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Dear Torture Advocates: Not only does it not work, it makes things worse.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 15, 2014

On March 23, 2003… three days into the invasion of Iraq, Private Jessica Lynch was captured by Iraqi forces following an ambush of her convoy. Publicists in the Bush Administration spun an elaborate tail of how “Blood & Guts” Lynch fired her weapon “til she emptied her clip” of ammo (Lynch had actually done no such thing, having been too badly injured to fight back) before she was captured by an enemy the Bush Administration feared was doing “Lord knows what” to her. An elaborate Commando-raid to rescue Lynch was devised, and on April 1st, a nighttime rescue raid on “Saddam (Public) Hospital” was conducted by Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos that probably could have just walked in the front door in broad daylight. No Iraqi troops or weapons were used to “hold Lynch captive” and by ALL accounts… including Lynch herself… her wounds were cared for, and she was treated humanely by the staff, whom, according the Lynch, one nurse “sang her to sleep” so she wouldn’t be scared.

At it’s peak, the infamous “Abu Ghraib” prison in Iraq, where American troops sadistically tortured Iraqi prisoners, held as many as 3,800 detainees.
 

Former President Bush (41) shedding tears over the humane treatment
of Iraqi prisoners by US forces during the ’91 Gulf War
(2007)

 

It was rather disturbing to hear former Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” yesterday cite “9/11″ four (possibly five) times in defending the use of torture, arguing in essence that what WE did “was nothing in comparison to what was done to us on 9/11″… the classic, “yeah, but you…” defense. But shame on Chuck Todd for never pointing out that the vast majority of these tortured prisoners were Iraqi… who had NOTHING to do with 9/11. (BTW: when Todd pointed out that bad intelligence also led to “claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn’t exist”, Cheney did NOT attempt to correct him or even challenge him on the claim like he has in the past. To me, that’s evidence that even Dick Cheney now concedes Iraq never had any WMD’s.)

“It wasn’t torture!” Dr. Karl Rove (yes, I’m being facetious) insisted to host Chris Wallace during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. “In fact, the techniques were designed specifically NOT to be torture!” The example Rove gave… which I’m certain he thought up all on his own without consulting anyone… was the fact waterboarded prisoners legs “were elevated” (presumably, in Rove’s mind, to allow water to drain from their lungs) to keep them from drowning. In Rove’s fevered imagination, this is PROOF that we were behaving “humanely” and taking strides to NOT torture prisoners by showing concern for their lives. Of course, Rove is an idiot. Someone really should explain BREATHING to him and how difficult it is to do with a nose/mouth full of water. “Elevating the legs” of a waterboarding victim is designed to PROLONG the torture so that they don’t die on you before you’ve extracted the information you think they know. To suggest a technique devised to extend a victims suffering is humane because it prevents them from dying too quickly, is like arguing in favor of dying from Ebola vs a gunshot wound because a gunshot kills you too quick.

When the Iraqi’s denied they were hiding any “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, the Bush Administration called them liars and demanded they allow in UN Weapons Inspectors. When the inspectors failed to confirm what they were certain was true, they took the position that the Inspectors were too dumb to know they were being hoodwinked by Saddam, ordering all allied personnel out of Iraq and invaded anyway. Similarly, when detainees didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear… most notably regarding connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, they tortured them till they told them what they wanted to hear.

Cheney repeatedly argued that “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (an aside: if you have to use an euphemism to avoid calling something what it really is, it’s as good as an admission of guilt. – Mugsy) DID “provide good intel that lead to the capture” of a number of terrorists including OBL (which is a lie) and/or foiling plots. Even if true, the amount of time & money WASTED chasing down thousands of bad/false leads for every one “good” lead is incalculable. Some torture-defenders, when you ask them if torture was “the ONLY way” to obtain this information, most will hem & haw before admitting, “There’s no way to know that”. But we DO know that because, according to the CIA report summary (pdf), all of the high-profile intel successes were obtained BEFORE prisoners were tortured, and in many cases, detainees that were “singing like a tweety-birdsuddenly stopped talking after their minds were destroyed by torture (another valuable asset lost.)

Other torture advocates like to cite the “ticking time bomb” scenario, where there’s no time to wait for “traditional” interrogation techniques to work. But in the VAST majority of (arguably ALL) cases, there was no “time is of the essence” situation that was thwarted by way of information gleaned from torture. Of the TWENTY-SIX innocent detainees who were tortured, one was placed in solitary confinement for 19 months before he was asked a single question.

Not only does torture not work, but it is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, producing fewer results in more time at much greater expense. If you truly wished to see America fail, you couldn’t do much worse than to root for the continued use of torture. In 1988/89, the CIA produced two reports on the use of torture on prisoners, stating that “[p]ysical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected not only because it was wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.

Downsides of Torture Program:

  1. False leads waste an enormous amount of time & money. How many bad leads did we obtain via torture for every good lead? There’s no way to know if a lead is no good until you investigate it. What better way to harm your captors than to waste their time chasing down false leads that you know they desperately want to believe are true? Very quickly, your enemies will learn the quickest route to ending their suffering is to feed you a really good pile of crap that you’ve been begging for. David Axelrod noted during “Meet the Press” yesterday that, according to the CIA report, “torture produced the intel that Iraq was supposedly connected to 9/11.”
  2.  

  3. Using torture prolongs war as your enemies dig in their heels and refuse to surrender 1) for fear of what might happen to them if they are captured and 2) it gives them the moral high-ground, with physical proof of their enemy’s barbarism. Ask yourself: “Might we still be at war 13+ years later because of those very reasons?” How many American soldiers died needlessly because they kept encountering enemies that would rather “fight to the death” than risk capture & torture?
  4.  

  5. Which naturally, creates more terrorists. No better recruiting poster than to point to the barbarism of your enemy. And to those (like Cheney) who’ll cite “beheadings” by our enemies, THERE WERE NO BEHEADINGS IN IRAQ PRIOR TO THE INVASION. Darth Cheney even had the gall to cite the barbarism of ISIS in defense of torture, but ISIS WOULDN’T EXIST IF HE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ.
  6.  

  7. The more barbaric your tactics, the more barbaric your enemy becomes in response. As noted above, no one was “beheading” Americans before Abu Ghraib.
  8.  

  9. Arguing that your techniques aren’t torture just helps ensure that your own troops are more likely to be tortured should they be captured, only to have your enemies use YOUR OWN DEFINITION of what is or isn’t “torture” against you.
  10.  

  11. As noted above, some prisoners that were cooperative PRIOR to being tortured may suddenly become useless AFTER being tortured… either out of spite or… in some circumstances, due to psychological or physical damage… even death.

 
If torture worked, you wouldn’t have to do it TWICE… let alone 187 times like they did to 9/11 “Mastermind” KSM. Seriously, if the goal of torture is to extract information from your prisoner and they are still able to withhold information from you that requires being tortured AGAIN to extract… and they KNOW they will be tortured again if they don’t reveal everything they know yet don’t reveal it anyway, then it clearly didn’t work.

So, if you’re all in favor of America wasting precious time chasing down false leads, destroying our image as a just & noble society, losing valuable intelligence assets as a direct result of abuse, giving our enemies the moral high-ground, putting our own troops in greater danger should they be captured (and then be left with no leg to stand on when you protest), extending wars so they last for decades fighting an enemy that would rather die than surrender, and aiding the enemy’s ability to recruit additional fighters to their side… then by all means defend the use of torture.

