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The ISIS Scam
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If I could push a button and eradicate groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, I would, but I have to qualify that. I am reasonably convinced that when ISIS releases a video or commentary on carrying out mass killings or beheadings or Boko Haram kidnaps hundreds of schoolgirls the information we are receiving here in the United States is essentially reliable, but the fact is that we have been inundated with fabricated news about America’s “enemies” ever since 9/11 if not before. But if it is indeed the case that a handful of extremists are carrying out genuine atrocities, to include forced clitorectomies on the girls and women they capture, the world would be well free of those monsters without any need to devise a pretext called “responsibility to protect” or R2P for short. That the most savage groups characteristically appear to be driven by a belief in some form of divine mandate for their actions also heightens my own desire to extirpate the faux religious impulse that has justified so much killing, but that is a purely personal view.

All of that said, however, the largely emotionally driven willingness to rid our world of mass murderers and sadists has to be measured in terms of viability and vulnerability. A nation state is, after all, not Robocop. The first issue, viability means how does one go about confronting the presumed evildoers even if one is somehow convinced that it must be done and has considerable military force available?

It comes down to the same old problem that has vexed the United States led “global war on terror” ever since 2001, namely how does one fight a third generation war in places where intelligence and logistics will both be poor and where there are numerous political and social subplots that make any intervention a recipe for disaster. Recall that the United States began its twenty-first century crusade based on a desire to destroy al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is still around in spite of the expenditure of some trillions of dollars and the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the process. The obvious answer is that you don’t do it at all by yourself or even by playing a leading role with others because the only way to defeat a local insurgency is to use local resources.

One might reasonably argue that the United States has an actual responsibility to confront ISIS because it helped create the group through its ill-advised invasion of Iraq and its support of a misguided insurgency against the Syrian government. Confronting ISIS currently means working in good faith with Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey to first contain and then defeat the Islamic State. There is no other way to do it. If it means that Washington has to hold its nose while dealing with Damascus and Tehran, then so be it as the potential danger coming from a metastasizing ISIS is more serious than that represented by either Iran or Syria, neither of which actually threatens the US.

If everyone works together the survivability of ISIS will be limited. As it seeks to acquire territory to rule over it ironically becomes more vulnerable as it must defend what it seeks to govern. The armed forces of the three front line states, to include Turkey, outnumber ISIS jihadis by about 300 to one, and that is a conservative estimate that does not include large numbers of paramilitary police and militias. In addition, trained soldiers are able to use weapons and communications that are beyond the ken of militant volunteers, further increasing their advantage. If the political will to confront ISIS can be cobbled together among all the players there is no way the group can survive in its current form.

The situation is similar in Africa, though admittedly the local militaries are not as developed and disciplined as they are in the Middle East. Destroying Boko Haram means engaging the four front line states involved – Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon – in a serious counter-insurgency effort. The United States involved itself in the conflict after the shocking reports of the mass kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls in April but the results have been poor, suggesting that what is needed is a rethink of who the enemy is and what is required to defeat him, if that can be done at all.

The African armies involved in confronting Boko Haram, plagued by corruption and poor leadership, might not be up to the job even given numerical superiority and better weapons. As in Syria-Iraq, defeating Boko Haram is not something that US Army can succeed at unilaterally without resort to massive force and commensurate collateral damage. And even then there is no guarantee that the results would be any better than they have been in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If the White House believes itself compelled to get involved in Africa it must proceed cautiously working with local partners, accepting that a good result might not be achievable. It should reject the blanket principle that it must do what is necessary to protect Nigerian civilians because that kind of amorphous commitment, designed to create a legal fig leaf for intervention, inevitably opens to door to escalation and increased American involvement. It also invites fraud by interested parties to create justifications for greater engagement as occurred in Syria last year when atrocities were manufactured by the insurgents as a justification for missile strikes directed against the government in Damascus.

So what is to be done? In both the Middle East and Africa, Washington can and should provide some leadership and training, limited intelligence, and weaponry suited to the conflict but it should accept that they are not “our” wars that it can any way win fighting as a surrogate for those who are actually most affected.

And the second broad issue is that of America’s own interests and the nature of the threat. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is claiming that ISIS is both “apocalyptic” and “beyond anything we have seen…an imminent threat to everything we have…a 9/11 level threat,” though he is admittedly a bit vague on the details. He has been contradicted somewhat by a more cautious Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey who stated that the group does not yet actively threaten “the homeland.”

Hagel presumably means that Western European and American volunteers serving with ISIS might well be used to stage terror attacks after returning home as ISIS has otherwise no capability to attack the US in any conventional sense. Leading politicians have picked up on the meme, Sen. Lindsey Graham insisting, for example, that ISIS is a “direct threat to our homeland… Mr. President, be honest with the threat we face. They are coming.” Graham’s amigo John McCain likewise claimed “This ISIS is metastasizing throughout the region, and their goal, as they’ve stated openly time after time, is the destruction of the United States of America.” The always bellicose Rep. Peter King also saw a new 9/11 developing, “They [ISIS] have 10 times, 20 times more money than al Qaeda ever had. They have much more weapons than al Qaeda ever had. And ISIS has hundreds of foreign fighters with them, available to come to the United States to attack us.”

This is all nonsense. The ISIS “threat” against the United States is a chimera, in part GOP sniping at Barack Obama but also deliberately contrived by the Administration to support a possible escalation of the latest intervention. It should not be taken seriously. Warnings that foreign jihadis would wreak havoc in the west have been common fare since 9/11 but in reality have not materialized, which means that the threat now is little different in nature than it has been for years.

