The torment of the neocons – reprinted 4 March 2017


Having lured America into two foolish wars filled with national pride and hubris, the neocons, to include their later converts like: McCain, the old lady from South Carolina, Hillary, their media servants et al are now faced with the obvious truth that their beliefs in the malleability of human cultures and the inevitability of "progress" toward one world culture are just horseshit.   The neocons inspired and at times controlled the US policy that summoned the Shia sectarian fanatic Maliki from the vasty deep.  His Shia oriented tyranny is collapsing more or less of its own weight, and in the process abandoning a fortune in US supplied military equipment.  Maliki is finished and no amount of whimpering about the desirability of "reconciliation" will change that.  The rebel coalition is going to drive Maliki from power and will probably occupy the remaining Sunni parts of Baghdad in the process.  Afghanistan appears likely to follow (in a few years) much the same trajectory toward an oriental despotism that is hard for us to understand.

In spite of this present failure and the likely future failure in Afghanistan, the jacobin neocons continue to snarl their defiance at reality.  McCain and the other lunatics insist that all was well in Iraq after the "surge" under the benign genius of the Great Captain David Petreus (he who could not keep his pants zipped up).  The obvious reality of the success of the defection of the Sons of Iraq from support of people like ISIS is dismissed by one dimensional thinkers like that other military genius, Jack Keane.  With the help of all the "yes men" at State, in DoD and the WH the "advanced thinkers" among the IR poisoned political appointees, the US Government walked away from the Sons of Iraq and worshipped at the feet of the Shia tyrant Maliki because – wait for it!  He had won an election.

The core truth of what has happened in Iraq is the grotesque stupidity of the original decision to invade Iraq, occupy it and seek to transform it into a country acceptable  to the neocons.

The hunt for those who "lost Iraq," is just beginning.  It will intensify and become the equivalent of the harrying of the "China Hands" after the Nationalist Chinese regime fell to the communists.

One of the saddest thing about this is the continuing ignorance of the American people of any of the reality of this situation.  The images that people have of Iraq, Iran and all the rest are simply projections of media propaganda reflecting the agenda of the neocons and their international "friends."

One can only expect that even as they wriggle on the hook of their failure the neocons will continue to lie and attempt to cripple their opponents 



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119 Responses to The torment of the neocons – reprinted 4 March 2017

  1. Marcy C. says:

    i am arguing with a classmate. He says just because the jihadis overrunning Iraq have backwards beliefs does not mean they cannot engage with modern tech. I say they can engage but upto a point. What do you say? If they got their hands on an American warplane, could they figure out how to use it, and more importantly, could they reach us in North America?
    Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have lots of American equipment laying around and they are not far from Iraq.

  2. ToivoS says:

    I doubt that there will be much interest in a “who lost Iraq” discussion. After the Hanoi army over-ran the south in 1975 it was pretty much accepted by most Americans — the recriminations had already spent themselves out during the big debates from 1968 – 1972.
    There certainly should be such a discussion. Why is the NY Times giving Ken Pollack a big op-ed to advise us on how to respond to this latest crisis in Iraq? This was the neocon who told us in 2003 that the Iraq war would only cost a few 10s of billions of dollars.

  3. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Somebody more clever than I am should rework the old, bitter joke from the Middle East about the scorpion and the frog with the NeoConservatives taking the role of the scorpion. They could retain the punch line where the scorpion informs the now fatally-stung frog just before they both drown in the stream that they were crossing in response to the frog’s anguished query as to WHY the scorpion had stung him while he was generously ferrying the scorpion across the stream. That punch line being, of course,”It is my nature”.
    Willingly dwelling in the mirrored hall of lies and half-truths as they are, your conclusion on how the NeoConservatives will now disport themselves is undoubtedly correct, Col. Lang. It is, indeed, “their nature”, reflexive wreckers and liars that they are.
    Bad enemies, worse friends.

  4. samuelburke says:

    Col Lang it’s refreshing to see someone of your stature denounce these interventionists.
    These Neocons deserve a head on collision with the rest of us Americans, they never back down, they are aggressive as hell and control the narrative.
    Until that narrative they control becomes loudly contested by “the respectable” voices that have access to the media they will rule the day.
    They need to be called out by name and smeared in the same manner they do to those who have dared to raise their heads above the crowds.
    Cantor v/s Brat may have been the modern day equivalent of the shot heard round the world. Crossing fingers.

  5. Fred says:

    Mary C.,
    Why would ISIS or whoever is actually the emerging winner in Iraq going to then engage the US in a war with ‘captured’ equipment?

  6. optimax says:

    To paraphrase Reagan: The worst words another country can hear are “I’m from the United States, and here to help.”

  7. walrus says:

    The Neocon narrative will be released soon enough.
    It will go something like this: “Obama is weak. He cut and ran out of Iraq and now Afghanistan. We should have stayed and done more in both places. Our strategy worked, it’s just that we were fighting with one hand tied behind our backs thanks to lilly livered Liberals like Obama.”
    I also note that the “responsibility to protect” crowd have gone very quiet.
    Meanwhile, I await another thundering speech from Vladimir Putin asking America and Europe if they want another Syria or Iraq style tragedy in Ukraine.

  8. steve says:

    Since David Petreus is mentioned, it’s worth noting that he now represents a NYC private equity fund, KKR, which is trying to get its hands on North Dakota’s State Investment Board money–flush with millions of fracking money.
    There’s a bit of an ethics scandal brewing in North Dakota over Petreus’ recent visit to the state to make his pitch.

  9. FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    I think the Afghan army created by the US is likely to collapse in the face of the Taliban as the Iraqi army just did.
    All that these armies built on the US model (and equipped with billions of dollars worth of equipment – good for US industry) are capable of is oppressing the ordinary people where they are based, and producing a half-decent guard of honour for visiting bigwigs.

  10. Jim Ticehurst says:

    And Their Opponents will Magnify and Exploit NeoCon Failures so they can Hide their Own..There is No Accountability For any of them..

