Michael Crowley

Chief foreign affairs correspondent for Time magazine Michael Crowley had an telling tweet today: “U.S. official says that in the past, ISIS’s agenda has seemed ‘preposterous’ in its ambition — not so much anymore.”

When radical Islamic extremists say they want to kill Americans, they find ways to kill Americans. When radical Islamic extremists say want to create an Islamic caliphate, they actively work around the clock to make that happen. It may take a century or two in their mind, but this many years after September 11, 2001 it is intellectually criminal for policy makers to dismiss their publicly stated plans.

The goals of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have never been “preposterous” — the willful ignorance of U.S. politicians is preposterous. Sadly, even when American-jihadists openly state their intentions to “bring back the caliphate,” as if beheadings and stonings were no different than an Eminem album, the world refuses to take them seriously. (Guess who’s back? Back again. Jihad’s back! Tell a friend.)

Here is a newsflash from Minnesota Public Radio:

Over the past few months, as many as 15 young Somali-American men from the Twin Cities have traveled to Syria to join radical groups trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s regime, according to the FBI.

One of the men, Abdirahmaan Muhumed, told MPR News through a series of Facebook messages that he is fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS, as it is commonly known, captured the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit this week.

“A Muslim has to stand up for [what’s] right,” Muhumed, 29, wrote in a Jan. 2 post. “I give up this worldly life for Allah.” …

Muhumed said in Facebook messages that ISIS is “trying to bring back the khilaafa,” a reference to an Islamic empire. He also said “Allah loves those who fight for his cause.”

Someone is recruiting Twin City terrorists and the FBI doesn’t know the point man. The scary thing is that you probably have friends and family members who aren’t too concerned that 15 Somali-Americans have packed up and headed off to Syria in search of the best terrorist training jihad can buy. Some of these guys will come back to U.S. shores as ISIL “veterans,” and when they do it won’t be pretty.

 

Al Qaeda AP

I normally don’t like to quote myself, but I will since this is a post about U.S. officials who are shocked at what’s going on in the Middle East:

March 30, 2012: In Bush’s absence, elected losers silent on Afghanistan’s importance

If we return to the pre-9/11 mindset in order to combat Islamic terrorism, then we will have 9/11-type results. It’s really that simple. The delivery vehicle for their terrorism may very well be different, but the body count and subsequent effect on the economy will be the same or worse.

April 26, 2012: Why the West matters: Buried alive in Syria, sex with the dead in Egypt

Western Civilization is something special, but people have a way of taking the special things in their life for granted. For a long time now the United States—and more broadly Western Civilization—has been a beacon of light in a really dark, really weird world. The guys who are burying their countrymen alive and the ones crafting laws that would make it okay to defile a dead body—they play for keeps. If we don’t find our moral compass, speak up, stand up and fight for our culture then they’ll take that too.

They. Play. For. Keeps. That is the bottom line. Unfortunately, American officials refuse to take them at their word because to do so would mean that we would have to show commitment equal to — or greater than — their own to have a fighting chance at stemming the tide.

Here is what Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told U.S. troops only five years ago:

The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S. detention camp in Iraq in 2009.

“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.

He wasn’t bluffing. He wants to bring terror to the United States, and his ideological friends across the world want to help him. Maybe one or two them will be from Minnesota if we don’t take them seriously.

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

54 comments

    1. Here you go:

      “In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term ‘al-Sham’ refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt, also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area. The standard English term for this broad territory is ‘the Levant.’ Therefore, AP’s translation of the group’s name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL,” says Tom Kent, AP standards editor.

      ‘The term ISIL also avoids the common misunderstanding, stemming from the initials ISIS, that the group’s name is the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.’ ” Mr. Kent says, noting that “Iraq and Greater Syria” is acceptable. “But saying just ‘Iraq and Syria’ suggests incorrectly that the group’s aspirations are limited to these two present-day countries.'”

    1. The link I shared describes why AP is using ISIL. There’s nothing really wrong with ISIS, but that’s what they’re going with. I’m really okay with either one, but I suppose if ISIL is more accurate I’ll go with that.

  1. “Over the past few months, as many as 15 young Somali-American men from the Twin Cities have traveled to Syria to join radical groups trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s regime, according to the FBI.”

    It’s scary stuff indeed. What happens when these guys get back to the US? Are they just going to settle down to normal everyday life or will they have an hyper-heightened agenda?

    I’m all for multi-culturalism to a degree. I’m the product of it. My parents emigrated from Italy to Australia as young adults in the late 50s – early 60’s. As a first generation Italian-Australian, I am proud of my Italian heritage, but I am first and foremost an Australian. My parents became Australian citizens, they assimilated to the Aussie way of life, raised a family and prospered in this great land.

    You can bet my bottom dollar that if Italy became a world threat, I would not be traveling abroad to support their cause.

    It may be politically incorrect, but if I was the US government I would deport the 15 young Somali-American men back to their country of origin. I think it’s hypocritical they choose to live in the US with all the benefits that freedom and democracy entails and yet have a strong conviction to fight for a belief which is ultimately against democratic western civilization.

    1. It may be politically incorrect, but if I was the US government I would deport the 15 young Somali-American men back to their country of origin. I think it’s hypocritical they choose to live in the US with all the benefits that freedom and democracy entails and yet have a strong conviction to fight for a belief which is ultimately against democratic western civilization.

