The Myth of the ‘War on Terrorism’

Debunked At Last

By Justin Raimondo. Originally published at AntiWar.com.

Remember “We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”? That was the justification for the worldwide war on terrorism the Bush administration trumpeted in the early days of the post-9/11 era. Keeping in mind that the American people don’t really care about what goes on thousands of miles away, and that the purpose of our foreign policy is – ostensibly – to keep us safe here at home, the Bushies and their neocon Praetorian Guard always kept their focus on the threat that was supposedly hanging over our heads: another 9/11. As that Old Right prophet Garet Garrett put it some sixty years ago, US foreign policy was rationalized to the public with “a complex of vaunting and fear,” and this was the fear part.

But now we hear that the latest iteration of the Terrorist Threat – ISIS – is losing ground in Syria, its home base: some 12 percent of its territory has been lost to a combination of opponents, and the Caliphate, we’re told, is shrinking. So does that mean the Terrorist Threat is abating, and we can get back to living our lives?

Heck no!

As CNN reports:

“IHS [Information Handling Services] senior analyst Columb Strack says that ‘as the Islamic State’s caliphate shrinks and it becomes increasingly clear that its governance project is failing, the group is re-prioritizing insurgency.”

“He told CNN: ‘As a result, we unfortunately expect an increase in mass casualty attacks and sabotage of economic infrastructure, across Iraq and Syria, and further afield, including Europe.’

“In other words, ISIS is going to become a more ‘traditional’ terror group, boasting of its international reach to attract recruits and bolster morale as it loses ground in Iraq and Syria.”

So let’s see if I have this straight: we fought them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here, but now that we’re winning over there they’re coming over there.

Got that?

This preposterous shell game is becoming so transparently phony that not even the “experts” and government officials pushing it can possibly believe it.

In reality, the “war on terrorism” had nothing to do with protecting the American people from harm: it was always all about projecting US power as far as possible and effecting “regime change” throughout the Middle East. And not only there …

The real regime change came about right here in the good ol’ US of A: a system of universal surveillance was instituted as the “Patriot” Act was passed by a Congress that never bothered to read it. The police were militarized – after all, the Bad Guys were about to launch an attack on Peoria, or wherever, and we had to be ready. The banks were forced to report all “suspicious” transactions, and if you bought a pressure cooker your name went on a list of “terror suspects.” This was followed, more recently, by an attack by the Left on the Second Amendment: if your name is on a “terrorist watch list,” or the mysterious “no fly list,” the Nanny State would prevent you from getting your hands on a gun – and screw the Constitution.

Regime change at home and abroad – that’s the real point of the “war on terrorism.” The idea was and is to overthrow not only whatever government dares to get in the War Party’s way, but also to overthrow the Constitution and the rule of law in the United States. A real double-header!

In fact, our “strategy” empowers what might have been marginal terrorist groups, and seems almost designed to do so. We attacked Iraq, and created a power vacuum which al-Qaeda and ISIS filled: then we aligned with “moderate” jihadists in Syria in order to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and drain off support from ISIS. Instead we accomplished exactly the opposite of our intended goal: the “moderates” defected to ISIS and al-Qaeda, and the “Caliphate” grew in size and stature. Thousands of Muslims flocked to the region to fight the latest holy war. So we essentially re-invaded Iraq – Obama just sent in more troops, with more to come – and retook 12 percent of their territory. And now they’re spreading into Europe – and trying to reach the US, as they did in San Bernardino and Orlando.

ISIS split off from al-Qaeda over a strategic issue: where to concentrate their forces. The original strategic vision of Osama bin Laden was to go after the “far enemy” – that is, to hit America – and wait until going for their ultimate goal: the creation of a global “Caliphate.” ISIS disagreed with this gradualism, and determined that it was time to establish the Caliphate here and now. The advantages of this strategy were twofold: 1) It would show that they could actually govern, and that their program wasn’t just a nihilistic vision of destruction for its own sake, and 2) The Caliphate would attract foreign fighters in sufficient numbers to fight the infidels and win.

Like all successful revolutionaries, the leadership of ISIS employs an entrepreneurial strategic and tactical flexibility while never losing sight of its ultimate goal. So while the Caliphate may be losing territory at the moment, it is extending its reach to make the enemy pay a high price – and attracting more recruits in the process.

The idea that we can stamp out these terrorist outfits by going on the offensive in distant Syria, or wherever – denying them “safe havens” – is a delusion that never seems to die. That’s because the delusion serves the domestic interests of our rulers so well.

The “nations” of the Middle East were never real entities to begin with: the borders of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the Gulf states were determined by the European colonialists who carved up the remnants of the old Ottoman empire to suit their own purposes. And when these “nations” achieved “independence,” they did not suddenly become more real. What is happening today is the shakeout of competing factions along religious and ethnic lines: the Sunnis, the Shi’ites, the Kurds, etc. etc. are all asserting their right to self-determination. When ISIS demolished the flimsy barrier that separated Syria from Iraq, and proclaimed the abolition of the Sykes-Picot agreement, they were expressing their contempt for the post-World War I order imposed by the West – an order that is dying a bloody and chaotic death in spite of our futile efforts to preserve it.

