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I recusitate a post from the pre-Iraq II war, to highlight similitudes with Iraq III.


Polybius famously differentiated between the CAUSE, PRETEXT and BEGINNING of a war. Often times these three concepts are purposefully or accidentally confused, to the point that Iraq II was justified (caused)  by such disparate concepts as 9/11, WMD’s, Axis of Evil, “he gassed his own people” and a plethora of other excuses. Reading between the lines and consulting historical experience, it was clear that Iraq II was a war of aggression, partly caused by a desire to control oil/economic interests and partly to maintain or increase the west’s “sphere of influence”.


For many of us, before Iraq II, these elements were pretty clear because we didn’t fall for the rather over-the-top propaganda sold to us. Some didn’t beleive that WMD’s existed, others (like myself) felt that they didn’t matter in a nuked world. In any case, the “case” put forward was unpotable.


Fast forward a number of years and suddenly we are confronted with a supposedly anti-war, Nobel Peace Prize winning potus, calling for a “sterile war” against a group that’s been around for years. A group, FTR, that largely arose from  our invasion of Iraq in those halcyon years of the Duba presidency (when black and white seemed so clear to many).The justifications for Iraq III are, for me, almost as preposterous as those for Iraq II, and have been spewed by the usual suspects.


By the usual suspects I mean the WH, the subservient press, and a willing “opposition” that desires Iraq III even more so than the WH does.


My POV has been quite clear:

1. War is the LAST recourse, and only justifiable in self-defense.

2. Wars, even undertaken under the “purest” and most “honest” pretexts, rarely turn out as desired. More often than not, the results end up being far worse than  the status quo ante bellum, for either or both sides.

3. The timing of the “declaration” of “sterile war” seems to follow public opinion rather than actual policy. If the journalists hadn’t been so egregiously murdered, how many Americans would have even HEARD of ISIS/ISIL?

4. The “enemy” is also the “enemy of an enemy”, and our purported “friends” cannot be greatly differentiated from our purported enemies. Assad is an enemy, Iran is an enemy, Saudi Arabia probably should be an enemy, many Gulf States are hardly friendly allies, and Israel is a friend that isn’t friendly at all.

5. In the middle we have millions of people who, rightfully or not, feel injured by the West in general and the US in particular.

6. ISIS/ISIL is a Sunni organization, the enemy of Assad, of the pro-Shiite Iraquí regime, of the House of Saud, of Iran, and of the false borders negotiated a century ago. They have learned, from OBL and Dubya, how to play the PR game, and, like OBL (and unlike Dubya), are gaining a respect from regional and international Sunnis. Much of their support and perhaps 10% of their fighters, come from internation Sunni communities, including Western ones.

7. ISIS/ISIL is HUGELY outnumbered and outarmed by its enemies. By hugely, I mean 1.000-1 odds or worse, probably worse. They only survive because of cross-border Suni support, and because even such NATO allies such as Turkey buy oil from them and thus help to finance their cause.

8. ISIS/ISIL has been rightfully accused of perpetrating a number of atrocities. Most of these have been “pr stunts”, and thus the videos. Yet their enemies (especially Syria and the pro-Shiite Iraqui government) have perpetrated similar ones, with nary a mention in the mainstream press. There seems to be a double standard with regards to atrocities in the region, and one telling factor with regards to their effects is that ISIS/ISIL has widespread support amongst the Sunnies, to the point of the Iraqui army and Iraqui “militia” retreating without landing a blow in response.

9. All this, to me, screams loudly of another case of framing, propaganda, or whatever you want to call it.

10. The US “reaction” to ISIS/ISIL is to create another coalition of the willing and to drop bombs. The coalition is small, reluctant, and luke-warm (at best).

11. Air power (something which ISIS/ISIL has none of) has never won a war on its own. EVER.

12. Fighting against an enemy  with local support (guerrilla warfare) has never won.

13. Going against popular support never wins (and it’s abundantly clear, unless one is limited to following mainstream press), and ISIS/ISIL has popular support in the region (outside non-Sunnis, of course).

13+1 (an aside) Yes, these people are animals, yet most of our “allies” are animals as well.

13 + 2 (another one) If anyone followed my posts on Tunisia, fear of fundamentalists should be tempered. Both in Tunisia and in Egypt, once the fundamentalists were in power, they lost almost all support through their combined incompetence and corrpution.

14. There’s a tremendous lack of consitency in fighting an enemy of our enemies (Assad, Iran) who is an enemy of our allies (Iraq) and a friend of the majority of the world’s largest religion (Sunni Islam). Is there ANY conceivable scenario where we can win this battle?


So – to the Polybian analysis.


What’s the CAUSE of the war? The PRETEXT? The BEGINNING?


Of the three points, the 2 latter ones are clear:



– ISIS/ISIL killed some Americans who should have known better than to have gone there.

– ISIS/ISIL are horrible people, albeit as horrible as their enemies and our friends. They want to erase the borders imposed by Sykes-Picot, they want a fundamentalist state, they want to impose Sharia law, and other such things which are prevailing ideas in the region. IOW, a pretty weak pretext.

-ISIS/ISIL, far weaker than their opponents, want to impose Islam on the world (which is akin to Pat Robertson wanting to become Pope of the world).

– In all, a pretty weak pretext, even weaker than WMD’s if one thinks about it.


When Obama, probably under presure from the MIC and the effects of triangulation, decided to react to beheadings by leading us to yet another war (Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and a few others).


