Hitlery Campaigns to Violate Constitution and Make Law Herself if Elected As People Applaud

 

freedomoutpost

 

hillary-clinton-400x301

It’s up to the americans to decide if they want a true leader in the White House or this clown that will make the United States of America a joke to laugh about among the world leaders.

By Freedom Outpost
Trend setters. You know who they are. These are the individuals who parade out in thrown together garb; then, next thing you know, everyone is wearing it. It happens with hairstyles too — men and women. Anything that someone who is highly visible in the media, such as Holly Weird dimwits, begin to parade around in, with or on becomes a trend for emulation. Unfortunately, it works that way in politics as well.
Unfortunately, it works that way in politics as well.
With Obama’s ever increasing use of executive orders and fiats to change law or enact law to get what he wants, many called at each violation for the impeachment of Obama or else a precedent, read trend, would be established for future occupiers of the office to act like a dictator. The calls to impeach were ignored by Congress due to Boehner disagreeing with impeachment and Gowdy wondering if anyone had met Joe Biden. A complicit Congress has made it so that 2016 Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, stated she would use executive orders to do a work around Congress to force Republicans to respond to her agenda.
Obama has had such success with his “lawmaking” abilities through executive orders that Hillary Clinton is campaigning, promising and declaring to use the same to “execute her domestic policy agenda on issues such as gun control, ending corporate ‘inversion’ deals and immigration, where she promises to shield more people from deportation.” She has repeated this intention on three different occasions. Appearing on the NBC Today Show, Hitlery stated in regards to gun control, “I want to push hard to get more sensible restraints. I want to work with Congress, but I will look at ways as president,” to impose her agenda.
On corporate inversion deals, where US companies buy foreign companies then moves it headquarters abroad to avoid US taxes, Hitlery called for the need to use executive action, decree, to “get the job done” if Republicans on Capitol Hill would not. Granted, the issue of corporate inversion is a problem and it might appeal to many citizens to support Hitlery in her idea. However, it is a usurpation for her to do so.
Speaking at a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, she stated, “This is not only about fairness, this is about patriotism. If Congress won’t act, then I will ask the Treasury Department when I’m there to use its regulatory authority, if that’s what it takes.”
Regarding immigration, Clinton declared her intent to go further than Obama to protect illegal alien invaders’ rights through executive action.
Speaking at a Democratic Fundraiser in Iowa, Hitlery said, “I am going to back and support what President Obama has done to protect [young immigrants] and their families, to use executive action to prevent deportation. And I have said that if we cannot get comprehensive immigration reform as we need, and as we should, with a real path to citizenship that will actually grow our economy — then I will go as far as I can, even beyond President Obama, to make sure law-abiding, decent, hard-working people in this country are not ripped away from their families.”
Republicans have huffed and puffed at Obama regarding his use of executive order to make law and end run around Congress. The presidential memorandum, a form of executive order, has been used by Obama more times than any other president in history. As Obama navigates around Congress using the memorandum and executive orders, Republicans cry “foul” yet refuse to follow the law and impeach the man. Instead, Republicans filed lawsuits challenging a few of Obama’s orders, such as the recess appointments and the unilateral delay of the employer mandate of Obamacare. The Supreme Court found Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board unconstitutional. It didn’t matter. The House refuses to do their duty and file articles of impeachment.
Hitlery has taken notice. Now, she can campaign on a pledge to violate the Constitution, with impunity, as Republicans will not bring impeachment against Obama, and be the Democratic front-runner for the nomination. She has skirted any charges in the Benghazi attacks. Email-gate will go nowhere. Nothing will stop her; therefore, she proudly pledges to violate the Constitution, commit treason, and people applaud this woman.
It was predicted by many that Congress’s failure to hold Obama accountable by filing articles of impeachment would result in future presidents violating the Constitution in the same manner, which basically means a dictatorship. Just so happens, Hitlery is now campaigning on that platform — the use of executive “decree” to enact law without Congress — to act as a dictator. People are applauding in support of this intention. She is admitting she will violate the Constitution, break the law and the oath of office should she be elected.
Make no mistake; she’ll use dictatorial edict on more than the three issues she’s mentioned while campaigning.
In response, Congress will remain silent in complicity. They would not impeach Obama for whatever lame reason given to the public. More than likely, it was due to being blackmailed, coerced or threatened, while believing the media would slam-dunk them using the term “racist.” Should Hitlery win the presidency, Congress will follow the same pattern as with Obama. Only this time, the accusation would be “sexist.”
With what America has witnessed during the Hussein administration, it is obvious that Republicans have squarely placed themselves in bed with Democrats/Communists/Socialists. Nothing changed when Republicans were given a majority in the Senate to match the House. The same game was played with different players. Americans can expect the same thing in 2016 and forward from Congress as an emboldened Obama moves along with the agenda.
Unfortunately, many in America have become stupid, ignorant, lazy, and brainwashed due to indoctrination that they applaud someone declaring to violate the law. These people cannot be helped. And, voting Republican will change nothing. Again, the same game will be afoot with different players.
 
With Obama’s ever increasing use of executive orders and fiats to change law or enact law to get what he wants, many called at each violation for the impeachment of Obama or else a precedent, read trend, would be established for future occupiers of the office to act like a dictator. The calls to impeach were ignored by Congress due to Boehner disagreeing with impeachment and Gowdy wondering if anyone had met Joe Biden. A complicit Congress has made it so that 2016 Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, stated she would use executive orders to do a work around Congress to force Republicans to respond to her agenda.
 
Obama has had such success with his “lawmaking” abilities through executive orders that Hillary Clinton is campaigning, promising and declaring to use the same to “execute her domestic policy agenda on issues such as gun control, ending corporate ‘inversion’ deals and immigration, where she promises to shield more people from deportation.” She has repeated this intention on three different occasions. Appearing on the NBC Today Show, Hitlery stated in regards to gun control, “I want to push hard to get more sensible restraints. I want to work with Congress, but I will look at ways as president,” to impose her agenda.
 
On corporate inversion deals, where US companies buy foreign companies then moves it headquarters abroad to avoid US taxes, Hitlery called for the need to use executive action, decree, to “get the job done” if Republicans on Capitol Hill would not. Granted, the issue of corporate inversion is a problem and it might appeal to many citizens to support Hitlery in her idea. However, it is a usurpation for her to do so.
 
Speaking at a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, she stated, “This is not only about fairness, this is about patriotism. If Congress won’t act, then I will ask the Treasury Department when I’m there to use its regulatory authority, if that’s what it takes.”
 
Regarding immigration, Clinton declared her intent to go further than Obama to protect illegal alien invaders’ rights through executive action.
 
Speaking at a Democratic Fundraiser in Iowa, Hitlery said, “I am going to back and support what President Obama has done to protect [young immigrants] and their families, to use executive action to prevent deportation. And I have said that if we cannot get comprehensive immigration reform as we need, and as we should, with a real path to citizenship that will actually grow our economy — then I will go as far as I can, even beyond President Obama, to make sure law-abiding, decent, hard-working people in this country are not ripped away from their families.”
 
