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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Admiral Fabulous: Hillary, Syria and the Destructive Career of Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, a Former Rumsfeld Lickspittle Who Helped Destroy Libya


At least for a moment, Donald Trump seriously considered picking retired General Michael Flynn, fired as DIA chief for correctly predicting that Obama’s covert Syrian intervention would generate a jihadist monster such as ISIS.  Hillary Clinton meanwhile is reportedly pondering the selection of  retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, a former Rumsfeld lickspittle who helped destroy Libya and thinks it would be a fine idea to hook up with Al Qaeda in Syria.  Clinton’s putative defense secretary, Michelle Flournoy, herself an ardent proponent of escalation in Syria and elsewhere, acclaims him as “one of the finest military officers of his generation.” One might think that for a candidate politically burdened by her vote for the invasion of Iraq, not to mention the Libyan disaster, Stavridis, currently Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, might not be the best choice.

Stavridis’ military record exhibits all the signs of an accomplished courtier, ably negotiating the reefs and shoals of service politics as he shinned up the ranks faster even than David Petraeus.  The key accelerant on his progress came in 2004, when he was picked by the odious Larry di Rita, Rumsfeld’s Svengali-spokesman , as the secretary’s Senior Military Assistant.  In the process, he was “frocked,” vaulting from his former rank of one-star admiral straight to three stars – an almost unprecedented leap.  Occupying this immensely powerful post, Stavridis oversaw the secretary’s schedule, travel and, crucially, controlled the flow of information reaching Rumsfeld’s desk.  Reveling in the perks of his lofty position, Stavridis insisted on the provision of a special car for himself in motorcades, while junior officers, whom he importuned to do his shopping when traveling, staggered under the weight of his bags.

In a gratifyingly acerbic memoir, “Speech-Less,” former Rumsfeld speech writer Matthew Latimer recalls Stavridis’ assiduous toadying, offering fawning toasts to the secretary at dinners on overseas trips and busying himself with such humble but career-enhancing tasks as fixing a squeak in his master’s office chair. He was, reports Latimer, “surprisingly political for a military man” helping the speechwriters craft statements defending the secretary from political attacks – his favorite word being “fabulous” – and taking charge of a project to promote Rumsfeld’s accomplishments while also penning reams of groveling mash-notes to the man himself. Promoting an image as a “warrior-scholar,” he wrote fluently in the pablum that passes for wisdom in the debased culture of the Washington defense-intelligentsia.  Thus in 2005 his treatise “Deconstructing War,” which opened with the fatuous proposition that “War is changing, and not for the better” and headed downhill from there, won wide acclaim among the Osrics of the think-tank/op-ed circuit.

In 2006, the hard work with chair-repair and mash-notes paid off when he was nominated by the boss to head Southcom, the military satrapy controlling Central and South America, not to mention Guantanamo, along with a fourth star.  This was clearly the post for which he had been angling; officemates had noticed him listening to Spanish-language tapes for some months prior to the announcement. “This prompted some of us to wonder,” recalled Latimer, “how long does it take to learn fabulous?”

Obama brought change, but only for the better for “Stav” whose courtship of the
killchain2incoming team paid off in his apotheosis to SACEUR, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, complete with lodging befitting this imperial rank at Chateau Gendebien, set in 23 acres of parkland, close by NATO headquarters at Mons, Belgium.  The job offered perks far beyond those he had enjoyed in humbler days at Rumsfeld’s feet, so much so that word of Stavridis’ habitual use of official jets and other appurtenances for the private use of himself and family eventually prompted an official investigation although, as is customary with such probes of senior officers, he was totally absolved of any blame or sanction.

