Embrace The Suck!
Originally posted June 20, 2014
AND SO WHAT OSAMA bin Laden wanted has come to pass with The War of the Caliphate.
It took a decade of definitively bad policies by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but now the result is buck naked clear, as my grandma used to say.
Over a decade ago, I wrote in The Skinny that George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq was an awful idea that would strengthen world terrorism -- and weaken America -- across the board. In March 2004, I called Bush, "a terrorist recruiter's wet dream."
Fanfare, please! In 2014, we now see a true worst case scenario in Iraq. A decade after America invaded Iraq to destroy the anti-Islamist government of Saddam Hussein at a cost of 200,000 civilian / military deaths and $2.2 trillion (so far!), a group of heavily armed, radical Islamists called ISIS has conquered half of Iraq and neighboring Syria, and declared itself an independent Islamic state -- in fact, The Islamic State, ruled by the new Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who claims to be a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad and who holds all people and all governments subject to him, world wide.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's group is so extreme, intollerant and brutal, that they were kicked out of al Qaeda, literally. And yet, al-Baghdadi's blitzkrieg has achieved in Iraq much of what al Qaeda's founder, Osama bin Laden, wanted to bring about -- namely (1) to destabilize the Moslem world in order to bring down the American lackey stooge governments, and (2) restablish a Moslem state like the Ottoman caliphate that the Western Powers dismembered right after World War I.
Done deal, thanks to al-Baghdadi! But it turns out that's not the end of it for America, which spearheaded the fighting in Iraq during George W. and Dickhead's Awful Adventure, AKA Operation Enduring Freedom. Ten years later, the collapse of the American lackey stooge government in Iraq shows that all the American blood that was thrown on the Iraqi soil between 2003-2011 wasn't just flat out wasted, it ACTUALLY HELPED the terrorists' cause -- now manifest in the stunningly quick proliferation of ISIS's black banners across the Syrian and Iraqi landscape!
Now wait a second, Wild Bruce -- you may be thinking to yourself -- are you saying that the American Invasion of Iraq actually advanced the cause of Islamic terrorism? Yes, Baby Buttercup, that's exactly what I'm saying, and that's what I HAVE been saying since three months before the original American invasion. ("Stupid President, Stupid War" summed it up pretty well in early 2003, and I elaborated the points in 2004 with "Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush.")
And we're talking about helping the terrorists' cause far, FAR more than just outfitting ISIS with the mountain of sophisticated American and Russian arms that its fighters captured from the Iraqi Army in the first few days of the War of the Caliphate -- which reportedly included American heavy battle tanks, helicopter gunships and Russian SCUD missles trailered on low-boy mobile launchers.
(BTW, the black legions of ISIS also seized 88 pounds of uranium from the University of Mosul, and the ruins of Saddam Hussein's 1980s chemical weapons manufacturing plant at al-Muthanna outside Samarra, where large quantities of weaponized and bulk mustard gas and sarin have been sealed in concrete stores.)
This is just the surface stuff, though. George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq -- and Barack Obama's exit from Iraq -- both deeply benefited ISIS by creating a geo-political environment where the most virulent forms of Islamic terrorism could take root, flourish, acquire weapons and eventually become a highly effective, battle hardened army.
Take a look for yourself. Let's oogle Iraq's BEFORE and AFTER selfies here:
* BEFORE George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's 2003 invasion, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein, the strongest example of Secularism in the Arab world. (Saddam Hussein was, in fact, the exact opposite, and natural enemy, of the Islamists following Osama bin Laden. Sadly, the difference between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was way too subtle for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their right-wing Christian supporters.)
*BEFORE the US invasion, Iraq was stable and al Qaeda did not even have a toe-hold there. In fact, al Qaeda was not even formally launched in Iraq until 18 months after the US invasion, and then it was was a direct response to American attrocities at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq!
