When I tuned in to US president Barack Obama’s televised speech on his plans for war against the so-called “Islamic State,” I expected exactly what we got — a bland sundae of pseudo-patriotic drivel topped off with some whipped cream of big bucks for the military-industrial complex and the cherry of regime change in Syria. What I didn’t expect was a bon mot homage to a previous era:
“[W]e are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” — US president Lyndon Johnson, October 21, 1964
“[W]e cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves …” US president Barack Obama, September 10, 2014
A curious inversion: LBJ’s remark came near the end of the “advisor” era in Vietnam and prior to the massive, direct US military intervention there. Obama’s reprise comes after nearly a quarter century of massive, direct US military interventions in Iraq and proposes to make history run backward into an “advisor” scenario. Curious, but clearly not accidental.
We all remember how Vietnam ended. After two lost ground wars in Asia in the last 12 years, after recourse to the history book accounts of the post-WWII era, you might expect Obama to have learned a lesson by now. And you’d be right.
Just as Barack Obama was to announce what some are calling Iraq War III, Dick Cheney emerged on Capitol Hill to scold Republicans about isolationist heresies.
An interventionist philosophy prevails in both Washington parties, but not on The Weekly Podcast with Charles Goyette and Ron Paul. This week the conversation is about ISIS and Obama’s latest American initiative in the Mideast. Dr. Paul points to the role played by foreign forces, whether on the ground or by way of aerial bombardment, in radicalizing domestic populations which then ally themselves with groups like Al Qaeda and now ISIS.
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Charles Goyette is New York Times Bestselling Author of The Dollar Meltdown and Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy. Check out Goyette and Paul’s national radio commentary: Ron Paul’s America. Goyette also edits The Freedom and Prosperity Letter.
Jeremy Scahill talked with MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Thursday to discuss Obama’s plan to escalate the U.S. military campaign against ISIS and offered a damning assessment of the administration’s “strategy.”
Chris Hayes spoke with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on the secret 28 pages of the 911 Commission Report. That section of the report implicates foreign government involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Read more on them at 28pages.org.
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?