Tabacco: Would Jesus approve of USA & its Western Allies selling ‘Arms’ to those, who commit Genocide on the ‘Poor’? Was that Christ’s intention? Is that comparable to ‘Alms for the Poor”? What a difference a single letter ‘r’ can make!
Tabacco: Of course USA FOREIGN POLICY is INSANE! But the Perpetrators of it are NOT! They are merely SELFISH, UNCARING CAPITALISTS OUT TO MAKE A BUCK!
Making War for National Profits is NOT NEW! Caesar, Alexander, Napoleon, Hannibal, the British Empire, Hitler etc. etc. They all did it! America is just the latest Proponent of War Profiteering! WAR FOR PROFIT is as old as History! What is AMAZING is how Big Biz & Political Leaders get away with it without Americans crying ‘FOUL!’. Too much reliance on the MSM to lead us I guess! “National Security” as an EXCUSE is pretty lame for 21st century intellectuals such as we! Americans have either got to start a) Thinking for themselves or b) Reading Tabacco! It’s really not all that hard to decipher what these Goons are up to! It’s not INCOMPETENCE; it’s GREED!
The saddest part is YOU could stop them if you had only voted FOR BERNIE SANDERS instead of that WAR MONGER, HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, and quite possibly inadvertently elected her Twin, Donald Trump (the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing)!
Today, the U.S. and Russia co-chair a meeting of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group aimed at easing the five-year conflict with a death toll that has reached close to half a million people. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. Syria is only one of a number of ongoing deadly conflicts in the Middle East. Last year, a record 60 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees. For more on these conflicts and the rise of ISIS, we continue our conversation with internationally renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Noam Chomsky. “The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a major reason in the development, a primary reason in the incitement of sectarian conflicts, which have now exploded into these monstrosities,” says Chomsky. He has written over 100 books, most recently, “Who Rules the World?” Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re on the road in our 100-city tour, today broadcasting from Chicago.
The United States and Russia are co-chairing a meeting in Vienna today of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group aimed at easing the five-year conflict. According to a recent report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the death toll in Syria has reached close to half a million people, nearly twice the number counted by the United Nations a year and a half ago, when it stopped keeping track of the numbers killed because of the data’s unreliability. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. Syria is only one of a number of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Last year, a record 60 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees.
Well, for more on these conflicts, from Syria to Iraq to Yemen, and the U.S. role in the ongoing violence, we continue our conversation with the internationally renowned political dissident, linguist, author, Noam Chomsky. He has written over a hundred books, most recently, Who Rules the World? Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century. I began by asking him to talk about the conflict in Syria.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Syria is spiraling into real disaster, a virtual suicide. And the only sensible approach, the only slim hope for Syria is efforts to reduce the violence and destruction, to establish small regional ceasefire zones and to move toward some kind of diplomatic settlement. There are steps in that direction. Also, it’s necessary to cut off the flow of arms, as much as possible, to everyone. That means to the vicious and brutal Assad regime, primarily Russia and Iran, to the monstrous ISIS, which has been getting support tacitly through Turkey, through—to the al-Nusra Front, which is hardly different, has just the—the al-Qaeda affiliate, technically broke from it, but actually the al-Qaeda affiliate, which is now planning its own—some sort of emirate, getting arms from our allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Our own—the CIA is arming them. We don’t know at what level; it’s clandestine. As much as possible, cut back the flow of arms, the level of violence, try to save people from destruction. There should be far more support going simply for humanitarian aid. Those, who are building some sort of a society in Syria—notably, the Kurds—should be supported in that effort.
These efforts should be made to cut off the flow of jihadis from the places where they’re coming from. And that means understanding why it’s happening. It’s not enough just to say, “OK, let’s bomb them to oblivion.” This is happening for reasons. Some of the reasons, unfortunately, are—we can’t reverse. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a major reason in the development, a primary reason in the incitement of sectarian conflicts, which have now exploded into these monstrosities. That’s water under the bridge, unfortunately, though we can make sure not to do that—not to continue with that.
They’re picking the wrong horse, by a large margin, but you can understand what they’re aiming for. And there’s plenty of research and studies—Scott Atran and others have worked on this and have plenty of evidence about it. And those—alleviating and dealing with those real problems can be a way to reduce the level of violence and destruction.