POSTSCRIPT: “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]… I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775



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Filed in Crime, myth busting, National Security, Party of Life, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War December 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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No Arming Syrian Rebels. Have we learned *nothing* from Iraq?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

Two famous proverbs haunted me all last week:

 “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797)

 “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.” – Author Rita Mae Brown (1983) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides

The airwaves were all atwitter (literally) last week over President Obama reiterating his “Sherman-esque” pledge of “no boots on the ground” in Iraq [or Syria] to fight ISIL despite Gen. Dempsy’s statement before Congress that he could conceivably recommend sending ground troops into Iraq should the situation change. Somehow, having a general possibly suggest a differing course of action to the president was a scandal among the Beltway Press, apparently a sign of rebellion between the CiC and his Generals. (I was quite surprised yesterday when uber-Conservative George Will pointed out on Fox “news” Sunday that generals disagreeing with their Commander-in-Chief was hardly new, citing the fierce/frequent disagreements between Truman & MacArthur. I also noted during Ken Burns’ amazing documentary “The Roosevelt’s” last week, a clip of FDR in 1940 pledging that “every effort” would be made to keep America “neutral” and not get involved in the war in Europe:
 


 

A year later when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, FDR only asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and wisely waited for Japan’s allies, Germany & Italy, to declare war on US before we agreed to enter the war in Europe.

Things change.

Or do they? By 2003, the Bush Administration had already spent six months trying to convince the American people how grave the threat was from Saddam Hussein and how much safer the world would be with him gone. Look at the Middle East today. Feeling any safer? Removing Saddam left a massive power vacuum that the Extremists were only too happy to fill. It took years for Iraq to form a new government, and in the meantime, all hell broke lose. Thousands of American troops were killed… tens of thousands more permanently disabled. It seemed like once a month there was another story in the news of local fighters armed & trained by us ended up turning against us. And now the same people urging us to arm the rebels… the “moderate” rebels… not the ones you can easily spot with polka-dotted skin & bright green hair… that are seeking to overthrow Syria’s president Assad, are the exact same people that told us how much we needed to overthrow Saddam to make the Middle-East a safer place. Have we learned nothing?

Like FDR, President Obama has promised a “war-weary” nation that we will not get drawn into a ground fight with ISIL. But unlike FDR, Obama’s opposition WANTS another war. Like Lindsey Graham last week, these people (Rightwingers) are terrified, frightened little children that want a macho cod-piece wearing “Commander Guy” to save them from a bunch of punks on the other side of the planet trying to goad us (pardon me for saying “goat” us last week) into a ground war. ISIS wants a ground war because 1) they can’t counter an air war (despite their ballyhooed lucky shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet last week) and 2) picking a fight with the biggest/baddest military on the planet inflates their persona/importance. And the GOP is only too happy to accommodate them.

So here is the situation: There’s a fighting force smaller than the military of Lithuania (roughly 30,000 troops), which WANTS American ground troops to fight to make them look important; “Moderate” Sunni rebel forces that promise… pinky-swear… that if we give them guns & money they absolutely will only use them to fight “non-moderate” ISIS/ISIL rebels and not give/sell off those weapons or switch sides; a belief that this tiny fighting force of “pharmacists & doctors” can somehow takedown both the Assad regime AND ISIS with our help; a lingering question of who fills the power vacuum if they succeed; and a panic-stricken, terrified and reactionary GOP with the self-awareness of a gnat demanding we repeat our past mistakes and give ISIS/ISIL exactly what they want. Coming to a theater near you this Thanksgiving starring Pauly Shore as John McCain.

And despite his reassurances, there is still a chance President Obama may listen to them.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told Chuck Todd that “we need only look back at history” to learn from our mistakes. But for Johnson, “history” only goes back three years to 2011 and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq… not 2003 and the mistake of sending them in in the first place.

I still can’t believe anyone is listening to these people… the same people that are labeling President Obama (quite successfully I may add) a “failure”, citing security concerns and a weak economy, as reasons to put them back in charge this November. You, dear reader, remember THEY created the security disaster that is now Iraq/ISIL. THEY destroyed the economy and haven’t lifted a finger to fix it, obstructing the president at every turn. And despite this, we’ve seen record job growth, a record stock market and NO attacks on the homeland. They’ve labeled this “a disaster” (for THEM, yes) and are (so far, successfully) convincing millions of Americans that the solution is to put them back in charge.

What was it the president said… “Don’t do stupid stuff”?
 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War September 22nd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Sunni Violence Against Americans Is Not New (2006 video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 15, 2014

This past week was packed wall-to-wall with Neocons and former “Bushies” alike criticizing President Obama for the rise of ISIS/ISIL. Senator McCain is still  blaming President Obama for “pulling all of our troops out of Iraq in 2011″ without leaving any residual forces behind… a claim that frustrates me to no end. The fact no one in the media ever challenges McCain on this point is bad enough, but even The White House doesn’t push back to correct the record. I’ve already pointed out in a prior column how it was President Bush, in one of his final acts as president, whom failed to convince the Iraqi’s to agree not to prosecute American soldiers for war crimes if we left troops there beyond their agreed-upon departure date set by President Bush. So when the time came in 2011 to pull our troops out, out they ALL came (thank goodness.) Senator McCain says that the Iraqi’s wanted some American troops to remain. Perhaps, but they also refused not to prosecute those who did. Senator McCain says that we didn’t have to negotiate the SoFA with the Maliki government. Wouldn’t THAT have gone over like a lead balloon! And I’ve yet to figure out how we stop the Maliki government from prosecuting any American troops that we might have left behind? Just because you circumvent the Maliki government (so much for Iraqi sovereignty), doesn’t mean you can stop them from arresting & prosecuting American troops, Senator. Please explain how you would have pulled that one off? I’d love to know… as I’m sure the White House would be as well. (I believe The Daily Show mentioned in an episode last week that “if we had left some five-to-ten thousand troops behind, does that mean alQaeda in Iraq would not have evolved into ISIS? We couldn’t control the violence with 150 THOUSAND troops” and these guys think a tiny residual force would have stopped the Sunni insurgency from forming?)

Saddam was Sunni. ISIS is Sunni. And this little “news-nugget” almost eight years to the day, is a stark reminder of from whence ISIS came:
 

70% of Iraqi Sunni’s support the insurgency
Sept 20, 2006 (1:52)

This was less than 6 weeks before the election, the results of which were BOTH houses of Congress flipping control from Republican to Democrat, and President Bush then firing Donald Rumsfeld… whom he had been insisting for months was “not going to be fired” because he had so much confidence in his ability as Secretary of Defense. Instead, just ONE DAY after the election, Rummy was gone.

2007 was the bloodiest year of the Iraq war averaging almost 100 American troop deaths per month before Gates came up with the brilliant idea of sending in more troops to quell the violence (violence that was a result of not sending in enough troops in the first place). This was Bush’s trademark “Surge”TM that supposedly “turned the tide in Iraq”. And though the new strategy reversed the trend of worsening violence against American troops, it did not end. An average of about two-dozen U.S. troops were still being killed each month in Iraq Bush’s final year in office, falling into the single digits under President Obama before our withdrawal by the end of 2011. Senator McCain had the stunning gall last week to claim “We had it won, thanks to the surge” (ibid: “McCain”) and then simultaneously argue that we needed to keep troops there to prevent the rise of ISIS.

