters expelled the jihadists from the town of Ras al-Ayn.
        On 19 July, the YPG captured the village of Tal A’lo.
        On 20 July, the YPG took control of a key dam previously held by the Islamists.
        On 26 October the YPG took control of the al-Yaarubiyah border crossing with Iraq[86] as well as the town itself.[87]

        On 28 October, the ISIS front in the oil-rich Çil Axa region completely collapsed. The YPG captured the villages of Girhok, Yusufiyê, Sefa, Cinêdiyê, Girê Fatê, Ebû Hecer and Mezraa Kelem while remnants of the ISIS forces fled to Tal Hamis and Tal Brak.
        On 2 November, Kurdish forces launched an offensive called the “Serekeniye Martyrs’ Offensive”, with the aim of consolidating their control of Hasaka province by pushing jihadist forces out of the area surrounding Ras al-Ayn.
        On 6 November, in Hasakah province, the YPG took over two villages west of Tall Tamer, on the highway to Aleppo.
        During the night of 26/27 December, the YPG launched an offensive on jihadist-controlled areas between Hasakah and Qamishli, during which they took Tell Brak District.

        educate yourself

    • Rob
      December 20, 2018 at 11:11

      If the U.S. does exit Syria, the Kurds will find themselves in a sticky situation. But I wish to challenge your implication that the Kurds battle against ISIS furthered U.S. goals. It has been quite clear for some time that the United States, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Israel supported ISIS and other jihadists in an effort to topple the Assad regime. The Kurds fought ISIS as a matter of self preservation, as they wished to avoid having their heads chopped off.

  45. Kiwiantz
    December 19, 2018 at 23:33

    Russia & Syria need to give America a ultimatum? Listen to your nutty President & get out of Syria & take your murdering Terrorists & proxy armies, home with you, back to the good ole USA! You are in violation of International law & have no legitimate right to occupy this Land, as you weren’t invited in by the legitimate Syrian Govt! Therefore, you have 60 days to get out, get lost & scuttle back too your own Empire of dirt with your tails between your legs like you did in Vietnam, or else be forcibly removed?? Cut & run while you can, & save yourself wasting anymore of the trillions of dollars of dead Taxpayer money you’re already sent down the crapper? Money which would have been better spent building that that stupid border WALL? Better still, pay China to build it for you, as they built the Great Wall of China & have the expertise to do it! Russia & especially Putin should cut off all Diplomatic ties with the US & remove itself from any missile Treaties or agreements & stop trying to appease this disingenuous US Empire that can’t be reasoned with or bargained with via Diplomatic means? They only understand force & power projection! Diplomacy is for suckers implies the insane, duplicitous, arrogant, ignoramus US Empire & it’s orangeheaded freak PUS-TUS monstrosity called Trump! You can’t reason with murderous Tyrants, Lunatics & NUTJOBS who don’t abide by International or UN Laws & which America & it’s warped Leaders have become! Leave Syria alone, for God sakes, & get out you don’t belong there!

  46. michael crockett
    December 19, 2018 at 23:32

    Good article Patrick. I would add that the US has three or four times has many private military contractors (mercenaries) in Syria as it does troops. I have not heard anything about them being withdrawn.

  47. David G
    December 19, 2018 at 22:40

    Reading Patrick Lawrence, one would think the Pentagon didn’t immediately jump to it to comply with Trump’s tweet banning transgender troops.

  48. James
    December 19, 2018 at 22:31

    Reading the reactions (all on cue) to the announced pullout in the NYT, New Yorker, the Atlantic, I couldn’t help but scream out loud, LIBERAL IMPERIALIST [INSERT YOUR OWN VULGARITY HERE]!

  49. Sam F
    December 19, 2018 at 22:23

    I too was surprised that only about 2,000 US personnel are to leave Syria initially; the proof will be in the final count, the actions of Turkey against the Kurds, etc. It is difficult to believe that Trump abandoned the zionist efforts to split up Syria and weaken Iran unless Turkey volunteered to do so.

    Of course Russia has announced nearly complete withdrawal from Syria, so Trump had the option to withdraw without terrifying the Russophobes. But it looks like a partial appeasement of Turkey to sell weapons and bring them back toward NATO.

  50. jaycee
    December 19, 2018 at 22:11

    Sometimes events overrun the plans. Last January there was supposed to be a big conference in Vancouver whereby a coalition of allied countries were to plan out a military blockade of North Korea. Well publicized ahead of time, it was quietly cancelled and little talk of its intentions has been heard since. Meanwhile, progress between the two Koreas proceeds with a momentum that seems almost unstoppable. What wll the US do when the problem gets solvd without them? I suggest similar will happen in Syria.

    The kidnapping of the Huawei executive is not seen as a neutral “rule of law” issue anywhere outside of North America. It may prove to be the belligerent act that finally burst the hegemon’s bubble, especially happening directly after Pompeo spoje in Europe and demanded all international institutions be refitted to American design. Meanwhile, the American people themselves are stirring, wondering why all the money is diverted to useless oversea misadventure. Stay tuned…

    • David G
      December 19, 2018 at 22:46

      Your point is very well taken, jaycee. But in Korea, as in Syria, the question will remain: once all the relevant parties have reached a rational accommodation and it is time to move forward, how do they get the goddamn U.S. troops to leave?

  51. December 19, 2018 at 22:07

    The pattern is there but this is not about relations with Russia. If he has made a deal with Erdogan to move closer to the US (buy Patriot missiles instead of S 400s). There is a chance there will be some retreat in Syria….. not that Erdogan can be trusted

  52. Miranda M Keefe
    December 19, 2018 at 21:13

    When he tries to do what is good, they stop him.

    When he tries to do what is bad, they bitch about it and moan about it while letting him do it.

    • MBeaver
      December 20, 2018 at 05:45

      Yep. Pretty much sums it up. Its a clear pattern.

Comments are closed.