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French Grey

At this point, I don’t think there is anything I can add that hasn’t already been said by people who are more closely connected to the tragedy.

Some of you may know that I once worked for a French company. I loved it. It was the best job I ever had. I had many French colleagues and visited France several times on business. Brook went to France with me one time. One of my best memories of France was ditching our luggage at the hotel and running off to the Eiffel Tower because she was so excited to climb to the top. She was only 8. Silly girl. We got to the fourth level and took the elevator the rest of the way.

It was a cloudy day at the top overlooking the Seine. Some irritable toddler was crying incessantly. But Brook and I took in the view of Paris while she struggled to keep her heavy lids open. I was wide awake, glad to have such a “rash and inexperienced traveller” as my companion. Once she got on the Metro without me and I had just seconds to pull her off before the doors closed. There might have been a good children’s story about Brook’s adventure in Paris, lost on the Metro, but I nearly had a heart attack, She crushed a waiter’s heart when she turned up her nose at a hot dog on a baguette with a delicious gratin on top and ate nothing but crepes and nutella from street vendors for more than a week. In the Louvre, she used her innate radar to tear through the galleries and stand transfixed in front of the Mona Lisa. Six years later, she returned to France for a two week company sponsored exchange program. When I picked her and our French student up at the airport, she told me, “Mom, learning French in France is much harder than it is in school.” Then she turned back to our French student and spoke to her in what sounded to me like near fluent French.

Someday, I hope to go to France with the other child, the one who lives to eat. Ahhh, I can almost taste the fois gras.

My French colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic were accommodating of our American inability to learn their language. One in the Paris facility told me that he went home with a headache on the days we came to the site. I liked them. They weren’t afraid of arguing, that’s for sure. American companies don’t like it when coworkers argue. They would prefer to hire people who have all the social skills of a kindergarten teacher and who swallow their anger rather than confronting a problem and trying to solve it by strenuous debate and a lot of “Non!, Non!, Non!”

They also aren’t afraid of enjoying their lives, taking vacations, spending time with their families and drinking wine at lunch.

When I think of Paris, I think of the light. There are certain places on the earth where land, sea and sky converge to change the light and in Paris, the light seems slightly grey to me. Sometimes, a little silvery grey. It’s like very old light or memory of light. Maybe that comes from the stone facades of the buildings or the clouds. It softens and ages the city. It has seen a lot of things, some of them beautiful and some harsh and devastating.

One of my French colleagues told me that Americans are too optimistic. We have an unreasonable expectation that things will work out in the end. We smile too much. I think she is right. The Great Recession has been incredibly hard on some of us and there is a lot of cruelty in the good ol’ US of A. When I was laid off in 2011, many readers tried to make it sound like a new opportunity. They told me another job would come, don’t you worry, and it would use talents I never knew I had. And I know they meant well, but, I’m here to tell you that bad stuff does happen. It’s the way you respond to it that makes the difference. I just kept on keeping on and had to block out every other distraction to get through the many hundreds of days in order to get a new job that gave me a modest return to the satisfaction I had before I was laid off. But I have learned that economic security in America is pretty much a fiction compared to what the French have.

And we were taken completely by surprise when 9/11 happened. We had this incredibly naive notion that terrorism would never happen here. We are separated from the rest of the world by two oceans. So when it did happen here, it tore a hole in the fabric of that optimistic identity we had and we overreacted to patch it up. And we opened ourselves up to very opportunistic and malicious people who would use psychological manipulation of our fear to lock us in to bad economics, meanness and callousness towards one another.

France, on the other hand, has always been vulnerable. It sits in the middle of Europe and has been used as a highway for the English, Germans, Spanish, Moors. Vikings, princes and their armies have tramped their muddy boots through its fertile plains for millennia, raping and pillaging. It fought the Romans for a couple of centuries and drove off the early Muslim invasion in the 8th century. The 14th century was pretty awful for France, as told by Barbara Tuchman in her book A Distant Mirror. Nothing but disease famine and war for almost 100 years. Then there were the religious wars, St. Bartholemew’s Massacre, and the Revolution, followed by two world wars and a humiliating occupation. The French have survived it, probably because they understand better than we do that bad stuff happens. They survive it, remember their friends, learn to enjoy their lives again and get on with it.

With World War II fading as a distant memory, the French are well fed and healthy, and the survival instinct may be more tested this time. I can almost hear the meetings that Rupert Murdoch’s empire is having, trying to figure out a way to get inside the minds of the terrified Parisians and give the right wing more of a foothold in a country that has stubbornly refused to eat its poisoned economically conservative mushrooms.

While a Gallic shrug is not the right response to current events, it might be the ability of the French to see the grey that will save them.

That and a vigorous and deadly hit back at ISIS.

