syria russia cartoon
The U.S. political, military and intelligence leadership have been scrambling to save face in Syria since Putin threw a geopolitical curve-ball at the empire-builders one month ago. Russia has now been pounding them with it repeatedly for 30 glorious days, taking out 1,600 terrorist targets and sending many of the critters fleeing. Put simply, the Americans created a wasteland, dug a giant hole in that wasteland, filled it with cannibalistic, head-chopping psychopaths, and bet the farm on burying their enemies in it, only to find themselves neck-deep in their own duplicity and hubris, scrambling to escape a problem of their own creation. American petard, meet Russian hoist.

Here's how it happened. After decades of using every dirty trick in the book to expand and maintain their hegemony -- bribery, blackmail, torture, coups, assassinations, death squads -- the Americans got complacent. To this end, the 'Al-Qaeda' bogeyman served them well. It is at once both a media creation to terrify the plebs and justify domestic and foreign power-grabs and a cover for mercenary warfare against foreign resistance to American occupation (e.g., Iraq), and against governments who refused to toe the American line (e.g., Libya).

Al-Qaeda 2.0 (ISIS/ISIL/IS) is no different. From 9/11 and the launch of the 'war on terror', the empire-builders enforced the PATRIOT Act and corresponding police state legislation right across the Western world, launched wars of occupation and proxy wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Mali and elsewhere and increased their economic, political and military dominance around the globe.

Naturally, they didn't think anyone would seriously challenge or call them on their bluff and bluster. Enter Vladimir Putin. Judging by American words and actions over the last month, and despite crying wolf about 'Russian invasions' in Ukraine since the coup d'état in Kiev in February 2014, the Americans didn't see the Russians coming in Syria.

Let's be honest here, the Americans practically handed it to Putin on a platter. They spent so much time and energy building up ISIS as the biggest, baddest, scariest bunch of psychopathic monsters that all Putin had to do was say, "Yeah, you guys are right. Mind if I take 'em on? You know I know Judo, right?" I would have loved to see the looks on their faces when they heard the news on September 30th.

By joining the war on ISIS, but NOT joining the U.S.-led coalition, Russia put the Americans in an awkward position, to say the least. The U.S. government can't condone Russia's coalition, because that would mean condoning a war against itself. And it can't completely reject Russia's coalition, because that would expose the reality that the 'war on terror' has been a complete farce: that the U.S. has not been 'fighting' terror, but has in fact been creating and spreading it. At the same time, the U.S. can't just sit back while Putin rides on their own propaganda vehicle to fight a war against the Americans' own creation. This is why all they can do at this point is to deny that Russia is attacking ISIS, which has its own problems (more on that below).

In the first week of the attacks I noted that the American narrative on Russia's intervention in Syria is partly true. The Russians are attacking CIA assets; they are bombing the hell out of people the U.S. government has cultivated for at least 15 years, and in some cases longer. JFK's threat to "smash the CIA into a thousand pieces" has been the decades-long wish of everyone seeking justice from American 'intervention'. Putin has begun doing that to the extent he is able, and there's not a thing the Americans can do to stop it. Russia has effectively installed an impassable barrier between the U.S. and its unchallenged foreign policy of violent 'regime change'. Think about that for a minute.

And now that the game itself has changed; now that the U.S. Establishment has been exposed for the mentally-deficient, criminal, arrogant has-been that it truly is, these idiots don't even realize how bad they look. It's sad -- pathetic, really. They don't even realize how laughable their antics have become, how hollow their words, how transparent their propaganda. American leaders come across as dim-witted schoolyard bullies who don't realize the principal is standing right behind them -- documenting every threat, provocation and lie -- while they just keep digging that hole for themselves. In contrast, for the last 15 years, Russia has been that skinny, quiet kid, secretly taking martial arts classes -- no one expects it when he finally shows the bully that the playground is gonna be a lot different from now on.

Yet the Americans still think they can get away with making unilateral demands. The U.S. doesn't ask politely; it tells you what you're going to do -- determining the governments, policies and political futures of foreign nation-states half-way across the planet. Here are just a couple of recent examples of this typical blend of American arrogance.

