This Is What Politically Correct Looks Like

If you have any Right Wing friends or if you read Right Wing articles or if you listen to the more Right leaning news sources then you will have heard their favorite term over and over and over……Political Correct.

They use it as a catch all for anything that they cannot agree with and it is usually followed by other such adjectives as “apologist”….it is their most popular argument for whatever the subject maybe….after all it is easier than having an actual rebuttal to the issue.

I have the perfect example of what “political correctness” is…..

After warning Syria not to fly planes in the Hasakeh Province or risk getting them shot down by US planes in the area, the Pentagon is struggling to convince reporters that there is some sort of distinction between this zone you can’t fly in and a “no-fly zone.”

…….

The Pentagon has since expanded this to declaring the area “an exclusion zone,” which is distinct from a no-fly zone because the Pentagon says it is a different thing. Spokesman Peter Cook insisted the US has warned Syria not to fly planes in the area for a long time now.

(antiwar.com)

That my friends is the best example possible for what politically correct is……not the off-hand insult that some Righties regurgitate ad nauseum….

I must end my posting day…I am off to eat stuffed grape leaves, olives, figs, blue cheese with a little honey…..try it…….. you will like it!

Libya’s Chaos

I am proud to say that IST recently got a Libyan born person to comment and follow….I am pleased to have a person that can offer first hand observation and knowledge of the conflict raging in Libya…..I look forward to his input…..

Libya is a situation that has been made worse by the involvement of the US and its NATO thugs…..but they, powers that be, would prefer a “light footprint” in this conflict….meaning they want to work from behind the scene…..

Over the past two weeks, the Obama administration has introduced a significant escalation of U.S. involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. On August 1, U.S. forces launched Operation Odyssey Lightning, a campaign of limited airstrikes in support of Libyan militias against Islamic State fighters ensconced along the Libyan coast in Sirte, the birthplace of Muammar Qaddafi. This week, Pentagon officials also acknowledged that U.S. Special Operations Forces are on the ground in Libya, providing direct intelligence support to forces loyal to Libya’s fragile Government of National Accord (GNA). Those actions represent another manifestation of the Obama administration’s “light footprint” approach to military force—the use of standoff strike capabilities in support of allied ground troops—and they highlight the limitations of that approach.

Source: Libya and the Limits of the Light Footprint | World Affairs Journal

But once again the US has had to put troops on the ground in Libya……

A small number of U.S. special operations teams have been seen on the ground in northeast and western Libya for the better part of a year, conducting patrols and advising local militias as part of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State — or ISIS or ISIL — picks up steam, even as the U.S. and its European allies revealed Monday they have begun shipping weapons and equipment to Libya’s fragile unity government to battle the jihadi threat, despite U.N. sanctions.

Source: U.S. troops deployed to Libya in campaign against ISIS – Washington Times

Once again the excuse is that we have only  “a small amount of US Troops” on the ground…..how many times has that one statement come back to bite us in the ass?

For those that have NO idea what is going on in Libya….other than the Benghazi attacks of several years ago…..maybe this will help explain what is happening in the country.

Source: Libya’s chaos, explained in five graphics – CNN.com

Another problem for the US in Libya is their hand-picked crony to run the country…..

As the US war in Libya moves into its third week, officials and analysts are seeing a lot of problems with their plans, but perhaps the biggest problem is one of their own creation, the Libyan Army and its leader, long-time CIA asset Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Hifter was a general of Moammar Gadhafi until 1987, when he was captured by Chad. The next year, he became a US proxy for an anti-Gadhafi insurgency, and after that collapsed, moved to Virginia, with occasional trips back to Libya for other failed US-backed plots.

When NATO imposed regime change in 2011, Gen. Hifter was quick to make his grand return, and has been trying to consolidate his power ever since. He announced a coup in 2014, which didn’t amount to much, and is now at the head of the army loyal to the UN-backed Tobruk government.

(antiwar.com)

The last time the CIA did anything right as far as “regime change” goes was the 1950’s and in Guatemala….since then it has been one disaster after another…..so how do you think this situation will play out?

There Is “Your Dictator” And Then There Is “Ours”

Ever noticed the the US seems to have blinders on when it comes to some dictators?  That is until they are NO longer needed.  Just look at Noriega, Saddam, Mubarak….these men were perfectly fine as long as they were useful….and then we dropped the hammer on them…..turning them from “good guy” to “evil dictators”…..we have a long history of backing the wrong dudes.

As long as these strongmen play ball with the US and its corporations then they are free to do as they please….but as soon as they run afoul of the corporate structure then they must go.  Saddam is a good example….he was a fine “ally” until he nationalized the oil industry and cut out the massive profits for oil companies and then he had to go…..and he finally did.

It is fascinating how some are dictators and others we will tolerate their abuses…….

Sometimes it seems that if not for double standards, Official Washington would have no standards at all – especially when it comes to outrage against some “strongmen” and excuses for others, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

The United States has been, and continues to be, selective about which foreign strongmen it does and does not support. Among the latter, there have been Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (who was not as autocratic as publicly portrayed), Fidel Castro in Cuba, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. These are just a few of those recent rulers who have drawn the wrath of the “democratic” exemplars in Washington. That wrath often includes economic strangulation, CIA plots and even invasion.