*AFTER the US invasion and a decade of horribly bloody and destructive warfare, Iraq is today mostly ruled by Islamists who were expelled by al Qaeda because they were too radical for al Qaeda!! Now that's a successful foriegn policy -- on a grand scale that makes Viet Nam look kind of modest and smallish! That's what 200,000 civilian / military deaths and $2.2 trillion in direct costs bought you in Iraq, America!
Had enough? Too bad. It gets worse for you, America. ISIS will create the new Caliphate. (Oops -- that happened nine days after I originally wrote this!) ISIS will capture substantial oil revenues, probably a significant share of what is now flowing to Iraq, just as it already has with Syria. (Oops -- that happened 14 days after I originally wrote this!) Once it has consolidated it conquests in Syria and Iraq, ISIS will attack Saudi Arabia, destabilizing another American lackey stooge goverment. ISIS will capture Mecca and Medina (Baghdad is just chump change in this game). And when the self-proclaimed caliph and self-proclaimed direct descendent of the Prophet conquers the holiest places of Islam, it will send a mighty shock wave through the entire Moslem world. ISIS can then use its vast influence and oil money to fund violent global Islamic fundamentalist revolution on a scale never before seen. That's what 200,000 civilian / military deaths and $2.2 trillion in direct costs in Iraq bought you, America!
Of course, if America hadn't invaded Iraq in 2003, none of this would have ever happened. No Operation Enduring Freedom, no ISIS! Just good old stable, anti-Islamist Saddam, who looks better and better with each passing nanosecond. Instead of all these tiny, dithering fools in the current Iraqi government, what we need is an old fashioned Iraqi strong man. Where is Saddam Hussein when we need him? Oh yea, we killed him. So "Embrace the Suck!" as American soldiers used to cynically say during their time in Iraq. OK, now have some more suck, and some more. In fact, here's the hose. Put it in your mouth, America, and just keep sucking until further notice, like all those terrified Iraqi slugs you tortured at Abu Ghraib when America was feeling so good, so Christian, so smugly and dumbly 'Murcan, like President Dubya.
OK, now fast forward to Barack Obama. Obama's role in this fiasco-of-fiascos is less flamboyant, but just as heedless and harmful as the roles played by Dubya and Dickhead. Bush got America into Iraq, Obama got America out of Iraq, and both ends of the deal were badly bungled.
In fact, Dick Cheney is correct in sayng that ISIS's rampage today was directly set up by the way Obama extricated America from Iraq three years ago. Take the Iraqi Air Force, for instance. The United States under George W. Bush made it a major priority to smash every vestige of Saddam Hussein's Air Force, but the United States under Barack Obama never got the job of rebuilding the Iraqi Air Force done, even though this sort of military capacity is necessary to counter insurgencies like the one America was simultaneously supporting in neighboring Syria. So when the American-supported war in Syria finally spilled into Iraq -- whoa! -- come to find the Iraqi Air Force's fixed-wing attack capacity consists of two light Cesna propeller-driven planes!
Excuse me?! It doesn't matter whether you were for or against the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, it is utterly inexcusible for America to leave Iraq without a fully capable Air Force, given what America had invested in keeping Iraq out of Islamist hands. But Obama wasn't thinking about about that. He was focused on HIS OWN hideosuly ill-advised foriegn invasion, this time Afghanistan -- "where empires go to die." So Obama left Iraq exposed to Islamist insurgent attack while he simultaneously supported the insurgency in neighboring Syria, which developed the Islamist fighters who eventually carried out the Islamist invasion of Iraq!
Does Obama's behavior here sound familiar? Sort of the same "punching yourself in the face" routine we saw with George W. Bush?
And there's more from our bad boy, Barack! Remember Obama's assination of Osama bin Laden in 2011? America LOVED it. Well, it turns out it was a VERY BAD IDEA, too. Why? Because within jihadist circles, Osama bin Laden spoke against Salafi "kill them all" jahidists like ISIS. Bin Laden carried immense moral aithority among jihadists everywhere, and it sure would be nice if he could speak out now against ISIS. Where is Osama bin Laden when we need him? Oh yea, we killed him too!