ISIS does not endanger the United States in any serious way even if a one-off terrorist “lone wolf” incident carried out by a repatriated jihadi volunteer were to take place. And no one is asleep at the switch. US and European intelligence agencies have focused heavily on the threat posed by expat terrorists and are aware of their profile. Security services will be watching for them if they try to return. Meanwhile, ISIS will have its hands full dealing with the problems in its own neighborhood and will not be thinking of exporting its product, particularly if everyone wakes up to the danger and starts working together against it.

Regarding Boko Haram, the Administration has not even attempted to use the argument that the group threatens the US or even its vaguely defined interests in Africa. It has instead fallen back on the R2P formulation, but the question must be asked whether the US should commit American resources and soldiers to a conflict that might not be resolvable or possibly even containable no matter what Washington decides to do? R2P, even interpreted in a positive way, does not designate the United States as the world’s policeman by default in cases where a show of force can in no way effect the outcome, except possibly negatively as was the case in Libya.

So a careful analysis of the current campaign to rid the world of evil leads to two conclusions. First, only countries that are actually impacted by terrorist groups will prove effective at eliminating them because it is their self-interest to do so. The US can assist in that effort but it must never attempt to play the leading role, if only because to do so will be counter-productive, raising legitimate concerns among local people about foreign involvement. Second, Washington must always act in a measured and proportionate fashion, always recognizing that groups active in the Middle East and Africa do not actually threaten the United States in any serious way. Where there is no real threat there is no vital interest at stake and engagement should be commensurate.

Does the White House appreciate those two limitations on its action? Possibly not. The rhetoric coming out of Washington seems to be designed to give the President a free hand in expanding the conflicts. While it is understandable that the Chief Executive should want authority to respond to crises, where there is no effective remedy and no vital interest at stake caution rather than risky posturing and hyperbolic warnings should prevail.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Boko Haram, ISIS 
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  1. VincentT says:

    IS has fought, overran, and now controls large cities and large parts of two countries. Yes, IS and this Islamist movement is a threat to the civilized world.

  2. The problem is Islam. If people could just do this one thing — something that’s very difficult for the PC manacled — if they could just see Islam as a super destructive political force not unlike that “force” created in Germany not so many years ago.

    • Replies: @Tired of It All
    , @Cato
    , @Tom
  3. @VincentT

    Tacitly absurd. ISIS is not a threat to the “civilized world”. There are 15,000 of them, and any effort to attack the “civilized world” would result in annihilation. Western Iraq is as much “civilized world” as the Northern Territory is the industrial center of Canada.

    Hysteria, my good man. You are indulging in hysteria.

    • Replies: @macmarine
  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There is a threat to foreign oil company interests, and the possibility of not finding new wars is a threat to the homeland military-industrial corporate profit scam. Threat inflation is just good corporate PR, like consumerist exaggerated advertising.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. Don Nash says: • Website

    Dang al-CIAda/Free Syrian Army Cannibals Brigade/Boko-a-Gogo/Taliban boogeymen are EVERYWHERE!
    Everyone be afraid be very afraid. Run in circles screaming shouting and remember, that Global War of Terror keeps the “Homeland” safe. Well that and GWOT turns fantastic profit for the warmongers.

  6. David says:

    Funny how even the united, US-equipped Kurds can’t fight a tiny motivated force, let alone the standing joke Iraqi army. That makes American efforts in Iraq look like a fraud, no? While I agree Islam is dumb, I may be biased. As a threat, I would analogize it to a pig’s pancreas. If you’re not a pig, don’t transplant it into your gut. If you do, you’ll need to eliminate your immune system to keep it safe.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  7. Patrick says:

    As everyone knows, the purpose of a terrorist act is to incite a government to overreact, as the U.S. did in response to 911 and Osama bin Laden, and adding in Iraq for good measure to ensure UBL knew how stupid we really are. Comparing IS to the Nazis is a surefire method to ensure a permanent overreaction rather than a measured, thought out defense based upon diplomacy in the region and an attempt to nullify some of the motivators which make IS attractive to some people. On this 100th Anniversary of the beginning of WW I, it is clear we learned nothing from the folly of deferring all decision making to those who see nothing but military “solutions” to every challenge, seemingly an article of faith now that perhaps should be considered to have become a religion in itself to those with a belief in the infallibility and invincibility of the U.S. military?

  8. @David

    “As a threat, I would analogize it to a pig’s pancreas. If you’re not a pig, don’t transplant it into your gut. If you do, you’ll need to eliminate your immune system to keep it safe.”

    Excellent metaphor. Islam is just not Western, and never will be. You either keep it out of the West, or you change the West.

    In all honesty though, the West will have to change if it is to remain the West. The classical liberalism on which the modern West was founded has a fundamental flaw: it is apparently incapable of 1) checking its expansion to a regime of positive rights; and 2) defending itself against the influx of illiberal peoples. One way or another, we are approaching liberalism’s denouement.

  9. Terrorist attacks by their nature have a disproportionally psychological effect as opposed to producing casualties. While ISIS may not yet be a legitimate threat to this country casualty wise, they absolutely are a legitimate threat ideologically.

    • Replies: @JustSomebody
  10. TomB says:

    Given that it was our *policies* of ME intervention that got us al Queda, and our policies in the form of our intervention/invasion of Iraq that now got us the apparently much worse ISIS, it strikes me that those currently pushing for our further intervention could just never validly make it as physicians in the U.S.

    After all, physicians are supposed to honor the idea of … first doing no harm, which seems a maxim that our inveterate interventionists have never even heard of much less honor.

