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21 October 2017


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There is no " Junta" in WH, and I'm quite sure, these generals have different point of view about the current situation.


I think we would be in a much better shape if Eisenhower's farewell speech had been taken more seriously than it was. He also made some very wise decisions in 1956 regarding Egypt and Hungary.

Those who DJT calls "his" generals may have entered government service with stellar reputations. I doubt they will leave with them intact. The military is trained to do certain things and running a government is not one of them. Historically, when they tried, it did not end well and it may not here either.

The Middle East has been a hot spot for thousands of years and is likely to remain so. It would appear that a realistic containment policy is the best we can hope for. But when you mix ideology with ignorance, you will not get it.



There was an understanding between Marshall and FDR that Marshall would go to England and replace Eisenhower for Overlord while Eisenhower became chief of staff of the US Army. FDR reneged on this understanding on the basis that he could not cope with the war if Marshall were not at his side in Washington. Eisenhower was a very lucky man. Marshall had fired Leonard Gerow over Gerow's perfomance in Pearl Harbor Day as head of the operations section in the Army General Staff. Eisenhower was one of his deputies and Marshall gave him Gerow's job. A few month's later someone had to be sent to England to head a planning staff and Eisenhower got the job. His presence in the European Theater and familiarity with the British and Free French led to him being appointed by Marshall to head Torch and so forth. He played little role in commanding the expeditionary forces in Europe. His staff gave the army group commanders and the air forces their guidance. Eisenhower's role was largely that of a coordinator among the allies. In addition to that his publicly well known affair with Kay Summersby, his British Army driver was a matter of public scandal and a violation of the Articles of War.. Everyone in the SHAEF staff knew about it. It could hardly be missed when people came to his office and found her sitting next to his desk knitting. This liaison became a crisis for him after he used his authority as theater commander to make KS a temporary wartime AUS officer in the grade of captain. Marshall considered sacking for that but this was after the decision was made to leave him in command of Overlord and to do so would have looked petty. pl



I suppose b had in mind a figurative rather than a literal use of the word "junta." pl


blue peacock

IMO there would have to be some sort of catastrophe that provided a catharsis so profound that basic assumptions had to be re-examined. pl


Yeah, Right

It is true that b did not say that he questioned Kelly's motives, He merely did so. pl



We seem to have a lot of Russians here lately and I have found them to be worthwhile contributors even if I disagree with them at times. I would like to make it clear that I think the anti-Russian bias in the US MSM and government bureaucracy is a bad thing. US actions in Syria have been abominably stupid and would have resulted in one or more jihadi caliphates in Syria if it had not been for the intervention of the Russians. This intervention has been most skillful and I congratulate them for it. pl


This will just be further confirmation that this committee is in collusion with those dastardly roooshians.
The Russians are not coming, they're already here...



That is really funny since i have been criticized for being anti-Russian. Sounds like you are a supporter of the rebels. pl

Babak Makkinejad

To cause the Protestant Christians to question their 500-year (unrequited) romance with Israel?
Not going to happen.


With due respect r whitman (or Don Draper) it is more than "{interesting) to note your dead on observation. It is the first step in 'recovery'. These guys have lost, at worst, stalemated, at best. This has to color their views.

james oneill

heartening to read a rational assessment of mcmaster and mattis views ... MSM has conferred them with sainthood and aura of the chivalry attributed to arthur's knights of the round table ....



Arms sales to SA are about profits and commissions (kickbacks)and not about military capability. pl


r whitman

I am by experience an intelligence guy. i don't like making policy recommendations although i manage to overcome that aversion occasionally as in SST wargames where the policy suggested should be deducible to you all. As to what should be US policy in the ME, you should look to do a back azimuth and understand that we should stop doing what we are doing now. pl


Great information regarding Marshall and Ike. Brings to mind a back and forth between Ike and another famous general, regarding their service together in the Phillippines. Macarthur said Ike was the best clerk he ever had, Ike responded with that he studied dramatics for 7 years under Macarthur.

