April 25, 2016

What is in the 28 suppressed pages of the 9/11 report?

Chuck Todd asked former Senator Bob Graham (co-chair of that congressional inquiry):
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Chuck, to me, the most important unanswered question of 9/11 is did these 19 people conduct this very sophisticated plot alone, or were they supported? I think it's implausible to think that people who couldn't speak English, had never been in the United States before, as a group were not well-educated could have done that. So who was the most likely entity to have provided them that support? And I think all the evidence points to Saudi Arabia. We know that Saudi Arabia started Al Qaeda. It was a creation of Saudi-- of Saudi Arabia..

CHUCK TODD: And when you say Saudi Arabia, are you saying the government? Or are you saying wealthy individuals who happen to be Saudi Arabian?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: That is a very murky line. Saudi Arabia has made it murky by its own legal action. Whenever a U.S. group sues a Saudi Arabian entity, whether it's a bank, a foundation, a charity, immediately, the defense of sovereign immunity is raised. The Saudis don't recognize the difference between a royal decision and a societal decision in the same way that other countries might. So I think it covers a broad range, from the highest ranks of the kingdom through these, what would be private entities.
And: "The Obama administration will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11...."

131 comments:

AReasonableMan said...

Anxiously awaiting all the denouncements of Obama for alienating our 'friends' the Saudis.

cubanbob said...

No doubt Obama will bow and scrape to the Saudi's. He has before and no doubt he will again.

tim maguire said...

AReasonableMan said...
Anxiously awaiting all the denouncements of Obama for alienating our 'friends' the Saudis.


From who? Why?

Brando said...

Brilliant--the actual supporters of actual terrorists in the very regime we've been subsidizing, and in the meantime we keep trying to knock off (admittedly evil) secular despots all around the region who are no threat to us but if anything should have the same fanatical enemies we do.

Our foreign policy has long been a mess. Obama is just the latest president responsible for it.

MayBee said...

Will we find out what Sandy Berger destroyed?

TCom said...

This is what 'boring', non confrontational politicians get you, Althouse. Pandering, kicking of cans down the road, corruption, being taken advantage of.

We are suckers. And so many of us want to continue being suckers, because fighting is hard and mean. We need a president that will talk calmly and not point any fingers while the house is burning. As long as we pretend it's 1992, it's 1992!

So sad.

David Begley said...

I'll tell you what is in those 28 pages:The Saudis are not our friends.

And the worst of it was we had our chance to disassociate ourselves from them in the past two years. When oil was $100, we could have cut them off at the knees.

Bobby said...

Brando,

"Our foreign policy has long been a mess. Obama is just the latest president responsible for it."

You make a lot of good comments on this blog, but this is perhaps the most accurate comment that anyone's ever made on the Althouse blog. It's only some of the loser partisan commenters who are seemingly so desperate to turn everything into "Republicans good, Democrats bad" or "Democrats good, Republicans bad" that distill everything down to fit their absurd understanding of foreign policy.

Amexpat said...

No doubt Obama will bow and scrape to the Saudi's. He has before and no doubt he will again.
Were the Bushes any different?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It sure took a while to get all the ducks in a row.

Fritz said...

Ducks are harder to herd than cats.

J. Farmer said...

Precisely why regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq were always disastrously wrongheaded answers to our terrorism problem. Saudi Arabis is just one of our client states our diplomatic leaders are obsessed with constantly "reassuring." Salman looks more each day like a very desperate monarch.

Eustace Chilke said...

Broader understanding that Islam is not only (you might say not mainly, even) a religion is growing in the U.S. The religion, which in Saudi Arabia is dominated by the Wahhabi cult that is at the center of so much murder and mayhem worldwide, is identical with the government and the ruling class. There aren't private institutions in this system. There is only one institution. Of course the Saudis pretend that banks and various branches of the royal family tree and so forth are private in the western sense of that concept. There has been a huge blind spot, which they find convenient to use, in the popular understanding of their culture.

People here assume that institutions everywhere are much alike and separate the ideas of religion and government and private enterprise habitually. In our public discourse we're careful, those of us who even speak of it, to always use the adjectives radical or extreme when we name the problem: Islam - as if to name the religion generally in criticizing the crimes of its advance guard expresses bigotry in matters of private conscience. But it's all one. This is why comparisons with fascist ideology are so apt in the case of Islam. In Saudi Arabia they have come as closely as anyone ever has to actualizing the Mussolini quote: "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." Just plug in mosque for state.

JCC said...

I think Bob Graham has always been something of a borderline nutcase, even when he was Florida governor.

As for the 9-11 hijackers, they were supposedly chosen for, among other things, their English language skills, directly contradicting one of Graham's key points. As for funding, Bin Laden was certainly wealthy and the hijackers had access to money for the plot and didn't need assistance from the Saudi government, although it's certainly possible they received aid without the Saudi's being aware of the nature of the plot.

Is there a concerted effort to protect the Saudi government from an accusation - however unfounded - that they knowlingly assisted the 9-11 hijackers? Sure, that's possible. Especially when you see someone as mainstream as Graham actually buying into it.

AllenS said...

Don't listen to Graham.

Bobby said...

J. Farmer,

"Precisely why regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq were always disastrously wrongheaded answers to our terrorism problem. Saudi Arabis is just one of our client states our diplomatic leaders are obsessed with constantly "reassuring.""

Not necessarily contesting your first point here, but do keep in mind that the Saudis were strongly opposed to regime change in Iraq (to the point of not allowing us to stage ground forces that were already in the Kingdom). For that matter, as one of only two countries that recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia was not really all that enthusiastic about Operation Enduring Freedom. If Bush was attempting to "reassure" Saudi Arabia by taking actions to which they were opposed... well, there's probably something else going on there.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I mean, look, I'm all for guilt by association, but I thought that kind of thing was out of bounds now.
If we have evidence that the government (or security services) of Saudia Arabia supported (or even just willfully failed to take steps to prevent) the 9/11 attacks that evidence should be made public. If it were I'd support our gov. taking steps to sanction the Sauds, or a private boycott of Saudi oil (not that that's really possible) or something, sure.
But I gotta say, "well they're the most likely candidates" is pretty darn weak. It's weak even by comparison to the intelligence that we had showing Saddam Hussein possessing WMD and working on WMD development, and all the smart people know that intelligence was bunk and was only believed because of bloodthirsty ChimpyMcBusHitler's craving for war, or something.

David Begley said...

For the life of me I have NEVER understood why we bow down and suck up to the Saudis.

We have an ocean of nat gas at $2.00. I think it is $12 in Japan and Europe. Just now we are exporting it. At $45-60 WTI, we export and control the world oil market. I blame the Green and the idiots in CAGW.

We don't need OPEC oil any more if only we had a decent energy policy.

It is crazy. We pay our terrorists to attack us.

We should have months ago blasted every ISIS oil field to bits.

And why we ever took sanctions off of Iran is a complete mystery. We had Iran on the ropes.

David Begley said...

eustace

If we had video from Chop Chop Square in Ridayh instead of WWE, then maybe people would wake up.

buwaya puti said...

Saudi/Emirates/Russian money buying off politicians activists and bureaucrats has suppressed US petroleum production.
They are still at it.
Someone should (but no one will) investigate the conspiracy of global warming activists and the EPA and the State Attorney generals trying to pressure US oil companies re "global warming".

Danny K said...

Watching Middle Eastern politics is watching the Gong Show, but the gong never comes. I almost wish we could just use up all the Middle Eastern oil already, and let Riyadh melt back into the desert.

