Pretexts for an Attack on Iran

Ray McGovern probes the step-up in U.S. belligerence towards a country posing the same non-existent strategic threat as Iraq. 

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

By midday, Trump had denied the Times report, branding it “fake news.” Keep them guessing, seems to be the name of the game.

Following the Iraq playbook, Bolton and Pompeo are conjuring up dubious intelligence from Israel to “justify” attacking — this time — Iran. (For belligerent Bolton, this was entirely predictable.) All this is clear.

Bolton the Belligerent. (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

What is not clear, to Americans and foreigners alike, is why Trump would allow Bolton and Pompeo to use the same specious charges — terrorism and nuclear weapons — to provoke war with a country that poses just as much strategic threat to the U.S. as Iraq did — that is to say, none. The corporate media, with a two-decade memory-loss and a distinct pro-Israel bias, offers little help toward understanding.

Before discussing the main, but unspoken-in-polite-circles, impulse behind the present step-up in threats to Iran, let’s clear some underbrush by addressing the two limping-but-still-preferred, ostensible rationales, neither of which can bear close scrutiny:

No. 1: It isn’t because Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. We of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity shot down that canard a year and a half ago. In a Memorandum for President Trump, we said:

The depiction of Iran as ‘the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’ is not supported by the facts. While Iran is guilty of having used terrorism as a national policy tool in the past, the Iran of 2017 is not the Iran of 1981. In the early days of the Islamic Republic, Iranian operatives routinely carried out car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of dissidents and of American citizens. That has not been the case for many years.”

No. 2. It isn’t because Iran is building a nuclear weapon. A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded unanimously that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed any such work. That judgment has been re-affirmed by the Intelligence Community annually since then.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, imposed strict, new, verifiable restrictions on Iranian nuclear-related activities and was agreed to in July 2015 by Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, France, the U.K., Germany and the European Union.

U.S. team on way to JCPOA meeting at UN, New York City, 2016. (State Department)

Even the Trump administration has acknowledged that Iran has been abiding by the agreement’s provisions. Nevertheless, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, four weeks after John Bolton became his national security adviser.

‘We Prefer No Outcome’

Fair WarningWhat follows may come as a shock to those malnourished on the drivel in mainstream media: The “WHY,” quite simply, is Israel. It is impossible to understand U.S. Middle East policy without realizing the overwhelming influence of Israel on it and on opinion makers. (A personal experience drove home how strong the public appetite is for the straight story, after I gave a half-hour video interview to independent videographer Regis Tremblay three years ago. He titled it “The Inside Scoop on the Middle East & Israel,” put it on YouTube and it got an unusually high number of views.)

Syria is an illustrative case in point, since Israel has always sought to secure its position in the Middle East by enlisting U.S. support to curb and dominate its neighbors. An episode I recounted in that interview speaks volumes about Israeli objectives in the region as a whole, not only in Syria. And it includes an uncommonly frank admission/exposition of Israeli objectives straight from the mouths of senior Israeli officials. It is the kind of case-study, empirical approach much to be preferred to indulging in ponderous pronouncements or, worse still, so-called “intelligence assessments.”

It has long been clear that Israeli leaders have powerful incentives to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. This Israeli priority has become crystal clear in many ways. Reporter Jodi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem, had an important article in TheNew York Times on Sept. 6, 2013, in which she addressed Israel’s motivation in a particularly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike against Syria,” noted that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.

Rudoren wrote:

Jodi Rudoren. (Twitter)

For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

If this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the carnage in Syria, they seem to believe that deeper U.S. involvement, including military action, is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict especially when Syrian government forces seem to be getting the upper hand. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates it will be.

The fact that Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. And since Iranian military support has not been enough to destroy those challenging Bashar al-Assad, Israel can highlight that in an attempt to humiliate Iran as an ally.

Today the geography has shifted from Syria to Iran: What’s playing out in the Persian Gulf area is a function of the politically-dictated obsequiousness of American presidents to the policies and actions of Israel’s leaders. This bipartisan phenomenon was obvious enough under recent presidents like Clinton and Obama; but under Bush II and Trump, it went on steroids, including a born-again, fundamentalist religious aspect.

One need hardly mention the political power of the Israel lobby and the lucrative campaign donations from the likes of Sheldon Adelson. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is riding high, at least for the now, Israeli influence is particularly strong in the lead-up to U.S. elections, and Trump has been acquitted of colluding with Russia.

The stars seem aligned for very strong “retaliatory strikes” for terrorist acts blamed on Iran. 

Tonkin — er, I Mean Persian Gulf

Over the weekend, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. Last evening The Wall Street Journal was the first to report an “initial U.S. assessment” that Iran likely was behind the attacks, and quoted a “U.S. official” to the effect that if confirmed, this would inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.The attacks came as the U.S. deploys an aircraft carrier, bombers and an antimissile battery to the Gulf — supposedly to deter what the Trump administration said is the possibility of Iranian aggression.

On Tuesday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, with whom Saudi Arabia has been fighting a bloody war for the past four years, launched a drone attack on a Saudi east-west pipeline that carries crude to the Red Sea. This is not the first such attack; a Houthi spokesman said the attack was a response to Saudi “aggression” and “genocide” in Yemen. The Saudis shut down the pipeline for repair.

Thus the dangers in and around the Strait of Hormuz increase apace with U.S.-Iran recriminations. This, too, is not new.

Tension in the Strait was very much on Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen’s mind as he prepared to retire on Sept. 30, 2011. Ten days before, he told the Armed Force Press Service of his deep concern over the fact that the U.S. and Iran have had no formal communications since 1979:

Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran. So we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right, that there will be miscalculations.”

