The Media is enabling the Trump cultists with their war propaganda

Last Thursday evening, Trump ordered the assassination of the commander of Iran’s Quds Force Maj. Gen. Qassem Solemani. Following the attack, many Fox false news figures heaped absolute praise on Trump’s decision to commit an act of war.

The war fervor escalated further on Friday when Fox host and Trump adviser Sean Hannity fantasized about a further strike inside Iran which would (somehow) prompt Iranians to overthrow their government. (same crap he said about Iraq) Hannity also told Trump to disregard rules of engagement and to “bomb the living hell” out of Iran. A day later, Trump threatened to do exactly that.

Mainstream outlets run with Trump propaganda statements on Iran which are later seriously undermined.

Later Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the rounds, but the hosts of the five major Sunday news shows fell short in questioning and pushing Pompeo in two major ways.

As Pompeo seemingly pivoted away from the claim that Soleimani presented an imminent threat to the U.S. following reports that the administration greatly exaggerated intelligence, the hosts failed to press him on the exact nature of intelligence the administration claimed to have.

Pompeo was also not challenged when he consistently blamed the Obama administration and specifically the Iran nuclear deal (also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) for actions that Iran has taken since Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement.

Again major mainstream news outlets continued to unquestionably repeat the Trump administration’s purported justification for the attack in their headlines. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted on Twitter an overarching justification for the strike, saying it warded off “imminent threats to American lives.” (no proof has been offered)

CNN, USA Today, The New York Times, Axios, ABC News, and The Hill all put Pompeo’s claim into a headline. Multiple pundits on all cable news channels said that they had no reason to doubt the administration’s claims. (WTF!)

And yet, less than a day later, that bogus claim collapsed. New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi found that the justification was “razor-thin.” According to emerging reporting, the Iraqi Prime Minister has said that Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission to meet with him regarding a Saudi attempt to de-escalate tensions in the region.

The facts are still not settled, but that’s even more reason to not take seriously the word of the Trump administration and Pompeo, who are known liars.

Recent revelations that government officials lied about the Afghanistan War underscore that the media should be aggressively skeptical about war against Iran.

Don’t forget what Trump and Fox said about Obama and Iran: Trump repeatedly spoke with Fox personalities at the time about how Obama would start a war with Iran in order to get re-elected. He made similar claims in a video he posted to his website. In response to Trump, Sean Hannity said that would be “the single most chilling abuse of power in American history.”

Meet the Press doesn’t disclose guest talking about Iran is Lockheed Martin board member

Jeh Johnson, who was secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss President Donald Trump ordering the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Neither Johnson nor host Chuck Todd disclosed that Johnson is a board member of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which reportedly paid him over $300,000 in 2018 alone.

Right-wing media already accusing Democrats who question Trump of being aligned with Iran

On Friday, several Fox personalities accused Democrats critical of the decision the kill Solemani of being aligned with Iran. On Fox and Friends the morning after the attack, retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata expressed offense that Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) had called America’s targeted killing of Soleimani an “assassination,” accused Murphy of “jumping on the side of Iran,” and complained that “Democrats will support, you know, Hamas, or Hezbollah, or Iran” over American and Donald Trump. Trump himself retweeted a claim from far-right pundit Dinesh D’Souza comparing Sen. minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to Iranians.

 

edited from Media Matters

Americans, have become the “bad guys.” 

While many people’s attention was focused on the impeachment breaking news stories, the despicable coward Trump was meeting with Turkey’s despot Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and apparently okaying a full-on offensive against our former friends and allies the Kurd’s. NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel confirmed last night that Turkey indeed had launched a new offensive against the Kurds in Northern Syria, Engel hashtagged his update with #AmericanBetrayal.

“Massive attacks underway against the Kurds in northern Syria. No ceasefire. Total nonsenses there is,” Engel reported.

Donald Trump originally greenlighted the first attacks against the Kurds during a phone call with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This action resulted in may innocent women and children being murdered, it also released many Daesh (ISIS) terrorist fighters back into the population.

“US military officials tell me they are ashamed, ‘sickened.’ It’s cold now outside. What about the families, and kids, out of their homes?” he wondered.

Of course, Trump praised Erdoğan during a White House visit on Thursday.

Richard Engel had this sobering assessment, “The more I talk to sources, the more I’m hearing America’s betrayal of the Kurds, and the humiliation, misogynistic squashing” of US ambassador in Ukraine for political motivations makes people think, we, Americans, have become the “bad guys.”  Hearing it was a gut punch.

This is life in the US with a reality TV star running the show

During Trump’s interview with NBC’s worm “both sides do it” Chuck Todd for Meet the Press, scheduled to be fully broadcast on Sunday, he said that if he declares war on Iran (surprise he can’t legally do that), it will mean “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” He almost immediately tried to qualify this by saying that “I’m not looking to do that” and that there were no pre-conditions on talks with Tehran. This is the same dumb script as his lame “fire and fury” North Korea TV drama.

