September 29, 2017

"Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?"

Asks Glenn Greenwald (at Intercept).
It’s a claim about nefarious Russian control. So it’s instantly vested with credibility and authority, published by leading news outlets, and then blindly accepted as fact in most elite circles....

The evidentiary threshold which an assertion must overcome before being accepted is so low as to be non-existent. And the penalty for desiring to see evidence for official claims, or questioning the validity and persuasiveness of the evidence that is proffered, are accusations that impugn one’s patriotism and loyalty (simply wanting to see evidence for official claims about Russia is proof, in many quarters, that one is a Kremlin agent or at least adores Putin – just as wanting to see evidence in 2002, or questioning the evidence presented for claims about Saddam, was viewed as proof that one harbored sympathy for the Iraqi dictator)....

84 comments:

Big Mike said...

In the circles Greenwald inhabits, skepticism regarding anything anti-Trump is always forbidden.

SDaly said...

Question remains, who at DHS is spreading these stories?

Big Mike said...

BTW, Greenwald references Virginia Congressman Don Beyer. He should be aware that Don Beyer sells new and used cars. I dunno about the rest of you, but I take anything spoken by a used car salesman with a grain of salt.

buwaya said...

Greenwald lives in Brazil IIRC, and is outside the mind-and-career-controlled US social-economic circles that contain the US left-liberals.

He seems to be his own man, and any foolishness he gets into is his own.

You really are better off listening to foreign leftists (or foreign-based ones like Greenwald) than US ones. They have more liberty to speak the truth as they see it, and there is therefore more meat in their opinions.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Interesting article but a little hyperbolic. The run down of previous fake news stories was pretty depressing.

Are we supposed to know who Greenwald is? Is the intercept the site that published Assange, Snowden or Manning?

Henry said...

I appreciate Greenwald's efforts. He has some big axes to grind, but he's willing to do it on his own without buying into conventional wisdom. And he does some due diligence:

The Kristol/Morell/Chertoff group on which the Times based its article has a very simple tactic: they secretly decide which Twitter accounts are “Russia bots,” meaning accounts that disseminate an “anti-American message” and are controlled by the Kremlin. They refuse to tell anyone which Twitter accounts they decided are Kremlin-loyal, nor will they identify their methodology for creating their lists or determining what constitutes “anti-Americanism.”

Big Mike wrote: In the circles Greenwald inhabits, skepticism regarding anything anti-Trump is always forbidden.

Too triple-negative for me, and I think you get it exactly wrong. The pro-Russian stories are anti-Trump and Greenwald is skeptical.

n.n said...

The audacity of Russians to intervene in America and Europe's wars in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia was a segue to America and Germany backing a violent coup in Ukraine, where the social justice adventurists forced another trail of tears and CAIR (e.g. gerrymandered districts), which were only mitigated with Russian intervention. Then American citizens had the audacity of denying globalist ambitions, redistributive change, color diversity (i.e. racism), and Planned Parenthood/abortion rites proponents.

The press has fumbled management of the anti-native progressive ball of yarns, which has evolved as an ever more liberal concoction of divergent narratives.

Bay Area Guy said...

Greenwald is an honorable liberal. He's written some good stuff on this Russian-Hoax, so I respect that. Yes, he's probably wrong a most other policy questions, but, hey, that's life.

Mueller's gonna indict Manafort on some trumped-up charge. But, Manafort was replaced in Aug 2016, by KellyAnne Conway .

So if Manafort was no longer part of the campaign for the last critical 3 months when Trump won it, it kinda sorta breaks the causal connection between Russia > Manafort > Trump campaign.

Just sayin'

Mueller should resign or indict Comey for unauthorized leaks.

mockturtle said...

The Russians aren't coming! The Russians aren't coming!

Mike Sylwester said...

Robert Parry's new article, "The Slimy Business of Russia-gate" in Consortium News includes the following passages:

.... Right now, tens of millions of dollars are flowing to non-governmental organizations if they will buttress the thesis of Russian “meddling” in the U.S. democratic process no matter how sloppy the “research” or how absurd the “findings.”

