Saturday, September 07, 2013







At the Washington Post today, conservative Michelle Bernard tries (and fails) to make a coherent case for war on Syria.  Her prop of choice?  Iraqi women.  Bernard's part of the cheap trash who ignore Iraqi women.  The women of Iraq suffer and they suffer without any help from world government's so Bernard's lies aren't needed.  She insists that women are suffering in Syria.  It's similar to the propaganda Women's Media Center -- in the roll out for war that Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and Jane Fonda all hope you never call them on -- was featuring a few months back.  That shouldn't surprise you.

When The Brides of War enlist to become love slaves of Barack, they run to Lauren Wolfe for information.  The hustler also works for The Atlantic.  She specializes in "OHMYGOD!WOMENAREBEINGKILLEDSOMEWHEREANDIMUSTANDWILLSTOPIT!"

Here's some information for all the tricked out sex slaves in the nunnery of St. Barack: War kills.

War kills indiscriminately.  There is no 'precision' in war.  It is bloody, it is messy and it is deadly.

Do women suffer during war?

Yes, children they do.  In The War Against Women, the late Marilyn French established this with a historical overview of war and how it functions alongside the patriarchy, how the domination sought in war is also sought in society.

I realize this is new ground for Michelle Bernard.   And probably for the idiot Lauren Wolfe.

Bernard wants you to know that, in 2003, shortly after the start of the Iraq War, she actually managed to chat with a few Iraqi women in DC who had been brought in, by the Bully Boy Bush administration, to speak to Congress.  Guess what they told Bernard?  They wished the war had started sooner!  Isn't it shocking?  Iraqi women, as the war had just started, would be flown to the US to lobby Congress and they supported the war!  Well case closed, yet again!

But before Bernard does her victory lap, let's all grasp that the women were propaganda tools of the White House -- which is why they were able to travel to the US to begin with.

And let's further grasp what Michelle Bernard doesn't grasp or won't tell you.

The year is 2013.  Michelle insists that Iraqi women told her they were better off due to war ("What took you so long!" she quotes one Iraqi saying) so the US should attack Syria.

What's she leaving out?

How about today?

How about the effects of ten years of war on Iraq and, yes, on Iraqi women?  Let's start with Wednesday's snapshot:

And in southern Baghdad, NINA reports:
Police source told NINA that an improvised explosive device, emplaced near women beauty salon in Shurta neighborhood, went off wounding the salon's owner and three other civilians, happened to be nearby, as well as causing damages to the salon.

That attack is very important. al Qaeda may or may not be responsible for that attack but for years they have launched attacks in that area.  The attack, if carried out by al Qaeda, may have been an attack on business or anything.  But the best guess is it being an attack on women who refuse to live in Iraq as though Iraq is Afghanistan.

That attack was and remains important but no western news outlet treated it as such.  No one filed a report on it.  As always when women are the intended targets, the press looked the other way.  In fact, the only time the western press tends to note women dying is when they can (accurately or inaccurately) label them a prostitute.  Zainab Salbi founded Women for Women International.  Last March, she wrote a column for CNN on the status of women in Iraq:

On the political front, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not appointed a single woman to a senior cabinet position, despite the fact women are guaranteed 25% of the seats in parliament by the constitution. The Ministry of Women's Affairs, a poorly-funded and mostly ceremonial department, is the lone ministry headed up by a woman.

 Constitutionally, women were able to secure the ability to pass their citizenship on to their children by non-Iraqi husbands, making Iraq one of a handful Arab countries with such a provision for their female citizens.

But on the other hand, women are no longer guaranteed equal treatment under one law in terms of marriage, divorce, inheritance and custody. That law, the Family Statutes Law, has been replaced one giving religious and tribal leaders the power to regulate family affairs in the areas they rule in accordance with their interpretation of religious laws.

This not only is making women more vulnerable, it is giving women from various sects (Sunni or Shia) or religion (Muslim or Christian) different legal treatments on the same issues.

 Economically, women have gone from being visibly active in the Iraqi work force in the 1980s -- particularly in the farming, marketing and professional services sectors -- to being nearly non-existent in 2013.

The women who could afford it withdrew from the public space due the violence dominating the streets. 10 years ago Iraq produced much of its own food and had a productive industrial sector -- but now Iraq imports practically all of its food, and farmers and factory workers simply found themselves out of a job as industry ground to a halt. And while both women and men suffered as a result, the impact on women was greater due to their limited mobility in the face of poor security.

 Violence against women -- and the lack of legal protection for women -- is also on the rise. Women's rights groups blame the increase in violence on the social and economic pressure that families face, the lack of public and political will to stop it, and the increase religious conservatism that often justifies the violence.

 MADRE's Yifat Susskind and Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq's Yanar Mohammed wrote a column on the status of women in Iraq this year as well:

If you talk to women in war zones anywhere, they’ll tell you that domestic violence increases in war-time. But in Iraq, violence against women has also been systematic. And unknown to most Americans, it has been orchestrated by some of the very forces that the US boosted to power.
Like religious fundamentalists everywhere, these sectarian militias and clerics have a social vision for their country that depends on subjugating women. But because the US wagered that they could deliver stability, these men were cultivated as allies in Iraq. As we now know, they never even got the stability they traded women’s rights for.
The dynamic was clearly at work in the drafting of Iraq’s constitution, heavily brokered by the US. To pass it, the US needed support from Islamist parties. They got it by trading away women’s rights. In fact, the current constitution is a huge step backwards for Iraqi women. It replaces one of the Middle East’s most expansive laws on the status of women, dating from 1959, with separate and unequal laws on the basis of sex. They subjected Iraqi women to a newly introduced Sharia law promoted in an article in the new constitution.

So the ridiculous Michelle doesn't just remain a groupie in the Cult of St. Barack,  she's also a dumb liar who thinks she can trick America into supporting war on Syria by insisting war was what Iraqi women wanted and it made their lives better.  And Women's Media Center -- Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and Jane Fonda -- need to be called out for entering into the dangerous relationship with Lauren Wolfe.  You'd think Gloria would especially avoid that relationship which makes it appear that Women's Media Center is nothing but a government propaganda outlet -- she will never escape working for the CIA in college or the rumors that she continued working for them after college.  I do not believe she worked for them after college.  She would deny the "working for" in college but she received rewards and she did their work, including reporting back afterwards -- a detail that she bragged about repeatedly in the 60s -- check the articles from that era -- but rewrote history a decade later when the Red Stockings went public with Gloria's CIA work.  For those unfamiliar with the charges, post-college, a sort of diagram is drawn of Gloria with various CIA and CIA-linked figures.  The Red Stockings felt that feminism was being watered down in the seventies and felt Gloria had a great deal to do with it.  They began digging around and found Gloria's college CIA link.  They raised the issue publicly and it was in all of the feminist press of the era except Ms. magazine (which Gloria controlled -- though one of the charges was that Ms. was a CIA front).  Gloria ignored the charges and people began lying for Gloria.  When she finally answered the charges, after Betty Friedan had helped publicize them, she suddenly never knew it was a CIA front funding her travel until after the fact.  And the media was kind to Gloria and ran with that crap without questioning it.  The same MSM printed articles in the 60s where Gloria bragged about her work for the CIA in that era, portraying herself as some sort of Agent 99.

