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Thursday, December 24, 2015

TGIF: The Season of Peace Requires Action Not Songs

It's the time of year when people sing about peace and goodwill. Unfortunately in the United States, too little thought accompanies the nice words. Otherwise Americans would be in the streets demanding that President Obama shut down the war machine. They would also be repudiating every presidential candidate who endorses the fundamentals of America's criminal foreign policy, and that means every presidential contender in the major parties. Each one of them thinks it's the U.S. government's obligation to destroy ISIS (which it helped create), and most of them think -- contradictorily -- that Americans should overthrow the Syrian government, even though massive noncombatant casualties would result, fanatics would benefit, and neither ISIS nor Bashar al-Assad pose an existential threat to our society.

The ruling elite and its cheer-leader squads across the political spectrum tell us endlessly that the United States -- by which they mean its central government -- has been a force for good in the world. The nation may be exceptional, but, grandiloquent declarations notwithstanding, not in any virtuous sense. For over 200 years it has been a killer and an oppressor on a massive scale; when it has not committed those crimes directly, it has enabled ruthless proxies. America's victims span the world.

The motives are varied and intertwined: a nationalist, geopolitical, and economic mixture, presented as the call of destiny. America was seen as chosen to change the world, however unwilling the recipients of this gift.

Few people expected Obama to surpass his predecessor George W. Bush in making war, but he has. The wars he promised to end -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- are nowhere near completion, and more than 14 years after the invasion of Afghanistan, Secretary of War Ash Carter expects 2016 to be another "hard" year. ISIS has now joined the Taliban in the effort to drive the Americans out.

Away from the news cameras Obama inflicts or enables violence against the people of Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, where the Saudis and their Gulf state partners have bombed and embargoed their way to a humanitarian catastrophe. Again, the winners are al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The Made-in-the-USA mayhem is justified by the mindless slogan that "they will come here and kill us all." But countless times this has been exposed for the nonsense it is. Even the official 9/11 commission and a study done under then-War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attributed the 2001 attacks to previous U.S. intervention in the Middle East -- including the starvation of Iraqi children, stationing of the military near Mecca and Medina, and collusion with Israel against the people of Palestine. The 9/11 attacks were monstrous crimes, but they were not bolts out of the blue. Rather, they were provoked by decades of American cruelty and mass murder.

Before Bush II invaded Iraq -- despite Saddam Hussein's innocence with respect to 9/11 -- al-Qaeda was a small number of men in Afghanistan. Since then, with a boost from Obama's bombing and regime-change in Libya and his declaring open season on Assad, al-Qaeda has spread and spawned even more-virulent offspring, notoriously ISIS. The U.S. government is Dr. Frankenstein to the al-Qaeda/ISIS monster loosed on the Middle East and beyond. Obama's landmark contribution to foreign policy is his placing the U.S. Air Force at the service of al-Qaeda in Syria and Yemen.

Americans would not be fearing Islamist terrorism (however inflated in their imagination) were it not for Bush and Obama. But the culpability reaches beyond those two men to the administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

Through jingoism and apathy the American people allowed it all to happen. Antiwar movements have been fleeting and flimsy, considering they evaporated overnight with the end of conscription in 1973 and the election of a Democrat in 2008.

It's no surprise, then, that the presidential contest is over minor variations on the imperialist theme. No one challenges the empire at its root.

So we'll end up with another war president who has no scruples about murdering noncombatants and laying waste to entire societies so long as it advances the mission: maintaining American hegemony throughout the world and disposing of anyone who would chart an independent course.

Singing about peace and goodwill while cheering America's warrior state is a repulsive spectacle. The near-term prospects for change are bleak.

TGIF -- The Goal Is Freedom -- appears (of course) on Fridays. Sheldon Richman keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society. Become a patron today!

(Cross-posted at the Center for a Stateless Society.)


Shane Skekel said...

It kills me that the likes of Steve Wells (Skeptic's Annotated Bible), the (Not so) Rational Wiki, Lamar White, Jr, Robert Mann of the Times-Picayune, John Bel Edwards, the Landrieus, Colbert, Chait, Stewart, etc. continue to cover/kiss Obama's ass in spite of the hard facts that expose him and the rest of the Democrats as the frauds and hypocrites that they are. To be fair, I'm also painting Trump, Palin, Cruz, Bachmann, Tancredo, Sessions, Fiorina, Vitter, and Chris (fatass) Christie with the same broad strokes.

MarkZ said...

Merry Christmas Sheldon!

