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James DiEugenio

Max Boot gets Booted on Lansdale in Vietnam

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Posted (edited)

Paul said: Kirk - in regards to Syria, what course of history would you prefer? In your view, what caused the tragic destabilization of Syria? What was your point of view on the first, or second, US and allied wars in Iraq? Just curious. I’m pretty sure all of us would prefer a world without despots. What’s the solution? 

That's a good question Paul, and as I said I wish it were that simple. But Jim thinks it is.

Jim says this as to my raising doubts about the outcome of Putin's alliance with Assad.

I am still in favor of what Assad did with Putin.  Because if that would not have happened, you would have had the same thing occur in Syria as what happened in Libya.  

Yes  It's probably the 30th time I've heard Jim's obsession with Libya and Hillary again, but it's like comparing  New York City to Hoboken. We're talking about  a country with 4 times as many people as Libya and an authentic culture that's been around for milleniums, (oh I'm sorry, why did I even mention that!) News flash! Actually a country can be broken without a regime change, Jim.

Jim says: I am still in favor of what Assad did with Putin.

Well, I'm glad you think it was worth the risk  for you, Jim. But like slavery, I think the ones that suffered might disagree. These are the facts: Try this:

In 2016, from an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria.

That's 2/3 of the population requiring humanitarian assistance and half the population either displaced or refugees out of the country! Numbers are boring,but they don't lie.

And where are they going? They're migrating throughout East and West Europe. The victors can spin it whatever way they want.  Putin's foraying into being a Middle East power broker is the biggest humanitarian disaster since Bush's War on Iraq. I see little difference in outcome, but unfortunately the Russian  economy is such a piss poor basket case, (do you know all Russia, economically is about half the size of California!!)) so there's not going to be any real reconstruction anytime soon, but of course they can just throw  all the millions of refugees on Europe. Good plan!  Nobody can ignore the facts. We don't need idealogues, we have to face what works and what doesn't. If it worked better, I would have had no problem admitting it. But it's a disaster, a complete over extension.

 

Edited by Kirk Gallaway

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Posted (edited)

That is a really acute analysis on your part.

1.  If you don't like Libya, then how about Iraq?  Did you like what we did there?  Pretty neat eh?  Over threw Hussein and unleashed ISIS.  

2. Hmm, you mean Assad and his loyalists did not want to be overthrown?  Sort of like Hussein eh?  So there was a war.  Who was behind it?  Let me link to one of the very few articles in American media that really tried to say something truthful about what was going on in Syria generally and in Aleppo particularly 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html

So between ISIS and Assad, I will take Assad.

Kirk likes to lead with his chin.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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I actually remember Kinzer. Good research, Jim. Jim quotes an ex -Reaganite. In the 80's, he once very adamantly anti-Sandinista, though in fairness, I'm not sure if he was pro Contra, but a lot of Reaganites were back then. You can really pick em' Jim. I  prefer sources who were always anti imperialists to ones who later had some "born again" epiphany.

And I'd prefer hard numbers from the U.N. as to a refugee crisis , rather than prose about "glimmers of hope" and endless  political pontifications,  which I know puts you at somewhat  of a disadvantage.

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How about ten million for a number:

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/803016/US-manhunt-Syrian-terrorist-leader-Abu-Muhammad-al-Jawlani-10million-reward-al-Nusra

They the try to disguise themselves with White Helmets

https://www.activistpost.com/2017/11/i-visited-east-aleppo-there-is-no-doubt-nusra-and-white-helmets-are-the-same-organization.html

I repeat, I will take Assad over another Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist state.  

 

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This topic has veered into current events, but I think there is an appropriate link in the ways a conventional wisdom can be created out of false representations. 

The terrible events in Syria have been grossly mis-reported by the corporate media (MSM). It use to be joked ten to fifteen years ago that viewers of Fox News cultivated completely false or inverted understandings of national and world events based on how much Fox programming they consumed. That phenomenon seems common now across the MSM landscape.  Support for regime change in Syria has been consistent in the MSM since the start, part of an information warfare environment which is a distinguishing feature of the struggles in that country. Part of that information warfare relies on decontextualizing facts and figures, and demonizing certain parties while obscuring others.

For instance - yes, there has been massive displacement of peoples, a humanitarian crisis. But the implication in the reporting has been that the Assad government is solely to blame for this, which is not true. The Islamist rebels, who managed to seize a lot of territory before Russia’s intervention, are responsible for creating many of these refugees - as is proved by the fact that many persons have returned over the past year or so as the rebels have been displaced and security has returned to the large population centres. Similarly, reports of the conflict’s death toll - approaching approximately 450,000 - usually infer that these represent mostly civilians killed because of their opposition to the government. Not true again. Over half of that number represent government soldiers killed in combat. Another third represents rebel fighters killed in combat (many of whom were Islamic foreigners inserted into the country). The rest were civilians killed during operations by both the government and the rebels.

