Obama’s Speech on ISIS: More of the Same, As in Military Action (Updated)

Obama "consults" with Congress before ordering more bombing.  Note the irony of George Washington's portrait, the man who warned us to avoid foreign entanglements

Obama “consults” with Congress before ordering more bombing. Note the irony of George Washington’s portrait, the man who warned us to avoid foreign entanglements (Source: NYT)

W.J. Astore

President Obama’s speech tonight on the Islamic State (or ISIS) promises more military action.  More airstrikes, more boots on the ground (mainly Special Forces), more training for the Iraqi military (who have endured more than a decade’s worth of U.S. military training, with indifferent results), and more weapons sales (which often end up in the hands of ISIS, thereby necessitating more U.S. airstrikes to destroy them).

All of this is sadly predictable.  Call it the TINA militarized strategy, as in “There is no alternative” (TINA) but to call in the military.

There are three reasons for the TINA strategy.  One is domestic politics.  Facing elections in November, the Obama Administration and the Democrats must appear to be strong.  They must take military action, at least in their eyes, else risk being painted by Republicans as terrorist-appeasers.

The second reason is also obvious: The military option is the only one the U.S. is heavily invested in; the only option we’re prepared, mentally as well as physically, to embrace.  The U.S. is militarized; we see the military as offering quick results; indeed, the military promises such results; we’re impatient people; so we embrace the military.

Never mind the talk of another long war, perhaps of three years or longer.  When they bother to pay attention, what most Americans see on their TV and computer screens is quick results, like the video released by Central Command showing the U.S. military blowing up ISIS equipment (often, U.S. military equipment provided to Iraq but appropriated by ISIS).  And unlike those ISIS “medieval” beheadings, decapitation by laser-guided bomb is both unoffensive and justified.

And if we’re blowing things up with our 21st-century decapitation bombs, we must be winning — or, at least we’re doing something to avenge ISIS barbarism.  Better to do something than nothing.  Right?

The third reason is more subtle and it comes down to our embrace of “dominance” as our de facto military strategy.  Allow me to explain.  After World War II, the U.S. military embraced “containment” as the approach to the Soviet Union.  “Parity” was the buzzword, at least in the nuclear realm, and “deterrence” was the goal.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. did not become “a normal country in normal times,” nor did we cash in our peace dividends.  Instead, the U.S. military saw a chance for “global reach, global power,” global dominance in other words.  And that’s precisely the word the U.S. military uses: dominance (expanded sometimes to full spectrum dominance, as in land, sea, air, space, cyberspace, and who knows what else).

You can explain a lot of what’s happened since 9/11 with that single word: dominance.  The attacks of 9/11 put the lie to U.S. efforts to dominate global security, which drove the Bush/Cheney Administration to double down on the military option as the one and only way of showing the world who’s boss.  Clear failures of the military option in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere did not encourage soul-searching; rather, it simply drove Obama and his generals to promise that “this time, we’ll do it (bombing and raids and interventions) better and smarter” than the previous administration.

There’s simply no learning curve when your overall goal is to exercise dominance each and every time you’re challenged. Ask John McCain.

So as you listen to the president’s speech tonight, keep those three elements in mind: domestic politics, our enormous investment (cultural as well as financial) in the military and our preference for quick results at any price, and finally our desire to exercise dominance across the globe.  It may help you to parse the president’s words more effectively.  Perhaps it will also explain why our leaders never seem to learn.  It’s not because they’re stupid: it’s because their careers and commitments require them not to learn.

Bombs away.

Update: There’s another aspect of our dominance that is fascinating to consider.  The US sees its dominance as benevolent or benign, never as bellicose or baneful.  This is reflected brilliantly in the US Navy’s current motto, “A global force for good.”  Not to deny that the Navy does good work, but I’m not sure we’d applaud if F-18s were dropping laser-guided bombs on our troops.  The point is that as a society we have a willed blindness to how our “dominance” plays out in the rest of the world.  We only seem to care when that “dominance” comes to Main Street USA, as it did recently in Ferguson, Mo.  (The ongoing militarization of police forces, and their aggressiveness toward ordinary people, are surely signs of “dominance,” but who wants to argue this is benevolent or benign in intent?)

