Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 20, 2013

Looking For Somebody’s Ass To Kick?

From a preview on Peter Baker's new book on the Bush administration:
As one senior official who came to rue his involvement in Iraq put it, “The only reason we went into Iraq, I tell people now, is we were looking for somebody’s ass to kick. Afghanistan was too easy.”

Were they really all just braindead primitives like "suck on this" Thomas Friedman? To me this sounds like a rather silly excuse for collectively committing a supreme crime.

Posted by b on October 20, 2013 at 17:36 UTC | Permalink


To me this sounds like a rather silly excuse for collectively committing a supreme crime.

Actually that was what I thought at the time too: that US was just looking for an ass to kick. Just so that they would make a point with Iraq and then Libya/Syria/Iran folding their hands even perhaps without a fight and that the US could achieve an absolute hegemony in ME and then move on to suffocate Russia and China.
To me Iraqi oil in itself never seemed like a good reason for the US invasion of Iraq. On the other hand the hegemony over all oil/gas reserves in ME as a step towards weakening Russia and China and achieving a total global hegemony, would sound like a good reason.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 20 2013 17:57 utc | 1

they are certainly stupid enough. the most stupid empire in hiistory

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Oct 20 2013 18:35 utc | 2

it was all part of one gigantic cunning plan
to bankrupt the United States.
(see Baldrick---Blackadder TV series of 1980-1990 (uk)

Posted by: chris m | Oct 20 2013 19:38 utc | 3

One very simple explanation for the invasion of Irak, Iran, libia etc is :
They have oil, the oil is peaking and with the years will be very expensive and vital por the civilization.
What do you prefer, the oil for the chinese and japanese or the oil for we the USA, and europeans.
If we do not catch the oil today, tomorrow, the chinese will do.
It is survival question.
The same of oil is for minerals, food , coltan, . And the new war in next 10 years for the control of phosphates rock of Western Sahara . See

Posted by: anonymous42 | Oct 20 2013 20:00 utc | 4

The only reason we went into Iraq, I tell people now, is we were looking for somebody’s ass to kick. Afghanistan was too easy.

I've heard Afghanistan called a lot of things, but never heard it called "too easy" to invade. Wondering what American high school history books are like. I imagine plenty of drawings of Jesus Christ holding an American flag and starting around the time of George Washington (even though 200 years ago can barely be called history).

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 20 2013 20:11 utc | 5

Speaking off Afghanistan, news just out that the US is cutting/running from Kyrgyzstan's Manas airbase, its main logistics hub for Afghanistan.

The new logistics hub will be located in Romania... I'm just going to assume the US is aware that Romania is in Europe and not bordering Afghanistan.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 20 2013 20:20 utc | 6

chris m | Oct 20, 2013 3:38:16 PM | 3

"to bankrupt the United States"

How to fail a simple macroeconomics examination
Posted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by bill

Posted by: c | Oct 20 2013 20:29 utc | 7

'Were they really all just braindead primitives like

'primitives' dont indulge in this sort of behaviour...thats the work of more sophisticated cultures: civilisations have engaged in chronic warfare since their inceptions

Posted by: brian | Oct 20 2013 20:41 utc | 8

I've heard Afghanistan called a lot of things, but never heard it called "too easy" to invade.

Colm, Don't know if you were in the US at the time, but in November of 2011, Kabul had fallen to the Northern alliance and basically to the US. Everyone was in awe of the US military which 'accomplished in 30 days what the USSR had failed to do in 10 years.'

Utter nonsense of course, but at the time everybody believed it because outwardly, it seemed to be true. Then again, the initial Soviet takeover of Kabul was a perfect textbook operation from what I understand.

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 20 2013 23:02 utc | 9

Lysander - c9
You mean November 2001, I guess (hope?) :-)
But, yeah, that is what the media of all - well most - types had us believe. One thing the US is really good at is to run PR operations. Never mind that behind the facade was a completely dysfunctional bureaucracy and truckloads of hubris. And that they (the US) are rather inclined to believe their own PR.