    Oh well, it’s only the blood and treasure of the U.S citizenry…

  11. rod1963 says:

    It is not a threat to us if we simply secure our borders and stop importing Muslims. They shouldn’t be here to begin given they are not Western and import their political/cultural framework with them. We could also do a lot by expelling a lot of them that are here now. Send them back to their self-created hell holes.

    • Replies: @KA
  12. @Tom Not Terrific

    Islam is no worse than Christianity or Judaism, overall, and there are plenty of homegrown Christofascist extremists walking the streets of the U.S. All religions are authoritarian, and ALL have blood on their hands.

  13. Mr. Anon says:

    We should agressively prosecute Americans who have dealt with terrorist groups, starting with John McCain (Al Quaeda) and Peter King (the IRA).

  14. @Tired of It All

    What a stupid comment. You’re not even wrong, you’re so wrong.

    Leftist fantasies like multiculturalism, democratic rule and Orientalism are blowing up all over the world, and leftists are becoming unhinged.

    The Left is clearly in its ghost dance phase, dancing manically and screaming, “Christofascist extremists!”, beseeching their gods to bring back the old magic.

  15. ISIL part of US neocon, Israeli agenda to reshape Middle East:

    PS: Looks like the ‘working relationship’ that US tried to avoid with Iran (see following BBC link) has manifested according to what was mentioned on BBC World last night as a segment mentioned that Iranian trained Shia militias have been instrumental in taking Iraqi territory back from ISIS with the support of US air power of course!:

    Iraq crisis: US and Iran rapprochement unlikely

    • Replies: @KA
  16. VincentT says:

    Mr. Anon said:

    We should agressively prosecute Americans who have dealt with terrorist groups, starting with John McCain (Al Quaeda) and Peter King (the IRA).

    IRA, PKK, Tamil Tigers, et al. are radically different from Al Qaeda and IS in ideology, goals, and m.o. The former are bad but not a threat to the civilized world, overall.

    I do agree people who support jihadists should be prosecuted, but that would include large numbers of Congress, CIA, NSA,… Some people who immediately come to mind: McCain, Graham, Corker, Rogers, King, Ayotte.

  17. Oy vey… “Islam is no worse than Christianity or Judaism!” Really? REALLY?!

    We CAN’T say that ANYTHING is worse than ANYTHING. It’s PC gone mad.

    I guess that the Christian fundamentalists want to teach creationism in science classes and you could cite Tim McVeigh blowing up the Oklahoma Federal building (was that a Christian thing? Not sure.) and then there are the anti-gay dolts who show up at funerals … but …

    … there are 1000’s and 1000’s of unspeakable things to cite that “Islam” has done like …

    … the case of Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by Islamic fundamentalists for going to school. Are there people in “Christian countries” and Israel trying to stop girls going to school?

    Look up in the dictionary the definition of “worse.”

    Islam compared to Christianity or Judaism based on statistics alone — not only negative stats but positive stats as in inventions, patents, outright participation in science and medicine, art, philosophy etc. — comes out, by far, “worse!”

    • Replies: @Tired of It All
    , @KA
  18. @VincentT

    Neocon mouthpiece John McCain pushing Israeli Likudnik Oded Yinon’s neocon plan for Iraq, Libya, Syria and beyond in Middle East:

    The Unfolding of Yinon’s “Zionist Plan for the Middle East”: The Crisis in Iraq and the Centrality of the National Interest of Israel:

    Additional about ‘Neocon John’ McCain at following URLs:

    Israel Lobby Pushes for US Action Against the Syrian Government (to weaken Iran):

    Wait, McCain was wrong on Iraq? Yup.

    • Replies: @NoMoreWarsforIsrael
  19. @NoMoreWarsforIsrael

    AIPAC/neocon shill John McCain schooled by CIA’s Mike Scheuer on Israel, Iraq war and other US interventions as terrorism motivation:

    9/11 Motive & Media Betrayal:

    PS: Traitor John McCain betrayed USS Liberty crew for Israel too:

    McCain Confronted on USS Liberty Cover-up & Media Accomplices:

    John McCain Confronted About USS Liberty Cover-up in San Diego on Memorial Day 2012:

    USS Liberty Survivors Invoke Benghazi, Demand Hearings
    (traitor John McCain ignores):

    Traitor John McCain praised Dad’s USS Liberty Navy cover-up for Israel:

    Even Cindy McCain doesn’t care about Israel murdering USS Liberty sailors and marines:

  20. @VincentT

    See following youtube for how former CIA Bin Laden unit head Michael Scheuer schools AIPAC/neocon shill John McCain on Iraq war and other US interventions as terrorism motivation:

    9/11 Motive & Media Betrayal:

    CIA’s Scheuer conveyed truth to AIPAC/neocon mouthpiece Peter King as well:

    Our relationship to Israel causes dead Americans and enormous expense in fighting Muslims’— CIA’s Mike Scheuer to Congress:

    Even Petraeus (on behalf of CENTCOM) warned John McCain about Israel threat to US troops (scroll to link at following URL from the UK New Statesman):

    General Petraeus Leaked Emails about Israel:

    PS: Traitor John McCain betrayed USS Liberty crew for Israel too:

    McCain Confronted on USS Liberty Cover-up & Media Accomplices:

    John McCain Confronted About USS Liberty Cover-up in San Diego on Memorial Day 2012

    USS Liberty Survivors Invoke Benghazi, Demand Hearings
    (traitor John McCain ignores):

    Traitor John McCain praised admiral Dad’s USS Liberty Navy cover-up for Israel

    Even Cindy McCain doesn’t care about Israel murdering USS Liberty sailors and marines

  21. rod1963 says:
    @Tired of It All

    What a crock of PC/MC Marxist garbage.