63 Responses

  1. You know someone on the left is going to get all PTA Lady and ask why we can’t all get along because war is so unpleasant and everything. It’s coming.
    And, yeah, it was really, really stupid to go to war in Iraq because why destabilize a very volatile part of the world if you don’t have to do it? (Full disclosure: I was all for going to Afghanistan but I thought going into Iraq was dangerous and stupid.)
    But the reason why we shouldn’t just pick up and leave is precisely because it was destabilized and we were the only ones with enough chewing gum and duct tape to keep it together.
    Blame the radical right for getting us into this mess, blame the left for making it worse.

    • Thank you. I am fed up with the entitled left. The ones who don’t do anything, but every four years remind everyone they exist, and use every crappy meme they can think of. The Faded Pink crowd are potty in the hands of Karl Rove and the like.

      Good people all over the planet should come together and defeat the horrible inhuman monstrosity that is ISIS. At this point, the situation in the ME and the world is so complex, with so many moving parts. And yet I would have thought the democratic debate is simplistic and idiotic, that is if I hadn’t listened to stupid a**es in the republican debate. A bunch of narcissist idiots. It’s as if the last 15 years didn’t exist.

  2. I am weary, worn down, tired, so tired of hatred wrapped around God. My heart breaks for those intimately affected by the terrorist attack, but my soul weeps for the acts of retribution certain to follow.

    • France is pretty secular. It must drive the fundamentalists crazy.
      But, yeah, striking back, HARD, is probably necessary. Maybe it won’t take the form we all think it will but the kind of aggression requires a bigger one in return or it will never stop.
      Bush screwed the pooch. He should be tried as a war criminal for bringing this all on our heads.

      • We have two Democrats in particular to thank for Bush’s immunity and impunity.

        ” Impeachment is off the table.” —Nancy Pelosi

        “Look forward, not back.” —Barack Obama

      • He and Cheney released the hounds of Hell, didn’t they?

        • Yes. Yes, they did. And Pelosi let them off scot free. “Impeachment is off the table.”

          That will go down, and I do mean DOWN, in history as Pelosi’s “Ford Pardons Nixon” moment. That is part of what helped to overdetermine Obama’s “look forward not backward”.

          “It’s a Big Club. And you ain’t in it.” — George Carlin

  3. >You know someone on the left is going to get all PTA Lady and ask why we can’t all get along because war is so unpleasant and everything. It’s coming.

    It has already arrived, alas.

    I too opposed going into Iraq (but not Afghanistan) but that is water under the bridge, and the Left needs to stop re-fighting the battles of 2002-3 and deal with things as they are now. And that means recognizing that IS is a real threat that needs to be dealt with. And that dealing with it won’t involve mere words.

    • it’s not pro-war. It’s anti fundamentalism.

    • But don’t you know, Hillary must have her vote on Iraq tattooed on her forehead like a scarlet letter. That’s the view of the pink left who has no other f*king argument.

      • I have no patience for that BS. It’s the same mindset that brought us ineffectual Obama.

  4. I wish I had some idea about how to fight against them … and win. And what is winning, anyway? Who wins?

    • If the group which Colonel Pat Lang calls the ” R + 6″ is able to crush and put down every last trace of rebellion within Syria, and the legitimate government of Syria which is sometimes referred to as the “Assad regime” becomes the sole and only authority throughout Syria,
      then Syria and the R + 6 will have won. And we normal people will all benefit, even if the DC FedRegime and its partners in the Axis of Jihad are embittered by THEIR defeat. ( THEIR defeat. NOT our defeat. I don’t believe we decent normal citizens can consider the killing or capture of every last jihadi in Syria to be a defeat for US. Maybe for the evil governators who RULE us, but that is another matter).

      • ( Let me amend that “killing or capture” of every last jihadi. Let’s change that to the “killing or killing” of every last jihadi. If we take any of those scum filth garbage vermin alive, we will have to build a whole fleet of Guantanamos to keep them under Level Four BioContainment for the rest of their radioactive human waste lives. Better to exterminate each and every single one of them. Let not one survive.
        Giver each one of them to Be A Hero and Be All They Can Be and Fight to the Death rather than be taken prisoner.)

  5. >And what is winning, anyway?

    Actually in this case, that isn’t that hard to answer. As its name implies, IS is trying to form an actual Islamic State, and winning is breaking it up to the degree that that ambition fails-and is seen to fail. That won’t end Islamic terrorism, which has become too embedded in the culture at this point to die out anytime soon, but it will prevent IS from evolving into a more powerful threat.

    As to Who Wins?, everyone that isn’t IS.

    The real problem is that defeating IS is complicated by Putin’s intervention in Syria, and by the West’s allergy to “boots on the ground” after Bush’s fiasco in Iraq. The first can possibly be dealt with by diplomacy (certainly IS helped in that regard by apparently bringing down a Russian airliner). The second requires accepting the reality that breaking up a proto-state almost certainly can’t be done only from the air. But the boots on the ground should be an international coalition involving Arab states threatened by IS, similar to the first Gulf War.

