Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has built a long record of getting nearly every major issue wrong over many decades but still eagerly dispenses the latest conventional wisdom emerging from Official Washington’s misguided “group thinks,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar noticed regarding Syria.
“Tough-guy-gal-ism” remains the dominant rhetoric of Official Washington as politicians and pundits compete to outdo each other in advocating bloody remedies for “taking out” the Islamic State. But the armchair warriors misunderstand the problem and offer no solution, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
One reason why Official Washington continues to insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “must go” is that he supposedly “gassed his own people” with sarin on Aug. 21, 2013, but the truth of that allegation has never been established and is in growing doubt, U.S. intelligence veterans point out. [Updated on Dec. 23 with new signers.]
Despite Russia and the U.S. coming together on Friday to back a U.N.-approved peace plan for Syria, major obstacles remain, including the on-the-ground reality that U.S. “allies,” such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have armed and financed powerful jihadist forces that won’t compromise, as Gareth Porter explains.
The mainstream U.S. media remains focused on the acrimony of the GOP presidential race while less noticed is a growing split among top candidates over the neocon foreign policy prescription of regime change and more regime change. Several hopefuls are deviating from that orthodoxy, notes James W Carden.
Faced with greater public awareness of its role promoting Sunni jihadist terror, Saudi Arabia has announced a 34-nation “anti-terrorism coalition,” but it may be just window-dressing for Riyadh’s anti-Shiite agenda, not a serious move against extremism, an issue addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Donald Trump’s freewheeling and narcissistic presidential campaign has earned the consensus contempt of the mainstream media and establishment politicians, but that’s partly because he has dared challenge dangerous orthodoxies, like the neocon/liberal-hawk mania for “regime change,” writes Sam Husseini.
Exclusive: The alleged ties between Turkish President Erdogan and Islamist terrorists in Syria is an embarrassment for the Obama administration and the U.S. news media, which would prefer to look the other way rather than face up to the danger created by an out-of-control NATO “ally,” writes Robert Parry.