Iraq

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I’ve been struck of late how Britney Spears has been in...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 3:19am in

I’ve
been struck of late how Britney Spears has been in the news at the same
time as we are experiencing the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 and the end of
the Afghanistan War. Here are two cartoons I made that involved her,
though they really weren’t about her. The first was from the months
after 9/11, when bodies were still being recovered from Ground Zero. The
second was from years later after the US plunged into war in Iraq while
still also in Afghanistan. Just today the New York Times is reporting
that Britney is newly engaged.

Twenty Years Of Phony Tears About 9/11

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/09/2021 - 4:11am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/e02b9f8c02469c93a8884066dec1051a/href

The mass media are churning out articles and news segments commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, many of them featuring adoring retrospectives of their celebrity president’s actions as a US senator that day. Biden’s ceremonial PR tour to New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon can be expected to receive a great deal of coverage as outrage swells over the president’s controversial new nationwide vaccine mandate.

And it’s all just so very, very stupid. This nation which has spent twenty years weeping about its victimization with Bambi-eyed innocence reacted to 9/11 with wars which killed millions and displaced tens of millions and ushered in an unprecedented new era of military expansionism which has funneled trillions of dollars to some of the worst people in the world.

Compared to the horrors the United States unleashed upon the world under the justification of 9/11, 9/11 itself was a family trip to Disneyland. The death and destruction visited upon Iraq alone dwarfs the 2,977 people killed on 9/11 by orders of magnitude; hell, this was true of the death and destruction the US had been inflicting on Iraq even before 9/11.

In a saner, more emotionally intelligent world, it is those deaths that Americans would be focused on this September the 11th.

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There’s a great thread being shared around on Twitter right now by someone who found a book full of political cartoons published in the wake of 9/11, and it’s a perfect reminder of just how insane people were being driven by mass media manipulation during that time. The brazen Islamophobia, the flag-waving jingoism, the mawkish histrionics and the government bootlicking contained in those vapid comics are like an emotional time portal back to the lizard brain mentality of that point in history. I especially recommend it to those who are too young to remember how people came to support the monstrous foreign policy decisions made in the aftermath of 9/11.

It’s also an excellent lesson into why it is always best to avoid being swept up in the emotionality of a major event that’s getting a lot of narrative push, no matter how loudly the mass media are shrieking about it and no matter how many of the people around you get swept up in it.

There was no real reason Americans needed to respond to 9/11 with slobbering patriotism and the banging of war drums. It would have made sense for everyone to feel shocked, afraid, angry and sad, but that’s all that would have happened had their minds not been manipulated by the mass media and the Bush administration into believing that the sane response to a terrorist attack is to start launching full-scale regime change invasions of sovereign nations.

Americans could just as easily have felt sad for a bit, and had that be the end of it. Imagine. Imagine what a better world we’d be living in if the public had not consented to wars and had instead just felt their feelings for however long it took to feel them, and had that be that.

Without being told so by solemn-looking pundits and politicians, it never would have occurred to ordinary people that the sane response to an attack by Al Qaeda was to invade and occupy Afghanistan, much less Iraq. People would’ve expected to see the individuals responsible for the attacks captured and brought to justice, just as they’d seen happen with every other terrorist attack in their country, but on their own it would never have occurred to them to think of it as an “act of war” for which wars were an appropriate response.

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But wars were planned. The US had already been strategizing to oust the Taliban before 9/11. Donald Rumsfeld was pushing for the Iraq invasion within hours of the planes striking. Further wars were planned within days. The official 9/11 narrative itself was riddled with gaping plot holes. And mass media pundits were fired if they didn’t support the Iraq invasion.

So people were psychologically conditioned by mass-scale propaganda to believe that 9/11 was some unforgivable atrocity so egregious that it could only be paid for by rivers of blood. And that conditioning remains today, as we will see from brainwashed empire pundits weeping their crocodile tears on the 20th anniversary of an event which, compared to the consequences of their government’s retaliation, wasn’t actually a very big deal.

It would have been infinitely better for everyone if America had done nothing, absolutely nothing, in response to 9/11, or better yet if it had left the Middle East altogether to make sure there are no extremist groups wanting them dead due to their actions there. But, again, wars were planned. And the public was psychologically brutalized into accepting them.

This is what we should all remember on 9/11. Not those 2,977 deaths on US soil. As sad as they were, they’ve been grieved more than enough by the general public. Now it’s time to begin addressing the giant stain upon our collective soul that is the vastly greater evils those deaths were exploited to justify.

