Candy and flowers

If you read nothing else today, take a look at this article at The Nation about people who interview captured ex-ISIS fighters. Over and over again researchers heard the exact same story.

These boys came of age under the disastrous American occupation after 2003, in the chaotic and violent Arab part of Iraq, ruled by the viciously sectarian Shia government of Nouri al-Maliki. Growing up Sunni Arab was no fun. A later interviewee described his life growing up under American occupation: He couldn’t go out, he didn’t have a life, and he specifically mentioned that he didn’t have girlfriends. An Islamic State fighter’s biggest resentment was the lack of an adolescence. Another of the interviewees was displaced at the critical age of 13, when his family fled to Kirkuk from Diyala province at the height of Iraq’s sectarian civil war. They are children of the occupation, many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government. They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate without borders; rather, ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda to offer these humiliated and enraged young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe. This is not radicalization to the ISIS way of life, but the promise of a way out of their insecure and undignified lives; the promise of living in pride as Iraqi Sunni Arabs, which is not just a religious identity but cultural, tribal, and land-based, too.

Tell you what – I promise to get over the Iraq war when it stops being the fucking stupidest and most counterproductive thing happening to America right now. Whoever Atrios nominates this week, neocons really are some of the worst people on earth.






71 replies
  1. 1
    john b says:

    On NPR this morning they were talking about how ISIS also actually pays their fighters (this was in Afghanistan) and pays them double what they had been paid by the Taliban and other groups.

  2. 2
    Capri says:

    I just heard on the radio that Indiana, along with a hand full of other states, has just decided to deny all services to Syrian refugees until the Federal government can assure them that it will be safe. And Fox So-Called News is bleating that if only Obama would mouth the words “Radical Islam” all would be fine. What a bunch of cowardly babies.

  3. 3
    leeleeFL says:

    I remember thinking this exact scenario would happen when that little boy was set on fire because he was the wrong kind of tribe. We successfully planted the seeds of this mess in 2003/2004, when President Obama was a State Senator in Illinois. So, thus is obviously his fault, amirite?

  4. 4
    A guy says:

    Iraq war was absolute genius. Be nice to have a strong military in Iraq now. But Obama bailed

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    Tell you what – I promise to get over the Iraq war when it stops being the fucking stupidest and most counterproductive thing happening to America right now. Whoever Atrios nominates this week, neocons really are some of the worst people on earth.

    Really how different are they than ISIS? They want to destroy everything that isn’t them. OK they aren’t willing to do so themselves, they do have to involve younger people who are willing to fight for a cause and/or are poor enough that the money is better than starving. Hmmmm……. Maybe they really aren’t all that different than those at the top of ISIS.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    @leeleeFL: Who else could possibly be responsible?

  7. 7
    West of the Cascades says:

    @A guy: is it even worth pointing out the truth (i.e. that it was President Bush who signed the agreement with Iraq that required U.S. troops to leave)?

  8. 8
    Mr. Longform says:

    It’s the fundamentalist mindset: things like ISIS spring up from nowhere as some kind of cartoon-Nazi evil with no antecedent. It could not possibly have anything to do with something the unambiguously holy and righteous good guys did. No possible connection. And you would only think so if you too get your perverted ideas straight from satan’s mouth.

  9. 9
    jl says:

    Shameful and dishonest response to Obama press conference shows the US is in full coward panic mode right now, prompted by idiots or ruthless cynical political manipulators in GOP.

    If the Dem leadership cannot provide a more aggressive response, then maybe nothing to be done until it blows over, Hope no more attacks, and stepped up action with Kurds in Iraq produces some more results soon. If of course, actual progress against ISIS/Daesh in Iraq is considered worth reporting, rather than GOPer war- and hate mongering and shitting their pants in fear and rage

  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    is it even worth pointing out the truth

    No. DNFTMFT, TYVM. SATSQ.

  11. 11
    Brachiator says:

    ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda

    This is very interesting stuff. I will definitely take a look at the article.

    One problem, though. Al Qaeda had to be crushed.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl:

    Shameful and dishonest response to Obama press conference shows the US is in full coward panic mode right now, prompted by idiots or ruthless cynical political manipulators in GOP.

    The US media, not the US.

  13. 13
    EthylEster says:

    I am beginning to understand that when some Y chromosome types get pissed, they are capable of making the rest of the world very uncomfortable. Especially if they have weapons.

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    @A guy:

    Be nice to have a strong military in Iraq now. But Obama bailed

    Nice try, but no. An occupying force added to the problems.

