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31 March 2011

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TamBram

Col.,
Absolutely. This is a standard left-wing talking point--I see it all the time.

par4

@TamBram, there are NO 'left-wing' news readers at any corporate owned network. The most you will find is some soi-disant 'Liberals' working within the corporate structure.

William R. Cumming

PL! You are correct and he is wrong. That is why he is on MSNBC or other MSM! Fools names and fools faces often appear in Public Places?

The beaver

Some will NEVER learn or don't want to accept the facts. They tend to babble the usual misinformation like a stuck needle on a vinyl.

Phil Giraldi

I heard the same thing today at a conference about the crisis in Bahrain and it was alleged by a professor from a reportedly distinguised Washington area university. Has anyone but me noted how academics from leading universities pontificating on foreign policy cannot get their facts right and also are largely incapable of expressing themselves coherently?

graywolf

Todd is just another junior staffer in the WH press office - like most of the other WH "correspondents."

steve

@TamBram--

I've never perceived that talking point as being particularly ideological but, rather, rooted more in the facile and lazy.

dh

I doubt if Joe Sixpack knows or cares about the differences between the mujahideen, the taliban and al quaida. Aren't they all just muslim terrorists?

Mark Logan

Damn. I had thought well of Chuck. I caught him sitting in for Fluffy on MTP, and he did a superior job than that game show host shoulda-been. Ah well, the search for intelligent life on cable news continues...

That point though, I'm afraid it has "passed into history". I first became aware of it here some months ago, and had been completely ignorant of it before then. It is recounted correctly in far, far fewer accounts it is incorrectly.

blowback

Perhaps there are grounds for confusion.

Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani was alleged to be a CIA asset during the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Charlie Wilson was alleged to be a fan. However, since Haqqani appears to have been funded via the ISI, it could be argued that the USA didn't support him directly. The same probably applies to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
This raises the question,why does the USA still support the Saudi royal family since they appear to have been major backers of the Taliban and al Qaeda and are funding the spread of Wahhabism, are most likely behind the insurgency in Libya and the protests in Syria and are almost certainly responsible for the deaths of many peaceful protesters in Yemen and Bahrain. Probably far more than Gaddafi or al-Assad are responsible for. It is important to note that many of those killed in Libya were most likely armed insurrectionists.

Instead of having gone after Saddam Hussein and attempting to whack Qaddafi, the US should liquidate the Saudi royal family pdq.

BTW, I find it somewhat ironic that the Israelis are so "opposed" to anti-Semitism but suck up to the virulently anti-Semitic Saudi royal family.

Patrick Lang

blowback

Maybe so, I never liked them. pl

Patrick Lang

dh

But, of course. pl

Basilisk

blowback is correct IMHO, and Chuck Todd wasn't completely off base. The river of money we poured into the Soviet Afghan war didn't all end up on the side we were "supporting."

Man proposes and the ISI disposes. And people wonder why we would ever want unilateral operations.

R Whitman

MSNBC, CNBC , Fox News and Fox Financial are entertainment channels, not news channels.

Entertainment usually has a large dose of fiction. So whats new??

Patrick Lang

basilisk

I don't buy that. It was US policy NOT to support the Sayyaf group. The Saudis put so much moneyt into the Sayyaf group that they had no need for anyone else's money and did not want ours. pl

William P. Fitzgerald III

Pat Lang,

Foreign affairs aren't Todd's bailiwick, so I'd cut him some slack. Also, on the comment, this isn't the first time that the continuous repetition of false or mistaken facts (was that an oxymoron?) has become common knowledge.


WPFIII

herb

dh,

Agreed. The problem is that with our deliberately lazy mainstream media spewing the same tired fairy tales, Joe Six-Ppack will NEVER know the difference, even if they did care.

Matthew

Col: To build on Phil Giraldi's point: It's not just academics, it's the think-tankers who don't believe in "facts" either.

I attended a recent small group meeting with a prominent commentator from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. this "fellow" pontificated on the "prevalence" of Nazi ideology in the Arab world. I learned over to a friend and whispered, "it's now propaganda hour," and then I walked out.

The Neo-cons have an utterly Leninist understanding of truth.