Uh, excuse me? Either the war was won or the resistance was growing. Which is it? It can’t be both (well, in “MissionAccomplished-Land”, where a war can simultaneously be “won” and “not over”, I suppose it can.)

Sunni militants… the product of Bush’s invasion of Iraq… became “alQaeda in Iraq”, which begot “ISIS”, which begot “ISIL” (or just the “I.S.” according to them.) They were never gone, the war in Iraq was never “won”, and the idea that “if only” we had just left a few thousand troops behind, Iraq would be at peace today and all of this might have might have been avoided, is ludicrous.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans think “the world changed” on September 11th. No it didn’t. 17 months later it did.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The world did not change on September 11th.

Maybe for Republicans it did, but for the rest of us, we were just as concerned about terrorism on September 10th as we were on September 11th. Just because Republicans were suddenly & violently awakened as to just how serious a threat “terrorism” was on “9/11″ doesn’t mean the threat wasn’t there on September 10th… or for the previous eight years when Bill Clinton made “keeping us safe” look easy (and Republicans accused his going after bin Laden as a “Wag the Dog” manufactured distraction.) The threat was there when the World Trade Center was bombed in February 1993, barely a month into Bill Clinton’s presidency. It was there when alQaeda was bombing U.S. embassies in Nairobi & Kenya in 1998. The threat was there when they tried & failed to bomb Seattle’s “New Years 2000″ celebration. And it was there when the USS Cole was attacked a month before the election. It was also there when National Security Advisor Richard Clark was desperately trying to get the incoming Bush Administration to pay attention to alQaeda, and it was there when President Bush ignored a Presidential Daily Briefing on August 6th, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”. Whenever I hear Republicans “accuse” Democrats of having a “pre-September 11th mentality”, it infuriates me because ONLY REPUBLICANS HAD A “DIFFERENT MENTALITY” ON SEPTEMBER 10TH. Democrats were well aware of the threat on September 10th. THEY are the ones who were caught by surprise.

But you know when the world DID change? When George W Bush unnecessarily invaded Iraq on March 19th, 2003. Only the most partisan “divorced-from-reality” neoconservative Republican’s still believe that the invasion of Iraq was necessary and that the mess we see in that region of the world today would still be taking place even if Saddam Hussein hadn’t of been removed from power.

Does anyone (sane) believe ISIS would have risen to power and been able to overtake nearly half of Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power? And even if you believe they still might have, how much stronger would our military be today to confront them if it hadn’t been decimated by eight years of chaos in Iraq?

And now it looks like we’re about to invade Syria to go after ISIS. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, that’s where the ultra-violent yet highly-organized “Sunni rebel group” formed as part of the resistance to overthrow Syrian President Assad… the guy who gassed children. This is the same group of rebels John McCain was demanding we send weapons to as recently as January of this year, and is now demanding we go after as a threat to the stability of the entire Middle East.

Despite being made up of mostly young men (and a number of women as well), ISIS is extremely well organized, with a “command structure” and “supply lines” like a regular army. And that’s because the leadership of ISIS consists of a number of former Iraqi Army officers.

You see, despite Sunni’s being a minority in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, so he put Sunni’s in charge of everything, with an army made up mostly of Sunni men, and then ruled ruthlessly to suppress the Shia majority. When George Bush invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremmer disbanded the entire Iraqi Army… the closest thing they had left to a functioning police-force… telling them essentially, “You’re all fired. Go away and take your guns with you.” To make matters worse, the new president of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki (a Shia) did exactly what you’d expect an Iraqi Shia to do after decades of repression: flip the government 180 degrees, putting Shia Iraqi’s in charge of everything and banning Sunni’s from power.

So, what’s an angry, unemployed, well-armed, well-trained former Iraqi soldier who can’t get a job because his country is in shambles and his government bans him from public service because of his religion… to do all day? First he joins the fight against the American soldiers occupying his country (ISIS began as “alQaeda in Iraq“), then when they leave, goes looking for “work” (as a soldier) where he thinks he’s needed most… supporting the Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria.

And of course, beside providing plenty of motivation, we supplied them with U.S. weapons & vehicles as well. How thoughtful of us!

And now they’re back in Iraq. Bigger & Badder than ever. All courtesy of the Bush/Cheney Administration and their invasion of Iraq. “The world” did not change on 9/11… Republicans did.
 



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Filed in General, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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This Is Why We Said No to Invading Iraq in 2003. Those who pushed for war, please shut up.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 25, 2014

Last June, The Rachel Maddow Show commented on the number of former Bush Administration figures that were suddenly being booked on the Sunday Political Talkshows to pontificate on the rise of ISIS, the Sunni-based terrorist organization:

Attention Media: Stop booking Yahoos to advise on Iraq! (4:52)

Yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek, Bill Kristol (who apparently ABC got in the trade when George Will went to Fox to finally let his Conservative freakflag fly) bemoaned the fact that “President Obama didn’t leave 10,000 troops [behind] in Iraq” when he pulled them out at the end of 2010. I pointed out last June that the decision to pull ALL U.S. troops out of Iraq was not only what the majority of the American people wanted at the time (and that hasn’t changed), but the decision was made by the Bush Administration months before Barack Obama was elected president. It was President Bush that tried to convince the Iraqi’s to allow a contingency of thousands of American troops to stay behind in Iraq “in perpetuity”, but only if Iraq agreed to give them immunity for any perceived “past crimes” (read: Abu Ghraib.) Iraq said “No” and thus it was agreed that we would withdraw ALL U.S. troops by the end of 2010. After five years of lip-service about Iraq being “a sovereign nation” once again, we couldn’t very well just ignore their wishes and install our troops in the middle of a foreign nation without their approval, now could we?

But that still hasn’t stopped Conservatives… particularly people like Kristol who certainly know better… from continuing to blame President Obama for the rise of ISIS in Iraq. “If only we had left 10,000 troops behind in Iraq” then… what? ISIS wouldn’t have taken over much of Syria & Northern Iraq two years later? No, all that would have been accomplished is the death of several hundred more American soldiers. We’re talking about an army of more than a few hundred religious fundamentalist psychopaths that shoot children in the head because they pray to the wrong invisible man in the sky.

But can we all just pause for a moment and agree on one thing: NONE OF THIS MESS WOULD BE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IF WE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Can we all just agree on this one simple fact? Saddam was a Sunni Muslim, and gave Sunni’s all the political power in Iraq despite them being roughly only 10% of the Iraqi population. When we invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam, Rumsfeld & Bremmer made the seriously bad decision to disband the entire Iraqi military… probably the closest thing they had left to a trained police force… leaving nearly 200,000 pissed off soldiers with guns and no job to go out and go to war against the American invaders. That’s right, much of ISIS is made up of former Iraqi Army personnel disenfranchised by the Bush Administration. They are organized, with a Command Structure, raising funds and distributing propaganda. In the Iraqi government, the Shia took over and excluded Sunni’s from ALL political positions, pissing them off still further. In neighboring Syria, President Assad declared war on the Sunni minority, even (apparently) gassing small children to death. “ISIS” is a direct result of the invasion of Iraq and ostracism of the Sunni minority that had previously held power.

In 2002, I warned a Conservative friend of mine who was cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq that if we invaded Iraq, we would “unleash the gates of Hell”, either as friends of Saddam rushed to his defense, or as different groups fought over the scraps like wild dogs.

We are now seeing the latter.

