Archive | Anti-war

Oil fields near Tikrit

So many questions about Islamic State, so few answers

Oil fields near Tikrit

Oil fields near Tikrit

So how is it a non-state paramilitary just pops out of nowhere, well-funded and trained, and is on the verge of taking over at least two countries, while no one in the West has a clue what to do. Really? And where was NSA and the rest of military “intelligence”? None of them saw this coming. Thus, the hundreds of billions they spend each year to supposedly defend and protect us is almost completely wasted. As with the financial crisis of 2007, it was bloggers and other fringees who saw the crisis coming, and who were then ignored or ridiculed until the crisis hit. Then mainstream media and government had to admit all those crazy conspiracists were right.

The same thing is happening with IS. Big media are not asking or digging to determine who funds IS, where their support comes from, as specifically which Middle East governments tacitly or otherwise are backing them. Instead we get Wolf Blitzer blithering about minutiae (“Who is Jihadi John?”) “and ignoring the big issues.

Who benefits from this madness? The war machine, of course. There’s lots of money to be made, even as what passes for strategy from the White House and Pentagon has failed yet again. Oh well, that just means more opportunity for war.

Iraq is now a sectarian civil war. Shi’ite militias and Iran are attacking Tikrit, which is overwhelmingly Sunni. It doesn’t matter which side “wins”, the result will be slaughter and reprisals.

IS blows up oil fields near Tikrit to slow Iraqi forces.

IS has taken over Libya oilfields, as the situation there deteriorates too.

Posted in Anti-war0 Comments

Is this defensive or offensive war damage. Hmm.

Contrary to D.C. propagandists, defensive wars do not exist

Is this defensive or offensive war damage. Hmm.

Is this defensive or offensive war damage? Hmm.

How many times have we heard blather from Washington that we need to arm someone, but strictly for defensive purposes. Anyone saying that is a fool or a liar, because when the shooting starts, you shoot back and attack when you can. It is intellectually dishonest to say wars can be defensive only – yet that’s precisely what Obama and Kerry are trying to do, send weapons to Ukraine then pretend they will be used for defense only.

Kerry pretends the US isn’t arming Ukraine against Russia (something France and Germany strongly oppose)

“We talked about the largest threat that Ukraine faces today, and that is Russia’s continued aggression in the east. There’s no other way to call it. We’re not seeking a conflict with Russia. No one is. … The president is reviewing all of his options. Among those options, obviously, is the possibility of providing defensive — defensive — assistance to Ukraine.”

Make no mistake, Obama and Kerry and too many other supposed liberals now support all war all the time.

Just as NATO allies Germany and France were undertaking a peace initiative with Russia and Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry turned up in Kiev at the same time, seeking to poison the talks before they started by spouting yet again the ritual U.S. accusation of “Russian aggression.” The incantation is meaningless without context. Its purpose is mesmerize a false consciousness. “Russian aggression” may or may not exist in the events of the past year, just like “Russian self-defense.” Reporting on the ground has been too unreliable to support any firm analysis, never mind the provocative “Russian aggression” the U.S. brandishes as a virtual call for war.

The US has no clue what it will do in Ukraine if serious war starts yet is doing its best to provoke a conflagration anyway. We have no strategy, no tactics, no plan for an end game. Nope, just charge ahead and make the world safe for democracy (again) then wonder a few years later why we’ve created such a mess (again.) We do little half-assed wars and not full-on wars is because 1) our populace is tired of them and 2) war is bankrupting us. A much better idea then, is to let those in a disputed area fight it out, rather than insisting we become involved too.

This also applies to ISIS. Most Middle East countries have shown little interest in fighting ISIS. Until they do, why should we get involved?

