Ignoring the face-off in Ukraine

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How many Americans do you suppose actually understand that there are now American, British and “suspected” Russian ground troops inside Ukraine? Is this less important than ISIS, or is it in fact related to ISIS, in that Russia is Syria’s ally in its war against ISIS? That being the case, why aren’t we trying to cut a deal with Russia regarding both the Ukraine and Syria?

Why does a military non-solution , with NATO currently on maneuvers inside Ukraine,  doing all they can to re-start the cold war with Russia, always seem to trump diplomacy?

To what degree is Israel’s stand against Syria, Iran and the Palestinians, impacting the U.S. stand against Syria, Russia and Iran, all of whom support the Palestinians?

If ISIS is the threat the U.S. government makes it out to be, then shouldn’t the United States align itself with Syria, Iran and by extension, Syria’s key ally Russia, against ISIS?   To what degree is our support for Israel, stopping us from doing just that, and to what degree is that heightening tensions in the Ukraine?

Why is Israel again displacing Palestinians to expand their illegal “settlements,”  and why did they resume this expansion if they do in fact want peace?    Is peace between Israel, Iran and Syria, really an option, or is it something those on the right in Israel, will never accept – and to what degree are Americans afraid to even discuss this out of fear of being labeled “anti-semitic?”

Isn’t this at least as important as the Ebola virus?

 

Mr. Obama’s Biggest Mistake?

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President Obama, has made some mistakes.  Taking the nation to war, again, without Congressional approval, may be his biggest mistake of all.  Offhand, I can’t think of anything that trumps it.

Mr. Obama, has taken us to war, based upon “The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists” or the “AUMF,” which was passed by Congress in 2001.   The bill, singed by former President Bush,  “authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.”

Clearly, this bill does not apply to the situation with ISIS.   Unless you buy into the argument that ISIS is a distant cousin to al Qaeda, but that’s a stretch.   If you stretch it far enough, almost every rebel group in the Middle East probably has some kind of connection to al Qaeda, which goes back to the Russians fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 80’s.   Which is when the United States supplied arms to the Taliban and al Qaeda, which they later used on U.S. troops.

Beyond that, without UN approval for the attacks, Mr. Obama, needed an “imminent” threat to the United States.  Writing for “The Intercept,” Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain say he fabricated the threat he needed,  coming up with a fake terror threat,  the “Khorasan Group,”  to justify the U.S. bombing of Syria.   “Khorasan,” was a terrorist organization no one had ever heard of,  a supposed threat that was picked up and virtually parroted by the American media as the airstrikes were underway.

An argument can be made for anything.  When will we learn?  Or has the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about taken the nation by the throat to such a high degree that our civilian representation has effectively been eliminated?

This is war we are talking about, not a series of airstrikes that will end in two or three weeks.  A war our government says will last for years, with no end-game.   Here they go again.  No exit-strategy.   War without end, amen, with the corporate news media too often serving not as analysts and critics, but as cheerleaders.   “They’re sending in F-18’s, F-16’s, and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles to ‘rain death’ down on ISIS!” 

Some  of this is starting to feel like a 21st Century replay of “Dr. Strangelove.”  “Hit um again!  Hit um again!  Harder, harder!” 

Mr. Obama, where have you gone?

Setting the AUMF aside because it does not apply, and unless the President has suddenly and unbeknownst to the people of the United States been anointed king, we are left with the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which provides that “the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, “statutory authorization,” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

There was no “national emergency,” which points to the obvious need for a declaration of war by the Congress.  But there is none.  And the Congress is gone.  Away on another leave of absence from Washington, for seven weeks.

We have been taken into a regional war involving numerous MIddle-Eastern nations.  A war with no exit-plan and no end-game.  We are told only that it is expected to have a duration of “years.”  We have been committed to this ongoing warfare by the President, with no proper approval from our elected representatives in the Congress.   Oh sure, some in the Congress may have been “consulted,” but a mere consultation is not the same as a formal declaration of war.  Beyond that, this new war is being fought at a time of extreme tension between Russia, the European Union and the United States.

The law says the President must obtain a declaration of war from the Congress, or stop the bombing and begin pulling our troops out of Iraq within 60 days.   The military says this commitment will require “years,” and that it might eventually require the insertion of additional ground troops.   Which Mr. Obama, says he won’t do.  For now.  With an election only weeks away and the American people tired of paying for never-ending war in the Middle East.  What a surprise.

