Thursday, October 2, 2014

ISIS: Latest GOP "Word Twisting" and Other Mischief

 Peering Into the Murk
If you don't believe the DoD, there's always still ISIS.

The "caliphate's leadership" has clearly heeded the hard lessons learned from autocrats who have too generously allowed the media too close to, shall we say, some of their bad habits. While we might at first be thinking of opaque dictatorships such as North Korea, the example followed by the ISIS leaders was observed at a much closer proximity.

Frankly, there is almost no chance that the same people who are directing ISIS weren't watching the US military do roughly this same thing with the embedded reporters during the Iraq occupation. They learned the importance of image management and control of on site reporting from the American invaders in Iraq.

Given this, we can look at the carefully engineered image ISIS has chosen to propagate, and we attempt to discern what they are trying to accomplish with it. We can also take a look at exactly which voices in the world beyond ISIS are helping them develop this image.

Obviously, we should start with the loudest, creepiest and funniest examples available to us anywhere in the Western social culture. That would be the Republicans in the Congress.

The Mechanism of Terror
It takes two to tango.
Make that - it takes at least two.

The mass executions, rapes, abductions, forced marriages, forced conversions and ethnic genocide comprising the the ISIS "terror propagation" strategy has actually worked fairly well in an appreciable number of cases in the past, for example, terrorizing the Iraqi regular army units supposedly defending Mosul into a frantic retreat. Further, these accounts are not fuzzy third hand tales of grisly decapitations travelling as gossip, they are well produced videos.

The image construction desired by ISIS is that all the rebel fighters are just like the nut case sawing through the reporter's neck on the video. That would be military propaganda aimed at terrorizing and demoralizing the specific troops stationed in the path of its opportunistic advance. The usefulness of this tactic is abundantly clear.

But another part of the terrorism program is slightly more sophisticated. In that process the "terrified and demoralized" are far away and more or less quite safe from the Sunni fighters in the desert. The point of this post is precisely this feature of the ISIS program. Those crafty insurgents have managed to terrorize and demoralize some of the safest people on the planet -- US House and Senate Republicans. this really what is happening? Are these millionaire politicians with staff, Capital police, DC police and probably even the Secret Service -- not to mention the US military -- at their beck and call actually terrorized by the ISIS troops slicing off heads at a distance amounting to a quarter of the way around the planet? [The distance from Washington DC to Baghdad is 6,192 miles.]

Of course not.

It's politics.

And, it's hilarious.

It's also cravenly cynical. ["Cynical" means always expected the worst of everyone.]

No problem. The educationally challenged hill billies and bigots making up the Republican Party base love it. For the GOP's politicians, it's simply another day of politics -- business as usual, to hell with the nation.

Let's have a look at just how the clown car is exploiting the absolutely delectable political "opportunity" offered up by ISIS terror.

The "Word Twisting"
All The Interesting Specifics

Here we can resort to an expedition in MeanMesa's "Special Word Use Dictionary."


The President has used this term, in this case, to appropriately set the scope of his military intervention plans. With the term "degrade" he describes the process through which the capacity of ISIS to do things will be decreased. The ability of ISIS to do things now will be less after its capacity to do those things has been degraded. The mechanism to be used to degrade ISIS capabilities will be air strikes which will gradually deprive ISIS of the use of assets which currently allow it to do things it is doing now.


The Republicans have used this term to describe a mythical process after which ISIS will no longer exist. The problem is that ISIS, even with all its warts and wrinkles, exists in the hearts and minds of those currently participating in its program. This use of the term "destroy" implies the elimination of what is in the hearts and minds of these participants which is presently "keeping ISIS going." The loudmouth Republicans have "skipped" the part of this equation which suggests any possible solution other than "terminating" the hearts and minds in which this is currently located.

Recognizing this, ISIS has adopted the predictable, asymmetric response of insinuating these particular hearts and minds into the midst of millions of civilian non-participants who would also be "terminated" by such a process. Republicans have chosen this term and concept specifically because it represents a tactical impossibility for this reason.