    Also, it is nonsense to say simplistically that the Iraqi army should have been maintained. With what leadership? Reporting to what authority?

  15. 15
    Mike J says:

    @Capri: So Indiana has followed Texas in falling to ISIS. I don’t think anybody outside of Texas ever believed their macho bluster, but by surrendering, Texans, and now Indianans, have shown us just how cowardly they are.

  16. 16
    cmorenc says:

    @Ruckus:

    Really how different are they than ISIS? They want to destroy everything that isn’t them. OK they aren’t willing to do so themselves, they do have to involve younger people who are willing to fight for a cause and/or are poor enough that the money is better than starving.

    This is exactly why doing away with the draft as a way to help defuse the groundswell of grass-roots disaffection with the disastrous Vietnam war was a terrible idea – our electorate wouldn’t be nearly so susceptible to being gulled into supporting adventurous foreign wars, if most families had skin in the game, instead of mostly a subsegment making military a temporary career move. The great majority of American families never really personally felt the Iraq war directly – whereas with Vietnam, I can guarantee very few people who graduated high school in the 1965- early 1970s era didn’t know at least one (or more) classmates (perhaps a year above or behind them) who were killed in that war, and a few more who were permanently maimed, either physically or psychologically. Many of us had WW2-generation (and veteran) parents who were gung-ho patriotic, but who eventually turned against that war as a disastrous misadventure. But with our personal skin out of the game by the time Dubya came along, and with 9/11 to use as a propaganda tool to scare us, we were once again susceptible to being gulled into a disastrous war by neocons from the 101st chairborne brigade.

  17. 17
    bystander says:

    Sure, it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but what’s Obama doing to fix it?

    So hard to get good help nowadays.

  18. 18
    Gimlet says:

    @Mike J:

    So Indiana has followed Texas in falling to ISIS.

    Time to crack down on this “country within a country” mindset.

  19. 19
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Does CNN go out of its way to hire morons?

    CNN co-host John Vause responded, “If your camp is the French camp, then why is it that no one with the Muslim community knew what these guys were up to?”
    “Sir, the Muslim community has nothing to do with these guys. Nothing. We cannot justify ourselves for the actions of someone who claims to be Muslim,” Louati answered.
    “Why not?” Vause cut in. “What is the responsibility within the Muslim community to identify what is happening within their own ranks when it comes to people who are obviously training and preparing to carry out mass murder.”
    […]
    Right after the network had cut away from Louati and back to the hosts, Vause concluded: “You know, I’ve yet to hear the condemnation from the Muslim community on this.”
    Sesay said, “The point he’s making is, ‘it’s not our fault.’ But the fact of the matter is when these things happen, the finger of blame is pointed at the Muslim community and so you have to be preemptive. It’s coming from the community. You’ve got to take a stand.”
    “The word responsibility comes to mind,” Vause concurred.

    Google says the Muslim population of France is 5-10% of the population, so conservatively…. 3 million people? This journalists seems to think that’s a couple of dozen old men sipping tea and playing dominoes in a few cafés in the 20th who all know what the young hot heads are getting up to, and should put a stop to it. He’s a journalist. As is the woman who hasn’t heard “a condemnation from the Muslim community”, I have, and I haven’t really been looking, just clicking around the internet with a bit of TV and radio As is the guy who asked Obama why we can’t just get these bastards, who are all in one place, out in the middle of nowhere, under a big sign that says “Terrorist Headquarters”

  20. 20
    JMG says:

    I’ve said this before CNN needs and wants war. It’s the only thing that gets people to watch that crap.

  21. 21
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Question: what is the responsibility of the Christian community when some of their members blow up an abortion clinic?

  22. 22
    Eric U. says:

    How do we know that the terrorists weren’t hiding in a black hole, huh?

  23. 23
    Mike in NC says:

    Our gutless weasel governor joins with about 15 or so others (so far) demanding that Middle Eastern refugees be barred from coming to their state.

  24. 24
    srv says:

    ISTANBUL — Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said.

    According to an initial assessment, 116 trucks were destroyed in the attack, which took place near Deir al-Zour, an area in eastern Syria that is controlled by the Islamic State.

    I wonder where they got that idea…. oh, yeah:

    Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump

    Remember, I was the one who said attack the oil (ISIS source of wealth) a long time ago. Everyone scoffed, now they’re attacking the oil.

    What do they call people who steal others ideas?

  25. 25
    Mike in NC says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Obama needed a simple message to the idiot press corps: If you see a cockroach in your kitchen, do you burn your whole frickin’ house down to kill it?

