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The Long War and the Coalition of the Willing

Next Cold War Roundup 11-30-15

M/W/F 10 AM

The pressure is on to assemble a large number of ground troops for the US coalition to deploy in Syria and restart the large scale Long War in the Middle East.


The Long War and the Coalition of the Willing

_ Stanley McChrystal is out front selling the Long War and calling for not quite mandatory military service. Given that high school and college graduates have an very difficult time finding a decent job that pays a living wage, neoliberal policies might solve the decades long problem of opposition to the draft via economic policy rather than actual mandate. The heavy burden of student debt and lack of viable and meaningful employment may leave a significant percentage of young Americans with few alternatives than to enlist in this rebranded military service.

“We need to create a culture of service where we are all invested in our nation’s future and feel a shared sense of responsibility to our nation and to each other. For this reason, I’ve joined forces with a bipartisan group of leaders on the Franklin Project Leadership Council at the Aspen Institute to focus on strengthening a commitment to service here at home beyond the realm of military service. As chair of the project, I have been committed to the mission of making a year of national service a shared experience for all young Americans. We are working to create a system of universal national service that incentivizes and encourages national service, but does not mandate it.”

_ Eli Lake, in his “Waging the Long War in the Passive Voice” column, provides a preview for how the war hawks intend to sell the legal authorization and a twisted “buy in for the Long War by Congress, claiming there’s something in it for both hawks and doves.  The bargain for anti-war doves is that the president will actually go to Congress before waging war this time, thereby restoring some of Congress’ constitutional powers of war. Well, not actually, because he is already waging war in Syria using his Article II powers alone and a shaky interpretation of the 2001 AUMF.

_ Cameron vs. Corbyn. Cameron tries again for proper authorization to take the UK back to the Long War in the Middle East: Jeremy Corbyn demands two-day Commons debate on Syria airstrikes – Politics live

_ “Cameron’s drive to bomb Syria is macho, foolish and must be stopped
— Simon Jenkins

_ That’s interesting. Earlier Germany had announced it would provide troops for support purposes, not combat, to aid the French in Syria. Now Mali too.
Germany on Weds.. said it would send 650 soldiers to Mali to provide some
relief to French forces

_ The Germans are cutting a deal with Turkey to keep the refugees and migrants out of the EU: Turkey to help EU stem migrant crisis for €3bn and membership talks
_ Lindsey Graham says he wants to deploy 80-100K ground forces to invade and occupy parts of Syria using defeat of ISIS as pretext (though he and McCain admit that overthrowing Assad is still an objective). He claims that there are large numbers of professional troops in the region that can make up
most of the ground forces. For nearly five years Graham, McCain and other
NATOcon hawks have been trying to drum up another large invasion to
overthrow governments, destabilize and Balkanize the Middle East,
resurrecting the plans that were derailed by the disastrous war in Iraq. On
the campaign trail he can hardly contain his excitement in his belief that the
Paris attacks have changed everything for his long held ground invasion
plans and also his presidential campaign


Turkey-Syria Border

_ Two columns by Pepe Escobar on Turkey and Russia. “Putin and Hollande go after Erdogan’s racket” and “Why Turkey Stabbed Russia in the Back

_ Retired US Air Force Major General Charles Dunlap, a former Deputy Judge Advocate, says “a 1986 case, the International Court of Justice concluded that a “mere frontier incident” might constitute a breach of the U.N. charter, but did not necessarily trigger the right to use force absent a showing that the attack was of a significant scale and effect.” Therefore President Obama’s assertion that Turkey had a right to shoot down the Russian plane may be wrong and the Russians may have a strong case under international law.

_ Last week’s War Nerd Radio covered the shootdown of the Russian fighter jet and The War Nerd and Mark Ames discuss the incident, the possible reasons why it happened, the groups involved and theregion where it happened. On the Turkish side of the border is the Hatay Province, which was part of Syria until the French, during their colonial rule, handed it over to Turkey, who proceeded to ethnically cleanse the area and who intend to never let it go.  War Nerd provides a handy reference article from 2012, “Cleanse Thy Neighbor”,  as part of the tutorial:

“The French divided Syria up into five separate little tribal homelands: The State of Greater Lebanon, meant as a Christian game preserve; the State of Aleppo, the inland Sunni desert; the State of Alawites, the Shia enclave in the coastal mountains; and the Sanjak of Alexandretta, which just happens to be what is now Turkey’s Hatay Province.”

_ Moon of Alabama has his doubts about Turkey moving troops to their border
(at US urging) for the purpose of closing it to ISIS militants and supply lines. He notes the kind of equipment they’re bringing to the border looks more like the kind that would be use for an offensive operation into Syria, not defensive and also notes the stated goals of Erdogan and his “buffer zone” or “safe zone” or “no-fly zone”. “Will Turkey Close Or Erase Its Border With Syria?“. One of the commenter predicts: “It won’t be a smooth blitzkrieg.”

_ Meanwhile Turkey’s Erdogan is throwing journalists in jail for reporting on weapons making their way over the border into Syria, under layers of antibiotics.

_ Retired Col Wilkerson’s two-part interview on The Real News is well worth watching:


_ Tsipras to Turkish PM Davutoglu. Later deleted on the English account.



_ Ukrainian activist group petitions John McCain to help them push reforms and NATO standards on a Ukraine Navy that is resisting it.

“reforms to adopt the approaches and practices of European Union and
NATO member states in the fields of security and public administration…
Unfortunately, reactionary forces at the Navy are scared of these changes to
such an extent that they have blocked our initiatives and are trying to drown
them in the swamp of bureaucracy. But we continue our struggle, using the
trust that Ukraine’s leadership and the armed forces have in us.”




_ Spokesman is asked whether there will be an independent investigation into
the Kunduz bombing since all of the people involved in the current military
investigation are from the same organization that did the bombing. He says
they are satisfied with the results and the process. Does not directly admit
that US is blocking an independent UN investigation that is ready to conduct

Intelligence Community

_ CIA directors are filled with moral rectitude

Joanne Leon

Joanne Leon

Joanne is a blogger with focus on issues of war and peace, a mom, engineer, software developer and amateur photographer.