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Obama’s Poisonous ISIS Moment and
The Snare of Remote-Controlled War

| September 10, 2014

He likes his wars from a distance. (White House)

He likes his wars from a distance. (White House)

You’ve heard by now of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s latest impersonation of his more hysterical half. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), he told an interviewer last Sunday, is “right now crucifying Christians in Iraq, literally nailing Christians to trees.” It’s a lie of course. It’s also an old plagiarism of bogus atrocities meant to whip up the home front into a frenzy for war. It dates back to the early days of World War I, when the British press, to hurry up enlistments, was inventing claims of German soldiers crucifying Belgians. Variations on the theme applied to the Vietcong. By 1991 the first George Bush was inventing claims of Iraqi soldiers throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait. Not enough crucifixion-ready trees in Kuwait, evidently. At the time Bush was incubating congressional votes for the first gulf war and siring the second. By the time of the second Bush the inventions about Saddam Hussein were so outlandish that they could be reduced to shorthand: WMDs. Or the irreplaceable image of Colin Powell dangling his vial of fiction at a UN Security Council meeting.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive Not to worry: our freely feckless media believed them every time, and in the case of such house organs as the New York Times and the reliably hawkish Washington Post, did their best to lend the lies the legitimacy of their mastheads. War has since become the reflex of this unimaginative republic, where enthusiasm for war is matched only by massive ignorance of its realities. That’s the cynical luxury of outsourcing wars to foreign lands, at the hands of a professional military no different than a segregated if worshipped minority. (If you doubt that for a moment, remember how the injured are treated, and maltreated, once the military is done with them.)

It’s not enough to be fighting a losing war in Afghanistan and another against “terror” in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and wherever else the Pentagon and the White House wish to play centurion to the world. It’s not enough to have invaded Iraq on false pretenses, destabilized the entire region and granted Iran’s totalitarian mullahs a new lease on repression while abetting Iraq’s authoritarian Shiites against its Sunnis, to the point of sending too many Sunnis into the seemingly defensive arms of the madmen of ISIS.

We must now rejoin the madness. Rejoin it, and expand it. Because bombing Iraq alone won’t do. We must now expand the bombing to Syria, our 21st century Cambodia. “This counterterrorism campaign,” Obama’s Nixonian half said tonight, “will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.”

Give this to Obama, that closeted Cesar who’s pretended to be ending wars while raining Hellfire missiles from every available drone from one end of the Middle East to another. He’s got audacity enough to skip the Kissinger-Nixon method and carry out his illegal bombings in the open. All he has to do is say that his lawyers approve. That’s the position he’s taking regarding bombing Syria. (It’s how Iran’s mullahs and al-Qaeda’s nut jobs justify their mad acts, too: they concoct bogus Koranic edicts the way the White House concocts legal cover. It reminds me of Solzhenitsyn’s line in The Gulag Archipelago: “Whatever the law is, crime can be found.”) That wouldn’t make the United States any less of an international outlaw.

There may have been legal cover to restart the bombing of northern Iraq: the Iraqi government requested it. The United States obliged. There is no such request from Syria, and Iraq’s claim that the expanding the bombing campaign is necessary to protect its border is as ridiculous as if George W. Bush had claimed, at the height of the war in 2007, that bombing Iran was necessary to protect Iraq’s border against insurgent support from there. Even Bush wasn’t that far gone, and that’s saying a lot. (Bush reasserted the same caution later in his presidency when he stood down Israel’s prime minister and refused approval to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations.) It now appears that the man who won the presidency as an anti-war hero is turning the tables on himself. Imagine what we’ll do when the House of Saud finally shreds.

Expanding the war to Syria is a grave error whose unintended consequences will add to 13 years’ worth of American setbacks in the Middle East.

In the case of ISIS, Obama has that mass of public hysteria on his side. The Ted Cruzing of the home crowd has worked well. Good timing for Obama, too, who is desperate for a show of force to muscle up his approval ratings, which have been approaching the Bush zone of late. So tonight he’s going full Cheney on us.  he’s rehashing those old phrases of the war on terror and applying them to ISIS, the new allegedly existential threat to the United States. There’s as much evidence of that as there was of WMDs in Iraq, but never mind. He wants his war. So does the American public. It’ll be another long war. But to borrow from John McCain’s favorite words, it must be fought. It must be expanded into Syria, one of those rare Middle East countries that haven’t yet benefited from American ordnance.

The new WMD-like claim is that ISIS is a threat to the United States. It isn’t and never will be: terrorists can’t threaten nations. They can at most rattle them, and even then, not much, unless nations take their bait (as we did in 2001). ISIS is not even a durable regional threat. It can’t, like the Taliban, grow poppies in the desert and sell heroin to finance its miserable caliphate. It’s not about to find clients for whatever oil it gets its hands on. It profits far more from interest-bearing publicity. There’s a reason the last viable caliphate operated in pre-Crusader Arabia–just as there’s a reason Westerners have had a hell of a time trying to manage Arabs since the crusades. They’re not for the West to manage.

