How is Obama’s Syria strategy designed to benefit U.S. national security interests?
How is Obama’s Syria strategy designed to benefit U.S. national security interests?
http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/ The majority of Americans do not want to invade or bomb Syria. The majority of American leaders do. Such a disparity between the leaders and the people is not wholly unique, but it arises in this case not from the usual disparities of power or corruption. Americans don’t want to fight Syria because it […]
President Barack Obama’s decision to make Congress decide on the course of the Syrian intervention has put the pro-Israel camp just where it did not want to be: openly advocating American military involvement in the volatile Middle East. It’s a calculation based on the lesser of two evils, the greater being risking Washington’s withdrawal from leadership on global security just as Iran crosses the nuclear threshold. No one has a greater stake in a strong United States — and the credibility of America’s deterrent capability — than Israel and the Jewish people. Indeed, many of the arguments that motivate the president’s opponents on Syria could also apply in the event that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities becomes necessary.
Yet this is a debate about the American national interest, and most American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) supporters do not want it to degenerate into a debate about Israel. Most agree with former Israeli Ambassador Itamar Rabinovitch that, “It’s bad for Israel [if] the average American gets it into his or her mind that boys are again sent to war for Israel.”
Paralyzed by these fears, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC supporters in Washington remained nearly silent for weeks, even after evidence of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians outside Damascus. And they remained quiet even after Obama indicated that he was preparing a military strike. They did not want to be drawn into a political melee in a deeply divided Congress, risking strains in the bipartisan support for Israel that forms the bedrock of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
All that has now changed. Responding to a full-court press by the Obama administration — a call to Netanyahu, a direct message to AIPAC, and messages via congressional leaders — AIPAC has weighed in fully in support of the president’s call for intervention.
Global warming? No, actually we’re cooling, claim scientists
A cold Arctic summer has led to a record increase in the ice cap, leading experts to predict a period of global cooling.
> There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, they equivalent of almost a million square miles.
> In a rebound from 2012’s record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin.
> The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes.
> A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century.
> If correct, it would contradict computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming. The news comes several years after the BBC predicted that the arctic would be ice-free by 2013.
AIPAC has acceded to the request of the President, and has committed to fighting hard in a very uphill struggle to get the votes he needs, especially in the House, to back the use of force in Syria. The President’s normal lobbying ally, Organizing for America, is sitting this one out. There is a reasonable chance the vote drive will fail. Obama will recover, but will AIPAC? I, for one, believe the President already has zero credibility abroad. Whatever the vote, and whatever limited action we take in Syria, will not change that. Will America suddenly be respected abroad, if the House passes this vote by 220-213, and Obama fires cruise missiles for one or two days at targeted sites already abandoned (like Clinton did in 1998 after the African embassy bombings)? Obama is uncomfortable with anything but crude politics on the domestic level, at which he is quite good, but strategic calculations, especially international ones, are beyond him. Obama versus Iran or Obama versus Putin is not a fair fight. Ditherers lose. Obama does not seem to be all in in this battle, which is why he threw it to Congress and AIPAC to make it their war. Obama has no ability to accept responsibility. Now if Obama wins the vote, the war will be seen by the majority of the country who are opposed to military strikes , as a war for Israel. It would be one thing if military strikes altered the course of the war, assuming we think the jihadist infused rebels are much better than Assad, and his backers. But pinprick strikes, with no strategic purpose, which is what these will be (and what we have told the world they will be) are useless.
RICHARD BAEHR:Obama’s war: When cynicism trumps credibility:http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=5627
Until some insiders break ranks and tell the truth, we will not know why U.S. President Barack Obama changed his mind over launching cruise missiles at Syria last week.
Until recently, there was speculation that when the president saw the public opinion polls showing that Americans were sharply opposed to a strike, he became nervous about being out there on his own, without the U.N., the British, or Congress, especially if there was a modest risk that things might “go south” after a strike (retaliation against U.S. assets or domestic terrorism). Another circulating theory was that if the British were taking the war to a vote, then Obama, who had been a frequent war critic as a senator, needed to do the same.
But now a new explanation is gaining currency: that the president simply lost his will to fight because he became afraid of Iranian/Hezbollah repercussions. Unlike the Iranians, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Russians and pretty much everyone else on the international stage, who understand that the president is an empty vessel at this point, and whose word means little or nothing, Obama may take the Iranian threats seriously.
