“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Thursday, April 06, 2017

"vital national security interest?"

US reported to fire ‘dozens’ of Tomahawks at Syrian military base near Homs

US reported to fire ‘dozens’ of Tomahawks at Syrian military base near Homs
Some 50 US Tomahawk cruise missiles have been allegedly launched at a Syrian military airfield near the western city of Homs, NBC and Reuters reported, citing US military officials.

US ships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea reportedly launched the strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase on Thursday night local time.

US President Donald Trump spoke from his Mar-a-Lago resort following the airstrikes, accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad of using nerve gas that killed civilians in Idlib.
Calling it a “targeted military strike,” Trump said the Homs airfield was where the chemical gas attack earlier this week originated from.

Trump described the attack as defending a "vital national security interest" and called upon "civilized nations" to help end the "slaughter and bloodshed in Syria."

NBC News reported that there was no word on casualties and that no people were allegedly targeted. Russian forces were reportedly warned ahead of time.
The airfield was allegedly targeted after the US blamed the Syrian military for the chemical incident in Idlib, in which dozens of civilians died from suspected gas poisoning in the rebel-occupied territory. Up to 86 people, including 26 children, are alleged to have been killed. Several Western states have immediately pinned the blame on Assad’s forces, while Russia said Syrian jets bombed a warehouse where chemical weapons were being produced.



  1. If there was a "vital national interest" then according to Trump:

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    Obama wants to unilaterally put a no-fly zone in Syria to protect Al Qaeda Islamists http://thebea.st/143tmfM Syria is NOT our problem.
    2:58 PM - 29 May 2013

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    We should stay the hell out of Syria, the "rebels" are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS?ZERO
    8:33 PM - 15 Jun 2013

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    Why would anyone think Obama would attack Syria the day of his speech in Washington. He doesn't want to detract from his press & glory.
    12:39 AM - 29 Aug 2013

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.
    2:14 PM - 29 Aug 2013

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    "@jenconservative: @RKDrake @realDonaldTrump I would be totally surprised if the US even HAS any money to spend on Syria!!" We don't!
    5:43 PM - 30 Aug 2013

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    "@Joe1sPro: @realDonaldTrump the president of Syria is killing people inhumanly" But the so called "rebels" may be just as bad (or worse)!
    5:48 PM - 30 Aug 2013

  2. Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    9:20 AM - 5 Sep 2013

    1. Gee, we've been noting these flaws in Trump for ages now and you feign surprise?

  3. The gas attack incident, however, still has a lot of questions, with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons still just starting to probe the incident, and is well short of assigning responsibility. US officials, along with British and French officials, immediately had a complete narrative fitting with their interest in moving against Syria, and are refusing to consider any possibility that runs counter to that, including Russia’s suggestion that a conventional air strike had caused a leak in a rebel chemical cache.

    The Pentagon claimed they’d detected the bombs on radar and confirmed they were from a Syrian warplane. Of course, because chemical and conventional bombs don’t show up differently on a radar, this still does not discredit Russia’s version of events.

    The shift in US policy, however, really began before the alleged gas attack even took place, as in the days ahead of it, officials were again demanding Assad’s ouster, and rebel officials were reporting that the previously halted CIA arms shipments had been resumed recently. This is just serving as a justification for being more public with it, and hyping a war of regime change.

    Obviously, all of the same problems with the US moving against Syria militarily, which Trump pointed out in presidential debates, are still problems, and that may ultimately deter an American attack. Either way, the Trump Administration is looking to rebrand their official stance as a hostile one, and one which is likely to please other NATO members, who see it as a chance to forestall any normalization of US-Russia ties.


  4. While President Trump is openly said to be planning a possible attack on Syria, and is discussing options for such an attack with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) is warning that any such attack would first require Congressional approval.

    Sen. Paul cited assurances from US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that she would not advocate war without congressional authority. While the current and recent administration have used the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force as a blanket attack everywhere authorization, this particular attack on Syria wouldn’t be even tangentially related to al-Qaeda, and would stretch the AUMF far, far beyond incredulity.

  5. There goes all the talk about The Constitution.

  6. There were Russian troops and planes on those airfields.

    1. Mike's "pretty confident that the Pentagon was confident" thatthere aren't:

      "“I think the key complexity here is: We would not want to attack a Syrian target at which there were Russian forces. We would not want to kill Russian forces in such an attack, because that obviously could lead us into a war with Russia,” former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell told CBS News.

      “So I’m pretty confident that the Pentagon was confident that there were not Russian forces at this particular air field.”"


  7. The U.S. strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base in central Syria, where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off. The U.S. missiles hit at 8:45 p.m. in Washington, 3:45 a.m. Friday morning in Syria. The missiles targeted the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said.

    Russia massively intensifies attacks on ISIS and co. Will use the massive Sha’ayrat airport in Homs
    Discussion in 'Middle East & Africa' started by ultron, Dec 1, 2015.

    Over 100 Russian jet fighters and a new Brigade are expected in Syria once Sha’ayrat airport is in service | Elijah J M | ايليا ج مغناير

  8. I don't believe for one second that Assad or the Russians would countenance chemical weapons attack at this time.

    Trump was played bigly and he fell for it. Acting while the Chinese President was a guest at his estate is insanity.

    1. Gee, we've been noting these flaws in Trump for ages now and you feign outrage?

    2. Got to hand it to the jihadists, they know how to save themselves.

    3. Jihadists? Whatever.

      Trump is singularly ill equipped to deal with the complexities of today's conflicts. He is poorly informed, impetuous, and emotional in his decision making.

      By what authority did he act? Heh...

    4. Ash, under your savior, Obama, Assad murdered 660,000. Did that get you off?

    5. Deeper Coma never has much to say about such things.

      He really couldn't care less.

      He just longs for The Donald to stumble.

    6. He acted, Deeper Coma, under the longstanding and still in effect Authorization to Use Force.

  9. Thursday on the “Ron Paul Liberty Report,” former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) suggested the chemical weapon earlier this week blamed on the Syrian government could be a false flag.

    Paul went as far to say there was zero chance Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to blame because it wouldn’t make sense for him to use chemical weapons at this point in time.

