“We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”? That
was the justification for the worldwide war on terrorism the Bush
administration trumpeted in the early days of the post-9/11 era. Keeping in
mind that the American people don’t really care about what goes on thousands of
miles away, and that the purpose of our foreign policy is – ostensibly – to
keep us safe here at home, the Bushies and their neocon Praetorian Guard always
kept their focus on the threat that was supposedly hanging over our heads:
another 9/11. As that Old Right prophet Garet Garrett put it some sixty years
ago, US foreign policy was rationalized to the public with “a complex of
vaunting and fear,” and this was the fear part.
But now we
hear that the latest iteration of the Terrorist Threat – ISIS – is losing
ground in Syria, its home base: some 12 percent of its territory has been lost
to a combination of opponents, and the Caliphate, we’re told, is shrinking. So
does that mean the Terrorist Threat is abating, and we can get back to living
Handling Services] senior analyst Columb Strack says that ‘as the Islamic
State’s caliphate shrinks and it becomes increasingly clear that its governance
project is failing, the group is re-prioritizing insurgency."
CNN: ‘As a result, we unfortunately expect an increase in mass casualty attacks
and sabotage of economic infrastructure, across Iraq and Syria, and further
afield, including Europe.’
words, ISIS is going to become a more ‘traditional’ terror group, boasting of
its international reach to attract recruits and bolster morale as it loses
ground in Iraq and Syria.”
see if I have this straight: we fought them over there so we don’t have to
fight them over here, but now that we’re winning over there they’re coming over
preposterous shell game is becoming so transparently phony that not even the
“experts” and government officials pushing it can possibly believe it.
the “war on terrorism” had nothing to do with protecting the American people
from harm: it was always all about projecting US power as far as possible and
effecting “regime change” throughout the Middle East. And not only there …
regime change came about right here in the good ol’ US of A: a system of
universal surveillance was instituted as the “Patriot” Act was passed by a
Congress that never bothered to read it. The police were militarized – after
all, the Bad Guys were about to launch an attack on Peoria, or wherever, and we
had to be ready. The banks were forced to report all “suspicious” transactions,
and if you bought a pressure cooker your name went on a list of “terror
suspects.” This was followed, more recently, by an attack by the Left on the
Second Amendment: if your name is on a “terrorist watch list or the mysterious
“no fly list,” the Nanny State would prevent you from getting your hands on a
gun – and screw the Constitution.
change at home and abroad – that’s the real point of the “war on terrorism.”
The idea was and is to overthrow not only whatever government dares to get in
the War Party’s way, but also to overthrow the Constitution and the rule of law
in the United States. A real double-header!
our “strategy” empowers what might have been marginal terrorist groups, and
seems almost designed to do so. We attacked Iraq, and created a power vacuum
which al-Qaeda and ISIS filled: then we aligned with “moderate” jihadists in
Syria in order to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and drain off support from ISIS.
Instead we accomplished exactly the opposite of our intended goal: the
“moderates” defected to ISIS and al-Qaeda, and the “Caliphate” grew in size and
Thousands of Muslims flocked to the region to
fight the latest holy war. So we essentially re-invaded Iraq – Obama just sent
in more troops, with more to come – and retook 12 percent of their territory.
And now they’re spreading into Europe – and trying to reach the US, as they did
in San Bernardino and Orlando.
off from al-Qaeda over a strategic issue: where to concentrate their forces.
The original strategic vision of Osama bin Laden was to go after the “far
enemy” – that is, to hit America – and wait until going for their ultimate
goal: the creation of a global “Caliphate.” ISIS disagreed with this
gradualism, and determined that it was time to establish the Caliphate here and
now. The advantages of this strategy were twofold: 1) It would show that they
could actually govern, and that their program wasn’t just a nihilistic vision
of destruction for its own sake, and 2) The Caliphate would attract foreign
fighters in sufficient numbers to fight the infidels and win.
successful revolutionaries, the leadership of ISIS employs an entrepreneurial
strategic and tactical flexibility while never losing sight of its ultimate
goal. So while the Caliphate may be losing territory at the moment, it is
extending its reach to make the enemy pay a high price – and attracting more
recruits in the process.
that we can stamp out these terrorist outfits by going on the offensive in distant
Syria, or wherever – denying them “safe havens” – is a delusion that never
seems to die. That’s because the delusion serves the domestic interests of our
rulers so well.
“nations” of the Middle East were never real entities to begin with: the borders
of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the Gulf states were determined by the European
colonialists who carved up the remnants of the old Ottoman empire to suit their
own purposes. And when these “nations” achieved “independence,” they did not
suddenly become more real. What is happening today is the shakeout of competing
factions along religious and ethnic lines: the Sunnis, the Shi’ites, the Kurds,
etc. etc. are all asserting their right to self-determination. When ISIS
demolished the flimsy barrier that separated Syria from Iraq, and proclaimed
the abolition of the Sykes-Picot agreement, they were expressing their contempt
for the post-World War I order imposed by the West – an order that is dying a
bloody and chaotic death in spite of our futile efforts to preserve it.
what’s The Solution?
attacks on the West won’t stop any time soon, no matter what we do or don’t do.
Too much blood has been spilled, and the dead cry out for vengeance. We can’t
undo the invasion of Iraq – the single most destructive act in the modern
history of the Middle East – but we can stop making the same mistake unto
eternity. As I’ve written before, we should quarantine the entire region.
Stop intervening, and let the religious
fanatics who are making the region a killing field stew in their own poisonous
juices. Stop supporting the Saudis – the main agitators of jihadism; stop
supporting Israel: stop supporting the Iraqi “government”; stop sending in
troops – and concentrate our limited resources on making sure the terrorists
don’t make it to the continental United States.
And if this
be “isolationism,” then let the War Party make the most of it because the
American people are done with global crusading. Enough is enough: let them kill
each other if that’s what they’re intent on doing. Let’s just make sure that
they aren’t killing us.
Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of
Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a
contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column
for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost
Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993;
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life
of Murray N. Rothbar