Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

How Many American Boys will Die to Impose “Democracy” in Syria and Across the Globe?

Peter Hitchens and Pat Buchanan Ask the Question


I had intended to write today on the release of former FBI director James Comey’s “tell all” book this morning, even though both talk radio and most of “conservative media” have literally drenched us in a surfeit of the ends-and-outs—every detail, every contradiction, and every possible legal minefield—associated with Comey and his activities.

But that will have to wait. With your indulgence, I must return, briefly, to Syria again.

The ubiquitous Brian Kilmeade was at it once more this morning. Not content to parade his knowledge deficit hosting Fox News’ ideologically-skewed embrace of the Marxist narrative in its Sunday night program, “Legends & Lies: The Civil War,” that American history is defined by racism and race, and by the continuous struggle to establish an egalitarian society (while overthrowing “white oppression and supremacy”), Kilmeade on his regular “Fox & Friends” stint continues to press for far deeper military involvement in Syria.

It’s the classic praxis of globalist Neoconservatives.

And like other unleashed Neoconservative pundits and publicists he strains to get that message across, implicitly demanding that President Trump take “additional, bold and aggressive action” to even overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad…without mentioning that such an action would create a chaotic vacuum that could well be filled by the worst Islamist terrorists, far worse than anything Assad ever envisaged.

Of course, such an action would greatly please the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and the Israeli hawks who see chaos, killing and mayhem in Syria to their advantage. Assad is allied to Iran, and for them Iran is seen as a far greater threat than ISIS or al-Nusra or any of the other terrorist Jihadi groups in Syria. And murderous civil war there involving the Iranians, even if it means the deaths of hundreds or thousands of American troops, and hundreds of thousands of Syrians, is worth that price.

Kilmeade, after interviewing a Syrian dissident, who loudly proclaimed his desire for the United States to impose “democracy” in that Middle Eastern cauldron, then declared that “we once had 50,000 troops there to fight ISIS, but now ISIS have gone to the mountains. We need to go back and defeat them.”

He misspoke: the United States never had “50,000” troops in Syria; Kilmeade is obviously confused. Most likely he meant Iraq. Not only that, but ISIS operated mainly in the eastern, non-mountainous area (around Raqqa) of Syria. And it has been the Syrian army, backed by Russian might that has nearly finished off ISIS and the remnants of al-Qaeda and al-Nusra in the Syrian civil war, not the United States. American support of friendly Kurdish fighters has been largely restricted to the far eastern one-third, desert areas of the country.

There are small Jihadi Islamist groups that do exist in western Syria, and some of them we have tacitly supported, despite their having working relationships with ISIS. But Kilmeade is wrong factually, and his error illustrates the “facts-be-damned” attitude, the ideological myopia of the broader Left on Syria (to which the Neoconservatives belong), as well as their fanatical zeal for the proliferation of wars across the globe to “impose democracy and equality,” no matter how many American body bags come home, no matter if we get into a shooting war with Russia (which war hawks like Lindsey Graham lust after), and no matter if such actions unleash international terrorism on a unimagined scale.

Four short articles I send along, then, today. The first is by Peter Hitchens in The Daily Mail of London; Hitchens, the rightwing brother of leftist Christopher Hitchens, asks the fundamental question: “How on earth would killing more people rescue Syria?” It’s a fundamental question also raised by Tucker Carlson who was then told by various Neoconservative writers and pundits to “shut up.” It seems you’re not supposed to ask embarrassing questions about American foreign policy in the Middle East these days.

Then, I send on Pat Buchanan’s latest and very powerful column, emphasizing the same points—and the same fear—that I expressed in MY CORNER of this past Saturday, April 14 [http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/april-14-2018-my-corner-by-boyd-cathey.html]. And he asks, poignantly: How many American dead will it take to reverse this apparent plunge into deeper conflict and hostilities?

Lastly, I pass on additional information on the possible origin of the chemical attack in Douma, Syria, and the impending inspection by the scientific team of the international OPCW [Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare]. Just as with the attacks back in April 2015 and earlier in 2013, mounting evidence points to the responsibility of the anti-Assad pro-Islamist “White Helmets” for the attacks. And, in fact, despite current news reports on Mainstream Media, it is not the Syrians and Russians who’ve been preventing inspections…but us.
Read on.

PETER HITCHENS: How on earth would killing MORE people rescue Syria?