The gruesome beheading of an American reporter last week kicked Conservative fear & paranoia (the hallmarks of Conservatism… which I plan to dedicate an entire Op/Ed to someday) into overdrive. “They’re coming for us next!” “They’re coming to America!” We must invade Iraq [again] to stop this threat [that was brought about by our first invasion eleven years ago.]

“Invading” Iraq started this mess. Re-invading Iraq now won’t make it better.

Terrified Conservative believe, “We won’t be safe until every small town in America looks like Ferguson, Missouri, with local police dressed in desert camo, carrying semi-automatic assault rifles and driving down Main Street in an up-armored mine-resistant Humvee.”

…Well, every BLACK town in America. We don’t want Furer Obama and his “jackbooted thugs” marching through OUR town, pointing guns at us and telling us what to do, norsiree Bob!

POSTSCRIPT: Also on ThisWeek yesterday, Bill Kristol happened to praise Texas Governor Rick Perry’s handling of his indictment, noting that Perry “has been out on the campaign trail” in Iowa “talking intelligently about foreign policy.” I’d just like to point out that Kristol is the former Chief of Staff for the dumbest VP in history, Dan Quayle. High praise indeed Bill.



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War August 25th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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John Goodman Explains the Start of WWI 100 Years Ago Today (video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Saturday, June 28, 2014

Exactly 100 years ago today (June 28th, 1914), the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was murdered by Serbian nationalists while visiting neighboring Sarajevo. One week later, the murder of the Archduke precipitated the start of World War I. In the Season 4 cliffhanger of NBC’s “The West Wing”, President Bartlett’s daughter Zoey is kidnapped by terrorists, leading to President Bartlett needing to temporarily resign as president and hand the presidency over to the (Republican) Speaker of the House, played brilliantly by John Goodman. The Speaker, upon taking over as president, gives the staff a quick history lesson on how a terrorist act against the member of a head of state can have unexpected, global consequences. Definitely worth sharing on this historic anniversary:
 

Acting President Walken explains the start of WWI (:59)

 

That was 100 years ago this very day. And the speech he just gave explaining the start of World War I is more than 99.9% of Americans still know about a war that killed SIXTEEN MILLION PEOPLE (and wounded another 20 Million more).

Violence is now erupting in Iraq as the nation convulses in the wake of our invasion 11 years ago. And in 2103, when people are asked about why we went to war in Iraq, how many do you think will be able to give you a clear answer? Hell, forget about 100 years from now, how many can give you a clear explanation even today?

 



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Filed in General, War June 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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While President Bush Was Ducking Shoes… you missed the SOFA.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 23, 2014

“It was a natural reaction to the killing of a million of my people, the orphaning of 5 million children, the widowing of one million women, resulting in tens of thousands of handicapped persons, tens of thousands of prisoners in American jails in Iraq, and the everyday scandals caused by the American occupation: rape, Abu Ghraib prison, bringing down roofs on peoples heads with Apache helicopters and F16 planes. Despite all this, Bush was saying the Iraqi people are happy, and the Americans liberated the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people welcomed the Americans with flowers. […] You lied. We did not welcome you with flowers, and instead, we are saying goodbye with our shoes.” So said Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al Zaidi explaining why he threw both of his shoes at President Bush during his final visit to Iraq. The reason for the visit? To announce an historic “Status of Forces Agreement”SoFA for short… between the U.S. and Iraq promising, quote, “the next president” would withdraw “ALL” U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Problem was, embedded in SoFA was a requirement for Iraq not to seek prosecution against any American soldiers for any crimes they may have committed while serving in Iraq. Because of this, Iraqi president al Maliki refused to sign SoFA. It was also because of this refusal to exempt American soldiers from prosecution, that President Obama did not leave residual American forces in Iraq. He negotiated with Maliki and tried to get him to agree to SoFA, but (as “Mother Jones reported), Iran demanded Maliki not allow ANY residual American forces in Iraq, “and Maliki owed them [Iran].” The Right has been going nuts for the past week trying to blame Obama for the crisis in Iraq that seems to be destabilizing the Middle East. That’s a bit like blaming the firemen for your house burning down after you set fire to it and then waited five hours before calling them.

I’m trying to imagine what the Right’s reaction would have been if President Obama had agreed to keep American forces in Iraq on the condition they could be prosecuted by a foreign government.

My TV survived another Sunday despite having to sit through this little exchange on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Michel Needham, the CEO of the Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Action for America” super-PAC, lobbed this asinine accusation against President Obama (try not to toss your computer out the window):
 

“Six years ago, he [Obama] makes the decision to pull out of Iraq, leave no residual forces… the forces that could have been there identifying the intelligence and targeting the assets that would have prevented this [ISIS] from happening.”

(I especially like the end-part, where Needham agrees that he probably wouldn’t do anything different than President Obama, except to criticize the president’s lack of clairvoyance for not sending agents into Iraq “six months ago” to gather “intel”. Why on Earth would anyone have thought it necessary to gather intel on Iraq in late 2013? I did a Google search and I was unable to find ANY calls… not from Mr. Needham, the Heritage Foundation, nor anyone else on the right, demanding President Obama send agents into Iraq to gather “intel”. We WERE gathering intel in Syria six months ago, and ISIS was there. Lot of good that did.)

Oh Mr. Needham, where to begin. Well, first, I’m not going to nitpick that “six years ago”, Obama wasn’t president. “5+ years”, “six years”. Whatever. But something DID take place “six years ago” before Obama took office. it was President Bush, on December 15, 2008, with barely a month left in office, that sought an agreement with Iraq to withdraw ALL U.S. forces from Iraq. Iraq said, “Not unless we can prosecute them.” Bush said “No” and the agreement was never signed. But the plan to pull ALL American troops out… including any potential “residual force”… remained. President Bush wasn’t about to leave American troops at the mercy of the Iraqi courts. But apparently Mr. Needham wishes President Obama had agreed to let Iraq prosecute American soldiers just so long as we could have kept troops there? Yeah, right. And Mr. Needham must have some unspoken power of “time travel” where American troops could have magically skipped over the last two years and lived in Iraq incident-free to arrive at 2014 to stop ISIS from materializing? American forces couldn’t even stop Muqtada al-Sadr, the powerful and fiercely anti-American cleric, from rising to power. Leaving American forces in Iraq would not have prevented ISIS from rising to power. They started in SYRIA not Iraq. And they were drawn to Iraq in protest of the corrupt & inept Maliki government that was excluding Sunni’s from the political process. That would have taken place whether we left troops there or not. And as pointed out last week, whether it was one more or one hundred more years, the moment American forces left, a thousand years of jihad in Iraq would have picked up right where it left off (and will in Afghanistan too).

As recently as last September, John McCain was still bemoaning the fact that President Obama was still refusing to arm the Syrian rebels fighting President Assad, saying his “friends in the Free Syrian Army” would feel “abandoned” if we didn’t send them “arms”. McCain has been calling for the arming of Syrian rebels for YEARS. The largest of the Sunni anti-Assad militia groups McCain wanted to arm, you know today as “ISIS”, the alQaeda-trained terrorist organization now in control of nearly half the region. Yes, had “President” McCain of had his way, we could have been arming ISIS all along. Darned the luck! (How this idiot keeps getting booked on the Sunday shows without a single one of them pointing out this one simple fact, is a mystery to me… well, not really.)

Last week also saw former Vice President Cheney rise from the crypt in his “undisclosed location” to attack President Obama… saying without a hint of irony… that “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” I can’t imagine the bubble this man has been living in over the past 13 years, but whatever he’s smoking in that bubble can’t be legal.
 

