Congratulations to both the Obama Administration and the Cheney-McCain war hawks, I guess. They have been successful, according to the latest polls, in whipping up enough fear in the brains of average Americans that now the public mostly supports doing something military to stamp out the newest version of terror, now a.k.a. ISIS.
The president last night of course declared he has legal authority to use fighter jets and drones to chase a concept called terror pretty much wherever he chooses. Run-of-the-mill legal scholars disagree, but since the Republican neocons are, as always, foaming at the mouth for more manly military intervention everywhere, it’s a cinch, as always, that there will be no congressional challenge to yet another Executive Branch military overreach.
So the circle is completed and Obama becomes the same man he replaced as president a few years ago by running on a platform of ending endless war. President Obama assures this latest foray will involve no “combat boots on the ground,” although some 1,400 soldier types already have been sent over and you can bet this number will escalate and escalate, if my memory serves (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq I).
As for the air strikes President Obama now has authorized himself to order up in Iraq and Syria and wherever, it turns out many of them already are being undertaken with the purpose of destroying major weapons we left behind in the hands of the Iraqi army, who abandoned them, pooped their collective pants and ran away in the face of ISIS militia. If you count the original cost of the tanks, armoured vehicles, Howitzer cannons and the like that we (you know, the taxpayers) paid for in the first place, which we now must pay to have destroyed, these air strikes carry a taxpayer price tag of from about $1.5 million up to more than $12 million apiece.
That is certainly a fine thing if you happen to be sitting on top of a pile of Lockheed Martin or Boeing or Northrop Grumann stock, but it sucks for the rest of America, which has yet to recover from the Great Recession of 2008, and now faces the prospect of economic fall-out from yet another unfunded war without any defined endgame.
I guess this aspect is what gets me the most: These guys (the last two presidents and the Neocon Pack) work the citizenry up into a froth of fear (often without any basis whatsoever, I might add), then propel us into what amounts to full-on war, regardless of which weasel words they use to describe it. And they never seem to have a plan for ending the thing. It’s almost as if they don’t want to ever end the thing, almost as if they all were sitting on piles of Lockheed Martin or Boeing or Northrop Grumann stock, or campaign contributions.
What if we referred to what the U.S. is doing in more accurate terms? We have not declared war on “terror.” We have declared war on an emotion. We have declared war on anger. These jihadist groups have one thing in common, at least: They are so angry at American policy that they seem willing to go to any lengths to hurt us.
It turns out that a lot of this anger has been built up inside people whose family members may have, for instance, been blown up as corollary damage in drone strikes or military actions that the Bush Jr. or Obama administrations authorized themselves to conduct over the past few years.
So how do American Neocons respond to this newer anger? Why, by ramping up air strikes around cities and towns full of innocent civilians who through no fault of their own found their territory controlled by ISIS.
In other words, we are taking action pretty much guaranteed to create more angry militants than now exist, apparently guaranteeing the need for us to blow up more angry militants, with sufficient corollary damage to create even more angry militants. This is what happens when you declare war on an emotion such as anger, or on a concept such as terror.
In truth, the drug cartels of Mexico and South America have and continue to pose something closer to a terrorist threat to U.S. citizens than does ISIS, the beheading of two American journalists notwithstanding.
And meanwhile, while we tie up our military assets battling anger in the Mideast, who is left to stop Putin as he methodically steals back all the countries that broke away from the totalitarian old Soviet Union? NATO and the Europeans? Not bloody likely, sports fans.
“Well,” as Oliver Hardy once said to Stan Laurel, “here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.”