One of Ronald Reagan's great undoings as President was the fact that a gang of neocons managed to penetrate his Administration at the second and third tiers, particularly at the Defense and State Departments, and as "consultants" to the National Security Council.  End result: Iran-Contra and other debacles that left a black scar on the Reagan legacy.  Although an independent prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh, was appointed to fully investigate the illegal arming of the Nicaraguan Contras and the covert shipping of ballistic missiles to Iran, some via Israel, few of the culprits were actually indicted and fewer were convicted. 

The reason for dredging up this bit of ancient history is the fact that one of the nastiest of the Iran-Contra criminals, Elliot Abrams, is under consideration for the powerful post of Deputy Secretary of State, according to a January 25, 2017 Washington Post column by Josh Rogin.  I do not use the word "criminal" rhetorically. Abrams was one of the few Iran-Contra players to be convicted, albeit of a misdemeanor crime of misleading Congress.  He actually lied to Congress, which was a felony, but he struck a plea agreement with Special Prosecutor Walsh and got the reduced penalty in return for a promise to cooperate.  That October 1991 deal had been preceded in July 1991 by a similar plea deal by Alan Fiers, the CIA officer who was also a key player in the illegal arming of the Nicaraguan Contras.  Abrams headed the Restricted Interagency Group, which coordinated the secret war in Central America between the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon.  Other members of the RIG were Lt. Col. Oliver North and Fiers.

Abrams is neocon aristocracy.  Before he joined the Reagan Administration, he worked for Senators Henry Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  His father-in-law was Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine and a co-founder of the American neo-conservative movement along with Irving Kristol.  

Although his misdemeanor convictions deprived Abrams of a post in the George H.W. Bush Administration, he was a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which produced the neocon blueprint for the George W. Bush Administration's endless regime change wars.  He was appointed by Bush 43 to a top post at the National Security Council, where he was in the middle of the promotion of the disastrous Iraq invasion of March 2003.

Any appointment of Abrams to a top post in the Trump Administration, especially a post as powerful as Deputy Secretary of State, who effectively runs the day to day affairs of the U.S. diplomatic corps, would be a disaster.  An even larger disaster, to be avoided, would be the flood of neocon ideologues into key State Department posts if Abrams were to get the job.  Open the door a crack and the stink bugs swarm in. They never travel alone.

No doubt, Bibi Netanyahu, who is preparing his first visit to Washington since the Trump inauguration, is crossing his fingers, and perhaps even praying that Abrams gets the job.

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  1. Jack says:

    I continue to be amazed how the neocons and the R2Pers manage to get themselves into top positions in our national security apparatus in both Republican and Democratic party administrations. They sure have the connections and the DC game down pat.

  2. Prem says:

    One of PNAC’s founders was Robert Kagan, Vicky Nuland’s husband.
    If these guys are in, it will be a case of plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  3. Allen Thomson says:

    > the covert shipping of ballistic missiles to Iran, some via Israel
    Point of detail, but the missiles involved were TOWs, heavy antitank weapons, not ballistic missiles in any commonly used sense of the term.
    There’s an interesting TOP SECRET PLEASE DESTROY AFTER READING document having to do with that episode at

  4. raven says:

    How dare you challenge anything the president does? Are you trying to start a civil war?

  5. turcopolier says:

    That is just a stupid, childish thing to say. Opposing policy or appointments is not the same as seeking to depose a legitimately elected president through the use of street theater and propaganda. pl

  6. Laura says:

    Harper — I had no idea that Abrams was in the mix. He is indeed a criminal and would be a disaster in this or any other position. I can’t even imagine how much power he would have vis a vis Tillerson.

  7. raven says:

    Adjust you’re snarkometer.

  8. turcopolier says:

    If you want to comment here. you should know that I do not welcome unsolicited advice. “Snark?” can’t you do better than that? I am willing to tolerate you here but only if you follow my rules. No personal attacks, no unnecessary vulgarity, I have decided to withdraw the word “stupid” with regard to a previous comment by you. it was a personal attack. Its your choice. Follow my rules or be banned again for the kind of vile things you wrote to me during the electoral campaign. pl

  9. turcopolier says:

    AIPAC/Israel seeks to plant someone senior in each department of government. pl

  10. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I’ve been biting my tongue, Colonel.

