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How to Lose to the Islamic State: Obama Administration Considers Deploying Troops to Iraq, Focusing on Assad in Syria

November 30, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

In 2009 President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize before doing much of anything. Since then he has initiated two wars, first in Libya and now in Iraq and Syria, and escalated another, in Afghanistan. Alas, he has demonstrated that it is bad to start wars unnecessarily, but even worse to wage wars foolishly.

The administration appears to have lost its collective mind. The president has added ground forces to the battle in Iraq and the military has suggested introducing thousands more. His officials reportedly have decided to focus on overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the name of fighting the Islamic State.

It is hard to know which of these ideas is worse. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may not have wanted to leave the Pentagon, but he might be lucky having been left at the curb.

The U.S. has been back at war in the Middle East for nearly three months. The results have not been pretty.

The administration claims to have created a vast coalition of 60 nations, roughly 30 percent of the world’s countries. Alas, as in the past the celebrated gaggle assembled by Washington turned out to be mostly a PR stunt. The U.S. accounts for about 770 of the roughly 900 strikes on Iraq and Syria. The Arab states have done little in the air and nothing afoot. Only Iran, which Washington fears almost as much as ISIL, has put boots on the ground.

Most flagrantly AWOL is Turkey, which has tolerated radical fighters transiting through and even operating on its territory. Many of the Islamic State’s combatants came from Turkey and ISIL has targeted Turkish territory for its caliphate. Yet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan only cares about the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, once a close friend. And Erdogan expects the U.S. do the job for him.

The administration appears to have lost its collective mind.”

Nor has the administration’s scattershot bombing campaign had much effect. Iraq’s Baghdad has not fallen. That was never likely, however. Kurdistan’s Irbil remains in danger. Syria’s Kobani is unconquered but in ruins, and thousands of its residents have fled.

The Islamic State quickly adjusted its tactics to minimize the vulnerability of its forces. By one count U.S. strikes have killed 464 Islamic State personnel and 57 fighters for Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate. However, Washington’s intervention helped treble the estimated number of ISIL fighters to as many …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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African-American Man Stopped by Michigan Cop for Walking with His Hands in His Pockets

November 30, 2014 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

In Michigan, putting your hands in your pockets on a cold day counts as suspicious behavior, if you're black.


An African-American man, out for a walk on a cold Michigan day, was stopped by police after a caller reported that he looked suspicious because he had his hands in his pockets.

Brandon B. Waxx McKean posted video on his Facebook page showing his encounter with a police officer who briefly detained him on Thanksgiving day while he was out for a stroll.

In the video the officer can be seen radioing in, asking dispatch to close out a contact file, before explaining to McKean that he was stopped because he was “making people nervous.”

“Well, you were making people nervous,” the officer explained as he took out his own cellphone and began filming the encounter.

“By walking by?” McKean asked.

“Yeah they said you had your hands in your pockets,” the officer replied.

“Wow,” McKean said. “Walking by, having your hands in your pockets makes people nervous and call the police when it’s snowing outside?” to which the officer admits, “It is.”

Asked by the officer, “What are you up to today?” McKean replied, “Walking, with my hands in my pockets. Walking.”

“Is it an inconvenience talking to me right now?” the officer asked.

“Hell yes. Just because of the whole police situation going on across the country,” an animated McKean replied. “This is outrageous that you would let somebody tell you ‘Oh, there’s somebody walking down the street with their hands in their pockets.’ There’s ten thousand people in Pontiac right now with their hands in their pockets, so how many —”

The police officer agreed saying, “That’s right, but we do have a lot of robberies, so I’m just checking on you. You’re fine, you’re good.”

McKean pointed out that both he and the officer were both being “respectable” — at which point the officer high-fives him — before adding, “I’m really mad at the situation, whoever called. That’s crazy.”

The officer replied that he had to check it out, adding that he would do the same thing if McKean had called.

McKean can be heard saying, “For …read more

Source: ALTERNET