And, if you think the pillars of the U.S. mainstream media – The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and others – will apply some quality controls, you haven’t been paying attention for the past year or so. The MSM is just as unethical as the NGOs are.

So, we are now in a phase of Russia-gate in which NGO “scholars” produce deeply biased reports and their nonsense is treated as front-page news and items for serious discussion across the MSM. ....

For example, a Times front-page story on Thursday reported that “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia seized on both sides of the [NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem] issue ...

The vague wording doesn’t even say the Russian government was involved but rather presents an unsupported claim that some Twitter accounts are “suspected” of being part of some “network” and that this “network” may have some ill-defined connection – or “links” – to “Russia,” a country of 144 million people. ....

However, with all those millions of dollars sloshing around the NGO world and Western academia – all looking for some “study” to fund that makes Russia look bad – you are sure to get plenty of takers. ...

A scramble is on to develop seemingly academic models to “prove” what Western authorities want proven: that Russia is at fault for pretty much every bad thing that happens in the world, particularly the alienation of many working-class people from the Washington-Brussels elites. ....

There’s also the fact that the major Western news media is deeply invested in bashing Russia as well as in the related contempt for Trump and his followers. Those twin prejudices have annihilated all professional standards that would normally be applied to news judgments regarding these flawed “studies.” ...

Any Americans living in “battleground states” could tell you that they are inundated with all kinds of election-related “junk,” including negative TV advertising, nasty radio messages, alarmist emails and annoying robo-calls at dinner time. That’s why they’re called “battleground states,” Sherlock. ...

If you generate “research” that feeds the hungry beast of Russia-gate, you will find eager patrons doling out dollars and a very receptive audience in the mainstream media.

In a place like Washington, there are scores if not hundreds of reports generated every day and only a tiny fraction get the attention of the Times, Post, CNN, etc., let alone result in published articles. But “studies” that reinforce today’s anti-Russia narrative are sure winners.

So, if you’re setting up a new NGO or you’re an obscure academic angling for a lucrative government grant as well as some flattering coverage in the MSM, the smart play is to join the new gold rush in decrying “Russian propaganda.” ....

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/28/the-slimy-business-of-russia-gate/

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Greenwald's showy commitment to fairness is pathetic.

NONE OF THIS means that every Russia claim is false, nor does it disprove the accusation that Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inboxes (a claim for which, just by the way, still no evidence has been presented by the U.S. government). Perhaps there were some states that were targeted, even though the key claims of this story, that attracted the most attention, have now been repudiated.

Why don't we just stipulate that there is nothing to all the collusion nonsense, and move on to the next thing. It's obvious that candidate Trump failed to take even the simplest and most obvious action to prepare himself to be President. He apparently didn't hold even one significant meeting with senior Russian officials, or with Putin himself. Why wasn't he in touch with Putin once a week, to discuss world affairs in general, and hot spots like Syria in particular? Even before he was sworn in, why didn't he collude with Putin to put together a plausible plan for united action? Why not have someone leak to the media that such a plan exists, thereby undermining the campaign of the most deserving candidate in the history of the United States or the world?
Did the stupid son of a bitch think foreign policy was going to arrive out of thin air? Why in God's name didn't he collude with the movers and shakers, as anyone with a brain or a shred of decency or love for his country would have?
Can I get a job writing for Rachel Maddow?

Mark O said...

There should be a minimum qualification for the "press" part of the First Amendment.

Sebastian said...

As long as the left doesn't control everything yet, skepticism is permissible. So is utter contempt.

eric said...

The really stupid thing that Greenwald identifies is how easily lead we all are.

The media breathlessly reports on these Russia stories with all sorts of unspoken implications. But show us the facts! They talk and talk and talk with politicians who have supposedly seen evidence of something, but we never get to see it ourselves.

I get it when it's top secret. But ads on Twitter and Facebook?

Supposedly the ads on Facebook promote Black Lives Matter. This is spun as supporting Trump somehow.

What?!

I would like to see the ad. Did it say, "Hands up don't shoot!"???

Let me be the judge.

