Berto Jongman: US in 5-134 Wars (Right Now)

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

The US is now involved in 134 wars or none, depending on your definition of ‘war’

The White House spent much of last week trying to figure out if the word “war” was the right one to describe its military actions against the Islamic State.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was at first reluctant:

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation,” he told CBS News on Sept. 11. “I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity… I don’t think people need to get into war fever on this. I think they have to view it as a heightened level of counter terrorist activity.”

Kerry said similarly hedgy things during interviews on CNN and ABC.

By the next day, the Obama administration appeared more comfortable with the word war, yet hardly offered any more clarity. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “The United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

The problem is that our traditional definition of “war” is outdated, and so is our imagination of what war means.

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Sep 20

SchwartzReport: 25% US Citizens Support Secession & Break-Up of USA + Meta-RECAP

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

Twenty five per cent of Americans are open to secession and the break up of the United States. To this add that better than 3 out of 4 Americans are unhappy. And that 64 per cent can’t even name the three branches of government. This is a country in crisis.

Angry With Washington, 1 in 4 Americans Open to Secession
Reuters/The Raw Story

The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.

The urge to sever ties with Washington cuts across party lines and regions, though Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners, according to the poll.

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Sep 20

Patrick Cockburn: Letter from Arabia — ISIS is the Lesser of All Evils — And Most Certainly Less Evil Than an Invading Occupying USA…

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn

The Impossible War

Isis cannot be beaten as long as there is civil war in Syria

BY PATRICK COCKBURN

CounterPunch • SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

A letter printed at the bottom of this article was emailed by a friend soon after her neighbourhood in Mosul was hit by Iraqi airforce bombers. This was some hours before President Barack Obama explained his plan to weaken and ultimately destroy Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, by a series of measures including air attacks. The letter illustrates graphically one of the most important reasons why American air power may be less effective than many imagine.

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Sep 15

SchwartzReport: Why Obama Will Lose to ISIS — Indeed, How He Will Empower and Enlarge ISIS…

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

I started out today writing a short essay on my views about this new war, then came across this, with which I agree. It makes my main point: You would think after 11 years of war in the Islamic world, we would learn something about the culture and how to work with it. Apparently not. I think one really has to ask now: Cui bono? Who benefits?

Why Obama Will Lose His Endless War in Syria and Iraq
STEVE WEISSMAN – Reader Supported News

Never bet on another man’s game,” my father loved to say. It’s a lesson Barack Obama never learned, especially in his military strikes against Islamic State.

Islamic State, or ISIL, has only one way to keep the support of Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen and former Baathist supporters of Saddam Hussein. The blood-thirsty ‘fools of God” need to be seen defending their people against a Western invasion, which is precisely what Obama gives them.

He plays the role they purposely provoked with their brutal beheadings, summary executions, and sickening use of mass rape to keep their fighters happy. He becomes the foreign, Christian crusader defiling a Muslim land, and he does it in company with Iranian as well as Iraqi Shiites, whom Islamic State despises as heretics, and with the blessing of Sunni Arab leaders it correctly sees as outrageously corrupt.

In other words, the more jihadis Obama kills, the more Sunnis that Obama recruits to their ranks. Not a winning strategy.

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Sep 15

Edward Luce: From England with Sanity — STOP on ISIS!

Edward Luce

Edward Luce

America’s perpetual war on terror by any other name

If you embark on something with your eyes half-open, you are likely to lose sight of reality

Financial Times, 14 September 2014

EXTRACT

The reality is the US war on terror has succeeded where it was supposed to. Mr Bush’s biggest innovation was to set up the Department of Homeland Security. If you chart domestic terror attempts in the US since September 11 2001, they have become increasingly low-tech and ineffectual. From the foiled Detroit airliner attack in Mr Obama’s first year to the Boston marathon bombings in his fifth, each attempt has been more amateur than the last. The same is true of America’s allies. There has been no significant attack in Europe since London’s July 7 bombings nine years ago. Western publics have acclimatised to an era of tighter security.

