HOW BUSH AND HIS NEOCONS DESTABILIZED EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave dangers created by neocon policies.
The neocon prescription of endless “regime change” is spreading chaos across the Middle East and now into Europe, yet the neocons still control the mainstream U.S. narrative and thus have diagnosed the problem as not enough “regime change,” as Robert Parry reports.
By Robert Parry
The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe – dramatized by gut-wrenching photos of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey – started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”
Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing – such as that there hasn’t been enough “regime change.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 30, 2013, claims to have proof that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21, but that evidence failed to materialize or was later discredited. [State Department photo]
Who controls the News?
For instance, The Washington Post’s neocon editorial page editor Fred Hiatt on Monday blamed “realists” for the cascading catastrophes. Hiatt castigated them and President Barack Obama for not intervening more aggressively in Syria to depose President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime neocon target for “regime change.”
But the truth is that this accelerating spread of human suffering can be traced back directly to the unchecked influence of the neocons and their liberal fellow-travelers who have resisted political compromise and, in the case of Syria, blocked any realistic efforts to work out a power-sharing agreement between Assad and his political opponents, those who are not terrorists.
In early 2014, the neocons and liberal hawks sabotaged Syrian peace talks in Geneva by blocking Iran’s participation and turning the peace conference into a one-sided shouting match where U.S.-funded opposition leaders yelled at Assad’s representatives who then went home. All the while, the Post’s editors and their friends kept egging Obama to start bombing Assad’s forces.
The madness of this neocon approach grew more obvious in the summer of 2014 when the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda spinoff which had been slaughtering suspected pro-government people in Syria, expanded its bloody campaign of beheadings back into Iraq where this hyper-brutal movement first emerged as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” in response to the 2003 U.S. invasion.
Zionist Architects of Iraq war
It should have been clear by mid-2014 that if the neocons had gotten their way and Obama had conducted a massive U.S. bombing campaign to devastate Assad’s military, the black flag of Sunni terrorism might well be flying above the Syrian capital of Damascus while its streets would run red with blood.
But now a year later, the likes of Hiatt still have not absorbed that lesson — and the spreading chaos from neocon strategies is destabilizing Europe. As shocking and disturbing as that is, none of it should have come as much of a surprise, since the neocons have always brought chaos and dislocations in their wake.
When I first encountered the neocons in the 1980s, they had been given Central America to play with. President Ronald Reagan had credentialed many of them, bringing into the U.S. government neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan. But Reagan mostly kept them out of the big-power realms: the Mideast and Europe.
Those strategic areas went to the “adults,” people like James Baker, George Shultz, Philip Habib and Brent Scowcroft. The poor Central Americans, as they tried to shed generations of repression and backwardness imposed by brutal right-wing oligarchies, faced U.S. neocon ideologues who unleashed death squads and even genocideagainst peasants, students and workers.
The result – not surprisingly – was a flood of refugees, especially from El Salvador and Guatemala, northward to the United States. The neocon “success” in the 1980s, crushing progressive social movements and reinforcing the oligarchic controls, left most countries of Central America in the grip of corrupt regimes and crime syndicates, periodically driving more waves of what Reagan called “feet people” through Mexico to the southern U.S. border.
However, the right-wing and mainstream U.S. media never liked the complex Iran-Contra story and thus exposure of the many levels of the scandal’s criminality was avoided. Democrats also preferred compromise to confrontation. So, most of the key neocons survived the Iran-Contra fallout, leaving their ranks still firmly in place for the next phase of their rise to power.
In the 1990s, the neocons built up a well-funded infrastructure of think tanks and media outlets, benefiting from both the largesse of military contractors donating to think tanks and government-funded operations like the National Endowment for Democracy, headed by neocon Carl Gershman.
The neocons gained more political momentum from the U.S. military might displayed during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91. Many Americans began to see war as fun, almost like a video game in which “enemy” forces get obliterated from afar. On TV news shows, tough-talking pundits were all the rage. If you wanted to be taken seriously, you couldn’t go wrong taking the most macho position, what I sometimes call the “er-er-er” growling effect.
Combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the notion that U.S. military supremacy was unmatched and unchallengeable gave rise to neocon theories about turning “diplomacy” into nothing more than the delivery of U.S. ultimatums. In the Middle East, that was a view shared by Israeli hardliners, who had grown tired of negotiating with the Palestinians and other Arabs.
Instead of talk, there would be “regime change” for any government that would not fall into line. This strategy was articulated in 1996 when a group of American neocons, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, went to work for Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign in Israel and compiled a strategy paper, called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.”
Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Scooter Libby, John Bolton, Michael Ledeen. Zionist authors of ‘A clean break’.