Bombing Syria will help another tyrant: Bashar el Assad. He’s no less bloodthirsty, and by actuarial tables far more so, than ISIS. He’s the reason Syria is in civil war. Propping him up would be the unintended consequence of bombing his enemies, just as propping up Iran was the unintended consequence of invading Iraq. On the other hand, this latest twist in the Obama doctrine, such as it has been, may amount to a lot more bluster than strategy, the expansion of an already vast set of remote-control wars from drones that Obama appears comfortable waging to no end. It projects American power at minimal cost in American lives (but immense cost in civilian and alleged insurgent lives). It never ends, of course. But that’s beside the point. Or is the point, perpetual war being the last refuge of second-rate empires. The Chinese must be drunk with anticipation.

Needless to say, ISIS is as abhorrent as any fanatical and regressive “organization” that claims to be fighting for the betterment of its lot while wading in blood. It’s not necessary to invent claims about ISIS like crucifixions of Christians (as if banal executions of Shiites, ISIS’s real enemy, would be any less objectionable). What we know they do is bad enough. They’re al-Qaeda’s new release. But al-Qaeda wasn’t worth three wars. It wasn’t worth one. That team of a few Navy SEALs taking out bin Laden in Abbottabad made that heroically clear. The 9/11 attack turned out to be a one-off that needn’t have been avenged so much as answered in proportion. Bush preferred vengeance and then some. The resulting wreckage burrowed all the way into our own financial stability. We’re still paying those bills. American credibility in the Middle East hasn’t fared better. It’s in ruins.

ISIS, whose nihilism carries the seed of its own destruction, is an Arab problem, and more specifically a sectarian problem bred of a Sunni-Shiite divide that the West can bridge no more than Arabs could have bridged the bloody Protestant-Catholic divide of post-Reformation Europe. It took a few centuries, but Protestants and Catholics found a way. Islam’s brawlers will, too. But it’s their fight, not the West’s. We have enough problems of our own that they needn’t be an export. This latest 9/11 anniversary, with 8,273 American servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since then, and more lost than gained, should be reminder enough that there’s no room for American maneuvering there. There’s chaos and more of what that region has been since B-52s first dropped bombs on Afghanistan 13 years ago: a quagmire. As Ottomans, French, British and Soviets found out beforehand, no strategy but withdrawal can overcome it, and no amount of Vegas-guided Hellfire will redeem it.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.

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45 Responses for “Obama’s Poisonous ISIS Moment and
The Snare of Remote-Controlled War”

  1. m&m says:

    Obama is poisonous. His next decision will be his first. His goal is to destroy this country,

  2. confidential says:

    Big mistake because ISIS is mixed within the population and will require across the board extermination…?
    More war involvement we can’t afford!
    Why we didn’t ask Katar also to help us save the lives of the two journalist beheaded like we did with the others released? Western journalist need to stay away from those ISIS kidnapping prone areas otherwise are becoming the modern martyrs and also used for high ransom.
    The more we get involved in the Middle East the bigger the problem becomes. First was Iran with Carter then Iraq and Afghanistan with Bush senior and junior, now Obama with inherited mess in Iraq and Afghanistan added to Libya and now Syria…? Meanwhile our economy doesn’t even recover for the millions unemployed and homelessness and the poor keep pathetically increasing.

  3. Groot says:

    The whole mess in the middle east goes back, way back to the Ottoman Empire and certainly before that period of history. Our current problems in the middle east stem from the artificial borders that were drawn after WWI and the creation of Israel. Before the post war arrangements after WWI, there never was an Iraq, the area was ruled by the Ottomans. Religious groups and tribes were grouped together to form Iraq, kind of like what happened in the Balkans with Yugoslavia. Fast froward to now. It was incredibly short sighted to invade and remove Saddam. While he was a tyrant, but he controlled that mess. There is a power vacuum in the region, there are a lot of angry, desperate and violent people there. We do need to control it and put a lid on it. So, we’ll expend million dollar missiles to blow up thousand dollar pickup trucks and we have to, we have no choice. We don’t want another 9/11. What day it is? What day it is? It’s 9/11 and you would criticize a decision to attempt to limit and save us from terrorism? Wow, short sighted indeed. It’s not 1968, this is not Vietnam, it’s not that simple.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Groot, you make an excellent point, which is also in the conclusion of the piece, that these problems pre-date us by many generations and are partly the result of these artificial borders drawn foolishly in the wake of the Ottoman empire’s demise: the founding imposition by the West of lines in the sand they had no right to draw. You also point out the short-sightedness of invading to remove Saddam. But it seems to me you turn your analysis on its head when you justify the current approach, since that approach mirrors the very same presumptions that helped destabilize the place previously (whether by the British or the American invasion). “We do need to control it and put a lid on it” was a phrase that translated British and American strategy over the years, but look where it got us. I don’t think that more of the same will help, however barbaric the latest version of the region’s insurgents. My point is that at every turn we’ve seen insurgencies as the worst of the worst, only for the subsequent slide in the parade of horrors to then make the previous mad men look tame in comparison. Imagine what al-Qaeda must be feeling now. Like Rodney Dangerfield. No respect anymore. Tame in comparison with ISIS, allegedly. But in the end it’s not whether a group beheads or not, but whether it has the capabilities to harm beyond its miserable little sphere. ISIS does not. Nor did al-Qaeda, its one-off on 9/11 aside (which was eminently facilitated by an intelligence establishment half asleep and half blinded by its competitive refusal to share information it had on those 19 terrorists). Then look at what 9/11 led us into, that needless invasion of Iraq and the rest of it. So yes, today of all days, is the perfect day to criticize a decision that looks to unforgivably repeat the madness. I say this having, on Sept. 12, 2001, written and published a piece that said back then, explicitly, that the worst thing we could do is answer the attacks by an escalation of war, or wars, as opposed to very narrow targeting of terrorist operatives–the very sort that ended up taking care of Osama. The rest was folly.