_________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Warmongers Should Be Treated Like Serial Killers And Child Rapists

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/07/2021 - 10:24pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/a5c81401d065764eaceab1fffe2b1257/href

California Representative Ro Khanna announced on Monday that he’d just hung out with Iraq war architect Bill Kristol and had a wonderful exchange of ideas, fully discrediting the myth of the progressive Democrat with a single tweet.

“Bill Kristol is one of the most thoughtful voices in defending liberalism and democratic institutions in our country,” Khanna tweeted. “Learned a lot in our conversation about shaping also an inclusive narrative around American patriotism.”

When Khanna’s Twitter followers began reacting with shock and disgust at a congressman who is generally regarded as one of the most progressive elected officials on Capitol Hill saying sweet things about a murderous arch-neocon, he added:

“I was a strong and early critic of the war in Iraq, and Kristol and I have very different worldviews on foreign policy. But to have a discussion about strengthening liberalism and liberal institutions with people you disagree is in my view needed in a pluralistic democracy.”

“I’m back in the office after a stimulating lunch with Ro Khanna and see he’s tweeted about it,” Kristol posted on Twitter. “Which is fine! But not with some on the Left! I’m sure Ro can take the heat. As for me, I benefited from our talk, and admire Ro’s willingness to argue — and occasionally (gasp!) agree.”

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It’s really odious how they’re framing this get-together as two men from differing ideological backgrounds overcoming their little disagreements to find common ground. We’re talking about someone who has pushed for psychopathic acts of military violence at every opportunity throughout his entire career, and has had an ungodly amount of success in doing so. As the co-founder of the influential neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century and major Bush administration thought leader, Kristol played a key role in manufacturing support for the invasion of Iraq and ushering in an unprecedented new era of US military expansionism, a fact for which he remains completely unapologetic.

The invasion killed at least a million Iraqis, and arguably more than twice that. We’re not talking about two people setting aside their disagreements about farming subsidies or net neutrality here, we’re talking about fucking murder. Murder at a scale so massive it’s impossible to fully wrap your mind around it. Mass murder is not a difference of opinion, it’s mass murder. It’s no more an ideological position than stomping on kittens is an ideological position.

Saying you disagree with Bill Kristol’s engineering the Iraq war but found plenty of common ground on liberalism and patriotism is the same as saying you disagree with Jared Fogle on his raping children but found plenty of common ground on his fondness for Subway sandwiches.

It’s like announcing you just had lunch with serial killer Edmund Kemper and, while you disagree with his policy of murdering women and copulating with their severed heads, you really respect his opinions on immigration.

I’m actually being charitable here. There’s not a pedophile or serial killer on earth who has contributed as much death and suffering to our world as William Kristol.

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It’s not okay to be a warmonger. Pouring your mental energy into the slaughter of human beings is not some petty ideological quibble that can be looked past in search of common ground. Announcing you’ve just had lunch with a death merchant like Kristol and found plenty to admire about him should carry at least as much stigma as a lunchtime bromance with a genocide-promoting white supremacist, and probably more so given that Kristol has actually succeeded in manifesting his heinous vision for the world.

These monsters should not be accepted in our society. They should be as reviled as serial killers, child molesters and Nazis, not respected pundits who stroll around having casual lunch breaks with elected officials. They should be afraid to show themselves in public.

Instead, Kristol and his fellow neocons have been rehabilitated in the fugue of Trump hysteria and are now seen frequently on liberal media panels and viewed favorably by centrist Democrats, even while continuing to promote the annexation of Cuba, regime change in Iran, regime change in China, and keeping US troops in Afghanistan. Such creatures should be expelled from society and chased away until they’re forced to live under a mountain eating cave fish like Smeagol; instead they’re being accepted further and further into what passes for the American “left” today.

Ro Khanna is catching so much flak for his Kristol cuddle fest because Americans are told very forcefully that they need to support the Democratic Party if they want to advance leftward movement, yet even the very most progressive among them who are operating on the national stage consistently expose themselves as unprincipled imperialist swamp monsters. This is a problem, and it needs to be treated as such.

Anti-imperialism should be the most obvious, basic, bare-minimum agenda for anyone who cares about peace, truth and justice in our world. Instead, in a globe-spanning empire made of lies, it’s been turned by propaganda into a freakish fringe position that no elected officials are allowed to espouse, while monsters like Kristol are embraced and uplifted.

____________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Endless War Keeps The Middle East On The Floor

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/07/2021 - 3:01pm in

Ross Ashcroft, met up with Magnier to get some independent insight into what the the latest American bombing campaign means for the wider region.

