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ISIS, ISIL, IS, IRONY. Robert Fisk on Obama's middle eastern policy.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
The Noble Peace Prize warmonger accepts John Yoo's legal justification for more war.


Obama's Betrayal of the Constitution


BERLIN PRESIDENT OBAMA's declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.
Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president's assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.
This became clear when White House officials briefed reporters before Mr. Obama's speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. They said a war against ISIS was justified by Congress's authorization of force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that no new approval was needed.

But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted extended only to nations and organizations that "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the 9/11 attacks.
Mr. Obama is rightly proud of his success in killing Osama bin Laden in 2011 and dismantling the Qaeda network he built up. But it's preposterous to suggest that a congressional vote 13 years ago can be used to legalize new bombings in Syria and additional (noncombat) forces in Iraq. In justifying earlier bombing campaigns in Yemen and Somalia, the administration's lawyers claimed that the 2001 authorization covered terrorist groups that did not even exist back then. They said it sufficed to show that these groups were "affiliated" with Al Qaeda.
Even this was a big stretch, and it is not big enough to encompass the war on ISIS. Not only was ISIS created long after 2001, but Al Qaeda publicly disavowed it earlier this year. It is Al Qaeda's competitor, not its affiliate.
Mr. Obama may rightly be frustrated by gridlock in Washington, but his assault on the rule of law is a devastating setback for our constitutional order. His refusal even to ask the Justice Department to provide a formal legal pretext for the war on ISIS is astonishing.
Since ISIS poses a new problem for the president, the War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires him to seek a new mandate from Congress. The resolution, enacted over President Richard M. Nixon's veto at the end of the Vietnam War, requires the president to obtain congressional assent within 60 days of commencing "hostilities"; if he fails, he must withdraw American forces within 30 days.
The administration gave Congress the requisite notice on Aug. 8 that it had begun bombing ISIS, and so the time for obtaining approval runs out on Oct. 7. But Mr. Obama and his lawyers haven't even mentioned the War Powers Resolution in announcing the new offensive against ISIS there is no indication that he intends to comply with this deadline.
Mr. Obama's defenders may point to the precedent set by Bill Clinton, who continued the NATO-led bombing of Kosovo in 1999 beyond the 60-day limit without congressional assent. But Mr. Clinton halted the campaign before the 30-day withdrawal period ended.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
In 2011, when Mr. Obama continued to bomb Libya after the 60-day limit, his lawyers argued that America's supporting role in the NATO campaign was not substantial enough to quality as "hostilities" under the 1973 resolution. This claim provoked howls in Congress and the legal community, but the death of the Libyan dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, took the steam out of the debate before it could be resolved.
Mr. Ackerman rightly mentions that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 - enacted because of Richard Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia -...

Even if the Obama line on Libya were accepted, however, it fails to justify his current move. Rather than "leading from behind" by backing NATO, Mr. Obama is now taking the lead in an open-ended campaign, extending from Iraq into Syria, that could last years. If this isn't commencing "hostilities," what is?
Senators and representatives aren't eager to step up to the plate in October when, however they decide, their votes will alienate some constituents in November's midterm elections. They would prefer to let the president plunge ahead and blame him later if things go wrong. But this is precisely why the War Powers Resolution sets up its 60-day deadline: It rightly insists that unless Congress is willing to stand up and be counted, the war is not worth fighting in the name of the American people.
If Mr. Obama changes course, as he did last September, and submits to the commands of the War Powers Resolution, Congress can demonstrate that, despite all its dysfunction, it can still rise to the occasion. There are hawks and doves on both sides of the aisle, and leaders of both parties have signaled a willingness to engage in a serious debate.

But for now the president seems grimly determined to practice what Mr. Bush's lawyers only preached. He is acting on the proposition that the president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has unilateral authority to declare war.
In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold.
Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale, is a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
More insanity. Whitehouse all over the place or maybe right in the middle as 2 groups of racist psychopaths promise not to murder each other so they can join forces to murder another hated ethnic religious group.
Quote:BEIRUT - Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire deal was agreed between IS and moderate and Islamist rebels in Hajar al-Aswad, south of the capital.

Under the deal, "the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime."

Nussayri is a pejorative term for the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

Syria's armed opposition initially welcomed jihadists including Islamic State members in their fight against Assad.

But the group's harsh interpretation of Islam and quest for domination of captured territory sparked a backlash against it that began in January.

A coalition of rebel groups pushed IS out of much of northern Syria, but it has recaptured much of that territory in recent months and has a strong presence in Hajar al-Aswad.

More than 180,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the uprising against Assad that began in March 2011.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
[TABLE="width: 100%"]
[TD="width: 84%"]

The real politics behind the US war on IS

By Gareth Porter [/TD]
[TD="width: 16%"][/TD]
[Image: lg.php?bannerid=414&campaignid=74&zoneid...2d97bfbecd]

Reprinted from Middle East Eye
[Image: 744250514_f7847695c0_n.jpg]
President Barack Obama
(image by Llima)