If another country sought global reach/global power through military dominance, that country would be instantly denounced by US leaders as inherently hostile and treated as a major threat to world peace.

Update 2 (9/12/14):  Dan Froomkin at The Intercept has a stimulating round-up of criticism about Obama’s latest plans for war (courtesy of Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch.com).  A summary:

Yesterday, Dan Froomkin of the Intercept offered a fairly devastating round-up of news reports from the mainstream (finally coming in, after much deferential and semi-hysterical reportage!) suggesting just what a fool’s errand the latest expansion of the U.S. intervention in Iraq/Syria could be. (And today’s NY Times has more of the same.) Here are just some selections from his post. Tom Engelhardt

“President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State counts on pretty much everything going right in a region of the world where pretty much anything the U.S. does always goes wrong. Our newspapers of record today finally remembered it’s their job to point stuff like that out.

“The New York Times, in particular, calls bullshit this morning — albeit without breaking from the classic detached Timesian tonelessness. Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt and Mark Landler (with contributions from Matt Apuzzo and James Risen) start by pointing out the essential but often overlooked fact that ‘American intelligence agencies have concluded that [the Islamic State] poses no immediate threat to the United States.’

“And then, with the cover of ‘some officials and terrorism experts,’ they share a devastating analysis of all the coverage that has come before: ‘Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East….’

“In the Washington Post this morning, Rajiv Chandrasekaran focuses on all the implausible things that have to go right beyond ‘U.S. bombs and missiles hitting their intended targets’: ‘In Iraq, dissolved elements of the army will have to regroup and fight with conviction. Political leaders will have to reach compromises on the allocation of power and money in ways that have eluded them for years. Disenfranchised Sunni tribesmen will have to muster the will to join the government’s battle. European and Arab allies will have to hang together, Washington will have to tolerate the resurgence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias it once fought, and U.S. commanders will have to orchestrate an air war without ground-level guidance from American combat forces…’

“The McClatchy Newspapers Washington bureau , finally no longer alone in expressing skepticism about Obama’s plans, goes all Buzzfeed with a Hannah Allam story: ‘5 potential pitfalls in Obama’s plan to combat the Islamic State’. Allam notes that Yemen and Somalia are hardly examples of success; that the new Iraqi government is hardly “inclusive”; that training of Iraqi soldiers hasn’t worked in the past; that in Syria it’s unclear which “opposition” Obama intends to support; and that it may be too late to cut off the flow of fighters and funds.”


Update 3 (9/12/14): US Army Colonel (ret.) Andrew Bacevich has a sound critique of the bankruptcy of Obama’s strategy.  Here’s an excerpt:

Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state. It won’t restore the possibility of a democratic Egypt. It won’t dissuade Saudi Arabia from funding jihadists. It won’t pull Libya back from the brink of anarchy. It won’t end the Syrian civil war.  It won’t bring peace and harmony to Somalia and Yemen. It won’t persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms in Afghanistan. It won’t end the perpetual crisis of Pakistan. It certainly won’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

All the military power in the world won’t solve those problems. Obama knows that. Yet he is allowing himself to be drawn back into the very war that he once correctly denounced as stupid and unnecessary — mostly because he and his advisers don’t know what else to do. Bombing has become his administration’s default option.

Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

37 thoughts on “Obama’s Speech on ISIS: More of the Same, As in Military Action (Updated)

  1. “Perhaps it will also explain why our leaders never seem to learn. It’s not because they’re stupid: it’s because their careers and commitments require them not to learn.”

    I have to completely disagree with this conclusion. Our leaders are extremely stupid people. If they weren’t we wouldn’t be in such situations both domestically and internationally.