Colm O' Toole - c 6
Lol. Looks like running away in the night…
Are you sure Romania is still in Europe? Maybe it was moved overnight and Googlemaps still needs updating :-p ? Thanks for that link, btw.

Posted by: Philippe | Oct 21 2013 1:04 utc | 10

"we were looking for somebody’s ass to kick. Afghanistan was too easy.”

As likely explanation as anything, especially considering the mentality of that jug eared cypher in the oval office.

Posted by: annamissed | Oct 21 2013 1:16 utc | 11

The PTB saw Iraq as the key move in establishing permanent US world hegemony, which they see as being threatened by China in the long run. But for the American in the street, and this includes my highly educated colleagues as well as the Time's Moustache of Misunderstanding, it was as you suggest, a reflexive payback for humiliations that go back to the Iranian student takeover of the American Embassy in Teheran. If one were to single out one event that altered the American psyche (the Vietnam War was too drawn out), that was it.

Nothing illustrates the incurable insecurity of Americans as their headlong support of the Invadion of Iraq. That insecurity has made the US, as it made Germany three generations ago, the greatest threat to world piece.

Posted by: Knut | Oct 21 2013 1:56 utc | 12

How to twist news (and they get imaginative in France and the UK when it comes to Qatar.. who else would help these papers stay alive..)
If you skip the last paragraph, Sarkozy did not ask Platini to vote for Qatar. If you have time and read the last paragraph he did.

The recent attacks in Syria (Bab Tuma, Jaramana) and Cairo (Coptic wedding) show that the Takfiris are still busy "punishing the Christians" for their alleged support of the bad regimes.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 21 2013 6:41 utc | 13

It is too simply to attribute a single reason for the war in Iraq. To be sure the psychic trauma of 911 was a major and probably indispensable factor in that we had to do something even if it was totally irrational. There were other pieces that came into play to name just a few.

We had the world's most powerful military and many power brokers felt we had to show the world just how powerful we were. They had the enthusiastic backing of the military and our arms industry.

Oil is always a factor though in this case there seems little evidence that our energy industry supported this war and in fact some indications that they even opposed.

Of course Israel and it's American lobby used their considerable influence to push things in the direction of war.

On another issue. #6 Colm moving an entire army and all of its supplies via a base in Rumania sounds like one major logistical problem. That means an airlift that is more than 2,400 miles. (Less if Iran allows US military overflight, ha ha). This is going to be very expensive and who is going to defend those last flights out? I suspect that it will be much cheaper simply blowing up any remaining armor than trying to fly it that far. That will be America's legacy in Afghanistan -- rusting ruins of tanks, apv's, bull dozers, etc scattered across the landscape. They will join the ruins of all that Soviet armor from the earlier war. It should make for some great photo opportunities.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 21 2013 6:56 utc | 14

Come on - kicking ass is good business :-)) - or not.
From 1988 Der Spiegel - Hellish additional costs - in German

"In case the Pentagon continues its present armament plans, even without any change to new weaponry, there will be a gap in funding of 3600 billion dollars up to 2010."

Gorbachev proposed unilateral Soviet disarmament end of 1988.

It got more difficult to argue for defense spending after that. US defense spending today is back to the heights of the Cold War.

These lobbyists and defense people have to invent ennemies.

No, armament is not advantageous to the economy of a country. To believe this is the broken window fallacy.

A hundred thousand men, costing the tax-payers a hundred millions of money, live and bring to the purveyors as much as a hundred millions can supply. This is that which is seen.

But, a hundred millions taken from the pockets of the tax-payers, cease to maintain these taxpayers and the purveyors, as far as a hundred minions reach. This is that which is not seen. Now make your calculations. Cast up, and tell me what profit there is for the masses?

I will tell you where the loss lies; and to simplify it, instead of speaking of a hundred thousand men and a million of money, it shall be of one man, and a thousand francs.

We will suppose that we are in the village of A. The recruiting sergeants go their round, and take off a man. The tax-gatherers go their round, and take off a thousand francs. The man and the sum of money are taken to Metz, and the latter is destined to support the former for a year without doing anything. If you consider Metz only, you are quite right; the measure is a very advantageous one: but if you look towards the village of A., you will judge very differently; for, unless you are very blind indeed, you will see that that village has lost a worker, and the thousand francs which would remunerate his labour, as well as the activity which, by the expenditure of those thousand francs, it would spread around it.

