• What is Missing from the Memo 51 U.S. Diplomats Signed Urging Strikes Against Assad in Syria

    June 20, 2016

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    Posted in: Embassy/State, Military, Syria

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    Despite over 400,000 dead and ongoing ground and air campaigns inside the country by the U.S., Russia and several others, 51 U.S. diplomats are publicly demanding the Obama administration launch strikes directly against Bashir Assad in Syria.


    Quick Summary:

    The Assad family has ruled Syria since the 1970s with an iron hand, employing secret police and other standard dictator tricks to suppress dissent. Things got so cozy between Syria and the U.S. that in the early days of the war on terror the CIA was sending “suspects” to Syria for some outsourced torture, as nobody can run a secret prison better than Arabs.

    Papa Assad passed away and his son Bashir assumed the presidency in 2000. Some ten years later Assad did the same thing most Arab dictators did, including U.S. allies like Egypt, and ordered crackdowns on Arab Spring protesters. The U.S. then decided in an on-again, off-again fashion to “remove” Assad. When no one in the U.S. really liked the sound of that following the disastrous regime changes in Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the U.S. attacked Syria anyway in the name of smiting Islamic State [ISIS]. Assad, whatever else he is and he is no doubt a real bastard, is also at war with ISIS. Some 400,000 Syrians have died so far in the civil war.

    And there’s a photo above of Secretary of State and Bashir Assad hanging out in better days. Times change, man.

    A Memo

    With that as background, 51 mid-level American diplomats took the brave stand of writing a memo (technically known as using the State Department dissent channel.) The memo was promptly leaked to the press.

    Oh, a memo calling for more war written by people who wear suits and ties to work (technically known as chickenhawks.)

    The memo says American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of standoff and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”

    Regime Change

    Robert Ford, former ambassador to Syria, said, “Many people working on Syria for the State Department have long urged a tougher policy with the Assad government as a means of facilitating arrival at a negotiated political deal to set up a new Syrian government.”

    Regime change. Bloody change, as it seems odd to imagine Assad would negotiate his own ouster.

    What the Memo Left Out

    The dissent memo makes no suggestions, actually no mention at all, about who would succeed Assad, or how this regime change would be any different than the failed tries in Iraq, Libya or Yemen, or how ISIS, who also seeks the end of the Assad regime through violence, would not be further empowered, or how the U.S. would get away with airstrikes given the overt Russian support for the Assad regime. Everyone except for those brave memo-ists has seen this movie before.

    Also missing from the memo are any notes on what if any military service the 51 signatories have amongst them, or why this call for more blood comes from the State Department and not from the military, whose commanders have raised questions about what would happen in the event that Assad was forced from power. Their questions are likely motivated by the fact that they would be asked to risk their lives to clean the mess.

    Finally, no one seems to remember anymore why “we” need to “take out” Assad. He is no doubt a terrible person who kills to protect his power. But leaders like that are not in short supply across the Middle East, in Africa and places like North Korea. It seems a more specific rationale, tied directly to some clear U.S. strategic interest, is needed (remember, Assad is fighting ISIS and has never sought to export terror to the U.S.) Assad also enjoys support inside his country by some minority, who will not go away quietly if he is changed out. See what happened to the Baathists in Iraq, who organized some of the first resistance to the U.S., and went on to help staff up ISIS.



    That said, it sure is a nicely-typed memo. Luckily no one in Washington pays much attention anymore to the State Department. So, State, go back to what you do best: hiding emails, and leave this stuff to the adults.



    BONUS: Funny thing about that “dissent” memo. It seems that the dissent expressed in fact parallels the feelings of Secretary of State John Kerry, and possible next-president Hillary Clinton, that the U.S. should attack Assad directly. Leave it to State t find a way to change dissent into ass kissing.




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  • Recent Comments

    • Bruce said...

      1

      Simply Juan More $erial Poppy Bush PNAC Attack!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw
      Then, it’s 0n To TEHRAN, and let’s win there!!
      GENOCIDAL !!!