  26. 26
    David Koch says:

    @jl: for those of us who haven’t seen any tee vee today or have been to busy to click on news sites until now, can you fill us in.

    thank in advance

  27. 27
    skerry says:

    @Gimlet: Last count I saw was 14 states’ governors are saying they will “refuse” refugees: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin.

  28. 28
    David Koch says:

    Donald J. Trump ‏9m9 minutes ago

    Charlie Sheen is HIV positive? Thinking it might be a good time to compare phone contacts with him. Just to be safe.

    8 retweets 9 likes

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    @srv: Also looking forward to Trump’s bold plan to force everybody to say “Merry Christmas” to one another, non-Christians included.

  30. 30
    max says:

    Tell you what – I promise to get over the Iraq war when it stops being the fucking stupidest and most counterproductive thing happening to America right now.

    Preach it brother!

    Whoever Atrios nominates this week, neocons really are some of the worst people on earth.

    YOU BET! ;)

    max
    [‘And you wonder how they wound up nominating Sarah Palin.’]

  31. 31
    Amir Khalid says:

    @srv:
    I’m not so sure the Obama administration did steal that idea off The Donald. It’s a fairly obvious one.

  32. 32
    Goblue72 says:

    @A guy: And with that, you’ve outed yourself as a piece of performance art.

  33. 33
    catclub says:

    @srv:

    According to the Pentagon, we’ve carried out three or four airstrikes per week against ISIS oil infrastructure. And anyway, didn’t Trump actually recommend that we encircle the ISIS oil fields?

    Kevin Drum

  34. 34
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    When most of the structure of your business (MSM) has decided that all of their customers are stupid and that eyeballs are the only thing that matters, you don’t need quality control. So you wipe it out, Profit! So you get shit production. But the customers keep buying so you keep producing shit. It’s no different than Walmart, people keep buying so they keep selling the same thing, crappy service for low priced goods. They make billions doing this. Why would they stop?

  35. 35
    gogol's wife says:

    Okay, just a test to see if I can put in a link

    Looks as if I broke the blog

  36. 36
    Archon says:

    I suspect the United States could massively degrade ISIS by intensifying the air attacks. It obviously didn’t elude the administration and the Pentagon that destroying their ability to sell and transport oil would hamper ISIS revenue stream. The problem is, it seems like the only actors in the region that would benefit from the vacuum left by ISIS without any real political solution would be Assad, the dysfunctional Iraqi Shiite leadership, and the Kurds ( which sounds good until you realize nobody in the region wants a Kurdish state).

    ISIS resorting to full scale international terrorism means that destroying them must be the priority even if it’s the U.S doing all of the heavy lifting but it won’t solve any of the serious political and geopolitical problems facing the middle east right now. At the very least an honest Republican party (I know) would acknowledge that defeating ISIS is a short-term solution to a very tough problem exacerbated by our invasion of Iraq.

  37. 37
    gogol's wife says:

    I don’t get it where do you type in your description of the link?

  38. 38
    Calouste says:

    he specifically mentioned that he didn’t have girlfriends.

    Something he has in common with a lot of the perpetrators of mass-shootings in the US.

    Young guys have lot of sexual energy, and if it can’t be released through the normal channels, it often is released in a violent manner, something that has been exploited by military leaders since the dawn of humankind.

  39. 39
    pat says:

    So traumatized adolescents are easily radicalized. And there are many traumatized youngsters trying to escape the hellscape of Syria. So let’s tell them they are not welcome anywhere else, keep them in inadequate refugee camps, and see what they are doing in a few years.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    @skerry: I think you missed Mississippi.

  41. 41

    @Brachiator:

    Troll claims to be a lawyer but lacks basic reading comprehension. I guess the LSAT didn’t have a verbal section when he took it.

  42. 42
    Gimlet says:

    Thanks for sharing this Mr. Army guy. Just out of the goodness of your heart?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyli.....ck-n464391

    NBC News has learned that ISIS is using a web-savvy new tactic to expand its global operational footprint — a 24-hour Jihadi Help Desk to help its foot soldiers spread its message worldwide, recruit followers and launch more attacks on foreign soil.

    Counterterrorism analysts affiliated with the U.S. Army tell NBC News that the ISIS help desk, manned by a half-dozen senior operatives around the clock, was established with the express purpose of helping would-be jihadists use encryption and other secure communications in order to evade detection by law enforcement and intelligence authorities.

    The relatively new development — which law enforcement and intel officials say has ramped up over the past year

  43. 43
    Gimlet says:

    Got a comment in moderation for putting in a link.
    This from Politico
    We obviously need to bring back the Bush “Terror Alert System”.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein sharply contradicted President Barack Obama on Monday, disagreeing with his claim that the Islamic State is “contained.”

