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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,556

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Some lazy-ass pics of the most astonishing Autumn foliage season I've ever experienced.

Yes yes yes yes yes, this is a forum dedicated to death-brawls and long-standing grudges, but I thought a moment of shared astonishment might serve. We here in the Northeast are enjoying pretty much the most gorgeous foliage in a generation. I took these today from my office, which has been a soaking rainy day, and took them all indoors.

It's a planet worth saving, I think.

Komen and the Pinkwashed Drill Bit: Fracking "For the Cure"

(Image: Cancer awareness, Drill bit via Shutterstock;
Edited: EL / TO)

Komen and the Pinkwashed Drill Bit: Fracking "For the Cure"
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 09 October 2014

Two years ago, the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure came desperately close to exploding itself when it announced that it was cancelling its grants to Planned Parenthood for mammograms and other medical procedures vital to women's health. All over the country, women raised seven shades of scalding Hell over Komen's backward priorities, and the organization took a fierce fundraising hit from which it is still attempting to recover.

Flash forward to this week, right in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Komen has once again stepped on a land mine it planted in its own path. In a PR move worthy of The Onion, it was announced this week that Komen has teamed up with Baker Hughes, one of the largest fracking concerns in the country, to paint 1,000 fracking drill bits pink in an effort they claimed will "serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find the cures for this disease."

They've called it "Doing Our Bit for the Cure." No, really.

The response was immediate and ferocious. The organization Breast Cancer Action denounced the Komen/Baker Hughes drill bit collaboration as "pinkwashing," a term they originally coined which is defined as, "A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease."

"We are outraged that as the largest breast cancer organization in the world, you are partnering with a fracking corporation that is poisoning our health," continued Breast Cancer action in a statement. "Pink drill bits are a pinkwashing publicity stunt. Fracking is a toxic process - at least 25% of the more than 700 chemicals used in fracking are linked to cancer. By taking money from these companies and giving them permission to use your name, you are complicit in a practice that endangers women's health. You have created a perfect profit cycle whereby Baker Hughes contributes to causing the very disease you raise money to cure. This is unacceptable to us. Our health is not for sale."


California is enduring a drought of historic proportions, and billions of gallons of precious water have already been used in the fracking process, often in the most drought-stricken areas of the state. Now we learn the very water used in fracking has been vomited into California's shrinking water supply. If Breast Cancer Action's numbers are correct, and 25% of the chemicals used in fracking are known to cause cancer, an astonishing number of Californians have been put at risk.

Thanks, fracking. Doing your bit, indeed.

One wonders who is in charge of Komen's public relations department these days. There is a saying that an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters will eventually re-create the works of Shakespeare. By the same token, an infinite number of monkeys banging away on an infinite number of typewriters will eventually come up with a marketing strategy as catastrophically ugly as this. Komen didn't need the monkeys; they did it all by themselves.

Komen, of course, reacted to the criticism by claiming, "The evidence to this point does not establish a connection between fracking and breast cancer." The same dodge was successfully deployed by the tobacco companies for decades. Next up: pink cigarettes, brought to you by Komen and Phillip Morris. "Let's Help Breast Cancer Go Up in Smoke!"

I really wish I was trying to be funny. At this point, nothing would surprise me.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26731-komen-and-the-pinkwashed-drill-bit-fracking-for-the-cure

Bush, Flying Shoes and Remembering the Truth

Former President Bush ducking to avoid being hit by the two shoes
thrown by Al-Baghdadia TV journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi at a press
conference. Baghdad, Iraq, December 14, 2008.
(Image: US Federal Government)

Bush, Flying Shoes and Remembering the Truth
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Saturday 04 October 2014

Remember the guy in Iraq who threw his shoes at George W. Bush? It was December of 2008, during a press conference people only remember now because of the footwear that was flying.

As it turns out, however, that was actually a genuinely weighty presser.


Allow me, if I may, to paint a picture.