In the meantime, another group of autocrats is well tolerated by the U.S. Among this group are Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and various European rightwing politicos such as Viktor Orban of Hungary. Each of these strongmen shows little tolerance for dissent and a ready willingness to exploit racially tinged nationalism.

Source: Washington’s Outrage and Excuses – Consortiumnews

Who will be the next strongman to feel the wrath of a nation like the US?

America’s Forgotten War

That would be Afghanistan…..that little war that No one seems to give a crap about….a war that still has Americans in harm’s way……a war that Americans will continue fight….a war that few know why we continue to fight…..

It is Summer and the Taleban has decided to make another push in southern Afghanistan…..

With the Taliban controlling most of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the capital city of Lashkar Gah has looked less and less secure. It looks like that city could be facing another direct offensive quite soon, as major battles were reported just south of the city.

The Afghan government is rushing military reinforcements into the area, and insists the district of Nawa, where the fighting is ongoing, has yet to fall. US officials have similarly insisted they will “not allow” the city of Lashkar Gah to be captured, but whether they can do anything about it is unclear.

The largely rural Helmand Province is the center of the lucrative opium poppy farming operations in Afghanistan, and Taliban control over many districts, including the districts bordering neighboring Pakistan, allow them to control the flow of opium traffic out of the country

we have de-fanged Al-Qaeda and the Taleban can only operate one region at a time without massive losses…..just what was our objective in Afghanistan…..the boss of the group that did the 9/11 attacks is dead…dead….dead…..

Afghanistan is a money pit…..do you know what that is?  A hole in the earth into which you pour money.

What the US needs is a way out of this quagmire, right?

The failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan has been obvious for years, but neither President Bush nor President Obama wanted the defeat hung on them, so the bloody folly goes on, a test for the next president, says Alon Ben-Meir.

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced that the U.S. will draw down its troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 8,400, altering his original plan to reduce the number to 5,500. His decision suggests that conditions on the ground are not as promising as he expected them to be, and maintaining a larger number of troops is important as he believes “it is in our national security interests … that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed.”

The President, however, did not spell out what success actually means. If he meant that Afghanistan will eventually become a stable and functioning democracy, he is fundamentally mistaken. Indeed, even if the U.S. stations three times as many troops for another 15 years or more, given the multiple conflicts, ruthlessness and duplicity of the players involved and the country’s long history, the U.S. cannot rescue Afghanistan from the quagmire in which it finds itself.

Source: Needing an Exit from Afghan Quagmire – Consortiumnews

This election will bring NO relief for our troops and their families and most Americans will just keep thumping their chests and waving their flags and the troops keep living dangerously….

Time for someone to step up and make the government face reality….we had such a person, Chuck Hagel, but he would not play ball with the M-IC so he had to go in favor of the bobble head yes man Carter.

If not your grandchildren will be fighting this unwinnable war….is that what you desire?

Could NATO Do More?

One of the presidential candidates think that the US should reconsider its involvement in NATO (a position that I can agree), the other thinks we are not doing enough with NATO (a war hawk attitude)…..I recently read an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (a source that I seldom use unless necessary) that NATO could do more in fighting ISIS……

The goal of the recent attacks directed or inspired by Islamic State on civilians in the U.S. and Europe is to create an atmosphere of fear and to intensify political tensions across the world. As the terrorist organization continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, it is focusing more on spreading terror abroad. Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan has repeatedly warned that Western countries should expect more attacks.

As Islamic State shifts its strategy, the U.S. and its allies should as well. The time has come for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to invoke its self-defense clause so the full weight of the alliance is brought to bear against Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Source: NATO Can Do More to Destroy Islamic State—If We Ask – WSJ

I try to give all sides of the situation whenever possible…..this op-ed in New Eastern Outlook, predominately pro-Russia opinion site has another opinion on the fight against ISIS……(not an endorsement…only given for the debate)……

453453444In the few days that Russia has been fighting terrorism, it has achieved more than the US coalition has in years. According to the New York Times, Russian fighter jets are conducting nearly as many strikes in a typical day as the American-led coalition has been carrying out each month this year, a number which includes strikes conducted in Iraq – as well as Syria.

Even though the US has been bombing ISIS for over a year, ISIS has only grown more powerful and gained more ground in Syria. A few months ago ISIS took over the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage-listed site.

In spite of the fact that the US government acknowledged ISIS cannot be defeated without ground troops, they have refused to work with the Syrian military. The Syrian military is the only UN-recognized legitimate force on the ground and the only force capable and willing to fight ISIS. Conversely, Russia is coordinating with the Syrian military on the ground assisting Syrian troops against terrorism.

Source: Why Russia is Serious About Fighting Terrorism and the US Isn’t | New Eastern Outlook

Do you think that the US is serious about fighting terrorism?  Do you think we should demand NATO take a larger roll in the fight against terrorism?

Your thoughts if you would.

The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies

You would think that the US would have learned their lesson with regime change…….Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria……none have gone according to plan and never will.

I wrote an article awhile back along these lines…..