Iraq was first on the neocon hit list, but next came Syria and Iran. The overriding idea was that once the regimes assisting the Palestinians and Hezbollah were removed or neutralized, then Israel could dictate peace terms to the Palestinians who would have no choice but to accept what was on the table.
In 1998, the neocon Project for the New American Century, founded by neocons Robert Kagan and William Kristol, called for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, but President Bill Clinton balked at something that extreme. The situation changed, however, when President George W. Bush took office and the 9/11 attacks terrified and infuriated the American public.
Suddenly, the neocons had a Commander-in-Chief who agreed with the need to eliminate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – and Americans were easily persuaded although Iraq and Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]
And, even though the Iraq War “group think” was almost entirely wrong, both on the WMD justifications for war and the “cakewalk” expectations for remaking Iraq, almost no one who promoted the fiasco suffered punishment for either the illegality of the invasion or the absence of sanity in promoting such a harebrained scheme.
Instead of negative repercussions, the Iraq War backers – the neocons and their liberal-hawk accomplices – essentially solidified their control over U.S. foreign policy and the major news media. From The New York Times and The Washington Post to the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, the “regime change” agenda continued to hold sway.
It didn’t even matter when the sectarian warfare unleashed in Iraq left hundreds of thousands dead, displaced millions and gave rise to Al Qaeda’s ruthless Iraq affiliate. Not even the 2008 election of Barack Obama, an Iraq War opponent, changed this overall dynamic.
Poignant pictures of life in Baghdad ten years on from invasion
While thousands of human beings lie buried under tons of rubble in devastated Manhattan, the U.S. and Britain have launched a massive bombing attack on Afghanistan. Among the declared targets: electrical power facilities (1), clearly an attack on civilians. Hundreds of thousands of terrorized human beings are fleeing into the cold countryside, carrying with them nothing but their poverty. Among the weapons employed by Infinite Justice: Tomahawk missiles, which are partly composed of deadly Depleted Uranium. U.S. and British soldiers and Afghan civilians take note: Afghan Syndrome may be just around the corner. (2)
But some folks are doing OK.
Below we have reprinted an article from the ‘Wall Street Journal’. It reveals that Saudi Binladin Group, the conglomerate owned by Osama bin Laden’s family, has invested in:
“Carlyle Group, a well-connected Washington merchant bank specializing in buyouts of defense and aerospace companies.” (‘WSJ,’ 27 September 2001) Which is owned by the Bush’s as well..
Through his lofty position at Carlyle and as a consultant, George Bush Sr. is closely linked to the bin Ladens. As are other powerhouse U.S. politicians.
Given that Carlyle’s business is “defense,” the Bushes and bin Ladens may well profit handsomely from the current war.
There has been no outcry in the mass media about this. No U.S. newspaper has picked up the WSJ story. Nor has CNN or Fox.
At first, Bush spokeswoman Jean Becker told the ‘Wall Street Journal’ that her boss had met with the bin Ladens only once.
But “after being read the ex-president’s subsequent thank-you note” the original “only once” claim was revised. In other words, she got caught in a lie and switched to a new story:
“President Bush does not have a relationship with the bin Laden family,” says Ms. Becker. “He’s met them twice.” (‘WSJ,’ 27 September 2001)
Once, twice, who’s counting?
Clearly a) Bush has a guilty conscience, otherwise why not tell the truth? And b) since he’s clearly in stonewall-mode there is no reason to believe there weren’t more meetings with the bin Ladens. How many more? Who knows? But his spokeswoman’s behavior shows this: if Bush did have more meetings, he surely won’t come clean unless confronted with proof.
A U.S. inquiry into bin Laden family business dealings could brush against some big names associated with the U.S. government. Former President Bush said through his chief of staff, Jean Becker, that he recalled only one meeting with the bin Laden family, which took place in November 1998. Ms. Becker confirmed that there was a second meeting in January 2000, after being read the ex-president’s subsequent thank-you note. “President Bush does not have a relationship with the bin Laden family,” says Ms. Becker. “He’s met them twice.”
President George W. Bush was directly linked to the Bin Ladens two decades ago. His longtime friend James W. Bath, who met Mr. Bush when they were both pilots in the Air National Guard, acted as a Texas business representative for Osama’s older brother, Salem bin Laden, from 1976 to 1988, when Salem died in a plane crash. Mr. Bath brought real-estate acquisitions and other deals that belonged to Salem bin Laden, an ebullient man who headed the family construction business. Mr. Bath generally received a 5% interest as his fee, and was sometimes listed as a trustee in related corporate documents. Mr. Bath acknowledged that during the same period he invested $50,000 in two funds controlled by Mr. Bush.
