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22 August 2014


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Babak Makkinejad


UK Foreign Minister reject cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic against ISIS:


(and by implication, I imagine, with Iran).

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

To your point about inter-marriage; US could also benefit by Euro-American men marrying African-American women.


Cooperation with Assad: There are two remarks by credible ME journalists that recent precise Syrian air force attacks on IS targets in Raqqa were done with the help of U.S. intelligence.


This is likely an under-the-table co-operation through a third party that will hopefully become some regular theme.



I thought you lived in the US. there is now far more of such marriages than there ever were in the ME. pl

Medicine Man

Col.: Ha ha... my wife was watching one of Bourdain's shows on the internet not long ago. A show about a loud, obnoxious New Yorker's opinion on places that are not New York. While I find Bourdain mostly tolerable, I had the random thought "I bet Pat Lang loves this guy."

mistah charley, ph.d.

In reply to rick

I stopped considering myself part of "the NPR community" when they interviewed John Yoo, of torture memo infamy, in their smooth stenographic way, without offering any challenging questions or balancing remarks from other persons with a differing perspective.

My wife and I still make a point of listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".

mistah charley, ph.d.

Col. Lang -

I agree that there should be a formal Declaration of War against IS by Congress.



This is a superb description of the collapse the Middle East governing States in the 21st century and their replacement with chaos. The rise of the Islamic State is not good for any person who is not a Sunni true believer. One could describe the Global War on Terror (GWOT) as an abject failure but this is not true for war profiteers or flight capital managers.

The Western Democracies are no longer run for the benefit of their citizens but for a very select few. Europe’s recession is really a depression; worse than the 1930s:
Like the Great Depression the loss of jobs and income has given rise to ultra-nationalist governments in Hungary and Ukraine. The West is trying to destabilize Russia which could lead to ultra-nationalists seizing control there too.

Across the world the goal of the ruling 0.01% is to destroy States, end the rule of law, sell weapons and munitions, and gain control of resources. We are the collateral damage.

The only way to combat the Islamic State and stop the spread of war is to reestablish States ruled by and for their people and that work together in accordance with international law.


I love that Anthony Bourdain deliberately made a point of picking up and holding a Palestinian child in Gaza. Him doing so was a real highlight of that episode.



All 3 of my kids have married Americans of mixed ethnicities. Mixed marriages I believe have been growing for some decades. My kids spouses parents started the ball rolling in the 50s/60s.

I had to laugh at Tyler's suggestion on another thread that we should segregate our society. Which neighborhood would my kids families go? Despite many of our racial problems I think there is substantial assimilation to an " American culture ". Second generation Vietnamese and Laotian kids are not much different than white kids from the burbs at least in terms of accent, speaking style, food tastes, etc. The main difference that I have noticed is that their parents push on them more conservative values around education and sexuality.


Col. Lang,
With all due respect with regard to your suggestion: "This time there should be a declaration of war by Congress. That would clean up a lot of the legal issues that plagued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pl ", I believe this is a fraught issue. Like the various wars declared in my lifetime (on cancer drugs, terrorism), I believe we can only realistically declare war on some entity that can surrender. I am not competent to address the issue of whether it would clear up the legal issues, such as status of forces and legal status of combatants deployed, but it does seem to me that "unconditional surrender" can only apply to entities that can be occupied to enforce it. Such a declaration might oblige Congress and the American people mobilize behind a unified set of objectives and pursue them relentlessly with the sacrifices required. I was struck by the fact that, when we initiated the incursion into Iraq, there were only one or two or fewer than a handful of members of Congress who had children serving in the military.



"Like the various wars declared in my lifetime (on cancer drugs, terrorism)," No it is nothing like that. Those were mere rhetorical gestures. this would have this would have the force of law. pl

FB Ali


"The West is trying to destabilize Russia....."

A refreshing change from the usual tone of comment (by 'pundits' no less than media hacks) on Russian-American relations is a recent piece by Thomas Graham (unsurprisingly, of Kissinger Associates). A serious and realistic view of the problem, and its solution.



Col. Lang.,
Again with all due respect, how would the "force of law" make a difference? I do not mean to be obtuse, but short of my sense that it would require massive agreement among the politicians and citizens and require sacrifices I think few would agree to, at the end of the day who surrenders to us unconditionally and how do we enforce it? Our Civil War ended with unconditional surrender and occupation of the defeated Confederate States and Reconstruction, the effects of which live with us today, although they seem to be diminishing. I grew up in the North with many stereotypes about the South, most mistaken. I recall reading Faulkner's _Intruder in the Dust_ as a 20-yr-old in 1969 and realized the intruder was we Northerners. I was also fortunate to meet many Southerners in graduate school whose views disabused me of many of my stereotypes. Apologies for the length.



We are are not Greece. a declaration of war would enable many things. pl

nick b


Is it legally possible for the US to make a declaration of war on a non state entity?


Colonel Lang

On the subject of mixed marriages and inter-cultural sex- Hear, Hear! The sooner we get on with this project the sooner we can put this horrible business behind us.

As a very happy participant in this effort I can tell you endless and hilarious stories how this kind of thing brings people together- and not just the conjugants.

My dad for example insisted ( as a scare tactic I am sure) that my swedish bride to be and I 'write the book' with a bona fide Shia Imam who was living in a shack somewhere north of Atlanta. I have no idea where he found this guy. But she went through the whole thing with the chador and all, and my dad made sure she understood how easy it was in Muslim law to divorce someone (by declaring three times 'I divorce thee'). Needless to say she didn't take the bait . Twelve years and three grandkids later Im pretty sure he's glad she didn't.

Likewise my swedish mother in law, on the advice of her father, made sure that one of the meals for supper served on my first visit to them, would be delicious roast ham. She duly served it up and seeing that I was not in any way squeamish about tearing into some ham, she reported the results of this pork test to my wife's grandfather - who then grudgingly gave us his blessing.

mistah charley, ph.d.

In reply to Haralambos

I agree that a declaration of war by the United States would have consequences in the U.S.

I don't agree that unconditional surrender and occupation is the only way a war can end - there are other possibilities.


@ b

It never made any sense--except perhaps in pursuit of a senseless foreign policy--for the US to attempt to overthrow Assad.

It wasn't too long ago, maybe 5 or 6 years, that Assad sought some normalization of relations with both the US and Israel.

Syria was spurned of course.


As ever, with respect, I hope you are right, and I hope this might change the situation for the better.


@ Colonel Lang

My son is 23, and I have noticed that neither he nor his friends pay any attention at all to the race of an individual. It's just a non-factor, as are interracial relationships.

Amidst all the gloom and doom in the US I think that's certainly an encouraging development.



Do you think a declaration of war could get through Congress? How would we pay for such a war? Will there be an increase in taxes to pay for it along with the declaration or do we put it on the credit card like we did under Bush?


Col. Lang,

Including things like true treason charges against homegrown Jihadis?



1- France is sending weapons to the FSA. They claim that it's only light equipment (small arms, rocket launchers, bulletproof vests, etc.) that "cannot be used against us". Whatever.



2- Someone called Daniel Byman suggests a strategy against ISIS. It seems... optimistic.



I tuned NPR out when they cheered Bush to war in Iraq (2003) with no questions asked.

Greenwald recently skewered them for swallowing CIA talking points, hook, line and sinker.

How low they have sunk, indeed.

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