Republicans have huffed and puffed at Obama regarding his use of executive order to make law and end run around Congress. The presidential memorandum, a form of executive order, has been used by Obama more times than any other president in history. As Obama navigates around Congress using the memorandum and executive orders, Republicans cry “foul” yet refuse to follow the law and impeach the man. Instead, Republicans filed lawsuits challenging a few of Obama’s orders, such as the recess appointments and the unilateral delay of the employer mandate of Obamacare. The Supreme Court found Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board unconstitutional. It didn’t matter. The House refuses to do their duty and file articles of impeachment.
 
Hitlery has taken notice. Now, she can campaign on a pledge to violate the Constitution, with impunity, as Republicans will not bring impeachment against Obama, and be the Democratic front-runner for the nomination. She has skirted any charges in the Benghazi attacks. Email-gate will go nowhere. Nothing will stop her; therefore, she proudly pledges to violate the Constitution, commit treason, and people applaud this woman.
 
It was predicted by many that Congress’s failure to hold Obama accountable by filing articles of impeachment would result in future presidents violating the Constitution in the same manner, which basically means a dictatorship. Just so happens, Hitlery is now campaigning on that platform — the use of executive “decree” to enact law without Congress — to act as a dictator. People are applauding in support of this intention. She is admitting she will violate the Constitution, break the law and the oath of office should she be elected.
Make no mistake; she’ll use dictatorial edict on more than the three issues she’s mentioned while campaigning.
 
In response, Congress will remain silent in complicity. They would not impeach Obama for whatever lame reason given to the public. More than likely, it was due to being blackmailed, coerced or threatened, while believing the media would slam-dunk them using the term “racist.” Should Hitlery win the presidency, Congress will follow the same pattern as with Obama. Only this time, the accusation would be “sexist.”
 
With what America has witnessed during the Hussein administration, it is obvious that Republicans have squarely placed themselves in bed with Democrats/Communists/Socialists. Nothing changed when Republicans were given a majority in the Senate to match the House. The same game was played with different players. Americans can expect the same thing in 2016 and forward from Congress as an emboldened Obama moves along with the agenda.
 
Unfortunately, many in America have become stupid, ignorant, lazy, and brainwashed due to indoctrination that they applaud someone declaring to violate the law. These people cannot be helped. And, voting Republican will change nothing. Again, the same game will be afoot with different players.
 
It’s time for Americans to begin to hate the game and the players. Politicians are playing a game that is about to finish the transformation of this nation from a constitutional republic to whatever they have decided. The players are set and the people being the pawns are moved about with little difficulty. Either American citizens support, uphold and defend the Constitution in its entirety, whether agreeing with all tenets or not, or be prepared to live under a government decreed to us. Remember, it is not the Constitution that is the problem. It is those in government, who are violating it, that are the problem.

MILITARY TIMES – Russia has big ambitions, growing capabilities

MilitaryTimes2

Russia has big ambitions,
growing capabilities
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Early on the morning of Sept. 30, a Russian three-star general approached the American embassy in Baghdad, walked past a wall of well-armed Marines, to deliver face-to-face a diplomatic demarche to the United States. His statement was blunt: The Russia military would begin air strikes in neighboring Syria within the hour — and the American military should clear the area immediately.

It was a bout of brinksmanship between two nuclear-armed giants that the world has not seen in decades, and it has revived Cold War levels of suspicion, antagonism and gamesmanship.

With the launch of airstrikes in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated a proxy war with the U.S., putting those nation’s powerful militaries in support of opposing sides of the multipolar conflict. And it’s a huge gamble for Moscow, experts say. “This is really quite difficult for them. It’s logistically complex. The Russians don’t have much in the way of long-range power projection capability,” said Mark Galeotti, a Russian security expert at New York University.

Moscow’s military campaign in Syria is relying on supply lines that require air corridors through both Iranian and Iraqi air space. The only alternatives are naval supply lines running from Crimea, requiring a passage of up to 10 days round-trip. How long that can be sustained is unclear.

That and other questions about Russian military capabilities and objectives are taking center stage as Putin shows a relentless willingness to use military force in a heavy-handed foreign policy aimed at restoring his nation’s stature as a world power. In that quest, he has raised the specter of resurgent Russian military might — from Ukraine to the Baltics, from Syria to the broader Middle East.

Russia’s increasingly aggressive posture has sparked a sweeping review among U.S. defense strategists of America’s military policies and contingency plans in the event of a conflict with the former Soviet state. Indeed, the Pentagon’s senior leaders are asking questions that have been set aside for more than 20 years:

How much are the Russians truly capable of?
Where precisely might a conflict with Russia occur?
What would a war with Russia look like today?

Make no mistake: Experts agree that the U.S. military’s globe-spanning force would clobber the Russian military in any toe-to-toe conventional fight. But modern wars are not toe-to-toe conventional fights; geography, politics and terrain inevitably give one side an advantage.

Today, the U.S. spends nearly 10 times more than Russia on national defense. The U.S. operates 10 aircraft carriers; Russia has just one. And the U.S. military maintains a broad technological edge and a vastly superior ability to project power around the world.

Russia remains weak, according to many traditional criteria. But it is now developing some key technologies, new fighting tactics and a brazen geopolitical strategy that is aggressively undermining America’s 25-year claim to being the only truly global superpower. The result: Russia is unexpectedly re-emerging as America’s chief military rival.

As U.S. officials watch that unfold, they are “clearly motivated by concerns that at least locally, Russia has the potential to generate superior forces,” said David Ochmanek, a former Pentagon official who is now a defense analyst at the RAND Corp. And looming over the entire U.S.-Russian relationship are their nuclear arsenals. Russia has preserved, even modernized, its own “triad” with nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, a large fleet of long-range strike aircraft and increasingly sophisticated nuclear-armed submarines.

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“The Russian defense industry is being rebuilt from ruins,” said Vadim Kozyulin, a military expert at the Moscow-based PIR Center, a think tank. “The military balance can only be ensured by Russia’s nuclear might, which isn’t as expensive to maintain as many people think.”

But while Russia’s conventional forces are less impressive than its nuclear forces, there are specific conventional areas where the Russians excel — among them aircraft, air defenses, submarines, and electronic warfare.

The Soviet-era weapons design bureaus remain prominent internationally. Russia’s aerospace industry, for example, has benefited greatly from international exports to non-Western nations, which go to Russia to buy effective fighter jets that are cheaper than their Western variants. China today spends more on defense annually than Russia, but still imports platforms and advanced weaponry from Russia.

Attempting a side-by-side comparisons of the U.S. and Russian militaries is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, many experts say; the Russians have distinctly different strategic goals, and their military structure reflects that. Russia views itself as a land-based power, exerting influence in a sphere expanding outward from its Eurasian heartland into Eastern Europe, Central Asia and possibly the Middle East and Pacific rim. It is well suited for relying on a particular set of capabilities known as “anti-access and area denial.”

“The United States and Russia are going for different things,” Galeotti said. “What the Russians are looking for is not to take on and compete on equal terms with us. It’s denial.” For example, he said, “one can look at the U.S. Navy as massively superior to the Russian navy. Most of them are legacy Soviet ships. But in a way, that doesn’t matter, because Russia does not plan to send its forces all across the world’s oceans.”