Among the properties that Salem bin Laden bought on Mr. Bath’s recommendation was the Houston Gulf Airport, a lightly used airfield in League City, Texas, 25 miles east of Houston. But Mr. bin Laden’s hope that it would develop a major overflow airport for Houston never materialized, in part due to concern over wetlands. Ever since his death, his estate has sought to sell the airfield, without success. Today, it is still on the market.
All the evidence now proves Bush’s committed Treason and killed 3,000 Americans on 9-11-2001 to wrap America in a Patriotic Fever & War Flag, in order to convince Americans it is OK for U.S., and The Bush Crime Family to attack Sovereign Nations for their Oil. To enrich themselves and cover their Oil Debt, that the Bushes have tied to their National Banks, at the cost of lives of Americas young Military and the deaths of innocent men, women, and children. This is mass murder and war crimes, in violations of American and International Laws. The Bush’s now can be compared to Adolph Hitler, and immediately arrested and tried for their Genocide. Stew Webb Feb. 12, 2005. AMERICA!!! WAKE UP!!! YOU’RE BEING HAD!!!
For any skeptics who doubt the ruling elite are trying to establish a “New World Order”, which is what the events of 9/11 was really about, let’s take you now to a clip of George Bush Sr. admitting that very thing:
A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organise the Iraqi security services
Bearing the scars of a decade of war: Poignant pictures of life in Baghdad ten years on from invasion. In the early hours of March 20 2003, coalition forces entered Iraq in a surprise 'shock and awe' assault against Saddam Hussein's regime.
A decade of turmoil and bloodshed has followed and the nation's capital city Baghdad still bears the scars of war with bullet ridden buildings and a large military presence on the street.
Military checkpoints on every main street are a stark reminder that Baghdad is not yet the safe haven of peace and democracy that Anglo-American forces set out, unjustifiably or not, to install a decade ago.
Indeed the country is still caught somewhere between violence - a wave of suicide bombings tore through the city just last week - and peace.
But while vast areas in the capital have fractured infrastructure and lack services, others are said to be showing promising signs of recovery.
And as these poignant pictures show, life still goes on in the city which is home to more than seven million people.
Ten years on: These Baghdadi children weren't even born when coalition troops invaded Iraq back in March 2013. Pictures of the country ten years on show that although the area is still a dangerous place to live, life does still go on
A few weeks after the invasion of Iraq, coalition forces began a long occupation, marked by almost immediate chaos. Groups held down by Saddam's regime rose up, and groups who opposed them struck back. Militias based in Iraq began a long insurgency against the occupation, and terrorist organizations joined the fight, escalating levels of brutality with each attack. Dozens of battles were fought across the country, with mounting tolls on the insurgents, the allied troops, and the civilian population caught in the middle. From 2003 to 2010, progress toward a new government and reconstruction was made in fits and starts, punctuated by frequent bombings, assassinations, and uprisings. Ten years later, we look back in a three-part series. Today's entry focuses on the period during which the majority of the war took place, after the 2003 invasion and just prior to the 2011 withdrawal. This entry is part 2 of 3, be sure to seepart 1 and part 3. [50 photos]
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U.S. Army Pvt. Joe Armstrong of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division searches the rooftop of a house during an operation in the Amariyah neighborhood of west Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday, August 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A construction worker removes debris from inside the destroyed Education building December 11, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
US Army Sergeant Craig Zentkovich from Connecticut belonging to the 1st Brigade Combat Team photographs a pink bedroom at Saddam Hussein's presidential palace, on April 13, 2003. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images) #
A man reads an Iraqi newspaper in the northern town of Tikrit after morgue photos of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay were published for the first time, on July 26, 2003. Hoping to convince Iraqis that the two men were dead, the U.S. military released photos of the pair on Thursday and allowed a small group of media to view the bodies. (Reuters/Faleh Kheiber) #
Wrecks of Iraqi military vehicles lie in a dump on the outskirts of Baghdad, on May 25, 2003. The vehicles brought here were destroyed when U.S.-led strikes used depleted uranium shells against tanks and other armored vehicles during the war that ousted Saddam Hussein. Iraqi doctors and scientists are worried that birth defects and childhood cancers could surge in the aftermath of the latest conflict, not unlike medical problems in southern Iraq after the mildly radioactive munitions were first used in the 1991 Gulf War.(Reuters/Jamal Saidi) #
This unsourced picture shows ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein being dragged from hiding following his capture by US troops, on December 13, 2003 in an underground hole at a farm in the village of ad-Dawr, near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq. The picture is one of a series of images of the deposed dictator unauthorized for release by the US army that has been circulating in recent days on the internet. The man holding him was later identified as an Iraqi-American named Samir, who was the translator for the U.S. Special Forces that helped find Hussein. (AFP/Getty Images) #
Iraqi policemen guard a sabotaged burning pipeline near the city of Kerbala, on February 23, 2004. (Reuters/Faleh Kheiber) #
