October 25, 2014

NEW YORK – Things seemed crazy in the US and Canada last week, with a shooting on normally tranquil Parliament Hill in Ottawa and a grisly hatchet attack on two New York City policemen.

Add in an American doctor who returned to the big city from Ebola-stricken West Africa and proceeded to run around all over town – from the Bronx to the west Village to a bowling alley in Brooklyn – just as he was coming down with the dreaded sickness. New Yorkers are a pretty tough bunch, so panic was mild, but in this crowded city, it was still a big scare.

Because of this alarm, imposing quarantine on arrivals from disease-ridden West Africa seemed to make more and more sense. The governors of New York and New Jersey just called for such a sensible safety procedure. The Obama administration has opposed quarantines, likely for fear of angering black voters.
Promoting national hysteria over ISIS infiltration of the US – a lurid fantasy of the low-IQ, rural right wing – while allowing people who might have Ebola to fly in, as the good doctor in New York City, and take taxis and subways, does not appear to make sense.

Selling fear is useful politics; selling prevention is not.

The North American gun attacks were blamed on “Islamic terrorists” driven to a murderous frenzy ignited by inflammatory Muslim war calls on the internet. In fact, both cases involved mentally ill petty criminals, not some nefarious Mideast plot.

Unfortunately, both crimes are being seized upon by the hard right, Islam-haters and neocons in both nations to promote calls for more security surveillance of the public, more curbs on freedom of speech, and tighter government controls of the internet – one of the last venues of free expression in our society where media is increasingly “guided” by the state or special interest groups.

By contrast, after a school shooting by a demented Christian youth in the US state of Washington last Friday there were no claims that Christianity was somehow to blame for the crime.

We always return to the big lie promoted by the Bush administration after 9/11: Muslims hate us because of our wonderful values, and because Islam is a murderous faith, – not because westerners continue to colonize and exploit parts of the Mideast.

Meanwhile, events in the Mideast have been just as crazy. The Kurdish town of Kobani (ain-al-Arab) has become, at least for the media, a sort of anti-ISIS Stalingrad. This not so important town on Turkey’s border is being savagely bombed by US airpower, including B-1B heavy bombers, recalling the use of US B-52 heavy bombers against Taliban positions in Afghanistan. What the US is bombing is unclear. Why would ISIS, a lightly-armed guerilla force, sit still and make itself an ideal target for US airpower. Is the US too fixated on Kobani (a leading brand of American yogurt has the same name) while ISIS units are closing in around Baghdad?

At the same time, Washington is arm-twisting Turkey, a key NATO ally, into attacking ISIS in Syria. ISIS is now fighting against anti-ISIS Kurdish militia’s known as YPG. But YPG is tied to the hard-line Kurdish PKK guerilla movement, which is branded a terrorist group by Turkey and the US. Turkey has battled PKK for decades.

I covered the Turkish-PKK war in Eastern Anatolia (or Kurdistan) in the 1990’s. By then, some 40,000 had already died in this brutal war. The PKK fighters were a very tough, militarily efficient force. Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, has been trying to make peace with the Kurds, who make up about 20% of Turkey’s population. He appeared close to a lasting deal until the little war between ISIS and the US upset the Mideast apple cart.

Now, the explosive mess in Syria and Iraq threatens to set ablaze the entire Kurdish question that has bedeviled Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and the Armenians since the 1900’s. Hasty Western military intervention against ISIS is sure to pour gasoline on the fires of Greater Kurdistan.

Which brings me to the final point here: taking major strategic decisions in response to some sort of outrage – be it bombings, beheading, gassings, axe murderers – whose outcomes are unclear and likely hazardous is always unwise and likely to be soon regretted.
copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014

This post is in: 9/11, Iraq, ISIS, Mideast, NATO, Syria, Turkey


  1. solum temptare possumus says:

    Foment war and ‘they’ grow stronger.
    “For you see, the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined”
    Benjamin Disraeli – British Prime Minister 1874-1880
    “The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous, he cannot believe it exists”
    J. Edgar Hoover – 6th Director of the BOI 1924-1935 and 1st Director of the FBI 1935-1972
    “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    It is not in the interests of ‘they’, to enlighten the American populace.
    Ad iucicium

