When War Hawks Coo Like Doves, by Dan Sanchez

Lies, damned lies, and lies that ought to land the liar in jail. From Dan Sanchez at antiwar.com:

Disastrous policies often raise the question of whether the policy makers at fault are stupid or evil. The scales tips toward malevolence whenever the guilty parties evince a basic grasp of the reasons why their schemes are calamitous.

For example, Washington’s Syria policy has been a slow motion train wreck. And the “train engineers” keep barreling down the same collision-course track, full steam ahead. Yet they see quite clearly what they are crashing into and why; they have betrayed as much time and again for years.

Hillary Clinton pushed for escalation in Syria as Secretary of State. Yet in February 2012, when a CBS reporter pushed her for not escalating fast enough, she argued:

“We know al Qaeda [leader Ayman al-] Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al Qaeda in Syria? (…) If you’re a military planner or if you’re a secretary of state and you’re trying to figure out do you have the elements of an opposition that is actually viable: we don’t see that.”

A month later, President Barack Obama told a neocon who was similarly impatient:

“When you have a professional army that is well-armed and sponsored by two large states who have huge stakes in this, and they are fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict —  the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

And in June of 2012, Obama scolded yet another hawk at CBS News:

“When you get farmers, dentists, and folks who have never fought before going up against a ruthless opposition in Assad, the notion that they were in a position to suddenly overturn not only Assad but also ruthless, highly trained jihadists if we just sent a few arms is a fantasy. And I think it’s very important for the American people — but maybe more importantly, Washington and the press corps — to understand that.”

Then in September, Obama tried to assure libertarian journalist Ben Swann that:

“We’re not going to just dive in and get involved with a civil war that in fact involves some elements of people who are genuinely trying to get a better life but also involve some folks who would over the long term do the United States harm.”

While dropping these little gems of anti-interventionist wisdom, the actual Syria policy the administration simultaneously pursued flew directly in the face of them. Billions of tax dollars were spent on training, weapons, and materiel for an opposition whose “moderate” component both Obama and Clinton admitted were non-viable. And most of that spending ended up greatly benefiting the “ruthless, highly trained jihadists” “who would over the long term do the United States harm” that both Obama and Clinton warned about.

One group of these jihadists became so strong that, in June of 2014 it added northwestern Iraq to its Syrian conquests and named itself the Islamic State.

To continue reading: When War Hawks Coo Like Doves

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