PUBLISHED: 20:24 EDT, 14 April 2018 UPDATED: 04:22 EDT, 15 April 2018

Why do so many people in politics and the media want to start wars? Since I toured a sordid hospital full of wounded people in Bucharest at Christmas 1989, and even more after I saw for the first time (in Vilnius in 1991) what a human head looks like after a bullet has passed through it, I have seen it as an absolute duty to warn against armed conflict. It is a filthy thing. No doubt there are times when we must fight. But there are plenty more when we should not. 

Any fool can kill a man in a second and ruin a city in a week. But it takes long years of nurture to raise a child to adulthood, and centuries to build a civilisation.

Yet I look around me and see the mouths of intelligent people opened wide, yelling for an attack on Syria, when the only certain outcome of that will be blood and screams and ruins, and the deaths of innocents in 'collateral damage'. What good will this do? 

What is wrong with them? They are not cruel and stupid, yet they call for actions which are both.

Haven't we got enough misery in Syria already? The place is a mass of ruins, graveyards and refugee camps. To what end? The only mercy for Syria will come when the war ends, yet we seek to widen and extend it.

Don't we have more than enough of such disaster in Iraq and Libya, where state-sponsored panic and emotional claims of atrocities excused the launching of wars so stupid and dangerous that I wonder if these places can ever recover? 

Perhaps worse, by creating an unending river of migrants through the Middle East and the Mediterranean, I suspect they have ruined Europe for good.

Why are we even taking sides in Syria? As Julian Lewis MP, chairman of the Defence Select Committee, rightly pointed out last week, President Assad is a monster. But his opponents are maniacs. 

The Syrian jihadi gangsters which our Government crazily helps and backs – the Al-Nusra Front and Jaish al-Islam – are the sort of fanatics we would arrest on sight if we found them in Birmingham.

Anyway, Boris Johnson's Foreign Office is firmly pro-monster in all parts of the world where it suits it to be so. 

British Royals and Ministers literally bow down as they accept medals from the head-chopping fanatics of Saudi Arabia, now engaged in a bloody, aggressive war in Yemen. Britain maintains a naval base in Bahrain, whose rulers in 2011 crushed protests with severe violence followed by torture. 

As Amnesty International puts it, 'using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out'.

Britain daren't even admit that our 'friend' Egypt is ruled by a military junta that seized power illegally in defiance of elections which we had supposedly supported but which produced the wrong result.

Field Marshal Sisi's August 2013 Cairo massacre, in which almost 600 peaceful protesters were killed and thousands more wounded, is politely forgotten. 

So is the Chinese communist regime's mass murder (1,000 are estimated to have died) in Peking in June 1989. 

The men whose power rests on that ruthless massacre are welcome to dine at Buckingham Palace. But surely we can't allow Assad to use chemical weapons? 

We would never tolerate that. Would we? Well, when Saddam Hussein was our ally against Iran back in 1988, he undoubtedly used poison gas against Kurds in Halabja. 

And in September 1988 the Foreign Office declined to get outraged, saying: 'We believe it better to maintain a dialogue with others if we want to influence their actions. 

Punitive measures such as unilateral sanctions would not be effective in changing Iraq's behaviour over chemical weapons, and would damage British interests to no avail.'

Which brings me to the final point. Do we even know that Assad used chemical weapons? 

I have actually read the reports of the last such alleged attack in Khan Sheikhoun a year ago, and they prove nothing. In fact, they are quite fishy.

At the time of writing, I have yet to see a British or US media report on this alleged attack from closer than Beirut, 70 miles from the scene. 

Many seemingly confident and graphic accounts come from Istanbul, 900 miles away, or from London or Washington. 

Where are they getting their information from? Here's a clue. The Saudi-backed faction in control of Douma at the time of the alleged attack, Jaish al- Islam (the Army of Islam), were themselves accused of using poison gas against Kurds in Aleppo in April 2016.

THEY are not especially nice. Their other main claim to fame is that they displayed captured Syrian Army officers in cages and used them as human shields. 

They have spent several years indiscriminately shelling Damascus from Douma, having taken the local inhabitants hostage, and then squawking about war crimes if the Syrian government hit back at them, which it did much as the Iraqi government (our friends) did to Islamic State in Mosul and Fallujah.

I would not look for any heroes in this cauldron. And if you want to watch war games on a TV screen, can I suggest that you buy your own virtual reality equipment? 

The real thing may look pretty and neat, but real people die as it happens and, if you supported it, their deaths will be on your conscience.


Trump: Prisoner of the War Party?

By Patrick J. Buchanan     Tuesday - April 17, 2018

"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay." Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term."

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war "for the long term"? If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump's commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is "inoperative."

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

"The better U.S. strategy is to ... turn Syria into the Ayatollah's Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves."

