On the Middle East and Burning Hair

Judging by the blogs, America is more interested in the NFL-Ray Rice scandal than they are in Syria/Iraq and what the President might do about ISIS. But very basically, as I see it, in his speech last night the President attempted to simultaneously placate hawks and doves — thereby pissing off both — while pursuing an actual strategy that is limited and cautious and may or may not produce tangible results. It’s hard to say whether the President is being pushed more by politics or by actual security concerns.

I still think the primary focus should be on pushing Middle Eastern leaders to play the lead role in containing ISIS, since a bunch of violent religious whackjobs with plans for establishing themselves as leaders of a regional if not global theocracy are a more immediate threat to them than to us.

Back in 2000 and early 2001 the incoming Bush Administration brushed off the hair-on-fire intelligence they were given about a real threat of a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil by al Qaeda. And of course, they were wrong. Since 9/11, they’ve seen jihadists in every shadow, and they are still wrong. There’s no reason to think ISIS plans to leapfrog half the globe to strike in the U.S., in spite of the Right’s hair-on-fire claims they are doing exactly that already. In fact, for the most part intelligence experts — whose hair was on fire about al Qaeda in 2000 — are not that alarmed about ISIS being a threat to the U.S.

“As formidable as ISIL is as a group, it is not invincible,” Matthew G. Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said last week, using an alternate name for the group. “ISIL is not Al Qaeda pre-9/11” with cells operating in Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. Mr. Olsen’s assessment stood in contrast to more pointed descriptions by other American officials like Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has said that ISIS poses an “imminent threat to every interest we have.”

The group has been vulnerable, for instance, to airstrikes coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces in northern Iraq in the past month, Mr. Olsen said, noting that as a result, “ISIL is losing arms, it’s losing equipment, and it’s losing territory.”

Despite the attention ISIS has received, when American counterterrorism officials review the threats to the United States each day, the terror group is not a top concern. Al Qaeda and its affiliates remain the most immediate focus. That is because ISIS has no ability to attack inside the United States, American and allied security officials say, and it is not clear to intelligence officials that the group even wants to.

Compare/contrast this with the ravings of Dick the Dick. The headline on his American Enterprise Institution speech reveals more than the speech — it’s “9/11 and the future of US foreign policy.” The speech itself basically dumps every enemy of America since World War II into the same filing cabinet and strongly implies that there is no choice but for America to destroy them all. Doing so would require obliterating about a third of the planet, and the potential repercussions of that don’t seem to have occurred to Dick, whom I strongly suspect is not all that bright. His chief talent is exuding gravitas, which has gotten him a long way, obviously.

It’s all about 9/11 for Dick, because he was horribly and massively wrong about al Qaeda before 9/11, and disaster ensued, and apparently that was something his ego couldn’t process, and he’s been acting out about it since. He seriously needs therapy. And he seriously needs to shut up.

Now he and Grandpa John and others have hair-on-fire alarm — assuming they had hair — about ISIS. And the Right in general appears to believe that the Real Enemy is Islam itself, which means we have 1.6 billion enemies, at least, who must be eliminated to assuage Dick the Dick’s personal existential crisis.

It has been 13 years since 9/11, and the U.S. Right is still dancing to the late Osama bin Laden’s tune.  The attacks are still causing us to self-destruct. BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA.

20 thoughts on “On the Middle East and Burning Hair

  1. No wonder Dick’s on his second heart.
    His first one got tired of being scared of Dick’s own shadow.

    To me, Dick doesn’t exude gravitas – he exudes some sort of miasma.
    I didn’t like the arrogant and stupid SOB the first time I laid eyes on him, back in the early 70’s.
    And nothing he’s done in the last 40 years has led me to change my opinion of him – except for the worse.

  2. “It’s all about 9/11 for Dick”

    Dick and the rest of the right wing, it is the highest of holy days for the war-machine and their enablers in government and the media. Given the way this whole thing has developed over the last 13 years I don’t think the conspiracy theorists who believe Bu$hco let 9-11 happen are too far off base. Fear is the only thing that gives todays GOP traction. The fact that President Obama has had a calm and measured approach to the jihadist of ISIL or ISIS (how can we go war with a group whose name we can’t get straight) is driving all of the enablers nuts. It is instructive to watch the response to his speech last night, all of the war-mongers and their enablers come out from under the rocks and expose themselves in the light of day. I watched the coverage on msnbc last night and would have to put Tweety, Andrea (Allen Greenspan) Mitchell, Chris Hayes and Richard Engle firmly in the war-pimp camp!