 
Let’s read what Mr Cheney said again: “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

As I like to point out, the objective of this site is to “Record history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and I could have spent literally WEEKS taring down all the asinine comments made by former Bush Administration officials and Right-Wing pundits last week that dare criticize President Obama’s handling of the shit-storm left to him by these “detached-from-reality” war criminals whose only audience should be in The Hague. But SO many others did such a great job of taking Cheney and the rest over their knee and slapping the malarky out of them that I didn’t have to.

And now, it’s this accusation that it is President Obama’s fault that the terrorist organization ISIS is taking over the region because HE refused to leave any American troops behind in Iraq after he pulled them all out in 2011. Sorry guys, we know better.
 
Oh, and before we go, a bonus clip from the same Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Cleta Mitchell, attorney for “Tea Party groups” (gee, I wonder who hired her?) openly accused the Obama Administration of being behind the Cincinnati IRS “scandal”. When asked for the “hard evidence” she insisted she had, all she has was innuendo (this is what passes for “news” on Fox):
 

Mitchell: My “hard evidence” Obama is behind IRS scandal? He was secretly suggesting people do stuff.

 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War June 23rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Is ISIS Really a Threat to the U.S.? The argument(s) for staying out of Iraq’s Civil War.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 16, 2014

By now, you’ve already heard the “catastrophic”, “world-is-coming-to-an-end” news that a terrorist group “too extreme for alQaeda” (“too extreme” for a group that dive-bombed hijacked planes into buildings? Doubtful.) is slowly taking over Iraq, with Iraqi soldiers so afraid, they’re “stripping off their uniforms and running for their lives”. And… of course… a conga-line of Republicans taking to the airwaves to say “We told you so!” to President Obama for “leaving Iraq too early.” Okay, can we just stop with the nonsense and hyperbole for a moment. We were in Iraq for EIGHT YEARS… almost twice as long as America’s involvement in World War II. Trust me, if leaving after eight years was still “too soon”, NO amount of time would have been long enough. And in a country where the same people claiming we “left too soon” are also the LEAST likely to PAY for that involvement… is either taxes OR blood… they sure are eager to commit American forces to “Nation Building” once again… something Republicans so abhorred during the Clinton Administration that George W. Bush ridiculed the idea during the second presidential debate of 2000. And, news alert to those same Chickenhawks: THE SAME THING WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE LEAVE AFGHANISTAN after THIRTEEN YEARS. These regions have been at each others throats for CENTURIES, and they’re not going to stop now if we stay a few extra years.

If you clicked on the comic above to read it full sized, you’ll notice it’s from 2007… just four years after the start of the war in Iraq and before Bush left office. It’s an excellent reminder of all the warnings the opponents of invading Iraq gave. If ANYBODY should be saying “WE TOLD YA SO!”, it’s US. A few famous quotes from that comic:

“I will bet you the best dinner in the Gas Light District of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week.” – Bill O’Reilly on 1/29/03

“There is a certain amount of pop-psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni, and the Sunni can’t get along with the Shia… there’s almost no evidence of that at all.” – Bill Kristol, 4/1/03

“It’s amazing that more than two weeks into the liberation of Iraq, the anti-war crowd is still spinning a doomsday scenario.” – Brendan Miniter of OpinionJournal.com, 4/8/03

“The war was the hard part… and it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but not as hard as winning a war.” – Fred Barns, 4/10/03

I nearly threw a brick through my TV yesterday as “Meet the Press” had on… of all people… PAUL F-ing WOLFOWITZ… often called “The Architect of the Iraq War”… to comment on the current situation in Iraq. The only reason this is even happening today is because of his pathetic & incomplete plan for the invasion of Iraq based upon false pretenses with no exit strategy. That’s like bringing on Richard Nixon to comment on Bill Clinton’s ethics. Fortunately for me, sanity prevailed and I simply switched off my TV rather than turn it into a fishtank. They also brought on Mitt Romney to criticize President Obama for withdrawing from Iraq… despite advocating the same thing himself in 2007 AND admitting that he is no longer privy to the daily intelligence briefings that are provided the president. And John McCain has spent more time in front of a camera since his loss in ’08 than he has his own wife. Please tell me how many times these shows brought on Al Gore or John Kerry to criticize George Bush after they lost their elections? “Liberal Media” my ass.

The organization that has all these pundits wetting their pants is “ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham” (not Iraq and Syria), formed in April of last year. Are they violent & brutal religious extremists? Yes (I’ve always found it curious how the most religious in any society have a tendency to be the most vicious & brutal, then justify their brutality with the Bible/Koran/Torrah). Would their take-over of Iraq be a big step backwards for Iraq? No question about it. But that doesn’t concern us. There are MANY brutal & dangerous Islamic fundamentalist states across the Middle East, and we don’t go invading all of them and try to “set them right”. It is ONLY a matter of concern for the United States if that organization is threatening to attack the United States, and that is NOT the case here.

ISIS is fighting to restore the Sunni minority back to power (Saddam was Sunni, and the Sunni controlled “Iraq” for centuries) after being marginalized by the al-Maliki government, which is Shia. President Obama openly chastised the Maliki government for excluding Sunni’s from his government. ISIS HATES the corrupt Miliki government. In Syria, Assad’s government in “Alawite”… a Shia sect. Iran is also Shia. ISIS hates them all and wants them all gone. Tell me again why were on the side or Assad, Maliki and Iran? Oh yeah, because they are “a threat to the United States”… or are they?

I went searching online for reports of terrorist attacks committed by ISIS (originally “ISI: The Islamic State of Iraq”). We’ve all heard/seen the coverage of the brutal attacks in Iraq, and have led the Civil War against Assad in Syria (including the brutal murder of seven children). But they have also launched attacks in Lebanon, and are threatening Israel from Gaza. To date, ALL of their terrorist activities have been “local” to that region of the world.

I don’t agree with Ron Paul on very much, but when he was lambasted during one of the 2008 RNC Debates for pointing out the obvious… that al Qaeda only attacked us because we had been meddling in the Middle East for decades… he was spot on. And if you want to see history repeat itself with ISIS, use American force to prop up the corrupt Maliki government and crush the Sunni opposition. As I tweeted yesterday:

#ISIS is only a threat to the U.S. if we involve ourselves in their civil war, propping up the corrupt Maliki gov’t.

The worst thing we can do now is get re-involved back in Iraq. Don’t give extremists another reason to hate us. Religious Extremists will always be there in that part of the world. It took a brutal Strong Man in Saddam Hussein to repress it for decades, and we took him out.

During the Eisenhower Administration, America overthrew the leadership in Iran and propped up a corrupt, brutal military dictator, The Sha. Iran went extremist, the Islamic Fundamentalists overthrew him, turned the nation into a theocracy, and became an enemy of the U.S.. Let’s not repeat that mistake in Iraq.

The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent four years in American custody (UPDATE: a PolitiFact investigation finds Baghdadi spent ONE year in custody, not “four”, captured and released in 2004) at Camp Bucca, so he already has sufficient reason to hate the U.S.. Let’s not give him one more.

POSTSCRIPT: Blast-from-the-past. in 2007, then Senator Joe Biden partnered up with then Senator Sam Brownback to propose that the route to peace & stability in Iraq may require breaking Iraq up into three regions, all controlled by a single centralized government. It seems now that he might have been right all along as ISIS, the Kurds and the Shia all seem to be moving in that direction on their own.
 