      Yep. They game the system quite well. The Boston bombers were the same way. Their family was on food stamps, and they were using the money as they plotted and planned their attack. They even flew to Russia and received bomb-making skills, etc. The FBI was tipped off by Russia, and all it apparently did was ask them a few questions: “Hey, are you guys terrorists? Durrrrm,” and when the answer was no they let them drop off the radar. I suppose keeping an eye on them would have offended somebody…

  2. Great article!

    Magnetic Eye I also think you have a great point “I think it’s hypocritical they choose to live in the US with all the benefits that freedom and democracy entails and yet have a strong conviction to fight for a belief which is ultimately against democratic western civilization.”

    Douglas how do you feel about some die hard left views that we started this war?

    1. Douglas how do you feel about some die hard left views that we started this war?

      I think it’s interesting that individuals on the hard left have talking points that could be pulled from any of al Qaeda’s “best of” grievance speeches. (e.g., the U.S. needs to not buy oil; the U.S. needs to have zero footprint in the Middle East; the U.S. supports Israel, etc.)

      I suppose George W. Bush is to blame for the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. And the USS Cole attack. And September 11, 2001. And embassy bombings around the globe that took place before he was president.

      There is no way to know how Iraq would look today if we didn’t invade. Would the “Arab Spring” still have happened? I think so. Why would Saddam have been immune to everything that’s going on in Syria? Why would he have escaped the kind of uprising that happened in Egypt? Or the uprising in Libya? Or what’s going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan? There is no way to know.

      What we do know is that Obama a.) never had a coherent policy on Syria as it imploded over the last 3 years, and b.) he didn’t get a SOFA with Iraq. His excuse for not getting an agreement is downright silly. The chaos in Syria spilled into Iraq and it overloaded a nation that was already incredibly fragile. Just like the U.S. left troops in Germany and Japan, it should have left a certain amount of troops in Iraq — to make sure the gains you make aren’t squandered when it all hangs in the balance.

      I can go on forever. Besides, for all intents and purposes we were led to believe that everything was the big bad George W. Bush’s fault, and that Mr. Obama’s election in 2008 would end terrorism because the world would want to work with us. Our allies would see what a swell guy the president is compared to that cowboy, and with everyone working together terrorism would cease to be the threat it was to the nation during Bush’s tenure.

      I can go on and on. I’ll stop there for now.

    2. Thank you, I feel the same way I find it fascinating that the far left tends to prefer to put the blame of the world on our country. With that said I have yet to see them provide a detailed argument to support their views yet someone like you can rationally share your view without the use of any derogatory terms. With that alone I cannot fathom why you and others like us are the crazy ones?

    3. I think that individuals on the far left, while generally godless, try to turn themselves into society’s saints through intellectual self-flagellation. They don’t beat themselves with reeds or whips or chains. Their mortification is a done by beating themselves up over political issues.

      We are to blame for 9/11. We are to blame for terrorism. We are responsible for turmoil in the Middle East. We are responsible for the planet’s climate in any given era — especially if it’s too hot or too cold or too humid or too dry. We are responsible for the random minority who can’t get a job in 2014. We are responsible for the lady who earns less than some random guy in her workplace. Remember prior to the Iraq War there were westerners going over to the Middle East to become human shields? And Saddam’s Baath Party thugs, along with Udai and Kusai Hussein (proud owners of rape rooms and torture rooms) just sat back and laughed?

      The interesting thing is that the self-flagellation quickly turns from them to … you. “We” becomes, “Actually, you Truthwillwin1.” After a devious bait-and-switch, you are to blame for 9/11. You are to blame for terrorism. You are to blame for turmoil in the Middle East. You are responsible for the planet’s destruction. You are responsible for the minority in Florida who can’t get a job.

      And when you look at the hard core liberal’s intellectual beating stick and say, “Hey, how come you keep beating me? When are you going to beat yourself up?” they essentially say, “Oh, my penance is already complete. It’s your turn. The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

      My guess is that no matter how Iraq turned out, there would be an international cause somewhere around the globe that would suffice for another “we are the world’s worst” beating session.

  3. “The interesting thing is that the self-flagellation quickly turns from them to … you. “We” becomes, “Actually, you Truthwillwin1.””

    That is a fascinating perspective and it would validate their “I was for it, now I am against it behavior”.
    They do tend to shift blame to the other side, with that said I would consider then as false martyrs. They blame themselves until it is time to take responsibility then they change the narrative to avoid the consequences. I guess they are like kamikaze pilots with parachutes. I believe they use there martyrdom as a ploy for sympathy and attention and it appears to be working.

    I think we need to do a better job of educating people on the facts so they no longer can play these games. We cannot sit by and complain about how they dominate the media instead we need to get up and take a stand and use the same tools that have been used against us to provide another perspective. I feel they are aware of this and that is one of the reasons they use the guise of tolerance as a method of censorship.

    1. “The interesting thing is that the self-flagellation quickly turns from them to…you.”

      C.S. Lewis described it as, “The vice of detraction masquerading as the virtue of contrition.”

    2. Tom, I feel as though I have to come clean: When it comes to C.S. Lewis, I’m behind the power curve. Every time I see him quoted or run across random excerpts from his work I’m impressed, but I haven’t taken the time out to really sit down and do what needs to be done (e.g., read The Screwtape Letters).