It's very telling that Gloria, Jane and Robin would fund a Syrian project (Wolfe's) to begin with.  Feminists should be focused on Iraq where women's rights and status suffered a tremendous blow.  You want to speak out against war, how about you chronicle the effects war has had on the lives of Iraqi women.  Instead, they've funded alarmist propaganda which, no surprise, is now being used to argue war.

Gloria, Jane and Robin are you really that stupid?  (Answer: Yes, they apparently are.)

Gloria, Jane and Robin are silent on Syria.  They won't decry an attack on it and they have funded a propaganda mill whose intent is to force action.  What's going on here?

Three elderly women have made it their goal to cure male impotency.

At the heart of the arguments for an attack on Syria is the male impotency.  Scott Lemieux (American Prospect) notes today, "At bottom, as James Fallows notes, the case for action against Syria is based on the same logical error as too many foreign-policy disasters past: we have to "do something," and military action is ... something."  That feeling of powerlessness, that heaven forbid, even men might have to feel.  Instead of telling the Peter Pans of the world to go with it, explore it, grasp it and become better humans as a result, the elderly Wendys of Jane, Robin and Gloria intend to hover the beds in the nursery at night ensuring ejaculation, no limp noodles on their watch.

There is not a need to do anything.  Syria has a civil war.  Now Spain had a civil war (1936 to 1939) and the US government stayed out of it.  Many of those Americans back then who had a side in that war traveled to Spain and fought.  That's certainly an option for Nicholas Kristof and the other saggy penises.   600,000 deaths is considered a conservative estimate of the death tollYou can also review these stats offered by PBS for the American civil war

PHIL DONAHUE: Well, I'm pleased to have this chance to chat with you for a lot of reasons. One, I don’t know who else has more cred than you.
What would a 23-year graduate of West Point offer us now regarding the dilemma in which Obama finds himself, regarding Syria?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I mean, if I could have five minutes of the president's time, I'd say, "Mr. President, the issue really is not Syria. I mean, you're being told that it's Syria. You're being told you have to do something about Syria, that you have to make a decision about Syria. That somehow your credibility is on the line."
But I'd say, "Mr. President, that's not true. The issue really here is whether or not an effort over the course of several decades, dating back to the promulgation of the Carter Doctrine in 1980, an effort that extends over several decades to employ American power, military power, overt, covert military power exercise through proxies, an effort to use military power to somehow stabilize or fix or liberate or transform the greater Middle East hasn't worked.
“And if you think back to 1980, and just sort of tick off the number of military enterprises that we have been engaged in that part of the world, large and small, you know, Beirut, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and on and on, and ask yourself, 'What have we got done? What have we achieved? Is the region becoming more stable? Is it becoming more Democratic? Are we enhancing America's standing in the eyes of the people of the Islamic world?'
"The answers are, 'No, no, and no.' So why, Mr. President, do you think that initiating yet another war, 'cause if we bomb Syria, it's a war, why do you think that initiating yet another war in this protracted enterprise is going to produce a different outcome? Wouldn't it be perhaps wise to ask ourselves if this militarized approach to the region maybe is a fool’s errand.
"Maybe it's fundamentally misguided. Maybe the questions are not tactical and operational, but strategic and political." You know, I have to say, I'm just struck by the fact that Secretary of State Kerry has become the leading proponent for war. It's our secretary of state's job apparently--

PHIL DONAHUE: He threw his medal-- he threw his medals back.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, that's why it's doubly ironic. 'Cause the Secretary of State is the war promoter. And that our secretary of state happens to be a guy who came into politics basically advertising himself as the guy who because of his--

PHIL DONAHUE: Understands war?

ANDREW BACEVICH: --Vietnam experiences, understands war, understands the lessons of Vietnam, and is therefore going to prevent us from doing dumb things. On the contrary, he's the lead cheerleader to go through another dumb thing.

PHIL DONAHUE: President Obama would say to you, "These are children being grossly and painfully killed."


PHIL DONAHUE: "How can you watch these videos with the foam coming out of the nostrils. And we've got to do something."

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, the attack is a heinous act. Now does the fact that they were killed with chemicals make it more heinous than if they were killed with conventional ammunitions? I'm not persuaded.
 I mean, I think the issue, one of the issues here, to the extent that moral considerations drive US policy, and I would say as a practical matter they don't, but let's pretend that they do to the extent that moral considerations drive US policy, there's a couple of questions to ask. One would be, "Why here and not someplace else?"
I mean, just weeks earlier, the Egyptian Army killed many hundreds of innocent Egyptians. And we sort of shook our finger at Egypt a little bit, but didn't do anything. So why act in Syria? Why not act in Egypt? I think that that needs to be sort of, that needs to be clarified.
And the other question will be, "Well, if our concerns are humanitarian, why is waging war the best means to advance a humanitarian agenda?" If indeed US policy is informed by concern for the people of Syria, let's just pretend that's the case even though I don't think it is. If it's informed by concern for the people of Syria, why is peppering Damascus with cruise missiles the best way to demonstrate that concern?
I mean, a little bit of creative statesmanship it seems to me might say that there are other things we could do that would actually benefit the people of Syria, who are suffering greatly, who are fleeing their country in the hundreds of thousands. Who are living in wretched refugee camps. Why don't we do something about that? Why wouldn't that be a better thing to do from a moral perspective than bombing Damascus?

