The debate over bombing ISIS in Syria rests on what one can only assume is a deliberate misapprehension. The imputation of this "debate" is that we "must do something" to quell and defeat ISIS; and the essential, imperative thing we must do to accomplish this vital goal is to bomb Syria. But of course the UK is already bombing ISIS. It bombs ISIS nearly every day -- in the group's heartland, Iraq. It has flown "thousands of missions" against ISIS, dropped tons of bombs, killed many people. Has this quelled or defeated ISIS, or curtailed its reach? Obviously not.
(UPDATED BELOW) (UPDATED AGAIN) For the past few days, I’ve had the curious experience of being — peripherally, indirectly — a political football. The original piece I wrote on the Paris bombing got picked up by StopTheWar UK, an organization associated with Jeremy Corbyn, and was then used by Labour Blairites and Tory twits to bash Corbyn for the “sickening” article, which showed what an ungodly radical he really was. He was later asked about it by the BBC.
People see the carnage in Paris, and cry, “When will this end?” The hard answer is that it is not going to end, not any time soon. We are living through the horrific consequences of decisions and actions taken long ago, as well as those of being taken right now. The currents and movements set in motion by these actions cannot be quelled in an instant — not by wishing, not by hashtags of solidarity or light shows on iconic buildings … and certainly not by more bombing, destruction, repression and lies, which are the main drivers of our present-day hell.
We, the West, overthrew Saddam by violence. We overthrew Gadafy by violence. We are trying to overthrow Assad by violence. Harsh regimes all — but far less draconian than our Saudi allies, and other tyrannies around the world. What has been the result of these interventions? A hell on earth, one that grows wider and more virulent year after year.
This is my latest column for CounterPunch Magazine, written earlier this month: When I heard of the deadly U.S. strike on the Médecins Sans Frontières facility in Kunduz on October 3, I thought of this fragment of ancient history, written by a lowly scribe years ago:
While we're all going back in time to talk about bigwigs who supported and/or collaborated with the Nazis, let's take a look at this smoking gun that recently appeared in the London Review of Books: documentary proof of the former King of England's treason with the Nazis, supplying them with top-secret info from high-level war strategy meetings. (Of course, I suppose the Mufti of Jerusalem talked the Duke of Windsor into this treachery; as we all know, thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Mufti had magical powers that could make even a good guy like Hitler do bad things.)
Deep State is a Terror State, Torture State,Tyrant State — and it’s OK with that.
The shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, is turning into a David Lynch movie. First, there's the sheriff who's a Sandy Hook "truther," now there's the shooter's mother who was stockpiling weapons and taking her troubled son to remote shooting ranges. She believed the government was about to confiscate guns, so she kept buying them. But here's the truth: it is now far easier to buy weapons, and much harder to trace who owns them, than at ANY TIME IN US HISTORY. So where do so many people get the idea that the 'guvmint' is coming to take their weapons -- when the 'guvmint' can't even pass a single law regulating gun sales, and when there has NEVER been a single 'guvmint' proposal to "confiscate" guns? These hysterical lies stem directly from the rightwing echo chamber: Murdoch, Limbaugh, the NRA, etc. So how much responsibility do these deliberate liars bear for the actions of those who believe their base falsehoods? Plenty.
"Lone nut" gunmen: natural fruit of the system. Hypercapitalism destroys social, family, community and economic bonds; it sews division, isolation, competition, greed; lauds force and violence and war as supreme values; turns rape and murder into nightly entertainment; dehumanizes and commodifies human beings at every turn ... and then we wonder why our society produces so many troubled, isolated, violent souls out there. A system set up on dehumanization and moral insanity is bound to produce the kind of damaged psyches we see falling prey to the hate that fills the nightmind of the internet -- and the broad daylight of Establishment violence and brutality -- and who then go walking into schools and churches and workplaces to act out the destructive chaos they hear in their heads ... and see in the world.
The Daily Telegraph is an odd duck. Loathsome in almost every respect — from its nutball, feudal lord owners to its repulsive politics — from time to time it will suddenly print a piece of reportage that undercuts the prevailing propaganda narratives of the Anglosphere’s oh-so-very-free press.
Looks like the Times is giving the Guardian a run for their money in the "most ludicrously trivial slanting of Corbyn coverage" contest. First the Guardian noted the lèse majesté of Corbyn's lip movements (or lack thereof) during the national anthem; now the Times damns his bicycle for its associations with far-left mass murder. (The kind Corbyn is obviously plotting for all those who resist his evil plans to create a howling, hellish Britain with less war and fewer poor).