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03 January 2020


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Trump is weak, stupid, reckless and easily manipulated. This has long been obvious.

That is not an argument in favor of Team D, the Resistance, the Deep State, the Blob or whatever (if anything it is an argument against their conspiracy theories), but Trump is what he is.


Trump has allowed himself to be deluded (possibly by himself) into the belief that Iran will now come 'to the negotiating table'.

Eric Newhill

"We justify this attack because of prior Shia terrorist attacks during the 2003-2008 period in Iraq that kill U.S. troops"

I don't think that is accurate. IMO, that's window dressing. Soleimani was in Iraq architecting attacks on the US embassy and on Americans. Additionally, no doubt, working on completing an Iranian take over of Iraq. Trump could have withdrawn all troops from Iraq and closed down the embassy; or he could have fought back. He chose the latter.

In the larger context, a thoroughly Iranian controlled Iraq would be a domino on the path to Iranian control of the entire region.

I'm a 100% isolationist personally, but if you're not, you have to do something to keep Iran in its place. I recognize that there's a lot I don't understand about reasons to not be an isolationist and maybe there are good reasons.

Also, if Iraq (and Iran) respond by demanding the US leaves Iraq totally, then there is a side effect of isolationists like myself getting what we want.

Bottom line, Trump could not just sit there and let Iran overrun the US embassy and take over Iraq on its terms.


When anti-Syria propaganda was running strongest, "Assad must go" I always asked "Then what? What comes next?"

We have a big stick but we need more than running around clubbing others. We never should have abandoned the international law we helped to create.

We can create fear, most people fear a powerful bully but they don't respect them and will work to undermine them. It is a weak form of power and sooner or later you end up isolated.

All stick and no carrot, hard power and no soft power just isn't a vision you can build on. So, Now what? What comes next? What comes after a war with Iran?


We did not ask the Iraqi government for permission and we are obligated to do so, yes? Is it possible the Iraqi government will tell us to pick up our personnel and all our stuff and leave -- and never come back?

Larry Johnson

Have you been awake for the last 10 years? The reason Iran is in control of Iraq is because of our actions. Not theirs. Ours. We put Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia in power. What the hell do you think was going to happen? Your ignorance of Iraq and Iran is representative of most Americans and explains why the Government can feed you boat loads of lies and you happily, eagerly swallow this garbage.

Bill H

So, the "domino theory" is back.

Eric Newhill

I am perfectly aware of how Iraq came to be under Iranian influence and I predicted (a no brainer) that would happen if we were stupid enough to invade Iraq under the false pretense of WMD.

But what's done is done. Trump inherited the mess. Perhaps he is trying to salvage something out of it. Again, the only options at this point are to remove all American presence, including the embassy, or to fight back.

blue peacock

Well said Larry.

Yours is precisely the point. Iraq was a secular country under the "tyrannical" Saddam's Baathist regime. So is Syria a secular country under Assad. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. The Saudis did. He would have been a natural counter-weight to Iran. Of course he may have kicked out the Al Sauds soon enough to hang out in London, New York and Paris after he consolidated Kuwait. That may have been a good thing in hindsight.

Bush & Cheney supported by both parties invaded Iraq and created the ascendancy of Iran. Then Obama comes along and aids & abets Al Qaeda to head-chop Christians in Syria, once again with support from both our political parties.

Trump comes along as the "no more wasting money in the Middle East" guy. But surrounds himself with all neocons including his daughter & son-in-law. And he has shown to be generally clueless on anything beyond one slide on a Powerpoint. He thinks he's still on the set of The Apprentice.

I'd like to say that the US is no longer a Constitutional Republic. We have law enforcement & intelligence who ran a coup attempt and half the country thinks that was a good thing. We have coteries that lie and propagandize us into war that has cost the American people several trillion that they've had to borrow from future generations. With the Patriot Act, FISA and all kinds of other "anti-terrorist laws", we essentially have a lawless national security surveillance state.

We are fucked because so many of our fellow citizens fall for the black & white Rambo movie plot, while their ass is being taken to the cleaners.


Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for your always pointed and concise analysis. If I understand correctly, the US/Israel bloc believes it has Iran in checkmate. If Iran retaliates (or if some provocation is arranged that can plausibly be blamed on Iran), then the Empire launches a full-on attack. If Iran doesn't retaliate (or a provocation doesn't arise), Iran looks weak and unable to defend itself and limps to the negotiating table, where its carcass will be picked apart.

The only way this makes sense is if the Empire is convinced it can flatten Iran and pick apart its carcass without taking significant losses. Is that delusional and, possibly, "terminally stupid?"

The Beaver

Mr Johnson,

In addition Eric forgot what happened on December 29th and the reason for Suleimani to be in Iraq early on Friday morning: to attend the funeral of the Iraqi soldiers who died during those strikes neal al-Qaim.

Luther Bliss

When James Woolsey was Trump's spokesthingie during the 2016 election, I placed multiple bets that "Trump attacks Iran to be a 'war-time president' for 2020 election."

I've endured mocking phonecalls as Trump wildly vacillated but his NSC choices (all 4 or 5 of them...) were all NeoCons. And if you bed with the NeoCons, you catch their disease.