We are in the midst of a national emergency, largely of our own creation.  There would be no ISIS, had the Bush/Cheney Administration not invaded Iraq, based upon a false cloud of fear.

President Obama,  had better call the Congress back from their vacation now, unless he want’s to admit that the United States has ceased being a nation of laws and has instead become a rouge imperial power, it’s leaders doing what they want, where they want, simply because they can.   Oh wait, we’ve been doing that at least since the 1980’s,  when Ronald Reagan ignored the will of the Congress (that would be the people’s representatives) and kept funding the Contras through back-channels.

Remember Ollie North?

Despite thousands of deaths and the expenditure of trillions of taxpayer’s dollars, nothing the United States has done in the Middle East has worked.  And now, with an election just weeks away,  Mr. Obama, is dragging us into yet another war.

Is it too much to expect the American People to demand that their elected representatives do their jobs and assume responsibility for our actions going forward?   Perhaps.  In order for that to happen, they would first have to be properly informed about our geopolitical affairs and the law, and that’s way to complicated for commercail television, right?    There’s always PBS and Amy Goodman,  but who watches them, other than upper-income intellectual elites?

Considering the current state of American broadcast journalism and the confused state of mass media generally, resulting in the dumbed-down condition of the American people, this may be too much to hope for.

I hope you enjoy paying for war because we just jumped back into another one.   A war that will last for years.  And the longer it runs on, the deeper we will be drawn into the conflict, producing even more generational hatred, increasing the likelihood of a whole new brood of chickens coming home to roost in the form of renewed attacks on U.S. soil for years to come.

My only comfort comes in knowing we’d be in even worse shape with a Republican running the show.  However, with this latest war, Mr. Obama, looks increasingly like nothing more than an extension of George W. Bush.

Arabs Join In The Airstrikes Against ISIS – New War Expected To Last For “Years”

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The morning after the big attack, and the United States announces that not just 5 Arab nations, but 5  mostly Sunni nations joined us in the airstrikes against ISIS.  Or ISIL, or the Islamic State.

This is important, because ISIS is largely made up of Sunni fighters, and this is a religion-driven civil war the United States has inserted itself into.  So the U.S. has convinced Sunni nations to attack their Sunni brothers in ISIS, even while some wealthy interests in those same Sunni nations have been helping to fund the ISIS Army.

Is this cause to celebrate?  Perhaps.  I’ve been carping for weeks about the need for the U.S. to get out of the Middle East.  The need to let the Arabs use their oil money to fight their own wars.  I still feel that way, except now, at least, nations like Saudi Arabia are doing more than just sitting back and watching, while we carry water for them without being reimbursed.

Here’s a novel idea, why don’t we charge these wealthy Middle Eastern nations for our military services?    We could use some of the money to provide water to the Navajo People, 40% of whom lack potable water.   With adequate funds the City of Detroit could restore water to the thousands of poor and elderly who are being forced to go without, while cash-fat Arabs run around in their Bentleys and Rolls, drinking Dom and eating caviar.    Or are we supposed to be okay that this newest war is being carried on the backs of American taxpayers, some of whom can’t afford groceries, rent, and now even water?

It is at least hopeful, I suppose, that some of the Arab nations are taking part in the fight, even though a big question remains as to whether  the United States should be in this fight at all, a fight which the Pentagon says will likely go on for “years.”

How many years do you suppose?  Five?  Fifteen?  Thirty?   And at whose cost?   Ours, while we continue to have citizens who can’t pay their water bills?

Why isn’t anybody talking about this?

We learned nothing from our horrible experience in Vietnam.  It appears we know nothing about the British experience in the Middle East and India, either, as we are now apparently assuming their previous posture as the world’s foremost imperial empire,  pushing forward with the Bush Administration’s mad plan to democratize the Middle East.

It is, in all likelihood,  doomed to fail,  but there’s an election coming in November, and then another not long after that.  There is the ever-present fear that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil will bring the wrath of the Republicans crashing down on the Democratic Party machine, possibly devastating their chances at the polls – unless Obama and the Dems can say they did everything they possibly could, including getting involved in yet another war, to try and put down the terrorist threat.  It’s important to look strong, and anyway,  Americans love a good war.