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Terrorism, War June 16th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Right Suddenly Outraged By A “Deserter” After Electing One President

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 9, 2014

First off, let’s get a few facts straight. I am NOT defending Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, nor am I excusing him going AWOL (and let’s be clear, he’s NOT a “deserter”, you’re only AWOL the first 30 days, and he was captured long before then.)

Second, it seems that the GOP would now have us put every American POW on trial in absentia before deciding if they are worthy of rescue or not.

Third, regardless of the reasons for why Bergdahl walked off, WE DON’T OUTSOURCE OUR PUNISHMENT TO THE TALIBAN. We don’t leave POWs in the hands of the enemy to punish them for past deeds.

And lastly, don’t start screaming about how “dishonorable” it is to abandon your outfit in a time of war after rallying behind one such “deserter” to elect them Commander-in-Chief. Desertion is just as bad today as it was when Democrats complained 14 years ago about what George W. Bush did during Vietnam. (Disappeared from his “champagne” Unit in the Texas Air National Guard to work in a political campaign in Arkansas, only to turn up 18 months later without a valid excuse.)

Yes, I went there.

I got into a little argument with a Republican friend of mine last week (the topic is irrelevant because these arguments rarely stay on topic), and I was chastised (once again) for pointing out former President Bush did the same or worse than whatever the RWNM (Right Wing Noise Machine) was telling him to be outraged at Obama for that particular day. “Don’t you ever tire of blaming Bush?”, I was asked. “Absolutely. But it’s painfully necessary when so many Republican suffering from short-term memory loss are suddenly OUTRAGED by things Democrats complained about for eight years under Bush only to have their patriotism challenged.” Republicans have a tendency to blame Democrats for robbing the bank after Republicans planned the robbery, brought the dynamite, jimmied the door, blew open the safe and walked away with their pockets full… all while waving at the cameras.

“Sgt” Bergdahl’s (he has said he does not want the promotion he received while in captivity) family has been receiving Death Threats. This is a direct result of the outrage being whipped up on the Right (the same Right that was quick to praise Bergdahl’s release and call him a “hero”, then try to erase any evidence they did), commenting on the issue without knowing all the facts and in some circumstances, based on completely false allegations. But that’s their Demographic: “Blind faith” zealots that have had it drummed into them since their first day of Sunday School to accept everything you already believe “on faith” and NEVER question anything that might challenge those beliefs. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Liberals calling family members of people they didn’t like, verbally abusing them and threatening them with violence. Maybe it’s happened. I don’t know. But I’d bet cash/money it doesn’t happen with the regularity or ferocity of Right Wingers.

Republicans love trying to make “Support the Troops” sound like a Republican brand, as if “nasty Democrats hate the troops”. But this too is an absolute myth. Conservatives only “Support the Troops” because they believe “the troops” believe as they do (why does “love the troops… so long as they agree with me, then gut the VA when they come home”, remind me of “love the fetus, hate the child?” Coincidence?) They think the troops are all Republicans, support Bush’s wars, are all flag-waving patriots, and vote the same way as they do. But time & time again, from the Swiftboating of John Kerry to Saxby Chandless comparing Democrat Max Cleland… a Vietnam vet that left three limbs on the battlefield… to Osama bin Laden just to win an election… they’ve repeatedly proven otherwise. Jimmy Carter was in the Navy. The only uniform St. Ronnie ever wore came from the MGM wardrobe department.  But they despise Carter to this day and kiss the ground Reagan walked on.

Republican support for the troops is about as empty as their rhetoric about “securing elections from (non-existent) voter fraud” that just coincidentally happens to disenfranchise millions of low-income & minority Democrats. They only want the people that agree with THEM to vote (the Rich and people with gun permits, but not the Poor or students with college ID’s.)

All the facts are not yet in about why Bergdahl left his outfit that day. At this point, the possibility that he stepped out to take a leak and got himself kidnapped has as much evidence to support it as any of the other allegations out there.

Other thoughts: Republicans are all claiming that “The Taliban 5″… the ominous name they’ve given to five 50 year old “gray-beards”… may return to their groups to rejoin the fight and kill Americans. Ignoring for the moment that their release from Qatar won’t be until AFTER most American troops have come home, what if we secretly implanted TRACKING DEVICES in the detainees we just released? Might support for the deal go up if Obama’s plan all along was to secretly track them back to their organizations? Or how about the possibility that their former groups may not want to have anything to do with them now out of fear of the same? Either way, it’s a win/win for us.

Republican “outrage” over the fact that the U.S. government “paid such a high price” to bring home “a deserter” after electing one… not once but twice… to be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and then questioned the patriotism of anyone that dare question the judgement of that same president… I’m sorry but it just seems to be a little too self serving to me if you know what I mean.

POSTSCRIPT/Update: Not 12 hours after I wrote about how Conservatives whip up hate in their constituents, a loonytoons Redneck couple, anti-BLM (“Bureau of Land Management”) supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada, gunned down two Nevada police officers in cold blood as they ate lunch, draped the officers bodies in the “Gadsden (teaparty) flag” and painted Swastikas on them. Then killing another random person at the store across the street, before committing suicide. The couple left a note on their Facebook page, seething with hate for the government and law enforcement before embarking on their murder/suicide pact. I ask you… just who whipped up THAT intensity of hatred towards the government?
 



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Filed in National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War June 9th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Ukraine in Chaos. Could Syria Become a Proxy War?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 14, 2014

Ukraine exploded in violence last week. At the same time, a chemical gas attack against rebels may or may not have been committed by Syria (we must consider the possibility that some psychotic and/or desperate rebel faction/individual released a homemade chemical weapon against their own people in order to draw the U.S. into the Syrian conflict (now in its third year.) Conservatives like John McCain almost seemed to take pleasure in shuttling between political morning shows to basically call President Obama “spineless” for failing to involve the United States in a THIRD war for not acting after “his own red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons. And now that it has happened again, the drumbeat for war in Syria is bound to rise again on the Right. Russia is a major ally of Syria, and that backing is probably the only thing that has kept the United States out of Syria so far.

Meanwhile, violent protests broke out once again last week as “pro-Russian militants” stormed a Ukrainian police station in Slovyansk (in Eastern Ukraine). The American & European governments have stated their belief that the militants are actually members of the Russian military. Russia says they were really American “CIA” there to stir-up trouble. Either way, between events in Syria and now Ukraine, tensions between the U.S. and Russia haven’t been this high since the end of the Cold War 26 years ago.

When Hitler (no, I’m not about to compare Putin to Hitler so I’m not violating Godwin’s Law) invaded Poland in 1939, it was because he was headed for Russia (map). So when the U.S. finally entered World War II two years later, Russia became the epitome of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” An uneasy alliance was formed between the United States, England and Russia. But for the most part, America and England were appalled by some of Stalin’s tactics, and by the time the war was over, the allies had reason to be concerned about the way Russia was annexing smaller border nations to create a buffer zone around their country.
 

Scene from “The Right Stuff” (1983)
Start of the Cold War?

 

Then came the “Red Scare” of the 1950’s. The Soviet Union backed the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the U.S. sent troops into South Korea in what was essentially a “proxy war” where America used Korea as an excuse to go to “war” (technically called a “police-action”) with Russia. It was long (back when 2-1/2 years to fight a war was still considered a long time) and bloody, and ended in stalemate. Senator Joe McCarthy (before he was reincarnated as Senator Ted Cruz) sent the nation on a nationalistic Communist witch hunt that ruined the lives of thousands of good Americans.