    Maybe you ought to look at your secular socialist/Marxist buddies like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, or your friends in North Korea. All told they’ve killed well over a hundred million and left their countries wrecked.

    Christofascist, what a joke. You Marxists are becoming unhinged as your precious 3rd world trash you’ve been promoting as the noble savage and superior to us Westerners have turned out to be a gang of psychopaths and people are waking up to it and don’t like it one bit.

    • Replies: @Tired of It All
  22. Just saw following posted by Eric Margolis to his Facebook page:

    30 August 2014

    President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known.

    Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and think, something his shoot –from- the- lip Republican critics rarely do. They are demanding the US attack both Iraq and Syria without asking “what then oh brave Washington warriors?” These are the Republicans who ardently supported George Bush’s catastrophic invasion and destruction of Iraq.

    The problem is that too many cooks in Washington are spoiling its Mideast soup. In his magnificent new book, “The Sleepwalkers,” Prof. Christopher Clark of Cambridge describes how World War I was in part ignited by small numbers of anti-German officials in France, Russia, Serbia and Britain who often undermined their own government’s moderate policies.

    The same process occurred under President George W. Bush when cabals of neocon officials in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and media drove the US into a calamitous war whose negative effects are still being felt.

    Today, other pro-war cliques in official Washington are at it again, each trying to dominate policy. Add a bunch of pro-Israel billionaires who have bought both the Republican and Democratic parties, apparently including Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president.

    President Obama has always found it extremely difficult to impose his will on all these different factions, even more now that he’s a lame duck. He has repeatedly made clear that he wants to avoid any new wars, but while allowing drone attacks to increase.

    Both party politics and the need to shore up America’s shaky Mideast imperium – which I call the American Raj – are pushing Obama towards military action.

    So we see small numbers of US troops being sent back to Iraq – enough men to get the nation stuck in a new conflict but not enough to make a major difference. In short, the worst of both worlds.

    Now, Obama is being pressed to attack Syria, an idea so crazy it takes the breath away. Obama is largely responsible for the current disaster in Syria – nearly 200,000 dead and three million refugees. Once thriving Syria, the real heart of the Arab world, has been devastated. President Vlad Putin may not save Obama this time.

    The US sponsored and armed the uprising against the Assad regime, which had brutally ruled Syria for 43 years. France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations backed the campaign to overthrow Assad, as a way to damage Iran, Syria’s principal ally. The result: a bloody war of attrition that is slowly being won by Damascus.

    Worse, the western intervention in Syria produced what is known in the intelligence business as “blowback”- in this case the Mother of all blowback.

    The Syrian jihadist supported by the western powers and, for some baffling reason, Turkey, ran amok. A previously unknown band of gunmen known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were trained and armed in Jordan by CIA, then turned lose on Syria.

    ISIL became ISIS, then the by now notorious Islamic State(IS) which has been rampaging across northern and central Iraq. What makes IS so effective is that the major portion of its leaders and soldiers are veterans of President Saddam Hussein’s army, notably the Republican Guard. With IS is the last surviving Saddam insider, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.

    When the US first invaded Iraq, Saddam predicted it would face the “Mother of all battles.” Westerners laughed. Eleven years later, the laughter has been silenced. Iraq continues to fight on and it is no longer safe for foreign oil companies. Saddam’s revenge.

    The Islamic State is the perfect example of Nietzche’s over-used maxim, “what does not kill us makes us stronger.” It has risen from the ruins of Iraq and Syria to challenge the American Raj.

    “Light” bombing by the US in Iraq won’t stop the IS. Pentagon chiefs now say US air power and special forces must go into Syria. This is standard Obama procedure: inching forward and launching trial balloons to test public opinion. But it’s clear the American public does not want new wars no matter what the pro-war media and bought Congress may say.

    copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014

  23. Art M says:

    What a nice, philosophical, milquetoasty article. The word “Scam” is used in the headline, but I could find no evidence of the word scam, or swindle, or con or fraud anywhere in the article. Why is that? The only “scam” I could find was the article itself. One could suppose that the author wants to bring out the point by having the reader infer a scam in progress. But isn’t that the “art” of the con, to never say anything directly, but to lead the mark to inferring himself to the slaughter?

    The tip off was the author assuming (obediently assuming, but assuming none the less) that ISIS is as advertised. And yes, I use the word “advertised” in all senses and degrees. What is also telling is how ISIS reacts only to the American Press. No, not to the world press, not to the western press, but only to the American press. ISIS sweeps out of Syria with an army (pun intended) of brand new Toyota pickup trucks. All of them white. Not a mixture of white and blue and green and red, but all white. Where did they get all those trucks? In Syria? Did they steal them? Are there that many brand new pickup trucks IN Syria? In the middle of a civil war? Wow, Honest Achmed’s New and Used Toyota Emporium must have been doing great business to have an inventory like that. Some people wondered if ISIS purchased them, but then others asked where ISIS got the dough? Then, right on cue, a week later, the story hits about ISIS grabbing 422 million dollars worth of gold from a Mosul bank. You mean after 10 years of unfettered CIA pilfering there was more than \$4.22 worth of gold left in all of Iraq? Hmmmm. Well, now we know where the money came from, except the trucks were there first.