British soldiers come under attack in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, on Monday March 22 2004, during a protest by unemployed Iraqi civilians who failed to get jobs with the local customs office, and also condemned the assassination of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in Gaza City earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani) #
Former hostage Thomas Hamill, center, is seen with two U.S. Army soldiers, shortly after his escape south of Tikrit, in this picture released on Monday, May 3, 2004. Hamill, who escaped from captivity during the weekend, left Iraq and stopped by a military hospital in Germany for a check-up, a U.S. military official said. (AP Photo/U.S Army) #
In this March 31, 2004 photo, Iraqis chant anti-American slogans as charred bodies hang from a bridge over the Euphrates River in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. A convoy containing four American contractors from the private military company Blackwater USA had been ambushed, all four inside were killed. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File) #
A building explodes as the first bomb drops during a U.S. aerial assault on insurgent targets in Najaf, Iraq, on August 19, 2004.(AP Photo/Jim MacMillan) #
In this undated photo, Charles Graner, a U.S. Army reservist appears poised to punch a Iraqi detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison as other detainees lay bound at the hands and hooded. Detainee at right appears to be partially clothed. Outrage among Iraqis and much of the world erupted as photographic evidence surfaced of torture and abuse inside the prison in 2004.(Photo courtesy of Washington Post via Getty Images) #
A Howitzer gun crew of 4th Battalion, 14th Marines, Mike Battery, Gun 4, engage enemy targets during the Second Battle of Fallujah, on November 11, 2004. (USMC/Lance Corporal Samantha L. Jones) #
British private contractor Michael Fitzpatrick thanks his U.S. Army nurse Jayme Sells while recovering from a suicide bomb attack in an American military hospital in Baghdad, on October 15, 2004. Fitzpatrick said that he was drinking coffee in the Green Zone Cafe Thursday when a suicide bomber detonated in one of two explosions that killed 6 people and wounded many more. (AP Photo/John Moore) #
An Iraqi boy looks at the bodies of four men laying next to their burning car after they were attacked by gunmen in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, on December 17, 2004. Insurgents attacked a car carrying at least three Westerners, killing them and their Iraqi driver, and chopping off the head of one victim, local witnesses said. (Reuters/Namir Noor-Eldeen) #
An M1A1 Abrams tank with the 2nd Tank Battalion returns fires into a building after U.S. Marines came under attack in Fallujah, in this December 16, 2004 photo. (Reuters/USMC/Lance Corporal James J. Vooris) #
Combination handout pictures released on December 17, 2004, (upper left) U.S. Marine Platoon Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane, from the 1st Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment pulls a fatally wounded comrade to safety while under fire during a military operation in Fallujah. (upper right) Shane and another member of 1/8 pulled their fatally wounded comrade under fire. (lower left) Shane (left) is hit by insurgent fire and (lower right) lies wounded. (Reuters/USMC/Cpl. Joel A. Chaverri) #
Iraqi workers clean debris near a large pool of blood at the scene of a suicide attack in the city of Hilla, on February 28, 2005. A suicide bomber detonated a car near police recruits and a crowded market, killing 115 people. (Reuters/Ali Abu Shish) #
(1 of 2) Samar Hassan screams after her parents were killed by U.S. Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a dusk patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town. Parents Hussein and Camila Hassan were killed instantly, and a son Rakan, 11, was seriously wounded in the abdomen.(Chris Hondros/Getty Images) #
(2 of 2) Rakan Hassan, 12, ambles about the halls of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 11, 2006. Rakan's parents were shot and killed and he was gravely wounded by U.S. soldiers in an accidental shooting on January 18, 2005 in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. The incident was widely publicized, and ultimately led to Rakan's treatment in Boston. With nerve damage to his abdomen and spine, doctors thought Rakan might never walk again, but an intensive physical therapy regimen has brought back the use of his legs and he can now walk with assistance. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images) #
Combat Support Hospital Army Nurse supervisor Patrick McAndrew tries to save the life of an American soldier by giving him CPR upon arrival at the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, on April 4, 2005. (AP Photo/John Moore) #
An American photographer takes pictures of a Saddam Hussein bust, lying face down in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, on January 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg) #
Kristin Kenney of Edison, New Jersey, sits at the grave of her boyfriend, Army Sgt. Dennis Flanagan, while Members of the 289th Military Police Honor Guard plant flags at grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2006. Flanagan died in Iraq on January 21, 2006. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
A U.S. soldier at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, takes down an older image, to display the latest image purporting to show the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida-linked militant who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings in Iraq. Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced on June 8, 2006.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed) #
A human skull with blindfold still on lies on a mass grave containing human skeletons and clothes from persons allegedly executed during the regime of former President Saddam Hussein and now unearthed in a shallow grave, in a remote desert south of Baghdad in Iraq, on June 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Erik de Castro) #
