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We’ve already lost the war

There was never any way we could win it. The latest phase began with Trump blustering at Iran:

Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!

The man sounds like a child having a temper tantrum. Khameini responded with this:

1st: You can’t do anything. 2nd: If you were logical – which you’re not—you’d see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan… have made nations hate you.

He was right, you know. 100% absolutely surefire correct. The US has the technology to wreck the infrastructure of a country, but Iran and Iraq can easily throw a million fanatical, righteously outraged people armed with AK-47s at our troops. Their casualties will be enormous, but we only have about a thousand soldiers in Iraq. They will be overwhelmed. We can pour more men in, but they will only be meat for the furious grinder. The US does not have an appetite for huge casualty lists. We will not succeed. We cannot succeed with conventional warfare. 80 million people live in Iran, almost 40 million in Iraq. Is the plan to hold every citizen at gunpoint?

Remember, these two countries suffered at least a half million casualties in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. They have the will to die for their countries; I don’t think Americans have the will to die for Iraq. We don’t want to win a war there, while Iranians and Iraqis are fighting for their lives.

And most importantly, Khameini is right that we have made nations hate us. Increasing our involvement will only increase the hatred of every citizen in the region, and this latest step is going to alienate them further. We have no friends there; are we going to ask the Kurds to help us? Israel could declare their support to our face, but you know their diplomats and responsible politicians are all seething behind the scenes at the fact that America has stirred up the hornets’ nest.

Except, maybe, for the delusional ones, like our Republicans, who are thrilled with the idea of sending young men and women to die for their glory.

Local news » « War


  1. doubtthat says

    We will not succeed. We cannot succeed with conventional warfare.

    And, as from the beginning of all of this two decades ago, there is still no coherent description of “success” in this context. What would “winning” even look like?

  2. Chris J says


    “Winning” looks like every single individual who could ever pose a threat to US military interests being killed or turned into a puppet. I would have thought we had enough movies about scrappy underdogs overthrowing a fascist takeover to show that this goal isn’t ever actually attainable.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    I don’t think Americans have the will to die for Iraq.

    They don’t even have the will to drag their apathetic asses to the polls each election day.

  4. cartomancer says

    Didn’t the painted turd campaign on getting the US out of the Middle East and ending its interminable and unpopular involvement in that region? Didn’t he berate your most recent president for doing just this sort of thing?

    Surely this outburst will damage his credibility among those who voted for him on that premise?

  5. says

    @1 doubtthat

    Agreed. How many times did GWB declare victory in Iraq? And yet, we still have troops there almost 20 years later. The “Iraq War” lasted less than a year, but the ongoing occupation never ended. DJT just proved what most of us have been saying for years. He’s the bully on the playground. Mr. “Greatest Deal Maker Ever”, can’t cooperate to save his life. Unfortunately it’s not going to be his blood spilled in the desert.

  6. F.O. says

    @AndrewD #6
    That’s only more American exceptionalism.
    Each country behave in evil ways proportional to their power.

  7. =8)-DX says

    @AndrewD #6
    I mean it is a crappy place, but I’m pretty sure China and Russia are pulling off as much of this shit as they can get away with as well.

  8. says

    Actually right now the U.S. has about 5,000 troops in Iraq, not 1,000. They can probably protect themselves but that’s about all they can do. They are also capable of protecting the embassy but if a couple of thousand civilians try to storm it the result would be a massacre, which will not be a good look. And the Iraqi Parliament will almost certainly vote to expel them now, which will complicate the situation to say the least.

    This action was a tactic with no strategy. I don’t think the Administration has the least clue what’s going to happen next or what they will do about it.

  9. microraptor says

    cartomancer @4: He also campaigned on how Iran was a country full of evil Arabs that we needed to destroy.

