Military Leaders Skeptical of Syria Bombing

I have long said that I trust the military leadership to make important decisions on the use of American military power far more than I do elected officials of either party. Politicians tend to make decisions on specious, self-serving grounds and be far too beholden to the defense industry to make rational decisions that actually make sense. And I’m not at all surprised that the Washington Post reports deep skepticism and opposition to the bombing of Syria that Obama is clearly headed toward.
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Rumsfeld: Syria Attack Not Justified

From the Department of Extraordinary Chutzpah comes a report that Donald Rumsfeld — Donald F’ing Rumsfeld, for crying out loud — says that Obama hasn’t made the case for bombing Syria. The Guinness Book of World Records is investigating to see if this tops Bryan Fischer’s previous record for obliviousness to both reality and irony.
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Syria and the Art of Ignoring Reality

There’s trouble in the Middle East — as there nearly always is — and the usual suspects are demanding the usual action. Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard is beating the drums for war, a musical refrain that should sound quite familiar. He’s signed an open letter to President Obama demanding military intervention in Syria, a letter that is, hilariously, alleged to be from “experts” like him. And Karl Rove. And Elliot Abrams.
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Is Obama Planning Intervention in Syria?

It appears that President Obama is preparing a military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We have no idea what sort of military response. I doubt it will be boots on the ground, at least not yet. More likely some strategic bombing of specific targets. Here’s the evidence that such planning is taking place:
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Arming Syrian Rebels: A Scary Prospect

Late last week, President Obama made an abrupt policy shift and decided to start sending arms to the rebels in Syria fighting against Bashar al-Assad. He did so after Bill Clinton publicly called him out and after the CIA determined, supposedly definitively, that Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels. I’m not too happy about the whole situation, though I doubt Obama is either.
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Montt’s Genocide Conviction Overturned

When a court in Guatemala convicted former U.S.-backed dictator Rios Montt of genocide a couple weeks ago, I was skeptical. I wrote then, “But don’t be surprised if this does not last and the current president, who served in the military under Montt, finds some way to void the result.” And here’s the least surprising news of the week:
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Obama and North Korea: Damned If He Does, Doesn’t

As Kim Jong-Un of North Korea engages in a series of provocative but mostly pointless “threats,” some Republicans are calling for a first strike and criticizing Obama for not taking decisive action. The Worldnutdaily, on the other hand, is criticizing Obama for taking any action at all. They know the real reason Obama has shifted military resources to the Pacific in light of those threats and, of course, it’s something nefarious.
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Anti-War Messaging = Bad Ratings

Here’s something few people probably remember. In 2003, Phil Donahue had the most popular show on MSNBC. And he was fired. And a leaked memo from network executives said that he was fired because his strong stand against the impending invasion of Iraq made him a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” Donahue was on Democracy Now on the 10th anniversary of that invasion to discuss it:
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Bush, Cheney Distorted Intelligence Data

I know, it’s hardly a revelation that the Bush administration, especially Dick Cheney, distorted the assessments of the intelligence community in order to build a dishonest case for war in Iraq. But one of the members of the CIA team that briefed Cheney on the subject just wrote an article for Wired about her experiences. Notice how completely reversed the process was:
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Ten Years Later: The Pre-War Rhetoric

On the 10th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq, it’s certainly worth looking back to see some of the statements made by supporters of that invasion before it began. Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush and many others weren’t just wrong, they had invented their own alternate reality that wasn’t even close. Radley Balko offered a big list of their quotes a few years ago:
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Judis on Political Consensus and the Iraq War

Ten years after we invaded Iraq, it’s worth examining how the decision to invade became a matter of bipartisan consensus at the time. We like to think that it was just Bush and the neo-cons who wanted it, but nearly all the leading lights of the Democratic party supported it too, including both Clintons. John Judis has a review of his experience as a prominent dissenter from that consensus. He found some unlikely allies:
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