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Getting all macho may be precisely what ISIS wants

Jordan invading Iraq may be precisely what ISIS wants

Getting all macho may be precisely what ISIS wants

Getting all macho may be precisely what ISIS wants

Jordan is massing troops on their border with Iraq. An invasion is certain to follow. Despite much macho blustering from Jordan and the US, an invasion may well fail, and fail spectacularly. This may have been ISIS’s intent in burning the pilot alive, to provoke Jordan into rage, then sucker them into a trap. All of this is greatly aided by chowderhead US politicians and generals (who mostly seem to be pimping for the war machine) screaming we must have more war, even as we use the exact same tactics that have failed us multiple times in the past. Surely this time will be different. Air strikes will defeat the foe. The populace won’t turn against us just because we accidentally bomb a few wedding parties.

John Robb:

ISIS used the video to provoke Jordan. ISIS selected the punishment (it was insulting) and the victim (he was the son of a politically important tribal chief) with care. This implies that the video was meant to produced outrage, not coercion. ISIS did this to provoke Jordan into rash actions that it could take advantage of.

Further, ISIS knows there isn’t a strong coalition against ISIS, that bombing won’t hurt them much, and is hoping Jordan will make a strategic mistake, like getting sucked into the Syrian civil war, invading deep into Iraq and getting its supply lines too stretched-out, cracking down massively on dissent within the country with the usual effects of driving more people to ISIS.

But the war machine only know how to do one thing.

A week after the release of a clip with sported professionally produced, near Hollywood-level editing and effects, showing the brutal burning of a Jordanian pilot hostage, Jordan announced it has deployed “thousands” of ground troops to its border with Iraq as it ramps up a campaign against ISIS militants, two Jordanian government officials told NBC News.

The crown jewel in all this for ISIS would be to create enough chaos that they could attack the Saudi border.

Posted in Anti-war, News0 Comments

addicted_to_war

“Low life scum” and addiction to war

addicted_to_war

Protesting a withered old war criminal simply cannot be allowed in the august, mostly reality-free halls of the U.S. Senate. Congress and the Administration are busily preparing for more war in Ukraine and the Middle East so when that petite troublemaker Medea Benjamin and her Code Pink cohorts protested Henry Kissinger the only thing John McCain could do is sputter they were “low-life scum.” Really?

Why is that the U.S. Congress never really considers the possibilities of peace and of not going to war?  It’s not like we’re hugely successful at war. Iraq and Libya are in chaos now. IS, at least partly spawned in our prisons in the Middle East, is running amok. We can’t even decide who to back in Syria. Yet the war machine lumbers on. Gosh, it’s almost like we’re addicted to war.

No, this time won’t be different, especially since as a country we refuse to see how our actions, belligerence, and assumption of superiority often make bad situations worse for inhabitants of countries we invade and for ourselves. Here’s a hint. Every time a drone goes astray and hits a wedding party or a bomber hits a hospital by mistake, dozens of new terrorists are born.

These questions arise amidst reaction to the scene at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on January 29, when the committee decided it would be useful to hear from a nonagenarian former secretary of state and unindicted war criminal named Henry Kissinger. As reported by the Associated Press in the New York Times, this appearance of a former government official, who was an architect of American failures from Viet-Nam to Chile, left unasked the question: why would the Senate leadership today want to hear from a man so steeped in making war – and losing?

The question of war or peace is a question the Times and most of the mainstream media would rather not consider, even though they’re covering a Congress that has been noisy with war drums for months, or years now.

Posted in Anti-war

zacharias moussaoui

Moussaoui claims Saudi royals ‘funded 9/11 attacks’

zacharias moussaoui

BBC Radio interviewed the lawyer who interviewed Moussaoui. The lawyer says Mosssaoui’s testimony is credible, and backed by other evidence. The official Saudi denial was curiously worded. It said no government officials were involved but specifically did not say royals were not involved. Moussaoui says he kept a database of AQ donors, shuttled messages between bin Laden and royals, who were supporting jihad to make points with the Wahhabi fundamentalist thugs whose support the regime needs. (I listened to the interview on Sirius and can’t find a link online yet, just a news link)

The US and allies are blundering around trying to fight a new kind of war with old school tactics and strategy. First off, maybe this isn’t our war. Let the locals fight it out, as, as apparently, as always, Sunni-Shia disputes are at the center. Second, if we try to fight it with bombs, we will just make things worse and less safe for ourselves. Third, let’s determine just exactly who are friends, if any, are in the Middle East.