      • Groot says:

        Well, Pierre whatever it takes to protect Americans and our allies or any other decent people from abominations like ISIL, N Korea, or whoever, I support the President. During the Vietnam era, I was a pacifist. I demonstrated against the war. Times have changed, the world is a much more complicated place. It’s just not that easy anymore. I respect your opinion but opinions like yours back in the 1930s were known as appeasement. We all know how “I believe it is peace for our time” turned out back in 1938. I really believe that the current situation in the Middle East could approach the Holocaust in terms of genocide and it must be controlled. We can’t just stick our collective heads in the sand and hope it goes away. It won’t go away. Honestly, I would rather have seen a memorial piece published regarding 9/11 on 9/11.

        • SAT says:

          I would have loved to see a memorial piece on 9/11 as well. That day holds a very special place in my heart, but it is not the fault of this article or the writer that President Obama decided to make this speech the day before today, and that the decisions in this speech are unfortunate. I feel like considering the timing of Obama’s speech, he would have learned the lessons that came out of 9/11. It is sadly ironic that Obama is proposing a reintroduction of the war on terror, on the anniversary of the day that we started to make the same mistakes. This isn’t about not giving 9/11 the time of day it deserves or about downplaying terrorism, it is about the mistakes our President is proposing.

  4. A.S.F. says:

    Actually, Pierre, there have been photographs posted of the crucifixions perpetrated by ISIS. Please do some research and look them up. And “terrorists” can most certainly threaten nations. To say that they cannot on the anniversary of 9/11 is offensive.

  5. Lin says:

    As I’m sitting here watching video of the towers fall on that fateful 9/11 and when I can still smell that ash with my own nose as I smelled it back then, I try to get through your story with an open mind. My next door neighbor a fireman died and left a wife and 4 sons. So many innocents have died and are dying
    Remember Hitler and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?

    I think your own mind is closed to the realities of history and it is time to get your own head out of the sand.
    Isis is here as well as other groups different names same goals to kill Americans
    Our borders are open
    We didn’t cause terrorism or create Islamic Fundamentist violence. Christians and Jews and the western culture as target for violence is not justified
    I see your resolve to stick to your own ideology no matter what is happening in the real world.
    You would have made a great lawyer with your ability to pick out certain facts in history that seem to support your position.
    The bullys of the world need to be dealt with finally and ignoring them does no good.
    I wish you had contempt for the perpetrators of violence in these last decades
    Islamists have already brought the fight to us
    We need to bring it to them

    Evil exists in the world. They have said they will fly an Islamic flag at the White House (I saw and heard an imam) say so. How much proof do you need? Did you see the videos if the beheaded journalists?
    Where is your outrage at what those people have done? Our fault there too?

    America is a generous country
    We welcome more immigrants and give more foreign aid than any other country
    I would love to hear about your appreciation Pierre for your adopted homeland
    Yes I know the role of a journalist but sometimes I wonder why you stay here since you seem only to see the perceived flaws
    Very sad reading your story this morning

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Lin, you are still angry and in you own words “Still smell the ashes”. This is what the perpetrators of 9/11 wanted, this is what the attack was meant to accomplish. Unite the American people in a righteous hatred of their enemy who would do such a horrible thing to the innocents. And promise retribution, as any victim of such a heartless enemy deserves. And we all have contempt for them.

      But if you do not question how 21 Arabs with box cutters (almost all Saudi, just like ISIS) and a guy in a cave could pull this off against the most sophisticated Intelligence agencies of multiple countries, please heed your own words:” I think your own mind is closed to the realities of history and it is time to get your own head out of the sand.”

  6. Charles Gardner says:

    What would a map of Europe look like today had the US not entered WW 2?

  7. A.S.F. says:

    …That being said, I think we should be very careful about what we do about ISIS in Syria. We do not want to end up empowering Assad.

  8. confidential says:

    There are couple of important things I agree with you Groot and is that I warned back then we should not have ever attacked and take down Saddam Hussein, “because he had control of that mess”. Look what we have now a bigger mess all to our own that extended to Afghanistan and surrounding countries.
    I think same of Assad in Syria , the man is practically fighting ISIS isn’t he? So let him do it fight them, if so. They are inside Assad’s land Syria not ours. I am for supporting others to fight their own battles, as their affected interest is greater than ours. At times seems we are in the wrong side of those fights.
    Also I agree with you that all Middle East heaven broke loose right after end of WWII when Israel was created and settle. Some British hot potato deal tossed into our hands, so here we are still burning allover.
    Why instead don’t we handle ISIS a la Osama? We have superb intelligence don’t we? Spot treatment works well, is more effective, less costly and with less implications.
    By the way those 100 Americans with passports and all that joined ISIS, etc. or any other of their recruits trying to enter back our borders need to be taken straight to Guantanamo. Better keep and eye specially in our airports of entry from today on, because the 9/11 master minds arrived thru them, with flying colors and total approval and that is the way they all operate, very well funded as money talks also in some pilot training schools…remember? Those extreme Islamic terrorist do not waste time walking for weeks, thru our southern borders and/or dying in our southern deserts, hope new Home Land Security Mr. Rand Beers remembers that.

