The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: The MIC Who Cried Wolf

Posted on: September 4, 2013

I have watched with a growing sense of deja vu as the Military Industrial Complex gears itself up to sell yet another quagmire in the Middle East to the bleary-eyed American public. Look, there’s John Kerry on the TeeVee saying there’s proof of chemical weapons use in Syria!

Unveiling a U.S. intelligence report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday the evidence shows President Bashar Assad’s government killed at least 1,429 of its own citizens in a “crime against humanity” that demands an international response.

Kerry, trying to overcome doubts about the Obama’s administration’s anticipated military strike on Syria, said the intelligence community has documented with “high confidence,” from “thousands of sources,” that Syrian forces prepared for days to attack entrenched rebel forces and then, on Aug. 21, fired gas-filled shells that killed at least 426 children, as well as adults.

“This is evidence,” Kerry said in an appearance at the State Department. “These are facts. The primary question is what are we … going to do about it?”

Wow. Dare I say that this evidence appears…indisputable?

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass  destruction.” – Dick Cheney, August 26 2002

Six days before the  U.S. sent troops to Iraq, Cheney said “We believe Iraq has, in fact,  reconstituted nuclear weapons” [Meet the Press, 3/7/03]. This echoed his June,  2002 speech in which he said the same thing. He made these claims while offering  no evidence, and despite the fact that “the CIA sent two memos to the White  House in October voicing strong doubts about a claim President Bush made three  months later in the State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to buy  nuclear material in Africa” [Washington Post, 7/23/03]. As ex Cia  analyst Ray McGovern has asserted , falsified documents which were meant to show  that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein regime had been trying to procure yellowcake uranium  from Niger can be traced straight back to Cheney’s office.

According to  McGovern, former CIA Director George Tenet told his “coterie of malleable  managers” at the CIA to create a National Intelligence Estimate “to the terms of  reference of Dick Cheney’s speech of August 26, 2002, where Dick Cheney said for  the first time Saddam Hussein could have a nuclear weapon in a year, he’s got  all kinds of chemical, he’s got all kinds of biological weapons.”

Here’s how widespread this reaction must be: When I searched for the Dick Cheney quote, I clicked on a link to CNN from 2002. The link re-directed me to the home page of CNN, which had this headline: “Kerry on Syria: This isn’t Iraq, we’ve got the proof.” The comparisons are that obvious.

The only difference is that this time, a “Democratic” President and Secretary of State are pushing this horrifying attempt to add to our presence in the Middle East. I’m guessing they are trying to hit the “trifecta” Bush spoke about after 9/11, but with a slightly different spin. This trifecta is: Oil (Iraq), Minerals (Afghanistan) and Natural Gas (Syria).

Why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria?  Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad won’t let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria?  Of course.  Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe.  Why is Saudi Arabia spending huge amounts of money to help the rebels and why has Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan been “jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime”?  Well, it turns out that Saudi Arabia intends to install their own puppet government in Syria which will allow the Saudis to control the flow of energy through the region.  On the other side, Russia very much prefers the Assad regime for a whole bunch of reasons.  One of those reasons is that Assad is helping to block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe, thus ensuring higher profits for Gazprom.  Now the United States is getting directly involved in the conflict.  If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia.  This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all.

Did any name jump out at you when you read that paragraph? It did for me. Believe it or not, we’ve re-hired Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, otherwise known as “Bandar Bush.” But to be fair, I know if I wanted to start a war in the Middle East, I’d definitely call this guy up. His creds in this area are…indisputable.

We have said many times on this blog, that Obama was Bush III. We said he ended up agreeing with Bush about the Iraq War (and admitted it on TeeVee). We said his efforts in Afghanistan had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda. But I don’t know that any of us realized he would manufacture a war for natural resources, and have the gall to lie about it to the American people.