    None of this will be easy, painless, or bloodless. But the alternative offered by the Right (conquering the Islamic world) is a fantasy, while the one offered by the Left (pulling out of the Middle East) would say to the world that when threatened by murdering fanatics, the West will fold. In other words, that terrorism works. That is a recipe for more terrorism, not less.

    • OMG, who ARE you??? That was the best answer ever.

    • The alternative offered by the right is simply to stop letting Muslims into our countries. It’s the (((right))) (that’s to say Israel-firsters) who want to send American boys to die in the Middle East.

  6. RD, coming from you-I’ve been a fan and regular reader here since 2008-that is quite a compliment.

    Just to be clear, I’m a believer that force should always be the last option in international affairs. But sometimes you are dealing with the last option, and IS seems to me a clear example. (For the record I opposed the use of force by the US in every case in my lifetime-I was born in 1958-except for the first Gulf War, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan in 2002. Though I wish we had used force in Rwanda.)

    As to who I am, I’m a student of history, a writer (author of the book Crowns in the Gutter: A Strategic Analysis of WWI available through Amazon), game designer, and cat (and dog) lover. My biggest claim to fame was giving a lecture two years ago at Windsor Castle in the room where Elizabeth I and Shakespeare watched the first production of Merry Wives of Windsor. 🙂

    • Woah, you sound like one of those people who write articles for BBC history magazine and go to those history weekends in Bristol or some other quaint sounding English place name where I imagine crackling fires keep out the creeping damp while scholars share tasty little morsels of historical goodness.
      That’s on my bucket list. Well, that and going on an archaeological dig in Turkey. Will look up your book on Amazon.

  7. For the record, I’m an American, though as an Anglophile I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the UK over the years.

  8. For what it is worth, George Orwell once wrote about how hard it is for English speakers to learn another language. So difficulty learning French isn’t uniquely “American”, it is generally “Anglophone” . . . if that offers any relief.

    Colonel Lang, The Twisted Genius, Patrick Bahzad and others have been discussing Syria over at Sic Semper Tyrannis for some time now. Their collective analyses make sense to me. The war in Syria is a several-sided proxy war. Only one side can win . . . by making every other side lose. And only the Assad side offers any semblance of a secular dictatorship regime with some measure of rights or at least permission-to-exist for minority groups such as Christians, Shia, Alawites, Druzes, Kurds, etc. Every other fighting group in Syria is one kind or another of violent islamist extremist or outright jihadist. So the only hope for the survival of anything resembling civilization in Syria would be the utter defeat and ideally elimination-from-existence of every group opposing the legitimate (Assad) government in Syria.

    Once this is understood, the entry of Russia into the Syrian war is properly understood as simplifying affairs there and giving the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Army a fighting chance to re-take their country and begin the necessary extermination and disinfection of the cannibal, liver-eating, headchopping jihadi scum which the Axis of Jihad ( America, most of Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.) have been supporting. It is unfortunate that America is part of the Axis of Jihad, but as long as America supports the same people that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc. is supporting; then America is a part of the Axis of Jihad.

    I hope France and America both do the right thing, which is to switch sides and help Russia/ Iran/ etc. wipe out the jihadists. All of them. “Retribution” is sterile and pointless. Elimination should be the goal.

    • Joining Russia, or at least stepping out of Putin’s way, would indeed be the best thing for the USA, IMHO.

      However, that brings us to an important problem. The Middle Eastern policy of the USA is actually being run for the benefit of another country. To avoid the filters on this blog, I will call this country “The Neocons’ Actual Country”, “TNAC” for short.

      TNAC wants chaos in the Middle East. If all the nations surrounding TNAC are shattered into patchworks of feuding warlords, then no one can help the, ahem, “Philistines” defend themselves from the continuing expropriation of their land by TNAC, and no one can prevent the imperial expansion of TNAC.

      TNAC controls both major political parties in the “sovereign” nation of the USA. The Dems depend for much of their money on wealthy TNAC sympathizers, while the electoral backbone of the GOP consists of “Christian” fundamentalists who think their Great Thunder Fairy In The Sky (who is an unintentionally blasphemous caricature of the actual God of Christianity) will bless our land if we back TNAC to the hilt.

      Hence, we’re stuck. 👿

      • Supporting Russia/Iran/Hezbollah/Syria in disinfecting the jihadists from out of Syria is the first step towards re-stabilizing that part of the Middle East. If I follow Sic Semper Tyrannis’s analysis correctly, Israel is not the only country driving and instructing our Middle East foreign policy. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/Qatar/the Lesser Petro-Gulfies/ and Erdogist Turkey are also writing our policy there. They are the major players who have been supporting the jihadis against Syria the hardest. They are all part of what I have decided to call the Axis of Jihad.

