In 2006, I invited the late General Bill Odom to address my Thursday Congressional luncheon group. Gen. Odom, a former NSA director, called the Iraq war “the greatest strategic disaster in American history," and told the surprised audience that he could not understand why Congress had not impeached the president for pushing this disaster on the United States. History continues to prove the General’s assessment absolutely correct.
The situation in Iraq is serious, and is probably going to get worse before it gets better. The potential for this recent action to morph into a regional conflict is very high. That means that oil could go a lot higher, and if it does, we can expect the odds of a global economic recession and an attendant financial crisis to go up considerably from here. Before we dive into what's actually happening over there right now, we need to begin with a longer and deeper historical context of the region, which is essential to understanding pretty much everything in the Middle East. The western press likes to report on things as if they suddenly occur for no discernible reason, context-free and unconnected to our actions and activities over there. But the story of the Middle East is a story of intense external meddling -- especially by the US, recently.
Despite Secretary of State John Kerry predicting today that Sunni militants in Iraq do not have the ability to overrun Baghdad, the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Speaking with Yahoo's Katie Kouric, Kerry confidently explained, "I don’t believe that they will in the near term certainly, and I don’t believe they necessarily can at all," overrun Baghdad or other major cities. Having "absolutely, unquestionably" denied that the turmoil in Iraq could have been prevented if US left a residual force, he somewhat shockingly submitted that the US is "open to any constructive process here [with Iran] that can minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces."
"In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe – 1997
The feds are so concerned that more truth about the VA scandal will get out there they have resorted to subpoenas to cover up as much as possible. Of course, considering that the entire Administration, and indeed the entire status quo in America, appears to be essentially a criminal syndicate, there is a naturally an endless stream of abuses that must be concealed from the plebs. One thing that has become entirely clear since the Snowden revelations is the fact that the status quo in both political parties has absolutely zero intent on rolling back unconstitutional surveillance whatsoever. This became completely obvious recently when: Congress Gutted Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Voted No. Fortunately for those of us interested in transparency, some additional information is starting to come out regarding just how far these crooks are willing to go in order to spy on your every move and conversation.
"At the height of the Cold War I do not remember them getting this close," notes a retired Air Force Lt. Gen. as The Washington Free Beacon reports that four Russian strategic bombers triggered U.S. air defense systems while conducting practice bombing runs near Alaska this week, with two of the Tu-95 Bear H aircraft coming within 50 miles of the California coast, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) confirmed Wednesday. Two U.S. Air Force F-22 jets were scrambled and intercepted the bombers over the Aleutians but the remaining two nuclear-capable bombers then flew southeast and entered the U.S. northern air defense zone off the coast of Northern California, before 2 more F-15s were scrambled. As House Armed Services Committee member Connaway ranted, "truth of the matter is we would have squashed either one of those [bombers] like baby seals." McInerney said no American president has been treated with such disrespect in U.S. history.
To summarize: the US was arming and training the same Al Qaeda/ISIS groups of Jihadists, that it concurrently gave Iraq weapons to fight. And since the Iraq army has so far proven utterly incapable of any resistance, it is now up to US drones to "fight" the same "rebels" that the US itself was collaborating with until a month or so ago.
"When an activist movement holds the moral high ground against a repressive establishment power structure, the establishment’s primary recourse is to target the character of its principles. The secondary recourse is direct confrontation. If a dissenting organization is not mindlessly vicious in its methods, then simply make it 'appear' vicious. If it is not hateful in its rhetoric, then artificially tie it to people who are. And if a government really needs to kick-start a crackdown, it can engineer its own man-made calamities and blame the groups that most threaten its authority."
And just like that the war in Iraq, "Bush's war" according to so many, is about to come back with a vengeance this time under Nobel peace prize winning president, and what makes it most grotesque is that this time the US will be waging combat with at a military force that it itself is training and arming in neighboring Syria. Which of course is good news for the military-industiral complex and US Q3 GDP, if not so good for millions of innocent civilians soon to be known as "collateral damage."
Just when one thought US foreign policy couldn't sink any deeper into the hole of its embarrassment, it takes out a shovel and starts digging. Overnight, in what AP describes as a stunning assault that exposed Iraq's eroding central authority, Al Qaida-inspired militants from ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled the second-largest city. But the worst news by far for the US is that as a result of the takeover of Mosul by ISIS forces, an unknown number, and at least one, US ultramodern Blackhawk and Kiowa helicopters parked at the Mosul airport, are now in, you guessed it, Al Qaeda hands.
just who is America's police force, and by extension the Obama administration, which is behind this quiet militarization of local police forces with weapons that would normally be seen in a warzone, preparing for war against?
No Wonder Impeachment Was “Off the Table”: Democrats Approved Mass Surveillance and Torture … and the Subsequent Cover-UpSubmitted by George Washington on 06/09/2014 18:52 -0400
No, It Was NOT All Bush and Cheney's Fault ... Even Back THEN
If predicting yesterday's EURUSD (and market) reaction to the ECB announcement was easy enough, today's reaction to the latest "most important ever" nonfarm payrolls number (because remember: with the Fed getting out of market manipulation, if only for now, it is imperative that the economy show it can self-sustain growth on its own even without $85 billion in flow per month, which is why just like the ISM data earlier this week, the degree of "seasonal adjustments" are about to blow everyone away) should be just as obvious: since both bad news and good news remain "risk-on catalysts", and since courtesy of Draghi's latest green light to abuse any and every carry trade all risk assets will the bought the second there is a dip, the "BTFATH mentality" will be alive in well. It certainly was overnight, when the S&P500 rose to new all time highs despite another 0.5% drop in the Shcomp (now barely holding on above 2000), and a slight decline in the Nikkei (holding on just over 15,000).
France Responds To US BNP Fine, Will Train Hundreds Of Russian Seamen To Operate French-Made WarshipSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/04/2014 09:03 -0400
France has suddenly found itself battling two populist fronts: on one hand it had to continue its foreign policy track of siding with NATO and the US when it comes to Russian developments; on the other it had to responds to howls of protest from the population bashing the US for having the temerity to punish its flagship bank (recall "France Furious At US $10 Billion BNP "Masterful Slap", "Racketeering" Fine"). Today, it was revealed that in weighing the two evils, it picked what it thought was the lesser one, and as the WSJ reports "a group of 400 Russian sailors are scheduled to arrive on June 22 in the French Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire to undergo months of instruction before some of them pilot the first of two Mistral-class carriers back to Russia in the fall, said one of these people."