The Telegraph is blunt. And if you ask why I quote from The Torygraph, you miss the point. This isn’t about left vs. right.

War with Isis: If Saudi Arabia isn’t fueling the militant inferno, who is?

Jordanians, more than half of whom are Palestinians, must now debate the dichotomy of tribal loyalty and religion, and ask a simple question: who are their real allies – and their real national enemies – in the Middle East?

The searchlight beam of their attention, and of Washington’s, will now again pass over the Gulf and that most Wahhabi of nations, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Put bluntly, should the world blame the Saudis for the inflammable monster that is Isis?

And in more news of the mad.

Boko Haram kill more than 100 in Cameroon.

Gunmen storm Libyan oil field, kill four, apparent Islamic radicals.

Posted in Anti-war

RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova,Donetsk International Airport. Image from Facebook by Vyacheslav Gumennuy

Bad craziness in Libya, Yemen, Ukraine, coming to Saudi Arabia

RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova,Donetsk International Airport. Image from Facebook by Vyacheslav Gumennuy

RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova,Donetsk International Airport. Image from Facebook by Vyacheslav Gumennuy

We are going through extraordinarily unsettled times. US interference in Libya and Yemen certainly helped create the chaos in those countries. No one in Ukraine appears to be paying much attention to what the US says or tries to do. And the thug kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now becoming encircled by unfriendly insurgencies.

Libya central bank branch in Benghazi has been seized by insurgents. There are multiple warring groups of insurgents and the government is apparently non-functional. Perhaps they would like some freedom fries with their chaos?

The battle for control of Libya threatened to break open its central bank on Thursday as fighters with one of the country’s two warring factions seized control of its Benghazi branch, risking an armed scramble for its gold reserves that could cripple the last functioning institution in the country.

Yemen risks disintegration as south rejects Shi’ite group’s takeover. Meanwhile the US blathers on about how drone strikes will continue, oblivious to the radically changing situation in Yemen.

The emerging fragmentation of the Arabian Peninsula country has sparked fears of the “Somalization” of a state which is home to a revitalized al Qaeda insurgency as well as a neighbor to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia could soon face ISIS attacks from Iraq in the north and from AQ from Yemen in the south. Saudi Arabia was essentially created via jihads very much like what ISIS favors now and its support of Wahhhabism makes it vulnerable to internal attacks.

A century ago, the House of Saud started a jihad to do exactly what ISIS is doing today. In that earlier case, the Saudi Ikhwan (a fundamentalist militia that is similar to ISIS) expanded until it conquered the territory that is now Saudi Arabia.

The Ikhwan eventually turned on the Sauds when they called an end to the jihad. The Sauds won that fight and spent the next century building a variant of Wahhabism to legitimize their rule. However, the Sauds never did eradicate the part Wahhabism that seeks expansionist jihad, and this will return to haunt them.

War is exploding anew in Ukraine; rebels vow more.

The renewed fighting has dashed any hopes of reinvigorating a cease-fire signed in September and honored more in name than in fact since then. It has also put to rest the notion that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, would be so staggered by the twin blows of Western sanctions and a collapse in oil prices that he would forsake the separatists in order to foster better relations with the West.

it.
Bad craziness, all of

Posted in Anti-war

Seal_of_the_Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant

ISIS gaining in Syria despite US airstrikes

Seal_of_the_Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant

The US has bombed 800 targets in Syria. ISIS continues to gain territory. Insurgents cannot be defeated from the air alone. They just can’t. This a lesson the US resolutely refuses to learn. By bombing whatever, we will inevitably kill noncombatants who will probably then be way more sympathetic to ISIS. And why are we bombing Syria anyway? Why is this our fight? The US detests Assad, who we now are implicitly backing. All of this makes absolutely no sense.