It’s much more dramatic to say, “Let’s carpet bomb them”, or “Let’s bomb them to oblivion”, or “Let’s send in troops”.
Tabacco: The whole Truth is that President Obama and Hillary Clinton MUST COMPETE with the Republican Party – and in particular DONALD TRUMP for MSM Coverage and Street Cred! If it’s NOT DRAMATIC, Dems get no coverage nor does the Public think Obama and Dems are doing their jobs! That’s the double-edged sword wielded by the GOP & its Reality Show Moderator, Donald Trump!
But that simply makes the situation far worse. Actually, we’ve seen it for 15 years. Just take a look at the so-called war on terror, which George W. Bush declared—actually, re-declared; Reagan had declared it—but re-declared in 2001. At that point, jihadi terrorism was located in a tiny tribal area near the Afghan-Pakistan border. Where is—and since then, we’ve been hitting one or another center of what we call terrorism with a sledgehammer. What’s happened? Each time, it spreads. By now, it’s all over the world. It’s all over Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, everywhere you look. Take the bombing of Libya, which Hillary Clinton was strongly in favor of, one of the leaders of, smashed up Libya, destroyed a functioning society. The bombing sharply escalated the level of atrocities by a large factor, devastated the country, left it in the hands of warring militias, opened the door for ISIS to establish a base, spread jihadis and heavy weapons all through Africa, in fact, into the Middle East. Last year, the—according to U.N. statistics, the worst terror in the world was in West Africa, Boko Haram and others, to a considerable extent an offshoot of the bombing of Libya. That’s what happens when you hit vulnerable systems with a sledgehammer, not knowing what you’re doing and not looking at the roots of where these movements are developing from. So you have to understand the—understand where it’s coming from, where the appeal lies, what the roots are—there are often quite genuine grievances—at the same time try to cut back the level of violence.
And, you know, we’ve had experience where things like this worked. Take, say, IRA terrorism. It was pretty severe. Now, they practically murdered the whole British Cabinet at one point. As long as Britain responded to IRA terrorism with more terror and violence, it simply escalated. As soon as Britain finally began—incidentally, with some helpful U.S. assistance at this point—in paying some attention to the actual grievances of Northern Irish Catholics, as soon as they started with that, violence subsided, reduced. People who had been called leading terrorists showed up on negotiating teams, even, finally, in the government. I happened to be in Belfast in 1993. It was a war zone, literally. I was there again a couple of years ago. It looks like any other city. You can see ethnic antagonisms, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary. That’s the way to deal with these issues.
Incidentally, what’s happening in Syria right now is horrendous, but we shouldn’t—useful to remember that it’s not the first time. If you go back a century, almost exactly a century, the end of the First World War, there were hundreds of thousands of people starving to death in Syria. Proportionally, proportional to the population, it’s likely that more Syrians died in the First World War than any other belligerent. Syria did revive, and it can revive again.
AMY GOODMAN: We’ll continue with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, his latest book, Who Rules the World?, after break.
As Saudi Arabia continues to fund fighting in Syria and Yemen, Noam Chomsky says it is “the center of radical Islamic extremism.” Chomsky adds that the U.S. ally is “a source of not only funding for extremist radical Islam and the jihadi outgrowths of it, but also, doctrinally, mosques, clerics and so on, schools, you know, madrassas, where you study just Qur’an, is spreading all over the huge Sunni areas from Saudi influence.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re on the road in Chicago, Illinois. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue Part 2 of our conversation with world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century. His latest book, Who Rules the World? I asked him to talk about Saudi Arabia’s role in the Middle East.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there’s a long history. The basic—we don’t have a lot of time, but the basic story is that the United States, like Britain before it, has tended to support radical Islamism against secular nationalism.
Defining “Radical Islamism” is unnecessary for anyone!
That’s been a consistent theme of imperial strategy for a long time. Saudi Arabia is the center of radical Islamic extremism. Patrick Cockburn, one of the best commentators and most knowledgeable commentators, has correctly pointed out that what he calls the Wahhibisation of Sunni Islam, the spread of Saudi extremist Wahhabi doctrine over Sunni Islam, the Sunni world, is one of the real disasters of modern—of the modern era. It’s a source of not only funding for extremist radical Islam and the jihadi outgrowths of it, but also, doctrinally, mosques, clerics and so on, schools, you know, madrassas, where you study just Qur’an, is spreading all over the huge Sunni areas from Saudi influence. And it continues.
