That means the media can go back to doing what it does best: creating a “debate” over how many countries we should invade, without any discussion of how our invasions created the very situation in which we feel we have to contemplate more invasions. It’s like the early Bush years all over again.
The only thing more farcical than the White House’s position is the Republican party’s: after months of hyperbolic grandstanding over Obama’s supposed abuses of executive power when it comes to immigration, health care, net neutrality or anything else, his political opposition has suddenly decided that they won’t agree to pass anything that doesn’t give the president absolutely unlimited authority to engage in a forever war with Isis.
Meanwhile, the featured guests on those major network sunday shows – many of whom have never met a war they didn’t like anyway – tried to out-tough each other this week for who would go to war with Isis harder. It’s their standard script: Just six months ago in the lead up to the first bombs dropping on Iraq and Syria, those shows had 89 guests on to talk about the prospective Isis war. Only one of them was decidedly anti-war.
Television punditry is, as it always has been, all war all the time.
No sane person questions that ISIS is a vile group, without which the planet would be a safer, quieter place. But America cannot defeat that foe. ISIS would not be in Iraq right now if American soldiers had not invaded that country. If we were to return, our involvement would only give credibility to the crazies, turning ISIS opponents into new recruits.
The beheading videos were designed to draw America back into the region. ISIS wants us there.
Wesley Clarke, in the video embedded above, makes the point that so many others (including this humble blogger) have made: We created ISIS. Actually, Clarke is careful to specify that our "allies" did the dirty work -- but does anyone truly believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey would make such a move without our knowledge and against our advice?
This is The End. Everyone is talking about Graeme Wood's profile of ISIS and its underlying theology. Even those who have already read widely on the topic will find this piece useful. I didn't know (for example) that ISIS expects to have nearly all of its members killed just before the Second Coming of Jesus.
Like previous writers, Wood notes that ISIS believes in an end-times mythos strikingly similar to that accepted by fundamentalist Christians reared on Hal Lindsey and the "Left Behind" books. It's basically the same crap with different names. For example, the final battle will be fought not in the valley of Megiddo but on the plains of Dabiq (near Aleppo), so please adjust your appointment books accordingly.
If you fire up Google Earth, you can get an advance look at the place of The Grand Finale. Yeesh. Kind of dismal, innit?
We need to invent a religion with a better apocalypse location. Let me toss out a suggestion: Albuquerque. Seriously. Think of the advantages -- as we wait for the ultimate blast-out, we can gorge on blue corn enchiladas and green chile burgers while chugging Dos Equis. In this new eschatology, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe will be serving sopapillas and honey, along with green sauce made with fresh chiles from Hatch. You guys down with that?
Fools march in. Wood's piece ends with some sensible advice. Despite all of the propaganda we've been hearing, ISIS does not pose a direct threat to the United States. The first and foremost objective of ISIS is to conquer and convert (or eradicate) millions of Shiites. Since ISIS will never be able to fulfill that task, they are never going to get around to us.
Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive.
Wood concludes that a "vast ground invasion would certainly make the situation worse."
He doesn't mention the great obvious thing that no-one in our media is allowed to mention: There is already a vast, professional combat force fighting ISIS. It is called the Syrian military. The Syrians are favored in this endeavor by Iran, Jordan, and Egypt -- not a bad beginning for a grand alliance. Just as Muslims have been the primary victims of ISIS, only Muslims can conquer ISIS.
If Obama truly wanted ISIS to disappear, he would quietly back the pro-Assad forces. Until our president gives up his dangerous dream of regime change in Syria, we should do everything we can to resist the calls for American intervention.
An Authorization for the Use of Military Force is not needed and should not be granted.
Seriously, Albuquerque as the site of the apocalypse? Not sure whether I should be honored or appalled. Molly in Germany.
posted by Anonymous : 6:45 AM
May be off topic but there is something nagging at me about Isis videos. Why is it no one of their victims mess up the production for them? They all looked to me to be doing their part perfectly. They know what is going to happen why make it easy for them.
posted by Anonymous : 7:47 AM
Molly, I'm open to alternative suggestions. Do you know a better place? What we're looking for here is a kick-back-and-relax kind of apocalypse. We need something that'll make our new religion more attractive than its competitors.
I could be cool with Albuquerque, but give me a bit to get there from the North.
And I've been thinking a lot about Isis and propaganda. Everything from twilight language to agendas to false flags. So I see Downton Abbey has a dog star. And no her name is not Sirius, but it is Isis. Week before last Isis was either "sick" or "pregnant". This week they said she had cancer (but she's not dead yet). So tune in next week Americans to see what really happens to Isis. If you are English you already know. (does that mean MI5 is more aware than the CIA?)
posted by Hildy : 9:55 AM
No fucking way. Burque is the new Hollywood (Breaking Bad, anyone? or just ask Johnny Depp.)
Go pick on somebody else, dammitj, and leave us alone.
posted by LandOLincoln : 7:07 PM
1. It's Clark, not Clarke; and
2. I've lived in Burque since late 1991, long enough to see it grow into its nickname "Little L.A," especially in terms of film and TV production (Breaking Bad, anyone?)
But I still miss the real thing. I've never loved anywhere the way I loved Los Angeles--I'm from Illinois originally--and probably never will.
Every day I go back for at least a little while, mentally and emotionally, to take my favorite walk through the hills above the Silverlake reservoir, while the late, great Warren Zevon sings "Meet me in L.A." in what's left of my head.