I haven't watched the news in the last 3 years but the phone-calls are starting again, but the attitude is all different.

If thing keep going this way, I guess this hippie socialist is about his win bet with a bunch of pollyanna veterans and bubble-headed conservatives who could not face reality.


Do other countries have any right to self determination?

How would Americans react to foreign powers controlling our country and killing our citizens at will?

When we instilled a democracy in Shiite majority Iraq who would get voted into power? What was the result of disbanding the Arab baathist Iraqi army?

We handed Iraq to Iran.



you write:

"Also, if Iraq (and Iran) respond by demanding the US leaves Iraq totally, then there is a side effect of isolationists like myself getting what we want."

If you are happy with this outcome, what was your problem with Soleimani in the first place? It can't be opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq or the whole region, but what is it?

Did you really think your position through?


There is a reason civilized nations do not do assassinations, but then you may have forgotten how WW1 started.

I shudder at the world you plan to leave our children, but empires do not last forever (or much longer with an easily manipulated moron in charge) and you may live to see assassinations of Americans on US soil as common "geopolitics."


I can't imagine a war scenario that is positive for the US, except for the neo-con fantasy that the oppressed Iranian people will rise up and overthrow the wicked mullahs when things get bad enough. I don't know anything about the internal politics of Iran, but I'm not so sure how well America holds up after gas prices triple at the pump. Of course by that time they'll be a draft and rationing. The only way to avoid that outcome would be to nuke 'em, which is something I wouldn't put pass the Israelis or Trump.

I don't believe our leaders are thinking long-term, but acting out of a combination of financial self interest for war spending in general and contracts within Iraq in particular; and emotional self satisfaction: for powerful Boomers this kind of belligerance somehow makes them feel like worthy sucessors to their dead "Greatest Generation" parents.


Dear Larry Johnson,

Please add to your list the assassination of US high level personnel (diplomat or military) in Europe by sleeper cells.

Interestingly (as in stupidly), the US also arrested the head of the Iraqiya MP who heads the largest block in the Iraqi parliament - apparently he had the audacity to appear at a protest of the US bombing without authorization Iraqi citizens. One suspects that Iran will have full Iraq support in retaliation. The big question is whether Turkey makes a play and bans flights from Incirlik. Note US carrier groups are not in the gulf or even nearby to fly support missions...


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-violence-idUSBRE9BR03120131229 - no mention largest bloc in Parliament.

That said, I expect Russia and China will offer unlimited weapons to Iran to bog the US down long term.



"forgotten how WW1 started"

So Soleimani was heir apparent to the Supreme Leader?


If we are that vulnerable to iranian retaliation on so many levels as you just set out, best we start dealing with this extortion threat right here now. Lance the festering boil and build t a new line of defenses.

No matter what the triggering incident, we might as well accept we needed a reality check regarding this level of global threat. Not pretty, but apparently necessary if the Iranians are as capable of global disruption as you just present.

It did not take an assassination in Sarajevo to set of WWI, it was festering well before and was an inevitable march off the cliff regardless. If we are that vulnerable to cyber terrorism and infrastructure terrorism, does it matter what finally lights the match?

Murali Penumarthy

Sir you say "What is done is done" Killing approximately 4 to 5 hundread thousand Iraqi's is a fair price to pay for the Iraqi's to swallow. Here in US we still moan and goran about 3000 American's on 9/11. can you please explain your logic?


Narco-controlled foreigners now run rough shod over much of California. How does that example work for context.


If the world powers are gunning for an all out war, it will happen regardless. Mind your narratives. They are far scarier than the facts on the ground. Was this bad guy "assassinated", or taken out by a good guy with a gun as he was poised to strike.

Why have Democrats spent the past three years saber-rattling over Russia, Russia, Russia, as if any hint of favor or benign contact was high treason. C'mon people, what is really going on in this world today. Who has really created this current scenario of being a nation in imminent peril from nefarious foreign threachery by even the flimsiest of implications.

Just a few days ago our entire national security was predicated on Trump delaying arms to Ukraine by a few weeks. Ukraine, fer crisssakes which few can even find on a map. Isn't that the jingoist frothing we were just asked to believe by our loyal opposition party to the point of initiating impeachment proceedings due to Trump's alleged risking of our entire nation's place of honor on this entire planet?

We suffer from internal hyperbole, as much as outside bad actors. A world who wants war, will get it. A world who wants peace will get that too. Running off to the corner pouting and hand-wringing brings neither.


Evidence, please.


Was it not written that "personnel is policy"?


I will take the other side of the Russians will help coin, if anything I would suggest the Russians may have even provided intel to the Americans on Qasem Soleimani location and movements, Putin was recently in the news thanking Trump for providing intel stopping a Terrorist attack in St Petersburg recently, I still think the Russians provided intel on the whereabouts of the head of the head of the Islamic state Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to the Americans and Putin did nothing about the deaths of the 20 Russian airmen or the cruise missile attacks on Syria, as bad a Ally as the USA is the Russian Federation is clearly worse, the Russians clearly can't be trusted.

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