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Apocalypse Now, Iraq Edition

Apocalypse

I wanted to offer a wry chuckle before we headed into the heavy stuff about Iraq, so I tried to start this article with a suitably ironic formulation. You know, a déjà-vu-all-over-again kinda thing. I even thought about telling you how, in 2011, I contacted a noted author to blurb my book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, and he presciently declined, saying sardonically, “So you're gonna be the one to write the last book on failure in Iraq?”

I couldn't do any of that. As someone who cares deeply about this country, I find it beyond belief that Washington has again plunged into the swamp of the Sunni-Shia mess in Iraq. A young soldier now deployed as one of the 1,600 non-boots-on-the-ground there might have been eight years old when the 2003 invasion took place. He probably had to ask his dad about it.  After all, less than three years ago, when dad finally came home with his head “held high,” President Obama assured Americans that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” So what happened in the blink of an eye?
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Breaking: US Attacks Syria!

The Obama Administration has initiated a bomb and land-based missile attack against Syrian territory without permission from the Syrian government, without a request for assistance from the Syrian government, and without a UN Security Council resolution. 

This is an act of US aggression against a foreign nation and a violation of international law.

The attacks were also made with no declaration of war or even authorization from the US Congress. This is an illegal act according to US law, a violation of the US Constitution.

The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Force against perpetrators of 9/11 attacks could not be legally valid for Obama's attacks on ISIS in Syria because ISIS is not part of al-Qaeda and in fact did not exist at the time of the 2001 attacks.
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Turning Americans into Snitches for the Police State: ‘See Something, Say Something’ and Community Policing

See Say

If you see something suspicious, says the Department of Homeland Security, say something about it to the police, call it in to a government hotline, or report it using a convenient app on your smart phone.

(If you’re a whistleblower wanting to snitch on government wrongdoing, however, forget about it—the government doesn’t take kindly to having its dirty deeds publicized and, God forbid, being made to account for them.)

For more than a decade now, the DHS has plastered its “See Something, Say Something” campaign on the walls of metro stations, on billboards, on coffee cup sleeves, at the Super Bowl, even on television monitors in the Statue of Liberty. Now colleges, universities and even football teams and sporting arenas are lining up for grants to participate in the program.
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NATO vs. ISIS?

30Rafale2

NATO has struck in Iraq. Or, more precisely, two French Rafale warplanes bombed a storage depot in northern Iraq believed to be used by ISIS.

Washington cheered the French attack as the first wave of NATO military operations against the new enemy du jour, ISIS or the Islamic State. French president Francois Hollande, whose abysmal popularity ratings are now lower than Robespierre’s, butcher of the French Revolution, was elated by his show of machismo even if French voters were not.

What the French were really doing, of course, was show-casing their new Rafale fighter. There’s nothing like bombing Arabs to sell military hardware, as Israel has long shown.

Paris has been desperately trying to sell the Rafale, which is a very capable aircraft, to the Gulf Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India. Delhi signed an order for 126 Rafales in 2012 but has yet to implement it.
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Congress Votes for More War in the Middle East

Last week, the House and Senate voted to rubber stamp President Obama’s war plans for theRp Weekly Button Middle East. Both bodies, on a bipartisan basis, authorized the US to begin openly training and arming the rebels who have been fighting for three years to overthrow the Assad government in Syria.

Although the Syrian government has also been fighting ISIS and related extremist groups for three years, the US refuses to speak to the Syrians and has warned Assad not to interfere with the coming US attack on sovereign Syrian territory
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The Disastrous Myth of Airpower Victory

Airpower

President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS depends crucially on precision bombing by drones and airplanes. The heavy lifting on the ground is supposed to be accomplished by our "allies" in Iraq and the Syrian opposition, but as any reader of the news knows, these allies are, to put it charitably, unreliable and prone to panic and/or treachery. So, despite Obama’s rhetoric, our new war against ISIS will be an air power war.