At first sight, there would seem to be some compensation. What took place at the village, now takes place at Metz, that is all. But the loss is to be estimated in this way: - At the village, a man dug and worked; he was a worker. At Metz, he turns to the right about, and to the left about; he is a soldier. The money and the circulation are the same in both cases; but in the one there were three hundred days of productive labour; in the other, there are three hundred days of unproductive labour, supposing, of course, that a part of the army is not indispensable to the public safety.

Now, suppose the disbanding to take place. You tell me there will be a surplus of a hundred thousand workers, that competition will be stimulated, and it will reduce the rate of wages. This is what you see.

But what you do not see is this. You do not see that to dismiss a hundred thousand soldiers is not to do away with a million of money, but to return it to the tax-payers. You do not see that to throw a hundred thousand workers on the market, is to throw into it, at the same moment, the hundred millions of money needed to pay for their labour; that, consequently, the same act which increases the supply of hands, increases also the demand; from which it follows, that your fear of a reduction of wages is unfounded. You do not see that, before the disbanding as well as after it, there are in the country a hundred millions of money corresponding with the hundred thousand men. That the whole difference consists in this: before the disbanding, the country gave the hundred millions to the hundred thousand men for doing nothing; and that after it, it pays them the same sum for working. You do not see, in short, that when a tax-payer gives his money either to a soldier in exchange for nothing, or to a worker in exchange for something, all the ultimate consequences of the circulation of this money are the same in the two cases; only, in the second case, the tax-payer receives something, in the former he receives nothing. The result is - a dead loss to the nation.

The sophism which I am here combating will not stand the test of progression, which is the touchstone of principles. If, when every compensation is made, and all interests are satisfied, there is a national profit in increasing the army, why not enroll under its banners the entire male population of the country?

Any dollar US citizens spend on armament that is unnecessary for the security of the country is a burden on its economy.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 21 2013 7:40 utc | 15

Somebody, whoever wrote that hadn't read Keynes. Keynes argued that there is nothing wrong with paying the workforce to dig holes and then fill them up again. The supply of money is not fixed as your reasoner appears to think. The govt can just print enough extra money to pay the hole operatives and this will expand aggregate demand, so actually wages for the remaining workforce who feed clothe and house the hole operatives will actually go up. All this is perfect, especially because you can turn it on and off like a tap, to maintain full employment exactly. As long as you don't mind inflation.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21 2013 10:16 utc | 16

According to Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the the combined projected costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will amount to 6 Trillion dollars or 75,000 dollars for every US household.$6-trillion

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 21 2013 11:23 utc | 17

By the way this is what 1 Trillion dollars looks like,

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 21 2013 11:28 utc | 18

the western regimes make turgid lies about syria: Ghouta

while lying that they commit real atrocities
'“I want to make sure people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” President Obama said in an hour long interview hosted by Google.'

Posted by: brian | Oct 21 2013 11:54 utc | 19

"Actually that was what I thought at the time too: that US was just looking for an ass to kick. Just so that they would make a point with Iraq and then Libya/Syria/Iran folding their hands even perhaps without a fight and that the US could achieve an absolute hegemony in ME and then move on to suffocate Russia and China."
Pirouz_2 is right.
The aim of the war and the explanation of its course, which was full of contemptuous gestures towards the UN and international law, was to demonstrate to the world the omnipotence of the US and its military.
This has to be seen in the context of the "Vietnam syndrome"- the need to re-assert US hegemony after humiliating defeats- and the sense of euphoric liberation that overtook the neo-cons after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yeltsin's surrender to the bankers.
Governor Ann Richards of Texas famously said of George Bush that "he was born on third base and he thought that he had hit a triple." The neo-cons were even more deluded, as renegade Trotskyists, employed as mercenaries for imperialism, they convinced themselves that they had defeated the Red Army, the Warsaw Pact and all other opponents everywhere, forever. Fukushima wrote a book about it.
At any rate the White House and its media were convinced that when mankind had seen, on TV, what America could do to mighty Saddam and the all conquering Iraqi army, it would line up to kow-tow, bringing tribute to Wall St and falling, blinded by US glory,to its knees.
In fact what the world has seen is twelve years of incompetence, sordid bullying, word twisting, cowardice and stupidity. It has glimpsed the rot at the heart of US domestic life- the reality of irreparable racial and caste divisions behind the thin cloth of the star spangled banner- and the treachery of the US capitalist class which, suicidally, discards the defence of patriotism for a few dollars saved on cheaper labour.
What was intended as a demonstration of imperial power has turned out to be proof of decline, signalling the beginning of the end of an era of domination which began in the fifteenth century.

