Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How To Starve a War Fever

The slippery slope to war is finally getting some much-needed sand thrown on it by the media -- even by some of the same newspapers and pundits who so unquestioningly cheer-led the last Iraq invasion.

Perhaps most important, the press is revealing the long-suppressed Saudi connection to 9/11, and exposing the Saudi elites' funding of ISIS,which is at least partly composed of remnants of their own private army. The Saudis have recently balked at putting their own "boots on the ground" to essentially fight against themselves, and that was one of Obama's prerequisites for America getting dragged back in.

Matt Stoller has written an especially illuminating piece which lays out Saudi Arabia's outsized influence on American foreign policy, and the role of petrodollars in financing various shadow wars and other secret machinations by the global ruling class.

The latest sabre-rattling is clearly aimed at toppling the Syrian government, long an aim of both Saudi Arabia and Israel and their neocon counterparts, still led by the unindicted Dick Cheney. The CIA and special ops have been fomenting this overthrow battle for awhile now, but Obama would "prefer" that the Congress now openly fund and back his efforts so as to spread future blame to all of us who never bothered to call our congress critters in futile protest. It's getting kind of hard to keep this secret war a secret any longer. And the beheading of two American journalists provides what they think is the perfect excuse to bring all their aggression out into the open. Obama himself was so rattled by the first murder, of James Foley, that he immediately had to calm his nerves by playing another round of golf, a big grin plastered on his face.

And there was bonhomie galore in the Oval Office last week as the president convened with his Republican frenemies and got their enthusiastic approval for what promises to be a very successful enterprise for the profiteers of the oil and "defense industries."

While some journalists are finally doing their jobs, there's still a vibrant propaganda machine whirring away and pumping its exhaust fumes through fiber-optic cables and into American homes. CNN, for example, has obviously been completely taken over by the Pentagon and the various intelligence "communities," whose bloviating is underwritten by the same oil and gas cartels and arms industry think tanks so desperate for more tax-sheltered cash. I wrote last week about one former ambassador, under criminal investigation in Europe for money-laundering his war profits, but still appearing on CNN to howl about ISIS coming to America to murder us all in our beds.  Lee Fang of The Nation names even more names.

CBS, whose news division president is the brother of Obama national security advisor Ben Rhodes, can also be relied upon to feed the fever. Veteran pundit Bob Schieffer did his bit on Sunday by shrilling that "we'll all get killed" unless we kill a whole bunch of people. The FAIR Blog has more examples of media quacks trying to feed the fever.

How then to starve the war fever? Hefty dosages of that tried and true antipyretic known as investigative journalism. Before you know it, millions of people will break a sweat, wake up from their fever dreams, and realize how badly they've been conned by the original political snake oil treatment. Hopefully it's still not too late to stop World War III in its tracks. 

As Charles Blow wrote in a recent excellent column,
When we invaded Iraq in 2003, about three out of four Americans approved of President Bush’s handling of the situation, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll. Three years later, that approval had fallen by half.
We don’t want to look back three years from now and ask, “What have we done?”
An ABC News poll in early March of 2003 found that most Americans believed the Iraq war would last several months at most — it officially lasted nearly nine years — and nearly eight in 10 thought Iraq posed a direct threat to the United States at the time.
And the cost of that war, particularly in death toll, was staggering.
According to the website, more than 4,800 members of United States and coalition forces were killed between 2003 and 2013, as well as 468 contractors.
How to break a war fever? As I responded to Charles Blow, the immediate release of that long-suppressed Senate report on CIA torture would immediately knock some sense into people clamoring for revenge over the recent decapitations. So would the release of the whole cache of still-suppressed photographs documenting horrific abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American forces. So would those censored pages of the 9/11 Commission report, which allegedly tie the Saudi royal family directly to the attacks.

Secrecy is the enemy of democracy. Transparency from our public "servants"  and our right to know are every bit as crucial to our survival as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Joe Biden said "we must follow ISIS to the very gates of hell, because hell is where they reside."

 Actually, what we really must do is relentlessly pursue our own elected leaders and expose the shadowy moneyed forces controlling them before we all fall into the inferno.


Denis Neville said...

How to starve a war fever?

Arming Syrian rebels … many House progressives are likely to vote “Yes” on the narrower question of whether to arm and train the Syrian rebels [in Saudi Arabia!!!].

