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Boardman writes: "Paris was hit by at least two well-trained and -equipped terrorist cells in a coordinated attack on 6 or 7 soft targets on Friday night. The attack that took the most lives, over 120 according to a high French official, was the assault on the audience for a musical performance by the Eagles of Death Metal (not actually a death metal band) at the Bataclan concert hall."

The aftermath of Saudi bombings in Yemen. (photo: Sebastiano Tomada/Getty Images)
The aftermath of Saudi bombings in Yemen. (photo: Sebastiano Tomada/Getty Images)

Escalation Is Escalation Is Escalation: Lesson of Viet-Nam War

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

17 November 15


When will we decide to get off the terrorism merry-go-round?

he attacks in Paris have already created yet another distorting lens through which Western nations view reality darkly. The tragedy on the ground in the city of light is real enough, but the greater tragedy is the greater reality of assuming that the politics of endless war is some sort of answer to the vicious circle it creates and perpetuates. The impulsive rush to war is also a rush to ignore history and context: French colonial control of Syria ended less than 70 years ago, French bombing of Syria is intensifying. 

And then there’s Yemen. 

Yemen is a key to understanding the perverse puzzle of the Middle East morass. Yemen embodies the collective savagery that American policy unintentionally promotes and spreads.

“Yemen” is a word that went unuttered in the Democratic debate November 14, when all the participants shied away from taking a hard look at very hard realities. Do the candidates and the reporters not understand the significance of Yemen? Are the candidates leery of too many voters beginning to understand Yemen? To understand Yemen is to understand that there is no candidate for president taking a loud and principled stand against the US-supported illegal war in Yemen, a war led by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state allies who commit atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity on a daily basis, horrendous acts of war that make Paris look like a picnic. 

To understand Yemen is to understand the insane contradictions of US policy that is based on irreconcilable assumptions and goals. To understand Yemen is to understand that the US cannot succeed with its current policy in the Middle East. To understand Yemen is to understand that the US and its Western allies no longer have a meaningful stake in a conflict that has no decent purpose. 

Yemen is where the Saudis and their allies are waging a merciless, criminal war against one side of the civil war there, the Houthis. The US helps the Saudis bomb and kill mostly civilians, while enforcing the naval blockade that prevents Yemenis from leaving the kill zone in greater numbers. The Houthis are fighting both Al Qaeda and ISIS, which together control most of the country but a minority of the population. So the Saudis are fighting on the side of ISIS in Yemen at the same time they have all but stopped fighting against ISIS in Syria. All of this makes a perverse sort of sense from the Saudi perspective, since the Saudis have spent decades nurturing the Wahhabi version of fundamentalist jihadism that has now flowered as ISIS, the Islamic State. 

Why is endless US war on non-threatening countries not a campaign issue? 

Given continuing US military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, as well as presumably other, more covert places, the wonder is that there’s still no opposition in the streets or much of anywhere else to the endless wars of the Bush legacy. Almost as wondrous is that the endless warlords like Dick Cheney and his unindicted co-conspirators aren’t cheering on the present president for loyally executing their mindless folly as he extends Bushian madness to the point of achieving the first military quagmire of global scale. At any given moment the US has Special Forces operating in a hundred countries, give or take, having carried out operations in at least 147 countries this year.   

Years later, as the world approaches Orwell’s 1984 totalitarian vision of all-war-all-the-time, mainstream reporters (like those at the Democratic debate) not only fail to illuminate reality, they fail even to probe it. Is it not of interest that the US carries the burden of the Orwellian nightmare almost alone? Of the three superpowers of Orwell’s imagination, Russia and China continue to be reluctant to match the “exceptional” US drive toward military hegemony over the planet. Europe also continues to be an unreliable permanent warrior state and Latin America is pretty much all hopeless when it comes to war. 

This cannot be a state of things that our candidates for president have not noticed. Among Republicans, the tendency is to call for more war anywhere, to double down on failure and make it worse as soon as possible. Among Democrats there is some presentiment of caution, or at least some desire not to make it worse any faster than “necessary.” No one is yet saying that making it worse is NOT necessary. Serious reporters, if there were any, would be asking all candidates to explain why they think this futile, destructive, irrational status quo is OK by any standard of reason and decency. 

