human scum still alive

I prefer my evildoers to be comical or true believers. These are the bad guys one can get behind.

On the comical end of the spectrum are Bond villains, Indiana Jones Nazis, or say Maduro (a bumbling idiot of a former bus driver who hangs onto power because his vice president and generals are addicted to drug trafficking money). There was actually a Venezuelan propaganda video where Maduro was driving the slums talking up his record and in the background is a building with graffiti calling for his downfall. Not only does Maduro fail to notice this, but they were actually stupid enough to leave this in after editing. Now that’s a level of comical dumb I can get behind in my bad guys.

On the true believer end of the spectrum I like my villains to mean what they say. This provides the clearest indication for the rest of us as to how one can conduct their lives. For example, Hitler shot his own wife and himself rather than be taken. Dude was pure evil, probably mostly insane, but at least meant what he said. Or take the currently popular Thanos (I don’t watch these movies but it’s hard not to know what happens) who follows through on his evil plans all the way to the end, and on multiple occasions, dies to the bitter end for them.

Contrast this to bad guys who are total losers, they neither provide comic relief nor the pleasure of a true bad guy. For example, take Stalin, for all his crimes (more bodies than Hitler) what he essentially boils down to is a coward. Granted, we must take the story with a grain of salt as the tale is from his daughter (who had a mixed relationship with him at best) but at the very end Stalin apparently dies in bed but as a broken man full of fear in his eyes at the prospect of death. Hey man, I get it, nobody wants to die, I’d be scared too. But when you clock a body count in the tens-of-millions, you’d better have more of a gut when your time comes.

Or take another example with our current human scum of the day in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is apparently still alive after five years of war. For those who aren’t aware, ISIS is finished as a landholding organization. What remains is a true stateless terror cell. al-Baghdadi made his name calling for an apocalyptic vision of his false view of Islam where the end was near and the apocalypse would rebuild humanity in a new era, his world. I’m paraphrasing but that’s what this guy sold to the planet. It was this vision that brought tens-of-thousands of foreign fighters from across the globe to fight for ISIS.

But oh dear, oh so sorry folks, because I guess al-Baghdadi didn’t really mean it after all. Shocker. If al-Baghdadi really believed any of that, he’d be a corpse in Baghuz either dead by his own hand or any number of lethal means from the Syrian Defense Forces or their Western allies. Instead he’s slumming it up in some false tent / film set like a total loser. I mean, just look at this guy, he looks like a roadside panhandler. All he needs is a cardboard sign with third grade handwritten scrawling: “unemployed false prophet/jihadist – need money – homeless veteran – please help – God bless!”.

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It’s like bin Laden. For all that dude was and claimed to be, he died in a purpose built cult compound mansion surrounded by his PlayStation and his (ultra large) porn stash. What a total loser.

al-Baghdadi’s time is coming, it’s just a matter of when. But like bin Laden he’ll go out as a complete fraud. An evil man for sure, but one who was never comical, serious, or even competent. It’s a testament to the flaws of humanity that such pathetic creatures manage to mayhem as much as they do.

What’s the real lesson from al-Baghdadi’s brief, violent reign? That he was good at it? Or rather, as I believe, that his foes (the criminally incompetent Syrian and Iraqi governments) were just even more incompetent / fraudulent.

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Speaches don’t make history like they used to

It’s probably a safe bet you’re not going to hear anything new tomorrow.  It’s not like Obama’s going to announce a paratrooper assault on Mosul has occurred, or that he’s nuked Damascus.  Although both acts might be productive. 

Whatever he says, its mostly noise.  The audience is not the world to outline a plan, but the voter to influence an election.  Which makes it essentially worthless toward the overall outcome of the crisis at hand.  Or maybe I’m just being too damn cynical, and he’s actually making a go of it.  Shit man, I sure hope so.

Hey remember when presidents used to start wars with glowing speeches that made history.  You read about them decades or hundreds of years later.  Will anybody remember what Obama says tomorrow in say, one year?  Probably not.  But don’t blame him too much.  Nobody on the other side of the political equation is saying anything relevant either.

The opposition (a term not applicable to the Republicans) is currently entertaining lunatic ideas from the likes of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Two guys who apparently don’t realize that the galaxy’s moved on from reasonable militant isolationist views since, oh, 1939.

I don’t envy Obama, he’s in an impossible situation.  No matter what he says, just about everybody’s going to hate him.  But nobody has a better answer than he does.  Because, I fear, there is no answer.  It’s lose, lose.

So given that, my guests and I are going to answer this tomorrow before the speech.  Because we help people with problems.  It’s what we do.  Which is bad.  Because we have a lot of problems.