U.S. soldiers provide first aid to their colleague injured in an attack on their armored vehicle in Baghdad, on May 4, 2006. A roadside bomb hit a U.S. military convoy on a service road near the airport road. Witnesses said one soldier was wounded and evacuated by helicopter.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) #
Saddam Hussein stands as an unseen witness is sworn in for testimony during his trial in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, in Iraq, on October 19, 2006. Saddam and six other co-defendants faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in Operation Anfal, a military offensive against the Kurds in 1987-88. (AP Photo/David Furst) #
Hundreds of locals gather around the scene of a massive car bomb attack, on July 1, 2006, in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. A car bomb exploded in the morning outside of a popular Baghdad market killing 45 and wounding 41, while 14 vehicles and 22 shops and stalls were destroyed, said police.(AP Photo/Mohammed Hato) #
A U.S. soldier from Alpha company 1-17 regiment of the 172th brigade searches a house as women and children look on, in eastern Baghdad, on October 3, 2006. The U.S military has been performing scout missions aimed at preparing security operations to stop sectarian violence in the capital. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic) #
This video image released by Iraqi state television shows Saddam Hussein's guards wearing ski masks and placing a noose around the deposed leader's neck moments before his execution, on December 30. 2006. Clutching a Quran and refusing a hood, Saddam Hussein went to the gallows before sunrise, executed by vengeful countrymen after a quarter-century of remorseless brutality that killed countless thousands and led Iraq into disastrous wars against the United States and Iran. (AP Photo/IRAQI TV) #
A person burns in a minibus shortly after a bomb attack in Baghdad, on January 21, 2007. A bomb killed two people and wounded seven when it destroyed a minibus in Karrada, in central Baghdad, police said. (Reuters/Namir Noor-Eldeen (IRAQ) #
With the Lincoln Memorial in the background, demonstrators march over the Arlington Memorial Bridge from the National Mall to the Pentagon in Washington, on March 17, 2007 during a protest opposing the war in Iraq. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
Marine Sgt. Merlin German (left) poses for photos with Lt. Gen. James F. Amos during German's promotion ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, on May 21, 2007. German was recovering from burns over 97 percent of his body caused by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He later died, in April of 2008, following a minor skin graft surgery. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) #
Concrete barriers adorned with a pastoral scene protect a chapel in the U.S. embassy compound in the Green Zone in Baghdad, on September 3, 2007. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
Iraqi soldiers guard a detainee that was arrested during an Iraqi Army operation just outside the city of Baqouba, on August 22, 2007.(AP Photo) #
Members of a military honor guard fold the flag over the casket of Army Cpl. Jason Hernandez during graveside services in Streetsboro, Ohio, on September 17, 2007. Hernandez was killed by a roadside bomb on September 7, his 21st birthday, while serving in Mosul, Iraq.(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta) #
A woman grieves as she takes her dead six-year-old son into her arms. The boy, Dhiya Thamer, was killed when their family car came under fire by unknown gunmen in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, on September 16, 2007. The boy's ten-year old brother, Qusay, was injured in the attack as the family returned from enrolling the children in school, where Dhiya was to begin his first year. (AP Photo/Adem Hadei) #
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, is confronted by Code Pink member Desiree Fairooz, her hands painted red, as she arrived to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, on October 24, 2007, before the House Foreign Relations Committee hearing regarding US policy in the Middle East, where she spoke about Iraq, Iran, and the Israel Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #
An MV-22B Osprey with Marine Medium Tilt rotor Squadron-263, flies over the Al Anbar Province of Iraq during a mission out of Al Asad Air Base, on November 10, 2007. (USMC/Cpl. Sheila M. Brooks) #
Iraqi workers begin a reconstruction project aimed at restoring the destroyed historic shrine of the Shiite Imam al-Askari in the northern city of Samrra on February 5, 2008. Work began on restoring the revered shrine, badly damaged in a bombing that unleashed a wave of bitter sectarian violence across Iraq almost two years previous, an AFP correspondent said. (Dia Hamid/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Iraqi woman holds onto a truck while waiting for food supplies to be distributed by Iraqi soldiers among the residents of the Shi'ite enclave of Sadr city in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) #
Iraqi boys swim in a pond by a house destroyed in recent fighting in Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 20, 2008.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim) #
Sgt. Kyle Hale of Yukon, Oklahoma, of 1-6 battalion, 2nd brigade, 1st Armored Division, contains an unruly crowd to protect a man who was nearly trampled, outside the Al Rasheed Bank in the in Jamilah market in Sadr city, Baghdad, on June 10, 2008.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) #
Iraq war veteran Sgt. Juan Arredondo, one of the first recipients of a bionic hand with independently moving fingers called the i-Limb, shakes a reporters hand during an interview on July 23, 2007 in New York. Arredondo's bionic hand has finger "joints" that flex and bend like natural fingers. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #
President George W. Bush speaks with U.S. troops at Camp Victory, on December 14, 2008 in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) #
An Iraqi man holds up an ink-stained finger after casting his vote in the country's provincial elections in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, on January 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani) #
