You gotta love the American public sometimes. For a mass of people so easily terrified by guys in caves funded and armed by our intelligence services and “allies” in the Persian Gulf, the same public talks with such armchair bravado when it comes to launching bombs from drones and sending other people’s children to die.
Makes you wonder though, which one is it? Is the American public actually the tough guy soldier it pretends to be when cheering overseas military interventions, or is it really a scared, propagandized, coward hiding in one of our nation’s endless cubicle rows? Unfortunately, based on recent opinion polls demonstrating approval for military action against ISIS, it appears to be the latter. The former is merely a front put on by that terrified, economically insecure, silently suffering automaton. I really wish this weren’t the case.
“ISIS as the new enemy” is a meme that has made me very uncomfortable from the start for several reasons, not the least being the fact that this group seemingly emerged out of nowhere just when it seemed corrupt politicians from both parties in Washington D.C. were becoming increasingly frustrated by their inability to launch missiles into Syria back in 2012, following well documented disastrous campaigns in Iraq and Libya. Not only that, it is quite clear that many of our so called “allies” such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have been the major funders behind ISIS. Moreover, for a public so squeamish and outraged by beheadings, we hear barely a peep about the fact that beheadings hit a record level in Saudi Arabia during August, with nearly one unfortunate soul decapitated per day during the month. Nope, haven’t heard much about that at all.
But of all the inconsistency and irrationality that comes with increased support by the American public for military action against “ISIS,” nothing is more concerning than the fact that this recent approval appears to be based entirely on propagandized falsehoods. As usual, you can thank politicians and mainstream media for the latest assault on the public’s logic.
Trevor Timm encapsulates this perfectly in today’s Guardian op-ed. He writes:
Did you know that the US government’s counterterrorism chief Matthew Olson said last week that there’s no “there’s no credible information” that the Islamic State (Isis) is planning an attack on America and that there’s “no indication at this point of a cell of foreign fighters operating in the United States”? Or that, as the Associated Press reported, “The FBI and Homeland Security Department say there are no specific or credible terror threats to the US homeland from the Islamic State militant group”?
Probably not, because as the nation barrels towards yet another war in the Middle East and President Obama prepares to address that nation on the “offensive phase” of his military plan Wednesday night, mainstream media pundits and the usual uber-hawk politicians are busy trying to out-hyperbole each other over the threat Isis poses to Americans. In the process, they’re all but ignoring any evidence to the contrary and the potential hole of blood and treasure into which they’re ready to drive this country all over again.
The White House declared on Tuesday night that it needn’t bother to ask Congress for war powers, and Congress is more than happy to relieve itself of the responsibility of asking for them – or, you know, voting. Members of both parties have actually been telling the president to ignore the legislative branch entirely – as well as his constitutional and legal requirements. It seems so long ago now that presidential candidate Obama said, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
“What if it comes over and you can’t pass it?” asked Sen Lindsay Graham, as though he wouldn’t want democracy getting in the way of a nice war. The aforementioned Sen Nelson said he thinks the president should go aheadand strike Isis all he wants, but added that “there are some legal scholars who think otherwise, so let’s just put it to rest”. Those pesky legal scholars with their “laws” and that “Constitution” of theirs, always slowing things down.
Thanks to this wall-to-wall fear mongering, a once war-weary public is now terrified. More than 60% of the public in a recent CNN poll now supports airstrikes against Isis. Two more polls came out on Tuesday, one from the Washington Post and the other from NBC New and the Wall Street Journal, essentially concluding the same thing. Most shocking, 71% think that Isis has terrorist sleeper cells in the United States, against all evidence to the contrary.
So where to from here? Well, those airstrikes the public have been scared into supporting, which already numbering the hundreds, will reportedly expand fast – not only in Iraq but into Syria. The White House even has shiny new euphemism for such military attacks, as the Wall Street Journal reported: “Mr. Obama could green-light the new ‘sovereignty strikes’ in his address on Wednesday.” George Orwell would be proud.
It’s also strange that we are unquestionably calling the Free Syrian Army (FSA) the “moderate” opposition and putting our faith in their abilities, despite manyactual experts claiming they’re far from moderate and far from a cohesive army.As George Washington University’s Marc Lynch wrote in the Washington Post recently, “The FSA was always more fiction than reality, with a structure on paper masking the reality of highly localized and fragmented fighting groups on the ground.” The New York Times reported two weeks ago that FSA has a penchant for beheading its enemy captives as well, and now the family of Steven Sotloff, the courageous journalist who was barbarically beheaded by Isis, says that someone from the “moderate” opposition sold their son to Isis before he was killed.
So how, exactly, will the administration accomplish “destroying” Isis, when no amount of bombs and soldiers have been able to destroy al-Qaida or the Taliban in nearly 13 years of fighting? The administration openly admits it has no idea how long it will take, only that it won’t be quick. “It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years,” John Kerry said.
He didn’t add, “it might take another 13”, but he might as well have.
Or it might take forever. Just say it Kerry, you know you want to.
Even more disturbing, if the American public knew the truth would it even matter? With a middle class lifestyle increasingly a pipe dream, it’s far easier for the public to support dropping bombs from drones halfway across the world than it is to deal with the real economic issues affecting their daily lives.
Meanwhile what ever happened to al-Qaeda? Seems to me their brand as a fear mongering tool has simply lost its effectiveness. So enter ISIS. Never forget the following passage from George Orwell’s 1984:
On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns — after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces — at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.
There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy.
Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.
For some of my previous thoughts on ISIS and related topics, see:
Here come the sovereignty strikes.
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