    “I looked at The New York Times to get the explanation, and they said ‘Worst Chemical Attack In Years In Syria, U.S. Blames Assad,'” Paul said. “So it is all over and done with? But it is not quite so easy, is it? What happened four years ago in 2013? You know, this whole thing about crossing the Red Line. And ever since then the neo-cons have been yelling and screaming — even part of the administration has been yelling and screaming about Assad using poison gasses on his people four years ago. Not quite true. It was never proven.”

    “[I]t doesn’t make any sense for Assad under these conditions to all of a sudden use poison gasses,” he continued. “I think there is a zero chance he would have done, you know, this deliberately. But we could also go ask a famous Senator who is famous for foreign policy. We could go ask John McCain to explain it. And he found somebody to blame. And I don’t know why he has it in for the president.”

    “McCain says blame Trump,” Paul later added. “It is all Trump’s fault because he hasn’t been aggressive enough.”

  10. Trump fell for it. He got played. ISIS must be laughing their ass off tonight. Trump just saved them.

    1. John McCain must be in ecstasy.

    2. ISIS? Why not Israel? Iraq?

    3. Israel, in it's wildest dreams, could not have imagined the destruction that Assad, Hezbollah and Iran have wrought on Syria.

      Assad has created 12 million refugees, destabilized many European nations with a flood of military aged jihadist men..

      Assad, Hezbollah and Iran have leveled much of Syria. Want to say that ISIS did this deed? I personally find that laughable, but so be it..

      Either way, Trump is sending a message, Syria? Iran? North Korea? Dont fuck with us.

  11. The North Koreans may be rethinking any additional missile tests in the direction of Japan.

    1. Maybe that's the point of the reply, but why the chemical attack in the first place ?

  12. I don't get it

    Deuce ☂Thu Apr 06, 10:32:00 PM EDT
    I don't believe for one second that Assad or the Russians would countenance chemical weapons attack at this time.

    I get that.

    An accident of some sort ?

    Jihadi involvement ?

    At any rate I stick to my old formula, stay out and let them kill one another,(this really is the Uncle Ed, Veteran, opinion out at the Casino), or, if involved, try to divide the godforsaken areas into mini-states, three or so in Iraq, four or five in Syria.

  13. If all else fails, the USA can always play its 'Ash Card'.

    Send Deeper Coma to the mideast to talk a little Canadian sense and inclusiveness into the heads of the savages.

    1. Over there, the first time he tee hee hees will be the last time he tee hee hees.

  14. I'll ask Uncle Ed at the Casino late tomorrow night.

    He will have a cogent opinion.

  15. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched, declaring he acted in America's "vital national security interest" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


    Syrian state TV said that "American aggression" had targeted a Syrian military base with "a number of missiles and cited a Syrian military source as saying the strike had "led to losses."


    Trump said earlier on Thursday that "something should happen" with Assad but did not specifically call for his ouster.

    Officials from the Pentagon and State Department met all day to discuss plans for the missile strikes.

  16. Mike Pence did not travel with the president and all his key national security advisers to Florida for the Xi Jinping meeting as may have been expected.

    It is now known that the vice president was monitoring the military strikes from the Situation Room at the White House.

  17. .

    I have to think the Chinese President Xi Ziping has to feel that in accepting the current summit he set himself up to be insulted.

    The Chinese put great value in "face' and Trump seems to be going out of his way to deny it to Xi.

    First, he is holding the summit in Mar-a-Lago instead of inviting Xi to visit the Oval Office. Also, there will be no golf as the Chinese hold golf in contempt as a rich man's sport.

    Then, while Xi is trapped at Mar-a-Lago, Trump launches an attack on Syria something the Chinese have said is unjustified given the Syrian denials and lack of proof.

    These are either unforced errors on Trump's part resulting in unintended collateral damage to Xi at home or it is intentional and intended as a direct insult to Xi. Given that the attacks could have been held off two days until after Xi had left, there seems to be no other explanations.

    Either way, the Chinese aren't likely to forget the insult.


    1. What the fuck are you saying here?:

      Also, there will be no golf as the Chinese hold golf in contempt as a rich man's sport.

      So, according to that statement, Trump is doing the right thing by not playing any golf.

    2. .

      Unlikely Trump had a choice in the matter unless he planned on playing golf alone.

      However, I merely point out the insult in holding the summit meeting in a golf resort rather that in D.C. where Xi could have gained the prestige of visiting the Oval Office.


    3. The Ovary Office ? That den of illicit blow jobs ?

      The Donald didn't want to tarnish the Sun King in such a place and did the right thing bringing him to cleansing Mar-a-Lago.

      A bumbler like you would start WWIII before the first dinner course was over.....

    4. As a diplomat you're a real dick.

  18. The head of the Russian upper house of parliament defence committee has said this morning's air strikes could undermine efforts to fight against terrorism in Syria, state media in Moscow reported.

    He said he would call for an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council.

  19. The airstrikes happened less than an hour after Mr Trump finished dinner with the Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida.

    Beforehand the Pentagon gave a heads up to the Russian military using a "deconfliction" channel which had previously been established to avoid the two nation's forces in the area taking out each other.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. The answer is:

      "Let them all kill one another"

      Uncle Ed

      I asked him about the Kurds:

      "Yeah, arm the Kurds"

      Uncle Ed

  21. A 1,389 YEAR-OLD ‘PHOBIA’?
    Why history is one of the best antidotes to Muslim apologetics.
    April 7, 2017 Raymond Ibrahim

    A direct correlation exists between Western ignorance of history and Western ignorance of Islam’s “troublesome” doctrines. It is this connection that allows Islam’s apologists to get away with so many distortions and outright lies meant to shield Islam.

    Take, for instance, Reza Aslan, apparently CNN’s resident “cannibal”: he recently claimed that “Islamophobia”— defined by CAIR as “unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam”—was created by a few “clowns” in 2014.

    To be sure, Western fear of Islam is something of a recent phenomenon in modern times. Because the world was a much bigger place a few decades ago, and Islam was oceans away, the average American hardly knew anything about Muhammad’s creed. However, as the world has become smaller—as Muslims have grown in numbers in Western societies, as modern technology has made it possible for the weaker to terrorize the stronger, and then broadcast it for the world to see (Internet)—so has the Western world been hearing, seeing, and experiencing more and more of Islam.

