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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

“President Trump was definitely out-negotiated and only endorsed the troop withdraw to make it look like we are getting something — but we are not getting something,” the National Security Council source told Newsweek.  “The U.S. national security has entered a state of increased danger for decades to come because the president has no spine and that’s the bottom line.”
   —    James LaPorta
From his article: “Exclusive: Official Who Heard Call Says Trump Got ‘Rolled’ By Turkey and ‘Has No Spine’
Appearing on website: https://www.newsweek.com/
The specific article is at: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-official-who-heard-call-says-trump-got-rolled-turkey-has-no-spine-1463623
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On This Day In:
2018 What Do You Hear?
2017 I’ve Got A Pocket Protector
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2016 Better Value
2015 Any Port In A Storm
2014 Babies (II)
2013 Why The Young Stay In College Longer These Days
2012 Perceptions Of Worth
2011 Flavor
2010 Giants Win 1-0 !!

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Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place?
That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off.  Part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west.  Part of eastern Iraq, the Iranians would like to claim, fought over for eight years.  In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.  It’s a quagmire.
    —    Dick Cheney
From an interview with CNN on April 15th, 1994.
[This quote was found at a blog I follow:  The Bully Pulpit
The original post is located at:  https://jrbenjamin.com/2014/09/10/its-a-quagmire/
It is an interesting site to visit if you have some time.  Unfortunately, it is not posted to very frequently anymore.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
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2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
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Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
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When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
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Destiny
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Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned today (20 December 2018) – effective 28 February 2019, to allow time for a replacement confirmation.   Secretary Mattis (Retired Marine Corps General) resigned due to differences with the policies of President Trump.  Below is Secretary Mattis’ resignation letter (and transcript below that).
Page 1 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Page 2 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance.  Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.  While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.  Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.  Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.  NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America.  The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.  It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.  That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.  We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.  The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February.  Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.
I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.
[Whenever a high-ranking military officer disagrees so fundamentally with the policy, course of action or directions being given by the President (Commander-In_Chief), it is their duty to resign from their position and bring their objections to the American public.  This is an “honorable” resignation.
In our nation’s history, there have been senior officers objecting to their political commander who have acted contrary to lawful policy and direction (both Democratic and Republican) and who have stayed in post and attempted to ameliorate policy / directions they objected to.  Only historians can judge whether these officers acted with honor (or not).
President Assad rules Syria and wishes us to leave so he can continue to crush his opposition and remain in power indefinitely.  Putin wants us to leave Syria to increase Russian influence in the area and to gain access to “warm-water” ports in Syria.  Iran wants us to leave Syria in order to establish an arc of influence through Iraq to Syria (and the Mediterranean).  Turkey wants us to leave in order to crush the Syrian Kurds (and along with them, the Turkish Kurds).  The Turkish Kurds assisted us in Iraq and are now doing the same in Syria.  They want us to stay.  The Syrian Kurds want our help and want us to stay.  Israel and Saudi Arabia foolishly support President Trump because they feel he will support them.  Between Israel and Russia, Trump will support Russia.  Saudi Arabia is the enemy of Iran because Iran is not Arab and because Iran believes in the Shiite version of Islam while the Saudi’s believe in the Sunni version.  Trump supports Saudi Arabia over Iran (in theory), but he doesn’t seem to realize the long term effect of increasing Iranian influence in Syria will be to the detriment of both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
As for ISIS / ISIL, they are one of the factions seeking to over-throw Assad.  They are Muslim and Assad is Ba’ath.  Assad seeks to destroy ISIL because that’s what he does to all of his enemies.
If the U.S. abandons Syria and the Kurds, we will pay for this policy failure for decades and generations ALL around the world – not just in the Middle East.
I happen to agree with President Trump, that we should get our troops out of Afghanistan and reduce our military footprint in the Middle East – not just Syria.  In Afghanistan, as soon as possible.  In Syria, only after we have secured land for the Syrian Kurds and, after that, for as long as the Kurds need our protection from Russia, Turkey and Iran – and, of course, from Assad.  Unfortunately, this may mean decades…
Israel and Saudi Arabia will pay for supporting President Trump.  Sooner or later he will turn on them, too.   After all, Trump is a snake, they know he is a snake, and to quote candidate Trump’s campaign speech:  “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”
Just sayin’…   —    KMAB]
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The following is a partial transcript of President’s press rant (dtd: 9 April 2018) about the execution of a multiple location search warrant on Attorney Michael Cohen (Trump Organization attorney) in a start of the day “raid”.  You can find a full copy of the statement on multiple internet news sites.  The statements were made by the President at a special meeting of the President’s National Security Team where he was surrounded by the Joint Chiefs of the military and they were supposedly there to discuss the proper response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against their own people.  [All comments (which appear in italics) are my own.  —  KMAB]:
President Trump: So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys — a good man.  And it’s a disgraceful situation.  It’s a total witch hunt.  I’ve been saying it for a long time.  I’ve wanted to keep it down.  We’ve given, I believe, over a million pages’ worth of documents to the Special Counsel.
