Afghan war whistleblower Daniel Davis returns to the show to talk about his latest article, “I Interviewed the War-Weary Residents of Mosul. The Fight for the City Is Far From Over.” Davis talks about his trip to northern Iraq, heroic stories of everyday people resisting ISIS in Mosul, and rumors of Iraqi soldiers committing atrocities against suspected ISIS members.
Davis explains that the war against ISIS isn’t over: ISIS members are supposedly shaving their beards and pretending to be fleeing refugees leading to rumors of ISIS sleeper cells. The fight against ISIS is part of an ongoing Sunni insurgency in Mosul against the Shia, Kurd, and Christian population that goes all the way back to 2004. The U.S. latest worry is that the fall of ISIS in Mosul will create a true “Shiite Crescent,” necessitating U.S. presence in eastern Syria to break up the Iranian power corridor. Scott and Danny discuss how this is just the latest in a long line of U.S. foreign policy decisions that have ultimately empowered Iran in the Middle East. Davis explains that the U.S. can’t kill its way out of the Middle East and that there are good people throughout the region who are suffering immensely. Finally, Davis suggests that Kurdish rule in Iraq seems like it might be the best way to bring about peace and he and Scott discuss whether the United States should help the referendum for a fully autonomous Kurdish state.
Retired lieutenant colonel Daniel Davis did multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in the army. He now writes for Defense Priorities and National Interest.
Discussed on the show:
- “The Torture Tapes: Iraqi troops torture and execute civilians in secret videos,” by Brian Ross (ABC News)
- “Mosul killing video: Footage purportedly showing Iraqis getting revenge on ISIS militants sparks probe, outcry” (Fox News)
- Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
- Hashd al-Shaabi (at least 8,000 in Mosul)
- Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)
- Mujahideen in Iraq
- “Isis ‘chops off three women’s hands and flogs men for using mobile phones’ in Mosul,” (The Independent)
- “In Their Own Words: Sunnis on Their Treatment in Maliki’s Iraq,” (Frontline)
- “Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’” (New York Times)
- “Oren Sunnis“: former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren explains to Jeffrey Goldberg that Sunnis are the lesser of the two evils
- Ahmed Chalabi
- “The Redirection,” by Seymour Hersh (The New Yorker)
- “How Ahmed Chalabi conned the neocons,” by John Dizard (Salon.com)
- “The Manipulator: Ahmad Chalabi pushed a tainted case for war. Can he survive the occupation?” by Jane Mayer (The New Yorker)
- “Remember the Golan Heights?” by Eric Margolis (EricMargolis.com)
- Ba’ath Party
- “To them, a woman’s smile is a crime”—”Shiites bring rigid piety to Iraq’s south” (Christian Science Monitor)
- Mullah government (Iran)
- Muqtada al-Sadr
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
- David Petraeus
- “Rice says U.S. must give Maliki ‘breathing space’” (Reuters)
- “Sistani stresses need for unity over sectarianism in battle for Iraq” (Al-Monitor)
- Video: “The Middle East Cold War, Explained” (Vox)
- “Why There Is No Peace On Earth,” by David Stockman (David Stockman’s Contra Corner)
- Dawah Party
- Brett McGurk
Dr. Ramzy Baroud, author of “My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: The Untold Story of Gaza,” joins Scott to discuss the Israeli suffocation of the Palestinians in Gaza. Baroud explains how the nearly two million Palestinians living in Gaza are managing to subsist despite heavy restrictions on their life, including physical confinement and outright bans on farming and fishing. The suicide rate in Gaza is dramatic and on the rise as people have started to lose hope—and things are only getting worse. Baroud tells the story of a woman with breast cancer whose permit, which she needed to travel in order to receive chemotherapy, has been denied by Israel. She’s one of thousands of Palestinians who have been denied life-saving treatment.
Baroud details how Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made life for Palestinians that much worse and how the United States torpedoed a chance for a political solution in 2006 when Condoleezza Rice divided a peaceful coalition in Palestine. In doing so, the United States and Israel have made the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible. Israel has subsequently pushed the Gazans to the brink of starvation to break the will of the people and force them into accepting a deal in Israel’s interest. That new, misguided solution is directed by Mohammed Dahlan who is attempting to create a peace deal with the Sisi government in Egypt to open the borders with Palestine. Baroud claims this will create a split between Gaza and Palestine that will ultimately make life worse for the Palestinians. Further, such a deal would no longer demand the lifting of the Israel siege of Gaza and would create the appearance of an inter-Arab affair, removing responsibility from America and Israel. Finally, Baroud shares the books on Palestine he most recommends.
Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist and is the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle. His latest digital project is “Palestine in Motion,” intended to give a holistic understanding of the lives of Palestinians as told in their own words. Follow Ramzy on Twitter @RamzyBaroud and read his work at RamzBaroud.net.
Discussed on the show:
- “Palestine in Motion,” by Ramzy Baroud (Al Jazeera)
- Howard Zinn
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- “Israel-Gaza conflict: 80 per cent of Palestinians killed by Israeli strikes are civilians, UN report says,” (The Independent)
- 2006 Palestinian election
- Fatah-Hamas Mecca Agreement (2007)
- Dov Weissglass
- Ehud Olmert
- Dov Weissglass: ‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,’ (The Guardian)
- “Counting the calories in Gaza” (Google search)
- “Tearfully But Forcefully, Israel Removes Gaza Settlers” (New York Times)
- Likud Party
- “Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process” (Haaretz.com)
- “Netanyahu At War” (Frontline)
- “95 percent of Jewish Israelis support the Gaza war” (Vox)
- Avigdor Lieberman
- “Watch: Israeli soldier caught on video fatally shooting wounded Palestinian attacker” (Washington Post)
- “Israel Polarized Over Soldier Who Killed Wounded Palestinian” (New York Times)
- Yisrael Beiteinu Party
- “Israel Cuts Gaza Electricity at Abbas’ Request,” by Jason Ditz (AntiWar.com)
- Mohammed Dahlan
- “Will Mohammed Dahlan return to lead Gaza?” (Al Jazeera)
- Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
- “The Gaza Bombshell” (Vanity Fair)
- “What Bradley Manning showed the world about Israel/Palestine” (Mondoweiss.net)
- “Gaza’s Game of Thrones,” by Ramzy Baroud (Al Jazeera)
- “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel,” by Max Blumenthal
Ramzy Baroud’s Reading List:
The Question of Palestine, by Edward Said
In Search of Fatima, by Gahda Karmi
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe
Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, by Ben White
Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa
My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story, by Ramzy Baroud
Mark Perry returns to the show to talk about his latest exclusive for The American Conservative Magazine, “Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries.” Perry explains that Kushner and Bannon are against a troop surge in Afghanistan, but don’t want to be blamed for losing the war if they withdraw completely. Instead they’re pushing Donald Trump to outsource the war to mercenaries. According to Perry’s sources, Trump is in favor of the idea, at least privately. But his top military advisors, James Mattis and H.R. McMaster, are not. If Trump decides to go with Bannon and Kushner, the CIA would contract with the companies—run by Erik Prince and Steve Feinberg—to run the war in Afghanistan.
Perry believes what’s more likely is that the U.S. attempts to bring the Taliban back to the negotiating table and figure out a political solution. In order to do so, however, they will need Pakistan’s help as the Taliban has steadfastly held that they will only negotiate after the U.S. leaves Afghanistan. Finally, Perry notes that there will almost certainly be a “surge of enablers”—4,000 troops and specialists to buttress the government in Kabul. But will there be more than that? And will they be conventional troops or guns for hire? Washington is divided between the army guys who are dead set against mercenary warfare and the CIA operatives who are in favor. A decision should come soon.
Mark Perry is the author of Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies and The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur. His next book, The Pentagon’s Wars will be released in October. Mark Perry is on Twitter @MarkPerryDC.
Discussed on the Show:
- Erik Prince
- Frontier Services Group (FSG)
- James Mattis
- H.R. McMaster
- Steve Feinberg
- “Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight” (New York Times)
- “The MacArthur Model for Afghanistan,” by Erik Prince (Wall Street Journal)
- East India Company
- Bagram Air Base
- Helmand Province
- Hessian soldiers
- “A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties,” by Lisa Curtis
Kate Gould joins Scott to discuss the surprise development in the House, which voted to defund U.S. military support for its Saudi-partnered war in Yemen. Members of congress on both sides brought forward the legislation to cut off the US-Saudi war in Yemen, but there is a long political process remaining. Gould outlines the two different wars taking place in Yemen—one in which the U.S. is fighting against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is authorized by the AUMF; and the second war that the U.S. is fighting on the side of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda against the Yemeni Houthis, which is at stake with this vote—and for good reason: Saudi Arabia bombed four hospitals run by Doctors Without Borders in one year, using American weapons. This is part of a larger effort to target Yemeni infrastructure, including the country’s ports which it relied on for the importation of food. Nonetheless the vote in the House is a sign that there’s real scrutiny being placed on the U.S. support for the war in Yemen.