        If helping Assad to achieve a total victory against the rebellion can be a first step towards effectively crushing the revenue streams and the power of Persian Gulf petro-Arab governments, that would be a good next step. Now that Turkey is firmly controlled by pro-ISIS pro-Nusra Erdogist scum, the only way to end Turkey’s destructive influence on NATO policy would be to dissolve NATO. Perhaps a unilateral American withdrawal from NATO might help dissolve that obsolete anti-Russianitic Racist anti-Russianite alliance. The countries of Europe itself (hopefully withOUT Turkey) could form a North East Atlantic Treaty Organization . . . NEATO for short.

        The fact that the American public was able to force the Congress to cancel Obama’s plan to start bombing Syria over the Turko-Saudi false-flag gas-attack near Damascus indicates that Israel and whomever else can sometimes lose a foreign policy desire. The attainment of the nuclear-weaponization prevention agreement with Iran is another.

        As to Israel itself, I don’t know whether it can ever be de-neoconservatised. The “rightists” were willing to use political violence (Rabin assassination) in a way that the “leftists” were never willing to counter. It would have been the “leftists” last chance to hold up their end of what was clearly a civil war inside Israel. It would have been the “leftists” last chance to use various tools to “exterminate” rightist influence and power within Israel. Ah well . . . too late now.

        Back to Syria. On NPR today I heard a Senator Case or Senator Cain or whomever repeating the stupid lifted-pinky self-flattering humanitarian lie that the civil war in Syria is somehow about Assad’s “atrocities”. No. It is about the terrorist headchopper cannibal liver-eater Islamist rebellion backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, America, Qatar, with some Israeli help to al Nusra around the fringes in the Golan Heights area. (Putin is improving things in that regard by indicating to Israel that Russia has a no-fly zone for Israel over Syria now). This pre-occupation with “the evil Assad” is not due to Israel. It is due to the Neo-Puritan conceit of the R2P partisans and the idiot believers in American Exceptionalism. Decent Americans need to remind stupid fools like Obama and Kerry and Clinton and Case or Cane or whomever that Senator was . . . that they are either with Assad or they are with the terrorists. That is the choice.

  9. The one-time murder of 130 Paris citizens is horrible. Perhaps the US/NATO for once should participate in an Actual Coalition of the Willing (not the past bogus ones that is 95%+ US soldiers & $ with 2 dudes each from several random small nations), perhaps organized through the UN, & join the Russia/Iran’s existing effort in attacking the self-titled ISIS in Syria. At a minimum, the US should place at least harsh sanctions on Saudi Arabia & Turkey, if it is true that powerful factions within those governments are supporting ISIS.

    But it seems the US BigMedia, BigPolitrickian, & perhaps many USians have an innumerate faulty perspective on the magnitude of threats that are most likely to kill USians.

    The Harvard Public Health Profs’ study estimated ~60K USians are killed yearly relative to not having Civilized CAN-style Medicare For All. Now after the ACA, the estimate is that by 2022 “only” ~30K USians will be killed by the Fed pols blocking Medicare For All.

    Clueless 0bots will praise Dear Leader 0bama for reducing 30K yearly deaths; Medicare For All advocates like myself will denounce 0bama for killing Medicare For All & even the Medicare Public Option Insurance he promised in the 2008 campaign, which was proven by ~2010 real-time reporting by various journalists including Jane Hamsher/firedoglake. In killing Medicare For All, 0bama shows he would rather massacre 30K USians yearly ~82 USians DAILY to preserve his Health Insurer Owner/Campiagn Funders’ oligopolist profits. Obviously this massive death toll dwarfs any number that the current Terrist Boogeyman Du Jour TM could ever dream of doing.

    I can’t take a anti-Medicare For All, Federal politician like 0bama seriously, when they speechify on how they value human life.

    BTW, the ~12K non-suicide gun murders/accidents, & the ~1K Terist Faction of Cops murders, also far worse than what other rich OECD nations face, & also far worse than the Foreign Terist Boogeyman Du Jour deaths. These death categories could be greatly reduced by universal gun background checks with no loopholes, & the Campaign Zero sensible police reform policy, respectively.

  10. >The Middle Eastern policy of the USA is actually being run for the benefit of another country. To avoid the filters on this blog, I will call this country “The Neocons’ Actual Country”, “TNAC” for short.

    Uh, no. If that were the case we would not, to take one obvious example, have signed the nuclear deal with Iran. Indeed, if US policy since 9/11 has been to the benefit of any country in the region, albeit unintentionally, it has been Iran, not Israel.

    I would go so far as to argue that the Israeli/Palestinian mess is essentially a sideshow. US policy has always been based on the importance of Saudi oil more than anything else, though lately that importance is more to our European allies and Japan than directly to us.