RECOMMENDED:  "Iraq snapshot"
"US said to be targets in Iraq"
"New revelations on Barack's illegal spying"
"Corn Quesadillas in the Kitchen"
"Barack is the date you hate"
"The endless selling of war on Syria"
"Is the C.I.A. lying?"
"He keeps selling war (plus Janis Ian news)"
"Barack and his lies of war"
"War Criminals"
"Humanitarian intervention and other lies"
"He's going to speak again"

Friday, September 06, 2013









US President Barack Obama wants war on Syria.  It's wrong for many reasons.  One that no one seems to be raising is cost.  The authorization the White House wants from Congress -- passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- does not prohibit "boots on the ground."  Secretary of State John Kerry had a meltdown over 'no boots on the ground' being in the authorization during the Senate committee's hearing on Tuesday.  He also spoke in terms of actions additional to a 'precision strike' which is why it is a 90 day authorization that Barack's enablers have passed.  It has not passed the Senate, it has not passed the House.  Judging from complaints to the public e-mail account, either local anchors across the country are really stupid or they're being intentionally stupid to imply it's a done deal.  All that being voted out of Committee does is send it to the Senate floor for a vote.  Being voted out of Committee does not change a bill into a law.  Jason Ditz's Antiwar piece that just went up may make that clearer.  Opening sentence: "After yesterday’s 10-7 committee vote set the stage for a tight vote in the Senate about the Syrian War, the issue may end up entirely academic, as ABC News is the first to call it, and based on the public comments the war is headed for a defeat in the House of Representatives."

Many are noting the lack of restrictions to the authorization Barack Obama wants. (See Jason Ditz' "Senate Committee Approves Loophole-Ridden Syria War Resolution" at  Who's going to point out the blank check aspect?  Congress controls the purse.  The measure the White House wants and that the Senate committee passed is a blank check and isn't the US supposed to be in the midst of a fiscal crisis?

You've not only got the failed economy, you've also got sequestration.  Across the board cuts.

So why is the US Congress being asked to authorize any new action without such an action having a clear and public price tag?

The US economy remains in the toilet, services are being cut (further cut) across the country and more cuts are due to come shortly and on top of this outstanding (unpaid) bill, Barack wants to toss on military actions when there is no threat to Syria?

And the White House will not return to extend the 90 day authorization.  It will just plow on through if it feels the need.  Meaning ten years from now someone may write a letter to the Seattle Times' editors on the money spent on the Syrian War the way Kathy Swoyer writes them now:

Today in Iraq, 10 years later, countless lives --  military and civilian--  have been and continue to be lost, hundreds of millions of our tax dollars were spent, and Shiite/Sunni violence is rearing up again. Al-Qaida terrorism is now robust.
What, exactly, have we gained?

The biggest threat to the US economy has been and remains Barack Obama.

He now wants to turn that destructive force on Syria.

The years long effort for war on Syria has already run up a large tab -- in money and resources.  In resources, you have John Kerry and the State Department spending 2012 and this year attempting to persuade foreign countries into supporting war and pressuring them to cut off ties to Syria.

That has a huge cost.  Might life be better for the Iraqi people if high-profile US visits to Iraq in the last two years had been about the needs of the Iraqi people and not the US government's need for war with Syria?  And what was Nouri given to make him announce (briefly) that they would stop flights from Iran to Syria?

If diplomacy had been used for humanitarian reasons, then high-profile US visits would have been about wrongful imprisonments, the need to stop torturing, the need to stop shooting at Iraqis taking part in a sit-in and, at the very least, the need to provide the people with basic public services (electricity, potable water, etc.).

A lot of liars in Congress and in the press want to insist attacking Syria would be a "humanitarian action."  They ignore the reality of what they're demanding.  As Steve Chapman (Chicago Tribune) observes, "It may look antiseptic from Washington, but only because the Syrians have no means to respond [to an attack] in kind.  But to anyone in Syria, there will be no doubt that we are waging war."  Activist, author and candidate for governor in California Cindy Sheehan weighs in on these 'humanitarian concerns'  at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox:

Now, Obama and Pelosi want to kill Syrian children so their government doesn’t kill them? I don't want the Syrian government or US supported rebels to kill anyone, but I am sure that dying by a US made and launched missile is much more compassionate than any other way? Obviously the “problem” that the US has, is not that it loves children so much, but that it’s Murder, Inc and wants a global monopoly on carnage.
 To me, and many others who really pay attention to needs of children, what is urgent is for the US to stop all its wars that harm families all over the world, even here. Why do you think our economy is tanking and the social safety nets are being greatly reduced or eliminated? Our overwhelming monetary and psycho investment in the military industrial complex!

FYI, Cindy's campaign site is here.  If  the liars in Congress and the press have are so concerned about 'humanitarian' intervention in Syria, why have they expressed no humanitarian concerns about Iraq?

KUNA reports the European Union's High Representative Catherine Ashton issued a statement condemning Tuesday's attacks in Iraq.  Her statement in full [PDF format warning] can be found here:

I condemn in the strongest terms the series of car bombings that killed many civilians on Tuesday in predominantly Shia districts of Baghdad.  My thoughts go out to the many innocent victims and I express my condolences to their families.
I am seriously concerned by the escalation of violence in Iraq over the past months which is fueling sectarianism and undermining the stability of the country.  I call on all political, religious and community leaders to increase their efforts to end this dangerous cycle of vilence.  I am confident that the Iraqi people will remain steadfast in their rejection of sectarian violence and work towards a successful transition to democracy and long term stability for the benefit of all of Iraq's citizens.

The US government has nothing to say about Tuesday's attacks which killed 87 people (Iraq Body Count tally).  It rarely has anything to say about anything to do with Iraq.  Yes, Sunday, they did issue the following:

Press Statement

Marie Harf
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

September 1, 2013

The United States strongly condemns the terrible events that took place at Camp Ashraf today, which according to various reports resulted in the deaths of and injuries to numerous camp residents. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims and those who were injured in today’s violence.
We are deeply concerned about these reports and are in regular contact with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), as well as Government of Iraq officials. We support UNAMI's efforts to conduct its own assessment of the situation and call on the Government of Iraq to fully support those efforts.

We further call on Iraqi authorities to act with urgency to immediately ensure medical assistance to the wounded and to secure the camp against any further violence or harm to the residents. We underscore the responsibility of the Government of Iraq and all relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety and security of residents at both Camp Ashraf and Camp Hurriyah, and we affirm the call by UNAMI for a full and independent investigation into this terrible and tragic event. Those found to be responsible must be held fully accountable.

But before you applaud them, that's idiotic.

All the ones arguing humanitarian grounds for Syria -- including the ridiculous US House Rep Debbie Wasserman-Schultz with her "as a Jew" statement -- need to ask where is the humanitarian concern for the Ashraf community?

The United States could actually put more boots on the ground in Iraq as a result of that attack.  International law would allow that (some legal scholars would argue that international law compels it).

I must have missed Debs Wasserman weighing in on the attack, "as a Jew," right?