Why NOT get out of Afghanistan? 

Why NOT get out of Iraq? 

Why NOT get out of Libya and Syria and a hundred other countries? 

When it comes to the US air war on the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, most of our allies are already getting out of harm’s way. They are abandoning the fight against ISIS even though ISIS presents a far more imminent threat to most of them than it ever will to the US. Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and the rest of the international criminal coalition are much more interested in bombing even more defenseless Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to a lengthy front page report in the November 8 New York Times.

If Saudi Arabia and its allies don’t much care about bombing ISIS, why on earth is the US doing it? We know from experience, now long experience, that bombing doesn’t work militarily and is a disaster politically, as it creates more enemies than it kills. We know that the defeat of ISIS will require ground troops in large numbers, and there are those who want those troops to be American. But why should American troops rush to the defense of the Saudis and their allies when they are not rushing to their own defense? Why should the US continue to enable the Saudi coalition’s crimes against humanity? The Saudi-led onslaught in Yemen deliberately targets hospitals now (as the US did in Afghanistan). And the US continues to support the criminal war on Yemen

Why isn’t there a single presidential candidate even wondering out loud why the US doggedly pursues a failed policy that costs billions of dollars, a failed policy that keeps thousands of US troops in bases in the region (10,000 in Qatar alone) protecting dictatorships, a failed policy in support of forces that commit crimes against humanity with as much zeal as their enemies? 

Democratic candidates appear to be in almost deliberate denial 

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders opened the debate with explicit promisesto rid the world of ISIS and its ilk. Martin O’Malley seemed to imply as much. Both Clinton and Sanders assumed American leadership of the continued war on terrorism, though both presumed that leadership would be at the head of a significant coalition. Clinton expressed the inherent contradiction between leading and coalescing when she said: “But it cannot be an American fight.” Clinton elaborated that:   

… we will support those who take the fight to ISIS. That is why we have troops in Iraq that are helping to train and build back up the Iraqi military, why we have special operators in Syria working with the Kurds and Arabs so that we can be supportive. But this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential. 

This sounds like a good description of “leading from behind,” which is what the US said it was doing in Libya, which is now in chaos. “Leading from behind” is an oxymoron. “Leading from behind” is a euphemism for something like: you fight on the ground, we’ll provide some low-risk air support, and if it turns out well, we’ll take the credit, otherwise it’s on you. 

O’Malley somewhat incoherently disagreed with Clinton: “This actually is America's fight. It cannot solely be America’s fight. America is best when we work in collaboration with our allies. America is best when we are actually standing up to evil in this world.” This ignores those allies who have abandoned the fight against ISIS. It also ignores the reality that these same “allies” are committing evil in Yemen. 

Sanders edged closer to an honest assessment of reality than the other two when he acknowledged that “the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely. And led to the rise of Al Qaeda – and to – ISIS.” Sanders argued that, having unleashed the cascading destabilization of the Middle East since 2003, the US has some responsibility to try to mend that. Sanders explained his approach: “the United States cannot do it alone. What we need to do is lead an international coalition which includes – very significantly – the Muslim nations in that region are going to have to fight and defend their way of life.” So far, that is a fantasy possibility. And if the fantasy continues, what should be the consequences?

CBS moderator skillfully helps candidates avoid critical issues

Hearing Sanders make his very challenging formulation, CBS moderator John Dickerson then translated Sanders’ “disastrous invasion” into a “disastrous vote” for war in Iraq. Then Dickerson twisted that into a false attack on Clinton who, in any event, admits her vote and the invasion were both mistakes. In response to Dickerson’s failed food fight sally, Sanders responded: “I don't think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now…. I think that was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of the United States.” Clinton gave a fuzzy response, but she did not disagree. 

A little later, Sanders returned to the challenging idea that Dickerson had tried to avoid:

… here’s something that I believe we have to do as we put together an international coalition, and that is we have to understand that the Muslim nations in the region – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan – all of these nations, they’re going to have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground. They are going to have to take on ISIS.

This is a war for the soul of Islam. And those countries who are opposed to [jihadi] Islam, they are going to have to get deeply involved in a way that is not the case today. We should be supportive of that effort. So should the UK, so should France. But those Muslim countries are going to have to lead the effort. They are not doing it now.