    But Aslan’s lament is not that, although people were once ignorant they are now wise to Islam. Rather, he accuses a number of writers and activists—the aforementioned “clowns”—of manufacturing a menacing image of Islam, which, in turn, has prompted Western people to develop an “unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam”—or, in a word, “Islamophobia.”

    Such a claim relies on an obscene amount of historical ignorance. The fact is, Western peoples, including some of their luminaries, have portrayed Islam as a hostile and violent force from the very start—often in terms that would make today’s “Islamophobe” blush. And that wasn’t because Europeans were “recasting the other” to “validate their imperial aspirations” (to use the tired terminology of Edward Said that has long dominated academia’s treatment of Western-Muslim interactions). Rather, it was because, from the very start, Islam treated the “infidel” the same way ISIS treats the infidel: atrociously.

    1. According to Muslim history, in 628, Muhammad summoned the Roman (or “Byzantine”) emperor, Heraclius—the symbolic head of “the West,” then known as “Christendom”—to submit to Islam; when the emperor refused, a virulent jihad was unleashed against the Western world. Less than 100 years later, Islam had conquered more than two-thirds of Christendom, and was raiding deep in France. While these far-reaching conquests are often allotted a sentence, if that, in today’s textbooks, the chroniclers of the time, including Muslim ones, make clear that these were cataclysmic events that had a traumatic effect on, and played no small part in forming, the unconquered portion of Christendom, which became Europe proper. As Ibn Khaldun famously put it after describing incessant Muslim raids for booty and slaves all along Europe’s Mediterranean coasts, “the Christians could no longer float a plank on the sea.” They took to the inlands and the Dark Ages began.

      But it wasn’t just what they personally experienced at the hands of Muslims that developed this ancient “phobia” to Islam. Beginning in the eighth century, Islam’s scriptures and histories—the Koran, hadith, sira and maghazi literature—became available to those Christian communities living adjacent to, or even under the authority of, the caliphates. Based solely on these primary sources of Islam, Christians concluded that Muhammad was a (possibly demon possessed) false prophet who had very obviously concocted a creed to justify the worst depravities of man—for dominion, plunder, cruelty and carnality. This view prevailed for well over a millennium all over Europe (and till this day among “Islamophobes”); and it was augmented by the fact that Muslims were still acting on it by invading Christian territories, plundering them, and abducting their women and children.

      Here is a miniscule sampling of what Europeans thought of Islam throughout the centuries:

      Theophanes, the Byzantine chronicler (d.818):

      He [Muhammad] taught those who gave ear to him that the one slaying the enemy—or being slain by the enemy—entered into paradise [see Koran 9:111]. And he said paradise was carnal and sensual—orgies of eating, drinking, and women. Also, there was a river of wine … and the women were of another sort, and the duration of sex greatly prolonged and its pleasure long-enduring [e.g., Koran 56: 7-40, 78:31, 55:70-77]. And all sorts of other nonsense.

    2. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of Christendom’s most influential philosophers (d.1274):

      He [Muhamad] seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh urges us …. and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine…. Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants [i.e., his “proof” that God was with him is that he was able to conquer and plunder others]…. Muhammad forced others to become his follower’s by the violence of his arms.

      Marco Polo, world famous traveler (d.1324):

      According to their [Muslims’] doctrine, whatever is stolen or plundered from others of a different faith, is properly taken, and the theft is no crime; whilst those who suffer death or injury by the hands of Christians, are considered as martyrs. If, therefore, they were not prohibited and restrained by the [Mongol] powers who now govern them, they would commit many outrages. These principles are common to all Saracens.

      When the Mongol khan later discovered the depraved criminality of Achmath (or Ahmed), one of his Muslim governors, Polo writes that that the khan’s

      attention [went] to the doctrines of the Sect of the Saracens [i.e., Islam], which excuse every crime, yea, even murder itself, when committed on such as are not of their religion. And seeing that this doctrine had led the accursed Achmath and his sons to act as they did without any sense of guilt, the Khan was led to entertain the greatest disgust and abomination for it. So he summoned the Saracens and prohibited their doing many things which their religion enjoined.

    3. Alexis de Tocqueville, French political thinker and philosopher, best known for Democracy in America (d.1859),

      I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.[8]

      Winston Churchill, a leader of the Allied war effort against Hitler during WWII (1965):

      How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism [Islam] lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

      Lest it seem that these and other historic charges against Islam are simply products of Christian/Western xenophobia that simply cannot tolerate the “other,” it should be noted that many of Islam’s Western critics regularly praised other non-Muslim religions and civilizations, including what is today called “moderate Muslims.” Thus Marco Polo hailed the Brahmins of India as being “most honorable,” possessing a “hatred for cheating or of taking the goods of other persons.” And despite his criticisms of the “sect of the Saracens,” that is, Islam, he referred to one Muslim leader as governing “with justice” (p.317) and another who “showed himself [to be] a very good lord, and made himself beloved by everybody (p.332).”

      Winston Churchill summed up the matter as follows: “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities—but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”

      Apologists like Reza Aslan can say whatever they want; they claim that Islam is forever and perpetually “misunderstood”— and can bank on Western ignorance of its own history to get away with it. But fear and dislike of Islam has been the mainstream position among Christian/Western people for nearly 1,400 years—ever since Muhammad started raiding, plundering, massacring, and enslaving non-Muslims (“infidels”) in the name of his god; and it is because his followers, Muslims, continue raiding, plundering, massacring, and enslaving “infidels” that fear and dislike of Islam—what is called “Islamophobia”—exists to this day.


    4. One would have to be a grown man in a deep coma not to recognize the seriousness of this.

    5. And not a word about the struggles of the Hindus and Buddhists against this insanity.

      You must add that to your plate, and much more....


    6. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson does not want to remember that the Christians of Syria are standing with Assad, the Alawite.

      Alawites are really a Christian sect, if one believes Lawrence of Arabia, French missionaries and the reporting of Daniel Pipes.


      The US military is now fronting for ISIS and al-Qeada, thanks to the poor strategic thinking of Donald Trump, the neo-con liberal President of the United States from New York City...

