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05 September 2013


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Reuters agrees with Putin here:

"Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports"


The Pope has released a statement on Syria. While it is (diplomatically correct) addressed to Putin as current head of the G-20 it is clearly directed at Obama.


To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community.

William R. Cumming

Because NO American President since NIXON has articulated basic principles for US FP the chaos will only get greater IMO!

And thoughtful personnel in the FLAG RANKS disappeared long ago.

robt willmann

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee on 4 September voted to send a proposed law to the entire Senate for its consideration. The proposal now has a name -- "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons".


This proposed joint resolution is disgraceful.

Please read it for yourself. Doing so is important because its words will be stretched and twisted so that the U.S. government can use the U.S. military to overthrow the government of a sovereign country that has done nothing to the U.S. and is not an imminent, clear and present danger to this country, in order to accomplish whatever the real and hidden agenda is for Syria.

The constant drum beat of the propaganda program to get this new war started has pounded on the need to prevent and to degrade the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. But guess what? The operative language that matters is section 2(a), and do you know what has magically disappeared? Chemical weapons! Nowhere in section 2(a) are the evil chemical weapons mentioned. Instead, we are now talking about ... (drum roll) ... "weapons of mass destruction"! Surprise, surprise!

The joint resolution contains no definitions of its terms or phrases. And as I mentioned before, the "limitation" on "boots on the ground" is not much of a limitation at all--

"Section 3. Limitation. The authority granted in section 2 does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria for the purpose of combat operations."

There are 7 separate parts to that sentence that does not limit as much as the sales talk would have you believe. Can you separate out the 7 parts? Do you know what each part means, and what it covers or does not cover?

The fix is in with the so-called "leadership" of the U.S. Congress; at the "hearings" over the last two days, not one witness was called to testify who would challenge the overt use of the U.S. military in Syria. A news report this morning said that the Senate may vote on the joint resolution on Monday, 9 September.

It is not at all clear at this time if this obscenity can be stopped.


Not that the Secretary of State listens to his spiritual leader but:



I spoke with PL recently. The name of our esteemed Secretary of State came up and PL declared him beneath "beneath contempt." I thought the judgment was a bit harsh, but everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, so I did not comment.

That was before I watched what seems to be endless testimony in the current contretemps. My mother would have said he was "arguing up one side and down the other," and whenever the footing became slippery he was quick to retreat behind the promised "closed session" where presumably all will be revealed. I find that PL was engaging in uncharacteristic understatement.

Disgusting. The final straw came this morning. My gentle wife, who is a stone expert in detecting cosmetic surgery, has opined for weeks that "he's had work done." The Post's "Reliable Source" weighed in: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2013/09/04/john-kerrys-face-looks-different-exhaustion-illness-botox/

The Secretary's staff holds that it's all the result of an overdue haircut and stress. Her take? "How stupid do they think we are?"




thanks for your unqualified support and opinion as to my rhetorical style. pl


When was the last time we all heard of the leader of an important state calling the head of foreign policy of another important state a liar publicly? I don't remember that happening very often (if at all) in diplomatic circles. Very unusual.

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

Speaking of rhetoric, I long for the day when "boots on the ground" goes away. It has become a euphemism for every situation,ranging from a MAG in some tame location to a combined arms full scale invasion.

My favorite "boots on the ground moment came when a CNN reporter in Kuwait, during one of the periodic troop movements intended to keep Iraq in its box, said "20,00 boots on the ground are moving into Kuwait". That gave me the whimsical notion 20,000 one-legged soldiers hopping around in the desert.



So the facts we do have are 1) DNI Clapper lied under oath before Congress. 2) NSA head General Alexander lied under oath before Congress and 3) Secretary of State Kerry has lied under oath before the Senate. I can only conclude they are doing so at the direction of the President. The obvious question is not why we are discussing war resolutions by why isn't there a hearing and a vote for articles of impeachment?


This chart is Thinkprogress's Syria Whip count showing where each House member stands on the AUM vote. Blumenhauer is leaning "no", so I sent an email urging him to vote no, hoping it pushes him in the right direction.


The beaver

Why I am not surprised.
Like Matthew Lee from the Intercity Press says: Race for Relevance


"The UK has fresh evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Damascus, David Cameron has told the BBC as he arrives in Russia for the G20 summit.