Meanwhile, and unfortunately for the people of Libya, he was given the opportunity to burnish the “warrior” part of his favored appellation.  When Hillary Clinton fatefully bounced Obama into agreeing to attack Libya, Stavridis was on point, overseeing the deployment of Nato air power.  Later, he boasted in Foreign Affairs that “Nato’s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention. The alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime.  It succeeded in protecting those civilians.”  In reality, the record clearly indicates that, despite some bombastic rhetoric, Qaddafi did not in fact make any attempt to massacre civilians, though he did use military force against the Nato-supported armed rebellion. Nevertheless the operation left a fatal legacy to democrats regarding the efficacy of interventionism, and this despite Libya’s subsequent and entirely predictable descent into bloody chaos and ascendant jihadism.

Retiring from the military in 2013, Stavridis eased into the Deanship of the  Fletcher School, a perfect platform for ponderous ruminations on modish topics such as “smart power” which he defines as combining “hard power” with “soft power.”  Among his ongoing and remunerative connections to the former is his chairmanship of the International Advisory Board of mega-defense contractor Northrop-Grumman, whose overseers can find little fault with Admiral Fabuloso’s enthusiastic tub-thumping for the new cold war.  From Ukraine to Syria, “Stav” is in the front lines, figuratively speaking, urging escalation against Russia. The Ukrainians should have “lethal aid” from the U.S., he announced in 2015, and when asked if that might not lead the Russians to escalate in turn, he conceded blithely, “when you release ordnance, everything changes.”

But it is the Syrian war that has excited the warrior-scholar’s most martial instincts, an ominous indication of where the wind is blowing in the national security set.  So eager is he to show that he is firmly on board that he actually touts in public what others dare only murmur in private: in confronting Russia for mastery of Syria, it’s OK to ally with Al Nusra, as Al Qaeda calls itself in Syria.  “It is unlikely we are going to operate side by side with cadres from Nusra, but if our allies are working with them, that is acceptable,” he told Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal in June last year. “I don’t think that is a showstopper for the U.S. in terms of engaging with that coalition.” Such is the intellectual bankruptcy of the Clinton campaign on national security that this dangerous time-server should be deemed a serious candidate for a slot on the ticket.
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56 comments:

  1. Another fabulous benefit of a Hillary Clinton presidency:

    Fab Stav

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  3. Fab Fav’s assessment of the successful outcome in Libya

    NY TIMES: NATO’S SUCCESS IN LIBYA

    IVO H. DAALDER AND JAMES G. STAVRIDISOCT. 30, 2011

    ... This wasn’t just a NATO success, let alone a Western intervention. NATO acted only after it was clear that it had broad-based regional support, including from the Transitional National Council and the Arab League, which requested the intervention. Four key Arab partners — the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco — participated in the effort. And it acted on the basis of a clear U.N. mandate, which authorized taking the necessary measures to protect Libyan civilians.

    As Operation Unified Protector comes to a close, the alliance and its partners can look back at an extraordinary job, well done. Most of all, they can see in the gratitude of the Libyan people that the use of limited force — precisely applied — can affect real, positive political change. And as the alliance ends its operations, NATO remains committed to Libya’s future, ready to help as needed and requested.

    Every operation offers lessons to be learned. The Libya operation exposed some shortfalls in allied capabilities, and highlighted the importance of allied commitments to addressing these shortfalls. It also made clear the need for like-minded partners around the world. Moreover, the operation’s success rested on a set of unique circumstances. A brutal dictator who had decided to inflict murder and mayhem rather than step aside provided a demonstrable need for outside intervention. Strong regional support, from the opposition and the Arab League, ensured that any intervention would be welcomed. And the U.N. mandate provided a sound legal basis for action.

    Demonstrable need. Regional support. A sound legal basis. These are what made intervention necessary. NATO is what made successful intervention possible.

    Adm. James G. Stavridis is supreme allied commander, Europe, and commander of the United States European Command.

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  4. Vaughan Bell: Why are paranoia and schizophrenia more common in cities?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/07/the-enigma-of-urban-psychosis/491141/

    The poets have known the cities were all f...ked up since they were first built.

    That marvelous man Abraham knew it too.

    That's why he got out.

    The cities for hookers, and money lending, and advertising.

