As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...

....the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!

- our president

- dave 10-07-2019 12:35 pm

Worser and worser.


- mark 10-08-2019 3:04 am

Wait -- are you saying the US needs troops in Syria?
- tom moody 10-08-2019 11:05 am

I have no idea what to do with that clusterfuck nor how deeply engaged we already are. I'm noting the deeply unhinged rhetoric. 

- dave 10-08-2019 2:03 pm

I'll take unhinged rhetoric if it's actually accompanied by troop transfers away from the neocons' pet hot zones.
- tom moody 10-08-2019 3:10 pm

This just proves that Tom hates Kurds. Which is why he's anathema in Wisconsin.
- alex 10-08-2019 7:51 pm

No whey do I hate the Kurds.

- tom moody 10-09-2019 3:16 pm

lets play nice
- Skinny 10-09-2019 10:54 pm

Thank you, Skinny.
- tom moody 10-10-2019 11:35 am

I've largely stopped commenting on foreign policy but I still watch things, especially the Middle East, very closely. I don't think Dave's original post was meant to draw any lines or start any arguments, but FWIW (possibly not much!) I am, as usual, with Tom. There are complexities for sure, but to me it seems very clear that US troops are illegally in Syria and everybody except Israel would be better off if we were to leave. This includes the Kurds whose only hope is to reconcile with the Syrian government (and their ridiculously stubburn belief that the US and/or Israel is going to save their Rojava project is only delaying this necessary step.) It's both pragmatically and morally correct for us to leave and the sooner the better. If Trump can deliver (doubtful!) it is far more important than whatever qualms people have with what an idiot he is in so many ways.

- jim 10-11-2019 11:03 am

Thanks, Jim. In the Iraq war era none of my friends said "this is above my pay grade" (as Atrios did today). Progressives opposed sending troops to Iraq, unless they were Big Jimmy and got misled by Ken Pollack's book. Nowadays, since Trump is an oaf, I mean, the Devil Incarnate, when he does something good like pull troops out of a sovereign nation the US has no business being in, it's suddenly all too complicated for progressives to take a stand on! Or worse, they take their cues from the DNC and say "the Kurds! the Kurds!"

- tom moody 10-14-2019 11:22 am

get out now Dave

this is for Jim and Tom:

illegally in Syria?
you said that Jim

yer illegally in Manhattan dipshit

you cowardly assholes really are
sick fucking immoral retards

get troops out equals good so what if
Turkey completes genocide of Kurds

they’re commies anyway

and Turkey gets their double agents
back from ISIS

and Trump kisses another dictators ass
because hey dictators at least do math


because we know ISIS
is just some knuckle dragging
country boys who couldn’t
possibly be getting help
from Turkey or any other state

acceptable collateral damage


o sorry my son
I changed my mind
I’m not going to protect you
now that I dropped you
in a death trap

o yeah
it’s ok to fuck over people
we promised to protect
moral universe

because less troops means
less war and a better world
and we all know that’s true
because math never lies

bring the troops home

there there
were making a real statement

now let’s keep fucking the world to death
because our troops are home and that
is something math likes


you fucking soulless cowards
geopolitical simpletons
fuck you idiots

whose moral complexity
is capable of a one and a zero

I long for the day god feeds you both
to a curb on Ludlow Street

- eat me (guest) 10-20-2019 8:18 pm

Etymology: < Latin anathema an excommunicated person, also the curse of excommunication, < Greek ἀνάθεμα , originally ‘a thing devoted,’ but in later usage ‘a thing devoted to evil, an accursed thing’ (see Rom. ix. 3). Originally a variant of ἀνάθημα an offering, a thing set up (to the gods), n. of product < ἀνατιθέναι to set up, < ἀνά up + τιθέναι (stem θε- ) to place.
 I. From ecclesiastical Greek and Latin.
 1. Anything accursed, or consigned to damnation. Also quasi-adj. Accursed, consigned to perdition.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) 1 Cor. xvi. 22   Yf eny man love not the lorde Jesus Christ, the same be anathema maranatha. [ Wyclif, Be he cursid, mara natha. 1611 Let him bee Anathema Maranatha. 1881 ( Revised) Let him be Anathema. Maranatha.]
1625   Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 71   He would wish to be an Anathema from Christ, for the Saluation of his Brethren.
1634   J. Canne Necessitie of Separation iii. 146   Delivered over unto Satan, proclaimed Publicans, Heathens, Anathema.
1765   A. Tucker Light of Nature II. 299   Saint Paul wished to become anathema himself, so he could thereby save his brethren.

- 2nd (guest) 10-21-2019 1:11 am

Yes I am the dictator the more guns I got the better
Yes I am the liquidator I carry the old Beretta
You know there once was freedom
You know how dangerous that can be
The people used to dance and sing
And they used to run wild in the streets
But now I am the voice
Howling from your radio
From my armor plated Cadillac
You'll hear what I say goes
Yes I am the dictator I satisfy the U.S. team
I always do my killing in the woods and keep the city gutters clean
Cause I need a few more dollars
For my fighter pilot to be free
To dive bomb on the population
If they go running wild in the streets
Yes I am that voice, etc
Yes I am the crusader I spent twenty years in exile
But now I am the invader and I'm never never gonna die
Yes I am the dictator my name is on your ballot sheet
But until my box has your cross you know the form is incomplete
And you know, etc

- Joe Strummer (guest) 10-21-2019 1:55 am

The attention suddenly focused on Syria is rather cynical, of course, with the country’s civil war only receiving notice now because it’s a cudgel used to reflexively attack Trump. It’s not about Kurdish ethnic rights or women’s, rights—and it never was. No, this is all about partisan political advantage. And it might just backfire on the Dems.