Adam Schreck (AP) reported Tuesday that the United Nations just confirmed the deaths of 52 Ashraf residents.  Al Mada noted Monday that Nouri's declared he should be over the Iraqi investigation since he's commander-in-chief.  And that's exactly why he shouldn't be over it.  Tuesday, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq issued a statement which included:

 Reiterating his previous statement, the UN Envoy expressed his outrage at the brutal killing of the camp’s residents. Mr. Busztin took note of the statement issued by the Government of Iraq announcing it has initiated its own investigation into the tragic events and acknowledging its responsibility for the safety of the camp’s residents. “I call on the Iraqi government to ensure that a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into this atrocious crime is conducted without delay and that the results of the investigation are made public”, he said.

Deb Wasserman may not grasp the basics so let's review slowly.

Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of this year, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."

"As a Jew," Debbie Wasserman, shouldn't attacks on encampments of persons alarm you?  Attacks carried out by government forces?  Shouldn't that bother you?  Or do use Nazi Germany allusions as rarely as you use soap and water?  There is no oil crisis, we need only figure out how to tap into all the oil on Debbie's face and in her hair and the term "energy crisis" will be a relic of the past.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Message to the Media: Stop Whoring"
"Pope calls for peace talks"
"Saying no to war on Syria"
"Barack and Pelosi's Syria Lust"
"Again with Lindorff and the Orange Tabby"
"again on fonda"
"Stop the attack on Syria"
"Barack, stop using my tax dollars to fund al Qaeda"
"The press sells the war"
"Does Winona Ryder have a classic film?"
"The Joan Rivers Presidency"
"Barack's fragile ego"
"Kerry is disturbed"

Thursday, September 05, 2013









Tom Cohen (CNN) reports US President Barack Obama declared today, "A red line for us in we star seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized."  What is The Dalibama of War babbling about?  His push for war on Syria and, Cohen states, "Conservative critics have said Obama painted himself into a corner with his statement last year that Syria's use of chemical weapons was a red line that would change his approach to its civil war."  Cohen's mistaken, it's not just conservative critics who are making this claim and Cohen is wrong in that he refuses to explain really what the claim is.  Devin Dwyer (ABC News) reported last week:

While Obama has long spoken out against Bashar al-Assad and the use of chemical weapons, it was the president’s apparent off-the-cuff comments one year ago that may now be most responsible for putting the U.S. in a bind.
Obama’s warning in August 2012 that use of a “whole bunch” of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” triggering “enormous consequences,” went much further than aides had planned, several told the New York Times earlier this year.  Some reportedly wished Obama could have taken those words back.
Now, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has made ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan his signature foreign policy achievement, is at risk of entangling the U.S. in a fresh Middle East conflict.

 AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

  1. Obama Assures Americans This Will Not Be Another 1456 Ottoman Siege Of Belgrade - :

It was beyond stupid for Barack to make that ultimatum and it was the action of a politically naive savant which really makes you wonder who really runs the White House?  But that's how the US government ended up where they are now and, note, Some White House aides "reportedly wished Obama could have taken those words back."  That doesn't sound like conservative critics.  Betty's certainly not a conservative and, last night, addressing Secretary of State John Kerry went on and on about "reputation" in yesterday's hearing which can be boiled down as Barack shot off his mouth and Kerry feels it is the duty of the Congress to ignore the will of the people to protect The Dahlibahma of War from his own big, fat mouth.  This led Betty to state what we should all be wondering,  "And for that, you want innocent Syrians to die in your pretend 'precision strike'."

Because Barack Obama, two years ago, said “Assad must go,” and, one year ago, said any use of chemical weapons crosses his “red line,” Congress has no choice but to plunge America into yet another Mideast war.
Can this be? Are we really, as a nation, required to go to war to make good the simple-minded statements of an untutored president who had no constitutional authority to issue his impulsive ultimata?
Are we really required to go to war to get the egg off Obama’s face?


On Barack's false claim that he didn't draw the red line, Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report):

With obscene imperial arrogance, President Obama proclaimed that the “world” – not he – has drawn a bloody “red line” in Syria. “I didn’t set a red line,” said Obama, at a stop in Sweden on his way to a Group of 20 nations meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. “The world set a red line.”
That’s news to the rest of the planet, including most of the Group of 20 and the meeting’s host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who described Obama’s claims that Syria used sarin gas against civilians in rebel-held areas as “completely ridiculous.” “It does not fit any logic,” said Putin, since Syrian President Assad’s forces “have the so-called rebels surrounded and are finishing them off.”
It’s news to China, which will surely join Russia in vetoing any Security Council motion to provide legal cover for Obama’s aggression. And it’s news to the usually compliant UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who this week reaffirmed that “the Security Council has primary responsibility for international peace and security" and “the use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter and or when the Security Council approves such action.”
It’s news to Great Britain, America’s temporarily wayward poodle, whose parliament rejected any militarily entanglement in Obama’s red line. As esteemed political analyst William Blum points out, 64 percent of the people of France oppose their government’s planned participation Obama’s Battle of the Red Line.
Apparently, a young and impressionable Obama took the 1985 USA for Africa song “We are the World” too literally, and believes that all one need do is sing or shout the words to make it so.

Also calling out leaders -- in Congress and out -- is Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report):

The black misleadership scoundrels are also worthy of scorn in this crime. Van Jones was tossed under the wheels of Obama’s bus yet has sung his praises ever since. As a “left” commentator on CNN he said, “If you kill Assad right now, wonderful.” Jones also claimed that the United States overthrew a dictator in Iran in 1953. Of course Mohammed Mossadegh was democratically elected and Jones was left to feebly explain that he meant to use the word leader.
Jones wasn’t alone in trashing black Americans’ historic opposition to military aggression. We didn’t really need further proof that black politics has reached its nadir under Obama, but Eleanor Holmes Norton provided us with more. The non-voting Washington DC delegate to congress had this to say about why Obama will probably win congressional approval for more death and destruction. “If [Obama] gets saved at all, I think it’ll be because, it’ll be because of loyalty of Democrats. They just don’t want to see him shamed and humiliated on the national stage.” Not satisfied at her public expression of stupidity she had this to say. “At the moment, that’s the only reason I would vote for it if I could vote on it.” So shallow and shameful were Norton’s words that one might be tempted to support the district’s powerless status. 