    7. Some 'Alawi doctrines appear to derive from Phoenician paganism, Mazdakism and Manicheanism. But by far the greatest affinity is with Christianity. 'Alawi religious ceremonies involve bread and wine; indeed, wine drinking has a sacred role in 'Alawism, for it represents God. The religion holds 'Ali, the fourth caliph, to be the (Jesus-like) incarnation of divinity. It has a holy trinity, consisting of Muhammad, 'Ali, and Salman al-Farisi, a freed slave of Muhammad's.

      'Alawis celebrate many Christian festivals, including Christmas, New Year's, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, and Palm Sunday. They honor many Christian saints: St. Catherine, St. Barbara, St. George, St. John the Baptist, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Mary Magdalene. The Arabic equivalents of such Christian personal names as Gabriel, John, Matthew, Catherine, and Helen, are in common use. And 'Alawis tend to show more friendliness to Christians than to Muslims.

      For these reasons, many observers - missionaries especially - have suspected the 'Alawis of a secret Christian proclivity. Even T. E. Lawrence described them as "those disciples of a cult of fertility, sheer pagan, antiforeign, distrustful of Islam, drawn at moments to Christianity by common persecution."

      The Jesuit scholar Henri Lammens unequivocally but gullibly concluded from his research that "the Nusayris were Christians" and their practices combine Christian with Shi'i elements.


  22. Russia recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
    By Pamela Geller - on April 6, 2017

    Maybe President Trump will make good on his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

    Israel National News, April 6, 2017:


    Russia officially announced that it recognizes western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in an unexpected announcement Thursday.

    “We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said in a statement.

    The statement represents a large shift in Russian policy. Russia had previously called for Jerusalem to be ruled by an international regime. However, the statement also gave recognition to the Palestinian Authority’s claim to the eastern half of the city, in which many of the holiest sites of Judaism are located, such as the Temple Mount.

    Many nations refuse to place their embassies in Jerusalem even though Israel has controlled the western half of the city since the War of Independence in 1948. US President Donald Trump has stated that he is considering moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, though he has not made a final decision.

    Israeli officials refused to comment on the surprise announcement. “We are studying the matter,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.

    It is unknown whether Jerusalem will welcome the announcement in light of the continued refusal to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem.

    Israel will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem this June.


  23. America can't save Syria. And it shouldn't try.

    Michael Brendan Dougherty
    AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
    April 6, 2017

    The Syrian civil war will largely be remembered for the sickening images of suffering it has produced. The drone-cameras that pan and sweep over the devastation of Homs are upsetting. But worse are the stomach-turning images of child victims.

    In September 2015, we saw the image of Alan Kurdi, the boy refugee whose lifeless body was found on a beach in Turkey. That image capped a summer of European agonizing about accepting refugees, and led to Angela Merkel's big invite to hundreds of thousands of refugees, which has Europeans agonizing even more today.

    In August of last year, we were stunned by the photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, the bloodstained boy covered in dust after an airstrike.

    And this week, we've seen ever more horrifying images and videos coming out of Syria, where a chemical weapons attack killed scores of people, including children. The shocking footage was, of course, followed swiftly by calls for President Trump to make good on former President Obama's red-line promise to depose Bashar al-Assad.

    The question we should ask ourselves when contemplating these pictures is not simply "Must this be stopped?" We know the answer to that question: Of course it ought to be. But the real question is this: Should the emotion generated by these pictures elicit our consent for the United States military, under President Trump, to intervene even more aggressively on behalf of al Qaeda in Syria, under the legal authority of a 2001 act of Congress declaring war on al Qaeda?

    Let us not mince words: That is what is being asked. Becoming al Qaeda's air force never made any moral or strategic sense for the United States at any time in the last four years, and it makes even less sense now.

    Remember, too, that we know very little about what is actually happening in Syria. We are at the mercy of propagandists just to get basic information. As Patrick Cockburn, the brave Middle East correspondent observed, "The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organizations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side."

    You know the story they have told. In December of last year, social media filled with images and video from Aleppo, after Bashar al-Assad's government recaptured it. Those images and videos from Aleppo showed real devastation. And the political effect was achieved, just as intended. Elite Western policymakers, journalists, and the news junkies that follow them on social media spent days sharing the viral footage, and lamenting that in 2013, when given a chance to authorize greater intervention, Western lawmakers looked at public opinion running against aggressive intervention and instead let Obama continue his smaller covert operations.

    1. And how did those go? Certainly they became a moral hazard that extended and worsened the Syrian civil war, by holding out the possibility of greater American involvement.

      America's attempts to train and direct local rebels regularly turned into living satires where ginned-up "moderate" groups quickly surrendered their American-provided weapons to al Nusra. When America's interventions weren't comical fiascos of wasted money and bluster, they were simply horror shows come to life. We don't as much advertise the images produced by Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a U.S.-vetted and -supported Islamist faction that sent out a video of its men beheading a child and celebrating this as a victory over their enemies. Washington's hawkish intellectuals came up with long-shot scenarios under which the U.S. could remove Assad without empowering the Sunni beheaders and other fanatics. But even these plans seemed to shrug when tackling the bigger question: Who is fit and able to govern Syria after Assad?

      It is idiotic to believe the rebels now broadcasting the enormities from Idlib would be accepted as just leaders by the Syrian people. Even though these same rebel groups effectively made their military cause synonymous with "the people of Aleppo," the truth is that when the people of Aleppo were allowed to evacuate from that battle last year, only about one third of them wanted to be taken to Idlib, under the protection of the rebels.

      Western policymakers wish that the Syrian civil war could end in such a way that it deprives Iran of an ally in Damascus (Assad), does not allow the spread of ISIS, does not end in al Qaeda capturing the machinery of the Syrian state (however broken), and institutes a stable settlement that ends the refugee flow that contributed to Brexit and empowered populist nationalists across Europe. There has never been an on-the-ground ally in Syria capable of delivering this, unless Americans governed Syria like a colonial possession for the next five decades.

      But whenever our policymakers and hawks see another horrifying image from rebel territory in Syria, they'll remind us about the great nobility of their intentions, and the stubbornness of the American and British publics that stood in their way.

      Their self-regard is yet another propaganda image, and it should be discounted accordingly.


