There are plenty of pundits and members of congress criticizing Obama for a nuanced, less than full out declaration of war against Isis, aimed at annihilation of Isis troops. I am no fan of Obama, and, already, it looks like the reasons he has used to attack ISIS and bring more troops back into Iraq have been exaggerations or made up.
I find times like these enlightening. They flush out the people and organizations who are working together to promote war and profits for the military industrial complex. These times also cast a bright shining light on the connections and lack of differences between pundits and politicians with supposedly polar opposite political points of view. We see senators Menendez and Graham in bipartisan agreement-- or, more accurately, corporate, neocon agreement.
ISIS is easy to hate, especially when the mainstream media help them so much with their messaging. It seems pretty obvious that ISIS wants the USA to go back into Iraq. There's no better recruitment tool than the next Abu Ghraib or military massacre, or American soldiers peeing on dead combatants or civilians. And the mainstream media are clearly doing all they can to help ISIS in this endeavor.
It is horrible that two journalists have been beheaded. But there have been more than sixty other journalists killed recently in Syria. What about concern for them? One commenter on Facebook said she wouldn't believe the beheadings were real until she sees an unedited video that makes it clear the beheadings were real and not staged. Remember the horror stories the Herbert Walker Bush administration told, of Iraqi soldiers "throwing babies from incubators" during the invasion of Kuwait. Those stories were untrue. Who knows what is true or not now, regarding ISIS? My point is we should be skeptical and ask a lot of questions.
We have former peace activist John Kerry calling for positions far to the, not right, but far more to the militarily aggressive position(is that to the right?) than Obama's public position. Is Obama using Kerry to test the waters on the idea of wiping ISIS out?
Why should the US respond to the killers of two journalists, when it ignores the killings of 60 others? Perhaps the answer is the USA's narcissistic national exceptionalism-- that people derive their own personal sense of power, even potency and machismo, when they talk of kicking ass-- ISIS, IRAN, Boko Haram, Ukrainian rebels-- there are so many fantasy targets. Nationalistic exceptionalism driven calls for war may be cathartic or ego or self-image maintaining, and that's relatively harmless-- stupid, perhaps even psychologically pathological-- but only in the head. It's somewhat different though, when politicos start talking that way. They're working for multi-billion dollar conglomerates that merge media and military munitions. Beating the drums of war is, for them, just doing business.
I have to confess that the reports of the acts of ISIS shock and horrify me. I have moments when I think Obama should be sending fleets of drones to kill them all. But that's the old, reflexive me and I don't want to go there. Jeremy Scahill's book and movie, Dirty Wars, has made it clear that using drones is not a solution. Most likely, Obama has probably already begun sending hordes of drones to attack ISIS, or he soon will, without congressional authorization, just as he's done in Pakistan. Please. There are better responses than gearing up the massive US machinery of war, which is gladly cranked up by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Haliburton, etc. .
David Swanson has written a few articles offering alternate ways of looking at and responding to the ISIS situation:
We need to take a deep breath, think this through, refuse to allow machismo national exceptionalism to make the decisions, remember the past lies that have dragged us into war, repeatedly ask Qui Bono-- "who benefits" when pundits and politicians push for a rush to all out war.
I realize that I'm speaking, primarily to the choir here, though I am sure there are some readers who, horrified by the reported atrocities perpetrated by ISIS are ready to go to war. My hope is this article will get you thinking, and perhaps arm you with alternate replies and questions that slow down the war-readiness of people who are watching the media where the drums of war are beating so loudly.
David Swanson's books and my conversations with him have made me a convert. All wars are started based on lies. War is never the answer, even when there are people acting like monsters (and monster stories are often, even usually, based on lies, distortions and deceptions.) The only way to create a world at peace is to stop buying sales pitches and arguments for wars and to pursue peaceful ways.
That doesn't mean I find ISIS' behavior acceptable. I don't like any fundamentalist religion that believes it has the right to hurt others or do damage if the others don't believe. But we need to find ways other than killing and war to stop them. After all, ISIS' roots go back over 100 years, to before the time of the Ottoman Empire. They have resurrected because the USA backed them in Syria, and gave them media ammunition in Iraq that helped them recruit. Read Swanson's articles. They give solutions-- simple, but not easy solutions.