OK, here's the basic boiled down deal on Iraq, ISIS and The War of the Caliphate. America has been horribly, horribly weakened by Bush and Obama's wars. America made enormous bets -- in lives, money, military equipment and time -- invading Iraq and Afghanistan, and America rolled snake eyes.
The plain hard fact of the matter here is that America simply can't afford to lose another military bet like Iraq and Afghanistan. At this point, America doesn't have the money for BASIC functions in society -- like maintaining the nation's roadways and bridges, and paying the retirement and medical benefits of the nation's elderly -- let alone another multi-trillion dollar TOTAL LOSS military disaster, pre-paid off the top.
Which is too bad -- from America's standpoint, anyway -- because there are many more wars in America's future, even if America tries to disengage and steer a more isolationist path. You see, everything since September 11, 2001 has just been distant thunder. Now the real storm is about to hit.
Think of it as a sort of Reverse Crusades, when troops of swarthy, heavily armed men dedicate themselves to the holy cause of murdering your people and pillaging your nation - in this case, America! -- and in the process plunge the next several centuries into warfare and waste.
As Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in a Ramadan audio taped message: "Let the world know that we are living today in a new era." And what era would that be? The Era of Salafist Jihad, when all are killed who do not believe.
That's what 200,000 civilian / military deaths and $2.2 trillion in direct costs in Iraq bought you, America!
* * *
The following three columns sounded the warning for much of this treasonous lunacy in 2004 (George W. and Dickhead's original Bad Idea), 2008 (how Bush and Cheney lied and then bullied the mainstream American press into silence, just in time for "reelection"), and 2011 (how steadfastly America misconstrues its deteriorating situation in the War on Terror)...
-- Bruce Brown
posted June 20, 2014
updated July 14, 2014
'Heavily armed and completely clueless...'
A postscript on America's
murder of Osama bin Laden
Originally posted May 3, 2011
WATCHING AMERICA'S DELIGHT over the murder of Osama bin Laden makes me think of George A. Custer's men as they rode into battle at the Little Bighorn.
One of the couriers who carried Custer's last order recalled, "the men were on the hill, we all gave them three cheers riding at a full gallop, some of them couldn't hold their horses, galloping past General Custer. He shouted at them, "Boys, hold your horses, there are plenty of them down there for us all."
One of Custer's officers, Lt. Charles Varnum, called out to his charging men, "a furlough to the man who gets the first scalp!" as Astonisher.com's 100 Voices reveals.
Boy, talk about misreading your true situation! There were going to be a lot of scalps taken that day in 1876, but the Americans weren't going to be taking too many of them!
So now it's 2011, and America has had an upbeat moment of happy savagery over its murder (and almost certain torture) of Osama bin Laden -- just what Varnum gleefully anticipated 135 years ago with the Sioux at the Little Bighorn -- right down to the rumored mutilation of bin Laden's corpse (which is why the Americans had to dump bin Laden's headless body at sea).
OK, now a moment of cold reality. Despite all the celebration of murder in America, the big picture is much worse today for America than it was on September 11, 2001, when bin Laden's operatives took down the World Trade Center, and murdering bin Laden DOES NOT HELP America, or its prospects going forward.
A decade after September 11, we have a proliferation of atrocity-laced wars that we cannot win -- Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and now Pakistan -- as America's permanent Republican/Demcocrat government repeats George W. Bush's horrific playbook blunders, this time with a black quarterback. And as with Bush, Obama shows little strategic sense of the global geo-political situation beyond a juvenile conviction that two wrongs absolutely, positively DO make a right!
In case you were in the bathroom or something for a few years, let me fill you in on where we're at in the game. We're still in the middle innings, and America still needs stability in the Arab world, while the Islamists still want to promote instability, which is what September 11 was all about from a strategic point of view, of course.
And so, you see, killing bin Laden actually gives al Qaeda what it wants. Bin Laden gets to go out a martyr, and as such he lives on eternally as a force against the Americans, AND the Islamic world is further destabilized!
