Iraq

What I Learned from “Professor” Scott Horton About the War on Terror

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar given by Scott Horton for Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University program. Horton’s topic was the history of the War on Terror. Now, I listen to every interview Horton does, and spend a good amount of time reading everything at Antiwar.com. So I thought I knew all I could know about the War on Terror. I was wrong.

Horton provided a Powerpoint along with a Q & A. I decided to take notes over the three hours and see if Horton provided anything I hadn’t heard before that I could research or read in my spare time. Thought I would share what I found here.

“Islamic Terror” Not Just About Islam

Horton provided a bunch of examples showing that just because a country or people are Muslim, or even have issues with American policy, doesn’t mean that they will take to blowing themselves up to kill Americans.

In Bin Laden’s 1998 “Declaration of War Against Jews and Crusaders”, he speaks to the reasons for declaring war on the West. While the language includes talk of religion, the main argument is the American support for violent dictators in the Arab world, support for Israel, and the decade long bombing campaign on Iraq.

It’s when innocent people are being killed that groups like Al Qeada begin to gain support and popularity. For example, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the United States for half a century now. Within that time, the only events in which Iranian citizens took arms against Americans include Americans on Iranian soil. Even with the sanctions, threats of war, insults by Western leaders and dozens of bases (and a full naval fleet) surrounding the country, Iranians are not looking for ways to sneak into America and kill innocent people.

Horton points to the writing of Robert Pape, the author of Dying to Warand the idea of “Credible Belief” as a main cause of terrorism. Remember, there were zero suicide bombing in Iraq before the United States invasion in 2003. To take it as far as suicide vests, there has to be a feeling that there can be victory. Whatever that is defined as. Bin Laden’s goal was never to defeat the United States army on the battlefield, but to bankrupt America, financially and emotionally. Without being invested at the highest level, no amount of convincing can make a population resist the way the people of Middle East have. We sa this with the Shite Iraqi army turning tail and running when ISIS was riding into Mosul in 2014. The Sunni tribal areas of northern Iraq are not the home of these Shites. They feel no connection to them or have any sense of urgency to keep them under Baghdad control. Horton provided another such example. The Spanish during the Iraq War refused to send troops to help it’s American allies. Why? Not their fight. How was assisting the United States in occupying Iraq going to protect the Spanish homeland?

You only need to look at the major leaders inside Al Qeada and ISIS to understand that occupation and domination are the driving factors of terrorism. Before 2004, there were no Al Qeada in Iraq. The leaders of this group, Ayman al-Zawahri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were both radicalized by seeing family members tortured by the US or its puppet dictators (the Egyptian government for example), or by being tortured themselves. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself spent time in Abu Ghraib. Growing up in an environment of occupation lent itself to young men growing up ready to turn to terrorism and militancy. Must like growing up in a gang infected neighborhood leads to most young boys joining up at a young age.

In current events we see this also. The current “Knife Intifada” in the West Bank is a prime example given by Horton. Western, “millennial” Palestinians have taken to knifing Israeli settlers and checkpoint guards. Is this for the glory of Muhammad? Or is it more likely that it is because they have lived under occupation their whole lives? Resisting the only way they know how.

It is not like the talking heads and policy makers in Washington D.C. haven’t done everything but admitted in the past that terrorism is the “price of empire”. In the 1990s the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the threat of Terrorism is a “small price to pay for being a Superpower”. In their arrogance they blind themselves from the reactions and results of their stupid policies. Like Paul Wolfowitz said when discussing the reasons for 9/11, it’s not like the United States had troops in Afghanistan prior to that day. His hubris allows him to ignore the fact that there were troops in Saudi Arabia for a full decade before, one of the major reasons Bin Laden sites for declaring war.

Blowback is a Hell of A Term

The idea of “blowback” is one I’ve been aware of since Ron Paul dropped the mic on Rudy Guliani’s face back in 2008. Chalmers Johnson helped expand my understanding of it, and I thought I had all the points I’d ever need to get the theory across to people.

Horton gave a laundry list of examples of “we should have seen this coming” moments. He sites Eric Margolis in his book “War at the Top of the World”. Margolis was on the ground in Afghanistan during the fight against the USSR in the 1980s. He was around members of the Mujaheddin like Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Azzam told Margolis that once they were done kicking the invading Soviets out of Afghanistan, they would “come for the Americans”. The leaders in that movement understood the reasons they were being helped by the Americans, and it wasn’t out of the goodness of Reagan’s heart.