Hagar said...

Osama bin Laden was something like his father's 55th child, and I am not sure they counted the girls. Also Osama was far from the youngest. That is just in one generation of one wealthy Saudi family (though bin Laden Senior was a Yemeni immigrant to Arabia). However, it is a tribal society, so though Osama may not gave had much, if any, support within the family, they would shield him against outsiders.

The House of Saud dates from about 1750, and is estimated to have about 15,000 family members. Again, I am not sure that the women are counted. About 2,000 are supposed to have "influence," but all are to be defended against all comers, regardless of internal dissents.

This form of government needs to go, but we still wish to keep Arabia as a "friendly" if not an ally, and we defintely do not want to see it fall to Iran.

Hagar said...

As for 9/11 being "a Saudi plot," no. The caper is estimated to have cost about $400,000, which was no big deal for just Osama bin Laden to pay by himself. That strings were pulled to get them visas, etc., that is very likely. However, also done by individuals knowing individuals and not a state policy.

Roughcoat said...

Ducks are actually fairly easy to herd -- if you're herding them with a well-trained border collie.

Nonapod said...

It's good that this information is finally seeing the light of day. That said, why are these pages being released now? I mean, they could've been released any time, what's specifically going on that prompted this administration to do this right now?

Dan Hossley said...

Graham was asked directly whether the Saudi government played a part in 9/11. He knows what's in the 28 pages because he helped write them. He didn't answer directly. Enough said.

William said...

The Saudi government is bad, but it's easy to imagine something worse. Can anyone name a change for the better in that part of the world?.......The left likes to claim that the fulcrum moment was Bush's invasion of Iraq but with equal plausibility one can claim that it was the overthrow of the Shah, or Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, or the Sykes-Picot Treaty, or some other bad decision that caused it all to curdle. I blame it all on the Mongol invasion and their overthrow of the Abbasid Caliphate. How come those prick Mongols are never blamed for anything?

Virgil Hilts said...

Robert Baer (George Clooney played him in Syriana) wrote a great book a decade ago - Sleeping With the Devil -- explaining how incredibly vulnerable the Saudi oil infrastructure was to low-technology terrorist attacks and how the Saudis, out of a sense of extreme vulnerability, spend billions and billions buying off everyone in Washington and also the fanatics in the Middle East. I know Baer has written and talked a lot about the Saudis and 9/11, but there involvement with 9-11 (given how vulnerable they are) has never made any sense to me. Plus, if you did not want people to suspect Saudi involvement why would you use so many Saudis to bring down the planes.

traditionalguy said...

The withheld Report section is no embarrassment to the Saudis. They were the Dancing in the Street Guys.

The eternal shame is for the Bush Family's intentional protection racket that kept the oil wealth guys in Texas happy for another 15 years.

But they attacked the crap out of Iraq with every asset we could find. Scapegoats are fun.

And think about why the oil wealthy Koch Brothers would much rather have President Clinton that can be bribed than a President Trump who cannot be bribed.

AReasonableMan said...

William said...
The Saudi government is bad, but it's easy to imagine something worse.


This reflects a lack of knowledge about the Saudis. Their pernicious ideology infiltrates every corner of the Muslim world. A replacement regime is unlikely to be more effective propagandists, particularly with the decline in the country's finances.

Mark Caplan said...

It's impossible that high-ranking Saudi officials were involved in 9/11. Why, that would mean that George W. Bush was literally a traitor. How likely is that, the son of a war hero president being a traitor?

Bob Boyd said...

"Graham was asked directly whether the Saudi government played a part in 9/11. He knows what's in the 28 pages because he helped write them. He didn't answer directly. Enough said."

He knows what is in those 28 pages, but that doesn't mean he knows whether the Saudi Government played a part in 9/11. As I understand it, the info is raw intelligence, unconfirmed, not conclusive. If Graham (or anyone) knows the answer, it is due to intelligence other than these 28 pages, which we aren't likely to see any time soon.
Releasing this material will produce speculation and finger pointing, little else.
I'm not saying don't release it. I'm saying I don't think it's going to be a smoking gun.

Rusty said...

Good. More facts are better than less facts. Just as long as they are facts.Until it comes out, speculation is pointless.

mockturtle said...

David Begley, I agree. The Saudis have been sacrosanct ever since I can remember. It is well known that the ties between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family have been extremely tight for generations. Most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. Bin Laden's family were close to the Saudi royals. Obama is just perpetuating the myth that the Saudis are our allies. It's all about money, as usual. BTW, I wrote in Ron Paul for president in two consecutive elections.

Nonapod said...

ARM said: This reflects a lack of knowledge about the Saudis. Their pernicious ideology infiltrates every corner of the Muslim world. A replacement regime is unlikely to be more effective propagandists, particularly with the decline in the country's finances.

Not sure that's the best argument. It's certainly better to have a brutal Islamic Theocracy that has poor PR skills than one with PR good skills. But in terms of human rights abuse, personal freedom, and just out-and-out evil, yes, actually I believe you could do worse than Saudi Arabia (and they're pretty awful). Imagine ISIS running the show for example.

Robert Cook said...

"No doubt Obama will bow and scrape to the Saudi's. He has before and no doubt he will again."

Of course, but you can't deride Obama for this and not also deride his predecessors. It is part of every President's job description to play nice with the Saudis.

J. Farmer said...

@Bobby:

" If Bush was attempting to "reassure" Saudi Arabia by taking actions to which they were opposed... well, there's probably something else going on there."

Oh, I do not believe he was. Saudi Arabia had perfectly good strategic reasons for opposing both of those interventions: Hussein to the west and the Taliban to the east were helping contain Iran. This same fear of Iran also pushed the Saudis towards there disastrous policy of supporting rebel forces against Assad (the most proximate cause of the rise of ISIS) and are currently fighting a foolish, dead end military campaign in Yemen. 9/11 would have been the perfect plvot point away from the Salafists in Riyadh and towards a detente with Iran. But that wouldn't please our other regional wag-the-dog client state: Israel.

traditionalguy said...

Since the OIl Embargo of 1973 was slapped on the USA by Saudis to punish Nixon for saving Israel from certain extermination by shipping emergency ammunition resupply issuing and threats to the USSR to go Nuclear, OPEC wealth has flowed in the billions right back out of Saudi Arabia and into payment for Military Advance bases all over Europe and all over the USA, disguised as Mosques.

The entire middle east knows that the Head of the Radical Islamic Snake is Saudi Arabia.

But the Texas Oil Families had deals with the Saudis that had to be protected them to keep wealth flowing into those Families.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it is time to reform the corrupt system.

AReasonableMan said...

Nonapod said...
in terms of human rights abuse, personal freedom, and just out-and-out evil, yes, actually I believe you could do worse than Saudi Arabia


Maybe, but that is not our problem. The current Saudi regime, through their influence, creates problems for Muslim communities everywhere. Some of which become our problem.

Certainly other entities, such as ISIS, can also be effective propagandists, but they lack the credentials, authenticity and cash of the Sauds.

David Begley said...

The United States - with the advent of fracking - could own the world's energy markets. We would export oil and gas.

Let's stop subsidizing wind and solar. CAGW is a scam.

David Begley said...

Obama said we don't destroy ISIS oil infrastructure in order to protect the environment. Why should we care?

ISIS uses that money to kill Americans!

ISIS now freezes people to death. Drowning and burning not enough.

Obama is a moral coward.

J. Farmer said...

@David Begley:

"The United States - with the advent of fracking - could own the world's energy markets."