    As ISIS swarmed into Iraq it was curious to note how assiduously they avoided the Kurdish region of Iraq. Some folks wondered if that was because American companies already owned all the oil leases in the Kurdish area? Then bingo, right on cue, ISIS starts up with the Kurds.

    And now the neckotomies. We Americans sit movie theaters marveling over Spiderman swinging thru the streets of NYC, deftly dodging trucks and taxis alike as he dangles from a web, and we are mesmerized and entertained, but we know it isn’t real. Just a trick of the camera and special effects. Yet ISIS shows a pic of a head on a body and we scream in indignation. It must be real, we cry, after all, we read it in the newspaper. The same newspaper that reported the heinous attack by North Vietnam on the USS Maddox.

    But, because the first one went over like a lead balloon, right on cue, ISIS performs a second neckotomy. Gosh, what do the networks do when some drunk/stoned fan jumps out of the stands and starts running down the field? They show everything BUT the idiot in progress. Why? They explain that “they don’t want to encourage such activity.” But, ISIS needs some column inches so zip, off with the heads, and the American press dutifully shows it down to the goriest detail. Why, it’s almost as if they were doing ISIS’ bidding. Hmmmm.

    But whatever the source of ISIS, they are definitely spreading confusion, disorder and chaos throughout the middle east, and the only folks on this planet who benefit from constant turmoil in that area are the Israelis. Hmmmmm.

    • Replies: @dsmith
  24. I can imagine the jew-hating fools on this comment thread still insisting “this is an Israeli plot” as the muslim executioner’s blade came down on your necks.

    You think you’re so clever, so insightful.

    What sickens me most is that your hatred of jews exceeds your concern about the western civilization that most of you probably claim to cherish.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  25. @Tom Not Terrific

    I love it when right-wingers show their true natures. You peddle BS, you gotta expect to be called on it. And how about the slaughter of millions by the Christian U.S. in Vietnam, in Central and South America, in the Middle East? Guess atrocities like that are OK with you, and not to be counted. Enjoy yourself listening to Faux Nooze.

    • Replies: @Tom Not Terrific
  26. @rod1963

    Huh? Hitler a socialist? Just because they were called national socialist don’t make it so. How many hundreds of millions have you Christofascists slaughtered over the centuries, including the present one? You may go back to your Fauz Nooze, now, little one.

  27. @Tired of It All

    Oy vey again.

    Since I’m an atheist, single-payer medicine loving believer in global warming English major, calling me “right-winger” might be off the mark.

    Anyhoo … the fact that the young men fighting in Vietnam (a war that on several occasions I PERSONALLY protested against while at university) were Christian does NOT make the war in Vietnam a Christian endeavor. Ditto for Central and South America.

    It’s as dumb as rod1963’s making “secularism” an evil force in the world.

    Let’s see … the American Civil war was a war of … Christendom against Christendom. Does that make sense? Well, it MUST make sense if the Vietnam war was a “Christian war.”

  28. @VincentT

    The fear is strong in this one.

  29. geokat62 says:

    “[T]he survival of the state of Israel is a paramount goal of US ME policy.”

    An excerpt from a classified report, entitled: History of the US – Israel Sigint Relationship, Post-1992, disclosed by Edward Snowden.

    Read that sentence again carefully… it’s not one of several competing goals, it is a “paramount” goal of US policy!

    Need I say more?

  30. geokat62 says:

    So since Obama’s red line proved ineffective last year, the neocons have come up with Plan B: exaggerate the threat from ISIS.

    And rather than go after them in Syria first, you go after them in Iraq, then Syria. End result is the same:

    Regarding Syria, Israeli strategy was best articulated by a former Israeli official:
    New York Times correspondent Jodi Rudoren reports:

    “More quietly, Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.”

    Whereas Alon Pinkas, Israel’s former consul general in New York, told Rudoren:

    “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”

  31. George says:
    @Tired of It All

    Secularists are the most deadly of all religious groups.

  32. Cato says:
    @Tom Not Terrific

    It’s not productive to demonize anything, including Islam. Islam is probably even more diverse than Christianity–I know a few libertarian Muslims, also some fundamentalists. One has to judge each Muslim individually, just as one must judge each black or Jew or Anglo individually.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  33. @Ozymandias

    Don’t make your psychological problems mine then.

  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “What sickens me most is that your hatred of jews exceeds your concern about the western civilization that most of you probably claim to cherish”

    Isis is no threat to Western civilization, its simply hysterics to push for more war. Check your history books, Western civilization managed to survive Islam for centuries. What is killing Western civilization is not Islam, Muslims did not start the push for mass 3rd world immigration, Muslims did not dominate Hollywood that has culturally destroyed most of Western morals, Muslims were not the inventors of multiculturalism and diversity, in all of these you will in fact find a very prominent Jewish footprint.

    Despite all the propaganda of Israel being some kind of bastion for the West, one thing that cannot be disputed is the fact that since Israel started the West become less Western. Like Israel all you want if you must, but don’t for a second have the audacity to claim it helps the West, and that doing Israels dirty work in the Middle East helps the West either.

    • Replies: @KA
  35. @VincentT

    ISIS does not exist. It is a creation of the CIA and Pentagon to justify war and bigger budgets. They’ve been looking for a new MidEast war since they are leaving Afghanistan after a decade of profiteering and military failure. There is a loose alliance by several groups of Sunni Arabs in Iraq and Syria that are doing traditional horde things, like rape, pillage, plunder and murder. This is not a threat to the USA except to taxpayer wallets.

