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06 November 2015


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Bill Wade, NH

Just another "kool-aid" drinker:

In a new book, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reveals new details on politicization under President Bush, reports US News & World Report's Paul Bedard. Among other things, Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise the terror alert to help Bush win re-election in 2004."


Too little, too late, Mr Ridge

Mark Gaughan

Bravo! Great piece.


The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Yes, the problem could be posited as "the sincerely held beliefs of a small group of people who think they are the "bearers" of a uniquely correct view of the world." We know how they framed the problem. And we know what they did.

But do we really know what their sincerely held beliefs were? What were the real intentions? A tight, revolutionary cell is the best place to guard such secrets.

Watching Bush 43 over the years, I concluded that whatever he SAID was a pretty good indication that exactly the opposite was true. Therefore, I came to regard a the rare unscripted statement as more accurate guide to the man's mind was , like "things would be simpler in a dictatorship" or "we're going to convince OPEC to open their spigots."

I recognize that it's tough to read tea leaves when all you really can distill is a few aberrations. Unfortunately, those appear to be the only clues to the highly disciplined, highly scripted outward communications of Bush 43.

The only alternative explanation is that Bush was a man whose mind was totally impermeable to any amount of factual evidence--essentially a lunatic. And not just any lunatic, but one armed with powerful friends and Koolaid.


Updated link to the pdf version can be found here [pdf].

Sean McBride

This turned out to be an amazingly prophetic piece of analysis. Dead on.


Consider The Nuremburg Principles

Robert Murray

Required reading!

Paul Christopher

I read this a while back, when it was published. It is as enlightening now as it was then. Interesting that the civilians in DIA connected with the INC and ICP have all entered the SIS realms.


Obsessive loyalty to the group is one strong characteristic of the authoritarian mindset. The neocons had a plan and executed it regardless of niceties like truth or justice.
Too bad we now have a President more concerned with bipartisanship than digging up old truths. Oh, well. A 'truth and reconciliation' commission sounds like a joke when you look at recent town hall meetings.

Patrick Lang


SES. Yes, the wages of sin, ambition and weakness have generally been promotion. pl

Ken Roberts

What is the situation nowadays? Are assessments and related decision influences less driven by preconceived objectives?

Presumably it takes time to change, 7 months cannot repair 8 years of damaging influences. So perhaps it is too soon to know.


Speaking of 'Drinking the Koolaid' -- again.....


Wag The Dog, Again
by Philip Giraldi, August 13, 2009

Israeli media reports that visiting National Security Adviser General Jim Jones and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have told the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop complaining about Iran because the US is preparing to take action "in eight weeks" demonstrate that even when everything changes in Washington, nothing changes. President Barack Obama has claimed that a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a high priority but the Israelis and their allies in congress and the media have been able to stonewall the issue. Israel has made no concessions on its settlement policy, which is rightly seen as the single biggest obstacle to eventual creation of a Palestinian state, and has instead pushed ahead with new building and confiscations of Arab homes. Obama has protested both Israeli actions but done nothing else, meaning that Israel has determined that the new US president’s policies are toothless, giving it a free hand to deal with the Arabs. Vice President Joe Biden’s comments that Israel is free to attack Iran if it sees fit was a warning that worse might be coming. If the Israeli reports are true, it would appear that the Obama Administration has now bought completely into the Israeli view of Iran and is indicating to Tel Aviv that it will fall into line to bring the Mullahs to their knees. In short, Israel gets what it wants and Washington yet again surrenders.

President Obama’s ultimatum that Iran must start talks and quickly "or else" may be based on the belief that pressuring the government in Tehran will produce a positive result. If that is the judgment, it is wrong. Sanctions did not force Italy to change its policies in 1935, nor those of Japan five years later. Saddam Hussein survived them in the 1990s, and they have most certainly not brought the Cuban government down after fifty years of trying. The Iranian government will only respond by closing ranks against foreign pressure. Quite possibly, the only result an enhanced sanctions regime backed by a military threat will produce is a war, which would be catastrophic both for the United States and for Iran. Nor would it be particularly good for Israel in spite of what the current crackpot regime in Tel Aviv might think.