  3. Glenn Beck was in hair-on-fire mode this morning. It’s not that Obama wants our shopping malls shot up, he’s just feckless. I’m sure that by tomorrow Obama will be back to being a tyrant.

    Beck went on to say that he thinks Obama doesn’t like being President, never really wanted to be President, and that people behind the scenes are running the show, which is what I often thought was the case with Bush. It’s funny how often that happens, where a wingnut makes a complaint about Obama that applies much better to Bush.

    This description of Cheney rings true:

    “I strongly suspect [he] is not all that bright. His chief talent is exuding gravitas….”

  4. From a poorly educated but historically well-read civilian: I see ISIS/ISIL having two main advantages over the locals they push(ed) aside: heavy equipment and recruiting-on-success. They got the heavy equipment via their initial advantage: surprise.

    However: the heavy equipment is their Achilles heel vis a vis a tussle with American air power. Heavy equipment is big, visible, and independently targetable by smart munitions carried by aircraft.

    Take away their heavy munitions, they lose their edge; take away their edge, they lose their recruiting power and they become vulnerable to even moderately organized ground forces operating in conjunction with with the mobile heavy equipment of US air power paired with satellite technology.

    Eventually, ISIS would become another guerrilla force, powerful but not able to take large swaths of territory as in their the current configuration.

    But, no matter how much air power is applied, it will be the regional boots on the ground that will (or won’t) take back the occupied area.

  5. Dick’s profit margins are expanded beyond oil to include selling armaments and contracting to the US government. Conflict is all he has to sell.

    His faux gravitas kicked in the first time he rode in a limousine. The rest of the villagers are all riding in his boat.

  6. Sounds to me like the President has finallly got some Sunni buy-in. He will have to insist that it be real and get the region to do for itself to a greater degree than ever before. It will not be a parade and glory conflict, so some will not recognize any success it has, but it is realistic. The comment by Dan on removing the advantage of big equipment is key, I think. They have no way to counter our technology against the traditional warfare vehicles they are presently capitalizing on.

  7. It’s all about 9/11 for Dick, because he was horribly and massively wrong about al Qaeda before 9/11, and disaster ensued, and apparently that was something his ego couldn’t process, and he’s been acting out about it since. He seriously needs therapy. And he seriously needs to shut up.

    Good point. People have to die because they will never, ever admit how big they fucked up in 2001, ignoring terrorism to focus on the crony-industrial profit potential of Star Wars.

    They probably kept dumbass Bush in the dark so he wouldn’t slip up and reveal something but I suspect Cheney and others had serious warnings that something was coming (more than has been revealed), if not the details, and calculated they could make more political hay from exploiting a terrorist attack than stopping it. Cheney had coveted Iraq’s oilfields for years.

  8. Mike,
    Cheney’s Halliburton was already selling equipment – against the law(s) – to Saddam.
    So, he was making a profit during the 90’s.

    But there’s nothing more profitable than a war, for those who are willing to exploit the circumstances.

    And yeah, I’m not a “9/11 Truther,: but I think Cheney and some other higher-up’s and neo-cons knew something big was coming.
    They may not have known where or when, but PDB’s like “bin Laden determined to attack in US” certainly means that people high up in the administration were aware.

    They were willing to risk American lives, to enact their PNAC wet-dreams.

  9. The Islamic state ( Isis) was born in the same way bin laden became the king of all terrorists. Promises broken, stabbed in the back after dirty deeds completed. As long as some people in high places play that game, bad things will happen. How old is the average Isis fighter? How long has the us been bombing Iraq ? Perhaps a connection ? The ghost of Sykes / picot has returned. Divided along tribal / political / sectarian boundaries.
    Question of the day ; if Obama was President on 9/11/01, would there have been calls for impeachment, or would the Republicans have rallied behind the President ? Just kidding.