Sanders was saying that the emperor has no clothes, and he was right. He was also assuming that there are Muslim nations actually opposed to “radical Islam,” which is a trickier proposition. Saudi Arabia in particular has played a double game for decades, promoting jihadi fundamentalism through their Wahhabi evangelism around the world. The Saudis have troops fighting in Yemen, fighting the Houthis who are fighting ISIS. The Saudis have no troops in Syria fighting ISIS, which the Saudis have armed and supplied over the years, directly and indirectly, as have Qatar, Turkey, the US, and others.

Turkey is almost as much of a problem as Saudi Arabia, because Turkey has long been at war with the Kurds. The Kurds have turned out to be the most effective ground force fighting ISIS, and the US is supporting the Kurds with special forces on the ground and bombing ISIS from the air. The US bombers fly out of Incerlik air base in Turkey, the same base from which Turkish bombers fly to bomb the Kurds. It should surprise no one that the most effective fighters against ISIS are the Kurds, who are also a stateless, persecuted minority in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

Since the Saudis are in Yemen to fight the phantom of Iranian power that is not there, imagining a coalition with both of those countries is a stretch. Including Jordan in that coalition is almost irrelevant, since Jordan will be lucky to survive no matter how this all turns out. Clinton, in response to Sanders, focused correctly (but evasively) on the efforts Jordan has already made. She agreed that “Turkey and the Gulf Nations have got to make up their minds,” but she never let the words “Saudi Arabia” cross her lips. Dickerson then turned the discussion to the safer subject of Libya. Saudi Arabia was safely forgotten in the debate, and Yemen remained down the memory hole, outside the “reality” of presidential politics.   

Leadership: Plunge in militarily? Or try a more rational strategy?

The conventional wisdom across much of the US political spectrum (narrow as it is) is some version of “America must lead the attack on ISIS.” This a reflexive visceral response, not carefully thought out or well-considered. Given the results of American “leadership” since 2001, what sense does it make to have more of the same? After 9/11, the Saudis got a free pass out of the country and in 2015 they are still not reliable allies, so what does “American leadership” actually mean in practice? Having been secretary of state for four years, Clinton is still saying things like “We’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries,” as she said in the debate. Have we not been reaching out, even when she was secretary? Has our reaching out been half-hearted or misconceived? Have Muslim countries been unresponsive? Have they played the US for fools? Clarity is absent here, in part because the US has failed to grasp the nettle of Saudi machinations. 

O’Malley and Clinton remain committed to traditional “American leadership” that often leads to regime change and killing on a grand scale, but rarely produces anything more stable and safe for the populations we supposedly help than a brutal police state (i.e., Iran, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, etc.). “We are at war with violent extremism,” Clinton said at the debate, with no apparent awareness that she was saying nothing meaningful, that she was saying little more than “we are at war with war,” or that we will use violent extremism to counter violent extremism. Insofar as American leadership can be helpful in the world, it needs to be reconceived with much less self-involvement and irrational fear (“ISIS is coming to Peoria!”) and a whole lot more attention to the actual realities on the ground.

Sanders begins to hint at this when he talks about Muslim nations getting their hands dirty, although he’s still too vague. In a real sense, Muslim nations already have very dirty hands with their dictatorships and police states and brutality and support for jihadis and endless internecine Muslim versus Muslim ethnic cleansing. All this predates “American leadership,” but American leadership fosters more chaos and dictatorship wherever it goes. In recent years, after supporting its dictator, American leadership has largely ignored Tunisia, and Tunisia, for now, is a healthy, developing democracy.

The implied, unstated logic of the Sanders position is that if Muslim states go on preferring to attack each other (Yemen), then the US should not be part of it. Offering American leadership to those who won’t be led is really stupid and we have a record of 14 years of stupidity and failure to support that assessment.

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic is not a good iceberg policy

President Obama almost surely doesn’t look at the militarized foreign policy of his administration and see success. If he’s honest, he has to see a growing wasteland in the metastasizing cancer caused by the toxic Bush years. To judge by the president’s military escalations in assorted Bush administration wars, he appears to be responding to the Cheney gang’s demand for more war, more torture, more random killing of innocents, and just plain more cold-blooded toughness. At least we know that’s a sure way to keep jihadi forces growing. 

