By Staff of Consurtium News – We issued our first Memorandum for the President on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell’s ill-begotten speech at the United Nations. Addressing President Bush, we closed with these words: No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is “irrefutable” or “undeniable” [adjectives Powell applied to his charges against Saddam Hussein]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.
By Adam Johnson for FAIR – Of the top 100 US newspapers, 47 ran editorials on President Donald Trump’s Syria airstrikes last week: 39 in favor, seven ambiguous and only one opposed to the military attack. In other words, 83 percent of editorials on the Syria attack supported Trump’s bombing, 15 percent took an ambivalent position and 2 percent said the attack shouldn’t have happened. Polls showed the US public being much more split: Gallup (4/7–8/17) and ABC/Washington Post (4/7–9/17) each had 51 percent supporting the airstrikes and 40 percent opposed, while CBS (4/7–9/17) found 57 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed. A list of the editorials with quotes showing support or opposition can be seen here.
By John Wight for Sputnik News – Two competing narratives on the same event and therefore grounds for an independent UN-led investigation in order to ascertain which one is accurate and which is false. Russia has called for such an investigation, as have the Iranians, yet in Washington those calls have been contemptuously dismissed, swept aside in service to a rush to judgement and, with it, a hail of tomahawk missiles. It is a rush to judgement that invites the question: what are the Americans afraid of? Is this a repeat of the UN investigation into whether Saddam possessed WMD back in 2003, when Hans Blix and his investigation team were precipitately withdrawn from Iraq at the point at which it had become obvious they were about to confirm that Iraq did not have any WMD…
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – Amidst growing calls for greater military action in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack, the United States military launched more than fifty Tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat airfield near Homs. Democrats along with neoconservatives, who long pushed for U.S. military forces to topple President Bashar al Assad’s regime, advocated for military force in response to alleged chemical attack. Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called for strikes on airfields in Syria. “Assad had an air force and that air force is the cause of most of the civilian deaths as we’ve seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days.” “I really believe we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them,” Clinton added.
By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes – The publication called Business Insider is carrying a story promoting a US first-strike attack on North Korea. The article includes a quote from the Wall Street Journal that reads, “An internal White House review of strategy on North Korea includes the possibility of military force or regime change to blunt the country’s nuclear-weapons threat, people familiar with the process said, a prospect that has some U.S. allies in the region on edge.” The BI article also states: Military action against North Korea wouldn’t be pretty. Some number of civilians in South Korea, possibly Japan, and US forces stationed in the Pacific would be likely to die in the undertaking no matter how smoothly things went.
By Andrew deGrandpre and Shawn Snow for Military Times – In 2016 alone, U.S. combat aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded as part of an open-source database maintained by the U.S. Air Force, information relied on by Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups to assess each war’s expense, manpower requirements and human toll. Those airstrikes were carried out by attack helicopters and armed drones operated by the U.S. Army, metrics quietly excluded from otherwise comprehensive monthly summaries, published online for years, detailing American military activity in all three theaters.
By David Brown for World Socialist Web Site – According to leaked documents, the Obama administration’s use of metadata to identify and target terrorists in Pakistan would misidentify over 99,000 innocent people. The SKYNET program, named after the antagonist in the Terminator movie series, is used to examine the cellular network metadata of over 55 million people in Pakistan and flag suspicious patterns to target for “counter-terrorism” operations like kidnapping, interrogation or drone assassination.
By Jack Serle, Abigail Fielding-Smith and Payenda Sargand for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism – The rate at which civilians are being killed by US airstrikes in Afghanistan is at its highest point since 2008, an analysis of newly published UN data reveals. Research by the Bureau shows that on average a civilian was killed every fourth drone or jet strike in 2015 – up from one in 11 attacks the year before and the first time the casualty rate has risen since 2011. The rate was last at such levels at the height of the Afghan war in 2008.
CENTCOM confirms 9 strikes against ISIS near the Mosul Dam. This is far beyond the limits Obama set. There are no U.S. personnel or interests in needing protection in Mosul or Erbil. ISIS hasn’t threatened U.S. interests. Baghdad, where the Embassy has ,personnel is and our interests lie, is 100 miles away. This is a bait and switch, as we all suspected it would be. Obama authorized air strikes to save the Yazidis. He said further strikes would be allowed to protect American interests and personnel. Beginning last night at 6 pm, U.S. warplanes struck ISIS in Mosul, in an effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. The Kurds have reportedly retaken the East side of the dam. “Kurdish peshmerga, with US air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam” complex, Major General Abdelrahman Korini told AFP, saying several jihadists had been killed.
As America goes back to war in Iraq with airstrikes, here’s what to know and do instead: – This is a slippery slope if those words have any meaning left. Airstrikes are in part to protect American advisors sent earlier to Erbil to support Kurds there because Iraqi central government won’t. The U.S. is assuming the role of the de facto Iraqi Air Force. What happens next week, next crisis, next “genocide?” Tell me how that ends. – Understand how deep the U.S. is already in. It is highly likely that U.S. Special Forces are active on the ground, conducting reconnaissance missions and laser-designating targets for circling U.S. aircraft. If U.S. planes are overhead, U.S. search and rescue assets are not far away, perhaps in desert forward operating positions. This is how bigger wars begin. Go Google “Vietnam War,” say starting about 1963. – The U.S. media is playing the meme that the U.S. is worried about Christian minority in Iraq, as a way to engorge the American people with blood. But the media fails to note that over half of Iraq’s Christians were killed or fled during the U.S. occupation.