World War IV

[T]he Arabs understand only the language of force....
The State of Israel must, from time to time,
prove clearly that it is strong, and able and willing to use force,
in a devastating and highly effective way.

Israeli Hawks (according to Moshe Sharett)
Israel, 1957

The events that affected my soul started in 1982
when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon
and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that....
Houses destroyed along with their occupants and
high rises demolished over their residents,
rockets raining down on our home without mercy....
[A]s I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon,
it entered my mind that
we should punish the oppressor in kind
and that
we should destroy towers in America
in order that
they taste some of what we tasted.

Osama bin Laden

Every ten years or so,
the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country
and throw it against the wall,
just to show the world we mean business.

Michael Ledeen/Jonah Goldberg
USA, 1992?/2002

???? < ... complete the sequence ... >

The following is divided into sections:

Origins of the war

In 1957 Moshe Sharett,
former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel,
gave a speech in which he described
the approaches to Israeli war policy
within the Israeli political system.
Here, between the horizontal rules,
is the background to, and an excerpt from, the speech,
from paragraphs 6.2.31–33 (on pages 279–80)
of Benny Morris’s Righteous Victims
(all emphasis is added).

A deep political rift [in Israel circa 1955]
had gradually opened between
the activists [“the hawks”] led by [David] Ben-Gurion,
backed by the army and the intelligence services, and
the moderates [“the doves”], led by [Moshe] Sharett,
who was supported only in the Foreign Ministry.
The hard-liners enjoyed the support of the bulk of the public,
though occasionally Sharett mustered a cabinet majority
to thwart this or that plan or action.

In 1957 [in a speech] Sharett defined the two approaches:
The activists [among Israel’s leaders] believe that
the Arabs understand only the language of force....
[Quoted on Internet....]

The State of Israel must, from time to time,
prove clearly that it is strong,
and able and willing to use force,
in a devastating and highly effective way.

This policy seems to have been implemented by the
1956 (Egypt),
1967 (Egypt, Jordan, Syria),
1982 (Lebanon), and
2006 (Lebanon)
Israeli-initiated wars.]

If it does not prove this, it will be swallowed up,
and perhaps wiped off the face of the earth.

As to peace—this approach states—
it is in any case doubtful; in any case, very remote.
If peace comes, it will come only
if [the Arabs] are convinced that this country cannot be beaten....
If [retaliatory] operations ... rekindle the fires of hatred,
that is no cause for fear for
the fires will be fuelled in any event....
[That fundamental pessimism
is what drives the split between the hawks and the doves.]

The other approach [is that] not even for one moment
must the matter of peace vanish from our calculations.
This is not only a political calculation;
in the long run this is a decisive security consideration [as well] ...
We must restrain our response [to Arab attacks].
And there is always the question:
is it really proven that retaliatory actions solve the security problem?

The “activist” position, according to Sharett,
lacked empathy with or understanding of the Arab side, and
was wholly Judeo- or Israel-centric.

What the Israeli “activists” of Sharett were describing
is obviously the origin of the “Ledeen doctrine”
as popularized by Jonah Goldberg in a 2002 article
that, what else, advocated the invasion of Iraq.
Here, again between horizontal rules,
is the relevant part of Goldberg’s article:

So how does all this ... justify tearing down the Baghdad regime?
Well, I’ve long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to,
what I call the “Ledeen Doctrine.”
I’m not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me
for ascribing authorship to him
and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it,
but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine
in more or less his own words:
The Ledeen Doctrine
“Every ten years or so,
the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country
and throw it against the wall,
just to show the world we mean business.”


[The vulgar word choice is probably a conscious echo of this.]

That’s at least how I remember Michael phrasing it
at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago
(Ledeen is one of the most entertaining public speakers I've ever heard,
by the way).

[Yeah, that’s really, really, entertaining.
I’ll bet the families of the 3500 servicemen and women killed in Iraq,
and the roughly 30,000 other American casualties,
not to mention all the Iraqi casualties,
find your and Ledeen’s doctrine really, really, amusing.]

Here is a side by side comparison:

Israeli Hawks
(according to Moshe Sharett)
Israel, 1957
USA, 1992?/2002
The State of Israel must,
from time to time,
prove clearly that it is strong,
and able and willing to use force,
in a devastating
and highly effective way.
Every ten years or so,
the United States needs to pick up
some small crappy little country
and throw it against the wall,
just to show the world
we mean business.

Who is to blame for this war?

I recently had a chat with several people
on the subject of the de facto state of war
between the United States and Israel
and a significant part of the Muslim world
(now going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon).
The point was made that
the thousands of tons of bombs dropped on those countries, and
the tens of thousands of people killed thereby,
would likely be answered in kind, sooner or later.
Those (highly lethal) chickens will come home to roost.

The comparison was then made to the Cold War
(which some call World War III).
even though the majority of Americans
were in favor of waging the conflict as it was waged,
there was a sizable peace movement,
centered in (part of) the Democratic Party,
which argued, if not for unilateral disarmament,
at least for “meeting ‘the enemy’ halfway.”
But compare that to today.
Where is anyone arguing for meeting the vast majority of the Muslim world,
which is most certainly vastly unhappy with the Zionist alliance,
Where are those who would argue
for healing America’s broken relations with the Muslim world?
If any major politician or media figure or entity is so arguing,
I haven’t heard him.
(By the way, one expert on the Muslim world,
who is also an unquestionably patriotic American,
who is so arguing is Michael Scheuer,
but I don’t see many major figures agreeing with him.)

I asked why they thought that was.
The (off-the-cuff) response was that “America always needs an enemy.”
In the Cold War, of course, it was the Communists.
Now it’s the Muslims.
(This line of reasoning is, I believe, common among leftists.)

Well, I don’t go along with that reasoning.
There are, in fact, many people who were fiercely anti-Communist,
but do not support America’s current hostilities towards the Muslim world.
For example:
  • former President George H. W. Bush,
  • his national security advisor Brent Scowcroft, and
  • his secretary of state James A. Baker
all surely were dedicated anti-Communists.
After all, the Soviet Union fell under their administration,
while Bush had been V.P. under the fiercely anti-Communist Reagan.
Yet Bush-41, Scowcroft, and Baker all are well-known
in their opposition to America’s current policies.
They don’t seem to “need an external enemy.”
And all three of them are surely
as rock-ribbed members of the old WASP conservative establishment
as they come.
And I believe that such examples can be found throughout the country
(in the media, for example, see The American Conservative).

So please, Democrats,
don’t blame America’s war-mongering against the Muslim world
on conservatives in general.
To understand what the real cause of the problem is, ask yourself:
  • Why did
    the U.S. Congress vote by a ratio of 50:1
    to support Israel’s actions against Lebanon
  • Why did your chairman Dean accuse
    one of the very few prominent Iraqis brave enough to lead a government
    which would inevitably be regarded as an American puppet one
    of being an anti-Semite?
  • In fact,
    why is anyone who disagrees with
    America’s blind, unquestioning support
    for whatever awful policies the Israeli government can come up with
    likely to be called an anti-Semite?

I submit that it is the (common) answer to those questions
that’s the real source of the problem,
preventing mending relations with the Muslim world.

Are big business and big oil behind the war?

Oil Will Keep the U.S. in Iraq
by Kevin Martin
Washington Post, Letter to the Editor, 2007-06-17

The June 10 front-page article “Military Envisions Longer Stay in Iraq”
provided much useful information
regarding a planned long-term U.S. military occupation in Iraq,
but it failed to give a reason why
40,000 or more U.S. troops might be there for decades.

The answer is surely oil interests.
Last month Congress passed a bill continuing funding for the Iraq war
with a “benchmark” provision threatening suspension of reconstruction funds
if Iraq’s government fails to enact a law
opening up its oil industry to privatization,
something no other oil-rich Middle Eastern country has done.
Predictably, this idea is vigorously opposed
by many in the Iraqi parliament and the oil workers union.

[That’s his evidence?
That the U.S. wants Iraq to “open up its oil industry to privatization”?
What a selective vision.
Yes, the Bush administration is advancing
a theory of democracy and free enterprise for all the world’s problems.
Does this come as a surprise to Mr. Martin?
This push for privatization is not exclusive to the oil industry,
but is across the board for Iraq’s industries.
Too bad Martin didn’t mention that.
In any case,
his evidence most certainly does not prove what he claims it does.
But then, how rarely is it that leftists are capable of admitting reality.]

No one should be shocked to learn that
U.S. elites plan a long military presence in Iraq
on behalf of oil interests;
even less surprising will be
the American and Iraqi peoples’ resounding rejection of such a project.
People in Iraq and the region already think
the United States is there because of oil.
Is there any logical reason to think this will change, and that
four years of fierce resistance to our occupation will magically dissolve,
especially as our long-term plans become clear?

Executive Director
Peace Action Education Fund


Some people (see the above) are blaming the war on “oil interests” or “Big Oil.”
That seems to be so much baloney.
The oil interests lack both the motivation and the ability to cause the war,
while the Israel lobby has and had both motivation and ability to get us into it.
Concerning the motivation of the oil interests,
note the story by Shai Oster revealing that
the Iraqi government is going to China
to try to persuade China to invest in the Iraqi oil fields.
So, according to the crazy theory of Kevin Martin (and many others on the left),
the U.S. oil interests wanted for us to conquer Iraq
so that China could gain access to Iraqi oil?
I know Democrats are generally loony, but I didn’t know they were that loony.
Concerning the ability of the oil interests to get their way in Washington,
consider that after decades of trying,
the oil interests still have not been able to get Washington
to permit drilling on the North Slope in Alaska,
not to mention off the coast of many parts of the continental U.S.,
such as that favorite of the Hollywood crowd, Malibu.
In other words, if we are to believe the theory that “Big Oil” caused the war,
the U.S. government and the U.S. elites (referenced by Martin)
care more about where a herd of moose in Alaska do their grazing
then the damage that has been done to Iraq and its people:
millions made refugees, hundreds of thousands killed,
not to mention the cost to the U.S.:
half a trillion dollars and going up,
3500 dead and going up,
30000 physical casualties and going up,
hundreds of thousands of soldiers with psychological damage.
All that for some potential oil?
The left believes the elite thinks that is a worthwhile cost-benefit ratio?
The left wing can believe that, but I don’t think any sane person does.

Iraqi President to Lobby China to Renew Investment in Oil Industry
by Shai Oster (Wall Street Journal)
Washington Post, 2007-06-20

[I found this article in the print edition of the 2007-06-20 Washington Post, page D8,
with the attribution as above (the WP has an agreement with the WSJ).
The WP article is a little different from an on-line version.
Here is an excerpt from the WP version (emphasis is added).]

BEIJING, June 19 —
Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani,
is set to begin a week-long trip to China on Wednesday
that underscores both
his country’s urgent need for help
to fix its ailing oil production system

China’s rising stature in the global oil sector.

who is coming to Beijing with a delegation that includes his oil minister,
is expected to lobby China to invest in Iraq’s oil fields.


“Iraq’s internal situation is still very tense,
and all parties differ widely on how to allocate the country’s natural resources,”
said Zhang Xiaodong,
a researcher with the Institute of West Asian and African Studies
at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“Under this situation, how would any company dare enter Iraq?”

Some analysts, however,
think China has a higher appetite for risk than most Western oil companies
because its state-controlled companies place national energy security
before employee safety.


I see that many on the left
are still trying to blame the Iraq war on big business and/or big oil.
Well, if you believe that, here’s a question for you.
Was the administration of the first President Bush
any less business-friendly or favorable to oil interests
than that of the second?
(Remember that Bush-41’s secretary of state and all-around political handyman was James A. Baker III, a lawyer from Texas’s oil capital, Houston.)

In other words,
if the supposedly all-powerful business elites are so covetous of Iraq’s oil,
then why didn’t Bush-41 invade Iraq, depose Saddam, and take over Iraq’s oil
when he had the chance in 1991?
Certainly there was no military reason not to do so:
Iraq’s army was surrendering in droves after Operation Desert Storm.
Nor was there an American political reason not to do so:
there was no American opposition to invading Iraq at that time.
So, if business thinks Iraq oil is such a great prize,
why didn’t Bush-41 grab it when he had the chance?

The only answer is: American business doesn’t care that much about Iraq oil.

Problems for the Iraqi Oil Industry
by Walter Pincus
Washington Post, 2007-07-02

[This article details precisely what its title says.
Due to violence, sabotage, corruption, and policy disagreements,
all of which must have been anticipated by the leaders of America's oil industry,
little, if any, profits are accruing to American capitalists.
American capitalists may be greedy, but in general they are not dumb.
Yet more evidence that the slogan “War for Oil” is just a fantasy of the left
to deflect attention from those who really stood to profit from the invasion:
the Israelis.]

Greenspan's Oil Claim in Context
by Dilip Hiro and Tom Engelhardt
Antiwar.com, 2007-09-26

Comparisons to the Vietnam War

The worldwide conflict that America has been embroiled in since at least 1979
has gone under several names,
from George W. Bush’s “War on Terrorism”
to “World War III”
to “World War IV”, which allows the Cold War to be dubbed “World War III”.
During the Obama administration,
some both in the administration and in the media
seem to be using the term “War on Radical Islam,” or something equivalent.

It is worth comparing this U.S./Islam conflict,
whatever you choose to call it,
with the conflict of the U.S. in Vietnam with the North Vietnamese Army
and their guerrilla branch, the Vietcong.

Here are several excerpts from the 2006 book
Empire of Debt by Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin
(note there is an updated, 2009, edition which I have not seen)
which discuss aspects of that Vietnam War which seem relevant to
the U.S./Islam conflict.
The emphasis in these excerpts is added.

Chapter 7
MacNamara’s War


Section 7.1
MacNamara’s War


[page 162]
“Some others are eager to enlarge the conflict,”
said President [Lyndon B.] Johnson [36] in 1964.
“They call upon us to supply American boys
to do the job that Asian boys should do....
Such action would offer no solution at all to the real problem of Vietnam….
The South Vietnamese have the basic responsibility
for the defense of their own freedom.”

Thus, did the president repeat
what President [John F.] Kennedy [35] had said before him,
and what every American felt in his heart:
If the South Vietnamese wanted independence,
they could fight for it just as we had.
There was a practical consideration behind the sentiment.
If the South Vietnamese could not organize or motivate their own people
to protect themselves,
it would be impossible for foreigners to do the job for them.”

Section 7.2
Facing the Enemy

[page 166]
A quarter century [after the war ended],
[Robert] MacNamera and a group of associates
confronted a team led by his old adversary, Võ Nguyên Giáp,
in a series of meetings held in Hanoi, between 1995 and 1998.
The exchange was advertised as an attempt to learn something.
It is recorded in a book by MacNamera,
Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy.


[pages 168-69]
Between 1965 and 1975, the United States stepped up its killing campaign.
The Vietnamese suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties
as the pressure increased.
America was turning up the heat,
ready for it to boil over and force the North Vietnamese
to the negotiating table.
The table was set.
But the Americans were astonished when no one showed up.
It was as if the North Vietnamese didn’t care how hot it got.
It was as if they ignored
all the resources the United States was bringing to bear
and the losses that they were inflicting.
It was as if they couldn’t count!

It made no sense to MacNamera.
So, he asked the question of
the Vietnamese delegation sitting opposite him in Hanoi, 30 years later.
How come all the misery we inflicted on the Vietnamese
did not bring them to ask for a settlement?
[The original source for the following is page 255 of the book cited above.
I, the author of this blog, have expanded
the excerpt that appeared in Bonner and Wiggin’s book
by adding parts that they omitted.
These additions are identifiable by being in curly braces {}.
The square brackets which appear were in the original.]

Tran Quang Co replied:
I would like to answer Mr. MacNamera’s question.
{You imply that there was a difference in attitude toward the war
between the people of North and the North Vietnamese leadership.
You have this misconception that
even though the Vietnamese people were suffering because of the war,
still the Vietnamese leadership did not want peace,
did not want to proceed to peace.}

I must say that this question of Mr. MacNamera’s
has allowed us to better understand the issue.
During the coffee break, an American colleague asked me
if I had learned anything about the U.S.
during the discussions of the past few days.
And I responded that I have learned quite a lot.
However, thinks to this particular question,
I believe we have learned still more about the U.S.
We understand better now that
the U.S. understands very little about Vietnam.
Even now—in this conference—
the U.S. understands very little about Vietnam.

When the U.S. bombed the North and brought its troops into the South,
well, of course, to us there were very negative moves.
However, with regard to Vietnam,
U.S. aggression did have some positive use.
Never before did the people of Vietnam, from top to bottom,
unite as they did during the ears that the U.S. was bombing us.

Never before had Chairman Ho Chi Minh’s appeal—
that there is nothing more precious than freedom and independence—
go straight to the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people
as at the end of 1966.

{But if Mr. McNamara thinks that the North Vietnamese leadership
was not concerned about the suffering of the Vietnamese people,
with deaths and privation,
then he has a huge misconception of Vietnam.
That would be
[Speaks in English.] “wrong, terribly wrong.”
[Resumes in Vietnamese.]
There was never any such thing.
On the contrary,
if at that time we had begun negotiations with the U.S.,
we would have had to explain to the people
why we could negotiate with the U.S.,
to meet with the U.S.,
and host the U.S.,
while bombs fell on us.
On the contrary, it must be said that
at those moments, when the bombs were falling,
there was a complete unity between the leaders and the people.
There could be no negotiations under the pressure of the bombing.
We have to keep in mind that
the war occurred on Vietnamese soil, no in America.
Because we suffered a thousand times more than you,
we needed and sought peace all the more.}

Miscellaneous Articles

‘Fascism’ Frame Set Up by Neocon Press
by Jim Lobe

[This is an excellent article,
but it omits another source for the “Islamofascism” tune
and its concomitant, the call for “World War IV,”
the magazine of the American Jewish Committee, Commentary.]

Our Fascism, and Theirs
In the Bizarro World of the neocons, it's always 1939
by Justin Raimondo

President Discusses Global War on Terror
Military Officers Association of America, 2006-09-05

We know what the terrorists intend to do because they've told us --
and we need to take their words seriously.
So today I'm going to describe -- in the terrorists' own words,
what they believe… what they hope to accomplish,
and how they intend to accomplish it.
I'll discuss how the enemy has adapted
in the wake of our sustained offensive against them,
and the threat posed by different strains of violent Islamic radicalism.
I'll explain the strategy we're pursuing to protect America,
by defeating the terrorists on the battlefield,
and defeating their hateful ideology in the battle of ideas.

2006-09-21-Judt : Liberals and the War
Bush’s Useful Idiots
Tony Judt on the Strange Death of Liberal America

London Review of Books, 2006-09-21

[Some excerpts; emphasis and comments are added.]

Why have American liberals acquiesced
in President Bush’s catastrophic foreign policy?
Why have they so little to say
about Iraq, about Lebanon, or about reports of a planned attack on Iran?
Why has
the administration’s sustained attack on ... international law
aroused so little opposition or anger
from those who used to care most about these things?
Why, in short,
has the liberal intelligentsia of the United States in recent years
kept its head safely below the parapet?


[T]oday’s liberal intellectuals have at last discovered a sense of purpose:
they are at war with ‘Islamo-fascism’.
[They] really are conversant – and comfortable –
with a binary division of the world along ideological lines....
In order for today’s ‘fight’
(note the recycled Leninist lexicon of conflicts, clashes, struggles and wars)
to make political sense,
it too must have a single universal enemy
whose ideas we can study, theorise and combat; and
the new confrontation must be reducible, like its 20th-century predecessor,
to a familiar juxtaposition that eliminates exotic complexity and confusion:
Democracy v. Totalitarianism, Freedom v. Fascism, Them v. Us.