    “I’ve never been more concerned,” the California Democrat and Intelligence Committee ranking member told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Monday. “I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.”

    “They just put out a video saying it is their intent to attack this country. I think we have to be prepared,” she continued.

  44. 44
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Troll claims to be a lawyer but lacks basic reading comprehension. I guess the LSAT didn’t have a verbal section when he took it.

    I deliberately stepped away from a lot of coverage over the weekend. The death of the local young woman who attended Cal State Long Beach was very sad, for a lot of reasons.

    In any event, I am astounded by a lot of the fear mongering stupidity that has erupted, especially from some of our political leaders, including a few Democrats. Just staggering stupidity. Morons are upset that Obama refuses to give in to the fear mongering, but his calm and common sense is amazing.

    And then we see trolls and other commenters regurgitating cant and ill considered nonsense that they have been spouting since 911. Just sad.

  45. 45

    This is probably a good place to mention that “Beasts of No Nation,” which is a fictionalized story of a similar process of creating child soldiers in Africa, is currently available on Netflix, which produced it.

  46. 46

    @Gimlet:

    Anyone who seriously thinks that Obama’s response to a briefing about potential Daesh attacks inside the US would be, “Okay, you’ve covered your ass,” raise your hand.

    Anyone? Bueller?

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @Calouste:

    Young guys have lot of sexual energy, and if it can’t be released through the normal channels, it often is released in a violent manner, something that has been exploited by military leaders since the dawn of humankind.

    Any folks watch the movie “Beasts of No Nation” on Netflix or in the theaters?

    ETA: See the question asked by another poster.

  48. 48
    Tripod says:

    Another axis to view the radicalization of Sunni Baathists is that of a privileged ruling minority whose party is over.

  49. 49
    Keith G says:

    Tell you what – I promise to get over the Iraq war when it stops being the fucking stupidest and most counterproductive thing happening to America right now.

    Ya, I feel you. We will be dealing with that kharma for a long time.

    But I think you and others do need to get over it. There are just too many other god-awful things demanding attention.

    Learn the lessons, embrace the gathered wisdom, and move the fuck on. Our conflict with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his boys is different than Operation Iraqi Freedom and it’s follow-on cluster fucks.

    It may feel good to type, “Fuck Dick Cheney” until one’s fingers bleed, but that’s little help as we confront the task of threading a very difficult policy needle in regards to how to both reduce the Islamic State’s offensive capabilities and to, “…solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these kinds of violent, extremist groups,”

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @Archon:

    I suspect the United States could massively degrade ISIS by intensifying the air attacks. … The problem is, it seems like the only actors in the region that would benefit from the vacuum left by ISIS without any real political solution would be Assad, the dysfunctional Iraqi Shiite leadership, and the Kurds ( which sounds good until you realize nobody in the region wants a Kurdish state).

    I don’t know that air strikes alone have often been that effective in any conflict.

    And there was a recent BBC news report about the Kurds taking the lead in a coalition fight against ISIS. The Arab fighters in the coalition don’t trust the Kurds, and resent the fact that the Kurds get (and hang onto) more modern American weapons. But the Kurds are effective. This will complicate things going further. Nobody wants the Kurds to succeed, but the Kurds are succeeding.

  51. 51
    ruemara says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Hey! Can you shoot me an email. nym at gmail.

  52. 52
    Eric U. says:

    airstrikes are really effective against a state actor. Look at the first gulf war as an example. You can also look to that conflict to see where airstrikes fail; we never really took out Iraq’s scuds because they were too smart to be caught. Insurgents are similar to that, they just go hide.

  53. 53
    Enhanced Voting Techinques says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    is it even worth pointing out the truth (i.e. that it was President Bush who signed the agreement with Iraq that required U.S. troops to leave)?

    Ah, but that doesn’t count because everyone knows Bush lies all the time. It takes REAL(tm) leadership only a Republican can provide to comit fraud with allies. Hitler told the truth, look how that turned out.

    And answer me this, who else but a President Carson is going to bomb the Pyramids to stop ISIS?

  54. 54
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @srv: actually, his idea was to blow up the oil fields, then wave a magic wand to stop the fires and rebuild the rigs, then guard them. So basically the same Halliburton profiteering scheme Republicans already ran. Really creative.

  55. 55
    Cermet says:

    @Brachiator: Remember a rather famous Kurd with the name Saladin? The Crusaders did … .

