Friday, January 03, 2020

Killing Soleimani

If you thought 2019 was suffering from a time-compression effect, where every day seemed like a month and every month a year, it looks like 2020 is going to be more of the same.

Last night, US helicopters or drones attacked a convoy outside the Baghdad airport in Iraq. The convoy was transporting several several leaders of the Iraqi Shia militia that Washington blamed for Tuesday's siege of the US embassy in Baghdad, but also Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran. Later that evening, US President Donald Trump confirmed Soleimani was the target of the operation. Seems like several high-ranking militia leaders were just a bonus objective, so to speak.

I won't get into whether Soleimani was a terrorist - as the American Empire claims - or not. There is ample evidence that his forces contributed massively to the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, however, and among the people celebrating his death are some of the vilest neocon warmongers known to humanity, including the crew responsible for the 2003 invasion of Iraq that was a prima facie crime against peace.

There is no doubt, however, that the hit was a quintessentially imperial act. What else do you call assassinating someone who is traveling openly with diplomatic papers, in a country where the US is not at war and its troops only have a tenuous legal pretext for being present? States care about sovereignty, legality and legitimacy; empires do not.

What's especially ironic is that, while he acts like the God-Emperor of memes abroad, Trump is the polar opposite at home, either powerless or unwilling to do anything - aside from tweeting - about the media-Democrat-Deep State complex that is relentlessly persecuting his supporters, or anyone who dares step out of the ever-shifting line they keep redrawing.

One would think the domestic "Resistance" would be a lot more circumspect with an Emperor that is willing to be this ruthless abroad, but they're not. That should tell you a thing or three about the real character of the Empire, and the extent of Trump's actual power.

Friday, October 11, 2019

'Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal'

Since at least 1945, the US has treated people around the world like pawns on the grand chessboard (as Darth Zbigniew titled his magnum opus). Yet time and again, I see leaders and entire nations convince themselves that this time it will be different.

That this time, they will get Washington to fight and win their wars for them, and then have their backs forever, because freedom and democracy and human rights, or whatever. That they are different, better, more deserving.

It may even seem like that's happening, for a while - a year, or four, or ten, or even twenty. But it never lasts. It can't. And each and every time, they curse Washington's sudden but inevitable betrayal, wondering why they had to suffer the sad fate of a used and discarded tool - not realizing that's exactly what they were to Washington, even as they thought it was the other way around.

Time and again, this happens. Because leaders and entire nations refuse to learn the simple truth that Empires have no friends, partners or allies - only vassals and victims. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Day (& 18 Years) After

From Intersections of Fate (Antiwar.com, September 13, 2001):
America is now emerging from the shock of Black Tuesday with an understandable desire to avenge its dead. Many suggestions on how to do that are outlandish, and some border on insanity. If the most vocal warmongers get their way, this country would become embroiled in an endless war against the entire world, destroying entire cities at a whim. Any effort to make the world safe for America while making the world less safe for everyone else is ultimately both futile and paradoxical.
Opposing all terrorism as a principle is a truly noble endeavor, one which the author of these lines would eagerly join. Experiences in the Balkans point to a different reality, though. One cannot fight terrorism and use it at the same time. (emphasis added)
From War Without End (September 27, 2001):
Far from the eyes of the American public, still intently focused on a scorched patch of mountains in central Asia, the first battle of "Operation Enduring Freedom" ("Supreme Irony" having been too obvious) has already been fought. No shots were fired. No lives were lost, not yet. But the battle – and with it, perhaps the entire war – was lost.
[...]
This week’s events in the Balkans clearly show that the war on terrorism is anything but, and that the only benefactor of Black Tuesday will be the apocalyptic vision of American Empire, now finally able to assert itself in a war without end.
From The Day Nothing Changed (September 12, 2002):
The time was right to re-examine America's Balkans policies of the past decade, and possibly even extricate itself from an Imperial commitment in the peninsula that seemed irrelevant and wasteful in the light of the new "War on Terror." Was this done? No.
[...]
The aftermath of Black Tuesday was a golden opportunity to redefine America as a Republic, not an Empire. It was missed.
From The Lost Terror War (September 11, 2003)
George [W.] Bush's claim that America was after terrorists everywhere was seriously undermined from the very beginning by its continued support for terrorists in the Balkans...
Those familiar with events in Kosovo and Macedonia, and certain personalities in Bosnia, were forced to conclude that terrorism was considered "evil" only when it targeted Americans. Others were fair game, especially when the terrorists were American "allies."
[...]
Americans desperately need to decide whether to support a policy that aims to create a global Balkans, where US power and hypocrisy rule supreme. They should know that in the real Balkans, where US power is unchallenged, terrorism thrives...
From Eppur si muove (Gray Falcon, September 11, 2014),
I've said everything I've cared to say over the past thirteen years - how one cannot fight terrorism and support it at the same time, how there are no "good" terrorists just because they currently serve one's agenda, how it's madness to appease jihadists in hopes of earning their gratitude, etc. etc. Go through the posts tagged 9/11 if you wish, and see for yourselves whether the questions I've posed are not just as relevant today as a year ago, or five, or ten.
And I stand by my contention that there was never any war on terror(ism): the grand crusade was all about power.
Memory eternal to those who perished on 9/11. Maybe some day we can actually make sure their deaths have not been in vain. 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Some thoughts on guns

(another collection of takes from Twitter, rearranged and slightly expanded for your convenience in this medium)

Before you endorse a ban on "assault weapons," take a deep breath. There is no such thing.