Its good to have a student of Keynes aboard, Rowan:
"The govt can just print enough extra money to pay the hole operatives and this will expand aggregate demand, so actually wages for the remaining workforce who feed clothe and house the hole operatives will actually go up. All this is perfect, especially because you can turn it on and off like a tap, to maintain full employment exactly. As long as you don't mind inflation."
Perhaps you could tell us how this works when there is international competition?

Posted by: bevin | Oct 21 2013 13:00 utc | 20

harrylaw @18:

$1 trillion - that's peanuts. Here's a graphic of the derivatives exposure of the 9 biggest banks. Each cube in the pile is £100 million, a man sized stack. It amounts to a total of about 3 times the whole world economy.

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 21 2013 13:56 utc | 21

Ass-kicking is only a part of it. Many valid reasons above, but this plan, I believe, although an old one, is still operative.

Posted by: ben | Oct 21 2013 14:10 utc | 22

Bevin, up until about the 1960s, the perils of forced devaluation of the currency relative to other currencies seem not yet have been relevant to the metropolitan countries. I did 'A' levels (university entrance standard) in economics & logic at the end of the 1960s, and Keynes was still macro-economic orthodoxy. The British masses still bought British cars. 'Made in Japan' became a popular dirge in the 1960s, but the Japanese currency was itself kept artificially cheap for export reasons, wasn't it? But the Labour govts of the 1960s were forced into repeated devaluations. This in the end undermined the Keynesian orthodoxy, as you say. It was similar in the US, the dollar was constantly losing value, even against the pound, ie it was inflating faster. But the hegemon can do what he likes, and still does (see the Chinese complaint this month that international investors have lost half a trillion dollars in real buying power on their T-Bonds since whenever, let me check). Yes, here it is:

The depreciation of the US dollar caused an estimated loss of $628.5b for foreign creditors during 2008 to 2012.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21 2013 14:49 utc | 23

"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business," - Michael Ledeen

These people are all Psychopaths.

Posted by: Dan | Oct 21 2013 15:05 utc | 24

At the time ‘taking over Iraqi oil’ was big on the list of motives.

Remember Cheney and Condi with their secret meet and a secret map allegedly of oil fields?

I was always dubious about the reality of this motive - though it may have been put forward with fake hype - because oil cos. and particularly US/western (e.g. Shell) oil cos need stability and it was clear Iraq was going to descend into hell. I’m not on top of oil news right now, but no good deals have been made afaik and all the oil cos are producing less than they did 5 or more years ago. (Except Chevron that has stayed about steady.) Afghanistan (they had all the minerals remember?) is the same story. Ex:

Yeah, kick ass, and fill the coffers of contractors, the milit-ind complex, and a whole HOST of profiteers. Millions of ppl killled and displaced for profits in all kinds of crap not to mention straight-out theft and fraud which was never investigated. Mostly paid for by the US taxpayer. The Mafia (local not global) are your friends and dignified dinner guests in comparison.

The Iraq invasion impoverished US citizens, Iraqis, others (talking in money terms, the carnage doesn’t count!) and attracted all kinds of scammers who gained money and power - giving these ppl status that they did not have before and which they would *go on* to exploit in the future. The straight-out Predator elements, from almost insignificant (selling Italian marble that was never delivered; humanitarians who ran seminars for Iraqi women to empower them in new media) to billion-dollar profits (e.g. Halliburton, link.) It set a template - invade or kill off the heads of State and *some ppl* can make out like bandits.