Not every liberal cheerleader for the Global War
against Islamo-fascism, or against Terror, or against Global Jihad,
is an unreconstructed supporter of Likud:
Christopher Hitchens, for one, is critical of Israel.
the willingness
of so many American pundits and commentators and essayists to
  • roll over for Bush’s doctrine of preventive war;
  • abstain from criticising the disproportionate use of air power
    on civilian targets in both Iraq and Lebanon; and
  • stay coyly silent in the face of Condoleezza Rice’s enthusiasm
    for the bloody ‘birth pangs of a new Middle East’
makes more sense when one recalls
their backing for Israel:
a country which for fifty years has rested its entire national strategy on
  • preventive wars,
  • disproportionate retaliation, and
  • efforts to redesign the map of the whole Middle East.

Since its inception the state of Israel has fought a number of wars of choice
(the only exception was the Yom Kippur War of 1973).
To be sure, these have been
presented to the world as wars of necessity or self-defence;
but Israel’s statesmen and generals have never been under any such illusion.
[F]or the US to imitate Israel wholesale,
to import that tiny country’s
self-destructive, intemperate response to any hostility or opposition
and to make it the leitmotif of American foreign policy:
that is simply bizarre.

Bush’s Middle Eastern policy
now tracks so closely to the Israeli precedent
that it is very difficult to see daylight between the two.

It is this surreal turn of events that helps explain the confusion and silence of American liberal thinking on the subject
(as well, perhaps, as Tony Blair’s syntactically sympathetic me-tooism).
Historically, liberals have been unsympathetic to ‘wars of choice’ when undertaken or proposed by their own government.
War, in the liberal imagination (and not only the liberal one),
is a last resort, not a first option.
the United States now has an Israeli-style foreign policy
and America’s liberal intellectuals overwhelmingly support it.

[Gee, I wonder why.
Surely it couldn’t be because of
the pervasive Jewish presence in, and influence on, the commentariat.

One quick, but incorrect, rebuttal (common on the Internet)
to the intimation above is:
“Tony Judt is a Jew, which proves Jews take both sides of this argument.”
Well, it is certainly true that some Jews do not support Israel’s policies.
But it must also be admitted that,
of the American Jews who express an opinion on Israel’s policies,
the percentage that opposes them is vastly less than
the percentage that supports them.
As Peter Novick has said,
support for Israel is one of the two pillars
of the American Jewish “civil religion,”

a sentiment also supported by Goldberg’s Jewish Power.

But simply ascribing America’s lust for war against conservative Muslims to Jewish influence is inadequate.
There is another salient factor here: feminism.
Recall the peace movements of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Women were often the motivating force behind them, either directly or by persuading their men folk to agitate for peace.
“Make love, not war” was the motto for many (left-wing) women of the time.
Where are they, or their daughters, now?

This is not just a Jewish issue.
Consider the liberal Protestant churches.
During the 1960s they were hotbeds of anti-war sentiment
(as represented by, e.g., William Sloane Coffin).
Now, in the 2000s,
their silence with respect to making peace with the Muslim world
is deafening.
In fact, in some cases, their conduct is worse than silence.
For example, some Episcopal bishops actually opposed
the modest attempts to engage Iran in dialogue recently undertaken.
I think the reason is clear:
Feminists are in near total control of those churches,
and feminists, with rare exceptions,
hate conservative Muslim values—
they consider them patriarchal and male-dominated.

Somewhat to my surprise,
this even carries over to the Israel-Palestine peace process.
As an experiment, I have asked various women of my acquaintance,
all de facto, if not admitted, feminists,
whether they are willing to support any sort of effective action
which might persuade Israel to make a just peace with the Palestinians.
Not one will say a word against Israel,
let alone support reducing America’s support for Israel.

Beyond Ideology
By Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2006-10-30

[An excerpt (emphasis has been added, but the links are lost):]

What we have to understand is that
the Iraq war is really the first phase of a regional war:
the so-called “liberation” of Iraq, after all,
was meant by the administration
to spark liberal revolutions throughout the Middle East,
and this hope—or expectation—has not diminished,
even in spite of the disaster now unfolding in Baghdad.
Indeed, their whole outlook is bound to “explain”
the failure of their policies so far
in terms of the limitations imposed on them.
There is a whole school of thought, that extends
from neoconservative Republicans to supposedly antiwar Democrats,
which blames the failure of the occupation to contain the insurgency
on the need for more troops.
We didn’t start out with enough troops, say these critics,
and the Bush administration has “mismanaged” the war.
The so-called “national security Democrats”
have their own plan to “win” the war—
with only a minority calling for withdrawing our troops.
And even these folks maintain that
we will have to maintain a watchful presence elsewhere in the Middle East,
in the Gulf emirates perhaps, or bases in East Africa.

We didn’t just invade Iraq—we invaded the Middle East,
and the war that has engulfed Saddam Hussein’s former dominion
cannot be contained within its borders.
War doesn’t respect national boundaries, and
tends inevitably to spill over such artificial barriers
and spread like wildfire.
And that wildfire will eventually consume the entire region—
unless we act to stop the next war before it starts.

While the antiwar movement is protesting against the war in Iraq,
the War Party is already well into the planning of the next war.
Their target is Iran,
and their method is remarkably similar
to the scenario played out in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
The campaign against Iran is proceeding,
on the political and diplomatic front,
with a full-scale demonization campaign,
the chief demon being President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This is the new Hitler, we are told
[compare Scheuer’s discussion of the term ‘Islamofascism’],
a man who
denies the Holocaust,
plots the destruction of Israel, and
sits at the center of an international terrorist web,
a spider waiting to strike the U.S.


The War Party in America
operates at a great advantage over the antiwar movement:

to begin with, they are in power—and, I might add,
barring some entirely unforeseen upsurge of rebellion,
they will stay in power
no matter which major party controls the White House and Congress.
Secondly, the War Party dominates the elites,
not only in the government but also in the media and academia.
While the average Joe and Jane might favor a foreign policy in which
the U.S. minds its own business and
doesn’t go around the world deciding which countries need “regime change”—
and maybe complete demolition—...
the elites long ago decided that
such a policy would amount to a dreadful “isolationism”....

Because they dominate the elites,
the War Party also dominates the two major political parties.
It may be that
the people oppose the war plans of this administration, or any other,
but there is a way to get around that:
the people can’t vote for peace if it isn’t on the ballot....
As an example of the stranglehold
the interventionists have on the political process,
I would point out that,
in a year when the Iraq war is the major issue in races all across the country—
and when opposition to the war is at an all-time high,
representing nearly 60 percent of voters—
the Democrats’ congressional campaign, led by Rahm Emanuel,
opposed antiwar candidates with a slate of their own pro-war candidates
in the Democratic primaries.
In many instances,
the Democratic candidate is more pro-war than the Republican.

These arrows in the War Party’s quiver are all quite valuable
in ensuring that the foreign policy “consensus” remains static
in spite of radical shifts in public opinion on the subject.
Yet there is one factor that gives them an incalculable advantage, and that is
the weakness of their opposition.
The Peace Party—for lack of a better designation—
is divided,
without comparable resources, and
lacks the dedicated constituency of its adversary.


[T]o listen to many on the Left,
you’d never know that many on the Right
are coming to see the error of interventionism:
there is no acknowledgment that the antiwar movement is broader than
the political space between Noam Chomsky and Katrina vanden Heuvel.
In making this point, I speak from personal experience:
as the editorial director of Antiwar.com and a committed libertarian,
I’ve watched with dismay as
tiny left-wing antiwar groups—
with nowhere near our audience of 100,000 readers daily—
dominate the planning and platform of major antiwar events.

The left-wing antiwar coalitions
have never asked a member of the Antiwar.com staff
to address or even help promote one of their events.
The reason: we’re libertarians, and, as such,
are outside their universe of politically acceptable alternatives.

The weakness of the antiwar movement is never more apparent [than]
when it comes to the issue of Iran:
here, after all, is a case where
the War Party is clearly planning to make a major move.
The propaganda campaign we are hearing (e.g.) is strikingly similar
to that which preceded the invasion of Iraq.
The same scenario is being laid out:
  • an ostensibly repressive regime,
  • more “weapons of mass destruction,”
  • Israeli calls for action, and
  • a powerful array of establishment figures in both major parties
    calling for some sort of military action.
The great advantage of the War Party is that
these guys plan well in advance,
while the Peace Party merely reacts.

There is every indication that efforts to influence this administration
to make a military strike at Tehran preceded the invasion of Iraq.

What’s more,
the supposed allies of the antiwar movement in the Democratic Party
are considerably more aggressive when it comes to Iran
than even the Bush administration.
Hillary Clinton—the party’s leading presidential candidate—
has denounced what she calls “appeasement” of Tehran by the U.S.,
and has added her full-throated voice
to demands from the neoconservatives
that Bush get serious about stopping Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.
The Democrats’ critique of the Bushian foreign policy
is limited to means, not ends.
The problem, though, is that
it is the goals and assumptions of that policy that must be challenged,
not the details.


End the Crusade
by Dimitri K. Simes
National Interest online, 2007-01-03

[This is an excellent article.
Here is an excerpt; emphasis has been added.]

Here they go again.
After spending more than three years,
the lives of nearly 3,000 American soldiers,
and well over $300 billion in Iraq,
the coalition of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists
who brought America into the quagmire now tell us that
the problem was not with having
the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons,
but rather with poor implementation

for which they unsurprisingly deny responsibility.

And just as the Crusaders a millennium ago
blamed their defeats in the Middle East on a lack of faith,
we are told today that it is the realists—
those heretics with an insufficient faith
in the ability of American values and power to rapidly transform the world—
who are poised to sabotage
the entire project for spreading freedom throughout the region;
that the realists and their false gods of stability and national interest
will seduce Americans away from their true calling of
spreading liberty throughout the world, even at the barrel of a gun.

But the debacle that is Iraq reaffirms the lesson that
there is no such thing as a good crusade.
This was true a thousand years ago when those European Christian knights
tried to impose their faith and way of life on the Holy Land—
pillaging the region in the process—and it is equally true today.
As Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has observed,
“America cannot impose a democracy on any nation—
regardless of our noble purpose.”
He also noted,
“You cannot have a foreign policy based on divine mission.
We tried that in the Middle Ages, that’s what the Crusades were about.”
Divine missions and sensible foreign policy just don’t go together.

And the crusaders of the last millennium and this one as well
have had little qualms about
using ignoble means to advance their noble purpose.
The modern-day domestic requirements in launching a crusade,
such as building public support and obtaining funding in a democratic system,
force a degree of dishonesty that inherently undermine its nobility.


[Q]uite a few of the most enthusiastic proponents for an invasion of Iraq
both within and outside the administration—
what we might term the “war faction”—
were less interested
in deliberately assessing the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD programs.
Their main rationale in invading Iraq was
to depose an Iraqi regime hostile to the United States and Israel—and
to demonstrate to Arabs and others in the so-called Greater Middle East
who was the real master of the region.

From that perspective, the villainous Saddam was a convenient tyrant
whose combination of provocation and weakness
made him an ideal demonstration target of American power and determination.
His forcible removal and the installation of a new regime
would not only show American power
but also encourage other governments in the area
to be more accommodating to U.S. preferences.

Yet, for obvious reasons,
the “war faction” never shared this goal with the American public.
Only after it could not find WMD in Iraq
did the administration shift the description of the intervention
from finding WMD to a crusade for democracy in the Middle East.
Thus, the administration pursued democracy in the Arab world
via a considerable detour from democracy in the United States itself:
after all, what can be more undemocratic than
taking the nation to war under false premises?


Realistically speaking, however,
we cannot adjust our course in Iraq
without adjusting the administration’s approach
to the Middle East and to international affairs in general.

To begin with, stability in Iraq on terms acceptable to the United States
is unlikely without at least tacit cooperation from Iran and Syria.
Accordingly, to disengage from Iraq without defeat, America needs
either to compel Damascus and Tehran to cooperate or to make a deal with them.
The United States does have the resources
to force Tehran and Damascus to stop interfering in Iraq.
In fact, we have the capability
to obliterate their capitals or countries with nuclear weapons.
However, the U.S. political process
would not allow the administration to use these capabilities,
and neither the United Nations nor even NATO allies would support that.
[Simes is neglecting a certain plausible scenario.]
In the Muslim world, it could trigger a real war between civilizations.
Seeing this, neither Iran nor Syria seems to believe
that the United States is willing and able to do what it would take
to bring them to their knees.

Absent such will in the United States,
there is no credible alternative to dialogue with the two regimes,
now described as rogue states by the Bush Administration.
The Iraq Study Group was right to recommend including Iran and Syria
in a search for a political solution “without preconditions.”
Of course, talking to them is not a panacea.
Those who assume that simply by engaging in negotiations
the United States will be able to obtain major concessions from Damascus and Tehran
do not understand their true objectives.
Each has its own concerns,
starting with non-interference in its domestic affairs, and
neither is likely to offer any favors to America.
It would be an exercise in futility to tell them that they should
stop meddling in Iraq;
allow the United States, France and Israel to play a decisive role in Lebanon;
end support for Hamas and other radical Palestinian factions;
and in the case of Iran, abandon its nuclear enrichment program,
without both offering something important in return
and subjecting them to strong international pressure.

This brings us to the Palestinian problem.
The reason to address the Palestinian problem is not that it would
put an end to Shi‘a and Sunnis killing each other in Iraq,
make Bashir al-Asad an altruist in Lebanon, or
persuade the mullahs in Tehran to abandon their nuclear ambitions.
Rather, as every moderate Arab leader in the region has told the United States,
the perceived American double-standard on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute
makes it much more difficult for them to support U.S. positions
or to do essential heavy lifting on America’s behalf on other issues.
It also makes it harder for Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Asad
to accommodate American concerns in Iraq and elsewhere
without losing face in their own countries.


Many nations can embrace American world leadership,
though obviously with different degrees of enthusiasm—
if such leadership reinforces a global system based on
free trade, secure lines of communication and a commitment to stability.
Others might acquiesce more reluctantly—
so long as they do not feel that
America is engaged in a global crusade directed against them
or at the expense of their vital interests.

The stakes could not be higher.
In his ground-breaking new book, Annihilation from Within,
Reagan Administration defense official and Washington wise-man Fred Iklé
warns that “the dark side of progress”—
revolutionary new technologies of human destruction,
whether nuclear, biological or even in artificial intelligence—
has exceeded the development of
the international system and the states within it.
Iklé is concerned that
“Living comfortably on borrowed time,
most democratic societies lack the will and foresight
needed to defend against” the grave dangers that may come.
September 11 may look trivial to what the United States and others may experience unless we focus on these apocalyptic threats,
even at the occasional expense of desirable but optional pursuits.
Moreover, notwithstanding “the appealing vision of a new ‘flat world’ ”,
he writes,
today’s globe is still dominated by states pursuing their individual interests. History will not judge kindly
those who neglect a real and present danger
to the survival of democracy in the United States and Europe
in the name of promoting democracy on a global scale.
And, Iklé makes a powerful case that
the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction by non-state actors
can create precisely such a disastrous outcome.

The bottom line is that
notwithstanding often disingenuous references to the “international community”,
our dangerous world is still dominated by states and, yes, their governments.
Under these circumstances,
America cannot lead if it disregards the interests and priorities of others.
Telling those others what we think their interests are does not work;
sovereign nations like to make such decisions themselves.
And when President George W. Bush is viewed as a greater threat to world peace
than either Kim Jong-il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
(less a threat than Osama bin Laden alone),
in major international polls,
few abroad are inclined to accept that Washington knows best.
It is not cynical defeatism
but patriotic desire to strengthen U.S. global leadership
that should persuade us to end the crusade.

The Ideologue
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-25

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

“This war,” said Bush [in his 2007 State of the Union address],
“is an ideological struggle. ...
To prevail,
we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred
and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come to kill us.”

But the “conditions” that drove those 19 men “to come to kill us” [are]
our dominance of their world,
our authoritarian allies,
and Israel.

They were over here because we are over there.

If Bush is going to remove those “conditions,”
he is going to have to get us out of the Middle East.
Is he prepared to do that? Of course not.
Because Bush, believing the problem is not
our pervasive presence
but the lack of freedom in the Middle East,
is waging his own ideological war
to bring freedom in by force of arms, if necessary.


“Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies,”
declared Bush.
Explain, then, why 70 million Germans,
under the most democratic government in their history,
gave more than half their votes to Nazis and Communists in 1933?
In every plebiscite he held, Hitler won a landslide.
In the year of Anschluss and Munich, 1938,
Hitler was Time’s Man of the Year and far more popular than FDR,
who lost 71 seats in the House.


If a referendum were held in the Middle East on the proposition of
the US military out and Israel gone,
how does Bush think it would come out?


What leads Bush to believe everyone wants to be like us?
Is it not ideology?

Testimony of Zbigniew Brzezinski before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
by Zbigniew Brzezinski
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 2007-02-01

[Underlining is from the original; other emphasis is added.]

It is time for the White House to come to terms with two central realities:
  1. The war in Iraq is
    a historic, strategic, and moral calamity.

    [Compare Walt.]

    Undertaken under false assumptions,
    it is undermining America’s global legitimacy.
    Its collateral civilian casualties as well as some abuses
    are tarnishing America’s moral credentials.
    Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris,
    it is intensifying regional instability.
  2. Only a political strategy that is historically relevant
    rather than reminiscent of colonial tutelage
    can provide the needed framework for a tolerable resolution
    of both the war in Iraq and the intensifying regional tensions.

If the United States continues to be bogged down
in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq,
the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be
a head-on conflict with Iran
and with much of the world of Islam at large.

A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves

  • Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks;
    followed by
  • accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure;
    then by
  • some provocation in Iraq or
    a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran;
    culminating in
  • a “defensive” U.S. military action against Iran
plunges a lonely America
into a spreading and deepening quagmire
eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

[For more on Brzezinski’s views on the likely consequences,
see his 2006-04-26 IHT article “Do not attack Iran”.]

A mythical historical narrative to justify the case
for such a protracted and potentially expanding war
is already being articulated.
Initially justified by false claims about WMD’s in Iraq,
the war is now being redefined as the “decisive ideological struggle” of our time,
reminiscent of the earlier collisions with Nazism and Stalinism.
In that context,
Islamist extremism and al Qaeda are presented as
the equivalents of the threat posed by Nazi Germany and then Soviet Russia,
9/11 as the equivalent of the Pearl Harbor attack
which precipitated America’s involvement in World War II.

This simplistic and demagogic narrative overlooks the fact that
Nazism was based on the military power of
the industrially most advanced European state; and that
Stalinism was able to mobilize not only
the resources of the victorious and militarily powerful Soviet Union
but also had worldwide appeal through its Marxist doctrine.
In contrast,
most Muslims are not embracing Islamic fundamentalism;
al Qaeda is an isolated fundamentalist Islamist aberration;
most Iraqis are engaged in strife
because the American occupation of Iraq destroyed the Iraqi state;
while Iran—though gaining in regional influence—
is itself politically divided, economically and militarily weak.
To argue that
America is already at war in the region with a wider Islamic threat,
of which Iran is the epicenter,
is to promote a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Deplorably, the Administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East region
has lately relied almost entirely on such sloganeering.
Vague and inflammatory talk about “a new strategic context
which is based on “clarity” and
which prompts “the birth pangs of a new Middle East
is breeding intensifying anti-Americanism and
is increasing the danger of a long-term collision
between the United States and the Islamic world.

Those in charge of U.S. diplomacy have also adopted
a posture of moralistic self-ostracism toward Iran strongly reminiscent of
John Foster Dulles’s attitude of the early 1950’s
toward Chinese Communist leaders
(resulting among other things
in the well-known episode of the refused handshake).
It took some two decades and a half before another Republican president
was finally able to undo that legacy.

One should note here also that
practically no country in the world shares
the Manichean delusions that the Administration so passionately articulates.
The result is growing political isolation of,
and pervasive popular antagonism toward
the U.S. global posture.