And the usual characters are lining up to play ball. The US mainstream media is united in supporting without any examination the view that Iran is intending to develop a nuclear device and will likely soon have one. It is clear that leading members of the Obama Administration, including Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believe the same thing. And Congress is never far behind when it comes to supporting any nonsense coming out of Israel. On July 30th the Senate passed a bill that prohibits companies that sell gasoline and other refined oil products to Iran from also receiving any Energy Department contracts to provide crude oil for the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut is also drafting a bill to block all oil imports to Iran. Yes, the same Joseph Lieberman who has never hesitated to put Israel first even as he wraps his rhetoric in the American flag. A pusillanimous Democratic Congress failed to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee even after he ran for the Senate as an independent and campaigned actively for Republican John McCain. Lieberman therefore remains a powerful senator instead of a political turncoat who should be rightly shunned by his former colleagues.

Lieberman’s bill, which already has in draft 67 co-sponsors in the Senate, is a de facto declaration of war which could easily start World War III. It would block all imports of refined petroleum products to Iran, which sits on sea of oil but has only limited refinery capacity. Its economy would grind to a halt. According to the Israeli media, other sanctions such as banning trade insurance are being considered, which would make it difficult for Iran to do any business internationally. Sanctions might also be extended laterally and placed on any company that trades with Iran. Iranian-flagged ships might also be refused docking permission in Western seaports and the country’s airplanes could be denied landing rights at European and American airports.

Lost in the shuffle is any United States national interest. Congress seems to be convinced that Iran threatens the United States and must be dealt with, a fiction no doubt generated by a barrage of "position papers" emanating from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). But the facts tell us otherwise. Iran’s leadership may be an unpleasant crew and the currently unfolding show trials complete with possibly coerced confessions is a disgraceful spectacle, but it just might be that claims that the US and some western Europeans have been meddling in the country’s politics have more than a grain of truth to them. Iranian paranoia vis-à-vis the rest of the world, and particularly the United States, is all too understandable. And its alleged nuclear ambitions are far from a proven case. In its quarterly reports on Iran’s monitored nuclear program, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency continues to assert that there is absolutely no evidence that Iran has a weapons program. The most recent examination of the Iranian nuclear program was conducted by the highly respected US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). Its report, released last week, stated that there is "…no evidence that Iran has yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium, and INR assesses that Iran is unlikely to make such a decision for at least as long as international pressure and scrutiny persist." It concluded that even if Iran makes the essentially political decision to construct a nuclear device it will not have enough fissile material to do so before 2013. The INR assessment used current intelligence to update the CIA National Intelligence report of 2007 that concluded that there could not be a nuclear device until after 2010 even if an accelerated program of development were to be initiated. Military analysts have also noted that Iran would be unable to deliver the weapon on target even if it were able to overcome the considerable technical obstacles to building the bomb itself.

It is curious that in spite of the fact that there is a consensus that Iran is not yet seeking a nuclear weapon and has no capability to accumulate sufficient weapons grade uranium to do so for some time to come, US politicians and media accept without question the Israeli argument that Iran is hell bent on obtaining such a device and will do so soon. Perhaps American politicians should stop listening to the Israelis and should start reading the reports being prepared at great expense by the United States intelligence community. All of which leads to another way of looking at the issue and that is, of course, that it is all about Israel. Iran is without doubt a major power in the Persian Gulf region even if it does not threaten the United States or Europe. It potentially does threaten Israel even if the track record shows the Iran has not attacked anyone since the seventeenth century while Israel itself has been engaged in something like perpetual warfare with all its neighbors. So the assumption must be that Israel and its very effective lobby are driving the push for war with Iran against the real interests of the United States. But the real question has to be, "Why is Obama, who must know that the argument against Iran is essentially bogus, buying into it?" Has he already surrendered to AIPAC? If it is true that at the end of September the US government will begin to tighten the screws on Iran we Americans will all know the answers to those questions and we will quite likely be set on the path for yet another "preventive" war.

Cesar Arroyo

Outstanding article Col. Lang. I was having a similar discussion with one of my army officer colleagues about, despite my admiration for Colin Powell, he failed his country when it needed him the most. He needed to stand his ground against conflict or publicly quit his post in protest.

Yet another drinker of the "kool-aid".

William R. Cumming

The article is amazing and I know of nothing that repudiates any single sentence of it from my personal knowledge or reading. Thanks very much PL a very helpful summary of tragic events.
Now what? Unfortunately few if any organizations are reformed from the inside. Usually events or personalities from outside shed light within the blacked out room. Unfortunately, I see nothing that has "Reformed" the process documented in your article! Do you?
I argue that the US has forfeited the "trust" others have in it and the only way "trust" is established is over a long period of time and events. Unfortunately, the posturing on AF-PAK and even now Iraq gives me no sense that "trust" in US will be restored. Hoping of course to be wrong.

N. M. Salamon


An interesting article in Asia Times online:


Any views?