The post Endless War Keeps The Middle East On The Floor appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Endless War Keeps The Middle East On The Floor

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/07/2021 - 3:01pm in

Ross Ashcroft, met up with Magnier to get some independent insight into what the the latest American bombing campaign means for the wider region.

The post Endless War Keeps The Middle East On The Floor appeared first on Renegade Inc.

The System Isn’t There To Protect Us From Criminals, It’s To Protect Criminals From Us

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/07/2021 - 10:09pm in

Tags 

Politics, Iraq, War, News

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/91d80b7d6ba94c5afb14614cb3b14312/href

Iraq war architect Donald Rumsfeld has died. Not in a prison cell in The Hague, not murdered by bombs or bullets, but peacefully in his home, surrounded by loved ones, a week and a half shy of his 89th birthday.

The imperial media are giving their fallen master a king’s tribute, with headlines describing the psychopathic war criminal as “a cunning leader”, “a man of honor and conviction”, or simply as “Former defense secretary at helm of Iraq, Afghanistan wars”.

The cancerous Washington Post, who just the other day mocked the life of the late antiwar hero Mike Gravel with an obituary branding him the “gadfly senator from Alaska with flair for the theatrical,” describes the child killer Rumsfeld as the “influential but controversial Bush defense secretary” in its headline about his death.

The New York Times wasn’t much better. Take the headline “Mike Gravel, Unconventional Two-Term Alaska Senator, Dies at 91 — He made headlines by fighting for an oil pipeline and reading the Pentagon Papers aloud. After 25 years of obscurity, he re-emerged with a quixotic presidential campaign.” Compare this to the headline “Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary During Iraq War, Is Dead at 88 — Mr. Rumsfeld, who served four presidents, oversaw a war that many said should never have been fought. But he said the removal of Saddam Hussein had ‘created a more stable and secure world.’”

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There’s been criticism as well, of course; online sentiments about Rumsfeld’s death have not been nearly as worshipful and hagiographic as they’ve been toward other disgusting war whores like John McCain. But in the end all that matters is that he lived a long, full life, without ever having faced even the slightest single consequence for the horrors he unleashed upon our world; without even so much as sustaining any meaningful damage to his reputation.

This despite the fact that it’s been public knowledge for years that Rumsfeld began orchestrating the unforgivable invasion of Iraq within hours of the 9/11 attacks and told numerous lies in order to set that invasion in motion. He also oversaw the intervention in Afghanistan which he and his Bush administration cohorts had been planning before 9/11, beginning a decades-long occupation about which the public has been pervasively lied to from the very beginning by US officials in general and by Rumsfeld in particular. (But remember kids, only crazy conspiracy theorists question the official narrative about 9/11.)

When we are little, we are taught that we live in a nation of laws, where bad guys are thrown in prison by the good guys who are in charge of things. Because our mental programming continues for the rest of our lives in the form of mass-scale propaganda designed to manufacture consent for the status quo, most of us tend to hold onto this childish model of the world to some extent throughout adulthood.

In reality, exactly zero percent of the world’s worst people are in prison, but some of the best people are. The fact that Donald Rumsfeld lived a long life of freedom while Julian Assange wastes away in Belmarsh Prison proves the world doesn’t work the way we were taught in school. The very worst bad guys are not put in prison by the good guys who run things, because the very worst bad guys are the ones who run things.

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The system isn’t designed to protect us from society’s worst, it’s designed to protect society’s worst from us. It’s designed to keep us turning the gears of industry without looking around and noticing that we’re all getting fucked in the ass by an alliance of plutocrats and security state insiders who only care about power and money. It’s designed to keep us too busy and propagandized to use the power of our numbers to take back what the bastards have stolen from us, and to make sure there’s enough guns on their side to kill us all dead if we try.

Donald Rumsfeld was all the worst things about our world. He perfectly embodied the corrupt, bloodthirsty, ecocidal, omnicidal, oppressive, exploitative, deceitful status quo that is driving humanity toward extinction. The US-centralized empire is Donald Rumsfeld. It might as well have his face and his name.

Don’t let his passing fool you: Donald Rumsfeld is dead, but he is also as alive as ever. He lives on in the continued violence he helped initiate in the Middle East. In the death and destruction rained down by the US and its allies in the name of preserving a unipolar world order that none of us ever asked for. In the dying gasps of starving children under imperial blockades in Yemen and Venezuela. In the thousands of US military bases encircling our planet like a noose. In the war ships and missiles pivoting toward China in preparation for a long-anticipated confrontation which should terrify us all.