  10. HidariMak says

    I think another concern is the Christian fundamentalist takeover of the Republican party, and how they’d see mushroom clouds rising over Israel as a reason to celebrate, and a sign of the 2nd coming of Christ. And which US ally would Iran and Iraq have easy targeting access to, especially after the toddler-in-chief made it much easier for Iran to acquire and weaponize uranium. To quote your previous president, “don’t boo, vote”.

  11. microraptor says

    Also, rather than pull out of the Middle East, I predict that the US will instead write a blank check on its national debt to send an unlimited number of cruise missiles and drone strikes at Iran. That’s the American Way.

  12. wzrd1 says

    @10, nail head, meet hammer. This administration entirely is clueless and indeed, there is ongoing discussions of possible dementia being a significant issue with its chief.

    @12, there is already noise among the fundies that Trump was groomed by god to frame things for Armageddon and the second coming. An odd view, considering their fundie messaging against “trying to force god’s hand”…

    @PZ, the object of warfare never is about who or how many is killed, it’s about making warfare so objectionably expensive to one side as to make any victory Pyrrhic at best, at worse, destructive to the entire society involved on the losing side.
    So, a few million men with AK-74’s are trivially countered by an EMP attack against a large power generation facility. That results in obscene expenses to repair or replace generators, transformers and also makes fulfilling ammunition requests problematic.
    That said, I’d prefer a plain, old fashioned cook-off and see who makes the tastier meal.

  13. consciousness razor says

    Their casualties will be enormous, but we only have about a thousand soldiers in Iraq. They will be overwhelmed. We can pour more men in, but they will only be meat for the furious grinder. The US does not have an appetite for huge casualty lists.

    But it’s not as if we want to move in or something. If we were like ordinary criminals, it would be something like a home invasion, where people are very likely to get hurt in the process, but the point is essentially to take all of their stuff.
    However, this is generally the kind of shit you see from Hannibal Lecter types. We’re delusional serial killers, murdering and destroying for no coherent reason at all. Of course, we do also steal lots of stuff, a few do profit from it, etc., but overall, there isn’t a clear motivation to talk about here. We don’t have one — it’s basically just “violence because we wanted violence.”

    We will not succeed. We cannot succeed with conventional warfare.

    The same question asked above: what is “success” in your book?
    I would say the most successful approach at this point would be to “lose” the wars we’ve been instigating all over the place, as soon as possible. We could definitely succeed in that sense (although I doubt it’s happening all that soon), and I’d be relatively okay with that.

    80 million people live in Iran, almost 40 million in Iraq. Is the plan to hold every citizen at gunpoint?

    That would be too risky, for the person holding the gun. Bombs/drones are much safer for us and much more harmful for them. Again, we didn’t want to send any of our citizens there anyway. We can get the death and destruction that people wanted, without having to bother.
    That is a war of attrition the US could win, if “we” ever felt like ending the constant warfare, instead of prolonging it indefinitely. That kind of thing doesn’t cost much in terms of casualties on “our” side (just trillions of dollars, which we have).
    If people think it buys them safety or freedom or whatever, they’ll keep paying that bill. Many pay more for their TV/internet/etc. subscriptions, and they know it’s mostly garbage. But safety or freedom or whatever? They think that crap is extremely important, so money is no object.
    On top of that, many don’t want to hear that, as a result, people aren’t actually more safe or more free or whatever the fuck our wars are supposed to accomplish. They just want to hear all the propaganda which tells them they’re one of the good guys who’ve been doing the right thing all along.

  14. raven says

    Xpost from last night’s War thread.
    We are in a really weak and precarious position in Iraq right now.
    We also have nothing to gain by starting another war of occupation with…Iraq.

    The current Iraq government is pretty shaky right now.
    They are Shia and lean towards Iran.

    If they turn against us, the USA is in a totally hopeless position.
    We know what it takes to occupy Iraq.
    Because we’ve done it once before and not too long ago.
    It takes at least 150,000 soldiers, on the order of a trillion dollars, a lot of dead people including Americans, and many years.

    And what do we gain for all that?
    Nothing much, an unstable country waiting to blow up again and again.
    Even the current US voter base and leadership can’t be that dumb.
    Or can they be?

  15. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness thread.

    Trump briefed Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and lickspittle Lindsey Graham ahead of the U.S. airstrike that killed Qassim Suleimani, but Trump did not brief Democrats.

    While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) railed against […] Trump for approving a fatal attack on Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani without consulting Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that he got a special early briefing while golfing with Trump in Florida.

    “I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida,” Graham said Friday morning on Fox and Friends. “I appreciate being brought into the orbit.” […]

    Graham was spotted golfing with Trump earlier this week at the President’s West Palm Beach golf club.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a member of the Gang of Eight, was not briefed on the attack before it happened, according to HuffPost. Pelosi is demanding a full congressional briefing before the administration makes any more moves.

    This isn’t the first time Trump opted not to prepare congressional leaders before a highly sensitive strike. In October, he told the Russians — but not congressional leadership — about plans of the raid that culminated in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He made a crack at the time insinuating that he didn’t want congressional leadership to leak details of the plan.

    Talking Points Memo link

    From Nancy Pelosi:

    The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region.

    From Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (a known liar, like Trump):

    I can’t talk too much about the nature of the threats but the American people should know that President Trump’s decision to remove Qasem Soleimani from the battlefield saved American live. No doubt about that. He was actively plotting in the region to take”‘big action,” as he described it, that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk. We know it was imminent. This was an intelligence-based assessment that drove our decision making process.

    From Joe Biden:

    This is a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region. […] Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.

    From Elizabeth Warren:

    Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.

    From Bernie Sanders:

    Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.

    Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.

  16. simonhadley says

    On a positive note, Trump may be the only person in the world who succeeds at bringing Iran and Iraq together in solidarity.

  17. says

    From Mark Sumner:

    The White House can declare that the Quds Force was a terrorist organization. It can label Qassem Soleimani a terrorist. But attempts to paint his assassination on Jan. 3 outside the Baghdad International Airport as just another takedown of a terrorist leader, no different from the elimination of Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or many others, founder on a single point: Soleimani, Major General Soleimani, was also the head of the Iranian armed forces and a major figure in the government of a foreign power.

    The operation to strike and kill Soleimani was planned days in advance. Donald Trump, along with everyone at the White House and Pentagon involved in the operation, was absolutely aware that this was an attack that risked involving the United States in a war against a country with the eighth largest official army on the planet. More than that: They had to be aware that the very thing they’ve accused Iran of again and again—the use of irregular forces around the globe to carry out military actions—meant that making the attack on Soleimani generated a threat to U.S. forces in Iraq, to American civilians everywhere in the Middle East, and to both American and allied assets around the world. […]


  18. doubtthat says

    Russia is evidently pretty pissed about this. So, is the pee tape the only thing that can save us from global war?

  19. says

    War Hawks on Fox News are celebrating:

    […] nowhere was that praise more effusive than on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

    “This is a huge victory for American intelligence, a huge victory for our military, a huge victory for the State Department, and a huge victory and total leadership by the president,” Hannity, who was off for the evening, declared on Thursday during a phone-in appearance. Hannity’s guest host for the night, former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), described the drone strike against Soleimani as measured and “proportional.”

    Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary under George W. Bush and a leading figure behind the 2003 drumbeat to war in Iraq, also appeared on Hannity, where he predicted that Iranians are likely welcoming Soleimani’s killing, even as Tehran vowed retaliation. “I think it is entirely possible that this is going to be a catalyst inside Iran where the people celebrate this killing of Soleimani,” Fleischer said.

    Oh, FFS. Ari Fleischer is delusional.

    […] While discussing the potential political and economic ramifications of Soleimani’s killing, Fox Business host Stuart Varney at one point appeared to suggest that impeachment proceedings against Trump should be halted. “Where does it leave impeachment? Varney asked. “Are we now going to try and impeach and remove from office the commander-in-chief who has just taken out one of the world’s leading terrorists?

