By David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan: … After all, is it not evident after two decades now of jihadist style terrorism—–whether quasi-organized, remotely-inspired or lone wolf executed—–that it is fostered by blowback from Washington’s imperial mayhem? And most especially the terrible 21st century military violence it has inflicted on the Moslem populations of the middle east?
The fact is, terrorism did not suddenly sprout up from the teachings of a 1300 year old religion, nor from a belated discovery in struggling middle eastern nations that they hate America’s freedom, prosperity and materialistic culture.
No, jihadist style terrorism came to America only after Washington trained and armed the Mujahedeen in the 1980s, waged unprovoked war in Arabia and Mesopotamia in the 1990s and fostered the anarchy of failed middle eastern states thereafter.
Indeed, once the neocons fully took power in the 2000 elections, Washington has mowed them down—–Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen——- with the alacrity of a jihadist gunman. Now all these failed states are breeding grounds of terrorism, but none of them trafficked in it until the beltway regime changers had their way with the assorted tyrannts and authoritarians who previously ruled these misfortunate lands.
There probably is no better symbol of that than the fact that in recent months Khadafy’s hometown of Sirte has become ISIS’ second capital; or that the so-called “government” Washington installed in Baghdad can’t even manage to hold Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit.
Nor is the Islamic State anything new under the sun or inherently more threatening to the US homeland than was al-Qaeda in its heyday. The only reason it can even posture as a “state” is owing to the endless gifts of Washington and its allies.
That is, the Islamic State managed to occupy a narrow, desolate strip of dusty, impoverished villages on the upper Euphrates in Syria, the desert expanse of Western Iraq, the war-shattered towns of Anbar province and Mosul by dint of seizing massive troves of the best weapons the Pentagon could leave behind after Washington “liberated” Iraq; and by augmenting them with even more lethal firepower seconded to ISIS by killed, captured, defecting and fleeing so-called “moderates” in Syria, who were supplied the latest and greatest US weapons by the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and various and sundry arms merchants and smugglers of the region.
Furthermore, the Islamic State’s brutal tyranny even in its backwater redoubts would not last more than a few months without the oil revenues that are smuggled in plain sight through NATO ally Turkey, and by all accounts with the intermediation of Erdogan’s own family trading company.
The notion that this crypto-state could actually sustain itself by taking ransoms, selling women into sex-slavery and levying internal tariffs on the virtually non-existent economic activity within its putative borders is pure Washington fiction. Seal the Turkish border, and ISIS’ days are numbered.
Moreover, Turkey does not possess the largest military organization in NATO with 500,000 men under arms, 1,000 aircraft and 3,000 tanks because it is incapable of sealing its border. Its border outside the Kurdish controlled northeast is an open air souk for the transit of oil, arms and recruits only because Washington and the West have greenlighted its campaign to overthrow the government of its Syrian neighbor.
If our well-intentioned but feckless President really wants to “eliminate” the Islamic State he only needs to make peace with Damascus; and then to tell Erdogan to scamper back north of his border and seal it off or face expulsion from NATO.
That would do more do extinguish ISIS than all the bombing sorties that have come back 75% loaded with their bombs undelivered to date; or that will be launched in the foreseeable future.
Washington could do three more things to further reduce the already marginal risk of lone wolf terrorism in the homeland. First, stop the bombing and get the US military presence out of Iraq and Syria entirely. No one wants us there—–not even our so-called allies.
For crying out loud, last week our clueless career warmonger who heads the DOD, Ashton Carter, said he was going to put a few more special forces on the ground in Iraq. Yet lickety-split, the Iraq militias said they would hunt them down, and the puppet prime minister Washington recently installed in Baghdad publicly and pointedly said “no thanks”.
And then over the weekend, that very same Baghdad government threatened to bring in Russian forces to help it expel uninvited Turkish-NATO troops from its territory outside of Mosul. To clarify, that would be the same Turkish government that is allied with the Kurdish regional authority in Erbil, but which is making war on the Kurdish militias of northern Syria that Washington claims to be the only effective force against ISIS on the ground.