Unless we can purge from our cells everything within us that resembles Donald Rumsfeld, there is no future for Homo sapiens on this planet. We must evolve beyond everything he stood for, as individuals, as a society, and as a species, and move into a peaceful and collaborative relationship with each other and with our ecosystem.

________________________

The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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US Again Bombs Nations On Other Side Of The World In “Self-Defense”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 28/06/2021 - 12:06pm in

Tags 

Politics, Iraq, Syria, War, News

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/9bd24d5fb893521ca18a3e5ed80cfb8b/href

The US is again illegally bombing nations on the other side of the planet which it has invaded and occupied and branded this murderous aggression as “defensive”.

“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region,” reads a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby. “The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries.”

Even more absurd than the fact that we’re all still pretending this clearly dementia-addled president is “directing” anything is the claim that these actions were “defensive” in nature. It is not possible for occupying invaders to be acting defensively in the nations they are occupying an invading; US troops are only in Iraq by way of an illegal 2003 invasion, a bogus 2014 re-entry, and a refusal to leave at the Iraqi government’s request last year, and they are in Syria illegally and without the permission of the Syrian government. They can therefore only ever be aggressors; they cannot be acting defensively.

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self-defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

The only actual defensive action that the US could legitimately take to protect troops in Iraq and Syria would be to remove US troops from Iraq and Syria.

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As former US representative Justin Amash pointed out following the bombing, there is no actual legal authorization for US troops to be in Iraq or Syria in the first place. As journalist Glenn Greenwald highlighted, there is also no legal basis for bombings on the military personnel in those nations either, no matter how “Iranian-backed” they are.

“I know it’s boring to note this but Biden has no legal authorization to bomb ‘Iranian-backed’ targets in Syria and Iraq, making it illegal,” Greenwald tweeted, adding, “But Obama bombed Libya after the House voted against doing so, and few of the Sacred Rule Of Law mavens cared.”

The legal justification the Biden administration is using for this airstrike is the same bogus one it used for its airstrikes in Syria this past February: not counter-terrorism, but an extremely weird and broad interpretation of Article II of the US Constitution.

“As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense,” Kirby writes in the aforementioned statement. “The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq.”

This claim the Executive Branch has been leaning on lately, that Article II permits unilateral acts of war on the other side of the planet without congressional approval, has come under criticism from legal scholars across the US political spectrum. As Tess Bridgeman wrote for Just Security following Biden’s February airstrikes:

“With former President Donald Trump’s term in office over, it’s time to evaluate his war powers legacy and where it leaves the Biden administration as it begins to grapple with how and when to use force abroad in the absence of congressional authorization. The picture that emerges from Trump’s war powers reporting to Congress is one of an extraordinarily broad vision of the president’s authority to use force abroad without congressional authorization, and of a willingness to exploit loopholes in reporting requirements in a way that obscures information on the use of force from the public.”

A willingness to exploit loopholes is right. But as long as acts of mass military violence serve as the glue which holds a globe-spanning empire together, death finds a way.

____________________

The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Why The Main Argument Against Withdrawing US Troops Is Bogus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 24/04/2021 - 10:26pm in

Tags 

afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, War

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Audio recording of this article:

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Former National Security Advisor and literal psychopath John Bolton has a new opinion piece out in Foreign Policy titled “‘Bring the Troops Home’ Is a Dream, Not a Strategy”, which should surprise no one and enrage everyone at the same time. The fact that this reptile continues to be elevated on mainstream platforms after consistently revealing himself to be a bloodthirsty liar is all the evidence you need that we are trapped inside a globe-spanning empire fueled by human corpses.

John Bolton has pushed for deranged acts of mass military slaughter at every opportunity. He not only remains one of the only people in the world to continually insist that the Iraq invasion was a great idea, but has actually argued that the destabilization and chaos caused by the invasion cannot be attributed to Bush’s war because you can’t prove that “everything that followed from the fall of Saddam Hussein followed inevitably, solely, and unalterably from the decision to overthrow him.” There are harrowing accounts of Bolton threatening, assaulting and intimidating anyone with less power than him if they got in his way; he once threatened to harm the children of former OPCW Director General Jose Bustani because Bustani was interfering in attempts to manufacture consent for the Iraq war.