And the CAUSE?

This is where I think there’s a real debate. The rest, IMO, is just Soars Board garbage, supporting preconceived ideas or following the colours. And for the like of me, only a few ideas come about, which, unsurprisingly, coincide with the causes of Iraq II:


Oil, Israel and the MIC.


So let the debate begin. Or not.




I can predict what Uzi will say, but I have some hope that Timbuk will open his mind somewhat and think outside the box.

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Remember this?


We were sold on that sort of stuff not too long ago. A “group” that had to borrow people from the Taliban to perpetrate 9/11 ‘cos they had no real fighters became a threat to our very existence. A man with no WMD’s was sold as one who could target London in a matter of minutes. Before that it was the “domino theory”, and before that it was the “red menace”. More recently we’ve supported a fascist group in the Ukraine because we wanted to encroach on Russia’s sphere of influece, and we were sold the story that it was big bad Russia crossing the line. Tomorrow it will probably be the Chinese, unless a fanatical tribe from the deepest Amazon becomes a threat to some US mining or lumber interests in the Amazons


And now there’s ISIS/ISIL, a group with a fraction of the men, weapons, financing and support of their -two- current enemies, Assad’s Syria and Iraq. If you listen to the GOPers and hawks, they’re our biggest threat today. And they’re EEEVIL, though this time without an Axis to go with it. EVERYBODY supposedly fears them, which makes one wonder how the hell they keep getting more volunteers and local Sunni support.


C’mon, folks, can we grow a pair and stop kneejerk reactions for once?

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Johns Hopkins study finds significant gap in demographics, experience and partisanship between Washingtonians and the Americans they govern
Sept. 15, 2014
Johns Hopkins University political scientists wanted to know if America’s unelected officials have enough in common with the people they govern to understand them.

The answer: Not really.

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La grande bellezza


Good stuff. I’m impressed by some of the new Italian cinema. Another good one.

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so the Nobel Peace Prize winner is off on another war, albeit one where uh.mericans don’t have boots on the ground.


And we’ll be fighting those islambists, who are fighting our enemy in Syria, Assad. “The enemy of our enemy is our enemy”, a sort of dyslexic policy that makes no sense, even if you try to correct it.


WHY is fighting ISIS or ISIL or whatever you want to call it important? Hint – why was overthrowing Hussein important?


It’s the oil and Israel, of course.


What we SHOULD do is to first, wean ourselves off oil. Then let those people do what they will.


They want a Caliphate in Syria/Iraq? Let’em have it! Judging from the results of fundamentalist governments in Egypt and Tunisia, the Islamists will fuck up and be out on their asses in a heartbeat – unless too much blood is shed in the process, something that Obama’s “policy” is bound to cause.


“Self determination” is part of the UN Charter, which was imposed by OUR government. I’m not saying (though I’m certainly implying) that our governments have always been hypocritical, but seriously – would an islamic state in Syria/Iraq be a real threat to world peace? I mean, as serious as the US is? What could they do to us, outside cutting off a source of oil that we don’t particularly rely on?


If the Islamists are popular in certain areas, it is precisely because the US has associated with unpalatable regimes. Let’em fall! Let’em fall! They’ll need to seel their oil to SOMEONE soon enough! And while insurgents/rebels/terrists might be a threat when they have nothing to lose, they suddenly become less of a threat when they HAVE something to lose, such as a nation. Rebels become “establishment” once they rule, after all.


OK, so some disaffected British immigrant killed a couple of journalists. Yes, a crime – but then again, who put a gun to the head of those journos to go to a war zone, knowing that they’ll be associated with the devil’s own regime? Would the US go to war with the Vatican if I decide to blow up the Pietá while wearing a pagan costume? Gimme a goddam break.


Anyhow, our potus is following the proud tradition of Truman, LBJ, Nixon, GHWB and Dubya. Who the fuck did we elect when we heard “change we can believe in”?

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“I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

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Japan wants to reopen 2 reactors.


I reckon they’ve figured that they’ve dried out.




Nukyelar energy… a series of accidents waiting to happen, and if they don’t, thousands of years of vigilance ‘cos the trash is even deadlier than CO2. What the eff is wrong with us?

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“A steady flow of stupidity”: Reality in Ukraine — and Obama and the New York Times’ bizarro parallel universe


We voted for this shite? Or are Dubya & Cheney still pulling the strings?

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Read for a view not often seen in the MSP.

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part of the problem?


Also http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8309.1994.tb01008.x/abstract


“Although the concept of justification has played a significant role in many social psychological theories, its presence in recent examinations of stereotyping has been minimal. We describe and evaluate previous notions of stereotyping as ego-justification and group-justification and propose an additional account, that of system-justification, which refers to psychological processes contributing to the preservation of existing social arrangements even at the expense of personal and group interest. It is argued that the notion of system-justification is necessary to account for previously unexplained phenomena, most notably the participation by disadvantaged individuals and groups in negative stereotypes of themselves, and the consensual nature of stereotypic beliefs despite differences in social relations within and between social groups. We offer a selective review of existing research that demonstrates the role of stereotypes in the production of false consciousness and develop the implications of a system-justification approach.

[T]he rationalizing and justifying function of a stereotype exceeds its function as a reflector of group attributes—G. W. Allport (1958, p. 192).”


This explains poor right-wingers and a lot more.


Still, it seems to me just another aspect of cogdis.

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