Tulsi Gabbard Gets Some Vindication – Truthdig – Scott Ritter

August 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

In the aftermath of the second Democratic primary debate on July 31, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard emerged as the most Googled of all candidates, an indication that her performance (which included a stunning takedown of California Sen. Kamala Harris over her criminal justice record) attracted the attention of many viewers. This heightened level of attention produced blowback, both from Harris, who dismissed Gabbard as “an Assad apologist” (a reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad), and from the mainstream media, typified by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who alleged that Gabbard—a major in the Hawaiian National Guard, with two tours of duty in the Middle East under her belt—is taking the side of Assad over the U.S. intelligence community and U.N. inspectors when it comes to assigning blame for chemical weapons attacks against Syrian civilians.

“What you are referring to are [sic] cynicism as skepticism that I have expressed, because I’ve served in a war that was caused by people who lied to us, who lied to the American people, who presented false evidence that members of Congress and U.S. senators believed and voted for a war that resulted in the loss of lives of over 4,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniform,” Gabbard replied to Cuomo. “It’s our responsibility as lawmakers and as leaders in this country to make sure that our U.S. military is not being activated and deployed to go to war unless we are certain a) that it serves the best interests of the American people; and b) that that action will actually have a positive impact. The questions I’m raising are based on this experience that I’ve had.”

Source: Tulsi Gabbard Gets Some Vindication

Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

August 12, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Kamala Harris and the other Democratic candidates would do well to take note of the following reality—if the U.S. goes to war in Syria, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere, Tulsi alone among her colleagues could be called upon to serve on the front line. 

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take note.

Source: Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus  | The American Conservative

A Nuclear Weapons Treaty Died Today | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

August 5, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, August 2, more than 31 years of history comes to an end, as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty officially expires.

For many, its death is little more than the passing of an antiquated agreement whose time long ago passed. The landmark arms control treaty broke new ground when it was signed in December 1987, eliminating two classes of nuclear missiles and engendering stability in Europe. It also put the U.S. and the Soviet Union on the path towards larger and more meaningful cuts in their respective strategic nuclear arsenals. 

The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 and the emergence of a weakened Russia struggling with a shattered economy and political uncertainty brought an end to the sense of urgency over arms reductions. And decades later, confronted by a resurgent Russia accused of violating the restrictions imposed by the treaty, as well as the nuclear arsenals of China, Pakistan, and others never subjected to constraints, what had been a foundational agreement became little more than a legal impediment to U.S. security interests. So when President Trump announced that he would be withdrawing from the INF Treaty in October 2018, few understood the implications of his decision. 

Source: A Nuclear Weapons Treaty Died Today | The American Conservative

Did Trump Just Threaten to Attack Iran With Nukes? | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

July 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

On Monday during a press conference between Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump spoke rather casually of having reviewed plans to annihilate Afghanistan.

“I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump said. “I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth, it would be gone. It would be over in, literally, in 10 days. And I don’t want to go that route.”

Source: Did Trump Just Threaten to Attack Iran With Nukes? | The American Conservative

Strait of Hormuz: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

July 15, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

For the next 60 days, the 90-mile length of waterway known as the Strait of Hormuz will be the most dangerous place on Earth, with the prospects for an incident occurring which will trigger a regional conflict possessing global ramifications high. Following this 60-day period, the risks will only grow higher.

On July 1, Iran announced that it was exceeding some of the uranium enrichment restrictions put in place by the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA (better known as the Iran nuclear agreement), which the U.S. withdrew from a year ago.

The decision to blow through the restriction were a response to Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign to to negotiate a new deal. This campaign has included the resumption of crippling economic sanctions, including the implementation of so-called “secondary sanctions” which target nations and companies that do business with Iran in violation of the embargoes.

Source: Strait of Hormuz: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth | The American Conservative

20 Steps in the Right Direction – Scott Ritter

July 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

On Thursday, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, will meet in Berlin with Lee Do-hoon, South Korea’s special representative on peace and security, and other representatives from the European Union to “advance our shared efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea” according to a State Department press release.