Putin, at the UN in September 2015, stated very clearly his reasons for Russia’s intervention in Syria, largely consistent with principles of sovereignty as described in the UN Charter. This again has been mis-represented by the MSM, which has featured for almost three years scores of talking heads and analyzers who assert Russia’s motives in a form of free association which rarely if ever refers to the original statement (to which the Russians have remained rather consistent). Like the Russians or not, they have introduced innovative means to minimize the fighting, including deconfliction zones and negotiated removals of fighters to other areas. The combat which has occurred, in support of the Syrian government, has been undertaken consistent with UN Security Council resolutions which have called for the “eradication” of designated terrorists and their enclaves.

The JFK assassination has a huge “fake news” component, analysis of which should allow for a sharper more critical focus on contemporary events. I say the MSM version of Syria is fake news. It is astonishing that the established fake narrative promotes radical Islamist warriors, with whom the US is technically at war and yet has tacitly supported and further turned a blind eye to the massive support undertaken by its regional allies to such forces. A proxy war utilizing designated terrorist groups is a terrible thing to inflict on people.

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Posted (edited)

Jeff, I've never said I supported the assassination of Assad. That's Jim at least implying that I said that. And I don't accept the MSM interpretation or purported facts, , and as you can see, I'm not using them. Nobody here assumes that one side is responsible for everything. I can accept from your article that most of the dead are combatants, but there's also that thing called  collateral damage, and  using your fatality figures, over 25 times that figure are currently displaced or are refugees!

It's a huge humanitarian disaster, do you accept the UN figures of refugees?  What is the source of this article that you appear to be quoting, or any articles you're using? Please cite them.

Here are the U.N. sources again.

In 2016, from an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria.

Please break this down for me, of these 6 million people who are internally displaced and the 5 million who are now refugees outside of Syria, Since you're claiming to be privy to a bit  information. Do you know 1) How many of these people who are displaced or refugees are pro Assad?  That is a bit difficult to gauge, isn't it?, because a lot of people if given free elections may not choose to vote for Assad,  but basically just want peace for their families and their dwellings. I would think pro Assad people would gravitate toward government protected areas and not be that prevalent on the refugee list. Jeff, Would you really be as likely to leave your home  country, if your chosen leader was in power, and maybe later, if he wins the cooperation of a powerful ally. (Russia)? What do you think? 2)how many of them  have been  displaced or are refugees because of their opposition to Assad?  Wouldn't you be more likely to leave your mother country if you feared there would be government reprisals, if you were to return? Are there any figures for the displacement of Democratic forces such as the the SDF, which no one's mentioned.  -(I notice you're article never once mentions ISIS, but is lumping all the terrorist groups together, that's cool.)

Edited by Kirk Gallaway

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It is absolutely a humanitarian disaster - but is the primary cause of this disaster because Assad is engaged in a war against his own people with the support of Putin or because regional adversaries have been financing a regime change operation in that country? I say it is the latter.

Here is a reasonable overview:

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/20/hidden-origins-of-syrias-civil-war/

The second link in that article goes to an article by Eric Margolis on the refugee issue.

As for reasons for displacement - the most obvious reason is that there was military conflict ongoing and therefore people were not safe in their homes. They could have been fleeing the government or fleeing from the rebels or just fleeing to save their lives. Early 2016 was the high water mark of the rebel’s control of territory, so there weren’t then “government protected areas” that were particularly safe at all. It has been observed since then that large numbers of displaced people returned to areas like east Aleppo and Ghouta after the government’s military operations reversed rebel control there.

I would not take the UN’s numbers at face value, as they had been very wrong in claiming 250,000 civilians at risk in east Aleppo when fighting there was approaching government victory about 18 months ago. The real number turned out to be a fifth of that. The UN was using the inflated figure to support a ceasefire to stave off defeat of the rebel forces (who were largely associated with or actually were designated al-Qaeda forces).

The SDF are not exactly “Democratic” forces. Today they are, effectively, the Kurdish militia from the north eastern part of the country with a few local Arab allies.They are not fighting the government, but are in alliance with the Americans who are. It’s very complicated.

ISIS, in my opinion, was both a psychological warfare operation and an effective proxy force. The Syrian opposition was never truly united, but were mostly ideologically Islamist, as senior US political figures conceded. Even the so-called moderate rebels had a social and political platform not dissimilar from the Taliban. They openly stated that if they were victorious they would spark another humanitarian crisis displacing all who remained who did not follow their religious teachings.

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Posted (edited)

Jeff:

Nice one, but its not really all about current events.  It relates to what I was writing about with JFK's foreign policy.

See, contrary to what almost all JFK assassination books try to say, Kennedy did have a foreign policy for most sectors of the world besides Cuba and Indochina.

