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Forum Post: What to Do About ISIS By David Swanson

Posted 7 years ago on Aug. 28, 2014, 8:51 a.m. EST by flip (7101)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Start by recognizing where ISIS came from. The U.S. and its junior partners destroyed Iraq, left a sectarian division, poverty, desperation, and an illegitimate government in Baghdad that did not represent Sunnis or other groups. Then the U.S. armed and trained ISIS and allied groups in Syria, while continuing to prop up the Baghdad government, providing Hellfire missiles with which to attack Iraqis in Fallujah and elsewhere.

ISIS has religious adherents but also opportunistic supporters who see it as the force resisting an unwanted rule from Baghdad and who increasingly see it as resisting the United States. It is in possession of U.S. weaponry provided directly to it in Syria and siezed from the Iraqi government. At last count by the U.S. government, 79% of weapons transfered to Middle Eastern governments come from the United States, not counting transfers to groups like ISIS, and not counting weapons in the possession of the United States.

So, the first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you’ve left in chaos. Libya is of course another example of the disasters that U.S. wars leave behind them — a war, by the way, with U.S. weapons used on boith sides, and a war launched on the pretext of a claim well documented to have been false that Gadaffi was threatening to massacre civilians.

So, here’s the next thing to do: be very sceptical of humanitarian claims. The U.S. bombing around Erbil to protect Kurdish and U.S. oil interests was initially justified as bombing to protect people on a mountain. But most of those people on the mountain were in no need of rescue, and that justification has now been set aside, just as Benghazi was. Recall also that Obama was forced to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq when he couldn’t get the Iraqi government to give them immunity for crimes they commit. He has now obtained that immunity and back in they go, the crimes preceding them in the form of 500 pound bombs.

While trying to rescue hostages and discovering an empty house, and racing to a mountain to save 30,000 people but finding 3,000 and most of those not wanting to leave, the U.S. claims to know exactly whom the 500-pound bombs are killing. But whoever they are killing, they are generating more enemies, and they are building support for ISIS, not diminishing it. So, now the U.S. finds itself on the opposite side of the war in Syria, so what does it do? Flip sides! Now the great moral imperative is not to bomb Assad but to bomb in defense of Assad, the only consistent point being that “something must be done” and the only conceivable something is to pick some party and bomb it.

But why is that the only conceivable thing to be done? I can think of some others:

  1. Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in Abu Ghraib and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation.

  2. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there.

  3. Begin making restitution by delivering aid (not “military aid” but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nation of Iraq.

  4. Apologize for role in war in Syria.

  5. Begin making restitution by delivering actual aid to Syria.

  6. Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation anywhere on earth and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!)

  7. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments.

  8. Begin providing Iran with free wind and solar technologies — at much lower cost of course than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.

  9. End economic sanctions.

  10. Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms.

  11. Send journalists, aid workers, peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.

  12. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.

  13. Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis.

  14. Work through the United Nations on all of this.

  15. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.



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[-] 9 points by beautifulworld (23590) 7 years ago

"So, the first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you’ve left in chaos."

If we do only one thing, that would be a great start.

Great article. Thanks.

[-] 3 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

The U.S. is bombing to destroy the U.S.-made weapons that ISIL had captured from the deserting Iraqi Army. ISIL has not given up the weapons willingly. It takes bombs to destroy weapons in the wrong hands that will destabilize the region.

[-] 8 points by beautifulworld (23590) 7 years ago

The military industrial complex working perfectly. Creating chaos so we can spend more American taxpayer money to enrich the corporations and the stockholders of the military industrial complex.

[-] 4 points by Nevada1 (5843) 7 years ago

Exactly. And let's not forget this------


[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

The U.S. trained many groups which had turned against it. It is not really surprising because the more U.S. involvements there were and are, the more groups there have been and will be acting in their own interests and turn against the U.S. There was the millennium-old feud between Sunn'is and Shi'ites. The U.S., motivated by the twin objectives of stabilizing the world economy (through stable or cheap oil and gas prices) and growing democratic rule, easily got whiplashed in the Middle East by entering into alliances of convenience.

The wariness of Obama of getting involved in a ground war in the Middle East fits General MacArthur's doctrine but the war in Afpak had shown that if the terrorists had a safe haven next door, the fumigation would need to be nearly eternal. Apartment residents fighting the war against cockroaches, mice, and rats know about that well.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

why should we believe the world economy would be unstable if the oil were controlled regionally ?

[-] 1 points by 99nproud (2697) 7 years ago

Oil is certainly at the center of all this death in middle east.

Peace will come when we stop buying (burning) oil.

[-] 4 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

we could stop dropping bombs

[-] 1 points by 99nproud (2697) 7 years ago

We would if we removed oil from the equation.