  36. @Cato

    No, one “must” not because otherwise we’d never make a decision. We’d spend all our lives poring over each line item in a spreadsheet and canvassing thousands of individuals. This is why we evolved pattern recognition. People who don’t have it get eliminated from the gene pool.

    Insurers generalize where they are legally allowed, because otherwise they’d go broke gauging each and every risk individually. And where they aren’t legally allowed, they just create a subsidiary and generalize about how much they can skim off the premiums of low-risk groups to support the high-risk underwriting.

    It’s quite easy to conclude that Islam in the West is more trouble than any hypothetical reward is worth, just like whites just generally avoid black neighborhoods all together rather than fret over the single enriching snowflake they might be overlooking.

    • Replies: @Cato
  37. Apropos of nothing in particular, I find the Obama comment on the beheading of a second American journalist by ISIS particularly irritating. Per “President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States will not be intimidated by Islamic State militants after the beheading of a second American journalist…” He will not be intimidated? What is that supposed to mean? He is in no danger, is he, and I suppose the poor bastards who lost their heads are little more than collateral damage? It is a symptom of a foreign policy that is totally divorced from any reality in that the President of the United States is even incapable of verbalizing an issue in a way that makes sense…

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    , @KA
  38. @Philip Giraldi

    “Incoherence” seems apt, at all levls.

    I don’t think these people are actually evil. My hypothesis is they are just so removed, they’re paid gobs of money, and so they think they have to be doing something. But again, they are so detached and isolated in an academic-government-MNC bubble they can’t comprehend and can’t make rational decisions. It’s a real problem. They’re going to start WW3 one day.

    And what are these stupid, naive Americans doing wandering around these places any way? Dying on their knees, throats slit like butchered animals.

  39. VincentT says:

    Philip Giraldi said [in response to Obama’s comments about the Satloff beheading]:

    … It is a symptom of a foreign policy that is totally divorced from any reality in that the President of the United States is even incapable of verbalizing an issue in a way that makes sense…

    In article Giraldi said:

    “This is all nonsense. The ISIS “threat” against the United States is a chimera…”

    So, Obama needs a foreign policy that addresses chimeras?

    I am with the neo-cons desire to target IS, annihilate IS. Though my suspicion is that they see it as a way to ultimately go after Assad. If, without Syrian approval, they initiate military strikes against IS, and Syria targets them with AA, then they can go after Syrian government assets under the pretext that are at war with IS. Neo-cons are the Platonic Form of perfidious.

  40. KA says: “Some articles and even the (current) Wikipedia entry for James Foley (journalist) claim that he was a prisoner of the Syrian military and that they turned him over to ISIS. This is in perfect keeping with the pervasive demonization of the Assad government. However it’s false. A serious investigation into the disappearance of Foley is in the May 2014 Vanity Fair. Foley was captured by Nusra Front (or allied rebels) in November 2012 and later transferred or sold to ISIS.”

    But the scam has an end game in mind “Both NY Times’ Anne Barnard and John McCain suggest or assert that the Syrian government has collaborated with ISIS. The “evidence” of this is that the Syrian Army did not actively attack ISIS in eastern Syria during the past year.”

    Strectching the same argument a little Syria might as well accuse west of same irresponsibllity. .
    Syria might ignore all other evidences and focus on the refusal of the west to help him crush and obliterate ISIS as evidence of collusion between Isis and West as well

  41. KA says:
    @Tom Not Terrific

    “But the conscious killing of civilians by the US military cannot always be easily dismissed with such Orwellian doublespeak as “collateral damage,” there have been many cases in Iraq and Afghanistan where there was no question regarding the intention of US troops to murder civilians. In his book, Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death, Jim Frederick describes the 2006 extrajudicial execution of an Iraqi family of four—a father, mother and two daughters. According to Army Specialist Paul Cortez, his unit was on patrol south of Baghdad when Army Specialist James Barker suggested that they find an Iraqi woman to rape. “We’ve all killed Hadjis, but I’ve been here twice and I still never fucked one of these bitches,” Barker stated.
    Having chosen their target, the soldiers entered the house and locked three members of the Janabis family in the bedroom with Private First Class Steven Green standing guard over them. Meanwhile, Cortez took the 14-year-old daughter Abeer into the living room and began raping her. According to Frederick’s account:
    In the bedroom, Green was losing control of his prisoners. The woman made a run for the door. Green shot her once in the back and she fell to the floor. The man became unhinged. Green turned his own AK on him and pulled the trigger. It jammed. Panicking, as the man advanced on him, Green switched to his shotgun. The first shot blasted the top of the man’s head off. Then Green turned to the little girl, who was running for a corner. This time the AK worked. He raised the rifle and shot Hadeel in the back of the head. She fell to the ground. …
    As Green was executing the family, Cortez finished raping Abeer and switched positions with Barker. Green came out of the bedroom and announced to Barker and Cortez, “They’re all dead. I killed them all.” Cortez held Abeer down and Green raped her. Then Cortez pushed a pillow over her face, still pinning her arms with his knees. Green grabbed the AK, pointed the gun at the pillow, and fired one shot, killing Abeer.”-

    Malala is one face of one kind of fundamentalism . Baker and Green of a different kind . But we don’t need either.
    Face of Zionsm or Jews fundamentalism are myriad,varied,but consistent same time whether coming from military or civilian ,secular or religious ,or diasporic or Israel proper.

  42. KA says:

    Israel has tried repeatedly from 2000 to create terrorism in India and blame it on Muslim. It has also tried to egg on Muslim youth to engage . It has been caught red handed .