Afghanistan was ‘too easy’ because the Russkies broke their teeth on it, and the ‘International Community’ had already agreed to its invasion by the US before 9/11. (That is why it went forward instantly.) It was on the cards, but there was ‘nothing much’ to accomplish there - backward Pashtun peasants, desperately ugly terrain, little oppo for scams, though there was the drug trade, etc. Any invasion or action or whatever would meet no/little resistance. Iraq was a bigger better challenge and money maker, add in the glee of certain Opposition from some quarters. E.g. it pitted Blair against Chirac and Schroeder and the latter lost though they managed a bit of delay. Sarkozy and Hollande learnt the lesson.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 21 2013 15:08 utc | 25

With regard to bevin's post @ 20, even Homer sometimes nods: you are probably referring to the 1989 essay "The End of History?" by Francis Fukuyama, or perhaps to its expanded form "The End of History and the Last Man" which appeared in 1992. Also, the delectable "born on third base" quote was used by Texas pol Jim Hightower with regard to George H.W. Bush, considerably before Ann Richards used it, with even greater appropriateness, in reference to his son, and it might well have been a popular Texas put-down of the uppity rich well before that.

These are minor points and I apologize for the pedantry. In substance, I fully agree with bevin's views.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Oct 21 2013 15:35 utc | 26

Noirette, the Zionists wanted Saddam gone, and if possible, the state of Iraq dismantled (and even now, Iraqi Kurdistan is trying hard to muster the western support necessary to secede).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 21 2013 16:06 utc | 27

(and even now, Iraqi Kurdistan is trying hard to muster the western support necessary to secede).

That is not the reason for the failure of Kurdistan to secede; it is that they are dependent on their 17% of southern Iraqi oil. Though the Turks also say no.

Posted by: alexno | Oct 21 2013 16:12 utc | 28

What is truly sad is Dick Cheney's appearance on 60 Minutes and other network news outlets. Why is he provided an outlet and playing the role of a conquering hero.....

Posted by: georgeg | Oct 21 2013 16:17 utc | 29

"No, armament is not advantageous to the economy of a country."

It is if that country's economy depends on looting others. The British Empire's economy was based on ships of the line, not fish and chips.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 21 2013 17:34 utc | 30

+for many ordinary Americans, the world, though not a better place for them, is nevertheless seen to be a better place. Freud once said something about ordinary Romans being compensated for the heavy price they paid in taxes and military service, by the idea that as part of Rome, they had a say in how lesser countries were run. They basked in the reflected prestige of the Empire, in the same way, today, many Americans think of themselves as somehow greater for the shit-kicking "we've" given the Taliban, as if killing peasants half way around the world is an Olympic event, and the United States just cleaned up in the medals (which the United States surely would, if it was.) +

Posted by: denk | Oct 21 2013 17:55 utc | 31

"I apologize for the pedantry.'
Not on my account, I hope: I thank you for the correction.

"The British masses still bought British cars. 'Made in Japan' became a popular dirge in the 1960s, but the Japanese currency was itself kept artificially cheap for export reasons, wasn't it? But the Labour govts of the 1960s were forced into repeated devaluations. This in the end undermined the Keynesian orthodoxy, as you say..."
Those were the days.. of Commonwealth preference, protective tariffs and the Sterling area. Also of Mike (father of Baroness) Kidron's Western Capitalism since the War which sought to explain the Permanent Arms Economy, which would interest "somebody."
What is the origin of the long quotation @15? It sounds familiar.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 21 2013 18:44 utc | 32

@Colm O'Toole,

Just wanted to note that simply invading and "conquering" Afghanistan was never a problem for its would-be-invaders. The biggest problem with Afghanistan, not only for its conquerors but even native Afghan states themselves, is with subjugation and pacification--which NO ONE has ever managed to achieve (occasional Afghan gov'ts managed to make deals with tribal peoples to keep calm, but overeager central gov'ts often overreached and messed things up--which is why Soviets wound up intervening back in late 1970s.). Secondarily, outsiders have usually had trouble managing to extricate themselves safely from Afghanistan, which remains the biggest challenge for the US--the Soviets, to their credit, managed to pull out of Afghanistan in reasonably good order.