The fact that we aren't given this information tells me they got nothing. Nothing but the media and spin to try and create a narrative before the facts get out.

eric said...

Blogger Mark O said...
There should be a minimum qualification for the "press" part of the First Amendment


There is. It has to be able to print words on paper like all presses were intended to do.

Tommy Duncan said...

...just as wanting to see evidence in 2002, or questioning the evidence presented for claims about Saddam, was viewed as proof that one harbored sympathy for the Iraqi dictator...

Did I miss something in 2002?

rehajm said...

Too triple-negative for me

Three? Thanks. I couldn't make it to the end without losing track ;-)...

rehajm said...

They've all given themselves permission to stop being journalists and pretend they are journalists. We can't act surprised anymore...

Oso Negro said...

A sizable portion of both the American political establishment and the Russian political establishment apparently need each other. They collude by using the other as a bogeyman to justify whatever happens to serve their purpose at the moment. It's too bad, really. It sure doesn't need to be that way.

YoungHegelian said...

WE'RE ALL RUSSIAN DUPES!

So, Tail-Gunner Joe was right, just 60 years premature.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let's try that again. Maybe third try really is the charm.

I ran into this earlier today: The Twilight of the Liberal Gods:

We are living in amazing times, astonishing times, times I wouldn’t have believed possible as little as a year ago.

There is this Jorge Luis Borges story, where the old gods are returning to Earth, but upon their arrival, it is found that they have lost the ability to speak. Instead, when they open their mouths, they caw or roar, or make other bestial sounds. The populace, disgusted, turns away from them and refuses to worship them. I don’t remember precisely (it’s been years since I read them), but I think in the end the “gods” get utterly destroyed.

That’s what’s been happening to the left this last year....

Part of what led to the dominance of the left in all the “gatekeeping” places, including publishing, the arts, education, and to a large extent government, was two things: their ability to project intelligence and calm; and the ruthlessness to not only not hire anyone who wasn’t a fellow-traveler, but also to kick out everyone who disagreed with them as soon as they could....

The first led to their holding that power, because not only did they have control of the mass media, and really, all forms of cultural communication, but they could project the calm and gentle impression of being the sane ones....

And then this amazing thing happened (try this one easy trick!) -- something we’d predicted much earlier, and which frankly we’d despaired would come to pass: for whatever reason, the left’s dominance of the heights of culture failed them in a national election.

Perhaps it was that Donald Trump is such a dark horse; perhaps it is that Hillary Clinton is such an unappetizing, corrupt candidate; perhaps it was the new media dominance revealing the crazy face of the left; perhaps it was the fact that the left had decided to fight the strangest battles, such as who got to pee where; perhaps it was a combination of all of these.

All I know is that the minute Donald Trump was elected, the left lost whatever shred of sanity that had let them hold on to “normal appearing” speech and attitudes....

Who would have thought the election of a rather conventional, traditional NYC Democrat could achieve this?

In one year they’ve destroyed much of what took them close to a hundred years to achieve.

They still look – with a few exceptions – like American upper-class, polished, well-mannered individuals. But the things that come out of their mouths cannot in any way be mistaken for “normal.”

The “old gods” have returned. But they’ve forgotten human speech. And the humans are noticing. Their speech still sounds normal to themselves. They have no clue what comes next.

n.n said...

The war in Iraq began with Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, was sustained under President Clinton, and ended in the early 21st century with a people's trial for the dictator. It was renewed and progressed with Obama's premature evacuation and social justice adventures in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Now back to the DNC collusion with the press, sovereign and domestic assets, and second and third-world population exporters, in order to disenfranchise Americans and stoke division through color diversity (i.e. racism) and other political congruence policies.

Paul from Decatur, GA said...

I am sure that, in some circles, it will always be not yet, but I hope that those same circles are continuing to decrease in diameter.

n.n said...

WE'RE ALL RUSSIAN DUPES!

