Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
The intelligence about threats of a possible Iran attack, which U.S. officials called "real and urgent," warned of attacks on American ships off the waters of Yemen and in the Persian Gulf itself, as well as against American troops in Iraq and Syria cbsn.ws/2J4QESu
Gulf of Tonkin? From WIKIPEDIA:
The Gulf of Tonkin incident (Vietnamese: Sự kiện Vịnh Bắc Bộ), also known as the USS Maddox incident, was an international confrontation that led to the United States engaging more directly in the Vietnam War. It involved either one or two separate confrontations involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. The original American report blamed North Vietnam for both incidents, but eventually became very controversial with widespread belief that at least one, and possibly both incidents were false, and possibly deliberately so. On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, was pursued by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. Maddox fired three warning shots and the North Vietnamese boats then attacked with torpedoes and machine gun fire. Maddox expended over 280 3-inch (76.2 mm) and 5-inch (127 mm) shells in a sea battle. One U.S. aircraft was damaged, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed, with six more wounded. There were no U.S. casualties. Maddox "was unscathed except for a single bullet hole from a Vietnamese machine gun round."
It was originally claimed by the National Security Agency that a Second Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead evidence was found of "Tonkin ghosts" (false radar images) and not actual North Vietnamese torpedo boats. In the 2003 documentary The Fog of War, the former United States Secretary of DefenseRobert S. McNamara admitted that the August 2 USS Maddox attack happened with no Defense Department response, but the August 4 Gulf of Tonkin attack never happened. In 1995, McNamara met with former Vietnam People's Army General Võ Nguyên Giáp to ask what happened on August 4, 1964 in the second Gulf of Tonkin Incident. "Absolutely nothing", Giáp replied. Giáp claimed that the attack had been imaginary.
The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression". The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.
In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese naval vessels present during the incident of August 4.[. . .]
The use of the set of incidents as a pretext for escalation of U.S. involvement follows the issuance of public threats against North Vietnam, as well as calls from American politicians in favor of escalating the war. On May 4, 1964, William Bundy called for the U.S. to "drive the communists out of South Vietnam", even if that meant attacking both North Vietnam and communist China.Even so, the Johnson administration in the second half of 1964 focused on convincing the American public that there was no chance of war between the United States and North Vietnam.
North Vietnam's General Giap suggested that the DESOTO patrol had been sent into the gulf to provoke North Vietnam into giving an excuse for escalation of the war. Various government officials and men aboard Maddox have suggested similar theories. American politicians and strategists had been planning provocative actions against North Vietnam for some time. George Balltold a British journalist after the war that "at that time ... many people ... were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing".
According to Raymond McGovern, a retired CIA officer (CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s, chairman of the National Intelligence Estimates), the CIA, "not to mention President Lyndon Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy all knew full well that the evidence of any armed attack on the evening of Aug. 4, 1964, the so-called "second" Tonkin Gulf incident, was highly dubious. ... During the summer of 1964, President Johnson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were eager to widen the war in Vietnam. They stepped up sabotage and hit-and-run attacks on the coast of North Vietnam." Maddox, carrying electronic spying gear, was to collect signals intelligence from the North Vietnamese coast, and the coastal attacks were seen as a helpful way to get the North Vietnamese to turn on their coastal radars. For this purpose, it was authorized to approach the coast as close as 13 kilometers (8 mi) and the offshore islands as close as four; the latter had already been subjected to shelling from the sea.
In his book, Body of Secrets, James Bamford, who spent three years in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst, writes, that the primary purpose of the Maddox "was to act as a seagoing provocateur—to poke its sharp gray bow and the American flag as close to the belly of North Vietnam as possible, in effect shoving its five-inch cannons up the nose of the communist navy. ... The Maddox' mission was made even more provocative by being timed to coincide with commando raids, creating the impression that the Maddox was directing those missions ..." Thus, the North Vietnamese had every reason to believe that Maddox was involved in these actions.
Provocative action against North Vietnam was considered after the August 1964 incidents. John McNaughton suggested in September 1964, that the U.S. prepare to take actions to provoke a North Vietnamese military reaction, including plans to use DESOTO patrols North. William Bundy's paper dated September 8, 1964, suggested more DESOTO patrols as well.
Again from JTA:
The Trump administration is deploying air and sea strike forces to the Middle East in response to what it described as “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.
“In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday evening in a statement.
So they send in the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group. And, of course, they're deploying the press. Barbara Starr's always willing to enlist.
Just In: US officials tell me the threats from Iran included “specific and credible” intelligence that Iranian forces and proxies were targeting US forces in Syria, Iraq and at sea. There were multiple threads of intelligence about multiple locations, the officials said. #Iran
As is THE WASHINGTON POST.