  56. 56
    agorabum says:

    @Brachiator: since al queda was not in Iraq before the us invasion, crushing al queda doesn’t seem to be a problem to me.

  57. 57
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @catclub: yes.

  58. 58
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Fifteen Republican governors, one Democratic governor. So far.

    Even if they think this kind of posturing will endear them to their base, is it even possible under the Constitution for state governors to bar entry to a group of people who have been (or will have been) admitted legally to the United States? I’m sure they can slow down benefits, but actually keep them out…?

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @skerry:

    Georgia’s on the list now. I knew I could count on Nathan Deal!

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @Eric U.:

    airstrikes are really effective against a state actor. Look at the first gulf war as an example.

    You mean the war with the tank battles and lots of forces on the ground?

  61. 61
    Cervantes says:

    Tell you what – I promise to get over the Iraq war when it stops being the fucking stupidest and most counterproductive thing happening to America right now

    By sheer coincidence, that’s roughly when I’ll start thinking about getting over my anger at those who voted to authorize that war.

  62. 62
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G:

    But I think you and others do need to get over it. There are just too many other god-awful things demanding attention.

    In your opinion has there been an honest accounting? What lessons did who learn?

    Until you see good answers to those questions, what hope do you have that your “too many other god-awful things demanding attention” will not also end up as world-class disasters when we turn our “attention” to them?

  63. 63
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Brachiator: The ground campaign that took three days? Yep, that one. Nobody is saying air power alone can win you territory, but it’s still pretty damn handy against hard targets.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @The Other Chuck: Yep. Blowing up hard targets is not the same thing as winning a military campaign.

  65. 65
    WereBear says:

    Mmmm. Isis is all, “Damn, we can’t go to Indiana? I wanted to try that famous pizza place.”

    Seriously, we do need to pound on the stupid until it either stops being stupid or it shuts up. This is exactly like the post-911 panic where states no one in the Middle East knows exists got all freaked out about their status as a target and bought tanks for every police station.

    Points for every Democrat, now that the President has shown the way, who gets on his side and shows they are at the grownup’s table, and let every chip fall.

  66. 66
    jl says:

    @David Koch:

    Not TV or radio, reactionary social media smears as shown on TPM blog post:

    Ignore The Freakout: Here’s What Obama Really Said About ‘America Winning’
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/n.....ca-winning

  67. 67
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: Sorry, dinner and then the clean up and dishes pulled me away.

    In your opinion has there been an honest accounting?

    Oh, god no. But then, we seem to not do that sort of thing. I’m not even sure we have completed a honest accounting of slavery and the Civil War. Have we?

    Until you see good answers to those questions, what hope do you have….?

    Hope is a bit of a weasel word here. Who cares what I hope?

    We learn incomplete lessons form our completely calamitous choices and we move on, as that is what our limited attention spans and frail egos demand. This is nothing new or unusual to the human condition. Recall the Athenian reaction to Sophocles’ desire for an honest accounting.

    It seems Obama did.

    Nonetheless, we move ahead and occasionally find benefits in those incomplete lessons, eg the United Nations, the Marshal Plan, The post-Vietnam “reluctance” that lasted almost 30 years.

    There is one accounting that most of our citizens have internalized. 4493 deaths. 32031 wounded. $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest.

    Finally

    that your “too many other god-awful things demanding attention” will not also end up as world-class disasters when we turn our “attention” to them?

    There might be a disaster or two lurking in the shadows. We are facing an amazing cluster of complexity. I do not think it is possible to have one plan in place that will in itself succeed. We will need to start out with the best ideas possible, and then trust that we have built up a tactical and strategic flexibility (in both our military and diplomatic behaviors). There will be a lot going on with dozens of interested participants and more than a few influential observers.

    All taking place in the teeth of our presidential election.

    Fun times.

  68. 68
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Thank you Bush 43 for the gift of ISIS. What a legacy. And now Republicans are running around like chickens without heads demanding that President Obama send more American troops to get killed in Syria.

    Thank goodness for a calm, sensible President. President Obama isn’t dumb enough to copy Bush or be pushed into another unnecessary war by feckless Republicans.

  69. 69
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @skerry: I assume that all of those states have Republican Governors which makes me wonder what our Republican Governor here in Maryland will do.

    Seems like all talk to me since states don’t have the right to determine how many refugees come into the country or where they are housed. Looks like Republican Governors are giving their citizenry reasons to harass any refugees who are sent to their states, which is just plain evil.

  70. 70
    Paul in KY says:

    @skerry: You can add Governor-Elect Bevins (yick) to that list.

  71. 71

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