  11. Brunswick says:

    14 Hawk SAM’s and over 200 Hawk spare parts,
    Over 2500 TOW’s.

  12. ToivoS says:

    I had a feeling at the time of the Maidan coup that this was something that Obama and Kerry did not want. Of course they are responsible and must have given some kind of approval but it is doubtful that they were aware of the consequences such as civil war, major confrontation with Russia and conversion of Ukraine into a failed state. Nuland and Pyatt no doubt knew what they were doing but thought they could create such a crisis that Obama would be forced to send in the US military.
    In any case, let us just hope that Trump realizes just how toxic those neocons can be.

  13. jayinbmore says:

    Several years ago I read (I forget where, maybe an interview with Larry Wilkerson?) that Bush the Elder knew he had to keep Neocons in the government to keep part of the donor class happy. To that end he gave them a room and some money and let them “do their thing” so they felt they had influence but couldn’t adversely effect policy making. Given that the current administration doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in “traditional” diplomacy, could this be a similar move?

  14. Chris Chuba says:

    I am appalled at Trump’s first two weeks regarding China and especially Iran. Okay, I get that there is a place for posturing but picking a fight over Iran’s lawful missile testing and characterizing the Houthi missile attack on a Saudi warship as an attempted attack by Iran on a U.S. ship twilight zone material.
    I knew that Trump surrounded himself with Iranophobes but the thing I did not factor in was that the U.S. MSM would act as an echo chamber. Wow, we finally found someone the MSM hates more than Trump, I didn’t think it was possible.
    The stuff pouring out of Neocons on TV and its immediate acceptance by the MSM reminds me exactly of the pre-Iraq war run up. I don’t like it one bit.
    On the Tucker Carlson show, some Congressman called Iran’s missile test them developing ICBM’s and the normally skeptical Carlson didn’t challenge that assertion. Iran’s missile isn’t anything close to an ICBM. It is a medium range missile. Unlike the North Koreans, Iran has not extended the range of their ballistic missiles at all. They are improving the accuracy and trying to decrease the fueling time.
    There is no skepticism in the MSM. You can make any claim about Iran and it will be accepted. This is very fertile territory for Neocons.

  15. Castellio says:

    A quote from Elliot Abrams:
    “In Syria today we see an Iranian expeditionary force, bolstered by an estimated 2,000 troops from Iran’s ally Hezbollah and armed by Russia, seeking to crush a popular rebellion. Syria is 75 percent Sunni, so the Alawite Assad regime and its Shia supporters in Tehran and Lebanon will never win the support of the Syrian people to rule that country. The only hope for Iran, Hezbollah, and Assad is to kill enough rebel fighters and civilians to end the uprising. At this point they have killed an estimated 100,000 people and done immeasurable damage to Syria’s economy and infrastructure—and they will keep on killing and destroying.”
    July, 2013, his testimony at the House Armed Services Committee. He goes on:
    “But worse yet for us would be our defeat by Iran—and that is exactly how it would be seen. On one side, Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia support Assad; on the other, the United States, EU, and our Sunni Arab friends from the Gulf support the rebels. Does it matter who wins? Yes—because around the world but especially in the Middle East allies and enemies will judge the power, influence, and willpower of the United States and our friends by the outcome of this conflict.”
    Its impossible to come up with a worse advisor or more under handed operator for the Sate Department. He is not loyal to the US, he is only loyal to Israel, and his intentions are war with Iran, the overthrow of Assad, the defeat of Hezbollah, and the carving up of Iraq.
    He is, and has been, one of the most effective voices for the provisioning and military support of those who, on this website, are known as the unicorns – sometimes mislabeled the moderate rebels; but more honestly seen as the funnel of money and arms to head choppers and liver eaters. He is a supporter of Islamic terrorism, because he believes it suits Israeli interests to do so.
    However, Abrams has been a proven supporter of terrorism in Latin America. I strongly recommend listening to Nairn here: https://www.democracynow.org/2016/1/8/18_ex_military_guatemalan_leaders_arrested
    And if you are interested in how and why the US

  16. Castellio says:

    And should one be interested in Abrams support of terrorism against Palestinians, see here:

  17. different clue says:

    He would grab as much power as he could. On the other hand, Tillerson has overseen enough multiple layers of offices to know something about how office warfare is waged. And if he has people reading these threads, they may well warn him ( if he doesn’t already know), what a festering pollution point-source Abrams would be.
    There may well be problems in Outer Mongolia which would require Abrams’s
    ongoing personal attention.