  9. ryan says:

    I agree that we should be careful before going to war, but no one is talking about a ground invasion. airstrikes and special forces on the ground is a great strategy. These ISIS types are the types of Muslims it is okay to kill, along with any Americans who are treasonous enough to join them. Also, there were crucifixions of Christians in one of the villages, and the Yazidis, who are mostly Zoroastrian, were being massacred as well. Nothing wrong with stopping things like that. I wish we would do more to stop massacres of innocents.

  10. JtFlagler says:

    Really, the 9/11 attack that killed over 3000 innocent people of our nation needn’t have been avenged so much as answered in proportion. Splain it to me Lucy, how you would have done it. You speak of the Seal Team mission as if one day a disgruntled employee of Bin-Laden sent an e-mail to us that he was in that building and we should send somebody to take him out. If it wasn’t for the avenging, he’d still be playing house there and planning other ways to kill more innocent people. Sometimes it takes a while to get the info and intel to have the end game. Should we have waited for the e-mail while several more thousand of our innocent people died? We have not been severe enough to deter terrorism, time for them to fear us!

  11. Pierre Tristam says:

    Charles, that comparison is like asking what the map of the United States would have looked like had the Ottomans decided to intervene on the Confederacy’s side during the Civil War. Beyond the speculative, it implies some sort of comparison between ISIS and Hitler’s fascism, which are as different as a marble is from a wrecking ball. A marble might, just might, cause you to slip and lacerate your butt. It won’t kill you or even incapacitate you. A wrecking ball would. Nazism was an existential threat to western civilization. If we claim that ISIS is, then we’ve really fallen a long way. Our civilization wouldn’t be worth much, if it could be threatened by bearded little shitheads with pick-up trucks.

    ASF, if you have that documentation, please go ahead and post it. I prefer top rely on Politifact, which documents the falsehoods we imprudently then make baseless claims about. Politifact analyzed Ted Cruz’s claim and debunked it decisively. I’d also challenge you to mention a single instance in the last century when terrorism has ever threatened a nation, by which I mean threatened a nation’s viability to the point of making it an existential threat, as I noted in the piece. You won’t find one. The attacks of 9/11 were an atrocity, but they never for a second threatened the United States as a nation, as a political system, as a functioning society, even as an economy, the brief blip on Wall Street’s stock indexes aside. Bruce Ackerman, the Yale law professor, made that point convincingly in Before the Next Attack, his 2006 book on civil liberties and terrorism: “Terrorist attacks may kill a hundred thousand at a single blow, generating overwhelming grief and rippling panic that may ultimately turn our government into an oppressive police state. But Osama and his successors won’t ever occupy the country in the manner threatened by Hitler or Stalin. Territorial conquest is beyond their power. If anybody destroys our legacy of freedom, it will be us.” And of course we have been doing an excellent job of it, not least by focusing these 9/11 memorials exclusively on chest-thumping rather than also including memorials for what has been lost beyond the lives and steel of 9/11. Incidentally, I had that ash in my nose too as I spent a week in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Lower Manhattan, reporting from there.

    That is why, Groot, I consider pieces like these as much a memorial as the more traditional flag-waving ones. But I’ve also written a good deal of the memorial kind on this date, which you can read here, here and here, for a start.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Pierre, I have to disagree. “The attacks of 9/11 were an atrocity, but they never for a second threatened the United States as a nation, as a political system, as a functioning society,…”

      9/11 Changed everything. 9/11 turned us into a police State and allowed our leaders to keep us afraid everyday.

      9/11 was not a Terrorist Attack, 9/11 was a coup d’etat.

    • Pogo says:

      1 John 2:21
      I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.

      As usual, the knees are jerking. You can lead a horse to water…

      All of us whom pleaded with our fellow citizens not to burn down the barn to kill a few rats are still being ignored. The entire history of mankind, and all its costly lessons, is still being ignored. Very sad.

    • RedsWhitesnBlues says:

      You don’t like American flag-waving. You don’t like Americans going to war to keep Freedom and Liberty on our shores. You don’t like Conservatives. Now you don’t like your precise Obama. Perhaps you could join Ward Churchhill in his classroom and teach our youth how to HATE America !! Personally, my opinion on the middle east is to NUKE the whole damn place and empty our country of ALL Islamic sympathizers.

  12. Genie says:

    BAD timing, my friend. This is not how we honor our fallen.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hey Obama what do you say
    How many Syrians will you kill today!