  24. .

    Russia has pulled out of the 'deconflict' arrangement with the US in Syria.

    Drip. Drip. Drip.


    1. That's a laugh.

      What is Russia doing in there in the first place ?

      If Russia wants to 'deconflict' they can just take their red asses home.

    2. .

      What is the US doing in there in the first place?

      Russia has national interests in Syria. The US doesn't.


    3. Russia has national interests in Syria ?

      I realize you are talking about the naval base but what do they need if for ?

      To defend St. Petersburg ? Moscow ? Eastern Siberia ? The Arctic Circle ?

      Give us a fucking break.

    4. .

      Shut up, Bob, you stupid ass. Take a look at a map.

      Russia is in the neighborhood.

      They have an interest in every country there.

      Chechan radicals make up the biggest foreign presence among the ISIS terrorist group.

      Russia is the largest country in the world by area, yet it is pretty much land locked. I believe it only has three naval bases throughout the world one of them being in Vietnam. The other two are in Crimea and Syria. Why does Russia need the Syrian base? How stupid are you? Why does the US need 10 aircraft carriers.

      Go play with Uncle Ed.


  25. .

    Looks like it's time to invest in Raytheon.

    Tomahawk missile, about $1.5 million per (3 times the price carried on DOD website) times 59. The attack probably cost around $100 million with all cost added in. It was evidently designed simply to send a message as the runway and certain auxiliary buildings including those thought to carry chemical weapons(too dangerous to bomb as that might scatter them over a wide area, hmmm) were not hit.

    The Russians pull out of any cooperation agreements with the US in Syria. We probably won't hear what China really thinks until Xi Ziping leaves Mar-a- Lago.

    We'll see if its worth it.


    1. .


      I should have followed my own advise. Raytheon up 3.5% this morning.


  26. .

    March US non-farm payrolls up -- 98,000

    February number adjusted down -- 219,000 from previous 235,000

    Wage growth -- 0.3% (March) vs 0.2% (February)

    Stock market takes a hit.

    [Lesson learned: Don't listen to the faux farmer's preliminary job estimates.]


    1. You got that from Bloomberg.

      You must do better.

      By the way, what is Russia doing in the Crimea, the Ukraine, Georgia ?

      Why are they putting pressure on Poland in the form of new armament installations near there ?

      They could deconflict all this by going home, and minding their own business.

      I guess I must go back to calling you Deep Coma again.

      When you say something sensible you will earn your old name back.

    2. The truth is Pooty just likes to push around because that's the shit ass kind of guy he is....if he had his way eastern Europe would be controlled by Russian Imperialism again.

      Are you blogging from Ye Olde Mafia Barber Shoppe this morning ?

      Just curious.

      Have you begun drinking yet ?

      Do we get to hear more from Umberto today ?

      His characteristics fit Pooty much more than The Donald, you do realize that, do you not ?

    3. .

      I got the numbers from CNBC. Then unlike you, I checked them with the source, BLS.

      Go away Bob, you are too stupid to play around with given everything that is going on this morning.


    4. .

      Trump has zero core values. The reason for the Syrian attack has more to do with Trump's pathological need to not look weak and his need to avoid criticism than it has to do with US interests or humanitarian concerns.


  27. Why has Fox News been taken over by some DISH advertising outfit I can't get rid of ?

    Are you behind this ?

    BBC is really boring....

    1. "I say, it appears better relations in Syria are being dashed."

      "Thanks so very much for that Terri"

      Makes one want to throw up.

    2. "There is no doubt Mr Trump has, I should say, made a decision" humpf humpf humpf

      Good God !

    3. It's enough to make one sit and watch DISH ads.

    4. Hey, Quirk, maybe you could get a job doing DISH ads on BBC ?

      If anyone could make a go of that it would be you.

      You used to have a good feigned British accent during II, I recall.

    5. A 'lorry' has just driven into a number of people, who are laying in the street, in the middle of Stockholm.

      Police drew their weapons. Beyond that we don't know whether it is a terrible accident of a terrorist attack.

      Police are tight mouthed.

    6. I blame the lorry for driving into the people, because that's what they said: "A lorry has just driven into a number of people"

  28. "...Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.


    We ask for God's wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.

    Goodnight. And God bless America and the entire world. Thank you."


    Righteous, baby, Righteous!

    1. Fuck off you disgusting little prick.

    2. QuirkFri Apr 07, 09:32:00 AM EDT

      Trump has zero core values. The reason for the Syrian attack has more to do with Trump's pathological need to not look weak and his need to avoid criticism than it has to do with US interests or humanitarian concerns.


  29. Even the newsreaders on BBC seem defeated.

    Europe is fucked.

  30. Many former Donald Trump supporters have turned on the President after his decision to retaliate against the Assad regime for its chemical weapons attack.

    Nigel Farage, Milo Yiannopoulos Katie Hopkins, right-wing vlogger Paul Joseph Watson, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall and Ukip donor Arron Banks are among the Trump supporters who have been disappointed by their hero.

    Mr Farage said: "I am very surprised by this. I think a lot of Trump voters will be waking up this morning and scratching their heads and saying 'where will it all end?'

    1. .

      Trump's poll numbers continue to drop with some of his key supporter groups such as 'white males' now starting to leave him.


    2. This is where he can continue his tack away from the right and grab those on the left who favor US interventionism. Neos on the right join with Neos left to do God's work and bring justice to the world.

    3. .

      Bob is one of those do-gooders, moronic, hypocritical 'humanitarians' that fail to realize we invariably end up killing more 'women and children' in our wars of choice than we actually 'save'.


  31. .

    Bob was looking for a little more Umberto Eco this morning. Since Umberto is dead, this will have to do.

    The government is demanding to know who this Trump critic is. Twitter is suing to keep it a secret.

    Twitter filed a lawsuit Thursday to block an order from the Department of Homeland Security that seeks to reveal the user of an account who has been critical of the Trump administration's immigration policies.

    Tweets from the account -- @ALT_uscis -- indicate that it is run by someone who is an employee of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division of Homeland Security.

    Free speech advocates said the DHS order appeared to be the first time the government has attempted to use its powers to expose an anonymous critic -- a development that, if successful, would have a "grave chilling effect on the speech of that account" as well as other accounts critical of the U.S. government, Twitter said.