That’s reflected in the fact that Russia maintains a lone aircraft carrier while the U.S. Navy’s 10-carrier fleet operates on a continuing global deployment cycle. Instead of carriers designed for offensive power projection at sea, the Russians are investing in an expanding fleet of submarines that can supplement their nuclear force and, conventionally, threaten an enemy surface fleet in nearby waters such as the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea or the Mediterranean Sea.

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Its airspace also is heavily fortified. The quality of Russia’s stealth aircraft is far weaker than those of the U.S., but Russia has cutting-edge anti-stealth systems, and also has invested heavily in robust surface-to-air missile systems and arrayed its forces domestically to protect its border regions. “The static airpower picture would favor the Russians because they have a lot of capability in terms of air defense and a variety of tactical and cruise and ballistic missiles,” said Paul Schwartz, a Russian military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Russia’s electronic warfare capability is also daunting to Pentagon military planners; left unclear is the extent to which Russia could jam the radars and signals intelligence that forms the foundation of the U.S.’s advanced air power. Any attempt by the U.S. and its allies to infiltrate Russian air space “would not necessarily be easy,” Schwartz said. “It would be a contested environment. But over time I think we would be able to degrade it. The problem is, with a nuclear power, you try to avoid a full-scale fighting.”

Meanwhile, the Russian army, still predominantly a conscripted force, is being transitioned to an American-style professional force. In effect, Russia has two armies: About two thirds of the roughly 800,000-man force remains filled with unmotivated and poorly trained draftees, but about one third is not — and those are the units outfitted with top-notch gear, including the Armata T-14 Main Battle Tanks.

In sum, the Russian military is not the equal of the U.S. military. But the gap has narrowed in recent years.

Forward Operating Base Syria

Russia’s swift creation of a forward operating base in Syria has stunned many U.S. officials. In just a few weeks, its military erected a potentially permanent base at Latakia, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. They’ve deployed dozens of combat aircraft, fortified the installation with tanks and assembled housing for hundreds of troops.

The Russians recently announced plans for a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean this fall, but did not specify exactly when ships would deploy to the region. The exercise will feature the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, as well as several smaller escort vessels and large amphibious assault and landing ships, Russia’s TASS news agency reported. Some military officials question whether the exercise is a cover for shipping more troops and gear to the Syrian coast.
Smoke rises over Talbiseh, a city in western Syria’s

Smoke rises over Talbiseh, a city in western Syria’s Homs province, on Sept. 30, marking Russian first airstrikes in the region.
(Photo: Homs Media Centre via AP)

The new forward operating base will give Russia the capability to fly combat air sorties, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions and drones across the Middle East. That could include Iraq, the leadership of which has invited the Russians to assist in the fight against the Islamic State in that country.

The base will help secure Russia’s longtime naval support facility at the Syrian port of Tarus, a key to the Russian military’s ability to maintain and project power into the Mediterranean. Russia reportedly is expanding its footprint at the Tarus facility.

More broadly, Moscow is signaling a long-term interest in extending its umbrella of anti-access area denial capabilities into the Middle East. The Russians reportedly are shipping some of their most advanced surface-to-air missile systems into Latakia, raising concerns inside the Pentagon because that move runs counter to Russia’s claims of limiting the focus of its military activities to Syrian rebel groups like the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Russia has deployed a number of Su-30 fighters to Syria,

Russia has deployed a number of Su-30 fighters to Syria, aircraft that are capable of striking ground targets as well as those in the air.
(Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP)

“We see some very sophisticated air defenses going into those airfields, we see some very sophisticated air-to-air aircraft going into these airfields,” Gen. Phillip Breedlove, chief of the U.S. European Command and also the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, said Sept. 28. “I have not seen ISIL flying any airplanes that require SA-15s or SA-22s [Russian missiles]. I have not seen ISIL flying any airplanes that require sophisticated air-to-air capabilities. These very sophisticated air defense capabilities are not about ISIL … they’re about something else.”

In effect, the Russians could challenge the air superiority maintained — even taken for granted — by the U.S. over large swaths the Middle East for more than 20 years. A crucial factor in this equation is Russia’s alliance with Iran, another key Syrian ally. Russia depends on Iranian airspace for its flight corridors into Syria, and reportedly is prepared to support Iranian ground troops aligned with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Experts inside Russia believe the incursion into Syria, along with Putin’s aggressive speech at the United Nations on Sept. 28, signal his long-term interest in becoming a key player in the region.

“It became clear that Russia is going to exercise a more ambitious policy in the Middle East. The Russian President made it clear that the western model of democracy and its way of dealing with conflicts in the region is not working,” said Yury Barmin, a Moscow-based Russian expert on Mideast politics and Russian foreign policy. However, Barmin said, “it is doubtful that Russia has the capacity to emerge as a leading power in [the Middle East] in the near future because its presence in the region is limited if you compare it to that of the United States.”

Yet some see Putin’s maneuvers in Syria as some broader geopolitical gambit that aims to secure a deal on Ukraine. Russia currently occupies parts of Ukraine, but the U.S. still considers Moscow’s March 2014 invasion illegal and its control there illegitimate. “It’s much more about the U.S. than it is about Syria and Assad,” Galeotti said. “Let’s be honest, if Washington indicated that some deal could be struck where they tacitly accept the Russians’ position in Crimea and parts of Donbas, they are not going to fight a war for Assad.”

In Ukraine, a new brand of ‘hybrid warfare’

The conflict in Ukraine and the American training mission there is giving the Pentagon fresh insight on an enemy they might fight elsewhere in the not-too-distant future. But critics say America’s timid response to Russian aggression — both in Crimea and the the Donetsk and Luhansk regions — has done little to deter Moscow. In Ukraine Russia has revealed a new brand of “hybrid warfare,” one that mixes non-state proxy fighters, heavy armor and artillery, drones, electronic warfare and aggressive information operations to achieve battlefield victories.
Ukrainian servicemen patrol near the chemical plant

Ukrainian servicemen patrol near the chemical plant in Avdeevka, a town just north of the city of Donetsk, on June 20. Ukrainian troops face threats from insurgents and conventionally trained forces.
(Photo: Aleskey Chernyshev/AFP)

“It is good for us to be aware how they fight,” said Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, in an interview with Military Times on Sept. 10. “We have not fought wars the way they do in kind of an urban, mixed urban and nonurban setting with UAVs, with electronic jamming.”

Farkas is stepping down from her post at the end of October, after five years at the Defense Department. It’s unclear who will take her place as the Pentagon’s key policy maker for Russia-related issues.

For the small cadre of U.S. military professionals who’ve been working alongside Ukrainian government forces, the fight against Russian-backed rebels is a major change from their recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We’ve got a ton of experience in low-intensity warfare, counterinsurgency warfare, whereas a bulk of the Ukraine experience is facing a 21st-century, near-peer adversary,” said Army Lt. Col. Michael Kloepper, commander of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, which recently began its third rotation into Ukraine to train that nation’s military forces.