Republicans have used this term to suggest that, at some point in the future, the leadership of ISIS might do something along the lines of "surrender" and "ask for terms." The implied idea is that, if this were to happen, the more or less autonomous militias all across the "caliphate" would simply lay down their weapons while saying "Well, I guess this is over now."

Unfortunately, because ISIS is, generally, driven by what is in the hearts and minds of those in the movement, "surrender" is extremely unlikely and, more likely, an impossibility. The thing was designed to make this the case. It is probably possible to get some parts of ISIS to surrender, but all the rest of it would be just as inclined to continue fighting on an even more autonomous basis than now.

The motivation which drives ISIS fighters and apparently compels them to act as they do is not conditional on the actions of the group's "high command." They are personal.

Troops [aka: "boots of the ground"]

Depending on one's "point of view" the term "troops" has also one which has become defined by convenience. GOP Congressmen are primarily interested in this concept because they are driven by the prospect of again calling President Obama -- who has stated clearly that he had no intention of redeploying US "combat forces" in Iraq -- a liar who is unfit for office and should be impeached.

This shouldn't surprise anyone. Impeaching Obama has been their recurring nocturnal wet dream since 2008. During the stagnant interludes between their frenetic ranting episodes, it emerges that they could care less about Iraq, ISIS, the troops or US national security. They care about pleasing the GOP's billionaire bosses, politics and impeaching Obama.

For progressive voices even the remote, fleeting prospect of "reinserting" ourselves into Iraq is horrifying. [Count MeanMesa in on this one.] This bunch has been badgered almost to the point of hysteria with ominously foreboding phrases such as "slippery slope" and "exit strategy." However, the ugly evidence suggests that even progressives have been somewhat influenced by the right wing's propaganda.

Perhaps otherwise optimistic progressives are temporarily forgetting that:
1. We have to trust the President we elected, and,
2. the President is NOT George W. Bush or Richard Cheney.

Unilateral distrust and disgust with our government is a media propaganda product of the right wing think tanks and have very little to offer when it comes to operating the democracy -- which happens to be OUR job.

The GOP, ISIS Terror and the Mid-Term Election
Oh, may as well include the media, too.

The additional capacities made available by the command organization are very useful to the individuals in the militia groups, but these are not the reasons the militia groups continue to fight. The Republicans have set this impossibly "high bar" of defeating ISIS in their rhetoric precisely because it is impossible. The President uses this term to describe what will happen when ISIS is degraded to the point that the actions of individual militias will be reduced to a more tolerable scale.

All the "detail work" in this post may, at first, seem to be a little fidgety, but remember, the Republican strategic maxim is that "the devil is in the details." When a political party finds itself -- more or less permanently -- unable to win elections thanks to a stark paucity of either policies or personalities capable of actually attracting voters, the political "last refuge" will be to unleash a fact twisting torrent of psychologically charged, incendiary, carefully groomed [by think tanks...], over simplified "details."

Within the current Republican Party every effort, as a consequence of now finding itself in this desperate political vacuum, must be directed to inserting these innuendos into the narrative rhetoric which can then be exploited as a substitute for its otherwise vacuous political wasteland of material ideas. When we hear Republican "spokesmen," including media pundits, Congressmen, Senators and other voices from previous, failed Republican administrations being endlessly interviewed on "news" shows, they will all be eerily mouthing their assigned part of this identical narrative rhetoric.

While normal citizens see this as simply another episode of a "not very engaging," endless horror movie about clones or body snatchers, the semi-comatose derelicts in the Republican Party's base consider it to be quite significant, quite substantial, "red meat" information. And, yes, there is a trick -- a method to this media madness.

By establishing "reasonable sounding" goals such as "defeating ISIS" or "destroying ISIS" by relentlessly repeating these specific terms in every "interview" headed out to the air waves, the Republican base begins to tacitly accept them as a "the very least" which should be expected of the Obama Administration's response strategy. All of this just rolls forward painlessly even though most of it -- under practically anyone's definition -- is essentially impossible.

