Thursday, September 11, 2014

Here we go again

As I listen to NPR this morning, it appears that President Obama has forgotten that his stated Middle East foreign policy was to avoid doing anything stupid. The Stupid has begun -- we're about to start spending a gazillion dollars on air strikes against an amorphous threat that can't be defeated with high dollar, kills from a distance weaponry. The Islamic State (ISIS) is highly mobile and can easily fade back into the general population in major cities like Mosul. As soon as we start targeting urban targets, we've stepped up the jihad recruiting drive. There's nothing quite like losing kids or elderly relatives to a U.S. drone strike to turn people from neutral civilians into active anti-American jihad supporters. Scriptwriters for television shows and movies have figured this out, why don't the policy wonks in DC get it?

IMHO, you know what our foreign policy in the Middle East should be? We should just walk away. Not our circus, not our monkeys. Let the Sunnis and the Shi'ites and the Iranians, Iraqis, Kurds, you name it, just slug it out among themselves. We don't need the region's oil, we ignore humanitarian crises all the time if it's not in corporate interests to pay attention to them -- if you don't believe that, look at how quickly Congress said no to providing additional funding to help fight the spread of Ebola in west Africa -- so why do we care about ISIS? Yes, the execution of those journalists was barbaric, but (to be totally cold about it) those guys knew journalists get killed in war zones on a regular basis. They walked into a killing zone with their eyes wide open. Would we all be freaking out about taking out ISIS now if James Foley or Steven Sotloff had died by getting hit by a stray bullet or an IED blowing up their vehicle?

I know, I know. . . there's been a lot of handwringing about how some Americans, along with assorted European idiots, have managed to get recruited into ISIS and they could "bring the terrorist threat home." Oh really? And how are they going to do that? The last time I looked, you couldn't walk from Iraq to the U.S. What's the point of having customs officials at airports if not to prevent suspicious characters from entering the country? Instead of wasting money on drones and missiles, the U.S. should be stepping up intelligence gathering and figuring out just who some of the young idiots are that have been seduced by the prospect of LARPing Counter Strike or Call of Duty. Because, let's face it, the demographic ISIS and the other jihadi groups want to recruit are not geeks or serious religious scholars; ISIS wants the dudes in their late 'teens and early 20s who get off on shooting stuff. Their fantasies aren't about creating a caliphate that follows a pure version of Islam; they're still suffering from testosterone poisoning and dreaming about impressing everyone with just how bad ass they are. And, if they're lucky, they'll get laid in the process. Anyone who doesn't think that's part of the ISIS playbook hasn't been paying attention: kidnapping women and girls and doling them out as rewards to the "warriors" is SOP.

You know, if we really wanted to stop ISIS we'd figure out a way to cut off the flow of money. ISIS is managing to sell oil in Turkey -- how hard could it be to stop that business? But we're not going to do that -- and you know why? Because if we cut off the flow of money and ISIS withered into a nonthreat, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and the other defense contractors would end up with unsold inventory. Marketplace Money had a report yesterday on how much the various munitions cost. Every time the military uses a Tomahawk missile, it's just spent over $1 million. War is good for business; peace is not.


  1. and if I said it once I've said it 30 times..we're fucked

  2. We could use some of that unsold military inventory here in Ukraine.


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