When you’re out to save the world (and by that, I mean big oil), it’s important to try and understand why.    Five Arab nations might have been coerced into joining the United States in this first round of airstrikes, but I wouldn’t get too excited just yet.  This is going to continue on for some time.  Many of the American people are already weary of this experience, exhausted from fighting a war with no end in sight.

Notice how they never talk about an end-game?   Could that be because they don’t have one?

The real kicker, is that we wouldn’t be fighting ISIS now if George W. Bush and Dick Cheney hadn’t invaded Iraq, because Iraq has oil.  Great big pools of it.  Oil is multi-national not American, and Barack Obama has been left to try and clean up George W. Bush’s big oily mess, sending out our military to act as mercenaries for the oil-rich Arabs and the multi-national oil companies that buy,  process and deliver oil and oil-based products to people in Detroit and the rest of the free world, who increasingly can’t afford to turn on their water.

Finally, not that it matters and I’m  sure it was pure coincidence, but weren’t the airstrikes a perfect diversion, re-directing our focus away from the massive demonstrations on climate change leading up to the long-scheduled climate change summit conference in New York?

Between three and four-hundred thousand people filled the streets of New York on Sunday and came back a day later in a “flood” Wall Street protest, all leading up to the climate change summit at the UN.  Chances are it will be all but forgotten following Mr. Obama’s massive airstrikes.

With a hot new war to cover, where do you think the mainstream media’s focus will be?  But I’m sure it’s purely coincidental.

 

War Behind Masks

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The United States, to the best of my knowledge, has never sent its troops off to war with their faces covered by stocking masks.  We have never been hiding from anyone.  Oh, covert ops, sure, but never  during a major operation.

And yet, here we are in the Middle East, with our Ambassador to the United Nations claiming we have other nations in our “Coalition of the Willing,” but refusing to say who they are or the degree of their commitment in the fight against ISIS.

The people we are fighting cover their faces.   In a similar fashion, our allies in the region are afraid of being recognized, or we at least, are afraid of saying who they are out of fear that they will no longer support our efforts?

Beyond that, why is the United States being forced to take the lead in this fight, when the Saudis now have the 4th largest military budget in the world,  following only Russia, China and the United States?   Why aren’t we demanding that Saudi Arabia, and the other oil-rich Arab states, fight their own battles, rather than forcing beleaguered American taxpayers to carry them on their backs like poor surfs carrying their masters across a puddle so that they don’t get their shoes wet?   Could it be because the U.S. Government serves not the people of the United States but the CEO’s and others at the top of the international oil industry?

Isn’t this secrecy, this fear of being identified, the sign of a culture that is accustomed to and expects ongoing conflict rather than simple victory or political resolution?  Is this really something we should be going forward with?

Of course not.  It’s time to get the Saudis and the other oil-rich Arab nations (and big oil) off the backs of the American people.   It will mean re-thinking our energy policies and a serious investment in renewables, but it can be done.

Oh, wait just a sec.  That would require the American people having enough knowledge and understanding to force their elected leaders to come up with the political will to face down big oil and develop a new and intelligent energy policy for the country,  throwing off the feudal chains of our current Oligarchy and demanding a return to our Democratic Republic of old.

What was I thinking.

Sucker Punched By ISIS (Somewhere Osama Is Smiling)

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              (photo:  courtesy bernie sanders)

Received the following from Bernie Sanders.   As usual, the Independent  from Vermont is right on target.  If only there was some way to get Hillary to step aside so that he could join the party and have a real shot at the nomination.

Here’s the note from Bernie-

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday voted against the United States training and arming Syrian rebels. Bernie said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “is a brutal and dangerous extremist organization which must be defeated, but this war cannot be won by the United States alone.” He expressed deep concerns about the U.S. getting dragged into another never-ending quagmire in the Middle East.

“In order to defeat ISIS, there needs to be a real international coalition led by the countries most threatened – Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Iran,” the senator said. “Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest military budget in the world, more than the UK or France. They have a modern air force. The United States will not be successful defending them, if they and other nations in the area are not prepared to defend themselves. The worst thing that we can do now is allow ISIS to portray this struggle as East vs. West, as Muslim vs. Christian, as the Middle East vs. America. That is exactly what ISIS wants and that is exactly what we should not be giving them.”   – The Bernie Buzz

Free Speech – The Simple Truth

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Here’s a fascinating thought with regard to the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” decision that corporations are people and money is speech.  Would love to attribute it, but the caller only gave his first name.

