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Danny Sjursen is a retired Army major who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, taught history at West Point, and wrote a book about the myth of Bush’s “surge” in Iraq. He offers critical thinking on past and potential regime change wars.Sjursen wrote this recent commentary for TomDispatch; he wrote the book Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.
First, we get background on Sjursen and his military career. He says that serving in Iraq was life-changing, and led him to think critically about US policy. We talk about his book, and the 2006 “surge” in Iraq that he says was only successful as a PR campaign, and created the conditions that led to the rise of the Islamic State.
Turning to the present, we talk about Saudi Arabia, which he tags a “frenemy” at the center of many of America’s foreign policy and military blunders. We take a detour to discuss 9/11, and while Sjursen says he’s not a “truther”, he acknowledges that we don’t know the full story, especially related to Saudi Arabia.
We talk about Syria, and Sjursen is blunt about the excess influence exerted on the US by Israel via AIPAC and the Israel lobby. He rejects the use of the tag “anti-Semitism” when it’s used to silence critics of the Netanyahu government, which he defines as merely a “faction” in Israel. We also touch on Egypt, and the way Obama supported the coup that brought the al-Sisi military dictatorship to power.
And we talk about the efforts of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliot Abrams to provoke regime change wars in Iran and Venezuela, with the complicity of Democrats.