One Iranian cleric, Alireza Forghani, offered this: “In just 21 hours [after the attack on Syria], a family member of every U.S. minister [department secretary], U.S. ambassadors, U.S. military commanders around the world will be abducted. And then 18 hours later, videos of their amputation will be spread [around the world].”
http://cnsnews.com/commentary/rabbi-aryeh-spero/stay-home-and-far-away-syria Presently there is no vital U.S. security reason for us to get involved in a war with Syria. Before sending our boys and depleting our treasury once again, there should be a vital U.S. necessity and a result that redounds to our benefit. When we fought communism, we could be assured that its democratic, […]
http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/novelists-view-world/2013/sep/6/engelhard-how-putin-became-obamas-daddy/ NEW YORK, Sept. 6, 2013 — Barack Obama versus Vladimir Putin is already the mismatch of the century. Observing these two circle each other on the world stage is like watching an amateur against a professional. Putin is proving himself to be faster, stronger, smarter. Meanwhile, amid the Syria debacle, we watch Obama shrink […]
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3968/denmark-grand-mosque “In this way we can promote our moderate message of Islam. The Emir [of Qatar] would really like this.” — Mohamed al-Maimouni, spokesman, Danish Islamic Council. Construction crews in Copenhagen have raised Denmark’s first minaret — a 20 meter (65 foot) tower-like structure that will alter Copenhagen’s low-rise skyline — as the finishing touch […]
CHAPTER 1: “GROUNDLESS AND WORSE,” HE SAYS.
BUT NOT IN MY BOOK
Radosh presents my entire book and its arguments as a “conspiracy thesis resting on five claims.” He writes: “In this review, I will focus on each of these claims in turn and show that they are groundless, and worse.”
I strongly reject this compression of my book and hope readers of the Radosh review, not my book, will one day discover for themselves that the nature, substance, thematic structure, and tone of American Betrayal are wholly unrecognizable next to the Radosh presentation.
For purposes of this rebuttal, however, I will address the five Radosh claims, one by one. I will be as brief–but also as comprehensive–as possible. I will focus on disproving unsupportable claims and rectifying the distortions inherent in these “five claims.” I will show that Radosh’s treatment of the subject matter bears little–and often literally no–resemblance to what is actually on the printed page. In other words, that it’s Radosh’s claims about my book that are “groundless and worse.”
In so doing, I will also point out a number of mistakes and inaccuracies–and outright fabrications–that pock and riddle the Radosh “take-down.”[i]
One final note: In rebutting these five charges, I will sometimes need to lead a reader more deeply into the weeds of fact and context than others. With that in mind, I will start with the most easily grasped set of Radosh misstatements.
The fifth and final section of the Radosh review is called “The Issue of the Second Front.” It runs more than 1,800 words, which makes it a little over 20 percent of the whole review.
Bear that in mind that it critiques a debate over the “second front” in World War II that is not in my book.
Radosh sets up Claim No. 5 as the debate over when to invade northern France: either in 1943 or 1944.
Let us assume for a moment that a cross-Channel invasion had been mounted in 1943 (before the Axis armies had been decimated in North Africa, Sicily and Italy) instead of at Normandy in 1944. In that case, as [historian Laurence] Rees argues, the Allies might indeed have reached Eastern Europe earlier in the fighting and Soviet influence would have been lessened. West, as we have seen, attributes the failure to Soviet agents who prevented Roosevelt and Churchill from following this course, allowing Stalin to take control. But Rees also writes (in a passage West also ignores) that “the cost in human terms for the Western Allies would have been enormous.
Just to be clear, Radosh is saying that my discussion of the “second front” debate concerns the timing of the invasion of northern France. The US and Britain failed to invade northern France in 1943, Radosh claims I argue, due to “Soviet agents.”
There is a surreal quality to what I now must write: This section, 20 percent of the Radosh review, in no way, shape or form tracks the debate over the “second front” that is examined in American Betrayal. It’s simply not the debate I work through in my book. I repeat: It’s not in my book.
Further, Radosh calls my “interpretation of this event” (the one that is not in my book) “shallow and erroneous.”
What American Betrayal does examine in Chapter 9 is whether the abundantly confirmed presence of agents of Kremlin influence inside the US policy-making chain turned, shaded or shaped “second front” planning to Stalin’s advantage in the epic debate among the so-called Big Three. This great debate was over whether to amass US and British forces in northern France or in the Italy/Balkan region.
In simplest terms, I wrote about France vs. Italy/Balkan–not, as Radosh erroneously asserts, France ’43 vs. France ’44.
