Tag Archives: ISIS

Syria’s Sunken Cost Fallacy: Not a Reason To Stay, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

The dead cannot be betrayed. Exiting a pointless war does no dishonor to those who died in it, and prevents their living comrades from being killed. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Recent attacks on the U.S. military in Syria should not, in themselves, determine national strategy. Unfortunately, hawks in Washington will use American deaths to justify perpetual war.

I’m just old enough to remember a time – before 9/11 – when the death of a US soldier in combat was an exceptionally rare thing. Indeed, its hard not to look back fondly on those days of relative peace. Since then, nearly 7000 Americans – and perhaps half a million local civilians – have been killed in the wars for the Greater Middle East. Most of our fallen troopers, and all of the indigenous victims, are essentially nameless, faceless, forgotten. Sure, Americans “thank” their veterans, and display diligent adulation rituals at weekly sporting events, but most military casualties receive only a passing reference on the nightly news. War is the new normal after all, a standard fact of modern American life that’s far less interesting – and less lucrative – than reporting on the latest soap-opera-drama in the White House.

That’s why the detailed media attention on the latest bombing in Syria, which killed four Americans, is so notable. And strange. So why the sudden interest in individual troop deaths after 17+ years of aimless war? The answer, as is so often the case these days, is simple: Donald Trump. Last week’s fatal attack, and another attempted bombing this Monday, happened to occur on the heels of the president’s controversial announcement of a total troop withdrawal from Syria. Make no mistake: that’s the only reason these tragic deaths happen to matter to the mainstream media outlets and a slew of suddenly interested congressmen.

Before the families of the fallen were even notified, and prior to the release of the service-members’ names, a cacophony of voices flooded the big three TV news outlets to express concern and shamelessly use these deaths to attack the president. Their argument: ISIS attack us so now we have to stay put in Syria. Hawkish legislators – Dems and Republicans alike – claimed to know exactly what the latest attacks portend. Their conclusion, which is always their conclusion, was simple: more war, perpetual military intervention. It seems nearly every Beltway insider, media talking head, semi-retired general, and hawkish congressman immediately came to the same conclusion – that ISIS isn’t defeated and only prolonged U.S. military occupation can get the job done.

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Trump Critics of Syria Withdrawal Fueled Rise of ISIS, by Max Blumenthal

Seemingly the only qualification of many critics of Trump’s troop withdrawal in Syria is that their policies have been tried…and failed. From Max Blumenthal at consortiumnews.com:

Too many of those protesting the removal of U.S. forces are authors of the catastrophe that tore Syria to pieces, reports Max Blumenthal for Consortium News.

President Donald Trump’s announcement of an imminent withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria summoned a predictable paroxysm of outrage from Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Former Secretary of State and self-described “hair icon” Hillary Clinton perfectly distilled the bipartisan freakout into a single tweet, accusing Trump of “isolationism” and “playing into Russia and Iran’s hands.”

Michelle Flournoy, the DC apparatchik who would have been Hillary’s Secretary of Defense, slammedthe pull-out as “foreign policy malpractice,” while Hillary’s successor at the State Department, John Kerry, threw bits of red meat to the Russiagate-crazed Democratic base by branding Trump’s decision “a Christmas gift to Putin.” From the halls of Congress to the K Street corridors of Gulf-funded think tanks, a chorus of protest proclaimed that removing US troops from Syria would simultaneously abet Iran and bring ISIS back from the grave.

Yet few of those thundering condemnations of the president’s move seemed able to explain just why a few thousand U.S. troops had been deployed to the Syrian hinterlands in the first place. If the mission was to destroy ISIS, then why did ISIS rise in the first place? And why was the jihadist organization still festering right in the midst of the U.S. military occupation?

Too many critics of withdrawal had played central roles in the Syrian crisis to answer these questions honestly. They had either served as media cheerleaders for intervention, or crafted the policies aimed at collapsing Syria’s government that fueled the rise of ISIS. The Syrian catastrophe was their legacy, and they were out to defend it at any cost.

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Good Riddance to General Mattis and the Rest of Washington’s Mad Dogs of War, by David Stockman

A pretty good measure of the value of President Trump’s initiatives is how load Washington screams about them. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

From the wailing and gnashing of teeth among the mainstream media and officialdom over General Mattis’ (welcome) departure, you would think that the Rapture had come and Washington’s ruling class was being unjustly left behind to eternal perdition. And if not that, then the Mattis Affair is alleged to be at least its secular equivalent – an unwarranted and unforgivable affront to the good and the brave of the Imperial City.

Then again, exactly what was so existentially harmful to America’s security about Trump’s decision to get out of Syria – the apparent reason for Mattis’ ballyhooed resignation?

The fact is, you can’t find a trace of threat to America on the map. Syria is now a tiny, broken country of ruin and rubble with a vastly diminished religiously and ethnically fractured population of 18 million; GDP of barely $60 billion; per capita income of only $3,000; a trickle of oil production (25k barrel/day); and a depleted and battle-ravaged military that cannot possibly operate outside of its own borders and barely controls the lands inside them.

In short, Syria has no economic, strategic or military relevance whatsoever to the safety and security of the American homeland. And that’s as in none, nada, nichts and nugatory.

If you are not looking through the distorted lens of Imperial Washington’s group think, in fact, the whole brouhaha over getting out of Syria is not even a close call; it’s inexplicable.

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Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Is a Simple Case of Foreign Policy Realism, by Patrick Cockburn

If you’re in a game that you can’t win, one that’s wasting your time and resources, why not declare victory and quit? From Patrick Cockburn at unz.com:

President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is being denounced by an impressive range of critics claiming that it is a surrender to Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran – as well as a betrayal of the Kurds and a victory for Isis.

