The Problem with Telling the Truth
George Ochenski anticipates displeasure from the political operatives for stating that Montana’s congressional candidates don’t offer voters much of a difference when it comes to the issues of cataclysmic climate change and perpetual war.
Ochenski, though, isn’t trying to win a popularity contest. He writes a column and gets to call it how he sees it. A politician, like Joe Biden, is not suppose to do the same thing, which is why Joe had to go around apologizing for calling it like he sees it with regards to the origin story of ISIS:
Vice President Joe Biden apologized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday for saying the Turkish leader had conceded that his country mistakenly assisted foreign fighters, including extremists with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), seeking to depose the Syrian regime.
The White House says Biden spoke to Erdogan on Saturday “to clarify comments” the vice president made on Thursday during an question-and-answer session at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
So what did Biden say? The truth, and for a politician, that’s hardly ever a good thing. Here’s how a piece from the Daily Beast puts it:
Vice President Joe Biden is apologizing again for speaking the truth. After talking for an hour and a half at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Forum last Thursday, he took a question from a student who asked a wise question: “In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not, why is now the right moment?”
Biden, predictably, said “the answer is ‘no’ for two reasons.” The first being the unreliability, incompetence and radicalism of the forces the United States would have been supporting on the ground. No real surprise there. But then he said what everyone in the region knows and The Daily Beast has reported extensively:
“My constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies — our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria,” Biden told his listeners in remarks subsequently posted on the White House YouTube channel (go to 1:32:00 if you want to skip the earlier speech).
“The Turks were great friends,” he notes, adding that he recently spent considerable time with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and they have “a great relationship.” Ditto the Saudis and the Emiratis. But when it came to Syria and the effort to bring down President Bashar Assad there, those allies’ policies wound up helping to arm and build allies of al Qaeda and eventually the terrorist “Islamic State.”
“What were they doing?” Biden asked rhetorically. “They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”
At Counterpunch today, Michael Whitney describes how America’s “Terrorist Academy” in Iraq Produced ISIS Leaders. Whitney goes into much more detail regarding how ISIS came to be. The quote I’ve selected isn’t from Whitney—it’s a quote he uses from an article at Alakhbar English:
“We have to ask why the majority of the leaders of the Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), had all been incarcerated in the same prison at Camp Bucca, which was run by the US occupation forces near Omm Qasr in southeastern Iraq….. First of all, most IS leaders had passed through the former U.S. detention facility at Camp Bucca in Iraq. So who were the most prominent of these detainees?
The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tops the list. He was detained from 2004 until mid-2006. After he was released, he formed the Army of Sunnis, which later merged with the so-called Mujahideen Shura Council…
Another prominent IS leader today is Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who was a former officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein. This man also “graduated” from Camp Bucca, and currently serves as a member on IS’ military council.
Another member of the military council who was in Bucca is Adnan Ismail Najm. … He was detained on January 2005 in Bucca, and was also a former officer in Saddam’s army. He was the head of a shura council in IS, before he was killed by the Iraqi army near Mosul on June 4, 2014.
Camp Bucca was also home to Haji Samir, aka Haji Bakr, whose real name is Samir Abed Hamad al-Obeidi al-Dulaimi. He was a colonel in the army of the former Iraqi regime. He was detained in Bucca, and after his release, he joined al-Qaeda. He was the top man in ISIS in Syria…
According to the testimonies of US officers who worked in the prison, the administration of Camp Bucca had taken measures including the segregation of prisoners on the basis of their ideology. This, according to experts, made it possible to recruit people directly and indirectly.
Former detainees had said in documented television interviews that Bucca…was akin to an “al-Qaeda school,” where senior extremist gave lessons on explosives and suicide attacks to younger prisoners. A former prisoner named Adel Jassem Mohammed said that one of the extremists remained in the prison for two weeks only, but even so was able to recruit 25 out of 34 inmates who were there. Mohammed also said that U.S. military officials did nothing to stop the extremists from mentoring the other detainees…
No doubt, we will one day discover that many more leaders in the group had been detained in Bucca as well, which seems to have been more of a “terrorist academy” than a prison.”
The cost of fighting ISIS is estimated to be between 7-10 million dollars a day. Insane.
Conservatives, like this out-of-touch DC blogger, have jumped on the Panetta bandwagon, framing the ISIS problem as a result of the Obama regime’s failure to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement that would have kept boots on the ground in Iraq. It’s weird that people are so ideologically incapable of grasping how US foreign policy created the conditions for ISIS to thrive and how our “allies” directly support radical jihadists, even while they pay lip service to now fighting the Frankenstein they helped to create.
For voters in Montana it won’t make much difference who wins the election next month. The insanity of our foreign policy will continue while the looming catastrophe of climate change will take a back seat to coal and pipeline jobs.