Yes! Judging people by the "content of their character", denying Planned Parenthood et al their pound of flesh, and taming the wilds of the scientific domain, are all opiates of the masses. A grand conspiracy by sadomasochists to debase human life, deny individual indignity, and keep women barefoot, pregnant, taxable commodities to satiate socially liberal males and fill the maw of the glutinous state.

Bruce Hayden said...

"There should be a minimum qualification for the "press" part of the First Amendment."

Trump was right - much of what the MSM says anymore is "fake news". As Sarah Hoyt pointed out in the article that I linked to above, the left essentially captured control of the MSM maybe 70-80 years ago, and up until very recently, were the gatekeepers of much of the news available to the American public. Which is why their constant push for some sort of licensing or credibility in order to have 1st Amdt protections is so disingenuous. As with most licensing schemes, they are trying to impose a government mandated monopoly over their industry, in order to limit their competition- except instead of taxi medallions or hair braiding, they are trying to control the news provided the American people through their media, and, thus the public discourse. All through the application of government force and power. They want the truth that we all accept to be whatever is convenient, at that point, for the left. Anything else is wrongthink, which will be ruthlessly suppressed. .

Jess said...

Somewhere, in the quagmire, the truth can be found. I doubt seriously the public will ever catch a glimpse of it.

Drago said...

I understand that Pepsi is reaching out to Putin for a cut-rate ad campaign that will make Pepsi number 1 in the US! It should only run Pepsi about $100,000 or so, according to every single democrat alive.

traditionalguy said...

Scott Adams has exposed the intensity of Psyops we are being fed by Media using our own Perception Bias. It has reached a point that the smallest competing Reality seems like it must be conspiracy theory, because our Government could not do that!!!

Meanwhile Obama and his pet Media smirked at us while they tricked us over and over. Which is why they loved him.

That Trump is a dangerous man.

Matthew Sablan said...

"The Kristol/Morell/Chertoff group on which the Times based its article has a very simple tactic: they secretly decide which Twitter accounts are “Russia bots,” meaning accounts that disseminate an “anti-American message” and are controlled by the Kremlin. They refuse to tell anyone which Twitter accounts they decided are Kremlin-loyal, nor will they identify their methodology for creating their lists or determining what constitutes “anti-Americanism.”"

-- I remember when making secret lists of Russian agents was frowned upon.

n.n said...

a cut-rate ad campaign that will make Pepsi number 1 in the US! It should only run Pepsi about $100,000 or so

That would be revolutionary and would decimate the market capitalization of companies like Google. I wonder if Google's sorting algorithm takes that into consideration.

n.n said...

"The Kristol/Morell/Chertoff group on which the Times based its article

McKristolism with a ready and willing NYT to progress the Democratic baby hunt. Beware overlapping and convergent interests.

Lucien said...

Greenwald seems to be a progressive of principle, much like our own Robert Cook. I very seldom agree with either of them, but their views seem to be driven by commitment to a certain worldview, rather than a partisan support of everything Team Blue does (or a rabid hatred of everything Team Red does).

n.n said...

Greenwald seems to be a progressive of principle, much like our own Robert Cook

Perhaps a progressive from the classical school of thought, which is ironically neither progressive nor liberal (in a generational context), and is actually a proponent for a conservation of principles.

roesch/voltaire said...

I notice that Greenwald did not mention the hacks into our nuclear reactors--I wonder why.

Ken B said...

Greenwald is just about the only journalist who has risen (quite a lot as it happens) in my estimation since the election. He's one of the very few leftists who still insists on evidence, he cares about the truth and getting it right, and he's noboby's yes-man.

tim in vermont said...

I notice that Greenwald did not mention the hacks into our nuclear reactors--I wonder why

Fucking Trump hasn't given them the passwords yet?

Greenwald demolished the first story of the communication between Alpha Bank and Trump Towers with devastating accuracy. As a person who worked in the field of network surveillance (not what it sounds like, except it sorta is a little bit) I was impressed.

I guess though that you are using some kind of dual loyalty smear to undercut his credibility. I notice you don't handle any of his specific points. I am not surprised.

You are some kind of political officer at a college, as far as I can tell, to ensure proper indoctrination of your students?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Yeah, but how can we be sure that Greenwald isn't a Russian agent? If these people can defeat Hillary, they can easily compromise journalists!