      06/20/16 9:53 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      2

      “Leave it to State to find a way to change dissent into ass kissing.”

      1. Ass kissing is a requirement for promotion in the State Department, especially the Foreign Service where everybody is above average.

      2. The ability to think independently in the State Department is frowned upon and considered a career killer.

      3. I assume most of these clowns are FS. They can fuck up all they want and then leave the mess to their replacements.

      06/20/16 10:07 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...

      3

      Is Aug. 1 some sort of red line deadline? Just in time for media blitz before Nov. Tuesday? Go Killery! “We came we saw, he died” Cackle…

      06/20/16 11:35 AM | Comment Link

    • Liz said...

      4

      Curious, Peter, what would you do about Syria? It’s horribly tragic and sick, and I can’t find a solution.

      06/20/16 12:00 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      5

      I would do nothing. No one has explained the strategic value of Syria to the national security of the U.S. I don’t know why this is our fight and we should back out of it. And no free pass for some generic terrorism thing; Syria never exported terror to the U.S.

      Assad is a bad, bad guy, but we never seemed to notice that for the first ten years he was in power and besides, there are plenty of bad, bad actors out there we ignore and or support.

      06/20/16 12:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      6

      Thank you for the excellent point –zero recommendations other than military options by people most likely appointed to the Syria portfolios thanks to connections or working at a lobby group.

      Any news how many of these ‘experts’ speak Arabic? Ever been to Syria prior to the war?

      I have heard the cowards left their name off the cable. THeir leaving their names off reinforces that yes, retaliation exists — in spite of the laws.

      Some true dissenters have put their names on the documents for the record and either have been to Iraq and Afghanistan, or tried to go and were stopped because of their whistle blowing activity

      06/20/16 12:02 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      7

      I understand the names are on the original document, but left off of the leaked version.

      06/20/16 12:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      8

      Not anyone gets to work on the Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan desks either. Those specific portfolios are not fairly competed as far as an open job process is supposed to go. The Iran office used to almost entirely be staffed by recruitees from AIPAC

      06/20/16 12:04 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      9

      This just in: Donald Trump will offer an ambassadorship to the first FS officer who will rat out these nameless chickenhawks.

      06/20/16 1:04 PM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...

      10

      WMW,
      i have a generalstion that nobody has ever answered , and i’ve asked it frequently.
      what military manual or government document desribes or quantifies the term-take him out.
      isn’t this actually a mob cocept of operating?
      jim hruska aka rangeragainstwar

      06/20/16 1:05 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      11

      “prison better than Arabs”

      The Syrians are not arabs.

      Yes they did some really bad work for the cia. Then after 9/11 they handed over a list of all known cells in Europe to the former cia station chief for the middle east who sent it to his former co-workers in Europe before handing over to bush and company.

      06/20/16 1:34 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      12

      Most people – those who actually do something for a living – are interested in regime change too ….at home.

      06/20/16 1:43 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      13

      I believe there is a pipeline at stake. al Assad and the Russians have been working on this for years. It will supply the EU, who are allowing themselves to be used like rented mules and who have to support millions of refugees from our created hellzones, to boot. And the Obama doctrine calls for the military support of “America’s financial interests”; all of Obama’s (annual? bi-annual?) strategic military policy statements read that way. “Furthering our financial interests” is openly considered legitimate reason to invade or create chaos in any other country, unlike in the days of yore, when we only [officially] condoned self-defense as a excuse to use the military.

      Pretty sad when the State Dept can’t recognize that war is the final, dismal failure of diplomacy and isn’t supposed to be the first thing a diplomat would suggest.

      I find it significant that Congress wants women (American-born and resident aliens) to sign up for the draft; these fuckers have something in mind. And it sure isn’t creating domestic peace-time jobs, cutting back the military budget, or doing anything about wage disparity.

      BTW, Peter, aren’t you glad you got out before Victoria Nuland becomes the SoS?

