Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Fall of Mosul: Marches of Folly by James Russel

Painful as it is to watch black clad Sunni extremists marauding their way through Mosul — a city that Americans died defending — we should all be required to take a dose of the images and the poor Iraqi refugees fleeing for their lives.
The fall of Mosul to these armed, dangerous thugs and their nihilistic, anti-modern ideology serves as a monument to the US’ folly in Iraq and the flawed assumptions and false optimism that led us into the quagmire. The very jihadist terrorists that once flocked to Iraq to spill American blood have apparently routed the Army built by the United States.
Those on the far right of the US’ own politics leading the chants for more war with Iran, Russia or whatever international “bad guy” adversary they can conjure up should take note of the unintended consequences of starting wars in far off places where they (and we) do not understand the political fissures bubbling just below the surface of these societies.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and its militia driving around in Toyotas cannot conquer Iraq, but they can certainly split apart what’s left of the country and create another vast area of violence and chaos that will see much of the former Sykes-Picot mandate territories become havens for terrorists and jihadists. Indeed, photographs surfaced yesterday purportedly showing ISIS fighters bulldozing a berm dividing Iraq and Syria.
Onto the strategic blunder of the US invasion of Iraq, however, has been layered yet another and perhaps even more serious blunder by America’s erstwhile allies in Riyadh and other Gulf States. As the US rightfully resisted pressure to intervene in the Syrian civil war, these countries have poured weapons and money into the fray that have in no small measure helped create the forces of darkness now spreading like a cancer across the Middle East’s landscape.
Where once there was a fleeting vision exemplified by Egypt’s Tahrir Square protests of a region with pluralistic democracies working out their differences at the ballot box, we now see the triumph of the forces of counter-revolution engineered by the mukhabarat states and their security services.
We’ve seen a version of this movie before, as the Saudis in particular chose to export their fundamentalist religious ideology overseas to spawn violent resistance groups around the globe.
The West chose to join forces with Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan in the 1980s because the alliance suited its purposes. Today we are left with the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and a host of other malign groups taking up arms in support of Islamic extremist political objectives. Soon these groups will be settling scores with another Western-created army and regime in Kabul.
Therein lies the broader strategic blunder of America’s regional allies, the Sunni mukhabarat states. The war has come home to the Middle East, just as Bin Laden and Sayyid Qutb foresaw. Their strategic objective was always a war against the near enemy — the corrupt regimes that had been created in the aftermath of colonial occupation.

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