It is obvious by now that the American national interest
calls for a significant change of direction.
There is in fact a dominant consensus in favor of a change:
American public opinion now holds
that the war was a mistake;
that it should not be escalated,
that a regional political process should be explored; and
that an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation
is an essential element of the needed policy alteration
and should be actively pursued.
It is noteworthy that
profound reservations regarding the Administration’s policy
have been voiced by a number of leading Republicans.
One need only invoke here the expressed views of
the much admired President Gerald Ford,
former Secretary of State James Baker,
former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft
and several leading Republican senators,
John Warner, Chuck Hagel, and Gordon Smith among others.

The urgent need today is for a strategy
that seeks to create a political framework
for a resolution of the problems posed both
by the US occupation of Iraq and
by the ensuing civil and sectarian conflict.
Ending the occupation and shaping a regional security dialogue
should be the mutually reinforcing goals of such a strategy,
but both goals will take time and require a genuinely serious U.S. commitment.

The quest for a political solution for the growing chaos in Iraq
should involve four steps:
  1. The United States should reaffirm explicitly and unambiguously
    its determination to leave Iraq
    in a reasonably short period of time.

    Ambiguity regarding the duration of the occupation in fact
    encourages unwillingness to compromise
    and intensifies the on-going civil strife.
    Moreover, such a public declaration is needed
    to allay fears in the Middle East
    of a new and enduring American imperial hegemony.
    Right or wrong, many view the establishment of such a hegemony
    as the primary reason for the American intervention
    in a region only recently free of colonial domination.
    That perception should be discredited from the highest U.S. level.
    Perhaps the U.S. Congress could do so by a joint resolution.
  2. The United States should announce that
    it is undertaking talks with the Iraqi leaders
    to jointly set with them
    a date by which U.S. military disengagement should be completed,
    and the resulting setting of such a date
    should be announced as a joint decision.
    In the meantime, the U.S. should avoid military escalation.

    It is necessary to engage all Iraqi leaders—
    including those who do not reside within “the Green Zone”—
    in a serious discussion regarding
    the proposed and jointly defined date for U.S. military disengagement
    because the very dialogue itself
    will help identify the authentic Iraqi leaders
    with the self-confidence and capacity
    to stand on their own legs without U.S. military protection.
    Only Iraqi leaders who can exercise real power beyond “the Green Zone”
    can eventually reach a genuine Iraqi accommodation.
    The painful reality is that much of the current Iraqi regime,
    characterized by the Bush administration as “representative of the Iraqi people,” defines itself largely by its physical location:
    the 4 sq. miles-large U.S. fortress within Baghdad,
    protected by a wall in places 15 feet thick,
    manned by heavily armed U.S. military,
    popularly known as “the Green Zone.”
  3. The United States should issue jointly with appropriate Iraqi leaders,
    or perhaps let the Iraqi leaders issue,
    an invitation to all neighbors of Iraq
    (and perhaps some other Muslim countries
    such as Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Pakistan)
    to engage in a dialogue regarding
    how best to enhance stability in Iraq
    in conjunction with U.S. military disengagement
    and to participate eventually in a conference regarding regional stability.

    The United States and the Iraqi leadership need to engage Iraq’s neighbors
    in serious discussion regarding the region’s security problems,
    but such discussions cannot be undertaken
    while the U.S. is perceived as an occupier for an indefinite duration.
    Iran and Syria have no reason to help the United States
    consolidate a permanent regional hegemony.
    It is ironic, however,
    that both Iran and Syria have lately called for a regional dialogue,
    exploiting thereby the self-defeating character
    of the largely passive – and mainly sloganeering –
    U.S. diplomacy.

    A serious regional dialogue, promoted directly or indirectly by the U.S.,
    could be buttressed at some point by a wider circle of consultations
    involving other powers with a stake in the region’s stability,
    such as the EU, China, Japan, India, and Russia.
    Members of this Committee might consider
    exploring informally with the states mentioned
    their potential interest in such a wider dialogue.
  4. Concurrently,
    the United States should activate a credible and energetic effort
    to finally reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace,
    making it clear in the process as to what
    the basic parameters of such a final accommodation ought to involve.

    The United States needs to convince the region that the U.S. is committed
    both to Israel’s enduring security
    and to fairness for the Palestinians
    who have waited for more than forty years now
    for their own separate state.
    Only an external and activist intervention
    can promote the long-delayed settlement
    for the record shows that
    the Israelis and the Palestinians will never do so on their own.
    Without such a settlement,
    both nationalist and fundamentalist passions in the region
    will in the longer run doom any Arab regime
    which is perceived as supportive of U.S. regional hegemony.

After World War II,
the United States prevailed in the defense of democracy in Europe
because it successfully pursued a long-term political strategy
of uniting its friends and dividing its enemies,
of soberly deterring aggression without initiating hostilities,
all the while also exploring the possibility of negotiated arrangements.
Today, America’s global leadership is being tested in the Middle East.
A similarly wise strategy of genuinely constructive political engagement
is now urgently needed.

It is also time for the Congress to assert itself.

A most powerful statement,
distinguished by its being almost totally ignored by the elite print media.
A slightly modified version of this testimony appeared in the LA Times
as an op-ed on 2007-02-11: “A road map out of Iraq”,
but so far as I know
the East Coast elite print media (NYT, WP, WSJ) ignored it.
The self-evident reason:
It makes a powerful case against
the policies desired by their Israeli masters.

Hell-Bent on War
Putin’s right: the US is
‘plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts’
By Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-14

Iraq, Iran, and the Lobby
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-19

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Just as this war [in Iraq], as I’ve been saying since Day One,
was fought to advance Israel’s interests, not America’s.
The next war – yes, I mean the looming conflict with Iran –
will be fought for the same reason.
American foreign policy has long since ceased pursuing
the genuine national interests of this country,
and instead is being held hostage by
a coalition of neoconservative ideologues and foreign lobbyists,
who have no compunctions about leading us into an abyss
as long as their no-longer-quite-so-hidden agenda is served.


It is absolutely astonishing that
all of the major Democratic candidates for the White House
proclaim their willingness to go to war with Iran
if “diplomacy,” meaning a relentless barrage of threats, fails to work.
Not a single one dares critique our Israel-centered foreign policy….


The Democrats backed down, and fast, so our future is all mapped out for us.
It took only four years for this administration
to get the Middle East escalator going
and gin up another war on the heels of the last one.
An even greater regional cataclysm – this time, in Iran –
seems all but inevitable.

I wish I saw a way out of this, but I don’t.
Short of firing Congress, as well as impeaching the president and vice president,
we will be at war with Iran
just as surely as we are now stuck in the Iraqi quicksand –
and that war will be brought to you by
the same crew that started the previous one.
It’s like we’re caught in a recurring nightmare,
in which the same ghouls rise up and taunt us with their banshee screams,
singing a chorus of war-cries,
drowning out all sense until our eardrums nearly burst.
As I put it in a column published in 2004:
This war has benefited only two actors in the Middle East drama:
bin Laden and Ariel Sharon.
The extremists are empowered, instead of isolated,
and the future is war, war, and more war, as far as the eye can see....

Why Are We in Iraq?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-28


If ... we look at what is actually happening in Iraq, and throughout the region,
we can discern the real goals of the invasion, and they are two:
a civil war in the Muslim world (check!) and
the positioning of U.S. military forces
for a confrontation with the next victim of the regime-change game:
Iran (check!).


Exit From Iraq Should Be Through Iran
Linking forces with Iran could minimize the costs of withdrawal from Iraq
by William E. Odom
YaleGlobal, 2007-05-29

Increasingly bogged down in the sands of Iraq,
the US thrashes about looking for an honorable exit.
Restoring cooperation between Washington and Tehran
is the single most important step that could be taken
to rescue the US from its predicament in Iraq.
Understanding why requires some historical reflection.


Middle East Meltdown
The crisis accelerates
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-08

As the situation on the ground in Iraq veers out of control,
the rest of the Middle East is coming undone –
a state of affairs directly attributable
to our policy of “regime change” throughout the region.

Leon Hadar on Israel's Shifting Strategic Role
(and the Neocons' Assimilationism)

by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2007-09-04

[An excerpt:]

[A]fter the cold war--
a period in which Israel was our invaluable asset against the Soviet Union--
neocon supporters of Israel
needed to reposition the state
as an invaluable asset in the ensuing global order.
Leon Hadar of the Cato [Institute] was saying this way back in 1991.
And again in ‘93, in Foreign Affairs:
From home and abroad
voices have begun to counsel the Clinton administration
that with communism’s death,
America must prepare for
a new global threat--radical Islam ...
intent on launching a jihad against Western civilization.

And in a ‘92 paper for Cato, Hadar pointed out the upside for Israel:
Israel could become the contemporary crusader nation,
a bastion of the West in the struggle against
the new transnational enemy, Islamic fundamentalism.
According to Daniel Doron,
“With the momentous upheavals rocking the Muslim World,
the Arab-Israeli conflict is a sideshow with little geopolitical significance.”

Syria and Iran: The Threats That Aren't
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2007-09-06

[The entire article;
paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

In reference to coercive British rule,
Tom Paine once told Americans that
there is something absurd about the idea that
the entire continent of North America
should be forever ruled
by the little island of Great Britain.
Paine, as always in his work,
was trying to make Americans think for themselves
and, in this case, to see that
their own geographic size, rising wealth, and potential power
made it ridiculous for them to forever acquiesce to rule from London.

Paine’s lesson is apt today in regard to both Syria and Iran.
Since I was a young man – now a fading memory –
I have heard U.S. politicians warn of the threat presented to America by Syria.
There is, of course, something superficially plausible about this.
We know that Syria is another of the Muslim world’s family-run dictatorships –
most of the others are U.S. allies –
and that the Assad boys are murderous autocrats and thugs.
Likewise, our Israeli friends and their Israel-first American supporters
have long harped on the idea – and thereby have misled Americans –
that Syria is a military threat to the United States.

But look at the map.
Syria is a tiny country, dirt poor except for weapons, and ruled by a dentist.
It also is being slowly undermined by
the Islamists who the Assads have foolishly tried to co-opt.
It is an insignificant dot on the map
that poses no threat whatsoever to the United States.
If Damascus allows Islamist fighters into Iraq to attack coalition forces,
America should take steps to end that situation.
But as much as we talk about the issue, we do nothing about it,
probably because the inflow from Syria is not as large
as the inflow from our great and good ally Saudi Arabia.
Besides, allowing the inflow from Syria to continue gives Senator Lieberman –
the current poster boy of America’s Israel-firsters –
the ability to beat the war drum against the supposedly mighty Syrians.
Surely, if Senator Lieberman truly believes the Syrians are a threat to America,
the people of Connecticut have sent – hopefully unwittingly –
someone akin to the agent of a foreign power to the U.S. Senate.
Syria might be a threat to Israel,
but the idea that it is a threat to the United States,
that the armored Syrian horde may sweep across the Bronx, occupy Manhattan, and lasciviously ogle New Jersey,
should be met with the most appropriate response possible –
convulsive and derisive laughter.

How does one explain the U.S. governing elite’s fear of Iran?
Here we have a country that
admittedly is led by one of the world’s more histrionic politicians,
but one that also is
ringed by U.S. military bases
surrounded by an overwhelmingly more numerous Sunni world
that hates Shi’ites far more than it hates Westerners.
Iran’s Islamic regime, moreover,
is helplessly watching the final stages
of the march of its energy resources toward oblivion,
and preparing for
the impoverishment and resulting internal political instability
that event will usher in.

So where in this portrait is the threat to the United States?
While Iran is a threat to Israel,
there is surely no threat to America in Iran’s
less-than-impressive military forces,
nuclear development program, or
unattractive public diplomacy.
No, the threat to the United States comes from two sources:
  1. The relentless “Iran is the new Nazi Germany” propaganda
    pushed by Israel and the American citizen Israel-firsters.
  2. The multi-decade failure of the U.S. Congress to seriously address
    the national-security issues of energy, borders, and immigration.

As in the case of Syria – although for fewer years
because Iran’s previous tyrant was on America’s side
until the Mullahs seized power in 1979
most American adults have grown up with the idea that
Iran is a dire threat to U.S. national security.
Sparked mainly by memories of
the U.S. embassy hostages held for 400-plus days while President Carter diddled,
Americans have been ripe for the delusions induced by
the periodic visits of Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians,
and their well-staged [and well-heeled] rants that equate
the creaky, mostly foreign-purchased, and slightly more than tin-pot
military machine of the Ayatollahs
Hitler’s Wehrmacht, the product of
an extremely modern industrial economy,
a united populace ready for revenge against its conquerors, and
the Germans’ apparently genetic talent and taste for war.
To say that
Netanyahu, other Israeli politicians, and their American Israel-first supporters
are being disingenuous in pushing the Iranian threat would be incorrect.
They are consistently and blatantly lying.

No, the threat to the United States from Iran is not military,
it is rather from America’s most dangerous home-grown terrorists –
the U.S. Congress.
Iran threatens America economically because
it has the capability to disrupt oil production in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province.
Such an Iranian effort would be a casus belli for the United States
only because the U.S. Congress has done nothing more substantial
than advance Daylight Savings Time by three weeks
since the Saudi-led embargoes of the 1970s.
Thirty-five years of the Congress’ utter failure
to address energy security as a top priority national interest
has made Iran a threat to America that it otherwise could not be.

Likewise, the terrorist threat from Iran – which is genuine –
must be labeled by the U.S. Congress.
Iran’s government or its Revolutionary Guard Corps, or
their Lebanese semi-surrogate Hezbollah
are going to launch a terrorist first strike in the United States.
All of these entities are rational actors and
they know a first-strike from their side
would earn them a catastrophic response.
But the rub comes for America from the fact that
each of the just-mentioned entities
have a terrorism infrastructure established in North America –
in the United States, Canada, and Mexico –
that could and would be used in response to a U.S. or Israeli first strike on Iran. And that response would be effective inside America because –
thanks to the Congress’ knowing failure to control borders and immigration –
no level of U.S. law enforcement has anything near a complete handle
on the size, intentions, capabilities, and targets
of our potential Iranian attackers.

So perhaps its time for Americans to reread Mr. Paine,
begin thinking for themselves, and recognize

the expensive and potentially war-causing absurdities
that have been foisted on them regarding the “threat” from Syria and Iran
by their bipartisan governing elite

and its deserving-to-be-indicted co-conspirators,
Israel’s government and its American Israel-first acolytes.
If viewed with a realistic eye rather than one clouded by propaganda,
the claims that two decaying blotches on the map named Syria and Iran
constitute severe national-security threats to the United States
would earn the dismissive scorn they so richly merit.

Surging Toward Iran
The surge is buying time – for what?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-09-12

[Another outstanding and important piece by Raimondo.
I wish I had time to parse it out and provide emphasis in this document,
but instead am going to move on to other topics and leave you to read the original.]

What World War III May Look Like
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-09-25

It might be useful to imagine just how
war with Iran could play out
if the Iranians don’t roll over and surrender
at the first whiff of grapeshot.

Why Does Norman Podhoretz Hate America?
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2007-09-26

Review of
World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism
Norman Podhoretz
Doubleday, 2007
240 pp.

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Norman Podhoretz’s new book,
World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism,
is a hate-filled, anti-American book of the first order.
Podhoretz hates every American who does not support
the neoconservatives’ views,
the foreign policy they have devised, and
the military and national security disasters to which they are leading America.
Patrick Buchanan, Andrew J. Bacevich, Sir John Keegan, Brent Scowcroft,
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel Huntington, Francis Fukuyama, and many others
are all targets of Podhoretz.
These men are variously characterized as
anti-Semites, isolationists, recanters from the true creed,
or simply as small men who fear
the neoconservative utopia is about to arrive,
discredit their views, and
cost them their jobs or prestige.
Podhoretz is particularly vicious toward [Patrick] Buchanan
because he knows that
Buchanan sees through the neoconservative fantasy
with the most unrelenting acuity.
Buchanan’s frank voice and non-interventionism – not isolationism
are genuinely American characteristics,
so Podhoretz must go all out to discredit Buchanan as an anti-Semite,
lest Americans listen to Buchanan’s advice
not to get their children killed fighting other peoples’ wars,
be they wars for Israelis or Muslims or anyone else.

And who are the heroes of the story?
Podhoretz and the familiar roster of the only real Americans and Israel-firsters,
of course:
Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Charles Krauthammer, Douglas Feith,
Victor Davis Hanson, John R. Bolton, Joseph Lieberman, Richard Perle,
Robert Kagan, Max Boot, Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes,
Michael Rubin, Michael Ledeen, Kenneth Adelman, Frank Gaffney,
and a few others who have battled so long and hard
to ensure that America fights
an endless war against Muslims in Israel’s defense.
Podhoretz and his chums
are the men responsible for
the lethal mess America now faces in the Muslim world,
and they have also done more than any other group –
Hamas and Hezbollah included –
to undermine Israel’s long-term security.
In short,
the influence and arrogance of this gang
has been an unmitigated and accelerating disaster

for the two nations they claim to love most.
I will leave it up to those who read the book
to decide which country they obviously love best,
but I bet you can guess before turning a page.

Podhoretz is big on pinning the Islamofascist label on our Islamist enemies.
The phrase has nothing to do with reality, of course,
as the Islamists are far from fascists,
though they clearly are the most dangerous threat America now confronts.
Podhoretz does not care about
understanding the enemy’s real motivation and attributes

in order to annihilate him as quickly as possible.
By using the term Islamofascist
he seeks only to block any debate on the neoconservative agenda
by ensuring that its critics are identified as pro-fascist,
therefore anti-American, therefore pro-Nazi, and therefore anti-Semitic.
Other notable men have described this tactic as the Big Lie,
and it is a neocon specialty and trademark.

And if this Big Lie is not enough for you,
try another of Podhoretz’s on for size.
This one is so ahistorical and deliberately misleading
that it is hard to even begin to comment on its mendacity.
Podhoretz focuses on one of the terrorist Yasser Arafat’s rants
damning the United States as “the murderers of humanity,”
considering it divine revelation that
Arafat did not mention Israel in the single paragraph quoted in the book.
“The absence of even a word here about Israel,”
lectures Podhoretz to Americans he obviously sees as
mindless cattle who will believe any lie thrown their way,
“showed that if the Jewish state had never come into existence,
the United States would still have stood as the embodiment
of everything that most of these Arabs considered evil.
Indeed, the hatred of Israel
was in large part a surrogate for anti-Americanism,
rather than the reverse.” (91)
How many major American military conflicts with Arabs can Podhoretz name
that occurred prior to Israel’s establishment?