“If money is speech, then speech is no longer free.” – Caller to the Thom Hartmann show.

Congress Becomes Even More Disgusting – If That’s Possible

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This current Congress of the United States has reaffirmed its near-worthlessness.

With the “party of no” House leading the charge, our alleged “honorable” representatives in Washington ran for the exits following a Senate vote to fund unnamed and unidentifiable Syrian rebels, who may eventually use the weaponry we are giving them against us, or against troops friendly to our cause – whatever that might turn out to be.  I guess it’s the war on terror, but I’m no longer sure.

It’s all very confusing, and that makes House and Senate members running for the exits all the more infuriating.

Just dump a big pile of the taxpayer’s  money on the Pentagon and leave.

The clown party of the House and Senate, had returned from a 5-week break in August, worked for only 8 days and then announced they would be leaving for another 7-week break, returning on November 12th.

Exhausting just thinking about it.

All this, while the situation in Iraq and Syria remains untenable with a new war with the United States in the lead getting underway,  the number of refugees worldwide growing to the highest number since the end of WW II, the United Nations running out of money to feed those refugees, the Ebola Virus threatening thousands both inside and outside of Africa, the U.S. infrastructure continuing to crumble, the American middle class remaining all but devastated with 23.7% of our children living in poverty, millions of Americans continuing to have no health, dental or vision care, the cost of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. remaining excessively high and out of control,  joblessness running above 6% (although the real number is even higher, probably around 12% when you factor in all those who have given up on looking for a job),  student loan debt outpacing credit card debt as American kids struggle to try and get a college education, the City of Detroit cutting off water service to its senior citizens and others on low incomes as it struggles with bankruptcy while our police departments receive a flood of surplus military equipment and weaponry as the gap between the rich and the poor is the widest it’s been in the past 100 years with half of America joining the ranks of the “working poor.” 

The robber barons on Wall Street continue extracting the nation’s wealth with the top 10% taking home more than half the nation’s income while common folk on Main Street struggle to survive and you people are leaving town on a 7-week vacation?

Absolutely disgusting.

War as political expediency

 

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Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to war we go – once again – as the U.S. House of Representatives approves funding to the tune of $500 million to train and arm a bunch of unknown Syrian “rebels.”    If Secretary of State John Kerry knows who they are, he isn’t saying.  Maybe he can’t say, either for security reasons or because there are so many rag-tag rebel groups running around Syria right now that the U.S. government isn’t sure who will be getting all the weapons, training and presumably money,  courtesy of U.S. taxpayers whose quality of life is sinking daily while their national infrastructure crumbles beneath their feet.

This truly is madness.  I’m a progressive (former moderate who was pushed to the left by an expanding and increasingly flatulent right) and I want to support this president, but this is just nuts.

In December, the BBC reported that there may be as many as one-thousand armed opposition groups in Syria.  They don’t all get along.  Sometimes they fight with one another.  Some of them have agreed not  to open fire on ISIS, which also opposes the military of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  That, after all, is where ISIS came from.  They were fighting the Syrian Government.   So ISIS and many of the rebels are allied in the fight against Assad.  And now the Obama Administration proposes to wade into the middle of this mess of historic proportions with a military give-away amounting to $500 million to fighters who may or may not turn out to be ISIS friendly?

If you find that difficult to follow, here’s the short version:  We are going to arm Syrian rebels,  who are in league with ISIS in their fight against Bashar al-Assad, in the belief that those same rebels will stop fighting Assad and instead begin fighting their comrades-at-arms in ISIS?  Madness.

There are three possible reasons for Mr. Obama’s actions.    One is, he’s gone off his nut.  I doubt this is the case.  The other two, are political expediency and a need to support our “friends” in the Middle East.

You can be sure our “friends” in the region, principally the new Iraqi Government and the Israelis, are “all in” on the U.S. getting up to its eyeballs in another major war.   The United States, is all the latest U.S.-created  puppet government in Baghdad has.  If we go away, so will they, presumably.   And Israel?   Well, they have opposed Bashar al-Assad from the get-go, as he is supported by and aligned with both Russia and Iran.   So you can be sure Israel is urging the United States to supply and train “rebels” who purport to stand in opposition to Assad, even if they might also be aligned with ISIS.

