Thursday, September 12, 2013

Morning Links -- September 12

Includes this paragraphs...
Let me be clear. I understand that most Americans don’t want to commit military resources to curb the actual, ongoing atrocities in Syria. That’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking Americans to commit military resources to curb future hypothetical atrocities in a hypothetical war that may or may not happen. 
I know the politics of this are awful. Two years ago I intervened in Libya because I thought it was the right thing to do and a low-cost way to take down a dictator directly responsible for killing Americans. But the American public wasn’t impressed and I got hammered by the same members of Congress who’d urged me to do it. Syria is a political lose-lose for me. So I’ve asked Congress to vote on strikes and finally take some ownership of U.S. foreign policy. 
My secretary of state, John Kerry, rescued us all from this slow-motion train wreck when one of his gaffes worked out for the better. Russia seized on his offhand comment that the U.S. wouldn’t strike Syria if it gave up its chemical weapons, forcing us to pretend we meant it as policy. Fortunately, this would actually be a great outcome for us. It would allow the United States a way to back out and it would uphold the international norm against chemical weapons that I’ve been talking about for six months now. It wouldn’t stop Assad from killing kids, but that was never on the table anyway.

But the closer Icarus flew to the sun, the faster the wax on her feathers began to melt. The first hard record of her claiming a doctorate came in April 2013, when she told a friend, Jonathan Rue, that she was “soon to be Dr. O’Bagy.” According to Kagan, she began widely claiming the Dr. title in May, right around when she graduated from her Master’s program.
Don't skip this one. It will make the rest of your day less stressful.
So the decision has been taken, and the US will start training and arming the Syrian rebels after vetting them in Jordan. Now we all know what a capable organisation the CIA is so we should all be optimistic about this daring plan. The minor fuck-ups that the CIA has been involved in during its existence should not be a reason for us to doubt this carefully-considered plan. In order to illustrate the strength of its vetting programme, the CIA has allowed us to sit in on a few of those interviews scheduled to begin next month. Below is an accurate transcript of how they went: 
CIA Agent: Come in please, I’m agent Johnson and this is agent Johnson. And you are?

Syrian rebel: Mohamed Asa’ad.

CIA Agent: Asa’ad? Like the president?

Syrian rebel: No, no, in Arabic it’s different, it’s Asa’ad, not Assad.

CIA Agent: It sounds the same to me.

Syrian rebel: No, it’s Ayen, not A, say Ayen. Asa’ad.

CIA Agent: Assad.
Syrian rebel: No, you’re not doing it right. Asa’ad.

CIA Agent: ok, never mind, I’ll call you Mohamed. Would you like a beer?
Syrian rebel: No, thank you.

CIA Agent: Is that for religious reasons?

Syrian rebel: No, but it’s 9 in the morning and I have a long day ahead.

CIA Agent: So you do drink beer?

Syrian rebel: Beer, whiskey, vodka, whatever. Although I drive the tank so I have to watch my drinking. 
He's just getting started. Get the rest at the link. 

You read that right. Not the Onion. Putin had an op-ed in the Times. 

“The op-ed came through the PR firm (Ketchum) and went thought the normal editing process,” said New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy in an email to BuzzFeed.

Spokespeople for Ketchum did not return requests for comment.

Ketchum is the main PR firm used by the Russian government. Using documents publicly filed with the Department of Justice, ProPublica showed last year how Ketchum places pro-Putin op-eds under the bylines of “seemingly independent professionals” in various news outlets like CNBC and the Huffington Post.

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