In a move all too reminiscent of early US moves and evasions in Viet-Nam more than 50 years ago, the president has ordered a team of some 50 special operations forces to be the first sustained US boots-on-the-ground in Syria. The White House went out of its way to avoid calling this escalation an escalation. The cadre of presidential candidates has gone out of its way to offer no hint of objection. The media have mostly gone out of their way to avoid asking any pointed questions. (Democracy Now! is among the honorable exceptions.)

Maybe it was too complicated for mainstream media, since Dickerson didn’t ask about the move during the debate. The new Special Forces deployment is headed to Kurdish areas of Syria, since the Kurds have been the most (and only) effective ground force fighting ISIS. US planes flying from the US airbase Incirlik in Turkey have bombed ISIS in support of the Kurds. Turkish planes from the same base have bombed the same Kurds, even though Turkey is supposedly a US ally against ISIS, even though Turkey also supplies ISIS with support.

So the failure of the American political system sustains an absurdity, which is not an entirely a new condition. But here, the silence in response to the escalation of absurdity is not merely itself another absurdity, it is an especially corrupt failure of those who would be our next commander in chief. This escalation of Special Ops “advisors” won’t make any difference militarily. Politically, on the other hand, this small escalation makes the next escalation that much easier, and the one after that easier still, until US involvement is totally out of hand.

And now the Paris attacks make further escalations harder to resist, if not politically inevitable and politically all but impossible to oppose. But opposition must arise from somewhere if we are ever to break out of this spiral of violence that has led only downward for more than a decade.

Confronting the enormity of American policy is too much to expect from presidential candidates, although it’s what they should do. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Marine veteran of Iraq and a Democrat from Hawaii, made the case in a perfectly straightforward way that is as true after Paris as it was before – the roots of American policy are corrupt:

Few Americans know of the absurd contradictions of our foreign policy in Iraq and other places over the past few decades, yet I found that many Iraqis and Syrians knew the history well. The United States, through covert support of the Iraqi Ba’ath in the 1960’s and 1970’s, sponsored Saddam’s rise to power as a way to combat perceived communist influence and populist national movements in the Middle East. Throughout that time, the CIA-supported Ba’ath engaged in “cleansing campaigns” which involved door-to-door death squads offing Washington’s enemies based on questionable lists provided through covert liaisons.

Rep. Gabbard is just as clear-headed about ISIS, which she identifies as “a monster the United States helped to create:

As if the absurdity of the task of a renewed Iraq campaign mandated by the “gods” in Washington weren’t enough, we will now bomb ISIS locations in Syria while increasing the training and equipping of Syrian rebels. If there are military members and veterans out there, still not conscious that “there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor,” then I suggest watching the above video. The video gives insight into the Sisyphean task ahead of us as a nation: a never-ending cycle, old-yet-new, already set up for futility and failure.

Too much truth has not been the traditional path to the White House. But too little truth, as we have seen too often, makes the achievement bitter and pointless. The problem is to put peace on the table in a way that is hard to oppose without seeming to be a monster. And there is an easy approach. Withdraw US support for Yemen, withdraw US support for killing civilians, withdraw US support for a criminal war in which hospitals are routine targets, withdraw US support for the endless crimes against humanity to which the US continues to be an accomplice, withdraw that support and let the nexus of deceit and death begin to unravel. 

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+10 # lsd 2015-11-17 17:23
Sanders: … here’s something that I believe we have to do as we put together an international coalition, and that is we have to understand that the Muslim nations in the region – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan – all of these nations, they’re going to have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground. They are going to have to take on ISIS.

Amazing; Bernie, Iran already has the so called idiotic phrase "boots on the ground" in Syria and has been fighting the western globalists proxies ISIS in Iraq for sometime. And, please quit using the meaningless boots on the ground phrase; Iran and the US have armed combat troops in these 2 countries.
+24 # Farafalla 2015-11-17 18:20
"Yemen embodies the collective savagery that American policy unintentionally promotes and spreads."

+11 # WBoardman 2015-11-17 19:33
One gives the benefit of the doubt, perhaps too charitably ;-)))
+17 # dquandle 2015-11-17 20:48
Way too charitably. Obama and his war criminal buddies in Saudi Arabia have a real manly zeal for bombing wedding parties in Yemen. Just like shooting fish in a barrel. Obama; he's good at it.

