A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall On “The Worst People On Earth”

“Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?”

“I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'”

“I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain a-gonna fall”

—Bob Dylan

At times they cut the throats of children, or hang them or shoot them. At other times they, quite literally, saw off with dull knives the heads of men, women, and children, or hang them or shoot them. They rape. They rampage. They slaughter. And they openly teach their own children that such bloodthirsty acts are noble and godly, and a necessary and proper way to praise and honor Allah.

Example:

This photo, of a seven-year-old boy clad in a kids’ Polo golf shirt and struggling to hold up a severed head, was posted on Twitter by a proud dad. That proud dad’s name I won’t share with you. That’s exactly what this sick creep, a loser who left Australia with his family to become a jihadist in Syria, wants. This proud dad represents the kind of people I have described. In a very rare moment of agreement with a conservative columnist, I second Charles Krauthammer:

These are the worst people on earth.

These “people” are, of course, members of ISIL. And as Krauthammer said,

These are not the usual bad guys out for land, plunder, or power. These are primitive cultists who celebrate slaughter, glory in bloodlust, and slit the throats of innocents as a kind of sacrament.

And trust me, after doing some research on what ISIL has done in the past year or so, all of that is a serious understatement.

Speaking more clinically, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said of these jihadists,

This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of- days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated.

“Eventually” has already started. And those limited U.S. air strikes against ISIL have done a lot of good. More, many, many more, need to follow. And follow.

I heard someone say the other day that, when it comes to going after the ISIL bastards, he would countenance a hefty raise in his taxes. Me, too. I would gladly pay much more in taxes, if I knew the money was going toward missiles and bombs that would rain down hard, like a land-cleansing monsoon of justice, on the heads of these fundamentalist Islamists. On the heads of anti-humans who, in the name of Allah-God, commit intolerable, and I mean intolerable, acts of terror against not only Christians and people of other faiths, but of fellow Muslims.

President Obama, very soon, needs to address the country and make the case that the United States should, along with the Iraqi military who would provide the foot soldiers for such an effort, make a decisive war on the so-called “Islamic State.” We should also undertake air strikes in what used to be Syrian territory in order to hit ISIL there. No need to worry about borders at this point. They have essentially been erased. If other nations around the world want to join us, and they should, that would be better still. If they don’t, if they continue to tolerate these barbarians and continue to pay them ransoms for hostages or otherwise support them, then to hell with them. We can still act.

I would ask my fellow liberals again, many of whom are confidently balking at such a move by President Obama, just what the hell is our military for, if not to protect the interests of our own citizens right now—one of the best of them was just openly and barbarically beheaded by these bastards, after a failed mission to rescue him—and in the future, when a stronger ISIL may in fact, rather in the poisoned imaginations of these jihadists, actually have a real state? Not to mention help protect the interests of our friends, the Kurdish people? And help protect the rest of the Iraqis, to whom we owe at least something, after we destroyed their country and raised up and supported Nouri al-Maliki, who then helped make Iraq a place where ISIL could do its demonic work? And, finally, what is our military for if not to help ensure that the word civilization retains its meaning in this century?

Now is the time to rid the world of these, its worst people.

14 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  August 22, 2014

    It’s days like this where I think liberals are, on the whole, every bit as knee-jerk dumb as conservatives; it just so happens that conservatives are jerking in the wrong direction almost all the time, while liberals get it right most of the time. But in this case, there is a genuine humanitarian crisis in Iraq, our involvement is more likely to help than inaction would, and perhaps some blood on our hands is worth it if it keeps a full-scale genocide from occurring.

    The Firebaggers (Lefties who hate Obama as much as the Teabaggers do, such that they become indistinguishable) are a pestilence.

    Drones killed up to 600 civilians in a decade-long campaign in Pakistan, resulting in al Qaeda and related groups being unable to function there. Meanwhile, in Iraq, al Qaeda and friends killed over 7800 civilians last year alone. If you care about brown people — if you’re sincere about it and it’s more than a bumper sticker — at some point you’re going to start looking at the math and what saves the most civilian lives.

    Like

    • King B,

      I couldn’t have said it better about liberals.

      If you go to the article I linked to and read the comments, you would think you were on a right-wing website. Here is an example:

      So, the US couldn’t get it’s war-weary citizens to consent to a war with Syria, so it creates a proxy army. Then, when the proxy army becomes uncontrollable, the US uses it as a justification to invade Syria.

