If you turn on TV news now, turning to the increasingly ridiculous and useless CNN will probably reveal that The One Thing Happening In The World right now, according to the CNN programming plan of the day, is the seemingly sudden burst of new trouble in the chaotic territory of Iraq.
Right now, utterly predictably, as new trouble breaks out in Iraq, where it has been a collection of steady trouble for over a decade, some political factions are barking about how it’s all President Barack Obama’s fault for, I don’t know, keeping large US military forces in Iraq for perpetuity. It’s almost useless to point out that US armed forces mostly left that country following agreement between the US government, under the previous president, and what had become the Iraqi government, since the time since the US military swept in and Saddam Hussein and his bunch were ousted.
Right now, the neocon warmonger War Party characters in national politics and government, and other assorted characters not directly involved, are chattering and barking furiously about military action and Obama’s supposed awful failures to maintain control of a territory on the other side of the Earth.
There is a lot that could be said about a basic aspect of the circumstances in Iraq involving something that has been known to anybody paying any attention to the news of that part of the world. There are two different sects of Muslims that apparently are perpetually and violently in conflict with each other, a whole topic of human lunacy in itself, and the culture of the Kurds, a people who, as far as I can tell, basically just want to live their lives and be left alone in peace, but find themselves as outsiders in exile wherever they go. That, apparently, had been a high pressure situation for a long long time, held in check, at least, by an authoritarian government under a ruthless dictator in the form of Saddam Hussein, although I don’t think it was anything you could reasonably calle stable. That should be obvious, and has been for years, given the way things exploded into fractured warring chaos as soon as the US military “liberated” Iraq and Hussein and his henchmen were out.
The irony of much of what’s happening now, here in the US, in the political arena, is staggering, and ridiculously obvious. At least it should be, and is to many of us, but not so much to some of the people who assert themselves about the matter in positions of power and/or public attention.
Now, as the new dramas are happening in Iraq, we’re hearing from essentially the same cult of neocons dominating American national politics who wanted to invade Iraq over a decade ago, who are now making all kinds of noise demanding new military action in Iraq. In all the noisy chatter happening now, among much of that it’s as if there is no conscious grasp of recognition of the simple fact that what’s happening there right now is an unsurprising repercussion of invading the place 11 years ago.
We still have “foreign policy” dominated by the same cult of lunatics and fools, essentially, who essentially see “foreign policy” as complete control of all of the Earth, one way or another, with the US military either in active action or at least stationed and based all over the world. Despite everything about that mindset, for so long, in so many ways, on so many levels, with all the assorted problems and repercussions, there’s still some amazing disability about managing to address the question “what could possibly be wrong with that?”. Even trying to address this among more sensible and sane folk triggers all kinds of lunatic barking about “being weak on national security and defense”.
All this current new drama, complete with the weird phenomenon of “The One Thing Happening In The World” news coverage that includes pathetically little news, follows other recent international dramas cut from the same broad cloth, the situation in Syria, the “Ukraine Crisis”, and now this again, a return of the long running mess in Iraq that had not ever actually gone away.
It gets to be like real work just to keep track of it all. Presumably we all remember how the invasion of Iraq proceeded, from the circus of lying and manipulation that started it rolling, and on from there. We were sold complete fiction about imminent danger from that nasty Saddam Hussein and what turned out to be his nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction”. The story of this epic bad move is a well-trodden path, but of course, the story is still going, as the repercussions continue banging around. Now, with those re[ercussions, the absolutely amazing part of this is that the very same sort of characters who thought invading Iraq was a great idea, some sort of righteous path, are shouting that the US military needs to dive back into that clusterfuck and get involved again. Not only should nobody pay any attention to the liars and fools who got virtually everything wrong when they had their say, but those people should have it made very clear to them that whatever any of thr new and current problems are, these guys are completely to blame.
Speaking simply, literally, they made this mess.
There is much to be said just on the subject of the 11 year clusterfuck of the United States and Iraq, but one of the best things ever was written recently by a former Naval intelligence officer who knows all about it.
Within the past year we’ve also had the awful farce of the neocon contingent meddling in another nation far away, this episode in Syria. There, a horrific civil war has been raging, and the position of the same neocon culture dominating our government regarding foreign relationships has been that the leader of the government there, Assad, simply must go, although I still don’t know how it’s any of our business.