    Obama’s statement today would make perfect sense if IS was a terrorist group hiding out in Iraq and Syria. But it isn’t-it has effectively carved out a state from parts of Syria and Iraq. And it is a state with designs on the entire Arab world (including former Arab lands such as Spain). That those designs are, for now at least, entirely unrealistic, does not render IS harmless: the pursuit of fantasy by armed fanatics can lead to all sorts of carnage. Which is why IS as a nation-in-embryo needs to be destroyed.

  11. >The Middle Eastern policy of the USA is actually being run for the benefit of another country. To avoid the filters on this blog, I will call this country “The Neocons’ Actual Country”, “TNAC” for short.

    Uh, no. If that were the case we would not, to take one obvious example, have signed the nuclear deal with Iran. Indeed, if US policy since 9/11 has been to the benefit of any country in the region, albeit unintentionally, it has been Iran, not Israel.

    I would go so far as to argue that the Israeli/Palestinian mess is essentially a sideshow. US policy has always been based on the importance of Saudi oil more than anything else, though lately that importance is more to our European allies and Japan than directly to us.

    Obama’s statement today would make perfect sense if IS was a terrorist group hiding out in Iraq and Syria. But it isn’t-it has effectively carved out a state from parts of Syria and Iraq. And it is a state with designs on the entire Arab world (including former Arab lands such as Spain). That those designs are, for now at least, entirely unrealistic, does not render IS harmless: the pursuit of fantasy by armed fanatics can lead to all sorts of carnage. Which is why IS as a nation-in-embryo needs to be destroyed.

    Oh, and comparing deaths from illness or accident or murder to deaths from terrorism misses the point: even putting aside the fact that if either of the Twin Towers had toppled instead of pan-caked they would have taken out lower Manhattan, terrorism is disruptive in a way that other death tolls are not. A nation can, sadly, live with thousands of gun deaths a year or people dying from lack of health care in a way it cannot with random acts of terrorism, because the latter eats away at the sense of order (just or unjust) any civilization requires.

  12. >The Middle Eastern policy of the USA is actually being run for the benefit of another country. To avoid the filters on this blog, I will call this country “The Neocons’ Actual Country”, “TNAC” for short.

    Uh, no. If that were the case we would not, to take one obvious example, have signed the nuclear deal with Iran. Indeed, if US policy since 9/11 has been to the benefit of any country in the region, albeit unintentionally, it has been Iran.

    US policy has always been based on the importance of Saudi oil more than anything else, though lately that importance is more to our European allies and Japan than directly to us.

    Obama’s statement today would make perfect sense if IS was a terrorist group hiding out in Iraq and Syria. But it isn’t-it has effectively carved out a state from parts of Syria and Iraq. And it is a state with designs on the entire Arab world (including former Arab lands such as Spain). That those designs are, for now at least, entirely unrealistic, does not render IS harmless: the pursuit of fantasy by armed fanatics can lead to all sorts of carnage. Which is why IS as a nation-in-embryo needs to be destroyed.

    Oh, and comparing deaths from illness or accident or murder to deaths from terrorism misses the point: even putting aside the fact that if either of the Twin Towers had toppled instead of pan-caked they would have taken out lower Manhattan, terrorism is disruptive in a way that other death tolls are not. A nation can, sadly, live with thousands of gun deaths from crime a year, or people dying from lack of health care in a way it cannot with random acts of terrorism, because the latter eats away at the sense of order (just or unjust as that order may be) any nation requires. Telling people they should be more worried about car accidents than terrorism is technically true (until the terrorists get a nuke) but ignores basic human psychology.

    And if liberals won’t deal with groups like IS, there are any number of less attractive folk willing to take on the job. Personally, I don’t want foreign policy in the hands of the current GOP.

    • If TNAC doesn’t control our foreign policy to at least some degree, then why don’t we just step out of the way and let Putin teach the “Caliph” the same hard lesson Putin’s predecessors taught Napoleon and Hitler?

      • Putin’s predecessors taught those lessons-at enormous cost-inside the Russian Empire. Afghanistan in the 1980s shows that the Russians have no magic abilities fighting outside their borders.

        That aside, we not only have decades of Cold War history opposing Soviet influence in the Middle East, we also aren’t exactly friends with the current Russian regime. And backing Assad-which, sadly, might be the best option at this point because Obama failed to heed Hillary early on-is nevertheless an example of ruthless Realpolitik of the sort that fits poorly with the idealistic tradition of much Democratic foreign policy.

      • Because Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar also control our foreign policy on Syria. And they want Assad overthrown and replaced by a jihadi islamic emirate.

        Also, stupid liberal humanitarians in this country are all offended by Assad’s “atrocities”. Obama was obsessed with his stupid crap “democracy” and “Arab Spring” for the Arab countries.