    Saying that our leaders “careers and commitments require them not to learn” is a complete cop-out and absolves them of their real responsibilities to the general welfare of the US public, which is not threatened in the least by the current situation in the Mid-East.

    However, to be fair, we have such stupid leaders because the majority of American citizens cannot think critically about the political environments they find themselves in. As a result, they are just as lacking in intelligence as the people they elect. Historians of American history have known this about Americans since near the inception of this nation.

    It is also not about “dominance” but instead inertia. The United States today is like any other gigantic corporation on the planet. They do not make their profits because they sell such fine, innovative products but because their sizes allow them to maintain distribution channels that can support them. This always leads to inertia at the top no matter how much the people who do the actual work would like to see changes.

    And this occurs in small and medium sized companies as well that have been around for a while.

    To obtain “dominance” is not a feasible end result so it will never be obtained but it sounds good when our leaders talk among themselves. And they can keep playing at this game as long as the US is standing, which allows all involved to simply acquire greater wealth through the avenues in which they funnel taxpayer monies.

    So in the end it is about money, which is what the inertia provides…

    • Very interesting, Steve. Perhaps I should rephrase: our leaders’ careers and commitments conspire to constrain their thinking. More colorfully, they can’t think outside of the Pentagonal Box. They’re not “stupid” in the sense of having low IQs; they’re “stupid” in the sense of being rigid and fearful and stilted. They live in an incredibly in-bred, insular, and non-reflective world. And that makes them “stupid.”

      By the way, I’m not trying to excuse their behavior; only to explain it. I still hold them responsible.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Colonel:

        If I was too direct it is because I have wanted to re-write a number of in-house applications at my place of employment. And when I broached the subject with my supervisor this morning he blew off my budding proposal with the excuse that it would be too costly.

        As a senior software engineering professional going on over 40 years, this type of reaction to my proposals (no matter where I have been) is a result of technical managers all being cut form the same cloth; they all come from the same school of “Stupidity & Inertia”.

        Like our government leaders these leaders in the technical profession follow a similar path and process born out of self-aggrandizement. Horrifyingly enough, all such proposals I have put forth now and in the past are based on standard axioms in the software engineering field but few if any technical managers care. They only see how much the short-term costs will impact their budgets and time constraints without any concern for the long-term implications and the subsequent increased costs due to their decisions.

        It is the same with government leaders both elected and appointed. They get into these positions not for what they may or may not do but because of who they are. They are short-sighted men and women who are only interested in playing to a party-line so they can get ahead. If any come with any idealistic expectations that they will be able to do some good they are quickly convinced of the “error or their ways”.

        Elizabeth Warren is a classic current example. Here is a woman who appears to be quite intelligent and approaches US domestic finances with what appears to be a very sound mind. However, when queried about the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza she was quick to throw her support behind the Israel supporters without even a second thought.

        Elizabeth Warren is a woman for crying out loud! A member of the nurturing gender and it doesn’t even cross her mind that Palestinian children have been blown to bits for no reason on Earth except for the socio-pathology of the Israeli nation. She has no excuse for such a position and it suggests that she is deficient in other areas as an adult as well.

        I can understand that she wants support for her policies but at the expense of children!?!?

        I rest my case…

      • Yes, I was also disappointed by Warren’s comments. Her apologia for Israel demonstrates the power of AIPAC in US elections. And let’s face it: What US politician thinks they have anything to gain by being seen as pro-Palestinian? What US politician wants to risk the charge, however inaccurate or unjustified, of being anti-Semitic? So many politicians are driven by fear and concerns about staying in office. They trim their sails to follow the currents of power.

      • Colonel:

        It is not the power of AIPAC, it is the weakness of politicians.