      06/20/16 2:56 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      14

      Apropos of nothing, I just read that when asked, Clinton said she would not suspend the activities of the Clinton Foundation while in office (should she win, which she assumes she will). She does promise, however, that there will more “transparency”. Imagine the coin to be made while she is actually in office; going to make what they’ve taken in bribes so far look like petty cash.

      Heh, heh. Well, why not? None of these assholes care if anyone knows what they are doing any more. They know there’s nothing we can do about it.

      I’m just waiting to hear how much she is going to charge the realm for her State of the Union speeches.

      06/20/16 3:14 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      15

      Dear Jim – I think the term is ‘pre-emptive strike’ which we borrowed from the Israelis and lawyers during the Cheney-Bush administration claimed in their distorted legalese-ish fashion it would be held as a ‘legitimate’ basis for wiping out people without trial and on the basis of non-triangulated and proven as well as often secret information to be passed of as evidence until public embarassment occurs and in that case blood money would be paid and kept from the public

      06/20/16 4:28 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      16

      clarifiation : non-triangulated NOR proven ….

      06/20/16 4:28 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      17

      Teri:”Pretty sad when the State Dept can’t recognize that war is the final, dismal failure of diplomacy and isn’t supposed to be the first thing a diplomat would suggest…”

      Your first line is why – a pipeline IS at stake and a good number of those usually appointed (sorry, openly competed a la USA jobs process, wink-wink and other strange appointment processes) are lobbyists or from ‘think tanks’ that do not seem to do much thinking but plenty of foreign policy-tanking

      06/20/16 4:31 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      18

      Trump: I have a list of names of 51 Saudi-9-11 terrorist sympathizers in the State Department.

      06/21/16 9:49 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      19

      What’s missing from this State’s “Dissent” telegram is what’s missing from most State telegrams: intelligence.

      This “Dissent” neo-conartist telegram is the quintessential “Blood” telegram, in that it would only result in more crypts.

      Nice touch ’51, waiting for Hillarious to be crowned before leaking it and putting your careers on the line. Would have had more respect for these chickenhawks if they leaked it a year ago. Obama would have sent them all to work in the State cafeteria. Wonder if these chickenhawks would have sent the Dissent cable if Bernie Sanders was beating her Highness Hillarious. Right.

      06/21/16 4:00 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      20

      Reportedly, over 100 DS agents wrote a DISSENT memo indicting Hillarious Clinton for her unrelenting stupidity using her personal server for handling CLASSIFIED information:

      “We are State Department officers who have been involved in the U.S. government’s response to the protect the national security of this country in varying capacities over the past ten years. Despite the Secretary’s efforts to risk that security by her incompetence in using available computer technology and in effort to hide her activities from IT managers and FOIA requests, we believe that achieving our objectives will continue to elude us if we do not include the use of legal action to an option to enforce the Cessation of VIOLATION OF NATIONAL SECURITY and compel the SECSTATE to abide by its terms, as well as to negotiate a political solution for her resignation in good faith.”

      06/22/16 12:55 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      21

      In response to the DS memo, President Obama had decisively ruled out such legal action, in part out of concern for the popular support for Clinton’s campaign for president and the threat of a Donald Trump White House. But after getting stabbed in the back by the Syria State Dissent memo, which had the fingerprints of Clinton and her whores, Obama has given the DOJ the greenlight to expand its prosecution of the War Witch.

      Two can play the Washington War Playbook.

      06/22/16 1:03 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...

      22

      Relax, It’s WORSE than you thought:

      (AP) — State Department staffers wrestled for weeks in December 2010 over a serious technical problem that affected emails from then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s home email server, causing them to temporarily disable security features on the government’s own systems, according to emails released Wednesday.

      The emails were released under court order Wednesday to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, which has sued the State Department over access to public records related to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s service as the nation’s top diplomat between 2009 and 2013.

      The emails, reviewed by The Associated Press, show that State Department technical staff disabled software on their systems intended to block phishing emails that could deliver dangerous viruses. They were trying urgently to resolve delivery problems with emails sent from Clinton’s private server.

      06/23/16 8:50 AM | Comment Link

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