The pullout may be one or all of these things, but above all it is a recognition of what is really happening on the ground in Syria and the Middle East in general.

This point has not come across clearly enough because of the undiluted loathing for Trump among most of the American and British media. They act as a conduit for the views of diverse figures who condemn the withdrawal and include members of the imperially-minded foreign policy establishment in Washington and terrified Kurds living in north-east Syria who fear ethnic cleansing by an invading Turkish army.

Opposition to Trump’s decision was supercharged by the resignation of Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis which came after he failed to persuade the president to rescind his order. Mattis does not mention Syria or Afghanistan in his letter of resignation, but he makes clear his disagreement with the general direction of Trump’s foreign policy in not confronting Russia and China and ignoring traditional allies and alliances.

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Washington’s Erroneous Notion That the Persian Gulf Is an American Lake, by David Stockman

The Middle East and the US both would be much better off if the latter had stayed out of the former. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

Read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

The terrorist threat that has arisen from the Sunni side of the Islamic divide is largely of Washington’s own making; and it is being nurtured by endless US meddling in the region’s politics and by the bombing and droning campaigns against Washington’s self-created enemies.

At the root of Sunni based terrorism is the long-standing Washington error that America’s security and economic well-being depends upon keeping an armada in the Persian Gulf in order to protect the surrounding oilfields and the flow of tankers through the straits of Hormuz.

That doctrine has been wrong from the day it was officially enunciated by one of America’s great economic ignoramuses, Henry Kissinger, at the time of the original oil crisis in 1973. The 45 years since then have proven in spades that its doesn’t matter who controls the oilfields, and that the only effective cure for high oil prices is the free market.

Every tin pot dictatorship from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to Saddam Hussein, to the bloody-minded chieftains of Nigeria, to the purportedly medieval Mullahs and fanatical Revolutionary Guards of Iran has produced oil. And usually all they could because almost always they desperately needed the revenue.

For crying out loud, even the barbaric thugs of ISIS milked every possible drop of petroleum from the tiny, wheezing oilfields scattered around their backwater domain before they were finally driven out. So there is no economic case whatsoever for Imperial Washington’s massive military presence in the middle east.

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The US Annihilated Raqqa While Allowing Thousands of Terrorists to Escape — Why? by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Raqqa would be slightly less inexcusable if the US had got the bad guys, but according to Darius Shahtahmasebi, they didn’t. From Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:

Amnesty International released an explosive report last week, which described the US-led coalition’s disproportionate and indiscriminate war in Raqqa as the US-led “war of annihilation”. The report confirmed what some people have suspected for a while but few have dared to even talk about. Namely, that the United States and its allies have completely destroyed a Syrian city, and left almost nothing but death and destruction in their wake.

In coming to its conclusion, Amnesty researchers visited 42 coalition air strike sites across the city and interviewed 112 civilian residents who had survived the ordeal. The results of their investigation shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, as approximately a year ago, Reutersdescribed the plight of one resident in Raqqa who found several of his neighbours lying dead on the street, with cats eating the corpses.

The report even details four cases of civilian families who, between them, lost 90 relatives and neighbours. One family lost 39 in total, all of them allegedly killed by coalition air strikes. This would also not be a surprise to anyone who cared enough to follow this story closely, particularly with the Intercept’s shocking article last year titled, ‘Entire families are being killed by US airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria’.

To be fair, US President Donald Trump did once say he would “take out” the families of Islamic State (IS) fighters. He also once asked the CIA why they delayed an air strike on a terrorist target so as to avoid hitting the house with his family inside it. In other words, the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s military superpower doesn’t have a clue how international humanitarian law works.

To continue reading: The US Annihilated Raqqa While Allowing Thousands of Terrorists to Escape — Why?

In France, Free-Speech Is On Trial, by Robbie Travers

Great Britain is not the only country in Europe muzzling critics of Islamic immigration and crime. From Robbie Travers at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Is the real, secret, goal of the French state to have no one who disagrees with it speak out?
  • Marine Le Pen did not suggest that all Muslims are terrorists. She did not suggest that anyone should use violence against Muslims. She did not even suggest that French people should take action against Islam.
  • Marine Le Pen should not be prosecuted for alerting the French to the dangers of an organisation that still threatens to invade their capital and murder their children.

“Free speech can’t just apply to those you agree with,” the editor of Spiked Online, Brendan O’Neill, once said. Politically correct speech does not need protecting. The United States’ First Amendment exists precisely to protect the minority from the majority and to protect unpopular opinions from those who would silence them.

On March 2, French prosecutors decided that Marine Le Pen should be prosecuted for drawing attention on Twitter to the atrocities committed by Islamic State. They apparently decided that Le Pen’s message, even if factually correct, should not be heard.

Le Pen’s “crime,” the prosecutors allege, is that in a series of tweets, she posteddisturbing images of victims of Islamic State, thereby exposing the crimes against humanity that group have been committing in the Levant.

Presumably, these were potential dangers about which she thought the public should be aware. They included the beheading of the British journalist, James Foley, who was repeatedly beaten, starved, and waterboarded before his throat was slit.

Other tweets documented a Jordanian fighter pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, in a cage, being burned alive, and a tank crushing a Syrian army soldier. These crimes, however, are those of Islamic State, not Marine Le Pen.

Her most objectionable crime, apparently, was to have distributed a picture of Foley’s decapitated corpse with the tweet, “Daesh is THIS!”

To continue reading: In France, Free-Speech Is On Trial