  20. canadiansteve says

    This kind of assassination never ends well. That’s why it isn’t done and hasn’t been done in the past. This isn’t some non-governmental militia leader hiding out somewhere. Basically the US is saying it’s ok to assassinate members of foreign governments when they support militias you or your proxies are fighting. Under that logic there are a long list of countries that can assassinate any US military leader they see an opportunity to kill.
    The US won’t find much support among its traditional allies either. International law experts have already said it was an illegal assassination and while there may not be a lot that can be done about it directly, the long term effect will be that allies will not be there when you want them. In a weird sense this isn’t a bad thing from the isolationist factions in the US that are just fine with the idea that it should be the US vs the rest of the world.

  21. stroppy says

    @ 16 raven
    “Even the current US voter base and leadership can’t be that dumb.
    Or can they be?”
    See Lynna, OM @ 23
    “I think it is entirely possible that this is going to be a catalyst inside Iran where the people celebrate this killing of Soleimani,” Fleischer said.’

    Sound familiar? The stupid just keeps on burning.

  22. daved says

    I think Amanda Marcotte over at Salon has the right idea for analyzing this: consider how Trump figures it will either stroke his ego or boost his fortunes (be they political or financial). Nothing else really matters. He may expect a huge outpouring of support, a la Dubya on the Iraq invasion. I can’t see it; they partly sold Iraq by convincing their soft-headed followers that Iraq was somehow implicated in 9/11. Oh, sure, there’s a segment of chickenhawks like Graham who have been slavering for war with Iran (fought by someone else, of course) for years. But the country as a whole has no such impulse. And it’s not as though much of anyone knew who Soleimani was; we’re not talking Saddam Hussein here. (Hell, I didn’t know who he was, and I pay more attention to these things than the average person.) I really don’t see how this benefits Trump financially.

  23. stroppy says

    @27 daved

    daved, what the hell are you burbling about?

    Your personal incredulity doesn’t make for a convincing analysis.

  24. brightmoon says

    Trump wants to get re-elected so he starts a war because he thinks that will do it . Malignant narcissism writ large

  25. doubtthat says


    Agree 100% that this has to be viewed through Trump’s narcissism, but given the way he has unraveled (even more) over impeachment, I think the hawks (Pompeo, Cotton, Graham…) were finally able to sway him. I’m already seeing right wing sources demanding that impeachment end while we’re at war.

  26. says

    @#22, doubtthat

    Well, that, or else it turns out that — just as the author of the book Shattered suggested two and a half years ago (it’s a history of the Clinton campaign) — the frenzy to accuse Trump of being buddies with Putin has been overblown all along and motivated by the consultants on the Clinton campaign who didn’t want to accept the blame for her loss.

    @#18, Lynna, OM

    I find Joe Biden’s reaction to be as disgusting as Trump’s original action. Biden voted for the 2001 AUMF which is being used as the justification for doing this, for the Iraq war which created this situation, and although he was no longer in Congress when the repeated attempts to undo the AUMF were made, he was on the side of the party which stood against it and treated the people who wanted to do so as though they were idiots or children. For him to now try to pretend outrage is sort of an inverse version of The Little Red Hen: “I wrote the blank check, I created the opportunity for the bombing, I refused to cancel the blank check, you can have all the outrage when the blank check finally got used and caused untold horror.”

  27. says

    @consciousness razor #15

    Of course, we do also steal lots of stuff, a few do profit from it, etc., but overall, there isn’t a clear motivation to talk about here. We don’t have one — it’s basically just “violence because we wanted violence.”

    I’ve wondered about that. Is it possible that they simply don’t know what else to do with their power? Is this literally a failure of imagination?
    “Well, I’m the Big Guy now. Guess I’d better invade someone.”
    Is that it? Is that actually how the world works?