Definition of stupidity: Washington’s Jihad – America’s never-ending war in the Middle East.

The United States and Europe acted as the air force for the jihadists, the only foot soldiers they had, to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya. They tried to replicate that again in Syria when the Arab spring threatened the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and the Qataris. But since these jihadists are not controllable, who will be the foot soldiers of the United States and the Saudis in the region?

The atmosphere at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about the U.S. policy to combat ISIS was laden with the implication that the US would take over the war and fight it with its own forces, if necessary. “If our goal here is to destroy ISIL, we’ve got to do more than train a few folks in Syria and train a few folks in Iraq and drop some bombs.”

What is America's ultimate plan in trying to intervene in both Syria's and Iraq's civil wars?

Peter Lavelle/CrossTalking with Flynt Leverett, Joshua Landis, and Michael Maloof:

The Real Axis of Evil - United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia - which has mortally harmed US interests in the region and beyond.

Ryan Devereaux, “Those Who’ve Seen Bloodshed Warn of Endless, Brutal War in Iraq,”

“It doesn’t really seem like there’s much of a difference in our military actions versus what they do, other than we justify it because they’re a terrorist group and we’re an official government. I’m pretty sure that acts of barbarism like we have would be considered acts of terrorism by anyone else in the world.” - Brandon Bryant, USAF drone sensor operator

“It seems to me that one of the predictors of a happy versus an unhappy outcome has to do with the role of the elite or the decision-makers or the politicians or the rich people within the society. If the society is structured so that the decision-makers themselves suffer from the consequences of their decisions, then they're motivated to make decisions that are good for the whole society, whereas if the decision-makers can make decisions that insulate themselves from the rest of society, then they're likely to make decisions that are bad for the rest of society.” – Jared Diamond

Pearl said...

Watching John Kerry in action on CNN is a threat to one's mental balance. And what is with his jaw it looks like it is wired shut (we should be so lucky)?
There were posters being waved behind him probably from the Code Pink women. And trying to follow the reasoning of other Congresspeople forced me to turn this circus off to guard my health.
I wonder how long Obama will be able to continue to say he will not put troops back in Iraq to the military, so I predict they will have to arrange some kind of 'accident' to force his hand.

And yes, Blow has redeemed himself in his latest column as he has published too many supporting Obama delicately in the past. Maybe he is learning something and becoming a real investigative reporter finally.

Elizabeth Adams said...

This is the response I received from Senator Feinstein. It makes me ill.


Thank you for contacting me regarding U.S. assistance for Syria and Iraq. I appreciate the time you took to write, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

Please know that I strongly support U.S. efforts to provide relief to civilians affected by the crises in Syria and Iraq. Since unrest began in Syria in March 2011, an estimated 9.3 million people in Syria, approximately half of the Syrian population, including 5.5 million children, have either been internally displaced within Syria or forced to flee the war abroad. The United States has provided more than $2 billion in humanitarian assistance consisting of food, clean water, shelter, medical care, and relief supplies to displaced persons within Syria and to neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees.

In Iraq, since early June 2014, 1.2 million Iraqi civilians have been displaced by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As you may know, this terrorist organization, with likely more than 20,000-30,000 fighters, has financed itself through kidnappings, extortion, bank robbery, oil proceeds, and other criminal activity. Operating with little resistance, in early June 2014, ISIL began seizing large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. Its consolidation of territory in both countries, apparently with the goal of reconstituting an Islamic caliphate, has led to the massacre of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers, the seizure of military-grade weaponry, the displacement of millions of civilians, and genocidal levels of killing of Iraqi and Syrian religious and ethnic minorities.

I understand that you have concerns regarding the possibility of sending U.S. military service members back to Iraq or into Syria. While I understand and share your concerns, I believe that we must confront ISIL in Iraq before it further consolidates its power in the heart of the Middle East. I therefore strongly support President Obama's decision to directly intervene in Iraq to protect U.S. interests.

I agree that there needs to be a political strategy to address the root causes of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. There is no doubt that political reconciliation between Iraq's ethnic and religious communities is needed. To that end, I am pleased to see that Iraq's leaders have taken action to form a unity government which I hope will prove capable of governing on behalf of all Iraqis and provide a space for genuine Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish participation.