  4. ISIS was strengthened by US-backed efforts to topple Assad and armed in part with weapon caches “liberated” from the NATO-imposed regime change in Libya. now ISIS is being used to get Maliki out in order to insert a more compliant stooge, like the Neocon favorite, Chalabi.

    1. Guess who’s back? Back again. Lizard’s back. Tell a friend! Guess who’s back? Guess who’s back? Guess who’s back? Guess who’s back?

      “Neocon”? Are you now arguing that Barack Obama and his national security team are all a bunch of “neocons”? They’re in charge. The buck stops with him (no matter how much he tries to pretend that it doesn’t), and the last time I checked the big bad BushHitler (one word) is no longer in office.

      There weren’t any U.S. “efforts” to topple Assad, if by “effort” you mean a serious attempt to implement a coherent foreign policy. There wasn’t much more than foreign policy finger painting going on, which just smeared the mess around.

      As I said: this is what “leading from behind” gets us. Obama sloughs off real leadership in favor of allowing the chips to fall where they may, and then he essentially says everyone is to blame. He passes around enough bombs (or drops them) to give the appearance that he has some sort of plan, when in reality he has no clue what he’s doing — he’s just a community organizer who is making things go “boom” while the world’s worst actors on the world stage laugh at him. If you’re a fan of chaos — and terrorist organizations thrive on it — Mr. Obama is the guy you want in office.

      If my name were either Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping I would be pushing the envelope as much as possible for the next couple of years… As annoying as Putin is, he is a pretty shrewd character.

      Question: President Obama gives Lizard19 a phone call at 3:00 a.m. and says: “Lizard, your country needs you. What should I do with this ISIL mess in Iraq and Syria?” What is your plan. Go.

    2. there’s not much he can do. ISIS is going to help partition Iraq, which will make Israel happy, Maliki will go one way or another, which will be bad for Iran, and war will spread, which is good for arms manufacturers.

      and yes, I think there are elements of the Neocon agenda alive and well near the Obama administration. what did Robert Kagan recently say about Hillary Clinton? he said “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy”.

    3. So when Lizard19 gets the 3:00 a.m. phone call from the president his advice, for all intents and purposes, is: “There is nothing you can do.”

      It’s really easy to sit back on the sidelines and rail against the “neocon agenda” and “arms manufacturers.” It’s another thing to actually offer useful advice for policy makers who are responsible for protecting the American people. Right now it sounds like you have a good idea for a Hollywood movie that features shadowy groups and world-wide conspiracies, but I’m not sure you’d last very long on the president’s national security team.

    4. I have no desire to get into an extended debate with you on why a radical Islamic organization that is (somehow) more radical than al Qaeda, is a threat to U.S. national security. I’m confident that 99.9 percent of Americans who happen to see your question will just shake their head and laugh.

      The fact that you asked that question in a blog post that references the Somali-Americans currently in Syria fighting on behalf of ISIL makes it even more cringe-worthy. It would have only been better if you said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “I’ll see you guys in New York” quote was really just a reference to his life-long yearning to see the Statue of Liberty and eat a Nathan’s hot dog.

    5. I’m keeping my comments short, like your tolerance of my perspective.

      weapons are flowing into the region through proxies like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. the real scandal in Benghazi was arms getting funneled by the CIA, compromising a diplomatic post and drawing blowback.

      I’ll leave it at that. I’m not sure what the conditions of my presence on your virtual property are.

    6. Lizard19, the past eight months without hearing your negativity or conspiracy theories has been wonderful. I gave you eight months to think about how to behave like a rational adult here, so if you haven’t figured it by now my guess is that it won’t be long before you’re booted again.

      During the course of this conversation you’ve: 1. Said if the president called and asked for your advice you’d say there is nothing he can do. 2. That ISIL is essentially not a threat to national security. 3. That instead of talking about ISIL in a post about ISIL that we should really be talking specifically about the CIA, how evil it allegedly is, and whatever conspiracy theories are on your mind. I’m not sure if you still have your blog, but I’m assuming you or one of your buddies has the conspiracy blog post covered. That would be the appropriate place for that conversation.

      Before your last ban you admitted that you’ve trolled my blog. Coming back after a ban and whining about “tolerance” is laughable.

    7. First of all, the question isn’t what he should do in Iraq because the problem isn’t just in Iraq. It’s also in Syria. So the problem is exponentially more difficult now.

      I’m on record as saying Obama should have figured out a way to secure a SOFA, which would have allowed the U.S. to leave residual troops behind. Do you remember the scene in Dumber and Dumber where Jim Carrey goes, “Hey, guys! Oh, Big Gulps, eh? Well, see you later!” That’s what Obama did, but it was like, “Hey guys! Oh, Big Guns, eh? Well, see you later!” You can’t just leave a bunch of equipment behind and say, “Good luck.” We kept forces behind in Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc. when those nations were in an incredibly fragile position … but not in Iraq. Wise move, Mr. President.