  14. A.S.F. says:

    Pierre–You run a computer blog. Are you trying to tell me that you are unable to google “ISIS crucifixions?” I find that hard to believe. Please do so, and you will see that there is plenty of all-too-real documentation from a variety of reputable sources. You certainly know that tapes of the beheadings of two Americans exist..Or do you question that too? I would hope that you consider women to be a viable group of people of ANY nation you might name. There is an article in today’s Huffington Post about how ISIS has been capturing, enslaving, selling, forcibly marrying and impregnating innocent women, including those who are still literally children. It would not matter if those women were in one area of the ME or another–or here or anywhere else. I am not going to argue semantics with you regarding whether you want to term what they do as “atrocities” or “terrorism.” It simply should not be allowed to continue. Just as the Nazi Party should have been “degraded and destroyed” much earlier than it was, groups like ISIS and the Boko Haram have to be stopped. ISIS already has secured an alarming amount of funding through the oil fields they have captured and other sources sympathetic to their aims, many of those sources still in the shadows. That has allowed the Islamic State to grow. What we want to AVOID are actions that would create an even bigger void for groups like this to take advantage of. Would it be ideal for the Arab world to show more of a conscience and take care of the atrocities in their own backyard (just as America needs to take care of IT’S own?) YES! Will they? Not likely, unless and until there is something in for them, actively or defensively. I am afraid the same has become increasingly true in Africa…and has been, ever since Khaddaffi was able to fund terrorism in its infancy there, freely and openly, while the world stood by. Remember Idi Amin? After brazenly (and gruesomely) beheading two of our own citizens, do you propose we just stand down, as though that act by ISIS does not demand accountability? Other countries have given in to the demands of terrorists like this and paid large ransoms, in order to get captive hostages back. All that does is encourage more of the same or even worse, as well as fill the war chests of terrorist groups and help fund their operational costs, including the publicized executions of innocent people and more kidnappings of civilians. So, what is your proposed solution as to how to deal with groups like these? Negotiate? That would be like negotiating with a rattle snake. Maybe it will turn away (hopefully) in its own defense (THIS TIME); maybe it won’t. Should we just ignore them; stick our heads in the sand? What ISIS is doing goes beyond merely being “shitheads.” And if their trained recruits from America and abroad DO manage to return to their countries of origin to commit acts of terror, I believe, Pierre, sadly, that you may regret this article (maybe.)

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      No ASF, I’m not wasting my time looking for your specious claims. I documented my debunking of your claim with the most reputable fact-checking organization in the nation (and now a full-time presence on FlaglerLive, I might add, if you scroll down the right rail below the ads.) You keep harping about those websites that show crucifixions. You’re clearly a web surfer yourself. Give us those sites. Post them here. In fact I’m really curious to see your sources now. Then we’ll talk. As for the rest of your post, you make my point. The Arabs should take on, and take out, their own garbage. I’d have thought us Americans would be sick and tired by now of shedding blood for those regressive idiots who slash each other’s throats, and some of ours, over something as degenerate as how to say Allah. And of course I remember Idi Amin, but I also remember how we never once ventured into his Ugandan ass no matter how many limbs he was claimed to have severed, or devoured, and the only reason you still remember him is because Peter Finch and Charles Bronson gave us that “Raid on Entebbe” clap-jerker. But no, I can guarantee you that I won’t regret this article, for the same reason that I never regretted what I wrote on Sept. 12, 2001, which proved absolutely correct. You can read that one here. I appreciate the revealing debate but I’ll let my co-counsel Smitty take over from here because after all this insanity I need a beer and a good dose of Larry David.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      ASF, and you know all of this how? Where did you get all of this information? From the six multinational corporations all owned by the same foreign nationals who own all the media all over the world. And most of the internet.

      If you don’t believe me, just try to Google what we all remember from last summer, Senator John McCain’s trip to Syria and his hugging the “moderate” Syrian opposition leaders on Video. And then a few days later, the videos emerged of the same “Freedom Fighters” beheading people and skinning Christians alive. In case you haven’t guessed, McCain was shilling for us to support ISIS. But today, we don’t hear a word of this from the only information source we have available to us, You know ASF, the only source you got to base you comments above on, our available media. From Fox to MSNBC, NPR to the BBC, all controlled by the same people. Well, Corporations actually. But beyond that, you cannot even look it up on Google! Even though we all remember seeing it a year ago, it is just a rumor now, because it has all been pretty much wiped clean from the Internet. And what does that tell you?

      So ASF, please consider the possibility that your outrage as well as your desire to defend us all from this enemy may have been manufactured and spoon fed to you by the greatest propaganda machine in history by the smallest number of information sources ever. And if this is even remotely possible, you must ask why and for who’s benefit.

      And come to the undeniable conclusion that it sure as Hell ain’t us Americans.

      • A.S.F. says:

        @NortonSmitty Says–There is no source that exists that is totally free of bias or free of the possibility of error, especially in hindsight. Pierre Tristam, himself, stated that he prefers to rely on Politifact. Here is a comment about Politifact, copied straight from Wikipedia (unless you would like to make a case for Wikipedia being part of a Multimedia plot to sway the public for their own nefarious ends): “Politifact has been both praised and criticized by independent observers, conservatives and liberals alike. Conservative bias and Liberal bias have been alleged, and criticisms have been made of attempts to fact-check statements that cannot be truly fact-checked.” We all have our biases, NortonSmitty. We all have belief systems and prejudices unless we are rocks lying on the ground. They can predispose us to actions that are helpful or harmful. Some people, like yourself and Mr. Tristam obviously feel that fighting ISIS actively is either not our business or not in our (or anyone’s) best interest. Understandable feelings, I would say, given how we conducted ourselves in Iraq under both Bush administrations. I believe those incursions were actually about oil, not anything having to do with moral imperative (as they were claimed to be), or even our own national security. This is a different situation but, unfortunately, it carries the same risks. There are news reports today (but perhaps you don’t trust them) that indicate that the “moderate” Syrian rebels that we are making attempts to align with as we speak are also making “non-aggression pacts” with ISIS (their aim, I guess, is to combine efforts to take out Assad’s forces.) This is what I see as the greatest danger in trying to “intervene” in that area. I find, historically, that many forces in the Middle East are completely untrustworthy and inherently unreliable. That creates much of the “quicksand” that we find ourselves on when we contemplate ANY interaction with forces in that part of the world. That is also why the United States should do nothing without the effort being part of a larger coordinated multi-global one. I consider myself to be pretty Liberal in my bent but I find a disturbing number of “Liberals” (and some who like to call themselves “Independents”) of the Occupy Movement sort to be as intolerant and slanted, in black and white terms, as Conservatives of the Tea Party bent. Both consider their own sources and their own “facts” to be unassailable–and, therefore, beyond question. Both stances can end up being just as suspect, for much the same reason– biases that they are either personally unaware of or unwilling to admit to or concede. The expansion of ISIS (and other groups like it) is a thorny problem and dangers lurk in trying to isolate ourselves from it or attempting to deal actively with it. I believe that ignoring the growing threat posed by militant groups committed to Jihad (and, more specifically, committed to destroying anyone and everyone else who isn’t) is like ignoring the elephant charging at your door from a distance. Maybe it will charge right by, maybe not. But, the fact is, that elephant is no longer contenting itself with staying in its accustomed jungle habitat. Wherever it finds itself, it will step on anything in its path, as is its nature. We should take care, however, to not become the same sort of animal.

  15. karma says:

    Look how bad things are in the middle east today. This President needs to realize these countries need a zoo keeper to keep the country stable. George Bush is as guilty as Obama. Saddam Hussein ruled with a iron fist because he new the dangers of his own people. Look at Egypt after the Arab Spring and the arrest of Mubarak. Libya is on fire today because the keeper there was killed with the help of the U.S. military. Syria has risen up and Obama wants Assad out.Now we have Isis which formed in Libya. Will Afghanistan be next? And Yes, Christians are being persecuted in all the countries Pierre.
    I do have to ask one question. If we had to pull all troops out of Iraq because the Status of Forces agreement, why are there troops there today? I do not think for one second that Obama worked very hard for this agreement, we wanted to fulfill a campaign promise to bring all troop home from Iraq.

    • Bill says:

      This says it best. We the US and west seem to have a great way of turning a bad situation into an even worse one when it come to bad people ruling other Nations. We really should mind our own business unless the other nations or entity’s within them do harm to our people or Republic. Going into Afghanistan to get al-Qaida was justified going after the Taliban the rulers was also justified as they gave safe haven to al-Qaida. The resumption of the Iraq war was NOT justified IMO. It was a war of choice and one not needed. Sadam was a very bad guy BUT he was a force that countered even worse guys like the rulers of Iran and the islamists we see now. Bush was wrong in going into Iraq just as 0bama was wrong in backing the so called arab spring that did nothing but bring down bad guys to be replace by islamists and make a region of the word that is unstable even more so.

  16. Skot David Wilson says:

    The point about the Balfour Mandate and Ottomans is correct kinda… Lawrence of Arabia was ignored, and after WW1 there were only 8% Jews is ALL of Palestine… Some land was given to Jews following WW2 and then they stole land from Arabs, including some Christians, much in the same way we wonderful Americans stole land from the American Indian due in large part to Jackson. We cannot blame people for fighting back, and cannot dismiss our culpability in the creation of those who attack us… Remember, we installed the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, many dictators…. Afghanistan 1980’s we MADE Al Qaeda… Reagan did with the CIA… remember Iran/Contra? Bush/Cheney went into Iraq for profit… serving the House of Saud, Halliburton, just follow the money… Bush Administration also squandered a budding surplus and between a wrongful war and unfunded tax cuts they created the debt, and the CRASH….
    These are facts, not opinion. Cognitive Dissonance and Denial go hand in hand….. ISIL/ISIS was created because Bush/Cheney destabilized the region, and we are hated because we do more than support Zionists, who have also created their own monsters, who also attack us. Obama is using drones, wants boots on the ground, but NOT our boots (his own words)…. Many of you are so blind or bigoted that you would rather he, and America, fail than be right…. THAT MAKES YOU A TRAITOR!!!! Studies PROVE that people who watch Fox are less informed than people who get no news at all… MSNBC isn’t much better… This hubris, arrogance, hate amongst ourselves must stop… we must live up to the ideal we preach…
    If you listen to “experts” like Ted Cruz and John McCain you might as well throw in the Duck Dynasty idiot. Obama is doing the best he can without the support of half the country because they are brainwashed into a hate-frenzy by the likes of Koch brothers and Tea Party crazies— why don’t you find out exactly WHO owns Fox (?) We no longer live in a Democracy, but a Plutocratic Oligarchy. Our REAL welfare queens are corporations…. we are giving our police military grade equipment… just who will that be used upon… resources are running out with 7 billion people on earth, 8 by 2024, 9 by 2032…
    Just what do you think will happen when we do have a real global collapse? It’s coming, sooner than you think… If you want to take the power away from Arab nutjobs GET OFF OIL! ISIS SELLS A MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF BLACK MARKET OIL A DAY!!! Look at Germany, they get the sun of Canada and produce almost three times as much solar and wind energy as we do!!!!
    If you really want to change things, change America first… invest in infrastructure, solar and wind, R&D, education… raise the minimum wage (it works, again facts), and then if we do not need oil we don’t have a need to go to the Middle East….. we can be a wealthy nation again, instead of one based upon greed that cares not for fellow man nor countryman…. that thinks Ayn Rand’s ideas worked… they don’t.
    We made ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda…. we did….. maybe if we stopped selling arms to both sides we wouldn’t have to worry about them being used against us…. It is all tied together, and if we don’t start using our brains, following some kind of decent and compassionate moral code, checking facts, and realizing we are all in this together, yes— we will perish…..
    ISIS isn’t the real problem… we are.

