Hillary Clinton promised us a speech on what she’d do to destroy ISIS, but what she gave us was a speech detailing how she would destroy Syria – and drag the US down the road to another unwinnable war. What she essentially proposes is that we fight a three-sided battle – against ISIS, on the one hand, and against Bashar al-Assad, Russia, and Iran on the other.
She elaborated on her “no-fly zone” scheme, saying she wanted to set it up only in the north. This means not only that the US air force will be protecting the “moderate” Syrian rebels – a coalition of US-supported head-choppers and al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda – but also preventing Russian warplanes from flying over the huge swath of territory in the north controlled by the Islamic State – including Raqqa, their capital. So how does she intend to keep Putin out of the skies over Raqqa – by shooting down Russian planes, Chris Christie-style?
Signaling that her main focus is still overthrowing Assad, rather than fighting ISIS, Clinton averred that Putin is “making things somewhat worse.” Yet the Russians have been pulverizing ISIS, pushing them back on every front – and there is evidence that the terrorists’ increasing desperation in the face of this merciless onslaught provoked the Paris attacks. The snake lashes out one more time before it is decapitated. Francois Hollande seems to understand the importance of enlisting Russia in the anti-ISIS coalition, but Hillary is intransigent on the subject of Assad, thus ruling out any real cooperation with Moscow.
Incredibly, Clinton called for another “Arab Awakening,” signaling that under her reign the US will continue to play the “Sunni card,” arming the “moderate” Islamist rebels, and even encouraging insurrection among Iraqi Sunnis and Kurdish ultra-nationalists. “Baghdad needs to accept, even embrace, arming Sunni and Kurdish forces in the war against ISIS,” she declared. “But if Baghdad won’t do that, the coalition should do so directly.”
There is no limit to this woman’s arrogance: here she is openly proclaiming her contempt for Iraq’s sovereignty and all but declaring war on the central government in Baghdad – a government thousands of Americans died to install.
And while abjuring the need for 100,000 US ground forces, Clinton would increase the number of US Special Forces and “embed” them in greater numbers with “indigenous forces.” In other words, she would escalate the US presence gradually, Vietnam war-style, so as not to alarm the American public, which wants no part of another war in the Middle East. So it’s time to dust off her plan – rejected by the Obama administration – to arm and fund the “moderate” Islamist opposition on a large scale. But there’s a slight problem with getting her favored head-choppers to go along with the plan, as she was forced to acknowledge:
“On the Syrian side, the big obstacle to getting more ground forces to engage ISIS, beyond the Syrian Kurds who are already deep in the fight, is that the viable Sunni opposition groups remain understandably preoccupied with fighting Assad who, let us remember, has killed many more Syrians than the terrorists have. But they are increasingly under threat from ISIS as well.”
To begin with, the “moderates” Hillary loves to praise are ideologically aligned with ISIS: their only disagreement with the “Caliphate” is over tactics. Both want to hang Assad from a lamp post, impose Sharia law on Syria and dispense with “unbelievers.
Secondly, what Hillary wants us to “remember” is a baldfaced lie: according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – hardly a pro-Assad group – the Islamist rebels have killed more people than the government’s forces. If we go by the Observatory’s numbers, government forces suffered the largest number of deaths, some 88,616. This accounts for around one third of all the deaths recorded. Hillary’s rebels suffered 42,384 dead, and “foreign fighters” have seen 34,375 killed. All sides quibble about who is and is not a civilian, but by any measure Hillary’s moral rectitude in this context in misplaced.
Her insistence that “Assad must go,” reiterated repeatedly during her tenure at the State Department, effectively blocks any diplomatic-political solution. If she should ever occupy the Oval Office her fulsome support for the hetereogeneous “opposition” is a prescription for prolonging the war rather than ending it.
With the putative Democratic nominee’s goals in mind – a new “Arab Awakening,” arming the “moderate” Islamists, overthrowing Assad, confronting the Russians – her support for congressional authorization to use military force is ominous indeed. Any such measure should and must be defeated, and by as wide a margin as possible. If and when it comes up for a vote in Congress, mobilizing opposition is the main task of the antiwar movement.
I can assure you that Antiwar.com will be in the front lines of that battle.
The Paris attacks are being used by the War Party to not only gin up another war in the Middle East but also to discredit civil liberties advocates who have been pushing back against the Surveillance State. The media has been shamelessly stoking panic in the population and virtually all major political figures are calling for a crackdown on the home front and unleashing the US military in Syria.
We haven’t seen this level of warmongering since September 11, 2001.
We are back in the post-9/11 war hysteria, with war propaganda filling the media 24/7 – and very little in the way of resistance, either from the politicians or public figures of any stature.
Have these people learned nothing from the history of our failed interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? The answer to this question is, unfortunately, no – they haven’t learned a damned thing.
In view of this, do I really have to impress on you the vital importance of Antiwar.com at this crucial juncture?
The political class is unreachable, and unteachable – but the American people are neither. The last time the cry went up to invade Syria, they rose up and said "No way!" And the politicians backed down!
Yes, the War Party lost that round, but now they are back with a vengeance, and we must fight them – and beat them – just like we did last time. Which means we must raise the money to keep going and keep fighting – but we can’t do it without you.
It’s necessary now more than ever to strengthen our resolve and stand up to the warmongering now sweeping the West. We are in familiar territory here, having experienced the general craziness and emotion-laden rhetoric that led to the double disaster of invading and occupying both Afghanistan and Iraq.
We all know what happened with that – and this knowledge is our best weapon. We must remind the world of the lessons of recent history, without conceding one inch to the war-makers. The War Party thinks they have an argument-proof pretext for invading yet another Middle Eastern country – and we can’t let them get away with it.
We stopped them before, and now we must stop them again – but we can’t do it without your help.
The War Party has millions to spend – and we only have you. That’s why your tax-deductible donation is vitally important at this crucial time. Our matching funds will be available by the time you read this, or shortly afterward: now is the time to give.
Yes, this really is an emergency situation. The War Party is on the verge of a major victory. We can’t allow them to go unopposed: we can’t let the voices of reason be silenced. Giving them a platform has never been more essential than it is today. With our daily readership of tens of thousands, we have the ability to do that. Yet without your financial contributions, they will not be heard.
That’s why it’s vitally important for you to make your tax-deductible donation to Antiwar.com today.
Special Announcement: I will be giving keynote address at the Students for Liberty Northern California Conference, this coming Saturday, November 21, at 7 pm, at DeAnza College, 1250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, in the Fireside Room in the Hinson Campus Center. Here is a map of the campus. Admission is free. You may register here, and there’s some information on the all-day event at that link. Lots of exciting speakers, but if you just want to come to my talk that’s fine.
The subject of my talk, "Confessions of a Libertarian Agitator," I think you’ll find interesting, if you’ve been following me in this space at all.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.