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20 December 2015


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One difference is that Obama made it clear that there were certain things that he simply did not want to hear - e.g. by rejecting outright the DIA+ report - even if they were self-evidently of critical importance to a threat assessment and consideration of alternative responses. I presume as well that Marshall never did anything that pointed in the diametrically opposite direction from that which Roosevelt was taking.

The Twisted Genius

A fascinating article that paints Washington as a "game of thrones" world only with more treachery and deception. The whole idea of an organized, hierarchical government is a fairy tale. Generals Dempsey and Flynn were shining lights of honor in this continuing sordid affair. I only hope that Kerry has been somehow inspired by their example and has picked up the standard... improbable as that sounds. If they're going to take you down, you might as well go down in a blaze of glory.


Another incredible article by Sy Hersh. The more explosive Hersh's stories are, the more he seems to be ignored by the Western press. The New Yorker no longer carries his work, he has to go to London, the LRB of all places, to get published. His rat line article about the transfer of weapons from Libya to Syrian rebels, via Turkey, was to the extent that is was not ignored, ridiculed here in the US.

BTW, I am not surprised that PL was not surprised by Hersh's revelations -- PL is cited in the article as one of his sources.


Surprised? Surely you jest my dear colonel.

If there's a single consistent message your readers have been receiving in the past couple of years on this blog, it's been not to believe the Borg's spewing stories of unicorn armies.



Are you suggesting therefore that Obama was not told of this assessment?

Trey N

Just read a great book earlier this year about the CBI theater in WW II (alas, the title eludes me at the moment...).

"Vinegar Joe" Stilwell loathed the Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, whom he referred to as "the peanut." Roosevelt was enamored with Chiang -- or at least with his extraordinary wife, the notorious Dragon Lady. Marshall backed Stilwell in his feud with Chiang, over Roosevelt's objections -- to a point. When push finally came to shove, of course, Marshall had to bow to Roosevelt's views and replace Stilwell.

Getting a glimpse into how Marshall used his subtle bureaucratic infighting skills to oppose a presidential policy he didn't agree with was quite interesting. The Colonel's post here indicates that some of the current residents of the Pentagon are following in Marshall's footsteps -- unfortunately, it appears, with the same sad ultimate results....

Ishmael Zechariah

Colonel Lang,
Re:"Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case." I and my colleagues have also been mystified by the unconditional and massive support US has been providing tayyip for over a decade. Perhaps Dr. Brenner is correct in calling Obama a born fool. Or, perhaps, Obama is under some sort of control. I disagree with the article's contention that the Israeli government has supported Assad-there are too many counterfactuals. Perhaps some folks within the Izzie establishment did pass on some intel surreptitiously. It would be nice to get some evidence as to what the heck is going on. Perhaps ФСБ will provide some...
Ishmael Zechariah

Ken Roberts

That was a very interesting article. Thanks for posting it. LRB now has a new subscriber. Gift subscription to SWMBO -- about 2/3 of normal price, it appears.


Surprised? If anyone who reads this blog is surprised by the foreign and domestic policy antics of Obama et. al., in the MENA, then their reading comprehension/intelligence is so minuscule that I would wager they couldn't even find this blog! Obama and his minions suffer from the same blood--curdling disease of Trump--and many other politicians in the U.S.--an inability to consider let alone admit that they could possibly be wrong about anything.

I wish I could claim to be disillusioned by the lack of realism emanating from the whorehouses--the "think tanks" and apparatchiks buried deep in the woodwork of every bureaucracy in D.C.--yet the alarm on my BS detector won't shutdown. I don't even have to change the batteries. (My apologies to whorehouses throughout the world--at least they engage in commercial transactions wherein a service is rendered without meaningless platitudes about "truth" and "justice.")

Thanks once again Colonel for this site that forces any who visits to think and question for themselves.

judith weingarten

Most of us following events on the ground had reached the same conclusion some time in 2013, without the benefit of DIA. Why didn't (and even now doesn't)the US take on board the consequences: "what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State." Yup, right through 2015.