  11. turcopolier says:

    Yes, “Nous sommes trahis.” (We wuz robbed)

  12. The Virginian says:

    An interesting article from Paul Pillar at the following link:
    That the headlines are not failing to address the reality that the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was an unmitigated disaster tells much as to the silliness of Washington. Has Obama made a hash of MENA policy? – yes. But 2003 and the stupidity of the CPA guaranteed the instability of Iraq. At the same time, while the US / neocons are responsible for 2003, one cannot take away agency from the Iraqis (and people of the region) themselves. The blood that is flowing is theirs, thus they are as much to blame as anyone. The difference in part is that extremists on both sides welcome such bloodshed, and see it as the path to achieving their interests. The US never understood the depth of belief and interest posed by the conflation of neo-Baathis with Islamist militancy.
    The key for the Kurds is to not overplay their hand. If Arab Iraq (or even ISIS militants) in force focus north the Kurds would be able to prevent any conventional encroachment (unless things changed which freed up Iraqi armor and ISOF) but would face terrorist attacks inside the green line. They are best served by playing a long game that leads to statehood (assuming the international community accepts them – the Kurdish lobby in DC is amping it up I imagine), even though that will amount to essentially becoming the Duchy of Ankara – but better than what they have had to date. The Kurds are corrupt, oppressive and as misrepresentative of history as anyone – but they do benefit from ethnic (though not not ideological or economic) homogeneity. If they can remain cohesive internally – and the external threat may help – while introducing some governance / service delivery in disputed territories then they have a chance. The Kurds have limited heavy weaponry, no air force and limited combat depth thus their lines of communication would get strained beyond Kirkuk or Eastern Ninevah. In reality the control over Kirkuk was established some time ago, this just makes it a bit more solidified but such things are fluid.
    On oil, like weaponry, the lack of being recognized as a sovereign state is an issue, but one that may become less so if the rest of Iraq devolves into full civil conflict. It also depends upon ownership of the oil and gas inside the pipelines. Will IOCs have ownership and demand market rates as volumes reach Ceyhan, or will the KRG take ownership from the wellhead? Will be interesting to see how it goes. The Turks are hungry for Kurdish gas, but the Kurds need some for domestic use as well, thus we’ll have to see. Should the Kurds assume control over Kirkuk volumes then that will draw Iraqi Arab ire.
    Part of the bottom line is that this is an unprecedented opportunity for the Kurds, and a strategic danger. Regardless, for the rest of Iraq, it promises another rupture and more blood.

  13. Fred says:

    “… a follow-up invitation to come to New York City to talk business.”
    ““KKR does not have any current or pending business relationship with the [State Investment Board],” Murtha wrote. ”
    North Dakota has the money, KKR wants to make a return off ‘service’ to the fund. KKR needs to come to ND, not the other way around. If SIB members want to go to NYC they need to go on vacation not a state paid trip. It’s spelled out pretty well in the article. They (ND) must really have allot of extra money for KKR to even look at them.

  14. turcopolier says:

    The Virginian
    “the headlines are not failing to address the reality that the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was an unmitigated disaster” Yes, but that will not stop the neocons from mounting a long term campaign to justify their criminal activities in deceiving the American people about Iraq. As to the responsibility of the ME populations, so what? One might as well blame the moon for causing tides. It was our responsibility to understand the nature of the moon. We failed in that responsibility. Well, some of us did. pl

  15. fanto says:

    Virginian, If I am not mistaken, Kurds also have the support of Israel, in materiel, intel and political ways. Please correct if I am wrong.

  16. turcopolier says:

    “A Virginian,” and “The Virginian” are not the same person. pl

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They would be consumers of modern technology and at their very best, poor maintainers of that said technology.
    They will not be innovators in a consistent manner and over time.

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Only 3 countries have offered to help Iraq: Russia, China and Iran.
    Everyone else, specially EU, is silent.
    Arab League cannot hide its glee…

  19. ISL says:

    FBI Ali:
    Yes, but we have trained many Iraqi’s in how to use the equipment. Many will suddenly discover they always were ISIL supporters, and use that training again, after all, the training the US gave obviously did not instill loyalty.
    I would count it as a double negative.
    Anthony Cordesman was very correct when he labeled the Iraqi misadventure a mistake.

  20. turcopolier says:

    “Anthony Cordesman was very correct when he labeled the Iraqi misadventure a mistake.” Cordesman? Hey! The SOB was a cheerleader for the invasion, an enabler for a long time. i had dinner with him in Kuwait a few years into the war and I remember the snide, condescension of his attitude towards my insistence that the war was a disastrous idea. Have you read my piece “Drinking the Koolaid?” pl

  21. Alan says:

    The neocons are much smarter than people give them credit for, and the key to understanding this is to never believe anything they say about their purported “goals” but to look instead at what they are actually doing. What they really have been promoting for decades is failed states all around Israel (except Jordan) and that’s what they are creating. Wolfowitz, Perle, Faith, Abrams and the people they work for never wanted a “democratic and secular” Middle East. They know perfectly well this is bs but it got them the support of lots of useful idiots of the kind pl here describes so well. If that’s what you really want to do, you don’t start by invading or destabilizing the most secular Arab states. In the case of Iraq, people should look really carefully at who exactly took the decision to disband the army and the whole bureaucracy of the civil service. There was quite a steer a few years ago when Bush revealed in an interview that he didn’t know who took this decision. Then there was a back and forth between Bremer and if I remember well several neocons like Wolfowitz on who took this decision.
    If anyone still has a doubt, the support the Syrian opposition got from the usual suspects should be eye-opening. Supposedly we want a more secular and democratic Middle East so we arm and support the fanatics who want to impose Sharia to overthrow Assad?
    It doesn’t make sense unless the goal is instead destabilized countries mired in internal conflict and permanent weakness, a stalemate of the kind we are seeing in Syria, coming now to Iraq.
    I would suggest people start realising that the US is being manipulated to help in the complete destabilization of the Middle East with several failed states and occasional outbursts of great violence between Sunni and Shia, which has been a wet dream of the Israeli national security establishment for a long long time. It will take a lot of pressure off them. Or one can choose to believe instead that the neocons and those behind them are well-meaning but incompetent fantasists, poor them, on account of, well, their … articles and papers and what they say publicly.

  22. turcopolier says:

    Yes, as you know these Sunni fundamentalists have a permanent prejudice against bida’ (innovation)in all things. this includes the products of modern civilization in all forms. this does not apply to the temporary secular allies that they have. The maintenance in the old Iraqi army was the best i ever saw in the 3rd World. pl

  23. turcopolier says:

    “except Jordan” Until Jordan signed the treaty, the Israelis continuously tried to destabilize Jordan as well. they lied about the country all the time and they insinuated that anyone who liked the Bedouin in Jordan must be at least bisexual. The Jordanians have the custom of kissing each other on the cheek. “Ah, you like the kisses. Now I see why you defend them.” I have a long memory. pl

  24. oofda says:

    Concur, Cordesman was a true believer in and cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq. I recall seeing him on numerous TV programs speaking for the invasion and what a great thing it was for the nation.

  25. confusedponderer says:

    Iirc when the Iraqis put their exocets on Falcon Bizjets everybody, including the French, was surprised because they didn’t expect them to be able to engineer this, and never got the idea themselves.
    In one of my first jobs when I was a student, I worked in a large engineering firm that sold cement factories to Iraq. One of the seasoned engineers there told me about his time in Iraq and spoke of the experts with respect. He called the Iraqis the Prussians of the Middle East.
    He said they analysed the factory plans presented and then told him how to improve them based on analysis of their plants and those of the competitors.
    My second station in the company was with the sales people, and it was that breed that wrecked the company by selling undervalued contracts to the Saudis. I preferred the engineers. The sales folks were too clever by half.