  18. LG says:

    Nothing wrong with the Col’s “snarkometer”. he knows that opposing policy is different from attempting to “depose a legitimately elected president through the use of street theater and propaganda” which is what your ilk resort to.

  19. LG says:

    I wouldn’t trust anything that Josh Rogin says. He has been consistently anti-Trump. I doubt he would be allowed anywhere near “transition sources”.

  20. wisedupearly says:

    How can all these neocons coordinate and organize without the NSA/DHS catching them at it?
    Its not as if they attended the same schools and the Old Testament provides no explicit instructions on what do with Assad. So the question is, if NSA/DHS is observing the command flow why aren’t they stopping it or exposing it? This is far beyond releasing DNC emails this involves states declaring war, now most likely on Iran. It seems that for the neocons America is merely a tool and nothing they pledged allegiance to.

  21. raven says:

    A personal attack on who? There is nothing on that post that identifies that you wrote it. You have plenty of other folks writing things and you generally put PL at the end of yours. I’ve never attacked you and you know it.

  22. robt willmann says:

    When I saw that Elliott Abrams was floated as a possible deputy secretary of state, I could not believe it, except that perhaps it was the usual attempt to promote someone for a position by or through the media. He is a loathsome individual, who likes to try to act tough while hiding behind the skirts of a government office or in a structured proceeding. He was pardoned by president Bush sr.
    However, the good news is that the deputy secretary of state has to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate after being appointed by the president. Title 22, U.S. Code, section 2651 creates the State Department, and 2651a speaks to its organization–
    22 U.S.C. 2651a(a)(2): “The Secretary, the Deputy Secretary of State, and the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”
    It would be a great disappointment if Rex Tillerson would even consider Abrams for the job, based on Tillerson’s reputation. A number of years ago I found a court opinion about the proceeding to revoke Abrams’ law license after his Iran-Contra plea in the criminal case. But today, like recent days, has been occupied such that little time for research and this activity has been available.
    The Iran-Contra report (Volume 1) of special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, and the summary of prosecutions, are here–

  23. turcopolier says:

    you don’t understand. You are not allowed to attack ANYONE here. pl

  24. jayinbmore says:

    In theory NSA is supposed to intercept foreign transmissions. Neocons are a uniquely local phenomenon.

  25. ked says:

    Is it OK to attempt influence the public perception of elected gov officials via theatrical expression?

  26. turcopolier says:

    you are behind the times. NSA now collects US domestic comms on the flimsiest of excuses in the GWOT. pl

  27. turcopolier says:

    Yes, but not if you are a sworn civil servant or soldier. pl

  28. ked says:

    I’m also curious about this ilk thing. Could you describe your own ilk so I can compare it to my ilk and all the other ilks? Or can ilks only be a feature of ilks other than one’s own? I’m afraid all this ilkism is confusing to me. Please advise.

  29. ked says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t aware that was happening. I did see something about a SEAL Team convoy flying a political flag from a military vehicle driving through KY a few days ago. I suppose it’s hard to suppress our theatrical tendencies.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Bush II made the enemies of Israel also US enemies.
    Of the seven countries on that list, he destroyed one called Iraq – with marginal help from Poland, UK, Georgia, Spain and a few other boot-lickers as the old saying goes.
    Obama destroyed, together with EU, another one on that list, Libya and wounded Syria.
    Obama tried, together with EU, to wreck Iran as well through Economic War, but failed; ergo JCOPA, the cease-fire deal.
    Trump has gone further and designated the inhabitants of those states also as enemies of the United States; both Obama and Bush II professed friendship towards Iranian people, for example. And he has expressed a public desire to resume war against Iran by discarding JCOPA.
    There seems to be a remarkable amount of accidental continuity in the United Foreign policy. It reminds me of the comment about Kosovo in a Bush I speech which was followed by Clinton with war against what was left of Yugoslavia.
    The question in my mind is if Trump is going to go to war with Iran? Or escalate in Yemen? Or Sudan?
    After all, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Yemen are still left standing.

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I hope you recall me writing on this forum some time ago that the Fortress West has decided that Shia Muslims are its enemies and Sunni Muslims its friends.
    Abrams is just stating the common consensus.

