What started as a comment in a facebook post on a friend's wall, has changed into a diary entry, attempting to wade through the morass of politics and terrorism in the Middle East, and reflect on the West's "shock" regarding the brutal tactics of ISIS.
Are we in the West expecting those in the Middle East to simply forget what we did there following the fall of the Ottoman Empire (https://en.wikipedia.org/...)? Countries were carved into existence with little regard for the inhabitants, brutal regimes were supported, weapons were imported into the area, and then there's the sanctions against Iraq in the 90s, which killed over 200,000 children.
I am not advocating terrorism as a form of counter-attack, but I am not shocked nor surprised by recent actions. Sew the wind, reap the whirlwind, what what. Yes, Clinton is responsible for continuing the sanctions put in place by Bush The Elder. This issue cuts across party lines.
It appears the nature and rules of war have evolved.
See below the squiggle for why...
Iraq strikes out at its neighbor in 1990, and as a result hundreds of thousands of women, children and ordinary civilians are killed by sanctions imposed by the West after Saddam's military ambitions were pacified (https://en.wikipedia.org/...). The 1998 fatwa issued by Bin Laden and signed by four others in an umbrella group called "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders", specifically mentions the sanctions as justification for acts of terrorism (https://en.wikipedia.org/...). Bin Laden would continue to talk about the sanctions in the years that followed, keeping them on the minds of those who listened to his screeds. We in the West can moralize all we want about terrorist tactics, but Bin Laden showed how such attacks are a very effective way of combatting a media-military-industrial complex country. Terrible things happen in war. Ask "Bomber" Harris about about the RAF Bomber Command's role in WWII (https://en.wikipedia.org/...). Over the years, legions of shadowy soldiers were trained in terrorist tactics. Then we have Bush Jr. come bumbling along, toppling the ruler of Iraq (that the U.S. had put in place) for specious reasons (WMDs, smoking gun is a mushroom cloud, 'cuz - freedom, etc.), putting in place a U.S. sponsored government (recall all the purple finger photo-ops). And let's not forget the fighting in Afghanistan and the prison camps and the torture. Then, suddenly, we have sock, condemnation and outrage in the West over ISIS and it's terrorism as a movement swells, using known military tactics. We have one side using economic weapons and implementing torture and another side using terrorist tactics. The Middle East has been on the front-lines of ethically reprehensible war tactics. I fail to find room for either side to moralize on the subject.
It appears the nature and rules of war have evolved.
To put a red bow on top of my missive, I should mention that the addition of "media" to the military-industrial complex is a needed upgrade to the phrase. Who can forget the 24 hour news cycles filled with "The Countdown To WAR" and breathless talking heads waxing poetic about the upcoming, proverbial walk-in-the-park? Oh, right, the very same 24 hour news cycle seems to have forgotten it's culpability. Dissenting voices could be found on the fringes of the media tapestry, but for-profit journalism was in full-swing. War is good for ratings, which in turn, is good for the bottom line. With the death of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 (https://en.wikipedia.org/...), much of journalism has morphed into echoing, as evidenced by the media's uncritical presentation of Bush Jr's reasons for invading Iraq.
Thomas Jefferson's vision of a healthy democracy had at its heart a free press. The biggest threat at that time was a monarch or government taking editorial control of journalism. While the East India Company was massive at the time (https://en.wikipedia.org/...), it was an abberation rather than the norm, as capitalism was stretching its legs. As the methods of capitalism have evolved, we presently see a plethora of massive corporations which are "too big to fail", which is the natural result of year after year profit and expansion. Now, it appears, there is an additional threat to the free press, one that is more cancerous. Rather than a king taking editorial control, we now see the effects of accountants doing the same. As media companies grew, consolidated and merged with other interests over the years, the Free Press in the U.S. has mostly become but a cog in the works, and a profitable one at that. (Is now the time to mention that the 24 hour news cycle is run by the entertainment divisions of the companies that operate them? Bye bye News Departments.) So, rather than a healthy democracy (with it's constituents being educated by a press without editorial constraints) debating going to war, we have a steady drumbeat and countdown, garish displays of patriotism, uncritical presentations of evidence, and an increase in viewers/ratings/profits, all of which are clamoring for WAR.
I see this as a multi-faceted problem and have done my best to shine a light on the tapestry that is this travesty.