Now the potential for an incident has increased markedly. Adm. Mullen was primarily concerned about the various sides — Iran, the U.S., Israel — making hurried decisions with, you guessed it, “unintended consequences.”

With Pompeo and Bolton on the loose, the world may be well advised to worry even more about “intended consequences” from a false flag attack. The Israelis are masters at this. The tactic has been in the U.S. clandestine toolkit for a long time, as well. In recent days, the Pentagon has reported tracking “anomalous naval activity” in the Persian Gulf, including loading small sailing vessels with missiles and other military hardware.

Cheney: Down to the Sea in Boats

In July 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Bush administration officials had held a meeting in the vice president’s office in the wake of a January 2008 incident between Iranian patrol boats and U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The reported purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to provoke war with Iran.

Hersh wrote:

Seymour Hersh. (Giorgio Montersino via Flickr)

There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build in our shipyard four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of, that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation.

Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because one of the things they learned in the [January 2008] incident was the American public, if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. Youknow, we’re into it.”

Preparing the (Propaganda) Battlefield

One of Washington’s favorite ways to blacken Iran and its leaders is to blame it for killing U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran was accused, inter alia, of supplying the most lethal improvised explosive devices, but sycophants like Gen. David Petraeus wanted to score points by blaming the Iranians for still more actions.

On April 25, 2008, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters that Gen. David Petraeus would be giving a briefing “in the next couple of weeks” that would provide detailed evidence of “just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.”

Petraeus’s staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala, Iraq, would be displayed and then destroyed. But there was a small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons, they found nothing that could be credibly linked to Iran.

This embarrassing episode went virtually unreported in Western media – like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no corporate media to hear it crash. A fiasco is only a fiasco if folks find out about it. The Iraqis did announce that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate U.S. claims and attempt to “find tangible information and not information based on speculation.”

With his windsock full of neoconservative anti-Iran rhetoric, Petreaus, as CIA director, nevertheless persisted — and came up with even more imaginative allegations of Iranian perfidy. Think back, for example, to October 2011 and the outlandish White House spy feature at the time: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. And hold your nose.

More recently, the Pentagon announced it has upped its estimate of how many U.S. troops Iran killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. The revised death tally would mean that Iran is responsible for 17 percent of all U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

Who Will Restrain the ‘Crazies’?

Pompeo stopped off in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran with EU leaders, skipping what would have been the first day of a two-day trip to Russia. Pompeo did not speak to the news media in Brussels, but European foreign ministers said that they had urged “restraint.”

Ghika: “Downplaying threat.” (Phillip McTaggart/U.S. Army)

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters: “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended, really on either side.” British Army Major General Christopher Ghika was rebuked by U.S. Central Command for saying Tuesday: “There has been no increased threat from Iranian backed forces in Iraq and Syria.” Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region.”

Although there is growing resentment at the many serious problems tied to Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, and there is the EU’s growing pique at heavyweights like Pompeo crashing their gatherings uninvited, I agree with Pepe Escobar’s bottom line, that “it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.”

There remains a fleeting hope that cooler heads in the U.S. military might summon the courage to talk some sense into Trump, in the process making it clear that they will take orders from neither Pompeo nor from National Security Advisor John Bolton. But the generals and admirals of today are far more likely in the end to salute and “follow orders.”

There is a somewhat less forlorn hope that Russia will give Pompeo a strong warning in Sochi — a shot across the bow, so to speak. The last thing Russia, China, Turkey and other countries want is an attack on Iran. Strategic realities have greatly changed since the two wars on Iraq.

In 1992, still in the afterglow of Desert Storm (the first Gulf War), former Gen. Wesley Clark asked then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz about major lessons to be drawn from the Desert Storm attack on Iraq in 1991. Without hesitation, Wolfowitz answered, “We can do these things and the Russians won’t stop us.” That was still true for the second attack on Iraq in 2003.

Paul Wolfowitz, as under secretary of defense for policy,  at right, taking notes during press conference during first Gulf War. (Lietmotiv via Flickr)

But much has changed since then: In 2014, the Russians stopped NATO expansion to include Ukraine, after the Western-sponsored coup in Kiev; and in the years that followed, Moscow thwarted attempts by the U.S., Israel, and others to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

No doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to “stop us” before the Bolton/Pompeo team finds an “Iranian” casus belli. Initial reporting from Sochi, where Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday indicates there was no meeting of the minds on Iran. Both Pompeo and Lavrov described their talks as “frank” — diplomat-speak for acrimonious.

Pompeo was probably treated to much stronger warnings in private during the Sochi talks with Lavrov and Putin. Either or both may even have put into play the potent China card, now that Russia and China have a relationship just short of a military alliance — a momentous alteration of what the Soviets used to call the “correlation of forces.”

In my mind’s eye, I can even see Putin warning, “If you attack Iran, you may wish to be prepared for trouble elsewhere, including in the South China Sea. Besides, the strategic balance is quite different from conditions existing each time you attacked Iraq. We strongly advise you not to start hostilities with Iran — under any pretext. If you do, we are ready this time.”

And, of course, Putin could also pick up the phone and simply call Trump.

There is no guarantee, however, that tough talk from Russia could stick an iron rod into the wheels of the juggernaut now rolling downhill to war on Iran. But, failing that kind of strong intervention and disincentive, an attack on Iran seems all but assured. Were we to be advising President Trump today, we VIPS would not alter a word in the recommendation at the very end of the Memorandum for President George W. Bush we sent him on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council earlier that day:

No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed his was]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and presidential briefer and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

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48 comments for “Pretexts for an Attack on Iran

  1. Tom
    May 20, 2019 at 18:13

    If the worst happens and Trump wins in 2020, the odds of attacking Iran go up that much higher. How many allies would oppose that? The UK? Australia? Oppose it and risk pissing the US off? No more “Special Relationship”?