        As I said, these people get into office for who they are…

  2. Warren has shown little moral or intellectual bravery in the foreign policy area. Getting some movement in reining in the big banks seems to be the length of her reach. After Obama’s ‘no hope and no change’ administration’ it is hard to hold out hope for Warren to change. Look, even Bernie Sanders who is strong on anti war and other such issues voted for the resolution supporting Israel. He was at least smart enough to keep his mouth shut about about why he voted.
    Our political system has degraded to the point where even half decent politicians stay half decent and never rise to full decency. I think Steve is correct. Our half decent politicians are morally weak.

    • Yes — politicians are often craven. But let’s also not underestimate the power of lobbies such as AIPAC. It’s the combination of powerful lobbies willing to intimidate and distort to get their way and the cravenness of politicians that together work to undermine our system of government.

  3. It’s very easy to blame AIPAC, I’ve done it myself. AIPAC is just the most visible of the hidden power of influencers pulling the strings of our puppet congress who are supposed to be guiding our nation for the public good.

    The real power is OIL. Israel, with no oil, is a bit player in the real drama of oil interests controlling the big decisions our government makes. The detente of Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi’s ties to the big oil companies is where US government policy is made by our rulers.

    The Saudis and the Gulf states have plenty of money to give to the Jihadis in Syria and Iraq but not to their fellow Moslems in Palestine because they like other countries like Egypt, Israel , and the US to put down Moslems who they fear will weaken their medieval kingdoms. Until there is regime change in the Gulf States to overthrow these backward and oppressive monarchies they will continue to cause trouble throughout the world and insidiously control our country’s policies.

    Behind AIPAC’s visibility is the secret support of the Saudis and their desire for what they call “stability” in the Middle East.

    • b. traven:

      I tend to agree with you in your analysis. However, there is one surprising wrinkle with the entire Mid-East oil syndrome, as dangerous as it may be.

      Europe is leading the way with the development of green-energy mechanisms that will eventually be able to replace fossil fuels. Germany, in fact,now has I believe around 95% of its private home using solar-energy.

      Tesla, in the United States is trying to extend their battery producing operations so they can bring their cars to the masses.

      There are many more examples such as these two that are placing “the writing on the walls’ for the fossil fuel industry.

      Intelligent people would obvious consider the possibility that the fossil fuel industry will move in this direction as well. However, the costs for this to be done may be prohibitive given that green-energy mechanisms are quite different from refineries in order to produce energy producing results.

      Humans being what they are then in this vein will probably then find it easier to engage in more conflict over the years, which will not be about control of oil reserves but about the enforcement that peoples use this form of energy to keep the profits rolling in.

      This paradox will probably play itself out right up to the point that climate warming becomes irreversible and the Human species enters the first phases of extinction…

  4. Gore Vidal once congratulated the American aristocracy in an interview for their capacity to remain unknown to virtually all Americans. Those at the top of the “pyramid” in theory are the ones who pull the triggers that launch wars, yet they are never in the public eye or challenged for their actions resulting in extreme violence and killing. Until their “unmolested” condition/status becomes reckoned with, upset, and discontinued, their trigger fingers will remain active and wars will persist. It’s those at the top of the wealth pyramid. Heard any solutions-focused comments on Israel-Palestine, the Middle East, or Ukraine from the Rothschilds, or others on that level, lately?

  5. This ISIS group must be pretty savvy. They probably even have laptops! Their communication systems must be impenetrable and their command-and-control must be replete with brilliant tacticians. I’ll bet their numbers are much higher than even the best “intelligence” experts suspect or fear.
    The ability of satellites & drones to monitor the goings-on of an area the size of California not easily traversed with a handful of major cities is probably negligible–particularly considering the ongoing “puppet occupation” and lavish bases of operation. And it’s so difficult to track weapon sales to our puppets. But look! On TV we did it! We blew some of their weapons up!
    But the N.Y. Times says it’s at least a three-year war. (Does anyone here know anything about Operation Mockingbird? It’s likely more sophisticated than ever.)
    I’m hardly even going to touch the Dumb Show called Domestic Politics. That range of thought and opinion doesn’t do justice to the word “range.”
    As to the idea that full spectrum dominance was “challenged” in 2001…that’s poppycock. The players knew exactly what was going down. And the military “options” exercised in Afghanistan & Iraq that have been taking place since are not well-intentioned failures. The ongoing “mission” is not about anything good, just, fair, or right; but rather, about the managed “chaos,” privatization, profits, and pipelines that ensue

