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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wrong on Syria. Plus: A "Warren Commission" for America's race issues?

I've spoken highly of Brent Budovsky in previous posts, but he's wrong -- or at least partially wrong -- here.
Let me clearly state my dissent from key aspects of the policy that exists today. The way the policy is currently constructed — employing substantial air power without sufficient ground capabilities while pressuring the Free Syrian Army to refrain from pursuing its primary goal of removing Bashar Assad as the murderous dictator of Syria, and offering the Free Syrian Army support that is too little, too late and too slow to implement — will have two very negative consequences.

First, the current policy will not and cannot defeat or destroy ISIS and will not and cannot destroy the terrorist super-state that ISIS is well on the road to creating. Air power alone cannot accomplish this mission. If the mission is not accomplished, the danger of terror attacks against the United States and Europe will ultimately come to fruition.

Second, the current policy will preserve and actually help Assad remain in power. As we direct our attacks against ISIS, Assad will direct his attacks against the Free Syrian Army that our current policy will not materially help for another year.
Removing Assad from power can only strengthen ISIS, and will probably give ISIS control of the government in Damascus. The only way to defeat ISIS without involving a whole lot of American troops is to aid the troops already there -- the ones loyal to Bashar Assad.

The embedded video from "StormCloudsGathering" is more honest. I still don't know who makes these videos, but this one is pretty damned hip.

On another topic: What the hell are we to make of Nicholas Kristoff's recent exercise in absurdity?
We feud about the fires in Ferguson, Mo., and we can agree only that racial divisions remain raw. So let’s borrow a page from South Africa and impanel a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine race in America.

The model should be the 9/11 commission or the Warren Commission on President Kennedy’s assassination, and it should hold televised hearings and issue a report to help us understand ourselves. Perhaps it could be led by the likes of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and Oprah Winfrey.
I must presume that Kristoff was trying to be funny in that last sentence.

Of course, the Warren Commission did not hold televised hearings. It relied on investigations conducted by J.Edgar Hoover of the FBI and James Jesus Angleton of the CIA, both whom (we now know) were nuttier than a jar of Peter Pan. (Angleton, whose role was not divulged until many years later, took over for a fellow named John Whitten, who was doing an honest job and thus had to go.) The leading Commission member was Allen Dulles, who was not nutty, but who was One Evil Fuck. The final Report was disbelieved by most Americans, including most members of the Kennedy family.

And now Kristoff seriously wants us to think that the way to solve racial problems in America is to launch a similar investigation led by Mr. Malapropism himself, George Dubya Bush.


Then again, maybe that spectacle is precisely what this country needs. A few good guffaws might diffuse the tension.

When I was a kid, Mad Magazine published a parody version of Live and Let Die. In one scene, James Bond visits a bar in Harlem and tries to blend in: "I say! How about that Hank Aaron? He certainly is a credit to his race!"

The Dubya Commission will no doubt provide many similar moments. It'll be hilarious!
That's what your racial problems need: a white-wash.
The Mad Magazine scene in the Harlem bar found its inspiration from an old bit by Lenny Bruce called "How To Relax Your Colored Friends At Parties".
Yeah, bring on the "Truth" commission. Maybe they can explain why almost all the fires were on one street that was devoid of protesters but filled with military mercenaries who were caught on tape setting a car on fire next to an unbreached building that was burned to a shell.

Anonymous needs to step up their game and hack the footage into national news during prime time.
Kristoff exemplifies what happens you take a normally bright and intelligent person and put him into solitary confinement 4' x 8' room with no lights and little room to move – they start babbling gobbledygook. Except his appears in print on the pages of the NY Times. He needs to strike out on his own and rejoin the ranks of professional journalsim before he completely loses his mind working as a tightly tethered propaganda watch dog.

Woof Woof...
Brent Budovsky is another one of pundits who understand domestic politics and economic issues, but when turning their attention to foreign affairs demonstrate their lack of depth by reflexively taking up the usual Imperial narrative. It's a requirement of the job and those who fail this obligation will not be taken seriously.
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