Podhoretz and his heroic band want the Islamist enemy to stay in the field
so that
the war he and the Israel-firsters wanted and now have
will go on and on and on.
Like the sickest and most addled of bloodletting Wilsonian interventionists,
Podhoretz quotes the puerile position of George W. Bush that
U.S. security depends on building mirror images of America abroad:
“All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know that
the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors.
When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you.” (182)
And what is the endgame of standing with those who stand for liberty?
Quoting President Bush again, Podhoretz says U.S. military forces must
“drain the swamps” of the Islamofascist world
and replace incumbent regimes with elected governments
that will “fulfill the hopes ‘of the Islamic nations [who] want and deserve
the same freedoms and opportunities as people in every nation.’ ” (135)
This effort, Podhoretz adds, is “marked by more than a touch of nobility.” (212)

In Podhoretz’s hateful prose we find the true crusader spirit
bound up with
the con-man’s willingness to distort history for political advantage.
Again using the rhetoric of George W. Bush,
Podhoretz argues
“that history had called America to action and that
it was both ‘our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom’s fight.’ ” (215)
Taken to its logical bottom line, this assertion means that
American parents should be delighted
to nobly spend the lives of their children
so Iraqis and Afghans can vote and have parliaments.
Implicit in this absurd argument is that
somehow U.S. national security requires that other people –
not all others, of course, only Muslims –
vote, behave democratically, and become secular.
This is truly analysis by assertion.
Can anyone really imagine that American society is automatically safer
because Mrs. Mohammed votes and wears mascara?
Or, alternatively, that U.S. national security is threatened
if the Pashtun tribal leaders of southeastern Afghanistan
do not appoint precinct captains to get out the vote in parliamentary elections?
Clearly, Podhoretz is running a con here,
and the price will be paid not in cash but in the blood of American kids.
Indeed, Podhoretz can only lecture the grieving parents
of the young Americans who have already died in Iraq :
“By any historical standard, our total losses were still, and would remain,
amazingly low.” (110)

History also gets in the way of Podhoretz’s worldview, so we get another con.
We are not, he argues, trying to impose democracy
and neuter the religion
of a 14-century-old Islamic civilization and 1.4 billion Muslims,
but merely trying to repair a political order
that was inappropriately arranged by the Western powers a hundred years ago.
“But here again,” Podhoretz argues,
[T]he so-called realist
[view of U.S. foreign policy that opposed the Iraq war]
ignored the reality,
which was that
the Middle East of today
was not thousands of years old,
and was not created in the seventh century
by Allah or the Prophet Mohammed. ...
Instead, the states in question
had all been conjured into existence less than one hundred years ago
out of the ruins of the defeated Ottoman Empire in World War I.
Their boundaries had been drawn by the victorious British and French
with a stroke of an often arbitrary pen,
and their hapless peoples were handed over in due course
to one tyrant after another.
This is another absurd argument that again reduces to nonsense, to wit:
The French and British tried to dictate the organization and political system
of an ancient Islamic civilization and cocked it up,
but we are much smarter – and implicitly purer –
than they were,
so we can build the perfect Muslim world.

This smug attitude does capture in a nutshell, however,
a good part of the basic un-Americanism of the neoconservatives;
they are a foreign and, I think, malign influence in our body politic.
America is a republic
founded on the principles and insights derived
from what Gertrude Himmelfarb has described
in her brilliant work The Roads to Modernity
as the American Enlightenment,
fundamental to which is a profound belief in
the utter imperfectability of man.
and his all-knowing and stern-minded gang of neoconservative warmongers,
on the other hand,
are the heirs of the French Enlightenment’s faith in man’s perfectibility,
the principles of which have brought the world
the bloody horrors and mass murder
conducted by the French revolutionaries, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot,
and any number of others
who attempted to create a perfect society.
There is no sane reason to believe that
neoconservative-led efforts to “perfect” Muslim society
would yield less bloodshed,
much less to imagine that it would increase security for the United States.

The other part of
the fundamental un-Americanism of Podhoretz and his brothers
lies in
their use of the ideas and heroes of American history
only if they further their “enlightened” foreign policy;
all others they ignore or misrepresent.

Picking and choosing
from the words of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy,
Podhoretz tries to infer that fighting a “world war” against the Islamofascists
is identical to fighting world wars against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan,
and then the Soviet Union.
This sounds good if you say it fast,
but the selective use of our presidents’ words by Podhoretz
is just another of his inaccurate assertions.

Germany, Japan, and the USSR were modern industrial nation-states
that posed direct, tangible, and sustainable military threats
to the survival of the United States.
The Islamofascist enemy is a specious conjuring of the neoconservatives
that does not exist.
The Islamist threat personified and led by Osama bin Laden
is a direct, tangible, and enduring national-security threat to the United States, but it does not now amount to a world war,
and it will not unless the neoconservatives continue to hold sway.
We are fighting a war with the Islamists that is ours to lose,
and at the moment we are successfully losing it
because President Bush
and 17 of the 19 individuals in the current crop of presidential candidates
buy Podhoretz’s lethal lie that
the Islamists are “the latest mutation of the totalitarian threat to our civilization”
and are, “like the Nazis and the Communists before them …
dedicated to the destruction of
the freedoms we cherish and for which Americans stand.” (14-15)

America’s war with the bin Laden-led Islamists
is fueled by
the impact of U.S. and Western interventionist foreign policies
in the Islamic world,

not, as Podhoretz claims,
by “our virtues as a free and prosperous country.” (102)
To the extent that America combines reduced interventionism
with military action against genuine threats,
we will defeat the Islamists.

The increased interventionism of Podhoretz and his coterie
will lead to endless war abroad
and eventually between Muslim Americans and their countrymen at home –
and America’s defeat.

Podhoretz’s final con comes at the expense of the late George Kennan.
Podhoretz takes some of Kennan’s words and twists them in a way
that makes him seem like
a supporter of the neoconservatives’ endless overseas interventionism
and war-for-perfection agenda.
At the end of his book, Podhoretz quotes Kennan:
“To avoid destruction
the United States need only to measure up to its own best traditions
and prove itself worthy of preservation as a great nation.” (215)
With this passage he leaves the reader to believe that
Kennan would have supported the neoconservative crusade
“to beat back the ‘implacable challenge’ of Islamofascism
as the ‘greatest generation’ of World War II
in taking on the Nazis and their fascist allies,
and as its children and grandchildren ultimately managed to do
in confronting the Soviet Union and its Communist empire
in World War III.” (217)

This is an intolerable and deliberately misleading attempt
to make Kennan appear to be an arch-interventionist.
Toward the end of his long life,
Kennan wrote something of a valedictory essay for his fellow citizens
in Foreign Affairs (March/April 1995), “On American Principles.”
In this essay
Kennan praised John Quincy Adams’s noninterventionist foreign policy
as a principle appropriate to America,
and, more important, described how it was admirably applicable
to the chaos and confusion of the post-Cold War world.
The dangers inherent in U.S. interventionism after the Cold War, Kennan wrote,
are roughly similar to those
that clearly underlay John Quincy Adams’ response to similar problems
so many years ago –
his recognition that it is very difficult for one country to help another
by intervening directly in its domestic affairs
or in its conflicts with its neighbors.
It is particularly difficult to do this
without creating new and unwelcome embarrassments and burdens
for the country endeavoring to help.
The best way for a larger country to help smaller ones
is surely by the power of example.
Adams made this clear in the address cited above.
One will recall his urging that the best response we could give
to those appealing to us for support
would be to give them what he called
‘the benign sympathy of our example.’
To go further, he warned, and try to give direct assistance would be
to involve ourselves beyond the power of extrication
‘in all the wars of interest and intrigue,
of individual avarice, envy, and ambition,
which assumed the colors and usurped the standards of freedom.’
Who, today, looking at our involvements of recent years,
could maintain that the fears these words expressed
were any less applicable in our time than in his?
Does this sound like the warmongering of the neoconservative interventionists?
I think not.
It rather sounds like the words of a man
who knows his country’s history and traditions and its peoples’ character
far better than the obtuse Podhoretz and crew.
At one point in his book Podhoretz quotes W.H. Auden’s description of the 1930s
as “a low and dishonest decade.” (188)
There is no better overall description
for Norman Podhoretz’s World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism
than “low and dishonest.”

Wars to Watch Out For
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-19

2008 will bring us an abundant crop of overseas crises.


Destabilizing the Islamic World
by Gabriel Kolko
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-03

The following is an excerpt from Kolko's 2002 book
Another Century of War, published by New Press.

The West's Orwellian Monopoly on Morality
by Paul Craig Roberts
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-24

[Its beginning and end (emphasis is added).]

The first use of nuclear weapons
must remain in the quiver of escalation
as the ultimate instrument
to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.

— Five Western military leaders.

I read the statement three times trying to figure out the typo.
Then it hit me, the West has now out-Orwelled Orwell:
The West must nuke other countries
in order to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction!

In Westernspeak,
the West nuking other countries
does not qualify
as the use of weapons of mass destruction.


The US and Israel need a puppet government in Palestine
so that a ghettoized remnant of Palestine
can be turned into a “two-state solution.”
The two states will be Israel incorporating the stolen West Bank and
a Palestinian ghetto without an economy, water, or contiguous borders.

This is necessary in order to protect Israel from the brutal outside world.

Inhabitants of the brutal world are confused about
the “self-determination” advocated by Western leaders.
It doesn’t mean that those outside Western civilization and Israel
should decide for themselves.
“Self” means American.
The term, so familiar to us, means “American-determination.”
The US determines and others obey.

It is the brutal world that causes all the trouble by not obeying.

The Silenced Majority
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-05-09

No one wants another war – so why does it seem inevitable?

Short Cuts
by Adam Shatz
London Review of Books, 2008-10-09

[Its beginning; emphasis is added.]

If you live in an American swing state
you may have received a copy of ‘Obsession’ in your Sunday paper.
‘Obsession’ isn’t a perfume: it’s a documentary about
‘radical Islam’s war against the West’.
In the last two weeks of September, 28 million copies of the film
were enclosed as an advertising supplement in 74 newspapers,
including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
‘The threat of Radical Islam
is the most important issue facing us today,’

the sleeve announces.
‘It’s our responsibility to ensure we can make an informed vote in November.’
The Clarion Fund, the supplement’s sponsor, ...
is a front for neoconservative and Israeli pressure groups.


Bringing the Arab-Israeli War Home
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2009-01-05

[The full article; emphasis is added.]

If America were blessed with a noninterventionist foreign policy,
we could all thank Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
for giving President-elect Barack Obama a thoroughgoing lesson in
the absolute irrelevancy of Israel and Palestine
to the national interests of the United States.
More than a week into Israel’s invasion of Gaza,
America is still alive and kicking and none of our citizens are dead,
which is the way it should be, as this is their religious war and not ours.
If stubborn noninterventionism were our creed – as the Founders intended –
the Gaza war could continue for two more days or two more months
and we could simply shrug and mutter “Who cares?”
America could simply go on its way,
rebuilding its economy and marveling over the madness of
two religions fighting to the death
over a barren sandpit at the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

America today is run by a political and media elite
that is addicted to intervention.
This would be bad enough
if these men and women had the brains to intervene
and produce a result that benefits U.S. interests,
but they are not.
They are instead – despite their Ivy League diplomas –
uneducated and naïve people who still live in the Cold War,
foolishly believing that
  • America is the boss of a strong Western/NATO community
    (which is now in its death throes on Afghanistan’s plains);
  • other nations are eager to do America’s dirty work;
    and, most fatally of all,
  • the national security interests of the United States and Israel
    are identical.

There should be no mistake among Americans about what is going on in Gaza.
Although Israel has billed its invasion as an attempt to destroy Hamas
and thereby protect Israelis,
its main goal is to ensure that
Obama is tied as tight as Gulliver
to the status quo of U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world.

In addition to hurting Hamas,
Israel’s invasion of Gaza was designed to and has successfully underscored
the salience of
Osama bin Laden’s now 12-plus-year-old message to the Muslim world:
  • First, that
    the United States – under Republicans or Democrats –
    will allow Israel to do anything it pleases
    in regard to starving and bombing the Palestinians.

    This has been underlined for Muslims by
    the words of President George W. Bush,
    the silence of President-elect Obama, and,
    according to the Jerusalem Post,
    by the blame-it-all-on-the-Palestinians visits of
    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
    New York Congressman Gary Ackerman,
    and leaders of major U.S. Jewish organizations.
  • Second, that
    the ruling Muslim regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and elsewhere
    are impotent “agents” of the Zionists and Crusaders
    and will do nothing to protect Muslims
    when they are attacked by the U.S.-led West,
    be those attacks in Palestine, Pakistan, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

    “[The] failure of the Arab foreign ministers at their meeting in Cairo
    to take any position
    to confront the continuing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip,”
    explains the independent and influential UK-based Arabic daily
    Al-Quds al-Arabi,
    “confirms the theory that says
    the Israeli aggression has come as a result of coordination and the blessing of influential Arab states,
    especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”
  • Third, that
    Muslims are regarded by the West as subhumans,
    and their blood, lives, and children are – for America, Israel, and Europe –
    worthless and expendable.
    The Gaza score to date
    will indelibly make this point across the Islamic world:
    to date, 500 dead and 2,300 wounded Palestinians
    and less than 10 dead Israelis.
    As Pakistan’s Frontier Post has said,
    the West silently watches as
    “Israel is set to starve the Palestinian Muslims into nonexistence. …
    No respect for Muslim life!
    Muslim blood is cheaper than water!”

After the Gaza invasion, Israel will have accomplished two vital goals.
It will have reenergized Hamas, which will in turn
renew the suicide bombings inside Israel
that allow America’s Israel-firsters –
including Obama’s IDF-veteran chief of staff
to portray their country-of-first-allegiance as the poor, put-upon innocent.
It will also have produced
the end of whatever slim hope there was
of an Arab-Israeli peace settlement over the course of Obama’s term.

What is likely to become known across the Islamic world as the “Gaza slaughter
will ensure the continued growth of
the Sunni insurgency al-Qaeda leads and inspires.
All told, Israeli leaders at the conclusion of the Gaza invasion
will be able to more credibly quote President Bush and say that
their “mission” has been accomplished.

Now, there is no reason for Americans to be angry at Israel.
Hamas is a nagging military threat to Israel,
and Israel’s leaders can defend their citizens
in the manner they deem appropriate.
Indeed, had various U.S. governments abstained from
continuously intervening in the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past 30 years,
it may well have been long since settled and over – one way or another.

The American people should be livid, though,
with their bipartisan political elite
and the Israel-firsters at
Commentary, the New York Times, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Washington Post
[cf. this article by Philip Giraldi],
as well as that hive of anti-American U.S. citizens that fund and lead AIPAC,
for involving them in this barbarous mess.
At some point down the road,
every U.S.-taxpayer-funded bomb, artillery shell, and bullet
aimed at the Palestinians
will yield Americans killed at the hands of
al-Qaeda, its allies, or those it inspires
in attacks launched in response to U.S. support for Israel.

Those Americans will be killed because their political and media leaders –
corrupted to the bone by AIPAC –
have involved them in
a religious war that threatens nothing vital to
their country’s principles or national security,
their personal economic well-being, or
their children’s lives.

And worse is yet to come.
Israel’s Gaza invasion has produced an unusual number of
public anti-Israel demonstrations
by American Muslims around the United States.
The 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war produced similar events,
but the current, Gaza-focused demonstrations are angrier and larger in number.
How long, one wonders, will it be before
Israel’s military actions lead to violent clashes in America?

If this occurs,
Israel and its American supporters will have the insurance policy
they desire above any other,
one they are desperate to obtain before Israel takes harsh action –
by forced deportation or other means –
against its rapidly growing and radicalizing Arab population.

Once the Arab-Israeli religious war
has been brought into the United States
and is producing blood in America’s streets,
the Israel-firsters will claim
the carnage proves that
secular America and theocratic Israel
are in the same boat and facing the same enemies.
Flogging this plausible but palpable lie,
AIPAC-owned American leaders will consign this country to
an unending war against Islam,
the same catastrophe that is Israel’s lot.

Radical Rethink Needed in Washington
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-03-03

It is time to put an end to fortress America and force Jack Bauer to retire.
President Barack Obama is reportedly reviewing America’s involvement in various conflicts overseas as well as its domestic defenses.
He would be well advised to make the review a thorough one,
starting at zero
and challenging every assumption being made about the nation’s security.

Over the past seven years the United States has struck the devil’s own bargain,
trading liberty for security and receiving neither in return.
Given the tumult in the U.S. economy,
Obama might also consider broadening the inquiry
to include a serious cost-benefit analysis,
because George Bush’s Global War on Terror and his monstrous Department of Homeland Security don’t come cheap.
Indeed, the heedless borrowing of money from foreigners
to fight a series of wars without end “to protect the homeland”
was undeniably a contributing factor in America’s economic meltdown.
The British Empire collapsed due to the huge budget deficits
in running a global enterprise that, like the war on terror,
had no beginning or end and no bottom line.
The Soviet Empire, sheltered for a time by a command economy,
was likewise doomed because
its economy could not sustain the burden of a swollen military budget
combined with support of numerous client states.

It is arguably now America’s turn to learn about the twilight of empire.
What comes out of the process might well be a new and better place,
but the transformation could be a traumatic one.
The stream of revenue that supports a huge military,
more expensive than almost the rest of the world combined,
plus a burgeoning domestic security complex,
could easily vanish if President Obama’s stimulus program fails to work,
as is all too likely.
The Chinese and Japanese will call in their chips,
and the dollar will sink to the level of the Belarusian ruble.
It is not surprising to note how the generals and their mouthpieces in the media
are already starting to groan and stage their counterattack,
stressing the need for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
to guarantee America’s security.
Petraeus and Odierno are being described as
military geniuses on a par with Hannibal and Napoleon,
with the implication that all that is needed is for them to “finish the job.”
The bill of goods about trusting the generals
has been sold a number of times in the past seven years,
and there is no reason to assume that it cannot be sold again,
even though the American people are now confronting very hard times.

[“[T]he generals” is way too broad.
Some (really, a few) generals are willing, for one reason or another,
to say what the Israeli Lobby wants them to say;
the media then emphasizes those statements.
On the other hand,
four-star generals who have favored reducing our involvement in Iraq include
Casey, Abizaid, Fallon (actually an admiral), and, perhaps, Zinni.

And I think his line about “the generals and their mouthpieces in the media”
really, clearly, has the cause-and-effect relationship backward.]

The issues of security and the federal government budget
are, of course, linked
and are further complicated by
hidden costs in maintaining a constant war footing
that distorts the economy overall.
America’s heavily armed troopers
are vastly more expensive than the conscript grunt of Vietnam,
as are the armored vehicles that transport them into battle,
the technical wizardry that supports them,
and even the defense contractors who feed them.
The tenuous Iraq supply line snaking up from Kuwait,
guarded as it is by platoons of mercenaries,
drives the cost of food, fuel, and equipment to support the occupation
to unimaginable levels.
Harvard economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that
the total cost of the war in Iraq alone will exceed $3 trillion,
and that war is not over yet.
Afghanistan is already promising to be worse.
The supply line
from the port of Karachi in Pakistan up through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan
has been cut repeatedly over the past three months.
The militants have figured out that the long streams of trucks
constitute a vulnerable jugular for the entire Afghan project.
Overland shipment through Turkey and Russia
will increase the costs even more.

Obama should, for starters,
negotiate without preconditions
with all of Iraq’s neighbors and non-state players
to create a stable security environment for the entire region.
Groups and nations described as “rogues” – Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas –
will behave accordingly if they are deliberately marginalized.
Their legitimate concerns need to be addressed.
Obama should then bring the troops home from Iraq, all of them.
There is nothing more that they can accomplish, and
it is time for the Iraqis to sort things out for themselves
with America’s best wishes.

Israel should be made to understand that
they should roll back the settlements
and seek a viable two-state solution with the Palestinians
or risk forfeiting both economic and political support from Washington.
[This is also the proposal of Mearsheimer and Walt.]
Obama should then provide evidence that
the age of American imperialism is over
by declaring the war in Afghanistan over
and working closely with
all relevant parties among the Pakistanis, Afghans, and Indians
to create a security structure for the region
that will preempt any development of a state sponsor of terrorism.
He should then look hard at
the other vestiges of America’s post-World War II empire,
including the U.S. hostage soldiers in Korea,
the large military presence in Japan, and
the still considerable U.S. bases in Germany.
All served a function during the Cold War,
but none of them any longer have any role
apart from convincing America’s allies
that Washington is serious about mutual defense.
Europe, Korea, and Japan should all work with the United States
to determine how to defend themselves,
a relatively easy task as they face no serious threats
apart from a bellicose but barefoot North Korea.

The U.S. defense budget is 40 percent of the world’s total for military expenditures, even though there is no real enemy to fight.
By eliminating “wars of choice” and removing bases around the globe,
the Pentagon budget could be pared down
from its projected $663 billion for 2010
by at least a third to $440 billion.
We don’t need three more infantry divisions,
as we will not be looking around for someone to fight,
nor the F-22 fighter, as no one can challenge the U.S. in the air,
and we surely don’t need more carrier groups,
as Washington already has the world’s only blue-water navy.