Imagine a man, a child of exceeding privilege, who stumblebumbed his way to a business degree from a prestigious institution of higher learning he had no business attending on the merits, but for his last name, and the bankroll attached to it. He had trouble with drugs, and booze, and then trouble with military service, and then sullied the reputation of that aforementioned learning institution by running every single business he laid hands on into the ground.

Yet, somehow, by the magic of money, connections, and Jesus - to whom this child of privilege stapled himself in his less-inebriated 40s - the man who earned nothing on his own, barely dragged himself to his degree, and ruined every enterprise he touched as if he was King Midas in reverse, one day discovered he was the Governor of Texas...and then, by dint of the single most broken election in American history, and thanks entirely to a Supreme Court decision that will knock boots with Dred Scot for all eternity, this son of privilege C-student failure of a businessman became President of The United States, and we as a nation will be digging out from under that sulfurous confluence of circumstances for another half-dozen generations to come, if we're lucky.

Yeah, I'm talking about George, the fellow who used September 11 against you and I to begin the ongoing ravaging of civil rights in the United States, to win some elections, and most importantly, to slap the country into a war in Iraq that has not ended, but made his friends (Dick Cheney, Halliburton, KBR, United Defense, The Carlyle Group, and oh yeah, his dad) filthy rich. Most people consider George a failed president, but I vehemently disagree. According to the goals laid out by the paymasters who created him - cut taxes for rich people, make government dysfunctional, and loot the Treasury by way of war - George was the single most successful president in the entire history of the country.


So here's the funny part. I give you George W. Bush, speaking to Fox News on Thursday:

Former President George W. Bush, who before leaving office warned against withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq too early, told Fox News that America has since learned the "lesson" that Iraqis are not yet capable of providing for their own security.

"The Iraqi people obviously are going to have to make a decision as to whether or not they want to live in peace," the former president said. "They're not ready to do it on their own, and that's the lesson we've learned recently."

Bush, in 2007, had delivered a prescient warning about what might happen if U.S. troops withdrew too early. He said at the time this would risk "mass killings on a horrific scale" and potentially draw U.S. troops back into the country.

Asked Thursday how he knew, Bush said: "I know the nature of the enemy."


Yes, the great sage, who knew all the way back in 2007 that abandoning the plan to make Iraq a permanent US military base, no matter how high the casualty lists grew, no matter the staggering cost, was a bad idea. Only Fox could make George W. Bush sound like Yoda.

MSNBC had an even cuter take: "Former President George W. Bush is pointing to the resurgence of violence in Iraq as validating his belief that American troops should have stayed in that war-torn country instead of withdrawing in 2011."

The same man who signed a deal with the Iraqi government in 2008 that required the withdrawal of American forces in 2011.

How do I know that? I know that because he gave a press conference to announce it on December 14th, 2008, which would have been just another press conference, except during this press conference, an Iraqi journalist named Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush while roaring, "This is a farewell, you dog!"


Someone is going to have to come up with a better term for "shameless." The word has been burned out completely by stupid people with blood on their hands who still somehow wind up on television.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26623-bush-flying-shoes-and-remembering-the-truth

An Open Letter to My Democratic Spammer

(Image: Pete, Politic365; Edited: EL / TO)

An Open Letter to My Democratic Spammer
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Friday 03 October 2014

Are you, by chance, feeling a bit ragged around the edges? On the verge of disaster? Perhaps even a bit doomed?

Me, too!

I can't imagine why...

...oh, wait. I know exactly why. I looked at my email this week.

"TRAGIC Conclusion," read one.

"Terrible News (JUST NOW)," read another.

"CANCEL NOTICE," read another.

"we. will. fail." read another.

And another, just like those. And another. And another. And another.

It wasn't the end of the world, as it turns out. It was, in fact, the master plan of some fundraiser fuzzwit for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who decided the thing to do is to scream manically into every email address available using panic-riddled headlines designed to make you click them open, because Jesus, what if?

"Terrible News (JUST NOW)." Oh, no, what happened?

"CANCEL NOTICE." What didn't I pay for?

"TRAGIC Conclusion." Oh God, who died?

