Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Bacevich Challenges Beltway Thinking on Obama’s Wars

PBS Newshour Panel, Plus Comments

On June 10, as Obama dispatched another 450 “military advisers” to Iraq, the PBS Newshour presented a panel discussion about America’s incoherent strategy in Iraq and Syria. Former CIA and Pentagon boss Leon Panetta, former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, Gen. Anthony Zinni, ret, and retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich, who teaches at Boston University, comprised the panel. As the Beltway insiders spouted predictable, fear-laden talking points, Bacevich—whose son was killed in Iraq—provides strong counter arguments. He notes our failure to train the Iraqi army during the occupation, and challenges Panetta directly on several issues. Over the gasps of the others, Bacevich offers a sensible proposal: let Iran take the lead against IS. In this podcast, you will hear the PBS discussion with my comments inserted.

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  1. Peter…
    I admire! That You are only talking to your Tv.
    I am Screaming at IT…Hmmm
    But does that help…!
    Going back just a little bit, in time.
    April 24, 2015..On your own podcast whit Psychiatrist Justin Frank.
    Whit a link to this opinion…
    By Stephen Kinzer…The headline read like…
    The world of threats to the US is an illusion..!
    From my little place in history, on this planet.
    A very small island is in Denmark.
    I would say…here I take a deep breath.
    It is Not Just In the young nation of USA…this kind
    of illusion going On and On.
    I am sad to say..It is running deep in My homeland..
    And in the rest of Europe..
    My Best Regards
    Ps.. Where is my remote control.. That television Of.

  2. Jens,

    You said it, only I’m screaming at my computer (as I don’t have a TV)

    This is a helpful podcast, at the very least in confirming that I’m not alone in listening to these ludacris talking points and BS fear mongering statements and feeling my head spin.

    • Hi BennyB
      Thank You for your kind reply..
      I am whit you on this.
      (ludacris talking points)….yes.
      I would love to bye You a beer.
      in my local bar…on my little island Bornholm.
      Because, all of this makes my head spin to.
      It is Great to know…I am Not Alone.
      Best Regards

  3. fatheadjoe says:

    “No one addresses those questions. Nobody even asks them.”

    You’re a breath of fresh air, PBC. As stated earlier, thanks for watching the NewsHour so I don’t have to.

  4. steven hobbs says:

    Hi Peter,
    Thank you for the detailed parsing of PBS pablum. Without Bacevich this discussion would have been another fourth estate forgettable. Deconstruction of Pinata, et al, most appreciated. I thought of him as you, when he focused on California. I’m now curious about Bacevich’s invitations as an expert. Since I don’t tune TV so will likely miss it.

  5. This whole debate seems fake to me.

    Why would you trust anyone on PBS? They have an agenda to present a false dichotomy. Fight against ISIS? What fight against ISIS? Do we have any evidence that ISIS are even on the opposing side? Arent they the guys that are being used to overthrow Assad?
    Who knows anything about what’s going on in Iraq?
    My country has implemented a travel ban with a threat of up to 10 years jail to ANYONE contemplating travelling to Mosul. What a way to keep the independent journalists out of the picture such that you can invent the entire media narrative.
    The US are sending more and more troops to train Sunni tribesmen in Iraq. Sunnis, these are the people that comprise the bulk of ISIS.
    Bringing Iran into the picture serves the wider agenda of creating tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Go back to the Institute for the Study of War (Kagan) plan to see the long term strategy here.
    Panetta reveals the strategy is to go after Assad, this strategy has existed for a few years since the Assad decided he wanted to pipe Iranian gas through Iraq and Syria. To disrupt this pipeline has always been the main goal here. To fracture any trade relations between Iran and Syria.

    ISIS doesnt seem to be an accident here, it seems to be a legitimate strategy.

    • Nah it’s al-nusrah which controls a very small area of Syria, which is “al-queda’s” official affiliate that fights Assad, Assad kind of made a deal, for now anyway, They don’t try to enlarge what they took from Syria and Daesh sells the oil from the refineries in northeast syria that they seized. So Assad is actually enriching IS to keep them from expanding further, if you look at maps you’ll see they haven’t taken territory in Syria in a long time, they want to expand further into Iraq though which is the real problem according to Obama/US policy, they even had a stretch further down the Anbar Province that they just waltzed into…which if the US really wanted to stop, they would have fucking done it, Peter mentioned it before, the whole high level guys had their Toyota trucks in a convoy like I said waltz right into Mosul, the US has some goddamn satellites that saw all of that. 3-4 Tomahawks and that would have been the end of IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh/Caliphate(lolz no buddy, you’re not the Caliph.

      So yeah the US is comfortable with IS dividing Iraq and Syria which used to be sister nations, so I don’t know what they bombed other than the entity from outer space called the Khorasan Group. They’re certainly not raining Tomahawks on Daesh like they did Lybia, so yeah….

      On these words, look up on a man called Simon Elliott and make your own conclusions

  6. The heart of a soldier…
    Going to war…
    In these Times…
    We all live in.
    The draft…!
    If we do not fight them over there..!
    We…! we will fight them here…
    Best Regards
    Ps. why PBS.

  7. The strategy is quite clear.
    – The US has made a deal with Saudi Arabia. The US can proceed with the negotiations with Iran. And the US won’t block the saudis supporting ISIS (in their fight against Assad). But this will set up a future confrontation between the Sunnis (or ISIS) and the shia government in Baghdad in the future.
    – People are jockeying for a (important) position in the next Bush or Clinton administration. And that’s why people want to be seen as hawkish as possible and express hawkish views regarding the situation in Iraq & the Middle East.
    – The new “king” of Saudi Arabia wants to leave his mark on foreign policy and has poured millions of fresh money into ISIS.
    – US support of the saudi troops in Yemen is part of that deal mentioned above.

  8. – Like in 2003 there’s no “Exit” strategy. Because the US doesn’t intend to withdraw those troops any time soon.

    • The BS about the Iraqi army not “taking the responsibility” is really sick and cynical when you think about it too. How bout the US stops greenlighting funding for ISIS via the Saudis and allows some regional players to take part in handling the catastrophe militarily? It’s like taking a wrecking ball to someone’s home, then giving them some limited resources to rebuild it, but on the condition that they aren’t aloud to hire a professional contractor to do the job, then blaming them for not “taking the responsibility” to rebuild their home.

  9. That does line up well with the following article:

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