  2. Pamela
    May 20, 2019 at 11:53

    The Tonkin deceit immediately crossed also my mind, by now the tension has escalated so much, that we may add the Bay of Pigs as a reference. In 2003 there were at least mass protests all over the world against attacking Iraq, now even that is absent.
    Thank you for at least providing an honest and even simply common sense analysis of this umptiest mess …

  3. dean1000
    May 17, 2019 at 16:07

    John Bolton is supposed to give the president his best guess. Instead he tells the world when and why the US will go to war. He tries to usurp the power, responsibilities, and prerogatives of congress as well as the president.

    He chose to believe faulty or fake intelligence instead of the facts the Iraq Weapons Inspectors found on the ground. He now prefers the same faulty intelligence from the same source instead of facts visible to those on the ground. Mr Bolton is still lost in space. His biases are too strong for the NSC.

  4. boxerwar
    May 17, 2019 at 12:45

    Ray McGovern —

    Tonkin — er, I Mean Persian Gulf

    “Over the weekend, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. Last evening The Wall Street Journal was the first to report an “initial U.S. assessment” that Iran likely was behind the attacks, and quoted a “U.S. official” to the effect that if confirmed, this would inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.The attacks came as the U.S. deploys an aircraft carrier, bombers and an antimissile battery to the Gulf — supposedly to deter what the Trump administration said is the possibility of Iranian aggression.”

    Please check the below map for for the more Precise View of Reality as to Who is Threatening Whom… !

    https://countercurrents.org/2019/05/strategic-fulcrum-in-whirlwind-the-gulf-regimes-on-a-short-fuse

  5. Marta
    May 17, 2019 at 04:57

    Thank you.

  6. Jimmy G
    May 16, 2019 at 20:05

    Only weak spot is this look is leaning heavily on the NYT. They want a war too, if it hurts Trump, and it will.
    The goofs in intel are hoping to stress this up and go right to the edge, so one of their own can came come to the rescue at election time.

  7. Jeff Harrison
    May 16, 2019 at 19:02

    Why are we amping up our threats to Iran who, as you put it, poses the same non-existent threat to the US as Iraq, you ask? That’s a pretty stupid question for a sharp guy like you, Ray. The Washington regime can afford to attack Iran simply because they know that Iran poses no threat to the US. And Washington went rogue under the Shrub regime. By attacking small, individually weak countries separately, we can, one country at a time complete our goal of world domination. Unfortunately, Putin is onto us and I think he will actively try to prevent that.

  8. Jack Balkwill
    May 16, 2019 at 18:53

    Saudi Arabia and Israel both want this, and the Trump regime is in bed with them

  9. alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit
    May 16, 2019 at 18:07

    The US is making itself so odious that we may well end up being “South Africa’d”. The civilized world will simply wall us off.

    I am too old and inflexible to do well as escaping the Anglosphere; in my 20s I could have wetbacked it to France or sailed a small bot to Cuba or anything, but in my mid-50s I’m just too old and tired.

  10. Abe
    May 16, 2019 at 16:44

    Ray McGovern offers us an illuminating quotation from Jodi Riordan’s purportedly “candid” 6 September 2013 New York Times article.

    “Reporter” Rudoren was the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief for nearly four years, and served as Israel’s most reliable stenographer in the country’s foreign press corps.

    Rudoren’s pro-Israel propagandist achievements included a glowing profile of Ayelet Shaked, the Netanyahu government’s justice minister and rising star of Israel’s far right. Rudoren and the New York Times demonstrated a lack of curiosity regarding the rallies and marches of Israelis calling for “death to the Arabs”. Rudoren also voluntarily complied with Israeli gag orders on multiple occasions, displaying a willingness to comply with Israel’s government censorship that even the Times’ public editor described as “troubling.”

    Journalist Max Blumenthal reported that Rudoren’s bureau was staffed by researchers and editors with close links to Israel’s Zionist elite, such as Isabel Kershner, a “Jewish Israeli who is married to Hirsh Goodman, a writer and former consultant for the Israeli military-linked Institute for National Security Studies.”

    McGovern notes that Riordan’s 2013 article “noted that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome”.

    Ignoring the fact that a hell of a lot has happened in Syria since 2013, non-stenographers will note that the characterization of the conflict as a “civil war” bears no relationship to the facts.

    In fact, while we’re comparing notes, let’s read the full paragraph that precedes the portion of Riordan’s text quoted by McGovern:

    “Israeli officials have consistently made the case that enforcing Mr. Obama’s narrow ‘red line’ on Syria is essential to halting the nuclear ambitions of Israel’s archenemy, Iran. More quietly, Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.”
    https://cn.nytimes.com/world/20130909/c09israel/en-us/

    Rudoren and the New York Times are renowned for pleading Israel’s “case” to their readers. We may expect mere applause for Israel’s “strategic thinking” from the stenographers like Rudoren.

    However, we must expect a more accurate account of the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis dirty war in Syria from independent journalists and veteran intelligence professionals like Mr. McGovern.

    Beginning with the March 2011 terrorist attacks in Daraa, a city located about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of the border with Jordan, the conflict in Syria has raged for over 8 years. Terrorist forces backed by the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis have poured into Syria from NATO-member state Turkey, as well as Iraq and Jordan. Israel supplied direct aid to terrorists bordering the Israeli-occupied Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, and has conducted numerous air attacks in Syria throughout the conflict.

    It is important to note that it was Russian Federation air power that “thwarted attempts by the U.S., Israel, and others to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad”, primarily by interdicting the terrorist’s supply lines from Turkey, enabling the Syrian Arab Army to roll back the terrorist forces occupying Syrian territory. The United States was forced to intervene directly to protect the remaining Israeli-Saudi-US Axis terrorist proxies from annihilation.