No. They gave him the DIA analysis and after Obama and crew rejected it they started undermining his madcap policy in Syria. pl


So the CIA believed Assad had to go and it was possible to do so without aiding the jihadist faction, while the DIA believed the opposite was true for both of these beliefs?


Ex-PFC Chuck

Could it have been "Stilwell and the American experience in China, 1911-45," by Barbara Tuchman? Great book, as most of hers were. Stilwell was a fascinating person.


Kerry has little to lose. He's at the end of his tenure in gov't and he has a wealthy wife. He has surprised me and accomplished more that I agree with than I thought he would as SoS. His relationship with Lavrov may well have much to do with this.



No. It was not the CIA's policy. The CIA as an institution has no policy positions but Brennan the Borgist certainly does. It was the policy of Obama and the Borg. As for the JCS and DIA they evidently did not want to see 1- The destruction of the Syrian state and its institutions as had happened in Iraq because of the lunacy of the neocons and 2- JCS and DIA did not want to enable a jihadi (Nusra et al) takeover of Syria. pl


Bravo! Sy Hersh!

I have an observation on the question posed in the last sentence as well as by Ishmael Zacharia:

"The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington’s leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey’s support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

The Israeli and Turkish Governments seek to dismember Syria for their own benefit.

The simplest explanation is therefore that the Israeli and Turkish Governments, are going to make Obama and his policy team rich beyond the dreams of avarice after his retirement.



Hersh is something of an artist. Do not assume that much was shared with Israel. I could easily imagine that real cooperation took place through the good graces of the GRU and BND. pl


The LRB has published Hersh before. I doubt that this move is significant.


Well, I feel vindicated. When I first reported the 2012 DIA "Salafist Principality" document, I had people like John Schindler contact me to tell me I was ignorant and that all the "insiders" knew the doc was worthless and meaningless.

But now according to Flynn that little doc was but the tip of the ice burg... sounds like there's probly a wealth of higher classified docs out there just like it.

It was annoying that the 2012 DIA doc was talked about all over Russian, German, foreign media in general...but wasn't touched in the U.S.
I suppose it is sinking into U.S. press with a slow trickle, but if it breaks at all it'll sadly just turn into a partisan thing the Republicans will use.



You have it almost right. The 2012 use of a liaison document as a basis for analysis was but a warning shot across the Borg's bow. The 2013 DIA direct analysis got Flynn fired while the JCS brooded. pl

dilbert dogbert

The Stilwell Papers is what I read as a youth. If my foggy memory serves he spoke Chinese and had been stationed in China. He got the Chinese army to fight by having American paymasters pay the soldiers directly. Bypassed the Chinese officers who would pocket the soldiers pay. He also toasted "Old Thousand Names" at diner with high members of the Gear Wheel. The upper crust held the Old Thousand Names in contempt.
Seems we used to have general officers who would not drink the coolaid.



You somehow think that the LRB having published Hersh before is significant? The significance is that this Pulitzer prize winning journalist can not longer find a publisher in the States because people like you denigrate his opposition to the policy of the Borg. pl


Yes, a CIA friend of mine, Nic Dujmovic, told me he thinks the 2012 DIA doc was from an allied intel service - I've understood that all along.

I agree with those who say it's most likely either Iraqi or German in origin.

Wish someone would come forward with an unredacted version though... that would be sweet.


"Hersh is something of an artist."

I always liked Hersh's art. However I was a bit disappointed by his conclusion.

"The message was never listened to. Why not?"

This is a lead into another article, I suppose. Let's hope so. If not, we're going to be left hanging. The issue of why Obama and his crowd are so determined on eliminately Asad is not otherwise clear.

The Twisted Genius


The CIA's first priority is always the CIA. In their arrogance, they would always brag about their direct line to the President. Although they were set back by the establishment of the ODNI, they dream about regaining their position of omnipotence. That they would carry the Administration's water in Syria is no surprise. Also, at the very core of CIA's operations is their near total reliance on bilateral operations with foreign intelligence services. In these bilateral relationships, the CIA always attempts to become the dominant and controlling service. There is never a real partnership. Perhaps in Turkey, the Turkish intelligence became the manipulating partner.

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