      It’s a new type of WMD, we created it and planted it in Syria, and now we must destroy Syria and Assad to remove it.

      Fuck you, you bloodthirsty American bastards.

      The person who wrote that isn’t really to be taken seriously, since the reasoning is completely spurious. But the following comment is more in tune with what many on the left are saying:

      Hagel needs to go.

      ISIS is a plague in the region, and is barbarous, but they are essentially contained right now–hemmed in by the Kurds, the Shia Iraqis, Assad, and others. Their armed forces, no matter how you count them (even inflated accounts), is still minuscule compared to their opponents (yes, even the Iraqis; based on US intelligence that a third of Iraq’s 900,000-man army is reliable and will fight). I have been generally supportive of US humanitarian aid, of supplying military aid to opponents like the Kurds, and of some bombing to degrade ISIS capabilities (i.e., destroy their US-made captured equipment) but I see no further need to do more. ISIS has enough enemies and if we stay out the blowback will occur.

      (And that’s why ISIS *wants* US intervention, I believe, because it’s the only way to turn their campaign into a ‘crusade’ against the US and gloss over divisions in that area of the Islamic world. The smart strategy against them is not to oblige them).

      Your point that “our involvement is more likely to help than inaction would” seems to me to be incontrovertible. But to people like the person above, the sentiment is “we have done enough.” Let the locals handle it themselves. And, the backup argument is that ISIS is begging us to get involved and, so, we should stay out and not oblige them. While I understand the appeal of such an argument to some people who are tired of what has gone on the last decade or so, it would be utterly irresponsible to simply sit back and let events play out, especially since much of what is happening in Iraq is directly related to our invasion of Iraq, an invasion that, whether those on the left like it or not, we are all, as Americans, still responsible for.

      Duane

      Like

    • King B,

      I couldn’t have said it better about liberals.

      If you go to the article I linked to and read the comments, you would think you were on a right-wing website. Here is an example:

      So, the US couldn’t get it’s war-weary citizens to consent to a war with Syria, so it creates a proxy army. Then, when the proxy army becomes uncontrollable, the US uses it as a justification to invade Syria.

      It’s a new type of WMD, we created it and planted it in Syria, and now we must destroy Syria and Assad to remove it.

      Fuck you, you bloodthirsty American bastards.

      The person who wrote that isn’t really to be taken seriously, since the reasoning is completely spurious. But the following comment is more in tune with what many on the left are saying:

      Hagel needs to go.

      ISIS is a plague in the region, and is barbarous, but they are essentially contained right now–hemmed in by the Kurds, the Shia Iraqis, Assad, and others. Their armed forces, no matter how you count them (even inflated accounts), is still minuscule compared to their opponents (yes, even the Iraqis; based on US intelligence that a third of Iraq’s 900,000-man army is reliable and will fight). I have been generally supportive of US humanitarian aid, of supplying military aid to opponents like the Kurds, and of some bombing to degrade ISIS capabilities (i.e., destroy their US-made captured equipment) but I see no further need to do more. ISIS has enough enemies and if we stay out the blowback will occur.

      (And that’s why ISIS *wants* US intervention, I believe, because it’s the only way to turn their campaign into a ‘crusade’ against the US and gloss over divisions in that area of the Islamic world. The smart strategy against them is not to oblige them).

      Your point that “our involvement is more likely to help than inaction would” seems to me to be incontrovertible. But to people like the person above, the sentiment is “we have done enough.” Let the locals handle it themselves. And, the backup argument is that ISIS is begging us to get involved and, so, we should stay out and not oblige them. While I understand the appeal of such an argument to some people who are tired of what has gone on the last decade or so, it would be utterly irresponsible to simply sit back and let events play out, especially since much of what is happening in Iraq is directly related to our invasion and occupation, an invasion and occupation that, whether those on the left like it or not, we are all, as Americans, still partially responsible for.

      Duane

      Like

  2. jdhight01

     /  August 22, 2014

    As a progressive, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Those blood-thirsty bastards need to be annihilated, and soon. Such brutality should not be tolerated.

    Like

  3. ansonburlingame

     /  August 23, 2014

    Duane,

    Your anger and call to arms sounds much like the American majority reaction to 9/11. Even two years later about 80% agreed with the Bush II invasion of Iraq, as I recall. And it only took about 3 weeks for that superbly trained and led military to complete the invasion. But after “we broke it” , Iraq, we had no idea what to do later.