    Thus in 2019, it is unacceptable to use the phrase “Syria’s civil war”, regardless of whether it was lifted from one of Rudoren’s screeds in the New York Times.

    The obvious “outcome” of the multi-national terror assault on Syria is death and destruction of Syrian civil society. That has always been “Israel’s motivation” in Syria.

    If one requires further examples of such “motivation”, Libya and Iraq, not to mention Gaza, immediately come to mind. Lebanon is still recovering from “Israel’s motivation”.

    Important revelations by McGovern and former NSA Technical Director William Binney absolutely deserve our appreciation, and VIPS members have made numerous valuable contributions to public understanding of the enormous “mischief” perpetrated in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela and elsewhere.

    My criticism of recent articles and VIPS memos has less to with what they’ve said about Israel, but what they have NOT said about Israeli intelligence activities in the United States, including Israeli intelligence organizations providing “services” to the Republican and Democratic political parties.

    More comprehensive VIPS analysis of Israeli intelligence activities directed against Syria and Iran is also warranted. Hopefully that will happen before, not after, the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis manufactures its next “pretext” for more war.

    I hope you’re taking notes, Ray.

    All the best,
    Abe

  11. vinnieoh
    May 16, 2019 at 13:22

    After reading this yesterday the pressing thought I had was – what can we do to stop this? Unlike some of Ray’s letters of the past, written on behalf of VIPS and addressed to various functionaries of the government, this was written for the readership of Consortium News. It seems unlikely that VIPS wouldn’t now not petition to this end.

    There was a “necessary” period of buildup before the Iraq invasion. First, to entangle and compromise the rest of political government in the façade of legitimacy, and then of course the logistical necessities of massing the invasion force. No such preliminary period is required to attack Iran. The plan of 120,000 troops could be a ruse, when all of the aerial firepower is already surrounding Iran, and a massive aerial destruction of Iran is all that would be necessary to accomplish the goals of those who seek it.

    That buildup period allowed the organization of marches and other actions opposed to that impending conflict. No such window likely exists at this juncture. And, witnessing the complete ineffectiveness at influencing US policy, massed protest seems unlikely in any event. For this reason, and fully aware of the probable uselessness of such an effort, I sent the following e-mail message to my Senators:

    Dear Senators Brown and Portman:

    I am a constituent from ************, Ohio and am messaging you to urge you to take immediate and urgent action to pressure the Trump Administration to de-escalate the manufactured crisis against Iran.

    Before, during, and after the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq a strong majority of US citizens were firmly against that conflict. But we citizens, despite mass marches, letter-writing campaigns, and vigils seem to have no effect and no influence on US policy, even policy as flawed and self-harming as was the Iraq conflict.

    We have only you, our elected representatives in what is supposedly a representative democracy, to fulfill your constitutional obligation to demand adequate information from all arms of intelligence and the military, and to be the sober and thorough deciding authority on the decision to go to war.

    In 2002 the collective chambers of the US Congress failed in that obligation. There was abundant proof that what the George W. Bush administration was asserting against Iraq were gross unsubstantiated lies, that abundant proof was absent in the deliberations, and the worst failure of US policy ever was the result.

    Since then, what can only be described as illegal military aggression by the US has continued, under George W. Bush, and then by two terms of the Obama Administration, and now by the Trump Administration. Donald Trump campaigned on keeping the US out of unnecessary and unwinnable wars. If we are to believe that citizen voters decide based on what candidates say, then a portion of electoral hope was based on those promises – the will of the electorate.

    President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the JCPOA was completely without merit. All responsible parties conclude that Iran was fully complying with the terms of the agreement and the accord was doing exactly what it was intended to do – prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. How long will you continue to allow certain factions with their hands on US power to turn reality on its head?

    Russia and China are not likely to sit idly by as the US once again launches a war of aggression and turns another Mid East nation into a failed state. The potential consequences of an attack on Iran go far beyond that region. John Bolton is a crazed ideologue that should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power. He has been consistently wrong about everything and should be removed from his position. Likewise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is an admitted liar, should be shown the door.

    A concerted and unified effort from the US Congress is absolutely imperative at this moment. This not a partisan issue: Democrats should not attempt to out-tough Trump and jump on the war bandwagon, and Republicans should not obediently protect a President that is being misguided by a dangerous group of advisors. This is neither 1989 nor 2002; global realities have changed and this unnecessary escalation of provocation against Iran must stop.

    Sincerely,
    Vince *********, ************, Ohio

  12. Stephen M
    May 16, 2019 at 11:26

    The only thing I might quibble about in this article is this statement: “The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates it will be.” Not the part, of course, about Israel wanting to see people in Syria and in the wider region fight among themselves. But at least in Syria, this is not a Sunni Shia fight. That’s what the propaganda in the West would have you believe. The reality is that Sunnis are the majority in the military and are well represented in both military and civilian leadership. What this is in actuality is a fight between Western backed Salafi-jihadist terrorists (with the initial intent of regime change and now, failing that, fragmentation of Syrian society), and the secular government of Syria, fending off this proxy aggression and acting in defense of the majority of Syrians who only wish to live in peace.

    • vinnieoh
      May 16, 2019 at 13:52

      I believe you are correct. And if the US does launch an assault on Iran, Israel will simultaneously launch a large attack on Syria. Probably not enough support “resources” for KSA to also simultaneously pull off a massive bombardment in Yemen, and it doesn’t seem, from all appearances, that the KSA military is competent enough to do anything on their own. And as you’ve suggested, KSA’s real “fighting force” consists of Salafi jihadist terrorists. What Mohamed conjectured as jihad bears no resemblance to the perversion of today.

