August 24, 2014
"I have not seen any evidence of successful U.S. intervention to stop such violence [as is ongoing in Iraq] in our modern history."

Matthew Hoh, former State Dep’t foreign service officer.  Hoh resigned in 2009 in protest of what he believed to be a counterproductive U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

See Also: Bombs Are Medication For Guilt, Not Peace, In Iraq

August 8, 2014
"Today, America is coming to help."

President Obama, as he announced tonight that he’s authorized targeted airstrikes in Iraq, along with a humanitarian effort to aid stranded Iraqi civilians who fled advancing Sunni militant fighters. He said the U.S. would not be drawn into war. (via latimes)

LTMC: "He said the U.S. would not be drawn into war."

(via latimes)

July 28, 2014
Anarchy in Libya: Tripoli Fuel Depot Ablaze After Rocket Attack - NBC News

From the article:

TRIPOLI, Libya - A rocket hit a fuel storage tank containing 1.5 million gallons of gasoline, triggering a major blaze as rival brigades of former rebels fought for control of Tripoli’s main airport. A huge cloud of black smoke billowed across the capital’s skyline on Monday and Libya’s government asked for international help to try to contain the disaster. A spokesman for the National Oil Company said the blaze was burning “out of control,” adding that firefighters had withdrawn from the area.

Foreign governments have looked on powerless as anarchy sweeps across the North African oil producer, three years after NATO bombardment helped topple dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The U.S., United Nations and Turkish embassies have already shut operations after the worst violence since the 2011 uprising. Two weeks of clashes among rival factions killed nearly 160 people in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi. Since Gadhafi’s demise, Libya has struggled to keep its transition to democracy on track, with its parliament deadlocked by infighting among factions and militias often using threats of force against political rivals. Many heavily armed former anti-Gadhafi fighters refuse to hand over weapons and continue to rule the streets.

Libya is the foreign policy gift that just keeps on giving.

July 23, 2014
thepeoplesrecord:

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Remember that time the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over Iranian airspace, killing all 290 on board, including 66 children, and then refused to apologize for doing it?
"I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are. I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." — Vice President (and then-presidential candidate) George H.W. Bush, commenting on the downed airliner, 8/2/1988

That quote makes me sick.

LTMC: I actually did not know about this.  My only defense is that I was 4 years old at the time, and the government apparently did a great job of glossing over the history books on this one.  Also, that GHWB quote is solid gold, thought not as solid as the solid gold dancers.

thepeoplesrecord:

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Remember that time the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over Iranian airspace, killing all 290 on board, including 66 children, and then refused to apologize for doing it?

"I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are. I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." — Vice President (and then-presidential candidate) George H.W. Bush, commenting on the downed airliner, 8/2/1988

That quote makes me sick.

LTMC: I actually did not know about this.  My only defense is that I was 4 years old at the time, and the government apparently did a great job of glossing over the history books on this one.  Also, that GHWB quote is solid gold, thought not as solid as the solid gold dancers.

July 22, 2014

Is The US Abandoning Afghan Interpreters To Certain Death? - Via Reason TV

July 10, 2014
"I think drones are the most cowardly instruments in the history of warfare. A guy sits in an air-conditioned cage on a padded chair, looking at a TV monitor at an image 4,000 or 5,000 miles away, and we are killing wedding parties and children … We killed an American citizen. I mean, and this is with the total support of the people who bragged about America the most; America, America, the Constitution. And they totally turned their back on the bedrock of the Constitution. We have people in cages for 15 years, no Red Cross, no visitation, no letters, no nothing. For 14, 15 years. No habeas corpus. And these blatant violations are met with silence. We are a nation of law unless we’re scared."

Phil Donahue

"We are a nation of law unless we’re scared."

July 9, 2014
Did The 2007 Iraq Troop Surge Really Work?

With the recent upswing in violence in Iraq, neocon voices who supported the war are crawling back out of the woodwork and into the media spotlight.  In the process, many people have (rightly) questioned their credibility, since the Iraq War is now more commonly viewed as a boondoggle than a success.

One of the ways that neocons attempt to rehabilitate their credibility on Iraq is to point to the 2007 troop surge, which was followed by a reduction in fatality rates across the board.  However, Stephen Walt, a International Affairs professor at Harvard, was recently interviewed over at Salon.  He says that the popular meme about the Iraq “troop surge” being a success is false:

So, three questions to begin with. First, why did you say the “surge” failed in 2008?

The “surge” had two explicit objectives: 1) reduce the level of violence, and 2) enable political reconciliation among competing Iraqi groups. The first goal was merely tactical; the second goal was the real prize. It has been clear for some time that this second, more important goal was never achieved. Ergo, the “surge” failed.

Second, what problems have resulted from failing to realize this?

I see two problems. First, it made some Americans more confident that we could repeat the surge’s alleged successes in Afghanistan, which paved the way for Obama’s decision to escalate that war in 2009. Second, it fooled some people into thinking that the U.S. could have “finished the job” in Iraq if it had just been willing to stay there longer.

Third, what does this tell us about the broader failings of the neoconservatives?

It reminds us that their track record as policy analysts and forecasters is abysmal; they’ve been wrong about almost every important strategic choice since 9/11 (if not before). It also reveals that their basic worldview is flawed, and that they’ve never been willing to rethink it, despite all the evidence against them.

I would go even one step further: I don’t think the troop surge is the primary reason for the security gains that followed in 2008.  It is a little-known fact that the U.S. government literally cut checks to insurgents to get them to stop fighting in 2007.  Security increased not because there were more boots on the ground, but because the government paid off insurgents to stop fighting.  This arrangement worked out for a few years while Sunnis sympathetic to anti-government forces waited to see if Maliki’s government would treat them fairly.  Unfortunately, the Maliki government has largely alienated Sunnis in Iraq by cutting them out of electoral institutions.  This has caused a lot of resentment in the Sunni community.  That resentment has prevented the kind of political and cultural reconciliation that the Surge was supposed to lay the groundwork for.  And now, of course, we have the latest wave of violence.

July 8, 2014
U.S.-German Double Agent Scandal 'Worst in Decades'

As the U.S. government continues to alienate its allies:

Citing two unnamed “U.S. officials familiar with the matter,” Reuters reports that the CIA “was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of [the] German intelligence official.” It goes on:

CIA Director John Brennan has asked to brief key members of the U.S. Congress on the matter, which threatens a new rupture between Washington and a close European ally, one of the officials said.

It was unclear if and when Brennan’s briefing to U.S. lawmakers would take place. The CIA declined any comment on the matter.

Also:

A BBC analyst explains that frustration with America is multipartisan in German politics:

"Outrage" runs across the political spectrum - it’s not just a "chattering class" issue. Wolfgang Bosbach, for example, who is the Christian Democrat [centre-right] head of the Bundestag committee which oversees interior affairs, questioned whether the US and Germany could be considered as "partners" any more.

It’s hilarious to me that the U.S. Government has prosecuted people for doing precisely what the CIA may very well have encouraged the above German intelligence official to do: sell intelligence secrets to a foreign government.  American exceptionalism indeed.

July 6, 2014

eltigrechico:

"Bullshit, sir."

Former head of CIA’s Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer vs. Peter King and fellow congressman on US Foreign Policy, Israel and what inspires the terrorists to fight.

LTMC: A spirited exchange.

(via priceofliberty)

July 3, 2014
Report: Iraqi army retakes Tikrit from ISIS

Iraqis can take care of their own problems.  No U.S. intervention needed.

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