  6. Elite players like the public to Be fooled into thinking that “our dominance” is benevolent…but they don’t go to bed with such absurd rationalizations in mind. Human history is rife with bad actors attracted to power, and surprise!, some of them wind up ‘American” with, guess what, all kinds of power (and money).
    A cursory examination of foreign policy outcomes over many decades shows it’s about setting up proxy elites to benefit our elites, populations be damned. Better to have right-wing juntas that serve certain business interests than to have examples of social democracies that benefit a greater good. A deeper examination leaves one horrified.
    “They” are neither stupid nor not willing to learn. They do what they will with cunning. And “they,” or few of them, feel a real responsibility for the general welfare of the U.S. public. They mock & disrespect the “masses.”
    As to standing up for truth & justice…. “It is not the power of AIPAC, it is the weakness of politicians.”. Well said, Steve.
    What about the power of truth, the power of voice?

  7. I refuse to listen to any American president speak because the minute I see their lips begin to move I know for a fact that they have started lying. And its not just that they lie while speaking. They also lie during the periods when they have to fall silent to catch their breath. In a nutshell, U.S. presidents lie just to keep in practice; just so they won’t forget how.

    Having said that, I have read reports and analyses of President Obama’s speech — many written before President Obama even delivered it — that sound to me like President Richard Nixon announcing his “Vietnamization” policy — or what the French called “Yellowing the Corpses.” This policy involves withdrawing U.S. ground forces from a lost American war while somehow enticing the local natives to go on killing themselves for American objectives which even the Americans never understood. Of course, President Obama’s slight twist on his (in this case) “Browning the Bodies” policy involves redeploying U.S. “boots on the ground” to Iraq and Syria while simultaneously swearing that he will do no such thing. The transparent and maniacal schizophrenia of U.S. foreign policy simply defies expression in understandable English.

    As Albert Einstein defined insanity, it means: “Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.” So I wouldn’t call U.S. policy makers “stupid.” That would amount to praising with faint damnation. No, I would go with Einstein and call them simply insane. Power does that to amoral, cowardly greasy-pole climbers like those who have infested the U.S. government for decades now.

    • Michael Murray:

      I couldn’t agree with you more… Calling our politicians “stupid” is an affront to real stupid people everywhere…

      These monsters are truly clinically insane…

    • Sociopathic, perhaps. But not insane in the sense of expecting different results from similar actions. The shot-callers continue to realize their objectives, & this ISIS ruse should be, to thinking people, a transparent veil…but consumers of mass media eat it up. Barbarians at the gate! The facetiousness of my first reply to this post illustrates the ridiculousness of ISIS as a threat. Another CIA-inspired bag of tricks.
      Before the invasion of 2003, well-intentioned serious State Department professionals produced a strategy for the occupation which could have produced favorable outcomes for the people of Iraq. But they are not the shot-callers, & of course their recommendations were ignored.

      • As I learned long ago in Southeast Asia” “You can’t do a wrong thing the right way.” No Western country can invade and occupy a former foreign colony and “administer” it in a way that the indigenous population will ever accept. Hence, the idea that some enlightened, lower-level bureaucrats in the United States government somehow had a “better” plan for the invasion and occupation of Iraq that a few misguided superiors just wouldn’t let them implement amounts to claiming — without historical evidence — that one CAN do a wrong thing the right way. But no one can do the impossible.