If this is the balance sheet of the US war on terror, why lose sleep? Chiefly because it understates the costs. The biggest of these is the damage an undeclared war is doing to the west’s grasp on reality. Myopic thinking leads to bad decisions. Mr Obama pointedly avoided using the word “war” last week. Although there are more than 1,000 US military personnel in Iraq, and more than 160 US air strikes in the past month, he insisted on calling his plan to destroy Isis a “campaign”. Likewise, the US uniforms are those of “advisers” and “trainers”. These kinds of euphemism lead to mission creep. If you embark on something with your eyes half-open, you are likelier to lose your way.

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Sep 14

Nafeez Ahmed: How the West Created the Islamic State (ISIS) — Jordan Hosts the Command Center — Chalabi and NeoCons Ride Again…

Nafeez Ahmed

Nafeez Ahmed

How the West Created the Islamic State

Follow the Money, Follow the Oil

Nafeez Ahmed

Counter-Punch, 12-14 September 2014

EXTRACTS

Missing from the chorus of outrage, however, has been any acknowledgement of the integral role of covert US and British regional military intelligence strategy in empowering and even directly sponsoring the very same virulent Islamist militants in Iraq, Syria and beyond, that went on to break away from al-Qaeda and form ‘ISIS’, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or now simply, the Islamic State (IS).

. . . . . . .

In other words, US forces will pursue public legitimacy through conventional social welfare while simultaneously delegitimising local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, knowing full-well that doing so will in turn escalate the number of innocent civilians “caught in the crossfire.” The idea is that violence covertly calibrated by US special operations will not only weaken enemies through in-fighting but turn the population against them.

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Sep 14

Berto Jongman: Pfaff on US Doing Stupid Stuff in Ukraine Plus Chuck Spinney & Pat Buchanan on Bluster, Bluff, Corruption and More Stupidity in Estonia…

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Doing Stupid Stuff in the Ukraine

William Pfaff

EXTRACT

President Obama said not long ago that his foreign policy principle was “not doing stupid stuff.” At about the same time his State Department and CIA were conspicuously guiding and supporting a coup d’etat in Ukraine that was the exact contradiction to the Obama policy statement. The Ukrainian Parliament’s first post-coup act was to pass a resolution outlawing the use of the Russian language in the Ukraine, which is the native language of more than a fifth of the population of a country that has always been intimately involved in the history, religion and culture of the Russian nation. Nothing could have been more stupid.

[Until Obama's next move...]

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Chuck Spinney and Pat Buchanan below the fold.

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Sep 11

Berto Jongman: General Allen Calls for War — Was Foley Executed with White House Approval Precisely to Justify War?

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Being read in Europe.

Gen. Allen: Destroy the Islamic State Now

The brutal murder of the brave American journalist James Foley is meant to directly terrorize the world’s media, the international community, and the United States. If all the actions of the Islamic State, or IS, to date weren’t sufficiently reprehensible, this act and the potential for other similar acts will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger IS poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America.

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Aug 22

Marcus Aurelius: No Boots on the Ground is a Mantra Not a Strategy Plus Steele to Hagel

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

‘No Boots on the Ground’ Is a Mantra, Not a Strategy

By Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, U.S. Army retired and
Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, U.S. Army retired

Army Magazine, 15 August 2014

No political or military leader responsible for the lives of citizens who become soldiers ever wants to give the order to put American service members at risk. That desire is even more present after more than a decade of waging and fighting war. The decision to employ American forces should be based upon U.S. interests and an objective assessment of what kinds of forces are needed to achieve the outcome the nation’s interests require, not merely what its leaders desire. The U.S. sustains its military forces to defend itself and its interests. These forces exist to provide options for political leaders. The current “no boots on the ground” mantra is a policy, not a strategy; moreover, it is problematic from five important perspectives: strategically, operationally, institutionally, historically and morally.

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Aug 21

Steve Aftergood: Court Told No Fly List Guidance is “Objectionable and Evidence-Free”

Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergood

LEAKED DOCUMENT TO BE INTRODUCED IN STATE SECRETS CASE

The plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the use of the “no fly list” to bar a US citizen from boarding an aircraft said last week that he would introduce a leaked copy of the government’s Watchlisting Guidance “to show just how objectionable and evidence-free Defendants’ watch listing process is.”

The government said it did not acknowledge the authenticity of the leaked document, and that the case should be dismissed since the Attorney General had invoked the state secrets privilege concerning core issues that it raised.

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Aug 18