  17. confidential says:

    Kudos to Skot David Wilson telling it just like it is!

  18. A.S.F. says:

    Pierre–I apologize. News outlets are reporting that ISIS has been kind enough to shoot people in the head before tying them to crosses and displaying them for their own media purposes. Now, what do you think the message they are trying to send would be, exactly? Do you think they are only doing it for “dramatic effect” and, therefore, it is really not representative of either their mind-set, their belief-system, their goals or their intentions–especially when they target Christians and mow them down en masse? Here are two sources for you: CNN, May 2, 2014, which reported that the Crucifixion displays began in March, when ISIS accused a shepard of murder and theft, then shot him in the head and tied his lifeless body to a wooden cross…”Video on social media showed the body leaning up against a small building painted to bear the group’s flag and name.” You may also look up an article entitled, “ISIS Crucifies Nine People in Syrian Villages”, by Harriet Alexander, dated 6-24-2014. But I would really like to refer you to an article entitled, ISIS Militants Carry Out Regular Friday Executions, Amputations and Mock Crucifixions.”, From the UK Huffington Post, article written by Paul Vale, dated 8-27-2014. I’d post the links for you if I weren’t such a techno-idiot. I’m sorry to say, Pierre, that you appear to believe that the only threat to humanity in the Middle East that merits serious or active consideration is Israel and the only innocent Arab victims you like to “hype” in your commentaries are Palestinians. I notice that you did not respond to my points about the beheadings of American citizens (or how YOU would recommend we respond to them, if at all)..OR ISIS enslavement of, and brutality towards, women, or their habit of exterminating anyone with religious views divergent from their own. Your accusation about my only caring about Idi Amin (and the history connected to him and the terrorization of Africa through Khaddaffi’s oil money) because I saw a made for TV movie about Entebbe is insulting. But If YOU want to view a FACTUAL movie about the Sfrican connection, I suggest you might want to view the documentary “Mad Dog” which details a history of Khaddaffi, from his rise to power to his death. The section of that movie that details his involvement with Africa is eye-opening. I agree that Arab countries in the Middle East should be cleaning up their own messes–I have said that many times. But, what happens when they don’t and/or they can’t? Today’s news states that Kerry is claiming to have made some headway in getting some major Arab Countries to join in efforts to defeat ISIS. I hope that will prove to be more than a pipe dream, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  19. PC OG says:

    The Sotloff video was staged. Any idiot can see that the man is not afraid, not shaking or stammering or anything. Science dictates that when a human being feels like their life is threatened, flight or fight takes over. It’s in our programming. Sotloff doesn’t have any of the physiological attributes a man would have when faced with death. Despite that, his resume reads like that of a spy, not a journalist. Hell, you can even see in the video that Jihad Joe has a large cast shadow but Sotloff mysteriously does not. Stage lighting can cause that. That video is FAKE. So what does that mean exactly?

  20. nomad says:

    Goodness! Here we go again. Another propaganda spin to do what the US govt does best – manufacture weapons and the wars to use those weapons. These are the only manufacturing jobs left in the US manufacturing industry. And the reason other countries are forced to increase their defense and military spending to counter the threats posed by the US and their insatiable appetite for war. No wonder American culture is so violent. That’s all Americans are taught by their govt KILL KILL KILL and KILL EVEN MORE. 39% of US GDP is spent on military alone. And don’t be surprised to find military spending finagled into other budget allocations. I would say that Obamacare is derived from a necessity to treat the millions of Americans suffering from living in a perpetual war culture. The addiction to alcohol, drugs, meds, gorging and other extreme self destructive behaviors are having dire effects on a society heading towards total self destruction. Check out the following…

    “Following Obama’s address to the nation Wednesday, America’s psychiatrists and liquor stores stocked up on anti-depressants and massive amounts of alcohol. States allowing for legal marijuana report booming sales. […] When reached for comment at a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary, Obama was characteristically calm and cool about the issue.