Gould serves as the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation where she directs FCNL’s lobbying on Middle East policy. Follow Kate on Twitter @K8Gould.
Discussed on the show:
- National Defense Authorization Act
- House Committee on Rules
- Warren Davidson (R-OH)
- “US House Votes to Block US Participation in Saudi War in Yemen,” by Robert Naiman (Truth-out.org)
- “‘Atrocious attack’: U.S.-backed Saudi coalition bombs 4th MSF hospital in Yemen, killing 11 people,” by Ben Norton (Salon.com)
- Nearly half a million children in Yemen risk starvation, according to UNICEF report” (Vice News)
- Freedom Caucus
- Conference Committee
- “Senate Votes with Record Opposition to Saudi Arms Sale—But Not Enough to Put On Brakes” (The Intercept)
- Warren Davidson
- “US generals: Saudi intervention in Yemen ‘a bad idea’,” by Mark Perry
- “Indiana Senator pushes U.S. to pressure Saudis on Yemen aid” (USA Today)
- Lindsey Graham: “Stand with Saudi Arabia“
- Walter Jones (R-NC)
Bronwyn Bruton joins the show to discuss the United States’ continued and unreported war in Somalia, which has created a regional crisis that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Despite constant support and funding from the United States, the Somalian government has no legitimacy or functionality. While the U.S. has been happy to spend taxpayer money, it has relied on African countries neighboring Somalia to do the dirty work fighting Islamic extremists. Bruton then touches on the neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa and why some countries get a pass for their human rights abuses, like in Ethiopia, while others, particularly Eritrea, are demonized. Finally, United States intervention in Northeast Africa has the potential to spiral out of control with a possible ethnic civil war brewing in Ethiopia.
Bruton is the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. She can be followed on Twitter @BronwynBruton.
Discussed on the show:
- “Trump Declares Somalia a War Zone” (Daily Beast)
- “WikiLeaks Reveals U.S. Twisted Ethiopia’s Arm to Invade Somalia” (FPIF.com)
- Islamic Courts Union
- “Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising” (Counterpunch.com)
- “How an American Bureaucrat Became President of Somalia” (Politico)
- “Somalia famine ‘killed 260,000 people‘” (BBC)
- Bab-el-Mandeb Strait
- Battle of Mogadishu (1993)
- Eritrea-Ethiopia war (1998)
- Oromo People
- The Derg (Communist Party of Ethiopia)
Hey I finally did another one. Sorry about the delay.
It’s just the same old shit really, but new for some of yall I guess.
Update: sorry: I guess I put this out over the wrong feed last week…
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Scott, Will Grigg, Sheldon Richman and Jared Labell make a big announcement.
I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart as you have changed my life for the better. Today I resigned my commission in the United States Army as I can no longer be part of a death machine that does no good for any part of a peaceful, productive society. Your website and podcast have turned me from a vengeful, war loving person to a man of peaceful voluntarism. I cannot thank you enough as you have made me a better person, thus making me a better husband, father, and human.
I became a Christian before a libertarian and was still the typical American Christian. One that says I like peace but at the same time supporting the killing of innocents in horrible, unnecessary conflicts that spend money we don’t have and kill people we have no business killing. I found your site and podcasts, along with Lew Rockwell and Mr. Tom Woods, and I became a Christian that is a libertarian. I am so thankful for the work you have done and my life has been changed in ways that benefit me more than I can ever express. Your interviews with former military members and conscientious objectors gave me the confidence that there are others out there like me and they are living a free and happy life!
In fact, I am in the process of becoming a Paramedic as penance for my time hurting people. I read your site every day and I share it with others often. You are one of my heroes for your consistent views and sacrifice for what you believe. I hope to be able to help others as you have helped me. By the way, your website is blocked on government computers so you must have them scared.
I feel a weight is lifted off my shoulders as the dichotomy of my views is no longer. I thank you so much and look forward to spending my time with my children and living my life as free as possible. Thank you and I am anxiously awaiting your book!