The word “Italy” does not appear in this section of the Radosh review in relation to the “second front” debate. Nor does the word “Balkan.”
This is so incredible I must repeat it: Radosh missed my entire debate, from the crux of it to the fine details.
The chapter in American Betrayal in question is 13,500 words long with 84 endnotes.
This omission automatically renders a series of related Radosh charges against me non-applicable and therefore false.
West “ignores” the human cost of the early French invasion …”
–non-applicable and therefore FALSE
Another example: I “ignore” the unreadiness of Allied troops in 1943
–non-applicable and therefore FALSE
West doesn’t even consider the question of whether Churchill and Roosevelt would have been willing to sacrifice so much as one million dead British and American soldiers to keep Eastern Europe out of Soviet hands.
Where did that come from? This marks the intrusion of a “straw man argument.”
Something else: It should already be evident that Radosh is unlikely to know what I consider or don’t. Frankly, it doesn’t seem to matter to him anyway. His intentness on attack is such that he sees what he wants to and ignores what he doesn’t. (Evidence to come will further bear this out.)
Indeed, it seems fair to ask: Did Radosh read my book? Did he read it and not understand it? Or, did he read and purposefully distort it?
Such questions will recur in the discussion to come. I can only speculate on the answers, but the effect is clear each time: my work, and the reader’s trust of my work, has been harmed without cause, without evidence.
ANOTHER RADOSH CHARGE: FALSE
One of Radosh’s many introductory charges against my credibility is this:
“She disregards the findings of the sources she does rely on when they contradict her ….”
I have flagged four instances in brief (see “Radosh’s Introduction,” #10) where I make the reader aware of differences of opinion among the experts. But since we’re in the “second front” section, I now offer one of them in full.
On p. 267 of American Betrayal, amid talk of the Italian/Balkan strategy–which was supported in 1943 not only by Churchill but also by US Generals Mark Clark, Dwight Eisenhower, Ira Eaker and Carl Spaatz–I note:
“…There was a military argument to be made to refocus on France. In Wedemeyer Reports! Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, one of the early planners of the invasion of France, makes a compelling military counterargument against Churchill’s and [Gen. Mark] Clark’s `soft underbelly’ strategy. Essentially, when he looked at the map, Wedemeyer didn’t see the requisite harbors through which a massive Italian-Balkan could be supplied as it made its way through almost practically impassable terrain. To be sure, this military debate remains open-ended…”
I not only did not disregard Wedemyer’s military argument favoring France over the Italy-Balkan, I laid it out.
MY TRUE CRIME REVEALED: VIOLATING THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
Next in this foundationally erroneous “second front” section, Radosh raises “another point that West fails to consider.” This, he writes, is the “continuing fear shared by both FDR and Churchill that… Stalin might seek a separate peace with Nazi Germany.”
To be sure, I do not give this point the requisite emphasis that conventional consensus histories do in perpetuating the conventional consensus on our wartime alliance with and support for Stalin−an even greater totalitarian monster than Hitler, who (and American Betrayal argues) was secretly and continually waging a dirty intelligence war against both Britain and the US for the duration of the Allied war with Nazi Germany. That said, I didn’t fail to take into consideration this “fear.” In my treatment, however, it appears briefly as one of the “great mistakes of the war,” which is the title of a 1949 book by military analyst Hanson Baldwin, a Pulitzer-Prize winner who covered World War II from the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe for the New York Times.
From p. 112, American Betrayal:
Regarding the globe this way isn’t just a glass-half-empty exercise. It is a massive conceptual twist that forces what we “know” about “victory” into reverse. Hanson Baldwin’s 1949 book [Great Mistakes of the War] provides a good, solid point of analytical departure, particularly given that his four great and false premises of the war all have to do with our (incorrect) assessments and (mis)perceptions of the Soviet Union–head fakes, all–rather than conventional military blunders, as one might expect. They were:
That the Soviet Union had abandoned its policy of world revolution.
That “Uncle Joe” Stalin was a “good fellow,” someone we could “get along with.”
That the USSR might make a separate peace with Germany.
That the Soviet Union’s entry into the war against Japan was essential to victory or necessary to save thousands of American lives.
Such premises, in other words, fall into the category we would later identify as Soviet dezinformatsiya – disinformation purposefully planted, fed, primed, echoed, and amplified according to Kremlin plan. Accepting Baldwin’s list, then, we might consider two possible explanations. We, ourselves, arrived at these false premises. Or we, subverted from within by hundreds of agents loyal to a foreign power and aided and abetted by exponentially more fellow travelers and useful fools, were convinced to arrive at these false premises and were duped by a massive Communist influence operation into making these and many, many other mistakes. This is the shocking new scenario that begins to take shape with the overlay of intelligence history onto diplomatic, military, and cultural history.”