From my understanding of the market, which is admittedly limited, in order for fracking to be cost-effective, a high per barrel petroleum cost is required. Part of the Saudis consistent opposition to production cuts comes from their desire to keep the price low and put the frackers out of business. Frackers are going out of business. And even if the US produced all its own oil, prices would still be affected by speculation in the futures market.

AReasonableMan said...

David Begley said...
The United States - with the advent of fracking - could own the world's energy markets.


No. We still import oil and domestic production is a small fraction of global consumption. Only the lowest cost producer can dominate the market, as the Saudis are currently demonstrating.

traditionalguy said...

The Saudis have been British Petroleum's big asset since the Lawrence of Arabia days. The British Empire has consistently opposed Israel's creation as a refugee destination for Jews of Europe post 1945. If not for Harry Truman out dueling the Episcopalian, pro British Empire, anti Semites controlling the US State Department, there would never have been a UN Resolution creating a Jewish State in 12% of the Palestine Mandate.

Blaming Israel for the Horrors of the House of Saud after WWII is so stupid that it makes one think you have to be a paid spreader disinformation.

tim in vermont said...

Funny how lefties get it when it's somebody they don't like limiting information releases, but when it's the IRS or Fast and Furious, or Clinton emails, it's all "let's just move on. "


I want to see these pages too, along with a lot of stuff our betters are keeping from us.

JPS said...

Nonapod, 10:04:

"That said, why are these pages being released now? I mean, they could've been released any time, what's specifically going on that prompted this administration to do this right now?"

Is this a rhetorical question? In case it's not, here's my take.

President Obama has been engineering a major realignment of US policy toward the Middle East. Key points: Distance ourselves from the Israelis; really distance ourselves from the Saudis; and build relations with Iran, in significant part as a counterweight to Sunni extremism in the region. We don't want to fight ISIS and related, Iran has a vested interest in doing so, Iran will always have a major influence on Iraq. So, this view goes, let's let Iran have the influence they want, and in the process, they'll be doing us a favor even if they're mainly looking after themselves.

But, object the President's critics, you're crazy! Iran hates us! Iran engineered the Beirut bombing, the attack on Khobar Towers, and much, much else! Plus you're alienating a longstanding and very nervous ally, Saudi Arabia!

[Obama administration moves to release incriminating docs tying Saudi Arabia to 9/11:]

You were saying?

I don't like it a bit - I happen to think Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons will lead to millions of deaths, and that we will have contributed to their acquiring them - but that's how it would make sense to me.

AllenS said...

Everyone needs to ask themselves this question: who do the Saudis give money to, the Clinton's or Trump?

damikesc said...

Anxiously awaiting all the denouncements of Obama for alienating our 'friends' the Saudis.

I'm sure if the Sauds are gone, what follows them will be better. No doubt. No chance of a backfire there.


The Saud family is loathsome and their propagation of Wahhabism has been immeasurably damaging. But if they're gone, what comes next? I don't see a George Washington-in-waiting there to turn stuff around. I could see it getting far, far worse and terrorists having WAY more money.

We're stuck with a horrible regime as an ally because the alternative is worse.

No doubt Obama will bow and scrape to the Saudi's. He has before and no doubt he will again.
Were the Bushes any different?


No. All Presidents, even Reagan, have sucked up to them since FDR.

buwaya said...

"Only the lowest cost producer can dominate the market, as the Saudis are currently demonstrating."

There are matters beyond the simple cost of production. They MAY be the lowest cost producer if one doesn't count their national budget, which their oil industry needs to support. They used to be the lowest cost producer when their surplus income was going into the various private (Saud) or public investment funds, even while holding prices low, as was done over the 80's decade to drive the Russians into effective bankruptcy.

But they are drawing on these funds now and it seems they are very unhappy about that, as their cost of government has grown much faster than oil revenues, and is causing huge problems now that revenues have collapsed.

Taking all these things into account its not clear who really is the lowest cost producer.

David Begley said...

ARM

Sauds are now out of capacity. Yes, SA is the low cost provider but they don't have enough to supply the entire world.

madAsHell said...

It will be interesting to see who benefits from this release.

Quaestor said...

Another thing to consider is the plethora of princes in The Kingdom. There are at least 3000 of them, all male descendants of Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud (the guy portrayed by Alec Guinness in Lawrence of Arabia) who had 45 wives. They each receive a minimum stipend of $8000 per month. Most of them have no job, profession, or official position other than being a prince, which makes them untouchable by the civil authorities. If a prince is accused of a crime the case is adjudicated within the family through a network of senior princes and sheikhs.

Ibn Saud also had dozens of concubines through whom are thousands of descendants who are not princes, though some are styled emirs. These dudes typically are military officers, police officials, or mid-level bureaucrats. They apparently have no official immunity, but there as here it more who you know, ya know?

Just lately I've been reading several histories of the three empires that were toppled by the First World War. Something that I've learned is the incredible extent of the provocations and "black ops" carried out by the intelligence services of those monarchies that were executed without the supervision of higher authority, particularly by Serbian military intelligence against Austria-Hungary and Russian political intelligence, the Okhrana, against just about everybody. Apparently they acted not in defiance of authority but under the aegis of a blank check don't-tell-me-I-don't-want-to-know attitude, what today is known as "plausible deniability". For example, Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Countess Sophia, was armed and trained by the so-called "Black Hand", a terrorist band operated exclusively by Major Vojislav Tankosić on behalf of the Serbian military intelligence. When Princip's allegiance to the Black Hand was exposed in his interrogation by imperial authorities the Serbian government was shocked by the results of the hands-off policy taken regarding its intelligence activities. So much so that they gave in to some, but not all, of the extremely humiliating terms demanded by Austria-Hungary's ultimatum.

In light of what has been done by other countries extending back into history I surmise that there may well be 9/11 connections to the House of Saud through some idle prince or scheming emir. Years ago the United States agreed to not investigate or indict members of the royal family in return for enhanced investigative access by the FBI, which was a mistake as we all now realize. Getting to the real dirt is a job best left to the CIA, which uses paid secret agents, bribery, blackmail, burglary, and other dirty tricks unknown to us mortals to expose our enemies. However, Obama and Bush, in spite of his "War on Terror" rhetoric, have followed a paradigm a that sees 9/11 as a criminal act rather than an act of war. Consequently an open investigation by the FBI, entailing all the limitations imposed by a foreign power not entirely disposed to our friendship, was the only open road.

MathMom said...

Hagar -

When I lived in Saudi Arabia, the government finally bowed to pressure to publish a budget. It was a pie chart printed in the newspaper, with a little article below. The usual stuff was there, infrastructure, military, whatever. And there was "Other", which was the biggest individual slice of the pie, at over 35%.

"Other" is upkeep for the Royal Family. About 12,000 people (back then) could suck up 35% of the fabulous wealth of the Saudi oil machine.

JPS said...

damikesc:

"The Saud family is loathsome and their propagation of Wahhabism has been immeasurably damaging. But if they're gone, what comes next? ... I could see it getting far, far worse and terrorists having WAY more money.

"We're stuck with a horrible regime as an ally because the alternative is worse."

Damn it, man, you're no fun. If I accept this reasoning, I'd have to think person of good faith might look at the situation, think about how satisfying it would be to break off relations and tell the Saudis to go screw themselves, then decide that as repugnant as they are, we're better off keeping them "on board" and work with factions within the royal family to go after al Qaeda and allies, hard.