In the above clip, they say it is the 4th time a wedding was targeted in 2 months.
+4 # WBoardman 2015-11-18 13:48
dquandle makes the point, essentially, that
the US and Saudis (and others) deliberately bomb
wedding parties, hospitals, other civilians, and
anything else that strike their conscience-free fancy.

RSN has several of my pieces about Yemen and other places
making just this point (as I did here, actually).

What seems to me perhaps "unintentional" is not the
myriad war crimes and crimes against humanity
committed in the name of US national security.

What seems perhaps "unintentional" – one hopes –
is the collective savagery by others,
our targets and our allies alike,
US policy promotes and and spreads,
leading to the next wave of American crimes, ad nauseam.

"Unintended consequences" is the straw at which I'm grasping,
but to those who say even those consequences are intended,
I can hardly offer convincing rebuttal –
the best evidence is the endless denial by the perpetrators,
hardly credible witness,
producing most equivocal evidence....

Assuming for the moment the consequences since 2001
are in fact unintended, there is a simple remedy:
do something different.

OK, so maybe that proves the consequences are intended?
+10 # RMDC 2015-11-18 07:30
Yes, much too charitably! The truth is that American policy makers don't give a shit about the disasters they cause for other people. That's what empires do. That's what imperilalism is.
+15 # MidwestTom 2015-11-17 19:58
Our support of the Saudi's, and what that has resulted in is worse than than our savagery. I say this because the Saudi's with their great oil wealth are building Mosques and funding radial Islam all over the world, including in this country. Cut off the Saudi's and ISIS and radical Islam dies in a fairly short period of time.
+9 # backwards_cinderella 2015-11-18 04:31
Wow, I actually agree with you.
-6 # Shades of gray matter 2015-11-17 18:41
In the civil war in Yemen, the Houthis are not blameless victims. The Houthi rebels rebelled, are being mercilessly suppressed. That happens to most rebels who rebel with no prospect of success. But the U.S. aggressive support for the Big Oil-Saudi-Israe li war on Syria may turn out to be as bad as the Iraq War. Clinton's "admission" is thus phony; she's still at it. However, medieval ISIS is a threat that cannot be ignored.
Even the honorable Congresswoman from Hawaii should propose what we SHOULD do about ISIS. Our concert venues can't survive ISIS, even before they get WMDs.
+27 # WBoardman 2015-11-17 19:33
The Houthis don't need to be blameless to be the victioms
of international crimes against humanity.

Factually, they took control of most of the country
from a government that fled to refuge in Saudi Arabia.
Now they are under international attack not only from
the Saudi-led alliance, but by both al Qaeda and ISIS as well.

Just the collection of their enemies should be enough
to consider showing them some sympathy.

But to be so dismissive of
"rebels who rebel with no prospect of success"
is not only a misrepresentati on of reality,
but makes one wonder what Shades of gray matter
thinks about 1776 and all that....

For all is recent activity and apparent "success,"
the threat from ISIS is not as great as its hype,
except perhaps for its ability (like al Qaeda before it)
to create fear out of proportion to reality.

One of the first things to do is to stop the post-9/11
military mishmash that has been most effective in
creating more militants to be afraid of,
which is to confirm that terrorism works, if you let it.
+46 # RMDC 2015-11-17 18:44
Thanks for this article. It is quite good. The reason the US endless wars are not part of the political debate is that the US is actually a military dictatorship. The president is only a figurehead who sits in the Whore House and does what he or she is told to do. Every president since Kennedy has known clearly that if he does not take orders promptly and with feigned enthusiasm he will end up with a bullet in his head just like JFK.

It is OK for the president to have a social agenda, but foreign affairs, war, and the American empire are the areas reserved for the "deep state" and no president can do anything about these.

The "deep state" is a collective of bankers, military professionals, CIA, and international weapons dealers like Richard Perle or Adnan Khoshogi who give orders to all western nations. No political candidate will even mention to the voters at the US government is actually run by people who are not even Americans.

