Posts Tagged ‘United States

08
Aug
14

The Difference Between Barack Obama and George W Bush

Last night President Barack Obama announced that he had ordered airstrikes against ISIL positions in northern Iraq.

He didn’t do this to secure oil fields. He didn’t do this to project US power in the Middle East. He didn’t do this in some sort of misplaced revenge.

He did this, as he stated quite clearly, to prevent a genocide.

The Yazidi community—descendants of the Zoroastrians who used to rule the area—has come under attack by the militants of ISIL. ISIL’s intent is clear: wipe out the community. Whether it be starvation in the mountains or slaughter on the plains is of no matter to them. (Although I think those brainwashed fundamentalists would love nothing more than to mow down unarmed men, women, and children.)

Of course, ISIL is a direct result of the chaos unleashed by former president George W. Bush in 2003 with his invasion of Iraq. No, I’m not carrying water for Saddam Hussein. He was a murderous, psychopathic dictator. However, he maintained a level of stability via his terror. The Bush Administration had no plan for what would replace Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld famously saying that US troops would be out of Iraq within six months. Six months turned into seven years, while Mr. Bush’s best and brightest were found out to be the worst and dullest, fumbling around for one solution after another which never worked out. The solution finally decided upon—the regime of Nouri Al-Maliki and his Shi’ite maximalists—was probably the worst possible choice. Replacing a Sunni dictatorship with a Shi’a dictatorship proved not only hypocritical, but suicidal. Mr. al-Maliki, for all his venality, hasn’t been able to project the terror which Saddam did to keep the various sects in line. And the Iraq invasion unleashed all sorts of ethnic and confessional demands. But most importantly, al Qaeda, which had never been in Iraq or the greater Middle East before 2003, suddenly found purchase amidst the chaos. Mr. Bush’s lie that the US invaded Iraq to fight AQ became true after the hornet’s nest he stirred up. ISIL is a direct descendant of those first AQ cadres. So, as with our support of Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s leading to the formation of al Qaeda, our invasion of Iraq has led to predictable blowback in the form of ISIL.

Every time Mr. Bush had the chance to do the right thing in response to the 9/11 attacks, he chose to fulfill neo-conservative wet dreams of remaking the Middle East in America’s image, and subservient to US interests. And he never seemed to be bothered by the thousands of people—Americans and Iraqis—he sent to death.

Pres. Obama is quite different.

Continue reading ‘The Difference Between Barack Obama and George W Bush’

01
May
14

Nigeria’s abducted Girls: A Democracy Under Siege

by @zizii2

The world is slowly waking up to a 2 week old horror, the gut-wrenching story of 234+ teenage girls abducted by a band of terrorists from their boarding school just as they were in the midst of taking their High School Certification exams. A horror that was no less eased when it was reported that some of the traumatized girls who had managed to escape their captors, the Boko Haram, recently told grim news of their fellow captives being sold into “marriage” to terrorists within and without Nigeria’s Northern borders.

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Within the 2 wks since the girls were kidnapped public anger inside Nigeria rose and spilled out into the streets in the last 24-48 hours in demonstrations against government impotence to grapple with the terrorist menace that its victims call Boko Haram, which means “Western education Forbidden” (See further below for more on history of Boko Haram). Social media relayed that anger to a wider global public under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Petition drives have accelerated to galvanize awareness and demand action, including one from Change.org currently gathering steam in the US.

Video of when abduction happened 2 weeks ago:

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However the indignation captured in the hashtag bumps up against a very messy and complicated reality, one that lifts the scab off the virulent canker metastasizing in several 21st century fledgling democracies and in some mature ones as well, gashing open threadbare societies. Democracy itself is rendered naked. And so:

1) #BringBackOurGirls. But from where?

2) Who do we ask to #BringBackOurGirls?

3) And if we are able to identify captors, who, if anyone, are they answerable to?

4) When a fledgling democracy is faced with a lawless group linked to a global terrorist franchise that fights an asymmetric war, how is security of anyone, let alone children to be guaranteed?

5) Who is bankrolling and profiting from arming a group that is not directly seeking political inclusion/representation but instead wants dissolution of the modern pluralist state itself and modern life?

6) What strategy to deal with Boko Haram? Crush them? Under what rules? Negotiate with them? Contain them? Abdicate democratic governance altogether? Can Nigeria or any young democracy survive a Boko Haram menace and remain intact?

Nigeria Female Literacy RatesSource: BBC.com

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Continue reading ‘Nigeria’s abducted Girls: A Democracy Under Siege’

14
Sep
13

Obama: Please Proceed, Vlad

by @zizii2

If you read between the lines in Krauthammer’s recent spittle laced rant against Pres Obama on his Syria decision, you’ll realize just how earth-shatteringly PBO has upended Cold War residual thinking about the Middle East and power alignments. Of course Krauthammer is so blinded by bloodlust to obliterate Iran on behalf of Israel that he fails to see the tectonic shift at hand. Other teatards are so insecure that every Obama move is filtered through their castration anxieties. To them every US action must be a dick-waving exercise, even if such action results in us literally losing our limbs & heads. To them the Amurkin phallus MUST reign supreme even if it is just a severed appendage sputtering on a deserted battlefield.

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But Krauthammer’s description of the historical lay of the land and power relations are accurate. There’s been longstanding opposition in Europe and among US ME allies about allowing the Soviet Union and later Russia any inch into the Eastern Mediterranean as a power player. Of course that ignored the fact that Russia as Assad’s patron ALREADY had a foothold. As a Dailykos commenter said:

“Russia was already in the Middle East: they are Assad’s backers. Now they’ve got a few “responsibilities” to match all their “rights.” Why the heck not?”

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If anything’s been most consistent in President Obama’s foreign policy positions, it is his conviction that all nations MUST bear their responsibilities; that the US has been vilified enough by nations who hide behind platitudes yet foist off tangible action onto the US. Time to put up or shut up.

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Now, whether you believe Pres Obama’s saber rattling was right or wrong, the fact is the prospect of military strikes, like Drano, unclogged the state of play in the 2.5 year old Syria civil war. And after 2.5 years of hiding behind the veto pen at the UN Security Council, Putin strutted out this time. The question is why? Hubris and/or fear?

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Corporate media, neo-cons and those afflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome settle on the facile idea that Putin seized initiative to show how manly he-manish he is to one-up Pres Obama on Syria. If it’s HUBRIS, then it means that in spite of discussions at G20 meeting in 2012 and this year, Putin mistakenly thought that PBO facing possible “humiliation” with a congressional No vote, would “lash” out with unilateral strikes as insecure US presidents in the past were wont to do. So he positioned himself as foil to PBO to score PR points.

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Continue reading ‘Obama: Please Proceed, Vlad’




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