Much more fun to insist that Bush wanted to protect Texas oil families' investments; or he's committed actual treason; or it's all at the behest of Israel anyway. Remember, there are no gray areas in the world, just obvious right calls, contemptible wrong ones, and the terrible, terrible people who make the latter on purpose.

Robert Cook said...

"ISIS uses that money to kill Americans!"

How many Americans has ISIS killed?

mockturtle said...

how satisfying it would be to break off relations and tell the Saudis to go screw themselves

Let's elect Trump and he can tell them to go screw themselves.

buwaya said...

"How many Americans has ISIS killed?"

About two dozen or so.
Counting a few killed in Syria, some in Paris, some in Brussels, some in San Bernardino, etc.

mockturtle said...

..and, I think, in Beirut.

Quaestor said...

JPS wrote: Much more fun to insist that Bush wanted to protect Texas oil families' investments; or he's committed actual treason; or it's all at the behest of Israel anyway.

You left out the Reptiloids from Alpha Draconis! Why? I'm very interested to know why. You're either a sleepwalking sheeple of the kind who listen to Rush Limbaugh, or you're a paid agent of the Lizard Men, now which is it?

mccullough said...

The Iran deal is part of a solid long term strategy to distance ourselves from the Saudis. Let the Kingdom and the Islamic Republic work it out over the next century. Russia and China will also have to deal with these two Islamic crazies more as well.

J. Farmer said...

@JPS:

"If I accept this reasoning, I'd have to think person of good faith might look at the situation, think about how satisfying it would be to break off relations and tell the Saudis to go screw themselves, then decide that as repugnant as they are, we're better off keeping them "on board" and work with factions within the royal family to go after al Qaeda and allies, hard."

We are not faced with a choice of "break off relations" or the current arrangement: which basically takes a client state and inflates its importance to the status of an ally. We don't need to provide the arms sales and diplomatic support to Saudi Arabia, which has become a mostly useless and increasingly costly client.

Quaestor said...

We don't need to provide the arms sales and diplomatic support to Saudi Arabia, which has become a mostly useless and increasingly costly client.

Putin is smiling.

robother said...

From last week's article in the NYPost:

“The Saudi ambassador funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,” [former FBI agent] Guandolo said. “He should be treated as a terrorist suspect, as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the US government knows are currently funding the global jihad.”

But Bandar held sway over the FBI.

After he met on Sept. 13, 2001, with President Bush in the White House, where the two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony, the FBI evacuated dozens of Saudi officials from multiple cities, including at least one Osama bin Laden family member on the terror watch list. Instead of interrogating the Saudis, FBI agents acted as security escorts for them, even though it was known at the time that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.

Qwinn said...

Hey ARM,

Still waiting on all those denouncements of Obama on this issue? Cause I'm not seeing any. It's almost as if your inclination to believe that the "other side" are hypocrites and that they favor or oppose anything based solely on the party affiliation of the person that did the deed is some sort of massive all encompassing projection.

JPS said...

Quaestor:

"You left out the Reptiloids from Alpha Draconis! Why? I'm very interested to know why. You're either a sleepwalking sheeple of the kind who listen to Rush Limbaugh, or you're a paid agent of the Lizard Men, now which is it?"

I could offer a third option - simple omission, due to fatigue and stress from my job and my kids - but then that's probably just what They want you to believe.

AReasonableMan said...

Qwinn said...
Still waiting on all those denouncements of Obama on this issue?


You don't have to wait. You just need to go back and read old threads to find one clueless partisan denouncement after another of Obama's 'alienation' of the fucking Saudis.

Hagar said...

The Middle East problem began with the invention of the Diesel engine, which was soon developed for marine use. The British Admiral Fisher immediately saw the possibilities, indeed necessity, for navy use and convinced the Secretary of the Navy, then Sir Winston Churchill, that the Roayal Navy should ditch coal and build diesel powered warships as quickly as possible. Which the Brits proceeded to do.
Where to get a reliable oil supply was a problem. Britain had an oil company in Burma, but that was far away and on the wrong side of the Suez Canal. So they made a deal with the Shah of Persia (modern Iran and most of Iraq) and formed the Anglo-Persian Company (later British Petroleum and now just BP, since it is now a majority American owned company) to go prospecting in Persia. They finally found oil and through various deals and skullduggery laid pipelines to Abadan, Basra, and Haifa in Palestine and built refineries and shipping facilities protected by the British Army, which served them well to fuel the British navy and army in World War I.
WWI, among other upheavals, also brought the United States on the scene as a major international power with lots of money and looking to make more. In Persia the Americans pushed the Brits aside and roughed up the Persians to the point that one outraged minister told an American diplomat that "You people out-English the English!", and it was not meant as a compliment.
Oil was found in Arabia later, and Aramco (Arabian-American Company) was formed to develop the fields, which turned out to be essential for the Allies in WWII, so a very warm friendship was formed between the Roosevelt Administration and the House of Saud.

So the united States - government and civilians - have been involved in creating the current situation for a long time. And as Colin Powell said, the Pottery Barn Rule applies.

Quaestor said...

ARM wrote: You just need to go back and read old threads to find one clueless partisan denouncement after another of Obama's 'alienation' of the fucking Saudis.

For example this kind of alienation? Good to know. President Trump should be careful not to similarly alienate royals in future?

Quaestor said...

That second question mark is a typo caused by my iPad. (Yeah, that's the ticket...)

buwaya said...

"The Middle East problem began with the invention of the Diesel engine, which was soon developed for marine use."

The first Naval use of oil fuel was for firing boilers for reciprocating steam engines and steam turbines, which gave steam warships and merchant vessels enormously greater range and flexibility than coal. Marine diesels came later. Jackie Fishers RN was mostly oil fired, but not diesel-propelled.

Note that the UK also made deals with the Netherlands for Indonesian oil. Royal Dutch Shell was a joint venture with Shell Oil. The history is fascinating and full of ironies.

A book very much worth the trouble as it explains a great deal of the twentieth century - Daniel Yergin, "The Prize". Also, "Dreadnaught", Robert Massie.

CWJ said...

"Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud (the guy portrayed by Alec Guinness in Lawrence of Arabia)."

That would be a big big no.

tim in vermont said...

Remember when Cheney met with oil executives and it was a plot by big oil against America? Now his plan has come to fruition and we are energy independent and are finally in a position to tell the Saudis to shove it.

Quaestor said...

That would be a big big no.

True. I am justly chastised. Guinness was "Prince Feisal" (Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi, aka King Faisal I of Greater Syria) a near contemporary of Ibn Saud who got what he thought was the prime cut out of the Ottoman Empire.

tim in vermont said...

Another stupid Bush policy, actual energy self sufficiency, because he didn't do it with rainbows and unicorns.

buwaya said...

"Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud (the guy portrayed by Alec Guinness in Lawrence of Arabia)."

"That would be a big big no."

A big no indeed. Alec Guiness portrayed Prince Faisal, son of the Hashemite Sharif of Mecca.
The British made him King of Iraq, which he was for a while, partly as a consolation prize for not being king of a unified Arabia, and they owed him. They made his brother king of Jordan.
The Sauds kicked the Hashemites out of Arabia in the 1920s ("The Kingdom", Lacy). There was never a hope of a unified Arabia, whatever Lawrence thought, and blaming the British and French for carving up or setting up countries is a rather narrow way of looking at things.

Hagar said...

Thanks, buwaya. Oil also gave greater speed, and speed counts in war.

J. Farmer said...

@Queastor:

"Putin is smiling."