Tabacco: But, Noam! The Saudis are our OPEC OIL BUDDIES of long standing! What are you attempting to do here – make Politicians respond honorably to Inconvenient Facts they already know and scrupulously ignore? (Remember how George W. Bush escorted Saudis out of America for their own Safety via Government Airplanes when nobody else in USA could fly immediately after 9/11/2001!)
Saudi Arabia itself has one of the most grotesque human rights records in the world. The ISIS beheadings, which shock everyone—I think Saudi Arabia is the only country where you have regular beheadings. That’s the least of it. Women have no—can’t drive, so on and so forth. And it is strongly backed by the United States and its allies, Britain and France. Reason? It’s got a lot of oil. It’s got a lot of money. You can sell them a lot of arms; I think tens of billions of dollars of arms. And the actions that it’s carrying out, for example, in Yemen, which you mentioned, are causing an immense humanitarian catastrophe in a pretty poor country, also stimulating jihadi terrorism, naturally, with U.S. and also British arms. French are trying to get into it, as well. This is a very ugly story!
Saudi Arabia—Saudi Arabia itself, its economy—its economy is based not only on a wasting resource, but a resource, which is destroying the world. There’s reports now that it’s trying to take some steps to—much belated steps; should have been 50 years ago—to try to diversify the economy. It does have resources that are not destructive, like sunlight, for example, which could be used, and is, to an extent, being used for solar power. But it’s way too late and probably can’t be done. But it’s a—it has been a serious source of major global problems—a horrible society in itself, in many ways—and the U.S. and its allies, and Britain before it, have stimulated these radical Islamist developments throughout the—throughout the Islamic world for a long time.
Tabacco: But you wonder WHY Muslims are fighting back?
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think Obama has dealt with Saudi Arabia any differently than President Bush before him?
NOAM CHOMSKY: Not in any way that I can see, no! Maybe in nuances!
OBAMA IN SYRIA MIMICS BUSH IN IRAQ
As the U.S. expands military operations in Syria, we look at the Khorasan group, the shadowy militant organization the Obama administration has invoked to help justify the strikes. One month ago, no one had heard of Khorasan, but now U.S. officials say it poses an imminent threat to the United States. As the strikes on Syria began, U.S. officials said Khorasan was “nearing the execution phase” of an attack on the United States or Europe, most likely an attempt to blow up a commercial plane in flight. We are joined by Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept, whose new article with Glenn Greenwald is “The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: The United States is continuing to expand its military operations in Iraq and Syria. Late last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel deployed a division headquarters unit to Iraq for the first time since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011. The 200 soldiers from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division headquarters will joins 1,200 U.S. troops already inside Iraq. Overnight, U.S.-led warplanes hit grain silos and other targets in northern and eastern Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attacks killed a number of civilians working at the silos.
While the United States has been bombing areas in Syria controlled by the Islamic State, it has also struck targets connected to a separate militant group that U.S. officials are calling the Khorasan group. If you never heard of the group before this month, you’re not alone. The Associated Press first reported on this new entity on September 13th. In the article, unnamed U.S. officials warned of a shadowy, terrorist group that posed a more imminent threat than the Islamic State. The AP described the group as, quote, “a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.” It went on to say the group poses a, quote, “direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation.” Soon, major TV networks began echoing these claims about the Khorasan group.
FOX NEWS REPORTER: They say that they were facing a, quote, ‘imminent threat’ from the Khorasan group here in the United States.
JEFF GLOR: We are learning about a new and growing terror threat coming out of Syria. It’s an al-Qaeda cell you probably never heard of. Nearly everything about them is classified.
BARBARA STARR: The reason they struck Khorasan right now is they had intelligence that the group of al-Qaeda veterans was in the stages of planning an attack against the U.S. homeland.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the Khorasan group, we’re going to go to Toronto, Canada, where we’ll be joined by Murtaza Hussain, a reporter with The Intercept. He wrote a piece with Glenn Greenwald called “The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria.” We’ll go to Murtaza Hussain after this break.
AMY GOODMAN: We turn right now to Murtaza Hussain, a reporter at The Intercept who, together with Glenn Greenwald, wrote the piece “The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria.”