This Pentagon pronouncement reminds me of propaganda we heard from them during the Vietnam War. “60 Viet Cong were killed. One US soldier suffered a hangnail.” It wan’t true then, it’s not true now.

“Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast.

A map developed by the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS), a Syrian-American opposition umbrella group, shows that ISIS has nearly doubled the amount of territory it controls since airstrikes began last year.

Gosh, ISIS doubling seized territory in a year does not sound like their momentum has been stopped.

From the always savvy War News Updates.

If the Islamic State is gaining territory in Syria …. despite consistent and persistent U.S. air strikes …. one has to wonder if the Obama administration’s Mideast strategy is working. When this U.S. campaign started a few months ago …. top U.S. Generals and Pentagon spokespersons reiterated the need for time …. but that time is now coming to an end …. and I do not see any progress at all.

Posted in Anti-war

orwell

Show me the way to the next little war, oh don’t ask why.

orwell

The West is silent as Libya falls into the abyss. The chaos there will inevitably create more wars and conflicts for the US to “intervene” in. Which is precisely the point. The US doesn’t blunder into war. It needs them to exist. That’s why we have so many of them. It doesn’t matter if we win. The cold hard facts are the US has lost most of the wars it has fought since WWII. Yet the war machine grinds on, even as the wheels seem to be falling off a bit lately. Our Middle East / North Africa adventurism has gone rather badly, both for the U.S. and for the occupants of those countries we intervened in, mouthing platitudes about democracy, which we promptly ignore, backing one warlord against another and then wondering why it all went so badly.

Libya has now disintegrated into at least two civil wars. The U.S., France, and Britain are nowhere to be seen.

It is easy enough to deride the neo-imperial posturing of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, or to describe the abyss into which Libya has fallen since 2011. The people whom that intervention propelled into power have reduced a country that had been peaceful for more than half a century to a level of violence that is beginning to approach that of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever Western intentions, the result has been a disaster. In Libya, as in Syria today, Western intervention was supposedly in support of democracy, but was conducted in alliance with the Sunni absolute monarchies of the Gulf who had no such aims.

In all three cases [Syria, Afghanistan, Libya], the West intervened in somebody else’s civil war and tried to dictate who won. There was a pretence that the Taliban, Saddam, Gaddafi or Assad were demonically evil and without any true supporters. This foreign support may give victory to one party in a civil war, as in Libya, which they could not win by relying on their own strength. In Iraq, the beleaguered Sunni could not fight a US-backed Shia government so it needed to bring in al-Qaeda. Thus the conditions were created that eventually produced Isis.

Now the U.S. can have more wars, this time against ISIS. I’m not pacifist. Some fights need to be fought.  However, why not let the Middle East sort out its own problems. We have plenty of our own at home to solve and it’s obvious to all except DC insiders and the war pigs, that our military adventurism in other countries is beyond self-defeating.

Posted in Anti-war

Voldemort? Or John McCain?

Sen. McCain calls admiral an “idiot” – Why do media promote that?

Voldemort? Or John McCain?

Voldemort? Or John McCain?

BuzzFeed, moving up from cute-cat-tricks to catty-Senator-tricks, caused a few ripples in the political swamp on October 22 with its belated, skewed reporting of Republican Senator John McCain calling U.S. Admiral John Kirby an “idiot” on a rightwing radio show in North Carolina on October 15. OK, nobody really expects BuzzFeed News to publish honest news.

Less defensible, though hardly surprising, is the way the Washington Post and other less well known media outfits picked up the “idiot” story fragment and ran with it as if it was the whole story, without further context, much less identifying Sen. McCain’s own idiotic statements and falsehoods in the very same radio interview.