      In no particular order, these are some of the things that need to happen:

      1. Iraq’s border needs to be sorted out. It’s a jihad free-for-all between Syria and Iraq. That needs to end.
      2. Iraq needs someone in charge who isn’t going to foment sectarian tensions. I’m sure you’ll continue to call that person a “stooge,” but I’d rather have a sane guy who is called a “stooge of the West” than someone who is in reality a “stooge of Iran.” Where is the Iraqi George Washington? It appears as though they only have a bunch of radical Islamic Benedict Arnolds. It doesn’t help that the head choppers always kill the doctors, lawyers and academics who are sane … but hopefully there are a few candidates left in that mess somewhere.
      3. Iraq’s military needs to be purged of al-Maliki “stooges” that were inserted the moment we left. It needs a professional Army that makes its recruits feel as though they’re serving all of Iraq — not just Sunnis, or Shia or Kurds. We made a lot of progress with that, and then when we left al-Maliki seems to have done his best to turn it into a “Only Shiites Need Apply” Army.
      4. American troops need to be in Iraq. I’m not sure of the number (I don’t get intelligence briefings) but someone needs to help with intelligence gathering on ISIL, calling in air strikes, etc.
      5. There needs to be some sort of coherent plan to get Syria under control. If you’ve heard one from the president let me know.

      The president’s problem is that he refuses to acknowledge that in the absence of American leadership, that vacuum will be filled by someone else. When we exit, someone else steps in. The problem with the Middle East is that it’s not filled with “good guys” and “bad guys.” It’s generally filled with bad guys, really bad guys and a few good guys who are silent because the other two groups have a thing for killing anyone who disagrees with them.

      I do not favor Hube’s “bomb the shit out of them” approach, although I understand why he feels that way. I’ve said for a long time that I hope the “leaders” in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. realize that a.) We came as liberators the first time, but if we return it will probably be to turn the place into a glass parking lot because the American people won’t tolerate another round of this crap, and b.) We haven’t used 1/8 of our military might. We’ve been fighting with both hands tied behind our back while blindfolded.

      I have to assume that if another American president enters into war in the region that the real “shock and awe” will take place. I would prefer for that not to happen, obviously, but large swathes of the Middle East and parts of Africa seem dead set (no pun intended) on bringing back an Islamic caliphate. That is incompatible with Western Civilization. President Obama may think that you can just declare a war over and walk away, but the enemy has the final say in the matter. Again, he seems to refuse to acknowledge reality. Thankfully, he’ll be out of office in 2016.

    8. what do you think Obama should do in Iraq?

      As an opponent of the initial invasion, here’s my answer: Bomb the shit out of them. What Bush should have done in ’02 if Saddam did not follow UN requests, rather than invade.

  5. I always thought the first Bush was smart to put on the brakes when he did in the first Iraq ordeal; there are so many factions at work in that part of the world, nothing seems to be peaceably resolved.

    My problem with the second Bush’s invasion was I wasn’t sure they really thought things through, post invasion. Two success stories of post US military action have been Western Europe and South Korea, but that takes a lot of dedicated effort, money, and keeping sizable forces there. If that isn’t going to happen, lack of a SOFA or whatnot; we are left with either staying out or some variation of Hube’s bombing campaign.

    1. My problem with the second Bush’s invasion was I wasn’t sure they really thought things through, post invasion. Two success stories of post US military action have been Western Europe and South Korea, but that takes a lot of dedicated effort, money, and keeping sizable forces there. If that isn’t going to happen, lack of a SOFA or whatnot; we are left with either staying out or some variation of Hube’s bombing campaign.

      My personal preference would have been for them to wait awhile until after the dust settled in Afghanistan before pushing on Iraq. Given the way Saddam Hussein gave the middle finger to the world for well over a decade, I can see where Bush wanted to put an end to that sort of thing post 9/11. I still believe that the U.S. had the moral authority to put an end to the run-around Saddam was giving the U.N., but that doesn’t mean that it was the right time and place to act.

      I find it rather interesting that Gaddafi gave up his WMD after we invaded Iraq and actually showed some signs of willingness to work with the west, and yet President Obama was quick to drop bombs on Libya until he was dead due to “humanitarian concerns.” I think there were a couple thousand people dead at the time? And now it’s another jiahdist breeding ground… But yet, in Syria, there are now well over 150,000 people dead and he hasn’t really done anything. He sad on the sidelines and let that spin out of control, and now that too is like the radical Islamic Disney World mixed with basic training. Sigh…

      I think one of the things Iraq highlighted is that the U.S. is sorely lacking in statesmen. We used to have men like George Washington. Now we have … Harry “the war is lost” Reid. You can’t go to war with the political leadership we now have in Washington. Bush, like him or hate him, had a steel spine and a will to win. There aren’t many men like him in Washington.

  6. I’ll respond down here, Doug. and thank you for a lengthy response despite your initial misgivings about an extended debate.

    first, it is unfortunate that Obama didn’t wave the magic wand to get the SOFA his paymasters wanted. remember, there is suppose to be a thin sheen of “democracy” involved in our interventions (for the Democrat rubes back home) so outside a messy coup, Obama had to defer (for awhile) to Iraq’s democratic process.

    second, regarding Syria, you can’t simply dismiss as conspiracy the reality of jihadists like al-Nusra getting weapons and other support from US allies like Saudi Arabia. I’m sure you know about the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and their ties to extremist groups. and don’t forget Turkey wants their piece of the pie.

    so you are right, it’s not just about Iraq. and the ambitions of ISIS to control the levant should no longer be seen as ridiculous.

    I also think sending in troops is a suicide mission, but if it has to be done, put the Neocons front and center so we no longer have to suffer their delusions broadcast on cable news.

