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The "A" Word That Terrifies Washington

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Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has declared that there will be a thorough investigation of the recent US destruction of a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 22, including 12 of the medical staff, with more than thirty still missing in the rubble. The hospital, run by Geneva-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), had informed the US headed international military force of both its location and its activities in order to avoid becoming a target for either side in fighting around Kunduz but that apparently was not enough. The US military command in Afghanistan approved the bombing, which reportedly included multiple attacks from a C-130 gunship and lasted over half an hour, though there is some confusion over what constituted the “threat” that was being responded to, MSF claiming that there were no Taliban militants anywhere near their building either using it for shelter or as a firing point. Both MSF and some senior United Nations officials regard the attack as a war crime. President Barack Obama uncharacteristically apologized for a “mistake” though he took pains not to blame the US military.

Ashton might be a brilliant physicist but he has never been a soldier in spite of his long service in the Department of Defense. I don’t doubt his good intentions when it comes to declaring United States government willingness to let the chips fall where they may but he has no idea what he is up against. The uniformed military will stonewall, run circles around him and work hard to construct a narrative that ultimately blames no one but the Afghans for what happened. In the unlikely event that they fail in that, a soldier at the low end of the process will be punished with a slap on the wrist to demonstrate that military justice works while pari passu protecting the senior commanders. And the report will not even appear until long after Kunduz is forgotten. At that point Congress and the White House will have no stomach for going after our valiant warriors so the buck will ultimately stop with a toothless report that accomplishes nothing at all.

The Secretary of Defense, who reportedly had a dual major at Yale that included medieval history, might well consider the historical precedents for his initiating an investigation. He should appreciate above all that the “A” word that must never be spoken inside the United States government is “accountability,” which is by design as the government must never be made to look bad. Without demanding accountability even meticulous investigations into possible war crimes have no meaning and are literally not worth the paper they are written on.
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Syria Quagmire? Copyright Tyranny. Weird Politics. Around the World With Lew Rockwell

Why is the US trying to destroy Syria, the bulwark against jihadists and protector of the Middle East's Christians? Because, says Lew Rockwell in today's Liberty Report, like all empires the US pursues a divide and conquer strategy. More on Lew's take on Syria events as well as a look at the GOP presidential race thus far in today's Liberty Report...
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Global Freedom Index: We're Number 20!

The Cato Institute and partners have released a new survey of global economic and civic freedom. The results are not too good for those who adhere to the philosophy of American Exceptionalism: the US is not even in the top 10 when it comes to economic and personal freedom. Despite the many problems with indexes of this kind -- we cannot agree with many of the criteria and others are skewed in one or another direction -- it is healthy to pause and look at our own deficiencies. Today's Ron Paul Liberty Report does just that...
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Politicians Exploit School Shooting While Ignoring Bombing Victims

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Following the recent Oregon school shooting, many politicians rushed to the microphones to call for new gun control laws. President Obama even called on gun control supporters to “politicize” the shooting, while some members of Congress worked to establish a special commission on gun violence.

The reaction to the shooting stands in stark contrast to the reaction to the US military’s bombing of an Afghanistan hospital run by the international humanitarian (and Nobel Peace Prize winning) group Doctors Without Borders.
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Two Minutes of Hate For Belarus

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With Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko elected to a fifth term in office on Sunday, the ritual western hate-fest against the former Soviet Republic shifts into high gear. 

The regular march of western journalists to Minsk to report on "Europe's last dictatorship," has already begun, with Buzzfeed's Max Seddon being neither the first nor the last. But like the others, he ticks all the right boxes that keep him in a rare paid journalism job these days.

In Buzzfeed's foray into foreign reporting, Seddon acknowledges that Lukashenko has the support of the majority of the population (in a democracy that translates to election victory), while absurdly asserting that, "experts say he is likely to continue falsifying the results anyway."

Who are these "experts"? Well, they are the US-backed NGOs, of course! Seddon cites Dzyanis Melyantsou at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (located in Lithuania) who asserts that falsifying election results are just a game for Belarus. If the leader of Kazakhstan gets 80 percent, Lukashenko must falsify to get 85% just to one-up his fellow dictator, says Melyantsou.
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A Decisive Shift In The Power Balance Has Occurred

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The world is beginning to realize that a sea-change in world affairs occurred on September 28 when President Putin of Russia stated in his UN speech that Russia can no longer tolerate Washington’s vicious, stupid, and failed policies that have unleashed chaos, which is engulfing the Middle East and now Europe. Two days later, Russia took over the military situation in Syria and began the destruction of the Islamic State forces.