If you were an aging, diabetic, possibly dying jihadist, wouldn't that be just about the best outcome (or rather exit) imaginable? Almost like room service martyrdom! So hats off again to the Americans! Boy, they really know how to hurt their enemies. The reality is that al Qaeda must feel sort of like Brer Rabbit when he pleaded, "Please, don't throw me in that briar patch!"
Is there anyone outside the Beltway who doesn't grok that bin Laden welcomed a martyr's death? A martyr's death is kind of hard to come by, though, if you're an old fart who's already lived a full life and doesn't get around much any more, UNLESS THE AMERICANS OBLIGINGLY BRING A MARTYR'S DEATH TO YOU!!!
Unbelievable, really, and utterly unworthy of a nation that aspires to greatness, but then America doesn't really aspire to greatness; it aspires to reality TV.
-- Bruce Brown
May 3, 2011
Updated May 22, 2011
An after word to
Why Osama bin Laden is
voting for George W. Bush
to the tune of 'Don't Want To Discuss It!'
Originally posted October 2008
NEARLY A HALF DECADE after it was originally written, Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush stands out for two reasons.
The first is its pinpoint accuracy, later confirmed by both the American government and al Qaeda, and the second is that it was impossible to speak these truths in the mainstream American press at the time, during the run-up to George W. Bush's "reelection" in 2004.
Originally posted to Astonisher.com in March 2004, this Skinny column detailed how the policies of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney were boosting world terrorism at great human and economic cost, creating a colossally bad lose / lose scenario for everyone except Bush and Cheney's shamelessly profiteering cronies, who had secured fat government contracts for work in Iraq.
This was eighteen months before the New York Times reported that the classified National Intelligence Estimate, the most authoritative intelligence report prepared by the U.S. government, "found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks." According to the Times, the NIE Report concluded that "the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse."
In 2008 al Qaeda made it official when it endorsed Republican John McCain for President because "from their perspective, a continuation of Bush policies is best for recruiting," Joseph Nye, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, told the New York Times, something that Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush noted in 2004 when it called George W. Bush "a terrorist recruiter's wet dream."
Similarly, George W. Bush's former White House Office Of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, John DiIulio, revealed in a 2008 Esquire article that the Bush White House had a "complete lack of a policy apparatus," something that Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush noted in 2004 when it observed: "To really understand how much Bush has done for bin Laden, you have to think strategically, something that bin Laden does tolerably well and Bush doesn't do at all."
* * *
THE REALLY interesting thing here, though, is not that Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush was years ahead of the Bush Administration and the New York Times (that part is easy), but rather that it was impossible to say these things -- in other words, speak the truth -- in the mainstream, corporate-controlled American press at the time, even though the War in Iraq and a Presidential campaign were then "raging."
I know this because of the experience I had with the following column, Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush. I had worked as a reporter for both the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and I never had any difficulty placing opinion pieces with these papers before I submitted this column. Then, in the summer of 2004, I found my calls on this piece made editors at both newspapers visibly nervous. After months of agonized foot-dragging that carried well into that summer's Presidential campaign, Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush was rejected by both papers. In fact, neither Seattle daily would even run it as a Letter To The Editor!
And who can blame them? The George W. Bush Administration let the American press know exactly where they stood from the get go. On March 31, 2003, a little over a week after the American invasion of Iraq, Bush and Cheney's political operatives bullied NBC-TV into firing distinguished Gulf War correspondent Peter Arnett for doing his job well -- getting an interview with Saddam Hussein the day before Bush's illegal invasion.
The Bush White House was outraged that Arnett let America get a direct look at the man who's country George W. Bush wanted to invade, and they treated Arnett's commentary as if it was virtually treasonous. In the vicious dumb-think political atmosphere that prevailed in America at the time of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's invasion of Iraq, it was considered "anti-American" to speak the truth concerning Iraq. Here's a snippet of what Arnett said at the time. Sounds right on today, and pretty much predicts what the NIE Report confirmed three years later.