Earlier this week, Trump was supposedly on the verge of launching a strike on Iran following the downing of a U.S. drone that the Pentagon claims was over international waters, but supposedly aborted the mission minutes before it was to be carried out. Ya right! (How can we believe anything coming from this criminal, he lies when he breathes)

Trump’s administration has been provoking Iran at every turn, including breaking the multilateral nuclear agreement with the country and declaring the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. Some members of Trump’s inner circle, particularly National Security Adviser and full-time warmonger John Bolton, have been itching for a military conflict with Iran. In recent weeks, however, Trump himself wants to have dinner with the Iranian leader.

Now even the conservative hawkish Wall Street Journal has scorched Trump for getting played by Iran in a brutal editorial. In a scathing column from the editors of the Journal, Trump received a dressing down for his aborted attack on Iran with the piece saying the Middle Eastern country “called his bluff” and he will come to regret it. The editors took idiot Trump to task for not only ordering an attack and changing his mind at the last minute — but for also for his lame attempt to lay the blame on the Pentagon.

“It’s important to understand how extraordinary this is. The Commander in Chief ordered ships and planes into battle but recalled them because he hadn’t asked in advance what the damage and casualties might be? While the planes were in the air, he asked, oh, by the way? This is hard to take at face value,” they wrote.

No shit, in our opinion this was no doubt another one Trumps stupid good cop bad cop negotiating ploys to get a sit-down meeting with the Iranians to try and bully and charm them simultaneously. That tactic will never work. Clearly, this imbecile has never done business with any Iranians. They don’t play like that.

OMG! It’s War mongering deja vu all over again

Mike Pompeo is like Robert McNamara who goaded Lyndon Johnson into escalating the Viet Nam War in the sixties.

John Bolton is like the new Dick Cheney, who fanned the flames of war with made-up tales of weapons of mass destruction.

This is the same John Bolton who always downplays the value of diplomacy and has rarely seen an adversary he didn’t want to go to war against.

These two chicken hawks, Bolton and Pompeo, are chomping at the bit to start some kind of new conflict. They both want regime change.
All Iran has to do is make the slightest “apparent” provocation. Doofus Trump claims he does not want war, yet he’s put these crazy ass warmongers in these critical positions.

With the constant drumbeat for war with Iran coming from the Trump White House, many people can still remember how we entered two fraudulently and tragically failed wars during the past 55 years cannot help being concerned by alarming echoes of past disasters. The bogus Gulf of Tonkin attack set off a full-scale war in Vietnam in 1964, and contrived evidence of Iraqi nuclear weapons development resulted in the 2003 invasion.

Trump has excoriated Bush relentlessly for starting the Iraq War and Trump campaigned relentlessly that Hillary wanted to start a war.

But now a panicking Donald Trump could well benefit by starting a conflict and diverting our attention from the investigations into his traitorous criminal administration, the failure of his trade war with China, and the declining prospects for his reelection in 2020.

Every week the Trump administration is taking a yet more confrontational posture that could easily lead to armed conflict with Iran.

Before Bolton and Pompeo lead the U.S. into yet another disastrous war, our lawmakers must repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force and secure the passage of the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act. The U.S. can ill afford to stumble into yet another forever war in the Mideast.

We must not repeat these horrible actions by launching an attack on the Iranians based on suspicious claims of the danger they pose to the United States and its allies.

 

 

The threat of a nuclear-armed terrorist state

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While you’re being distracted by the Trump shit show, there’s a very real and emerging danger in the world that few are paying attention to.

“Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world — not this year, not next year, but certainly down the road,” says Michael Morell, former acting CIA director.

Pakistan has the world’s 5th largest population, 5th largest military, and 6th largest nuclear arsenal. The danger begins, Morell says, with a dysfunctional economy and a rapidly growing population of young people without education or job prospects. Add to that a military that continues to call the shots as though war could break out at any moment.

“The main reason the military has a grip on decision-making is because of a long-held and now mistaken belief in Pakistan that India is an existential threat to Pakistan and that Islamabad must do everything it can to protect itself from that threat,” he says.

“One of the areas in which this plays out is in Pakistan’s support to jihadists — in short, its support to terrorists fighting India. That support bleeds over to extremists who want to overthrow the Pakistani state itself, including al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.”

The bottom line: “This anti-state jihadist extremism is growing in Pakistan, creating the nightmare society down the road — an extremist government in Islamabad with nuclear weapons.”

https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-am

One thing Trump can relate to Russians about is getting his ass kicked in Afghanistan

When Trump announced his new war strategy last year, Trump declared that Taliban and Islamic State insurgents in Afghanistan “need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms.”

Trump’s usual bravado and then his backs down.

Now Trump is urging American-backed Afghan troops to retreat from sparsely populated areas of the country, officials said, all but ensuring the Taliban will remain in control of vast stretches of the country.