Establishing goals through this endlessly repeated rhetoric which, when considered from a more informed point of view, are essentially impossible is the GOP's psychological template. Presenting them as not only possible and reasonable but also as "Everyone knows that this is the only possible way to do this successfully." is the GOP's "recipe" for preparing its base to accept its gnawing, endless criticism of the President -- even in a time of war.

Amazingly, today even the more progressive and rational voices are "very, very realistically acknowledging" that the air strike campaign cannot "defeat" or "destroy" ISIS. This is the extent that the GOP think tanks' meme has penetrated common opinion. Obviously, it is toxic.

As for the Republican base, bear in mind that these GOP base voters were the bunch who were blindly willing and anxious to buy into the W's famous "smoke 'em out" reassurances -- a decade ago

MeanMesa dares to presume that every -- every -- American citizen who visits this blog will be voting in November . . . no matter what. The hill billies and bigots will be there.

A Few Examples From the Bottom of the Barrel
Lighten up your day with what's emerged from the "Elephant's Mouth."


Oh, my stars! 

Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey. 

You've just sat down with the mint julep the billionaires bought you, thinking about all sort of Army "man things" and now you have THE VAPORS!

The very, very brave and very, very manly Senator from Virginia, Lindsey Graham, wasted no time at all proclaiming that the "black man's" ISIS strategy was doomed to failure without the dreaded "boots on the ground" addition. [Lindsey finds it strangely less worrisome to send the off spring of other people to war when you're a very, very patriotic single man with no children. He's done this before.]  The pair, Lindesy with the help of his "very, very best buddy," Senator John "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain, have taken the Herculean responsibility of filling today's role as the GOP's "war experts." 

Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a campaign stop at American Legion Post 20 on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Greenwood, S.C.
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a campaign stop at American Legion Post 20 on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Greenwood, S.C.
Rainier Ehrhardt/AP

Rachel Maddow - MSNBC

Lindsey Graham: We may 'all get killed' by ISIS

[Read the entire article here - MSNBC. Excerpted below.]

Somehow, he’s managed to become even less subtle. On “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, guest host John Roberts asked Graham if he has any faith that President Obama’s plan against ISIS is going to work. “Not much,” the senator replied, adding, “We’re fighting a terrorist army, not an organization. It’s going to take an army to beat an army. And this idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy…. It’s delusional in the way they approach this.”
And then Graham really let loose.

“[T]hey’re intending to come here. So, I will not let this president suggest to the American people we can outsource our security and this is not about our safety. There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria, to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component. And to destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take the territory they hold back, cut off their financing and destroy their capability to regenerate.
“This is a war we’re fighting, it is not a counter terrorism operation! This is not Somalia; this is not Yemen; this is a turning point in the war on terror. Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.”

We're not certain about exactly how Lindsey accumulated all this "in depth" knowledge about ISIS and even military combat in general. During the Vietnam war, Senator Lindsey served as a Navy lawyer. He was never ordered to a duty station beyond the borders of his home state of Virginia.

Yes, the Senator's words are as grotesque as usual, but fortunately, the American comedian, John Stewart, took the effort to "put them in their place."

YouTube: John Steward - Lindsey Graham and tha' VAPORS

[For video of the actual interview: 
PoliticusUSA - Lindsy Graham Melts Down]


The DailyKOS
Fri Sep 26, 2014

GOP congressman says he's urging American generals to resign rather than follow president's orders

Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) speaking at CPAC conference
sedition (n): conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state
Rep. Doug Lamborn says he and like-minded House Republicans are trying to destabilize the American military in order to foil American foreign policy abroad. No really, he's bragging about it. 
[T]hat is exactly what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) told a group of voters he wants to see happen, the Colorado Independent reported. 
 “A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation,’” Lamborn said Tuesday, adding that if generals resigned en masse in protest of President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, they would “go out in a blaze of glory.”
Lamborn, it should be noted, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

[Read more here: Talking Points Memo This link provides a video of the Congressman speaking: EGBERTOWILLIS]

This is the "help" the Republican Party is offering to the country.

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