In an even remotely sane civilization, such a creature would be driven from every town he entered until he is forced to crawl into a cave for the rest of his miserable life eating bats alone in the darkness. Instead he is given the mainstream spotlight whenever he wishes while truthful and intelligent anti-imperialists are relegated to fringe blogs and podcasts. This would not be the case if we did not live in an empire that is held together by war and war propaganda.

And now look at me, off on a tangent before my article has even begun.

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Anyway, in his Foreign Policy article Bolton argues that withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan would be a mistake, because it would lead to the nation being overrun by ISIS and al Qaeda.

“If the Taliban return to power in all or most of the country, the almost universal view in Washington today is the near certainty that al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and others will resume using Afghanistan as a base of operations,” Bolton writes.

These are very strange words to have to type, but, John Bolton is right. There is a consensus within the hub of the US empire that that is what will happen. You can tell because that’s what the empire’s media have been blaring all year.

In a March article from Vox titled “The best case against withdrawing all US troops from Afghanistan”, a senior fellow from the military industrial complex-funded think tank Center for a New American Security named Lisa Curtis explains that withdrawing troops can lead to a disastrous terrorist insurgency that will only result in having to send them back again.

“Let’s look at Iraq,” says Curtis. “When the US withdrew troops, ISIS rose and took over Mosul in 2014. We had to put troops back into Iraq and in even greater numbers, and we had to redouble our efforts to stem the rise of ISIS.”

A Bloomberg article from this month titled “Biden’s Afghan Pullout Is Risky Politics and Geopolitics” conveys the same message:

“And once the U.S. is out of Afghanistan, on grounds that it needs to focus on other priorities, it will inevitably become harder to summon the top-level attention and political will needed to stay on top of emerging threats. This is what happened in Iraq in 2013–2014: Midlevel officials were warning, publicly, that ISIS was on the march, but only after a third of the country had fallen did the issue reach the top of the Barack Obama administration’s agenda.”

A Financial Times article a few days back titled “Biden’s risky Afghanistan withdrawal” says the same:

“Biden himself is well aware of the risks. It was he, in 2011, who took charge of America’s final pullout from Iraq. Within two years US forces were sucked back into the region by the rapid spread of Isis across Iraq and Syria. Then, as now, the temptation to proclaim an end to America’s ‘forever wars’ trumped the benefits of retaining a US footprint to insure against new deterioration.”

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We hear this same narrative over and over and over again whenever there’s talk about withdrawing US troops from a region, whether it be Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria: this is going to be Obama’s disastrous Iraq withdrawal all over again. Obama withdrew the troops in the early part of his term, but by 2014 Iraq had become so overrun by Islamic State that they needed to return to fight them off.

This is because it has been Beltway Church doctrine ever since the rise of ISIS that Obama was wrong to withdraw troops from Iraq, and it is Beltway Church doctrine because there was a frenetic push to indoctrinate that narrative into Washington policymakers from day one.

As soon as it became feasible we had malignant warmongers like Dick Cheney penning op-eds about how bad and wrong the troop withdrawal was, effectively screaming “SEE??? It’s ALWAYS wrong to end wars!” to ensure that a reduced global military presence never becomes the new normal for the US empire. From that day onwards Obama’s Iraq withdrawal has been used to hammer home this narrative that withdrawing troops from anywhere is “risky” and irresponsible. There was a manic, almost orgasmic delight among warmongers at the fact that at last, at long long last, they finally had some evidence that scaling back military expansionism is bad.

The problem? It’s bullshit.

It’s bullshit for a couple of reasons, firstly because the US is not withdrawing from Afghanistan; it’s just privatizing the occupation. Mercenaries, special forces, CIA operatives and airstrikes will remain. And that’s assuming there’s even a troop withdrawal at all; as we sit here the US is actually beefing up its military presence in anticipation of Taliban retaliations for remaining in Afghanistan beyond the agreed-upon May 1 deadline, the logic I suppose being something like “We need to add forces to Afghanistan before we leave Afghanistan because we have to kill all the people in Afghanistan who want us to leave Afghanistan before we leave.” In any case the warmongers aren’t actually worried they’ll lose control of Afghanistan, they’re just worried about people becoming too peace-happy; they threw all these melodramatic fits when Trump sought withdrawals that never happened as well.

Secondly, it’s bullshit because the warmongers are lying about why the US re-entered Iraq in 2014.

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The US didn’t re-enter Iraq in 2014 to stop ISIS, the US re-entered Iraq in 2014 to stop Qasem Soleimani from stopping ISIS.