Today Barack got a little closer to getting his war on Syria.  Paul Richter (Los Angeles Times) reports, "A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted narrowly Wednesday to authorize a punitive U.S. strike against Syria, opening the way for a vote in the full Senate next week."  Ruth asked that we note her Senator Chris Murphy was one of the votes against authorizing an attack on Syria.  On Labor Day, Ruth noted Murphy's comments about Syria and would have guessed that he would have voted for authorization. She notes that she and a friend in her neighborhood went door to door speaking to those home about the need to contact Murphy and distributing fliers with contact info.   Jake Miller (CBS News) explains, "With the exceptions of Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., all of the panel's Democrats voted in favor of the resolution. Udall and Murphy were opposed, while Markey voted 'present.'"  Gregory Korte (USA Today) notes, "The vote was 10-7. Five Republicans and two Democrats voted against it. The committee's consensus followed closed-door meetings Wednesday morning, which delayed the start of the committee's meeting by nearly three hours."  Along with Murphy and Udall, the other "no" votes were Republican Senators John Barasso, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, James Risch and Marco Rubio.  "Yes" votes were Democratic Senators Barbra Boxer, Chris Coons, Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin, Tim Kaine, Robert Menendez and Jean Shaheen.  Republicans voting "yes" to attack were Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain.

If it surprises you that more did not stand up, look at the House minority leader and the idiotic story she told:

"I’ll tell you this story and then I really do have to go. My five-year-old grandson, as I was leaving San Francisco yesterday, he said to me, Mimi, my name, Mimi, war with Syria, are you yes war with Syria, no, war with Syria. And he’s five years old. We’re not talking about war; we’re talking about action. Yes war with Syria, no with war in Syria. I said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ He said, ‘I think no war.’ I said, ‘Well, I generally agree with that but you know, they have killed hundreds of children, they’ve killed hundreds of children there. ‘ And he said, five years old, ‘Were these children in the United States?’ And I said, ‘No, but they’re children wherever they are.’

Justin Raimondo ( calls out Pelosi's stupidity:

To the reporters crowding around her, who share the globalist assumptions of the political class, her remarks seemed… well, unremarkable. To ordinary people, however, Pelosi’s smart-as-a-whip grandson posed a very good question, perhaps the only pertinent one in this whole debate: what does the Syrian civil war have to do with us? Which makes one wonder: what was Pelosi thinking as she related a narrative whose real meaning seemed to elude her.
Which brings us rather neatly to the central question underlying the debate over whether to strike Syria: What was the Obama administration thinking when they decided to try to pull this off? Do they live on another planet from the rest of us?
That is really the central issue here. Forget the "weapons of mass destruction:" let’s not even talk about the vague and very shaky "evidence" linking the Assad regime to the use of sarin gas – and it’s probably best to ignore the "moral" arguments users of phosphorus bombs and depleted uranium weaponry invoke when justifying this war. The real question is what kind of mindset are the Nancy Pelosis of this world operating under. It’s not a partisan mindset: the leadership of both parties, as well as the White House have all drunk from the same pitcher of Kool-Aid. 

For Congressional advocates for war, international law doesn't matter. Nor, as Jason Ditz (, does public opinion appear to matter:

But while the president can count on old-guard hawks to vote yes before they even hear what country they’re voting to lob missiles at, the American public is nowhere near so easy to trick, and despite top officials repeatedly advocating the war in public addresses, the polls continue to show broad, bipartisan opposition among Americans for the conflict.
Nationwide, the administration can’t even crack the 30% mark on selling the war to the public, even with television news networks shamelessly reiterating administration lies about unquestionable “proof” of Assad’s guilt and Secretary of State John Kerry loudly and repeatedly comparing Assad to Adolf Hitler.

John Kerry calls Assad "Hitler" today but Anthony Bond and David Martosko (Daily Mail) point out that he didn't feel that way in 2009 when he and his wife, Teresa Heinz, shared "a cozy and intimate dinner with Bashar al-Assad" and the First Lady of Syria Asma al-Akhras.   But today, Kerry screams al-Assad is Hitler?  Jason Ditz ( observes:

Officials are throwing every rhetorical trick in the book at Congress to see what sticks at this point, from Hitler to Iran, and making any empty promises about keeping the war limited to skeptics while talking up escalation to hawks.
There is palpable desperation in the administration’s attempts to sell the war at all costs, and while officials have regularly tried to trick the country into war throughout history, there have been few that have been so flagrant about it. Fortunately, the polls are still not on their side, and the American public appear unwilling to be fooled this time. urges all readers to contact their Congressmen and urge them to vote against attacking Syria. Click here for contract information.

Yesterday, MoveOn sent out the following e-mail:


Dear MoveOn member,

We need your help making an important decision.

President Obama has asked Congress to authorize the use of military force in Syria in response to recent reports of a chemical weapons attack by the government there.1

Because MoveOn is its members, the stance MoveOn takes on this issue will be decided by MoveOn members.

Should MoveOn support or oppose the congressional authorization to use military force in Syria?

Click here to cast your vote:

Voting starts now and will go through 10:00 a.m. ET tomorrow. The more people who participate, the better the decision will be—so please take a moment to vote now by clicking here:

Thanks for all you do.

Anna, Mark, Susannah, Linda, and the rest of the team

Today Rebecca Shabad (The Hill) reports, "The liberal group MoveOn said Wednesday it opposes military action in Syria and will work to defeat it in Congress.  The group, which spearheaded liberal opposition to the Iraq War, said it surveyed its 8 million members and found overwhelming opposition to President Obama’s call for Syria strikes."

I'm honestly surprised by that move -- not by the results of the vote but that MoveOn listened to their membership.  Maybe if John Kerry would stop repeatedly hissing "Hitler," he could hear the voice of the people as well?  Or maybe the question to ask is WWHB: Who Would Hitler Back?

Today on Morning Edition (NPR -- link is audio and transcript), US-backing efforts in Syria were discussed:

And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama has promised limited military action against Syria. He says missile strikes are not about regime change and there will be no boots on the ground. But even as the Congress debates the president's plans for action, the White House is looking at broader options.
NPR's Tom Bowman reports the president may call on the U.S. military to help build up the Syrian opposition.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Right now it's not the Pentagon but the CIA that's working with the Syrian rebels, mostly providing training in Jordan. But the president also promised weapons for the rebels back in June and they haven't arrived. So yesterday at a Senate hearing, Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee put this question to Secretary of State John Kerry.


SENATOR BOB CORKER: Why have we been so slow, so inept in so many ways at helping build capacity of this opposition that we have said publicly that we support?

SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: I think, Senator, we need to have that discussion tomorrow in classified session. We can talk about some components of that.

BOWMAN: Classified session, meaning behind closed doors; that's because the CIA is handling the effort. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Senator Corker the U.S. military is on the sidelines.

Again, WWHB?  As Robert Fisk (ZNet) pointed out last week:

If Barack Obama decides to attack the Syrian regime, he has ensured – for the very first time in history – that the United States will be on the same side as al-Qa’ida.

Quite an alliance! Was it not the Three Musketeers who shouted “All for one and one for all” each time they sought combat? This really should be the new battle cry if – or when – the statesmen of the Western world go to war against Bashar al-Assad.