    Recall as well that one of our opponents in Iraq, after the successful invasion, was Al Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni led terrorist group. It seems now that the hated ISIL (or is it ISIS?) comes directly from that former group of Saudi funded and Wahabi indoctrinated terrorists. As well recall that we overcame both Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Shia led opposition to American forces in Iraq with the “surge”. We moved out of heavily defended “forts” and put our troops on “street corners” if you will. That is an example of “boots on the ground” that at least worked long enough to enable America to “withdraw” from Iraq, leaving behind ……….

    Remember as well the decades of brutality of the Hussein regime in Iraq, brutality against both Iraqis and Israel and even an onslaught against fellow Arabs in Kuwait causing a powerful American military response, the only one since WWII that has “worked” to achieve a limited goal, not a broad and vague attempt to stop “bloodshed”, brutality, etc. anywhere in the Middle East.

    It is not my intention to make fun of your anger or to suggest that such anger is wrong. But it is my hope that America will finally “get its act together” by creating a long term, steadfast and UNITED (within American political parties) response to turmoil in the Middle East. Our issues over there will not be settled with bombs on a few targets from time to time. And we have neither the financial or political resources now to “surge” our way to settling the turmoil in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and yes, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf “States”.

    The key to the Middle East is simply OIL. Without that resource, or the need for that resource on the part of Western countries, the Middle East returns to tribes in a vast desert. I have blogged on that point as well. Can America withstand the huge political impact of $10 a gallon gasoline prices in the near term? Europe has been paying close to that amount for a few decades now. Can Americans?

    Can Americans withstand a full court effort to produce electricity and transportation without oil? I suggest we can if we start now with proven technology to do so and reach that point in about 10 years. Yes, I mean build lots of small, “cookie cutter” nuclear plants using existing technology that works to “mass produce” such facilities, not just the huge, uniquely designed 1000 MWATT plants that we cannot afford or accept thus far out of fear of radioactivity or anything “nuclear”.

    Some 83 of such “cookie cutter” nuclear facilities roam the oceans of the world today and “go critical” within the city limits of huge towns in America and other ports, safely, every day, today. Those designs and the methods to build them along with trained workforces to build and operate them are available right now in America. But we refuse to even consider using such manpower and technology to produce electricity without oil, to really attack the source of Middle East terror, OIL. Why?

    As for transportation, hybrid now and hydrogen later, with again a full court press to eliminate oil as a transportation fuel. And by “full court press” I mean a JFK-like pronoucement of long ago to generate the American WILL POWER to achieve spectacular results with technology, in a decade. Does America still retain that resource, will power, to do great things? I sure hope we do but we can only do so while UNITED as a country.

    Our first step must be one to create a truly united and long term strategy, at HOME, to divorce ourselves from OIL and encourage our partners in Europe and Japan to do so as well. As long as oil is demanded around the world, money to support terror will be there as well. And like it or not, the kingpin of that source of money is Saudi Arabia, supposedly our “friend and ally” in the Middle East The Kingdom of al Saud, made a deal with Wahabi’s about a century ago to sustain that Kingdom. Now look what that deal has produced around the world today.

    Dropping bombs on machine gun nests around a damn in Iraq will do nothing to resolve that much bigger problem over time.

    I do not discount the need to attack ISIL today. But I state firmly that “another one will crop up” in the future as long as Oil funds terror around the world today. Yesterday (and today in a different form) Al Qaeda, and today ISIL. Tomorrow, ………? at least as long as Middle East Oil is king for energy production, at least in my view.

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      I refer you to my reply to Jim. But in addition to that, I want to comment on something you said:

      …it is my hope that America will finally “get its act together” by creating a long term, steadfast and UNITED (within American political parties) response to turmoil in the Middle East.

      I hear a lot of people saying we ought to come up with an overarching strategy in dealing with the region. The problem with that is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy possible. Each situation is different, some are different in significant ways, like Egypt and Syria for instance. I think it would be foolish to devise some long-term strategy outside of the obvious: help the parties live in peace with each other. I submit to you that it was the long-term Bush strategy (at least that’s what was expressed) of building a democratic Middle East that partially led to the disaster that is Iraq.

      As for oil and the Middle East, we lived a long time, most of the 20th century, with a much larger dependence on Middle Eastern oil and without the acute problem of widespread Islamic terrorism. Sure, oil is a big part of the problem, but it is not the only problem. Taking the lid off some of the despotic regimes in the region, as it turned out, was the worst thing that could have happened in the short term. It allowed most of what we see in the headlines today. Our confidence in democracy, at least in places that have no organic relation to the concept, has been dashed by the results all over the place.