Yusuf  Al-Misry

Ben Laden during the 80's was not Ben Laden of the 90's and later. The transformation of the guy was due to many factors, the most prominent of them was Ayman Al-Zwahery. Al Qaeda as a concept- is Al- Zawhery. It is the gobalized version of the Egyptian Al-Jihad organization. The US did not finance Al-Zwahery who arrived very late to Afghanistan.In fact, he was in prison in Egypt accused of a participation in the assassination of Sadat when the CIA was helping the Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation. As far as I can remember Al-Zwahery was released in 1985, went to Kuwait to join the Islamic Red Crescent (he was a physician), the to KSA and from there to Beshawar where he met Ben Laden. Years later we saw the World Islamic Front for the Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders,in 1998, which in my opinion the "mother" of Al - Qaeda. I belong to those who believe that Al-Qaeda owes its existence to the the Azzam Pasha's clan through Al-Zawhery (whos mother is Azzam) and to the years Al-Zawhery spent in prison in Egypt. Ben Laden was-and still is- a figure head rather the the "theoretician" of the organization. This position is occupied only by Al-Zwahery. If this all is true, the US assistance to the Afghanis had little to do with Al-Qaeda.

WP

It seems to me that the philosophy of most news-entertainment organizations is: Why bother (very much) with the facts when untruths are commonly repeated and "known" to be true. Moreover, the truth is probably so hidden in static and fog that it cannot be known. Just tell the information consumers-customers what they want to hear to satisfy their angst of being always out of the loop of real information. And, finally, never, never, go into any real analysis of the real conflicts. Just headlines and sound bites, that is all.

From my perspective as a trial lawyer, the "truth" is nearly always very difficult to discern and the view of the truth varies by one's position and perspective. In effect, truth cannot easily be discerned or even known. However, to act on the truth as perceived, it must be somehow incapsulated into slogans and code words.

The Colonel and we on his committee of correspondence have been writing on the changing position of the US in the MENA for a long time. One of the general consensuses is that the US's support of the Egyptian protesters, the abandonment of Mubarak, and the general total lack of any plan or vision on the part of the US with respect to the region has greatly reduced the power and influence of the US in the region and that Obama's faulty leadership has exacerbated the perception of US cluelessness.

The whole area is one big Fifteen Puzzle where about half of the contexts are simply unsolvable and every move repositions every player differently with respect to the other players. This year it is as if someone spilled out all of the puzzle tiles, scrambled them into a new order, and now everyone is vying to find whether the puzzle is now solvable. With every move, every relationship is changed and no one now knows the puzzle context anymore. The Colonel is right, a similar thing happened in 1848 as is happening now in 2011.

Occasionally, Asia Times Online has excellent articles. Today, they have four that examine the scrambling to rearrange the tiles.

"Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal"
By Pepe Escobar
http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD02Ak01.html

"Pakistan ready for Middle East role"
By Syed Saleem Shahzad http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MD02Df01.html


"Neo-Ottomans discover new Middle East"
By M K Bhadrakumar http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD02Ak02.html

"Egypt moved by deep waters" By Victor Kotsev http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD02Ak03.html

After reading all of this, my head is just spinning as I try to reassemble a view of the issues. Especially, when you add the issue of water to the oil.

The mainline news-entertainment organizations simply cannot grasp the uncertainties of the MENA Fifteen Puzzle.


omen

"It is important to note that many of those killed in Libya were most likely armed insurrectionists."

that's not true. most of the people the regime has killed in libya have been unarmed civilians.

Medicine Man

Basilisk,

I'll confess to being puzzled about this fetish for multi-lateral action. Is it all just a matter of optics--domestic and international? It is obvious enough that regardless of whether a mission is unilateral or multi- the US ends up providing 90% of the muscle anyhow.

Ken Hoop

I suppose its impossible for most here to allow that the US should have had simply not meddled in Afghanistan against the Soviets. And should have not then, soon after, angered "militant Islam's" various strengthened wings (including those of the some of the notables discussed above,) by attacking one Muslim country from another (Iraq from Saudi.)

Patrick Lang

Ken Hoop

You do remember the Cold War don't you? pl

Fred

Ken Hoop,

Or the US could simply have not recognized Israel in '48. US relations with Muslim nations would certainly have been better over the past 62 years, no wars in Iraq, no bin Laden, no war on terror.

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