Confusing, isn’t it?  That’s the way it is when you step into the middle of a three-thousand year-old sectarian and ideological conflict.   Things can become a little murky.

The other reason, would be politics back home in the good ol’ USA, where neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to look weak with an election coming up.  Because of that, the Senate will likely follow suit and pass Mr. Obama’s funding request.  After that, if things don’t go so well in this new war against ISIS, the Republicans will land like a hammer on Obama and the Democrats, with their hammer blows becoming more intense as the election grows nearer.  If, on the other hand, the war against ISIS appears to be going well, if the Iraqi Army doesn’t once again throw down it’s U.S. supplied weapons and run, then the Democrats will use that as an example of their success in the war on …. terror?  I’m no longer sure who we’re at war with, so you’ll have to cut  me some slack.

I guess the war on terror will do, although by the U.S. Government’s own admission, ISIS clearly represents no direct threat to the United States.   At least that’s what they were saying a few weeks ago.   They might be saying something different now.  They may have to, to legitimize spending $500 million on unknown and unnamed groups of mysterious Syrian rebels who may or may not use those same weapons and training against us six weeks, six months or six years from now.

If the United States really wants to take down ISIS, then we need to form an alliance with Bashar al-Assad, Iran and Russia,  all of whom  stand in opposition to the Islamic State, unlike our so-called “allies” in the region who, except for the Kurds and a few military advisers from Iran,  are sitting back and issuing words of support while, for the most part,  they stay out of the fight and wait to see what happens.

War

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Something to chew on as we become entangled in yet another war in Iraq.

“The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose – especially their lives.”  – Eugene V. Debs

 

Pentagon Predicts A War That Will Go On For “Generations”

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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  General Martin Dempsey,  is saying it may be necessary for U.S. troops to  fight alongside Iraqi troops in  what one commentator has called “The Iraq War, version 3.0.”  He is also calling it a “generational effort.”    Meaning what?  That it could go on for generations?  Huh?  How many?  Is he suggesting a military commitment for the next 100 years or so?

What’s the plan?  How many generations does he have in mind?

Is the United States now assuming ongoing military ownership of the Middle East, or at least Iraq and a big chunk of Syria and Kurdistan, for an indefinite period of time at the U.S. taxpayer’s expense?  What the hell are these guys thinking?

Remember the words of President Obama, when he said, “…we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.  In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces.  Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq.  As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. “

That’s what he said.  Just six days ago.  And now our top man in uniform is saying something else.   Obama’s off the hook, because he didn’t say it, Dempsey did, and Dempsey is only saying that he may recommend that the President should order our combat troops to once again fight alongside the Iraqis.  Nevertheless, Dempsey was with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel when he said it, and Hagel works for Mr. Obama, so it’s difficult to believe Mr. Obama had no idea what Dempsey and Hagel were going to say.

It appears likely that we are being set up for a possible about-face by Obama, who will, at some future date, announce that he has accepted a recommendation from the Joint Chiefs to put American ground forces back in the fight in Iraq, thus continuing the utter futility of applying yet another military solution to a political problem.

It won’t be Mr. Obama’s idea, it’ll be coming from our military heroes, and they’re always right.  Right?

I have this fantasy of the President addressing the nation with the news that “We are dropping out of this fight.  It’s not ours to win or lose.  It’s the Saudis and the other Arab nations that will need to settle their sectarian differences on a long-term basis and not the United States.  We cannot hope to fix their ideological differences ranging back over at least 14-hundred years and we will no longer commit our troops to being a mercenary force for the Saudis.”  

Of course that will never happen.  It would throw the international oil business into a state of chaos.    So, rather than pulling our troops out of Iraq,  we are now being softened up to accept what could be a fight lasting for generations.   Somebody needs to tell Dempsey that it’s already 14-hundred years old.

Aw Jeez….Another War?

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John “bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb Iran” McCain and the other pro-Military Industrial Complex Republicans must be overjoyed.  We’re in another war!  Isn’t that just grand.   And guess where?  The same old, same old.   We’re back in Iraq.  Stuck like a pig in a mud pit, in this unending war between Sunni and Shia.