  26. turcopolier says:

    I was the #2 guy in the JCS investigation of the attack on USS Stark. An admiral was the #1. The Iraqis had re-wired the French jets they had for maritime attacks. They were not Falcon Bizjets. They were Dassault Mirage F-1s. The aircraft had been built to fire one exocet and the Iraqis built new wiring harnesses so that they could carry two. Nobody helped them do that. The French were astonished that they had managed to do that as were our engineers. pl

  27. Alan says:

    Here is the real neocon agenda, expanded from the Clean Break manifesto:
    “In October, 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (seven-minute excerpt in the video below) in which he denounced what he called “a policy coup” engineered by neocons in the wake of 9/11. After recounting how a Pentagon source had told him weeks after 9/11 of the Pentagon’s plan to attack Iraq notwithstanding its non-involvement in 9/11, this is how Clark described the aspirations of the “coup” being plotted by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and what he called “a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for the New American Century”:
    Six weeks later, I saw the same officer, and asked: “Why haven’t we attacked Iraq? Are we still going to attack Iraq?”
    He said: “Sir, it’s worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”
    Clark said the aim of this plot was this: “They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.” He then recounted a conversation he had had ten years earlier with Paul Wolfowitz — back in 1991 — in which the then-number-3-Pentagon-official, after criticizing Bush 41 for not toppling Saddam, told Clark: “But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet regimes – Syria, Iran [sic], Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.” Clark said he was shocked by Wolfowitz’s desires because, as Clark put it: “the purpose of the military is to start wars and change governments? It’s not to deter conflicts?””
    How is this agenda going? Does it look like the neocons are incompetent? Sure, they haven’t gotten Iran yet. But they’re working on it relentlessly, too.

  28. confusedponderer says:

    My memory was vague, thus the iirc. Thanks for clarifying.

  29. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    Why did the Iraqi Mirage attack the USS Stark ?

  30. turcopolier says:

    An old story. The Iranians had declared a maritime exclusion zone on their side of the Gulf. the Iraqis took them at their word and declared this to be a free fire zone for maritime attacks. they divided the Iranian exclusion zone into boxes to use in assigning missions to pilots. This particular plane came down the Arab side of the Gulf after having been refueled in a “buddy” system and turned left into its target box with orders to attack the first maritime target that it encountered therein. USS Stark had experienced a breakdown in its electronic navigation and had been navigating by dead reckoning for a day or so. Stark was either just inside the Iraqi target box or just outside it depending on whether you were the Iraqi Air Force or the US Navy. the Iraqi pilot, a major, whom I talked to in Baghdad during the investigation swore Stark was in the box. he fire both missiles at the ship at a range of about 20 kilometers and then turned sharply away. It was only then that Stark realized they were under attack. The radar in the French made missiles and the radar of the aircraft mimicked each other. I was one of the authors of the JCS report. pl

  31. turcopolier says:

    If you want to criticize my “near-obsession with the neocons” and “hyperbole” why don’t you do it here? pl

  32. ISL says:

    Colonel Lang and oofda: Thanks for the correction. I somehow missed his cheerleading days. mea culpa.

  33. Agree! The US military employs equipment designed by industry not the military. Flag rank in the US military is largely a function of pleasing industry.
    Some of the world’s best weaponry is not deigned or US made IMO.

  34. Agree completely from what little I know and like the Vietnamese a decade down the road even the US will regard Iraq in whatever form as the dominant player in that part of MENA! US policy has forged a new tiger in the making.

  35. Castellio says:

    Let me see, Alan, are you suggesting that the American military, at enormous expense to the American people, has worked to achieve the foreign affairs priorities of a radical but influential group within the Administration, and that those priorities have very little, if anything, to do with the genuine interests of the American people?
    Are you further suggesting that the motivations for those radical priorities are neither publicly disclosed nor debated, but are knowingly misrepresented in false colors?
    And, if I am following you correctly, that the influence of this radical group within the administration and government of the US is still managing to determine US foreign policy?

  36. cville reader says:

    When was the last time that politicians and/or bureaucrats in DC did anything that promoted the “genuine interests of the American people”?

  37. FB Ali says:

    As an outside observer, I would say that your thesis has much merit, ie, the neocons who seem to have considerable influence in shaping US policy in the ME are not delusional incompetents but are working (rather successfully) to an Israeli agenda.
    The only thing I would add is that allied to them is that considerable constituency that stands to gain from military preparation and war. They couldn’t care less about Israel, but their agenda suits them in furthering their own interests. In an earlier post I referred to both groups combined as the War Party.

  38. Tyler says:

    The neocons/R2P crowd are the worms eating away at the heart of America.
    So much wasted blood and treasure, foreign and domestic, can be traced back to their treachery.

  39. turcopolier says:

    FB ali
    what you and Alan have missed in all this is that in addition to their slavish and racist loyalty to Israel before all else they also are deluded creatures who are descended from the Trots and Frankfurt school and believe their nonsense about revolution as a boundless good. and, I DO know many of them all to well… pl

  40. turcopolier says:

    Few people have more reason than I to complain about the promotion system in the US Army than I but I think you have it only partly right. What you say may be true about flag officer positions concerned with procurement, but in the rest of the force promotion to flag rank is a matter of; mirror imaging, extended family nepotism, general officer whims and the like. pl

  41. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think neo-cons, like the SS, are an alibi.
    You have to ask yourself, who are the Neo-cons in EU?
    Or in Canada?
    Or in Australia?
    Are there Neo-cons in Spain, or Germany, or in Denmark who somehow managed to mimic, to such an astonishingly coherent degree, US policies in the Middle East?
    I think not.

  42. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I disagree with your theses since it cannot explain the consistent US support for Israel for as long as that country has existed.
    Furthermore, it does not explain the great conformity of EU, Canada, and Australia to much of the US agenda in the Middle East.
    One must accept the fact, however unpleasant it may be, that the electorate in US, Canada, EU, and Australia support these policies.
    Why the electorate in such a diverse collection of states support these damaging policies is a different question but the support that these policies receive through the democratic processes cannot be denied.
    It was only very late last year that in UK the electorate finally revolted against the specific policy of NATO bombing the Syrian Arab Republic; something that has not happened before or after.
    The electorate has a right to be wrong.
    But the electorate cannot be absolved of its responsibilities – in my opinion.

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are hiding behind the politicians; these policies are supported by the electorate otherwise they would not have supported them over decades.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Now let us here from Tony Blair:
    I would imagine EU could easily put 10 million men under arms and send them to occupy all Muslim States from Pakistan to the Atlas Mountains and reform their societies; backed by Hydrogen Bombs aimed at Karachi, Tehran, Baghdad, Cairo, Algiers, Beirut, etc.