His Middle East policy was pretty visionary and sophisticated for that time period. Before he made his Algeria speech, he had studied the issue for a year.  And he understood the background on it, all the way back to FDR and the Sultan of Morocco. And he also understood the strong Moslem influence in North Africa.  Stemming from the Ottoman Empire and their attempt to invade Spain from that area.

He was very disappointed in how Foster Dulles had deserted Nasser and abandoned the Aswan Dam, therefore leaving an opening for the Soviets, which they used.  Therefore he wanted to build a relationship with Nasser, a secularist, a socialist, and a progressive who was targeted by both the Muslim Brotherhood for assassination, and the CIA for an overthrow.  Nasser went to war with the former and just about wiped them out in his country.  

Click here and you will see why Kennedy was drawn to Nasser:  

 

See Kennedy wanted to use Nasser as his approach to the moderate Arab states in order to marginalize the fundamentalists.  Who, for your info, the British had been backing because they feared pan Arabism under Nasser for one reason: higher prices for oil for BP.

Kennedy's policy was severely altered by LBJ and RMN, and Nasser broke relations with the USA under Johnson.  And today the Neocons actually back the fundamentalists against a secular government in Syria.   Which is a complete reversal of Kennedy.  

 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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Yes, I have come to see a JFK foreign policy framework which is so different from the Dulles consensus - and, as you have ably pointed out, is little understood or acknowledged. Gibson's "Battling Wall Street" helped immensely in grasping what was at stake. 

The thrust or direction of these sorts of policies put the target on JFK , as his enemies were firmly in the Dulles camp, and the Dulles foreign policy framework served their self-interest.

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1 hour ago, Jeff Carter said:

Yes, I have come to see a JFK foreign policy framework which is so different from the Dulles consensus - and, as you have ably pointed out, is little understood or acknowledged. Gibson's "Battling Wall Street" helped immensely in grasping what was at stake. 

The thrust or direction of these sorts of policies put the target on JFK , as his enemies were firmly in the Dulles camp, and the Dulles foreign policy framework served their self-interest.

JFK ordered regime change in Cuba and Vietnam, and partitioned Laos.

I'm sympathetic to the view Kennedy was out-played by his advisors in all three instances -- advisors with their own secret agendas.

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Posted (edited)

Very good book Jeff by Don Gibson.  Glad to see you read it.

By the way, as per Nasser and JFK, the feeling was mutual.  When Kennedy was killed, Nasser went into a depression and ordered Egypt state TV to broadcast his funeral four times in a month.

The more I look at Nasser, I agree with Robert Dreyfuss in his book The Devil's Game: that was the last great opportunity America had to neutralize the Middle East.

And to think the CIA tried to overthrow him. 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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Posted (edited)

 

That's a good article Jeff. It is the worst refugee crisis in the past quarter century, and to my surprise worse than the Iraq War.

MSM or not, as a citizen i can tell you the news coverage from about 6 months after the Iraqi invasion for the next 7 years was hardly encouraging!

In all there were about 3 million Iraqis displaced from their homes and 2 million refugees. not even half  the estimated 11 million total estimates for Syria. The Iraqi refugees settled largely in population centers in neighboring countries in the Middle East. in Syria, there is a much higher settlement in refugee camps, which presents an even greater problem. "Glimmer of hope"' and everything's looking up? Let's hope Syria has a renaissance in 5 years!

Jeff said:

It is absolutely a humanitarian disaster - but is the primary cause of this disaster because Assad is engaged in a war against his own people with the support of Putin or because regional adversaries have been financing a regime change operation in that country? I say it is the latter.

It's solely the latter?, and not both? Regional financing from who?

I would not take the UN’s numbers at face value, as they had been very wrong in claiming 250,000 civilians at risk in east Aleppo when fighting there was approaching government victory about 18 months ago.

That's the kind of information where they might be inaccurate, but when we're talking numbers of refugees, rather than reputed good sources with good people on the ground, I don't think there's any better source to count refugees than  agencies whose jobs are to count and take care of them, though I don't expect complete accuracy.

Early 2016 was the high water mark of the rebel’s control of territory, so there weren’t then “government protected areas” that were particularly safe at all.

Don't be too sure. I've  traveled though El Salvador and Nicaragua during their civil wars, and what I was struck with is that 99% of the country is peaceful. Check out this from October 2017. But if 2016 was the terrorist high water mark, check out the second August 2016 clip from Syrian tourism. Pretty inviting huh? A lot warmer right now than Canada!

  https://youtu.be/Uk8LSQbybo0

https://youtu.be/saXH4yQARqg

 

Edited by Kirk Gallaway

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

 

That's a good article Jeff. It is the worst refugee crisis in the past quarter century, and to my surprise worse than the Iraq War.

MSM or not, as a citizen i can tell you the news coverage from about 6 months after the Iraqi invasion for the next 7 years was hardly encouraging!