    The deserts, and the mountains too, also the seashores, for revelation.

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    1. .

      And the farms for the farmers and their sheep?

      .

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    2. Yes, come to think of it.

      Roethke had the beginnings of his outlook in his uncle's greenhouses, for instance.

      I stuck that 'and advertising' in there to let you know, as Doug and I discussed the last thread, I am coming after you with both barrels.

      heh

      It was Doug's idea.

      Since I am laying off Rufus, he suggested I turn both barrels on you.

      I easily saw the good sense in this.

      You deserve after that idiotic crack of a couple days ago.

      Delete
    3. .

      I find it rather funny that Doug is always encouraging some other dumb stiff to do the dirty work but never seems to get around to it for himself.

      .

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    4. .

      Roethke had the beginnings of his outlook in his uncle's greenhouses, for instance.

      With a sheep?


      .

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  5. .

    And if Hillary is not enough, the only alternative our system offers up is Trump.

    The term Going to Hell in a Handbasket comes to mind.

    America Has Lost the Moral High Ground


    ...It is uncomfortable traveling overseas as an American these days. Sure, we can take some pride in the degree to which our popular culture is embraced and celebrated — from music to Starbucks to T-shirts that seek to mimic American slogans (albeit with typos and bad translations). But the message Americans are sending out about who we are and what is important to us, the message about our values that has often, if not always, made America a force for good in the world for much of the past century, is being quietly but profoundly altered. We may in our minds still be the America of our Constitution, our forefathers and mothers, and of our freedoms. But we are also the America of Ferguson, Baton Rouge, the NRA, assault weapons, and Donald Trump.

    This has a cost. In geopolitics, one of our great advantages throughout World War II and the Cold War was our command of the moral high ground. We were imperfect to be sure. But we seemingly always aspired to do better — acknowledging our defects and seeking to improve them. This position enabled us to lead a global coalition promoting democracy, free markets, and improved human rights. But beginning with the decisions of the first George W. Bush administration to cast aside some of our most fundamental principles with regard to torture and the rule of law, to fight an unjust war, we began losing that moral high ground. And now with the decay from within and the embrace of a hate-mongering demagogue as one of our political leaders, we have lost even more.

    This will cost us in a new international landscape where our rivals are countries like China. How do we promote the rule of law in the South China Sea when we have abused it in the Middle East? How do we pressure them to grant more rights to their people when we don’t seem to care about our own? How can we combat corruption globally when our own money-driven political system gives more clout to gun merchants than to those who would care for the needy and more political power to the rich than to the people at large?

    When my friend Tom Friedman wrote The World Is Flat, he was talking about an economic leveling. But what I worry about is that we are also seeing a moral leveling, a world in which we may still have power but in which we don’t know what we stand for. It will also be a world in which our missteps will make it harder for us to lead like-minded countries and influence our rivals. Comparing the photo of Ieshia Evans to the picture of the Tank Man in Tiananmen Square might be problematic, but it should also be thought-provoking. The reality of the ascension of Donald Trump should be as well. This is not domestic business conducted behind, well, as Trump might have it, a wall. This is the erosion of the high ground that has not only been a source of our power — but that so many generations of Americans fought so hard to win and hold...


    =========================================

    {...}

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    2. {...}


      ...It seems the world is having its schadenfreude moment with America as a consequence of everything from the unrest in U.S. streets to the rise of Donald Trump. Our national narrative in 2016 — not to mention the trials and tribulations of the past decade-and-a-half, from Iraq to the market crash to Ferguson — is reinforcing not only long-standing views of the country’s troubles, from race to the domination of politics by plutocrats. But it has also regularly enabled nations that America has criticized in the past — from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea — to point to the headlines coming out of the United States and say, “Who are you to judge us?”