Until then it is up to us to agitate all TPTB (fossil fuel corps, MIC, ALL pols, etc..) to end the bombing/violence/death!

Like this:



All non violent action is welcomed & required.


List of nationwide action events from just ONE anti war group!


(lots in Cali!)

Many groups agree with us:


There is much more, but still hasn't outweighed the oligarchs $.

So, grow these anti war movements until people power beats money, & at the same time, the in between time. We must stop burning oil/gas/coal, etc..

[-] 6 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

we must stop dropping bombs

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

We must stop using foreign oil. You griped about putting gas (how expensive it was) into your car before. That action magnified many times led to the "oil wealth" and much of the bloodsheds in the Middle East.

Before discovering oil and gas in the East and South China Sea, China, Japan, Philippines, etc. did not show such brinkmanship over a few tidal rocks. The partition of new wealth often creates rivalry.

Without stopping the consumption of foreign oil, all the cries about stopping bombings, intervenings, etc. are utterly USELESS!

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 7 years ago

No doubt. Action to that end:




Many others.

All inadequate, requiring massive growth.

All (peaceful) ways,Always

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

The world economy was hit multiple times before. Were you even aware of what happened to oil prices at the time of the Iranian Revolution and Saddam Hussein conquering Kuwait and about to invade Saudi Arabia?

Most "Americans" don't even know about the human blood that went into every drop of gasoline put into our cars and how and why they had lost their jobs. Try explaining to children the connection of oil to the absence of food on their table and you can find out yourself.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

stabilizing the world economy (through stable or cheap oil and gas prices)

thank you

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

ISIS made the mistake of going after the oil-rich region in Kurdistan near Erbil. There are many U.S. nationals working on oilfields near there. Having seized oil refineries and then going after oilfields to feed them makes strategic sense but recognizing the U.S. oil interest there would have been more prudent. Apparently, ISIS lacked the recognition of the potential consequences of going against the U.S. Texas had the motto on its flag before, "Don't tread on me!"

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

That is certainly part of the mechanism needed to achieve what the U.S. populace and most of the world desire - stable or cheap oil and gas prices necessary for running the world economy for the well being of all.

The chaos had raged in the Middle East many centuries before there was even the U.S. military-industrial-complex so it cannot be the origin of the cause of the chaos there. I think that the problem started with the holy city of Jerusalem, the navel of the earth, where religious fervors and millennia-old ethnic divisions swirl around viciously. By the very "good" grace of Divine Providence, much of the lifeblood needed for economies, oil and gas, lie easily accessible there on the Arabian Peninsula. The world got both ignition and fuel. I don't think the U.S. military-industrial-complex acting as the firefighter should be blamed as having caused the blaze.

There is a rerun of this script in the East and South China Sea.

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23590) 7 years ago

Actually, many many ethnic groups have lived peacefully amongst one another for centuries trading ideas and goods far and wide throughout the Middle East. Most of the chaos today was created by false borders put in place by Western nations in the 20th century. Looking at an overall history one could argue that the history of Europe is far more violent.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

Are you saying that it is better for ISIS to redraw the borders more naturally? And in the process disrupting the global economy?

European colonialism definitely exported a lot of strife worldwide (not just the Middle East - in fact I think Europe is the continent most stained by blood since the rise of the nation states) but in the old days or even nowadays beheadings or incursions were and still are accepted as perfectly normal practices. They just did not register as much in the consciousness in the minds of people.

[-] 7 points by beautifulworld (23590) 7 years ago

Quite an extrapolation. Nope. Just saying that you can't claim people were more violent in the past than they actually were just to satisfy an explanation for violence today.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

Peoples in general have become less violent than before. It is probably due to the evolution of the administration of justice and more intimate interconnection of peoples nowadays.

ISIS beheaded James Foley who had nothing to do with the airstrikes to rub salt in the wounds of the U.S. That was a big mistake and it will be recognized as such eventually. ISIS got its "free speech" rights exercised so others will now exercise theirs, fair and square.

[-] 5 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

I still suspect the US or Britain secret services are behind the Foley Execution

as the result fall in those countries favor for vilifying the enemy

[-] 3 points by Nevada1 (5843) 7 years ago

Agree about US or Briton involvement. Have been looking at press release photos of Foley, and the man in video-------appears not to be same person.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

a long term imprisonment can change a man

[-] 0 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

No way! Obama if he was still on the saddle of the most powerful office would have had no Foley execution. I am sure no less that David Cameron would have wished for no London rapper as Foley executioner either. If you believe that "secret," you have descended to the level of distrust similar to the West African governments distrusted by their own peoples.

Trust Obama. He is well intentioned although he may be at times somewhat overwhelmed or just too cautious and did not swat the stinging horseflies early enough.