Trump isn’t all that scared of criticism on Syria, even from the establishment wing of his own party. Firing back at critics this week, Trump tweeted: “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other [in Syria]. Let them!”

See, this president knows what many congressional Republicans do not appear to realize: that the old conservative coalition—which included a powerful hawkish national security wing—is breaking down. The Republican base, well, they’re just about as sick of endless war as is Trump himself. Consider this remarkable turnaround: In recent polls, 56% of Republicans supported Trump’s Syria withdrawal, while 60% of Democrats opposed it.

Which brings us back to the mainstream Democratic machine and the potentially awkward position of even the most progressive of the 2020 presidential hopefuls on the “left.” By flipping the script and demonstrating that Trump and his conservative backers constitute the only serious antiwar coalition, he could expose that establishment Dems—who’ve almost all stood tall with the neocon retreads against Trump’s move—represent little more than Sen. Lindsey Graham lite. He could show that they’re hawks too, opportunistic hawks at that, figures mired in the Washington swamp. Disgust with that bipartisan beltway elite is exactly what got Mr. Trump elected in 2016 (along with a peculiar outdated Electoral College, of course), which is exactly why responding to Trump’s (tentative) war-ending propensity will be sensitive and awkward for Democratic leaders and presidential candidates.

Look, even America’s usually conservative, if (purportedly) apolitical, soldiers and veterans are now against these forever wars that Trump ostensibly seeks to end. A series of polls this summer indicated that nearly two-thirds of post-9/11 vets say they believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the military engagement in Syria “were not worth it.” This should have been an alarm bell for both major parties, but expect the Democrats to once again squander the opportunity presented by these frustrated, alienated troopers.

By ignoring foreign policy—generally having ceded that political territory to the Republicans since midway through the Cold War—the Dems have ensured that most of these antiwar veterans won’t find a home, or land in the Democratic Party.

I personally know dozens of these sorts of exhausted veterans. Almost none have followed my own journey toward the left. In fact, the vast majority tell me they trust Trump, warts and all, over figures like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or any of the other Democratic elites that they find even more corrupt than the reality-TV-star-in-chief. My friends and colleagues may be wrong, may be off-base, but most truly believe it, which ought to worry Democrats. Only it won’t, or at least not in enough time.

So, while I’m cautious about giving sensible advice to Trump (luckily, he doesn’t read Truthdig, or read much at all), I think there’s potential for him to craft a winning strategy for 2020.

Here’s a modest proposal on just how it might go: He could end one of America’s illegal wars, particularly those clearly not covered by the post-9/11 AUMFs [Authorization for Use of Military Force], every three months. Little-to-no warning, ignoring the complaints of senior generals and national security officials; just pick an ill-advised military intervention (there’re plenty to choose from) and announce its end.

Not only would this distract from impeachment, but it would force Trump’s potential 2020 opponents to perform some awkward intellectual gymnastics. They’d be obliged to double-down and promise to end even more wars, even more quickly, than Trump. Or, more likely, they could join the bipartisan swampy establishment and half-heartedly (and disingenuously) defend continuing the very unwinnable wars with which the American people have grown so tired.

I know all of that’s unlikely, but it’s not unthinkable. Trump could even wrap himself in a new brand of patriotism and emphasize his concern for America’s beloved troops. Now, this president isn’t known for his sincerity, but he has previously claimed that signing condolence letters for the families of fallen servicemen “is the hardest thing he does.” So in my fantasy, Trump would address the nation in prime time, and, noting that 18-year-olds have begun to deploy to Afghanistan, assure the people that he intends to end these wars before a kid born after 9/11 dies in one of them.
- anonymous (guest) 10-21-2019 10:53 am

The withdrawal of Iraq from the northern Kurdish areas following the 1991 Gulf War created a de facto Kurdish state, the third this century. But Turkey remains determined to destroy it once Turkish forces finish with the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. If history is any guide, the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq will be as short-lived as the other autonomous enclaves briefly carved out by the Kurds over the last century.
- anonymous (guest) 10-21-2019 10:59 am

Microsoft-owned GitHub has blocked Spanish users from accessing an app designed to help Catalan independence protesters.
It follows a takedown request by the Spanish military police.
Authorities described the Tsunami Democràtic group, which is behind the app, as a "criminal organisation" which incites riots.
GitHub said it always complied with lawful requests.
A spokesman said: "Although we may not always agree with those laws, we may need to block content if we receive a valid request from a government official so that our users in that jurisdiction may continue to have access to GitHub to collaborate and build software."
- anonymous (guest) 11-02-2019 3:42 am

Thanks, Jim. In the Iraq war era none of my friends said "this is above my pay grade" (as Atrios did today). Progressives opposed sending troops to Iraq, unless they were Big Jimmy and got misled by Ken Pollack's book. Nowadays, since Trump is an oaf, I mean, the Devil Incarnate, when he does something good like pull troops out of a sovereign nation the US has no business being in, it's suddenly all too complicated for progressives to take a stand on! Or worse, they take their cues from the DNC and say "the Kurds! the Kurds!"
- anonymous (guest) 11-02-2019 3:43 am


by Peter Galbraith

in the new NYRB

- anonymous (guest) 11-06-2019 8:37 pm

When it comes to Syria, Chomsky is opposed to Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops. As he explained to Hasan, “A small U.S. contingent with the sole mission of deterring a planned Turkish invasion, which was obvious, is not imperialism.” Quite the opposite, he continues, “It’s protecting the Kurds from an expansion of the atrocities and massacres that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been carrying out both within Turkey itself and in the areas of Syria that he’s already conquered.”

- anonymous (guest) 11-08-2019 1:14 pm

Well, now that the troops are all safely home we can rest assured that Meh Met, Be Rat, and Jar Ed will make it better for everyone.
- toxic (guest) 11-12-2019 1:10 pm

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