An Iraqi man throws a shoe at President George W. Bush (seen ducking the shoe in inset image) during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on December 14, 2008, in Baghdad. Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi broadcast journalist threw two shoes at Bush, one after another, during the news conference. Bush ducked both throws. As he threw the shoes, al-Zaidi reportedly shouted "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," and "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq." Muntadhar al-Zaidi was dragged away by security, arrested, and spent nine months in prison for the incident. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci - Inset via APTN) #
Iraqi workers at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the city of Basra, on December 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jourani) #
(1 of 2) An Iraqi man places flowers in the barrel of a soldier's gun moments before a suicide attack on a celebration marking Army Day in the Karradah neighborhood of central Baghdad, on January 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) #
(2 of 2) Iraqi Army soldiers lay dead and wounded moments after a suicide attack on a celebration marking Army Day in the Karradah neighborhood of central Baghdad, on January 6, 2008. Two Iraqi army soldiers threw themselves atop a suicide bomber, but the attacker was able to detonate an explosives vest, killing the two soldiers and another nine people. The civilian from the previous photo was among those killed, his foot visible at right. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Rebuilding: Downtown Baghdad appears to be bustling with cars in this picture taken a decade after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled. The dome of the 17 Ramadan Mosque is pictured in the foreground
Armed guards: Iraqi policemen guard the entrance to the Baghdad Folklore Museum. The city continues to show the scars of war and a large military presence remains on the streets
Freedom to express themselves: Performers rehearse at the National Theatre for the Athoudron Festival. The future of Iraqi culture and the arts is looking more promising than it did in the bleakest hours of war
Leisure time: Boys play football along Haifa Street which is still heavily scarred from fighting between US and Iraqi forces, left, while Ali Satar rides horses for pleasure in the upscale district of Karada, right. Karada was subject to round the clock curfews and hit by heavy violence at the height of the troubles in Iraq
Building up: Hoseen Samer lifts weights in a gym in the affluent Karada district. The area is said to be one of the more affluent in Baghdad, but it is still a dangerous place to live - almost 50 people were killed in a suicide bombing in the area a day after this picture was taken
Clean up: A young man collects trash in a residential area of central Baghdad. But some areas of the city are still said to be severely lacking the most basic of services
Refurbishing: Workers on scaffolding attach aluminum siding to a building being refurbished on Al Jemhoori Street. Billions of dollars have been invested in rebuilding some of the city's buildings
Then: Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad,on April 9 2003, in one of the most iconic images from the coalition invasion
Now: The Ishtar (locally known as Sheraton) and Palestine Hotels stand next to Firdos Square where the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by US forces almost a decade ago
At war: U.S. soldiers look at a burned-out military Humvee vehicle that was destroyed in an attack in the Karada area of Baghdad in 2003
Progress: Ali Hasan and Ali Satar ride horses for pleasure in the upscale district of Karada ten years on, the same area which was plagued by violence in the years that followed invasion
Big business: A street vendor makes shwarma (lamb) sandwiches in Baghdad. Similar to doner, shwarma is normally served in Iraq as small pockets of white bread filled with shaved beef, lamb, or chicken, along with a touch of lettuce, tomatoes, and spicy onion
Surviving: Worker Washer Kilani pushes goods through lines of heavy traffic in central Baghdad. The Iraqi government has recently launched an initiative aimed at driving down unemployment in the country and getting more people back in work
Opulence: A top of the range car showroom in the Al Nahza neighborhood. Only one in 20 Iraqis own cars and most foreign models were banned during Saddam Hussein's reign. Interest in cars is now said to be increasing in the country
June 2004: Cars burn and rubble litters the street as Baghdad's Tahrir Square has been rocked by a deadly suicide bomb during rush hour
March 2013: Iraq security forces search protesters arriving at Baghdad's Tahrir Square, an illustration of the military presence that remains on the streets to try and thwart such attacks from happening again
New world: Iraqi government employees hold a peaceful protest in Baghdad's Tahrir Square
Civilised: These men sit and relax outside a tea room in the Al Fazil area of Baghdad. The image is a stark contrast to the bloody events that these men would have witnessed over the past decade
Political message: An anti-American and Israeli slogan on a billboard reads 'Our strength is our Unity'. Gone are the statues, posters and murals of former leader Saddam Hussein that he had erected all around the country
Unfinished: The Al-Rahman mosque that was started by Saddam Hussein in 1998 and meant to be one of the biggest mosques in Iraq. Building work stopped following the invasion in 2003
Lack of supply: The Dora power plant in Baghdad. One of the main obstacles to Iraq's ongoing development is reported to be the lack of a regular electricity supply, with Baghdad residents receiving on average of just eight hours of electricity a day
On Sept. 11, 2012, this reality hit home when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was overrun and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomatic personnel were killed. It turned out that Gaddafi wasn’t entirely wrong about the nature of his opposition.