  32. b says:

    This is, in my estimate, just self-promotion of the neocons. We saw exactly the same when they tried to plant Bolton into the Trump administration.
    Josh Rogin is a neocon fabulator. He has just been caught making up other #fakenews about the Trump administration.
    Andrea Mitchel, wife of Greenspan and herself neocon connected (see her role in the Plame affair), repeated the Rogin rumor on Twitter. That confirms my hunch that this is just an advertising campaign for Abrams.
    Tillerson would be nuts to accept a neocon as deputy. They are generally bad for business. Totally not his style.

  33. Old Microbiologist says:

    Kagan went “all in”for Clinton and has permanently ruined any chances of influencing Trump. Trump, it appears, holds deep grudges.

  34. Old Microbiologist says:

    Trump can sideline all of them by releasing all the radar data (which we have at least 3 differents sources of plus satellite imaging) and transcripts/voice recordings of the control tower for MH-17 showing very clearly it was the Kiev government who shot down the plane and actively covered up by the US. If everyone can recall, the intent was to clear an escape corridor for the encircled Kiev forces, which worked as planned.
    Trump’s failure to reassure Poroshenko in their phone call must be rankling the neocons to no end. What he didn’t say was more weapons and more support but what he did say is the US would work with all sides to reach a peaceful settlement. Couple that with his O’Reilly interview about lack of US innocence when it comes to killing and McCain/Graham might just have an cranial aneurysm.
    Perhaps few notice that any visit by McCain to Ukraine is shortly followed by some atrocities.

  35. raven says:

    Do you read what Tyler writes?

  36. turcopolier says:

    Yes and because of his difficulty in living with my admonitions says he is taking a break for a while. pl

  37. raven says:

    Well, I going to do my level best to adhere to your guidelines.

  38. The Beaver says:

    @ Old Microbiologist
    Reason his wife Victoria Nuland (who was just promoted to the level of Ambassador within Foggy Bottom) was asked to clear her office . She did resign before T-Rex came in.
    Had HRC won, both the social worker and Victoria would have been given key positions within DOS.

  39. The Beaver says:

    @ Babak
    It is going to be Yemen because of the UAE who want control of the ports along the coast of Yemen.

  40. iowa steve says:

    Why the Abrams and Kagans of the world aren’t jobless and shunned is beyond me–no, not really. I know why.
    If there was any justice in the world they would be changing bedpans at a VA hospital.

  41. LeaNder says:

    ked, great way to deal with matters.

  42. turcopolier says:

    You are being facetious. My “ilk” are the people who, like me have backgrounds in the military and intelligence services. Don’t be sophistic here. It is not appreciated. pl

  43. turcopolier says:

    What? you think ked put me down? pl

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    UAE, UAE?
    Those 300-pound men controlling ports in Yemen?
    With what soldiers? Pakistanis? Or Cameronians?
    Bringing the “Zangi” back?
    I do not think so.

  45. The Beaver says:

    @ Babak
    The mercs of Erick Prince !

  46. Thomas says:

    “Trump can sideline all of them by releasing all the radar data (which we have at least 3 differents sources of plus satellite imaging) and transcripts/voice recordings of the control tower for MH-17 showing very clearly it was the Kiev government who shot down the plane and actively covered up by the US.”
    Yes, this should be done anyways for public transparency, because if the Nouveau Khans can get away with this act, what horror will they try to double down on next before being stopped?

  47. Thomas says:

    “14 Hawk SAM’s and over 200 Hawk spare parts.”
    Only for the Iranians to discover they were useless and had been double crossed.

  48. turcopolier says:

    I was in the midst of that as a JCS “planner” and on the committee that approved the release from DoD stocks. It was not the intention of the US to sell them defective equipment. You omit mention of all those improved TOWs. I think you have gotten hold of some Iranian propaganda. pl

  49. Castellio says:

    It’s a constructed consensus, Babak, and it never ceases to amaze me that you seem eager to accept it as an historical inevitability.
    The Sunni Muslims were not friends while their countries or governments were being attacked and destroyed. The Shia Muslims were not enemies while the Shah was in power.
    I wrote here several times that once the limitation on any possible nuclear program was in place, “Fortress West” would act to role back Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities. Not because they represent any threat to the US, not because the program isn’t a reasonable program of self-defense, nor because Shia are “enemies”, but simply and solely because these conventional arms challenge the military superiority of Israel.
    The current role of Iran in Iraq is actually beneficial to American interests. If Americans choose not to align with Iranian interests due to Israeli belligerence, why should you fall for the ruse that it is inherent religious animosity?
    Unless you are happy to sing the same siren song as Abrams.