Babak Makkinejad

Eisenhower's lasting legacy has been Iran.


Swamp Yankee and Ramojus

I presume that you read my response to expfcchuck. What more can I say about this? I was raised by a man who had served for 34 years as both enlisted and officer. He possessed a wealth of "tribal" information about the personalities and methods of operation of just about all those who became senior army generals in WW2. he had known many of them as much junior in the long inter-war years. He knew Macarthur in the Philippines when Macarthur was field marshal of the Commonwealth's army. He knew GM when he was was deputy commander of the 15th Infantry Regiment at Tienjin. He did not like Marshall whom he thought to be a prig. He thought Eisenhower a mediocrity who did not like the profession that childhood penury had forced him into at West Point. He worshiped Macarthur. This was a point of contention between us. My father knew the lore. the story of FDR's decision to leave Eisenhower in charge of Overlord is contained in several biographies of Marshall. you will have to look for it, but the wiki on Marshall says "It was assumed that Marshall would become the Supreme Commander of Operation Overlord, but Roosevelt selected Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Commander. While Marshall enjoyed considerable success in working with Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he refused to lobby for the position. President Roosevelt didn't want to lose his presence in the states. He told Marshall, "I didn't feel I could sleep at ease if you were out of Washington."[45] When rumors circulated that the top job would go to Marshall, many critics viewed the transfer as a demotion for Marshall, since he would leave his position as Chief of Staff of the Army and lose his seat on the Combined Chiefs of Staff.[46]. I would recommend "The War Between the Generals" https://www.amazon.com/War-Between-Generals-Inside-Command/dp/1872197280 as an in depth look at some of the relationships. The book is based on interviews with the Headquarters Commandant of SHAEF. My father knew him as well. pl


A coherent Afghan state has never been and is ever likely to be in our lifetimes a centralized state along the model of Middle Eastern dictatorships. Its governments ruled best when they ruled least, allowing the diverse peoples and their regions do their own thing to the extent possible. Of course, this left the country more vulnerable to the machinations of its imperial neighbors.
In any case, change/modernization worked out best by attraction rather than compulsion. New ways of being and doing started in the elite areas of the capital and perhaps other large cities and were then adopted by others who saw their benefits. This was true in everything from electrification to women’s education. Those that did not want such change ignored it until pressure from below forced leaders to adapt.
Their first revolution occurred when the king forgot this sage approach and the subsequent communist government only made it worse, guaranteeing a popular political, social and cultural revolt. Now a government composed of regional warlords who continue to enrich themselves on a war economy pretend to fight off the Taliban and their assorted allies. In addition, the Afghan war has had its worst blow-back not in the West, but in neighboring Pakistan, when the ultraconservatives gave gain sway over much of the culture.

IRAQ AND IRAN: We cannot assume that the future Iraq will simply be an Iranian satellite. The Shia body politic in Iraq includes blocs that are NOT pro-Iranian as is the clerical establishment. Arabism has a strong pull and al Abadi and his deputy, Ayad Allawi are in this camp. There has been outreach to the Saudis, with Muqtadar al Sadr visiting that country and the Saudis opening an embassy for the first time since the overthrow of Saddam. One barrier, of course, is the hateful anti-Shia rhetoric and actions coming from the Gulf states. Whether the US continues to have a role in Iraq will depend in part on our policies in the region and how we handle ourselves and respect the goals of the government. Our opposition to the Kurdish referendum was no doubt well-received in Baghdad. If we continue to challenge the Syrian regime, this will embolden the Iranians to up IRCG and related PMUs presence in both countries. That is why the Deir ez Zor eastern oil fields and Bukamal as so important.



the US Army ran both Germany and Japan quite successfully after WW2. USMC ran Haiti and Nicaragua well. these latter two places only fell apart after they left. pl

Eric Newhill

Sadly the US policy in relationship to the world of Islam is, indeed, in tatters. The destruction of the secular regimes in Iraq, Libya and [attempted] of Syria make no sense to me at all. It seems like everything we do there furthers jihad or Iranian influence. If one were to conflate outcome with intent, one would have to conclude that the US govt is, simultaneously, secretly an agent of the jihadis and Iranians. I think there has been some truth to the former in the past few years.