    1. First, it is unfortunate that Obama didn’t wave the magic wand to get the SOFA his paymasters wanted.

      If we’re going to speak of “firsts,” then I’d say it was Obama who first billed himself in 2008 as the Uber-Diplomat. One would think that the uber-diplomat could have gotten assurances that U.S. troops would face U.S. justice for crimes committed in Iraq. How weird is it that as of June 23, 2014 President Obama was able to get those assurances from Iraq. I guess when the administration is properly motivated it can get what it wants.

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq has given assurances to the United States that U.S. special operations forces that President Barack Obama has ordered into the country will be shielded from possible prosecution in Iraqi courts, U.S. officials said on Monday.

      It also appears as though you didn’t read my post on Mr. Obama’s failure to secure a SOFA with Iraq. From In Focus Quarterly:

      Given that the U.S. would never agree to leave its people to the mercy of an Iraqi court, Iraqi demands for this condition seemed to be a calculated plan of Shia politicians who needed America out of the way in order to finally advance Iranian hegemony in Iraq. But recent reporting by The New York Times’ Michael Gordon paints a more complicated picture of U.S. incompetence and disengagement. Most notably, the Obama administration’s insistence that any Status of Forces Agreement be ratified by Iraq’s parliament set the stage for the inevitable failure of any agreement.

      Simply put, while a number of Iraqi political leaders may have privately wished for continued American involvement to serve as a buffer and broker between both domestic rivals and neighboring regimes, far fewer were willing to support this position in a public, contentious debate. No one wants to be regarded as an American stooge in the prideful arena of Iraqi politics. Backing parliamentarians into a corner by demanding public ratification doomed a new SOFA to failure.

      I can understand why they wouldn’t want to publicly debate the issue, since support for America in that region often leads to getting your head chopped off, your family and friends killed, etc. Perhaps that nuance escaped the president.

      And from the Long War Journal:

      [Jim Jeffrey, the former US Ambassador to Iraq, in 2012] didn’t necessarily support the larger troop footprint envisioned by military leaders at the time, which reportedly ranged from 8,000 to 16,000 to 24,000 troops, depending on the military official. But he said he firmly believed that troops in Iraq past 2011 were needed and wanted by the Iraqi government.

      Jeffrey said that he and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki personally discussed the idea of extending the U.S. troop presence in Iraq via an executive agreement, which would not have to go through the Iraqi parliament.

      “Maliki said at one point, ‘Why don’t we just do this as an executive agreement?’”

      You see, there were multiple ways the problem could have been worked out — but Mr. Obama did not want any troops in Iraq. He was more concerned about having to deal with the politics of leaving troops in Iraq than doing what was in the long-term national security interests of America. So even though it was quite obvious that we needed some sort of residual force left behind, he wanted zero troops. And that, for all intents and purposes, is exactly what he got. And now the world gets to deal with the consequences.

      I also think sending in troops is a suicide mission, but if it has to be done, put the Neocons front and center so we no longer have to suffer their delusions broadcast on cable news.

      I may have asked this before, but what is the standard definition of “neocon”? It’s kind of a useless word, since it seems like I’ve seemingly seen it applied to every politician or public figure with a foreign policy position that doesn’t mirror Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders. Heck, just the other day you essentially implied that the Obama administration has an infestation of “neocons.” At this point “neocon” is as watered down as “racist” because people love to throw that card on the table at the first opportunity.

      Side note: I saw that you mentioned on your blog that I wanted boots on the ground, but failed to mention that the number I would choose would be dictated by the content given to me in intelligence briefings. I guess adding that tidbit of information would make your “America, Fuck Yeah!” joke less funny. Oh well.

  7. It’s always difficult to judge intentions after the fact. ISIS was birthed and sprung on us as a grown-up and, like all events, our job is to imagine that it is somehow spontaneous and that the largest military force in human history, with scores of bases and billions in armaments in the region, wi its own contrived country nearby, is just watching and hoping for the best. Our job too is to imagine all good intentions in Washington, all malevolent intent elsewhere. Our job too is to imagine cold calculated skill from Republican administrations and incompetence from Democrats. (That last job requires imagining that American elections affect changes in foreign policy, itself a job.)

    It’s tough being an American. We have to form opinions without knowing anything. We do our best. Mr. Ernst, you’re making the best of it.

    1. It’s tough being an American. We have to form opinions without knowing anything. We do our best. Mr. Ernst, you’re making the best of it.

      Your problem is that you’re the type of guy who mistakes sarcasm for intelligence. Your problem is that you’re the type of guy who uses self-congratulation as the basis for public policy. Your problem is that you leave snarky comments on blogs and then smirk at how witty and wise you imagine yourself to be.

      I did a quick perusal of your blog.

      The power behind Obama is the same power that was behind Bush. He’s a right-winger, as was Bush, and to be sold as a liberal or progressive needs a lot of suggestion. Part of that suggestion is in the form of irrational and crazy right-wing opposition to him. […] Obama appears to be that instead of the NeoCon and aggressive right-winger that he is because of the political cover provided in large part by the Tea Party.

      Telling. Obama is a “NeoCon.” You and Lizard19 should meet up for coffee in Missoula, Montana sometime. I suggest Liquid Planet.

