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Category Archives: Military

The Tulsi Effect: Forcing War Onto the Democratic Agenda, by Danny Sjursen

For all the Democratic candidates but one, it’s much more enjoyable to talk about all the free stuff government is going to provide that to talk about war and foreign policy. From Danny Sjursen at theamericanconservative.com:

Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard during the first night of the the Democratic debate. (YouTube/NBC News/screenshot)

Democrats, liberals, progressives—call them what you will—don’t really do foreign policy. Sure, if cornered, they’ll spout a few choice talking points, and probably find a way to make them all about bashing President Donald Trump—ignoring the uncomfortable fact that their very own Barack Obama led and expanded America’s countless wars for eight long years.

This was ever so apparent in the first two nights of Democratic primary debates this week. Foreign policy hardly registered for these candidates with one noteworthy exception: Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard—herself an (anti-war) combat veteran and army officer.

Now primary debates are more show than substance; this has long been the case. Still, to watch the first night’s Democratic primary debates, it was possible to forget that the United States remains mired in several air and ground wars from West Africa to Central Asia. In a two-hour long debate, with 10 would-be nominees plus the moderators, the word Afghanistan was uttered just nine times—you know, once for every two years American troops have been killing and dying there. Iraq was uttered just twice—both times by Gabbard. Syria, where Americans have died and still fight, was mentioned not once. Yemen, the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, courtesy of a U.S.-supported Saudi terror campaign didn’t get mentioned a single time, either.

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The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is “Isolationism”, by Caitlin Johnstone

By the new definition of isolationism, anyone who opposes pointless US interventions is an isolationist. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

After getting curb stomped on the debate stage by Tulsi Gabbard, the campaign for Tim “Who the fuck is Tim Ryan?” Ryan posted a statementdecrying the Hawaii congresswoman’s desire to end a pointless 18-year military occupation as “isolationism”.

“While making a point as to why America can’t cede its international leadership and retreat from around the world, Tim was interrupted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard,” the statement reads. “When he tried to answer her, she contorted a factual point Tim was making — about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks by providing training, bases and refuge for Al Qaeda and its leaders. The characterization that Tim Ryan doesn’t know who is responsible for the attacks on 9/11 is simply unfair reporting. Further, we continue to reject Gabbard’s isolationism and her misguided beliefs on foreign policy. We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it’s ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people.”

Ryan’s campaign is lying. During an exchange that was explicitly about the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ryan plainly said “When we weren’t in there, they started flying planes into our buildings.” At best, Ryan can argue that when he said “they” he had suddenly shifted from talking about the Taliban to talking about Al Qaeda without bothering to say so, in which case he obviously can’t legitimately claim that Gabbard “contorted” anything he had said. At worst, he was simply unaware at the time of the very clear distinction between the Afghan military and political body called the Taliban and the multinational extremist organization called Al Qaeda.

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Memo to Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Tulsi Gabbard promotes the same foreign policy noninterventionism that helped get Trump elected, which he has apparently abandoned. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end.”

Donald Trump, circa 2016?

Nope. That denunciation of John Bolton interventionism came from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. At 38, she was the youngest candidate on stage.

Gabbard proceeded to rip both the “president and his chickenhawk cabinet (who) have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”

In a fiery exchange, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that America cannot disengage from Afghanistan: “When we weren’t in there they started flying planes into our buildings.”

“The Taliban didn’t attack us on 9/11,” Gabbard replied, “Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11. That’s why I and so many other people joined the military, to go after al-Qaida, not the Taliban.”

When Ryan insisted we must stay engaged, Gabbard shot back:

“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? ‘Well, we just have to be engaged.’ As a solider, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable. … We are no better off in Afghanistan that we were when this war began.”

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The Donald’s Latest Iranian Caper – Sh*t-Faced Stupidity, by David Stockman

Trump has given himself some very unpalatable options in Iran. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

This is just wanton shit-faced stupidity. We are referring to the Trump Administration’s escalation of sanctions on Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and its foreign minister, and then the Donald’s tweet-storm of bluster, threats and implicit redlines when they didn’t take too kindly to this latest act of aggression by Washington.

That last point can’t be emphasized enough. Iran is zero threat to the American homeland and has never engaged in any hostile action on U.S soil or even threatened the same.