I also understand that you have you concerns regarding U.S. assistance to moderate opposition forces fighting in Syria. As you may know, the "National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)" for fiscal year (FY) 2015 (S. 2410) authorizes up to $500 million to be used to provide equipment, training, and defense services to vetted persons in the moderate Syrian opposition. The Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, fully funded the President's $500 million request in its "Department of Defense Appropriations" bill (H.R. 4870) for fiscal year 2015, contingent upon the Secretary of Defense reporting to Congress in detail how this funding will be spent. Supporting a moderate opposition in Syria is critical to confronting ISIL in that country.

Please know that as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I continue to closely follow events in Syria and Iraq, and I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate discusses U.S. assistance and policy toward both nations.

Once again, thank you for writing, and I hope that you will continue to keep me informed about issues of importance to you. Should you have any further comments or questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C., office at (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at Best regards."

Jay - Ottawa said...

You can see how your member of the House of Representatives voted on the ISIS bill here:

If your rep said NO to more war in Iraq and Syria, send an email of thanks/positive reinforcement.

But where reps voted YES, give ‘em hell.

Ralph Nader’s executive summary in favor of the NO vote is here.

voice-in-wilderness said...

During the Bush-Cheney presidency I had an insight that explains the nature of our politics in Washington. We no longer have political parties -- we have political street gangs.

As gangs it is not a matter of principle or right and wrong. It is a matter of power. If your gang kills people and loots the economy with reckless spending, then that is good. If the other gang does it, then it is bad. There are some differences between the gangs, as each favors a different mix of killing and looting. But they both support secret government, unconstrained military spending, giving unaudited consulting contracts to their friends, and keeping the revolving door spinning.

You will find that explains most of the behavior of the Republican and Democratic gangs in Washington.

annenigma said...

We could start starving a War Fever by being throwing cold water on it through national referendum voting such as Scotland just did. They won concessions before the vote and the Ayes even lost! But we Americans can't leverage our vote as they did when because we don't get similar opportunities on on important issues. We can't even protest publicly without meeting certain conditions of our police state and even then they send militarized forces to intimidate and silence us. Some 'democracy'.

Our voter turnout would go sky high if we could directly vote instead of just selecting between two corporate sponsored evils who will only represent fellow millionaires.

How great would that be if we could send a message to the Supreme Court and to each other that We the People ARE the government they work for. We need to reassure ourselves that we have a voice, so let's vote to have national referendums! Oh wait....

Our Founders were careful not to give much power to the riffraff lest WE(!) cause a dysfunctional government. What a joke. In this digital age, there is no reason we still need to rely on overpaid political prostitutes even if they fuck us over so well and so often.

annenigma said...

Sorry for all the typos. The font size on the page shrunk to miniscule for some reason and I can hardly read what I'm typing, plus I also kept making changes. Oh well, you get the gist.

Elizabeth Adams said...

Annenigma, I recently learned how to fix the shrunken fonts. Hold down the control key and hit the + key to enlarge.

Zee said...

As I understand it, you can find out how your Senators voted on the matter of arming and training the so-called Syrian rebels here:

At least, the vote tallies and legislation number match with this article:

I've just gotten off the 'phone, scorching the ears of local staffers for Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, and Rep. Michele Lujan-Griffith (NM District 1), reminding them just how well it went for the U.S. when we armed Afghan insurgents against the Russians and their puppet Afghan government on the blind theory that “the enemy of my enemy is my [enduring] friend.”

The Afghans got the Taliban, we got Osama bin Laden as a “friend,” and we are still at war in Afghanistan thirteen years later.

Udall's staffer tried to tell me that the good Senator wasn't really voting to train and arm Syrian rebels: he was just voting to keep the government open via this “incredibly complex” piece of funding legislation.


I told her that that was just an excuse, that it would have been better to shut down the government than to pass a piece of legislation that contains what amounts to a suicide pill for the country.

When she told me most emphatically that it was not an excuse, I insisted that it was, and that this mistake was going to turn around and bite us in the ass just as soon as the so-called rebels were satisified with the butchery that they had inflicted on their home turf, and turned their sights on us in earnest.

Met with silence on the other end, I thanked her for listening to me, wished her a good weekend and hung up.

If any of you out there contact your similarly dim-bulbed Senators who voted to “train and arm the Syrian rebels,” I'll be curious to hear if they give you the same explanation that Udall's staffer gave me:

“I voted for war for the sake of a greater good: keeping your government open to serve you.”