ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is a group of radical fundamentalist anti-Western Islamists who believe that Muslims must follow strict Sharia law and forsake cultural perversions such as capitalistic greed and social liberty. A very moralistic lot, ISIS believes that human beings should be guided by a strict and literal reading of the Koran – which is to say, what they interpret it to mean. The highest calling is jihad, to do Allah’s work on earth, for which a soldier will be rewarded in heaven. Making the ultimate sacrifice of his life will yield the greatest reward. Just as in Christianity, whatever happens on this planet is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Eternity lasts forever, while life on earth is transitory.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, radical Islamists coalesced under the name ISIS and collaborated with Al Qaeda. Both Iraqis and foreigners joined the ranks of the insurgents as militants and civilians were being slaughtered by the Western occupiers. ISIS eventually separated from Al Qaeda (apparently not radical enough) and went on to establish outposts in other lands, including Syria, where their aim has been to oust President Bashar al-Assad and establish a caliphate.

Continue

Many people watching the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday likely considered United States Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advocacy that the US “move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran” as a welcome call for replacing decades of US hostility and sanctions toward Iran with peace and trade that would benefit people in both countries. Many viewers may also have noticed that Sanders’ stated opinion shares much in common with former Republican and Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul’s long-expressed aspiration that US antagonism toward Iran be replaced with peaceful and prosperous relations.

Paul again expressed his aspiration regarding US-Iran relations in his latest weekly editorial that concludes with the following:

Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!

Continue

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is being advertised in some circles as the heir to the Ron Paul libertarian movement, yet one look at his foreign policy and it is immediately evident that he is anything but. His advisors are Bill Kristol, John Bolton, James Woolsey, Elliot Abrams and other washed-up neocon has-beens. No wonder he screams about “carpet bombing” the Middle East and making the sand glow in the dark. The libertarian movement is essentially built around rejection of wars of aggression and against interventionism. Ted Cruz, neocon, in today’s Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Short answer: the Pentagon spent $800 million of your tax dollars to try and get businesses started in Afghanistan. They didn’t get any businesses started.

Nobody spent a f*cking penny to help Americans at home start businesses like that.

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Brian McKeon told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support that maybe all that money wasn’t wasted. McKeon said that the costly effort “had mixed results, with some successes and some failures.” He urged patience before branding the whole project as entirely misguided. “It’s a little early to say,” he offered, adding that “the jury is still out” on the fate of various projects.

McKeon, however, listed no specific projects that succeeded and gave no information on why it may be too early to tell how things will work out in Afghanistan. He did not say out loud, but knew, that this sh*t has been going on in Afghanistan for more than 14 years already, so how can it still be too early to tell? Dude, you’re not aging whiskey here.

Continue

What did you get for Christmas these last six years?

The U.S. government was nice enough to gift our loyal friends the Afghans $17 billion of your tax money, and, in the true spirit of giving, asked nothing in return for itself.

What that means in actual dollars and nonsense is that the U.S. government wasted $17 billion in taxpayer money in Afghanistan on various projects that never made it off the ground or were doomed to fail because of incompetence or lack of maintenance, according to a new report.

ProPublica looked at over 200 audits conducted by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) over the last six years and tallied up the costs for the wide range of failed efforts to reach the $17 billion price tag. This greatest hits study only scratched the surface of the estimated $110 billion spent to rebuild the country (the U.S. spent some $47 billion in rebuilding Iraq, and how’d that work out?)

Continue

Now look at him, Detainee 434 Mustafa al Shamiri

Now look at him, Detainee 434 Mustafa al Shamiri

This story makes me so angry that I can’t even come up with my usual snarky introduction. I only weep.

The Guantánamo parole board approved the release of a Yemeni “forever prisoner,” dismissing intelligence that imprisoned the man for 13 years without trial. And if that level of evil and scorn for justice doesn’t radicalize a 100 people to join ISIS, then nothing can.

The so-called Gitmo Periodic Review Board heard the case of Mustafa al Shamiri, 37. Intelligence analysts, I’ll say it again, 13 years ago, wrongly labeled him as a high level al-Qaida guy, because his name was similar to actual extremists. For 13 years of hell, like some modern-day Jean Valjean, he was known only as Detainee 434 by his American jailers.

“In making this determination, the board noted that the most derogatory prior assessments regarding the detainee’s activities before detention have been discredited, and the current information shows that the detainee has low-level military capability.”

Continue