Mark Gaughan

Do you think that they will ever be prosecuted?

knut royce

Your essay holds up beautifully with the passing of time. I'm glad we borrowed liberally from it when we wrote The Italian Letter. Knut


Harper’s decision to not publish this outstanding piece is disturbing and calls to mind the Atlantic Monthly’s refusal to publish “The Israel Lobby” article which it had commissioned from Walt and Mearsheimer.

One by one the formerly great magazines such as the New Yorker and the New Republic make themselves irrelevant. It is sad because the cultural commons has been greatly impoverished as a result.

I suppose we should be grateful for still having Commentary...kidding.

Patrick Lang

No. pl

Mark Gaughan

US mainstream media = J. Jonah Jameson

Farmer Don

A very clear essay.

I would just like to mention that a large part of the world, although not knowing the inner intrigue going on could see how the attack on Iraq was a done deal, no matter what evidence was found.
I believe a large percentage of the US population also must have known the charges against Iraq were bogus, but were happy just to kick some Arab ass.
Here in Canada the main steam media showed the UN inspectors finding nothing, and yet the US war machine getting ready to roll.
World leaders (and long time allies), told Bush he was being foolish.
The most disappointing thing in the run up to this useless war was the talk given to the UN by Colin Powell. I had thought he was one person that could be trusted, and who would be the most level headed.

I wonder, is it a coincidence that the countries which spent the most in this war, the USA, Britain, and Spain, are now are suffering the worst in the global recession?


That was the best exposition I've read detailing the nuts-and-bolts of the manufactured propaganda used to persuade congress and the American people to go to war in Iraq and stay to build a "democracy." What's really confounding is that Democrats think it's reasonable to try it in Afghaqnistan.

"The tragedy of life is that everybody has their reasons." Jean Renoir.


This is a very sad commentary on the depths to which our country has sunk since its founding less than 300 years ago. It reveals what humans can do even to the world's most ideally designed political system when they stray too far from the ideals upon which it was founded. We've lost it in both the political-military and economic spheres thanks to "leadership" comprised of thoughtless bullies, ignorant wimps, and unbridled greed.


Sadly, no one took that essay with the seriousness that it deserved.

Five thousand dead, trillion dollars, and only God knows what the future "blow-back" will be as a result.

Your "Concert" proposal has also been ignored, so soon the same crowd will lead us to another unnecessary war.

different clue

I once read, but now can't find, an article in Salon.com by Ambassador Joseph Wilson; about the Leninesque cell-structure of
the neo-conservative political power cult. Wilson wrote about how some cult-interviewers would approach people in government and see if they were ideologically recruitable. I could find this somewhat similar article, also by Ambassador Wilson, called The Cult That's Running The Country.

If, as I believe, the Bush
Administration itself may be
viewed as having come to power through a Supreme Court Coup against the Florida recount; it would not be shocking for central power-groups within that Administration to keep rolling their coup outward in successive stages.

I have been disturbed that James Baker the IIIrd has never been troubled or questioned about the neo-conservative BushAdmin coup.
Baker knew that Cheney was Bush's running mate. Baker knew that Cheney's close political friend was Rumsfeld and that Cheney/Rumsfeld would bring all their vulcans into office with them if they were installed into power. Knowing all that, Baker went right ahead and masterminded the Supreme Court Florida Recount Coup to put Bush, Bush's Cheney, Cheney's Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld's vulcans into power.

The use of methods similar to those described in the article to engineer a
war with Iran makes me wonder whether such a war is
an unfolding tragedy we can only glumly witness as it unfolds? Or could it be preventable if all the right people understand and use all the right counterlevers of counterpower?

If the Battle of Waterloo
was won on the playing fields of Eton, might the preventive war with Iran be prevented on the docks and wharves of health care policy? Why would I link two such wildly disparate things? Because if the Progressive and Real Democrat Caucus in the House
can successfully prevent any
health care reform without genuine public option; perhaps they might take such
heart from that victory that
they might try to use their newfound confidence and power to prevent preventive war on Iran. The same sort of Democrats who favor genuine healthcare reform might tend to favor long-term non-war with Iran. If they could all decide to prevent any legislation whatsoever from moving through the House until the Lieberman-Senate anti-Iran bill is reversed in the Senate; could they actually force the reversal of that bill? If the House Progressive Caucus were actually prepared and able to see that no legislation on any issue of any sort whatsoever were able to move
through the House at all...until Kyl-Lieberman were revisited and repealed; could they force that to happen as well?

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