Putin should be a great partner to the United States and could be if not for reflexive anti-Russian paranoia. A constructive relationship with Putin is worth a great deal more to the United States than security guarantees to Montenegro.

Hagar said...

Almost all of these areas and more, except Iran, once belonged to the Ottoman Empire, but that was always a very unstable entity and is hardly an exanple for the "unity" you guys would want to see.

Hagar said...

Vladimir IV does not act like he is much interested in "partners."

coupe said...

The Saudi's aren't responsible for our not having a viable Air Defense.

When the country thought our trillions spent on defense would keep them safe, all they got was excuses and people jumping out of skyscrapers to their death.

Like Cardinal eggs on the pavement, they were sacrificed for the new world order.

Time to go hug our powerful and expensive nuclear WMD. I'm sure they will work. They couldn't be duds like the Air Defense could they?

Quaestor said...

"Dreadnaught", Robert Massie.

Great book. One of my favorites. You should read his follow-on title which takes the dreadnoughts into battle, "Castles of Steel".

Surprising how many of the combatants at Jutland were coal-burning, however, including HMS Dreadnought herself.

mockturtle said...

IMO, The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright is the quintessential work on this particular topic.

Rusty said...

We would export oil and gas.

We are.

"No. We still import oil and domestic production is a small fraction of global consumption. Only the lowest cost producer can dominate the market, as the Saudis are currently demonstrating."

Our east coast refineries are built around middle east crude. As more processes are added they will be able to process more local crude. As it stands we don't have to supply the rest of the world, just ourselves. We have more than enough for our own consumption.

buwaya said...

Interestingly and ironically, "Dreadnought" wasn't at Jutland.
All of the British battleships at Jutland, AFAIK, were partially oil-fired as a supplement to coal (they carried both coal and oil), to increase their range.

Rick said...

J. Farmer said...
@Queastor:

"Putin is smiling."

Putin should be a great partner to the United States and could be if not for reflexive anti-Russian paranoia.


Putin invaded two of his neighbors on pretexts but the obstacle is our anti-Russian paranoia. What nonsense.

JPS said...

J. Farmer:

"Putin should be a great partner to the United States and could be if not for reflexive anti-Russian paranoia."

Ever read this one?

God grants one wish each to an Englishman, a Frenchman, and a Russian. The Englishman says, "I want Englishmen to be the world's finest horsemen." The Frenchman says, "I want French women to be the world's most beautiful." The Russian says, "I want my neighbor Ivan's mare to drop dead."

I think a good deal of Putin's attitude and policies toward the West are summed up in this joke.

J. Farmer said...

@Rick:

"Putin invaded two of his neighbors on pretexts but the obstacle is our anti-Russian paranoia. What nonsense."

Two countries on Russia's borders with large enclaves of pro-Russian populations. Meanwhile, we've waged war in 7 different countries thousands and thousands of miles from our borders and left mostly violent anarchism in its place. But Russian intervention in Georgia is the obstacle to constructive relations? What nonsense.

J. Farmer said...

@JPS:

"I think a good deal of Putin's attitude and policies toward the West are summed up in this joke."

I don't think there is any evidence for this, and in fact post-Soviet Russia has been fairly accommodating to "the West." A lot of Putin's nationalist domestic support comes from the fact that he is seen as standing up to bullying by the US.

Owen said...

I think it is time to invest heavily in radiation-resistant robotic roughnecks for resource reclamation.

JPS said...

J. Farmer:

"I don't think there is any evidence for this"

S-300 missile sales to Iran - perfectly reasonable defensive move to ward off our aggressive provocations and keep the peace, right? Talk about selling Backfire bombers to Iran: ditto?

Sorry. There's really no upside and lots and lots of downside for the Russians here. He just wants to see our mare drop dead.

Hagar said...

Historically, the Russians - Empire and Soviet Union - have felt put upon and complained when they were bullied back as a result of their own bullying.

Rick said...

J. Farmer said...
Two countries on Russia's borders with large enclaves of pro-Russian populations.


Didn't we give up this justification for war after the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland?

Meanwhile, we've waged war in 7 different countries thousands and thousands of miles from our borders and left mostly violent anarchism in its place. But Russian intervention in Georgia is the obstacle to constructive relations?

Isn't it interesting Farmer is willing to support ethnic based protectionism by Putin while condemning more mainstream reasons? If a single standard could justify his position why wouldn't he use it?

Fernandinande said...

"Since the 1970s Saudi Arabia has provided foreign assistance to many countries and organizations.
...
On a per-capita basis, the country is the biggest worldwide donor though the aid has only been given to Muslim countries."
+

The U.S. Government gave a total of $1,472,410 to Saudi Arabia in 2012

JPS said...

Rick,

"Didn't we give up this justification for war after the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland?"

Yeah, I was thinking of two good lines by the fictitious Pug Henry, writing within The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, commenting long after WWII on a German general's memoir:

"The reader will have to grow used to the German habit of blaming other countries for getting themselves invaded by Germans"

and

"In Roon's view, German staff plans for invading other countries are always defensive and hypothetical, and then the other fellow does something stupid or malicious that triggers off the plan."

The Russians remind me of this sometimes. I used to think it was a communist thing, but Putin has about convinced me otherwise.

jelink said...

I'd bet a couple of properly placed nukes to could turn Saudi desert and black oil into some really purty and swirly patterned glass.

Michael K said...

"No doubt Obama will bow and scrape to the Saudi's. He has before and no doubt he will again.
Were the Bushes any different?"

No but the Saudis were the world's gas station until just recently when, despite all the opposition by Obama and the Democrats, we became self sufficient in oil and gas.

"the Saudis, out of a sense of extreme vulnerability, spend billions and billions buying off everyone in Washington and also the fanatics in the Middle East. "

The Saudis have basically bought most of the retired State Department bureaucrats, like Valerie Plame's husband and thousands more.

The Saudis are vulnerable and may willful in the next few years.

What is interesting to me is whether they are somehow behind the whole AGW scam. The political left is impervious to logic about climate "change" as they term it. This in spite tons of evidence that nothing is happening and a few signs that we might be near the end of the Holocene Era, a real global catastrophe.

The world is getting crazier and Trump is just a small sign of the craziness.

Michael K said...

"may willful " = May well fall....

JPS said...

Michael K:

"What is interesting to me is whether they are somehow behind the whole AGW scam."

Probably I'm failing to think this through, but I don't get it. If the world takes AGW seriously enough to stop burning fossil fuels, it seems to me the Saudis are possibly hardest hit. What else do they have to sell?

Also, respectfully, AGW isn't a scam. Mostly it involves a group of scientists who either crossed into the field, or began their careers there, because they believe we have a climate crisis, and that they need to study it so they can inform proper policy options. Between that and the fact that their conclusions are often called into question by people without comparable credentials, whose politics they mainly despise, most have turned their BS detectors all the way down for evidence that supports their theory, and all the way up for evidence calling them into question.

But they're not perpetrating a hoax. They may be wrong about key points, out of their depth in policy, and insisting they're right because they hate those other people, but they're absolutely sincere (I know several of them rather well). Every El Nino-driven temperature spike shows they've been right all along; every dip shows their skeptics are idiots who mistake weather for climate, or paid shills pushing a fraud.

buwaya said...

"If the world takes AGW seriously enough to stop burning fossil fuels, it seems to me the Saudis are possibly hardest hit. What else do they have to sell?"

