Under the Black Flag

Stomaching ISIS

I was not surprised that Chuck Hagel had to go.  After all, he was among the very few in governments of late to have ever seen combat, not to mention to have been wounded.  Men of his ilk do not draw their swords at the drop of a hat—unlike neocons, that is, who demand bloody solutions to every problem.  Others’ blood, needless to say.  Hagel did not want escalation in Iraq, Iran, and Syria.  He was selected for his willingness to challenge the chickenhawks of the Republican Party, and to oversee a shift to a peacetime military, but it was not to be.  Obama is muddled, as are the American people, as they watch inner cities burn when cops shoot black criminals, and Islamic thugs behead innocent Americans in color.  It’s a confusing time, to say the least.

Let’s take it from the top.  It was the good Uncle Sam who assessed all strategic and moral issues in terms of their function in his rivalry with the Soviet Bear during the Cold War.  This led to a loss of proportion that had us empowering the Pakistani military’s promotion of Islamic extremism.  Even after September 11 the penny did not drop.  We still thought we could order the duplicitous Pakis to be on our side.  Thirteen years later, we are still losing men and materiel in Afghanistan and still trust the Pakistani army, one that covertly supports the Taliban while accepting the billions...

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