The key ideas in Obama's bombing strategy will be the identification and killing of ISIS leadership targets and the disruption/destruction of coherent ISIS ground operations with precision weapons. That target identification task is likely to be done by small numbers of US forces working with our supposed allies. This plan is a prescription for disaster.

The seductive idea of victory through airpower alone is not a new one, and Obama has fallen for a modern improv of an old score — no doubt, in part, for domestic political reasons. The background music was conceived and advocated in the 1930s by a small group of officers in the Army Air Corps based in the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, near Montgomery, Alabama.
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Anarchy in Washington: Is Anybody in Charge?

Dempsey

Pentagon chief contradicts Obama on ground troops – Obama contradicts him back

The President pledges "no combat troops" in Iraq.

The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, says he may recommend combat ground troops in the battle against ISIS.

The President, in a speech, reiterates "no ground troops," and "no combat troops."

While Hillary Clinton, Obama’s presumptive heir, waits in the wings as her scheme to arm the Syrian rebels is implemented and the fuse is lit on the Levantine tinderbox. It isn’t a very long fuse….

So what is going on with the US government, and especially over at the Pentagon? Are they directly challenging the President – who is then acting to quickly quash them? Sure looks like it.
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The Tower Of Babel Comes To Paris: The Folly Of Obama’s War On ISIS

Obama Tampa

US imperialism was once a fearsome force—mainly for ill. Under the latter heading, Washington’s savage destruction of Vietnam four decades ago comes readily to mind. But now the American Imperium has become just a gong show on the Potomac—even as its weapons have gotten more lethal and its purposes more  spurious and convoluted.

There is no more conspicuous proof than Obama’s quixotic “war” on ISIS. The quote marks are necessary, of course, because the White House insists that this is merely a counter-terrorism project that is not really a war; that the campaign to “degrade, disrupt and destroy” the Islamic State will not deploy a single American soldier—at least not one with his or her boots on; and that the heavy lifting on the ground against the barbaric ISIS hordes will be conducted by a “broad coalition” of so far nameless nations.

In truth, the whole thing is a giant, pathetic farce. There will be no coalition, no strategy, no boots, no ISIS degradation, no gain in genuine safety and security for the American homeland. This is an utterly misbegotten war against an enemy that has more urgent targets than America, but a war which will nonetheless fire-up the already boiling cauldron of Middle Eastern tribal, religious and political conflict like never before. There is no name for what Obama is attempting except utter folly.
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Poroshenko in Washington: A Marriage Made in Heaven?

Big

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s visit to Washington tomorrow (Thursday) is the consummation of a marriage made back in February, when the Obama administration ripped up a compromise agreement between elected president Yanukovich and the rebels who were seeking to overthrow him. Overnight, the US government endorsed the rebels’ seizure of power, and it has not wavered in its support of the coup leadership from that point.

Poroshenko will arrive in town buoyed by Congressional passage of H.Res. 726, a resolution “Strongly supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to freely determine their future, including their country's relationship with other nations and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries.”

The lie is in the very title of the bill, however, as in supporting an anti-democratic coup against a legally elected government, the US has undermined, not supported, the right of the Ukrainian people to “freely determine their future... without interference…by other countries.”
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8 Reasons Why Congress Should Vote No on Training and Funding Syrian Rebels

Today Congress will vote on the McKeon Amendment, a piece of legislation most Americans haven't heard of. But the consequences of the vote today are grave: funding Syrian "rebels" will precipitate a new and wider war in the Middle East. Here are eight reasons why Congress should vote NO on the McKeon Amendment:

1. It is a waste of money.

We'd be on the hook for a projected $21 billion price tag over three years. The Pentagon plans to train 5,000 rebels in the next year, which at $1 million for each soldier could cost up to $15 billion dollars over the three-year war. The nearly 2,000 U.S. troops in Iraq will cost $6 billion over three years.

The last Iraq War added at least $5 trillion to the long-term deficit.
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