Either way, here’s hoping for all our sakes that the Prez makes this one count.  We and history need a win.

desk

Temporary holder of the second hardest job on the planet after Bear Baiter (to be returned to Ukraine upon conclusion of tomorrow’s speech)

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

It’s generally a good idea for the world’s leaders to do what they say.  I mean, since they’re in politics, they’re all liars to a certain extent.  But if you make it a point to promise death to your enemies, it’s probably best to make sure you’re serious.  Especially before you go shouting revenge in front of, oh, say the family of a man who got murdered.

Don’t get me wrong, I like what Biden’s saying.  I’m all about it.  I wish our leaders talked like this every day.  The problem is that I think he’s made a promise he can’t keep.  Following ISIS to the “gates of hell” requires a level of effort the public is not prepared to currently accept.

For example:

– Dude on Street:  I hate ISIS, let’s kill them all.

– Reality:  Doing that might require 50 thousand American troops back in Iraq, at least for a while.  Are you in?

– Dude on Street:  Whoa there, let’s not get carried away.

– Reality:  Do you want to win or not?

– Dude on Street:  Well, yeah, let’s kick ass, but like, whoa, that sounds kinda extreme.

Everybody’s favorite polished weakling in David Cameron has made similarly belligerent claims.  And yet at this point I don’t think the British military (yes, there apparently still is one) has fired a shot.

There’s a case to be made for caving in the skulls of every ISIS member.  There’s also a case for doing nothing.  There’s no case for saying you’re going to kill them all, and then effectively doing next to nothing.

They’re just spouting generalities, idle threats, or incomprehensible garbage.  No wonder nobody in the West is interested in a real war in the cause of good.  Their leaders can’t even articulate a decent plan to battle evil.

Yet, Joe just made a promise.  Sadly, if I had to bet, I figure he can’t/won’t back it up.  This doesn’t say much for the West’s credibility, again.  This is beyond a trend now, or just a recent theme.  It’s becoming a way of life.  Inaction, empty words, and irrelevance.  Don’t think ISIS hasn’t noticed.  It’s why they feel they can saw a man’s head off, and get away with it._77372315_77355933

Oh Joe, if you actually could back this up you’d be one of history’s greatest orators instead of a joke

The West continues to show how unreliable & uncaring it is

I want to you wander down the streets of New York or Paris or Amsterdam and ask a handful of folks whether they know or care what’s happening in Iraq. I’d reckon you’d get one of two responses:

a) An incomprehensible answer not grounded in fact

b) The person would in so many words kindly inform you that they don’t care

When the people of an entire culture aren’t interested in a problem, it creates a break in thought that is almost impossible to fix. The West must do something about ISIS because if given the chance they’d kill everybody on the planet who disagrees with them. Plus, by any reasonable standard of humanity, they’ve got to go.

However, the people of the West aren’t interested in confronting the problem and would prefer to ignore it. So the leaders of the West have to do what little they can to battle the forces of darkness, without actually saying they’re doing anything.

Thus, you get Britain (a country that used to matter) emphatically stating in the strongest possible terms that they won’t engage in combat operations to stop ISIS. That they’ll just drop humanitarian aid. Because anything more than that would cost David Cameron two percentage points in the upcoming general election.

And then we get this from Obama:

“We’re not going to let them create some caliphate through Syria and Iraq,” he said. “But we can only do that if we know that we have got partners on the ground who are capable of filling the void.”

Uh, okay.

1) The only way to stop ISIS from creating a Caliphate through Syria and Iraq is to deploy Western ground troops to kill them all.

2) Since (1) won’t happen, he seems to think they can still destroy ISIS if the West has partners. By partners I suppose he means an effective multi-ethnic government in Baghdad and a non-murderous government in Damascus.

3) Since (2) is impossible, what’s he actually saying? He’s saying the United States and the West will do the bare minimum because that’s all he’s got to work with.

Don’t get me wrong on what I’m saying. There’s no right answer here. You can’t ask a democracy to go to war when something like three-quarters of the population would oppose it. On the other hand, sometimes true leaders need to tell a country exactly what they don’t want to hear. What if Cameron or Obama said something like this:

“We’re not going to let them create some caliphate through Syria and Iraq. These monsters go against all our values, liberty, and morals. If necessary, hopefully without ground forces, but however it needs to happen, we’ll annihilate their evil from the planet.”

No Western leader will ever say this today. I suspect though, that fifty years ago or even thirty years ago, that they would have. In the meantime if you are a moderate Sunni, a Kurd, a displaced Iraqi Christian, or an ISIS foot soldier? What’s been said in the last three days that gives you any confidence that the West is reliable and generally does what is promises?

Instead, I suspect all of them are making their own plans, good or bad to address the situation without the West’s serious involvement. Maybe you think that’s a good thing? That they’ll figure it out on their own. And then the West can get back to the mall. But I’m certain you won’t like the result when you see it.

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You can bet that whatever these folks are thinking, that nowhere in their brains are they counting upon the free world to save them.