  28. says

    @#33, LykeX:

    For some of them, sure. But Henry Kissinger’s political philosophy can be summed up in two statements:

    The pursuit of power, as an end in itself, is legitimate.
    Power needs to be used to have meaning.

    (And now that you’ve read that, incidentally, you can skip reading the multi-hundred page bloviating pompous texts he wrote to justify his reputation as an “academic”. His books are basically those two sentences expanded into hundreds of thousands of words.)

    Kissinger has been the guiding spirit of US foreign policy since the 60s, and you can trace the influence of those two sentences through everything we have done in all that time. And now that he’s getting old, there’s a whole generation of politicians who are his acolytes, just like how in economics there are a whole generation of politicians who are Alan Greenspan’s acolytes. Party affiliation doesn’t matter — Hillary Clinton is a Kissinger believer, and received his praise for her performance as Secretary of State. (You know, the period when we invaded Libya, armed anybody at all in the mideast who said they would use the weapons against Assad, and said “fuck the Europeans” on the subject of the Ukraine.)

  29. says

    About 3,500 additional U.S. troops are now headed to the Mideast as Iran threatens retaliation. As expected. Sigh.

    […] The Pentagon said that it will deploy 3,500 additional troops to the Middle East after Iran vowed to exact “severe revenge” on the United States after a drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, one of the country’s top military figures, early Friday near the Baghdad airport.

    The targeted killing of Soleimani, a powerful figure among forces aligned with Iran’s Islamic Republic throughout the Middle East, increased tensions in the region and caused U.S. outposts and personnel to brace for retaliatory attacks. The attack also upset global markets and sent oil prices shooting upward. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad warned Americans in Iraq to leave “immediately.”

    Iranian militias allied with Iran had been harassing U.S. forces in Iraq over recent weeks, including one attack on a base that killed a U.S. contractor. The United States has said that Soleimani was killed as he was planning new attacks and that […] Trump ordered the attack. […]

    Washington Post link

    So far, no one, not one person in the Trump administration, has offered proof that Soleimani was planning new attacks, or that those attacks were “imminent” as Pompeo claimed. To be legal, such a assassination would have to be justified by proof of the imminent danger. There’s no proof. I think Trump and his lackeys are lying … or that they are, at best, exaggerating.

    Soleimani has been a threat for decades. Why now? The timing is suspect.

    No love from Russia:

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that a drone strike that killed senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was illegal and threatened Middle Eastern stability and peace.

    “Lavrov emphasized that the targeted actions of a UN member state to eliminate officials of another UN member state, moreover, in the territory of a third sovereign state without its knowledge, flagrantly violate the principles of international law and deserve to be condemned,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    “Moscow urges Washington to abandon the illegal power methods to achieve its goals in the international arena and solve any problems at the negotiating table,” the statement said.

    Washington Post link

  30. says

    This is a good summary statement:

    Mike Pompeo claims killing Soleimani made Americans safer, as his own department [the State Department] tells them to run.


    On Friday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was out to cheerlead in the wake of U.S. airstrikes that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The action, said Pompeo, was in response to “imminent threats to American lives”; however, Pompeo would not describe those threats and, as of 1:30 ET, has still not explained those threats to Congress.

    What Pompeo would say is, “The world is a much safer place today. I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer.” Which is why the State Department has just released a security alert saying, “Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region,” American citizens are urged to “depart Iraq immediately.” As an even greater example of safety, the instructions are to “depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land.“ Depart via airline while possible?

    Actually, it may have already been impossible by the time the bulletin was issued. Royal Jordanian Airlines announced early on Friday that it had stopped all service between Amman and Baghdad “in light of the security situation.” And Bahrain’s Gulf Air has also suspended all service to Baghdad “until further notice due to safety.” Taken together, that would be half of the regular daily flights into Baghdad International Airport. At the time of this writing, Qatar Airways and British Airways still have scheduled departures for Friday evening. For those not lucky enough to snag one of the remaining flights, the opportunity to escape “to other countries via land” means a several-hundred-mile journey to Jordan or Saudi Arabia, or about an 80-mile jaunt from Baghdad to Iran.