    Both Times of India and Indian Express have exposed and have reported Israeli activities in various cities .The periodicals- ” Weekly” has reported the discovery of false identity,forged passport by Indian gov and pressure from Israeli government not to pursue the leads or try the defendants .

  43. KA says:
    @Philip Giraldi

    Given the media’s attention on the responsibility for the Benghazi massacre and the lack of similar focus on 911 , one can assume that as Obama is being (for not agreeing with various neocons demands in regard to Syria , Iran) , Bush also would have been crucified and humiliated by the Fox and WSJ if Bush did not agree to the neocons plans of overthrowing Iraq and if he did not agree to pursue similar demands on the wider Middle East . The neocons would have repeatedly demanded to know ( selectively though ) about 911 ‘s intelligence failures if Bush did not oblige them.

  44. KA says:

    But we are coming to them – the Moslem,the pagan,the Buddhist , the Hindus,

    “Looking back, it’s hard not to think of all of this as a kind of American jihadism, as well as an attempt to establish what might have been considered an American caliphate in the region (though Washington had far kinder descriptive terms for it). In the process, the U.S. effectively dismantled and destroyed state power in each of the three main countries in which it intervened, while ensuring the destabilization of neighboring countries and finally the region itself.”

    US might not have been first western to try in ME but similar western caliphate has been operating for 200 yrs across Africa,Asia,and for 500 yrs in Latin Ametica until late 20 th century..

    What will it mean in terms of open or closed borders ? Who is coming and who is going ? Above all who is benefitting ? I don’t see any common folks in US orUK benefitting from this war or last 6 or 7 wars that US fought , neither did the citizen of the countries hit with the war . But certain country benefits always from war . That is Israel. This is why McGovern was ditched by the neocon. This is why Sr Kristol saw the peace as a threat to Israel. This is why Wolfoitz demanded the scalps of 5 Middle Eastern countries in 1991 . This is the current placeholders want US to attack Iran and Syria.

  45. macmarine says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    … couldn’t agree more! My usually very reliable source inside the US Army (my son) tells me, that mainstream reports about ISIS (or whatever their ‘nom de jour’ may be today) are wildly exaggerated and don’t reflect facts on the ground! After 3 extended tours in Iraq as a CO (Army Ranger) he and his buddies still have contacts inside Iraq that tell them a different story than what is presented as news over here.

    In his view ISIS still is regarded as a useful bogeyman by TPTB, sorta Al Qaida 2.0 … but when those numbnuts have finally outlived their usefulness they could be mopped up within a couple of days

    To me the whole bloody mess reeks of a CIA franchise, their latest foray into advanced terror management, so to speak. I just watched a hilarious TV piece about how dangerous ISIS is to european countries because they recruit jihadists from seemingly well adjusted muslims (an oxymoron), who will one day return and commit atrocities back home (me thinks, the more they send off to be slaughtered by the peshmerga or Assad’s army, the better for the rest of society, but that’s just me).

    They get these volunteer idiots via corrupt imams, the web, and now — lo and behold — with a professionally designed and printed glossy magazine for the aspiring jihadist which has already three editions out, no kidding! They feature interviews with seasoned fighters, long photo sections, as well as home-stories about the good life as a jihadi in Iraq and Syria, or the khalifat as they call it).

    I think the Langley boys may have overdone this just a little bit. What’s next? Will ISIS have its own cable channel?

  46. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Re: If it means that Washington has to hold its nose while dealing with Damascus and Tehran, then so be it.

    If anyone needs to “hold its nose” it’s anyone dealing with the US. Is any government more hypocritical and treacherous, more violent and perfidious, more arrogant and ruthlessly ambitious? In short, more fundamentally morally corrupt and mendacious?

  47. Cato says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    I understand all that. Stereotyping is a valuable mechanism to avoid information overload. Like Jesse Jackson, I don’t panic if the footsteps behind me on a dark, lonely street belong to a white. ( )

    Still, every person that steps in front of me as a person deserves to be treated like a person. That means, any of my students, or customers, or colleagues, or vendors, needs that extra cognitive effort to grasp exactly who they are. It would probably have been a much better country were we all one people( ), but we are not. The toothpaste is out of the tube; we have to live with it. And the way to live with it is to treat as many people as we can as individuals.

  48. The Wasps in the State Department were right in 1948. They knew that siding with Israel would only cause generations of war in the region and bloodshed. Now the Abrahamic lunatics of ISIS have appeared, the latest in hyper sectarian states from Israel, to Saudi Arabia to Iran — but worse and pathetically desperate. All the Abrahmic old testament religions need to be called out on their excessively tribal methodologies once and for all. As John Quincy Adams said in his treaty with Tripoli Pirates in 1791, the United States is not a Christian, A Jewish or a Muslim nation. Its about time we start acting that way.

  49. KA says:

    On the Morning of May 20, 1990, Israeli Ami Popper, who would quickly be described as a “madman” by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, murdered seven Gaza workers and wounded 11 others in the “slave market” of Rishon Lezion, an Israeli town on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. As word of the massacre spread, protests broke out in refugee camps and villages throughout Gaza and the West Bank. In the hours that followed, Israeli soldiers shot and killed six more Palestinians and wounded several hundred with a combination of live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets. In the succeeding, days the numbers of dead and wounded would increase dramatically.

    Four hours after the shooting, at the scene of the initial crime, with “the thick pool [of blood] dried already by the heat of the morning,” Israeli journalist Yigal Serna visited the scene and spoke with one of the surviving workers.