The men who destroyed so many thousands on 9/11 will then be fighting alongside the very nation whose innocents they so cruelly murdered almost exactly 12 years ago. Quite an achievement for Obama, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the miniature warlords.

It's full circle for the CIA, back in business with al Qaeda after training and funding them to fight against the USSR military in Afghanistan.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Will Kerry's ignoring Iraq bite him in the butt?"
"Barack goes to Sweden while others battle for his ..."
"Why's Joy-Ann so angry?"
"Breaking with the pack"
"Barack wants Congress to go down with him"
"Equality benefits stalled in two states"
"Another great column from Laurie Penny"
"John The Liar Kerry"
"Cher needs to inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame"
"Oh, Matthew Rothschild, really?"
"The spying, the selling of war"
"Kerry had a hankering for Hagel"

Wednesday, September 04, 2013








Barack's still looking for a skirt to hide behindLindsey Boerma (CBS News) reports US President Barack Obama made a statement today "flanked by" House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner.  It was all a for-show fakery.  Pelosi supports an attack on Syria "and expects Congress to vote the request through, she believes the American people still need to hear more about the intelligence on the ground in Syria."  Has all the plastic surgery finally effected her brain?  It didn't have to be that way.  Not just because she didn't need to have all that work done but also because we, in the eighth district had a choice, a better choice, in 2008 when Cindy Sheehan ran for the seat.  While Nancy babbles on about how the American people just need a little information, Cindy strongly calls out the proposal:

The President of the USA, aka, Able Servant of Empire, claims that his planned assault on Syria will be “limited” and he won’t order any “boots on the ground” as if he is angling for praise from the almost non-existent antiwar movement and/or to prove that he really earned that Noble Peace Prize!

Besides the fact that the US now has troops on the ground in 35 African countries; destroyed Libya for regime change; is bombing “al Qaeda” in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; AND is already arming and training “al Qaeda” in Syria, the Able Servant of Empire is chomping at the bit of more mass murder to launch a Tomahawk missile attack on Syria.

My friend Ann Wright, who is a retired Colonel, US Army and a former diplomat who resigned when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, wrote in this piece about what could be the possible consequences of Obama’s “limited” assault on Syria:

Use her link to go to Ann Wright's piece, right now we're going back to the fake event today.   Justin Sink (The Hill) notes a petulant Barack whined, "This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan."  Today at the Senate hearing, Senator Barbara Boxer declared of comparing Iraq to Barack's Syria attack, " I believe it's a totally false comparison."

Well it is a bit shaky but not for the reasons that the sad Boxer gave (she supports an attack on Syria).  The real difference is the levels of stupidity.   The crooks behind the start of that war were idiots.  But, clearly, they were much smarter than Barack Obama.  Friday,  Hannah Allam and Mark Seibel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime."  Victor Wallace (Open Media Boston) goes over the lies being used to push for an attack:

First, the particular charge that the Assad forces have engaged in chemical attacks is dubious. The opposition forces have been militarily dependent on foreign fighters. The regime has been gaining the upper hand in combat. It invited the UN inspectors in, and could have no interest in carrying out an attack for which they would then be able to establish its culpability. [See and ] The opposition, being at a military disadvantage, could hope for success only by creating a scenario of chaos within which an all-out PR campaign blaming Assad could set the stage for external military intervention. The unseemly haste reflected in Obama’s call for an attack without waiting for the UN inspectors’ report is consistent with this interpretation.
Second, whatever the truth of the chemical-warfare charge, it is disingenuous for the US government to set itself up as an arbiter in such matters, given its own past complicity in chemical attacks (supplying Iraq with chemical weaponry in the 1980s; later using phosphorus against Iraq [Fallujah, 2004] and supporting Israel in its use of the same substance in the 2008-9 assault on Gaza). Evidently, whether or not chemical warfare should be condemned depends on who applies it. In other words, it can’t be the real reason for the planned US attack.
Third, independently of the rationale (i.e., even if the accusations against Assad were true), the idea that missile attacks on the country would constitute a remedy makes no sense. While they might indeed weaken the Assad regime and eventually make possible its overthrow (as happened with the Gaddafi regime in Libya), the outcome would be one of chaos and amplified suffering. Among the “victorious” opposition, the upper hand would go not to any democratic civilian organization but rather to whoever was best armed. This might suit US policymakers, but it makes a mockery of their proclaimed (democratic) values.
It is important that we try to persuade Congress to vote down Obama’s call for a military attack on Syria. [See ] But our arguments will be stronger if we can at the same time demonstrate that the premises behind his proposal are false.

Also calling out Barack's roll out of lies was Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (Pravda):

Remember the declarations made by the United States of America that the Syrian government was "stalling" and not allowing the UN inspection team to carry out its work? While Secretary Kerry was making these declarations, the US government was informing the Syrians that the team did not have the conditions to enter the area under investigation. Then Kerry himself said the investigation came too late to be credible. To note: as soon as it received a request for the inspection team to visit the site, the Syrian government implemented an immediate ceasefire and granted unimpeded access. This, in the words of the US State Department, amounts to "destruction of evidence".

Moral of the story: do not believe a word John Kerry says; imagine a barefaced liar in charge of a country's diplomacy. Why, in 2011, Kerry was calling Bashar al-Assad "a very generous man" no doubt remembering the dinner he and his wife shared with the Assads two years previously, smiling politely at each other around the table.

Has the Obama administration informed its citizens of its funding and arming of the Syrian opposition, which includes terrorists with links to al-Qaeda? Has it explained its plans for military action? Does anyone really believe that it will amount to a few cruise missiles or more obviously, will it not be a campaign to topple the Syrian Government and turn the country into a haven for al-Qaeda?

Are the American Catholics aware of the official position of the Vatican, blasting the western powers, claiming there was no evidence against President Assad in the Ghouta attack and taking a firm stand against military intervention?

At Iraq Inquiry Digest, Andrew Mason notes:

Reported nearly a week ago by Kenneth Timmerman, a recognised authority on Middle Eastern military affairs, and published by the Daily Caller, a relatively new and successful entrant into the world of online reporting operating in the same sphere as the Huffington Post before it, this piece may explain why President Obama has taken the decision he has, to delay any US military action against the Syrian regime until such time as Congress returns on September 9 and further debates the situation.

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.
According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.
The doctored report was leaked to a private Internet-based newsletter that boasts of close ties to the Israeli intelligence community, and led to news reports that the United States now had firm evidence showing that the Syrian government had ordered the chemical weapons attack on August 21 against a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus.
The doctored report was picked up on Israel’s Channel 2 TV on Aug. 24, then by Focus magazine in Germany, the Times of Israel, and eventually by The Cable in Washington, DC.
According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.
However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.
The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that “the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions,” the former officers say.
According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.
The report contains a note at the end that the major was interrogated by Syrian intelligence for three days, then returned to command of his unit. “All of his weapons were accounted for,” the report stated.
What is quite unusual about this account is that it hasn’t been more widely picked up on and referred to elsewhere.