The withdrawal resembles strategies embraced by both the Bush and Obama administrations that have started and stuttered over the nearly 17-year war. It will effectively ensure that the Taliban and other insurgent groups will hold on to territory that they have already seized, leaving the government in Kabul to safeguard the capital and cities such as Kandahar, Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Jalalabad. (oh no Trump behaving like the hated black president)

The retreat to the cities is a searing acknowledgment that the American-installed government in Afghanistan remains unable to lead and protect the country’s sprawling rural population. Over the years, as waves of American and NATO troops have come and left in repeated cycles, the government has slowly retrenched and ceded chunks of territory to the Taliban, cleaving Afghanistan into disparate parts and ensuring a conflict with no end in sight.

The strategy depends on the Afghan government’s willingness to pull back its own forces. A Defense Department official said some Afghan commanders have resisted the American effort to do so, fearing local populations would feel betrayed.

Just over one-quarter of Afghanistan’s population lives in urban areas, according to C.I.A. estimates; Kabul is the largest city, with more than four million residents. Most Afghans live and farm across vast rural hinterlands.

Of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, the government either controls or heavily influences 229 to the Taliban’s 59. The remaining 119 districts are considered contested, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Hundreds of Afghan troops are being killed and wounded nearly every week — many in Taliban attacks on isolated checkpoints. Over the last year alone, the number of Afghan soldiers, police, pilots and other security forces dropped by about 5 percent, or 18,000 fewer people, according to the inspector general’s office.

The strategy for retreat borrows heavily from Mr. Obama’s military blueprint in Afghanistan after he began withdrawing troops from front lines in 2014.

Under President George W. Bush, and during Mr. Obama’s first term, the Pentagon established a constellation of outposts across Afghanistan, affirming that the American-led military coalition would fight the war in far-flung villages and farmlands.

But by 2009, an Army document outlined a shift from “attacking the enemy in remote areas” to “protecting and developing the major population centers” in eastern Afghanistan.

That approach began to take hold months later, in 2010, when American forces withdrew from the Korengal Valley after suffering bloody losses in isolated northeastern outposts. At the same time, however, United States Marines were surging into the rural areas of Helmand Province and the Army was pushing into the Taliban heartland in Kandahar.

In 2015, the Obama administration encouraged Afghan commanders to give up defending some of the most remote checkpoints and outposts that were seen as difficult to reclaim and hold.

Should Afghan troops pull back now, defending remote pockets of the country would mostly be left to the local police, which are more poorly trained than the military and far more vulnerable to Taliban violence. In some areas, police officers have cut deals with the Taliban to protect themselves from attacks.

Trump is also instructing top American diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban to refuel negotiations to end the war, and two senior Taliban officials said on Saturday that such talks had been held in Qatar a week ago. The negotiations are a major shift in American policy and could serve as a bridge to an eventual withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan.

Evan McAllister, a former reconnaissance Marine staff sergeant, and sniper, fought in parts of Helmand Province in 2008 and 2011 — areas that are now almost entirely under Taliban control. He said trying to maintain an Afghan government-friendly presence in rural areas was, and still is, a “fool’s errand.”

“Attempting to control rural areas in Afghanistan always eventually ends up boiling down to simple personal survival,” Mr. McAllister said. “No strategic gains are accomplished, no populace is influenced, but the death or dismemberment of American and Afghan troops is permanent and guaranteed.”

No shit, we should have left back in 2002-TE

(This story is an edited and reworked version of a New York Times article)
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/28/world/asia/trump-afghanistan-strategy-retreat

 

Trump’s DPRK “used car deal” doesn’t even make it off the car lot before the engine falls out

After all the self-congratulations and sycophant’s compliments, following Trump’s poorly planned meeting with the North Korean (DPRK) ruler Kim Jong Un.  Big Suprise! There is no deal! There never was.

In many ways, this debacle is much worse than the George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished” humiliation.  The ramifications of this disaster will potentially lead to an all-out conflict that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons

Right after his reckless meeting in Singapore with Kim, Trump unilaterally declared North Korea will keep its promises, and the US will stop war games with no real evidence to support his retreat.

Trump said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “had a terrific day.””We learned a lot about each other and about our countries,” Trump says, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the North Korean dictator. All I can say is they want to make a deal.”Trump also says the U.S. will be stopping the war games it conducts near North Korea.

So now, we are today and North Korea’s foreign ministry expressed disappointment in the U.S.’s continued demands for complete and verifiable denuclearization following talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

North Korea’s foreign ministry expressed disappointment in the U.S.’s continued demands for complete and verifiable denuclearization following talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, adding to concerns over Pyongyang’s commitment to dismantling its nuclear arms.

“We had expected that the US side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders’ summit … we were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures,” an unnamed spokesman of Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

“However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting (between the countries) was no doubt regrettable,” the DPRK spokesman said.