The Berlin meeting, which will occur in advance of the anticipated resumption of direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea later this month, represents an important preliminary step forward in rebuilding consensus on denuclearization. It follows the collapse of a round of talks in Hanoi during the February 2019 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Premier Kim Jong Un.

The Hanoi talks faltered over North Korean objections to the U.S.’s hardline position regarding the pace of denuclearization, and the U.S.’s refusal to consider easing sanctions linked to North Korea’s nuclear program prior to the complete, verified elimination of the North’s nuclear weapons program. North Korea accused the U.S. of negotiating in bad faith and put President Trump on notice that it would no longer work with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or national security adviser John Bolton. Moreover, it gave the U.S. until the end of the year to resolve the composition of its negotiating team and the substance of its negotiating position.

Source: 20 Steps in the Right Direction

Red Line for War? Iran Blows Through Enrichment Limits | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

July 3, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced this week that Iran has exceeded the amount of low-enriched uranium permitted under the nuclear agreement—the one President Donald Trump withdrew from, but which our coalition partners are committed to keeping.

While Iran defends its actions by noting it is simply responding in kind to the decision by the United States to abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-impose economic sanctions, the fact is Iran’s enrichment gambit now puts it on a clear collision course with the Trump administration. 

If Iran does not return to compliance, then there is a real possibility that the United States will launch military strikes against Iran’s principle nuclear facility in Natanz, thereby triggering an Iranian response which could propel the two nations into a major military conflict by month’s end. News reports over the weekend indicated that the United States has already launched cyber-attacks against the facility but Iranian officials claim they were unsuccessful, 

Source: Red Line for War? Iran Blows Through Enrichment Limits | The American Conservative

How ‘Reset’ Man McFaul Helped Torpedo U.S.-Russia Relations | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

May 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the key players in this interference was Michael McFaul, a Stanford professor who, while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, oversaw a policy of engagement with Moscow on behalf of the Obama administration and, when that policy failed, facilitated U.S. interference in the 2012 Russian Presidential election in an effort to keep Vladimir Putin out of office.

McFaul’s “reset” policy was intended to reassert American influence into the Russian body politic in a post-Putin Russia. As such, when Putin announced in 2011 that he would again run for president, McFaul’s “reset” policy collapsed. Under the “reset,” the Obama administration, at McFaul’s urging, provided funding through the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the NED, NDI, and other non-governmental organizations to Russian civil groups that had coalesced into a political opposition to Putin’s 2012 presidential ambition. McFaul also encouraged Secretary of State Clinton to speak out in support of the Russian opposition.

Source: How ‘Reset’ Man McFaul Helped Torpedo U.S.-Russia Relations | The American Conservative

Is America Ready for John Bolton’s War With Iran? – The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

May 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

National Security Advisor John Bolton’s announcement this week that the U.S. is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region seemed perfectly framed to put America on a war footing with Iran. And it is.

Claiming that the decision was made in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” Bolton declared that “the United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime.” But, he added, “we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

It took the Defense Department a full day to respond to Bolton’s statement, with acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan finally tweeting that the “announced deployment of the @CVN_72 and a @USAirForce bomber task force to the @CENTCOM area of responsibility…represents a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces.”

Source: Is America Ready for John Bolton’s War With Iran? | The American Conservative

What if Iran Retaliates and Shuts Down the Strait of Hormuz? | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

May 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The effort on the part of the Trump administration to shut down Iran’s ability to export oil is predicated on the false notion that the rest of the world will fall in lockstep with U.S. policy. But has President Donald Trump really thought through what would happen to the economic health of the world if Iran retaliates, shutting the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil flows daily?

The Trump administration’s push to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero has entered a new, critical phase, with the United States refusing to extend the waivers it granted six months ago to eight nations, including China, India, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, to purchase Iranian oil. Moreover, the United States has refused to allow for a “wind-down” period where impacted nations would be able to gradually wean themselves away from Iranian sources of energy. This means that, effective May 1, any nation purchasing oil from Iran will be subjected to punitive U.S. sanctions.