Today’s Washington Post front page might be 1 of the most propagandistic I’ve ever seen. Above the fold is a feature story on how Iran is taking over Iraq’s Shias. Below the fold is a story about how Bernie Sanders socialist views were influenced by the evil soviets in the 1980s.
Let's also again note Senator Marco Rubio's Tweet/threat.
Shia militias in Iraq would not conduct large scale attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq unless directed to do so by Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. Using proxies will not provide Iran or Soleimani deniability. They will be held directly responsible if such attacks occur.
Having spent a bit of time in Iraq, I can unequivocally say this is the kind of simplistic analysis that gets the US in all kinds of trouble in the Middle East.
Senator Chris Murphy sees some potential danger -- as he defines it.
1/ THREAD: The Trump Administration knew that naming the Iranian IRGC as a terrorist group would lead to increased threats against U.S. troops in Iraq. That’s why Bush and Obama didn’t do it. They concluded the benefits did not outweigh the risks.
2/ There is no doubt the IRGC supports terrorism in the region. They are vicious, bad actors. But when I was in Baghdad last month, our diplomatic and military leaders were almost unanimously opposed to the designation because of its practical impact on our objectives in Iraq.
3/ Not every Shia militia in Iraq is in the IRGC’s pocket. But naming the IRGC as a terrorist group actually pushes more of them toward Iran bc if we force their hand to align w U.S. or Iran, they choose their neighbor.
4/ And these militias are built into the political process. They run for Parliament. Now our diplomats and military can’t talk to militia groups that have an IRGC connection, taking the U.S. out of the game on political reconciliation.
5/ Drawing a hard line on Iran in Iraq might sound good on paper, but it might end up w our troops getting kicked out of Iraq again, opening the door for ISIS. That would be much more disastrous than the inconvenience of leaving the IRGC off the list of terrorist groups.
For Murphy, the danger is that US troops might get "kicked out of Iraq again." That's his idea of danger. He can't see the possibility of enlarging the scope of the war -- or if he can, he doesn't see it as a danger.
In 2014, DD Guttenplan (GUARDIAN) observed:
Once there was a president who warned the world about conduct his government would not tolerate. And when this “red line” was crossed, or seemed to be, he took the US to war. Though this might sound like America’s involvement in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Belgrade, or Libya, and what may yet become a wider war in Syria, this story began 50 years ago, on 4 August 1964.
That was when Lyndon Johnson interrupted TV broadcasts shortly before midnight to announce that two US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin had come under fire in international waters, and that in response to what the president described as this “unprovoked” attack, “air action is now in execution” against “facilities in North Vietnam which have been used in these hostile operations”.
The Americans launched 64 bombing sorties, destroying an oil depot, a coal mine and a significant portion of the North Vietnamese navy. Three days later, both houses of Congress passed a joint resolution authorising “the president, as commander-in-chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the US and to prevent further aggression”. Within three years the US would have 500,000 soldiers in Vietnam. Even today, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution remains the template for presidential war-making.
Feeling a little familiar yet?
In other news . . .
President Trump has granted a pardon to a former first lieutenant in the US Army who was convicted in 2009 of unpremeditated murder after killing a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist prisoner in Iraq.
New: POTUS has granted a pardon to a former first lieutenant in the U.S. Army convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner. Michael Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq nbcnews.com/news/military/…
Michael Behenna took a man who was adjudged not guilty by the US military in Iraq, and shot him in cold blood. His task was to return the man, he chose to take the law into his own hands. We started Iraq war because unprovoked attack by predominantly Saudi Arabians.
Michael Behenna pardoned by Donald Trump - go.shr.lc/2H1Gjna - @washtimesTrump signed an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, to1st Lt. Michael Behenna He was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al-Qaida terrorist in Iraq.
Trump just pardoned this man: “...on May 16, 2008, (Michael Behenna) took the victim out into the Iraq desert, stripped him naked, interrogated him while he had his glock pistol pointed at him, shot him in the head, shot him in the chest, killing him at that time.”
Staying with the political, former Vice President Joe Biden, since declaring his intent to seek the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, has had to endure his rivals calling him out on his misrepresentation of his record. Now a fact checking organization has joined in.
Joe Biden claims he was a staunch liberal in the Senate. He wasn’t. His voting record reveals a history of repeatedly breaking with liberal orthodoxy, from his vote to authorize the Iraq War to his backing of measures that led to mass incarceration bit.ly/2HeamYX
Pictured above, Joe appears to be running and, if you had his record, you'd try to run too.
Former US Senator Mike Gravel observes:
Voting for Iraq - that would be enough to oppose Biden! Fighting busing - that would be enough! Helping the big banks - that would be enough! Befriending racists and war criminals - that would be enough! Building mass incarceration - that would be enough! The list goes on.
Joe Biden is the candidate for people who have such a low opinion of the American people that the only person they'd pick over an authoritarian moron is a slightly older, slightly nicer authoritarian moron
The following sites updated: