As news of a second journalist killed by ISIS spills onto the headlines this week, Obama and his administration were quick to promise retribution. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as reported by CNN indicated, “All options — with the exception of a ground invasion — are on the table to address the threat posed by ISIS... Those options include possible airstrikes in Syria, where ISIS has established a stronghold in and around the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqa.”
Dennis Loo interviewed Revolution writer Larry Everest about Iraq, ISIS, US plans for the region, and the implications for those of us seeking to mobilize opposition to the continuing destruction wreaked by the US military.
There has been a sharp escalation by the US government in rhetoric, in policy, and in the urgency with which they are responding to ISIS, with a US general calling them an "apocalyptic, end of days" movement. What is behind this?
If you want to shake your head and give up on the situation as beyond understanding — don't!
Dangerous arguments and actions came this week from both President Obama, who plans to increase airstrikes on Iraq & Syria and announced drone surveillance (as if that has not been happening for years), and from John McCain, leader of the “US has to get back in Iraq” cabal. “Limited” airstrikes by the world's most powerful military combined with U.S. more troops going into this extremely volatile region will not bring peace, stability, or safety.
Daddy George H.W. Bush; Bill Clinton; W. Bush and now Barack Obama have an unbroken streak of bombing Iraq.
Let us say as strongly as we can, that the bombing begun overnight in Kurdish areas — no matter who “asked” for it to be done — is outrageously dangerous, will not “save civilians,” but instead will endanger them further. Rather than protecting people in harm's way, US bombs and secret operations are a message to other powers that no one else will be allowed to run Iraq.
This week Iraq emerged from the recesses of American memory and became a hot topic of conversation. Alarming headlines about ISIS’s “takeover” of Mosul and their march towards Baghdad have elicited a number of reactions: The most conservative call for direct US military action against ISIS to ensure that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki remains stable in Baghdad. The most liberal lament the ongoing violence and divisions in Iraqi society caused by the US occupation; though they make no attempt distinguish between the violence of ISIS and the violence of the Maliki government.
When I saw the Washington Post’s banner headline, “U.S. sees risk in Iraq airstrikes,” I thought, “doesn’t that say it all.” The Post apparently didn’t deem it newsworthy to publish a story headlined: “Iraqis see risk in U.S. airstrikes.” Then, in an accompanying article, authors Gregg Jaffe and Kevin Maurer observed nonchalantly that “Iraq and the Iraqi people remain something of an abstraction,” a point that drove me to distraction.
As we speak and protest today about the looming threats of renewed U.S. aggression and intervention in Iraq, let’s look at reality, not a fragment of reality but the wide angle. The current crisis in Iraq and Syria is a nightmare for the people there, and when imperialist wars and aggression are on the loose anywhere – death and destruction are raining down on people whose lives are every bit as precious and important as our own.
It's time to be in the streets in protest, demanding NO further war on Iraq.
Within days or hours, the U.S. may be bombing Iraq again. John Kerry predicts drone strikes on Iraq. Democracy Now says today, "The U.S.S. George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier has recently arrived in the Persian Gulf. The carrier is accompanied by the U.S.S. Philippine Sea guided-missile cruiser and the U.S.S. Truxtun guided-missile destroyer, both of which carry Tomahawk missiles that can reach Iraq."