        I used to think the “barrel bombs” were some kind of a bad thing. But then I read about the Sunni Islamist atrocities in the 1980s uprising which forced Assad to respond quite correctly and in a very measured way actually by shelling Hama, which was a nest of Muslim Brotherhood rebels. When I read about what the Muslim Brotherhoodlums had been doing up to that point, all I can say is . . .
        Barrel Bombs away, motherfuckers. Exterminate the jihadi scum. One by one. Each of them. All of them. In individual detail.

        • I agree with RUR’s first paragraph, but I fail to understand why Turkey, and especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, would want a Caliphate. After all, the Caliphate would eventually want the Holy Cities, would it not? That would mean the Caliphate takes over the Arabian Peninsula, and the degenerate elite of Saudi Arabia and the other Peninsular states could kiss their privileged lives good-bye–along with their heads, if they failed to get out of the Peninsula in time. 😕

          • The Sic Semper Tyrannis commentators have analyzed Erdogan of Turkey as having been a badly-closeted Islamist all along who is finally coming out of the closet. Erdogan would like to see a Caliphate because he thinks Turkey is so much stronger than IS will ever be that it will be Turkey which ends up running the Caliphate. Erdogan has already ordered the ( already completed) construction of a more-than-thousand-rooms Caliph’s Palice in Ankara. Erdogan has also been analyzed as an “Ottomanist” . . . one who wants to restore some of the glory of Ottoman Empire Turkey and overthrow and displace the Secular Kemalist Republic. That explains Erdogan’s support in particular for ISIS.

            What about the petro-Gulfies? I think they have been not supporting ISIS so much themselves. They have been more supporting Jabhat al Nusra and other groups of islamist jihadis whose alphabet soup of names and letters I forget just now. The Saudis and Qataris in most particular are devoted to the “cause” of imposing Wahhabism on Syria/Lebanon/Jordan/Israel-someday-maybe. They want to start with Syria because they think they can. ISIS was able to take part of Syria because the petro-Arabs’ pet jihadis have weakened Syria badly enough that Syria was not able to prevent the ISIS conquest. (By the way, the fact that America does not really oppose ISIS is revealed by America’s blase’ acceptance of the ISIS conquest of Palmyra . . . because Palmyra was conquered from the Assad area of control. The only time America opposes ISIS is when ISIS is threatening America’s ( and Saudi Arabia’s) pet jihadis . . . the Nusra and etc. This is also revealed in the petty DC FedRegime complaints coming from tools like Kerry and so forth that Russia isn’t “really focusing” on ISIS because Russia keeps attacking “the moderate rebels”. Lavrov patiently explained that Russia is fighting ALL the terrorists, and the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist. When America and the other members of the Axis of Jihad decide that they would rather fight terrorism than overthrow Assad, they will switch sides and help Assad exterminate the “moderate” cannibal livereaters and then the “more extremist” cannibal livereaters . . . . and once the rebellion has been exterminated, the Syrian Arab Republic and its allies will then be free to move ahead and exterminated ISIS as well.
            First things first.

            And remember, if you are not with Assad . . . then you are with the terrorists.

  13. Hurrah for Anonymous, but this snark is too good to pass up. 😉

    http://postimg.org/image/3lgsukn4l/

    • Anonymous better make sure that ISIS doesn’t have any master hacker-tracers who can “dox” any of the anonymists. Otherwise ISIS will send people to kill any “doxxed” anonymist in physical person. Let’s hope Anonymous is thinking about that.

  14. Ivory Bill Woodpecker,

    I tried writing a couple comments but they didn’t even register. Which is different from “went into moderation”. So I will try again with shorter comments and hope that works.

    About Erdogan, he figures Turkey will always be vastly stronger than the strongest IS which can ever emerge. He wants ISIS to “establish” the ‘stub’ of a caliphate now so that He . . . the Mighty Erdogan . . . shall swoop in at the right time and make himself either the Caliph or the functional equivalent thereof. He is an “Ottomanist” as opposed to a Kemalist. He supports ISIS now to expand a neo-Ottoman empire later.

    I think the petro-Arab gulfies don’t really support ISIS as such. They have been supporting al Nusra and the other alphabet jihadi groups. They want those al Qaeda groups to overthrow Assad and take Syria over. They have been trying to Wahhabify Islam all over the world and they resent a semi-secular multi-confessional Republic in Syria.

    My own feeling is that Israel is somewhat secondary in all this. They think a jihadist Syria will be too weak and disorganized to be able to pressure for return of Golan Heights any time soon. They also think a Sunni jihadi Syria will prevent any more Iranian weapons from reaching Hezbollah. That is the extent of their interest in all this.

    Their loss on Iran shows a limit to their power.

  15. I have tried sending some long comments and none of them register. Let’s see if length is the problem.

  16. Ivory Bill Woodpecker,

    I am too worn out to try rephrasing my long comments which never registered into shorter form which might get through. So for something completely different . . .