Perhaps among Obama’s advisors there are a few who are not drowning in hubris and can understand this sea-change. Sputnik news reports that some high-level security advisors to Obama have advised him to withdraw US military forces from Syria and give up his plan to overthrow Assad. They advised Obama to cooperate with Russia in order to stop the refugee flow that is overwhelming Washington’s vassals in Europe. The influx of unwanted peoples is making Europeans aware of the high cost of enabling US foreign policy. Advisors have told Obama that the idiocy of the neoconservatives’ policies threaten Washington’s empire in Europe.

Several commentators, such as Mike Whitney and Stephen Lendman, have concluded, correctly, that there is nothing that Washington can do about Russian actions against the Islamic State. The neoconservatives’ plan for a UN no-fly zone over Syria in order to push out the Russians is a pipe-dream. No such resolution will come out of the UN. Indeed, the Russians have already established a de facto no-fly zone.
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The Mystery of ISIS’ Toyota Army Solved

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The US Treasury has recently opened an inquiry about the so-called “Islamic State’s” (ISIS/ISIL) use of large numbers of brand-new Toyota trucks. The issue has arisen in the wake of Russia’s air operations over Syria and growing global suspicion that the US itself has played a key role in arming, funding, and intentionally perpetuating the terrorist army across Syria and Iraq.

ABC News in their article, “US Officials Ask How ISIS Got So Many Toyota Trucks,” reports:
US counter-terror officials have asked Toyota, the world’s second largest auto maker, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota pick-up trucks and SUVs seen prominently in the terror group’s propaganda videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya, ABC News has learned. 

Toyota says it does not know how ISIS obtained the vehicles and is “supporting” the inquiry led by the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department — part of a broad US effort to prevent Western-made goods from ending up in the hands of the terror group.
The report went on to cite Iraqi Ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily:
“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” Faily said. “How could these brand new trucks… these four wheel drives, hundreds of them — where are they coming from?”
Not surprisingly, it appears the US Treasury is asking the wrong party. Instead of Toyota, the US Treasury’s inquiry should have started next door at the US State Department.
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The Impulsiveness of US Power

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Washington’s impulsive use of power is a danger to America and to the world. Arrogant Washington politicians and crazed neoconservatives are screaming that the US must shoot down Russian aircraft that are operating against the US-supplied forces that have brought death and destruction to Syria, unleashing millions of refugees on Europe, in Washington’s effort to overthrow the Syrian government.

Even my former CSIS colleague, Zbigniew Brzezinski, normally a sensible if sometimes misguided person, has written in the Financial Times that Washington should deliver an ultimatum to Russia to “cease and desist from military actions that directly affect American assets.” By “American assets,” Brzezinski means the jihadist forces that Washington has sicced on Syria. 

Brzezinski’s claim that “Russia must work with, not against, the US in Syria” is false. The fact of the matter is that “the US must work with, not against Russia in Syria,” as Russia controls the situation, is in accordance with international law, and is doing the right thing.
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Neocons Demand Escalation in Syria

The neocons -- and their left-interventionist allies -- have been planning regime change in Syria since at least 2006. Last week's launch of Russian military strikes on ISIS and al-Qaeda at the request of the Syrian government has very quickly changed their plans. Now they are pushing President Obama to escalate, including directly against the Russians! Today's Liberty Report looks at the increasingly dangerous situation and takes apart some of the media lies...
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Syria Intervention is a Mistake: US Can't Run Entire Middle East

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The same people that got us into a very unnecessary war in Iraq are now clamoring for military action in Syria.

These same people that have opposed us getting out of Afghanistan, even though our troops have been there more than three times longer than World War II, now demand action in Syria.

These same people seem to want us to be at war in almost every country in the Middle East even though things are worse now than when we started fighting there many years ago.

Surely we have learned a very costly lesson after spending trillions of US taxpayer dollars and losing thousands of American lives that we cannot run the Middle East.
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