Category: Lost History

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Recycling a Bush Iraq Ploy on Syria

President George W. Bush.

Exclusive: Syria’s tentative acceptance of a plan for putting its chemical weapons under international control opens a pathway to avoid a U.S. military strike, but the Obama administration may use the opening as a new route for winning congressional war…

Is War on Syria Veering Off-Script?

Earlier in the crisis over Syria, President Vladimir Putin of Russia welcomed President Barack Obama to the G20 Summit at Konstantinovsky Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

When the U.S. government readies for war, there is a well-worn script. A “bad” guy is defined; some act of perfidy is alleged despite murky evidence; politicians and journalists express righteous outrage; a confused public is dragged along. Except that…

US Journalists and War Crime Guilt

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman.

From the Archive: With few exceptions, mainstream U.S. news personalities are again selling war to the American people, this time on Syria by asserting false certainty on who launched the Aug. 21 chemical weapons strike and pretending the Syrian government not…

Hypocritical Righteousness on Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry (center) testifies on the Syrian crisis before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sept. 3, 2013. At the left of the photo is Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. and on the right is Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. No senior U.S. intelligence official joined in the testimony. (U.S. State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry waxed eloquent about the need to punish national leaders who violate international law. He meant Syria’s Bashar al-Assad but his lecture could have applied to American officials who enabled the invasion of Iraq, including himself, just one…

Should We Fall Again for ‘Trust Me’?

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Exclusive: Forgetting lessons from the Tonkin Gulf to the Iraq War, the U.S. news media has mostly elbowed past doubts about whether the Syrian government launched the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack and now is focused on the political drama…

Understanding the Syrian Civil War

A scene of destruction after an aerial bombing in Azaz, Syria, Aug. 16, 2012. (U.S. government photo)

With President Obama asking Congress to back a military strike to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use, the U.S. is lurching toward a new war. Beyond doubts about what happened and whether a U.S. missile attack will help, there is scant public understanding…

Ignoring Bloody Mideast Lessons

The USS New Jersey firing its guns at Lebanese anti-government strongholds on Jan. 9, 1984, an engagement approved by President Ronald Reagan's White House, setting the stage for a suicide bombing attack on the barracks of U.S. Marines at Beirut's international airport. (U.S. government photo)

The Obama administration appears blind to the history that when U.S. officials have lashed out in anger at Middle East adversaries, the consequences have usually been bad and bloody. The Iraq War is an obvious cautionary tale but so too…

Who Blocked Syrian Peace Talks?

Syrian opposition leader Ahmad al-Jarba.

Exclusive: Though the international press reported earlier this year that it was the Syrian opposition blocking peace talks, that reality has disappeared in recent U.S. articles which blame lack of negotiations on President Bashar al-Assad, all the better to build…

An Iraq War ‘Déjà Vu’ in Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presents a dummy vial of anthrax on Feb. 5, 2003, during a speech to the UN Security Council outlining the American case that Iraq possessed forbidden stockpiles of WMD.

There’s an ominous sense of déjà vu as the U.S. prepares to attack Syria: dubious WMD claims, intense pressure from self-interested lobbies, a compliant mass media, a disregard of popular opposition, even a rush to remove UN investigators. This repeat…

A Life Sacrificed for Peace

hammarskjold-a-life

On Sept. 18, 1961, a plane carrying UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold crashed in Africa as he was negotiating to stop a war in Congo. Hammarskjold’s death removed one of the great advocates for international peace, as Roger Lipsey explains in…