The end result of this conflict in Syria is two-fold….one to rid the landscape of ISIS and two to rid the country of Assad, a regime change….. I understand the urgency of the defeat of …

Source: The Problem With Regime Change – In Saner Thought

The problem is that we keep using the same tactics over and over…tactics that worked in the 1950’s but today they are a waste of time……

“Regime change” or destabilizing sanctions are Official Washington’s policy options of choice in dealing with disfavored nations, but these aggressive strategies have proved harmful and counterproductive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Many variables are involved in the messy predicaments in the Middle East, but one way of framing the history and issues of U.S. policy toward the region is in terms of the approaches that have been taken toward so-called rogue regimes. That term, one should hasten to add, obscures more than it enlightens. But it has been in general use for a long time. Take it as shorthand to refer to regimes that have come to be considered especially troublesome and are subjected to some degree of ostracism and punishment.

Three basic approaches are available in formulating policy toward such a regime: (1) keep ostracizing and punishing it in perpetuity; (2) try to change the regime; or (3) negotiate and do business with it, to constrain it and to influence its actions. There are some contradictions between the approaches. Any regime that is led to believe that it is going to be overturned anyway, or that it will be perpetually punished anyway, lacks incentive to make concessions in a negotiation.

Source: The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies – Consortiumnews

How long will the idiots keep using flawed intel and a bigger flawed tactic before we realize that regime change is not our forte?

This election as important as it is holds NO answers to the problems we face….just more years of the status quo.

Stupidity….and that’s the name of that tune!

The Name Game

Most Americans are well aware of a group named Al-Qaeda….in case the mind is going….that is the group founded by Osama and was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  Keep that in mind……

Now we move to Syria…..there is an affiliate of AQ operating in the country…Jabbat al-Nusra…at times they are at odds with the barbarous bunch called ISIS…..there is also reports that sya as horrible as ISIS is al-Nusra is more dangerous……

Hardly a day goes by without news of the progress being made in the war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In recent months, American-backed forces have secured much of the Syrian-Turkish border, recaptured Ramadi, and stemmed the flow of fighters and supplies to the terror group’s capital cities of Raqqa and Mosul.
But momentum is not the same as winning, and the U.S. has fallen into a number of traps in Iraq and Syria — the most deadly of which has been set by al Qaeda.
Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, is more dangerous than ISIS — and while the two groups share the common goal of establishing a global caliphate, they are using different means to achieve it.

Al-Nusra first emerged in January 2012, 10 months after the start of anti-government protests that were brutally repressed by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, leading to a now more than five-year-old multi-sided conflict.

The group is an offshoot of the Islamic State in Iraq, Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in the country, in which Jolani was a leading figure in Nineveh province, a jihadist stronghold in the north.

In April 2013, Al-Nusra refused to join up with IS and pledged allegiance instead to Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, who later proclaimed Al-Nusra the only branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria.

Believing that their public status as al-Qaeda’s formal “affiliate” in Syria has made them a target, the Nusra Front is announcing its intention to rebrand as the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or Sham Liberation Front, which itself won’t officially be affiliated with al-Qaeda’s parent organization.

More info on al-Nusra……

Source: Everything You Need To Know About the New Nusra Front | TIME

All this drama is a ruse…..it has been planned for awhile to take the heat off the group……

….. the ruse is transparent, since al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released a public audio statement only back in May suggesting Nusra could make a public break with al-Qaeda as a way to unify Islamists to form an “emirate” to rival ISIS. Whatever the reason, there is no suggestion this is going to leave Nusra, or whatever it calls itself, as anything but Syria’s al-Qaeda.

Nothing has changed…the group will still be as barbarous as usual…the only purpose of this “switch” is to try and lessen the attacks by the US and others with the hope it can survive past this conflict.

Jabhat al-Nusra, or JAN, is many things at the same time. It includes nationalists, nationalist-Islamists, Islamists, Syrians, non-Syrians, elements who reject global terrorism, global terrorists, hardliners, relative moderates, and many other ideological strains. The cement holding this organization together is composed of two parts: Opposing Assad, and an organizational structure that is able to provide an ideological frame, a political platform, a plan of action and operational structure, a disciplinary system, and the means to survive and continue the fight.

Attempts to reduce JAN to ISIL part deux are mistaken insofar as they neglect structural and ideological differences between the two groups. This is not to say that JAN is more or less dangerous than ISIL. It is to say that the two groups are completely different along both ideological and organizational lines. Overlooking those differences is natural in public opinion, but it is not suitable for experts or policy makers, as in the field of fighting terrorism, every detail matters.

Source: The Future of Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria | Middle East Briefing

Same game….different name?

Distancing itself from the ambitions of its sponsor is both good politics and may be good for Syrians.

And yet, the announcement has been received internationally with weary scepticism and‎ a level of cynical dismissiveness that fails to understand the opportunity this decision represents.

The principal Western response has been that al-Nusra Front leadership’s decision is merely cosmetic, designed to remove itself from the list of groups subject to bombardment. This, of course may be true but it misses the point.

Source: Tough choices ahead as al-Nusra splits from al-Qaeda – Al Jazeera English