What’s next – John Kerry shows up at the UN with a vial of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and a bad attitude? Someone please wake me up when that happens! In the meantime, I remain unconvinced (to put it mildly) that a) Syria did use chemical weapons and b) If they did, we should overturn their government because of it.  The problem with crying wolf is that eventually, people do stop believing your bullsh*t.  And I think I, and millions of other Americans, are already there.

This is an open thread.


25 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: The MIC Who Cried Wolf"

Some day the historians will refer to this nasty 50 year period of history as “The Petroleum Wars”, beginning with the notion that there was oil in the Gulf of Tonkin t the present.

Well said MB! I’ve been very skeptical of this latest war mongering, and like most people, apparently, according to the recent spate of polls, am just sick of it. And if they did murder 1400 of their own, and thats so unacceptable that we have to send in our fleet and our billion buck bombs, why didn’t the same hold true for the Sudan after what they did to Darfur, which was far more horrific?

While I’ll believe it’s possible that Assad did use chemical weapons I”ve got to ask “how does that affect us?” I don’t see anything that affects our national security here. Just because we’re the biggest kid on the block doesn’t mean we have to get involved with every incident that goes on in the world.

Good post MB and there is certainly a case to be made for every fact you cite. I’m torn though.

Chemical weapons killing 426 children causes my inability to come down on one side or another. One side feels four-square with you, the other side is led by, “Do we really give murdering despots a pass when gassing children?”

While the carbon economics of the Middle East are interesting, I tend to focus on the fact that we have lived for the past 100 years while regional religious and tribal minorities, backed by our military and hegemonic corporations, ruled throughout the region. We are now paying the price and the internet and social media has “added this to the cart” through the Arab Spring.

At some point, we have been heading down this luge since the Shah fell. The neo-cons and J Street set this in motion in the 80s and Iraq was the coup-de-grace. Making sure Iran had no natural predators in the region insured an eventual showdown — this might be it. I hope not.

The one thing that was an “unknown” was the Arab Spring — it was not in the neo-con planning memo. It just might be too late to do anything about it as we fall victim to Middle East inertia.

Prolix, agree about the children, but again, what about Darfur? Where parents were forced to watch their children get gang raped and tossed on a bonfire? And then same thing to the parents. Way more children were brutally murdered there. Also Rwanda. And other places I can’t think of now. Why wasn’t our govt so anxious to step in at those other places that had horrific acts of genocide, not just a civil war?

The problem lies with the chosen agent. We signed and ratified the Geneva Protocol”

Apparently we have some kind of “reservations” regarding the protocol. Anyway, there are plenty of countries that are in the Protocol without reservations that are not rushing to war with Syria. I just don’t believe our govt anymore.

Annie, I’m with you 110% on Darfur and Rwanda. We sat aside and watched and I would have supported intervention.

Ethically and morally, I can’t accept a wrong decision made then to justify a wrong decision now.

“Do we really give murdering despots a pass when gassing children?”

No, but let’s try something else before we start lobbing cruise missiles at them. U.N. censure? Freezing assets?

This just in:

Al-Qaida-linked rebels launched an assault on a regime-held Christian mountain village in the densely populated west of Syria and new clashes erupted near the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday — part of a brutal battle of attrition each side believes it can win despite more than two years of deadlock.

In the attack on the village of Maaloula, rebels commandeered a mountaintop hotel and nearby caves and shelled the community below, said a nun, speaking by phone from a convent in the village. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

With the world focused on possible U.S. military action against Syria, there were new signs of fragmentation in rebel ranks, with a small group of jihadis from Russia announcing it has broken away from an umbrella group known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

@10, UN censure? Freezing assets?

Fredster, yes, both tactics would be normal, but as far as the UN is concerned, Assad just gassed people, he knows no shame so a censure would be a meaningless. As far as “freezing assets” — Syria is a essentially a client state of Russia, it would be useless.