  10. You could practically smell the collective testosterone surge that shot through the entire right wing conservative Republican zombie brigade when “ISIS” came to the fore, and they began to smell that sweet, sweet musk of death, war and blind, xenophobic, fear-based hate — the kind they just know they can sell to the masses if they can just get it into a bottle and spray it in our faces as we walk into the department stores…Call it Eau de Fuckwaddery, for Him (of course).

    And damned if I can’t see the eyes of all these men around me glazing over, as the weeks pass and they start to get the sense that by GOD, there just might be a way to avoid having to call Hillary Clinton “Madam President” for the next 8 years: if we’re just bogged down in another scary, scary war, there’s no WAY the country can vote for a candidate who’s testicle-impaired (or is that ovary-impaired? is it the lack of balls that’s the problem, or the presence of that fist-shaped estrogen factory up there?).

    GOD, I can barely stand crawling out of bed anymore. The bitter disappointment of these past years since Obama’s election turned the country into some sort of Holodek in reverse, where overnight the shields went down and we were left staring in horror at the hundreds of thousands of racist motherfuckers who’d been hiding in plain sight all along… After eight years of Bush, these Obama-Derangement-Syndrome sodden years have just about killed me. I really don’t know if I can TAKE four, let alone eight, years of President Clinton having her very femaleness used as the weapon that vivisects her nighty on Fox News. Jesus, I don’t even LIKE the woman. Her public speaking skills are for shit, too; if I have to listen too her say “uh” every seven to twelve words, I WILL kill myself.

    I’m kind of drifting along in free fall, here — just felt like dropping a line on the anniversary of the day that everything turned to REAL shit, and not for the reasons THEY claim, but because, precisely, they grabbed it with both hands and molded it into the red. white and blue dildo with which they’ve fucked us all ever since. Fuck 9-11, fuck “never forgetting,” fuck these douchewads who would gladly bring back every one of those 3000 people and kill them all over again if it would serve their bloodsucking cause. I mourn for the living who lost people on that day, mostly now because they have to listen to the bullshit that gets trotted out every September 11th in the twisted pretense that their loved ones’ deaths were a “sacrifice” to anything more than the bottom line of the military industrial complex. To all of them, I apologize for all those assholes too shameless to acknowledge their crimes. Cheney, Halliburton, Bush, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers — may they suffer the tortures of the damned twice over for every single human being for whose pain they are responsible. And in the meantime, let them get crabs.

  11. Maryscott, thanks for that. My only comment would be that our utter discouragement is what the zombie brigade counts on. I hope we continue to rouse ourselves to speak out.

  12. Maryscott …Amen! Good rant.

    9/11— It’s the gift that keeps giving!

    On the bright side.. Liz and Dick Cheney will have some new beheading videos to enjoy watching after they retire from their Thanksgiving diner this year. The Nicholas Berg and other assorted al Qaida beheading videos were growing stale with repeated viewing, but these two recent beheading videos aught to freshen up their holiday festivities .

    ” I love the sound of a blood gurgling trachea in the morning, it sounds like war profits.”

  13. ” I love the sound of a blood gurgling trachea in the morning, it sounds like war profits.”

    Gee Swami, if one didn’t know better one could surmise that ISIS is actually working for our patriotic bomb manufactures! Only a couple weeks after they saw that Obama was only going to drop a few bombs they beheaded a couple “journalists”. That gets our corporate media in a 24-7 outrage machine, the wing-nuts will call for war, then like magic the reluctant Kenyan usurper will call for more bombs, we blow up all the stuff that we “sold” the Iraqis in the first place. So we get to drop more bombs, sell more shit to Iraq and then blow that shit up again until the next recession. Excellent plan everyone wins!!!!!

  14. Great article Swami, I’m shocked that bobble-head pundits and neo-con enablers actually have a stake in the war machine, seems unethical?

  15. After reading swami’s link, I’m retreating back into that Greek religion fantasy zone where 3 winged furies can torment those fuckers every time they close their eyes and every time they drift off to sleep. If only it could be. Sadly, I really don’t believe in fantasy, only a dream….

Comments are closed.