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

the US has already informed me it keeps secrets form the people

it could also be an interested third party like a weapons company

[-] 0 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

There ARE things in the interests of the U.S. populace that are only achievable or best done in secret but they MUST be counterbalanced by the populace's rights to know to keep them from running amok. Overclassification IS an abuse of power that MUST be HALTED.

I wished that an interested third party like a weapons company had the power you had imagined (that they had control "over there" in the Euphrates river valley) but alas that was NOT to be!

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

There ARE things in the interests of the U.S. populace that are only achievable or best done in secret

what and why ?

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

Other groups' interests are endangering people, too. ISIS wanting to control others' oil wealth, violate human rights, and impose brutal rules endanger others far more than the U.S.

Regression to barbarity can only be countered by the proper "language."

[-] 0 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

As an example, there are people who put their lives, fortunes, honor, and even their families on the line to serve the U.S. interests. Who they are must be protected as much as possible from the loose-lipped U.S. populace. As for why, information has legs and potential consequences. Everything is physical so the control of information affects the reality that we live in.

[-] 3 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

US interests are endangering people

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

probably to due with the inner sea

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

oh wait

that's oil

the bay of Antarctica

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

Them oil is inflammable and flammable in the bay of Anti-Arctica, colder than Arctic but hotter than hell.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

the US will loss control of the region

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

It is impossible for the U.S. to lose control of the region because it never had control.

[-] 2 points by elf3 (4203) 7 years ago

No get ws influence and war profiteers out of washington..that is the first thing

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

as always i agree with you! do you know how annoying it is that you are always spot on?

[-] 6 points by beautifulworld (23590) 7 years ago

Thanks, and I also like Swanson's call for apologies. That would be a very important step forward.

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

Yes it would but not happening anytime soon. We have no leaders with that type of courage and honesty. Too bad

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23590) 7 years ago

Sad truth.

[-] 1 points by eklutna (101) 7 years ago

Like many Americans, I am skeptical that the US will ever do anything right in the Middle East. To do so would intefere with profits and our empirical agenda. We can't lose hope though.

Thanks flip, that was a very informative thread albeit sad that we don't play a positive role in the World. Our morality as a people depends on us changing course.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

we need to occupy the country - we need to occupy the political process and occupy the discourse. we have the population mostly on our side - now we have to somehow translate that into pressure on the system

[-] 3 points by ShadzSixtySix (1936) 7 years ago

Right re. ''occupy the country ... '' - especially with #S17 coming up & fyi :

That web-site is also well worth exploring and book-marking.

fiat lux et fiat pax ...

[-] 3 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

"At last count by the U.S. government, 79% of weapons transfered to Middle Eastern governments come…" — Matt Holck http://disq.us/8jwcrs

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

Leave it to Fux Spews to sound the alarm(ist) view. What's next Ebola infected ISIS terrorists crossing the border bringing drugs and otherwise unaccompanied South American children with em too? So sad.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

[ edit ] Of course the west is a target - it always has been - Europe has experienced many attacks - for decades - due to the relative ease of access - as compared to the difficulty of traveling to the USA - but the USA is also - and - has been also a target of long standing. Nothing new. Currently much of the alarmist talk is about tightening the screws of governmental control on our freedoms and sealing off the southern border - edit-> by feeding and/or just trying to create - public hysteria.

Shock Doctrine - no - not a myth.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

For early August Patrick Sawyer planned to fly to your and his hometown, one and the same. Don't you count your town lucky that he collapsed in Lagos instead, killing a bunch of healthcare workers? Ebola is real. Ebola will spread. However, like ISIS, Ebola will be contained by the very blood it sheds.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

[ edit x 3 ] Yes it is fortunate that he did not land "legally" in the USA using regular passenger transport and then spread Ebola. This IS the risk of living in a very small world with travel to and from anywhere - without having safeguards in place to test for disease carriers. But that scenario is a tad bit different than the scare mongering of one of those infected individuals - 1st making it into South America - and then - sneaking across the border. The greatest danger we face is through already established legal travel.

edit-> I wonder - how are the people doing - the ones he came in contact with prior to his collapse - and then having tended to him after his collapse.

2) What do you think? Should we Quarantine all of Africa? Let nobody in or out? Cut off all shipping? Or just seal off the USA and let no one in or back in after they have left? Stop all shipping ( by land sea or air ) entering or leaving the USA?

3) Perhaps after we have sealed off the USA from all travel entering or leaving. We should then construct a dome over the continental USA? A dome that when completed would be hermetically sealed. That way we can count on our atmosphere ( after years of filtering to remove all toxins - pollution - viruses and bacterias that other wise would normally float about ) to be healthy and not a danger from traveling toxins of one sort or another. This of course would mean a radical change in industry transportation etc for continued use inside of the dome.