Scientists at the Porton Down laboratories have been "examining samples" from Syria's capital, he said."

Use -yes
but by whom??? Let's flip a coin :(

Alba Etie

Might we add to Kerry commentary
Liar Liar pants on fire .
And what did you bet the Russians know exactly by now who the false flag "perpertraitors" are in this current contretemps ...


After watching all of the House hearings, I am left with a strong impression that this is mostly about Iran and getting a Congressional Resolution that is broad enough (weapons of mass destruction language instead of chemical weapons) to authorize a strike against Iran without further ado.

Also, what is the truth about the strengths of the makeup of the opposition? WP's First Principle of Political Process is that the most ruthless usually win. As I see it, the "moderates" we support are not the most ruthless. For us to be the most ruthless, we would have to have gobs of "boots on the ground."

Also, Kerry's statement that this will not be "war" is baffling to me.

William R. Cumming

BTW Kerry still wants to be President!


Hopefully they won't be surprised while they sail in internatonal waters like the USS Liberty:

Medicine Man

"Henchpersons" is a great word -- very apt.


What's heartening is the pushback against the propaganda organs. See, e.g, comments in response to: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/09/03/meet_the_syria_chemical_weapons_truthers

The beaver

Well they all agree that it must be Assad BUT ....


[Quote] The Israelis were the first to press the case, declaring in an April 23 presentation at a security conference that it had clear evidence that Syrian forces had used chemical weapons on a small scale. But no sooner had a senior official of Israel’s military intelligence unit laid out his case than Secretary of State John Kerry, seeing the reports, called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently out of concern that such a declaration would force Mr. Obama’s hand.

Mr. Kerry told reporters that the Israeli leader “was not in a position to confirm” the intelligence assessment. American officials said later that they had concerns about the chain of custody on hair, blood and urine samples from some of those attacks, and feared the evidence might have been tinkered with by the opposition. [/Quote]

The French excuse is laughable: only Assad has the "savoir faire" Yup- what about AQ -underwear bomb, shoe bomb etc


Fred: Unlike LBJ, Putin will hit Israel hard if they attack Russian warships.



Could you comment on the conduct of John Hagel at these hearings? He is a man we respect; yet, the substance of his remarks seem little different from Kerry's. Certainly that is true in regard to the promiscuous resort to "classified" in order to evade discussion of anything problematic.


Is there anybody on this committee of correspondents...that saw any report, anywhere, in the last 4 months or so, that indicated, hinted, speculated that the non-AQ oriented forces were getting stronger? On the upswing? Any report? I am leaving out Syrian Kurdish forces in this calculation.

I heard Kerry say that and I thought....he's off his meds.



I have been disappointed by Hagel in this. He is obviously just another politician. General Dempsey on the other hand is carefully distancoing himself from the BS to the extent that he can and remain CJCS. pl


I am sure they would. Torpedoes are a bit harder to track when not launched from MTBs.


From Dana Milbank's column in The Washington Post:


"The administration’s case against Assad may well be airtight. Walter Pincus, The Post’s longtime intelligence correspondent, tells me he hasn’t heard the sort of doubts from the intelligence community that he heard during the run-up to the Iraq war. The problem is that the refusal to declassify evidence helps opponents such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin cast doubt on the intelligence..."


This may turn out to be a double post.
The DT (Daily Telegraph) is doing it's part in ridiculing the Commons and Cameron with today's headline that BHO has/or intends to snub the PM in favor of 'gormless, grinning' (their description of him not mine) Hollande wrt the Syria strike option. Quelled horreur ! Good ol' Englisher parochialism at it's finest . Highly amusing if it were not for the dangerous implications of the conflict spinning out of control. To highlight the extent ofmedia coordination here in the UK, The Times yesterday led with a headline that British military liaison officers at MacDill were being ejected from planning meetings in which Syria plans would be discussed. Britannia sunk ! You could'ntmake this up. And reports such as this are sure to convince their respective readerships that attacking Syria after tea and scones is justified how ? What surprises me (perhaps DH can shed some light on this) is that nobody seems to have pointed out that Cameron said he was respecting the will of the British public (but would probably deploy troops covertly anyway) . The will of the public seems to irk the Times and The Daily Telegraph. Funny that.

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