T Nation

George H. W. Bush Dies at 94


Have you read any of the autobiographical accounts of their time there?

I have, and it was understood amongst the Hanoi Seven that they would resist until broken, and if they did make any written or spoken statements, it was only as a result of the extreme duress of the torture they undue leading up to it.

“When Hell Was In Session” by Jeremiah Denton will give you some personal insights into the conditions and circumstance surrounding McCains statement. Quick read, but not an easy one.


I’m not against learning new things.

Why are there so many vets who are willing to go on camera and say that he did cooperate? Why is this nasty lie even said if it doesn’t have some truth?


I can’t answer that. Have the service records of the people who made those statements been vetted? A lot of people say a lot of things about Vietnam that weren’t even there.


I’d be more than interested in finding information to the contrary, but I have yet to run across any indications from the men who actually served with McCain that he was anything less than noble while a POW. If nothing else, his refusal to accept freedom when it was offered speaks in support of that narrative. All the stories I’ve run across of McCain as a “songbird” tend to be from a guy who knew a guy who said a guy told him McCain did XY&Z.

For what it’s worth, I have gotten to hear McCain speak several times over the past two years, both at my school and in DC, and he was without a doubt one of the more inspiring speakers I have ever heard. True, way more to a man than how well he talks, but I was impressed.


A despised heretic sect making up only a tenth of the population managed to stay in charge of Syria for over seventy years thanks to some serious murdering (around 4-5k people perished in Hafez’s prisons every year) and more importantly because the people running the murdering were seriously ruthless and very capable operators - Hafez al-Assad and his bro Rifaat.

It was a very close run thing, always on the knife edge, and when someone slightly less capable took over (the ophthalmologist Bashir) Sunnis believed it was time for the reckoning they’ve been waiting for over seventy years.


The birther movement. And who was part of that?


I believe it’s not that hard to find a plethora of statements that society, en masse, would deem vile and vulgar. How is that even a point of contention? The man is proud of stirring the pot

Cheetoh man bad**


I didn’t say all of society.


Every government/country has been brutal at one point or another.

America did it to the Indians, the Japanese the Chinese, the Turks the Armenians and so on.

So the islamists, the Muslim brotherhood tried to consolidate power In Aleppo and the ruling Alawites crushed the resistance.

Would the Muslim brotherhood acted in the same way as ISIS in spreading sharia law and making people convert or pay or die? Egypt did not seem to want any part of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Fair enough.


Yeah, but in the ME you stay on top by force.

I’m disputing the “living in peace before the civil war” part in Syria.


I’m well aware. That’s how Saddam stayed in power. There are too many factors to say “that’s is bad” when there could be worse outcomes if force wasn’t applied. I do admit that horrible atrocities have happened, but I also know that the history and complex nature of the tribal system, and feuds between sects of Islam and tribes is not something I will ever fully understand. When one sect gets power, they slaughter the other. That’s always the case.

The middle east will always be a hotbed of violence. Relative stability is better than total chaos. Stability is about as close to peace as the Middle east will probably ever get.


This is trite and ahistorical. The current state of Southwest Asia was not inevitable. It came about though a series of historical accidents (and not an insignificant degree of Western culpability).

You think present day Shiite-Sunni sectarianism is bad? Look at what Catholics and Protestants did to one another during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Over 8 million died. 20% of Germany’s population perished.

If you had said in 1648, 1815, 1918, or 1945 that war between European states in 2018 would become unimaginable, you’d be seen as hopelessly naive.


The intelligence community made high confidence assessments based on strong evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on a least four occasions:

[August 2013]

[March 2017]


[April 2017]

[April 2018]

The issue with chemical weapons are that they are inherently indiscriminate. In the case of the Syrian Arab Army’s use of these weapons, they are tools of mass punishment and ethnic cleansing intended to psychologically bludgeon the opposition into submission.

Authority? You’d be hard pressed to cite formal or customary international law that supports your position. The Assad regime has lost political legitimacy as a result of its many atrocities. The SAA’s use of chemical weapons was a plain and serious violation of international law. Moreover, it’s clear that it’s in the vital national security interests of the United States to maintain the pariah status of chemical weapons.