    2. Oh, I followed Lizard’s link here, though I am not allowed to comment on his blog, I do like his writing. I am writing about you as we speak, and imagined as I finished that you would not approve my comment, so I came back to grab it before it disappeared. Voila! it made the cut!

      I write a lot about opinion management and thought control in pretend democracies, which require that we imagine our voices to matter. The post you clipped was about how, in my view, the Tea Party was suggested upon us to allow “Obama” political cover to carry forward with the right wing agenda. I’m pretty well read on this stuff, having read Bernays, Ellul, Lippmann, Quigley and Neibuhr, to drop a few names. In essence we are allowed to have huge election extravaganzas as bread and circus while the real business of running the country is done in private. It has to be that way, they say, as the public is uneducated and highly emotional, and yet dangerous if it really does take the reins. Letting us have elections is a palliative. Controlling our choices is essential.

      I am also clever and annoying. You might want to consider banning me.

    3. Oh, I followed Lizard’s link here, though I am not allowed to comment on his blog, I do like his writing.

      I find this quite humorous, given some of the things he’s said about me here and on his own blog…

      In essence we are allowed to have huge election extravaganzas as bread and circus while the real business of running the country is done in private.

      It would be rather odd to have intelligence briefings broadcast on C-SPAN. Regardless, I do think it would be wise for people to focus more on state and local elections than to just assume that electing a new president every four years is going to drastically improve life in, say, your home town in Montana.

      I am also clever and annoying. You might want to consider banning me.

      My guess is that you’re too clever by half. If by “annoying” you’re saying “I’m a troll,” then I’ll have no problem banning you. In your little blog post about me you said you were “just being proactive,” so … again, if you’re admitting you’re a troll just say so and I’ll add you to the banned list ASAP.

      Since I have a little time today before work I’ll even allow the discussion to be side-tracked to talk about … you talking about me. Perhaps it will bring some enjoyment to my regular readers.

      Throughout this post from Douglas Ernst and his wide and varied responses, I am picking up on his sense of powerlessness. He must be validated in some fashion, and for that to happen, his vote has to matter, and if his vote mattered, then having the Neocon fake liberal Obama in office must be having a deleterious effect on foreign policy which must have been prescient before handed over to incompetents in 2008.

      It’s always amusing when liberals try to play Professor X with me. You’re the one essentially saying votes don’t matter, and yet I’m the one who feels powerless? Okay. Gotcha. You may want to consult a physician about projection issues. Not once did I say U.S. foreign policy was perfect prior to the election of Barack Obama, so your intimation that I blindly view the actions of a guy with an ‘R’ next to his name as good and just is also wrong.

      I left a nugget there but Douglas screens comments, so I don’t imagine it will ever see light of day.

      Ouch. Wrong again. You’re 0-3 with three strike outs. Maybe the team should keep you around for your defensive skills.

    4. The Professor X game continues over at Mark’s blog. Since this one made me laugh, I’ll post it here:

      “Doug’s schtick is red meat liberal bashing, but what I find intriguing about his schtick (why I keep coming back) is his pop-culture attacks on liberal universities and liberal Hollywood. Doug represents the new breed of conservatives who aren’t as comfortable with bashing gays and imprisoning stoners, so I think there’s hope, but for some reason (career advancement?) Doug tosses out the meat,” (Lizard19).

      I’m so into advancing my career that I walked away from the largest conservative think tank in the United States and then moved from Washington, D.C. to … New Jersey! What kind of Machiavellian madness is this?! I’d like to think I’m just doing the Sinatra thing: I did it myyyyyyyyyyy waaaaaaaaay!

      Question: When have I ever bashed gay people or pot heads? “Not as comfortable”? Try “not comfortable”… Hey, is that a log in my eye? I think it is. I should concentrate on that instead of pointing out that other guy’s splinter. If the splinter naturally comes up I’ll talk about it, but I generally like to focus on my own flaws.

  8. Did you catch this little nugget Doug?

    Front Page Magazine reported:

    The recent turmoil in Iraq brought on by the rise of the Sunni extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ironically struck a blow to the American Left’s endlessly repeated narrative that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq prior to the war. The State Department and other U.S. government officials have revealed that ISIS now occupies the Al Muthanna Chemicals Weapons Complex. Al Muthanna was Saddam Hussein’s primary chemical weapons facility, and it is located less than 50 miles from Baghdad.

    The Obama administration claims that the weapons in that facility, which include sarin, mustard gas, and nerve agent VX, manufactured to prosecute the war against Iran in the 1980s, do not pose a threat because they are old, contaminated and hard to move. “We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible to safely move the materials,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

    1. Thanks for the link, Big Swede. I saw this reported somewhere else a day or two ago. It’s an interesting reminder that Saddam Hussein wasn’t the toothless dictator the left now makes him out to be. Sure, Baghdad Bob was clownish as Iraq fell to coalition forces, but Saddam was ruthless. I’m forgetting things as the years go by, but I believe the Iraq Study Group Report basically confirmed that Saddam had all or most of his chemical weapons facilities in place for the moment he could fully shake himself of sanctions, weapons inspectors, etc.

      I vaguely remember coalition forces finding giant bunkers filled with, essentially, pesticides in the middle of the desert. It was all precursor materials for WMD, but since it was dual-use materials then the left could still technically say, “See! See! No WMD.” Maybe Saddam was just really, really concerned about insects tormenting gardeners … in the middle of the desert.