    . . . I am guessing that your resumption of the name Ivory Bill Woodpecker might well signal an interest in I B Woodpecker-related affairs. If so, here is a website about some very hopeful evidence of some IB woodpeckers not-dead-yet in the deep forests and piney woods in-around the Choctawhatchie River in Panhandle Florida.
    https://www.auburn.edu/academic/science_math/ivorybill/Updates.html

    • Thanx. Maybe now that the USA is finally, sensibly, normalizing relations with Cuba, scientists might be able to find some ivory-bills in Cuban woodlands. 🙂

      • It appears the I B woodpeckers were spotted in PINEY woodlands. And evidence begins to indicate that they enjoy feeding on pine borers in pine trees. The trackless swamps provide a place of safety to hide in.

        Part of the evidence that Auburn professor and his group have found is huge bark-sheets stripped off of pine trees in the tree plantations all around Choctawhatchie. The I B woodpecker apparently has a laterally compressed bill very hand for prying sheets of bark off pine trees to expose the borer-holes beneath. Apparently this doesn’t hurt the pine trees.

  17. Off-topic cuteness break. :mrgreen:

    http://postimg.org/image/hubtywc9h/

  18. My comments are not registering. Is length the issue?

  19. Professor John Landis at University of Oklahoma is considered a very well informed and respected Syria expert. Here is a recent interview posted on his Syria Comment blog.
    http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/regime-change-without-state-collapse-is-impossible-in-syria-landis-interviewed-by-rts-sophieco-2/

  20. Welcome back, Riverdaughter!
    Having said that (and meant it!), what sort of “do something” would you have us do? Our awful media and the GOP undead are thrilled to near ecstasy by the Paris attacks. They are pretending it all happened to us. And, as ever since 9/11, climbing over the bodies to sell their $nake oil to the fearful and the gullible. The villains reportedly spent a whopping $10,000 to mount the whole deadly operation (and you can be sure their expense accounts were padded). Any minute now you will hear our Military/Industrial/Security Axis of Evil demanding an additional $100+ billion to fight back and “keep us safe”. Considering we have not won a war in 75 years or so (and then with a big helping hand from the USSR-eek!). And considering our ever victorious army has more or less broken the entire Middle East in pieces during the past 12 years. And considering our chief ally in all this chaos and mayhem and slaughter is also the chief money bags and spiritual/ideological/religious guru of worldwide Islamic Extremist Terrorism (to the folks at home not paying too much attention that would be Saudi Arabia, the gift that keeps on giving (can you say 9/11?). And considering our political leaders are mostly repulsive. And considering 20% of the gen pop are probably clinically insane and most of the rest not exactly locked-and-loaded brainwise. We could try minding our own business, for a (regime) change…

    • Oh, but minding our own business is not “realistic”, Bernard.

      Bankrupting our nation for the benefit of TNAC, the Peninsular elites, and our own Warfare State profiteers is “realistic”. All “grownups” know that. 😉

      Also, just to remind everyone: Uncle Sam is not Sauron. Capital is Sauron. Uncle Sam is merely the Lord of the Nazgul.

      ISIS, and other jihadi groups, consist of CIA attack dogs who have slipped their leashes. Thanks a heap, Zbigniew Brzezinski. (IIRC, cultivating jihadis for use against the old USSR was his idea.)

    • Bernard Jenkins,

      Here is what we do. Or would do if we ran our own government, which we don’t. But if we did, here is what we would do.

      We would switch sides and totally back Assad, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and the Kurdish militias in fighting every single rebel in Syria till they were completely exterminated and the Legitimate ( “Assad Regime”) Government of Syria could reimpose its authority over Syria by any means necessary. Assad, Putin, Nasrallah, Soleimani, the various Kurdish leaders, etc. are willing, ready and able to provide all the boots on the ground that are needed. What WE need to provide is an escalating ladder of ratcheting-up punishments against Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia until they are successfully tortured into stopping any and all assistance to their jihadis in the field.

      Unfortunately, our “leaders” are still committed to the so-called “cause” of toppling Assad. Hillary still wants a “no fly zone” over Syria, for example, for so-called “humanitarian” reasons. Kerry still babbles about “Assad must go”. Obama still insists that Assad can play “no part” in the “transition”. Hillary, Kerry, Obama and the rest are still not with Assad. What that means is that Hillary, Kerry, Obama and the rest are still with the terrorists.

      The only meaningful “transition” for Syria is to transition every rebel against the Assad Regime from living to dead. When the very last rebel is dead, then victory is secured. That is what “winning” looks like.