Horton even brings Rambo III into the discussion. Pointing to a scene in which an officer to told by a fellow solder that Afghans have been invaded throughout their history. Fighting occupation is what they do, and no amount of firepower will stop them from resisting.

The same can be said about Clinton and Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s. Clinton provided aid to a number of different Sunni radical groups during that time. Muslims in Chechyna, Bosnia, Kosovo and even the Ughurs in China accepted weapons from the Pentagon to help with their cause. All the while never seeing America as a true friend to the cause. Clinton enjoyed using these Sunni radicals as covert forces so much, that he missed on at least ten opportunities to kill/capture Bin Laden throughout the 1990s according to Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit.

It should not have taken until 2008 for Americans to be introduced to the idea of Blowback. But once the troops began coming back home, along with the stories and evidence of what was being done, a slow burn of war fatigue began to set in.

War for Empire and Nothing Else

Horton provided a number of examples when the regime in Washington showed their true colors and I have included those below for your viewing pleasure:

The clip below is pretty famous. Madeline Albright in 1997 all but admits on camera that the Gulf War and the Clinton policy of sanctions, no-fly zones and bombings throughout the 90s had no root in humanitarianism. The opposite is more accurate.

I will leave you with the most damning evidence of “Empire First, America Second”. But before the video, let me lay out some quick connections that Horton opened by eyes to.

The invasion of Afghanistan was sold to the American people as an action to get the people responsible for 9/11. But it should have quickly became clear that this invasion was just another chess move in the game of geopolitical hegemony. Afghanistan sits in the middle of the Eurasian continent, mineral rich and strategically important. It’s the reason the Soviets invaded in the 80s in the first place. It’s the reason the British and the Russians have been racing towards the country for centuries.

The Korengal Valley is a place we can point to for proof that the mission is not about the security of America. The valley is a place that is impossible to control, but it is an important transportation route for weapons in and out of Afghanistan towards Pakistan. The documentary “Restrapo” details the complete stupidity of the mission, providing you with two hours of opportunities to say “what the fuck are those troops there for?”. Whether its the pointless patrols of the US troops through the villages within the valley, or listening to the interviews with the Marines stuck there fighting for the brother next to them, the whole movie exposes the idiotic mission.

So again, I leave you with the most jaw-dropping example of clear disregard for the wants and needs of the American people in the name of Empire and Pentagon bank accounts, President Bush only 6 MONTHS after the towers fell admitting to reporters that he doesn’t consider Bin Fucking Laden a major point of interest in the newly declared War on Terror.

 

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Not-So-Grand Chessboard

I thought this week I’d hit on a bunch of different geopolitical situations that could escalate in the near future.

Ukraine

Ukraine has been in the middle of low-energy civil war since the coup that took place in early 2014. It set the pro-EU, anti-Russian west against the Russian-speaking, breakaway west. Ukraine has always been a country trying to find an identity. Its borders have changed and so have its allegiances. At one time, it was part of Russia. For a long time in fact. It was called “Little Russia” for parts of the Middle Ages, and Russian leaders have always looked that it as part of Russian history.

The western area has felt more at home with the West. Parts of it were part of the Polish Kingdom, before breaking off and joining Great Russia in 1654 with the signing of the Treaty of Pereyaslav. The western region has more recently has tried to outlaw the Russian language in Ukraine, and in the past they called Russian-speakers “Cossaks”, much like the Poles did.

Currently, the war has been more of a cold one. With the eastern regions continuing to support Russia, with Moscow expanding its influence over the area. The Ukrainian government from Kiev, and the Neo-Nazi political party that the United States helped take over, has seen the army become “fatigued”, as most soldiers not on either extreme sides of the conflict. Much like the American Civil War, fighting your “brother” can become tiresome.

Germany vs Poland

An interesting development has come up in Poland. Poland has recently been controlled by a more right-wing, anti-EU party. Poland looks to gain back its national sovereignty from Brussels and the Neo-Liberals in Germany. It has refused to accept even one Muslim migrant, and thinks pretty highly of Donald Trump.

Poland’s refusal to play ball has lead Germany to support regime change. They have gone so far as to have the Germany Defense Minister call for support of the new “youth resistance” in Poland. This “resistance” has been linked to George Soros, and seems to be another “color revolution”. There have been a long history of these color revolutions in Europe, a few in Ukraine in the 2000s, before the successfully violent one in 2014.