Nancy Pelosi thinks the American people need to hear these lies repeated louder and more often.  As Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes, "President Obama’s announcement Saturday that he would seek congressional authorization for military strikes against Syria sets the stage for a two-week campaign of media propaganda and political intimidation. Its goal is to browbeat the American people into accepting yet another imperialist war in the Middle East."  Along with noting the fakery of US House Rep Barbara Lee's 'action' 'against' an attack on Syria, John V. Walsh (Dissident Voice) points out:

In one way Obama's assault on Libya and now on Syria is worse than George W. Bush's war on Iraq. Bush at least took the time to lie to Congress. But such a lie to Congress is an indictable offense, and the lie is easily demonstrable if Congress marshals the likes of a Watergate hearing. So an impeachment move against Obama is also an opening for a move to indict Bush. And perhaps the unconstitutional assaults of Clinton on Sudan and Yugoslavia will be revisited. One can only hope.
It is time for all antiwarriors to champion the idea of impeachment and push for it now. The slogan might well be, "Impeach Obama. Indict Bush." It will not happen unless we demand it. And if we do not, we are acquiescing in the face of endless war.

Yesterday,  Ryan Grim (Huffington Post) quoted Noam Chomsky weighing in on Barack's desire to attack Syria, "As international support for Obama's decision to attack Syria has collapsed, along with the credibility of government claims, the administration has fallen back on a standard pretext for war crimes when all else fails: the credibility of the threats of the self-designated policeman of the world." Meanwhile Shamus Cooke (at calls out a large number of allegedly 'left' and 'antiwar' types who are nothing but Whores for Barack:

The most guilty parties who have aided and assisted Obama’s expected war plans will have blood-stained hands after the bombing begins. Perhaps the best example of this coterie is Van Jones, the former adviser to Obama who founded the Rebuild The Dream organization. On CNN, Jones announced his new appetite for foreign war.
 Many liberals took Jones’ “stand by our president” approach, even if it wasn’t stated as directly as Jones did, and even after “our president” was unable to present any sensible reason for waging another aggressive war in the Middle East.
A notch lower on the leftist spectrum of Syria war guilt is, which has done everything in their power not to portray President Obama’s actions in their true light. But MoveOn had to take a more creative approach to covering up for Obama in Syria.
MoveOn organized a “teach-in” that was streamed on their website. The panel of speakers — with one exception — presented Obama’s position in a very evenhanded, “objective” way, presenting the president as an entirely reasonable person for wanting to bomb Syria, even if it might not be the best way to deal with the situation.
Instead of pointing out the flagrant similarities between Obama’s Syria war rationale and George Bush’s Iraq War lies, these similarities were papered over, thus legitimizing Obama’s criminal actions.
The worst Obama apologist on the panel was Matt Duss from the Center for American Progress, who explained that, although he was against a war on Syria, he “respects” that “other progressives of good faith may come to a different view.”
Phyllis Bennis from the Institute of Policy Studies was the only consistent anti-war panelist, who appeared as a fringe element when compared to the rest of the panel, only because she offered a common sense, consistent anti-war message.
The teach-in ended with a “what can we do” segment to influence the situation. Instead of mobilizing in the streets against Obama, the panelists discussed “contacting congressmen,” “calling the White House’s comment line,” “tweeting,” “email,” “petitions,” but no call was made for doing what was done against Bush: mobilize people in the streets to demand that the war be stopped.
MoveOn further exposed their pro-Obama, pro-war attitude on the website, where for days the featured petition being promoted was titled: “President Obama: Don’t Strike Syria Without Congressional Approval.”
Again, there is no basis for any strike on Syria, period — Congressional approval or otherwise. Even if Congress doesn’t approve Obama’s actions in Syria, it’s likely that he’ll attack Syria anyway, just as happened in Libya after Congress refused authorization.

David Swanson (War Is A Crime) observes:

Back in 2007, the Congressional Progressive Caucus helped organize 90 Congress members to commit to voting against war funding.  Most of them turned around and voted for war funding.  That was a high point for the CPC.  Since then, its commitments -- such as to vote against corporate healthcare -- have hardly been taken seriously, and so it's hardly been news when most members have gone back on their commitments.

The CPC has shifted in recent years away from pretending to take a stand on things, and instead toward issuing statements full of non-committal rhetoric.  That, too, is now a stage in the devolution of the CPC to which we can look back with nostalgia.

The CPC, on the question of a new war on Syria, is choosing to do nothing at all.  In fact, one of its two co-chairs is actively promoting war.  Compare this whip list with this list of CPC members.  You'll notice that virtually no members of the House of Representatives have taken any position on whether or not to attack Syria.  That includes most of those who claimed they wanted the president to allow a vote, as the Constitution requires.  The same is true for the CPC: virtually nobody has a position.

Those firmly committed to attacking Syria, in the House, include four Republicans, five non-CPC Democrats, and CPC Co-Chair Keith Ellison.  Those firmly committed against this madness include 10 Republicans, three non-CPC Democrats, and four CPC Democrats. 

Ellison was first elected as an opponent of war and an advocate for impeaching George W. Bush for the crime of war, but reversed his positions immediately upon election.  He just recently responded to pressure from Veterans For Peace in Minnesota and introduced into the Congressional Record acknowledgment that the Kellogg-Briand Pact bans all war.  He then turned around and threw his support in behind the next war.

Congressional approval is required, read the Constitution.  But Congressional authorization does not provide legality on the international stage.  As IPS analyst Phyllis Bennis noted repeatedly last week on  KPFA's Up Front with Guest Host Philip Maldari  (Tuesday, Democracy Now! on WednesdayCCTV and FAIR's Counterspin on Friday -- only one body can give legal authorization for the attack.  We'll quote her from her discussion with Peter Hart on Counterspin:

Phyllis Bennis:  Only if the [United Nations] Security Council votes to endorse the use of force is the use of force legal.  No other agency, institution, organization has that right.  So the Kosovo precedent that you refer to and that unfortunately this is being talked about in the press.  It's being asserted that if the Security Council doesn't agree, there are other options.  Yeah, there are other options.  The problem is they're all illegal.  The Kosovo model was illegal.  What the US did in 1999, when it wanted to bomb, to start an air war against Serbia over Kosovo, realized it would not get support of the Security Council because Russia had said it would veto.  So instead of saying, 'Well okay we don't have support of the Security Council, I guess we can't do it,' they said, 'Okay, we won't go to the Security Council, we'll simply go to the NATO High Command and ask their permission.'  Well, what a surprise, the NATO High Command said 'sure.'  It's like the hammer and the nail.  If you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  If you're NATO everything looks like it requires military intervention.  The problem is, under international law, the UN charter is the fundamental component under international law that determines issues of war and peace.  And the charter doesn't say that the Security Council or NATO or the President of the United States can all decide over the use of force.  The only agency that can legally approve the use of force is the Security Council of the United Nations.  Period.  Full stop.

