Preston Clive
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IRAQ: What A Coincidence!!!!

"According to US law, if I point to this map for two hours in front of the press--I get awesome War Powers."


(IMAGE: file photo)

Lips are flapping today as a continuation of the news that arrived yesterday evening that ISIS fighting forces have advanced to an area that lies within five miles of US military advisers training Iraqi military personnel, sparking fierce fighting and placing the American military assets in immediate danger. 

Or so the report contends.

The region of Iraq--Anbar--released a statement through their provisional council calling for “immediate and urgent military reinforcements” following the attack on the Anbar town of al-Baghdadi. The installation where the American military personnel are engaged in their training exercises with the Iraqi army and tribal militant groups is called Ayn al-Asad air base. The number of US military assets comes to about 320.

What a wild coincidence, huh? President Obama, aching to have a war in Iraq had--wild huh?--just this past Wednesday formally taken the step of officially requesting Congressional authorization to declare war against ISIS in Iraq and use the American military with all of its assets as he feels necessary. How amazing it is that he has a Big Emergency now, a Pretext.

This coincidental incident of reality suddenly and unexpectedly providing an atmosphere of really really convenient military urgency to a situation that was otherwise not much of a tremendous threat in any form to the American homeland reminds me of Lyndon Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin incident which gave him the war that he and the hawks surrounding him genuinely wanted (and one that his predecessor, JFK, famously did not). 

In the case the Gulf of Tonkin attack, which famously led to the congressional approval that gave Lyndon Johnson the free hand he wanted to wage war in Vietnam, two separate interludes took place between the navy of North Vietnam and the US on August 2nd & 4th .  .  . the first attack was negligible, the second attack on the 4th was pure misinterpretation of signals intelligence, which led the US Navy to believe that a North Vietnamese salvage/gunboat-towing operation of a badly damaged boat from the fire leveled by the USS Maddox two days earlier, to bring the small ship back to base, was "an attack" on the US Navy. From this complete and total mirage of an "attack" on 8/4/1964, whereby proximity to US forces constituted in the mind of the intelligence analysts proof of intention to attack, the nation was plunged into an awful, deadly and costly war that ended, after ten bloody years, in the first defeat in US military history. All of those losses because a ship went out into the gulf to tow a stranded, damaged ship back to port. And in doing so closed a bit of distance between itself and the US navy ship Maddox. Additionally the Maddox crew misinterpreted sonar noise as a torpedo launch (there was no torpedo launch).

What we have here with our military advisers in proximity to the ISIS forces which President Obama wants to attack, is a situation very reminiscent of Tonkin. The enemy is near--we must declare war. 

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The problem with constructing a war whereby American military forces do battle with a specific Islamic terrorist group such as ISIS is this: once ISIS is obliterated (if this is even possible; Israel has not been able to negate one single radical jihadist group within the tight, easy-access confines of their borders and this versus an enemy that often uses rocks and tomatoes as military ordnance), another will sprout like a mushroom to take its place. 

As I've already said earlier in other columns, the Muslim world needs these extremely severe Jihadists to succeed in erecting their "caliphate." Only then will the opinion of the Muslim Street in general swing away from the romantic view held by many in the extremely tribal and religious social fabric of lands like Iraq and rural Syria. Let the people be disgusted, repulsed--only then will the paradigm swing away from the jihadists and the romantic view of them held by religious civilians and those carrying bitter political anger in their hearts.

I think it's extremely telling that Mr. Obama chooses to--rather than simply move the advisers and their training operations further away from the battlefield area to keep away from the intermittent fighting, this new spurt of ordinary regional battle is treated like a terrifying first and an emergency of the highest order. ISIS has in the past taken towns, shot down jet planes, executed all manner of folks, spread and contracted, spread and contracted .  .  .  but this specific battle in particular is a new corner turned, a threat of unprecedented power, and all of our whopping 320 military advisers can go nowhere else. Thus, war powers are needed, and needed Real Bad.

Paging Robert McNamara! Please come to the bar telephone. There's a phone call for you!

Preston Clive

Friday the 13th, 2015***