  45. Imagine says:

    North Dakota has its own state-owned bank, a rarity. A pot to raid?

  46. SAC Brat says:

    Yepper. Wealth transfer. Too bad we don’t have older tax laws that promoted wealth creation.
    … And when were private banks a good idea?

  47. Valissa says:

    Excellent point! Yes, I can see the neo-con ideology as an ‘alibi’. This is similar to how I view the neo-cons. Neo-cons, R2P’ers, whatever… in general I tend to think of their ideology as a cover for much more primal power urges. The label of neo-con or R2P seems to be assigned based on whether one is speaking of a Republican or Democrat here in the US. The principles may seem different but the underlying power games are the same, and there is a shared groupthink.
    Are there related ideological/political labels for the philosophies of the power-hungry elites in the countries Babak mentions? Would love to hear from residents of other countries on this.
    “Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.” — Aldous Huxley
    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” — H.L. Mencken

  48. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    Thank you -.

  49. kao_hsien_chih says:

    In other words, they would be exactly like 99.9% of everyone on earth as far as high tech is concerned….

  50. different clue says:

    Whoever made the decision to remove General Garner and install Proconsul Bremer in his place might well be considered the person who made the decision to destroy everything that Bremer was installed to destroy. If someone(s) know(s) about roosters and weasels, and that someone(s) takes the rooster out of the henhouse and puts a weasel in the henhouse, that someone(s) did it deliberately on purpose in order to get weasel results.
    So . . . who removed Garner and installed Bremer?

  51. MRW says:

    “If they got their hands on an American warplane, could they figure out how to use it, and more importantly, could they reach us in North America?”
    Hunh? For what reason?

  52. MRW says:

    The same was said of their doctors and medicine before we started bombing them in 1991. My memory is poor on this, but I remember a story I heard in Paris in the 80s about how rich Parisians went to Baghdad for their superior medical services, and the quality of their doctors.

  53. cville reader says:

    To each his own, Babak, but I tend to think what most Americans suffer from is apathy and perhaps an unpardonable amount of ignorance. That may be mostly because the public at large has been insulated from the results of the disastrous foreign policy pursued by DC in the last few decades.
    That may change in the near future, for many reasons. For one, we can’t afford any more foreign misadventures. For another, the economy may not be able to absorb the shock of a huge increase in oil prices. And then there is the matter of fomenting unrest at Russia’s doorstep. I can’t even imagine what catastrophe that could unleash.

  54. turcopolier says:

    Iraqi society in the time you mention had many westernized features, including the quality of medical care. Saddam’s tyranny did not affect that kind of thing. his tyranny was focused on maintaining his power in a modernizing state and to keeping people like the ISIS crowd and similar Shia groups under control. Women had a particularly advanced position for the Arab World. The US ambassador of the Iran-Iraq War period told me that Iraqi women of the modernized sector had the problem of being expected to do too much; family, career, etc. pl

  55. turcopolier says:

    different clue
    I had been asked by the Garner group to particiapate and so paid attention at th time. my impression was that it was a decision of the neocon collectivity; Perle, Wolfie, Slocum, Cheney, Scooter, etc., Garner’s big sin was willingness to retain most features of the Iraqi state rather that go for the Trot inspired day zero option. pl

  56. Fred says:

    Yes, the electorate is hiding behind its politicians. As is becoming apparent the loyalty to one’s political tribe is preventing the wholesale removal of these politicians.

  57. Alan says:

    the neocons don’t work alone or in a vacuum. They have great support from the Israeli lobbies in the US, Britain, France, Canada and Australia. This explains the support for Israel perfectly because this is indeed what’s happening, with the US lobby in particular boasting that “[I]n twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.” (they got 88 on the new Palestinian unity government).
    Your thesis that the electorates support those policies is wrong. In the case of Iraq, it took tremendous propaganda and lies to convince the American public and only for a while, but no other electorate supported the Iraq war, and I challenge you to provide evidence that there is any electorate that supports war in Syria or Iran or in Iraq again.
    A more interesting discussion is how they get support from other powerful special interests, without the support of which such extreme policies as wars could not happen. We would then have to look at JINSA and so on, but that’s a different discussion. Let’s just say that President Eisenhower knew what he was talking about in his farewell address.

  58. cville reader says:

    What also seem to coincide with a lot of neo-con endeavors are backroom deals that involve a lot of profit-taking. Of course, money and power are often two sides of the same coin.
    I am less inclined to see the neo-conservative project exclusively as one of true-believers out to remake the world.

  59. The Virginian says:

    I certainly concur as to the “so what” comment with respect to the failure of strategic thinking or any sense of nuanced understanding of / appreciation for the region by those making the decisions. Perhaps when enough blood is spilled there will be a pause, but that would take a change of mindset among those in the region that would certainly go against the “tides”. From your perspective, is there anything that the US / West should be doing to contain the further fall-out from 2003?

  60. Alan says:

    Sir, I find it amazing that nobody is examining this. It was the most fateful decision taken (and that is recognised again with a vengeance with recent developments) yet nobody has gotten to the bottom of it. Everybody knows who did this but nobody can prove it.
    I was completely astonished when Bush revealed in his usual disinterested way that it wasn’t him who took that decision because the original plan was to keep the army. So someone else was calling the shots, doing the opposite of what was decided yet the “Commander in Chief” couldn’t care less. But what about the others, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell and so on, why didn’t they intervene to try to reverse that decision?
    In any case, pulling off stunts like this proves that the neocons are anything but incompetent. While people congratulate themselves for showing “inconsistencies” in the neocon public rhetoric, they get the job done without leaving any (or enough) fingerprints.
    P.S. Here is a pretty good summary of what has been publicly known:

  61. Margaret Steinfels says:

    Don’t know. But consider National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice.