That's not the point of the scam. Everyone and his brother understands that all the petroleum replacements (like electric cars) are useless gestures. The point is to limit first-world petroleum production or substitution (like fracking, US offshore and continental drilling, etc.) to keep prices up. They have/had to attempt this as high prices were bringing new sources into play like Canadian oilsands, which were for a while target#1 of the AGW crowd. Fracking was more generally applicable and even more difficult to repress.

J. Farmer said...

@Rick:

"Didn't we give up this justification for war after the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland?"

Russia's interventions in Georgia and Ukraine were brought up by another commenter, and I compared them to Obama's interventions. I was not justifying or saying that Russia was correct in its behavior. But in terms of scope, Obama's military interventions have been far more consequential and destructive than Putin's, so I think it's a bit laughable to say that this is why we cannot have constructive relations with Russia.

"Isn't it interesting Farmer is willing to support ethnic based protectionism by Putin while condemning more mainstream reasons?"

Describing a military intervention is not the same thing as supporting it, which I didn't and I don't.

@JPS:

"S-300 missile sales to Iran - perfectly reasonable defensive move to ward off our aggressive provocations and keep the peace, right? "

If surface-to-air missile sales is the biggest piece of evidence you can cite, I'd say you had a pretty shitty case. Were the Russia's right to be agitated by the proposition of US interceptor missiles in Poland? Is Russia right to be nervous about NATO expansion right up to its borders?

"The Russians remind me of this sometimes. I used to think it was a communist thing, but Putin has about convinced me otherwise."

How does Russia's minuscule intervention in Georgia (pop. 4.5 million) compare to the US creating failed states in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya (combined pop. about 70 million)?

buwaya said...

"But they're not perpetrating a hoax."

Its not they, the scientists (who may be groupthinking and naive, and one must not discount that they are not inclined to question the basis for their livelihood), but the people who fund them, and don't fund their critics.

Can a scientist in the field be a critic of the methods/conclusions of all the models and such?
According to the people on the other side, which include for the most part people who were in the biz before climate studies became a field, no, not if they need employment and funding. There is no room for a critic unless in exceptional circumstances like Judith Curry, or UAH's Christie & Spencer.

The current twist is NASA wants to downplay the satellite temperature team in Huntsville because their output has been making the modelers look bad, so NASA now prefers a non-satellite semi-modelled surface temperature system.

The corruption in high places is impossible to miss.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

" If the world takes AGW seriously enough to stop burning fossil fuels, it seems to me the Saudis are possibly hardest hit. What else do they have to sell?"

Actually, planning for a post-petro economy is a big plank in Salman's current reform effort. Markets are abuzz over plans to offer an IPO on part of the Saudi state oil company. Questions over transparency and the Saudi penchant for secrecy are looming. Its only been a little over a year into the new king's reign, and there are troubling signs.

The Saudi royal family is in a bind. It's legitimacy is largely derived from its role as the protector of the two mosques (Mecca and Medina). It has a deal with the religious establishment to support their conservative salafism, which it spreads around the Muslim world in the form of madrassas). In exchange, the clerical establishment supports the regime's legitimacy and looks the other way as wealthy, entitled princelings drive Italian sports cars in Monaco, frequent hookers, and drink expensive booze. Meanwhile, the Saudi royal family has a deal with the west to keep the religious nuts in check, keep the oil pumping, and not get too worked up over Israel.

AllenS said...

JPS said...
Also, respectfully, AGW isn't a scam. Mostly it involves a group of scientists who either crossed into the field, or began their careers there, because they believe we have a climate crisis, and that they need to study it so they can inform proper policy options. Between that and the fact that their conclusions are often called into question by people without comparable credentials, whose politics they mainly despise, most have turned their BS detectors all the way down for evidence that supports their theory, and all the way up for evidence calling them into question.

I got your scientists right here.

Owen said...

JPS @ 6:42 PM: "...But they're not perpetrating a hoax. They may be wrong about key points, out of their depth in policy, and insisting they're right because they hate those other people, but they're absolutely sincere (I know several of them rather well). Every El Nino-driven temperature spike shows they've been right all along; every dip shows their skeptics are idiots who mistake weather for climate, or paid shills pushing a fraud."

Maybe they think they're being honest. Maybe they think they're being scientists. But from your own admissions here they are not acting like scientists. As Richard Feynman said, "the easiest person to fool is yourself." You have to turn your skepticism all the way up, and try to disprove your work. Then you have to give what survives to your strongest critics and beg them to try to break it. If it survives that pounding, it might just be worthy of wider consideration.

But that's not what your "scientists" are doing. They are cherry picking, they are taking things personally, they are victims of noble cause corruption.

The AGW mess will eventually clear up, but it has done enormous damage. Not only to the reputations of individuals who sold out, or who were bamboozled. But to the reputation of Science itself.

narciso said...

no it's more like the interventions in chechnya and dagestan, which were one of the two thing that steered recruitment into al queda, bosnia was the other, volodya mostly withdrew, and left kadyrov his puppet in charge,

narciso said...

In so far, as Poland has been torn apart by Russia, on at least two occasions, it's a reasonable defensive action,

Rick said...

J. Farmer said...

Russia's interventions in Georgia and Ukraine were brought up by another commenter, and I compared them to Obama's interventions. I was not justifying or saying that Russia was correct in its behavior.


You compared Russia's interventions directly to those by the US and claimed they were more reasonable.

[Isn't it interesting Farmer is willing to support ethnic based protectionism by Putin while condemning more mainstream reasons?]

Describing a military intervention is not the same thing as supporting it, which I didn't and I don't.


You asserted it as a mitigating factor for Putin's invasions.

narciso said...

the original science under callender was solid, but the 'hockey stick' was a fraud, that has been established,

JPS said...

Owen, 7:53:

"But from your own admissions here they [alarmist climate scientists] are not acting like scientists."

My admissions? Did it read as though I'm defending them? Pretty backhanded defense, don't you think?

"As Richard Feynman said, 'the easiest person to fool is yourself.'"

We're on the same page here. I almost quoted that line and more from that speech. I think the mainstream of climate science (97%, I'm tempted to snark, but of course it isn't that) is doing exactly what he warned against.

narciso said...

yes, but this deal, doesn't work to the regime's benefit, the ikwan proselytize the tribes against the regime and the west, the film 'the kingdom' illustrates this clearly, it has one helpful arabian officer, who gets killed off in the end, but most characters are treacherous if not down right lethal to the fbi team's mission,

narciso said...

the lobby for the kingdom, was largely represented through brent scowcroft's atlantic council,
which was funded by paul pillar, to write agitprop like that richard clarke purveyed, and by ray close, who was the godfather of the plame chorus, the vipsers,

narciso said...

this detail is expanded on, from the ap piece,

https://28pages.org/2016/04/19/exclusive-a-buried-envelope-buried-questions-your-first-look-inside-declassified-document-17/

it's a virtual who's who, of persons whose connection to the hijackers were not effectively ascertained,

JPS said...

buwaya, 7:26:

"There is no room for a critic unless in exceptional circumstances like Judith Curry, or UAH's Christie & Spencer."

Funny you mention Prof. Curry. She has colleagues in the field who really do think she's a traitor. Not to her country, but to The Cause (their word, not mine). Personally I think she's been trying to save her field from its worst tendencies, but hey: That's what she gets for testifying in front of Senator Cruz' committee, right? (Do I need to add I'm being sarcastic there?)

J. Farmer:

"Actually, planning for a post-petro economy is a big plank in Salman's current reform effort."

That was my question, quoted, that you answered. Thanks - I hadn't read enough about what he's up to.