It's a secular holiday. Religions in their various forms don't necessarily need to be tied to the celebration. "Peace" and "joy" are just keywords -- like "Noel" (how many people know what this word means?). In fact, people are generally miserable during the holidays, and "support for the troops" is never higher. I think "boot up their ass" Toby Keith even sang John Lennon's "War Is Over" one Christmas. Nobody pays attention to words if they're part of a song. If you read the lyrics of most popular songs (past and present) it's just about the most trite or nonsensical garbage you'll ever see.

And what the hell is a "jingle horse"??

Unknown said...

So what Western action is prompting the assaults against women in Cologne, Germany by Mideast/North African males?

3D Face Analysis said...

Vanessa Loy:

The claim that there were "1000 men" of "North African or Arab appearance" in the so-called "sexual assaults" were "refugees" has been disputed.

It was claimed that seventeen 31 of the suspects were "Algerian or Moroccan". But the ethnicities of the rest were unknown. There were also presumably two ethnic German men and one white U.S. citizen involved in those attacks.

Seventeen of the 31 suspects were Algerian or Moroccan, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said. The suspects also included two Germans and one U.S. citizen. The people were wanted for theft, bodily assault, and sexual offenses, according to the spokesman.

If it's true, then most of the suspects are unlikely to be refugees. According to Wikipedia, the vast majority of the refugees come from Syria, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and not from Algeria or Morocco. Algeria and Morocco are Northwest African countries, which are very far from Syria and Kosovo.

And you're forgetting the pattern of the attacks:
German officials finally admitted Monday that around 1,000 men of “North African or Arab” appearance were involved in sexual assaults and robbings against at least 90 women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. The attacks, which police believe were coordinated between the hundreds of men involved, had a similar pattern: A lone woman would be surrounded by a dozen or so men and be aggressively groped and have her belongings taken away as the assaulters laughed and rejoiced. At least one woman was raped during her attack.

In other words, the attacks usually come from organized gangs. And all of the attacks occurred in just one city, Cologne, on a single day during New Year's Eve. It's planned out. This is different from the assumption that these attacks are a routine "habit".

There is also intentional distortion of information. The attacks weren't just "sexual assaults". The attacks also were thefts and bodily assaults.

Most of the time the "sexual assaults" were accomplished by theft and robbery. It has been suggested that the "sexual assaults" were a way to distract those women when they try to rob them.

There have been suggestions that those behind the attacks may have been organised criminals using sexual assaults to distract their victims while they were robbed.

So the real goal of these organized gangs was not to "sexual assault" women but to rob women.

But people like to sensationalize stories like this and ignore the "theft" component of it and falsely make it seem like these gangs are primarily motivated by "sexual assault."
Also it included reports of not just "sexual assault" but "physical assaults" but people didn't mention this.

Why are they supposedly targeting [i]only[/i] women? It's possibly because women are weaker so they are easier to be overpowered when robbing them.

Many people are unemployed due to bad laws. Minimum wage and related laws, other cause unemployment by pricing low-skilled workers out of the market, particularly among young men and minorities. Germany has high minimum wage laws and this might have caused these men to be unemployed, and in turn, causing them to resort to robbery. So the root of the problem is minimum wage laws and related laws.

3D Face Analysis said...

Vanessa Loy:

Many people are blaming "it" on Islam. But there's no conclusive evidence of it. In fact there's evidence opposite of it.

Muslims in fact are very against sexual harassment. This is demonstrated in Egypt 2012. In Egypt 2012, there are gangs of white knight vigilantes punishing men being suspected of sexual harassment.

It isn't Muslim culture. Unemployment and poverty motivates people to steal.


Sources say that the men were reportedly "drunk" which makes sense because it's on New Year's Eve.

Some 121 women are reported to have been robbed, threatened or sexually molested there by gangs of mostly drunk men between 18 and 35 years old while out celebrating.

3D Face Analysis said...

What would happen if Europe deports all of those refugees?

They would likely join the Islamic State or other Syrian rebel groups.

60% of Syrians are unemployed and many join the Islamic State military to feed themselves. Food prices increased 1000% in ISIS occupied territories and many cannot afford food.

"Many young people are joining ISIS because this is the only way to get an income"

"The sky-high prices—the cost of basic foodstuffs in Deir al-Zor has shot up by as much as 1,000 percent, according to one resident—coupled with heavy taxation and high unemployment, mean local people are struggling to buy everyday items."

According to Mladenov, "More than 60,000 families have been displaced since the fighting broke out in the Anbar province," and "the displaced families are running out of food and drinking water and suffer from poor sanitation and limited access to health care."

From Brussels, Doctors Without Borders also called for an immediate delivery of lifesaving medicine and medical evacuations, in addition to food supplies to Madaya, where it reported the 23 deaths from starvation.

If you deport them they would either be starved to death, killed by Coalition forces or become radicalized and join the Islamic State or other Syrian rebel groups.