The term "assault rifle" is literally a translation of Sturmgewehr, a name bestowed by Adolf Hitler himself on a strange hybrid of a rifle and an automatic pistol that Nazi weaponmakers had developed behind his back.

The "AR" in AR-15 does not stand for "assault rifle" but for "ArmaLite Rifle," its maker.

Military - i.e. fully automatic - weapons in civilian hands have been illegal in the US since 1938. The so-called "assault weapons ban" of 1994 relied on arbitrary COSMETIC features of weapons. It was easily circumvented, and did nothing to prevent the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

A ban on "semi-automatic" weapons would leave only revolvers, bolt-action rifles and some shotguns legal. Good luck with that.

American founders understood that "certain inalienable rights" made the difference between a citizen and a subject: freedom of speech, due process, and the "right to keep and bear arms." That is why they are in the Constitution, via the Bill of Rights. If you can't understand that this is fundamental to America, and why, then this might not be the country for you - whether you were born here or not.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Decoding US politics

(or, a collection of takes from Twitter, rearranged and slightly expanded for your convenience in this medium)

There are two "filters" that make it possible to accurately decode approximately 97% of US politics. One is projection - the tendency to project one's own misdeeds on someone else, preferably the designated evildoer. The other is "who/whom," named after V.I. Lenin's famous distillation of politics.

To the who/whom crowd, it doesn't matter what you say or do. It's all about WHO YOU ARE. If they've designated you as virtuous, you can do no wrong, and if they've designated you as villainous, you can do no right. And there is no persuading them otherwise.

"Everyone that disagrees with me is racist, everything I disagree with is a conspiracy theory, and anything that challenges my current feelings is dangerous hate speech that should be banned and its authors deplatformed. This is called liberal democracy."

If you are screaming about something when X does it to Y, but not when Y does it to X, you're not principled, you're a hypocrite.

Semantic word games and slaying straw men aren't "fact-checking," but gaslighting.

US President Donald Trump’s tactic has been the same all along: condemn something that's obviously deserving of condemnation, then watch his critics go nuts trying to defend the indefensible. It keeps working in his favor every time, yet his enemies keep taking the bait over and over. Remarkable.

Trump's "superpower" (whether you consider him a hero or a villain) is to reveal reality that has long been obfuscated by both pretty and ugly lies.

You're welcome.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

RIP Justin Raimondo

I am old enough to remember the dawn of the now-bygone Blog Age, when the internet was new and full of promise. A time that offered a choice to ignore the mainstream media and its "facts" (or rather, fantasies) about the wars half the world away - or in my case, on my doorstep - because there were people posting their first-hand accounts online. 

One of those places was Antiwar.com, where I checked in daily during the Kosovo War of 1999 (a formative experience for me, in many ways), and kept returning to in the sordid aftermath. Justin Raimondo's "Behind the Headlines" column was a breath of fresh air in the fetid swamp or mainstream media garbage, which all followed the same talking points that I knew were lies from just a few years prior, when I lived all that and more in Bosnia.

I had poured my frustration with the lies, propaganda, fake news and atrocity porn out in "letters to the editor" format essays that ended up being posted on a couple of websites. Somehow - I don't remember exactly how - one of those texts made it to Antiwar.com. It was late 2000 by that point, and the "color revolution" was about to happen in Serbia. So imagine my shock when Justin himself reached out to me and asked if I would be the Balkans columnist for Antiwar.com.

Would I ever! And so I did. 

Over the next 14 years, I learned a lot from Justin - about writing, about liberty, about perseverance. I am what I am today in great part thanks to writing hundreds of essays and blog posts published by Antiwar.com.

When he announced he had cancer, but was responding well to treatment, I was hopeful. When he stopped writing and tweeting, I feared the worst. He passed away on June 27.

The cause of liberty - and of America's redemption from Empire to the republic it was meant to be - has lost one of its greatest champions. I have lost a dear colleague and a mentor. But Justin's legacy will endure so long as people remember him, and carry on the torch of freedom, non-aggression and peace that he held forth for so long. 

Now his watch has ended. May he rest in peace. But Antiwar.com is still around. And its current writers and editors - as well as alumni like me, who have moved on to other things but still believe in its mission - still have a war against war to fight, and win. 

Let's be about it.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Some recent writings

Just because I've neglected posting here for a while doesn't mean I haven't been busy at work. We live in interesting times, after all.

Of the things I'd like to point out here, I've written on the drumbeat of war with Iran, and the possibility Justin Raimondo's theory is correct and all this inept imperialism is a feature, not a bug.

I have also touched on the finale of 'Game of Thrones' and the very real lesson about the power of narratives, however poorly it was communicated in the show.

Closer to home, I touched on the embarrassing idolatry of "Kosovarianians" for their imperial overlords, and the self-serving lies they continue to tell to justify their crime.

I've also touched on the Culture War currently affecting the Empire itself, an ongoing conflict between the mainstream media and Big Tech, and the dissidents caught in the crossfire.

So if you're still hanging around these parts, give these a read. I promise I'll write more soon.