So what’s the solution?

Terrorist attacks on the West won’t stop any time soon, no matter what we do or don’t do. Too much blood has been spilled, and the dead cry out for vengeance. We can’t undo the invasion of Iraq – the single most destructive act in the modern history of the Middle East – but we can stop making the same mistake unto eternity. As I’ve written before, we should quarantine the entire region. Stop intervening, and let the religious fanatics who are making the region a killing field stew in their own poisonous juices. Stop supporting the Saudis – the main agitators of jihadism; stop supporting Israel: stop supporting the Iraqi “government”; stop sending in troops – and concentrate our limited resources on making sure the terrorists don’t make it to the continental United States.

And if this be “isolationism,” then let the War Party make the most of it. Because the American people are done with global crusading. Enough is enough: let them kill each other if that’s what they’re intent on doing. Let’s just make sure that they aren’t killing us.

Published at Antiwar.com.  Reprinted with permission.

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  • Joze

    “Let them kill each other” … as long as they do it with US’s weapon, right? Because their (ours) desire to kill each other has nothing to do with US’s meddling (on top of earlier UK’s meddling willingly assisted with other so called powers).
    I believe that the facts on the ground clearly show that the best course of action for US is … to do nothing. Everything else spreads violence and suffering. Thank you very much.

  • Sunny

    Clinton’s E-mails, Big Oil & Terrorism Against Shia Muslims
    http://journal-neo.org/2016/07/10/clintons-e-mails-big-oil-terrorism-against-shia-muslims/
    —interesting!

  • Tatarewicz

    “effecting “regime change” throughout the Middle East.” so the succeeding regimes are Israel-friendly and don’t help Palestinians get back lands Jews have stolen from them to form the illegal Israeli state. US is compelled to effect regime change because its Congress is dependent on the Israeli lobby and Sayanim for success of its Democrat and Republican members in national elections.

    Thousands are being killed, millions uprooted, and billions of dollars wasted just for 500+ “traitors” who must fulfill their part of a Shylockian contract since the American voter has given up the Swiss-type of responsibility of participating in the election campaigns of national leaders.

  • tom

    “As I’ve written before, we should quarantine the entire region”.

    Good idea. Have nothing to do with the Near and Middle East, and let them keep their rotten ol’ oil.

    • Pebbleson

      Raimondo obviously thinks that 9/11 never happened. After all, the U.S. had not involved itself in any of the many wars of the ME for quite a while, and had even vigorously supported Saudi Arabia and its interests, Jordan, Egypt, and other Arabian states, but 9/11 was perpetrated by Saudis and even aided by some government figures, we now know. In fact, the invasion of Iraq, when it came after 9/11, was in significant part to defend Kuwait and Saudi Arabia itself from Saddam Hussain’s Iraq invasion. But that was after 9/11, not before it, and was part of a wider American response to the murder of over 3,000 American civilians. So 9/11 refutes Raimondo’s thesis, and could not have happened.
      If we remove ourselves from the entire Middle East, and run and hide, Raimondo assures us, and stand by as, among other things, the over 6 million Jews of Israel (our only real ally and the only fellow democracy in the entire ME) are wiped out, all will be good with us and our hearts will be clean. And there will be no terror attacks against the U.S. itself, he assures us, even though radical Islamic jihadi groups will be vastly impowered and triumphalistic as they continue their world-wide jihad which they themselves claim has a chief focus on destroying the U.S.. Delusional, self-harming and radically immoral thinking needs no excuse to express itself, and in fact has none either.

  • Brockland A.T.

    Raimondo writes good stuff usually, but the Sykes-Picot line is a natural border drawn upon natural borderland territory from at least the time of the ancient Hittite Empire.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hittites

    Between Syria and Iraq, there is only desert save for the ribbon of settlements along the Euphrates River. That desert forms a natural borderland region, bridged only by modern transportation, generally only habitable by sparse groups of nomads, and valuable only for the oil and mineral wealth beneath the surface, which is a modern preoccupation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigris%E2%80%93Euphrates_river_system

    Its imaginative strategic thinking to unite two borderlands and expand it into a homeland unto itself, insofar as puppet state creation is concerned. The Islamic State could never be self-sustaining, and so forever dependent on outside support. However, the Islamic State is more artificial than Sykes-Picot ever was.

    For example, although a big deal is made about DAESH power and domination of water resources,
    the real water power is held by Turkey, whose headwater dams divert water to Turkish irrigation projects.

    https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/water-wars-waged-islamic-state

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-01/water-shortages-unite-iraq-islamic-state-against-turkey

    Not surprisingly there is now great instability in Turkey, as by border controls and river dams, Turkey can decide of the artifice of Caliphate lives or dies and when it happens.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-01/water-shortages-unite-iraq-islamic-state-against-turkey

    Its no accident that critical DAESH centres are in Raqqa and Mosul, not Al Bukamal or Al Qaim. The prosperity of those smaller centres are made possible by the trade between Syria and Iraq, whose natural geographic isolation has resulted in cultures distinct from one-another.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Syrian_and_Iraqi_insurgency_detailed_map

    The Islamic State is more artificial than Sykes Picot.