      All I am arguing for in this instance is using U.S. military power, mostly in the form of dominance of the skies, to help Iraqis do what they can to salvage their country, even if that means a federalized system with three semi-autonomous areas. Given all that has happened since 2003, I think we owe them that much.

      Duane

      Like

  4. While fully approving the current air strikes against ISIL and in support of Kurdish forces, I don’t believe it is realistic to make “ . . . a decisive war on the so-called ‘Islamic State.” Unless, that is, it becomes an actual state with identifiable features such as government buildings, military posts, and airfields. If they were to do that, we could squash them. But ISIL is not a state. They are surprisingly well organized, but they are terrorists who blend in with the population, the kind of evil people who use human shields. I think I heard Martin Dempsey say it: there’s no good military solution to this right now. The Powell Doctrine ought still prevail for military actions.

    We should never forget some important lessons we should have learned:

    1. Nation-building doesn’t work.
    2. Intervening in sectarian wars just makes things worse.
    3. Effective governance of a country can’t be imposed from outside – it must come from within and be compatible with each unique culture and history.

    President Obama has expanded the use of special forces, high-tech intelligence and drones. Together with air strikes I’m hopeful that we can continue to deter and damage ISIL forces and, hopefully, as much of its leadership as possible. But this is no ordinary military foe because it embodies religious fanaticism. This is an enemy which effectively recruits suicide bombers, including some from first-world countries. There is little limit to their cannon-fodder and the internet facilitates it. ISIL craves and seems to thrive on attention.

    I too feel impatient to achieve justice, but like the president I think it’s going to be a very long struggle. We should be realistic about this – they can not destroy our country in any sense of conventional warfare. What we need to be sensitive to, I submit, is fearfully and angrily overreacting like we did to 9/11. That got us into two ineffective wars that practically bankrupted us, increased hatred of us by other cultures, and bloated our bureaucracy unnecessarily. What we do need to do is target ISIL’s leadership, and for that, it seems to me, we need to enlist help on the ground from the more moderate Islamic states. And speaking of that, we need to finally realize that George W. Bush’s vision of a moderate Iraq is deader than a hammer. Iraq needs to break up into three states around the obvious religious lines.

    Anson makes a cogent point about the relevance of oil in this mess. If we weren’t dependent on that, it would be simpler and more appropriate to work with our European allies in dealing with the mess while concentrating on border security. But the energy situation is not as dire as he makes it sound. Because of fracking our dependence on oil imports is much less than before and still shrinking. That why the price of gasoline is stable, even with Iraq and Africa coming apart at the seams. Plus, we continue to get more energy efficient with electricity, insulation and fuel-efficient vehicles. It is working. That said, I agree that nuclear ought to be embraced as an important part of our energy policy. (Wouldn’t it be nice if we had one?)

    I share the anger, but let’s not panic here. It’s going to be a long haul.

    Like

    • Jim,

      There is no panic, only urgency.

      And as Obama and others have said, it is a long-term project to eradicate ISIL. But I would suggest that we cannot allow the colossal mistake of invading Iraq to infect all of our thinking about the region. Of course we shouldn’t overreact to what is going on. But we shouldn’t under-react to it either. One can go off the road on either side. I fear that a lot of people are, because of George Bush’s mistake so long ago, washing their hands of the whole thing.

      I would quibble with your three points just a bit, my friend.

      1. Nation-building in relatively recent history has largely been unsuccessful (except for West Germany and Japan). But what I am talking about as related to ISIL and Iraq and Syria is not the kind of nation-building you suggest. It is ridding the area of a nation-preventing plague. There can be no nation at all in the presence of a group like ISIL. What we can do, with Iraqi help, is make it possible that they can build their own nation, or, possibly, nations, if Iraq is federalized into three semi-autonomous states.

      2. You said, “Intervening in sectarian wars just makes things worse.” Yeah, well, in this case not intervening makes things much worse. We are choosing here between bad options. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves that doing nothing is better than doing something. There isn’t a large enough sample of historical events to categorically say that intervening against ISIL will have a worse outcome than letting them continue to pillage their way into building a nation-state in the name of Allah.