[In evident contrast to Mr. Giraldi,
I think that the weapons purchased during the Cold War
do need to be replaced and even upgraded to current technology
as they wear out.
We are not adding more carrier battle groups,
rather we are replacing carriers when they reach the end of their life-span.
The just retired Kitty Hawk was commissioned in 1961!
The next carrier to be replaced, which is still operating,
the Enterprise, was also commissioned in 1961.

As to the F-22,
the top-of-the-line air superiority fighter it is replacing, the F-15,
is also nearing the end of its service life in many cases,
due to metal fatigue.
Yes, $150 million per replacement is expensive,
but its advanced capabilities will make Russia or China think very hard
about trying to challenge the U.S. in air superiority.
Some would like to replace the F-15 with F-35s,
but that aircraft is much less capable than the F-22 in many respects;
further, it is still under development and will, almost surely,
suffer the same cost growth that so many of its predecessors did.

Obama in a speech stated
he was not interested in buying Cold War era weapons that never get used.
On the contrary, the fact that they are not used is, I think,
a signal of their success.]

Obama should also look at the Department of Homeland Security.
Its budget of $50 billion is only the tip of the iceberg,
as many of its costs are subsumed or hidden in other budgets.
By all means, take every step necessary to secure America’s borders
but the compilation of no-fly and terrorist lists
has been largely a mismanaged fraud,
with many innocent Americans caught up in
a Big Brotherish nightmare from which there is no escape.
If there were really as many terrorists in the U.S. as appear on the list,
the homeland would have fallen long ago.
Contrived show trials of paint gunners and pizza delivery men
hardly provide convincing evidence
that there is a terrorist hiding under every bush.
Homeland Security has been an albatross ever since it was created.
Its color codes have been a joke,
its leadership has been moribund, and
its claims that it has protected the country from attack
have been largely a fiction.
It has driven up costs for American companies operating internationally
and turned the U.S. into a destination that few tourists seek
because of
a corps of hostile officials puffed up on testosterone at ports of entry.

And then there is the huge and growing intelligence budget,
semi-officially running around $55 billion
but actually at least half again bigger than that.
Shut down the office of the director of national intelligence,
since it only duplicates functions elsewhere
and adds extra layers of bureaucracy and cost.
Reconstitute the CIA and give its director genuine authority
over budgets and intelligence operations worldwide.
Then fire most of the tens of thousands of intelligence contractors
and all of the staff employees who are doing anything
that does not directly relate to terrorism or nuclear proliferation.
It really doesn’t matter who is elected in Botswana next month,
and we don’t need the local CIA station to recruit a spy to figure it out.
Anything that cannot actually harm the United States we should ignore.
That way costs will be reduced
and the intelligence community will become efficient, centralized,
and able to truly speak with one voice.
This would also reverse the militarization of intelligence operations
that took place under the Bushies.

A little more lopping here and chopping there and, voilà,
there will be a balanced budget.
[Here, again, I part company with Mr. Giraldi.
While I agree with him on ending America’s foreign wars
and reducing its overseas commitments,
I think it needs to increase, not decrease, what it spends on high-tech weapons.
And even if the cuts he proposes were made,
to think they could amount to more than a few hundred billion,
let alone the $1.5T deficit counting
all the cash being used to try to stimulate the economy
or the $500G deficit not counting all that,
I think is a fantasy.]

America will also be able to stand tall in the world again,
no longer the school bully,
no longer interfering in other people’s quarrels,
a friend to all.
A fantasy? Not really. It could be done.
The United States
quickly demobilized and returned to a peacetime economy
after the Second World War.
In those days,
the U.S. produced more of what it consumed and was energy efficient,
with huge cash reserves,
so admittedly things are a little different now.
But if Barack Obama were able to bring about even a tiny shift in direction
for an impoverished America circling the globe in search of dragons,
it would truly be change that we can all believe in.

[I agree with his basic thrust here.]

The quagmire in southwest Asia: How did we get there?
by Stephen Walt
ForeignPolicy.com, 2009-03-16

[Most of the article; paragraph identifiers and emphasis are added.]

Historians a century from now will probably still be trying to explain
how the United States got itself bogged down in southwest Asia,
engaged in a fruitless effort
to construct stable and more-or-less democratic orders there.
They may understand the process, perhaps, but they will still wonder
why the United States failed to learn
from the costly and painful experience
of great powers like Great Britain and the Soviet Union
that came to grief there.

[Answer (with respect to our post-2003 commitment):
The Israel Lobby and the feminists wanted the intervention
(to teach those sexist and/or resistant to Israel’s actions Muslims a lesson;
see “language of force” quote at the top of this post
for an illustration of Israeli thinking),
and either were ignorant of (most feminists)
or didn’t give a shit about (the Zionists)
the history.]


How did we get into this mess?
Answer: one step at a time.
Revisiting the origins of this sorry situation reminds us that
great powers usually walk into debacles with their eyes wide open.
Wide open, but still blind.

Mind you,
I’m no expert on the politics of southwest Asia,
and I don’t consider myself an authority on U.S. policy there.
So feel free to take the following summary with a few grains of salt.
But with that caveat in mind,
here’s my reconstruction of the steps that led us to where we are today,
and the main lesson we ought to draw from them.

Step 1 was
the U.S. decision to back the Afghan mujahidin
following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

This step made sense at the time,
given the U.S. goal of containing and eventually toppling the Soviet regime.
the policy also involved pouring lots of money into Pakistan,
which fueled corruption.
Washington also turned a mostly blind eye towards Pakistan’s nuclear program, because its cooperation was essential to the war against the Soviet occupation.
Saudi Arabia backed the American effort with money and people
(with our encouragement),
and used this opportunity
to fund religious schools and spread Wahhabi doctrines.
As a result, the Afghan war became the crucible in which
al Qaeda and other forms of jihadi terrorism were forged.

Step 2 was
the policy of “dual containment,”
first enunciated by Martin Indyk
(who was then a special assistant to President Bill Clinton)
in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
(which Indyk helped found) in 1993.
This policy committed the United States to containing both Iraq and Iran,
even though both countries were hostile to one another,
and it required the United States
to keep significant air and ground forces in Saudi Arabia.
According to both Kenneth Pollock and Trita Parsi, “dual containment”
was mostly intended to reassure Israel about a possible threat from Iran,
thereby facilitating Israeli concessions during the Oslo peace process. Unfortunately, not only did we mismanage the peace process,
but the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia
became one of Osama bin Laden’s main grievances
and helped inspire his decision to go after American forces in the region
and to attack the U.S. homeland on September 11, 2001.

Step 3 was
the decision to invade Afghanistan and topple the Taliban
in the wake of al Qaeda’s attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
We obviously could not permit our homeland to be attacked with impunity
and we certainly had ample reason
to track down Bin Laden and his henchmen and bring them all to justice.
But the Bush administration muffed the job.
The Bush administration also committed the United States to
the construction of a new Afghani political order,
a challenging task which it clearly was not up to,
and which maybe no U.S. administration could have accomplished.

Step 4 was
the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in March 2003,
which reduced the resources and attention devoted to Afghanistan,
allowed Bin Laden to remain at large,
and enabled the Taliban to reemerge as a major actor.
At the same time,
our post-9/11 embrace of President Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorial regime
made us increasingly complicit in Pakistan’s internal affairs,
at a moment when its political system was beginning to unravel again.

Lastly, Step 5:
The apparent tactical success of the “surge” in Iraq
and the 2008 Presidential election
combined to put southwest Asia back on the front burner.
The idea that “the surge worked” convinced many people that
a similar approach would work in Afghanistan,
even though the surge has failed to produce
the all-important political reconciliation
essential to genuine success in Iraq,
and even though the circumstances in Afghanistan
are fundamentally different from Iraq.
Barack Obama, of course,
took a hawkish line on Afghanistan during the campaign,
mainly because doing so
enabled him to criticize the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq
while still appearing strong on national security.
it also committed the new president to a foolish course of action.

The lesson is clear:
we have gradually waded into the southwest Asian “Big Muddy”
not as the result of a coherent strategic plan,
but rather through
a set of reactive and essentially tactical decisions
extending back several decades.
Apart from the invasion of Iraq, which was an obvious blunder,
each of these other decisions might be defensible on its own.
[Michael Scheuer has argued eloquently, at great length,
and apparently knowledgeably
that our approach to Afghanistan was doomed from the beginning.]

Taken together, however, they add up to a costly strategic misstep.
And things could get much worse if we are not careful.

What we need to do at this critical juncture is to stop, take a deep breath,
and ask the bedrock question that underpins any grand strategy:
what are our vital interests in this part of the world?
As I’ve suggested before,
our interests in southwest Asia are minimal,
and they are not likely to be furthered by
a large-scale and protracted U.S. military presence.
we don’t want terrorists using this territory to organize attacks on U.S. soil,
we want whoever is governing Pakistan
to keep its small nuclear arsenal under lock and key.

As Leslie Gelb convincingly argued in a recent op-ed,
achieving those two goals
does not require extensive social engineering in either country.
Wading deeper into Afghanistan and Pakistan is a fool’s errand,
and one that Obama will one day regret.

Obama and the Neocon Middle East War Agenda
by Stephen J. Sniegoski
Antiwar.com, 2009-03-21

A Conversation With David Kilcullen
Interview by Carlos Lozada
Washington Post Outlook, 2009-03-22

The ‘Long War’ Will Be as Pointless and Bloody as Europe’s
By William Pfaff
Antiwar.com, 2009-04-03

[Emphasis is added.]


The Thirty Years’ War (161848) occupies little space
in the school texts of the English-speaking world,
but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke,
a civilian closer than most foreign policy appointees to realism,
indicates that the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war,
is the entry passageway into another stage in the war.

George W. Bush [43]’s war on terror was the front door,
and Barack Obama [44] now has gone through the waiting room door
into what the Pentagon has prepared for him,
our very own thirty years’ war:
purposeless, neither winnable nor losable short of genocidal measures —
or, as in the 17th century,
by laying waste the lands and ruining nations.

The Long War, like the Thirty Years’ War,
began with dramatic but intrinsically unimportant events.
In Bohemia [cf.], ruled by the Catholic Hapsburg empire,
Bohemian nationalism had become identified with radical Protestant reformism,
and the war began with
the Catholic authorities closing one such church and destroying another.
In May 1618,
two Catholic governors were thrown from a window in the palace of Prague
(they survived).
[An act which resulted in the immortalization of the word “defenestration,”
once a favorite of the SAT Verbal.]

From that, one thing followed another.
The first two stages were mainly Catholics against Protestants.
The rest was a struggle between Protestant Sweden,
with French Catholic Bourbon allies,
for control of northern Germany and the Baltic region.
It was very bloody, fought by mercenary armies that lived by pillage.
It settled very little [cf.], and bankrupted nearly everyone involved.
[And resulted in incredible devastion and casualties,
up to half of the male population, in much of seventeenth century Germany.]

America’s Long War began with the destruction of two skyscrapers —
temples of American commerce, as their Arab attackers identified them,
plus an attack on the Pentagon,
the closest the United States has to a temple honoring war.

The cause was intrinsically unimportant to anyone
except the attackers and victims.
The former were “punishing” the United States
for building “enduring” military bases in Saudi Arabia,
the sacred land of Muslim prophesy,
and punishing the Saud dynasty in Saudi Arabia
for having permitted this sacrilege.
[For some reason unknown to me Pfaff, like so many others, ignores
bin Laden’s explicit statement of October 2004
of what motivated him to sanction and support the attack on 9/11.]

Only a few score, nearly all of them Saudi Arabians, were active in the attack,
and the fatal casualties numbered some 3,000, a holiday weekend traffic toll.

As in the 17th century, one thing led to another,
much of it having nothing directly to do with the attacks.
Afghanistan was attacked, bombed, its government overthrown.
Iraq was invaded because
the Bush-Cheney government had a long-standing interest in controlling Iraqi oil
and because
the neoconservatives
[Here Pfaff shows his bias.
He is unable to utter the noun phrase “the Israel lobby” or the noun “Jews.”]

wished to destroy
the Arab state thought most likely to threaten Israel.

The Taliban returned to Afghanistan while Washington’s attention was on Iraq. European NATO became involved for no better reason than that
the United States told it to do so.

This brought terrorist outrages in London and Madrid,
as well as an attempt in Scotland,
by disgruntled Muslim immigrants or students at Western universities.
The United States remained untouched.

The extension of the war into southern Afghanistan and Pakistan means
  • tripled economic aid to Pakistan during the next five years,
  • augmented military aid,
  • U.S. military expenditures and
  • the costs (actually increasing)
    of Iraq withdrawal (if it does take place),
    and as many as six new U.S. bases in southern Afghanistan, plus
    the enlarged army and Marine Corps President Obama has promised.
This adds to the commitment of funds made in the past six months
to the cost of remaking the international economy.

I can add nothing to the financial estimations for Barack Obama’s new war.
I can only plead for an answer as to what it is for.
Can anyone really believe that
the United States and the NATO countries of Europe
are in danger from the Taliban in Afghanistan?

If the people and government of Afghanistan
are incapable of defending themselves against
their own Taliban nationalists and religious extremists,
as after the first American intervention in 2001,
surely that is their problem.

The Afghan people have run off everybody else
who tried to conquer them during the past two and a half thousand years,
and it has not led to Afghanistan’s domination of the world.

What if the Taliban convert all the other Muslims in the world
to Islamic fundamentalism?
What difference would it make to Barack Obama?

Are North and South Americans, Europeans,
Chinese, Japanese and all the non-Muslim people of the world
going to be overrun by bearded Taliban counter-Crusaders on motorbikes?

Suppose they stole a nuclear bomb? So what?
There have been thousands of nuclear weapons around
for more than half a century
and nothing has happened;
and suppose they did shoot one off?
Everyone else is going to take a look at the consequences and be very impressed — just as last time.
[Here Pfaff seems less concerned about the consequences
than I, and I suspect most others, can be.]

The consequences of expanding this meaningless war
will not be Taliban nuclear conquest of the world
but, as in the case of the Thirty Years’ War,
involvement of one group or country after another for goals of their own,
having nothing to do with the governments or the issues that started it all.

The only things that will stop this before it gets worse
is simply to stop,
or go bankrupt.

Ambush by an Ally Chills Trust in Iraqi Units
New York Times, 2009-05-07

Obama Steers Toward Endless War With Islam
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2009-05-20

[Since Scheuer wrote this,
the Obama administration has made at least one positive move
towards reducing the conflict:
its requests to Israel that it freeze settlement growth.]

In just over 100 days,
President Obama is on the verge of ensuring that
militant Islam’s war on America will be waged for decades to come
and its forces will never suffer manpower or money shortages.
How did he accomplish so much in some little time?
He simply behaved as all U.S. political leaders behave;
that is, as an ignorant and arrogant interventionist.

Let us take the ignorant part first.
Since Jan. 20, Obama and his band of Israel-Firsters
have shown the Muslim world – moderate, conservative, radical, and fanatic –
that George W. Bush was no one-off fluke,
that Democrats intend to wage war on Islam just like the Republicans.
How so?
Well, look at Obama’s decisions and actions.
They can only be explained by accepting that
the new president is ignorant of our Islamist foes....

For 13 years, Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants, their allies,
and numerous anti-Islamist commentators across the Middle East
have patiently, repeatedly, and explicitly explained
to the bipartisan U.S. governing elite and its media and academic acolytes
the Islamists attacking America do not give a tinker’s damn
about its lifestyle, liberties, freedoms, or elections.

Orally and in print, U.S. leaders have been told
what motivates the Islamists’ war on America
is the U.S. government’s foreign policies in the Muslim world.
Foremost among these are
U.S. support for Muslim tyrannies,
the U.S. military’s presence in Muslim lands,
and unqualified U.S. support for Israel.

And what have Obama and his advisers done
with this excellent intelligence about enemy motivation,
which, by the way, comes straight from the horse’s mouth?
Well, they clearly ignored it,
and by deciding to operate in an intelligence-free environment
Obama has acted in a way
that will intensify and prolong the Islamists’ war against the United States.
How so?
  • On the tyranny front,
    Obama chose to go to Turkey for his first visit to the Muslim world.
    That country is formally governed by an Islamic party,
    but it is actually ruled by a thoroughly Westernized general staff
    ready to pounce on and dismantle the Islamic regime
    if it gets too religiously ambitious.
    Needless to say, Turkey is regarded by many Muslims
    as having long ago sold its Islamic soul
    by joining the “Christian” NATO alliance.
  • Obama then proceeded
    to acknowledge America’s oil vassalage to Saudi Arabia
    when, on being introduced,
    he bowed to Saudi King Abdullah, the master of the Saudi police state.
    The president also chose to speak his first televised words to Muslims
    in an interview on al-Arabiya television,
    the mouthpiece of the Saudi tyranny.
  • Obama next said that he will go to Egypt to address Muslims in a speech he promised during the presidential campaign.
    This visit will show Obama prating about
    the glories of secular democracy and the peacefulness of Islam
    while standing cheek-by-jowl with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,
    chief warden of the Muslim world’s premier police state.
  • On the military side,
    Obama has announced plans to send 21,000 more U.S. troops
    to what Muslims call “the defiant land of jihad, Afghanistan.”
    The arrival of those troops –
    too few to win but enough to slow our defeat –
    will be portrayed by al-Jazeera, the BBC,
    and especially the Saudis’ anti-American shills at al-Arabiya
    as a brutal re-invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Obama was silent while Israel invaded and wrecked Gaza last winter;
    has appointed an IDF veteran as his chief of staff –
    think of the espionage potential in that move;
    has watched the proliferation of Israeli settlements;
    and has re-imposed sanctions on Syria
    and kept war with Iran on the front burner.
    His Justice Department has also exempted from prosecution
    Israel-First Americans and their agents in the Congress.

Like former president Bush, then,
Obama has kept himself ignorant of the Islamists’ motivation
and is playing directly into their hands;
indeed, bin Laden, with all his road-building skills,
could not pave a smoother path to hell for America.
In taking this tack, Obama also displays
the abiding arrogance that permeates our governing elite,
an attitude that causes them to believe
that both Muslims and Americans are stupid.
If you doubt this,
listen to the sophomoric words of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
as he tries to make sure
that no one looks behind the curtain of Mubarak’s tyranny
when Obama speaks in Egypt:
“[T]his isn’t a speech to leaders.
This is a speech to many, many people
and a continuing effort by this president and this White House
to demonstrate how we can work together
to ensure the safety and security
and the future well-being through hope and opportunity
of the children of this country and of the Muslim world.”

Well, Mr. Gibbs, as one of Obama’s predecessors once said,
you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
Elected on a pledge to end Bush’s wars,
Obama has instead ensured their extension
by actions sure to further inflame Islamists and, indeed,
most Muslims governed by royal, military, or elected-for-life tyrants.
As it becomes clear that Obama’s administration
is miring America deeper in a war with Islam that benefits only Israel,
he and his advisers will repeat the mantra long intoned by Israeli politicians:
“We tried our best to better relations with Islam,
but we were rebuffed and so now Americans must soldier on in endless wars.”
This will be a lie.
Obama may use softer rhetoric,
but he is loyal to the status quo interventionism Washington practices
no matter which party holds power.

The only redeeming aspect of Obama’s 100-plus-day foreign-policy debacle is that
his deceit is about played out.
He will fool no Muslims.
His courting of Westernized Turkish generals,
bowing to King Abdullah, and
joining Mubarak in a cheer for freedom
will tell Muslims all they need to know about U.S. intentions in their region.
Likewise, Obama’s expanding war in Afghanistan
and his kowtowing to Israel and American Israel-Firsters
will give the lie to
his claim that Washington is now an honest broker in the Middle East.