Maybe solar cells could be placed all across the surface of the dome to collect sunlight and convert it into clean useful electricity. Filtering out some of the sunlight that would otherwise enter the dome and be an overheating problem/issue otherwise.

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

ISIS is now musing about getting at the U.S. through our southern border with Mexico. I disagreed with you regarding "thanking Mexico" before. I meant that there was very little terrorist infiltration from Mexico in spite of the porous border but ISIS seems to know that by now so it is no longer fearmongering to fret about that border. Things can change extremely quickly in the globalized world.

To calm down the fear of the U.S. populace a bit, ISIS is very much preoccupied with its blunted efforts to expand and more countries are joining the effort to stop ISIS. The U.S. is somewhat harder to reach because 9/11 has immunized the U.S. by imposing border control more tightly, especially for airliners. Our own ISIS-hardened nationals repatriating can cause a big problem but it is likely smaller than the Europeans' because the U.S. rate of participation in ISIS is lower.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

I was talking about fear mongering and the use of Ebola as a means of causing public hysteria and so consent to building an impregnable border.

The USA did NOT just become a target for terrorists. The USA has been a target for Decades.

Did you realize that we have a much larger border with Canada? A much longer and very porous border. Though you hear scant talk about that. The Canadian Border is a much easier entry point than our southern border. But you don't hear fear mongering about that do you.

[-] 2 points by grapes (5232) 7 years ago

Not as much but you know very well that skin colors still make a big difference in the U.S. 9/11 mastermind got into the U.S. from Canada, not Mexico. Canada and the U.S. share intelligence so the trust level is vastly higher for the people coming from Canada. Of course, that was a mistake as 9/11 proved that Canada and Germany were far more dangerous than Mexico.

[-] 1 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

Britton is threatening to pull citizen passport

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 7 years ago

Shock Doctrine - no - not a myth.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

they will be right sooner or later - especially if they keep bombing the world like we do

[-] 5 points by ShadzSixtySix (1936) 7 years ago

''The Covert Origins of ISIS ?'' - Via SCGNews

''ISIS and Our Times'', by Noam Chomsky :

''ISIS is America’s New Terror Brand'', by James F. Tracey :

''To Really Combat Terror, End Support for Saudi Arabia'', by Owen Jones :

'Washington Opened The Gates Of Hell In Iraq : Now Come The Furies'', by David Stockman :

''How America Made ISIS - Their Videos and Ours, Their “Caliphate” and Ours'', by Tom Engelhardt :

''You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia'', by Alastair Crooke :

Finally and potentially mind-joltingly .. for those who may only who get their news from MSM :


e tenebris, lux ...

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

News for us air strikes us air strikes New York Times

US launches new airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in ... Washington Post ‎- 3 hours ago BAGHDAD — Backed by U.S. airstrikes that began in Iraq late Saturday, Iraqi special forces, allied tribesmen and local police launched a ...

US Air Strikes Target Insurgents Near Iraq's Haditha Dam Newsweek‎ - 2 hours ago

More news for us air strikes

U.S. Launches New Airstrikes on ISIS to Protect Dam in Iraq ... www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/world/.../iraq.html

The New York Times

5 hours ago - TBILISI, Georgia — The United States launched a new series of airstrikes against Sunni fighters in Iraq late Saturday in what Defense ...

[-] 2 points by elf3 (4203) 7 years ago

All of this would be resolved if we got wallstreet under control and pulled their influence out of washington...why do people continue to go after the effect rather than the cause which is our cause? It's wallstreet stupid? You can disect the effects of their power and corruption or we can press and press and press our cause into the forefront...if you want to demonstrate the fallout from tws overlord society then make a list...but I think delving into a journey on each of those items without mentilning the obvious problem is off target, confusing, and overwhelming for anyone to take action and enough to create momentum against them...keep it simple ...action will follow and people will show up if they can be certain from day to day which cause they will be representing....you guys have so many days of actions splitting this thing down it has become a pie chart of causes and it is derailing this entire thing. Wall Street power reach and corruption. " Get bribes out of government"

[-] 4 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

we agree on getting bribes out of government. not sure you can lay all the blame on wall street. we are a business run society for sure. long before wall street took over the economy big business called the shots. united fruit, us steel and the railroads were just a few examples of those that have dominated politics in this country. now if you say we need real democracy - that the will of the people should be heard over that of business - especially big business than we agree

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (5843) 7 years ago

Thank you flip for excellent article. Also, US should clean up the uranium (environmental disaster) it left behind.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

very true

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

well said

[-] -2 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

yes he did say it well - now how do we get our rulers to say it

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

we are the rulers of democracy

[-] -2 points by flip (7101) 7 years ago

yes but we do not have a democracy. james madison was pretty clear about how he wanted too create a system that was not a real democracy and he did!

[-] 2 points by MattHolck0 (3867) 7 years ago

a single perspective can craft coherency