Murtaza, welcome to Democracy Now! Murtaza is joining us from Toronto. Can you talk about what you’ve learned about the so-called Khorasan group?
MURTAZA HUSSAIN: So, the Khorasan group is a group, which first came up in the media around September 13th, roughly a week or so before the U.S. bombing campaign of Syria began. Heretofore, no one had heard of this group. It was not known in intelligence circles or among people who follow Syria. And suddenly we saw in the media that this was being described as the major terrorist threat emanating from that country and a direct threat to the U.S. homeland, unlike ISIS. So, this ended up being one of the main justifications for the war on Syria or the military airstrikes, which are conducted on Syria, and it became the major media narrative justifying that action.
AMY GOODMAN: And talk about, well, for example, where the Khorasan group got its name.
MURTAZA HUSSAIN: So, the Khorasan group, the name itself does not denote any group within Syria that anyone has familiarity with or has heard of before. It’s a name that was developed within the U.S. government to describe a certain set of groups—individuals within the group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is one of the opposition factions fighting the Syrian government. Jabhat al-Nusra is also believed to be a franchise of al-Qaeda within Syria, but unlike al-Qaeda proper, it’s focused exclusively on fighting the government of Bashar Assad. So, in order to justify these strikes against this group, the U.S. had to create a new name to designate these few individuals within that group that they’re looking to target, so they developed this name, the Khorasan group, which identified several fighters who, they say, planned to wage attacks against the United States, as opposed to the government of Bashar Assad, and they conducted the strikes under that justification.
Now, within Syria, people view this group as being indistinguishable from the regular group of Jabhat al-Nusra, and it’s being viewed as an attack on that group, which is why yesterday you saw a statement from that group’s leader vowing revenge for the deaths of his commanders.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to CNN’s Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr talking about the Khorasan group.
BARBARA STARR: What we are hearing from a senior U.S. official is the reason they struck Khorasan right now is they had intelligence that the group of al-Qaeda veterans was in the stages of planning an attack against the U.S. homeland and/or an attack against a target in Europe. And the information indicated that Khorasan was well on its way, perhaps in the final stages, of planning that attack.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Barbara Starr of CNN. Your response?
MURTAZA HUSSAIN: So, in the days leading up to the attack, several anonymous sources suggested that an attack was imminent. They suggested that there were a threat against airliners using toothpaste bombs or flammable clothing. And they said that, like Barbara Starr mentioned, they were in the final stages of planning this attack. After the strikes were carried out, several U.S. officials started walking back that estimation quite far and saying that the definition of “imminent” is unclear, and when we’re saying is a strike about to happen, we’re not sure what that means exactly. So, in retrospect, this definition of a strike being imminent and this characterization of a threat coming from this group, which is very definable and very clear, became very unclear after the strikes, and they suggested through The New York Times the strikes were merely aspirational and there was no actual plot today existing against the United States. So, the actual justification for the strikes was completely negated after the strikes ended, which was something quite troubling.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean, negated right after the strikes began, right after the justification worked.
MURTAZA HUSSAIN: Right! So, after the strikes happened and there were statements saying that people were killed and the group had been scattered, James Comey and many others within the U.S. establishment started saying that, “Well, you know, we said the strikes were imminent from this group, but what does ‘imminent’ really mean? Could be six months, could be a year.’” And other anonymous officials started saying there was not any threat at all, there was not any plan in the works to attack the United States. And then, further it came to light that the Khorasan group itself, which we had been hearing about in the media was a new enemy and was a definable threat against the United States, did not really exist per se; it was simply a group of people whom the U.S. designated within a Syrian opposition faction as being ready to be struck. So, the entire narrative that had been developed, and within the media developed, was completely put to a lie after the strikes. And it was interesting that Ken Dilanian reported the story first in the Associated Press, saying that this was a new threat and a new group, and he was one of the first people to break the story afterwards saying that U.S. officials are now adding more “nuance,” is the word he used, to their previous warnings about the group. So, it was kind of a really egregious case of media spin, whereby the media had taken up this narrative of a threat from a new terrorist, and then, after the strikes had been conducted which justified this group, they immediately took the opposite tack, saying that in fact there was no threat that was imminent and the group itself did not exist per se. So, it was really quite a failure of the media, which we’ve seen several times in the past, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned Ken Dilanian of AP. Now, Intercept just put out another story, “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories with Agency Before Publication”. Ken Silverstein writes, “A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept“. He goes on to say, “Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the [Los Angeles] Times. Your response to that piece?
