"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Americans are full of raging war 'roids and ready to dispatch tens of thousands of ground troops to fight ISIS. Specifically, 62 percent of registered voters - who are supposed to be a tad smarter than rocks - want U.S. ground troops committed to another failed combat effort sure to inflate the ISIS rats and their recruits more than achieve any victory. Elias Isquith, noting the figures in a recent salon.com piece, actually asked: "Are we insane?"
Well, yes "we" are - at least those of us who get the bulk of our "news" from the corporate media and especially from the propagandists at FOX (who can't even 'fess up to Billo O'Reilly's multiple lies - from being in the Falklands war zone, to being present when a key HSCA Kennedy assassination witness was murdered.)
But this is what one can expect when a people are half-educated, ignorant and lack critical thinking skills, in which case they become malleable tools to be molded by the PR and propaganda machines. And we've seen this dog and pony war beat show before, about a year and a half ago when neocons were clamoring for a Syria intervention.
Most cooler heads at the time were able to see through it and as they saw the polls climb for intervention some even noted a "herd mentality" taking root. One of these was Hillary Mann Leverett, professor at American University, who on one Steve Kornacki 'UP' show, observed we had no business barging into Syria - which effects would arguably be even more catastrophic and dunning than those from barging into Iraq.
Prof. Leverett compared that drumbeat " to the lead up to the war in Iraq" and she ought to have known as she was in the Bush White House and also dealing with Congressional Democrats, and with members of the media. She went on:
"The herd mentality which took over to buy into the Bush administration's narrative that Saddam had to have chemical weapons of mass destruction and was determined to use them, was something unquestioned. ....it was not only a mistake, it was based on manufactured evidence. "
In the case of Iraq, too many citizens played along by being cowed, afraid to speak out lest we be deemed "unpatriotic" or "terrorist sympathizers". Many of us also allowed ourselves to be too uninformed, even ignorant of the issues, thereby allowing ourselves to be played. Susan Jacoby, for example (in 'The Shock Doctrine'), referenced “two thirds of us can’t find
This is tragic, and what has led to the operative herd mentality that comes up every time our collective consciousness is hijacked by overwrought emotions. Because if Americans can’t or won’t exercise their minds to think critically, especially concerning our national history and consequences of our actions, then we stand to be led into more reckless wars.
This thing with ISIS is no different, and as a recent (Mar. 9) highly excellent piece in TIME noted (yes, they do have a few) Americans would be making the biggest error ever in falling for the ISIS trap. As the authors write (p. 31):
"ISIS is taunting the world to run the cycle (of war) one more time....As bad as these people are, there is room for things to get much worse. And they will unless the U.S. and its coalition has the discipline at last to think all the way through to the end. The question is not beating ISIS. It's what comes after that. More than ever the question needs an answer."
What comes after that? The multiple authors aren't afraid to broach their views, with which I wholeheartedly agree (ibid.):
"The U.S. showed in 1991 and again in 2003 that it knows how to take down enemies in Iraq. What it has never shown is an ability to leave something better afterward."
But until it does, ever new crops of terrorists will emerge. From the region's overall degradation of civil society, leading to: "mass unemployment, resentment, suspicion and sense of victimhood" . These are the human factors that need addressing in the Middle East, especially the conflict -torn regions like Iraq, Syria and Libya. Sure, it's easy to treat all inimical problems like a "nail" and wield a "hammer" to solve them - but that only leads you back to more conflicts, i.e. that require more "hammers".
This again takes us back to State Dept. spokesperson Marie Harf's recent comment which I cited yesterday:See also:
"We cannot kill our way out of this war"
Referring to the current conflict with ISIS. Well, we certainly cannot if that means once more committing tens of thousands of ground troops - especially after we beheld how that worked out before with Iraq- an intervention that laid the path for ISIS.
And let's go even further back in the mists of time to how all these terrorists managed to manifest thanks to our stupid manipulations during the Reagan era. As the TIME authors remind us (ibid.):
"It's true that some of the same mujahedin trained and armed by the U.S. to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan went on to be the founding fathers of modern jihadist terrorism - men like bin Laden and Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban."
Ouch! The truth hurts, doesn't it? The authors go on with even more truth:
"No thought was given to what would become of these battle -hardened fanatics after the West was done using them."
Yes, indeed. We were too smart by half. Believed we could create this 'Frankenstein' monster to sic on the Russkies but never dreamed it would stay alive and come back to wreak havoc....on US! Hubris anyone?
Americans, as fearful as they are about ISIS beheadings and having ISIS zombies appear at Malls, need to get a grip and not allow themselves to be converted to a drooling, mindless herd. This is exactly what the ISIS bugs want, and they're hoping they can taunt us enough to force our weaker politicos and leaders into precipitous action.
But if we do we will prove once more we are indeed insane. As Einstein put it: "insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result."