The Army deployments are part of a broader U.S. military effort to reassure NATO allies rattled by Russia’s actions. Yet the Obama administration has been reluctant to provide more robust support, determined, it seems, to avoid the potential for a proxy war with the Russians.
Since its annexation of Crimea in early 2014, Russia

Since its annexation of Crimea in early 2014, Russia has steadily expanded its military presence in the region. In response, the U.S. and its NATO allies are working to build, train and equip Ukrainian forces.
(Photo: John Bretschneider/Staff)

Russian has lined thousands of troops and large tank and artillery units along its Ukrainian border. Those Russian troops routinely shell the border towns and make incursions into Ukraine to fight alongside the rebels in the contested areas. So far, the administration has pledged only “nonlethal aid” for training and gear such as Humvees, small drones and radar.

Washington has placed economic sanctions on Russia, sent U.S. troops to help train Ukrainian forces and has ramped up military exercises across Eastern Europe. But it has not yet provided any offensive weaponry and ammunition, and it has not threatened military action against Russia. Since March 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, the U.S. has contributed $244 million in nonlethal security assistance and training. For comparison, that amount would pay for about three weeks of operations in Iraq and Syria.

Ukrainian officials in Kiev have made repeated pleas for more. “We need anti-tank Javelin systems, intelligence and combat drones, … fighter jets, helicopters, electronic and signal intelligence systems, radars and sound intelligence systems” to counter Russian military equipment used by Moscow-backed separatists on the eastern front, said Colonel General Victor Muzhenko, the Ukrainian military’s top officer. They’ve also asked for anti-aircraft guns and more equipment to neutralize enemy snipers, he told Military Times.
Ukrainian troops man an anti-aircraft weapon at a checkpoint

Ukrainian troops man an anti-aircraft weapon at a checkpoint outside the town of Amvrosiivka, close to the Russian border. Kiev says it’s desperate for more weaponry, but so far Washington has shown willingness to provide only nonlethal equipment.
(Photo: Vadim Ghirda/AP)

There are between 30,000 and 35,000 Russian-backed fighters in Eastern Ukraine, about 9,000 of whom are coming solely from the Russian front, Muzhenko estimates. They’re using sophisticated electronic warfare systems to jam the Ukrainians’ communications, radar, GPS and early warning-detection equipment, said Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister for European integration.

It’s a unique battlespace, and the Americans who have provided training to Ukrainian forces are eager to collect intelligence about the Russians’ new mode of combat. “It has been interesting to hear what they have learned,” Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, told Defense News, a sister publication of Military Times. “No Americans have been under Russian artillery or rocket fire or been on the receiving end of significant Russian electronic warfare, the jamming and collecting, for example, not at tactical levels.”

The future of the Ukraine conflict is unclear. In late September, all sides agreed to withdraw tanks and heavy artillery from Ukraine’s eastern front. A ceasefire in eastern Ukraine also appears to be holding, although each side remains wary, and local parliamentary elections set to take place Oct. 25 may be upended by pro-Russian separatists, who aim to hold their own elections.

For now, Obama shows no signs of conceding to Russian control the regions Ukraine has controlled for decades. “We cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated,” Obama told the U.N. General Assembly in a major speech on Sept. 28. “That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners imposed on Russia. It’s not a desire to return to the Cold War.”

Predicting the next flashpoint

For more than a year, the U.S. and its European allies have been reassessing the military balance along NATO’s eastern border, which is lined with former Soviet satellite states. The result has been Operation Atlantic Resolve, an expanded rotational presence of U.S troops in NATO’s easternmost countries like Poland, the Baltics, Romania and Bulgaria.

Putin and his military have menaced the Baltic countries, who are among the newest and weakest NATO partners. Russia has repeatedly sent military aircraft into Baltic airspace, patrolled submarines in the Baltic Sea and allegedly mounted cyber-attacks. And Russian officials have voiced support for Russian-speaking minorities, raising the specter of future agitation.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Muzzy, an observer-controller

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Muzzy, an observer-controller from Company A, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, works with an Estonian soldier during a training exercise in Germany. Some see NATO’s newest members, like Estonia, as particularly vulnerable to Russia aggression.
(Photo: Sgt. Christina Dion/Army)

The aggression in the Baltics, especially Estonia, which has a large Russian-speaking minority, has been more ambiguous than Moscow’s overt operations in Ukraine and Syria. The argument goes that Putin would employ a type of hybrid warfare perfected in Ukraine to rally ethnic Russian populations in the Baltic states to rise up in support with special operations forces — the so-called “little green men.”

That has sparked concern in the West that Putin’s ultimate goal is to break NATO with force, if intimidation fails. NATO is struggling to figure out how to respond, with member nations holding differing perspectives on when Russian behavior crosses a red line. It’s about “working out at what point a military response is the correct response,” said Nick de Larrinaga, a London-based analyst for IHS Jane’s Defense and Security Group. “Hybrid warfare casts doubts about when there should be a military response, or whether this is a civilian issue that should be taken care of by local law enforcement,” he said.
Russia claims to have some 750 tanks in its western

Russia claims to have some 750 tanks in its western military region, though its unclear how much of that equipment is legitimately combat-ready.
(Photo: Andrey Kronberg/AFP/Getty Images)

Another option for Russia, of course, is to shift to a conventional fight. A review of the military balance in the immediate Baltic theater would seem to give Russia an initial advantage in an aerial campaign against NATO, if Moscow’s political objective was to push NATO out of the Baltics.

According to a recent report by international think tank Chatham House, Russia’s military strength in its Western Military District stands at 65,000 ground troops, 850 pieces of artillery, 750 tanks, and 320 combat aircraft. Other estimates are much higher, but in general there is a high degree of uncertainty about how much of those forces exist only on paper, and how many are truly prepared for combat.

Another aspect of the Russian military that gets overhyped is its Baltic Fleet, the smallest of Russia’s main fleets and truly a shadow of its former self. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the coastal infrastructure that stretched from Kalingrad to Leningrad was lost to the newly independent Baltic states.

Today, the fleet is split between Kalingrad and St. Petersburg, making it difficult to support a larger fleet. The Baltic Fleet’s assets today include only two small Kilo-class diesel powered submarines, one of which is used mostly for training, along with a handful of Sovremenny-class destroyers, a frigate, four corvettes, and a smattering of support ships.

For a conventional operation, Russia also could bring assets from its Northern Fleet, which frequently patrols the North Atlantic, into the Baltic theater to support a larger action.

That threat could become a powerful one if Russia’s true goal in the Baltics is to force NATO into showing that it won’t honor Article V, the key element of the alliance treaty that holds an attack on one member nation will be met with a swift and unified response from all member nations.

Defense News’ Russia correspondent, Matthew Bodner, contributed to this report from Moscow.

© 2015 http://www.militarytimes.com. All rights reserved.

Unruly Hearts with WordPress thanks Military Times for this excellent article.

Why Obama’s assurance of ‘no boots on the ground’ isn’t so reassuring

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A U.S. Marine on patrol. (Rebecca Sell/For The Washington Post)

Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, was an Obama administration appointee at the Defense Department from 2009 to 2011. She is married to an Army Special Forces officer.