In 1962, Russia attempted to place nuclear missiles in the newly Communist nation of Cuba. The 13 day stand-off between President’s Kennedy & Kruschev were consider the closest we ever came to an actual direct war (possibly even a nuclear one) between the two countries. By this time, Russia’s military involvement in Korea had already spread South to Vietnam, but, after Korea (and Japan during WWII), Americans were not eager to get involved in yet another war in the Pacific. But when Kennedy was assassinated 13 months later, LBJ was quick to believe Russia was behind it, and soon America was sending troops into Vietnam in yet another proxy-war with Russia.

Ronald Reagan, a staunch anti-Communist holdover from the 1950’s who believed Joe McCarthy was right, used the power of the presidency some 30 years later to finish what Joe began, launching a series of micro proxy-wars in South America… El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, and to some extent even the Philippians.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month, and now the threat of annexing Eastern Ukraine before its government can join the European Union, America has become increasingly worried about President Putin’s reckless behavior. Russia is also allies with Syria and has been the leading obstical in the use of military force to stop President al-Assad from using WMD’s against his own people in rebellion against him (can’t imagine why they hate him).

Late last year, Republicans (always looking for another excuse to criticize President Obama as well as start another war) were quick to mischaracterize President Obama’s “red line on Syria” speech to suggest that ANY use of chemical weapons in Iraq would be grounds for war. Two problems: 1) He said if we see “a whole lot” of chemical weapons being used in Syria (we didn’t. It was one small attack that killed a few dozen, raising serious doubts about whether it was actually committed by Syria. Risking a U.S. invasion simply to kill 20 people?) and 2) never any confirmation it was actually the Syrian government acting on the orders of Assad. Chicken Hawks are very quick to send the nation to war… so long as it’s someone else that’s doing the fighting & dying. We saw that with Iraq.

But now this second use of chemical weapons might be harder to ignore. Add to that the lingering question of whether Syria will meet its agreed upon deadline to destroy it’s chemical stockpiles, and suddenly, military action in Syria starts to look more & more inevitable. And if Russia continues to thumbs it’s nose at the U.S. and attempts to annex Eastern Ukraine to prevent it from allying itself with The West, might we see the U.S. and Europe sending troops into Syria in yet another “proxy-war” with Russia? We can only hope that cooler heads prevail.

PS: What about The Space Station? The current crew consists of three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese astronaut. While the U.S. has suspended contact with the Russian government, the ISS is “exempt”. Russia has also been providing (small “s”) shuttle service to ferry crew to & from the ISS since the Space Shuttle was monthballed and we await its replacement. So what happens if the U.S. and Russia find themselves on opposite sides in a proxy-war? I suppose the ESA (European Space Agency) can take over shuttle service, but it’s nearly impossible to leave the ISS totally unmanned, and I shudder to think about the consequences of Russia starting a turf war in space as they refuse to remove their cosmonauts from the ISS. Interesting thought.

 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, War April 14th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Guest Op/Ed – Ukraine Crisis: Lessons Obama Should Learn

By Daphne - Last updated: Monday, March 17, 2014

Recent events in Crimea carry political consequences in the United States, calling the Obama administration to action in response to Vladimir Putin’s show of strength in the region.  Already fettered by friction due to Edward Snowden being granted asylum by Russia last year, and noted diplomatic discord between Obama and Putin since they have shared the world stage, negotiations have gone nowhere between the two leaders.

According to some pundits, Obama has no leverage in this game of chicken, due to his wavering on the Syrian chemical weapons issue last year.  What they fail to understand, however, is that Putin has a long history of human rights abuses and it should be no surprise to see his emboldened behavior in this case; regardless of Obama’s diplomatic prowess.  The situation is complicated, and while we may be in the early stages of the conflict, Putin appears to be rolling onward with his agenda, despite the Obama administration’s attempts to rein him in.

An important lesson for Obama, which he appears to be coming to terms with, is that President Bush’s foreign policy yielded many of the same characteristic responses from Putin as those seen by the current President’s administration.  As much as Republicans would like to point out differences between the two Presidents’ approaches, it is hypocritical to say Bush’s diplomatic track record with Putin was any more successful than Obama’s (outside of Bush gazing longingly into Putin’s eyes to see the soul of a man after his own heart. – Mugsy)

Putin’s Position

Simply put, Putin’s justification for acting in Ukraine is to protect the rights of native Russians settled there, in the face of attacks from Ukrainian nationalists.  On the other hand, Crimea is of strategic importance, so it is easy to extrapolate motivations beyond protecting human rights.  Putin does not acknowledge the legitimacy of the Kiev government, so he claims his actions are reasonable and just.

President Obama has initiated diplomacy by phone, recently issuing a warning of sorts, which appears to have fallen flat.  To conservative analysts, Obama’s true message is that we will not intervene in the affair; prompting Putin to disregard the President altogether.  While the President spoke of consequences, the political right believes him to have patronized Putin and weakened United States foreign policy.  Unfortunately for detractors, Putin’s past behavior mirrors his agenda here, so hanging the Obama administration out to dry for foreign policy failures does little to acknowledge Putin’s tendencies to act unilaterally and aggressively.

Abuse of Power Plagues Putin

Putin retains leadership in Russia as a result of his own willingness to abuse power.  After serving two terms as President, he became Prime Minister only to transfer the powers of government to his new position.  After Putin regained the presidency in 2012, term limits were extended; cementing Putin’s iron-fisted rule for years to come.

Based on centralized control of elections and media, Putin’s legacy is one of “power at any price”, including the lives and well-being of his countrymen.

Putin [and his cronies – editor] is believed to have siphoned billions off of the Russian economy for himself; distributed across Europe among a myriad of business ventures, to launder the funds. (As we saw with the “SuperBowl Ring” dust-up last year, Putin clearly takes whatever he wants. – Mugsy) Since gaining power in 2000, independent television does not operate in Putin’s Russia.  Instead, conditions resemble Soviet-era control of media and other segments of society.  Political opposition is quashed and foreigners are expelled at the whim of Russian leadership.  Even the way local government is established favors Putin.  By replacing elected governors, and local representation, Putin extended central control by creating a system where regional leaders are appointed by the Kremlin.

As clear as the autocratic message has been from Putin, there is another case-study showing exactly how the Ukrainian situation is likely to unfold.  Putin’s invasion of Georgia provides a blueprint to study, furnishing valuable insight into what we can expect in today’s Ukrainian conflict.  In 2008 Putin relentlessly bombed Georgia, despite warnings from the West.  Eventually he reached accord with the European Union to cease occupation there, but never really complied.  There are many similarities present in the prevailing actions of Putin in Crimea, which show no signs of shifting significantly.

Georgia: Russia bombed village (CNN, Aug 8, 2008)

Russian jets attack Georgian town (BBC, Aug 9, 2008)

Georgia, Russia move closer to full-blown war (LA Times, Aug 10, 2008)

To understand where Putin is headed, Obama detractors and the President himself should lean heavily on the Russian President’s history of transgressions, for clues.  Republicans’ politicizing the Ukrainian issue at home ignores Putin’s potential to act aggressively and unilaterally, despite the United States’ stance. Even in opposition to the present administration’s foreign policy, Republicans need to see Putin for who he is – looking to the similar way the Russian leader treated Bush over Georgia.  For Obama, the clear lesson to be learned is that despite diametric foreign policy divides between he and Bush, both leaders have seen the same Putin.