Here’s the nut of the story, when Sen. McCain, in response to no question, interrupts the host and says out of the blue:

“It’s the most amazing thing. It’s the most amazing thing. The spin and the lies out of this White House. I mean, it’s, it’s unbelievable. This idiot Admiral Kirby was asked, I think yesterday, that said, ‘John McCain says that we are losing, what do you say?’ The guy, you gotta run it, you gotta run it. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. I mean, it’s amazing. And how can they possibly now, with ISIS taking about two thirds of the city of Kobani – they’re saying this is effective. You know, there’s two hundred thousand refugees out of that town, thousands have been slaughtered….  [rambling on other subjects for another minute]”

Radio Host Tyler Cralle didn’t know enough, or care enough, to interrupt the senator and point out that Kobani’s total population in 2004 was about 50,000. Or that Kobani has been a haven for internal refugee Syrians fleeing the civil war. Or that this flood of displaced persons from elsewhere has reportedly pushed Kobani’s population perhaps as high as 400,000. Not surprisingly there’s no accurate count of these refugees becoming re-refugees, either elsewhere in Syria or in neighboring Turkey. If McCain actually cared about uprooted Syrians, he would have been advocating for them three years ago.

Fear-mongering is what people do when they have no cogent argument

Sen. McCain couldn’t possibly have known whether it was true to say, “ISIS taking about two-thirds of the city of Kobani.” It’s unlikely anyone knew with any precision, including those on the ground. Whether it was ever true, which is doubtful, it’s not true more than a week later,according to the BBC. It’s a small point, but its importance is how it shows Sen. McCain’s willingness to demagogue and falsify in the service of his perennial fear-mongering.

Taking fear-mongering as far as it can go, Sen. McCain claims that ISIS is:

“… now the largest and most powerful terrorist organization in history, uh, they control area the size of, uh, state of Indiana, and they are winning and we are losing. And that is very serious, and it poses a direct threat to the United States of America….”

That should be “poses as” a direct threat, since no serious person can make a credible case for ISIS being a significant threat to the U.S. now, or for the foreseeable future. Or perhaps Sen. McCain knows more about the ISIS Air Force and the ISIS Navy than is presently apparent, and this justifies his fear-mongering.

There is no persuasive evidence that “they are winning and we are losing.” There is no persuasive evidence that anyone is winning or losing. What persuasive evidence there is seems to show that everyone is losing. In recent months, the fighting in Syria and Iraq has been stalemated, with minor gains and losses on any side making little if any overall difference.

McCain is fear-mongering even when he claims ISIS controls an area the size of Indiana, roughly 36,400 square miles. All of Syria is 72,000 square miles. What ISIS controls is a patchwork of roads and communities. This patchwork is intertwined with other patchworks of roads and communities controlled by others. And these patchworks continue to change almost daily. “Control” is a chimera in both Syria and Iraq.

As for “the largest and most powerful terrorist organization in history,” Sen. McCain is simply saying: be afraid, don’t think, just quiver in your boots, that’s what Republicans want the American people to do more than anything. For McCain’s claim to have any credibility, one must assume that ISIS is larger and more powerful than, among others, al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, Hezbollah, or U.S. Special Forces.

That conclusion would require rational assessment, and that’s no way to win elections.

McCain’s fear-mongering is rooted in his unchallenged Big Lie

As anyone who pays attention knows, the decision to pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq was made by President George Bush in November 2008, apparently without consultation with then president-elect Barack Obama. On November 17, 2008, the Bush administration signed the Status of Forces Agreement that sealed the U.S. pullout by December 31, 2011, leaving it for the next administration to carry out. Some in the Bush administration, especially at the Pentagon, started a media campaign to leave U.S. combat troops in Iraq under some other name, but the deal was done. In an official White House statement, President Bush praised his administration’s accomplishment:

“The Strategic Framework Agreement sets the foundation for a long-term bilateral relationship between our two countries, and the Security Agreement addresses our presence, activities, and withdrawal from Iraq. Today’s vote affirms the growth of Iraq’s democracy and increasing ability to secure itself….

