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09 August 2015

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Amir

If one is at the receiving end of this "creative distraction", would you forgive them that they do not pay too much attention to the semantic? Would they consider the US government's tolerance of the emergence of ISIS/DAESH/Nusra/AQ/Boko,…. as a goal directed policy instead of an accident?

William R. Cumming

P.L> and ALL: Agree not Mike Flynn or Dia's job. Who or what organization did have the assignment?

turcopolier

WRC

The policy parts of the government headed by the president. pl

turcopolier

Amir

"semantic?" This is not that. Flynn says clearly that the policy side of the government has insisted on helping just about every group EXCEPT IS in Syria. They did that in pursuit of Assad's downfall at the urging of the neocons and Israel. How hard is it for you to understand that? In the end the president determines foreign policy and in this case as in the case of the Afghanistan "surge" Obama made horrendous mistakes. The same thing is true of his abandonment of Mubarak in Egypt, an abandonment which made things much worse for the Egyptian people. "ISIS/DAESH/Nusra/AQ/Boko" So far as I can see the Obamanites and the same staff geniuses in the Bush Administration sought to use Nusra in Syria and welcomed the Egytpian Revolution until Mursi was revealed as just another Islamist absolutist but I see no evidence that the US had anything to do with AQ outside the Syria struggle or anything at all to do with Boko Haram. What you don't seem to understand or wish to understand is that the US federal government is NOT a monolith. In spite of the president being the ultimate authority in FP not involving treaties the Executive Branch is a mass of differing opinions more or less forcefully expressed. Flynn's attempt at counseling at the WH is a perfect example. He would not have attempted that without the agreement of Hagel. NB that Hagel also lost his job. Their advice was evidently not wanted. pl

mbrenner

Since there is no reason to doubt the credibility of what Flynn narrates, we are left with the Colonel's no doubt correct conclusion that Obama bent to Israeli-neocon+ pressure. Nothing new in that except for the not insignificant fact that we have been fighting a GWOT for 14 years at untold cost to suppress al-Queda in all its manifestations from Morocco to Mindanao.

This should be the story of the decade; yet, it is ignored. No one even suggests asking the President to clarify - despite recent confirmation re the pact with Erdogan and related moves.

As to Obama, I've given up trying to figure out what goes through his mind. He is a bizarre personality manifestly capable of doing some vey stupid things that defy conventional logic and are fundamentally irresponsible.

mbrenner

There is a radical alternative to candidates' dependence on big money - of any denomination - and the baneful consequences. It is this: have something important to say and say it in vivid language. That would get you an enormous amount of free publicity. Think of the Trump phenomenon - he's everywhere in the media. One need not be an egomaniacal clown like him to get attention were you to be bold. Think also of Ross Perot who got 19% of the vote not through organization and money (mainly) but by saying things that grabbed peoples' attention and saying them in a highly personal fashion.

Of course, no one on that stage or in the matinee performance actually did have anything to say worth hearing.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The media doesn’t discussed the three ideologies that are in charge in Washington DC:
1) Neo-Liberals who believe making money is good including war profiteering or just plain stealing it.
2) Neo-Conservatives who place Israel first plus they know that might makes right, and
3) R2P’ers who have good intentions but creating failed states is an unfortunate side result that is best ignored.
They all are true believers. The realists are long gone. All that is left are the “Walmart” managers below the ideologues grasping tightly onto their rice bowls.

As a result, America is in the schizophrenic position of supporting Sunni Islamists and bombing them at the same time. This will bite back.

steve

Don't think so. The interest groups would be out with negative ads in days with (mostly) false information and you would be buried. Just take one recent example. Suppose you made the case that military expenditures should be tied to the actual needs of our military.. That is should not be used a welfare for the defense industry. In days the PSC money, and this is all secret remember, would be out after you as weak on defense. Some group called Americans For a Really Strong America (really just a few billionaires and a few contractors) would spend millions on these ads and you would be toast.

Steve

Fred82

How much outside support were the SMB and groups like the Fighting Vanguard receiving in the 1970s-80s?

Who were the primary movers and what kind of support were they providing?

Thomas

Michael,

The way you have dissed Barack over the years I thought you knew him from academia and he stiffed you for his share of the bar bill at a conference. Oh well.

A neighbor is friends with one of his Harvard professors and in response to my inquiries she said that her friend's view is he is a decent man and would have made a fine city mayor but did not have the disposition needed for true rough and tumble politics. This could be seen in his Team of Rivals concept and how he never took dissenters out behind the carriage house to fundamentally kick their fundament for publically crossing him. Therefore the courtiers seem to ride roughshod over him in favor of their pet projects knowing nothing of consequence will happen.

If he is ever going to be a fighter, now is the time for him to do it.

BradRHoff

In 2012 JaN and fighters that now make up IS were together. Schism that saw rise of ISIS happened in 2013. In all of my reporting on the 2012 doc. I speak of 'nascent Islamic State' as ISIS was not a reality (in terms of being a proper noun) as it is today. None of my reporting claims intel community sets policy - I've talked about this doc as predictive, and yet it predicted exactly what happened, even down to takeover of Ramadi. You assume IS is so distinctive on Syrian battlefield as to be remote from other groups, but reality esp. in 2013 to early 2014 is that these groups were often de facto together while U.S. arming allied groups. Yes, you and others ignore substance of bombshell admissions while quibbling over semantics... I've been careful to speak of West "facilitating" ISIS - I try to be careful in my wording, but I suppose nothing will satisfy those that claim reporters like Hasan have a "third world understanding"... If you want to see relationship with U.S. and ISIS on battlefield in summer 2013, see a video authenticated by mainstream academic Joshua Landis, top Syria expert in the U.S.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piN_MNSis1E