Americans will be slower off the mark than Muslims,
but they will soon see that Democrats share the Republicans’ eagerness
to wage unnecessary wars at the cost of their children and taxes.
The inevitable need for more troops and money
to stave off U.S. defeat in Afghanistan,
the increased Islamist attacks on U.S. interests at home and abroad,
and – most of all – the unraveling of “success” in Iraq
(which, in turn, will prevent a U.S. withdrawal that would be lethal to Israel)
[I take exception.
I do not see how an American withdrawal from Iraq
would significantly harm Israel’s interests.
The Iraqis will be too busy for years to come
rebuilding both their country and they polity
to seriously harm Israel, even if they wanted to.
Besides, the remaining Iraqi government, whatever it looks like,
will be eager for American aid, which threatening Israel would forestall.]

will be seen by Americans for what they are:
the price of an ignorant, arrogant interventionism
that is ruining not only America’s economy and domestic cohesion,
but their kids’ future prosperity and security.
At this point, a long overdue foreign-policy debate can begin.
It will give Americans a last chance
to realign the republic’s foreign policy
with the tenets of Washington’s Farewell Address
and, in so doing,
forever break the corrupting power of the Israel-Firsters,
individuals who Washington uncannily described in 1796 as
“ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens …
[who] betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country.”

Pray to God this occurs
before a cynical, racist Benjamin Netanyahu presents Obama with a fait accompli
that drags 300 million Americans into Israel’s war against Iran.

Obama in Cairo: Words, Words, Words
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-05

He talks the talk – but will he walk the walk?

What if Osama Calls Obama’s Bluff?
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-09

As is the custom of American interventionists, President Obama spoke in Cairo as if our Islamist enemies have no vote in how their conflict with the United States will henceforth proceed. The adolescent geniuses who wrote Obama’s speech apparently spent no time at all perusing what Osama bin Laden and other Islamists have said or written over the past 13 years, and especially since 2001. At repeated points in that corpus of material, for example, bin Laden has offered a truce to the United States and its allies on terms eerily similar to those Obama described in Cairo as the intentions of his administration.
  • Complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • No residual U.S. military bases in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
  • Self-determination for Muslim peoples now ruled by tyrants.
  • Termination of Israel’s gradual but unending thievery of Palestinian territory.
  • U.S. and Western recognition that all Muslims belong to one nation, or ummah, and that the post-World War I subdivision of the ummah into nation-states is a Western-imposed contrivance for subjugating Muslims.

Now let us be clear. Obama’s Cairo positions are not optimal for bin Laden; they leave untouched, for example, such core demands as the removal of the U.S. military and civilian presence from the Arabian Peninsula and annihilation of the state of Israel. Still, the president’s stated intentions give al-Qaeda’s leadership not just food for thought, but also perhaps an opportunity to allow ordinary Muslims to judge for themselves whether the president’s offer of a “partnership” with Islam will be matched with deeds, or whether it is just more noxious Wilsonian piety covering the standard U.S. interventionist agenda.


The Cost of War
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-11-26

Pakistan and the Fable of the Hornets
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Hornberger’s Blog at Future of Freedom, 2009-12-21

[This is about the situation in Pakistan,
but I think it is very relevant to the whole “World War IV” project
being implemented by America’s decision-makers.]

In December 2001 — three months after the 9/11 attacks —
I wrote an article entitled
A Foreign-Policy Primer for Children: The Fable of the Hornets.”
The article provides a good description of
what is now taking place in Pakistan,
in response to the CIA’s drone assassinations in that country.

In the fable, Oscar the policeman provoked a crisis in the village
by poking a bunch of hornets’ nests in the woods.
The hornets responded to Oscar’s provocations
by attacking people in the village.

In response, Oscar and several deputies entered the woods
and attacked and destroyed the hornets’ nests.
After a grand celebration by the villagers,
Oscar reentered the woods and saw something foreboding:
dozens of new, smaller hornets’ nests
were now under construction throughout the woods.

Last Saturday, the Washington Post reported,
“Militants forced to flee
their havens in Pakistan’s mountainous tribal areas
are establishing new, smaller cells in the heart of the country
and have begun carrying out attacks nationwide,
U.S. and Pakistani officials say.
The spread of fighters is an unintended consequence of
a relatively successful effort by the United States and Pakistan
to disrupt the insurgents’ operations….”

What began with a post-9/11 police action in Afghanistan
to capture the suspected perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks,
especially Osama bin Laden,
morphed into a regime-change operation
when the Taliban government refused
the U.S. government’s unconditional demand
to deliver bin Laden to U.S. officials.

The police action turned out to be unsuccessful,
with bin Laden presumably escaping the country,
but the regime-change operation did succeed in
ousting the Taliban regime from power and
installing a U.S. puppet regime in its stead.

Not surprisingly, the Taliban were determined to regain power,
which has mired the U.S. government in
a brutal 8-year (and counting) occupation of the country and, even worse,
defending a crooked, corrupt, and fraudulent puppet regime.
In the process of defending that regime,
U.S. and Afghan forces continue to kill, torture, and abuse the Afghan people.
That has, in turn,
succeeded in providing the insurgents and the terrorists
with an endless supply of recruits.

Since many of the militants were holing up in neighboring Pakistan,
the CIA has now expanded the conflict with its drone-assassination program,
killing people in a totally separate country.
Additionally, U.S. officials have strong-armed the Pakistani government
into killing its own people,
under the rationale that
anyone opposing the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan
must also be considered an enemy of the Pakistani government.

So, we’ve now got both the Afghan government and the Pakistani government
killing their own people, at the specific behest of the U.S. government.
How can this not bode ill for the American people?
How can there not be simmering, if not boiling, anger and rage
every time an Afghan or Pakistani family
loses a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, or a countryman?

by placing U.S. fortunes on one side or the other in these foreign countries,
the U.S. Empire risks the possibility that
the side it is opposing will ultimately gain power,
such as what happened during the Iranian Revolution,
when the Iranian people ousted the brutal Shah,
who the CIA had installed into power,
and replaced him with a radical anti-U.S. Islamic regime [cf.].

Consider Switzerland.
The Swiss government is not occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is not policing the world.
It is not propping up crooked, corrupt, and fraudulent rulers.
It isn’t killing, abusing, and destroying people and property around the world.
The Swiss government minds its own business.
Unlike the U.S. Empire,
the Swiss government isn’t poking hornets’ nests around the world.
And unlike the United States, the hornets leave the Swiss people alone.

Making the world safe for (Chinese) investment
by Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2009-12-30


While we’ve been running around playing whack-a-mole with the Taliban
and “investing” billions each year in the corrupt Karzai government,”
China has been investing in things that might actually be of some value,
like a big copper mine.

As the article suggest[s],
it’s not like U.S. troops are “guarding” China’s investments.
Rather, there’s a tacit division of labor going on, where
“American troops have helped make Afghanistan safe for Chinese investment.”

[I guess I’m not sophisticated enough to see a big difference between those.]


The point is not that somehow those wily Chinese have fooled us into
squandering a lot of money and lives and annoying lots of people in Central Asia,
while they make profitable investments.
Rather, the broader lesson is that
the entire thrust of U.S. policy towards a large part of the world
has been fundamentally misplaced for a long time.
If we think we are somehow trapped in
an endless cycle of intervention in the Muslim world-
Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, now Yemen-
it is because
our policies towards the entire region have generated enormous animosity
and to little good purpose.
And when that animosity leads to direct attacks on the United States,
we respond in ways that guarantee such attacks will be repeated.

[W]e ought to thinking very strategically about our overseas involvements,
and trying to shift those burdens onto locals whenever we can.
Unfortunately, the predominant view in Washington still favors
an “America First” approach to solving most global problems,
even when it’s not clear we have any idea how to do that.

Don’t forget:
we are fighting in Afghanistan
because a radical anti-American terrorist movement-Al Qaeda-
located there in the 1990s and then attacked us on September 11.
Al Qaeda attacked the United States for a number of different reasons,
including its support for various Arab monarchies and dictatorships,
its military presence in the Persian Gulf,
and its “special relationship” with Israel
(which is oppressing millions of Palestinians
and consolidating control of Jerusalem).
Al Qaeda also wanted to strike at the world’s strongest power,
in the vain hope that
a dramatic act like that would win them lots of new supporters.
They also hoped that they could goad us into
doing a lot of stupid things in response,
and that achievement may be their only real success to date.
We are also bogged down in Central Asia because
our earlier support for anti-Soviet mujaheddin there
helped create a bunch of well-armed warlords and religious extremists
who proved impossible to control later on.

But the key lesson is that the current situation is not immutable.
We don’t have to keep implementing
the same policies that led us to this situation;
instead, we need to start working on
strategic approaches that will minimize our involvement in these regions
without sacrificing our vital interests (mostly oil)
or endangering the security of key allies.
One step would be to do what President Obama promised to do in his Cairo speech
and then abandoned:
namely, get serious about a two-state solution.
A second step would be to
stop trying to reorganize vast chunks of the Arab and Islamic world,
and focus our efforts solely on
helping local governments capture or neutralizing violent anti-American terrorists.
A related step is to move back to an “offshore balancing” strategy in the region,
and rely more on naval and air forces and less on on-shore intervention.

And maybe a fourth element of a new approach would be to remember that
the United States rose to its position of great power
by letting other major powers do the heavy lifting,
while Americans concentrated mostly on
building the world’s biggest and most advanced economy
and building influence with lots of other countries.
For the most part, we also kept our fiscal house in order,
which gave us the resources
to maintain and expand productive infrastructure here at home
and made it possible to act overseas when we really had to.
This isn’t the 19th century and we can’t just rewind the clock,
but there’s still a lot of wisdom in
much more selective approach to the use of American power.
You know, sorta the way that Beijing seems to doing it.



The ‘Long War’: Who’s Winning?
It ain’t us…
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-01-06

Al-Qaeda has a new strategy. Obama needs one, too.
By Bruce Hoffman
Washington Post Outlook, 2010-01-10

[Some excerpts:]

... a new grand strategy
that al-Qaeda has been successfully pursuing for at least a year.

Al-Qaeda’s newfound vitality is the product of a fresh strategy
that plays to its networking strength
and compensates for its numerical weakness.
In contrast to its plan on Sept. 11,
which was to deliver a knock-out blow to the United States,
al-Qaeda’s leadership has now adopted a “death by a thousand cuts” approach.
There are five core elements to this strategy.

First, al-Qaeda is increasingly focused on
overwhelming, distracting and exhausting us.
To this end, it seeks to flood
our already information-overloaded national intelligence systems
with myriad threats and background noise.
Al-Qaeda hopes we will be so distracted and consumed by all this data
that we will overlook key clues, such as those before Christmas
that linked Abdulmutallab to an al-Qaeda airline-bombing plot.

Second, in the wake of the global financial crisis,
al-Qaeda has stepped up a strategy of economic warfare.
“We will bury you,”
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev promised Americans 50 years ago.
Today, al-Qaeda threatens:
“We will bankrupt you.”
Over the past year,
the group has issued statements, videos, audio messages and letters online
trumpeting its actions against Western financial systems,
even taking credit for the economic crisis.
However divorced from reality these claims may be,
propaganda doesn’t have to be true to be believed,
and the assertions resonate with al-Qaeda’s target audiences.

Heightened security measures after the Christmas Day plot,
coupled with the likely development of
ever more sophisticated passenger-screening and intelligence technologies,
stand to cost a lot of money,
while the war in Afghanistan constitutes a massive drain on American resources.
Given the economic instability here and abroad, al-Qaeda seems to think that
a strategy of financial attrition will pay outsize dividends.

[This is hardly a new strategy.
Al-Qaeda’s strategy has long been exactly that:
rather than winning a climactic battle which they know they cannot,
instead to bleed America to death.
See, for example, Zawahiri’s “bleed them to death” quote from 2003.
See also bin Laden’s statement (this is approximate) that
“all we have to do is
send a few mujahideen to some remote locale and have them raise the flag of al Qaeda
and they will come rushing to track them down.”]


Why Are They at War With Us?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2010-01-12

“We are at war.
We are at war against al-Qaeda,
a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11,
that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people,
and that is plotting to strike us again.”

Thus did Barack Obama clear the air as to whether we are at war,
and with whom and why.

Following his remarks,
during a White House briefing by National Security Council aide John Brennan,
Helen Thomas asked a follow-up question to which
we almost never hear an answer:

Why is al-Qaeda at war with us?
What is its motivation?

It was Osama bin Laden himself,
in his declaration of war in 1998, published in London,
who gave al-Qaeda’s reasons for war:

First, the U.S. military presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia.
Second, U.S. sanctions causing terrible suffering among the Iraqi people.
Third, U.S. support for Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians.
“All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans
are a clear declaration of war on God, his Messenger, and Muslims,”

said Osama.

He began his fatwa quoting the Koran:
“But when the forbidden months are past,
then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them,
seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them
in every stratagem of war.”

To Osama, we started the war.
Muslims, the ulema, must fight because America,
with her “brutal crusade occupation of the [Arabian] Peninsula”
and support for “the Jews’ petty state”
and “occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there”
was waging war upon the Islamic world.

Terrorism, the direct killing of civilians for political ends,
is al-Qaeda’s unconventional tactic, but its war aims are quite conventional.

Al-Qaeda is fighting
a religious war against apostates and pagans in their midst,
a civil war against collaborators of the Crusaders and
an anti-colonial war to drive us out of the Dar al-Islam.
On Sept. 11, they were over here – because we are over there.

Nothing justifies the massacre of Sept. 11.
But these are the political goals behind the 9/11 attack,
and this is why Islamists fare well in elections in the Middle East.
Tens of millions of Muslims, who may despise terrorism,
identify with the causes for which Osama declared war –
liberation of Muslim peoples from pro-American autocrats and Israeli occupiers.

Americans are being killed for the reasons Osama said we should be killed –
not because of who we are,
but because of where we are and what we do.

America lost 4,000 soldiers in six years in Iraq, with 30,000 wounded.
Yet not one American of the 125,000 soldiers in Iraq was killed in December.
Why not?
Because we no longer conduct raids, patrol streets, kick down doors,
and pat down suspects.
We have ended our combat operations, withdrawn to desert bases,
and seem anxious to go home.
When we stopped fighting and killing them,
they stopped fighting and killing us.

Most Americans today appear content to let Shia and Sunni, Arab and Kurd
decide the future of Iraq.
And if they cannot settle their quarrels without a civil-sectarian war,
why should their war be our war?

According to Gen. Barry McCaffrey, we must now prepare for
300 to 500 dead and wounded every month in Afghanistan by summer.

Why are the Taliban killing our soldiers?
Because we threw them out of power, took over their country,
and imposed the Hamid Karzai regime,
and our troops, some 100,000 by fall,
are the force preventing them from recapturing their country.
We will bleed in Afghanistan as long as we are in Afghanistan.

But if, as Obama said, “we are at war with al-Qaeda,”
why are we fighting Taliban
when al-Qaeda is in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa?

Hamas has used terrorism, but not against us.
Hezbollah has used terrorism,
but not against us since the bombing of the Marine barracks,
a quarter-century ago.
And our Marines were attacked in Lebanon because we were in Lebanon,
intervening in their civil-sectarian war.
Had the Marines not been sent into the midst of that war,
they would not have been targeted.

When Ronald Reagan withdrew them, the attacks stopped.

Like Europe’s Thirty Years’ War
[Another “long war” which was hardly worth the price paid.
Cf. 2009-04-03-Pfaff-Taliban for William Pfaff’s comparison to the Thirty Years’ War.]

among Germans, French, Czechs, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Scots, and English,
Catholics and Protestants, kings, princes, and emperors –
the Muslim world is roiled by conflicts between
pro-Western autocrats and Islamic militants,
Sunni and Shia,
modernists and obscurantists,
nationalities, tribes and clans.
The outcome of these wars, the future of their lands –
is that not their business, and not ours?

The Muslims stayed out of our Thirty Years’ War.
Perhaps we would do well to get out of theirs.
But as long as we take sides in their wars,
those we fight and kill over there will come to kill us over here.

This is payback for our intervention.
This is the price of empire.
This is the cost of the long war.

The Terrorism Conundrum
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-01-21


The US government has essentially adopted an Israeli paradigm
in refusing to deal with political opponents who employ terror.
Its dismissal of groups like the Taliban as terrorists means that
opportunities to engage them in terms of their true interests are being wasted.
And it also makes for convenient political shorthand,
rendering it unnecessary to consider the possibility that
the groups involved have either legitimate grievances or positive motives.
And it shapes the entire argument
so as to avoid conclusions that might be considered unpleasant.
It is frequently argued that the US is fighting in Afghanistan
because it is better to fight “them” over there than over here.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Taliban has absolutely no interest in the United States
except insofar as the US is occupying Afghanistan.
As Ron Paul puts it, correctly, when there is a terrorist incident
they are only over here because we are over there.
When we leave “there” the “they” will not be coming over here
because they have no reason to do so.

So the problem is that the language we use shapes how we think about an issue.
Once you get rid of the buzz words terror and terrorist,
meant to create fear and uncertainty,
it is possible to come to grips with a reality that is quite different.
The groups that the White House and State Department calls terrorist
are really political organizations
that seek change that will favor their own assumption of power.
There have always been such groups and always will be.
Most want US forces to leave their countries,
many want
Washington to stop supporting corrupt and autocratic Arab governments,
and nearly all want
the US-tolerated Israeli humiliation of the Palestinians to cease.
Looking at them in that light,
it is not difficult to discern
what their motives are in opposing the United States.
And it is also possible to see the various groups
as individual cases that have to be dealt with selectively,
not as part of a nonexistent worldwide conspiracy.

The truth is that
the US government prefers to have an enemy that can be defined simply,
in Manichean terms.

It seeks to create fear among the American people
by presenting terrorism as some sort of monolith
while it is in reality little more than
a hodge podge of diverse political groupings
that have varying motivations and objectives.
The only thing that they have in common is that
they sometimes use terror as a tactic.
And the terror tactic is itself losing appeal.
The only reason that
groups that espouse terror appear to be increasing in numbers
is because
the countries the US is occupying or attacking are also growing in number,
but nevertheless the numbers are unimpressive.
There are certainly fewer than a couple of thousand adherents
to groups that use terror worldwide.
Young Muslim men are increasingly reluctant to be drawn into the fray
and there are signs that the allure of jihad as a religious duty has waned.
And those who use terrorism
are themselves becoming more marginal and amateurish,
as was evident in the Nigerian underwear bomber,
a plot that could hardly succeed even with the best of luck.
If there had not been errors made
in the security process and exchange of information,
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would have been detained
before boarding the plane in Amsterdam.

Americans should no longer talk of terrorism or fear it
because it is largely an empty threat.
One is more likely to be eaten by a shark than killed in a terrorist attack.
The effectiveness of the US government
in sustaining fear through its combating of terror
guarantees continuous war, makes for big government,
and blinds America’s policymakers to reality.
There are many groups out in the world vying for power.
Some are unscrupulous in how they would achieve control,
including willingness to employ terror.
But most could care less about Washington
as long as the United States leaves them alone.
Leaving them alone might well be the best foreign and security policy
that the United States could embrace.

[I do not agree with Giraldi’s suggestion that
terrorism has largely become an empty threat,
but I do agree with him that those who might employ it
are motivated by opposition to U.S. policies,
not by hostility to the American way of life
(as long as it is practiced in America, not in their territories).]

Did You Hear the Joke About the Predator Drone That Bombed?
by Medea Benjamin and Nancy Mancias
CommonDreams.org, 2010-05-05

A Wasteland Called Peace
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-06-10

Liar, Liar
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-11-18

If Obama wants to establish
some kind of modus vivendi with the Islamic world
he must speak to it in language that it understands
and not lie about things that all Muslims know to be true.
And it is also past time
that he begin to speak the truth to the American people also.