Who needs evidence? Just trust us

First, we've got U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby. After the U.S. was universally condemned for deliberately targeting a hospital in Afghanistan on October 3rd, killing at least 30 doctors and patients, the U.S. propaganda machine moved to deflect attention by inventing stories about Russian jets bombing hospitals in Syria. Once the rumors had been spread by the Pentagon's Twitter trolls, Kirby told the world's media in Washington that the U.S. government "has reason to believe" these fictitious events had actually occurred, citing those same fake media reports as evidence. Watch him for yourself, if you can stomach his smug face as he churns out the lies:

I just love how Kirby refuses to answer a question (skip ahead to around 4:45 for the questions on Russian airstrikes), and then tries to make the journalist who asked that question look like a jerk. Nope, there was only one jerk in the room: Kirby
Kirby: "We've seen some information that would lead us to believe that Russian military aircraft did hit a hospital."

Journalist: "Can you share evidence of that?"

Kirby: "I think I just did."
Sorry Kirby, but you didn't. Saying you've read "press reports" and "operational reporting" is not evidence. But thanks for trying.
Journalist: "Can you share that [operational reporting]?"

Kirby: "No, I'm not gonna share operational and intelligence information here from this podium."
OK, we get it. He's bullshitting. I guess I can't give him that hard a time though; he is, after all, only saying what he's paid to say. And it's a tough job having to come up with complete and utter bullshit on the spot, when it's totally obvious to everyone watching that that's exactly what you're doing. A truly thankless job.

When the U.S. bombs a hospital, there are firsthand reports, pictures, video -- real evidence, because they really do it. And yet when Russia allegedly bombs a hospital we have: a few tweets and a few statements to media outlets from Western-backed NGOs. No pictures, no interviews, no video. Does the U.S. State Department think we're that stupid? It apparently does.

We can do whatever we want, wherever we want

On to example number two: the South China Sea provocation. If you don't know the background, watch South Front's 'Foreign Policy Diary':

The Americans' justification for their deliberate provocation? As one 'anonymous official' told AFP: "We will do it again. We sail in international waters at a time and place of our choosing." Yep, even if that "time and place" can start a war. "We're freakin' America, we can sail wherever we want, whenever we want!" Has anyone ever told these guys what a bunch of mush for brains they are? More than that, they're actually kind of creepy. Like a stalker who makes sure to stare at you through your window while he stands on the sidewalk outside. He's on public property -- totally legal! And it's so very rich that the U.S. thinks it can use international law as justification for threatening anyone. Which leads us to number three.

Invitation? We don't need no stinking invitation!

Like a jilted, obsessive boyfriend, the U.S. has told Iraq, "You can't have anyone but me!"
Retired US General John Allen, who is coordinating US-led anti-ISIL campaign, asked Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi not to cooperate with Moscow in the fight against the radical Sunni group, which has largely remained unaffected by American airstrikes, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

"John Allen... informed Haider al-Abadi that Washington was disturbed by Iraq's alliance [with Russia], and said, to the letter, that 'President Barack Obama is enquiring regarding his role [in the fight against ISIS]... Shouldn't Iraq be thanking the US?'" a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the London-based daily. ... General Allen, according to the source, explicitly asked al-Abadi "not proceed with cooperating with Russia."
Moon of Alabama agrees:
The U.S. fears the replacement of its sham campaign against the Islamic State by a real one run by Russia and Iran. The Joint Chiefs chairman Dunford even threatened the Iraqi premier with love deprivation:
If Russia did begin flying missions over Iraq, it would preclude the United States from flying, Dunford told the Iraqi leaders. They understood the situation, he said, and Abadi told him that Iraq has not asked the Russians to fly missions over Iraq and Russia has not offered to launch strikes inside Iraq.
Is that a promise? Can the Iraqis get that in writing? They'd probably like nothing more than to get every last American of any stripe out of their country, which the US warmongers destroyed, occupied and pillaged for a decade. But that's not all. The U.S. followed up with this genius scheme: more ground troops in Iraq! U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter jumped the gun, telling the Senate Armed Services committee on Tuesday: "We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground." By directly, of course, he means with or without the support of "capable partners".