  62. turcopolier says:

    cville reader
    I must say that I am very tired of trying to convince all you romantic “merchant of death” theorists that your belief that neocon inspired policy initiatives are/were inspired by a desire for a pay-off in terms of money. We DID NOT invade Iraq for oil! Saddam’s government wanted nothing more in the world than to be allowed to sell as much oil as they could pump at world market prices. That was made impossible by elements in the US government who wanted nothing more than to screw Iraq for political reasons largely having to do with persistent Israeli/AIPAC political warfare designed to promote that in the American media and in Congress. I was involved in the international oil trade at the time and struggled mightily in Washington and at the UN for waivers in the Oil for Peace program. That struggle was largely fruitless because of the power of THE LOBBY. The LOBBY’s influence was so strong over this that Anan’s son was framed in the court of public opinion as pat of the effort to shut Iraqi oil production down and keep it shut down. We invaded Iraq because of the triumph of neocon interest in the Bush Administration. That interest was engaged in this issue because Israel wished to disrupt Saddam’s government, a policy born of Israel’s enduring ignorance and disinterest in the welfare of its neighbors and of their desire to ruin them. Once engaged in Iraq US money, not Iraqi money flowed into private contractor hands but that money was from American sources. The US as a country made no money in Iraq. Wolfowitz’ notorious nonsense stated to the senate that the occupation of Iraq would pay for itself was not an indication of US intent. It was just Wolfowitz’ usual foolishness. pl

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are trying to absolve the electorate by presently invoking another amorphous thing called “the Lobby”.
    The Lobby is exactly whom?
    Are not the members of this lobby citizens of the states they are living in?
    And evidently this lobby – in 27 countries – has been very successful; it must be saying something with which the electorate have a deep and enduring affinity.
    It is inconceivable for me that an Arab lobby, regardless of how much it spends, could be even remotely as successful.
    Again, I repeat, the electorate in these 27 countries cannot be white-washed.

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Within walking distance of my house there is a Two-Star family and a Single-Star family.
    How can one remain ignorant?

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Look, US can stop her Cold War against Iran and in six months there would be several hundred billion dollars worth of orders for nuclear reactors, diesel electric locomotives, Boeing air crafts, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and helicopters placed by Iran to US firms.
    Likewise for EU.
    Even the Australians could be selling more sheep.
    Within economic considerations, the Cold War of US, EU, Australia, and Canada against Iran does not make any sense.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That percentage is not a factual assessment of the situation; there are areas of the world that people can produce things and there are areas of the world that people are solely consumers of such things as drugs, surgical equipment, the internal combustion engine etc.

  67. cville reader says:

    turcopolier– I am not a “merchant of death” theorist, and I don’t think Iraq was all about oil. But I am very interested into exactly which private contractor hands money flowed and how they were selected. I see this more in terms of political-machine building.
    Also, I am less convinced that US activity in Ukraine has nothing to do with money, but not necessarily war-profiteering. Blocking access to markets and resources has at least as much plausibility as democracy-making, at least to me.

  68. Alan says:

    Again, I repeat, you provide no evidence whatsoever that there is any electorate anywhere supporting those wars. Will wait for that evidence but I won’t hold my breath.
    However, the fact that you put the word Lobby in quotes is a dead giveaway.
    Don’t waste my time.

  69. turcopolier says:


  70. turcopolier says:

    cville reader
    There was so much US money spread around that there was a host of recipients. many of these contracts were awarded in a non-competitive basis. They are a matter of public record. I have written for a long time that the US graft involved in re-development in Iraq and Afghanistan is a disgrace, but that graft did not cause the wars. it was an effect of them. pl

  71. Castellio says:

    So explain it, Babak, give us your reasons why…

  72. FB Ali says:

    Babak M,
    “I think neo-cons, like the SS, are an alibi. You have to ask yourself, who are the Neo-cons….?”
    “Neocon” is not an alibi but a convenient term to describe a group (often diverse) that pursues certain types of policies.
    I don’t know about the other countries you mention but in Canada the present government pursues neocon policies: dismantling the government machinery, reducing taxes as well as social support funding, privatising services, etc. In foreign affairs it has taken positions supporting the US in military action abroad, because its supporters are so inclined. It has adopted a completely pro-Israel policy because there is a strong pro-Israel lobby that is well organized and can deliver a big block of votes.
    This has not always been so. The previous Liberal government followed a generally independent foreign policy, and struck a balance between Israel and the Palestinians. PM Jean Chretien did not support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  73. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    The people called “neocons” in the US have no domestic agenda other than excluding and silencing people like me. pl

  74. Castellio says:

    There are certainly neo-cons in Canada, Babak. The fact that you can’t name them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
    I have to say that you write from the perspective of someone who hasn’t engaged himself in the issues in any sustained and practical way. If you had (or if you should, which I recommend) then I believe your comments would be quite different. You would have a much better understanding of who is working against you and how; you would be much more sensitive to the role of and pressures within the media; and you would be at least somewhat more sensitive to what is often called the democratic deficit.
    You are wrong to suggest that the people have quietly acquiesced to the foreign policies of their governments, or that the revolt in the Houses of Parliament in London against the war in Syria was the first outbreak of a mass popular resistance. That is simply misinformation on your part, or a selective memory.
    But most importantly, I think, is to disentangle your logic. You say that Alan is wrong in his thesis because it doesn’t account for (in brief) popular acquiescence and international coherence. But Alan is describing historical events for which there is very real evidence. There are names, there are actions, there are consequences (the role of the Office of Special Plans, etc.) which you seem quite happy to wave away.
    I am happy to concede that the actions of the neo-cons are insufficient without a welcoming environment, but the nature of that welcoming environment is to be discussed rationally, not simply used to render innocent and non-existent historical actors and actions.
    Using the word ‘alibi’ to whitewash the critical actions of real people in real time is, to be honest, beneath you.
    If you want to state different causal reasons within the historical situation, state them.

  75. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    I stand by what I have said: “The electorate is responsible”.
    Either People are Sovereign or they are not.
    You cannot have it both ways.
    This is like arguing with some Iranians that attribute all kinds of things to the evil “mullah”; as thought the Iranian mullahs descended from some alien planet and took control of the minds of poor gullible ignorant and otherwise naïve Iranian people.
    That is clearly not a convincing argument.
    I ask again: “Why is Iran now an enemy of Denmark?”
    Did neo-cons descend on Copenhagen?
    Or the Danish people afraid that the Revolutionary Guards are going to invade Denmark and haul all those nubile braless blonde girls sun-tanning in Copenhagen parks to Iran?
    Or is there some sort of radio transmission from a neo-con controlled radio station that is rotting Danish brains – since clearly they do not know how to make aluminum foil helmets?

  76. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Au contraire, I think you are wasting ours, by essentially not facing the fact – supported election cycle after election cycle in numerous countries – that the electorates in these countries evidently like what the Israeli lobbies tell them.

  77. Fred says:

    Col., and if they succeed in doing so hope to intimidate men like Tyler and I (and a host of others who read and comment here) to shut up and go along (in our civilian capacity).

  78. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, Canadian people have freely and democratically voted for a government that in your words: “..has taken positions supporting the US in military action abroad, because its supporters are so inclined. It has adopted a completely pro-Israel policy…”.
    Who is responsible but the Canadian electorate?

  79. FB Ali says:

    Stephen Harper got a majority government in the 2011 election. 61% of eligible voters cast ballots; his party got 30.6% of them. Many people who voted for him did so because of his domestic agenda.
    My estimate is that no more than 20% of the Canadian adult population supports Harper’s foreign policy. The “responsibility” (if blame is to be assigned) is that of an electoral system that enabled his majority, and of a political system that turns off 40% of the population so that they don’t even bother to vote.
    It is an over-simplification to assign blame for government policies on the ‘people’ of a country. The reality is much more complicated.