    DHS is "unlawfully abusing a limited-purpose investigatory tool" to find out who is behind the @ALT_uscis account, according to Twitter's court filings.

    DHS spokeswoman Jenny Burke declined to comment, citing the pending litigation...

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    When you have the most powerful person in the world who is so thin skinned and pathologically incapable of accepting any criticism, who immediately attacks the person offering that criticism so as to nip it in the bud before it can spread, who seems to be omnipotent in tracking down that criticism no matter the source so much so that he has been accused of taking his oath of office on the TV Guide, who is perfectly willing to strip ordinary citizens of their privacy rights as with the recent broadband bill he signed, it can only have a chilling effect on free speech.



    Forget that Trump proved by deed that he has no core values and other character flaws.

    Forget the justifications and the excuses.

    There is no way with 100% confidence that there is evidence that Syria used chemical weapons. If such proof exists, show it.

    Unless there is imminent danger to the USA, no responsible person, sitting as president, should commit an unprovoked act of war without a declaration of war from Congress, regardless of how often it has been done in the past.

    There was no danger to the US, no irrefutable proof that Syria used chemical weapons and no need for urgency of such action.

    This was a rash and unnecessary foul act, supported by surprisingly many this morning.

    I supported Trump because he was not Hillary Clinton. He hasn't been in office three months and he is all in on the meddling and warring in the ME.

    I'm done.

    Trump is no longer worth the risk. If Congress wants to remove him from office, have at it.

  33. There is absolutely no excuse, no justification for this dangerous, needless act of war. Let Congress sort it out.

  34. KREMLIN: 'Aggression Against Sovereign State'....DRUDGE

    That's as ripe as one of Quirk's farts.

  35. And I thought you all here cared about the little dead kids.

    No one wants to stand up for the weapons conventions/treaties ?

    The Russians are in violation of nearly all of them.

    Quarts says, obviously in his pints early this morning, that the Russkies have a 'national interest' in Syria.

    What a bunch of smelly horse shit.

    They ought to get their ass out of there and go home, and leave Ukraine, Georgia, and Crimea too.

    The fall of the Soviet Union was, according to Pooty, the greatest tragedy in the entire history of the world.

    Fuck the Russians.

    They're assholes.

    1. .

      This from the ass, sorry foreign policy expert, who says we should keep troops in danger in Afghanistan 'for the women' as if after 14 years there our actions haven't killed more women than we have 'saved'.

      Now he talks of the 'little dead kids' in Syria as if US actions haven't left incalculably more little dead kids scattered around the ME than we could ever possibly hope to save.

      Easy to do when you have nothing to lose in offering up your arrogant opinions on the use of these troops in between trips to the casino.

      You are a complete fool, Bob. You are like all the other liberal ass do-gooders who support war as a way of bringing peace to the world, who promote wars of choice for 'humanitarian reasons', who argue for dropping bombs to enforce R2P, or for destroying the village to save it.

      Disgusting. There is nothing worse in this world than a do-gooder carrying a flower in one hand and a gun in the other.


    2. .

      Also, nothing as hypocritical and stupid.


  36. And Quirk, please, please get yourself a catheter and a urine bag. No one wants to hear your drip drip drip all the time.

  37. CNN, the only channel I can get, says even Canada supports the strikes as proportional. They also listed more of the countries of Europe, France, Germany, etc etc down under, Australia....

    1. most not more of the countries of Europe

    2. .

      Easy to applaud an ally when you have no shit in the game. You go girl.


    3. The Russians have been aiding and abetting all this murder right along.

      I recall some here in deep mourning about a little dead four year old boy washed ashore....

      C'mon, DEEP COMA tell us all just what EXACTLY is 'the Russian national interest' in......Syria of all places.

      The truth is, COMA, you're just an old demented fraud that desperately needs bladder control.

      Russian national interest in Syria my ass.....

    4. .

      Bob, you continue to drop you shit here time after time and then move on without looking back.

      Your question was answered above you dumb ass. Go back and look for it.

      You've left a long diarrhea stream here today. I'm tired of responding to it.

      I'm out. I'll check back later to see if you've gone to the casino or to your greeter job at Walmart.




      He tells us that Russia has national interests in Syria, then when asked what exactly they are, knowing he has no answer at all, he craps out, craps out, craps OUT.

      Not going to the Casino and got fired from WalMart, so you stay away, My Liege Large Lard Ass Little Brain.

      Your thoughtless b.s. is just too much.....

    6. I'll be asking you the same question when you next come crawling back.....

    7. (maybe that will keep him away for a day or two)

    8. Quirk is one of those Poles who might well say the Russians have a national interest in occupying Poland, he is so bizarre.

    9. Quirk always retreats when confronted with overwhelming intellectual might.

      He'll wait for the next news cycle and come slinking back.

  38. There simply was not enough time to investigate whether or not the Assad government, a legal and sovereign entity, was involved in this gas attack. Perhaps, with a proper investigation, the identity and nature of the attack will be confirmed. That has nothing to do with the impetuous and dangerous misuse of military in an area where we have been involved for the best part of two decades.

    Trump ran on a policy of sanity in the Middle East. He could not have made his position of opposition to past US policy more clear.

    The impetuous attack on Syria is bait and switch politics at best. I am sure that Trump will gain support from the likes of McCain and the Neocons. He has it from Clinton. The Telegraph is giddy over it.

    I'm not an investor. I am a trader. I take risks that I can afford to take. When I make a bad trade, I take my hair cut and move on. No one gets hurt from my bad measured trade.

    Trump has responsibilities to 320 million people. He made them promises and gave them assurances. He made a wager that should never have happened. The risk reward is not there for so many reasons, not the least being while he is hosting the President of China.

    It is very alarming.

  39. "...

    The Obama administration passively watched the Syrian regime bomb and kill civilians for six years. Mr. Assad interpreted U.S. inaction as a green light to continue his destructive and cruel policies. The Syrian dictator calculated that, following U.S. engagement in Iraq, which drained America’s resources and incited voter backlash, Barack Obama would not be willing to engage in a new Middle Eastern war. Mr. Assad’s reasoning proved sound and he proceeded to tear through humanitarian red lines committing atrocities – such as the chemical attack on Ghouta in 2013 – for the following six years.