        And President Obama’s current and continuing claim that he can now do some successful bombing of Iraq after the U.S. has unsuccessfully bombed the country since 1991 constitutes proof positive that Einstein’s definition of insanity holds true. That our functionally insane — or too stupid to stipulate — President Obama would prefer that others refer to him using more mellifluously complimentary terminology does not persuade me to accede to his personal preferences. Insane actions indicate an insane mind, not just a stupid one, and babbling self-contradictory verbiage off a teleprompter in front of a camera does nothing but make President Obama look like a manipulated, delusional fool. And psychotic delusion, of course, amounts to yet another syndrome of insanity, not a refutation of it.

        Now, I realize that some will argue that President Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama’s bombing of Iraq — and several other middle eastern and African nations — only looks insane if one takes the publicly stated objectives of policy at face value. According to this theory, some unstated policy objective may actually have succeeded according to plan, and people would understand this if only they could see the secret agenda that their own government, for some reason, refuses to share with them. But since these “secretly successful” plans remain suspiciously hidden from public view and discussion, they amount to nothing more than imaginary successes; and an unsupported belief in the purely imaginary counts as just another form of insanity.

        I once read where Daniel Ellsberg said that he preferred not to call our deluded policy makers “stupid.” He said that we should view them as “clever people who have lost their minds.” Very polite of him, but I regard people who have lost their minds as insane. Impolite of me to say that, perhaps, but dropping megatons of explosive ordnance on millions of people who have not harmed the United States does not merit discussion in polite euphemisms. Criminal insanity describes the awful truth precisely.

      • The movie “Little Big Man” has much to say on this question. Chief Dan George’s eloquent speech about “human beings” versus The White Man, and the latter’s predilection for killing everything, because they believe everything is already dead, may sound silly. But I don’t think it’s far from the truth.

      • Point taken Michael. Criminal insanity to be sure.

        I certainly don’t think there was a right way to invade & occupy Iraq (which was wrong). The State Department bureaucrats were simply tasking. It never was a matter of a few misguided superiors not letting them do it…the State Department doesn’t run the show & they know it. What they produced wasn’t tantamount to making or approving of policy, it was “well, if this is what you are bent on doing, you ought to consider this…”

        Of course it is speculative to suggest that long-term planning goes on in the Pentagon, & that that planning has been, and is being, carried out. I suppose it is even more speculative to suggest that those objectives include controlled “chaos,” privatization, & wholesale regime change under U.S. dominance….I personally abhor what I imagine the Pentagon is up to. It doesn’t constitute success in my book, I simply wished to suggest that “they” aren’t trying the same thing over & over again expecting different results, but rather are getting what they want.

        Obama is very much manipulated, and he is certainly criminal & likely delusional. Clinton went along with the criminality as well. The Bush hands are dirty as hell. The last President who had spine and humanity to boot was killed for it.

  8. And that commercial showing Marines on foot, in vehicles and in helicopters, thundering forth beneath ominous and smoky skies toward the “sound of tyranny, injustice and despair.” It is positively Orwellian that the American citizenry has been trained to see the situation only through such transparently overblown, self-serving hyperbole.

    As you say, Bill, I doubt people who have to run for cover from the bombs see the U.S. as a “force for good.”

    But, as Tolstoy wrote, what then must we do? I think I can see the deeper roots to the problem — dependence on foreign oil, not being a trustworthy “partner” — but what to do, now, about ISIS?

    I think this will turn out quite badly. From today’s New York Times: “It’s pretty clear that upping our involvement in Iraq and Syria makes it more likely that we will be targeted by the people we are attacking,” said Andrew Liepman, a former deputy director at the National Counterterrorism Center who is now a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. “But this is different than many other situations we’ve been involved in because the ISIS narrative is so vicious and so brutal that it has virtually no external allies.”

    Again, I ask: Why must this fall to the United States? Where is Turkey? Saudi Arabia? Jordan? Britain? France? Bueller? Bueller?

    Thanks for your insights, as always.

    Clay Evans

    • Yes. Take a close look at Obama’s speech. ISIS is described as “evil,” a “cancer,” and its members variously described as killers, terrorists, rapists, and genocidal butchers. We must “hunt them down” and eradicate them. Talk about vilifying the enemy! Describing your enemy as a disease that must be eradicated; well, I suppose it plays well in various circles, but the rhetoric is overblown. And the problem is that rhetoric often becomes reality.