Probably 300 emails like this in my in-box since the weekend, one after the other prophesying calamity...unless I gave $5 to the Democrats.

Here's a memo to whoever came up with this particularly obnoxious fundraising tactic: You suck. I hope you get fired with such velocity that you can't even get a job drowning puppies in a kill shelter.


If Democrats acted like Democrats, they might enjoy the same level of support from their own base...but instead, the people are presented with this eternally timid "Please Don't Hurt Me" coalition, afraid of the word "Liberal," and certainly addicted to the Wall Street/Defense/Petroleum money swelling their coffers. You ain't broke, despite that barrage of emails to the contrary.

You support fracking while giving lip-service to climate change? You want Keystone XL approved, despite the fact that it will run the world's dirtiest fuel through our breadbasket and over our main aquifer in a pipeline that is dead-bang guaranteed to leak? You endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement? You're satisfied with the barren lack of accounting meted to the Wall Street brigands who stole our future? You're down with a third war in Iraq?

Wait, you don't support all that? But you won't stand against it, because you're afraid of losing votes or campaign money?

My heroes.

A bunch of braniacs have crunched the numbers and concluded that young people, plus minority voters, plus women, plus old white racist Fox News viewers dying off, means the long-term electoral odds are in the Democrats' favor, and gee wilikers, isn't that nifty news for the party in 30 years...except for the millions of people who will take a deep beating between then and now, and that's only if the party's institutional cowardice and greed doesn't let the oligarchs buy out the whole process from soup to nuts in the meantime.

The police are being weaponized and militarized from coast to coast, making even mild street protest a potentially lethal exercise. The Supreme Court doesn't believe women should have control of their own bodies. There are parts of the country where the tapwater is flammable. The US is spending billions of dollars to bomb the weapons it spent billions of dollars on just a few years ago.

And from the alleged "liberal" party? Silence, acquiescence, and that's only if they're not too busy cashing a check.

Come November, if the Democrats wind up flopping and flailing for an explanation as to why they got routed at the polls, let me offer a succinct reply: You stand for nothing. You are the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters. Everyone expects you to go down to defeat, because you always lay down, because you are paid to do so.

It doesn't have to be that way, but that's the way it is. When the midterms eat you alive, remember what I said. When you stand for nothing, you get nothing in return.

Write me an email about that.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26605-an-open-letter-to-my-democratic-spammer

An Open Letter To Fox News About "Boobs On The Ground"

An Open Letter To Fox News About "Boobs On The Ground"

Dear Mr. Bolling and Mr. Gutfeld,

We are veterans of the United States armed forces, and we are writing to inform you that your remarks about United Arab Emirates Air Force Major Mariam Al Mansouri were unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.

First, foremost, and most obvious to everyone other than yourselves, your remarks were immensely inappropriate. Your co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle was so right to call attention to an inspiring story of a woman shattering glass ceilings in a society where doing so is immeasurably difficult. We never heard an answer to her question: why did you feel so compelled to “ruin her thing?”

As it turns out, women have been flying combat aircraft since before either of you were born. Over 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew during World War II. Seeing as U.S. Army Air Forces Commander “Hap” Arnold said “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,” we can probably guess he thought their parking was adequate. The WASP legacy reaches into the present day; on 9/11, then Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney scrambled her F-16. Completely unarmed, she was ready to lay down her own life to prevent further devastating attacks on American soil.


We issue an apology on your behalf to Major Al Mansouri knowing that anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere. Major, we’re sincerely sorry for the rudeness; clearly, these boys don’t take your service seriously, but we and the rest of the American public do.