    For Americans who were thinking they might seek shelter at the embassy, think again. The State Department instructs that “U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.” Because that’s how much safer things are after Soleimani’s death.

    Pompeo also said that the assassination of Soleimani was an attempt to “de-escalate the situation.” So maybe it will all look better if it’s given a little time. A little patience. […]

    “We tell everyone be patient to see the dead bodies of Americans all over the Middle East,” says the new commander of the Iranian Quds Force Ismail Qaani.

  31. says

    More legal opinions:

    […] in order for this strike to be legal without congressional authorization, it would have to be in response to an imminent threat to the United States […]

    Based on the preponderance of evidence that I’ve seen and my own understanding of how Iran and Soleimani work, it’s rather unlikely that he was signing off on an operation that was immediately going to target Americans as he was driving back from the Baghdad airport for meetings. Now, that is my definition of imminent, but other experts will disagree.

    I’ll say this, though. Many of the people who have shaped our legal understanding of “imminent” over the years understood it to mean that the threat was unfolding right now and there’s no time to do anything other than to kill the person.

    The Soleimani killing doesn’t appear to meet that threshold. […]

    I am not so sure we can separate the legal discussion from the political discussion. We are, for better or worse, at a point where the majority of lawmakers have basically acquiesced to the administration’s interpretation of the law when it comes to war, and again, this goes back to the George W. Bush era. So if that’s the case, then eventually the law becomes whatever the current administration says it is. That’s where we are. […]

    there were several AUMFs but none of them, in any way, were directed at Iran. Each of them very clearly gave the executive branch the power to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and later, ISIS in Iraq. And in fact, Iran has been on our side in the fight against ISIS and the Taliban. So there’s just no plausible legal justification under which you could stretch any of the AUMFs to include an attack on an Iranian official. […]

    If the Iraqi government asked America to kill someone on its soil, and for whatever reason felt it was incapable of doing the job itself, then perhaps that’s permissible under domestic and international law. But simply having troops stationed in a country doesn’t give us blanket permission to kill anyone we feel like killing. And it’s also worth noting that Congress has approved a mission to fight ISIS in Iraq, not to kill Iranians. […]

    Neither Congress nor the Iraqi government authorized the administration to target Soleimani. […]


  32. unclefrogy says

    Putin is smart enough to know he can not control all aspects of his opponents action or every reaction that results. His opponents are the organized and allied countries of Europe and their allies around the world including the U.S.
    he is well along the way to breaking up the economic block of Europe He does remember what happened to the old Soviet empire when it was bogged down in Afghanistan. he is playing the long game and having the erratic Donald and the born-again conservatives in “control” serves the ends of disorganizing his opposition world wide.
    He makes a show of disapproving of the U.S. action against a friendly country of his while he watches the U.S. double down on middle-east disaster with more war.
    we do not have the trillions of dollars it will take what we do have for now is credit so we can borrow some more money. What will we be able to do when the next economic “downturn” occurs, the worry for the last year is that it is very close. Chaos is good if you want to be king of the world.
    uncle frogy

  33. says

    From Matt Yglesias:

    […] Trump is a deeply dishonest person.

    Since long before he was a politician, he’s lied frequently and even written in multiple books about his profound belief in the value of lying as a means to get ahead. And he’s good at it. After his Atlantic City casinos went bust, he successfully duped a bunch of mom-and-pop equity investors out of their money to get out of debt and had them pay him a salary for the privilege. He then got himself elected president and immediately started bullshitting about everything from the size of his inaugural crowds to the way NATO works to Chinese currency manipulation. […]

    Part of Trump lying about everything is that he frequently says things specifically about Iran that are not true…. Trump, from time to time, even lies about his own past statements on Iran, spending one day last September complaining that the media reported he’d said he was willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions when he clearly said in both an interview with Chuck Todd and a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that he was willing to meet without preconditions.