With France and a few other western powers getting in the fight against the 31,000 man ISIS Army, the whole thing would be over in a few days if the 271,500 member Iraqi Army had its act together.    However, neither Iraq, with a fledgling government which may or may not last, nor its army (which has little or no faith in the government), can be depended upon to conduct themselves in compliance with western benchmarks.

Since we are relying on the Iraqi Army to take the lead on at least one front on the ground, this will probably go on for at least a few weeks and maybe months, or possibly years if the new but not necessarily improved Iraqi Government falls apart or one of our guys gets shot down and taken hostage.   Or if they keep beheading Americans and Brits.

Then there’s the “moderate” Syrian rebels the U.S. plans on arming to help in the fight against ISIS.  Numerous reports indicate that some of these same Syrian opposition fighters have signed a pact that they will not attack ISIS, but that they will fight with ISIS against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

So America plans on arming a potential  enemy?   ISIS is already carrying weapons that were supplied by the U.S. and then dropped to the ground when  the Iraqi Army took off their uniforms and ran, rather than taking up the fight against ISIS.

But even after ISIS is defeated, what then?  The Sunni – Shia sectarian dispute won’t go away, so how long does the U.S. stay mired down in the Middle East trying to mediate the indigenous 1400 year- old war?  Another 50 years?  75 years?  How does that suit you?   How long were the British in India?

Why did George H.W. (Daddy) Bush pull our troops out of Iraq, instead of marching into Baghdad?   Why did Ronald Reagan withdraw from Lebanon after nearly 300 American and French soldiers were killed in the barracks bombing in Beirut?   Did Daddy Bush and Ronnie Reagan know something we don’t?

After 1400 years you don’t really imagine we’re going to fix this mess in a matter of days or months?   We’ve already invested 24 years in the region since George H.W. Bush sent in our military to protect Saudi oil.   But it’s not all bad.   Another war does at least have the potential for producing a whole new batch of American heroes for corporate marketing plans and movie scripts.

Beheadings: False Flag or For Real?

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Okay, way out on a limb here, but this has been on my mind for some time now.   Is it possible,  just possible, that the three beheadings of two Americans and now a Brit, were “false flag” operations, intended to get the U.S. and Britain more involved in the fight against ISIS?

It could be nothing more than another example of the barbarism the ISIS Army represents, although this latest spate of senseless butchery began at a somewhat critical juncture for events in the Middle East, and there are several countries who undoubtedly feel a need for an increased presence by the U.S., Britain, France and other western nations.

We were nearly at a point of feeling as though a political solution might be preferable, and possibly the only sane alternative to ramping up yet another war in the region, and then the beheadings began.

Britain in particular, now appears to be fully entangled in any fight going forward, with Prime Minister David Cameron vowing to “hunt down the killers of this British hero.”  Prior to the beheading of David Haines, they seemed hesitant to become involved in the ISIS affair.

It’s been suggested that the beheadings were intended to be a recruiting tool, drawing more fighters to ISIS.  However, on balance, inviting the wrath of the west would seem to be far less productive than whatever ISIS has been doing all along to bring new members into its bloodthirsty fold?

Was Mr. Obama correct in pushing the U.S. into yet another war in the Middle East, or did he simply take the bait and has Mr. Cameron now followed suit?   And might the trap have been set by one of our allies in the region?   Are the leaders of ISIS really all that eager for their movement to be annihilated?    In the eyes of the west,  they may be crazy, but it appears to be a carefully calculated craziness designed to acquire more power rather than inviting elimination.   But maybe not.  Religious fanaticism is what it is.

As distasteful as this is for those of us in the west, beheadings are commonplace in some Arab nations like Saudi Arabia,  where there was more than one beheading a day in the first three weeks of August, for crimes ranging from drug smuggling to “sorcery.”   For those with the contacts and money, paying off rouge fighters to carry out two or three more for the sake of publicity would probably be a relatively simple task.