But apparently he forgot to tell his Iraqi "partners" first. "Damn, did someone forget to tell the Iraqis? Ah hell, we never had to tell them anything before, what are they gonna do? File a complaint?" How polite of the US government to let the Iraqis know, indirectly, what they plan on doing in their country without their permission. But that's how the Americans roll: "We tell you what we're going to do, and you let us do it. Capisce?"

The Iraqi response was fascinating. Iraqi PM spokesman Sa'ad al-Hadithi told NBC: "This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the US Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations. We have enough soldiers on the ground." He also made it clear that any U.S. involvement beyond their "train and advise" mission must be cleared with Baghdad, as mandated under international law. I can just picture the Americans: "Hmm, international law... Where have we heard those words before? Oh yeah, we used them to justify trying to start a war with China." Be careful, al-Hadithi. Such complex, foreign concepts make Americans' brains hurt.

But it wasn't just into Iraq that the Americans impolitely invited themselves. Since the U.S. can't openly admit they have been supporting ISIS and Al-Nusra head-choppers in Syria, and since the FSA is increasingly recognized as just another group of "moderate" head-choppers, the only groups really left to openly support are the Kurdish militias. So now, the Americans have unilaterally announced a brand-spanking-new "advise and assist" mission to Kurdish-controlled territory:
The [20-30 American] troops will be sent to Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria, CNN reported citing multiple anonymous officials. While they are not expected to be on the front lines with rebel forces, they will have the right to fight back if attacked. They can also join rebel raids if authorized by Washington.
That's right. They will have "the right" to fight back and join raids. On whose authority? Who else?! America's. Damn right. Right?
Asked about the legal framework for sending forces to Syria, Earnest cited the 2001 congressional authorization to use military force, passed following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The presence of any sort of US troops in Syria was not authorized by either the elected government in Damascus or by the United Nations.
What the hell does Syria have to do with 9/11?! That's one helluva legal framework the Americans have going there. Unfortunately, it's just more bullshit. Washington was not invited. It has no right to be there. They need to get the hell out, and stay out.

But I forget, American leadership doesn't take requests, or demands. And they don't care if you say please or not. They spent a lot of time and money training, transporting, arming and funding those moderate head-choppers, after all. And they're sure as hell not going to sit back and watch that investment devalue under the weight of Russian bombs. So what else can they do at this point? The same thing they did in Ukraine when the DPR and LPR militias encircled thousands of their precious proxy army in Ilovaysk and then Debaltsevo, threatening to wipe out substantial portions of Kiev's armed forces: ceasefire! When the going gets tough, the pusillanimous Uncle Sam cries uncle.

Enter Kerry from stage left, Vienna:
The 19 global and regional powers [Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Italy, Egypt, Great Britain, Germany, Lebanon, Qatar, Iran, France, China, the UAE, Jordan, Oman, the EU and the UN] who have gathered in Vienna have agreed to work towards setting up a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, according to the joint statement.

Still, terrorists must not be given a chance to seize power in the country, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said during a press conference, adding that this understanding is shared by all 19 parties attending the talks.

The truce is not going to be applicable to Islamic State extremists and other terrorists, Lavrov said. A comprehensive list of terror groups operating in Syria will be defined during a separate meeting.
The UN is calling for all the countries that have influence on the Syrian government and opposition to try and put them at a negotiating table, the United Nations' special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura said.
When Russia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Hezbollah eventually kill all the terrorists, the U.S. can't complain. The most it can say is that they killed their "moderate terrorists" too, otherwise they'd be admitting that all the terrorists were theirs to begin with. The best they can do is get their assets on the ground to shave their beards and get the hell out of Syria, or trade in their flags, stop fighting, and start calling themselves "moderate opposition". Then they can sit at the negotiation table, pretend to be moderate, save their asses, and move on to the next country of the U.S.'s choice. Any way you look at it, it's still a win for Syria.