This is not a secret. In 2014 the commander of Iran’s Quds Force was already helping to beat back Islamic State in Iraq, and Iraqi officials reminded the world after his assassination last year at the hands of the Trump administration that Soleimani had played a key role in early victories in that fight. Iraq’s Sunni leaders had already been openly saying that they would turn to Iran for help if the US didn’t take the lead in defeating ISIS, and Iran was already demonstrating a willingness to put Soleimani’s notoriously effective fighting forces to work on that endeavor.

If the United States had been a normal country, and not the hub of a globe-spanning empire bent on indefinite global domination, the obvious choice in that moment would have been to let the people in that part of the world sort out their own affairs in whatever way seems best to them. Because the United States is the hub of an empire that cannot tolerate the idea of another power being dominant in an oil-rich region it seeks to control for geostrategic reasons, allowing Iran and Iraq to become allied that closely was unthinkable.

So, as usual, the narrative that westerners were fed about US troops being in the Middle East to “fight terrorists” was a lie. It was about geostrategic control of the world and its resources, just like it always is.

The so-called “war on terror” has never been about defeating violent extremist factions, it’s been about keeping the nations in the region from relying on Iran and its allies to defeat them, and about justifying endless military expansionism in a key geostrategic part of the world. It’s been about ensuring the US power alliance is the dominant military force in the Middle East, not Iran and other unabsorbed powers like Russia and China.

Qasem Soleimani was the best argument against the “war on terror”, and was the leader best suited for bringing the region out of danger from violent extremist factions like ISIS and al Qaeda.

That’s why he is dead now.

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The world does not need the US empire to police it. People can sort out their own problems around the world if they were only allowed to. Iraq and its neighbors can sort out their own problems, as can Afghanistan and its neighbors. The only violence at risk of coming toward America and its easily-defended borders is the direct result of the US empire’s relentless aggression and belligerence that has killed millions and displaced tens of millions just since the turn of this century. There is no reason we can’t all just let each other be, collaborating and trading in peace without all these invasions, occupations and toppling of sovereign governments.

The empire’s need to control the world’s affairs is like a macrocosm of the human ego, which also exists out of a fear that something bad will happen if I can’t remain in control of it all. But the world is forever out of control, and attempts to reign it in can only lead to disorder and suffering. Our species will not survive if we cannot collectively learn to relinquish the impulse to control, both within and without, and let life dance to its own beat on this beautiful blue world.

_____________________

I’m celebrating the hardback release of Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers by making a pay-as-you-feel PDF available.

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What does Gallipoli mean to us, and who says?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/04/2021 - 5:31pm in

[First published in BWD magazine, autumn 2021, Braidwood NSW.]

The word Gallipoli evokes one of our most potent cultural stories, but in truth it is not one story but many. There are stories of sacrifice and national identity, but there are also stories of folly and destruction, and stories overlooked. We all, presumably, want to honour the fallen but there are those who, wittingly or otherwise, exploit the stories for other purposes. Can we have a conversation about these stories? Can we talk about which stories to keep, whether some might be corrected or discarded and others picked up?

On an obscure beach in Turkey many of our young men died in a battle that ended in disastrous defeat and withdrawal. More of our young men went on to fight and die in the trenches in Europe. They distinguished themselves as soldiers.

There were those in Australia who proclaimed those events to signify the birth of a nation, a uniting of the former colonies and perhaps a necessary ‘blooding’ to baptise us into the company of nations. That was the Anzac story I grew up with, but I never thought it rang true.

Behind that story was a fear of being seen as inferior colonials and of needing to erase the ‘convict stain’. There were also those who sought to advance themselves by serving British commercial interests.

In truth our young men were ‘good’ soldiers because of the country they grew up in, well fed and strong, with less class repression and free enough to develop initiative.

The story of that country is much richer and more enriching than one futile battle. It is a story of the inventiveness and perseverance of many people, and of the foresight, persistence and not a little wisdom of leaders in bringing several colonies together peacefully to create a vigorous and innovative nation. In 1913 Australia was already a distinctive presence among nations, leading (with the Kiwis) in giving the vote to all men, then women, in advocating a fair go for all and in providing a social safety net. Blacks, though, were not invited.

Many in the new nation still felt a strong loyalty to the mother country, but that was neither universal nor unqualified. Prime Minister Billie Hughes was a much more divisive figure than his predecessor, the steady Andrew Fisher. Twice he held referenda to authorise sending conscripts overseas and twice the proposal was rejected, amid bitter and divisive debate. Hughes was prominent in promoting the claim that Australia came of age on the beach at Gallipoli.