Come on, Hitler had the right to kill every Jew in Germany. Who were we to complain about it? (This is sarcasm since betagunner doesn’t understand it)


I just don’t think its reasonable to put 100% faith into an intelligence agency. What happened to all the WMDs in Iraq. Although, there were some, it was not like it was reported.

Wasn’t this widely accepted as being the case? That there were no WMDs worth invading Iraq over?

What reason should we listen this time? I just don’t understand the blind faith. Governments will say anything to further their agenda.

I also believe Assad when he says that there is nothing to gain from using chemical weapons. When he was accused of using them, he was essentially winning the war. Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia were all in on the game. The rebels were being crushed, then all of a sudden, he starts using gas? That doesn’t make strategic sense to me.

Why would you risk some small scale gassing operations when the consequences would mean the international community would respond militarily.


One of the biggest intelligence blunders in US history, but actually not done by US intelligence. The British were the one’s who passed on “curveball’s” intelligence reports, and the US took it at face value. In hindsight, despite the “special relationship” among US and British intelligence services, more vetting was needed before taking the British stance on WMD’s.

One reason I would be inclined to trust intel reports is because of how badly they handled curveball. They got burned, and revamped their workings fairly significantly as a result. Trust but verify became rule rather than guideline. If our intel says it happened, I’d be inclined to believe it. Especially when our reports are corroborating UN reports, OPCW reports, and the public statements of Germany, France, and the UK. If there was no attack, that isn’t just an error, that is a multinational conspiracy theory. Color me skeptical.


I’m a bit confused on why you quoted the international law segment of my post. Let’s assume the Assad regime used chemical weapons. Are you taking the position that this would not be a serious and blatant violation of formal and customary international law?

Your view that “Assad has the authority to do whatever he wants” is simply not grounded in facts. Zecarlo is correct when he ribbed that your position is basically: “Come on, Hitler had the right to kill every Jew in Germany. Who were we to complain about it?” You really have no qualms with the indiscriminate slaughter of non-combatants as long as a government is doing it within the confines of its territory?

Also, you still need to flesh out your callous defense of the use of such weapons in the first place. It’s clear that turning a blind eye toward CW use would have been nothing short of an abdication of the United States position in the world, no matter which prism the event is viewed though. If would have been a policy far out of step with both American values and Realpolitik interests.

I’m not really interested in swatting down conspiracy theories, but your imputation of the expertise, professionalism, and integrity of the men and women of the intelligence community deserves a response.

I don’t think you can make a cogent argument that “The IC was wrong about WMD in Iraq, you can’t trust intelligence on any subsequent issue.” It’s clear from the postmortem of that debacle that the intelligence cycle was fatally compromised by politicization/securitization in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks. The Bush administration had a policy it had already decided upon and cherry picked supporting “intelligence” to fluff its case for war.

Also, there were many reforms in the IC over the following decade largely because of the fallout of both 11 September and the Iraq War. You can be sure as shit the US IC (along with European allies such as France and the UK that provided corroborating intelligence) wasn’t going to provide a high confidence assessment on chemical weapons use unless it had strong evidence.

In addition, it isn’t the role of intelligence to formulate policy. Intelligence reduces the bounds of uncertainty regarding the capabilities and intentions of foreign actors so policy makers can, well, make policy. The IC is apolitical. It collects and analyzes intelligence and conducts covert action in accordance with US policy. It isn’t a political entity beholden to the whims of the party in power.

The signal intelligence intercepts between Syrian brass and the unit responsible for launching the weapons is pretty damning, along with the plethora of additional evidence.

There is indeed a military logic behind Assad’s use of chemical weapons. It fits well within the regime’s enemy centric approach to counter insurgency.




I know we tend to disagree quite a bit, but it’s good to see you posting again.


I never said I was the moral compass
of the United States. I don’t feel the need to defend myself on the use of CW, that’s just my personal belief. Don’t care about “international law”. CW are nasty horrible weapons. Killing is killing.

You won’t change my mind by restating that it’s against “American Values”.

You can have your opinion on whether the use of CW is right or wrong. Does not affect me.

Like I said before, governments will say whatever they want to further an agenda. Just like your example of bush, cherry picking information to suit his needs. How is that any different than this? Because more than 1 country said so? Still skeptical.

I’m not so willing to just blindly trust what a government or government official says.


Is there something anyone could say that would convince you short of a public admittal?