    Cue Donald Trump. In his public statement, Mr. Trump clearly communicated that Mr. Obama’s approach was being retired along with the former president, and that Mr. Assad’s actions would now be held accountable by Mr. Trump’s moral compass. Referencing this week’s heart-wrenching images of children and babies who were gassed to death, Mr. Trump evoked God and made his case to the nation and the world that the Syrian regime had to be put in its place.

    While Mr. Trump’s retaliation for the chemical attack on Syrian civilians is a clear sign the current U.S. President reacts swiftly, it’s worrying that with the most powerful military arsenal on the planet, Mr. Trump made his decision while at his Palm Beach golf resort discussing trade with the visiting Chinese leader. This U.S. strike looks like an improvised and knee-jerk reaction by a President who is out of his depth when it comes to military and diplomatic affairs.
    Adding another layer of complexity to the situation is Russian President Vladimir Putin and his interests in the region, as well as his country’s vested relationship with Mr. Assad. Russian soldiers were reported to be at the Syrian airbase just a few days prior to the strikes. Mr. Putin will not take this strike lying down. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin are populist-nationalist leaders with their own hardened political base who have vilified the other country.

    Only a week ago, thousands of demonstrators took to Russian streets to protest Mr. Putin’s corrupt regime and self-serving policies. To deflect attention from Russia’s political and economic troubles at home, Mr. Putin may well take the opportunity to rally his country around the flag and react to the U.S. strike with military retaliation. Military conflicts can often start with these kinds of tit-for-tat provocations – think back to Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination spiralled into the First World War.

    It should give no one comfort to also know that the Trump White House has been in continuous disarray. Surrounded by sycophants who have little policy experience, the Trump administration is thin on international and foreign policy expertise. Russia’s retaliatory strike could provoke escalation, which would force this conflict into a showdown between two leaders. Adding other regional players into the mix only furthers the potential for wider-scale destruction. Israel has already publicly spoken out against the Syrian chemical attack and announced its intent to devise a military strategy to combat similar future actions. Iran and Hezbollah, another two wild cards, are staunch allies of Mr. Assad, with troops throughout Syria.

    Clearly, Donald Trump’s strike on Syria is a game changer in this protracted Mideast conflict. Whether it ushers in an end to Mr. Assad’s brutality or incites the beginning of a global and regional conflict is yet to be seen."


  40. Hey, Quirk -

    What the World Is Saying About the U.S. Strike in Syria
    Russia condemned it while U.S. allies called it proportional.

    Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei LavrovSergei Karpukhin / Reuters

    In Syria, state media said the strike killed nine people, including four children, who lived near the airbase. In Moscow, Konashenkov said four Syrian soldiers had been also killed. He said two more were missing.

    Among U.S. allies, whose diplomatic and possibly military support the U.S. will seek if there are further actions against the Assad regime, the reaction was markedly different.

    In Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, said the Assad regime “bears the full responsibility for this development.” He said he was informed by General James Mattis, the U.S. defense secretary, of the impending strike.

    Turkey, which has been a longtime advocate of military action in Syria, urged the establishment of a no-fly zone to create Syrian safe zones for civilians. That call came from Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The U.K. government, which in the past has been the most stalwart U.S. ally in military operations overseas, said it “fully supports” the strike. Michael Fallon, the U.K. defense secretary, said while Prime Minister Theresa May had been “informed” of the strike, the U.K. wasn’t asked to take part in it.

    In a joint statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande echoed the NATO chief’s remarks that “Assad alone bears the responsibility for this development.” The two leaders urged the UN to implement Security Council Resolution 2254 for a political transition in Syria.

    Donald Tusk, the European Council president, said:

    Donald Tusk ✔ @eucopresident
    US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria.
    2:17 AM - 7 Apr 2017
    973 973 Retweets 1,380 1,380 likes

    Saudi Arabia called the decision “courageous” while China, whose president met with Trump on Thursday evening, urged calm: “What is urgent now is to avoid further deterioration of the situation,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said.

    President Trump is expected now to seek retroactive congressional authorization for his actions. If the U.S. decides that more military action is needed against Assad, it’s likely to call upon its allies in Europe and the region who are already taking part in U.S.-led operations agains ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Any UN Security Council approval for military strikes is considered unlikely. Russia holds a veto-wielding seat on that body.


    1. Hey, Quirk -

      Europe’s leaders offer support for Syria airstrike while U.S. left looks for something to complain about

      As Ed noted earlier today, allies of the United States around the world have reacted positively to the airstrike against Syria, but here at home, the progressive left is struggling to find something to complain about. They know that any action taken by President Trump must be wrong, they just haven’t figured out how to go on the attack quite yet. First a refresher on the international response from the Hill:

      Leaders across Western Europe, as well as anti-terrorist allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey, welcomed the attack as an effective means of retaliation for the Assad administration’s alleged role in a chemical attack in northern Syria on Tuesday that killed scores of civilians, according to The New York Times.

      “The U.K. government fully supports the U.S. action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks,” United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said in a statement.

      In a joint statement, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Assad himself brought on the U.S. attack on the airbase and “carries responsibility for these developments.”

      Hollande and Merkel also said, “[Assad’s] repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against the population demanded sanction.” In Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “fully supports” the strike. The Ukranian foreign minister said, “For those who break who break international law by using chemical weapons, impunity would lead to further crimes.”

    2. Here at home, some on the progressive left clearly have a lot invested in the defense of President Obama’s dithering, non-reaction to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Giving Trump any credit now is an implied rebuke to the previous administration. So here’s former Obama administration spokesperson Jen Psaki writing at CNN [emphasis added]:

      Taking targeted military action this evening is a step that probably felt powerful to Trump. It shows action. It shows force. It shows military strength.

      The problem remains: What is next? Syria is led by a brutal dictator who is guilty of war crimes. But it is also a sovereign country with powerful friends, including Russia and Iran.

      Trump acted without consulting Congress, without clear legal authority and without any coordinated military action by our partners and allies.

