The Abu Sayyaf assassination has turned into a genuine mystery. We will return to that topic soon enough. In the meantime, let's look at a few other noteworthy items...
GOP candidates embrace Obama's foreign policy while pretending to attack it.
Yes, they do
assail Obama's policies, but their criticisms are ridiculous. They don't disagree with Obama's overall goals; they say that Obama has been insufficiently monstrous in his pursuit of neoconservativism. Example:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum's answer for handling Iran, one of four countries on the U.S. list of nations accused of repeatedly supporting global terrorism, was to "load up our bombers and bomb them back to the seventh century."
Earlier in the day, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush praised U.S. commandos who had reportedly killed the IS leader, described as the head of oil operations for IS. Bush gave no credit to Obama, whom Bush accused of allowing the rise of IS by pulling back U.S. forces from Iraq.
"It's a great day, but it's not a strategy," Bush told reporters in eastern Iowa.
Santorum is simply a subhuman brute, and there is no reason to counter his ape-like howlings. But Bush's bizarre statement must not go unchallenged.
ISIS rose up not because Obama withdrew from Iraq, but because the jihadis received funding and aid from our buddies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. I cannot believe that those countries created ISIS against our wishes. ISIS functions as our proxy army, fighting the kind of fight desired by thugs like Rick Santorum.
For the same reason, we have been quietly aiding Al Qaeda (now called the Nusra front) in Syria.
It is true that the US did not expect ISIS to veer into Iraq. The jihadis went into that country because a power vacuum created an opportunity. The person who made that country so unstable was not Obama but Jeb Bush's idiot brother. The invasion, not the belated pull-out, is what set the stage for the rise of religious extremism.
If there were any kind of true democracy in this country, one would expect the Republicans to scream: "Obama is helping Al Qaeda and ISIS come to power in Syria!"
That would be a powerful line of attack. That strategy would insure a GOP win in 2016.
But no. The Republicans won't say that. They would rather lose the election than tell the truth about what's going on in Syria. What does that fact tell you about modern America?
And that brings us to...
The right attacks Hillary from the left.
I'm glad that the NYT wrote about this
. It is not surprising to see right-wing front groups use social media to foment distrust of Hillary Clinton. But it is
surprising to see Republicans do so while pretending to be Elizabeth Warren supporters.
Hillary is a legitimate target for progressive criticism. But an inauthentic
critique is pure deviousness, and always to be condemned.
Even when they play the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing game, the Republicans won't slam Hillary for her neoconservative foreign policies. The GOP wants to maintain the bipartisan consensus on neoconservativism -- and they will do nothing to endanger that consensus, even when doing so might give them a tactical advantage.
And that brings us to...
Hersh and Osama.
Several substantive new pieces look at the Hersh version of Osama Bin Laden's death. Jon Schwarz
in The Intercept notes that Politico published a critique by CIA spokesman Bill Harlow without bothering to mention Harlow's record of deception.
In 2003, Harlow himself participated in a massive conspiracy to lie to you about Iraq’s purported WMD. Indeed, he personally engaged in some of most egregious government dishonesty on the issue when he blatantly lied about a Newsweek story published just before the war that strongly suggested Iraq had no remaining banned weapons. Since leaving the CIA, Harlow has co-written three books with former top CIA officials, all of which defend the agency’s use of torture, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently accused Harlow of making “false charges” about the Senate’s torture investigation.
Harlow exemplifies the reasons why so many Americans feel that they cannot trust their government.
Neither can we trust our media. Both Pando
and the Columbia Journalism Review
have offered excellent overviews of mainstream journalism's deceptive attacks on Hersh.
You will also want to check out John Gardner's piece on "The Bin Laden Murder Mystery," published a few days ago in The Consortium
. Gardner doesn't believe in the Hersh scenario, but he also doesn't believe in the official story.
To his credit, Gardner does not feel obligated to concoct a theory as to what really happened. He simply does not buy any of the stories we have heard so far.
Gardner correctly feels that Pakistan must have known about where Bin Laden was staying, and he believes that the Pakistani military must have colluded in the raid itself. Moreover, nothing about the "burial at sea" story adds up. Why no video? Why no photos? Why no first-hand testimony?
Here's why Gardner thinks that the Hersh version is as problematical as the White House version...
Why would senior Pakistani ISI officials possibly permit their obvious collaboration be exposed by having U.S. Navy Seals pull off such an improbable stunt that would render their purported lack of involvement implausible?
And, more: Why would they possibly concoct, as Hersh says they and the U.S. government did, a cover story that Bin Ladin was killed by an American drone strike somewhere in Waziristan? Why not simply take him to Waziristan, leave his dead body, let Americans know the coordinates, and have the real smash-and-grab take place there?
I don't know what actually occurred, but it seems clear that there was a lot of last-minute improvisation. The US and the Pakistanis simply did not have their shit together.
To be honest, I've seen no proof that Bin Laden was killed at all.
There were other people in that household; they were whisked away by the ISI. I understand that they were sent off to Saudi Arabia. Why have none of the witnesses been interviewed?
read any "I saw what really happened" accounts?