Very Respectfully,

Michael Breen, U.S. Army

Shawn VanDiver, U.S. Navy

Kristen Rouse, U.S. National Guard

Andrea Marr, U.S. Navy

Kristen Kavanaugh, U.S. Navy

Richard Wheeler, U.S. Army

Leo Cruz, U.S. Navy

Aryanna Hunter, U.S. Army

Geoff Orazem U.S. Marine Corps

Scott Cheney-Peters, U.S. Navy

Jonathan Murray, U.S. Marine Corps

Timothy Kudo, U.S. Marine Corps

Welton Chang, U.S. Army

Michael Smith, U.S. Army

Gordon Griffin, U.S. Marine Corps

Kelsey Campbell, U.S. Air Force

Matt Runyon, U.S. Army

Richard Weir, U.S. Marine Corps

Scott Holcomb, U.S. Army

Jon Gensler, U.S. Army

Erik Brine, U.S. Air Froce

Rob Miller, U.S. Marine Corps

Josh Weinberg, U.S. Army

John Wagner, U.S. Air Force

Terron Sims II, U.S. Army

Sonia Fernandez, U.S. Marine Corps

Dan Hartnett, U.S. Army

Dan Futrell, U.S. Army

John Margolick, U.S. Marine Corps

Daniel Savage, U.S. Army

Matt Pelak, U.S. Army,

LaRue Robinson, U.S. Army

Anthony Woods, U.S Army

Margot Beausey, U.S. Navy

Dustin Cathcart, U.S. Army

Kayla Williams, U.S. Army

Dan Espinal, U.S. Army

Jonathan Hopkins, U.S. Army

Tony Johnson, U.S. Navy

Andy Moore, U.S. Army

Kevin Johnson, U.S. Army

Brett Hunt, U.S. Army

Russell Galeti, U.S. Army

Gail Harris, U.S. Navy

Katelyn Geary van Dam, U.S. Marine Corps

Mick Crnkovich, U.S. Army

Jonathan Freeman, U.S. Army

Chris Finan, U.S. Air Force

Robert Mishev, U.S. Air Force

Matt Zeller, U.S. Army

William Allen, U.S. Marine Corps

Sharmistha Mohpatra, U.S. Army

Adam Tiffen, U.S. Army

Alex Cornell du Houx, U.S. Navy

Jason Cain, U.S. Army

Rob Bracknell, U.S. Marine Corps

Karen Courington, U.S. Air Force

Lach Litwer, U.S. Army

Andrew Borene, U.S. Marine Corps

The letter in full: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/an-open-letter-to-fox-news

...and for some spicy hot sauce on the side, here is Jon Stewart addressing the issue in a truly transcendent rant:


War Eternal: One Man Gathers What Another Man Spills

President Barack Obama sits with the Prime Minister of Iraq.
Telling the U.N. General Assembly that the Islamic State group
understood only "the language of force," Obama asked other
nations to join a military coalition against the militant group.
UN headquarters, Sept. 24, 2014.
(Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)

War Eternal: One Man Gathers What Another Man Spills
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 25 September 2014

One man gathers what another man spills.

- Robert Hunter

The front page of Tuesday's New York Times made for one of the most debilitating brain cramps in recent memory. The banner headline, set beside a photograph of missiles being fired from an American warship, was, "US and Allies Strike ISIS Targets in Syria." This, as we have since learned, was the announcement that the United States had opened its aerial campaign against terrible people in yet another country, one more bellicose headline out of fifty dozen we've seen since the US began this war some 24 years ago.

The brain cramp, however, came with the second headline, just beneath the proclamation that we were in the process of attacking ISIS in Syria with air strikes. "In Iraq," it read, "Strikes Fail to Dislodge ISIS." The accompanying text underscored the grim, yet utterly predictable facts read: "After six weeks of Western air support, Iraqi forces have scarcely budged the militant fighters from their hold on more than a quarter of the country."

Take those two headlines and run them through the Magical Media Nonsense Translation Machine, and you get one cogent sentence: "Even though air strikes don't work against ISIS, as has been clearly established in Iraq, the US is deploying air strikes against ISIS in Syria." Because, yay! Another country to bomb! Bombing the problems we caused by bombing the problems we caused will totally work this time, honest to golly, we swear, because bombing our way out of the mess we made by bombing the problems we've already bombed has never led to more bombing after we tried to bomb away the consequences of our bombs, because you, American, are expected to be stupid, and not remember the history you've seen unfold on your television time and time and time and time again for the better part of the last three decades.