"I think the American policy and strategy is the weakest when it comes to the Iraqi people," Arnett said during a March 2003 interview after he'd been fired. "President Bush says he is concerned about the Iraqi people, but if Iraqi people are dying in numbers, then the American policy will be challenged very strongly."
* * *
THE WAY Bush and Cheney's political thugs savaged a respected journalist like Arnett -- and the way the cowards in the big chairs at NBC TV News meekly capitulated -- sent a clear message to the American press: "tell the truth and we will destroy you," exactly the same message Bush and Cheney's clique of publically-paid liars sent to the American intelligence community via Valerie Plame. Worked like a charm too, all the way down to the Letters To The Editor columns in the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
This isn't a favorite topic for the mainstream American media -- the way the American "free press" was bullied into self-censorship by George W. Bush's right-wing Christian goons. You are never going to see stories in the New York Times, NBC-TV, Seattle Times or Seattle P-I explaining the way they stifled real criticism of Bush's fiasco through the 2004 Presidential election, but it was true and it happened in America. I was there and I not only saw it, I experienced it.
In truth, my experience was just a very small part of a broad pattern of press censorship through intimidation during the first six years of the George W. Bush Administration, but I want to bear witness to it. Perhaps my experience will help answer a question people all over the world have asked: how could America enter into such an awful, ill-conceived war, and then "re-elect" the deeply stupid, deeply dishonest man who lied them into it?
Why Osama bin Laden is voting for George W. Bush -- and the story surrounding its suppression in a major American metro market -- should also help readers outside the United States understand what George W. Bush is talking about when he speaks of "free speech" and "democracy."
In George W. Bush's America, the "free press" is really just another politically convenient lie.
-- Bruce Brown
|This Skinny column superceded a shorter, pre-election year piece by Bruce Brown from 2003, "Why Osama bin Laden is a big supporter of George W. Bush."
Why Osama bin Laden is
voting for George W. Bush
Originally posted March 2004
SUPPOSE OSAMA bin Laden isn't hiding out in Pakistan trying to figure out how many wives he's got.
Suppose he's really hiding out in Newport Beach trying to figure out who to vote for in the next American presidential election.
Who would Osama bin Laden vote for -- George W. Bush or John Kerry?
If you said "that's a no brainer," you're right -- Osama bin Laden has got to be a BIG supporter of George W. Bush.
Set aside the whole matter of Bush allowing members of bin Laden's personal family fly out of the U.S. hours after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. "Es nada," as they say down in George W.'s part of the country .
To really understand how much Bush has done for bin Laden, you have to think strategically, something that bin Laden does tolerably well and Bush doesn't do at all. So what was 9/11 all about? Was it just about dramatically destroying a symbol of American corporate power and killing a few thousand innocent people? Did you ever ask yourself that question?
Well, here's a real plausible theory: bin Laden and al Qaeda's game plan on September 11, 2001 was probably to set in motion a chain of events that would destabilize the Islamic world, on the assumption that many of the American lackey governments would be replaced with Islamic fundamentalists in any real social upheaval.
So what does George W. Bush's do to fight terrorism (apart from dragging civil liberties in the sewer everywhere in the world he can)? Dig this! George W. gives up any real pursuit of bin Laden for the remainder of his administration (so far) while he instead destabilizes the entire Islamic world by taking out the government in Iraq and replacing it with... NOTHING, except a fervent desire to have Vice President Dick Cheney and his cronies at Halliburton Corp. profit off Iraqi misery with no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars?
And it gets better! Osama bin Laden's main supporters are Islamic fundamentalists like the Taliban in Afghanistan, who are locked in a fierce cultural battle with Islamic secularists like Iraq's Saddam Hussein. In a very real sense, Saddam Hussein is the natural enemy of Osama bin Laden.