In all there were about 3 million Iraqis displaced from their homes and 2 million refugees. not even half  the estimated 11 million total estimates for Syria. The Iraqi refugees settled largely in population centers in neighboring countries in the Middle East. in Syria, there is a much higher settlement in refugee camps, which presents an even greater problem. "Glimmer of hope"' and everything's looking up? Let's hope Syria has a renaissance in 5 years!

Jeff said:

It is absolutely a humanitarian disaster - but is the primary cause of this disaster because Assad is engaged in a war against his own people with the support of Putin or because regional adversaries have been financing a regime change operation in that country? I say it is the latter.

It's solely the latter?, and not both? Regional financing from who?

I would not take the UN’s numbers at face value, as they had been very wrong in claiming 250,000 civilians at risk in east Aleppo when fighting there was approaching government victory about 18 months ago.

That's the kind of information where they might be inaccurate, but when we're talking numbers of refugees, rather than reputed good sources with good people on the ground, I don't think there's any better source to count refugees than  agencies whose jobs are to count and take care of them, though I don't expect complete accuracy.

Early 2016 was the high water mark of the rebel’s control of territory, so there weren’t then “government protected areas” that were particularly safe at all.

Don't be too sure. I've  traveled though El Salvador and Nicaragua during their civil wars, and what I was struck with is that 99% of the country is peaceful. Check out this from October 2017. But if 2016 was the terrorist high water mark, check out the second August 2016 clip from Syrian tourism. Pretty inviting huh? A lot warmer right now than Canada!

  https://youtu.be/Uk8LSQbybo0

https://youtu.be/saXH4yQARqg

 

I think it’s clear that destabilization strategies are the cause of many humanitarian disasters, Syria being one prime example, and Afghanistan (supporting Mujahedeen to get Russia out) another. When does it work? Why do we keep doing it? Casting the whole ugly mess as east/west proxy wars seems to me to be a Big Lie, since the best explanation for continued interference is that someone benefits, and it certainly hasn’t solved its stated purpose. The relevance to this Forum is clear. Neutralism died with JFK,.

Edited by Paul Brancato

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I'm reading the Boot/Lansdale book now.  The Introduction has JFK equivocally approving the weekend NSC/State cable that demanded Nhu's removal and forecast a Diem coup if Diem refused to act on Nhu.  Once the Diem coup was in motion, Boot has Kennedy afraid to recall Ambassador Lodge because he was afraid of Lodge as a Republican candidate in 1964.

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Posted (edited)

OMG, then the Boot book is even worse than I thought it was.

As Lodge told PBS in the1983  Vietnam: A Television History special, when JFK realized what had happened, he sent a cancellation order.  

Therefore the plotters stalled and it did not go through.  

But as Jim Douglass notes in his book, the CIA cut off the export-import allotment for Saigon. (pp. 192-93)  When Kennedy heard this, he was stunned.  He asked "Who the hell told you to do that?" The CIA guy said, "No one. Its an automatic policy. We do it whenever we have differences with a client government."

Kennedy shook his head and muttered, "My God, do you know what you have done.?"

How good is the Douglass book on this subject?  What he wrote about there was actually what happened.  Because a few weeks ago, in  declassified files from the Church Committee, there was the unredacted version of an interview  with Bill Colby.  Colby was the former Saigon station chief, and then became head of the Far East division in 1963.  He testified in executive session that it was this stipulation, with the import export bank, that reignited the overthrow attempt. (p. 37)  But further in that interview, its clear that the senators and even Colby are a little aghast at the excuse that Lucien Conein gave for not being able to get the Nhu brothers out of Saigon.  Conein said it was a delay in getting a plane in from Taiwan. One of the senators asks: But did we not have planes there already? Colby says, yes, I thought we did.  Again, Douglass gives us the accurate narrative here about Conein and Lodge working with the generals and giving them the rope to do away with the Nhus. (Douglass pp 192-210)

But further, as that declassified interview reveals, there was an acting chief of the CIA station in Saigon, a guy named Dave Smith.  His name has just been unredacted.  See, Lodge had forced the recall of the previous station chief, John Richardson, for the specific reason that he was close to Diem. (ibid, p. 186) The cut off of the allotment, plus the removal of Richardson were key points in what happened.  The latter essentially gave free rein to Lodge and Conein.

Kennedy was so upset at what occurred, and how Lodge had countered his wishes at every step, that he recalled the ambassador to Washington for the purpose of firing him. (ibid, p. 375) But Dallas intervened. LBJ  not only  kept him, he became a part of the escalation plan.

This is why I say you cannot understand what happened here unless you read Douglass for the Saigon side and Newman for the American side.  Douglass used an array of sources that no one had ever used in a JFK book before.  Newman did his usual very careful and precise tracing of events in Washington.

 

 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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