Each time I hear President Obama assure us that there will be “no boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria, I think of my husband’s Army boots, lying in a heap in the corner of the downstairs study. They’re covered in fine dust from his latest Middle East deployment, one that came nail-bitingly close to being extended by an unplanned stint in Iraq.

In the end, he wasn’t sent back to Iraq. He came home in July, though a last-minute change in assignments left most of his civilian clothes stranded in some Army transport netherworld. Deprived of his sneakers and sandals, he wore his Army boots pretty much everywhere this summer, even on playground outings with the kids. Watching grass stains from the local park gradually displace nine months of Kuwaiti dust gave me more happiness than I can say.

Even so, I can’t help feeling queasy every time I hear the president pledge that there will be “no boots on the ground” in America’s newest war. I wonder what that pledge really means — and just why we’re supposed to find it reassuring. It’s a pledge that seems to have everything to do with politics and little to do with the imperatives of strategy or security.

Here’s what “no boots on the ground” apparently doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean that no U.S. troops will be sent to Iraq or Syria. Reportedly there are already 1,600 U.S. military personnel in Iraq. True, they’re present in an “advisory” role, not in a combat role — but surely one lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan is that combat has a habit of finding its way to noncombat personnel. Enemy snipers and IEDs don’t much care about a soldier’s mission or occupational specialty, and you can bet that fighters of the self-proclaimed Islamic State would be content with the heads of a few American advisers.

It’s also hard to know what publicly reported troop numbers really mean. When the Pentagon issues a Boots on the Ground report (known colloquially as a “BOG report”), it often excludes military personnel on “temporary duty” in combat areas, even though temporary duty may mean an assignment spanning five or six months. Similarly, Special Operations personnel assigned to work under CIA auspices are often left out of the BOG numbers. This makes it hard to know just who’s being counted when officials say there are 1,600 military personnel in Iraq.

“No boots on the ground” also ignores the many nonmilitary American boots (and shoes and sandals) present in Iraq and Syria. Our Baghdad embassy personnel presumably wear some kind of footwear, as do thousands more civilians working as U.S. government contractors in Iraq. In both Iraq and Syria, scores of American civilians also work for nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian aid groups.

The Pentagon keeps careful count of dead and wounded U.S. troops, but the government doesn’t systematically track dead or injured civilians or contractors (many of whom, of course, are U.S. military veterans). Though few Americans know it, there were often more contractors working for the U.S. government on the ground than there were U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and some estimates suggest that there were as many U.S.-employed contractors who died in those conflicts as there were U.S. troops killed.

Cynics might even suspect that this heavy reliance on contractors was part of an effort to keep those BOG numbers down while outsourcing military risk. After all, no one likes high BOG numbers — the very acronym is suggestive of that most dreaded military outcome, the “quagmire.”

If “no boots on the ground” means playing games with numbers and offloading military risk onto U.S. government civilians and contractors, we should take little solace in presidential reassurances.

And we should feel even less comfort if “no boots on the ground” ends up putting vulnerable local civilians at risk. Remember Kosovo? President Bill Clinton’s refusal in 1999 to put U.S. troops on the ground forced us to rely solely on airstrikes to prevent Serbian ethnic cleansing. To further minimize any risk to U.S. military personnel, we mainly flew sorties at a safe 15,000 feet above the ground. This worked out well for us: Aside from two Americans killed in a helicopter accident in Albania, there were no U.S. fatalities in the 78-day air campaign. It worked out less well for some of the civilians we were trying to protect; in several cases, for instance, NATO pilots mistook convoys of refugees for troop transports, causing scores of civilian deaths.

The primary goal of the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq isn’t civilian protection, but Obama has suggested that this is at least a secondary motivation. In his speech this past week to the U.N. General Assembly, for instance, he asserted that the Islamic State “has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. . . . Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded. . . . The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”

It’s hard to argue with the importance of dismantling a “network of death,” but no matter how careful we are, U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq will also end up killing some innocent civilians. Without eyes and ears on the ground, we’re more likely to make tragic targeting mistakes. We have to hope we’ll do more good than harm, but it’s hard to feel confident of that.

Numerous respected military and defense leaders — from Army Gen. Martin Dempsey , current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to retired defense secretary Robert Gates — have argued in recent weeks that ground troops will probably be required if our strategy is to be effective. So far, events seem to be proving them right: In Iraq, seven weeks of airstrikes have done little to push Islamic State fighters out of the territories they control, despite close U.S. coordination with Iraqi army units. In Syria, we have no similar local force with which to coordinate, creating a risk that U.S. airstrikes will increase the chaos without fundamentally reducing the threat to local civilians — or, in the longer term, to the United States.And that’s most worrisome of all — the possibility that our insistence on “no boots on the ground” also offloads present risks onto the future. Relying on airstrikes alone may merely prolong a bloody and inconclusive conflict, or strengthen other actors who are just as brutal as Islamic State fighters, from the regime of Bashar al-Assad to the al-Qaeda-linked rebels of Jabhat al-Nusra.Insisting that we’ll never commit U.S. troops to this fight plays right into every jihadist narrative, reinforcing America’s image as an arrogant but cowardly nation — happy to drop bombs from a distance but unwilling to risk the lives of our troops. Each time we reinforce that narrative, we give jihadist recruiting another big boost.

 

For a decade, we’ve relied on drone strikes as a top counterterrorism tool in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but a few thousand dead terrorism suspects later, it’s far from clear that we’ve made ourselves safer. If anything, the global jihadist movement appears to have gained strength. As a former Defense Intelligence Agency director, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, recently noted: “In 2004, there were 21 total Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 countries. Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 countries.” Ultimately, our efforts to destroy the Islamic State from afar may similarly spark the creation of even more jihadist groups.

“I will not commit you . . . to fighting another ground war in Iraq,” Obama told troops at Central Command headquarters this month. I appreciate his desire to do right by America’s military personnel: My husband’s boots, like those of so many other members of the armed forces, have already gathered too much dust in too many dangerous places, over too many years. Right now, I want those boots to stay exactly where they are: here, at home.

But I don’t want to trade the safety of U.S. troops today for the safety of our children tomorrow. If Obama’s promise of “no boots on the ground” means we’ll be fighting a war of half-measures — a war that won’t achieve our objectives and that may increase the long-term threat — I’m not sure, in the end, that it’s a promise I want him to keep.

Even if we defeat the Islamic State, we’ll still lose the bigger war

 

 

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Residents of Syria’s Idlib province examine building damaged in air strikes on September 24. The United States and its Arab allies have opened a new front in the battle against Islamic State militants. (Ammar Abdullah/Reuters)

Andrew J. Bacevich, the George McGovern fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, is writing a history of U. S. military involvement in the Greater Middle East.

As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.

Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.

With our 14th front barely opened, the Pentagon foresees a campaign likely to last for years. Yet even at this early date, this much already seems clear: Even if we win, we lose. Defeating the Islamic State would only commit the United States more deeply to a decades-old enterprise that has proved costly and counterproductive.