[The FBI did NOT “break” into the office / residence of the attorney.  They “executed” a legally authorized search warrant.  The situation does not appear to be either disgraceful or a witch hunt.  President Trump has indeed been stating both “for a long time”.  That doesn’t make the statement that “it’s” a witch hunt factually accurate / true.  The volume of documents given over to the Special Counsel is irrelevant and another attempt by President Trump to misdirect / mislead his supporters.  The vast majority of documents have been conveyed voluntarily, rather than under seizure.  This means, there “may” be some unknown volume of documents (it could be one or it could be ten million) which were not conveyed.  Without seizure, there is no way to verify the number which should have been conveyed.]
They continue to just go forward.  And here we are talking about Syria and we’re talking about a lot of serious things.  We’re the greatest fighting force ever.  [Wag the Dog“, Donald.  “Wag the Dog.]  And I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now — and actually, much more than that.  You could say it was right after I won the nomination, it started.
[Actually, the FBI investigation may have begun before his announcement to run for the nomination and that as the investigation of George Papadopoulos certainly pre-dates Trump’s campaign.]
And it’s a disgrace.  It’s, frankly, a real disgrace.  It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense.  It’s an attack on what we all stand for.
[Like many of President Trump’s comments, this is completely incorrect.  The investigation is “exactly” what is supposed to be happening.  The lawful tools of government are being used to prosecute a response to the Russian interference in our democratic election process for the purpose of ensuring it does not happen again.]
So when I saw this and when I heard it — I heard it like you did — I said, that is really now on a whole new level of unfairness.
So this has been going on — I saw one of the reporters, who is not necessarily a fan of mine, not necessarily very good to me.  He said, in effect, that this is ridiculous; this is now getting ridiculous.  They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia.  The reason they found it is there was no collusion at all.  No collusion.  This is the most biased group of people.  These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.
[When you know you are guilty and before the evidence can become public knowledge, attack the potential accusers with a claim of bias.]
Democrats all — or just about all — either Democrats or a couple of Republicans that worked for President Obama, they’re not looking at the other side; they’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton — the horrible things that she did and all of the crimes that were committed.  They’re not looking at all of the things that happened that everybody is very angry about, I can tell you, from the Republican side, and I think even the independent side.  They only keep looking at us.
[There is no need to “look” at Hillary Clinton.  Clinton has been under a Republican microscope for almost a quarter century and they have not been able to offer proof of a single crime.  Questions of judgement, yes, but not evidence of criminality.  And Republicans have spent millions of dollars trying to find proof – and haven’t been able to.]
So they find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, “Well, let’s keep going.” And they raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning.  And I think it’s a disgrace.
So we’ll be talking about it more.  But this is the most conflicted group of people I’ve ever seen.  The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself.  Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a — put a different Attorney General in.  So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.  But you’ll figure that out.
All I can say is, after looking for a long period of time — and even before the Special Counsel — because it really started just about from the time I won the nomination.  And you look at what took place and what happened, and it’s a disgrace.  It’s a disgrace.
I’ve been President now for what seems like a lengthy period of time.  We’ve done a fantastic job.  We’ve beaten ISIS.  We have just about 100 percent of the caliphate or the land.  Our economy is incredible.  The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of this nonsense that’s going on.  It dropped a lot.  It was up — way up, and then it dropped quite a bit at the end.  A lot.
[No.  Trump’s Administration has not done a “fantastic job” – except in his own mind.  They have not “beaten ISIS”.  ISIS – in Iraq – is being eliminated, but they (or whatever they evolve into) remain a worldwide threat.  The caliphate in Iraq has certainly been beaten down.  But, we should not imagine it has been defeated – once and forever.  Also, the American “economy” is not doing well.  The stock market is still doing well – a carry on from the Obama Administration – despite multiple days this year with massive losses, but main street and Joe Citizen (the “99%”) are both still doing poorly.]
But that we have to go through that — we’ve had that hanging over us now from the very, very beginning.  And yet the other side, they don’t even bother looking.  And the other side is where there are crimes, and those crimes are obvious.  Lies, under oath, all over the place.  Emails that are knocked out, that are acid-washed and deleted.  Nobody has ever seen — 33,000 emails are deleted after getting a subpoena for Congress, and nobody bothers looking at that.  And many, many other things.
[Again, #IncompetentDonald with the specious attacks on Clinton.  Hey, Donald.  News flash…  She lost the election in 2016 and you’ve been President for almost 15 months.  In another tiresome display of public relations / attempted manipulation we once again see President Trump acting as if he can “Wag the Dog” and at the same time drip, drip, drip his lies in a torturous attempt to discredit the rule of law and its enforcement via the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.]
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