      Do we really want to pursue the equivalent of a religious war against “evil”? In the Middle East? As our president beseeches God to bless our troops?

    • [This is in reply to multiple previous comments, as I am joining this particular thread late.] As I have noted here previously, my understanding during the prelued to Bush43’s invasion of Iraq was that bureaucrats in State and/or the Pentagon HAD, in fact, made meticulous plans for the “new Iraq,” right down to designs for their postage stamps! Someone must have thought these ideas would actually be employed, else why risk ridicule in the (terribly unlikely, eh?) event that things did not turn out so well? As for “long-term planning at the Pentagon,” again my understanding is that a hit-list was drawn up of nations where regime change was to be instituted: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Lebanon (I think), etc. This was the Cheney/Rummy/Rice “master plan” for reshaping the oil-producing region. I’d say that does constitute long-term planning. The abject failures along the way to installing dependable puppet regimes–well, as troops in Vietnam learned to say: “Sorry about that sh*t!” Now “we” (I never associate myself with the government of the United States) will just have to fix “our” little mistakes, with nice benefits to the “defense industry.”

      Do you recall when the Taliban first appeared, almost magically, in Afghanistan? We were told that Taliban means “students” and that they had trekked across the mountain passes from Pakistan. To this day, do we know who really created and assembled that organization? Any investigative journalists out there willing to dare to look into this, hmm? And now, from out of thin air, we have “the Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq, allegedly the offshoot of another outfit with shadowy origin/existence, “al-Qaeda.” (At least we know THEIR supposed head honcho was put in the terrorism business by the CIA to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Yes, to Russian forces, they were very real terrorists, though they called themselves freedom fighters, with applause from the USA.) Though they reportedly say they want to be considered a state, and a Caliphate in the making at that, they are not a proper state at this time. Thus, there are no legal grounds to declare war on an “enemy state.” A terrorist attack on US soil by such a group would be a criminal act, not an act of war by another state. The US has rained much death and destruction upon Afghanistan allegedly because it was harboring Osama bin-Laden around the time of the 9/11 attacks. Lobbing bombs and cruise missiles upon the territory of another nation IS an act of war. (Sure, we could debate whether Afghanistan is a “proper” state, but as long as it is considered such, represented in the UN, we have to define acts of war with this in mind.) Afghanistan the nation, Afghanistan the people, never committed an act of war against the US, yet look how they’ve been made to suffer. None of these considerations bother the “Constitutional Law professor” now occupying the White House in the least. This is because he is but the craven servant of a degenerate ruling class that is determined to control the resources of the whole world to its selfish economic interest, people and environment be damned. And playing the role of this craven servant is exactly what being President of the United States amounts to. As far as I am concerned, every military attack that the US launches in its avowed effort to exterminate “the Islamic State” is a gross violation of international law. Sadly, there is no international authority that can rebuke and quash this criminal activity.

      • “Sadly, there is no international authority that can rebuke and quash this criminal activity.”

        When they arrive, my star-ships will. I have big plans for Earth…

  9. P.S.: Oh, dear! “prelued”?? I swear, SpellCheck even missed that first time around. This is what happens when you’re typing on, to paraphrase my beloved Mark Twain, “a word processor warmed up in Hell”!!

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  19. An excellent article that sheds a lot of light on a dark period in European history, thank you.
    For the defenders of fascist tactics in Greece (ignoring the moral bankruptcy of the argument), please read the article: Stalin had ceded Greece to Western influence, and the partisans wanted Greece to have its own elected government, not a return to the hated pre-war monarchy.
    One might wonder why Communists were accepted into democratic politics in France and Italy, while war was waged on them in Greece.
    I recommend Costa-Gavras’ film ‘Z’ to find out more about the events leading up to the military coup d’etat in 1967.

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