    • hetro
      May 16, 2019 at 14:32

      Excellent. Statements like this help us dig out from under the propaganda siege continually laid on to us, from the Project for a New American Century forward.

  13. AnneR
    May 16, 2019 at 10:22

    Thank you Mr McGovern for another excellent, sane, insightful and truthful piece – an essential in this increasingly insane world filled with MSM non-stop propaganda.

    The BBC World Service does its part in spreading, and cementing, the corporate-capitalist-imperialist lies; NPR the same. The Glasgow Media Group back in the 1970s and 1980s made abundantly clear how a populace can be manipulated through the choice of words used to describe, discuss a subject/topic, what to leave out, what insert and assert, by way of “backgrounding,” which “viewpoints” to emphasize and which to ignore.

    This morning NPR has been at it (again) on Iran.

    Omitted (hardly by accident, surely?): no mention of the fact that it was the US who broke away from the JCPOA; that Iran has fully complied with the agreement. And while questioning an Iranian Diplomat, even as Greene or Inskip spoke about the fact that Iran has warned that it will break some of the terms of the agreement unless the US lets up on its *illegal* sanctions, no mention that Iran actually will have NO choice because those illegal sanctions include preventing Iran’s selling, e.g., its heavy water. So it will have to stockpile it.

    Terminology: Proxy forces/militias and Iran’s supporting of these in neighboring countries. Omitted – of course – that the USA (and Israel and Saudia) have Proxy forces/militias – and here I’m not including such mercenaries as Erik Prince’s company, although one might – ISIS, Al Qaeda and its offshoots, the White Helmets and so on and on. (And I’m still trying to work out how the MSM can imagine that Iran can be doing more than – if it is – giving moral support to the Houthis?)

    And one might question the term itself – for Iran surely Hizbullah, for example, is *an ally* rather like the UK, FR, NATO in toto, Israel etc. Might they not be called, rightly, proxies?

    And of course, the IRGC is spoken of and viewed as an illegitimate military force by the west in general and the US-UK MSM in particular. And so spoken of in semi-contemptuous ways and so equated with extremist groups.

    Then the NPR interviewer (Greene or Inskip) said to the Iranian Diplomat, after the latter had replied to question about the IRGC, that he, the Diplomat, wouldn’t really have such a clear idea about what the IRGC was up to because he wasn’t there, in Tehran.

    Immediately after this interview, the “conversation” about this whole situation was taken up between the same interviewer (Greene or Inskip) and their “Middle East” correspondent, Peter Kenyon. Of course, he would have a clearer view of what was going on. He was there in the thick of it – in Istanbul, Turkey. Right.

    If it weren’t for the need to reduce the echoing silence left by my husband’s death, I’d never have the radio on.

    • mark
      May 16, 2019 at 10:46

      I think it was yesterday all the 30 Shekel Whore Friends of Israel in the UK Parliament were queueing up to jump up and down and smear Hezbollah as a “terrorist” organisation. Apparently it’s totally unacceptable to defend your country against a foreign invasion, if the invaders are the Chosen People. If Shabbos Goy Trump attacked Iran on Nuttyyahoo’s orders, the same Whores would be jumping up and down with glee. Like the US, the UK has a political establishment made up of bought and paid for whores swerving Zionist interests, Theresa “Je Suis Juif” May, Boris “I Am A Fervent Zionist” Johnson, Tom “I Am A Proud Zionist” Watson. Utter filth.

  14. Sam F
    May 15, 2019 at 20:24

    A very good analysis by Ray McGovern, whose humor makes it bearable. Indeed:
    1. Iran is not building a nuclear weapon, or even moving that way;
    2. Iran does not sponsor “terrorism” despite the 1953 US overthrow of its democracy;
    3. Israel and its zionist opportunists were the conspirators who caused the Iraq war;
    4. Israel is the primary troublemaker in the Mideast, and the US its main tool;
    5. US proxies have caused all or nearly all of the alleged WMD incidents in Syria;
    6. The Saudi ships allegedly damaged had controlled collision damage only;
    7. Foreign wars are not within the federal powers, limited to repelling invasions;
    8. The warmongers are traitors at war with the United States and should be hung;
    9. We have warmonger tyrants because money controls elections and mass media;
    10. Without those tools of democracy we cannot restore democracy from dictatorship;
    11. The US experiment in democracy failed because the Constitution was written before economic power became concentrated, and the emerging middle class failed to update it. It is too late now.

    Judging from history, the first signs of sanity and courage are likely to be organized attacks on the oligarchy, taking out officials, mass media facilities, and entire gated communities. Frankly I would not stop them, as it is the shortest path to recycling the US into a new democracy. But the people of the US are far too corrupt to do that until thousands are dying of starvation in every city, and most of those will take money to fight the others. The nation is now a cancer upon the Earth, a black chapter of history, to be remembered only for those who took us down at last.

    • Hank
      May 16, 2019 at 10:13

      The biggest misconception that MOST Americans seem to harbor is that the Iraq invasion(2003) was a “mistake”. This is total BS! Iraq was going to be attacked REGARDLESS of the truth! The same mechanisms are now in place and doing the same thing with regard to Iran. Is there not a law in this nation or the world that stipulates what actually constitutes “war criminal” behavior? I know of one law that would nip all this subterfuge and propaganda and lying in the bud- the US Constitution. All these USA “leaders” have to take an oath when they are sworn in to office- “I solemnly swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America”. Where is the accountability in this supposed “great” nation when “our” public servants take a giant crap on this most important of documents? Congress should be the only body entrusted with deciding whether the USA attack another nation or not! When you let this provision slide or ignore it, it only opens the door to special interests to use the US military to get what they want, damn the welfare of the people!