Speaking of history unfolding on television, it was Eugene O'Neil who said, "There is no present or future - only the past happening over and over again - now." In that spirit, President Obama appeared before the United Nations on Wednesday to deploy a brand new rhetorical lash with which to whip the people of the United States, and especially the "news" media that "informs" them, into a proper froth to help ignore the upcoming casualty lists: ISIS, he declared, is a "Network of Death." Not to be confused, of course, with "Axis of Evil," or "Hussein is Hitler," or any of the other slogans or promises or threats that have been burped up to sustain this quarter-century beating we have delivered upon Iraq and the surrounding region, which includes, of course, Syria.

See, when we unleashed our war in Iraq eleven years ago, we did two things almost immediately: 1) We obliterated the Sunni-led government in Baghdad and installed a Shi'ite government directly controlled by Iran, and that government made life a living Hell for Iraq's Sunnis, so millions of them fled Iraq and flooded into Syria, destabilizing that country; 2) We disbanded the standing Iraqi Army, which was comprised of Sunni war veterans hardened by battles against the US and Iran, and those displaced and pissed-off seasoned war veterans eventually swelled the ranks of ISIS, which explains not only their prowess on the battlefield, but also their acumen in deploying the kind of scary propaganda the US "news" media gobbles up and spreads like rancid butter on moldy bread.


The really nifty part, however, is the specific reasons being peddled for why we are totally justified in dropping bombs and missiles in Syria and Iraq simultaneously: Syria is too weak to defend itself, and Iraq is too weak to defend itself, so we have to defend them instead. Nowhere in these justifications is the acknowledgement that the US has been actively destabilizing Syria for the last two years by promoting Syrian rebels, in effect helping to create ISIS. Neither is there acknowledgement that Iraq is weak because we have been bombing them for 24 years, and with vigor since 2003, and never mind the Iraq-war refugee crisis that helped to subsume Syria in the first place.

See, the reason we have to bomb them is because we bombed them, and then fired the Iraq Army and gave ISIS a pile of battle-seasoned veterans the opportunity to re-take the country they lost when we bombed them, then we bombed them some more to make them really angry, and then encouraged the people we bombed to bomb Syria because Assad is bad, but now Assad is less bad because we have to bomb the people trying to bomb him because we're afraid they will bomb us, thanks to a "news" media that desperately wants us to be convinced that we're all about to be bombed.

Twenty-four years of this, and counting, from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama.

One man gathers what another man spills.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26422-war-eternal-one-man-gathers-what-another-man-spills

Fascism 101: The Police and Media Control

Chief Sam Dotson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police tells reporters
to leave the area as clashes between police and protesters happen
nearby in Ferguson, Missouri, the night of August 18, 2014.
(Photo: Whitney Curtis / The New York Times)

Fascism 101: The Police and Media Control
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Monday 22 September 2014

If you are a cadet in training with the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy, good news! Beginning at 8:00 AM on October 24, you are welcome to attend a seminar titled "OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING - YOU CAN WIN WITH THE MEDIA."

No, really. This is an actual thing:

"The shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri and the events that followed were tragic," reads the flyer announcing the seminar. "In addition to the Ferguson case study, this fast-paced class is jam-packed with the essential strategies and tactics, skills and techniques that will help you WIN WITH THE MEDIA!"

Those block-letters, by the way, are recreated here as they actually appear on the flyer.

So. Students of the profession of policing in St. Louis are invited to a seminar, the advertisement for which devotes one (1) sentence to the tragedy that was the multi-round shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a white Ferguson police officer, but only after announcing in block letters that the key aspect of the seminar won't be, "Don't shoot unarmed black kids," but will be how to "WIN WITH THE MEDIA!"

It goes on:

"It is practical training," continues the flyer, "not theoretical: Take what you learn and put it to work for you on the street right away! The training is also highly entertaining: numerous video clips illustrate key points, and there is NO Power Point!"

