Monday, December 11, 2017

Another Invisible Campaign in the Phony "War on Terror"...

Jim at RAW likes to hit on the "fake news" aspect of the so-called War on Terror that has obsessed and dominated the public face of U.S. foreign and military policy since 2001. As such it's worth noting that this past week, while the U.S. government was busy making things worse in the Middle East a combination of Iraqi, Syrian, and Iranian Shiite troopers and SovietRussian and U.S. flyboys and advisors put paid to the last remnants of the Islamic State as an actual physical polity.

This news was met with massive indifference by the Trump Administration, presumably because the success had nothing to do with His Fraudulency's vaunted "plan" to defeat the daeshi maneuver forces and if it doesn't magnify the Orange Leader it doesn't count.

But, also, this immense silence from the very people who typically clatter on so loudly about the "threat" of "radical Islamic terrorism" points out the extent to which that clatter is purely for domestic consumption. News that reassures the Common Herd that these wannabe Saladins really are nothing but a gang of raggedy-ass fellahin less likely to be a hazard to life and property than bathroom falls and defective Christmas lights isn't useful for keeping the public fearful and submissive to the sort of misgovernment that Sun Tzu warned was the danger of prolonged wars.

In the last post Mike asked "why are we still there?" in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the other Middle Eastern boobytraps. This, to me, is a perfect example for the way it points up the why; We the People have no real metric to assess the pointlessness of these misadventures, largely because there is a substantial portion of our own "leadership" that profits from that ignorance and the resulting fear.

Will the destruction of the physical Islamic State destroy the "Islamic State" as a generator of a predictable amount of death and destruction? No. Will it solve the deep social, political, and economic problems of places like Iraq and Syria that help produce the sort of destructive energies that produced the Islamic State in the first place? No.

Is, and has, the united States actually done anything constructive to address these problems? No. Indeed; the primary effect of U.S. military and foreign policy in the region has been everything bin Laden hoped for in 2001. The entire region is now less stable, more volatile, and more bitterly divided than ever before.

Except that the "Islamic State" is no longer an actual "state".

15 comments:

  1. I agree entirely, except that the Russians are longer the Soviets.

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    1. Yeah, the time traveller thing irritated me as well.

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    2. Durr! Clearly I have early-onset dementia problems; I think it's still 1988. I'll fix that.

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  2. I see many reasons for the continued invovlement.

    a) Politicians love to play with toys that are at their disposal.

    b) Lacking self-discipline (not strict pursuit of common good / detours into gaming)

    c) Lobbying of hawkish people and hawkish think tanks which are in part funded by the arms industry and some of them are part of the right wingnut welfare net.

    d) Interest of U.S.Armed services in missions abroad that go beyond mere basing (like South Korea). That's how to beef up resumes for career evaluations, hot to 'justify' budget through 'relevance', how to get supplemental budgets that make it easier to fund the toys that they want and of course they see their hammer as the solution to problems becuase they only have the hammer etc.

    e) Mass media focused on infotainment and they just love to infotain with hawkish narratives - that's more alpha / masculine / entertaining / digestible than to run information programs on how tricky the things are in such a foreign, distant place.

    f) path dependency; meddling in foreign places is what the U.S. has been doing for over a century habitually. It seems self-evident and not requiring a justification every time.

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    1. Yep. All those plus probably a half-dozen more, including that pernicious "Washington Rules" fixation that "war works" that includes the more hawkish edges of the Democratic Party and the whole GOP...

      My focus, however, was purely on the public component, that, as you point out, is an unholy mashup of "war works" idiocy, low-information-level (which is a hell of a lot of the public), and media infotainment/hawkishness.

      What's frustrating to me is that there seems to be little or no chance to change that. There's just no constituency for any sort of sweeping change to the public attitude that immediately goes all "America, fuck yeah!" yellow-ribbon-magnet-patriotic when some joker shrieks "OMFG Radical Islamic Terrorism!!!".

      I certainly don't want my kids to grow up in a declining-imperial U.S., but I don't see anything to be gained from the course we are on now and look to be on in the foreseeable future.

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  3. Were they ever an actual state? I realize that at their peak they held an area larger than Austria or maybe Serbia. But it seems to me they were just an occupying army of Wahhabist nutjobs that co-opted disaffected locals. I never understood why the western press called them by their preferred name. In any case, in Iraq and Syria they have now reverted to their origins as a terrorist insurgency. But they are still perhaps a 'state of mind' for their wannabee fanboys throughout the world.

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    1. They physically held ground, and for "statehood" possession is 9/10s of the law. And it served the purpose of both the IS and those in the West who need a booga-booga scary Islamic enemy to pretend they were a state like North Korea is a state, rather than your characterization of them as what they were; a collection of raggedy militias.

      And, like Al Qaeda, the IS will continue to be a "franchise" for angry young Sunni fundamentalists. Look at Alabama if you want a model; defeated at the polls the looney theocratic nutjob refuses to accept the will of the public, vowing to "fight on". You will never, short of genocide, be rid of people like that. They are armored with an invincible ignorant rage and self-righteousness.

      What you can only do is try to make their sort of toxic religious nutjobbery a laughingstock and a byword. That was supposed to be the point of the Enlightenment; to replace the old biblical superstition and credulity with rational thought. But that turned out to be both difficult and uncomfortable. Turns out that a shit-ton of people love "smugly stupid" if it means they get to feel like they're wonderful and praiseworthy for just not being gay or drinking wine. The umma has at least the excuse that they never had an option. We in the West, OTOH, have let these Moore-rats infest our house knowing that they'll bring the plagues they always do. We have no excuse.

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    2. The Ayatollah of Alabama who refuses to accept the will of the public is only "fighting on" to collect more campaign donations. The suckers do not realize the judge is building up his retirement fund.

      Or that is what I am hoping. The only other explanation is that he has crooked friends in the Bama Secretary of State's office who are going to miraculously discover 30K uncounted Republican ballots. But I suspect they know that it would backfire badly if they tried to pull it off.

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  4. Regarding your jpg pic of the poilu picking flowers: I also never understood the 'phoney war' label for the early months of WW2. I guess just because there was no major land actions on the western front?

    But there was plenty going at sea, and in the air. Plus the Poles and the Finns did not think of it as 'phoney'. Nor did the Chinese think so either while the Japanese were using poison gas on the Nationalist Army during that same time.

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    1. My understanding of the "Phoney War" label, Mike, is that it was specific to a time - between ti fall of Poland in the autumn of 1939 to May, 1940 - and place, the Franco-German frontier. So-called because the French and British, having declared war in September, 1939, then sat tight behind their defenses and did nothing of merit. I don't think anyone would have said there was no fighting anywhere...but the expected "1914 Part Deux" didn't happen, so to French and British observers it seemed like a joke.

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    2. A damned self-centered view by a few Brit and Frenchie army types IMHO. The RN and RAF made no such wisecracks.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. To All.
    happy holidays and best wishes for the coming new year.
    i consider all of you as friends altho we have never met.
    jim hruska aka rangeragainstwar.

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  7. Bandar Judi Terpercaya dan Teraman di Indonesia. BOLAVITA

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