Back in 1980, President Jimmy Carter touched things off when he announced that the United States would use force to prevent the Persian Gulf from falling into the wrong hands. In effect, with the post-Ottoman order created by European imperialists — chiefly the British — after World War I apparently at risk, the United States made a fateful decision: It shouldered responsibility for preventing that order from disintegrating further. Britain’s withdrawal from “east of Suez,” along with the revolution in Iran and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, prompted Washington to insert itself into a region in which it previously avoided serious military involvement.

At the time, oil — not freedom, democracy or human rights — defined the principal American interest, and stability was the goal. Military power offered the means by which the United States hoped to attain that goal. Armed might would keep a lid on things. The pot might simmer, but it wouldn’t boil over.

In practice, however, whether putting boots on the ground or relying on missiles from above, subsequent U.S. efforts to promote stability have tended to produce just the opposite. Part of the problem is that American policymakers have repeatedly given in to the temptation to unleash a bit of near-term chaos, betting that longer-term order will emerge on the other end.

Back in Vietnam, this was known as burning down the village to save it. In the Greater Middle East, it has meant dismantling a country with the aim of erecting something more preferable — “regime change” as a prelude to “nation building.” Unfortunately, the United States has proved considerably more adept at the former than the latter.

Mostly, coercive regime change has produced power vacuums. Iraq offers a glaring example. Although studiously ignored by Washington, post-Gaddafi Libya offers a second. And unless the gods are in an exceptionally generous mood, Afghanistan will probably become a third whenever U.S. and NATO combat troops finally depart.

In place of governing arrangements that Washington judged objectionable, the United States has found itself coping with the absence of any effective governments whatsoever. Instead of curbing bad behavior, spanking induced all sorts of pathologies.

By inadvertently sowing instability, the United States has played directly into the hands of anti-Western radical Islamists intent on supplanting the European-imposed post-Ottoman order with something more to their liking. This is the so-called caliphate that Osama bin Laden yearned to create and that now exists in embryonic form in the portions of Iraq and Syria that Islamic State radicals control.

Want to measure what America’s war for the Middle East has accomplished through its first 13 iterations? The Islamic State has to rank prominently on any list of achievements. If Iraq possessed minimally effective security forces, Islamic State militants wouldn’t have a chance. But the Iraqi army we created won’t fight, in considerable measure because the Iraqi government we created doesn’t govern.

Kurdish fighters defending Kobane warn of a likely massacre by Islamic State insurgents, while Turkey says it will do whatever it can to prevent the Syrian border town from falling. (Reuters)

President Obama did not initiate the long and varied sequence of military actions that has produced this situation. Yet he finds himself caught in a dilemma. To give the Islamic State a free hand is to allow proponents of the caliphate to exploit the instability that U.S. efforts, some involving Obama himself, have fostered. But to make Syria the latest free-fire zone in America’s never-ending Middle East misadventure will almost surely prolong and exacerbate the agonies that country is experiencing, with little ability to predict what consequences will ensue.

Even if U.S. and allied forces succeed in routing this militant group, there is little reason to expect that the results for Syrians will be pretty — or that the prospects of regional harmony will improve. Suppress the symptoms, and the disease simply manifests itself in other ways. There is always another Islamic State waiting in the wings.

Obama’s bet — the same bet made by each of his predecessors, going back to Carter — is that the skillful application of U.S. military might can somehow provide a way out of this dilemma. They were wrong, and so is he.

We may be grateful that Obama has learned from his predecessor that invading and occupying countries in this region of the world just doesn’t work. The lesson he will bequeath to his successor is that drone strikes and commando raids don’t solve the problem, either.

We must hope for victory over the Islamic State. But even if achieved, that victory will not redeem but merely prolong a decades-long military undertaking that was flawed from the outset. When the 14th campaign runs its course, the 15th will no doubt be waiting, perhaps in Jordan or in a return visit to some unfinished battleground such as Libya or Somalia or Yemen.

Yet even as the United States persists in its determination to pacify the Greater Middle East, the final verdict is already in. U.S. military power has never offered an appropriate response to whatever ails the Islamic world. We’ve committed our troops to a fool’s errand.

And worse, the errand is also proving unnecessary. With abundant North American energy reserves now accessible — all that shale oil and fracked gas — we don’t need the Persian Gulf oil that ostensibly made our post-1980 military exertions imperative. For whatever reasons, Washington’s national security elites seem oblivious to the implications these resources have for policy in the Middle East.

No matter how long it lasts, America’s war for the Greater Middle East will end in failure. And when it does, Americans will discover that it was also superfluous.

Conflict Resolution in Syria Impossible Without Assad

 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Conflict Resolution in Syria Impossible Without Assad

Washington, Britain, France, Israel and rogue regional allies are part of the Syrian conflict resolution problem – Russia and Assad key solution partners.
 
Sergey Lavrov stresses Assad’s importance, saying “(a)ll the forecasts made by (rogue Western states) and some other parties that the people would rise up and oust him never came true.”
 
“This means one thing: Assad represents the interests of a significant part of Syrian society (the vast majority, Lavrov stopped short of explaining based on polling data and his overwhelming June 2014 reelection). So no peaceful solution can be found without his participation.”
 
On November 19, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Obama again demanded Assad must go. He lied calling his premeditated proxy aggression on Syria a “civil war,” saying he “do(es) not foresee a situation in which (it can be resolved) while (he) remains in power” – his latest assertion of rogue state arrogance, adding:
 
“Even if I said that was okay, I still don’t think it would actually work. You could not get the Syrian people, the majority of them, to agree to that kind of outcome.”
Fact: He wants Washington alone deciding who’ll lead Syria, not its citizens democratically.
 
Fact: He knows Assad remains overwhelmingly popular. Syrians want no one else leading them. Claiming he rules illegitimately is a bald-faced lie.
 
Fact: US-controlled puppet rule assures endless violence, instability and chaos – like in all nations where America intervenes. Peace and democratic governance defeat its imperial agenda.
Hopefully Lavrov is right saying growing numbers of world officials are coming around to Russia’s position on combating terrorism, and beginning to distance themselves from Washington’s destructive agenda.
“(L)evel-headed politicians are…realizing the need to concentrate on…stopping ISIS’ attempts to spread (its diabolical) influence globally,” said Lavrov. (It’s) trying to achieve its goal of creating (a) caliphate regardless of what happens in Syria and the attitude that anyone has towards Bashar Assad.”
Russia urges world unity in combating a common scourge. Resolving Syria’s conflict depends on it, impossible otherwise. “We are currently acting in Syria legally and are willing to cooperate in practice with (nations allied with Washington) that are prepared to respect Syria’s sovereignty and the goals of the Syrian government,” Lavrov stressed.
He urged passing a Security Council resolution, authorizing Chapter 7 military intervention to combat ISIS. Russia’s draft proposal seeks it, so far blocked by Washington and rogue partners Britain and France.
They oppose resolution language saying “anti-terrorist operations should be coordinated with the governments of the states, where such operations take place,” said Lavrov. 
“Unfortunately, we see the willingness to band together on an anti-terrorist platform only after tragedies” – often against wrong targets for lawless objectives. 
Lavrov urges mutual cooperation against ISIS and similar terrorist groups, the only effective way to defeat them – including stopping outside financial and military support from reaching them, the way it’s happening now, led by Washington, supported by its rogue partners including Israel, fueling the fire vital to extinguish.
A Final Comment
Russia’s Defense Ministry reported its aerial mission destroyed over 2,000 terrorist facilities in Syria since September 30. America’s 14-month bombing campaign eliminated NONE.
On November 19, Fars News reported top ISIS commanders and hundreds of fighters fleeing their Raqqa headquarters “after sustaining heavy casualties” from Russian airstrikes – according to intelligence assessments and “confirmed” eyewitness sources.
According to Arabic language al-Mayadeen television, ISIS elements are moving their families and remaining heavy weapons to Deir Ezzur. Syrian armed forces and Kurdish fighters continue making slow but steady gains against ISIS in northeastern Hasakah region. 
Russia’s main objective in Syria is neutralizing and containing ISIS enough for Syrian armed forces to continue regaining lost territory, as well as preventing the spread of this scourge elsewhere.
Author: Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal

A Clinton Story Fraught With Inaccuracies: How It Happened and What’s Next?

hillary-clinton-winking-AP-640x480

Make no mistake. A Clinton presidency would be disastrous – the worst of all possible deplorable choices, none worthy of any public office, all aspirants beholden to wealth, power and privilege exclusively.

 

By Margaret Sullivan – Public Editor’s Journal

July 27, 2015 10:00 am

Updated: July 28, 2015 | The story certainly seemed like a blockbuster: A criminal investigation of Hillary Rodham Clinton by the Justice Department was being sought by two federal inspectors general over her email practices while secretary of state.

It’s hard to imagine a much more significant political story at this moment, given that she is the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.

The story a Times exclusive — appeared high on the home page and the mobile app late Thursday and on Friday and then was displayed with a three-column headline on the front page in Friday’s paper. The online headline read “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email,” very similar to the one in print.

But aspects of it began to unravel soon after it first went online. The first major change was this: It wasn’t really Mrs. Clinton directly who was the focus of the request for an investigation. It was more general: whether government information was handled improperly in connection with her use of a personal email account.

Much later, The Times backed off the startling characterization of a “criminal inquiry,” instead calling it something far tamer sounding: it was a “security” referral.

From Thursday night to Sunday morning – when a final correction appeared in print – the inaccuracies and changes in the story were handled as they came along, with little explanation to readers, other than routine corrections. The first change I mentioned above was written into the story for hours without a correction or any notice of the change, which was substantive.

And the evolving story, which began to include a new development, simply replaced the older version. That development was that several instances of classified information had been found in Mrs. Clinton’s personal email – although, in fairness, it’s doubtful whether the information was marked as classified when she sent or received those emails. Eventually, a number of corrections were appended to the online story, before appearing in print in the usual way – in small notices on Page A2.

But you can’t put stories like this back in the bottle – they ripple through the entire news system.

So it was, to put it mildly, a mess. As a result, I’ve been spending the last couple of days asking how this could happen and how something similar can be prevented in the future. I’ve spoken to the executive editor, Dean Baquet; to a top-ranking editor involved with the story, Matt Purdy; and to the two reporters, Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt.

Meanwhile, I heard from readers, like Maria Cranor who wanted clarification and explanation on The Times’s “recent, and mystifying, coverage of the HRC emails. It appears that your reporters relied on leaks from the Gowdy committee to suggest that Clinton was involved in some kind of criminal malfeasance around the emails. The subsequent walk backs have not been effective, or encouraging. Please help us retain our wavering confidence in the Times’ political coverage!” (Her reference is to the Republican congressman, Trey Gowdy.)

Another reader, Paul Kingsley, demanded a refund for his Friday paper. “We all deserve one,” he wrote to me. And, complaining about the lack of transparency and the errors, he added:

1) please repost the original reporting;
2) provide an explanation as to how it made it to press and what was wrong.
3) what are you going to do to prevent such inaccurate bias in the future?
4) are you going to minimize using unnamed sources?

The story developed quickly on Thursday afternoon and evening, after tips from various sources, including on Capitol Hill. The reporters had what Mr. Purdy described as “multiple, reliable, highly placed sources,” including some “in law enforcement.” I think we can safely read that as the Justice Department.

The sources said not only was there indeed a referral but also that it was directed at Mrs. Clinton herself, and that it was a criminal referral. And that’s how The Times wrote it initially.

“We got it wrong because our very good sources had it wrong,” Mr. Purdy told me. “That’s an explanation, not an excuse. We have an obligation to get facts right and we work very hard to do that.”

By Friday afternoon, the Justice Department issued a terse statement, saying that there had been a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information, stating clearly that it was not a criminal referral. Mr. Purdy says he remains puzzled about why the initial inaccurate information was confirmed so clearly. (Update: Other news outlets also got confirmation of the criminal referral as they followed The Times’s story. They did not report, as an earlier version of this post suggested, that she herself was the target of the referral.)

There are at least two major journalistic problems here, in my view. Competitive pressure and the desire for a scoop led to too much speed and not enough caution. Mr. Purdy told me that the reporters, whom he described as excellent and experienced, were “sent back again and again” to seek confirmation of the key elements; but while no one would discuss the specifics of who the sources were, my sense is that final confirmation came from the same person more than once.

The reporters and editors were not able to see the referral itself, Mr. Purdy said, and that’s the norm in such cases; anything else would be highly unusual, he said. So they were relying on their sources’ interpretation of it. All at The Times emphasized that the core of the initial story – the request for an investigation – is true, and that it was major news, as was the later development.

Hindsight’s easy, but I’ll take a stab at it anyway. Here’s my take:

First, consider the elements. When you add together the lack of accountability that comes with anonymous sources, along with no ability to examine the referral itself, and then mix in the ever-faster pace of competitive reporting for the web, you’ve got a mistake waiting to happen. Or, in this case, several mistakes.

Reporting a less sensational version of the story, with a headline that did not include the word “criminal,” and continuing to develop it the next day would have been a wise play. Better yet: Waiting until the next day to publish anything at all.

Losing the story to another news outlet would have been a far, far better outcome than publishing an unfair story and damaging The Times’s reputation for accuracy.

What’s more, when mistakes inevitably happen, The Times needs to be much more transparent with readers about what is going on. Just revising the story, and figuring out the corrections later, doesn’t cut it.

Mr. Baquet, who is a former Times Washington bureau chief, told me Sunday by phone that he faults himself on this score, and he would do it differently now.

“We should have explained to our readers right away what happened here, as soon as we knew it,” he said. That could have been in an editor’s note or in a story, or in some other form, he said.

“The readers of The New York Times got whipsawed,” by all the conflicting reports and criticism, he said.

He agreed, as Mr. Purdy did, that special care has to come with the use of anonymous sources, but he believes that the errors here “may have been unavoidable.” And Mr. Purdy said that he thought The Times probably took too long to append a correction in the first instance.

But, Mr. Baquet said, he does not fault the reporters or editors directly involved.