Matthew Sablan said...

"I notice that Greenwald did not mention the hacks into our nuclear reactors--I wonder why."

-- Have those actually been confirmed? Because the government just walked back a whole lot of those "hacks."

Gahrie said...

I notice that Greenwald did not mention the hacks into our nuclear reactors--I wonder why

He's going to let one of his sockpuppets do that.

Gahrie said...

"There should be a minimum qualification for the "press" part of the First Amendment."

The word "press" in the First Amendment does not refer to those who work in media. That is a modern coinage. When the First Amendment was written, "press" referred to the machinery needed to mass publish ideas, as in "printing press".

Gahrie said...

So, Tail-Gunner Joe was right, just 60 years premature.

No, he was right back then too...he was just a bit of an asshole about it.

Gahrie said...

I see eric got there before me....

buwaya said...

You don't have to assume principles, in the case of Greenwald or anyone else.

You can evaluate his output for independence, if only independence from the enforced consensus of the US liberal-left media. Whether he serves other masters is TBD, but if so they are OTHER masters, with a different perspective.

Quaestor said...

I notice that Greenwald did not mention the hacks into our nuclear reactors--I wonder why.

We notice that in the wake of the demise of one pernicious conspiracy theory roesch/voltaire attempts to launch another one.

The Russia Did It parallels every other lunatic trope. When one claim is shot down in flames an even more absurd assertion takes its place. No shooter on the Grassy Knoll? Nevermind, there was a dwarf gunman hidden in the catch basin. Did the Mythbusters demolish your favorite Moon Landing Hoax cliché? Doesn't matter because the Earth is flat and the Moon is a hologram.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Gahrie, quite right. Which means that any blogger is "press." Mass-publishing ideas is just a lot easier than it used to be.

Bruce Hayden, the Borges story Sarah Hoyt is referring to is a dream called "Ragnorak," and it ends with the humans taking out their revolvers ("suddenly there were revolvers in the dream") and joyfully killing the gods.

Robert Cook said...

"Are we supposed to know who Greenwald is? Is the intercept the site that published Assange, Snowden or Manning?"

You act as if Glenn Greenwald is an obscure personality, which is hardly the case to anyone even slightly interested in current affairs. Yes, The Intercept published Snowden's revelations.

Robert Cook said...

"NONE OF THIS means that every Russia claim is false, nor does it disprove the accusation that Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inboxes (a claim for which, just by the way, still no evidence has been presented by the U.S. government)."

Disprove Putin "ordered the hacking of the DNC, etc.?" It has yet to be proved. You state this yourself, making your statement quite puzzling. Given the evident falsehood of this accusation, pretty much any other accusation about Russia by partisan American interests--including our Government--must be doubted until substantiated.

Robert Cook said...

The war in Iraq began with Hussein's invasion of Kuwait....

Which Hussein was duped into believing was okey-dokey with America. He was had by George Bush Senior, who wanted an excuse to mount military action against America's erstwhile ally and asset, Saddam Hussein.

We seduce 'em, then traduce 'em, then remove 'em!

Robert Cook said...

"WE'RE ALL RUSSIAN DUPES!"

No, we're all American dupes!

n.n said...

[Hussein] was had by George Bush Senior, who wanted an excuse to mount military action

I'm not familiar with events that preceded invasion of Kuwait. Who "duped" Hussein into believing an invasion would be tolerated, condoned, and maybe rewarded?

n.n said...

Disprove Putin "ordered the hacking of the DNC, etc.?" It has yet to be proved.

Mixing logical domains. 20 yard penalty.

Drago said...

Cookie: "Which Hussein was duped into believing was okey-dokey with America."

The only thing missing from this particular lunatic-lefty conspiracy theory is an SR-71!

tim in vermont said...

Which Hussein was duped into believing was okey-dokey with America. He was had by George Bush Senior, who wanted an excuse to mount military action against America's erstwhile ally and asset, Saddam Hussein.