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation. Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria. Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will."

The Journal's op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon: "Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits."

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this? What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as "fatalistic" and "misguided."

We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a "land corridor" across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this "land corridor."  The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953. The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.  The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

Syria Live Updates: Russia Finds Syrian Rebel Chemical Weapons Lab in Douma

Haaretz    Apr 17, 2018 4:51 PM

The U.S., France and the U.K. launched an overnight strike on multiple Syrian targets Saturday, in response to Bashar Assad regime's chemical attack a week ago. The targets included research centers in Damascus believed to have produced chemical weapons.

After the strikes, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the Syria mission was a "Mission Accomplished!". Newly released satellite images showing the sites before and after the Western coalition strikes show the attack caused damage. Some U.S. officials, however, are saying that the sites may have been inactive, as indicated by the fact that there were no casualties or chemical leaks from the facilities. 

Live updates:

6:08 P.M.  April 17: Russia claims it found Syrian rebel chemical weapons lab

The Russian military says that it has found rebel chemical weapons stockpiles in the Syrian town hit by a suspected chemical attack.

Alexander Rodionov of the military's chemical weapons protection unit said Tuesday its experts found chlorine and components for producing mustard gas at a rebel laboratory in Douma.

Rodionov said the canister with chlorine was similar to the one shown in images released by [anti-Assad] “activists.” (Associated Press)

Russia’s envoy to OPCW says “irrefutable proof” UK behind Syria false flag                    http://theduran.com/russias-envoy-to-opcw-says-irrefutable-evidence-uk-behind-douma-false-flag/?mc_cid=fea32e83a0&mc_eid=42e11870e2

Moscow has evidence that the chemical attack in Douma was staged

by ALEX CHRISTOFOROUApril 16, 2018   Share
The propaganda and false flags initiated by the western Deep State establishment are well documented…but the latest Douma false flag chemical attack may be the one that finally exposes the disgusting lies told by Haley, Trump, Macron, May, Boris, western mainstream media, and all the other actors who pushed for war with Syria.
The Russian envoy to the OPCW has stated that Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States.
Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council….
“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7.”
According to RT, the diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”
“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” Shulgin said, adding that “attack” was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” which are under the patronage of the Syrian government’s foreign adversaries.                                                                                         “Pseudo-humanitarian NGOs” = US/UK funded NGO ‘The White Helmets.’   This would not be the first time the ISIS/Al Qaeda ‘first responder’ group staged a chemical weapons attack in order to ratchet up the conflict in Syria.
Russian radiological, chemical and biological-warfare units carefully examined the scene of the alleged attack mentioned in the NGOs’ reports immediately after the liberation of Douma from the militant groups, Shulgin said. He then drew attention to the fact that the Russian military specialists found “not a single piece of evidence” substantiating the claims about the alleged chemical attack. Instead, they found local witnesses who said that the video allegedly showing the aftermath of the perceived attack was in fact staged.
The timing of the attack was also bewildering, the Russian diplomat said, adding that the Syrian government had absolutely no reason to gas its own citizens when the city was already almost liberated from the militants. Under such circumstances, the accusations against Damascus look “absurd,” he said. “The senselessness of these claims is striking,”Shulgin added, referring to the statements of Western leaders.
The US and its allies are not interested in a real investigation into the alleged Douma attack, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said. Washington, London and Paris immediately pinned the blame for the incident on Damascus, and launched strikes against Syrian military and civilian facilities without waiting for the OPCW team even to start its investigation on the ground.
Shulgin extended his gratitude to the OPCW investigators for their work in Douma and called on the organization’s executive council to adopt a document supporting their efforts. He also denounced the actions of the US, the UK and France as “military aggression,” adding that “this crime can be by no means justified.” Washington, London and Paris “are playing the hypocrite as they pretend to be the defenders of the international law. In fact, however, no one except for their allies… has any doubts that the major threat to the world comes from these ‘leaders’ of the Western [political] camp,” Shulgin said.
Washington and its allies launched a missile strike targeting Syrian military and civilian facilities on Saturday, in retaliation for the alleged “chemical attack” in Douma. Russia denounced the strikes, calling them “hooliganism” in international relations and “an aggression against a sovereign state.”
Meanwhile, the OPCW investigators are expected to start their work in Douma on Monday. They met with Syrian officials on Sunday to discuss the details of their work. Damascus says it hopes that the experts will “stay neutral and not yield to pressure.” The OPCW team plans to finish its work on Wednesday and present its preliminary report to the UN before its departure from Damascus, local media report.

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