  50. Castellio says:

    Geeze, you’re kind. The blood on their hands is endless and on-going.

  51. BraveNewWorld says:

    Trumps family has raised money for the same settler groups so that is going to disappear like a fart in a dust storm. Besides sooner or later some lawyer is going to say Palestine isn’t a real country, the Palestinians are a made up people so they can’t have diplomatic relations with the US so can’t have standing in an American court. No Palestinian will ever win a case in an American court.

  52. ked says:

    Once again I’m afraid you’ve missed my point … it was aimed at LG (& his ilk), not you. I have nothing but respect for intel pros, civilian & military. In my life (getting kicked out of Havana during the revolution) & education (amongst those from the civilian intel sector &/or being prep’d for it), & career (developing adv tech for spl ops & sigint / masint apps, going to SO/LIC & AFCEA conferences for years, doing briefings at McDill, Benning, Gordon, Leavenworth & Meade), I have observed and learned a great deal – considering I’ve never been on that side of the table.
    You won’t find me making ad hominum attacks on your site. It cheapens the quality of dialog, it reveals the character of those who lower themselves to that base instinct. Then there are those who wallow in it without self-control. I don’t think they deserve respect, but I will refrain from questioning it in the future.

  53. turcopolier says:

    Grown ups rise above mere revenge to consider the needs of state craft. How long should we have longed for revenge against the Japanese? they did far worse things to US forces in WW2. pl

  54. Brunswick says:

    “Toophan (Persian: موشک طوفان‎‎, meaning “Typhoon” in Persian) is a series of Iranian anti-tank missiles. Toophan 1 is a reverse-engineered copy of the US military BGM-71 TOW missile. The Toophan-1’s payload is a 3.6 kg high-explosive anti-tank warhead that can penetrate up to 550mm of steel armor. The range is 3,850m, the top speed 310 m/s. The manufacturer is the Aerospace Industries Organization of Iran, which has produced the missile since 2000.[1] Several other variants are also built with more penetration power.”
    “In the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran Army used TOW missiles purchased before the Iranian Revolution in 1979, as well as those purchased during the Iran–Contra affair.
    Of the 202 AH-1J Internationals (export variant of the AH-1J SeaCobra) that Iran purchased from the USA, 62 were TOW-capable. Iranian AH-1Js managed to slow down advances of Iraqi tanks into Iran. During the “dogfights” between Iranian SeaCobras and Iraqi Mil Mi-24s, Iranians achieved several “kills”, usually using TOW missiles.[16]
    “Mersad (Persian: Ambush) is an Iranian advanced low to mid range Air defense system developed in 2010.[2] It fires Shahin (Falcon) missiles which are reverse engineered, domestically upgraded versions of the American MIM-23 Hawk Surface-to-air missiles. It uses a series of domestically produced Radars and Electronic Devices.[3]”
    “during the Iran–Iraq War. On February 12, 1986, 9 Iraqi aircraft downed by a Hawk site near al-Faw in southern Iraq during Operation Dawn 8. Among the aircraft, are Su-22 and MiG-23s.[9] In addition, Iranian HAWK sites shot down 3 friendly F-14 Tomcats and 1 F-5 Tiger II.[10][11]

    They seem to have been fully operational and worked quite well.

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments but I think you are in denial.
    It matters not when the first confrontation started and how but we, in my opinion, past the usual game of states – unless you wish to claim that religion was irrelevant to the Thirty-Year War as well.

  56. fanto says:

    this thread made me come back ‘out of the shadows’, where I have been after a verbal spat with Tyler, some years ago. I was quite sure at that time that I did not want, or did not need to read your blog. I was wrong. I found out that the information here is too valuable to let it go.
    Now, after this is off my chest, I would like to ask you if it would be a good idea, for the three US, Russia and China – to have a “Congress” a la Vienna Congress in 1815 – to stop the wars and misery? I think that this is so naïve, that I am sorry for saying it….

  57. Castellio says:

    Why don’t you deal with some historical facts? Explain why Shia Islam was not an enemy during the reign of the Shah?
    I have not and do not claim that religion is irrelevant – and you actually know better than to accuse me of that – but I do state that many (Abrams in this case) pursue religious arguments to obfuscate historical facts which don’t suit their narrative. To wit: America is necessarily at war with Shia Islam.