  80. Babak Makkinejad says:

    But my point still stands; per your calculation, at least 20% of the population support Harper’s foreign policy and the other 40% acquiesces in it.
    I submit to you that the electorate is responsible not some amorphous lobby.

  81. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You should run some sort of Survey Research program and ask the electorate in US or UK or Spain why the prospects of several hundred billion dollars worth of business from Iran is of little or no interest to them.

  82. Alan says:

    FB Ali,
    please notice how instead of the neocons and the Lobby you ended up discussing the “electorates”. The discussion has been hijacked. This is no accident:
    “In 2009, Israel’s foreign ministry organized volunteers to add pro-Israeli commentary on news websites.[28][29][30] In July 2009, it was announced that the Israeli Foreign Ministry would assemble an “internet warfare” squad to spread a pro-Israel message on various websites, with funding of 600,000 shekels (c $150,000)”
    Such activists used to visit sites and blogs with very aggressive behavior and open advocacy, but later they improved their methods and one of the strategies is to try to appear sincere, then raise all sorts of issues, then keep moving the goalposts without ever acknowledging any point to the person they debate. Anything goes as long as the discussion gets hijacked. In this case, notice how he
    a)first tries to deny the neocons’ influence by wondering how a tiny group of people can be so influential. When it is pointed out to him that they have the support of the Lobby and Israel, he
    b) treats it as a mythical construct that doesn’t exist, and even if it exists in the US it doesn’t in other countries who are US allies and support those policies anyway. When it is pointed out to him that several such lobbies do in fact exist in Britain, France, Australia and Canada for exactly that reason, to influence said governments, he
    c) ignores that and switches to the “electorates” thingy, claiming that it is the “electorates” that support those policies, not any “lobbies”. By now it is so obvious that he is pulling whatever he can find out of his behind that I ask him to provide any kind of evidence that there is such popular support for mayhem in the Middle East in any of those countries. Again, he
    d) promptly ignores that too since there is no such evidence and doubles down by raising the concept of collective responsibility anyway. You see, even if the electorates don’t actually support those policies, it is their fault anyway for voting in the people who implement them. Then, he
    e) goes circular(!) and restates that electorates MUST approve those policies since they vote for people who happen to later implement them.
    As you can see, this is not a sincere debate. If he were someone with genuine “concerns” and ignorance, he would have accepted the fact (after looking it up) that there are powerful Israeli lobbies in many countries , he would have found out easily that there is no support whatsoever anywhere in the West for wars in the Middle East, and then he might have raised the interesting issue of how exactly ALL lobbies – not just the Israeli lobbies – circumvent the will of the people with direct access and lots of money to the persons exercising power in any country. After all, that’s what lobbies do! Instead, you got a guy who puts the word Lobby in quotes. That’s a dead giveaway.
    (Gotta say though, trying to deny the influence of the Israeli lobbies by claiming that public opinion everywhere supports neocon policies is new and a new low, the level of said activists seems to be rapidly diminishing. There was a time in Mondoweiss when there were some good debaters there, not very sincere but at least very smart and very knowledgeable. You wouldn’t get this kind of amateur hour very often).
    So please don’t bother. This whole thing started with the “Megaphone” in 2006, and there have been many such programs to enlist college students and others with lots of free time as internet activists for Israel. Please remember: When they deal with knowledgeable people and know they can’t win the debated point, their only concern becomes how to waste people’s time with straw man arguments and misdirections, anything to steer the discussion away from the neocons, Israel and the Lobby. They are in fact the original “concern trolls”, the original hijackers.

  83. confusedponderer says:

    that rests on the assumption that they voted for Harper bcause of his hostility towards Iran i.e. his foreign policy?
    I think this unlikely.

  84. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am suggesting to you that Democratic Rule does not mean sanity in policy.

  85. Castellio says:

    Of course the people aren’t sovereign, that’s an ideal to which we strive with hard work and persistence. Sovereignty does not arrive as manna from heaven.
    (It seems odd to me that you are confused on this point, writing from a country where a Supreme Court determined the Presidency against both the popular vote and the actual electoral vote – should the votes of Florida have all been counted.)
    In any case, you seem to prefer distant generalizations to present facts. If we define the neocon movement (both the people and their actions) in the US, you want it defined in Canada, if we do that, you want it defined in Denmark.
    Of course the Mullahs did not descend upon Tehran, nor the neocons upon Washington: they are part and parcel of the history, social trends, etc.. How that simple admission that we are all part of a larger whole becomes a magic wand to dismiss the consequence of known actions, however, is simply sophistry (the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving).
    In the subtext you seem to be pointing to cultural factors which you think override all other considerations. I can only imagine that you have defined your universe, are happy with it, and see no need for the comfort of your generalizations to be distrubed.

  86. confusedponderer says:

    What I have in mind is something else:
    People usually don’t vote in a national election based on foreign policy.
    Not knowing all that much about Canadian politics, I’ll go out on a limb: Harper and his evangelicals aside, I doubt Canada went to the polls and elected Harper into his office because of his unconditional servility to Israel.
    Who makes foreign policy and what that foreign policy amounts to is something usually not put up for vote. The mandarins in each elected party handle that once their party got elected. As Bush 43 proved, and Obama proved again, it does really matter who is Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, or the United States Permanent Representative to NATO.
    Who picks the mandarins, and where the mandarins get their ideas and their consensus is the interesting point.
    Of course in a democracy, even a republic, the elctorate is ultimately responsible, but do you want to blame the US electorate for Douglas Feith? Or Victoria Nuland?
    How much influence exactly does the electorate have for the actions of these actors, or, beyond having cast a vote for a candidate, for them being there at all?
    By geography or actual interest many a European country, couldn’t care less about Iran. Yet they have fallen in line behind US policy. Why?
    Because they hate Iranians, Muslims, Shiites? Or ecause their foreign policy actors have adoped US policies as their own? Why would they do that?
    The salient point is how foreign policy consensus is being created in the West. The US effort to persuade and shape policy views plays a big part in this.
    The dyfunction of many of their foreign policies aside, the US are wildly successful at getting people on board for it.

  87. fanto says:

    Colonel, silencing true patriots is treason

  88. FB Ali says:

    I agree. Whether he belongs to the group you suspect or not, it is quite useless getting into a discussion with him, as I concluded quite some time ago. I broke my rule this time because I thought some hard numbers might end a pointless argument that was dragging on and on. Once I saw the response, I quit promptly.
    Unfortunately, others got lured in and took up this never-ending rigmarole. Now that this thread is running out we shall probably see the process repeated elsewhere.