At the opening of the Australian War Memorial in 1941 the Governor General Lord Gowrie said the Memorial would be ‘… not only a record of the splendid achievements of the men who fought and fell … but also a reminder to future generations of the barbarity and futility of modern war’.

Australia suffered heavy casualties and incurred heavy debt in the Great War, both of which weighed heavily for decades. The shock and trauma smashed the optimistic and progressive pre-war mood. There followed the Great Depression then another great war. Since then have been various smaller wars and invasions of debatable merit.

Only in the second great war was Australia directly threatened. Prime Minister Curtin had to defy Churchill and Roosevelt to being our troops home to defend us. Churchill  and Roosevelt would have left us to our fate, perhaps to be liberated later from a potential invasion that would have been severely traumatic, as invasions are. We need to be careful about the faith we place in allies.

Since then our involvements in overseas wars have been questionable. The need to fight in Vietnam was vigorously debated, and anyway it was another disaster and defeat. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were based on a lie about weapons of mass destruction, with the functional goal being US military dominance and capture of oil fields. We were involved primarily to curry favour with the US, but the invasions were highly counter-productive and the reliability of the US as an ally is even more debatable.

We have lost soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but more of them have died by their own hand after returning home. Now we have revelations of alleged atrocities committed by our own ‘special forces’. Such is the moral quagmire we and our soldiers can be placed in if the cause they fight for is not very clear, and clearly justified – if it ever can be.

The Government is now spending half a billion dollars to expand the War Memorial to include depictions of those dubious wars. They are accepting sponsorship from arms manufacturers, merchants of death. Can that be reconciled with the AWM’s role of reminding us of the ‘barbarity and futility of modern war’?

The Government spent around $400 million over four years ‘commemorating’ many centenaries of the Great War. How much of that was genuine honouring of the fallen? How much did the Government speak of barbarity? Of futility? They have spun a new fiction, that we fought alongside the US for democracy and freedom, when in fact we fought for empire and believed in White, especially British, superiority. How much of the Government’s message was thinly disguised glorification, or at least inuring us to yet more wars? Still following Uncle Sam, we now rattle our little sabres at Iran and China.

This Anzac Day, can we separate honouring the fallen from militarism? Do we need soldiers marching up the street and warplanes flying overhead?

What of those overlooked? Hundreds of women from across Europe and even from Australia courageously defied their governments and dominant public opinion to convene in The Hague in 1915 to devise strategies to stop the slaughter of their men. They formed the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. They influenced the formation of the League of Nations and thence the United Nations. They continue today. Do we acknowledge them and support their efforts to stop the futile barbarism? Do we have a statue of them in the main street?

Then there are those who fought to defend Australia from actual invasion. Yes, the First Australians. They are here. We, the settlers, are here. Are we big enough, yet, to acknowledge what our forebears did to their forebears, to acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice?

We can travel freely to Turkey, Germany, Japan, North Vietnam (or could, pre-pandemic). The bitter animosities are gone, if not entirely forgotten. What was the point?

The post What does Gallipoli mean to us, and who says? first appeared on BetterNature Books.

Thoughts On The Iraq Invasion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 12:17pm in

Tags 

War, imperialism, Iraq, USA

It has now been eighteen years since the Iraq invasion, and I’m still not done raging about it. Nobody should be.

The reason it’s so important to stay enraged about Iraq is because it’s never been addressed or rectified in any real way whatsoever. All the corrupt mechanisms which led to the invasion are still in place and its consequences remain. It isn’t something that happened in the past.

The Iraq invasion feels kind of like if your dad had stood up at the dinner table, cut off your sister’s head in front of everyone, gone right back to eating and never suffered any consequences, and everyone just kind of forgot about it and carried on life like it never happened. The US-centralized empire is full of willful amnesiacs pretending they don’t remember Iraq because it’s currently politically convenient, and we must not let them do this.

No institutional changes were made to ensure that the evils of the Iraq invasion wouldn’t be repeated. It’s one of those big, glaring problems people just decided to pretend is resolved, like racism.

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There’s this weird implicit default assumption among the political/media class that US government agencies have earned back the trust they lost with Iraq, despite their having made no changes whatsoever to prevent another Iraq-like horror from reoccurring, or even so much as apologizing. The reason nobody responsible for the Iraq invasion suffered any consequences for the great evil they inflicted upon the world is because the western empire had no intention of changing and has every intention of repeating such evils. The lies and killing continue unabated.