Posted by: A different Anon | Oct 21 2013 18:52 utc | 33

@Somebody (#15);

There are two points which are not mentioned in your quotation. The "hundred thousand men" are not doing "nothing". True, their labour is an "unproductive" one, indeed let alone being "unproductive" it is downright destructive. But:

1)It is through destruction that the next cycle of *capitalist* production starts. If you don't destroy the buildings, roads and dams, how are the construction companies are supposed to make a profit, my friend? In fact as wealth (what I mean here is capital) accumulates, it becomes a barrier to its own accumulation, and it has to be destroyed. I will never forget a compulsory course that I had to take from the humanities when I was in the university. The professor was trying to explain how WWII had led to "prosperity". My field had nothing to do with economics, so my common sense was still intact, and therefore I could not fathom how destruction of entire countries and killing millions upon millions of people could result in economic "prosperity". I kept raising my hand in objection so many time that the poor professor got finally frustrated and told me that perhaps he should try to explain the thing to me after the lecture. He never succeeded in doing that even after the lecture, I just couldn't fucking get it! I was too ignorant(!) to see how destruction could actually be "profitable" and indeed indispensable for the recovery of the rate of profit!
It took me three volumes of "Das Kapital" to finally solve the mystery and get my answer!
You see, the quotation that you made seems to see economy (as I did at the time) as the endeavor to make "people" prosperous. But that is not what bourgeois economy is about. Bourgeois economy is about the rate of profit and accumulation of capital. Any increase in the livelihood of people as a consequence of an increase in wages, is a secondary and most importantly a temporary (and indeed unintended) side-effect of it.

2) Global capital needs a global enforcer. Capital has to enforce its discipline on the global masses. How is capital supposed to do that without those "unproductive" labourers called "soldiers"? Aren't we being a bit ungrateful to those who fight for the freedom of capital (I know somewhere along the line I got confused, actually I meant to write "for our freedom")?
There is an ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT quotation from that "brain-dead primitive" called Thomas Friedman:
"McDonalds cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15." So "the hidden hand" would never work freely without the enforcement of the "hidden fist".

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 21 2013 23:37 utc | 34

When Americans feel like kicking ass, hundreds of thousands of people in a foreign country are slaughtered by U.S. bombs, the homes and lives of just as many are destroyed and this insanity changes nothing.

Posted by: kalithea | Oct 22 2013 2:45 utc | 35

'In one of his latest addresses, Russia’s most-wanted terrorist Doku Umarov claimed that jihad would be waged in every region and country where even a single “real Muslim” lives, Ataev reminded, adding that the expansion of a “social base” for terrorism is a worrying and dangerous sign.'

so that means US and UK and EU can expect a taste of what they have unleashed on syria...and ensuring muslims everywhere are now seen as potential terrorists...its time they took action against the radicals in their midst

Posted by: brian | Oct 22 2013 7:00 utc | 36

'Norwegian sisters, 16 and 19, ‘travel to Syria to help Muslims in any way they can’' they are of somalia origin, the use of 'norwegian' is misleading

which means theyve been brainwashed by the media to engage i Jihad against muslim! what to make of such stupidity? how to reign in the fanatics and the misguided idealists?
but since they are somalians..why not go to somalia? why syria?

Posted by: brian | Oct 22 2013 7:14 utc | 37

during the screening of *black hawk down*,
there were reports that many muricuns barge out of the cinemas after the
show, declaring that *today i feel like kicking some black ass* !
murica, the kickass country.