Were you even alive at the time? Maybe you got all of your news from typewritten 'zines' picked up in Marxist bookshops.

Pianoman said...

UnknownInga64 hardest hit.

tim in vermont said...

What is really funny about the whole "Russia hacked the DNC" think is that "CloudStrike," who supposedly identified the Russian hacking attempts, also shut them out and installed monitoring software to block their access before most of the most damaging emails were even written.

Kinda weird, huh? Not to mention that the software that they installed, if it was anything like all of the other DLP (Data Loss Prevention) software in the market, would have detected the exfiltration of those emails, which anyway, it looks like it was impossible that it was done remotely, based on the speed of the file transfer.

n.n said...

the Earth is flat and the Moon is a hologram

I think we have closed the distance, removed significant unknowns, on both hypotheses, that we can with great accuracy state in the scientific domain that the Earth is spherical and the Moon is real... and spectacular. Correction, the Earth is flat within the resolution of climate models and other low quality representations.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm not familiar with events that preceded invasion of Kuwait. Who "duped" Hussein into believing an invasion would be tolerated, condoned, and maybe rewarded?"

Hussein had a dispute with Kuwait over their undercutting his oil prices, and slant-drilling into Iraq oilfields. When Kuwait refused to deal with him he had a conversation with our American ambassador April Glaspie. When Hussein told her he might have to engage Kuwait militarily, she told him she had been instructed to tell him that this was a dispute between Iraq and Kuwait and America had no opinion on it. He took this to mean America would not object to his stated intentions, and he moved forward. Once he invaded, America called him the new Hitler, told lies on tv about Iraq soldiers dumping babies out of incubators in Kuwait hospitals,etc. It had been a ploy to lure Hussein into America's trap and he fell for it.

This is the short and drastically oversimplified version. Here is the lengthy version:

1991 Gulf War, Part One

1991 Gulf War, Part Two

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

I read a lot of Lefty websites, mostly for laughs and schadenfreude. The Intercept is the only one that even attempts anything like journalism. Yes, it has it's share of TDS hysterics but it also presents some brutally impartial truth-telling.

Robert Cook said...

"Were you even alive at the time? Maybe you got all of your news from typewritten 'zines' picked up in Marxist bookshops."

I was indeed, and at the time, I got my daily news from NEW YORK NEWSDAY, one of only two newspapers in the country that reported that Hussein was willing to withdraw his forces from Kuwait without further ado, with certain concessions by Kuwait. Bush, who had claimed he was seeking a diplomatic resolution and war would be a last option--Junior repeated this "war is a last option" lie years later--wouldn't even entertain the notion and continued calling Hussein the "new Hitler," etc. And then we went to war.

Most Americans were never aware of this at the time, because, as I say, NEW YORK NEWSDAY was one of only two newspapers in the country that reported this.

tim in vermont said...

Yeah, OK. I guess that's gospel then. Just like these Russian stories that have appeared in the New York Times and WaPo.

Drago said...

In Cookies world, every butterfly that collapses in a forest is the result of American perfidy.

LOL

Yeah, that Hussein, why he was a delicate little flower who ran a paradise where children skipped through the flowers on sunny days and was only forced, FORCED, to invade Kuwait because of the evil first (not the second) Bushhitler regime.

He had to coaxed into attacking Kuwait. Coaxed I tellya!!

Now, where is all that literature on the Trilateral Commission that was lying around here?

Drago said...

Also, Reagan/North et al were the ones shipping cocaine into American cities in the 80's.

Honest!

Drago said...

The Soviets were forced, FORCED, to invade Poland from the east in '39.

Truely!

Drago said...

Hitler invaded Poland because Roosevelt "wink-winked" him into doing it.

There is no such thing as free will. There is only that which the US wills, except for anything good that happens. That stuff is, like, totally independent of the US.

Gahrie said...

without further ado, with certain concessions

Certain concessions is further ado.........

Gahrie said...

He was had by George Bush Senior, who wanted an excuse to mount military action against America's erstwhile ally and asset, Saddam Hussein.