Author:

Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.


Addendum by Mugsy

In keeping this post current, I felt it necessary to comment on recent events.

Crimea voted to rejoin Russia over the weekend. In a landslide victory typically only seen in Communist dictatorships, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly, “95.7%”, in support of rejoining Russia. While the outcome was never really in doubt, Russia still felt it necessary to intimidate its critics, with one local man showing an NBC Nightly News reporter flyers that were being posted in his neighborhood alerting local residents that “a traitor” lies in their midst’s.

I couldn’t help but be reminded, oddly, of the Watergate Break-in. The 1972 Presidential campaign was going just awful for Democrats and there was little doubt that President Nixon would win re-election, and still he felt it necessary to bug Democratic headquarters to find out their campaign strategy. But Nixon was just that obsessed with winning, unwilling to leave anything to chance. Putin showed himself to be quite Nixonian in this regard.

Republican critics on the major network news talk shows yesterday continued to repeat the latest nonsense talking point that some apparent display of “weakness” by President Obama in dealing with Syria, that only Republicans and former-KGB spies can detect, somehow “emboldened” Putin to invade Crimea. As noted above, Putin needed no such “display of weakness” by President Bush when he invaded Georgia in 2008… a fact that Sen. Durbin (D-IL) pointed out to Sen. Corker (R-TN) on Meet the Press. This fact has been brought up repeatedly, yet it hasn’t seemed to have made a wit of difference as they continue to accuse a president that got both bin Laden and Kadaffy as well as a prolific use of drones and initiated a troop surge in Afghanistan, of “weakness”, continuing to ignore the facts and make their ridiculous claim anyway (sound familiar? It’s a pattern with them.)

The Rachel Maddow Show last week also picked on on Putin’s “pattern of behavior” and what to look out for next:
 


 



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Filed in fake scandals, Guest Blogger, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, War March 17th, 2014 by Daphne | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Obama, Putin, and The Right’s Daddy Issues

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 10, 2014

Conservatives have “Daddy” issues. I’m not making a joke, I’m pointing out a demonstrative fact.

For the past week, Republicans have been quick to express their admiration, if not outright praise, for “Vladamir Putin: Man of Action” for the way he (supposedly) bested President Obama (supposedly, once again) by invading the Crimean peninsula without any apparent concern for how President Obama might react… apparently because (according to Genius Grant Award Winner Sarah Palin) Putin is a manly-man who “wrestles bears” vs “Mom jeans” wearing, “equivocating” (read: “thinks before acting”) President Obama. Republicans praised Putin as a bare-chested man of action. However, I imagine that if Putin had to run every decision past a rabidly obstructionist Congress the way Obama must, he probably wouldn’t appear quite so “decisive”. As The Daily Show pointed out last week, these are the same people that went ballistic barely one month ago when President Obama dared to suggest that he might act on his own if Congress didn’t (re: raising the minimum wage). They called Obama “a dictator” and attacked him for (falsely) threatening to ignore Congress and enact legislation on his own (using his Executive Authority to raise the Minimum Wage for Government Contractors is WELL within his Constitutional Powers.) Just this past week on Fox (where else?), Rudy Giuliani praised Putin as “what you call a [real] leader” adding (quote) “Putin decides what he wants to do and acts in a half a day.” If there is one thing we all learned from last weeks fetishism of Putin by the Right, it’s that their “ideal leader” is a neo-Communist dictator with a rubber-stamp Congress… which by no coincidence perfectly describes President Bush invading Iraq in 2003. He wanted to invade, and a GOP controlled Congress gave him the power to do it. And if you dared criticize The President of the United States, you “hated America” and were urged to “move to France”. If Obama threatens to act if Congress does not, he’s “a dictator”, but if Putin “makes a decision and acts in half a day”, he’s “a leader”. And praising a foreign enemy of freedom while ridiculing your own president makes you a patriot.

Living in a Red state as I do with Conservative family members, my first thought is always: “How would they explain this inconsistency?” And the conclusion I came to was that they would say “National security is different.” Because “war” is for “manly men”. “Manly men” invade countries on false pretenses, love guns, use force as a first resort (be it invading another country like Iraq or killing a black kid carrying Skittles and an Iced Tea), hunts (tranquilized) tigers, and just generally acts like a bully (unless of course they happen to be black, then they’re “thugs”.) Oh, and incidentally, they’re misogynists too (even the women). From the spokes-models over at Fox “news” to “Sarah Palin”, do you think ANY of these women would be as prominent in the Republican Party if they looked like Madalyn Albright? Have you ever seen so many Right-Wing homophobes openly fawning over all things masculine (most conspicuously, a shirtless former KGB agent?) And probably uncoincidentally, they all seem to suffer from a serious inferiority/paranoid/delusional complex. “The Media” is out to “get them“, to “silence” them, is on the side of their critics and is actively working against them. So they flock to Fox “news” where they receive the ego-stroking praise they didn’t receive from Mom or Dad as a child. “You’re right! They ARE out to get you! Everything you believe is absolutely correct! How smart of you! No, you’re not a racist, you’re just misunderstood! And those awful lazy poor people want to take your hard-earned money!” (and killing a child before it is born is an abomination, but cutting off food stamps or school lunches to that child AFTER it is born which could lead to malnutrition and even death is just “God’s Will.”)

People that think before acting and trust science over “their gut” are regarded as “weak”, and Bullies, by their very nature, love to pick on the weak. So they raz those who believe in sciencey things like “Global Warming” (it is stunning to watch a group of people as massive as Climate Change Deniers ridicule something they clearly don’t understand, like joking about “Global Warming”… but never “Climate Change”… during a historic freak Winter snow-storm) and look down their noses at people who attended college as “Elitists”.

Pick any prominent Republican leader and I’ll show you someone who had an authoritarian father. John McCain? His father was a Navy Admiral during World War II. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz (which BTW is “Ted’s” REAL name. He’s a Jr), is a certifiable Right-Wing nut that was a fire & brimstone preacher who proclaims the same God who Commanded “Thou Shalt Not Kill” ordained the Death Penalty in Chapter One of The Bible, “thank[s] God for Glenn Beck”, and still wants to know where the Birth Certificate is. John Boehner (who recently conceded that it is indeed pronounced “boner”) is the son of a saloon-owner, and Sarah Palin’s dad? A Track coach. Or there are those Republicans who were traumatized by their fathers masculinity being attacked like George W. Bush’s dad being called a “wimp” or Mitt Romney’s father who was forced out of the presidential race after using the unfortunate phrase “brainwashed” about himself regarding his prior support for the Vietnam War. Is it any wonder that a group of people so obsessed with being seen as “manly” would also be full of homophobes? (And the less said about Mitch McConnell, currently fighting for his political life amidst charges of “weakness” in confronting Obama, walking onto the stage at CPAC holding a giant phallic symbol aloft over his head, the better.)

And if you think about it, who’s the most manly-man of all? God. The ultimate authoritarian figure. A judgmental eye-in-the-sky that watches your every move, who laid out his “Commandments” and threatens to banish anyone that doesn’t comply into the pit of Hell for all eternity. You can’t get any more authoritarian than that. And they’ve claimed him as their own.

Who’s your Daddy, Mr. GOP?
 



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Filed in General, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, War March 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View