As both President Obama and Mr. Cameron are now steadily beating the drums of war, it is perhaps important to remember that President George H.W. (Daddy) Bush first took us into this sectarian mash-up in August of 1990, with “Operation Desert Shield.”  The goal was to protect Saudi Arabia (and their oil), from a possible invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Ties between the Bush family and the Saudi Royal Family are so well publicized as to be approaching infamy.   CBS News reported in April of 2004 that “The relationship peaked under the presidency of George H.W. Bush. This is both due to personal and financial ties, but moreover because the Saudi royal family supported (was even grateful) for the first Iraqi war, when the United States ousted Iraqi troops from Kuwait.   Both then-president Bush and the current president have had personal and deep financial ties with the Saudi royal family. Author and journalist Craig Unger documents $1.4 billion that has “made its way” from the Saudi royal family to “entities tied” to the Bush family, according to Unger’s controversial book “House of Bush, House of Saud.”

It was, some speculate,  Operation Desert Shield, a move requested by the Saudis, who asked for a U.S. military presence on their “holy ground” that prompted Al Qaeda, to launch attacks against the United States on 9-11.  Fifteen of the nineteen attackers on 9-11 were Saudis.  Their leader, Osama bin Laden, was a Saudi.

So, under George H.W. Bush,  we sent in our troops to protect the Saudis and their oil.  Then, when his son, George W. Bush is president, 15 Saudis, hijack our jets and fly them into buildings filled with innocent civilians for reasons dealing not with anything the western mind might understand, but purely because of religious dogma – because the Saudis, and on a broader scale, the Arabs, cannot agree with one another on what their religious dogma represents.  It’s a centuries old holy war.  Can we really be so arrogant as to believe we can fix it?   Regardless of how tight the Bush family might be with the House of Saud?

The British tried to take command of the region and failed.  The Soviets marched into Afghanistan and failed.  And now we’ve been stuck in this ungodly mess for 24 years with no resolution in sight and Cameron and Obama are committed to begin another major air offensive based upon three beheadings?

Isn’t that the way it always starts?  With another air-offensive?  And the longer our fight in the Middle East and North Africa continues, the greater the potential becomes for another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  Violence begets violence.  The more we bomb their roads and villages with the inevitable “collateral damage,” killing their women, children and old people, the more determined they will become to strike back, either overseas or on U.S. soil.

We saved the people on the mountain top and are now arming the Kurds and promoting a representative government in Baghdad, which will probably turn out to be another pipe dream.  It’s time now to stop pretending we can fix this centuries old dispute and just get the hell out.

Even if the west destroys the ISIS Army, there will continue to be Sunni supporters of ISIS scattered throughout the region.   The sectarian disputes will remain and the only winners will be the arms manufacturers and other war profiteers.

Apparently President Reagan or perhaps those in his cabinet understood this, as they pulled our troops out of Lebanon, following the 1983 barracks bombing in Beirut, which killed 299 American and French troops.  An “obscure group calling itself “Islamic Jihad” claimed responsibility for the bombing.   Mr. Reagan, did not put together a coalition of the willing to try and march back in to kill them all and democratize the Middle East.

This requires a political and not a military solution.  It has for centuries.   Nevertheless, the United States has inserted itself into the fight and continues to try and solve nearly every problem with a military response for two principle reasons.  One is for our leaders to cover themselves politically.  The other is to protect Arab oil and their business partners, the multi-national oil companies.

 

A Thoroughly Disappointing Address From Mr. Obama

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I am tired of being told we need to save the world while our own middle class is being economically gutted.  I am tired of being told we need to save the Middle East while some Americans  continue to lack basic health care including mental health and dental health care. I am tired of being told we need to rely upon the Iraqi military, which drops its weapons and runs after we spent tens of millions of dollars training them to fight and provided them with uniforms, equipment and weapons. I am tired of hearing this president talk about pulling our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and then seeing him turn around and send more troops back in as “advisers.”

Not every solution to every problem is a military solution.  Mr. Obama, is again seeking a military solution after that same game plan failed  following a ten-year effort.

Anybody out there remember Vietnam?  Where and how does our commitment to the Middle East and North Africa come to an end?  As Richard Engel and others have pointed out, this fight between the Sunnis and the Shia has been going on for 14-hundred years.  And we’re going to fix it?

I am shocked, that Mr. Obama failed to demand congressional approval before taking any further action against ISIS. Once again, he’s making the call on his own.  It’s his ass waving out  in the wind all by himself, with an election just weeks away.  He’s expecting the Republicans to back his play?   Will he never learn?  They haven’t backed anything he has done in the past six years so why would they start now?