Regarding Iran, while not secular, it is at least an established culture as opposed to another belligerent tribe with a flag. I would think that the US could someday put aside the embarrassment of the 79 revolution and work with Iran. As Col Lang notes, the Saudis necessity is waning due to the abundance of alternative sources of oil. However, Iran, for its part, continues to scuttle such a possibility by dogmatically threatening to destroy Israel and with all the "Death to America" rhetoric.

This voting citizen would be happy if we left all the baksheesh, backstabbing, tribal vendetta, extremism and ruthless I win/you lose deal making behind and left the region to its fate. Clearly our think tanks and CIA, etc. are not up to the task of navigating through all of that. Maybe no one is. Somehow we need to get Saudi and Israeli money out of DC.

What stands out as exceptionally weird to me (in a sea of weirdness) is that the Saudis and Gulfies aren't better advisors to the US govt. For example, why didn't the Saudis advise that taking out Saddam's govt would result in expanded Iranian influence? Why didn't the Israelis see that? How is it in either group's best interest to have expanded Iranian influence?

What a mess.


Brilliant analysis. That's what I keep coming here for. It's mind blowing that so many allegedly competent people can keep disfunctional policy going on for failure after failure without ever correcting. One assumption might be that no one is really running the show. That seemed to be the case when the Pentagon's rebels got into a shooting match with the CIA's rebels in Syria.

It is my understanding that in the Pacific theater, Admiral King had a penchant for sleeping with the wives of his subordinates. That seems more reprehensible, as it puts the woman in a position not to say no.


Both in Germany, where the US Army (mainly) governed a section of the country they quickly created a civil society that could take over. As did the French and the British. The Soviets went in another direction.

The same was done in Japan. I referred to where the military controlled the government and had no plan to turn it over to civilians and there are plenty of examples of that and it was not sustainable for very long. Eventually the military officers had to give up power.


I got your point, but don’t you think, it’s too much blood and effort for just the F ing flafel. Here in Westwood next to UCLA one can get a great falafel, with hookah and Arabic music, on top of that, if you are a good returning customer you may get a free mezze. All this without dropping a single bomb.


Babak Makkinejad -

It is true that the Baptists and many Pentacostal denominations are strong supporters of Israel. That is not true of most mainstream Protestant churches. The Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Methodists, and Lutherans have been accused by AIPAC lobbyists of harboring contempt for Israel and seeking a pan-Arab agenda.

US Presbyterians support the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/presbyterian-church-rejects-effort-ostracize-bds

The AJC claims that the United Church of Christ demonizes Israel: https://www.jta.org/2017/07/03/news-opinion/united-states/united-church-of-christ-approves-resolution-condemning-israel-for-treatment-of-palestinian-children

The United Methodist Church has publicly opposed Israeli "military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a "Greater Israel" that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings." And they have urged the US to end military aid and to redistribute the large amount of aid now given to Israel to support economic development efforts of NGOs throughout the region, including those within Palestinian communities. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/opposition-to-israeli-settlements-in-palestinian-land

The champion of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, turned on the Jews and wrote tracts against them when he failed to convert them.

With all due respect, your views on all Protestant denominations is not based on facts. It would be just as ridiculous if someone claimed that the Nizari Ismailis, Ghulats, Zaidiyyah, Alevis, and mainstream Iranian Shia all held to the same theology.

r whitman

I agree with you on stopping what we are doing now. I have no clue of what the USA should do in the future. It was and is my intention to listen to other members of SST. Perhaps they have some valid ideas.

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