  58. Castellio says:

    All of what you say may be currently true, but it doesn’t change the color of any of the clotted blood on the hands of Mr. Abrams.
    I happen to have faith in the growth and intelligence of the Islamic community in the US: the story will out in the generations to come.

  59. Castellio says:

    I have no argument with your principle. In response to Iowa Steve I was venting my frustrations with the on-going influence of the Kagans and Abrams. I should have simply silently agreed with his post.

  60. Imagine says:

    Biden’s visits even more interesting timeline, e.g. Odessa massacre.

  61. Imagine says:

    Senate votes 98% for Israeli interests, due to ~$70M Congressional stipends from AIPAC laundered through PACs. Also ensures US UN rep is firmly in pocket. No hope there.

  62. turcopolier says:

    It is true that I am a strict constructionist libertarian federalist conservative but what I try to maintain here is a forum in which various sides of an issue are represented within the bounds of civility that I insist on. for that reason there is room here for; mike, raven, fred and tyler. It is difficult to referee this catfight. pl

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The period of the Mohammad Reza Shah is not historical; for historical facts you need to consider the past 500 years both in the Near East as well as among the Western Diocletian states.
    In the Near East, the Shia state founded by Safavids (who also had revived the name of “Eranshahr”) has endured. This is the most significant departure from previous centuries where Shia dynasties like the Bhuids were extinguished eventually.
    Among the Western Diocletians, their religious cohesion, during the same period of time, was shattered and new deities (gods) emerged as a challenge to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. This has had the consequence, in the plane of ideas, of the emergence of multiple visions of what can only be understood as secular doctrines of redemption and the continued internal wars for this or that idea of Justice.
    The Vatican has cordial relationships with Shia Iran – they each are religious states and are upholding a specific Message of God and are not interested in fighting each other.
    The so-called secular West is the one in conflict with Iran over religious issues – the disposition of Palestine being the chief one and the nub of it at the moment. But, fundamentally, the Western Diocletians cannot accept a religious dispensation; in my opinion – it goes against the pseudo-religions that have infested the minds of men since the Catholic Synthesis in the West disintegrated.
    As for the Shah of Iran, his reign was but a brief interlude and an exception – the man though himself to be European and forgot that he was the Shah of the Shia foremost.
    Yes, of course NATO states liked him, he was the fool that was carrying their load for them for nothing.

  64. MRW says:

    Any appointment of Abrams to a top post in the Trump Administration . . . would be a disaster. — Harper
    I read Harper’s post with dismay, and could not agree more. Then I took a piss (Superbowl leftover) and got pissed.
    I fired off a *short* comment to the President on whitehouse.gov telling him not to do it. They do actually tabulate the pulse of the country with these comments. Or have done in all past admins. I got a presidential response to one of mine. https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact#page
    Suggest anyone who agrees with Harper to do the same. Any bit helps.
    Would have suggested calling the White House Comment Line as well (202-456-1111), but it was shut down on Jan 23 “temporarily.” A message there says use the contact form linked above, or use Facebook.
    I can only hope, Colonel, that your comment in your subsequent Couple of Things post is true: “IMO an ego as large as Trump’s will not react well to the sound of its master’s [Netanyahu’s] voice.”
    Surely, Steve Bannon has his pulse on that Swamp Frog Abrams.