MURTAZA HUSSAIN: Right! So, essentially, the administration will seek out reporters who are pliant and willing to work with them to leak stories like this. So, in the sense of those CIA stories, this reporter had his stories vetted. He promised favorable coverage in exchange for access. And again here, the Khorasan group stories first came out with this reporter. And, you know, the media’s role is to ask questions and to vet these claims quite thoroughly, but instead the claims were put out through reporters who were known to give favorable coverage and who were known to, you know, take the administration’s line in exchange for access. And it seems like this happened again, in the sense that here was a reporter who put out the story, they did not vet who the Khorasan group is, what the veracity of these claims are, but they put it out in the media, and it became a media story on its own. So I think that you’re seeing the same narrative replay as happened as we detailed in the previous story, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to another piece that you wrote, Murtaza, “Why the Islamic State is Not Really Islamic,” which refers to a letter that has been signed by many Muslims. Can you explain who has written this letter and who it was sent to?
MURTAZA HUSSAIN: So, there was an open letter published to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, from over 120 of the most prominent religious scholars among Muslim scholars in the world. And there was the mufti of Egypt, Bosnia, Nigeria and many other countries around the world, including the United States. And they published an open letter condemning point by point the practices of the so-called Islamic State. And it was purely from a theological standpoint, and they had given a very rigorous critique of the group and found it, by their standards, to be un-Islamic. Now, this goes back to the question of what is or is not Islamic. Islam is not a monolith; it’s subject to interpretations of the people who take part in it. And, you know, this group found them to be decidedly un-Islamic. I think most Muslims around the world would find them to be un-Islamic, despite their pretensions to the contrary.
So, the point I was making in the article is that when you identify them as being Islamic and you say that they are the definition of Islam, you’re playing to their narrative. That’s the legitimacy they want and which today they don’t have, and they’re rejected broadly by Muslims around the world. So it’s important to say that while, you know, they may partake in Islamic dialogue and they may use the symbols of Islam, we cannot let any one group of extremists anywhere define a faith or a civilization which is, you know, identified with by over a billion people around the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll link to your pieces at democracynow.org. I want to thank you for being with us. We’ve been talking to Murtaza Hussain, who is a reporter with The Intercept. His latest two pieces, “The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria” and “Why the Islamic State is Not Really Islamic.” This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report.
President Obama has sent Congress a formal request to authorize military force against the Islamic State six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposes a three-year limit on U.S. operations, but does not put any geographic constraints. It also opens the door for ground combat operations in limited circumstances. The resolution’s broad language covers military action against the Islamic State as well as “individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” The resolution also leaves in place the open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force Congress enacted one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, which has been used to justify U.S. action in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond, and which Obama had previously called for repealing. We speak with Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of many books, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: President Obama has sent Congress a formal request to authorize military force against the Islamic State six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposes a three-year limit on U.S. operations, but it does not put any geographic limits on the military campaign. It also opens the door for ground combat operations in some circumstances. Obama spoke at the White House Wednesday, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today my administration submitted a draft resolution to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIL. I want to be very clear about what it does and what it does not do. This resolution reflects our core objective: to destroy ISIL. It supports the comprehensive strategy that we’ve been pursuing with our allies and our partners: a systemic and sustained campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria; support and training for local forces on the ground, including the moderate Syrian opposition; preventing ISIL attacks in the region and beyond, including by foreign terrorist fighters who try to threaten our countries; regional and international support for an inclusive Iraqi government that unites the Iraqi people and strengthens Iraqi forces against ISIL; humanitarian assistance for the innocent civilians of Iraq and Syria, who are suffering so terribly under ISIL’s reign of horror.
AMY GOODMAN: Questions over the language in the resolution have been raised by both hawkish Republicans and antiwar Democrats in Congress! The resolution’s broad language covers military action against the Islamic State as well as, quote, “individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” The resolution also leaves in place the open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force Congress enacted one week after the September 11th attacks, which has been used to justify U.S. action in Somalia, in Pakistan, in Yemen and beyond.
Joining us now from San Francisco is Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, co-founder of RootsAction.org, author of many books, including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.
Norman, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about this latest effort by President Obama to get war authorization?