Poland has pushed the envelope, looking to create its own “bloc” in Europe. This bloc would be built out of the “Three Seas Initiative”. The initiative aims to bring together three different blocs within Europe, offering national sovereignty and some breathing room from the over-bearing governance of the EU. Some are calling the bloc: “Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 2.0”. This does not sit well with Angela Merkel and her friends in Brussels.

The bloc would also be very anti-Russian, which would date back to the days of Communism.

Libya

The news out of Libya isn’t really news at all. The story here is that CNN has finally decided to cover the ongoing slave trade in the country. This was being reported on by actual journalists back as far as April of this year, maybe before. CNN took it’s time for a few reasons I’m sure.

During the revolt against Gaddafi, CNN took its talking points from the CIA-backed rebels on the ground. The rebels (the ones Hillary is so happy to take pictures with) made it clear that all black African migrants were really “mercenaries” brought in my Gaddafi to protect his regime. In reality, these migrants were brought in as workers by Gaddafi for development projects. But CNN ran with the “mercenary” term, giving the rebels the look of “freedom fighters” killing the evil mercenaries brought in by the evil dictator to stomp out any uprising.

These African migrants were hunted down and killed in large numbers. The ones that weren’t killed, are the slaves you seen CNN talking about today.

The whole war was based off a lie. A lie that Gaddafi was going to slaughter his citizens in the streets. A story that has been debunked ever since.

In a war that has been dubbed “Hillary’s War”, it was exposed by Wikileaks that Clinton knew about the targeting of migrants, but she was more than happy to ignore that to achieve her end goals.

The reason I believe that this is finally seeing the light of day is simple. The United States wants to expand its imperial footprint in Africa (something I covered in a previous episode), and what better way to sell that to the American people then to tell them there is an actual slave trade going on. CNN of course will make no connection between the trade and the US-backed forces, or that they peddled the narrative that provided cover for this disgusting practice.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has always been the butt of everyone’s joke. The country where a wheelbarrow worth of its currency buys you nothing. Where Bitcoin is at 13K apiece. Well, it seems like the corruption and economic criminality has finally caught up with President Mugabe.

This week, the military of the country took over the state radio & TV stations. It also put President Mugabe and his wife under house arrest. The military is not calling it a coup.

The president has been in power since 1980 and his now 93 years old. He is the oldest head of state on Earth, and planned to hand over power to his wife. As recently as today, Mugabe addressed the country on TV, surpising everyone by stating he was not stepping down.

The situation should be followed as it unfolds.

Iraq/Kurds

This week we also saw (maybe) the end of Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. Kurdistan’s Regional Government declared that they support a “United Iraq”, but them at odds with the more radical elements of the Kurdish population. Since this Iraq military’s takeover of Kirkuk, the Regional Government has lost all of it’s power. The politicians in charge seem to have made a deal with the central government of Baghdad. Iraq and its US backers wanted the selling of oil in the Kurdish region to flow through Baghdad, and that seems to have taken place. The idea of Kurdish independence in Iraq would seem to be dead.

Yemen

The situation in Yemen continues to get worse. Just this week the Saudi regime bombed the airport in the capital city of Sanaa, effectively shutting down another route for aid into the starving country.

Speaking of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Senator Chris Murphyspoke on the floor of Senate, calling out the US government for its role in the crimes taking place in the Middle East’s poorest nation:

Let’s hope maybe this brings some attention to the situation and guilt-trips a Congressmen or two to find their morals, if they have any.

Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found hereand on ITunes.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Week Roundup – From Clinton to Riyadh

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In this episode we talk about the DNC’s civil war, Robert Mueller’s history, a Saudi “coup”, the end of ISIS and Kurdish independence.

Episode can be found here. The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.

Sources:

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Just Play Football

Bright and early on a Sunday morning is a good time as any to record this week. I spend most of the time ranting about the situation with the NFL, and how the masses have taken over the political discussion in this country while solutions to the issues are put on the side. Virtue Signaling is the new activism. I also get into the Kurdish referendum and Catalonia’s attempt at it’s own.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

Article to check out:

The Dancing Israelis – By Philip Giraldi

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/28/2017

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Good morning!