The US war on the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" or ISIL, also known as Islamic State of IS -- the single biggest development in US foreign policy during 2014 -- continues to puzzle those looking for its strategic logic. But the solution to the puzzle lies in considerations that have nothing to do with a rational response to realities on the ground.
In fact, it is all about domestic political and bureaucratic interests.
Ostensibly the US-led military effort is aimed at "dismantling" the "Islamic State" as a threat to the stability of the Middle East and to US security. But no independent military or counter-terrorism analyst believes that the military force that is being applied in Iraq and Syria has even the slightest chance of achieving that objective.
As US diplomats freely acknowledged to journalist Reese Ehrlich, the airstrikes that the Obama administration is carrying out will not defeat the IS terrorists. And as Ehrlich elaborates, the United States has no allies who could conceivably take over the considerable territory IS now controls. The Pentagon has given up on the one Syrian military organization once considered to be a candidate for US support -- the Free Syrian Army.
Last August, counter-terrorism analyst, Brian Fishman wrote that no one had "offered a plausible strategy to defeat [IS] that doesn't involve a major US commitment on the ground."... But Fishman went further, pointing out that [IS] actually needs the war the United States is providing, because: "[W]ar makes the jihadist movement stronger, even in the face of major tactical and operational defeats."

Furthermore, IS itself must be understood as the consequence of the worst of the succession of US military campaigns since the 9/11 era -- the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The US war in Iraq was primarily responsible for created the conditions for foreign Islamic extremists to flourish in that country. Furthermore, the groups that coalesced ultimately around IS learned how to create "adaptive organizations" from a decade of fighting US troops, as then Defence Intelligence Director, Michael Flynn has observed. And finally, the US made IS the formidable military force that it is today, by turning over billions of dollars of equipment to a corrupt and incompetent Iraqi army that has now collapsed and turned over much of its weaponry to the jihadist terrorists.
After 13 years in which administration and national security bureaucracies have pursued policies across the Middle East that are self-evidently disastrous in rational security and stability terms, a new paradigm is needed to understand the real motivations underlying the launching of new initiatives like the war on IS. James Risen's masterful new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, shows that the key factor in one absurdly self-defeating national security initiative after another since 9/11 has been the vast opportunities that bureaucrats have been given to build up their own power and status.
In addition, historical evidence reveals a pattern of presidents pursuing military adventures and other policies because of the waves of public opinion or the fear that their national security advisers would accuse them being soft on the enemy or national security in general. In the case of Obama, both factors played a role in the creation of the war on IS.
The Obama administration viewed IS forces' June takeover of a series of cities in the Tigris Valley in Iraq as primarily a political threat to the administration itself. The norms of the US political system required that no president can afford to look weak in responding to external events that create strong public reactions.
His last interview before retiring as Defence Intelligence Agency Chief -- published the very day the bombing of IS targets began on 7 August --General Michael Flynn commented: "Even the President, I believe, sometimes feels compelled to just do something without first saying, 'Wait! How did this happen?'"
Then, in retaliation for US airstrikes, IS carried out the beheadings of American journalist James Foley and American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, raising the political cost of not taking stronger military action against the new villains of popular media. Even after the first gruesome IS video, however, Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes told reporters on 25 August that Obama was focused on protecting American lives and facilities and the humanitarian crisis, "containing" IS where they are and supporting advances by Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
Rhodes also emphasised that IS was a "deeply-rooted organisation", and that military force could not "evict them from the communities where they operate". That caution suggests that Obama was wary of an open-ended commitment that would leave him vulnerable to being manipulated by the military and other bureaucracies.
Barely a week after the second beheading, however, Obama committed the United States to cooperate with "friends and allies" to "degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as [IS]." Instead of mission creep, it was a breath-taking "mission leap" from the administration's policy of limited strikes less than three weeks earlier. Obama raised the highly imaginative justification that a long-term military effort against IS was necessary to prevent a threat to the United States itself. The supposed rationale was that terrorists would train large numbers of Europeans and Americans who were flocking to Iraq and Syria to return to carry out "deadly attacks."
Significantly Obama insisted in the statement on calling it a "comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy" -- but not a war. Calling it a war would make it more difficult to control mission creep by giving new military roles to various bureaucracies, as well as to finally bring the operation to a halt.
But the military services and the counter-terrorism bureaucracies in the CIA, NSA and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) viewed a major, multi-faceted military operation against ISIL as a central interest. Before ISIL's spectacular moves in 2014, the Pentagon and military services faced the prospect of declining defense budgets in the wake of a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now the Army, Air Force and Special Operations Command saw the possibility of carving out new military roles in fighting ISIL. The Special Operations Command, which had been Obama's "preferred tool" for fighting Islamic extremists, was going to suffer its first flat budget year after 13 years of continuous funding increases. It was reported to be "frustrated" by being relegated to the role enabling US airstrikes and eager to take on ISIL directly.

On 12 September, both Secretary of State, John Kerry and National Security Adviser, Susan Rice were still calling the airstrikes a "counter-terrorism operation," while acknowledging that some in the administration wanted to call it a "war." But the pressure from the Pentagon and its counter-terrorism partners to upgrade the operation to a "war" was so effective that it took only one day to accomplish the shift.
The following morning, military spokesman, Admiral John Kirby told reporters: "Make no mistake, we know we are at war with [IS] in the same way we are at war, and continue to be at war, with al-Qaeda and its affiliates." Later that day, White House press secretary, Josh Ernst used that same language.
Under the circumstances that exist in Iraq and Syria, the most rational response to IS's military successes would have been to avoid US military action altogether. But Obama had powerful incentives to adopt a military campaign that it could sell to key political constituencies. It makes no sense strategically, but avoids the perils that really matter to American politicians.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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