Tit-for-tat consequence: US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff killed in Benghazi.
Eventually, the extremist violence in Libya grew so out of control that the United States and European countries abandoned their embassies in Tripoli. Since then, Islamic State terrorists have begun decapitating Coptic Christians on Libyan beaches and slaughtering other “heretics.” Amid the anarchy, Libya has become a route for desperate migrants seeking passage across the Mediterranean to Europe.
A War on Assad
Parallel to the “regime change” in Libya was a similar enterprise in Syria in which the neocons and liberal interventionists pressed for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, whose government in 2011 cracked down on what had quickly become a violent rebellion led by extremist elements, though the Western propaganda portrayed the opposition as “moderate” and “peaceful.”
For the first years of the Syrian civil war, the pretense remained that these “moderate” rebels were facing unjustified repression and the only answer was “regime change” in Damascus. Assad’s claim that the opposition included many Islamic extremists was largely dismissed as were Gaddafi’s alarms in Libya.
On Aug. 21, 2013, a sarin gas attack outside Damascus killed hundreds of civilians and the U.S. State Department and the mainstream news media immediately blamed Assad’s forces amid demands for military retaliation against the Syrian army.
Despite doubts within the U.S. intelligence community about Assad’s responsibility for the sarin attack, which some analysts saw instead as a provocation by anti-Assad terrorists, the clamor from Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists for war was intense and any doubts were brushed aside.
“Deal on Syria”
But President Obama, aware of the uncertainty within the U.S. intelligence community, held back from a military strike and eventually worked out a deal, brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Assad agreed to surrender his entire chemical-weapons arsenal while still denying any role in the sarin attack.
Though the case pinning the sarin attack on the Syrian government eventually fell apart – with evidence pointing to a “false flag” operation by Sunni radicals to trick the United States into intervening on their side – Official Washington’s “group think” refused to reconsider the initial rush to judgment. In Monday’s column, Hiatt still references Assad’s “savagery of chemical weapons.”
Any suggestion that the only realistic option in Syria is a power-sharing compromise that would include Assad – who is viewed as the protector of Syria’s Christian, Shiite and Alawite minorities – is rejected out of hand with the slogan, “Assad must go!”
The neocons have created a conventional wisdom which holds that the Syrian crisis would have been prevented if only Obama had followed the neocons’ 2011 prescription of another U.S. intervention to force another “regime change.” Yet, the far more likely outcome would have been either another indefinite and bloody U.S. military occupation of Syria or the black flag of Islamic terrorism flying over Damascus.
Another villain who emerged from the 2013 failure to bomb Syria was Russian President Putin, who infuriated the neocons by his work with Obama on Syria’s surrender of its chemical weapons and who further annoyed the neocons by helping to get the Iranians to negotiate seriously on constraining their nuclear program. Despite the “regime change” disasters in Iraq and Libya, the neocons wanted to wave the “regime change” wand again over Syria and Iran.
U.S. diplomat, Victoria Nuland on Ukraine.
Putin got his comeuppance when U.S. neocons, including NED President Carl Gershman and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland (Robert Kagan’s wife), helped orchestrate a “regime change” in Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014, overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and putting in a fiercely anti-Russian regime on Russia’s border.
As thrilled as the neocons were with their “victory” in Kiev and their success in demonizing Putin in the mainstream U.S. news media, Ukraine followed the now-predictable post-regime-change descent into a vicious civil war. Western Ukrainians waged a brutal “anti-terrorist operation” against ethnic Russians in the east who resisted the U.S.-backed coup.
Thousands of Ukrainians died and millions were displaced as Ukraine’s national economy teetered toward collapse. Yet, the neocons and their liberal-hawk friends again showed their propaganda skills by pinning the blame for everything on “Russian aggression” and Putin.
Though Obama was apparently caught off-guard by the Ukrainian “regime change,” he soon joined in denouncing Putin and Russia. The European Union also got behind U.S.-demanded sanctions against Russia despite the harm those sanctions also inflicted on Europe’s already shaky economy. Europe’s stability is now under additional strain because of the flows of refugees from the war zones of the Middle East.
A Dozen Years of Chaos
So, we can now look at the consequences and costs of the past dozen years under the spell of neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” strategies. According to many estimates, the death toll in Iraq, Syria and Libya has exceeded one million with several million more refugees flooding into – and stretching the resources – of fragile Mideast countries.