I’m not advocating for a strike on military targets and airports, my main point is that I’m conflicted terribly on trying to pick a winner in a parade of horribles. There’s only one faction amenable to the US and the other 11 or so factions are a hodgepodge of terrorists and tribalists who have no inclination to govern.

We got on this luge decades ago and not to be fatalistic, but I just don’t see a moral, ethical, or practical avenue toward success for Syrians or us for that matter.

Prolix@12: Hell, I’m just trying to throw stuff out and see what sticks. Anything other than the military. I just really don’t want to go there. Look at that mess I just pasted in above.

I have also been waffling back and forth on this issue, and its fact that Hillary is for it and Rand Paul is against it, makes it hard for me to disagree with going for it. But I just don’t trust these people any more. This feels too much like Iraq. So how many people will we kill with our bombs? Are we then going to ship billions of US $ over there on pallets to reconstruct what we blew apart?

socal@14: I know what you mean. I hate to think I side with (ugh) Rand Paul and David Vitter. 😯

Haha! I saw that! Carlos Danger is looking worse every day. He seriously needs to just drop it. How humiliating for his wife. I bet the Clintons won’t touch his campaign with a ten foot pole.

socal@17: Yeah he needs to fade away and then Huma can divorce his ass!

Fredster, I saw that about the Christian community. I believe this sort of thing happens a lot more than we hear about in places like Pakistan, etc. I have read of many churches and homes being burned to the ground in these places, in European papers! US papers have written about the Coptics in Egypt. But you raise a valid point. Who will take over for Assad? More fundies? It doesn’t seem like the arab spring has been a raging success so far. And I think Syria has a substantial Christian population, they certainly have a Christian history before Islam. I know two Syrian Christian families just in my little neck of the woods.

Did you see Colbert last nite? Funny:

“The United States has no choice but to attack Syria because Dictator Bashar al-Assad is killing his own people with chemical weapons,” Colbert said. “Before, he was just killing them with bullets. But if America cared about shooting people, we’d be invading Chicago.”

socal@20: Oh sorreee I was gone so long. Made a quick trip to the grocery store.

I don’t watch Colbert as much as I do Stewart and I forgot he’s back on now.

Yes, last nite was Stewarts first nite back. He was goofy as ever.

socal@22: Yep, I was able to catch it online at comedy central.

Hey all, great discussion. I’m sorry I missed it yesterday.

Since I agree that killing children is morally wrong, I am against war in general. The last “good” war ended in 1945, in my opinion, and two wrongs do not make a right.

I just cannot see how us bombing the sh*t out of Syria, and/or invading the country, is going to benefit anyone. We got all excited about the Arab Spring, and look what happened. The sad fact is that the Middle East is f*cked because it has too much of the natural resources everyone else wants. No matter who is in charge, we don’t have a good choice out there. (This is where I agree with Prolix.)

I do see a path forward. It started in 1976 when Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House. (My tinfoil hat tells me those solar panels, and Jimmy’s conservation/conversion plan away from foreign oil, were the main reasons why Raygun was propped up and put in Carter’s place.) For so many reasons, this is the only escape route we have left.

I firmly believe that if we had a government that was 50% women, we would not be even considering invading Syria.

McClatchy is, again, doing solid reporting. This article is about the Russians saying they have evidence The Rebels Did It. Shows just how plausible you can make the arguments for the exact opposite viewpoint to the US admin.

It’s not like the Russians have never engaged in propaganda. I’m not saying there’s any reason to accept their take at face value. I’m just intrigued to see how I can read opposite bits of information and have zero way of knowing who’s right.

I don’t actually hold the Bush – Iraq war parallels against B0, even though they’re near-perfect copies. What I hold against him is that he’s been lying on his own account since forever. The most recent being the whole NSA-isn’t-spying horseshit. I’d be gobsmacked if he wasn’t lying now.

And as for dictators killing their countrypeople, yeah, where were we for the first thousand casualties? Also too, Chicago, indeed.

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