3D Face Analysis said...

Police have said the men appeared to have been coordinated, comparing their modus operandi to that of criminal gangs that have operated in strength for several years in the area and turning it into a place many Cologners avoid after dark. Known locally as antänzer (waltzers), the men snuggle up to their victims, often twisting a leg around them in an apparently playful fashion, which causes them to lose balance, whereupon the perpetrator uses the opportunity to whip a wallet or mobile phone from a pocket or bag.

If you pickpocket a woman you have to touch her pockets. If you touch her back pockets, your hands will touch her buttocks, leading to the false perception that it was a sexual assault. Many women complained of men touching her buttocks but was it really sexual assault or pickpocketing?

3D Face Analysis said...

This may have been theft and not sexual.

Markus Niesczeri, a spokesman for Duesseldorf police, said that since the start of 2014, officers there have identified more than 2,000 suspects of North African origin in connection with organized thefts, though he did not say how many. He declined to say whether there have been any arrests in those cases.

3D Face Analysis said...

^ They have existed since 2014 so it's not the recent influx of migrants.

3D Face Analysis said...
None of the suspected asylum seekers have been linked to sexual assaults but only to thefts and physical assaults.
A German official stated that the sexual assaults and robberies were done by "foreign criminal gangs" who were not refugees. He said that they exploited the influx of refugees that makes it difficult to track offenders.

"The North Rhine-Westphalian state chairman of the Federal German Police, Sebastian Fiedler has, meanwhile, given the events of Cologne complained that foreign criminal Clans abusing refugees for their own purposes. "Both in the Arab clans as well as North African criminal groups, we have structural problems," he said of the "Mitteldeutsche Zeitung".

"These are gangs. People are undocumented and residence permit on the go and the criminal justice system. As you will find money laundering, illegal gambling, narcotics, robbery and theft offenses. And that is particularly bad, there are refugees addressed in order to acquire it." This done through direct response, but also through social networks.

Fiedler added that one must "protect the refugees before the said criminal groups who want to abuse it for their own purposes". In addition, these criminal groups took advantage of the influx of refugees to track offenders. "This has nothing to do with the refugees themselves."

3D Face Analysis said...

Here's an English version:

"Of 31 suspects temporarily detained for questioning following the New Year's Eve attacks, there were 18 asylum seekers but also two Germans and an American among others, and none were accused of specifically committing sexual assaults."

3D Face Analysis said...

It's not proven that the sexual assaults and robberies were committed by refugees. Some of the suspects are refugees, but none of them are suspected to commit sexual assaults, only theft and physical assaults. Instead, the sexual assaults and robberies were possibly committed by "organized criminals" (who were mostly North African (Moroccan and Algerian) but also German and American) who were not refugees. Evidence supports this as there were similar criminal organizations before the influx of refugees, the crimes follow a organized pattern (using sexual assaults to distract women when committing theft) and the firecrackers threw into the crowds beforehand may be an intentional, organized attempt to distract the police. These organized criminals possibly exploited the influx of refugees which made the German police difficult to identify offenders.

Many people join criminal gangs because they are poor or unemployed. Minimum wage and related laws cause unemployment by pricing low-skilled workers out of the market, particularly among young, unskilled minorities. Germany has high minimum wage laws and this might have caused these North African men to be unemployed (who are not merely young and unskilled, but they also cannot speak German fluently), and this in turn, cause them to join criminal gangs and resort to robbery (and to commit sexual assault to distract women when committing theft). So the root of the problem is minimum wage laws and related laws. They need to be abolished.

3D Face Analysis said...

Some people argue that :

"One important addition from my side: I heavily doubt that the large number of severe sexual assaults happened just to rob the victims. Who rapes someone just to get a cell phone? This is nonsense and I just need my brain to get that.--Gerry1214 (talk) 12:17, 7 January 2016 (UTC)"


"I haven't followed up on the news since january 8th, so I'm nt sure about what is linked where and what is true and false precisely, but there were also accounts of rape, and these I think are hardly 'to cover up theft'. Also, what I find strange about the entire incident, why is it believed the sexual harrassment was to cover it up? it makes no sence. why would they cover it up? its not like anyone could stop them otherwise."

Here is my refutation:

The two "rapes" might have been the separate Friedlingen incident where boys allegedly locked up two girls and then raped them. They boys were held in Weil am Rhein. Some articles connect these two events with the Cologne attacks, see here [1] while some others state that they are unrelated [2]


"German privacy laws prevent the police from naming the suspects but it has confirmed they are not asylum-seekers."

So the "rapefugees" never existed in the first place. The alleged rapes were not connected to the Cologne attacks and were not committed by refugees.