Secondly, Washington could acknowledge that there is no coalition of the willing, anyway; its a gang of the unglued. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in Syria not to defeat ISIS, but to score a sectarian and political victory against Assad and his Iranian-Shiite Crescent allies; and to secure gas pipeline rights that Assad and his Russian backers oppose.
Here’s the thing. There has never been a single Shiite attack—–organized or inspired—-on American soil. Jihadist terrorism is essentially a poison arising from the Wahhabi-Sunni world—–that is to say, Saudi Arabia.
The way to combat that particular curse is to get the Fifth Fleet out of the Persian Gulf. Indeed, it just so happens that the oil provinces along the Persian Gulf are inhabited by as many Shiite as Sunni.
So were the despicably corrupt, tyrannical and insatiably greedy rulers of the House of Saud to be forced to hightail it to Geneva in their 747s, their loathsome Wahhabi clerics would be sentenced to an Hobbesian life in the Arabian interior; they certainly would not be in a position to wax any longer on the drippings of Riyadh’s oil rents.
Finally, if Obama really wanted to make San Bernardino safer, he would get some gumption in his final 400 days, and tell the Washington War Party that its campaign against Assad and the so-called Shiite Crescent is over and done.
With the Turkish border sealed in the North, the alliance of Iran, Shiite Iraq, the Alawite government in Damascus, Hezbollah and their Russian ally would make short work of the medieval Sunni barbarians crouched along the Euphrates valley.
At the end of the day, the so-called Islamic State’s main recruiting arm is not its bloody perversion of Islam, but the bombing campaigns of the US Air Force; and the fighters it fields are retained not by religious zealotry, but by the payroll financed by oil receipts. Stop the bombing and the recruits would dry-up; cut off the oil revenue and its fighters would steadily vanish just as have all unpaid soldiers from time immemorial.
Obama’s Sunday night speech was mostly an attempt to placate the War Party and the rabid politicians who feast off from its lies and depredations. But he at least made an effort near the end to say what we can’t do.
He said Washington can’t put boots on the ground and the nation can not throw away its liberties in a fit of Islamophobia and hysteria about terrorism. Perhaps his Homeland Security Chief didn’t hear the speech or get the memo. Said Jeh Johnson,
“We have moved to an entirely new phase in the global terrorist threat and in our homeland security efforts.” Terrorists have “in effect outsourced attempts to attack our homeland……This requires a whole new approach, in my view.”
Why, yes it does. They way to lessen even the tiny threat of terrorism that now confronts the nation is to stop Washington’s imperial interventions and the blowback it so self-evidently fosters.
There is also one other thing that can be done. We might as well recognize that America is an armed camp; that this unfortunate condition does contribute to the fear of wanton terror and violence that pervades the land; and that the Second Amendment fetishism of the Right has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
At last count there were 300 million guns in private hands in the US—-114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, 86 million shotguns and some several millions of military-style assault weapons. This means that about 40% of all the known non-military guns in the world are in the hands of our 4% of the population.
No, this insanely huge arsenal is not about hunting—-there are probably not even that many ducks, pheasants, rabbits and deer in America. Nor does the mere fact of this arsenal give rise to the demented psychopaths, racists and whackos who are responsible for the non-jihadist terrorism and mass killings that recur in the nation. Sick people do that.
But there have been 400,000 gun deaths in America since 9/11. We have a culture of guns so endemic and an arsenal so immense that no conceivable further gun control laws could make any difference. Its a hopeless cause—-even if a 1787 notion of the right to bear arms is a relic of agrarian society.
At the same time, the anti-terrorism hysteria of right-wing politicians is truly misbegotten and dangerous. The threat that it poses to our constitutional liberties dwarfs into insignificance the Left’s ineffectual arm-waving at the Second Amendment. [end quote]