      • mark
        May 16, 2019 at 11:09

        Exactly right. These endless wars for Israel are not “mistakes” or “failures.”
        The Neocohens and their whore stooges like Trump have long planned to destroy seven countries to serve Zionist interests, with the dumb goys in the US doing the dirty work, providing the muscle, the blood and the treasure.
        And that has been accomplished.
        Iraq has been destroyed. Literally millions dead, millions more refugees. Half a million children under 5 dying from sanctions from 1991-2003. Maybe 1.5 million in total. Another million from the wars themselves. The whole country destroyed and set back to such an extent it will take generations to recover. Exactly as planned.
        Libya bombed back to the Stone Age, controlled by “Islamist” terror gangs led by Mossad agents. Slave markets where you can buy and sell black people. Exactly as planned.
        Syria has narrowly avoided the same fate as Iraq, at tremendous cost, thanks to its own heroic resistance and the support of its allies. But with fatalities in six figures and millions of refugees. Another war for the Chosen People that didn’t quite work out according to the Tel Aviv Powerpoint Presentation, but which left the country virtually destroyed.
        Iran is next on the Ziocon hit list. Yet another war for Israel is clearly on the cards, to follow up on years of goy economic strangulation.
        Lebanon was the only clear failure in 2006. The IDF kiddie killers got their butts kicked by Hezbollah, so they shit their pants and went running to Uncle Sam. They left the country wrecked, and will probably get the dumb goys to do their dirty work next time.
        Sudan has been literally broken in two. Somalia has been terrorised by US killer robots. Afghanistan has been destroyed by US aggression.

        All this is just fine for Nuttyyahoo and the Chosen People, even if it didn’t work out as planned and cost the dumb goy stooges trillions and tens of thousands of casualties, and an invasion by millions of refugees.

      • Sam F
        May 16, 2019 at 21:51

        Yes, the Constitution does not permit foreign wars beyond repelling invasions. It does allow treaties to stand alongside the Constitution, but they could not have been validly ratified where they exceed those enumerated federal powers. So construing the NATO treaty to permit foreign wars of choice is not permissible, nor is construing US “interests” so as to permit foreign wars.

        However, the US Constitution is not enforced except where the oligarchy would benefit, by the US judiciary, which is the most corrupt of the federal branches, appointed solely to serve our dictatorship of gold, and to subvert the Constitution for its benefit. We do not have an independent judiciary, nor elections or mass media free of the control of economic power. So we do not have the essential tools of democracy, to restore democracy.

  15. May 15, 2019 at 19:30

    Please share “Pretexts for an Attack on Iran”, – Ray McGovern’s powerful article warning of the catastrophic consequences of war on Iran – with everyone you know … plus, all the people you don’t know. Mr. McGovern applied an appreciable amount of time and thought into writing his article, with the 100% honorable, sole intention of preventing ANOTHER tragic and unnecessary war on planet Earth. The LEAST people can do in alliance is share Mr. McGovern’s irrefutable, undeniable message as widely as possible. Thank you … Thank you, Consortium News … And thank you Mr. Ray McGovern.

    Peace.

  16. areweabananarepublic?
    May 15, 2019 at 18:09

    It is misguided to underestimate the anti-Iran mechanations of Mr. Bonesaw (and to a lesser extent the other Gulfies).
    In my view, this newest drumbeat for war has as much to to with Saudi Arabia as Israel.

  17. Yahweh
    May 15, 2019 at 16:55

    Another attempt by the jews to rule over the world with an iron rod…The jews are making moves and deals all over the world to be one of the dominate players in the oil and energy market. The IDF sent 1000 troops to Honduras ….hello Venezuelan oil ! Hello Golan heights ! Hello Syria ! So also the plan to control Iranian oil and energy…..The iron rod will be oil and the energy market. And as always Israel will stab all of it’s partners in the back…….lol

    • Jimmy Walter
      May 15, 2019 at 22:48

      Racist comment. Many Jews oppose Israel and what it is doing – one sect calls Israel and abomination. Most young Jews don’t care what Israel or our capitalist appointed leaders do. You hurt your case when you show your racism

      • Yahweh
        May 16, 2019 at 15:43

        Jimmy Walter, sorry sir, I should have written “these Jews” the policy makers. I will not make that mistake again. Kind of like referring to ” the white male” as being the main problem of the world……Again, sorry

    • Abe
      May 16, 2019 at 11:04

      Hasbara propaganda troll “Yahweh” vomits up a classic Inverted Hasbara (fake “anti-Jewish” / false flag “anti-Zionist”) rant about an attempt by “the jews [sic]” to “rule over the world”

      [Note the dog whistle “iron rod” phrasing lifted from the Christian New Testament book of Revelation 2:27]

      Hasbara propaganda ‘splainers like comrade “Yahweh” here suddenly pop up whenever Israeli government actions, the machinations of the pro-Israel Lobby, or Israeli meddling in US electoral politics are under critical discussion.

      In fact, Israel has been making significant moves to secure a strategic position in the oil and energy market, 1000 Israeli troops recently have been sent to Honduras, Israel has illegally seized the Syrian Golan Heights and has coveted additional territory in Syria, and has designs on Venezuela’s and Iran’s resources.

      When key facts about Israel cannot be denied, Hasbara trolls start in with their propaganda shenanigans, including loud “racist” rants about “the Jews”.

      The purpose of escalating Inverted Hasbara assaults on independent investigative journalism online is to smear sites with the false appearance of “anti-Semitism”.

  18. Jeff Harrison
    May 15, 2019 at 16:35

    The US will keep this crap up until somebody puts a halt to it. The fact that the US is being a shameless rogue is meaningless. The US has no shame.