There, you’ll recall, we had this episode where Obama made pronouncements of imperious warning about “crossing a red line”. The result of that ended up being what evidently turned out to be what people call a false flag attack, designed to manipulate the United States government into launching some form of military attack (whatever that might end up being) against Syria to try to help force Assad out of power.
That came very close to becoming yet another instance of the US military being ordered into action attacking yet another place in the world, but fortunately in this case sane minds managed to prevail, which led to more angry tantrums among some factions here in the US. When the people involved tried the same trick of coercing other national governments into a show of another “coalition of the willing”, in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron made noises about jumping in, until the British Parliament got together, talked about it, and voted, simply telling the PM Cameron, effectively, “hell no… don’t even think about it!”.
Still, through the whole saga, as trouble rages in Syria, the neocon lunatics here continue to bark and rage about military support for rebels in Syria, the question remains about why anything like that should happen, to overthrow a government on the other side of the world. There is the usual rhetorical barking about “national security”, as if any of it has any relevance to maintaining a defense of the nation here, with all that having the usual pattern of slipping between “national security” and “defense” to “projecting America’s power” and “America’s interests abroad”, while counting on people not seeing the huge differences in the actual meaning of these different cliched phrases.
Here’s where it gets truly bizarre. Stay with me here. It confuses me, I would think it confuses many people. Why would the US government have any interest in Assad and his government? One clue seems to be occasional blips of statements to the effect that Assad has some sort of friendly relationship with Iran, which puts him into this “axis of evil” notion that’s such an article of faith in the neocon cult. It gets weirder.
Part of the neocon barking for a while has been about ideas of military support for Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Assad and the current Syrian government. As you can find from trying to sort out the situation there from news reports, it’s damned complicated, with the vague label of “Syrian rebels” apparently applying to a whole batch of different factions and groups fighting the Syrian military, trying to overthrow the government, and not only that, but fighting with each other, to determine who gets to take over. It doesn’t take a foreign policy and intelligence expert to figure out that even if there is some people’s idea of “success”, i.e., overthrowing that awful villain Assad (whatever he did), it seems almost certain that the result at that point would be an endless state of perpetual raging chaos and violence as the various “rebel groups” battled each other for dominance and control. The Washington neocon chatter, naturally, usually qualifies shouts for military support in Syria’s civil war, against the established government, for “moderate” rebel groups, but, then, there is a long record of how that sort of thing goes, and backfires.
[Let’s keep in mind, for example, that once upon a time the US government was a happy enthusiastic supporter of a character named Osama bin Laden and his merry band of psychos in Afghanistan, because, the story was told, they were “freedom fighters”, the Good Guys fighting for freedom against the evil Soviet empire in Afghanistan.]
Where all this, the Syrian thing, gets weirder is that evidently one of the rebel factions in Syria is a bunch who have been described as worse than al Qaeda, with even those guys, al Qaeda, disavowing any connection with them. I mean, seriously, for the love of god, how bad does a bunch have to be for al Qaeda to throw up their hands and say “hey, we’ve got nothing to do with those assholes!“.
So, here we are, where that same bunch, fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, while the US government has the neocon bunch shouting for “rebel support”, has also moved into Iraq, the country next door to Syria’s southwestern border, attacking and taking over terriitorial control of parts of Iraq, with the apparent goal of forming a new “Islamic state” that covers a large chunk of land spread over both Syrian and Iraqi territory.
The result of all this distills down to a summary that is almost too insane to type out and believe I’m writing it. A bunch in Washington (and elsewhere, in the media chatter of pundit world) are actually effectively shouting for US military support for a bunch in Syria, while simultaneously shouting for military force attacking the very same bunch in Iraq.
An extra kicker to this? One of the news media memes now is talk about the possibility of the US government cooperating with Iran in doing whatever they’re considering doing in Iraq. Remember the part about the US neocons being so keen about trying to help anybody who might throw Assad out of power in Syria because they view him as committing the unforgivable sin of being friendly with Iran?