  89. Babak Makkinejad says:

    30 years ago, during discussion following the screening of a German movie by a female director which portrayed the plight of the German women during World War II, a friend of mine, a French Jew, stood up and asked:
    “Then who was responsible?”
    So I am asking you: who is responsible for voting such men and women into public office that have entangled US or EU in Iraq or in Ukraine (against Russia).
    Who but the electorate?
    All I am hearing are excuses about cliques etc. that are forging the foreign policy consensus of NATO state – which evidently wishes to flirt with World War III.
    You want to absolve the electorate, so be it.
    I do not.

  90. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, on a personal level I know that many many people in Germany hate Islam.
    I do not know if they hate Iran.
    Dysfunction is another alibi behind which still lies the electorate of Germany or Spain or Denmark.
    As I suggested before, run a survey research and ask the electorate why a 20% reduction of their energy costs and the prospects of billions of dollars of orders to EU firms are still less attractive than waging an economic war against Iran.
    I do not know what lies at the heart of EU populations so I am suggesting asking them.
    May be they do hate Islam and Iran and have deep affinity for the State of Israel.
    But they are electorate and they are responsible – in my view.

  91. Castellio says:

    I hadn’t thought of Babak as hasbara – simply as misinformed, complacent and stubborn. But certainly, there is deceit in his method of engagement.
    I won’t be lured again.

  92. bks says:

    “KABUL, Afghanistan — Less than 48 hours after a runoff election to choose the next president of Afghanistan, the first signs of a looming political crisis emerged on Monday, with the campaign of Abdullah Abdullah claiming there had been widespread ballot stuffing and suggesting he was being set up for a defeat he would not accept.”

  93. fanto says:

    Babak – you seem to forget, or selectively omit, the fact that Hitler was not elected by the Germans! Stop this mantra that Germans elected Hitler!

  94. different clue says:

    I am one of the newer people here . . . but I have never detected anything hasbarific about what Babak Makhinejad writes. He has raised this question before in other contexts and I believe he considers it a sincerely intended question and often not even related to Israel.

  95. different clue says:

    Castellio, I do remember once when he and I were discussing problems attendant upon the skydumping of carbon DIoxide . . . that he did try to divert my attention by linking to an article about carbon MONoxide. But surely we all have done something like that now and again.

  96. All,
    Having exchanged comments on this blog with Babak Makkinejad for some years, I can say with complete confidence that any suggestion that he is engaged in ‘hasbara’ is a fundamental misreading.
    A quick Google check brings up a physicist/computer scientist of that name in Michigan – which matches well with clearly very well-informed comments BM has made on scientific and technical issues on this blog.
    Obviously he is of Iranian origin, but from his comments on Middle Eastern issues and other matters, it is clear that he is both a pious Shiite Muslim and a committed supporter of the current regime in Tehran – just about the last person one would expect to engage in ‘hasbara’.
    It seems to me patently clear that, on this occasion as on earlier ones, BM’s concern is not to act as apologist for the Israeli Lobby but rather to accuse non-Jews in the West of supporting the same policies it advocates, and on occasion using the Lobby as scapegoat or fig-leaf. In so doing, he is also expressing a scepticism about the wisdom of Western-style democracies in foreign affairs.
    On this occasion as on a previous exchange I have argued that BM significantly overstates his case. In my view he very considerably understates the influence of the Lobby, and also has not absorbed significant shifts in the U.K., where as a result of the events of the past decade sharply increased hostility to Muslims has gone together with greatly increased scepticism about Israel.
    Whether this is a harbinger of possible future trends in the U.S. – as some Israelis I think fear – seems to me a very interesting question.
    However, although I have often disagreed with BM, his contributions over the years have often given me a great deal of food for thought, and in my view this ‘committee of correspondence’ would have been significantly poorer without them.

  97. Fred says:

    If he is in Michigan then in answer to his question “Who but the electorate?” He should look in the mirror. Being a citizen (an assumption on my part) he should certainly understand how the American electoral system works.

  98. sid_finster says:

    One word: logistics.
    Even if you could figure out how to fly an f15, could you keep it running or get it anywhere.

  99. sid_finster says:

    North Dakota is right now in bad financial shape, largely as the anticipated fracking revenues have gone bust

  100. sid_finster says:

    If the US leaves Afghanistan, the Afghani army and government will collapse before the last US transport rotates off Bagram.
    Everyone knows this.

  101. Babak – I believe that the reason the Western electorates go along with the neo-con foreign policy is because most of us don’t know much about it. It is an information problem, not a moral problem.
    As for the Israeli lobby, I don’t believe it could be so effective were it not for two factors: 1. that its aims coincide with the needs of the defence industries. 2. The Christian Zionist bloc vote.
    The tendency of the the American administration to employ emigre Americans who often retain their old prejudices is discussed below in the article and comments on Dr Farkas. Could that not be an additional factor?
    I don’t however, believe that the problem is susceptible to analysis of this sort. The American administration in its entirety can best be viewed as what used to be called a chaotic system and is now called a complex system: multiple inputs and uncountable feedback loops. Such systems are not linear, not analysable or reducible to any formula, they can only be modelled. This particular system couldn’t even start to be modelled since the inputs themselves are scarcely quantifiable and the feedback mechanisms too complex.
    Such complex systems often settle into a stable equilibrium. It’s a depressingly deterministic view but the reign of the neo-cons is one such stable equilibrium. It’s the sum of all the pressures, of all the responses to those pressures and, of course, of our faults as an apathetic electorate.
    The equilibrium is stable but it’s not locked in. It can flip to another equilibrium as a result of small changes in the input at some critical point. Or it can be knocked on to another course as a result of irresistible external pressure – an input so powerful that the old equilibrium cannot hold.
    That’s where one can abandon the deterministic view and hope that the revulsion of the electorate, and of many of those within the administration, at the present destructive Western foreign policy is powerful enough to provide just such an irresistible external pressure.
    In short, I believe that the facts are beginning to break through the apathy. The information problem is loosening up. It’s pretty dramatic that we in the West are in sober truth supporting neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. We’re not, after all, culturally predisposed to supporting neo-nazism. We’ve had seventy years of conditioning to do just the reverse. It’s pretty dramatic that a NATO ally has been supporting Jihadis in the ME. Again, supporting Jihadi atrocities isn’t something we’ve been accustomed to. The enormity of such contradictions is beginning to break through, as I see whenever I visit the comments pages of our national newspapers. In addition, there’s no law that says the neo-con equilibrium has to be advantageous. It clearly isn’t. It costs a lot and doesn’t benefit most of us. That’s also becoming obvious.
    When such things become overwhelmingly obvious the reign of the neo-cons will cease. There are some indications on this site that that process has started. Free Will Trumps determinism, one might say. Or at least hope.