“You had the government confirming that it was a criminal referral,” Mr. Baquet said. “I’m not sure what they could have done differently on that.”

None of this should be used to deny the importance of The Times’s reporting on the subject of Mrs. Clinton’s email practices at the State Department, a story Mr. Schmidt broke in March. Although her partisans want the focus shifted to these errors, the fact remains that her secret email system hamstrung possible inquiries into her conduct while secretary of state both by the news media and the public under the Freedom of Information Act and by Congress. And her awarding to herself the first cull of those emails will make suspicion about what they contained a permanent part of the current campaign.

Nevertheless, the most recent story is both a messy and a regrettable chapter. It brings up important issues that demand to be thought about and discussed internally with an eye to prevention in the future.

Mr. Baquet and Mr. Purdy said that would happen, especially on the issue of transparency to readers. In my view, that discussion must also include the rampant use of anonymous sources, and the need to slow down and employ what might seem an excess of caution before publishing a political blockbuster based on shadowy sources.

I’ll summarize my prescription in four words: Less speed. More transparency.

After all, readers come to The Times not for a scoop, though those can be great, but for fair, authoritative and accurate information. And when things do go wrong, readers deserve a thorough, immediate explanation from the top. None of that happened here.

(Update: An editors’ note, explaining the errors and stating that corrections should have been handled differently, was published late Monday, and appeared in Tuesday’s paper on page A2.)

Who Downed Russia’s Metrojet Flight 9268?

 

IS THERE ANOTHER HAND BESIDES ISIS BEHIND THIS CRIME ?

 

Was it ISIS – or somebody else?

Kolavia-Flight-400x240First they said the downing of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 was most likely due to Russia’s “notorious” regional airlines, which supposedly are rickety and unreliable. The Egyptian government denied that terrorism is even a possibility, with Egyptian despot Abdel Fatah al-Sisi proclaiming:

When there is propaganda that it crashed because of Isis, this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image of Egypt. Believe me, the situation in Sinai – especially in this limited area – is under our full control.

However, it soon came out that the person in charge of Sharm el-Sheikh airport, where the Russia plane had landed before taking off again, had been “replaced” – oh, but notbecause of anything to do with the downing of the Russian passenger plane! As the Egyptian authorities put it:

Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that runs Egypt’s civilian airports, says airport chief Abdel-Wahab Ali has been ‘promoted’ to become his assistant. He said the move late Wednesday had nothing to do with media skepticism surrounding the airport’s security. Mahgoub said Ali is being replaced by Emad el-Balasi, a pilot.

Laughable, albeit in a sinister way, and yet more evidence that something wasn’t quite right: after all, everyone knows the Egyptian government does not have the Sinai, over which the plane disintegrated in mid air, under its “full control.” ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the crash hours after it occurred, is all over that peninsula.

Still, the denials poured in, mostly from US government officials such as Director of National Intelligence James “Liar-liar-pants-on-fire” Clapper, who said ISIS involvement was “unlikely.” Then they told us it couldn’t have been ISIS because they supposedly don’t have surface-to-air missiles that can reach the height attained by the downed plane. Yet that wasn’t very convincing either, because a) How do they know what ISIS has in its arsenal?, and b) couldn’t ISIS or some other group have smuggleda bomb on board?

The better part of a week after the crash, we have this:

Days after authorities dismissed claims that ISIS brought down a Russian passenger jet, a U.S. intelligence analysis now suggests that the terror group or its affiliates planted a bomb on the plane.

British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said his government believes there is a ‘significant possibility’ that an explosive device caused the crash. And a Middle East source briefed on intelligence matters also said it appears likely someone placed a bomb aboard the aircraft.

According to numerous news reports, intercepts of “internal communications” of the Islamic State/ISIS group provided evidence that it wasn’t an accident but a terrorist act. Those intercepts must have been available to US and UK government sources early on, yet these same officials said they had no “direct evidence,” as Clapper put it, of terrorist involvement. Why is that? And furthermore: why the general unwillingness of Western governments and media to jump to their usual conclusion when any air disaster occurs, and attribute it to terrorism?

The answer is simple: they didn’t want to arouse any sympathy for the Russians. Russia, as we all know, is The Enemy – considered even worse, in some circles, than the jihadists.  Indeed, there’s a whole section of opinion-makers devoted to the idea that  we must help Islamist crazies in Syria, including al-Qaeda’s affiliate, known as al-Nusra, precisely in order to stop the Evil Putin from extending Russian influence into the region.

In a broader sense, the reluctance to acknowledge that this was indeed a terrorist act is rooted in a refusal to acknowledge the commonality of interests that exists between Putin’s Russia and the West. The downing of the Metrojet is just the latest atrocity carried out by the head-choppers against the Russian people: this includes not only the Beslan school massacre, in which over 700 children were taken hostage by Chechen Islamists, but also the five apartment bombings that took place in 1999.

The real extent of Western hostility to Russia, and the unwillingness to realize that Russia has been a major terrorist target, is underscored by the shameful propaganda pushed by the late Alexander Litvinenko, and endorsed by Sen. John McCain, which claims that the bombings were an “inside job” carried out by the Russian FSB – a version of “trutherism” that, if uttered in the US in relation to the 9/11 attacks, is routinely (and rightly) dismissed as sheer crankery. But where the Russians are concerned it’s not only allowable, it’s the default. A particularly egregious example is Russophobic hack Michael D. Weiss, who, days before the downing of the Russian passenger plane, solemnly informed us that Putin was “sending jihadists to join ISIS.” Boy oh boy, talk about ingratitude!

This downright creepy unwillingness to express any sympathy or sense of solidarity with the Russian people ought to clue us in to something we knew all along: that the whole “war on terrorism” gambit is as phony as a three-dollar bill. If US government officials were actually concerned about the threat of terrorist violence directed at innocent civilians, they would partner up with Russia in a joint effort to eradicate the threat: that this isn’t happening in Syria, or anywhere else, is all too evident. Not to mention our canoodling with “moderate” Chechen terrorists, openly encouraging them to carry on their war with Putin’s Russia. Our “war on terrorism” is simply a pretext for spying on the American people, and most of the rest of the world, and cementing the power of the State on the home front, not to mention fattening up an already grotesquely obese “defense” budget.

With the belated admission that the downing of the Russian passenger jet was an act of terrorism, we are beginning to hear that this a tremendous blow to Putin’s prestigeat home – something no one would dare utter about Obama’s or Cameron’s “prestige” if the Metrojet had been an American or British passenger plane. They say it’s “blowback” due to Russia’s actions in Syria, with the clear implication that it’s deserved. And yet, according to US officials and the usual suspects, the Russiansaren’t hitting ISIS so much as they’re smiting the “moderate” Islamist head-choppers – the “Syrian rebels,” as they’re known — who are being funded, armed, and encouraged by the West.

If that’s true, then what kind of blowback are we talking about – and from which direction is it coming? Given this, isn’t it entirely possible that Metrojet Flight 9268 was downed by US-aided –and-supported “moderates,” who moderately decided to get back at Putin?

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert andDavid Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.