  2. As far as that deadly shooting in Ottawa, our beloved leader seized the opportunity, to set in motion something akin to that draconian Homeland security and Patriot Act in the US. We had better be very vigilant lest we end up the same as our southern neighbors, who even lost some of the most basic of human rights, habeas corpus, not to mention the liberty the entire world lost since 9/11, a fiasco, that got less investigated than wily Willy`s extramarital affairs and which cost over 3000 American lives and the untold hundreds of thousands other people and that barbaric slaughter still goes on. How many very fanatic enemies have been and are daily being made, that for propaganda purposes and to mislead the naive, are called terrorists? If these chickens ever come home to roost, there will be the gnashing of teeth, that will rival that in hell. In this age of instant worldwide communication, the excuse “Wir haben das nicht gewusst” does not fly anymore. Now it is willful ignorance.

  3. The US stuck so many irons in the fire, that they are burning themselves with them. Not only that, but their handlers don`t seem to care, that a severe case of conflict of interest in this whole scenario is becoming obvious to even the most politically naive. With the internet allowing us to read the even pages of history besides the odd ones we are being fed by the MSM, it does not take a rocket scientist to see, what the goal is here. It all boils down to the old method of divide and conquer. If your enemy is too strong, sow seeds of strife and discontent among them and you can pick them off piecemeal. And this works on large and small scales.
    I use a screening method, that is set to find common denominators. One of the several criteria I judge events by is, who is still really outside the orbit of the international bankers and who have wrestled themselves free from their most extreme control and then I pour the known facts into my virtual the sieve and watch, where the grains fall and where the chaff. When I see a discrepancy, that violates the basic rules of logic, I start searching the internet and I have yet to come up empty handed. Events during my lifetime were not always congruent with the official historic descriptions and what I experienced is to me beyond any doubt. My experiences during WWII for instance did not always bear out the official statements about the same events. That is, what made me very cynical. Like the saying goes: “Once bitten, twice shy”.

    • solum temptare possumus says:


      Your experience in Holland during World War Two is beyond reproach.
      Waar is mijn fiets!
      I have not forgotten!
      ad iudicium

  4. The scary part that no one seems to comment on is that this guy prepared a video before hand… which seems to indicate that he knew he wasn’t coming out alive… he was already committed to death…
    It didn’t take Harper long to introduce new legislation for Canada to move into a greater police state than it has become.
    Something for the veterans to think about this November 11…
    One of the last conversations I had with my father was that he was very unhappy about the way this country had become… and, if he had known, he wouldn’t have enlisted in WWII… he didn’t think his fellow airmen had died for what has transpired…

  5. My term for the shooting in here in Canada is “curiously convenient” for America’s little lapdog. It’s curiously convenient that it just happen to occur the day after Harper sent planes to Iraq. Curiously convenient that it just happened to occur at the war memorial so that all memorials can be turned into shrines. Curiously convenient how this homeless man named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau turned into a Muslim radical named Zehaf-Bibeau. My Muslim friends say no one they know in the Mosques in Ottawa know anything about him. Curiously convenient it happened when the Canadian government is railing about how the American created ISIL is such a threat to Canada and we need to ramp up security and internet surveillance. Curiously convenient how it happened when Harper’s American masters are calling for boots on the ground when they themselves are unwilling to do.
    Yeah America’s little lapdog is going to be sending troops to Iraq.

    • Yes Ben, with the shoe on the other foot it would have been relegated to the side lines as just another conspiracy theory of some warped gullible mind. The greatest threat to Canada right now is this less than 40% majority dictator in Ottawa, who so heroically hid in the broomcloset, until he was whisked out the backdoor on this infamous day, that this sick government tried to emulate a Canadian version of 9/11. The shameful part is, that we the citizens are supposed to be stupid and backward enough to believe this ridiculous charade. Hopefully we can still have enough freedom come next election day, if indeed we are still going to have one, because who knows, what our ‘democratically elected’ PM is willing to do, to satisfy his narcissistic obsessions.

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