    The point is that the probative value of a Trump statement about Iran is, to be generous, roughly zero. And Pompeo is no better…. Pompeo, too, engages in routine misstatements about Iran specifically, including lies about Iranian nuclear research.

    This is important both because Pompeo has become the public face of the administration on this issue, and because though Pompeo does not engage in the range of dishonest statements that Trump does, his more focused dishonesty does include the policy topic at hand. […]


    More at the link.

  34. lotharloo says

    War in America has become a business, private companies profit from war and donate a small percentage of that income as brides .. I mean campaign donations to hire politicians to create more wars. Politicians also like wars, since wars make them look so cool and strong and so … fucking presidential.

  35. anchor says

    Besides its usefulness in political misdirection, never underestimate the incentive of ‘winning big’ in that other ‘game’ on both the national and international stage which has called the shots of most every conflict, especially since WWII:


    The prospect of making a big killing anonymously in the arms industries is reliably profitable and apparently risk-free. Wealthy investors don’t give much of a shit about any of those other things as long as they get their take. They need to maintain and add to their private jets and yachts, ya know.

  36. garysturgess says

    The thing I don’t get – Soleimani isn’t a superhero. The Iranian military doesn’t all report directly to him. Presumably any such imminent threat would be known to and developed by several high level Iranian officials. Killing the current guy-in-charge doesn’t make any threats go away unless he was planning to personally carry them out and there is no other Iranian willing and able to take his place – which, unless that drone was packing Kryptonite and Soleimani had heat vision, seems absurd to me.

    The only way this has a chance of ending those immiment threats is if the US believes, in defiance of the fact that it has itself engaged in a War on Terrorism for decades, that terrorist attacks actually achieve their goals. If anyone seriously believed that Iran’s response ought to be a wake up call.

  37. KG says

    Tried and apparently failed to post this on the Political Madness thread.
    A deliberate snub in response to Johnson sniggering about Trump at the NATO meeting, or does Johnson just not enter Trump’s mind?:

    It has been reported that Boris Johnson, who has been celebrating the new year on the private Caribbean island of Mustique, was unaware that the attack was due. The prime minister made no immediate comment.

    The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, known as a Brexit hardliner, has urged de-escalation on both sides. But if Trump gets into a war with Iran, he and Johnson will face a crisis far beyond their experience, and in my view, their competence. Along with “Geting Brexit done”.

  38. jrkrideau says

    @ 44 garysturgess
    The thing I don’t get – Soleimani isn’t a superhero. The Iranian military doesn’t all report directly to him.

    You know it, I know it. The intended audience, the US public does not. My guess is if anything they see the word “militia” and think of some ragtag troops hiding in caves and carrying out the occasional terrorist attack on US forces.

    They do not see a highly professional military force {Iran’s Quds Force of the
    Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)} and a very senior and admired Iranian strategist who contributed very highly to the defeat of ISIS.

  39. stroppy says

    “I think it is entirely possible that this is going to be a catalyst inside Iran where the people celebrate this killing of Soleimani,” Fleischer said.’

    (As you might expect, the comments are disgusting.)

  40. KG says

    Extraordinarily, Johnson has remained silent and on holiday following the assassination of Soleimani. Almost before he’s got his feet under the table, he’s faced with a crisis right outside his experience, and I’d say, his competence. Various Tory ministers have been urging restraint on both sides, but the events reveal starkly how little the UK and Johnson count for in Washington.

  41. Jazzlet says

    Pierce R Butler @#50
    I didn’t think that had stopped happening since it started after we intercepted that oil tanker at Gibralter and they intercepted an (?)Italian one a few months back. But BJ is famous for lying and say promising the NHS £50 million extra, only it turns out that £30 million of that isn’t extra money at all, so perhaps he means the ships that are already there.