    “We stand here already for 13 years,” said Najah, a young Palestinian from Khan Yunis. “My father stood here waiting for work and brought us, the children, to wait with him, and now I wait here, too. We built a big part of this city, but today, after they killed our friends and let them lie in the garbage, in the sun, until their last breath, until the ambulance came at last, even after that the policemen beat us up. So what do you think we should do?” (Yediot Ahronot, 5/21/90).

    What he was describing was the reaction of passing Israeli motorists to the wounded laying by the side of the road which ranged from celebration–giving the “V” sign–to indifference. Later, Serna reported, “a small red car stopped. A jolly young man, with the identification of a worker from the [Israeli] Paz company, got out and when he found the blood pool covering the earth, he began to dance on it. ‘Why only seven?’ he laughed, ‘this is the slogan today, why only seven?’ After saying this, he went away.”

    Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriya, the winner of the Israeli Education Prize and described in the Israeli press as the most senior of the national-religious educators, read to a rally of 100 rabbis from a document he had written which “was received as a religious ruling by tens of thousands of his followers.” (Dan Margalit, Ha’aretz, 5/13/90).

    “This is not the time to think,” Neriya wrote, “but rather the time to shoot right and left, as long as one disperses the murderers who rise against you; the imprisonment of Rabbi Levinger is a sign of alarm for all of us to gather and protect our souls…”

    When will the Israeli actions will serve as the noble pretext for a just war ?

  50. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Tired of It All

    I respectfully disagree. Christianity teaches love and tolerance! At least that Jesus preached. Evangelical Zionists are not Christians. The Talmud, and the Koran are identically anti women, and xenophobic.

    • Replies: @guest
    , @KA
  51. guest says:

    Koran like the “talmud”? You must be kidding.

    You clearly don’t know the Koran, I can bring up dozens of texts from the Bible similar to what you mentioned. One can’t understand when take things out of context.

    Clearly, you are ignorant moron. Sir.

  52. KA says:

    Sotloff Family Spokesman: Syria’s ‘So-Called Moderate Rebels’ Sold Sotloff To ISIS

    Read more:

    A spokesman for the family of murdered journalist Steven Sotloff claimed Monday night that Sotloff was sold to the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by Syria’s “so-called moderate rebels.”

    Sotloff family spokesman Barak Barfi, a foreign policy research fellow at the New American Foundation, made the startling claim in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

    “We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for something between \$25,000 and \$50,000 to ISIS and that was the reason he was captured,” Barfi said. (RELATED: Expert Who Traveled With Syrian Rebels Says So-Called ‘Moderates’ Are Muslim Brotherhood-Style Islamists)

    Read more:

  53. KA says:

    Talmud could corrupt the conscience easily. Peace is to be marinated with formaldehyde to preserve the corpses of the enemies according to the diktat of Talumiicd sages

    “That agreement was reached shortly after Israel withdrew its settlers and military forces from Gaza. The motive for the disengagement was explained by Dov Weissglass, a confidant of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was in charge of negotiating and implementing it. “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Weissglass informed the Israeli press. “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders, and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a [U.S.] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.” True enough.

    “The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,” Weissglass added. “It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”

  54. Tom says: • Website
    @Tom Not Terrific

    American destructive imperialism and it’s hegemonic goals created destructive ISIS

  55. @Tired of It All

    Oh, right. And atheist regimes never killed anyone! Religion is the salvation of the world. Nihilism leads directly to death.

  56. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Read the Vietnam playbook of templates for the Military Industrial Complex, Smedley Butler (The Ultimate Marine) and Dwight Eisenhower’s assessment to fulfill the corporate free ride to profits at the expense of the US Middle Class.
    1. We have to fight them there because they will come for US but with the other side of their mouth “They are already at the border sneaking in”
    2. We have to arm them and train them (more weapons for them) but those are the same weapons that will be used against US when we are greeted at their own borders.
    3. They are terrible so we must put our resources on the ground (as of 2 weeks ago) but when Gen Shinseki made a similar statement about conventional forces to quell any disturbance, he was laughed out of the Army and sent to pasture.
    Which is it, folks, THe BS will get US in a place we do not intend to be and we will be up a creek scratching our behinds!

  57. KA says:

    IS did not try to obliterate the borders between Jordan or S Arabia or Kuwait and another Arab state Neither it tried to attack Israel despite the presence of an active slaughter Palestininan program in Tel Aviv and neither it ever tried to sneak into WBank and disrupt the Palestine Authority’s corrupted political activities shows that at some level there is tacit understanding what this outfit is allowed to do and how to do by the surrounding countries who has money means and international clouts in creating mayhem disinformation,and raising mercenaries .
    It is sad that Islam has allowed itself to be so polluted But so has every human ideologies both secular and religious .

    IS is unique in the sense that in Arab ,no other belief could be used to advance the agenda of imperialism For no other ideas ever took root . Islam is the only force that binds the place . It is still a collection of deeply fragmented tribal adversarial and antagonistic societies that has no self esteem or confidence but had a lot of hatred dire Ted against each other . The royals know this . So does the foreign powers that keep them afloat .
    It is interesting that no coup ever took place in any royal houses while Iraq,Syria,Lebanon,Iran,and even Pakistan and Indonesia went through cycles of violent regime changes repeatedly for decades .
    IS was creation of the west in collusion with the local vassals .

  58. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Nonsense. Absolute Nonsense. Turn off CNN its doing you no good.

  59. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The Internet is a platform for propaganda.People believe what they see and read.We all know that the Banking System is manipulated, commodity prices like oil are deliberately being driven down.The Social Media is full of wako’s and you are better off not even reading or listening to it.

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