Obama’s ISIS speech would have provoked outrage if Bush gave it. Now, however, Democrats and Republicans are united over foreign war to such an extent that a prolonged military campaign without congressional approval barely raises an eyebrow. So one year after an attack on Syria was rejected by the American public bombs will be dropping after all.
More surprising than the bipartisan escalation of Middle East war is the complete absence of strategy. Obama’s speech ignored the fundamental causes of ISIS’ rise, while putting forth a military strategy of pure fantasy. The only guarantee of Obama’s war strategy is the unnecessary prolonging of the Syrian conflict and the further growth of Islamic extremism. It’s as if President Obama hasn’t figured out the ABC’s of terrorism: the more you bomb, the more extremists you create. It isn’t rocket science.
The 13-year “war on terror” has fundamentally failed, creating an exponential growth in Islamic extremism, now sprawling across the very epicenter of the Middle East where its presence before was minuscule.
Truth #1: "We have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland." This is an extremely important admission to understand. If there is no specific plot against America then America must by definition be acting preemptively to wage war on the organization known as the "Islamic State." Whether you think that is a good thing or a bad thing, it is by definition, the truth.
Truth #2:"ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria and the broader Middle East." This is undoubtedly true. If American politicians wanted to combat such a threat, it would make sense to cooperate with the governments of both Iraq and Syria. The fact that the United States has thus far absolutely refused to cooperate with the government of Syria should make you search for underlying motivations for American intervention that are perhaps less obvious.
Truth #3:"Last month I ordered our [the American] military to take targeted action [to drop bombs] against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then we’ve conducted over 150 successful airstrikes on Iraq." This is undoubtedly true. The questions Americans should ask themselves are both procedural and moral. First, what procedures are used to authorize such action? Second, are there any transparent principles that unilaterally apply when deciding to exercise the use of violent force? Third, is the use of violent force morally justified in these circumstances?
Obama took to the airwaves yesterday, oh so coincidentally, on the eve of September 11, to roll out his latest "smart war." And it comes, oh so coincidentally, just before Congressional midterms when every member of Congress fears like the plague to be painted as a dove, just as happened in 2002 before Bush II took us to war.
Whatever role ISIS plays in this, Syria is certainly the target. It is telling that when it comes to money, Obama is asking Congress only for funding to train the Syrian "moderate rebels" in that bastion of Sunni moderation, Saudi Arabia.
The rationales that Obama is peddling make no sense. If the barbarity of beheading were the actual trigger of this latest onslaught on the Middle East, then the U.S. would not be sending our "moderate" trainees to Saudi Arabia where beheading is a well respected national past time – far more popular than allowing women to drive automobiles.
And if the barbarity that has motivated Obama were the wanton taking of American life, then we would be training Jewish "moderates" to overthrow the Apartheid State of Israel. For let us remember that the IDF bulldozed the American Rachel Corrie into the ground when she stood in the way of the destruction of Palestinian housing. And it was Israel that killed the American citizen living in Turkey, Furkan Dogan, who was on the Mavi Marmara in the Gaza Flotilla. And it was Israel that tried to blow the USS Liberty out of the water killing 34 American sailors and wounding 171.
The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending “perpetual war,” the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now – in response to Obama’s speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end – the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.
Under the headline “The End of the Perpetual War,” published on May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a new Obama speech “the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America.” The editorial added: “For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.”
The Times editorial board was sweeping in its conclusion: “Mr. Obama told the world that the United States must return to a state in which counterterrorism is handled, as it always was before 2001, primarily by law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. That shift is essential to preserving the democratic system and rule of law for which the United States is fighting, and for repairing its badly damaged global image.”
But the “essential” shift is now dispensable and forgettable, judging from the New York Timeseditorial that appeared hours after Obama’s pivotal speech Wednesday night. The newspaper’s editorial board has ditched the concept that the state of perpetual war is unsustainable for democracy.
It was only an item on page 5 of the NY Times about an incident on the Estonian-Russian border. The Estonians charged that one of their officers had been kidnapped, or detained – take your pick – by the Russians who promptly denied the story. The Estonians, empowered by their membership in NATO and Obama’s recent visit are quite aware that Article 5 of the NATO treaty obliges every member nation to come to their aid if attacked. Far from his nation’s voters who think less and less of him, Obama seems to have given little Estonia a virtual blank check when he said that if anyone – meaning Russia – made a move against the Baltic states Russia would have to fight the US too. That’s our President. Tough abroad and weak at home.
Fortunately, nothing has happened on the border, at least not yet. But by continually calling every border episode an "invasion," as Ukraine does, is designed to get the attention of NATO and Washington, especially since the US pays the major portion of NATO’s bills and nothing can happen without its approval.
No wonder Ukraine desperately wants to be included in NATO and why our perpetually bellicose hawks would like nothing more than to give Putin, no angel he, a good whack and teach Moscow who’s the real boss. All this, of course, without calling in American ground troops (and scaring Americans at home), as Obama and everyone in Washington’s Iraq-tainted War Party keeps repeating, while wink-winking, knowing that no-one really believes in that fairy tale should things take a bad turn.
Ukraine, bankrupt and corrupt, has become our latest freedom-loving heroes, battling the brutal pro-Russians in its eastern region while hosting our Vice-President, CIA Director and super hawks like John McCain. Overlooked are some of the new champions of liberty we’ve inherited.
Netanyahu’s war-turned-genocide in Gaza has backfired badly –his strategy has helped resurrect Hamas, the very movement he tried desperately to crush
Aside from being a major military setback, Israel’s war on Gaza has also disoriented the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like never before. Since the announcement of a ceasefire on 26 August, his statements appear erratic and particularly uncertain, an expected outcome of the Gaza war.
Since his first term as a prime minister (1996-99), Netanyahu has showed particular savviness at fashioning political and military events to neatly suit his declared policies. He fabricated imminent threats that were neither imminent nor threats, for example, Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Later, he took on Iran.
He created too many conditions and laid numerous obstacles for peace settlements to ever be realized. The late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, labored for years to meet Israel’s conditions, and failed. Abbas has taken the same futile road. But Netanyahu’s conditions are specifically designed to be unattainable.