Highly entertaining! No Power Point! Never mind all that guff about not shooting black kids! WIN WITH THE MEDIA WITHOUT POWER POINT AND BE HIGHLY ENTERTAINED!

"You will learn a lot," continues the announcement, "and you'll have fun doing it! In addition to the detailed case study of Ferguson..."

More high entertainment, which apparently includes "The" case study of Ferguson. Not "A" case study, but "The" case study. "The" case study delivered by whom, exactly? Has a full police report of the incident actually been filed? And by "full," I mean, "A document that has more information than 'Someone got shot by someone somehow and somewhere, we think, maybe, now go away.'"

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26345-fascism-101-the-police-and-media-control

The Pleasant Fiction of "No Boots on the Ground"

A Kurdish peshmerga fighter holds an Islamic State flag he claimed from a checkpoint near the
Mosul Dam in Northern Iraq, Aug. 19, 2014. (Photo: Lynsey Addario / The New York Times)

The Pleasant Fiction of "No Boots on the Ground"
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Monday 15 September 2014

The nation has had several days to digest President Obama's remarks on Wednesday night, when he outlined his strategy for dealing with the ISIS/ISIL/IS militants in Iraq and Syria. The hood ornament of his plan involves increased air strikes against the group, along with the formation of a broad international coalition, which he claimed will serve as a one-two punch to knock out this newest iteration of "The Bad Guys Who Must Be Destroyed At All Costs."

"No boots on the ground," promised the president. Aside from his description of the air campaign, this oath to avoid re-re-re-inserting combat troops into the conflict was central to his argument. By and large, according to numerous polls taken after the speech, the citizenry climbed on board the bandwagon by a fairly sizable margin. Newspapers all across the country ran permutations of a headline that read, "While Weary of War, Majority Supports Air Strikes Against ISIS."

The backstop for this support is nebulous at best - a general sense of, "Well, we can't just do nothing!" - even as the "something" proposed by the president is equally murky, for two reasons.

First, the broad coalition described by the president on Wednesday does not appear to be coalescing. Germany and Turkey have ruled out joining in air strikes in Syria. The British Foreign Secretary said early last week his nation will likewise refrain from joining the fray, but the recent beheading of a British citizen by ISIS may have changed the geometry of the equation; Prime Minister David Cameron made some bellicose statements after video of the murder was released, but the Scottish independence vote looms. The Scots deeply disapproved of the last Iraq war, and the UK desperately wants to keep Scotland on board, so the UK's ultimate commitment is questionable.

As far as assembling allies in the region, the support gathered by Secretary of State John Kerry during his consultations with various Arab nations is tepid at best. Jordan and Egypt, in particular, both gave Secretary Kerry a similar version of, "You're on your own." Iran is chomping at the bit to join the fight against ISIS, but they are not even invited to the meeting in Paris on Monday to discuss strategy, because Mr. Kerry says "It would not be appropriate" for them to attend.


We come, then, to reason number two, which can be summed up in one word: Mosul.

The city of Mosul in northern Iraq is home to some two million residents, a majority of whom are Sunni. It hosts the nation's largest university, enjoys significant regional oil deposits, and is the hub of Iraq's main oil pipeline to Turkey. Most of the 150+ air strikes conducted by the US in Iraq have been directed at dislodging ISIS from the Mosul Dam, the largest in the country, which provides electricity to millions. If that dam were to be breached, those millions would be flooded out of their homes, and much of Iraq would go dark.

In June of this year, ISIS staged a surprise attack on Mosul, routed Iraqi security forces and police, and took control of the city. Hundreds of thousands fled the violence, including members of the defeated security forces, who shed their uniforms and ran with the civilians. ISIS is now dug into Mosul, surrounded by the hundreds of thousands of civilians who did not flee. Many of those who remained, while not necessarily supportive of their new masters, are so distrustful of the government in Baghdad that they are willing to hunker down and ride it out.