      Frankly, it is a reasonable question to ask. There’s a lot wrong with America today. We are riven by racial tensions. We have allowed the creation of an underclass with little hope of advancement. They are trapped in inner cities (where half of all minority students don’t graduate high school — and thus are effectively disqualified from real participation in our economy). We have exacerbated this problem of social tension with our deep and perverse national pathology about guns. And we have effectively made institutional and lasting change regarding both these problems impossible with a corrupt system of financing political candidates who empower special interests, all but ensuring the needs of the economically disenfranchised will be ignored.

      These are the drivers behind the upheaval across the country during these past few weeks — in places like Baton Rouge, Dallas, and Minneapolis. But, of course, the forces underlying the shootings, protests, and political debates have been festering in the United States for a long time. They are so deeply entrenched that those in leadership positions have been unable to do anything meaningful about them — and that includes President Barack Obama. He speaks eloquently and with real heartfelt passion about race relations, gun control, and his disgust with the power of special-interest groups. But by any measure, these problems have grown worse on his watch. Candidly, his inaction on the plight of the underclass, guns, and campaign financing is one of the greatest defects on his record, rivaling his mishandling of Syria and the Middle East or the rise of the Russian threat.

      The ascent of a racist, misogynist, authoritarian buffoon like Trump, who has become the standard-bearer for one of America’s two major political parties, is also something to which Americans should devote some serious introspection. It suggests deep flaws not only with our process for picking candidates, but also with the quality of Republican leadership. It also hints at a deep anxiety-driving anger among a substantial portion of the American electorate and represents a nationalist, hate-driven component to U.S. politics that will outlive this election for years to come.

      But these are not just domestic issues. They shape perceptions of America on the international stage. Here in China, two primary components to the local reaction are worthy of note. One is the schadenfreude. Experts on the United States I spoke with in Shanghai would shake their heads commenting on headlines like those about the shootings in Dallas, offering a message of commiseration that was infused with no small amount of condescension. Candidly, it was all a bit hard to swallow. Trump may be authoritarian … but China is an authoritarian state. We have racial tensions … but so do they. Our system is corrupt … but so is theirs. (Though it should be noted that China’s top authoritarians are a far cry more accomplished, gifted, and possess better economic track records than Trump. And they don’t exacerbate social tensions by allowing the populace to arm itself to the teeth. And they are at least making a show of cracking down on their corruption; most American leaders barely dare utter the words “campaign finance reform...”


      (cont'd)

      .

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    3. More paranoia, City Slicker ?

      It is possible to be rid of the fear of your own mutterings through certain exercises, beginning with deep breathing, etc.

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    4. .


      When you climb out from under your bed you will have to explain it to me sometime.


      .

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  6. That marvelous man Abraham

    Are you referring to Abe the pecker checker who heard voices from god and was ready to gut his son because he and god loved each other so much and needed to prove it so they could keep chatting?

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    1. Please don't make a further fool out of yourself with your nonsense about Abraham.

      I have informed you I bet five times of the two main ways people who actually study the story interpret it.

      You sound like Rufus when you get going.

      Truly, I find it embarrassing.

      You are being absurd.

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    2. .

      Please. Judging from what you post here you lack the capacity to be embarrassed.

      .

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    3. Please, you and that studying and silly word divining by religious pedants who after being embarrassed by absurdities and scientific contradictions retreat to the metaphor-defense.


      ...or as they say in South Philly, “Yo, metaphor this, bitch”

      Delete
  7. The deserts, and the mountains too, also the seashores, for revelation.

    Is that from where your wisdom springs? Tell us more about revelations received. I thought they came from Martha Gellhorn and the American Thinker.

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  8. .

    The faux farmer is a mirror.

    He has his favorite bibles he like to spout from.

    .

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    1. You and Deuce sound like children when you get on these topics above your pay grades.

      Stop it !

      The reputation of this joint is at stake.

      Delete
    2. .

      Hey, if we were worried about our reputation, we certainly wouldn't let you in here.


      .

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  9. .

    I stuck that 'and advertising' in there to let you know, as Doug and I discussed the last thread, I am coming after you with both barrels.