Reporters in the mainstream media are either totally ignorant or just too cowardly to even think about this. They celebrate the celebrity of a new president as if he/she were a Hollywood movie star. That's pretty much what Obama and Bush were -- celebrities with air in their heads.
+10 # economagic 2015-11-17 22:08
I'm reluctant to give a "thumbs-up," as this analysis SEEMS like conspiracy theory at its worst. But it is entirely consistent with what little I really understand of the particulars, and most certainly with the larger context.
+3 # WBoardman 2015-11-18 13:50
Love it!

If something is consistent with perceived reality,
then maybe it is reality....
-10 # Salburger 2015-11-18 04:47
"the US government is actually run by people who are not even Americans. " Who? Is this another hint at an International Jewish Conspiracy? Jew haters left and right find this stupidity congenial.
+16 # RMDC 2015-11-18 06:34
This analysis does verge on "conspiracy theory" but that is only the term used by the mass media to belittle people who do believe in a "deep state."

This is not about Jews. It is about an Anglo-American elite. This group sees the US as the true inheritor of the British empire. Jews got into this mix with Leo Strauss and his followers who became the neo-cons. They joined up because they were sympathetic to the Anglo-American goals. In this regard, there is nothing "jewish" about this rulling elite. It is rather christian and Anglo. The Jews who are prominent among the neo-cons do happen to support Israel but mostly for the reason that Israel is a colonial outpost in the Arab world.

The Anglo-Amerian elites like the Bush family are far worse than anything anyone ever said about Jews.

Why distract people with the anti-Jewish canard? No one is anti-jewish. Some of us are anti-Israel. Israel is a colonization venture of the Anglo elites in the Arab world. That's what's wrong with Israel. Not Jews.
+9 # hoodwinkednomore 2015-11-18 08:36
Thank you, RMDC, for your thoughtful and educated, historical analysis. Readers of RSN (and everywhere) need to hear your voice!
0 # WBoardman 2015-11-18 13:52
Salburger's quote comes from where???
+2 # EternalTruth 2015-11-18 14:02
It's from RMDC's comment, to which he was responding.
+23 # tedrey 2015-11-17 18:55
Another excellent Boardman analysis which might do a lot of good if it were printed in the Times or Post.
+14 # tm7devils 2015-11-17 19:38
The printing of ANYTHING useful to the American public, i.e., the reality of what is actually going on in the World, in the NYT or the Post has long ceased to exist.
+4 # lfeuille 2015-11-17 21:08
Quoting tm7devils:
The printing of ANYTHING useful to the American public, i.e., the reality of what is actually going on in the World, in the NYT or the Post has long ceased to exist.

Not exactly. Most of it is crap, but they sometimes publish op-eds that are worth reading.
0 # WBoardman 2015-11-18 13:56
Seems to me the NYTimes piece linked in my piece,
about our "allies" failing to be allied
was good, timely reporting.

Has anyone seen that story anywhere else?
+23 # futhark 2015-11-17 19:38
These wars are not about retribution or deterrence, much less about the pursuit of justice or security. They are about military deployment and the expenditure of ammunition, both of which result in significant profits accruing to the military-indust rial complex. I'm sorry to be so cynical about this, but this is the only explanation that accounts for the endless provocations and insults visited on Islamic people, which anyone with the faintest grasp of psychology would understand to be a motivation for continued hostilities. You bomb villages and wedding parties, and yes, you're going to get the relatives of the people you killed coming back at you with whatever means is available to them.
+12 # Radscal 2015-11-18 01:36
Profit for the MIC is clearly an enormous factor in the Empire's Global War OF Terror. Note the article on military contractors' stock values rise after the Paris attacks:

But that alone is not the cause or purpose.

Extraction industry profits, financial industry profits and Zionist ideology, along with lust for power and corruption are also key factors.
+7 # Robbee 2015-11-17 20:02
it's a pleasure to hear again, in mind, bernie's clarion words! thanks! -

“I don't think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now…. I think that was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of the United States.”

Here’s something that I believe we have to do as we put together an international coalition, and that is we have to understand that the Muslim nations in the region – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan – all of these nations, they’re going to have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground. They are going to have to take on ISIS.