This week was light on news, if you don’t really care about the NFL like me. I will speak on it a bit in this week’s episode though. I guess I have to. I want to talk more about the Kurdish Referendum and Catalonia. Along with a couple other stories I found interesting, this week’s episode will be more freeform then usual. Last week being ignored.

This week’s topics include:

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Lords of War

In this episode I discuss the discovery of a gun running operation from The Balkans to Syria and the gangster Bulgarian reporter that uncovered it (and was fired). I touch on Trump and Kim never-ending over who has the bigger missile. Shifting gears, I explain what the president means by “take the gloves off” in Afghanistan by pointing to Mosul, Iraq. A place where that policy has already been implemented. The conflict in Syria is also noted, updating you on the new geopolitical struggle between Russia/Syria and Israel.

Episode link here

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

I also want to take a minute to link to a few longer stories I think are worth your time:

350 Diplomatic Flights Carry Weapons for Terrorists – The story that got Dilyana Gaytandzhieva fired.

End Times in Mosul – Patrick Cockburn details the horror the civilian population of Western Mosul endured under ISIS control and during Mosul’s “liberation” by US-backed Shite forces.

Syrian Man Recounts 33 Days Of Torture At Hands Of CIA-Backed FSA – @sarahabed tells the story of a Syrian man named Shadi’s journey from Syria, back to Syria, only to be kidnapped and tortured by the US-back Free Syrian Army.

Memories of Palestine – @evehuman tell her story of her time in Palestine.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 8/31/2017

Good morning!

Tomorrow I will be putting out the most recent episode of the podcast. This week had some major escalations in different areas, along with the uncovering of a huge gun-running scandal, and Trump’s Afghanistan policy starts taking shape.

This week’s topics include:

I will still be offering to take listener requests for topics to discuss on future episodes. Submit your suggestions in the comment section!

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 8/20/2017

Good morning!

Tomorrow I will be recording and posting this weeks episode of The Voluntary Exchange Podcast. This week has been light in geopolitical stories. This episode will focus on much of the same stories from last week. Of course, the bulk of the episode will be my breakdown of Trump’s speech on Afghanistan from Monday. I posted my initial thoughts on the speech earlier this week, so I’ll hit on these points again.

This week’s topics include:

I will still be offering to take listener requests for topics to discuss on future episodes. Anything can be requested, but I do like to focus more on war and locking people in cages than transgender bathrooms. Submit your suggestions in the comment section!

I’d also like to give a shout out to Scott Horton. He has his first book out on Amazon, “Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan”. If you don’t know Scott Horton, he is the editor of Antiwar.com, one of the founders of The Libertarian Institute, foreign policy Jedi, anarcho-capitalist, skateboard, and all around badass.

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Episode: Billy and The Boys

In this episode, I update you on India-China, North Korea and ask why no one on Facebook is sharing videos from Mosul, Iraq. I get domestic and discuss healthcare, Rand Paul’s good week, and the trans-ban.

episode link

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China Adds Troops To India Border, Will Defend Sovereignty At “Whatever Cost”
Why Is the World Not Outraged at Mass Civilian Death in Mosul?
North Korea claims all of U.S. in strike range as Trump says China has done “nothing”
One in every 45 people in Yemen is expected to contract cholera, Red Cross says
Thousands of worshippers surge into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, 113 injured
Rand Paul Blocks DOD Authorization Until September
White House Sacks Top Iran Hawk Amid Ongoing Disagreements

Bleeding Heart Americans Remember Aleppo, Clueless About Mosul

Remember when Facebook was filled with bleeding hearts sharing videos of the horrors being carried out by Russian-backed Assad forced in Aleppo, Syria?

Well, Barack Obama and Donald Trump did the same thing in Mosul, Iraq through US-backed Iraqi government forces. 
This is from an article over at Middle East Eye:

Over the last week, armoured bulldozers have trundled back and forth over the crumpled houses, grinding uncounted corpses into the rubble.

But the dead refuse to go away. Rotting body parts glow a reddish-brown amid the pale grey of the undulating heatscape of masonry, dust and broken buildings.

“There are many civilians among the bodies,” an Iraqi army major tells MEE. “After liberation was announced, the order was given to kill anything or anyone that moved.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the major says the orders were wrong, but the military had to follow them.

“It was not the right thing to do,” he says. “Most of the Daesh fighters surrendered. They gave themselves up, and we just killed them.”

Anyone? I know it’s not on CNN….