His administration’s retreat from any confrontation with Israel
in an attempt to make a recalcitrant Netanyahu
conform even to minimal standards of behavior
confirms what all the world already knows:
Israel will act and the United States will follow,
even if those actions will inflict grave damage on the American people
and on the US national interest.

[But when did the politically correct ever care about the truth?]

And what will that mean for the United States?
It means that the decision about going to war for the US
is essentially controlled by Israel
because Tel Aviv can start a conflict with Iran at any time
that will quickly draw Washington in.
Those who think that the White House still is managing the situation
are completely naïve.
There is no indication
that the Obama administration has warned Israel against bombing Iran
the US has no cards to play,
having ruled out exerting any sort of economic or military pressure
on Netanyahu.

And there should be no doubt that
an attack by Israel on an Iranian nuclear facility
would trigger Iranian retaliation
and immediate calls in Congress and the media to support Tel Aviv,
leaving the president no option but to enter the conflict.
A third war in the region would mean
goodbye to any American ability to disengage
from the other conflicts that are bleeding the US white
and would possibly lead to even more dire consequences
if neighbors like nuclear armed Pakistan and India somehow enter the fray.

Bibi Netanyahu surely understands that
the cost to the United States in lives and treasure from war with Iran
could potentially be catastrophic
but it is a price he is willing to pay
as his own people and economy would largely be spared, at least initially.
No American leader should tolerate such a situation but, deplorably,
those who have spoken out at all on the Middle East
have lined up behind the Israelis
as if they were part of the United States,
or even more esteemed than any of the fifty states.

[Your Zionist occupation government at work.]


So if you doubt that the United States is tied hand and foot to Israel
in terms of its ability to take independent action in the Middle East,
just listen to what Dennis Ross, Joe Biden, and Eric Cantor are saying.
Does it sound like they are articulating policies beneficial to the US?
They are insisting that
Americans have to support Israel unquestioningly no matter what it does
and are little more than advocates for monsters like Bibi Netanyahu,
pure and simple.
The word Quisling comes to mind
when one thinks of them and also Hoyer and Ros-Lehtinen.
If their failure to be truly loyal to the country that has nurtured them
brings about a new war in which many of their fellow citizens will die,
their actions and posturing should be defined by one and all as treason.
If America is to be taken back in a new revolution
that will lead to a restoration of the vision of the Founding Fathers
it will only take place after the betrayers of our constitution
are removed from government, every single one of them.
When American politicians and senior government officials
speak of their love of a foreign government
that pursues policies inimical to US values and interests
they should be disowned by every true patriot
and also by every respectable media outlet.
It should be grounds for their immediate removal.


At White House, Weighing Limits of Terror Fight
New York Times, 2011-09-16

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s legal team is split over how much latitude the United States has to kill Islamist militants in Yemen and Somalia, a question that could define the limits of the war against Al Qaeda and its allies, according to administration and Congressional officials.

The debate, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, centers on whether the United States may take aim at only a handful of high-level leaders of militant groups who are personally linked to plots to attack the United States or whether it may also attack the thousands of low-level foot soldiers focused on parochial concerns: controlling the essentially ungoverned lands near the Gulf of Aden, which separates the countries.

The dispute over limits on the use of lethal force in the region — whether from drone strikes, cruise missiles or commando raids — has divided the State Department and the Pentagon for months, although to date it remains a merely theoretical disagreement. Current administration policy is to attack only “high-value individuals” in the region, as it has tried to do about a dozen times.

But the unresolved question is whether the administration can escalate attacks if it wants to against rank-and-file members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, and the Somalia-based Shabab. The answer could lay the groundwork for a shift in the fight against terrorists as the original Al Qaeda, operating out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, grows weaker. That organization has been crippled by the killing of Osama bin Laden and by a fierce campaign of drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where the legal authority to attack militants who are battling United States forces in adjoining Afghanistan is not disputed inside the administration.

One senior official played down the disagreement on Thursday, characterizing it as a difference in policy emphasis, not legal views. Defense Department lawyers are trying to maintain maximum theoretical flexibility, while State Department lawyers are trying to reach out to European allies who think that there is no armed conflict, for legal purposes, outside of Afghanistan, and that the United States has a right to take action elsewhere only in self-defense, the official said.

But other officials insisted that the administration lawyers disagreed on the underlying legal authority of the United States to carry out such strikes.


U.S. assembling secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, officials say
By Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller
Washington Post, 2011-09-21

The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said.

One of the installations is being established in Ethi­o­pia, a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that controls much of that country. Another base is in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, where a small fleet of “hunter-killer” drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there.

The U.S. military also has flown drones over Somalia and Yemen from bases in Djibouti, a tiny African nation at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. In addition, the CIA is building a secret airstrip in the Arabian Peninsula so it can deploy armed drones over Yemen.

The rapid expansion of the undeclared drone wars is a reflection of the growing alarm with which U.S. officials view the activities of al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia, even as al-Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan has been weakened by U.S. counterterrorism operations.


On America’s horizon — A far larger war with the Muslim world
By Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2011-11-13

While Americans have been focused on
the pending failure of the “Super Committee” to reduce the federal debt;
the slow-motion, world-economy wrecking implosion
of the European Union’s “Euro Zone”;
and the theater of confusion, bickering, and few new ideas generated by
the endless debates among Republican presidential candidates,
the United States also has been inching ever closer to a world war with Islam.
Just as U.S. leaders in both parties are proving themselves
impotent and/or unwilling to stop the destruction of the U.S. economy
they have engineered through their policies,
they are likewise unable and/or unwilling —
with the exception of Dr. Paul and a few others —
to see that another set of failed policies, those in the foreign-policy realm,
are leading to a greatly expanded war with Islam
that will accelerate the collapse of the U.S. economy.



Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will
New York Times, 2012-05-29

[President Obama’s directive] in effect
counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,
according to several administration officials,
unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously
proving them innocent.

Former CIA Official [Robert Grenier]:
Drone War Kills Innocents,
Creates Terrorist Safe Havens

by John Glaser
Antiwar.com, 2012-06-06

[When will they ever learn?]


It’s notable that Grenier was a top CIA “counter-terrorism” official
under the Bush administration.
Most Bush officials have come out as
stalwart defenders of Obama’s foreign policy,
but this one notably is concerned he has gone too far.
We’re at a point now where
Obama is counting ”all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,”
as administration officials told the New York Times,
“unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”
If anyone thinks we won’t be garnering any new enemies with that kind of policy,
maybe its time they applied for a gig at the CIA.


The desperate U.S.-UK relationship: Barack Obama, David Cameron, and the NSA/GCHQ issue
by Michael Scheuer
non-internention.com, 2013-12-23


[T]here is an ... important dimension of the NSA-GCHQ issue
that has been discussed not at all either by the media
or by the politicians in all U.S. and UK parties
that abet the lies of President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron.
Leaving aside the illegality of the collection for a moment,
let us focus on
the most basic motivation for the on-going, vacuum-like collection operation;
namely, the UTTER DESPERATION engendered in Obama and Cameron
by their being aware that
much of the Muslim world is now either at war or supporting war against the West,
and that the Islamist enemy is beyond their ability to control or contain,
let alone destroy.

Obama [44] and Cameron have followed
the lie-strewn path toward the West’s destruction
first blazed by Bill Clinton [42], George W. Bush [43] and Tony Blair.
Obama and Cameron greatly exaggerate
the supposedly disastrous impact of Bin Laden’s death
on al-Qaeda and the Islamist movement,
while, like their predecessors, maintaining that fountain of falsehood
that spews forth nonsense about the motivation of the mujahedin being
their hatred for liberty, Budweiser, freedom, and Iowa’s primaries.
As this deceit flows, the Islamists and their war on the West
have become much more popular in the Muslim world,
as witnessed by their astounding geographical expansion and manpower growth since 2001,
as well as by their easy defeat of the U.S. and British militaries in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Most recently, Obama and Cameron have shown Muslims that, for the West,
Israel always has carte blanche to steal Palestinian land,
as Netanyahu rapidly expands settlement building.
[I think Scheuer errs here
in placing prime responsibility for the U.S.'s support of Israel's settlements
with President Obama.
In fact, Obama has made several very reasonable and respectable efforts
to rein in settlement growth,
only to see those efforts being assailed relentlessly
by Israel's lapdogs in Congress and the media
(e.g., the editorial board of the Washington Post).
The key force causing America's almost suicidal support for Israel,
from the days of the George C. Marshall vs. Harry Truman disagreement to today,
clearly comes from the wealth, power and influence of the American Jewish community,
which uses their control of the media
and influence over the political scene
to fog the minds of the general population
and alternately bribe and strong-arm the political community
into slavishly supporting Israel's refusal to pull out of the West Bank.
The only other force in America supporting those settlements is the Christian Zionists,
but what political power do they have on their own, without allying with Jews?]



Taking Out Our Friends So We Can Install Our Enemies. What?
by Ted Snider
Antiwar.com, 2014-06-26

Once in a while the inconsistencies in American foreign policy become sufficiently clear to reveal the consistency in American foreign policy. Three contemporary inconsistencies in Iraq and Syria, all clearly connected, converge to throw America’s consistent foreign policy into sharp relief.

In an astonishing shift of geopolitical realities, America finds itself, literally, at war with itself. Though Syria and Iraq are consistently presented as two separate stories – the one in Syria as a hopeful rebellion; the one in Iraq as a terrorist uprising – the protagonist of the first story is the same character as the one cast as the antagonist in the second. As Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett have said, "Washington elites are effectively compartmentalizing these stories – but, in fact, they are intimately related." In Iraq, America opposes the Sunni rebellion led by ISIS; in Syria, America is backing the Sunni rebellion where, as Juan Cole has put it, the "most effective opposition is ISIS." So when Obama says at his West Point commencement that he will "ramp up" American support for Sunni rebels in Syria, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, using the same phrase, explains that "the United States has ramped up its support . . . providing lethal and non-lethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition" in one policy discussion, and then the President announces that he is sending nearly 300 marines and 300 special forces to Iraq as advisors in another policy discussion, the translation is that America is arming and advising both sides of the same war: that America is providing lethal support against its own marines and special forces. In a war with two fronts, with increasingly porous borders blending it increasingly into one front, America is fighting for opposing sides on each front: in a stark exposition of foreign policy inconsistency, America is effectively fighting itself.


[If that isn't insane, I don't know what is.
Our attempts to weaken the Assad regime in Syria have had the totally predictable effect
of opening up space for even more radical forces to gain power.
The assumption that any other regime would be better than the Assad one,
or the assumption that America could somehow control who would take Assad's place if he is deposed,
is insane.

Insanity seems the policy of the day for American "elites".
Consider also their opinion that if
a person has the physical characteristics of one sex,
but think that they are of the other sex,
that it is their body that needs to be changed, not their mind.

In my opinion, not only are these "transgendered people" surely insane,
but so is anyone who thinks that the "transgendered" are sane.
Unfortunately, that includes most of the people writing opinions in the media
and making decisions in the judicial and psychiatric worlds.
When the psychologists are nuts, surely something is very wrong.]

How to Understand the ISIS Threat
Talk show rhetoric doesn't equal good intelligence on the domestic danger posed by Iraq's terrorists.
By Philip Giraldi
The American Conservative, 2014-07-01


Some of the alleged American jihadis
are reported to be disaffected Somalis from Minnesota.
One has to wonder just how an apparent concentration of Somalis
wound up in Minneapolis in the first place,
as it would be impossible to do serious background checks on them
given the longstanding lack of state structures
and reliable information in their homeland.
There is no U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu to do the work,
and there are no public records accessible to determine
if one is a criminal or has been associated with terrorist groups.
It is difficult to understand who decided that available evidence suggested that
the Somalis in question might somehow be transformed into
good American citizens.


[It is truly remarkable how people cannot see how
the policies that they favor, such as
virtually unlimited immigration (going to the extent of declaring anyone who favors limiting immigration as a "racist"),
virtually unlimited support for Israel (which in fact was the principal motivation for the 2001-09-11 attack),
and the gargantuan costs imposed by the feminist agenda on the American government,
have caused so many of the problems that they decry
(although in the case of the government debt that is accumulating,
the Democrats are absolutely incredibly clueless on the burden this is going to cause for future generations).

Obama leads his coalition of Arab tyrants into another losing, Islamist-boosting war
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2014-09-23

[This is the entire contents of Dr. Scheuer's post,
except for the two initial quotations
and for the fact that I have added numbering,
for ease of reference.]

The Founders created a republic that could survive
if it was run by honest men of moderate intelligence and common sense,
but not one that could survive if run by men and women
who are well-educated but also ideologues and pathological liars.
Hence, America today is on the verge of being done like dinner.

Since Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in August, 1996,
the people of the United States have elected presidents, senators, and congressmen
who are neither honest not apparently very intelligent.
This kind of electoral result is the chance that voters take
in every republican political system,
and it is a painful result that, in normal times,
can be endured until a more savvy and less dishonest American emerges
to win the reins of power and talk frankly and factually to the citizenry.

These are not normal times, however, and the kind of leadership we have had continuously since 1996

is leading the nation
into a world war with Islam
that will be among the bloodiest
ever fought by this country.

This war will kill and maim so many American soldiers and Marines
that those already killed in Afghanistan and Iraq
will form no more than a corporal’s guard for the coming dead.

1. And why are we getting involved into this war?

–Because two U.S. journalists and one British journalist
were beheaded by IS fighters?
This a national security threat to neither the U.S. nor the UK.

–Because Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities
are being persecuted by IS forces?
This is not a national security threat to the United States?

–Because Iraqi, Syrian, and other Sunnis
are warring against
Iraqi, Iranian, and Syrian Shia and Alawites?
This is a clear plus for U.S. national security and should be encouraged.

[Here is one place where I disagree with Dr. Scheuer.
I have no desire to see Muslims killing Muslims,
nor anyone else for that matter.]

–Because IS forces will eventually threaten and destabilize our “allies” —
most large oil producers —
in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE?
This is only a threat because Obama’s administration
has not sprinted the final small distance to U.S. energy self sufficiency.
And, by the way, most of our Arab allies and/or their wealthy citizens
are sending arms, funds, and recruits to IS,
as well as paying for the intolerant religious education of youngsters —
who will become future jihadis —
in the United States and its English-speaking allies.

–Because IS is inspiring/funding/ordering local Islamists
to attack in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia?
This is a threat to those countries only because the insane leadership class
in each believes in
the fatuous and debilitating myths of multiculturalism and diversity,
has made it easy for foreigners who cannot or will not assimilate
to enter those countries,
and has refused to fully secure national borders.


–Because the fast-growing forces of militant Sunni Islam are threatening Israel?
This is true, but it is not a national security threat to the United States.
It is a threat only to the politicians in both U.S. parties
who are on the take from AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations.

2. And why should we have refused to re-intervene in Iraq?

–Because IS is cutting the heads off Westerners to lure America into re-intervening.
Because U.S. military intervention in any Muslim country
means more donations, recruits, and popular support
for IS, al-Qaeda, and other like-minded organizations.

U.S. intervention in the Iraq-Syria theater will, over time,
make everything it is designed to stop much worse.

–Because we will lose again,
and so further add to the Muslim world’s perception that
the United States is finished as a superpower,
is unwilling to destroy its enemies;
and can, with continued patience and sacrifice, be defeated.
In addition,
the U.S., UK, Canadian, and Australian militaries have proven themselves —
in Iraq and Afghanistan —
almost completely incompetent when it comes to defeating Islamist insurgents.
Until they relearn the art of killing massive numbers of their enemies and their supporters
those militaries should stay home and defend borders.

[I doubt very much that the U.S. military has lost or forgotten
the ability to perform the killing that Scheuer suggests.
But that can and should be done only when it is directed by
the national command authority,
and then only when they decide it is the appropriate action,
one which can be defended and justified to
1. the American people,
2. the Muslim world, and
3. the rest of the world.
I certainly cannot see where Muslims have done anything to deserve
such massive retaliation.
Retaliation for what?
And it may very well only lead to
permanent war between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

As to Scheuer's proposed use for the U.S. military,
staying home and defending the CONUS border,
I agree with that.]

–Because the recklessly lawless Barack Obama
has again violated the Constitution
by attacking in Syria without congressional approval.
He also has created a coalition of Arab tyrannies
that will appear to Sunni Muslims
as a clear U.S. effort to insure
the stability of the Sunni tyrants who oppress them,
as well as to protect the hated Shia and Alawite dictators
who rule Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

–Because we are BROKE as a nation;
re-intervention will be prolonged and extraordinarily expensive;
and the goal of IS and all Islamist groups vis. the United States
is to complete its economic ruin.

–Because Obama and the national government
will further shred the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
in the name of “protecting Americans” from
the Islamist enemies Washington is constantly motivating —
through military intervention —
to kill them and their soldier-children.

–Because we live in North America
and our enemy has neither the naval nor air power to reach us.
We also have the capability to incinerate them and their supporters
if they find a way to hurt us badly at home.
The Islamist enemy’s threat at the moment stems largely from
the refusal of America’s bipartisan elite to control the nation’s borders
and its willingness to tolerate the entry of enormous numbers of illegal aliens
about whose location and intentions we are ignorant.

[It is more than that.
It is also the massive LEGAL immigration flows that have occurred
since the passage of the unfortunate and misguided
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965,
which repealed the previous
Emergency Quota Act of 1921,
under which
"only people of Northern Europe who had similar cultures to that of America
were likely to get in."
Who, need I point out, were far less likely to commit terrorist attacks.]

(NB: If another major attack occurs in the United States,
it should provoke not only the eradication of the enemy and its supporters,
but also something akin to drum-head courts-martial
for politicians who have served in the national government since 9/11
and opposed border control.
The trials should be conducted with a substantial number of gallows
and, as Willie Nelson would say, “all the rope in Texas” standing by
and ready to promptly execute the sentences imposed.)

[I must dissent from the suggestion that
the misguided acts of politicians deserve capital punishment.]

Of lies, deceit, and the coming world war
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2014-12-11


Obama and the leading Democrats know that their years in power
have at least paved the way toward, and probably ensured,
an U.S.-vs.-Sunni Islam world war.
They also know that such a war will be partially the result of
Obama ending the effective and intelligence producing
rendition-and-extradition program.
Thus, Finestein’s report is meant to fix in the public mind
the transparent but media-supported lie that
the CIA’s rendition-interrogation program
never yielded a single useful piece of intelligence.
This will permit the Democrats, when the war comes,
to counter attacks claiming that America would have been better prepared for war
if Finestein, Obama, and their party had not blinded the U.S. intelligence community.



Islamic State Sprouting Limbs Beyond Its Base
New York Times, 2015-02-15

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, American intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror.

Intelligence officials estimate that the group’s fighters number 20,000 to 31,500 in Syria and Iraq. There are less formal pledges of support from “probably at least a couple hundred extremists” in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen, according to an American counterterrorism official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information about the group.

Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in an assessment this month that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, was “beginning to assemble a growing international footprint.”


Critics fear such assessments will once again enmesh the United States in a protracted, hydra-headed conflict as President Obama appeals to Congress for new war powers to fight the Islamic State. “I’m loath to write another blank check justifying the use of American troops just about anywhere,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

The sudden proliferation of Islamic State affiliates and loyalist fighters motivated the White House’s push to give Mr. Obama and his successor new authority to pursue the group wherever its followers emerge — just as he and President George W. Bush hunted Qaeda franchises outside the group’s headquarters, first in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan, for the past decade.

“We don’t want anybody in ISIL to be left with the impression that if they move to some neighboring country, that they will be essentially in a safe haven and not within the range of United States capability,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said on Wednesday.

The Islamic State began attracting pledges of allegiance from groups and individual fighters after it declared the formation of a caliphate, or religious state, in June 2014. Counterterrorism analysts say it is using Al Qaeda’s franchise structure to expand its geographic reach, but without Al Qaeda’s rigorous, multiyear application process. This could allow its franchises to grow faster, easier and farther.