This is a war for the soul of Islam.
+10 # Thomas Martin 2015-11-17 22:47
I would suggest that this is maybe not a war for the "soul of Islam," but a test of the humanity and wisdom of everyone involved
+9 # JLewisDickerson 2015-11-17 21:34
RE:"When will we decide to get off the terrorism merry-go-round?"

MY GUESS: When, if ever, we decide to grow up!
-10 # Shades of gray matter 2015-11-17 22:01
Still hard for me to see the religious fanatic Houthi REBELS as innocent victims. They were willing to put their civilian brothers and sisters at incredible risk to overthrow a government of a different sect of the same religion. The Houthis are probably a mirror image of those whom they so recklessly attacked. The comparison of religious nutcase Houthi blood lust aggressors to Ben Franklin seems a bit off. I do agree that Saudis are one of the two most dangerous, callous, nations in the Mideast, but that doesn't make their Shiite religious opponents a cause for sympathy, or empathy. They put all their own families at risk in a grab for power, power alone. I don't see them as heroes, hapless victims.
+6 # EternalTruth 2015-11-17 23:26
I don't recall anyone in this discussion referring to the Houthis as either heroes or innocent victims. To whom are you responding?
+4 # WBoardman 2015-11-18 14:10
Eternal Truth is right, I think, that no one here
has lionized the Houthis as heroes or
lamented them as hapless victims
(although they share aspects of both
within a complicated context).

Shades of gray matter, for no clear reason, is intent
on Houthi-bashing without much apparent clarity
about Houthi history or context. Given the acknowledgement
that the Saudis are "dangerous," attacking the Houthis
is, in context, a form of blaming the victim.

The Houthis have a long history of independence and
civil conduct, and a shorter, more recent history
be being an oppressed people in their own country –
they have good reason to rebel, especially against a
repressive government put in place by international dictat.
+13 # corals33 2015-11-17 22:40
Anyone who knows the history of Europe will be aware that war is the cornerstone of European expansion and "progress" and will therefore find it hard to understand the need for articles such as this.The wars of the roses, the hundred years war, war, war, war has been the occupation of Europeans from day one. So what else is new.
+10 # Radscal 2015-11-18 01:52
I've seen Rep. Gabbard speak before. She understands and explains US Empire in the Middle East better than any other elected official I've heard.

For those who still doubt that our "moderate rebels" ARE ISIL, check out the video she linked to in the quote Mr. Boardman cited.

BTW: GREAT VP choice for Sanders?
+9 # 179bennettave 2015-11-18 08:15
When US citizens visit Yemen they must first be screened in Saudi Arabia. The US is a faithful puppet of a brutal dictatorship because it buys our weapons. Mainstream media will never reveal this fact, just like it will never mention that our " Sunni allies" suppress democracy and brutalize their people.
+6 # kalpal 2015-11-18 09:03
Not a shred of evidence exists that humans are willing and capable of learning anything from past mistakes.

This is like prayer. If you don't get what you seek, pray longer and harder. Eventually you either die or you no longer want what you sought but you do not ever learn that praying has never been effective.
+3 # Khidr 2015-11-18 14:54
Couple of mistakes in the script of ISIL. First the color black is associated with the Shias (ISIL are anti shias and kill them). Second some Muslims have noted in other
articles, ISIL did not fast during the month of Ramadan, a Muslim no no. We do know they are nothing but a bunch of criminal mercenaries paid & trained by the West & Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries. I can bet the $500,000 spent on training moderate Syrian rebels (which produced a handful of them),must have been spent on training ISIS.
We started this calculated campaign of destroying Muslims countries for Israel's sake. State Dept. is filled with Neo cons, Neo Liberals, Israel firsters & Congress is controlled by AIPAC so it is not that easy to understand why our foreign policy is such a calculated disaster working out just fine for MIC, Zionists and the culprits above.Eventual Saudis do not understand now that they are being blamed for 9/11...the missing 28 pages once released the shit will hit the fan for the Arabs.(Mossad, Israel, Zionist will be free of all the blame laughing all the way to the bank & we Americans will be left holding the bill & empty bag of $$$$$.
+2 # janie1893 2015-11-18 17:00
America is the hope and dream for all peace-loving peoples. We are exceptional and all human-beings want to be just like us. We believe in peace, love and goodwill for all mankind. We only have one ultimatum--do as we say or we will kill you.

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