Why did Bush want to attack Hussein, especially since he was an ally and asset?

roesch/voltaire said...

Well yes the Russian hack of our reactors is "reportedly" as in this example from engadget: On the other, the hackers reportedly sent malware-laden CVs to key employees who have access to critical nuclear systems. The intention is either to watch those systems for intelligence gathering, or to obtain credentials that could be used in a later breach. But this sanguine attitude towards news of possible Russian hacks that are exaggerated should not keep us from understanding that Russian will do what it can do se-stabilize Western democracies and are doing so in Europe and here. Until all states get a paper trail along with the computer systems, which we have in Wisconsin, I think our election system is suspect.

roesch/voltaire said...

Crack what lefty web sites do you read I wonder, something like TomDispatch?

rhhardin said...

The evidentiary threshold which an assertion must overcome before being accepted is so low as to be non-existent.

He screwed himself with high-falutin' cliches.

It's about narrative, not credulity. Anything that fits, runs.

Robert Cook said...

"He had to coaxed into attacking Kuwait. Coaxed I tellya!!"

Once again, you demonstrate your lack of reading for understanding.

No, Hussein wasn't coaxed into attacking Kuwait; he decided to do so as it seemed the only to deal with what he perceived as Kuwait's economic war on Iraq (and actual theft of oil from Iraq's oil fields). However, he knew that if America said thumbs down, it wouldn't be a good idea. He was given a shrug of the shoulders, which he interpreted as, "we don't care, do what you will."

The con was in him believing America wouldn't come down on him if he invaded Kuwait.

pacwest said...

Cook is right as I remember it, with the exception of what was acceptable to Hussein for his withdrawal. The 'certain consessions' were the sticking point for both Kuwait and the US. And what we're those? Cook?

Robert Cook said...

"Why did Bush want to attack Hussein, especially since he was an ally and asset?"


Well, allies and assets do sometime exhaust their usefulness, especially if they start to show a little independence. This is what got Manuel Noreiga snatched and put in prison.

As for our taking down of Hussein, it had something to do with his getting a little independent, something to do with finding a basis to keep increasing the military budget in the wake of Soviet Russia's collapse, (rather than decreasing it),and something to do with our wanting an entree into the Middle East. Oh, and something to do with Bush wanting to boost his popularity and image as a "strong" president. I suggest you read the two part article I linked to in my earlier post to get much more in-depth analysis.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook is right as I remember it, with the exception of what was acceptable to Hussein for his withdrawal. The 'certain consessions' were the sticking point for both Kuwait and the US. And what we're those? Cook?"


From Part 2 of the two-part article I linked to:

According to conventional opinion, Saddam Hussein had not demonstrated any desire to seek a peaceful solution. The truth is quite the contrary. In fact, the Western powers had refused to acknowledge the grievances that had led Iraq to implement its offensive in the first place. President Bush declared that the Iraqi invasion was “without provocation” – an assertion that ignored Kuwait’s U.S.-inspired policies of “economic warfare”. [51] Despite this, Saddam had made several crucial offers of peace that were rejected outright by the international community, without even a feeble attempt at negotiation. According to the New York Times, the U.S. wanted to “block the diplomatic track because it might defuse the crisis at the cost of a few token gains for Iraq.” [52] As Stephen Zunes notes: “Unilateral demands are not negotiations. American specialists on the negotiation process felt that the United States wanted a war, given that Washington gave the Iraqis no opportunity to save face.” [53]

In early August 1990, and once again in October, Saddam made explicitly clear that he was willing to pull Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and allow foreigners to leave the country, in return for the following: control of the Rumaila oil field; access to the Persian Gulf; the lifting of sanctions that had been subsequently imposed; and a resolution of the oil price problem with Kuwait. [54] There was nothing particularly unreasonable about these conditions.