“Factions which were at one time part of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as groups loyal to it or in some ways working in tandem with it, have moved on to what they see as more of a winning group,” said Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington, which monitors Arabic-language news media and websites.

The Islamic State’s attraction, even in the West, was proved when Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen in the Paris terrorist attacks last month, declared allegiance to the group.


In campaign against terrorism, U.S. enters period of pessimism and gloom
By Greg Miller
Washington Post, 2015-03-07

U.S. counterterrorism officials and experts, never known for their sunny dispositions, have entered a period of particular gloom.

In congressional testimony recently, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. went beyond the usual litany of threats to say that terrorism trend lines were worse “than at any other point in history.”

Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, commander of U.S. Special Operations forces in the Middle East, told participants on a counter­terrorism strategy call that he regarded the Islamic State as a greater menace than al-Qaeda ever was.

Speaking at a New York police terrorism conference, Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, said he had come to doubt that he would live to see the end of al-Qaeda and its spawn. “This is long term,” he said. “My children’s generation and my grandchildren’s generation will still be fighting this fight.”

The assessments reflect a pessimism that has descended on the U.S. counterterrorism community over the past year amid a series of discouraging developments. Among them are the growth of the Islamic State, the ongoing influx of foreign fighters into Syria, the collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Yemen and the downward spiral of Libya’s security situation. The latest complication came Saturday, when the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria carried out a series of suicide bombings and reportedly declared its allegiance to the Islamic State.

Unlike the waves of anxiety that accompanied the emergence of new terrorist plots over the past decade, the latest shift in mood seems more deep-seated. U.S. officials depict a bewildering landscape in which al-Qaeda and the brand of Islamist militancy it inspired have not only survived 14 years of intense counterterrorism operations but have also spread.

Officials emphasize that their campaign has accomplished critical goals. In particular, most officials and experts now see the risk of a Sept. 11-scale attack as infinitesimal, beyond the reach of al-Qaeda and its scattered affiliates.


Billions From U.S. Fail to Sustain Foreign Forces
New York Times, 2015-10-04, page A1

WASHINGTON — With alarming frequency in recent years,
thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia
have collapsed, stalled or defected,
calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs,
as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.

[Not all of the blame should be placed on the Obama administration.
This "approach to combating insurgencies" is the one that has been advocated
by a wide spectrum of "elite" opinion
(and indeed, is one of the reasons why I put "elite" in quotation marks)
in the media, editorial pages, columnists, selected op-ed writers, and Congress.
On the other hand, when a heretic to that consensus such as Michael Scheuer
write one well-argued piece after another
pointing out the inevitability of the failures chronicled in this news article,
he cannot find a foothold on the op-ed pages of either the NYT
or the Washington Post.
What a shame, more accurately, a tragedy for America.]

The setbacks have been most pronounced in three countries that present the administration with some of its biggest challenges.
The Pentagon-trained army and police in Iraq’s Anbar Province,
the heartland of the Islamic State militant group, have barely engaged its forces,
while several thousand American-backed government forces and militiamen in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province
were forced to retreat last week when attacked by several hundred Taliban fighters.
And in Syria, a $500 million Defense Department program to train local rebels to fight the Islamic State has produced only a handful of soldiers.

American-trained forces face different problems in each place,
some of which are out of the United States’ control.
But what many of them have in common, American military and counterterrorism officials say,
is poor leadership, a lack of will and the need to function in the face of intractable political problems with little support.
Without their American advisers, many local forces have repeatedly shown an inability to fight.

“Our track record at building security forces over the past 15 years is miserable,” said Karl W. Eikenberry,
a former military commander and United States ambassador in Afghanistan.


In northwest Africa, the United States has spent more than $600 million to combat Islamist militancy, with training programs stretching from Morocco to Chad. American officials once heralded Mali’s military as an exemplary partner. But in 2012, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya to rout the military, including units trained by United States Special Forces. That defeat, followed by a coup led by an American-trained officer, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, astounded and embarrassed American commanders. French, United Nations and European Union forces now carry out training and security missions in Mali.

In Yemen, American-trained troops and counterterrorism forces largely disbanded when Houthi rebels overran the capital last year and forced the government into exile. The United States is now relying largely on a Saudi-led air campaign that has caused more than 1,000 civilian casualties.

More recently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the military campaigns against the Taliban and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have made little headway. After acknowledging that only four or five American-trained Syrian rebels were actually in the fight there, Pentagon officials said last week that they were suspending the movement of new recruits from Syria to Turkey and Jordan for training. The program suffered from a shortage of recruits willing to fight the Islamic State instead of the army of President Bashar al-Assad, a problem Mr. Obama noted at a news conference on Friday.


John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the C.I.A. who is now at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies,
said American efforts to train the Iraqi military would probably be futile without a political bargain to unite the country’s Shiite and Sunni Arabs.

“Training is a necessary but not sufficient way to get you to the point of creating a robust fighting force, because ultimately, militaries fight over political issues,” he said.

[I do have a response to that:
You "elite" mother-fuckers.
That's all you are.
For failing to realize that from the beginning.
Well, at least you don't beat your wives.
Nor patronize prostitutes.
At least the women are happy about that.

Nor do they do or say anything that can be considered
racist, sexist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic.
The media and the political system insure that.
But in terms of making good and wise decisions for the American national interest?
Don't ask.
What would these idiots know about that?
Interesting what political correctness has turned up in the way of leadership.

Instead of pointing that out from the beginning,
we have read op-ed after op-ed in the Washington Post from one Michael E. O'Hanlon,
with a prestigious position at the prestigious Brookings Institute,
about the need for training.
Nary a mention that training, without motivation, is militarily useless.]

Why foreign troops can’t fight our fights
by Phillip Carter
Phillip Carter is a former Army officer and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
Washington Post Outlook (Sunday opinion section), 2015-10-04


[T]hese Centcom revelations show fundamental defects in the idea that we can graft U.S. capabilities onto foreign forces to achieve our ends.

Train-and-equip missions like the one in Syria fall under the category of “security assistance” programs, which provide money, materiel or advisory support to foreign forces. The most expensive of these have been the massive efforts to build armies and police forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, with mixed success that I saw firsthand as an embedded adviser with Iraq’s security forces at the war’s height. Closely related are the “foreign military sales” programs, overseen by the State and Defense departments, that delivered more than $40 billion last year in U.S. weaponry and assistance to allies and partners. And then there is the State Department’s $2 billion portfolio of police training and assistance, along with various counterterrorism and military aid programs overseen by Defense. These efforts together are sometimes described as “building partner capacity” and currently include 148 countries.

The programs rest on a theory embraced across the U.S. government: Sometimes direct military interventions do more harm than good, and indirect approaches get us further. The theory briefs well as a way to achieve U.S. goals without great expenditure of U.S. blood and treasure. Unfortunately, decades of experience (including the current messes in Iraq and Syria) suggest that the theory works only in incredibly narrow situations in which states need just a little assistance. In the most unstable places and in the largest conflagrations, where we tend to feel the greatest urge to do something, the strategy crumbles.

It fails first and most basically because it hinges upon an alignment of interests that rarely exists between Washington and its proxies. Most security-assistance situations, as distinct from relationships between the United States and its close allies, tend to be myopic and transactional. The United States has no meaningful long-term ties to the Syrian rebels, nor the Iraqi army and police. Our interests align to the extent that we collectively seek to destroy Islamic State, but even there, we differ as to how badly we want to do so. No wonder that when loyalties are tested among U.S.-trained Syrian rebels, those fighters disappear — and some are tempted to join forces with former enemies whose interests may be closer to theirs.


For security assistance to have any chance, it must build on existing institutions, adding something that fits within or atop a partner’s forces. That was the case with our support to the Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s, our counter-drug assistance to Colombia beginning in the 1990s and our more recent financing of the Israeli Iron Dome missile-defense system. In those instances, our help has made a big difference.

But giving night-vision goggles and F-16 aircraft to a third-rate military like the Iraqi army won’t produce a first-rate force, let alone instill the will to fight. Embedded advisers can help stiffen the resolve of local forces, but only to a point. My team in Iraq donated Humvees (painted blue and dubbed “Smurfvees”) to our Iraqi police counterparts, only to see them sit unused and fall into disrepair.

The third problem with security assistance is that it risks further destabilizing already unstable situations and actually countering U.S. interests. As in Syria, we may train soldiers who end up fighting for the other side or provide equipment that eventually falls into enemy hands. Our assistance may also create haves and have-nots within a local force, exacerbating political or sectarian divisions. That plagued our efforts to rebuild Iraqi army and police units from the start, and resulted in the creation of well-trained and well-equipped forces that moonlighted as sectarian partisans in Iraq’s civil war.

The flip side of every argument for assistance ought to be a dispassionate assessment of how the aid might be wasted or lost — or worse, how it might ultimately hurt U.S. interests. Such an assessment must take both a short and a long view, to capture risks like those we see now in Iraq and Syria, as well as the decades-long blowback we’ve experienced in Afghanistan and Pakistan after our efforts to arm anti-Soviet rebels there in the 1980s. We should also assess whether our biggest programs, such as the one that provided more than $1 billion in security assistance to Pakistan last year, help or hurt U.S. interests over the long term.

To the extent a debate exists within the U.S. government over security assistance, it tends to focus on the small-bore questions of what to call it, what agency should lead it, how best to fund it, and whether to give Hellfire missiles or artillery to a potential recipient. Such intramural disputes matter, but resolving them will not fix the flaws in the strategy.

A more humble approach is needed. We must think about security assistance the same way we think about long-term alliances, looking for alignments of interests, not convenience. Our assistance should be narrowly tailored to the existing capabilities and needs of the recipients and must be sustainable long after we leave. We should balance military training and equipment with support for civilian institutions that promote the rule of law and stability, to guard against blowback and to help address the root causes of instability.

The United States too often chooses security assistance because of the urge to do something in a crisis — often in cases where we have a national interest, but not one vital enough to send our own sons and daughters into harm’s way. We fail at these efforts, as we have in Syria, because we expect too much from them: that others will achieve what we want but will not do ourselves.

Reality Check: Obama Pushes Perpetual War In Seven Countries
Both Republicans and Democrats are guiding our country into perpetual war in seven countries.
Have we come to believe that war is the natural order of things?

By Ben Swann
Truth in Media, 2015-10-29


“Right now, if I was taking the advice of some of the members of Congress who holler all the time, we’d be in, like, seven wars right now,” Obama said. “I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been counting. We’d be in military actions in seven places around the world.”


When pressed by Yahoo News to explain the president’s remarks,
a National Security Council spokesman listed
Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The only problem is that Obama himself sent military forces in each one of these places.



Will Mideast Allies Drag Us Into War?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
buchanan.org, 2016-01-05

[Really an excellent column.
There may be counterarguments to some of his opinions,
but until I hear them,
I endorse everything he says.]

The New Year’s execution by Saudi Arabia of the Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was a deliberate provocation.

Its first purpose: Signal the new ruthlessness and resolve of the Saudi monarchy where the power behind the throne is the octogenarian King Salman’s son, the 30-year-old Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

Second, crystallize, widen and deepen a national-religious divide between Sunni and Shiite, Arab and Persian, Riyadh and Tehran.

Third, rupture the rapprochement between Iran and the United States and abort the Iranian nuclear deal.

The provocation succeeded in its near-term goal. An Iranian mob gutted and burned the Saudi embassy, causing diplomats to flee, and Riyadh to sever diplomatic ties.

From Baghdad to Bahrain, Shiites protested the execution of a cleric who, while a severe critic of Saudi despotism and a champion of Shiite rights, was not convicted of inciting revolution or terror.

In America, the reaction has been divided.

The Wall Street Journal rushed, sword in hand, to the side of the Saudi royals: “The U.S. should make clear to Iran and Russia that it will defend the Kingdom from Iranian attempts to destabilize or invade.”

The Washington Post was disgusted. In an editorial, “A Reckless Regime,” it called the execution risky, ruthless and unjustified.

Yet there is a lesson here.

Like every regime in the Middle East, the Saudis look out for their own national interests first. And their goals here are to first force us to choose between them and Iran, and then to conscript U.S. power on their side in the coming wars of the Middle East.

Thus the Saudis went AWOL from the battle against ISIS and al-Qaida in Iraq and Syria. Yet they persuaded us to help them crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen, though the Houthis never attacked us and would have exterminated al-Qaida.

Now that a Saudi coalition has driven the Houthis back toward their northern basecamp, ISIS and al-Qaida have moved into some of the vacated terrain. What kind of victory is that — for us?

In the economic realm, also, the Saudis are doing us no favors.

While Riyadh is keeping up oil production and steadily bringing down the world price on which Iranian and Russian prosperity hangs, the Saudis are also crippling the U.S. fracking industry they fear.

The Turks, too, look out for number one. The Turkish shoot-down of that Russian fighter-bomber, which may have intruded into its airspace for 17 seconds, was both a case in point and a dangerous and provocative act.

Had Vladimir Putin chosen to respond militarily against Turkey, a NATO ally, his justified retaliation could have produced demands from Ankara for the United States to come to its defense against Russia.

A military clash with our former Cold War adversary, which half a dozen U.S. presidents skillfully avoided, might well have been at hand.

These incidents raise some long-dormant but overdue questions.

What exactly is our vital interest in a permanent military alliance that obligates us to go to war on behalf of an autocratic ally as erratic and rash as Turkey’s Tayyip Recep Erdogan?

Do U.S.-Turkish interests really coincide today?

While Turkey’s half-million-man army could easily seal the Syrian border and keep ISIS fighters from entering or leaving, it has failed to do so. Instead, Turkey is using its army to crush the Kurdish PKK and threaten the Syrian Kurds who are helping us battle ISIS.

In Syria’s civil war — with the army of Bashar Assad battling ISIS and al-Qaida — it is Russia and Iran and even Hezbollah that seem to be more allies of the moment than the Turks, Saudis or Gulf Arabs.

“We have no permanent allies … no permanent enemies … only permanent interests” is a loose translation of the dictum of the 19th century British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston.

Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian jet and the Saudi execution of a revered Shiite cleric, who threatened no one in prison, should cause the United States to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the alliances and war guarantees we have outstanding, many of them dating back half a century.

Do all, do any, still serve U.S. vital national interests?

In the Middle East, where the crucial Western interest is oil, and every nation — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Libya — has to sell it to survive — no nation should be able drag us into a war not of our own choosing.

In cases where we share a common enemy, we should follow the wise counsel of the Founding Fathers and entrust our security, if need be, to “temporary,” but not “permanent” or “entangling alliances.”

Moreover, given the myriad religious, national and tribal divisions between the nations of the Middle East, and within many of them, we should continue in the footsteps of our fathers, who kept us out of such wars when they bedeviled the European continent of the 19th century.

This hubristic Saudi blunder should be a wake-up call for us all.

Al-Qaeda: Still Enemy No. 1?
by Michael Brenner --
Senior Fellow, the Center for Transatlantic Relations;
Professor of International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
Huffington Post, 2016-01-11

The mystifying ways of the Obama administration's foreign policy makers are matched by the mystifying failure of the nation's political class to pay attention to how our aberrant Middle East policies have given impetus to al-Qaeda/al-Nusra and other terrorist groups. The stark reality is that American policies over the past year have substantially strengthened al-Qaeda. Some of the Obama administration's actions in Syria have materially increased its operational capability.

This al-Qaeda is no different from the al-Qaeda of 9/11, of Osama bin-Laden, of the Global War On Terror. We have done the same for Ahrar al-Sham and the Army of Islam whose leaders laud bin-Laden, collaborate with al-Qaeda, and denounce the United States. Moreover, we have withdrawn the label of "terrorist organization" from all three in reference to the Syrian conflict. As to ISIL, we have turned a blind eye to the critical financial support it receives from Turkey and Saudi Arabia while pulling our punches in the air campaign that Obama has proclaimed as the key element in our strategy to eliminate them.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that these actions constitute "aiding and abetting" declared enemies of the United States. If a private American citizen were to engage in analogous activities, he would be prosecuted -- or, at least, placed on various "No 'X' lists. In fact, people have been imprisoned for lesser "crimes." These alleged crimes pale when placed alongside the nefarious consequences of what the Obama administration has done in enabling Al-Qaeda/al-Nusra and Assoc. in Syria and Yemen -- and in attenuating their campaign against ISIL. One could fairly say that this should be the story of the century -- despite its being sublimated by nearly the entire political class.

These actions of the Obama White House raise the most serious questions about the damage they are doing to American national security. Neither the President nor his senior officials have made any attempt to explain why they are following a course that puts us at risk while jeopardizing our influence and standing in the Middle East. Yet, this deeply troubling conduct evokes not a peep from the presidential candidates. There is not a single public figure of note who has fixed our attention on the anomaly of doing things that manifestly further al-Qaeda, ISIL, et al even as we beat our breasts in unison with calls for a redoubling of the "war on terror." Analysts at the richly funded think tanks have bought into the Obama narrative almost unanimously. Moreover, the media too remain mute. They obediently accept the White House's pinning the "moderate" label on al-Qaeda/al-Nusra et al. They denounce Putin for attacking those "moderates." They ignore the utter failure of Washington to confront the KSA, Qatar and Turkey for their support of those groups and for ISIL as well. They make only oblique mention of how our policies are turning parts of Yemen into bastions for AQAP and ISIL.

MSM journalists can be audacious in their contempt for the factual truth. Here is The New York Times' senior Washington correspondent David E. Sanger: "the administration has [..] been sharply critical of the Saudi intervention in Yemen." This is an outright falsehood -- diametrically opposite to reality. (Jan 5, 2016) In short, on these matters they behave more like the 'kept' press of some autocratic regime that the vaunted "Fourth Estate" in the American Republic.

[Professor Bennett goes on to suggest, and discuss at some length,
three possible explanations for the problems he has described above:
ignorance, careerism, pressure.]


Obama Stepped Back From Brink, Will Hillary?
by Mike Whitney
Counter Punch, 2016-10-12


The fact is,
the US is using foreign-born jihadists to topple another sovereign government
[referring to the Assad regime in Syria],
the same as it used neo Nazis in Ukraine to topple the government,
the same as it used US troops to topple the sovereign government in Iraq,
and the same as it used NATO forces to topple the sovereign government in Libya.
Get the picture?
The methods might change, but the policy is always the same.
And the reason the policy is always the same is because Washington likes to pick its own leaders,
leaders who invariably serve the interests of its wealthy and powerful constituents, particularly Big Oil and Israel.
That’s how the system works. Everyone knows this already.
Washington has toppled or attempted to topple more than 50 governments since the end of WW2.
The US is a regime change franchise, Coups-R-Us.

Hillary Clinton is a charter member of the regime change oligarchy.
She is a avid Koolaid drinker and an devoted believer in American “exceptionalism”,
which is the belief that ‘If the United States does something, it must be good.’

Hillary also believes that
the best way to resolve the conflict in Syria
is by starting a war with Russia.

Here’s what she said on Sunday [2016-10-09] in her debate with Donald Trump:

“The situation in Syria is catastrophic.
And every day that goes by,
we see the results of the regime by Assad
in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, the Russians in the air…
I, when I was secretary of state,
I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones.”

Repeat: “I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones.”

This is a very important point.
Hillary has supported no-fly zones from Day 1 despite the fact that–by her own admission–
the policy would result in massive civilian casualties.
And civilian casualties are not the only danger posed by no-fly zones.
Consider the warning by America’s top soldier,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford.
In response to a question from Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi)
on the potential dangers of trying to “control Syrian airspace,”
Dunford answered ominously,
“Right now…
for us to control all of the airspace in Syria
would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.”

This is the Hillary Doctrine in a nutshell:
Confront the Russians in Syria and start WW3.
If there’s another way to interpret Dunford’s answer, then,
please, tell me what it is?


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