Two years ago, this day seemed unlikely – but the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament. The improved conditions on the ground and the parliamentary approval of these two agreements serve as a testament to the Iraqi, Coalition, and American men and women, both military and civilian, who paved the way for this day….these historic agreements that will serve the shared and enduring interests of both our countries and the region.” [emphasis added]

The complete withdrawal of U.S. troops by December 2011 was sealed in treaty by the Bush administration. It was what the Iraqi government dearly wanted. But Sen. McCain has his own, false, self-serving version of this history that he put this way to Tyler Cralle:

“There’s many failings of this president [Obama], but, he doesn’t want to lead, it’s created a vacuum, and the best example of that is – every one of our military leaders, uh, that wanted to retain a residual force in Iraq – thanks to [Gen.] David Petraeus and the surge and so many brave people back in – actually North Carolinians from our bases here in North Carolina – we had it won, it was, it was, uh, it was stabilized. But the president had to get everybody out. All of his commanders said, ‘Leave a stabilizing force behind and everything will be fine.’ We pulled them all out and, as [Sen.] Lindsey Graham and I and others predicted…. things went to hell.”

This is a Big Lie that the right has been repeating for years, with little or no correction from mainstream media, or even from Democrats. The BuzzFeed News “idiot” story carried no hint of McCain’s deceit, and the follow-up coverage by the Washington Post and others was equally free of accurate context.

Sen. McCain has been wrong about Iraq and the region since 2002, and he’s still wrong. He is the son of an admiral, and the grandson of an admiral, and he joined the Navy and didn’t make admiral, and surely being a POW in Vietnam had something to do with that. But none of that justifies a 78-year-old rejected presidential candidate going around calling a current, serving admiral an “idiot,” does it?

This raises the question: what’s a good working definition of “idiot”? Dictionaries offer dozens of synonyms, including: fool, ass, halfwit, dunce, dolt, cretin, moron, imbecile, dork, butthead, dingbat, and nitwit. Some people might argue that an “idiot” is someone who undermines the commander in chief during wartime, but that’s really more like “traitor,” to use an all-too-common rightwing trope.  Others, including a number commenting on various websites, say the best working definition of “idiot” is: someone who chooses a running mate like Sarah Palin.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

Posted in Anti-war

Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836

U.S. on a highway to Hell. Start a war and lose an empire

Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836

The U.S. blunders on, resolutely refusing to accept reality, leaving other countries in shambles as its own  power erodes. Syria and Iraq are consumed with war. Libya is nearing full-scale civil war. American intervention in Ukraine has been counter-productive at best. It’s almost comical, says Russian expat Dmitry Orlov in a sobering yet humorous essay.  He thinks the U.S. could shatter and fall like the U.S.S.R. did.

The American behavior throughout this succession of defeats has been remarkably consistent, with the constant element being their flat refusal to deal with reality in any way, shape or form. Just as before, in Syria the Americans are ever looking for moderate, pro-Western Islamists, who want to do what the Americans want (topple the government of Bashar al Assad) but will stop short of going on to destroy all the infidel invaders they can get their hands on. The fact that such moderate, pro-Western Islamists do not seem to exist does not affect American strategy in the region in any way.

Obama’s bleatings have somewhat alarmed Russians though, and that country is turning away from the U.S. and the dollar. This could have disastrous effects here at home if the government can not continually roll over its massive short-term debt by selling more T-bills. Much of this debt is, of course, due to idiot wars the U.S. keeps starting and insisting on being involved in.

You’d think that Obama has already overplayed his hand, and should behave accordingly. His popularity at home is roughly the inverse of Putin’s, which is to say, Obama is still more popular than Ebola, but not by much. He can’t get anything at all done, no matter how pointless or futile, and his efforts to date, at home and abroad, have been pretty much a disaster. So what does this social worker turned national mascot decide to do? Well, the way the Russians see it, he has decided to declare war on Russia! In case you missed it, look up his speech before the UN General Assembly. It’s up on the White House web site. He placed Russia directly between Ebola and ISIS among the three topmost threats facing the world. Through Russian eyes his speech reads as a declaration of war.

Posted in Anti-war, Banksters

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