Posted by: denk | Oct 22 2013 7:43 utc | 38

Last Saturday, Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, shared his first hand observations from a recent fact finding trip to Syria. You can view what he had to say at:

Posted by: brian | Oct 22 2013 8:00 utc | 39

Facebook allows beheading videos

Facebook has quietly resumed allowing decapitation videos to be posted on its website, lifting a temporary ban it had placed earlier this year on content featuring graphic violence. The social network said after a report on the BBC on Monday that gory photos and videos were permitted on its site so long as the content was posted in a manner intended for its users to "condemn" the acts rather than celebrate them.
now the issue is will Guardian condemn the beheading jihadis rampaging thru syria? or will it back them>

Posted by: brian | Oct 22 2013 8:59 utc | 40

a six yr old muricun's kickass idea to eradicate the national debt

Posted by: denk | Oct 22 2013 10:20 utc | 41


Not "many" Americans are enthused about the obvious quagmire in Afghanistan, they're just too apathetic to protest against the waste of taxpayer dollars and lives.

Posted by: amspirnational | Oct 22 2013 22:19 utc | 42

There's a theory, I call it the Alderan theory, Its says "shock and awe" (remember that) was aimed not at Iraq but the rest of the Middle East to create total compliance in the 'war against terror' from all governments in the region for fear of being next. The US realised that most of the 'war against terror' would take place inside Middle Eastern countries and needed total cooperation from governments of various stripes. Like trying out the Death Star in Star Wars they needed a suitably impressive target to show of their military might and their willingness to use it, and Afghanistan wasn't that. In the wake of the Iraq invasion the Saudis took a more aggressive stance against Al Qaida and 'unfriendly' countries such as Iran. Syria and Libya were for a while cooperative. Perhaps it was the worlds great act of terrorism.

Posted by: SMN | Oct 23 2013 15:13 utc | 43

In the wake of the Iraq invasion the Saudis took a more aggressive stance against Al Qaida and 'unfriendly' countries such as Iran... Posted by: SMN | Oct 23, 2013 11:13:30 AM | 43
I don't recall seeing the Saudis taking a more aggressive stance against al-Qaida. Of course, they're agin it in their own country, they always have been. Or, on second thoughts, that isn't exactly true. It seems they actually got AQ to stage a couple of bombings in KSA so that they could frame Iran for them. I have a long multi-part analysis of this somewhere: yes, here it is.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 23 2013 15:29 utc | 44

amspirnational 42

apathetic ?
fact is, yanks are often compared to zombies.
i'd say more like *mkultra'd zombies*, [1]
who respond to some preprogrammed words.

to activate them,
u just have to whisper into their ears certain magic words
like.......*tibet* !
hell, those couch potatoes who r too lethargic to join a street corner demonstraton on iraq, would take the next plane , fly half way across the world to protest on
some *genocide railway* in tibet !


Posted by: denk | Oct 23 2013 16:45 utc | 45

let's rewrite history.

forget pnac, israel, yinon, perle, wolfowitz.

Posted by: delta | Oct 23 2013 17:32 utc | 46

Dick Cheney's journey continues.....On a Medical entertainment show - Dr OZ. A bit laughable.....

Posted by: georgeg | Oct 23 2013 23:52 utc | 47

no..the war on iraq was conceived in israel....only the illinformed think otherwise

'In a lengthy article in The American Conservative criticizing the rationale for the projected U.S. attack on Iraq, the veteran diplomatic historian Paul W. Schroeder noted (only in passing) "what is possibly the unacknowledged real reason and motive behind the policy — security for Israel." If Israel's security were indeed the real American motive for war, Schroeder wrote,

It would represent something to my knowledge unique in history. It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state. [1]
Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?

To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.'

Posted by: brian | Oct 28 2013 10:39 utc | 48

Sniegoski's book on the neocons, the Iraq war, and the putative Israeli motivation for it, is one of the better ones. It's very difficult to write that sort of book without falling into a tribalist mentality - "the Jews", etc. But Sniegoski was able to do it and still remain acceptable to the whole range of fairly civilised people, as you can see from all the links concerning his book, here. There is a review of Sniegoski's book here which is good because it examines the questions Sniegoski didn't ask, or asked and was unable to answer, such as: what was Dick Cheney's motivation, really? Was it greed, or just innate evilness?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 28 2013 12:26 utc | 49

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