Ban Ki-Moon is the Secretary General of the United Nations.  RTE notes that, as Phyllis Bennis has, the Secretary General states "use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with UN Security Council authorisation."  Whitney Cox (Ground Report) examines a Media and Public Opinion Research poll to argue that "most Americans who favor intervention would prefer to do so with the UN's blessing."

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now! -- link is text, audio and video) noted this morning, "Protests by antiwar groups against the proposed strike are continuing across the country and around the world."  WECT reports, "The Wilmington Peace Group gathered at the intersection of South College Road and Oleander Drive to protest the potential involvement of the United States military in the ongoing conflict in Syria.  The protest comes in light of President Barack Obama's request to Congress that U.S. military forces be sent to Syria."  Kat Carlton (Indiana Public Media) covers a protest last night in Bloomington and quotes participant David Kepple, of The Bloomington Peace Action Coalition and Just Peace Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church, stating "The important question is whether a strike can either protect Syrian civilians or stop weapons of mass destruction. It can do none of those, and it can embroil the United States in a much wider war that will engulf us for years."
Sunday, Ava and I noted the Saturday protest outside the White House, " While Barack was giving his speech Saturday, protesters could be found outside the White House.  It's a shame that it took so long.  Applause for A.N.S.W.E.R. and all the others present but grasp that what they finally achieved is still not of the size England saw on Wednesday."  Ty says e-mails have come in asking why we're stressing A.N.S.W.E.R.  when the article linked to only names CodeStink?  Because A.N.S.W.E.R. was one of the two organizations responsible for it.  Since that seems unclear, let's note Justin Mitchell (Voice of Russia) report published today:

The Hands off Syria protest was put on by two left-leaning activist organizations, the International Action Center and the ANSWER coalition. The organizers claimed protests were planned in dozens of cities across the country. Protests also took place in London and Germany.

The protestors were a mix of nationalities, ages, and political persuasions -- but they all agreed on one thing: avoiding foreign entanglements.

Kyle Phillips of Germantown, Maryland spoke for many of the protestors.

"I think the U.S. intervention would not help at all," Phillips said. "I think that we've proven time and time again that we can only hurt a country's people that live there, and that's what I'm worried about."

Phillips just wanted to see his country play a different role in the world. For others, such as Amal Esmail, the issue hit much closer to home.

"I have all my family [in Syria], I have my children here," Esmail told VOR. "I love the U.S.A. I love Syria. I don't want any conflict."

Though she carried the red, white and black flag of Bashar al-Assad's Syria as well as a posterboard with pictures depicting alleged rebel atrocities, Esmail said she did not necessarily support Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"The Syrian people over there should decide [who is in power]," she said. "I think that change is good, but not in this way."

Rebecca Myles has an audio report for Free Speech Radio NewsPeter Rugh (Indypendent) notes that protest took place Saturday in over 50 cities across the country and he reports on the one held in Times Square:

Relaying Obama's speech through the human microphone method popularized by Occupy Wall Street, the crowd in Times Square reacted strongly to Obama's words. "Hey Barack, remember Iraq,” they chanted, and “We don't want no World War III, come on let Syria be!” – a reference to what could be the unintended consequences of starting a war in the Mideast region that could draw in Iran, Israel and Lebanon. 
 “We have no business out there,” said Noor, a Syrian-American student who attended the Times Square rally and did not give her last name for fear of retribution from war enthusiasts and/or U.S. law enforcement, who have targeted both Muslims and anti-war activists in recent years without evidence of wrongdoing. 
Noor wanted her dissent registered, however, and noted that while Obama has condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for killing civilians in the two-years-long civil war, various factions of the rebel army challenging his regime — some linked to al-Qaeda — are accused of similar atrocities. Strikes on her country of origin would have more to do with “empire, greed and power,” she said. 

Last Saturday's protest was not a one-off for A.N.S.W.E.R.  They are planning more protests including this Saturday:

Now is the time for the people to step up pressure on Congress and demand that they vote NO to any resolution authorizing a military attack on Syria.

On Saturday, September 7, people are descending on Washington, D.C., for a major demonstration that will assemble at the White House and march on the Capitol Building as Congress returns to Washington, D.C., and prepares to vote. This demonstration is initiated by a broad ad hoc coalition called the Vote No War Against Syria Coalition. If you or your organization would like to be an endorser of the Sept. 7 demonstration, email

Those who can will stay over in Washington for daily demonstrations, and to maintain a round-the-clock visible anti-war presence at the U.S. Capitol building beginning Saturday, September 7 and continuing daily as Congress meets to take up and vote on the resolution.

A.N.S.W.E.R. will also hold protests around the country Saturday.  In San Francisco, this Saturday the protest kicks off at noon at  Chelsea Manning Plaza (Embarcadero).  And good for the International Action Center, they're a part of these actions as well, I've just been told on the other phone, and A.N.S.W.E.R. and the IAC will be working jointly on this action -- click here for a list of protests planned for across the country.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Iraq: Ashraf, Nouri's authoritarianism and violenc..."
"UK inquiry and US governmental apathy"
"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Missing Hillar..."
"At least 23 dead, 47 injured in today's violence i..."
"The push for war on Syria continues"
"Isaiah The World Today Just Nuts "Just Keep Lying ..."
"Kat's Korner: Jackson and His Computerband Glow"
"Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal (Francis A. Boyle..."
"Ruth's Report"
"Iraq, favoritism and feminism (Beth)"
"The targeting of Veterans Service Organizations"
"915 violent deaths in Iraq for the month of August..."
"Nouri couldn't stop the Saturday protests"
"How I Hate The War Whores"
"Talking entry"
"The Palestinian Genocide (Francis A. Boyle)"
"Is John Kerry pregnant?"
"Barack's foreign policy disaster"
"No to war on Syria!"
"when will john kerry do his job and focus on iraq?"
"Hillary lost my support"
"Congress really is that stupid"
"Stupid Frank James"
"The World Is Not Enough"
"Barack's lies"
"MacDonald Stainsby exposes the fake left"
"Barack Hearts Al Qaeda"