"If surface-to-air missile sales is the biggest piece of evidence you can cite, I'd say you had a pretty shitty case."

It's not. I'm sure you would anyway.

Michael K said...

"If the world takes AGW seriously enough to stop burning fossil fuels, it seems to me the Saudis are possibly hardest hit. "

No, they are probably well informed that this is a more sophisticated ABSCAM with "climate scientists" like the India railroad engineer running after money from governments to prove that water runs uphill.


" Every El Nino-driven temperature spike shows they've been right all along; every dip shows their skeptics are idiots who mistake weather for climate, or paid shills pushing a fraud."

I'm impressed every time I see a genuine sucker, just as PT Barnum predicted. El nino has been going on for centuries but it took modern temperature measurement of the ocean currents to see what was happening.

"every dip shows their skeptics are idiots who mistake weather for climate"

Hilarious as the EAU programmers tinker with code to "prove" something that isn't true and never was. And they know it.

They said so with the emails.

It may not be the most destructive fallacy by government "scientists" in history because the "Food Pyramid" might be even worse as it set off the diabetes type II epidemic with the substitution of carbohydrates for protein and fat. That will kill millions.

Michael K said...

On second thought, Rachel Carson and the DDT ban might kill even more than the Food Pyramid.

J. Farmer said...

@Rick:

"You compared Russia's interventions directly to those by the US and claimed they were more reasonable."

Well I certainly believe that. "Reasonable" may not be the exact word I would choose, but those two interventions were brought up by another commenter. I simply pointed out that by any objective standard, Putin's military interventions have been far smaller in scope and far less consequential than Obama's. America's interventions in the last decade and a half have gotten tens of thousands of people killed, created huge volatility and chaos in the region, exacerbated the Islamist terrorist threat, caused a refugee crisis that threatens Europe, and left tens of millions of people to live in violent, anarchic failed states. Obama also presides over a global targeted assassination campaign where secret evidence is used to unilaterally convict people of a crime, sentence them to death, and carry out the execution.

How many stories were written about Putin's potential involvement in the radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko? Poisoning a man to death is an egregious crime, and no moral person should excuse it. But a 16-year-old American citizen eating BBQ in Yemen gets blown to pieces by a missile, and the narrative is "move on folks, nothing to see here." The boy's family attempted to obtain relief through the court system, but predictably the administration used "state secrecy" and "national security" as a means to block any interference by the court.

@JPS:

"It's not. I'm sure you would anyway."

Well, obviously, I think the mainstream view of Russia is a pretty distorted caricature. But I am open to having my mind changed. Here is an interesting talk by Peter Hitchens at the University of Bristol regarding Putin. My thinking is largely in line with this. And if you aren't reading his column in the Mail on Sunday regularly, you're really missing out.

tim in vermont said...

It's not the scientists, few read them directly, it is the lefty filter the science is reported through that amounts to a conspiracy.

tim in vermont said...

Cripes, the emails revealing the conspiracy were leaked.

Rusty said...

Also, respectfully, AGW isn't a scam.

Is there money involved? If yes, then it's a scam. The beauty about this con is that the people involved can get governments to fleece the populace.

Rick said...

America's interventions in the last decade and a half have gotten tens of thousands of people killed, created huge volatility and chaos in the region, exacerbated the Islamist terrorist threat, caused a refugee crisis that threatens Europe, and left tens of millions of people to live in violent, anarchic failed states

This is irrelevant to the question of whether Putin would make a good partner as you asserted. In fact Putin would be a lousy partner because he's not trustworthy. In your zeal to beat your hobbyhorse that America is to blame for everything you forgot the question.

damikesc said...

Probably I'm failing to think this through, but I don't get it. If the world takes AGW seriously enough to stop burning fossil fuels, it seems to me the Saudis are possibly hardest hit. What else do they have to sell?

The rest of the world clearly doesn't, though. Hell, one of the only countries that lowered emissions as required by the Kyoto Protocols was US, and we didn't even sign on.

The rest didn't come all that close.

But if they can stifle our own oil exploration, it gives them more of the market.

But they're not perpetrating a hoax. They may be wrong about key points, out of their depth in policy, and insisting they're right because they hate those other people, but they're absolutely sincere (I know several of them rather well).

Heaven's Gate followers TRULY believed a spaceship behind Hale-Bopp would take them all away. They were 100% sincere.

It was a hoax, though.

The Saudi's aren't responsible for our not having a viable Air Defense.

When the country thought our trillions spent on defense would keep them safe, all they got was excuses and people jumping out of skyscrapers to their death.


We have a phenomenal air defense. It's just that nobody would expect that the air attack would originate from INSIDE the country and involve airplanes that carried a lot of Americans, making shooting them down a bit difficult.

We're amazingly effective if the attack comes from any direction besides INSIDE the country. But I doubt any country has a solid defense for that scenario.

It may not be the most destructive fallacy by government "scientists" in history because the "Food Pyramid" might be even worse as it set off the diabetes type II epidemic with the substitution of carbohydrates for protein and fat. That will kill millions.

Does it seem that science backed by the government tends to be shit?

I find it funny that they have to adjust temperatures from within the last 20 years now. And they always adjust them down. Every time. Odd.

On second thought, Rachel Carson and the DDT ban might kill even more than the Food Pyramid.

Forgot about that, but I don't blame Carson. She just wrote a shitty book with abysmal science.

The person you should blame is William Ruckelshaus, the first EPA commissioner who --- after a lengthy review process, decided to not read the review, ignored its findings of no harm from DDT and, instead, that it saved untold lives, and decided to ban it.

Remember, the EPA has never been on the side of science at any point in its existence.

Malaria deaths, which had been lowered to basically zero in most places, are raising ALL BECAUSE OF HIM.

Rickelshaus has been more effective at mass murder than Hitler or Stalin. Thanks for the EPA, Nixon. Big help.

J. Farmer said...

@Rick:

"This is irrelevant to the question of whether Putin would make a good partner as you asserted."

The paragraph you quoted wasn't concerned without the question. I was responding to your statement: "You compared Russia's interventions directly to those by the US and claimed they were more reasonable." I was explaining why I thought they were more reasonable.

"In fact Putin would be a lousy partner because he's not trustworthy."

Do you consider the Saudis "trustworthy?" Or the Pakistanis? Or Turkey? The latter is a NATO member, and the former two have been attached to the Pentagon hip for more than 50 years.

"In your zeal to beat your hobbyhorse that America is to blame for everything you forgot the question."

No, I was answering a specific point you made.

Rick said...

J Farmer said...
The paragraph you quoted wasn't concerned without the question.


This is false. My entire thread disputes your assertion it's Americans' "paranoia" which prevents Putin from being a good partner. When you dispute my objections you are attempting to reconstitute your initial assertion.

I was explaining why I thought they were more reasonable.

We already know: Putin invades his neighbors under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians from non-existent dangers which in your mind is a mitigating factor instead of a sign of recklessness, aggression, and a rejection of core values which help prevent armed conflict.

Do you consider the Saudis "trustworthy"?

Again irrelevant, the Saudis' "partnership" worthiness says nothing about Putin's. Watching you spin back to something you can criticize America for might lead people to conclude that's your only goal.

No, I was answering a specific point you made.

You're trying desperately to change the subject because your Kinsley Gaffe revealed too much.

J. Farmer said...

@Rick:

"You're trying desperately to change the subject because your Kinsley Gaffe revealed too much."

Uh, no, I've made the same point for years now. I believe the US should abandon its attempt at global hegemony and orchestrate a more balance of powers arrangement.