  19. hetro
    May 15, 2019 at 15:44

    Another good one, Ray, got me remembering “the facts were being fixed around the policy” (Sir Richard Dearlove)

    Related from Moon of Alabama.

    B quotes a “rumor source”:

    Two sources familiar with the matter tell me President Donald Trump’s rumbustious National Security Council chief is headed for the exits, having flown too close to the sun on his regime change efforts for Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. “Hearing that Trump wants him out,” a former senior administration official told me.

    Tongue-in-cheek at the end of his report B adds:

    The Democratic opposition in the U.S. seems to have little time to argue against another war in the Middle East. They are still busy subpoenaing the remnants of the Russiagate investigations. But isn’t it evident that Putin is -right now- using the infamous pee-tape to push Trump into a war on Iran from which Russia’s standing in the world will profit? What are they doing to prevent that?

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/05/the-lunacy-of-waging-a-war-on-iran-which-china-and-russia-would-win.html

  20. Sheb
    May 15, 2019 at 14:47

    Guess who owns mainstream media? I think there is a reason why people have to tune into consortium news for some real analysis. Thanks Ray!

  21. SPENCER
    May 15, 2019 at 14:34

    The current population of Iran is 83 million—Germany is 70 million —Vietnam is 97 million—–based on previous US wars with Germany and Vietnam——–An attack on Iran—-NOT A GOOD IDEA—

  22. Abe
    May 15, 2019 at 14:10

    When a lawyer talks about “God”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/14/world/middleeast/us-ambassador-israel-god.html

    David M. Friedman, the Trump’s Ambassador to Israel, represented Trump and The Trump Organization in bankruptcies involving his Atlantic City casinos. Trump and Friedman became friends in 2005.

    Friedman advised Trump on Israel-related and Jewish issues during his presidential campaign, co-chairing Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee along with Jason D. Greenblatt, an executive vice president for The Trump Organization.

    Friedman is a right-wing supporter of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In an interview for Haaretz during the campaign, Friedman said that Trump would be open to Israel annexing parts of the West Bank.

    On December 15, 2016, the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump announced that Friedman had been selected to be the nominee as the United States Ambassador to Israel. Right-wing Israeli politicians Tzipi Hotovely, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dani Dayan, the Consul General of Israel in New York, and Minister of Education Naftali Bennett all praised Friedman and welcomed his nomination.

    The Yesha Council, the umbrella organization governing West Bank settlements, also vigorously supported the nomination, saying Friedman had a “deep love for all of the land and people of Israel, including those in Judea and Samaria,” the Biblical names of the area of land which is referred to internationally as the West Bank. The Yesha Council has hosted several US delegations and AIPAC-led congressional trips in the occupied West Bank for years, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    Friedman’s appointment and the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem were promises made to Trump’s largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, whose biggest issue is Israel.

    Back in 2015 Donald Trump said that Sheldon Adelson would make a “perfect little puppet” of Marco Rubio if Adelson funded Rubio’s campaign. Since then Trump and the Republican Party have gotten over 100 million dollars from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Trump fulfilled the prediction.

  23. vinnieoh
    May 15, 2019 at 13:48

    Kinda sums up what I see going on, and I’d hope that Ray’s mind’s-eye is accurate. Also there is high-level contact with China at the moment wrt the trade imbroglio, so there could be (I would earnestly hope) stern messages coming also from the Chinese.

    Of course it is completely obvious that US actions in the ME have been built around Israeli desires, and to understand those is to understand the last several decades of the US in he ME. But I also believe that there must be those (purely American) now pushing this aggressiveness and aggression out of their rising fear of imminent Chinese dominance, and in that, Iran at the moment is a pivotal locus. I hope that I remember accurately that it was recently stated that both India and China obtain about 25% of their oil from Iran. Though apparently India just indicated they would submit to the latest US demands, if this is true they are either lying, or suicidal. Iran is also essentially geographically important in portions of the eventual Belt and Road, land and sea.

    When I posted some weeks ago that we are but in the next stage of the Oil War what I said is that CONTROL of oil is the key. The denial of access or sufficient quantity is a weapon to be used against adversaries. Crippling or destroying Iran’s oil exporting ability is a blow against China. As the US uses every avenue at its disposal to slow down China, the Chinese must surely resolve to take the US down a notch or two. Or three or four.

    Bolton, et al are truly playing with fire here. With every week, while that crew becomes more bellicose, bullying, and scofflaw, the rest of humanity must surely reach a tipping point? Or has the “madman” scenario been successfully cultivated to the point that there will be no unification of resistance?

    Question: Under the pretense for which the groundwork is obviously being laid, would NATO partners be obligated to the “response”?

  24. May 15, 2019 at 13:42

    “What is not clear, to Americans and foreigners alike, is why Trump would allow Bolton and Pompeo to use the same specious charges — terrorism and nuclear weapons — to provoke war with a country that poses just as much strategic threat to the U.S. as Iraq did — that is to say, none.”

    I think the obvious answer to that is that Trump is a man without any principles.

  25. boxerwar
    May 15, 2019 at 12:27

    The arrogant pompous nincompoop falls for ANYTHING that will forge him into “THE GREATEST OF ALL” UNITED STATES PRESIDENTS.

    I quotefrom rock and roll’s all time leading lyricist, The Beetles; — The Fool On The Hill — … and the eyes in his head sees the world spinning round…

    https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/12/trump-is-being-set-up-for-war-with-iran/

  26. geeyp
    May 15, 2019 at 12:09

    IN my mind’s eye, I see President Trump dumping Pompass and Stache at the end of this month. This “prediction” may seem unlikely, although not more so than some statements that I have read here and elsewhere.