      3. As for your point about effective governance, I couldn’t agree more. But as I said, there is no possibility of effective governance in Iraq in the presence of ISIL. And we are in a position to help the Iraqis, including our long-time friends the Kurds, rid themselves of ISIL. What nation they continue to build after that is their business.

      Duane

      Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  August 24, 2014

    From time to time I find new writers that strike a cord with me. For the last month or so I have been reading books by one Daniel Silva. The lead character in those fictional books is one Israeli “spy” that is on the front lines of Israel’s “war on terror” which has been going on since 1948, unless one includes the Holocaust to find an earlier date. There are currently 14 books in that series and I am on number 7 right now

    Yes, they are fiction, but like most good fiction the stories are surrounded by real events. While his sympathies lie with Israel, he includes grave events caused by Jews, against Arabs as well. Each story is centered around Europe or the Middle East, with Argentina playing a side role with Nazis (or their descendants) still living there in enclaves, enclaves that still speak German, according to Silva. The United States is seldom involved in most of the stories as well. The CIA plays a much smaller role, with the emphasis on Mossad vs. Arabs and oil money. Even the Israeli army has little to do in each book, so far.

    If nothing else, the books, which begin in 1972 with the Israeli response to Black September and Munich, up through so far 2007 and all else in between, the stories are a compelling history of a “war on terror” for a long time. His latest book was published in 2014 and I have yet to read number 8 through that last book. But I will as I find a good history lesson contained in all of them.

    If you are as old as I am and liked James Bond books long ago, you will find Sliva’s books to be equally compelling, good versus evil if you will. If current readers like Lee Child books with his own knight errant running around America, well you will also like the Sliva books. And if you are really old, like me, and found great reading in John D. MacDonald, in Florida in the 1950’s and 60’s, well go read Sliva, today. for just an exciting read or some good history as well.

    Whichever side you might be on in today’s long running “war on terror” in Israel, the Middle East and now all over the world today, you will find some thought provoking issues discussed in each book, real issues but in a fictional setting.

    Anson

    Like

  6. henrygmorgan

     /  August 25, 2014

    Duane: I so rarely agree with Anson that I had to read his latest post three times to be sure I had the message right, but I agree whole-heartedly with his assessment of Daniel Silva’s novels. I discovered him a few years ago when he was recommended to me by Bob Markman, a long-time friend and former colleague, a History prof at Southern. I sometimes believe that Silva has a better grasp of Israeli-Palestinian history and troubles than either Natanyahu or Abbas. Like Anson, I highly recommend Silva for his treatment of Middle Eastern affairs, his excellent narrative skills, and the downright pleasure to be had as we travel through his works. Henry

    Like

    • Bud,

      I know, I know. When I read Krauthammer’s column on ISIL, I had to read it several times to make sure I agreed with his basic point (he made his usual anti-Obama jabs, which I had to discount), so weird was it that he said something I could assent to.

      I will take your (and Anson’s) advice and the next time I am at the library I will check out Daniel Silva. Thanks for alerting me to his virtues as a writer, especially on a subject that can be so vexing.

      Duane

      Like

  7. King Beauregard

     /  August 29, 2014

    Hey Duane,

    Do you remember, back a few decades ago, there were Lefties so far to the left that they’d defend the Soviet Union? Never mind that, whatever sins the US committed (and there were many), the Soviet Union had committed far worse; all that mattered to those type of Lefties was that the Soviet Union was the enemy of the US, and therefore they must be virtuous.

    I had hoped that type of Leftie had died off, but visit Firedoglake or Salon and you’ll see that the places are absolutely infested with them. Frankly I find myself wondering how I could be so dull to not have noticed it’s the same species.

    Like

    • That recent comment on my blog about “barbarian” Americans and their drones and planes made me remember that I hadn’t responded to this comment you made. While I don’t “remember” the Left’s love affair with Soviet communism, I have read a lot about it. When I was a conservative, I came across that particular criticism of the Left all the time. Pointing out the stupidity of some liberals in that era was a favorite thing to do for many conservative intellectuals. There were, though, many on the left who didn’t fall for the propaganda and it remains amazing to me just how many leftists today haven’t learned the lesson of those times.

      I just visited Firedoglake and read the article on Obama’a presser this morning where he mentioned, God forbid, destroying ISIL. The comment section is, well, sickening. By the way, I don’t find Salon nearly as bad as Firedoglake, though. I like a lot of writers on there, even though the comment section is often pretty radically anti-Obama at times.

      Duane

      Like

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