Tag: syria
Election-Denying Veterans Dishonor Their Oath And Their Service

Election-Denying Veterans Dishonor Their Oath And Their Service

We can well understand Joe Kent's grief over the death of his wife. Shannon was a Navy cryptologic technician who tragically died in a suicide bombing in Syria.

But as a candidate for a House seat in Washington state, Kent is using his loss as some strange kind of cover for spreading the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. In doing so, the CIA paramilitary officer is simultaneously betraying his country and disrespecting his late wife's courage and sacrifice.

"She was there," Kent complains, "because unelected bureaucrats decided to slow-roll" Donald Trump's withdrawal orders.

Wrong and wrong. Shannon was there because she was a soldier who signed up for a dangerous mission. As president, Trump was commander in chief. He could have insisted that his orders were followed — though, thankfully, they were not. An immediate withdrawal would have been catastrophic, according to Trump's own Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

Veterans used to be widely regarded as model candidates for their tendency toward bipartisanship and preference for just getting things done. Some still are. But there's now a breed of veteran candidate who has gone beyond a healthy skepticism of military interventions and sees himself as a foot soldier in the far right's efforts to overthrow the democracy.

Like Kent, they wallow in self-dramatization. Lost in the discussion is that people who join the military or security services do so voluntarily. There is no draft. They serve the country for a variety of reasons, one being patriotism.

A very close relative of mine worked for the CIA in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He suffered greatly after losing several close friends in the 2009 suicide bombing attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan. But he knew why they — and he — were there.

A former Navy SEAL who saw five deployments, Eli Crane is the real thing as a brave warrior. But now running for the House seat in Arizona, he's pushing the tawdry lie that Trump won the 2020 election.

Arizona is the state that brought us Sen. John McCain, an exemplary conservative who had undergone years of torture as a prisoner in North Vietnam. To this day, I will not understand the far right's continued worship of Trump after Captain Bone Spurs attacked McCain's heroism, famously saying, "I like people who weren't captured."

Don Bolduc is a retired brigadier general vying for the Senate seat in New Hampshire held by Maggie Hassan. He signed a letter early on asserting that Trump had won the election. Then, 36 hours after winning the primary, he told Fox News that "the election was not stolen."

In addition to being a political coward, Bolduc is nuts. Yes, he did call New Hampshire's Republican Gov. Chris Sununu a "Chinese-communist sympathizer."

Here are some theories on how these candidates got to their crazy place: The Trumpian right surrounds them with what they perceive as love. They may be a Rambo outside but snowflake inside who melts at the thought that their side lost an election. Some may not be bright, while others have no trouble selling their souls for pats on the head.

And they take a most unsavory pleasure in turning on generals deemed insufficiently servile to Trump. Kent has called for criminal charges against Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. (As bonus freakiness, he wants Dr. Anthony Fauci charged with murder over the "scam that is COVID" and calls the vaccine a form of "experimental gene therapy.")

OK. Any liar or head case who would discard the people's vote in service to an authoritarian — or anything else — qualifies for a dishonorable discharge from consideration for elected office. It's time for the voters to intervene.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry

Why Are The New York Times And Politico Promoting A Fake Kerry Scandal?

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

The New York Times and Politico are helping spread a manufactured scandal against former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, now the White House's special climate envoy, over the manifestly absurd claim that he disclosed secret Israeli operations in the Syrian civil war to Iran's foreign minister.

In articles posted on Monday, the Times and Politico played up attacks on Kerry by Republican politicians such as Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Rick Scott of Florida, as well as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. By focusing on this aspect to their coverage, they are doing exactly what Fox News is demanding for other media outlets to follow its lead.

In addition, the Times and Politico pieces gave little consideration to the obvious objection that the information was not secret — even though both outlets had reported on the strikes before. (And so did Fox.)

Kerry has issued a strongly worded denial, saying that such an exchange never happened:

Iran International, a United Kingdom-based outlet, first reported on a leaked interview recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who claimed that military leaders kept him in the dark about Israeli strikes on Iranian assets in Syria and that he learned of the strikes from Kerry. According to the outlet, this claim is "not very credible," since those attacks were already reported via international media.

An analysis in the right-wing Jerusalem Post saw through the problem in Zarif's claim as well: "The idea that Zarif was told information on Israeli airstrikes by John Kerry and that he didn't know about airstrikes on Iranian convoys in Syria appears ridiculous. Does he not read his own Iranian media? Does he not have any sources inside his own ministry? … Is he the most uninformed foreign minister in the world?"

But in its latest story on Kerry's denial and Republican political attacks, the Times played down the extent to which the strikes have been public knowledge — which if emphasized, would have cast doubt on both Zarif's version of events and any notion of Republican outrage.

"Israel has made little effort to deny years of strikes attributed to it by Syria's government, news outlets and nongovernmental organizations tracking the Syrian conflict," the paper said. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted to the strikes on a hot microphone during a meeting with Eastern European leaders in 2017, with further public admissions in 2018 and early 2019. The Times also could have noted that the Israeli military publicly acknowledged in September 2018 that it had struck over 200 Iranian targets since just 2017 — let alone the time period before that — but the paper instead chose to be vague on just how public this knowledge is.

Instead the Times simply noted: "A New York Times article from 2019 included similar information on the number of Israeli strikes." Besides the hair-splitting over the particular number, the Timespreviously reported on Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria multiple times in 2013 and also reported in 2018 on the escalating conflict between the two countries. But instead, it referred to just one of its articles from 2019, which happened to include information the Israeli military had already divulged the year before.

Politico followed a similar pattern, covering the story as more of a political back-and-forth in a piece headlined "GOP tears into Kerry amid Iran controversy," without acknowledging the fact that these attacks were already public knowledge.

And while it noted in the seventh paragraph that "Zarif's version of events has not been independently corroborated," one of the asterisks it attached to his remarks was that it is "also unclear whether Kerry allegedly revealed the Israeli operations to Zarif before they were publicly reported by Israel itself in 2018."

This framing depicts the Israeli actions in Syria as having been some kind of secret. In fact, Politico itself had casually mentioned the fact of the Israeli strikes over the years.

But noting such facts now would get in the way of media narratives that rely on covering political squabbles while treating partisan and opportunistic accusations as if they were legitimate.

Joe Biden

Will Biden End Wars That Trump Prolonged?

If you listened long enough to Donald Trump during his first presidential campaign, you could find grounds to hope that he would make some badly needed changes in American foreign policy. After the catastrophe of the Iraq War and the dismal slog of Afghanistan, Trump promised a different approach.

"We're getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world," he said. "We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about," he vowed, promising "a disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy."

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Lindsey Graham

How Lindsey Graham Turned Into Trump’s Snarling Poodle

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been under fire this week for a major flip-flop after he reneged on a 2016 pledge to oppose any Supreme Court nomination in an election year, backing Donald Trump's push to rush through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But this is hardly the first time he has abandoned his stated principles to appease Trump.

"I want you to use my words against me," Graham said during a Senate hearing in March 2016. "If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination." He reiterated that view in 2018.

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