The number of migrants fleeing into Europe this year has already reached 235,000, topping the total number of migrants for all of last year, 219,000. The International Organization for Migration estimated that number will grow to at least a quarter of a million by the end of August. Nearly half of these refugees are Syrians fleeing war at home, escaping into Turkey, and paying smugglers to help them make a dangerous crossing to the Greek island of Kos in tiny inflatable rafts. Once on European soil, they make their way north any way they can, on foot or by rail, with help or on their own, passing through Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary bound for Austria, Germany, France, England, and other Western European countries. The influx of migrants is placing huge burdens on all nations along the route, especially Greece, which has seen a 750-percent increase in arrivals over the same period as last year. See also: “‘I Am Strange Here’: Conversations With the Syrians in Calais,”
Refugees 2015 — EU politicians have been scrambling for solutions in the wake of what has been described as the worst ever migrant disaster in the Mediterranean Sea, after about 800 people died off Libya when a people-smuggling boat capsized off Italy’s coast [Reuters]
Hundreds of thousands of other refugees and migrants have fled to Europe, putting major strains on the Continent’s social structures already stressed by the severe recession that followed the 2008 Wall Street crash. Even without the refugee crisis, Greece and other southern European countries would be struggling to meet their citizens’ needs.
Stepping back for a moment and assessing the full impact of neoconservative policies, you might be amazed at how widely they have spread chaos across a large swath of the globe. Who would have thought that the neocons would have succeeded in destabilizing not only the Mideast but Europe as well.
And, as Europe struggles, the export markets of China are squeezed, spreading economic instability to that crucial economy and, with its market shocks, the reverberations rumbling back to the United States, too.
Blowback on a NATO beach – A Turkish police officer carries the body of a child who drowned off the coast of BodrumNilufer Demir/Reuters /
We now see the human tragedies of neocon/liberal-hawk ideologies captured in the suffering of the Syrians and other refugees flooding Europe and the death of children drowning as their desperate families flee the chaos created by “regime change.” But will the neocon/liberal-hawk grip on Official Washington finally be broken? Will a debate even be allowed about the dangers of “regime change” prescriptions in the future?
Not if the likes of The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt have anything to say about it. The truth is that Hiatt and other neocons retain their dominance of the mainstream U.S. news media, so all that one can expect from the various MSM outlets is more neocon propaganda, blaming the chaos not on their policy of “regime change” but on the failure to undertake even more “regime change.”
The one hope is that many Americans will not be fooled this time and that a belated “realism” will finally return to U.S. geopolitical strategies that will look for obtainable compromises to restore some political order to places such as Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Rather than more and more tough-guy/gal confrontations, maybe there will finally be some serious efforts at reconciliation.
But the other reality is that the interventionist forces have rooted themselves deeply in Official Washington, inside NATO, within the mainstream news media and even in European institutions. It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave dangers created by neocon policies.
Putin Threatens to Release Satellite Evidence of 9/11
Pravda: US fears Russian publication of satellite photos of the tragedy of 9/11
(Editor’s note: Russian satellite evidence proving the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center using “special weapons” was reviewed by a VT editor while in Moscow. The article below was forwarded to us for publication in the US and translated from Russian. It is 3 days old, published on February 7, 2015.)
Moscow (Pravda): American experts believe that despite the fact that relations between the US and Russia reached the worst point since the Cold War, Putin delivered until Obama only minor troubles.Analysts believe that this is the “calm before the storm.” Putin is going to hit once, but he’s going to hit hard. Russia is preparing the release of evidence of the involvement of the US government and intelligence services in the September 11 attacks.
The list of evidence includes satellite images.
Published material can prove the US government complicity in the 9/11 attacks and the successful manipulation of public opinion. The attack was planned by the US government, but exercised using her proxy, so that an attack on America and the people of the United States looked like an act of aggression by international terrorist organizations.
The motive for deception and murder its own citizens served US oil interests and the Middle East state corporations.
The evidence will be so convincing that it utterly debunks the official 9/11 cover story supported by the US government.
Russia proves that America is no stranger to using false flag terrorism against its citizens in order to achieve a pretext for military intervention in a foreign country. In the case of “the September 11 attacks,” the evidence will be conclusive satellite imagery.
If successful, the consequences of Putin’s tactics would expose the US government’s secret terrorist policies. The government’s credibility will be undermined and should bring about mass protests in the cities leading to an uprising, according to American analysts..
And as the United States will look on the world political arena? The validity of America’s position as a leader in the fight against international terrorism will be totally undermined giving immediately advantage to rogue states and Islamic terrorists.
The actual development of the situation could be much worse, experts warn.