    2. Just batting practice, home run derby, softball pitches. CSPAN was a deal cut to allow telecom bills to pass, a palliative. Hardly anyone watches. If you’re seeing an intelligence briefing on CSPAN, I have a bridge here, all shineyed up to sell you. (I have to admit I’ve seen good stuff on CSPAN, and that the censorship there is far less onerous than on the other outlets. But it is only because so few people watch. It presents no threat to power.)

      You immediately reverted to extremes, claiming you never thought there was complete perfection or stupidity in either Democrat and Republican administrations. Not even an issue. My claim is that politics is bread and circus, that almost all people in office are third-rate and fronting for real power, which is silent, and that polices develop over time unaffected by electoral politics, and that it has to be that way because the public is simply not up to the task. Sadly true. Do you watch TV? It’s very stupid out there. You surely see it.

      The problem we have is that we are an oligarchy, so that merit does not play enough of a role in appointment of the people who make and carry out policy. Consequently, we get Bush and Obama as figureheads, but behind them the boiler rooms of financial intrigue and seething self-interest. Fronting for all of this are advertising and public relations, giving us our candidates and elections and TV news readers. Nothing is real. Every word is filtered.

      I think in the fifties it wasn’t much different except … There was real merit, public spirit, a desire for peace. We had some decent leaders. McCarthy drove many of them out, and the McGovern era seems to have killed the Democrat party as a serious counterforce to fascism. That party today is corporate and depends on its faithful dwelling in stupidity to continue to elect cloaked right wingers who only pretend to be lefties in alternating two or four year cycles, depending on the office.,

      Republicans get to be as stupid as they want. There are no right wing gatekeepers, although they abound on the left. At least there is honesty on that side. Democrats are so corrupt I almost want to be a Republican just to feel clean, only lacking the requisite stupidity.

      Ellul wrote about the deleterious effect of incessant propaganda on the intellect, that it makes us stupid, as our reasoning processes are overwhelmed by the primitive brain in constant survival mode. In the fifties there was diversity of views, open forums, equal access to airwaves, and abundant stupidity, my own small contribution acknowledged. There was also red baiting and communism as the great scare monster, so similarities abound (now it is “terrorism,” the same agitprop animal with a different name). But there was a fighting chance for a man to make his way, however, and free his mind. I don’t see that anymore. I don’t see diversity or dialogue. Whether or not Democrats or Republicans have been more effective in terrorizing Iraq, an innocent land, is not something sane people debate. Both parties are muthafuckas.

      I am 64 by the way.

    3. My claim is that politics is bread and circus, that almost all people in office are third-rate and fronting for real power, which is silent, and that polices develop over time unaffected by electoral politics, and that it has to be that way because the public is simply not up to the task.

      Translation: Politicians are stupid. People are stupid. Mark Tokarski is smart.

      The problem we have is that we are an oligarchy, so that merit does not play enough of a role in appointment of the people who make and carry out policy.

      Translation: Oh where, or where are the philosopher kings (e.g., Mark Tokarski) who can save us from ourselves!?

      Republicans get to be as stupid as they want.

      Translation: I need to update my stupid list. Politicians (especially Republican politicians) are stupid. People are stupid. Most Democrats are stupid, but they’re definitely corrupt. Mark Tokarski is smart.

      Ellul wrote about the deleterious effect of incessant propaganda on the intellect, that it makes us stupid, as our reasoning processes are overwhelmed by the primitive brain in constant survival mode. In the fifties there was diversity of views, open forums, equal access to airwaves, and abundant stupidity, my own small contribution acknowledged. There was also red baiting and communism as the great scare monster, so similarities abound (now it is “terrorism,” the same agitprop animal with a different name). But there was a fighting chance for a man to make his way, however, and free his mind. I don’t see that anymore.

      Translation: Okay, we’re all stupid. Mark Tokarski is stupid, but he’s the smartest guy around. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed Mark Tokarski is king. But it’s hopeless. And Communism wasn’t really a big deal. Ignore Stalin and the death and gulags and all that jazz.

      Whether or not Democrats or Republicans have been more effective in terrorizing Iraq, an innocent land, is not something sane people debate. Both parties are muthafuckas.

      Translation: Democrats and Republicans are stupid. Iraq, once home to a dictator who gassed his own people as the “Butcher of Baghdad” and now home to radical Islamic jihadists with a predilection for chopping off heads of non-Muslims (and Muslims who don’t like to chop off heads), is an “innocent land.” Mark Tokarski is sane and everyone else is not only stupid, but insane.

      How do you deal with being Mark, Mark? It must be really tough going around as the smartest guy — not just in Montana — but possibly the world. That is indeed a heavy burden. Did you ever think about changing your name to Atlas?

  9. I posted this on Mark’s blog, lets see if this gets posted:
    “Looks like your post remains, I guess Douglass is honest and does what he claims.
    Also to be fair he you posted this:
    “I am also clever and annoying. You might want to consider banning me. ”

    Douglas then responded to your comment with this:
    “My guess is that you’re too clever by half. If by “annoying” you’re saying “I’m a troll,” then I’ll have no problem banning you.”

    So really you suggested getting banned and he responded. Next time you may want to tell the whole truth….now lets see if this gets posted.”

    Now let’s see if he plays by the same rules.