Radosh makes no mention of my thematic treatment of such “great mistakes”–in part, at least, the apparent fruits of Soviet propaganda/disinformation–even though it is discussed throughout American Betrayal. The reason, I surmise, may explain why Radosh also repeatedly distorts my study and analysis of Soviet influence over Roosevelt administration policy-making into Soviet “control” of FDR. Many readers, as Radosh no doubt hopes, will reject the cartoon of Soviet “control” he falsely claims American Betrayal depicts as being, as Radosh describes me work, “unhinged.” His pattern of caricature, I believe, is an effort to avoid, deny, and even hide the impact of Soviet infiltration on the formation of US policy that American Betrayal explores.
THE RADOSH PATTERN
While it is up to me to flag what is missing in the Radosh review, there is a discernible pattern to watch for.
Radosh will condemn me and my book for not bowing to the conventional consensus–in this case, the conventional consensus on “the fear of a separate peace.”
Next, he will lay out the conventional consensus, quoting from conventional consensus historians.
These, he labels “pre-eminent,” “definitive” and the like. I, on the other hand, fall not just outside this liberal orthodoxy, but am also a purveyor of “yellow journalism conspiracy theories.”
To make his calumny stick, he will, as usual, omit mention of my copious sources that led me to my non-conventional conclusions.
THE “MILITARY REALITY ON THE GROUND”
A piece of liberal consensus on World War II that Radosh defends to the death is the notion that the “military reality of the ground” dictated all manner of US and British appeasement of Stalin, from Lend-Lease profligacy to Yalta betrayal. Indeed, I have come to realize this becomes his battering ram against my book’s premise–my re-examination of the role Soviet agents of influence played in shaping US policy. His thinking seems to be that if the “military reality on the ground” made Soviet appeasement our only choice, then the influence of a Harry Dexter White or Lauchlin Currie or Nathan Gregory Silvermaster or Alger Hiss or Harry Hopkins is just so many moot points of mere academic interest. In other hands, such as mine, he condemns any other analysis of these spies and influence agents’ impact as “yellow journalism conspiracy theories.”
To prove this point vis a vis the separate peace fear factor, Radosh writes:
In March 1942, when the Allies were facing major military setbacks, Churchill wired FDR that the “gravity of the war” forced him to conclude that Britain and the U.S. could not deny Stalin the frontiers he wanted in Eastern Europe, even though it might contradict the goals of the Atlantic Charter. It was not Soviet agents who led Churchill to this judgment, but the military reality on the ground.
Who knows what led Churchill to this judgment? I don’t. Radosh seems to be now consulting historian Laurence Rees, in whose popular book, World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazi and the West, the “gravity of the war” anecdote appears (p. 127). Radosh will rely heavily on Rees throughout his “take-down” of American Betrayal. Rees is a British historian and BBC documentary-maker, and reliably mainstream (read: liberal). (Full disclosure: Rees is cited about a half-dozen times in American Betrayal.)
If Radosh had just turned the page, he would have seen, pace Rees (p. 128), that the US disagreed with Churchill’s moral and/or military position here, as did the British War Cabinet. Thus, Churchill’s “military reality on the ground” concession to Stalin at this time was rejected. This rather cancels Radosh’s point about the “military reality on the ground” dictating Soviet appeasement, at least this time around. And that rather cancels his point against me.
One might quote Radosh to Radosh himself to note that his “judgment” (see “Radosh’s Introduction”) here was “not only bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence and refuted by the very authorities [he] draws on.”
Then again, even if Churchill were making judgments to appease Stalin based on “the military reality on the ground,” that “reality” certainly shifted for Churchill to a point where Churchill would come up against Stalin throughout the following year, 1943, in pushing the Italy/Balkan strategy.
But as noted above, Radosh completely missed the Italy/Balkan part of my book.
There seems to be no end to David Horowitz’s bile. Today he responds to Diana West’s rebuttal in http://frontpagemag.com/2013/david-horowitz/diana-west-invents-a-new-conspiracy/. Discussing removal of Mark Tapson’s positive review he claims ….”(I did not suppress the Frontpage review as she falsely claims, but allowed it to appear elsewhere).” Huh? The only place it appears in its entirety is […]