United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told Rachel Martin of National Public Radio, in a new interview released Sunday, that Russia behaved “completely wrongheaded” when it “came in and joined the [Syrian] civil war on the side of [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad], further fueling the civil war.” Carter’s statement is an immediately classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. The US government, including the military Carter oversees, long ago committed to supporting another side of the Syrian civil war – the side whose objective is deposing Assad.
After stating this criticism of Russian actions in Syria, Carter immediately follows up with this advice for the Russian government:
[Russia has] more influence with Bashar al-Assad than anybody else. So, the way the civil war is brought to an end and a political transition is, very importantly, the Russians persuading Assad to leave. If they are willing to use their leverage against Assad to achieve that end, that’s very welcome.
The violence in Syria has been devastating for years. New military actions in the country by the Turkish government threaten to escalate the situation into a much larger war.
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote about the most recent developments in the RPI Weekly Update sent out via email early this morning. Because of the great importance of sharing McAdams’ Syria comments with the largest audience possible, those comments from this morning’s email are posted below as well.
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Here is what McAdams wrote in the portion of the RPI Weekly Update concerning Syria:
Dr. Paul and I started the week with a Liberty Report episode noting that Saudi Arabia had announced that it was putting together a force of 150,000 to invade Syria and “fight ISIS.” In the program we noted that it seemed odd for Saudi Arabia to be suddenly so interested in fighting Islamist extremists considering they had been funding and exporting them into Syria for the past five years. In fact, we pointed out, the Saudi invasion plan (troublingly encouraged by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter) was more likely a response to major gains against ISIS and particularly al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front by the Russia and Iran backed Syrian army around Syria’s second city, Aleppo. Aleppo had been occupied for at least three years by largely foreign imported al-Qaeda fighters, but dramatic gains by the Syrian government in the past weeks – with Russian help in the skies and Iranian and Lebanese help on the ground – had that last major rebel-occupied city in west Syria teetering on the edge of liberation. So the idea that Saudi Arabia would invade Syria to fight the very groups it had supported against the Syrian government was a bit much to swallow. Nevertheless, as this update goes to press, Saudi warplanes and personnel are amassing in Turkey poised to invade Syria.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), speaking Tuesday at a hearing of the US House Armed Services Committee, returned to a subject he has addressed many times — the US government’s incredible waste of money and lives in Afghanistan. Providing one example to illustrate the “boondoggles” that permeate US activity in Afghanistan, Jones shed light on the six million dollars the US spent on a program involving importing “rare blonde Italian goats” to Afghanistan. The pricey goats, Jones relates, may have then just been eaten instead of being used to boost the cashmere industry in Afghanistan.
Jones, who is a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board member, further states that the goats boondoggle is one among many wastes of money in Afghanistan that John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, mentioned in January as a witness before a subcommittee of the US Senate Armed Services Committee. Jones expresses exasperation that the US may continue its presence, militarily and otherwise, in Afghanistan for another “20, 30, 40 years.” This costly foreign intervention, says Jones, is particularly worrisome considering the US government debt is at $19 trillion.
Many people watching the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday likely considered United States Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advocacy that the US “move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran” as a welcome call for replacing decades of US hostility and sanctions toward Iran with peace and trade that would benefit people in both countries. Many viewers may also have noticed that Sanders’ stated opinion shares much in common with former Republican and Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul’s long-expressed aspiration that US antagonism toward Iran be replaced with peaceful and prosperous relations.
Paul again expressed his aspiration regarding US-Iran relations in his latest weekly editorial that concludes with the following:
Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!
It may not be surprising that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) snooped on renowned singer-songwriter Pete Seeger for decades and even that the bureau’s file on Seeger runs to nearly 1,800 pages. After all, Seeger was a high-profile opponent of the Vietnam War, and war is the health of the state. But, Seeger was targeted by the FBI before his singing and songwriting gained widespread attention. About twenty-five years before Seeger sang “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” on the Smothers Brothers national television show in 1968, Seeger drew the attention of the FBI by writing a letter to the California chapter of the American Legion.
The year was 1942, and the 23-year-old Seeger, who had been drafted into the United States Army, wrote a short letter to the American Legion chapter expressing his opposition to the chapter’s vote supporting action, as Seeger put it, to “1) deport all Japanese after the war, citizen or not, 2) Bar all Japanese descendants from citizenship!!” Seeger characterized the vote as expressing “narrow jingoism” and noted that he “felt sick at heart to read of this matter.”
Continuing his insightful analysis offered in October RT and November Real News Network interviews, Lawrence Wilkerson, a former United States Army colonel and chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, expands this month on his exploration of the US national security state. In an in-depth interview this week with host Abby Martin at teleSUR, Wilkerson explains how “interminable war” is a goal of the national security state.
Many people suppose that US foreign policy is purposed to protect the American people from danger or to achieve altruistic aspirations overseas such as the spread of democracy or the protection of human rights. Consider, for example, the Afghanistan War that was justified as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on America and also promoted as having humanitarian purposes. In August of 2002, President George W. Bush claimed success in achieving some of these humanitarian purposes as follows:
In Afghanistan, the Taliban used violence and fear to deny Afghan women access to education, health care, mobility, and the right to vote. Our coalition has liberated Afghanistan and restored fundamental human rights and freedoms to Afghan women, and all the people of Afghanistan. Young girls in Afghanistan are able to attend schools for the first time.