To the contrary, Washington’s massive naval and military arsenal in the middle east is essentially the occupational force of a naked aggressor that has created mayhem through the Persian Gulf and middle eastern region for the past three decades; and has done so in pursuit of the will-o-wisp of oil security and the neocon agenda of demonizing and isolating the Iranian regime.

But as we have demonstrated previously, the best cure for high oil prices is the global market, not the Fifth Fleet. And the demonization of the Iranian regime is based on lies and propaganda ginned up by the Bibi Netanyahu branch of the War Party (that has falsely made Iran an “existential” threat in order to win elections in Israel).

Stated differently, the American people have no dog in the political hunts of Washington’s so-called allies in the region; and will be no worse for the wear economically if Washington were to dispense with its idiotic economic warfare against Iran’s 4 million barrel per day oil industry and allow all exporters in the region to produce and sell every single barrel they can economically extract.

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The Oil Crisis Saudi Arabia Can’t Solve, by Cyril Widdershoven

If Iran blocks the Straits of Hormuz, it will inflict major damage on the global economy, regardless of any assurances Saudi Arabia has offered. From Cyril Widdershoven at oilprice.com:

Saudi Arabia’s CEO Amin Nasr’s message to the press that oil flows to the market are guaranteed, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Looking at the current volatility in the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the possibility of a temporary closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the Aramco CEO’s message might be a bit overoptimistic. In reality, Aramco will not be able to keep the necessary crude oil and products volumes flowing to Asian and European markets in the case of a full Strait of Hormuz blockade. Even that Aramco owns and operates a crude oil pipeline with a capacity of 5 million bpd, carrying crude 1,200 kilometers between the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea, much more is needed to keep the oil market stable.

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Iran — Message Sent, Message Delivered, by Tom Luongo

Iran shot down that drone to send a very clear and distinct message. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

It is clear that Iran is sending the U.S. a stern message. And that message is we can hurt you asymmetrically as much as you hurt us.

Over the weekend Iran’s leadership made it clear there was no mistake in their actions last week. They purposefully shot down one of our most advanced drones to send the U.S. a very clear warning.

‘Our capabilities far exceed your tolerance for withstanding them.’

The more we learn about this incident the more the initial story concocted by the U.S. looks specious. Drone in international airspace? Most likely not.

Trump said someone made a mistake? No, completely deliberate.

The drone that was shot down, an RQ-4A Global Hawk, was the cream of our surveillance drones. It was flying in tandem with an anti-submarine Poseidon P-8 spy plane, which, according to Elijah Magnier was carrying far more than its normal crew of 9.

Try 38.

That was not reported at first either in the initial flush for war. Iran then revealed just how loose with the truth the U.S. turned out to be and that forced a complete rethink of the situation.

There was no mistake involved. No IRGC officer panicked. Iran deliberately targeted the Global Hawk after it failed to respond to hails to leave Iranian airspace and turned off its GPS, lights and digital systems.

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Trump May be in Too Deep to Avoid War with Iran, by Patrick Cockburn

Trump either backs away from sanctions, or Iran escalates responsive measures, drawing Trump into war. From Patrick Cockburn at unz.com:

President Trump’s last-minute change of mind over launching US airstrikes against Iran shows that a military conflict of some description in the Gulf is becoming highly probable. His hesitation was most likely less connected with an Iranian surface-to-air missile shooting down a US surveillance drone than with his instinct that militarising the crisis is not in America’s best interests.

If Trump had not pulled back and the strikes against Iranian radars and missile batteries had gone ahead, where exactly would that have got him? This sort of limited military operation is usually more effective as a threat than in actuality. The US is not going to launch an all-out war against Iran in pursuit of a decisive victory and anything less creates more problems than it resolves.

Iran would certainly retain post-strike the ability to launch pin-prick attacks up and down the Gulf and, especially, in and around the 35-mile wide Strait of Hormuz through which passes 30 per cent of the world’s oil trade. Anything affecting this choke point reverberates around the word: news of the shooting down of the drone immediately sent the price of benchmark Brent crude oil rocketing upwards by 4.75 per cent.

Note that the Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a $130m (£100m) drone, in practice an unmanned aircraft stuffed with electronic equipment that was designed to be invulnerable to such an attack. The inference is that if US aircraft – as opposed to missiles – start operating over or close to Iranian airspace then they are likely to suffer losses.

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