    You appear to be shooting blanks.

    .

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    1. So you won't become even more paranoid, the double barrel reference is just a manner of speaking.

      In fact, I don't even have a double barrel any longer.

      Relax, ad man, and breath deeply.

      ;)

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    2. "You appear to be shooting blanks."

      I thought you told us that is what your wife says about you.

      Maria, however, does not.

      She thinks you're a red hot Romeo.

      However that may be, the very idea of you 'playing Romeo', at your age and considering the shape you are in, makes me want to puke.

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    3. Announcement:

      I am now going to bed.

      Cheers !

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    4. Good idea, refresh yourself so that you can attack the comped casino breakfast buffet with renewed vigor and a plate in each hand.

      Delete
    5. .


      Yes, cheers.


      Now, all we need to do is find the air freshener.

      .

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      Delete
    7. (but I was going to mention an article in this month's Journal of Near Death Studies that talks to the uninformed point Deuce was once desiring to make - that these experience are the result of random firing of neurons in the dying brain.

      This idea is the lamest of all the attempted debunkings.

      I may go to the trouble of typing out a quote or two tomorrow, if I am in an optimistic mood.

      I usually consider such discussions would be utterly lost on most of those here.)

      Delete
    8. Try the deep dipped double fried marshmallows with maple syrup.

      Delete
    9. .

      ... that these experience are the result of random firing of neurons in the dying brain.


      I suspect you only reject this explanation since it would mean that you should have already experienced NDE many times by now.

      .

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    10. The expected comments by our two lapsed Catholics.

      **********

      One of the uber sophisticated extraordinarily beautiful political commentators the Convention Tide at Fox has washed ashore recently said yesterday:

      "Pence is the perfect ying to Trump's yang"

      What is wrong with this picture ?

      (and don't make a crass joke about the hang of Trump's yang)

      ******

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    11. (hint: it is not the two being the same sex)

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  10. .

    Fethullah Gülen: Turkey coup may have been 'staged' by Erdoğan regime


    These rumors/conspiracy theories started surfacing yesterday as soon as the coup appeared to be heading south.

    Fethullah Gülen, the reclusive cleric blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the failed coup in Turkey, has said the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.
    Pentagon loses Turkish airspace access crucial in airstrikes against Isis
    Read more

    In a rare and brief interview on Saturday with a small group of journalists at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, Gülen rejected all accusations that he was behind the coup attempt.

    “I don’t believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdoğan,” Gülen said. “There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup and it could be meant for further accusations [against Gülen and his followers].”

    Gülen, who leads from exile a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdoğan over a corruption scandal in 2013, spoke in a small prayer room, lined with woven rugs and decorated with Islamic calligraphy and leather-bound religious books. Reporters were served Turkish tea and sweet dry figs at his Pennsylvania compound, which he moved into after arriving in the US in 1999.

    He said he rejected all military interventions, and said he had personally suffered after the coups of the 1990s.

    “After military coups in Turkey,” he said, “I have been pressured and I have been imprisoned. I have been tried and faced various forms of harassment.”

    He added: “Now that Turkey is on the path to democracy, it cannot turn back.”

    Asked by the Guardian whether he would have returned to Turkey had the coup been successful, Gülen said: “Indeed, I miss my homeland a lot. But there is another important factor, which is freedom. I am here, away from the political troubles in Turkey and I live with my freedom...”


    .

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  11. Some 101 "Q"Nitters of the Decade: Mo Division -

    101 Muhammads Jailed by U.S. Anti-Terror Agencies Since 9/11
    By Robert Spencer on Jul 16, 2016 02:36 pm

    101 Muhammads Jailed by U.S. Anti-Terror Agencies Since 9/11
    Not that this has anything to do with…uh… “101 Muhammads Jailed by U.S. Anti-Terror Agencies Since 9/11,” by Neil Munro, Breitbart, July 15, 2016: U.S. anti-jihad agencies have jailed or arrested 101 men since 2001 who are named for Muhammad, the reputedly final and perfect prophet of Islam, despite President Barack Obama’s insistence that Islamic “violent […]
    Read in browser »

    https://www.jihadwatch.org/2016/07/101-muhammads-jailed-by-u-s-anti-terror-agencies-since-911

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  12. Having read The Journal of Near Death Experience from the days it was still called 'Anabiosis' -

    http://www.worldcat.org/title/anabiosis/oclc/9292119

    - I can tell you that probably around 3/4 of the researchers that submit articles to it have Ph.Ds.