      She concludes with this divided approach to moving forward: “there are questions that both supporters and opponents of Trump deserve answers to in the coming days.” The bottom line (apparently) is that America is still made up of supporters and opponents and Psaki wants to see that division express itself on this issue as soon as possible.

      Similarly, Igor Volsky of the Center for American Progress Action has a series of questions:

      View image on Twitter
      igorvolsky ✔ @igorvolsky
      I have 5 questions about Trump's military action in Syria:
      8:30 AM - 7 Apr 2017
      519 519 Retweets 654 654 likes
      Once again, the goal here is to, first, question the legality of the action and raise partisan hackles on issues like Syrian refugees (#2), GOP hypocrisy (#3). The American left is scrambling for some way to controversialize this and turn it into another domestic partisan battle.

      What “The Resistance” would really like to say is that the airstrike represents, “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law, and under a false pretext.” And they could add that the administration acted in, “tough contradiction with international law and without UN approval, in violation of its own procedures stipulating that the Congress must first be notified of any military operation unrelated to aggression against the US.”

      The first quote is actually what Putin’s spokesperson said and the second is what Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. So the progressive left may need to rearrange the wording a bit but the gist will be the same.



    3. Chuck Schumer and Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson both are supportive of assisting the Islamic State in Syria.

      Birds of a feather ...

  41. In big win for Trump, Senate approves his conservative court pick

    By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung | WASHINGTON

    The Republican-led Senate on Friday gave Donald Trump the biggest triumph of his young presidency, confirming his Supreme Court nominee over stout Democratic opposition and restoring a conservative majority on the highest U.S. judicial body.

    The Senate, which last year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, voted 54-45 to approve Republican Trump's pick, Colorado-based federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the lifetime job. Three Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for Gorsuch.

    Gorsuch's confirmation ends the longest Supreme Court vacancy since 1862 during the American Civil War, with the court down a justice for almost 14 months since long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, 2016....



  42. U.S. and Russia still talking on Syria, despite Moscow's claims it cut off communications

    W.J. Hennigan and Brian BennettA regularly scheduled morning call about aircraft movement in the skies over Syria occurred between the U.S. and Russia, according to U.S. officials.


  43. From the WSJ

    Trump’s decision to launch missiles against a Syrian airfield on Thursday night is winning the support of politicians across the aisle and across the oceans. Investors also seem to like a more assertive United States. And we have here further proof that Trump foreign policy is much less kind to Russia than the Obama-Clinton variety. But what exactly is Mr. Trump’s policy?
    Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad horrified the world this week with his latest chemical assault on his own civilian population. He particularly horrified Mr. Trump, who ordered the U.S. action and later described Assad’s atrocity as “slow and brutal death for so many.” Mr. Trump added, “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
    Mr. Trump’s new determination to intervene in Syria may also mark a change in domestic U.S. politics. The self-styled Trump “resistance”—with its implication that the winner of the 2016 election is somehow akin to an occupying army—may be losing support among liberal pols. Just a week after the head of the Democratic National Committee said that Mr. Trump “didn’t win the election,” many leading Democrats are treating Mr. Trump like the legitimate President he is and rallying around the commander-in-chief on the issue of an overseas military engagement. Last night Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.”
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants Congress to debate the limits of Mr. Trump’s authority to make war on Assad, but she said that Thursday’s attack “appears to be a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.”
    CNN notes “widespread backing” for the U.S. missile barrage among traditional allies overseas. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the press last night that “the response from our allies in Europe, as well as the region in the Middle East, has been overwhelmingly supportive of the action we’ve taken.”

    1. Wall Street seems to like it too, as on Friday it has been largely shrugging off the heightened risk of war and even a lousy jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Strong USA. Bullish all markets,” texted a hedge fund manager this morning. One could argue that the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to join the Supreme Court is good news for stocks because consistent rule of law and constitutional governance are good for markets.

      But warfare is expensive, risky, and prone to unintended consequences. The Journal notes that the Russian government “swiftly suspended an agreement with Washington for military coordination in Syrian skies on Friday following the U.S. missile attack on a Syrian base, in a new complication for the Trump administration’s key priority of fighting Islamic State.”

      Kicking the [expletive] out of Islamic State seemed to be about the only priority in Syria for Mr. Trump during much of his campaign. But as Mr. Tillerson noted last night, the simple idea of destroying ISIS has given way to something a bit more expansive. Here’s Mr. Tillerson describing the new Trump policy on Syria:

      “So it’s to defeat ISIS; it’s to begin to stabilize areas of Syria, stabilize areas in the south of Syria, stabilize areas around Raqqa through ceasefire agreements between the Syrian regime forces and opposition forces. Stabilize those areas; begin to restore some normalcy to them. Restore them to local governance -- and there are local leaders who are ready to return, some who have left as refugees -- they’re ready to return to govern these areas. Use local forces that will be part of the liberation effort to develop the local security forces -- law enforcement, police force. And then use other forces to create outer perimeters of security so that areas like Raqqa, areas in the south can begin to provide a secure environment so refugees can begin to go home and begin the rebuilding process. In the midst of that, through the Geneva Process, we will start a political process to resolve Syria’s future in terms of its governance structure, and that ultimately, in our view, will lead to a resolution of Bashar al-Assad’s departure.”
      On Thursday the President said, “Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.” Mr. Trump added that “we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.”

      All Americans certainly share that hope. A lot of them also probably want to hear what exactly Mr. Trump is committing them to do in Syria, at what cost and for how long.


  44. Mr Trump decided the US would support the Islamic fascists in Syria.

    Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson applauds.

  45. In an interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji List on April 3 that was released on Thursday, Assad stressed that if there had been cooperation between Syria and Europe, some of the attacks that rocked Europe might have been prevented. However, such cooperation won’t be effective until Europe withdraws its support for the jihadists, he argued.

    “If Europe wants to protect itself at this stage, it should first stop supporting terrorists in Syria. Assuming that we wanted to cooperate with them, no results can be achieved in these circumstances,” Assad said, adding that “in normal circumstance” terrorist attacks could be prevented via security cooperation.

    The Syrian leader noted that “a number of European countries” have put obstacles in the way of peace by funneling support to militants in Syria, “directly or indirectly,” in the form of “arms, money, political cover, and everything.”