    • dfnslblty
      May 15, 2019 at 12:32

      ¿Is this prediction a shot-in-the-dark?
      ¿Does this prediction have a foundation?

      • geeyp
        May 15, 2019 at 17:42

        d. – Reread what I wrote.

      • Anarcissie
        May 15, 2019 at 19:35

        ‘¿Is this prediction a shot-in-the-dark?’

        It seems reasonable to me. Mr. Trump works by contradiction. As some martial arts masters will advise, ‘If you’re going to move to the left, first move to the right.’ Besides, I think he probably wants to be the mad dog in chief at all times, and it’s pretty hard to beat Mr. Bolton at mad-dogging.

        I can only guess why Mr. Trump decided to wind up Iran, but one possibility is that he is trying to extract more coin from Mr. Adelson and his kind. A fanatical nationalist has got to be a sucker. Once the the swag is safely in the bag he may back off. Or even swing a fake ‘deal’, as with Mr. Kim.

        The reuse of the Iraqi war memes and pretexts must be more economical than making up new ones. So, why not? It’s not like anyone cares.

  27. Mike from Jersey
    May 15, 2019 at 11:35

    McGovern wrote:

    “In my mind’s eye, I can even see Putin warning, “If you attack Iran, you may wish to be prepared for trouble elsewhere, including in the South China Sea.”

    I think that is an astute observation. Taiwan is a huge issue with China. The Chinese press has reported that there are contingency plans in place to “take over” Taiwan in “48 hours,” if necessary. Americans simply don’t understand how important this issue is to both the Chinese people and to the Chinese leadership. Moreover, there is increasing anger among the Chinese populace against what they see as bullying by the United States. The Chinese populace wants Xi Jinping to take a more aggressive role in standing up to the United States.

    The United States would have a difficult time in a war with Iran and it would not be surprising for China to take advantage of such a misguided overextension of force in order to score a massive public relations victory at home.

    • Jimmy Walter
      May 15, 2019 at 22:55

      Au contraire, they want more war profits – they want to stir up trouble with China – to heck with the rest of the world. They want to sell more nukes, helicopters, anti-missile systems, etc. Can’t have a passive enemy for that.

  28. OlyaPola
    May 15, 2019 at 11:33

    “An Iraq-War redux”

    Some evangelise “detente” whilst some remember that “time and tide wait for no man”.

    Some perceive advantage in association whilst some remember that bindings facilitate faster mutual drowning.

    Some realise that perception is limited when concentrating on erections and hence focus on how to’s.

    • OlyaPola
      May 15, 2019 at 20:31

      “No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed his was].”

      “The “WHY,” quite simply, is Israel.”

      Illusions are sometimes facilitated and harboured by conflating a component part of whys (plural) with the amalga of varying assay of whys (plural).

      Pathways to other components of whys may be explored through questions including but not restricted to:

      What is “The United States of America” and how is it facilitated?

    • Abe
      May 16, 2019 at 17:51

      Comrade “OlyaPola” got the “Israel” alert and pops up with the latest illustration of deflecting/obfuscating Hasbara hilarity.

      Gotta love that Israeli-Saudi-US Axis “advantage in association”.

      Perhaps a useful entry point would be through considering the purposes of comrade “Yahweh”‘s activities in evangelizing the “Book of Revelation” which still enjoys much more than a half-life in the pro-Israel Lobby.

      Hilarity galore from “OlyaPola” in the comments:
      https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/18/behind-the-omar-outrage-suppressed-history-of-9-11/

      • OlyaPola
        May 17, 2019 at 14:23

        “Comrade “OlyaPola” got the “Israel” alert and pops up with the latest illustration of deflecting/obfuscating Hasbara hilarity.”

        Perhaps some will “believe” your continued obsession of one size fits all causality also apparently shared by Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo, as this will continue to have utility since:

        “Illusions are sometimes facilitated and harboured by conflating a component part of whys (plural) with the amalga of varying assay of whys (plural).”

        and implemented/tested through engaging with holograms of your own projections, a process often iterated when expectations vary from outcomes.

        Examples of these practices and contingent consequences include but are not restricted to efforts of regime change in the CIS and Russian Federation 1991 to 2005, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,efforts at regime change in Ukraine and Venezuela, and continuing resort to various “tactics” of coercion.

        “Gotta love that Israeli-Saudi-US Axis “advantage in association”.

        Evaluation fore those with acuity/experience continues to be a function of purpose and for others a function of belief.

        Some with more acuity/experience whose present purpose is the non-transcendence of the self-designated “The United States of America” see disadvantage approaching existential threat in such association balanced by advantage derived from following pathways such as “What is “The United States of America” and how is it facilitated?”

        Some with less acuity/experience whose present purpose is the non-transcendence of the self-designated “the United States of America” see a greater amalgam of advantage in such association largely as functions of de-emphasising disadvantages through framing, holding truths to be self-evident, and contempt for others based on previous experience of the gullibility of the “target audience”.

        Others whose present purpose is the transcendence of the self-designated “The United States of America” see opportunities in such association, whilst some apparently perceive “Hasbara” perhaps in illusion of the “strengths” of others in association.

        Thank you for your contribution to the petri-dish of the opponents’ “culture” and illustration of an aspect of how the advantages of dumbing down do not wholly accrue to those actively engaged in dumbing down.

  29. Realist
    May 15, 2019 at 11:16

    You’ve addressed pretty much every critical issue in this unfolding fiasco with this piece, Ray.

    Too bad the NYT or the WaPo won’t publish your analysis as part of a balanced, unbiased look at the matter from every possible angle. Honestly, it should be their obligation to the American public. Why the rush to perdition when every precedent has so far turned into an unmitigated catastrophe, incrementally leading the world to an as yet unrealized event but which we already have a name for: Armageddon?

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