No changes were made after the Iraq invasion to keep the US government from deceiving Americans into war. No new laws were made, no policies changed; no one was even fired. And indeed, the government did deceive Americans into war again: the Libya and Syria interventions were both based on lies. It’s happened since, and it will happen again unless the murderous US war machine is stopped.

Don’t take life advice from people who are miserable. Don’t take career advice from people whose careers aren’t where you want to be. Don’t take creative advice from people who don’t create things. Don’t take foreign policy advice from people who supported the Iraq invasion.

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How true can President Biden’s claim be that he regrets supporting the Iraq invasion if he appointed the guy who advised that decision as Secretary of State?

It’s absolutely insane that every US presidential general election since the Iraq invasion has featured a mainstream candidate who actively supported it. The argument that the Iraq invasion was supported by most prominent politicians at the time is not a defense of those politicians, it’s an indictment of mainstream American politics. The fact that politicians who not only supported the Iraq invasion but actively facilitated it are still becoming US presidential nominees proves the entire American political system is corrupt beyond the possibility of redemption.

Nobody who supported the Iraq invasion should be working in politics at all. They shouldn’t be able to find employment anywhere more prominent or influential than a cash register. This should be true of politics, and it should be true of media as well.

There is no valid reason for the entire US-led world order not to have been completely dismantled after the invasion of Iraq. A world order which can create something as horrific as the unforgivable Iraq invasion (or the genocide in Yemen today for that matter) is not a world order that will lead the world in a good direction. The facts are in. The US-led world order must end.

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So much establishment loyalism ultimately boils down to an entirely faith-based and unquestioned belief that the corrupt, depraved power establishment which facilitated the Iraq war completely evaporated as soon as George W Bush and Tony Blair left office. There is literally no reason to believe this besides it feeling more psychologically comfortable to believe it.

It’s essential to keep in mind that western propaganda hasn’t gotten less advanced since the Iraq invasion, it has gotten more advanced. The Russiagate psyop and the smear campaigns against Assange and Corbyn make this abundantly clear. You need to be more critical of western narratives than with Iraq, not less.

Manipulating public thought at mass scale is a science. Scientific fields don’t magically become less sophisticated over time, they become more sophisticated. Every time they run a new mass-scale manipulation, whether it succeeds or fails, they learn from it. And they evolve.

We must remember that the mass media can create false narratives without even speaking them explicitly, just by giving a certain impression. After the Iraq invasion 70 percent of Americans still believed Saddam was responsible for 9/11, just because reporters and politicians kept mentioning the two in the same breath.

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Supporting the Vietnam war was dumb. Supporting the Iraq invasion after being lied to about Vietnam was an order of magnitude dumber. Supporting any US war agendas after being lied to about Iraq is an order of magnitude even dumber than that.

The debate about whether America has the moral authority to intervene in other countries was settled once and for all eighteen years ago. Western mass media have spent the last eighteen years trying to slowly spin the narrative away from facts and reality, but the Iraq invasion invalidates them all.

Iraq should be a one-word debunk of all pro-regime change arguments. You should be able to just say “Iraq” and have whoever’s pushing escalations and interventionism sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. The fact that that isn’t enough shows how insanely propagandized we are.

America shouldn’t be in the Middle East at all, much less Iraq, and the US government is solely responsible for every American soldier who dies there.

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When a known compulsive liar asks you to place your faith in him on a very important matter, you tell him to fuck off. When the western empire tells you to trust them that an evil government needs to be ousted, you take it with an Iraq-sized grain of salt.

Never let anyone shout you down for openly doubting US intelligence on foreign nations. Iraq means they don’t get to do that anymore. Ever.

I promise I will always fight to remind the world about the Iraq invasion. I will always do everything I can to make sure that as many people as possible view all actions of the US-centralized power establishment through the lens of what they did to that country for as long as I draw breath.

I will always do everything I can to keep Iraq from being dismissed as an anomaly of history that could never happen again. Whenever the empire talks about Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Yemen, or any other country, I will be talking about what they did to Iraq.

You don’t get to butcher a million people and then say “Oh yeah, but that was a whole eighteen years ago. You can trust us now.” That’s not a thing. The world has no business taking US defense and intelligence agencies at their word about anything ever again.

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I write about imperial warmongering not just because it is intrinsically evil, but because it is the clearest evidence I can point to that the people who are running things are too sociopathic to be left in charge. The power structure which raped Iraq should not exist. Period.

The way I see it we’ve got two options: find a way to drastically change the way we think and function as a species, or pray that the world will be saved by the same ruling elites who destroyed Iraq while making the poor poorer for the benefit of the extremely wealthy.

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