    Only a fool would mock all this research.

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    1. And, unless someone here bring up the 'wish fulfillment' idea, some of these experiences are utterly terrifying.

      Delete
    2. Indeed, one of he editors of the Journal these days had just such an experience herself, and is still trying to integrate it into her understanding of things

      Delete
    3. (perhaps some people need, as Ash needs a good physical mugging, a good spiritual mugging to 'knock some sense' into them ?)

      Delete
  13. Those Police horses in Cleveland that Fox is showing are truly beautiful animals.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Large USA flag flying from balloon high over the Convention Center in Cleveland says:

      Hillary For Prison 2016

      YES !

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  15. Having read The Journal of Near Death Experience from the days it was still called ‘Anabiosis’ -

    http://www.worldcat.org/title/anabiosis/oclc/9292119

    - I can tell you that probably around 3/4 of the researchers that submit articles to it have Ph.Ds.

    Only a fool would mock all this research.


    Only fool would claim there exists definitive research:

    The proposition is utter nonsense. There is no such thing as near death. Life and death are binary. You are either alive or you are dead. You can be under anesthesia or in a coma and you are still alive. Your heart could be stopped and you are still alive. You can be drowned or asphyxiated and you are still alive. All bodily systems can be shut down and you can still be alive. All of those apparently “dead states" can exist and you can still be alive and revive and regain consciousness bringing some dream or experience or vision.

    You can also have no recollection as is almost universally true with dramatic head injury.

    When all your active life-sustaining biologic systems shut down and are beyond revival, you are gone and you are dead. No one has ever come back from that state.

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    1. “traumatic brain injury”

      Delete
    2. You see, Quirk, you must deal with the fact that many of your fellow human beings disagree with you.....

      'Did you feel like you were dead?'

      'Yup, I was dead alright. Dead like when he sheriff comes along and kicks the body and says yup he's dead, call the hearse, except I know I wasn't'

      Delete
  16. I am confident you know more about horses than returning from death.

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    1. Indeed I do. Never having experienced what all these people have claimed to experience, but having ridden a good number of horses.

      I feel if you don't find this subject fascinating, you are as good as 'dead', as they say....I'll try to make the effort to quote some from the article soon, but today is the second of the three Free Wampum Days of this month. and Free Wampum takes priority.

      Delete
  17. Naw, they ain't binary. Certainly not provably so.

    Your problem, Q-lapser, is that you are laboring as if in handcuffs under the duplex theory of human reality.

    But then, I don't give a shit what your opinion is....lighten up, get a new real-tor, think big ! invest in a triumphant tower, or something.

    You have clipped your wings, you fly so low, like in your Ultra-Light, 'The Q Earth Hugger'...get the possibility of a life....cheer up !

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  18. Replies
    1. (if I make the Big Sale, or if I win The Big One at the Casino, maybe I'll buy you guys each a life time membership in IANDS. Gives you a big discount on attending their yearly conferences too !)

      Delete
  19. Drudge - Flashing Red Light Breaking

    3 COPS SHOT DEAD BATON ROUGE
    7+ INJURED
    LIVE....DRUDGE


    This stuff is going to get Trump elected....

    BLM, some of the membership of which has been fomenting this kind of crap, is becoming a domestic terrorist organization, alas.

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    1. ****CLARIFICTION: NO CONNECTION SHOWN TO BLM AT THIS TIME: SITUATION UNCERTAIN****

      Delete