If you find yourself thinking “wait… WHAT?!“, and that all this makes no sense, then you’re starting to get the picture. After a while, trying to sort this out, it’s hard to believe it’s all for real.
At this point, I’ve written a batch of notes here about the situation of the United States government and the circus in Ukraine, another whole epic of arrogant meddling idiocy.
A new essay from Dmitry Orlov on his blog does a great job of summarizing this whole scattered epic of our government here in the US and what constitutes “foreign policy” these days.
As I wrap up this note, it’s now Tuesday June 17, and part of the country is dealing with the day after a large storm swept across Nebraska and Iowa. That storm spit out a whole series of tornados, with on scene live TV coverage as it happened, from mobile storm chasers transmitting video, sometimes as multiple large funnels tore across the landscape in an extraordinary array of twisters in formation, something that observers were saying they had never seen before. You could take this as a clue from the planet that maybe we have more important things to think about and do than devoting the attention and energy of our government, along with the money and resources of the nation, and, at some point, the citizens of the nation, who signed their asses over in a commitment to military service, into an endless series of exercizes in meddling in everything everywhere in the world, and, worse, making a series of gigantic messes.
It’s a big unbelievable double whammy. There are the actual messes being made, all the waste of money and resources and even human lives, and all things being neglected in the meantime, better uses of all of the above, and on top of it all, the repercussions and consequences to the rest of the world, and what that does to relationships with the rest of the world. Actually, I was wrong; that’s a quadruple whammy, isn’t it?
As the Iraq fiasco continues to grab all attention as I’ve described (The One Thing…), the Ukraine fiasco has been somewhat pushed aside, although, of course, it hasn’t gone away, and now continues on along the path started by the coup/putsch/junta supported by cheerleading, coaxing, and actual cash money by the US State Department, if not by direct involvement (which is almost certain at this stage, but arguable). I don’t remember if I mentioned it at the time, but maybe two or three weeks ago I caught some TV news segment, set up in one of these remote link interviews where the guest sits somewhere far away and stares into their own camera somewhere. The guest was Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who should be familiar by now.
Just to jog your memory, recall that this was the high ranking official diplomat who was recorded in a phone conversation with the US ambassador to Ukraine, before the coup in Kiev, saying her much quoted infamous “fuck the EU!” comment, which was about her impatience, if that’s the right word, with European government leaders whose ideas differed from Nuland and her colleagues in the US government, about their choice of who would be installed as a puppet leader of the Ukrainian government after the yet-to-happen coup.
I literally could not stand to stay with the interview for more than about two minutes, either to listen to the sheer bullshit spewing from her, or even to look at her. The latter point is not as petty as it might seem. Just looking at her was repulsive, and it was not a case of thinking of her as unattractive, in the most obvious sense, but a matter of the ugly coming straight from the soul. One thing that immediate struck me was a facial item, as she sat there staring into the camera, and for the entire length of time I watched, her right eyebrow was arched up, raised, completely asymmetrical with the other side of her face. It was raised/arched up so far that, after about 30 seconds of noticing and watching this to see if her face would change, I not only thought that it was weird that it stayed that way, as if a permanent feature, but started to wonder how she could keep holding it in that position, it was so unnatural and awkward looking.
It was just fucking weird.
In a word, it was just creepy.
Without an image to show you, for anybody who didn’t happen to see this, the best way I can put it is that without any previous knowledge of the person they were looking at, or the subject under discussion, I think most aware, attentive human beings would pick up an intuitive sense that they were quite possibly looking at a very dishonest, devious, even seriously malevolent human.
This is apparently the ranking member of the United States Department of State in charge of US relations with Europe.
One extra note, going back to the Iraq dramas. On TV, among the chattering I’ve been talking about, one of the characters stuck in front of a TV camera has been Paul Bremer. This, you might remember, is the guy who was installed in Iraq after the invasion to mismanage the newly occupied Iraq by the Bush administration. Ah, you might think, surely he was assigned there to manage Iraq, not mismanage it. That’s just how it worked out. Now? This guy seems to think he should have something to say about what to do in Iraq now. I would suggest that this guy shut up and go away, and for people to stop putting him on television and asking him what he thinks about what anybody should do about anything. This, however, is a good example of what we get now in terms of either “news” or serious discussion about any public matter.