    1. It’s rather odd for a guy to essentially pride himself on being “annoying,” while also implying that a conservative blogger like myself would throw his comments into the garbage bin for no good reason.

    2. I almost think that he wanted you to toss his post so that he could use it to say that you are censoring the blog. To give him credit I think he let my post stand as well.

    3. Here is his rude response:
      “Please, I don’t want to truck on his road. First, he’s Lizard’s toy, and I don’t have permission to play. Second, if he banned Lizard, the nicest of people, he did so for content, meaning he’s intolerant. Third, just reading that one thread, I am picking up on aggressive stupidity.

      I don’t mind stupidity. I might be stupid, as by definition it is something we don’t know about ourselves. Aggressive stupidity is a different animal. It is to take what little you know and weaponize it.

      There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe”

    4. I’m “Lizard’s toy”? Umm, okay. I was the one who, for all intents and purposes, put Lizard19 in the corner for the past eight months and didn’t look at him. Mark is looking through the telescope from the wrong end again, I guess.

      With that said, I don’t view anyone who comments here — liberal or conservative — as a “toy.” But if Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch wants to use those sorts of metaphors he should at least use them correctly.

      Let’s get something straight: “Clever” guy Mark writes an insulting blog post about me. He leaves an insulting comment about me — one he essentially admits he didn’t want me to allow so it would give him the opportunity to complain about being censored — and then when I expose him I’m somehow being “aggressive”? Okay.

      You can’t help but laugh at a guy like that.

    5. Funny

      Mark
      “Which is why he shut lizard down. Gotcha. .”

      So he is still trying to say you shut Lizard down for no other reason than that you did not agree with him.

      Mark really needs to look at some of Lizards posts.

    6. If Lizard19 doesn’t troll, he won’t get banned. It’s really that simple.

      The fact of the matter is that Mark jumped into this blog thinking he’d be the most “clever” guy around, and soon realized that he had made a severe miscalculation. Then, like Homer Simpson, he retreated through the bushes into his own back yard.

    7. My response:
      “You stated “I don’t want to truck on his road”
      Funny you say that yet you went that way then you follow up with a snide remark.
      Then you continue with this:
      “I don’t mind stupidity. I might be stupid, as by definition it is something we don’t know about ourselves. Aggressive stupidity is a different animal. It is to take what little you know and weaponize it.”
      Looks like you may make my hypocrite of the day award.”

    8. Mark has serious projection issues he thinks he knows what everyone is thinking (but why not he thinks he knows everything). I guess that is easy since he also likes to revise history (delete comments then leave parts out when he quotes it later in his blog). Mark will go nuts and call everyone stupid because he is superior in his own mind. If you agree with Mark you are smart, if you do not you are an idiot, wow does this tactic sound familiar. Give it time Mark will give you a good reason to thrown his comments into the garbage bin…he will call you names and go on fetish rants.

      All hail king Mark the king in his own mind.

  10. I saw someone on Fox News acknowledge the GCC support of jihadists groups, but Saudi Arabia is an ally, so I guess it would be impolite to tell them to stop funding terrorists. I guess all we can do is pray that ISIS doesn’t take Baghdad then board airplanes and invade America.

    and Doug, I’d define a Neocon as anyone who subscribes to the goals of PNAC (Project for a New American Century). and I did imply there were Neocons still involved in positions of influence, Victoria Nuland, for example, who just happens to be married to Robert Kagan, the Neocon who recently praised Hillary Clinton.

    1. I saw someone on Fox News acknowledge the GCC support of jihadists groups, but Saudi Arabia is an ally, so I guess it would be impolite to tell them to stop funding terrorists.

      I’m never sure exactly what your point is, given that I’ve never been a cheerleader for Saudi Arabia. Again, it comes down to “What would Lizard19 do as President Lizard?” Would you just cast Saudi Arabia off and not work with them? Would you just sever all ties with the Middle East? What? I keep saying that the Middle East is not filled with “good guys” and “bad guys,” but I acknowledge that we still have to do the best we can with a crappy situation. I always hear a lot of complaining by you, but seldom do you give any concrete answers for how you would respond if you were the guy with his hands behind the wheel.

      and Doug, I’d define a Neocon as anyone who subscribes to the goals of PNAC (Project for a New American Century). and I did imply there were Neocons still involved in positions of influence, Victoria Nuland, for example, who just happens to be married to Robert Kagan, the Neocon who recently praised Hillary Clinton.

      Washington, D.C. politicians and media-types are an incestuous bunch, aren’t they? Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I moved… I’m a Jersey Boy these days.

    2. Lizard19, sorry I did not respond to your post at the other blog I am not going to play Marks childish game. I appreciate you owning up to your less than civil posts. I also appreciate you sharing your view of the solutions even though I do not agree with the majority of them. Sorry I could not reply there but I know better than to play that game. Mark has already started with condescending pots I gave him a second chance but he continued to provide the same rude styled response followed by a fake attempt to act as if he was serious. Then mark made a real blunder and judged a whole study without even taking time to ask or obtain any facts. His buddy Rob did not help him when he posted preconceived rude judgments on Marks blog and then sent me a blog comment that acted like he really was interested. I will give you and your friends a tip, do not rush to conclusions before getting facts and do not go one place and bash something and then go somewhere else and ask for information so you can make an informed decision. The tactics were hollow and they were not near as witty as they think they are.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s