turcopolier

BrsdRHoff

My friend. if there is something I am known for it is an absence of "quibbling over semantics." Ask around. Ask Landis. pl

turcopolier

BradRHoff

I see that you were sinned against. I have deleted your name from among the sinners. pl

bth

Col, I listened to Michael Flynn's interview which was surprisingly candid. But what I found troubling is that he seems to act like he just walked in the room and noticed something was amiss. And the interviewer kept asking him to provide policy alternatives but Flynn never seemed able to articulate them. He criticizes Obama for lack of strategic vision and thinking tactically. Well OK. Flynn doesn't like drone strikes? Doesn't like a deal with Iran? Thinks we need economic reform on a grant scale in the ME. Who doesn't? It would be wonderful if he could articulate now at least a real world framework for alternate policy.

turcopolier

bth

I do not know the man. pl

bth

Col, If he reads your blog. I would love to see him use it to articulate an alternate policy framework.

turcopolier

bth

In spite of his having burned his ships on the beach like Cortez, I suspect that Flynn has difficulty overcoming his history as a staff specialist with the main role of advising the commander with regard to the situation rather than proposing operational courses of action. I, too, would like to see Flynn articulate a world policy vision. pl

FrankS

Egomaniacal clown. Trump is in the top ten percent of richest billionaires. The competition in his line of work is gruesome and ruthless. You don't reach his level without extreme confidence and competence. I met Trump in person about six years ago and spent a half-hour chatting with him. The guy is a consummate gentleman and very nice personally. Everyone calls him boastful and blustering yet Trump has never, ever, touts all of the generous good he's done to help people in need and people who've served this country. He does it quietly and anonymously. I don't know why he never talks about it but he doesn't. The establishment was annoyed he got into the race but predicted they could take him easily and early. But he survived and thrived. Now they have marshalled all of their forces and their operatives and are pulling out all stops to destroy him. There is a civil war in the GOP and the GOP will not survive if Trump is defeated. The National Review currently has five calumnious anti-Trump pieces running. Neocon propaganda organs are churning out anti-Trump calumnious pieces every few hours. You know why? Because Trump will be a realist in foreign and domestic policy. I have no doubt Trump as President will see to it that a guy like General Flynn is brought out of retirement while a guy like General Dempsey is shown the door. There is a reason Pat Buchanan and Michael Savage are enthusiastically supporting Trump while Charles Krauthammer, Fox News, the neocons, and the GOP establishment are vilifying him and calling him a blustering clown.

Tyler

FrankS,

This.

I'm amazed at how many people who are usually good at unravelling the onion around here are taking Trump purely at face value.

Put on your Foreign Policy hats - If the MSM, the Left, and the GOP Establishment are uniting to attack him, ask yourself cui bono and WHY?

Imagine

Pls kindly enlighten: Intelligence acts as sensory, gathers info on current situation. Executive branch decides between proposed alternative branches of action & their predicted outcomes, using values, then directs execution. Which departments of gov/mil/outsource come up with proposed possible policy actions? Simulate & predict their outcomes, consequences & blowback? And is there a formal organ for values, similar to religion in society, or do all levels operate by the seat of their pants? Thanking you in advance.

FB Ali

Bhadrakumar has a column on this interview ( http://tinyurl.com/obsl4n2 ).

His closing lines: "It will take another Gen Flynn to tell us another time circa 2025 that the IS that subsequently overthrew the established governments in Central Asia, bled white the regions of Xinjiang and North Caucasus and Kashmir, destroyed the Pakistani state and led to that country’s disintegration, and kept Iran bogged down in the sheer preservation of its plural society (which is an ethnic mosaic) was actually incubated in the American military bases in Afghanistan".

turcopolier

FB Ali

Absolute BS. I am disappointed. pl

The Twisted Genius

I was long gone from DIA before Flynn took the helm. Too bad, I think I would have liked working for him. He made a major splash in January 2010 with his paper criticizing the intelligence effort in support of ISAF. The paper was published by CNAS rather than going through channels (AFAIK). That left a lot of butt hurt careerists in DIA, although there were also a lot of secret smiles of agreement. The paper shouldn't have shocked anybody. I've heard the criticisms from Kabul and Tampa since mid Summer 2008. I guess he shook things up once he became DIA Director. A year ago, in his last interview he talked of closing "20 nonproductive facilities and moving a whole bunch of people out into the field in conflict zones." He also talked about trying to get intel of increasing, rather than decreasing, terrorist threat to the White House. Good luck getting through a bloated NSC staff of 400 to get to the White House. I wonder if the NSC came to those willful decisions with or without the CJCS or DNI in attendance?

Jack

Sir

There is a fairly large cottage industry in conspiracy theories among many foreign analysts and writers ascribing all sorts of malevolent actions to the CIA and other government agencies. Little do they realize that our political elite are essentially clueless but vain individuals filled with hubris.

confusedponderer

FB Ali,
in the paragraph before Bhadrakumar writes: "Dempsey ... It was under his watch that the IS was finessed and deployed as the instrument of US regional policy to overthrow the established government in Syria and to force Baghdad to allow the return of American troops to Iraq"

That is emphatically not so. Bhadrakumar ignores that Dempsey (a) takes orders and has to execute policy and (b) that he in fact reather vigorously objected to these steps, with the support of his superior, Hagel who actually did step down over this.

It's one of his weaker pieces.

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