So George W. Bush not only pulls the dogs off bin Laden's trail when it's still warm and gives Osama exactly what he wants -- "plays into his hand," in Texas parlance for all you cowpokes out there -- but he also guns down Osama's natural enemy! "Whoa pardner, that's quite a plan ya got there! Tell me, Georgie, did you think that up all by yourself?"
Well, even though he's now trying to pin the blame on the CIA, the fact is George W. Bush did pretty much "think" up this whole stupendously bad idea, asking his aides for evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11 from Day One. Bush personally fostered an atmosphere where preposterous assertions by the CIA, Israeli Secret Service and Vice President Dick Cheney's Iraqi-American collaborator community were considered good enough to send America to war in Iraq.
And how about the Bush administration's bofo campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi public? Wow! Disbanding Saddam Hussein's army was a brilliant move -- for the other side, in this case Osama bin Laden -- since it guaranteed that Iraq would be wracked by civil chaos, due to the fact that Bush's Richard Nixon retread, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, refused to deploy sufficient troops to actually control the country, or even the oil that was supposed to pay for this whole misadventure.
Like any really good move in chess or war, though, Bush and Rumsfeld's decision to disband the Iraqi army actually served more than one purpose... for the enemy, since it also seeded the inevitable, uncontrollable Iraqi civil unrest with dragons' teeth in the form of tens of thousands of trained (but currently unemployed and therefore available) soldiers.
Abu Ghraib was the masterstroke, though. Whatever else you want to say, George W. Bush is a guy who really knows how to make democracy look good. First, American forces arrested thousands of ordinary Iraqi citizens for no reason, then they tortured some of these innocent people with the approval of the Bush's commanding general in Iraq, Lt. Gen Ricardo Sanchez, and Bush's Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld.
Putting attack dogs on naked men seemed like good way to build Iraqi support for democracy to Rumsfeld, Sanchez, the CIA and the two publically-traded American companies -- Titan Corporation of San Diego, CA, and CACI International of Arlington, VA -- which have been sued for allegedly conducting torture for profit as sub-contractors for the American military at Abu Ghraib Prison.
All this adds up to a terrorist recruiter's wet dream. In fact, the one thing that George W. Bush really may do best in all the world is create jihadists. Meanwhile, the entire Islamic world has become violently inflamed (just what Osama bin Laden wanted) and Saudi Arabia is spiralling into the same anti-American chaos that has already spread from Palestine to Afghanistan to Iraq (again, just what bin Laden wanted). The Bush administration calls this "winning the war on terror."
THE BALD TRUTH is that Bush has been a disaster as the head of America's anti-terrorism campaign, dividing old allies in the hour of need and sowing ill will toward America around the world. If he has been consistent about anything, it is his wrongheadedness. With George W. Bush at the helm, bin Laden was allowed to get away, but every commercial airline passenger in America is forced to pay -- with the loss of convenience, civil liberties and personal dignity -- every time they fly.
Bush's greatest failure, though, has been with what his father called "the vision thing." America really IS a great country with shining virtues that have the power to inspire men and change the course of history. Even Ho Chi Minh read and revered Thomas Jefferson. In any real struggle, America's power to inspire people with the promise of real freedom -- not the kind of "freedom" that runs illegal prisoner of war camps in Guantanamo Bay -- is one of it's greatest strengths.
America's two winning war presidents of the 20th century, Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, knew this and used it with great effectiveness, as did John F. Kennedy during the Cold War when he stood at the Berlin Wall and declared "Ich bin ein Berliner." George W. Bush, on the other hand, is utterly incapable of calling on the higher good in people, despite his loudly self-proclaimed religiosity.
Instead, Bush has provoked, prolonged and even promoted the atmosphere of terror, again playing into the terrorists' hands. And Osama has got to especially appreciate the way Bush went the extra mile for him, lying to the American public on national TV about Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There are a lot of Americans who wouldn't do that. Maybe John Kerry wouldn't do that.
And that's good enough for Osama. So the next time you're on Wilshire Blvd., look for a big dark car with mirror glass and a Bush bumper sticker. It's Osama, baby!
-- Bruce Brown