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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,305

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A war the Pentagon doesn’t want

The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempsey was largely (and respectfully) silent.

Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. By no means do I profess to speak on behalf of all of our men and women in uniform. But I can justifiably share the sentiments of those inside the Pentagon and elsewhere who write the plans and develop strategies for fighting our wars. After personal exchanges with dozens of active and retired soldiers in recent days, I feel confident that what follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.

They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message.


Joe Scarborough keeps hearing from intelligence sources the case against Assad no slam dunk.

That a year or 2 from now we may find it wasn't Assad's command.

We need more evidence.

Syria isn't about Chemical Weapons, it's about neocons goading Obama into Iran.

Chemical Weapons are the province of the International Community who have treaties and organizations designed to deal with banned weapons.

Why Obama had to jump the gun and attempt to create his own enforcement was pure folly. He should have dared Putin to block action in the UN and then questioned Putins moral clarity. Now by advocating an illegal action we look like the transgressors with an agenda.

Now there are two dings against Obama internationally, spying on the world, and forcefully proposing illegal aggression.

He needs to right his compass.

Syria Video Turns the Debate on U.S. Intervention

The tape made ‘New York Times’ editors sick. Lloyd Grove on the footage of a rebel slaughter that’s upended talk of an authorized U.S. intervention.

The raw video was so grisly, and so barbaric, that the New York Times staffers who watched and edited it for online publication were made “physically ill,” according to the newspaper’s spokeswoman.

Shortly after the Times posted it in the wee hours Thursday morning, the video went viral, leading the influential Drudge Report, proliferating on Twitter, Tumblr, and other social-media sites, and dominating cable news and broadcast outlets. It also became a tricky problem for the Obama White House.

The scene of Syrian rebels standing over seven soldiers of the Syrian regular army while the rebel commander recited a bloodthirsty poem—and pointing rifles and a pistol at the heads of their prostrate, shirtless, and badly beaten prisoners—was shocking enough. Times video editors tactfully blackened the screen as the rebels—who, just like the United States government, oppose the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad—began to execute the soldiers; the only indication of the slaughter taking place was a noisy fusillade of 10 seconds in length. Then an image flashed of the broken bodies in a mass grave.

The top of Thursday’s Times front page carried a five-column color photo of the ghastly scene, a screen-grab from the video, alongside a lead story about the horrifying footage. And, as is frequently the case, the pictures were far more powerful than the words.

‘These images ought to be a wakeup call for those who think Syria is headed for a better future under the rebels.’



ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — World leaders are venting over Syria's civil war but look no closer to agreeing on international military intervention to stop it.

A French official says leaders at a summit of the Group of 20 leading world economies in Russia agreed with President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande that chemical weapons had been used in an Aug. 21 attack in Syria, and condemned it.

But many leaders remain in doubt about whether Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime was behind the attack, or Syria's rebels. The U.S. and France are preparing possible military action against Assad, and are trying at the G-20 summit to get backing from other world powers.

The French official, speaking Friday in St. Petersburg, was not authorized to be publicly named according to presidential policy.


Ibrahim Mothana Dead: Yemeni Activist Dies At 24

Ibrahim Mothana, a 24-year-old Yemeni activist, died Thursday.

Cause of death was not released.

Co-founder of the Watan Party and Arab Thought Foundation's 2011 ambassador, Mothana was known for his activism in Yemen and writings against U.S. drone policy.

The U.S. has been deeply criticized for its use of drone strikes in Yemen -- meant to target Al Qaeda militants -- due to a high number of civilian casualties.

Last year, Mothana penned an op-ed in The New York Times, "How Drones Help Al Qaeda," arguing that "Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair."

This past May, Greenwald published Mothana's testimony for a Senate sub-committee when the activist was unable to attend the meeting.


9/3/2013: U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense has identified 2,253 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the death of the following American recently:

BOWDEN, Joshua J., 28, Staff Sgt., Army; Villa Rica, Ga.; 242nd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group.

A version of this list appears in print on September 4, 2013, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Names of the Dead.


Our guys and gals are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan folks. Is this our permanent condition? Why are we still getting into more wars? It makes no sense at all.

If we can't keep ourselves from getting involved in others civil wars, there is no end.

McCaul 'stunned' at Kerry's estimate of jihadists among Syrian rebels

A top ranking Republican House member says Secretary of State John Kerry is being "disingenuous" in his estimate of the number of jihadists in the Syrian rebels forces.

House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul (R–Texas) told reporters that he was "stunned" to hear Kerry tell House members on Wednesday that the number of jihadists serving in the Syrian rebel forces comprises less than a quarter of anti-Syrian government fighters.

McCaul says he's learned in various briefings that the number of jihadists migrating to Syria to take on the government there is closer to 50 percent.

The chairman said he was "quite frankly stunned" when that number was disputed at a House Foreign Affairs committee hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Ask if he didn't believe Kerry, who said that jihadists made up between 15 percent and 20 percent of certain groups, McCaul replied, "No, I do not agree with that. "

"The reporting I've seen and the briefings I've received, is that the majority of the factions of rebel forces that are extremists outweigh the moderates," McCaul said.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/320315-mccaul-stunned-at-kerrys-estimate-of-jihadists-among-syrian-rebels#ixzz2e51PasUc

Syrian rebels in the gruesome NYT video were not foreign Al Qaeda. Are these Kerry's "moderates"?

The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.

The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.

“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”

The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.


@politico: Joe Manchin, Brian Schatz both ‘no’ on Syria resolution

@politico: Joe Manchin, Brian Schatz both ‘no’ on Syria resolution http://t.co/lPKtbVMI4v


One of the Senate’s newest members, Schatz (D-Hawaii) said he made his decision after hearing from experts and his constituents.
”Though all of us are outraged by the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, I have concluded that a military strike against Syria is not the answer. Therefore, I will oppose this resolution,” Schatz said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/joe-manchin-syria-96343.html#ixzz2e4SKiTq1

Wow, I was one of Sen. Schatz's constituents who called to ask him to vote no.
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