Just What We Need: Another War
By Danny Schechter
New York, New York: Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war.
Enemies r 'us, and for a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a Jihadi fatigue had set in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America's threat-defining and refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple, turned too complex to fuse into one soundbite.
Former Intelligence official Thomas Fingar, now of Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what US policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.
"When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero, " he explained. "My first instruction was, "Reduce the number."
He knew they needed only one bad-ass enemy to focus fears and attract appropriations to fight. He had too many threats to respond to. They had to go.
Now, he and the Administration have that new bad guy.
Political scientist/analyst Michael Brenner says Washington is in an ISIS panic:
"The grotesque beheading of James Foley is stirring passions in Washington policy circles. From the highest levels of the Obama administration to the media pundits, emotions are flaring over what the United States should/could do. The act in itself has changed nothing insofar as IS' threat to the United States and its significance for Middle East politics are concerned. It is the mood that has been transformed. Irresistible impulse is displacing cool deliberation. The flood of commentary, as usual, reveals little in the way of rigorous logic but much in the way of disjointed thinking and unchecked emotion."
The response? Give us a war plan, and not just against ISIS, let's throw in Syria too. Money is apparently no object.
Breaking Defense.com reports: "US operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or whatever we're calling it these days) have probably cost the country about $100 million so far, according to one of the top defense budget experts. It's difficult to come up with a precise estimate for what current operations in Iraq are costing""
Don't forget, as Glenn Greenwald didn't, before the current focus on ISIS, the US was bombarding Syria's Assad with calls that he step down amidst threats of overthrowing him.
"It was not even a year ago," he writes, "when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was both a moral and strategic imperative. Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed "Bomb Assad!" campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad -- the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years."
Recall: that campaign was undercut when public opinion in the US turned against it. We negotiated instead, and accomplished something, eventually destroying Syria's stash of chemical weapons. Why emulate a success when you can make more mistakes?