      • r u reddy
        An Assad, Putin, Iran, Hezbollah, Kurd alliance against ISIS and the assorted Don’t-Call-Me-Al Qaeda gangs would be a definite “something”. US joining their side would, alas, be the kiss of death for their side, considering we have been on the wrong side of history in such matters for over half a century. And are notorious bunglers whenever we have big-footed into similar situations. Which is why I believe we should leave the field to them and head for the bleachers. They are the ones with a dog in this fight. Not us. We have been, for too long, the repressive Saudis’ bey-atch and Sultan Erdogan’s tool. After all these years meddling in MuslimWorld we still understand nothing and refuse to learn the lessons of history. Sad to say we tend to bring farcedy wherever we go. Like a delusional Ford Pinto salesman, we sell ourselves first, believe our lies and then wonder why our customers hate us when the thing blows up when hit from behind. Time to chill and think a decade ahead. Can you say: Kurdistan is coming!!

        • If we had better governators, we (they) could at least pressure Turrkey and the Aarab petro-gulfie states into zeroing out their support to the alphabet rebels.

  21. Ivory Bill Woodpecker,

    It looks like my comments are registering today. Why would Erdogan not fear an ISIS caliphate? Because Erdogan believes Turkey will always be so much stronger than ISIS can ever be that once ISIS creates the caliphate over all the land that Erdogan considers valuable for Turkey, then Erdogan or his successors will make himself or themselves the Grand Caliph. Erdogan is what is called an Ottomanist. His whole AKP party are Ottomanists. They want to restore the glory and grandeur of the Ottoman Empire and re-Ottomanize Turkish society itself.

    About the Arab Petro-Gulfies . . . they were more supporting the other alphabet jihadis. They have long wanted to Wahhabify Islam wherever it exists and make the whole Islamic World into a mirror in which they can behold their own beautiful Wahhabi selves. They are not so very happy about ISIS. But they consider it worth the risk in order to destroy Secular Syria and create the Islamic Emirate of Syria in its place.

    Israel is a second-rate player in this. The Netanyahoodlums support al Nusra and other alphabet jihadis because they think an Islamic Emirate of Syria will be too weak to demand the Golan Heights back for a long time. Also, a Sunni Wahhabi Syria will stop Iranian weapons and money and supplies from reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon. But even the Netanyahoodlums have just enough sense of reality to follow orders to “keep out” if those orders are forceful enough. Putin has ordered Israel to keep its airplanes out of Syrio-Lebanese airspace, and Israel obeys the Putinmeister.

  22. I B Woodpecker, “too long” comments still don’t register. Maybe this will be short enough. Erdogan and the AKP are Ottomanists. They think if ISIS builds a caliphate now, Turkey will get to take it over later and restore the Ottoman Empire. The Gulfies didn’t quite support ISIS. They more support the other alphabet jihadis. ISIS worries them but they helped create the vacuum ISIS fills. Israel wants a Syria too weak to reclaim the Golan Heights and too Sunni Jihadi to permit Iranian money or supplies to reach Hezbollah. But Israel will follow orders if they are credible. Putin has told Israel to keep its planes out of Syria Lebanon airspace and Israel complies.

  23. Hmmm . . . are there words and phrases which lead to automatic rejection of comments?

    • Hmmm . . . I think there may be. I typed a word that sounds like Izz ray uhl and the comment did not register.

      • riverdaughter and Katiebird,

        Is there a secret list of words which cause a comment to not-even-register?

  24. Israel.

  25. Another experiment. Let’s see if some good old words go into good old moderation. Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, Crawdad Hole.

  26. Hmmm. . . they never registered. Let’s try mispelling them.
    Saaraa Paylinn, Glenn Becq, Qrawdaad Jole.

  27. Ivory Bill Woodpecker,

    Erdowan and his Ay Kay Pee party in Turkkey are Ottomanists. He and they think that if ISIS can establish the caliphate sooner, Turrkey can take it over later.
    The Ah Rahbz of the Hydrocarbon Gulf don’t really support ISIS. They more support their own pet alphabet djihadeez.

    Izrull wants a Syria too weak to ever demand the Goe Lon Hites back. But Izrull will follow orders if they are tough enough. Pootin has ordered Izrull to keep its planes out of SyrioLebaneez airspace and Izrull obeys the Pootinmeister.

  28. Oh, and also . . .
    Knee Oh Librull! Knee Oh Librull! Knee Oh Librull!

    Bwa ha ha ha ha!

  29. By now, every thinking person capable of thought understands that we face the hard binary choice: you are either with Assad , or you are with the terrorists. Given that basic fact, why is Candidate Cclinton not yet with Assad?

    Here is a fresh comment by Colonel Lang about Candidate Cclinton’s most recent speech on Syria policy. (My mispellingz are an effort to dodge whatever filter is evaporating my comments based on certain keywords . . . when I don’t know what the keywords are).
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/11/httpwwwcnncom20151119politicshillary-clinton-isis-speech.html

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