Are some Democrats so paralyzed with fear at the thought of a terrorist incident taking place before the November election, that they are insisting upon ramping up the military option with U.S. and other forces rather than supporting the Kurds and Iraqi government forces while pushing for peace with those nations that continue supporting ISIS financially?  Could that have been one more reason to push for congressional approval before committing to an expanded military operation?

His plan to attack and eliminate ISIS with the U.S. in the lead is politically confused and militarily misguided. We’re going to rely on the Iraqi Army? What a joke. We’re going to ask the Sunnis to help us by expecting them to turn on the mostly Sunni ISIS fighters? What planet is Mr. Obama on?  Who is advising this President?

At the same time, the United States is now allied, in principle at least, with the goals of Iran and Syria.  But Mr. Obama, refuses to work with Syria because they are alleged to have used chemical weapons.  Which is bad.  Although the Unites States, under the great Republican god Reagan, supplied chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, which at the time was apparently good.  Remember him?   Hussein, I mean.  The politico/strongman who was able to hold Iraq together while maintaining a balance of power in the Middle East, before Dubya decided he could “democratize” the entire region?   Seems like the “good old days,” doesn’t it?

We look like fools, as we continue to be betrayed by our allies in the region.  We have Arab “friends,” like the Saudis, the Kuwatis and the Qataris, who are currently funding our enemies in the ISIS Army.   Does that work for you?

It’s time for the United States to continue our support for Israel, and to push for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but to otherwise get the hell out of the Middle East and focus on fixing our problems here at home.   Our middle class has been devastated.  A major American city, Detroit, is going down for the count as it denies basic water services to the elderly and other low-income residents who can’t afford to pay their utility bills.

Let’s talk about saving ourselves.  The Arabs can afford to fight their own battles, or at the very least, pay someone else to do their fighting for them.

We look like fools to much of the world, spending our money and shedding our blood for countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which betray us while our own government denies us a national healthcare plan, our infrastructure crumbles and many of our fellow Americans are denied the ability to earn a living wage.   All this, while oil-rich Arabs arrive by private jets in Paris, London, Beverly Hills and New York, cash-fat and ready to party.  But don’t blame the Arabs, it’s not their fault.

It’s our political and business leaders here in the U.S. who have allowed this to happen.   One out or every four major U.S. corporations pays no federal income tax at all, as they move their operations and their jobs off U.S. soil, but expect us to use our military to continue protecting their “economic interests” overseas.    And our middle class is devastated.  And we look like fools.

Lastly, while I am disappointed in this move by the President, I am also mindful of the fact that while Mr. Obama did not start this, he has surely been left to clean it up.  This is a Republican-initiated mess, with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in the lead.  They are the culprits here, not Barack Obama, which is something we need to remember when we go to the polls in November and then again in 2016.

Off The Ranch With Cowboy Dick

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Briefly stated, from The Guardian:  “Former vice-president Dick Cheney met behind closed doors with Republican members of Congress on Tuesday to urge them to adopt a more muscular military posture in the Middle East.”

Good Lord.  Not again.  Why, at this point,  would anyone listen to anything Dick Cheney has to say?  The fact that Republican members of Congress are even willing to meet with him indicates that someone’s interested in his point of view, in spite of his administration’s horrible failures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After proving to be one of the biggest military screw-ups in history,  he wants to give advice on ISIS?

Who was it that let Osama slip away in Afghanistan, while the Bush Administration pulled out the troops for a totally unwarranted invasion of Iraq?   A mistake of such monumental proportions that it continues to haunt us to this day with the absence of a viable government in Iraq and the creation of not less but of increased instability in all of the Middle East?   An act that history will likely prove to be an administration-perpetrated fraud as the American people continue to pay the price for two unfunded wars and the rollback of our constitutional rights.

Is it even still necessary to bring up the Cheney-Halliburton conflict of interest issue?

Why don’t they just bring back all three, Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld?   They can be introduced to the American people by a tearful John Boehner, who can usher them back onto the national stage with an admonition that everything will be fine if we can just get rid of Obamacare.

Big Dick Cheney is off the ranch?  It’s not like things aren’t bad enough already?

One wonders how deep the disinformation-driven ignorance goes.