Source: What if Iran Retaliates and Shuts Down the Strait of Hormuz? | The American Conservative

America Just Declared War on Iran and Nobody Blinked | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

April 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

It is no longer a question of if Americans will die in a conflict with Iran, but when.

The United States has long been engaged in a secret shadow war with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), dating back to the American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

This conflict took the lives of hundreds of American troops and hundreds more IRGC members. The Iranian opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the inability of the U.S. to militarily defeat Iranian forces inside Iraq, was just one reason that the Obama administration decided to withdraw American troops in 2011.

Source: America Just Declared War on Iran and Nobody Blinked | The American Conservative

Ari Fleischer Lied, and People Died | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

March 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Ari Fleischer, the former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush, ignited a firestorm of controversy Wednesday when, while commenting on the 16th  anniversary of the U.S invasion of Iraq, he sought to defend the reputation of his boss when it came to the veracity of the claims about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that underpinned President Bush’s case for war.

“The Iraq war began sixteen years ago tomorrow,” Fleischer tweeted on March 19. “There is a myth about the war that I have been meaning to set straight for years. After no WMDs were found, the left claimed ‘Bush lied. People died.’ This accusation itself is a lie. It’s time to put it to rest.”

Fleischer goes on to declare that “The fact is that President Bush (and I as press secretary) faithfully and accurately reported to the public what the intelligence community concluded,” before noting that “The CIA, along with the intelligence services of Egypt, France, Israel and others concluded that Saddam had WMD. We all turned out to be wrong. That is very different from lying.”

Source: Ari Fleischer Lied, and People Died | The American Conservative

How Politics Trump Intel in the US-Russia Nuke Treaty Pullout | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

February 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States has a track record of asking nations to prove a negative when it comes to compliance with arms control agreements, and then holding them to account when they fail to do so. The deficit of integrity over U.S. claims against Iraq regarding weapons of mass destruction and Iran and its nuclear program speaks volumes about how corrupt America’s policy making apparatus has become. Now the United States is making the same mistake again by pulling out of the INF Treaty, which it claims Russia violated.

“A high degree of confidence is required before the United States will publicly charge another party with violation of an international agreement.” Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Thomas Graham, Jr. delivered those remarks during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 1994. At that time, the ACDA served as the lead agency regarding arms control compliance. The intelligence community supported the ACDA’s mission of making firm compliance judgments by providing the necessary intelligence information and analysis.

Source: How Politics Trump Intel in the US-Russia Nuke Treaty Pullout | The American Conservative

Trump is Right: The Intelligence Community Needs to ‘Go Back to School’ | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

February 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier this week, the collective leadership of the United States intelligence community briefed Congress on the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report. In doing so, they provided testimony that seemed to contradict virtually every aspect of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, including the decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, the threat posed by Iran, North Korean denuclearization, and improving relations with Russia.

The president, in typical fashion, lashed out, criticizing the intelligence community’s collective analysis, which predictably elicited criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. They accused him of undermining public confidence in the pronouncements of the intelligence agencies and damaging national security.

In this case, Trump is right and his detractors are wrong.

Source: Trump is Right: The Intelligence Community Needs to ‘Go Back to School’ | The American Conservative

Make No Mistake: ISIS Needs the U.S. to Survive | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

January 20, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over,” James Mattis, the former Marine Corps General and recently resigned secretary of state, is quoted as saying. “We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” Mattis’s statement was made in 2012, well before President Donald Trump, in a surprise announcement on December 19, declared victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president wrote. He later expanded on that sentiment in a video message, posted on Twitter. “Our boys, our young men and women, are coming home now,” Trump noted. “We won.”

Source: Make No Mistake: ISIS Needs the U.S. to Survive | The American Conservative

Who Says Economic Sanctions Work? | The American Conservative – Scott Ritter

November 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The imposition of new, more stringent sanctions targeting Iranian oil sales by the Trump administration has once again raised the question: is this even a viable policy?