    “Americans understand our constant state of pointless war is necessary to, what is it this week Reggie? Right, to protect the country. Some may say by making this speech exactly one year after I said we’d bomb Syria to oust Assad only to now plan on bombing Syria in tacit support of Assad, and choosing 9/11 eve for the speech, I increased the weary nation’s sense of complete and devastating cynicism. Well, folks have got to understand that war means sacrifice. Hey, did you hear about this drinking game where every time I said ‘no boots on the ground’ people had to shotgun a water glass of bourbon? I told my speechwriters to throw that line in about a million times. I think the whole address went down better with the American people drunk off their ass when they heard it. Now, watch this drive.””

    And then there’s this:

    But Who is behind the Islamic State Project?

    “In a bitter irony, until recently the rebels of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were heralded as Syria’s “opposition freedom fighters” committed to “restoring democracy” and unseating the secular government of Bashar al Assad.

    And who was behind the jihadist insurgency in Syria?

    Those who ordered the bombing campaign are those who are behind the Caliphate Project.

    The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of a US-NATO bombing under a counter-terrorism mandate, was and continues to be supported covertly by the United States.

    In other words, the Islamic State (IS) is a creation of US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة‎). Moreover, according to Israeli intelligence sources (Debka) NATO in liaison with the Turkish High Command has been involved in the recruitment of jihadist mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.”

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      And this is different from the murder of 200,000 Syrians so far how? Murders most of them the result of the Syrian president we’re about to aid with that poison, and allow to murder a few more tens of thousands, now that his hand will be strengthened. Of course those victims don’t have the baiting cameras of ISIS pointed at them because they don’t have the same currency. Beats me how the murder of two Americans and a Brit, because they’re Americans and British and have a TV audience, are held up as somehow more atrocious or worthier of a response, including a massive military response, than the routine murder of nameless Arabs. They’re not. We wisely didn’t make a move when the dead were “mere” Syrians, because it’s not our fight and we’re no longer the world’s cops. We shouldn’t make a move now, though we already have, having granted those western death, with that not so subtle racism, more currency than the nameless could ever dream of. Obama’s response is about ratings, mostly his own and his beleaguered party’s in the coming midterms, not principles. That said, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the sort of preposterous claims PC makes about the alleged fake Sotloff video or the obscene questioning of his journalistic credentials, as if that makes any difference: the man was murdered. But 12 journalists have been murdered so far this year around the globe, and 31 were murdered last year. We did not launch wars, or even a missile, to avenge them, nor should we. And the manner of Sotloff’s death makes no difference anymore than domestic arguments about the more “humane” executions by lethal injection as opposed to, say, the electric chair (or the guillotine).

      • Lin says:

        I had a friend some years back from Iran but ethnically Armenian and Christian who told me about the Turkish massacre around 1915 into the 1920’s. The crimes were by Turkish Muslims against Christians and Armenians.

        I just read a NY times article from that period and also

        It is just like what us happening now. The march across the desert, the killing, the sexual crimes against the women and sexual slavery. To blame anything happening now on our actions makes no sense — you don’t counter barbarism with apologies and weakness

        Those who can deny what is really happening here should do a little more reading

        The exact strategy to stop this madness is beyond my expertise (not that anyone is asking my help to figure it out)
        It is so complicated
        But to lay blame on this policy of that party or another is pointless

  21. A.S.F. says:

    This truly is a quagmire. A part of me wants to just say, let them kill each other, in all manner of ways, if that is what they choose to do. There is also the concern that ISIS is doing some of these things to bait certain powers into fighting with them. But a very worried part of me says that people who have the ability to commit such repulsive and barbaric acts, and attract ever more growing numbers of thugs and disturbed individuals from all parts of the globe to join their ranks, need to be stopped somehow, before things get even worse. The question is, how to accomplish that goal without helping to make matters worse. And I wouldn’t say that most people consider the Islamic State a serious threat to humanity only because (and since) Americans and Europeans have been getting killed (although you can’t blame Americans and Europeans from taking it personally.) There was plenty of alarm generated by reports of brutality being committed by ISIS upon other Arabs–completely innocent civilians, including women and children. Is your outrage against Arab innocents being slaughtered only actionable to you, Pierre, when it involves the effects of Israeli military policies against Palestinians? Would you call the recent behavior of ISIS anything other (or less) than genocidal?

  22. A.S.F. says:

    From the Associated Press, 9-13-2014, in an article entitled “ISLAMIC STATES WAR CHEST IS GROWING DAILY”, by Ken Dilanian: “Islamic State militants who once relied on wealthy Persian Gulf donors for money, have become a self-sustaining financial juggernaut, earning more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion, according to US intelligence officials and private experts.” Now, perhaps, some people feel that this is misleading information or outright lies being put forth, a la Bush/Cheney, in order to get the American public to support intervention aimed against ISIL. Perhaps those “fact checkers” at Politifact can cruise on over to the ME to verify what the REAL truth is and let us all in on it.

  23. Sherry Epley says:

    BRAVO! Skot David Wilson, Norton Smitty, and of course Pierre!

  24. Bunnell Resident says:

    We don’t get to choose our enemies. To pretend they are no threat to us is naive. I have seen more than enough heads impaled upon fence posts that I do not care whether they were Christian, Muslim, or Jew. They did not deserve to be murdered by this terrorist group. Whether we like it or not we have a fight on our hands. Do not believe for one moment that simply ignoring this group will make them go away.

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