"My entire thread disputes your assertion it's Americans' "paranoia" which prevents Putin from being a good partner."

Because your argument is facile. Russia invaded Ukraine and Georgia so we can't have good relationships with them.

"Again irrelevant, the Saudis' "partnership" worthiness says nothing about Putin's."

Not irrelevant. You claimed that it was Putin's untrustworthiness that made a constructive relationship impossible. Yet America has maintained constructive relationships with untrustworthy nations for decades. It would be foolish and naive to trust any foreign power. Why do you think we bugged Merkel's cell phone. What matters is interests.

Rick said...

Uh, no, I've made the same point for years now. I believe the US should abandon its attempt at global hegemony and orchestrate a more balance of powers arrangement.

This is not the point you made. You said it is only our paranoia preventing a partnership with Putin. Revealing you're retreating to the bailey now.

Because your argument is facile. Russia invaded Ukraine and Georgia so we can't have good relationships with them.

All arguments can seem facile when reduced to facility by people intent on misunderstanding.

What matters is interests.

Yes. Our interest is world stability which fosters economic progress. Because Putin is motivated by personal aggrandizement and he measures greatness in terms of relative political power he will thwart our interests at every opportunity.

J. Farmer said...

@Rick:

"You said it is only our paranoia preventing a partnership with Putin."

Well, obviously, it is not only, but it's a big component. This is mostly manifested in the tendency to proscribe uniquely nefarious motives to perfectly predictable self-interest. How do you think the United States would perceive a security alliance between China and Mexico and Central America? If I was a Russian policymaker, I'd sure be worried about NATO on my border, especially a country with a very volatile border.

"All arguments can seem facile when reduced to facility by people intent on misunderstanding. "

The only argument you made was Ukraine and Georgia. America is one of the most militaristically interventionist nations on the planet. The EU has ferociously attempted to integrate Ukraine as leverage against Russia. Victoria Nuland was recorded musing with our ambassador to the Ukraine about who they would prefer to be prime minister.

"Our interest is world stability which fosters economic progress. Because Putin is motivated by personal aggrandizement and he measures greatness in terms of relative political power he will thwart our interests at every opportunity."

They don't try to "thwart out interests at every opportunity." They attempt to thwart our interests when they believe they are counter to Russian interests. Most of Russia's antagonism with the United States is limited to Eastern and Southeastern Europe, an to a lesser degree the middle east. Our interests are much more convergent than they are divergent.

And it is pretty laughable to say that we are motivated by "world stability." There are a lot of adjectives one could use to describe the consequence of US interventions since 2001, but I cannot imagine "stability" being one of them.

Remember how people criticized the president for "bowing to foreign leaders." How do you think it would appear in Russia if Putin was seen as a lapdog to the US? The 1990s are widely regarded by Russians as a period of national humiliation. Putin's perceived correctives to that humiliation are a big part of his national support.

Rusty said...

And it is pretty laughable to say that we are motivated by "world stability." There are a lot of adjectives one could use to describe the consequence of US interventions since 2001, but I cannot imagine "stability" being one of them.

And things are so much better now.

Most of Russia's antagonism is the yearning to be the Soviet Union. The United States is the boogie man that Putin uses to deprive the citizens of Russia their rights.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

"Most of Russia's antagonism is the yearning to be the Soviet Union. The United States is the boogie man that Putin uses to deprive the citizens of Russia their rights."

It is utter nonsense to claim that Russia s driven to revive the Soviet union. As Daniel Larison wrote in The American Conservative: "t’s not just that I find the charges of Russian imperialism a bit tired coming from people who have insisted for years that invading other countries, toppling their governments and setting up puppet states is not imperialism, but I find them very boring. I mean, how unimaginative can one be to say, “They’re bringing back the Soviet Union!”? That’s the sort of thing an eccentric Bond villain would try to do. There are no more workers’ councils, and there is no more USSR. In every sense of the word, the Soviets are gone and their empire is dust. No one–not Putin, not Medvedev, not anyone–is bringing it back as it once existed. Now if Kimball had said that Moscow is trying to reassemble parts of the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire, at least in terms of its territorial dimensions, I would still say that he is grossly exaggerating what’s going on, but at least he wouldn’t be embarrassing himself by saying completely nonsensical things."

J. Farmer said...

In other words, Russia is doing precisely what great powers do. Utilizing military and economic superiority to leverage other countries to the great powers interest. This is true of eastern Europe with Russia and southeast Asia with China. ASEAN is an effort to balance China. But even collectively, they are dominated by China. So it is natural that they would seek alliances and military integration with a great power (e.g. the United States). This is correctly seen by China as the US attempting to encircle China with close military allies (essentially a NATO of the east), Now, if you were a Chinese policymakers, shouldn't you worry about this? Shouldn't you seek means to counter this scheme? That would be your national self-interest. Except when the Chinese make predictable reactions, it's portrayed as evidence of their scheming, expansionist intent.

Despite how much we hear about these dangerous adversaries Russia and China, if you look at recent history, it has been US action that has contributed most to global instability. Can anyone name a foreign intervention made by Russia or China in the last 20 years that has had anything like the impact of American interventions? This is not a "blame America" mentality. It's a realistic assessment of the real world. Regime change in Afghanistan, regime change in Iraq, support for violent revolutionary forces in Syria against Assad, regime change in Libya. They've all been utter disasters, and we're still dealing with the aftermath. Was Russian intervention in Georgia wrong? Of course. The total populations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is about 300,000. Hardly a threat to "world stability." Ukraine is a different and more complicated matter. It is obvious why Europe would want to integrate Ukraine into a union that is meant to leverage American and Russian power. And the Russians are obviously self-interested enough to want to resist that. Both sides are interfering in order to get their preferred outcome.

But the Cold War is over the Soviet Union is gone. The US no longer needs to rely on the so called trans-Atlantic alliance as a counter to Russia. The US should take a more neutral, balancing position between Europe and Russia. Pushing NATO up to Russia's borders was foolishly wrongheaded. What good does dumb security guarantees to countries like Estonia get the United States at the expense of antagonizing a large, influential regional power. Let the Russians interfere with Estonia. It's their neighborhood. Much like most of 19th century American foreign policy involved interfering with newly independent Latin American countries for American national self-interests. This isn't "blame America," this is historical fact. US opposition to Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were good interventions with positive outcomes for humanity. Its why WWII mythologies and analogies to current military situations are so abundant and cliche. Like every other nation, the US is a mixed bag. It's done good, and it's done ill. Whenever someone talks about the ill, the response is always "only you blame America for everything." Uh, so, is basically one never aloud to talk about the horrible consequences of misguided American interventions have been?

J. Farmer said...

So just to repay my original claim: the consequences of Russian interventions in the post-Soviet era have been minuscule compared to those of the United States. Russian military intervention in Ukraine left about 8,000 people killed. That's maybe about 1% of the refugees from Libya. In the Syrian Civil War, Russia was on Assad's side, and we were on the side of the radical Islamist who turned into ISIS. Hmm...good call, guys. We're supporting Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. How's Somalia looking after 25 years of American intervention? Before Syria, can anyone name a Russian military intervention on a non-European content in the post-Soviet era? The notion that Russian intransigence poses some kind of significant threat to "world stability" is completely at odds with historical reality.

Bobby said...

And to answer your question, most Realists would probably point you to something like E.H. Carr's The Twenty Years' Crisis or to Henry Kissinger's A World Restored to give you an idea of how they think contemporary America should address the role of Russia in international affairs.