By Danny Schechter

Financial Crisis and Impending War Are Converging as failed policies become self-fulfilling prophecies, argues News Dissector Danny Schechter

New York, New York: It looks like two great events may be converging.

First, the announced, then put off, and, now, increasingly back on US punitive bombing of Syria which seems to be timed around the anniversary of 9/11, just so we don’t lose our anger at the terrorist “bad guys” who, so it seems, are on our side for this great military salute to international law by breaking it.

And, then, there’s the anniversary of the financial crisis which all the military bang-bang is sure to drive off the front pages even as NY Times economist Paul Krugman noted Friday: “In a few days, we’ll reach the fifth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers — the moment when a recession, which was bad enough, turned into something much scarier. Suddenly, we were looking at the real possibility of economic catastrophe.

And the catastrophe came.”

President Obama has demanded TV airtime for Tuesday, the day after the Congress is supposed to vote on Syria (although he earlier said he would not be required to respect any vote.)

Currently calls to Congressional offices are reportedly running 540-1 against this war, but what the American people want does not seem to register with teeny alliance between the US, France and Israel—and not the rest of the world—determined to teach Assad a lesson no matter who likes it.  The latest number I saw showed a majority of Americans oppose a military strike.

Here’s the only positive news I found in the NY Times: “Each morning for the last week, at 7:45, more than a dozen White House aides have mustered in the corner office of President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, to get their marching orders for what has become the most intense, uphill lobbying campaign of the Obama presidency.

The White House’s goal is to persuade Congress to authorize a limited military strike against Syria to punish it for a deadly chemical weapons attack. But after a frenetic week of wall-to-wall intelligence briefings, dozens of phone calls and hours of hearings with senior members of Mr. Obama’s war council, more and more lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, are lining up to vote against the president.”

You can be sure that Obama does not intend to speak about the economic crisis next Tuesday, because he has no real answer to Krugman’s indictment of failed economic policies. One of the architects of that policy, Larry Summers is apparently about to be appointed to head the Federal Reserve Bank for TEN years, despite his pathetic record, with Obama’s support.

Of the financial situation, Krugman wrote: “Reasonable measures of the “output gap” over the past five years — the difference between the value of goods and services America could and should have produced and what it actually produced — run well over $2 trillion. That’s trillions of dollars of pure waste, which we will never get back.

Behind that financial waste lays an even more tragic waste of human potential. Before the financial crisis, 63 percent of adult Americans were employed; that number quickly plunged to less than 59 percent, and there it remains.”


But since most people don’t understand economics any more that the people in power who are supposed to, we will ignore that crisis so that we can create another one by pulverizing Syria—despite appeals from the UN Secretary General, the Pope, The Arab League, NATO, The British Parliament and anybody with any common sense who can see that no good can, or will, come of this adventure.

President Obama’s credibility, if those words can any longer be spoken of in the same breath, is hardly going to be bolstered by snubbing the wishes of millions of Americans and people throughout the world, who are scratching their heads and asking why would he do that? What will we/he gain?

Perhaps the answer is that his transformation from anti-war politician to neo-con bombardier is almost complete even if Mr. Rumsfeld has doubts.

Apparently, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets. And now that Hillary is for it, the anti-war liberals are leaving the field to the Tea Party conservatives to lead the anti-war movement, The Black Caucus has been told keep their mouths shut although oldtimers are speaking up.

Foreign Policy Magazine, hardly a radical magazine, is warning of a “bait and switch “operation, “It authorizes the president to use “the Armed Forces of the United States,” including boots on the ground, and to employ military force “within, to or from Syria.” What is more, the president can act to deter the “use or proliferation” of “chemical or other weapons of mass destruction” and intervene to “protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.” This is nothing less than an open-ended endorsement of military intervention in the Middle East and beyond.”

LINK: Bait and Switch by Bruce Ackerman,1

And that’s how a consensus for war is forged, by saying one thing and doing another, with most of the media asleep at the switch as usual, while many of us forget that that word consensus begins with the prefix CON—as if we are not being conned again.

Already today, there was an alleged “unconfirmed” chemical warfare incident reported in Syria. How very surprising! How many more will be reported or invented over the weekend to build the case that so far Obama has been very unsuccessful in making.

To no one’s surprise, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has released formerly classified videos, even as most of the Iraq vets in Congress announced they are against military action.

12 former US military intelligence professionals from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have written to the President:

“We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this.”

Clearly the proof of Assad’s responsibility has yet to be proven but that hasn’t stopped the lobbies that are out in force: political operatives from the White House, AIPAC, think-tank “scholars who are defacto soldiers and media alarmists all doing their thing to pump up the fear.

Remember how close the vote was for Gulf War 1 with Al Gore among those leading the charge?

The war machine is now up and running here so they get the go ahead to dump ordinance there.

This is not just about Assad but about oil and pipelines and banking. You wouldn’t know that by our media coverage but some of these other issues are being explored elsewhere while what was once spoken of a “limited operation”—i.e. “one and done”—is now morphing into something much more destructive with new targets already chosen and predictions of imminent disaster in the mouths of humanitarian workers who are desperately trying to help some two million people displaced by war and arguing that more war never brings peace or help to the people who need it. What do we expect to achieve. Those that say don’t know, and those that know don’t say.

On the economic front, the deception is also well advanced as well with reports that the job figures out today were positive but not according to global economic intersect: The August 2013 BLS jobs report was below expectations, and even our analysis of the unadjusted data was disappointing. The trend lines are flat to mildly declining. The unadjusted growth this month is the worst in 3 years.”

They also report a flash crash: “Talk about blatant market manipulating, today is an excellent example of how the powers to be can move markets at will. Today’s averages started out at point A, flash crashed to point B and have since moved back to point A as volume sinks to abysmal levels.

What a joke, unfortunately the joke is on the little guy and the sheeples who were talked into this casino house of cards while the bankers are laughing.”

And so goes the news where things are rarely what they seem to be.

News Dissector Danny Schechter edits and blogs at Comments to Twitter: @Danny Schechter

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Danny Schechter, "The News Dissector," is a former network TV producer, radio newscaster, and edits He has written nine books on media themes. His latest, 'Plunder', was inspired by his latest film, In Debt We Trust: America Before The Bubble Bursts