  65. Castellio says:

    I appreciate the time and care you have taken to respond. Thank you.
    It won’t surprise you that I find your assumptions and argument, in the main, misguided, just as I wasn’t surprised that you felt I was, in the main, in denial.
    I think it would be an interesting discussion, but this is the wrong forum. If I am allowed one question with which to leave the argument, I would ask this: is the better historian the one who, having studied the past, has accurately mastered sweeping generalizations about it, or the one who, having studied the past, can build the tools with which change is possible?
    I am not saying you are the one and I the other; I am saying, rather, that the most important religious figures tend to be of the latter kind, not the former.
    Please do accept my genuine thanks for your engagement.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am pleased that you found my musing of interest. Indeed the pleasure is all mine.
    In regards to changing the present in the light of the knowledge of the past question that you have posed; historians write plausible fiction based on primary sources (one would hope). Therefore, all works of historical writing contain only nuggets of truth and are – by themselves – are not reliable sources of concrete action. Put another way, there is a lot of uncertainty in the reconstruction of the past; e.g. how do we know what people 50 years ago thought and what emotions caused them to make which decisions?
    For myself, with Makkinejad Thesis, I had presented an insight – to be distinguished from careful accumulation of particular knowledge from primary sources and trying to tell a coherent story – as a guide for action.
    So, as a guide to human action, I would say that my reconstruction of history leads me to conclude that the dream of Common European Home; espoused by Gorbachev for example, is unreachable. That the extension of Western Diocletian Civilization in an easterly direction will fail (Alexander Nevsky preferred an alliance with Tatars and fought against the Catholics), that the inclusion of Turkey in EU is a fool’s errand, that a Muslim Umma with any sort of even rudimentary political unity has to wait for the Hidden Imam, that India will never ever reach the vitality of the Western Civilization and so on and so forth.
    My ideas lead me to negative conclusions – they set limits on what is possible – and for people like Americans who think everything is possible my conclusions are unpalatable.
    If you look at the map of railways in Iran, you can see that they are connected now to Russia, Turkey and Europe, Central Asia and China. The railroad to Pakistan is moribund and the one to Basra is not yet complete (on the Iraqi side). There are plans for connecting the Iranian rail ways to those of Syria and to eventually connect Tehran to Beirut. You can take the train in Shanghai and arrived in Beirut – perhaps in a decade.
    But there are no plans for connecting to other Arab capitals, or to Cairo or Riyadh or to Islamabad or to Delhi. Those lines will never be built and one should not spend too much effort in trying to alter this persistent reality.

  67. Thomas says:

    Sorry for the late reply.
    The story I was thinking about was a final shipment of Hawks sent to Iran by Israel which were defective and led to break in covert relations. It was in the book, Iran-Iraq War in the Air, 1980-1988 by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop.
    May apologies if I misconstrued the two incidents.

  68. b says:

    Abram has been nixed by Trump. No job for him in the administration.
    I wouldn’t trust the reasons given. Trump needs to keep some Zionist friends happy (without falling under their control). He can’t say openly why he really did not want him.
    Trump nixes Elliott Abrams for State Department job
    President Donald Trump met with Abrams and the sources said that the meeting went well but when the President learned that Abrams had criticized him during the campaign, the President nixed Abrams as Deputy Secretary of State, according to the sources.
    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to convince Trump to offer the job to Abrams despite the criticism because he felt he needed Abrams’ experience.
    Republican sources also say White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner also strongly supported Abrams, and tried to convince the President to reconsider.

  69. turcopolier says:

    Trump made a good call. Abrams is like poison. IMO he is an Israeli agent of influence and not much more. pl

  70. Croesus says:

    Are there any conditions under which the allegations of Fara Mansoor are credible?
    Mansoor claims to have evidence that G H W Bush was deeply involved in bringing Khomeini to power, and that hostage taking at US embassy Tehran involved CIA (or former CIA) elements loyal to Bush; part of Bush’s motive for these actions, according to Mansoor, was retaliation against Carter for Carter having fired Bush from CIA.
    Another element in Bush’s motivation was the need to retain Iran as a bulwark against the Communists, in the likely event of the death of Pahlavi. According to Mansoor, Bush operated on the theory handed down from the Dulles brothers that it would take a fundamentalist religious ideology to resist atheistic Communists, and Khomeini offered that ideology. In addition, in late 1978 when he was contemplating these moves, Bush felt he needed support in a coming war on terror.
    Some of these elements make sense:
    1. The Dulles brothers were deeply imbued with religious fundamentalist ideas, according to Stephen Kinzer’s bio of the brothers: as lads, their grandfather regularly took them boating and indoctrinated them with his biblical beliefs. These notions might well have permeated Dulles’s ways of conducting their affairs.
    2. re the coming war on terror, in 1979 G H W Bush was not just an audience member but a participant in the Jerusalem Conference convened by Benzion and Benjamin Netanyahu, titled, “International Terrorism: Challenge and Response.”
    3. It’s not unreasonable that Bush would seek revenge against Carter.
    Conspiracy theory?
    If Khomeini (Islamic Iran) was Bush’s man, did he go rogue? Or has that particular regime outlived its usefulness a la Mubarak?

  71. Croesus says:

    The Japanese are not now seeking, and as far as I am aware of have never sought to gain positions of power and influence over US policy.
    Cicero was exiled then assassinated.
    Doesn’t it equally serve the needs of statecraft to make an example of those who have done harm to the state?

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