One Bush administration official who specialised in the Middle East acknowledged that “the terms of the proposal are serious”, describing the package as “negotiable”. Newsday reported that in response to the offer, “some [U.S.] government officials now say that they see some hope of a negotiated settlement.” [55] The offers were rejected. The 23 August offer, for instance, was simply dismissed by the U.S. administration and virtually blacked out by the mass media. Indeed, at first the State Department “categorically” denied that the offer had even been made; only later was the existence of the offer confirmed by the White House. [56]

On 2 January 1991, Iraq proposed another peace package, offering to withdraw from Kuwait on condition that the U.S. did not attack Iraqi soldiers as they pulled out; foreign troops left the region; there would be agreement on the Palestine issue and on the banning of weapons of mass destruction in the region. The proposal was described as “a serious prenegotiation position” by a State Department Middle East expert. Other U.S. officials observed that the prospects of the offer were “interesting”. [57] The proposal illustrated a clear willingness to compromise – Saddam had now dropped the previous Iraqi claims to two Kuwaiti islands and control of the Rumaila oil field. Yet this was barely reported in the mass media. [58] Western leaders continued to categorically dismiss the possibility of negotiations, instead pushing eagerly for a full-scale offensive. [59]

U.S. political analyst William Blum, a former State Department official, summed up the U.S. dismissal of all possible peaceful solutions: “The U.S. military and President Bush would have their massive show of power, their super-hi-tech real war games, and no signals from Iraq or any peacenik would be allowed to spoil it.”

Henry said...

The babies killed in Kuwait may be an invention, but the children's prison in Baghdad is most certainly not. It is a disgrace that the U.S. ever countenanced Hussein's regime, but it is a moral perversion to blame his murderous actions on any third party.

gbarto said...

While I won't go as far as Cook,I remember the Glaspie mess and would say there's at least a marginal possibility the first Iraq war wouldn't have happened if we'd handled the diplomacy better. I tend to suspect a mix of bragadoccio and stupidity more than malice but I'm generous like that.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

"On 2 January 1991, Iraq proposed another peace package, offering to withdraw from Kuwait on condition that..., there would be agreement on the Palestine issue..."

That's a poison pill right there.

Drago said...

"Once again, you demonstrate your lack of reading for understanding."

Hilarious.

Your act has been around for about 80 years now. It is all too easy to "understand".

Drago said...

MF: "That's a poison pill right there."

There were lots of poison pills. Hussein was basically pulling a North Korea, keep up the trouble in order to get paid off.

But hey, it's got to be America's fault.

It. Has. To. Be.

Robert Cook said...

"The babies killed in Kuwait may be an invention, but the children's prison in Baghdad is most certainly not. It is a disgrace that the U.S. ever countenanced Hussein's regime, but it is a moral perversion to blame his murderous actions on any third party."

No one is blaming Hussein's actions on any third party--he made the choice to invade Kuwait...just as we make choices to invade or bomb countries that haven't attacked us and are not threats to us--but we are complicit. The U.S. allowed him to think he could invade Kuwait and we wouldn't care. If we had told him we would be unhappy and would react in the strongest possible way if he acted, there's a good chance he would not have invaded Kuwait. We are complicit in Hussein's invasion of Kuwait by conscious deception and manipulation, (the article also suggests we influenced Kuwait to take a hard line and refuse to negotiate with Hussein, thus prodding him to invade).

The point is: the U.S. is as brutal, as amoral or immoral, as any other world actors one might name.

Rance Fasoldt said...

Note to all readers of this bog: the past tense of the verb "to lead" is "led," not "lead," as in the metal.

Bad Lieutenant said...

The point is: the U.S. is as brutal, as amoral or immoral, as any other world actors one might name.

Well, that's great!

At least we can't get any worse. No matter how hard we try!

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Do we know enough now about situation then Saddam in Kuwait ... How would Trump have handled it?

My take is simply that Saudi and Kuwaiti hired/paid Washington to save their ass.

Robert Cook said...

"At least we can't get any worse. No matter how hard we try!"

Well, no. We could always get worse. However, maybe we should try getting better.

Bad Lieutenant said...

the U.S. is as brutal, as amoral or immoral, as any other world actors one might name.


If you are unable to draw distinctions, why should anyone else? I could point you to nations where they boil dissidents into soup, and you'd say we're just as bad. How in fact COULD we be worse?