NORMAN SOLOMON: Well, unfortunately, in political terms, it represents a sort of repetition compulsion disorder, back to the future from an administration that came in saying it was going to dispense with the concept—or at least the phraseology—of a war on terror, an administration that even today, through the president’s statement, is again asserting that it’s against endless war, and yet both the statement from the president yesterday and the resolution—and, for that matter, the White House policy—is explicitly endless, perpetual war. And that’s the kind of policy we’re getting.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Norm, can you explain why he placed a three-year limit then on U.S. operations?
NORMAN SOLOMON: Window dressing, just a scam, just a way to give a sort of a fig leaf to the people called antiwar Democrats or some libertarian Republicans. But it’s just a way of sort of rowing the boat with a little bit of a deference to the right and left in Congress, that what it boils down to is kicking the war can down the road—a very bloody one, to put it mildly—and absolutely running a manipulative public relations campaign.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re hearing numbers like there are 200,000 members of ISIS, or people fighting, identifying themselves as ISIS. This number has just gone up astronomically. Is there any way to verify the kind of information that comes out at a time like this, when war is being voted on in Congress?
NORMAN SOLOMON: Well, historically, and in the present day, there is no way to verify whatsoever. You could depend on some inflation, to put it mildly. We also heard from the president yesterday that there were 2,000 airstrikes by the United States in the region, in the Middle East, in the last six months, but we don’t know if that’s true at all. And in tandem with its war on whistleblowers and true investigative journalism, this administration is operating in overdrive as sort of a fog machine to try to keep from the American people realities of the war policy, because clearly this White House prefers the uninformed consent of the governed.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Norm, could you comment on the timing of Obama’s request? It came just a day after American aid worker Kayla Mueller’s death was confirmed. He also mentioned her in his remarks.
NORMAN SOLOMON: Well, these terrible atrocities by the so-called Islamic State really provide fuel for the machinery of propaganda from the executive branch of the United States, clearly chomping at the bit to drag this country further into war. And I think it’s very symbolic that—and literally significant, as well—that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force is not being challenged or proposed for ending by this administration. So, that very open-ended authorization right after 9/11 is one that the administration is embracing and trying to ride for all it can, essentially, in search of enemies. And if there are no geographical or conceptual or state boundaries that will define this war coming out of the U.S. government, then the search for enemies is open-ended and infinite.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Kofi Annan—
NORMAN SOLOMON: And I should add, not only a search for enemies that’s infinite, but the creation of enemies, because this administration not only preaches against endless war while doing more than any other presidency to make endless war policy, but this administration is second to none in creating enemies of the United States around the world. And so the spin cycle, the war cycle, the destructive cycle continues.
AMY GOODMAN: Norman Solomon, I wanted to turn to the former U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan. Over the weekend, he spoke at the Munich Security Conference, suggesting the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq created the Islamic State.
KOFI ANNAN: The second and much more proximate cause of the instability we are witnessing today was the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I spoke against it at the time, and I’m afraid my concerns have been proved well-founded. The folly of that fateful decision was compounded by post-invasion decisions. The wholesale disbandment of security forces, among other measures, poured hundreds of thousands of trained and disgruntled soldiers and policemen onto the streets.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Norman Solomon, your response?
NORMAN SOLOMON: It’s a good point, but when you go back to that time—and I think, Amy, you and I spoke about the impending invasion of Iraq, you know, more than a decade ago—Kofi Annan could have been much stronger in his post at the United Nations in opposing it. And frankly, there are all too many people in Washington, as well, who in retrospect say what terrible tragedies are or have unfolded, but at the time, they don’t have a whole lot of backbone, they don’t challenge the administration. And years from now, we’re going to have people who were in Congress right now who will say what a terrible tragedy yesterday’s statement and offered resolution from the Obama White House was. But right now, we’re not hearing them speaking out very strongly. And it’s incumbent on all of us to speak out and stop this despicable push towards escalation of yet more war from the Obama White House.
AMY GOODMAN: Norman Solomon, we’re going to break and then come back to ask you about the suspension of Brian Williams for lying about Iraq, and we want to talk to you about the Sterling trial. Then we’re going to go on to talk about what happened in North Carolina near the University of North Carolina, the three young students, two sisters and one of their, well, new husband, who were just gunned down, the police say over a parking spot, their family says it’s hate crime. Stay with us!
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People