The Council on Foreign Relations defines sanctions as “a lower-cost, lower-risk, middle course of action between diplomacy and war.” In short, sanctions do not represent policy per se, but rather the absence of policy, little more than a stop-gap measure to be used while other options are considered and/or developed.

Not surprising, sanctions have rarely—if ever—succeeded in obtaining their desired results. The poster child for successful sanctions as a vehicle for change—divestment in South Africa during the 1980s in opposition to the Apartheid regime—is in reality a red herring. The South Africa sanctions were in fact counterproductive, in so far as they prompted even harsher policies from the South African government. The demise of Apartheid came about largely because the Soviet Union collapsed, meaning the South African government was no longer needed in the fight against communism.

Source: Who Says Economic Sanctions Work? | The American Conservative

Trump Surrenders to John Bolton on Russia and Arms Control | The American Conservative

October 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Declaring that “there is a new strategic reality out there,” President Donald Trump’s hardline national security advisor John Bolton announced during a visit to Moscow earlier this week that the United States would be withdrawing from the 31-year-old Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. “This was a Cold War bilateral ballistic missile-related treaty,” Bolton said, “in a multi-polar ballistic missile world.”

“It is the American position that Russia is in violation,” Bolton told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Russia’s position is that they aren’t. So one has to ask how to ask the Russians to come back into compliance with something they don’t think they’re violating.”

Source: Trump Surrenders to John Bolton on Russia and Arms Control | The American Conservative

Iran Deserves Credit for the Ruin of ISIS | The American Conservative

October 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Until recently the United States viewed the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as a major threat to regional stability in the Middle East. Barack Obama made it a mission to roll back ISIS’s territorial and propagandistic gain, and Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to “kick ISIS’s ass.” The United States expended considerable effort, both military and political, in a campaign to defeat the terror group in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Syria.

But there is also no doubt that the bulk of the effort came from Iran, not the United States. Without Iranian involvement, ISIS would still have a formidable presence in both Iraq and Syria.

ISIS was born out of the ashes of the American invasion of Iraq. Their rise was the logical extension of a process that saw the fabric of secular Sunni society torn asunder by an American occupier unwilling to further empower a Sunni ruling elite that had been loyal to Saddam Hussein. Washington failed to understand the resentment engendered within the Sunni community when Iraq’s Shia, some of whom were beholden to Iran, came to power.

Source: Iran Deserves Credit for the Ruin of ISIS | The American Conservative

Benjamin Netanyahu Is No Friend to America – Scott Ritter

October 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to the American spotlight. A career Israeli politician who attended school in the United States, he specializes in the kind of rhetoric that his American counterparts revel in—a kind of narcissism that’s more used car salesman than educator.

Netanyahu specializes in selling danger to the American people. This is an art he has practiced on numerous occasions, whether it be at the gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), his many appearances before the U.S. Congress, at televised events or during the general debate in the United Nations General Assembly, an annual gathering of global leaders and diplomats where each nation’s representative is provided the opportunity to address counterparts and the world on issues he or she deems to be of particular import.

Source: Benjamin Netanyahu Is No Friend to America

Is Trump Letting Al-Qaeda Sympathizers Survive in Syria? | The American Conservative

September 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

On September 13, 2018, two days after the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard addressed her colleagues from the floor of the House of Representatives. “Two days ago, President Trump and Vice President Pence delivered solemn speeches about the attacks on 9/11, talking about how much they care about the victims of Al-Qaeda’s attack on our country,” she observed. “But they are now standing up to protect the 20,000 to 40,000 al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria, and threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran with military force if they dare attack these terrorists.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson backed Gabbard’s statement by noting, “More than 10,000 rebels in [Idlib] province are believed to be aligned with Al-Qaeda. So that would mean that 17 years after 9/11, America could soon find itself bombing a country to protect al-Qaeda sympathizers. Why would we do that?”

The short answer is: Russia.

Source: Is Trump Letting Al-Qaeda Sympathizers Survive in Syria? | The American Conservative

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