All the happy talk about air strikes does not in any way whatsoever jibe with the reality that is Mosul. Any ISIS militants caught out in the open can be dispatched from the air, to be sure, but they own a city. Dislodging ISIS from Mosul will require a large ground force that has training and experience in urban house-to-house warfare. The only other option is to go Dresden on Mosul and raze it to the ground. Without ground troops, or the war-crime obliteration of an entire city, there is simply no way to defeat ISIS with air power alone.


So there is that, but also this, put plainly: if you support the air strikes plan proposed by the president, because we have to do "something," understand full well what it is you are supporting.


The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26188-the-pleasant-fiction-of-no-boots-on-the-ground

Hunter S. Thompson, 12 September 2001: "Fear and Loathing in America"

Fear and Loathing in America

The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now -- with somebody -- and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.

It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. Osama bin Laden may be a primitive "figurehead" -- or even dead, for all we know -- but whoever put those All-American jet planes loaded with All-American fuel into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did it with chilling precision and accuracy. The second one was a dead-on bullseye. Straight into the middle of the skyscraper. Nothing -- even George Bush's $350 billion "Star Wars" missile defense system -- could have prevented Tuesday's attack, and it cost next to nothing to pull off. Fewer than 20 unarmed Suicide soldiers from some apparently primitive country somewhere on the other side of the world took out the World Trade Center and half the Pentagon with three quick and costless strikes on one day. The efficiency of it was terrifying.

We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them.

This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed -- for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won't hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.

The rest: http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1250751

Meet the New War, Same as the Old War

President Barack Obama departs after delivering
a televised address to the nation on his plans for military
action against the Islamic State, from the Cross Hall of
the White House in Washington, Sept. 10, 2014.
(Photo: Saul Loeb / Pool via The New York Times)

Meet the New War, Same as the Old War
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 11 September 2014

On the night before the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President Obama delivered a prime-time press conference to discuss the new war in Iraq, which is really the old war, as it never actually ended. It dropped from the headlines here in the US a few years ago, except for an occasional heinous act that got brief ink - a marketplace massacre that killed 150, or a mosque bombing that killed 80 would get some ink and then fade - but people have been dying in Iraq every single day since we stuck our booted toe into their sand eighteen months after the Towers came down.


So maybe I'm wrong, and the Wednesday night words of the president will prove prescient, and everything will work out fine...except, by my calculations, every time we drop bombs on a problem that was caused by us dropping bombs, we wind up dropping more bombs to try and solve it, and nothing ever gets fixed, but some people get paid, so the impetus to drop more bombs on the bombs we already dropped increases by order of magnitude, especially when we get the ratings-happy "news" media involved in the show.

There is some controversy over who actually said this, but the line is generally attributed to Albert Einstein. "The definition of insanity," goes the quote, "is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result." Whoever actually said it should be awarded the Nobel Prize, just like the president.

It has been thirteen years since the attacks of September 11, and this nation has spent every one of the 4,745 days between that morning and today in the grips of a media and politics and money-driven high panic. Millions upon millions have been killed, maimed, displaced or bankrupted in the process. ISISISILIS are bad guys, and no mistake, but there are a pile of nations on this planet besides us with standing armies, many of them with a far more vested personal interest in eradicating these lunatics than us. Their militaries are not exhausted like ours is.

"Our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden," said President Obama on Wednesday night, "but as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead."

Who is this "we," sir? You got a mouse in your pocket? I can only imagine the comforts that come with living in the White House, but for an enormous swath of the country you lead, the "blessings" you speak of turned to ashes in our mouths a long time ago. The money we are going to spend bombing the problems we caused by bombing the problems we bombed can be better spent creating jobs, repairing infrastructure, and educating our children to know better when a politician comes calling with platitudes about the excellence of the United States before announcing his intention to blow more stuff up.

We were excellent, I suppose. We certainly can be. It has been twenty-four years of this, with the twenty-five years of Vietnam still receding in the rear-view. Imagine if we had those 50 years back, and then imagine what we could do with 50 years unencumbered by profiteering warfare.

Maybe I'm wrong. Enjoy your new war, which is the old war. I'm sure it will all work out just fine.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26113-william-rivers-pitt-meet-the-new-war-same-as-the-old-war
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