  102. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    KKR is the biggest player in the private equity sandbox, and Yves Smith has been eviscerating that scam for years. Her archive lists over 500 posts in that category. Her main points are:
    ** That the general partners (GPs), like KKR, have refined various tactics for establishing cognitive capture of limited partners (LPs) to a high art. They are especially effective at this with GPs that are government-related pension and investment funds and seek to capture both the oversight boards and senior members of the staffs.
    ** That many expenses that should be borne by the GPs out of their cut are instead billed to the portfolio companies the fund owns, thereby reducing the profits those businesses return to the fund.
    ** That the returns for limited partners are little better than that of index funds let alone enough higher to justify the greater risk – that’s assuming the LPs can figure our what the real returns are given the obfuscations with which the results are presented.
    ** That many of the GPs mandate that required outside services be performed by entities that the GPs have an interest in and are provided at un-competitive prices.
    I could go on. If you’re interested take a look at some posts in the Naked Capitalism archive, especially those involving CALPERS, the pension operation for California state employees which is the largest such fund in the country. It has been the primary target of Yves’s posts in this category and exhibits most of the many dysfunctions of private equity investing.

  103. Bill H says:

    I do not absolve the electorate as such, but I do not blame them for neocon policies. The electorate is distracted by email servers and the intemperate language of candidates, and by the modern equivalent of bread and circuses. A corporate media assures that we have at best an uniformed electorate, and at worst a misinformed one.

  104. Ulenspiegel says:

    “The US military employs equipment designed by industry not the military.”
    Even if true this igonres the fact, that armies usually do collapse because of lacking morale not because of hardware.
    IMHO the more pressing question is why people fight and a simple projection of western values onto other cultures lead to current ugly situation.

  105. MRW says:

    Your comment at 15 June 2014 at 10:23 AM was conclusive, imo. I saved this post as a result.

  106. Old Microbiologist says:

    I agree with you but it has to be in the context that the US is not, nor has it ever been a Democracy. But, I cannot fathom how someone so completely insane like McCain continues to be re-elected in Arizona. The same for Pelosi and all the rest of the cabal that screws up our nation. So, in a sense I blame Jefferson more than anyone for failing to establish a true democracy with real power to the people which could have been done easily by including referendums and term limits. However, it is also very clear that the plutocrats and landed gentry who managed the revolution really never accepted the citizens as equals and thought them too ignorant to govern themselves. Thus from its inception it formed a government of privilege for the plutocracy at the expense of the plebeians. The American experiment has been a failure and needs some changes but these will never happen voluntarily. These fools in charge (and it is repeatedly made clear that plutocrats must be inbred to have IQ’s so low) will never do anything willingly to reduce their power or incomes.
    The other thing is that Americans in general are easily focused away from real issues. At some point when the markets and banking sector completely collapse, perhaps soon, then they may actually rise up en masse. What will replace the Constitution is anyone’s guess but I predict a return to communism which also centralizes power and is in no way a superior system.

  107. Old Microbiologist says:

    Your mention of Lobbyists power made me think wouldn’t it be wonderful if they still had to actually hold all meetings in the open in the lobby of Congress again?

  108. turcopolier says:

    The US IS a democracy but it is not an unlimited democracy. It was not intended by the framers that it should be. This was done for the purpose of preventing mob rule and I like it that way. pl

  109. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    The US didn’t always support Israel to nearly the level it does now. It’s been a long sad story.

  110. Chris Chuba says:

    This post reminds me of a pet peeve I have with Republicans, they reduce this to a simple formula, ‘Obama lost the victory that GWB won’. They allude to a scenario that had we just left 10,000 or so troops behind, then Iraq would have been a model republic; free from the clutches of ISIS.
    1. Iraq was a house of cards.
    2. Let’s suppose that we did leave behind such a force and kept ISIS out for say, another year. What would have happened? The Maliki rot would have continued. The corruption that was gutting Iraq’s central army would have continued and the Sunnis would have continued to be disenfranchised making them ripe for a later invasion by ISIS. A later invasion by ISIS might have been even more catastrophic. At least when ISIS showed the true state of Iraq, the Iraqis dumped Maliki and as painful as it has been, were forced to start addressing their problems.
    3. The people who champion the scenario of keeping 10,000 troops state it as if it is a law of physics instead of the speculation that it is, one cannot prove that they are wrong because we did not do it. Incidentally, I am a Republican, just not a partisan Republican.

  111. Willybilly says:

    Babak is spot on… they are simply a coat hanger, a paravant…. ou un porte chapeaux……

  112. Willybilly says:

    They were all lying….perfect for plausible deniability….. it was all structured that way from the word GO.

  113. Tom Cafferty says:

    Google “american geographical ignorance”. You will find some interesting facts like 1 in 4 think the earrth revolves around the sun. Six per cent could not locate the US on a map. Clueless and ignorant on the MENA. The neocons know this and exploit the ignorance.

  114. Peter AU says:

    FB Ali’s post of aprox 2 and 1/2 years ago covers very well the US world’s (as opposed to the world) democratic voting system.

  115. gemini33 says:

    A Kurdish journalist has posted photos of Green Berets in Stryker vehicles flying American flag near Manbij, which Col Lang and others here might be interested in, if you haven’t seen it already. The news is spreading pretty quickly.
    You can find them on Afarin Mamosta’s Twitter timeline.
    A citizen journo wire service, Grasswire, did some geolocating and analysis here:
    Grasswire believes they deployed hastily because their vehicles don’t have desert camo.

  116. Jackrabbit says:

    Sorry pl, I think that was me. I was trying to reply to Babak Makkinejad’s ‘blame the victim’ denunciation of the electorate.
    I read (above) that he is from Michigan, so I added that by his logic, the people of Flint poisoned themselves.

  117. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    BM spot-on/point re maintenance. Witness the D-8s and 16s in the equipment graveyards south of Quetta for want of normal servicing; or Solo backpack sprayers piled up for want of a rubber washer, etc in the Punjab/Sind. Way too often the only “respecters” of equip-tech-electronic maintenance are “some/not all” retired brigadiers/Gurkhas..military officer/air force personnel. [As for “They will not be innovators in a consistent manner and over time.” That’s a bit much.. but your call.]

  118. elaine says:

    Sir, up thread you mentioned the Taliban & that reminded me of something I read somewhere recently. I know this will sound a little far fetched, but
    they issued a statement saying they wanted trees.
    Do you think it would be possible to trade samplings/small trees for
    the western couple they have been holding hostage for years who have 2 children born in captivity? Could the trees be shipped in through Pakistan or
    is that too dangerous?

  119. turcopolier says:

    Once you turn materiel over to a foreign government you no longer have any control over how they use it or whether they maintain it. This is a constant in any type of effort to do “nation building.” pl

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