“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Let them burn - Why the shock of burning one man when that is what bombs are designed to do and the military does as SOP?

Is ISIL’s ‘Shock and Awe’ more Awe-ful because of One Victim?

The Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) burning of a captured Jordanian pilot alive produced justified revulsion globally, resulting in the terrorist organization being termed “barbarous” and similar epithets. Why did it behave this way? Because it wants to terrify its opponents into submission and underline that it is too crazy to be messed with. In short, it was a form of ‘shock and awe.’ It was all the more horrible for being inflicted on a single, known individual with a premeditated and inexorable viciousness, and for being carefully filmed and shared on the internet (successfully tempting Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News into rebroadcasting it).
“Shock and Awe” was the slogan pushed by the Bush administration for its massive bombing campaign against Iraq in March-April of 2003. It conducted 29,200 air strikes in the course of the initial invasion. Many of those missions were flown against what turned out to be empty Baath government facilities in hopes of killing high government officials (mostly that did not happen). But you can’t drop 500-pound bombs on a densely populated city without killing innocent bystanders. Likely the first two months of US bombing left at the very least 2,760 civilians dead.*
A study based on the conservative “Iraq Body Count” found that in Iraq, “46 per cent of the victims of US air strikes whose gender could be determined were female and 39 per cent were children.”
But the slaughter from the air was great not only among civilians but among military personnel, many of whom had no opportunity to surrender or run away (when US ground forces approaching the capital were surprised to come upon elements of a Republican Guard tank division they thought had been destroyed, the Iraqi tank personnel exited their vehicles and decamped en masse; those discovered by A-10 tank killers or Apache helicopters were not afforded that opportunity).

Speaking of burning people alive, one technique the US used was the BLU-82B, a 15,000 pound bomb detonated near the ground with a blast radius of about 5000 feet, but leaving no crater. It was intended to intimidate by burning up large numbers of infantrymen or armored personnel. (It is sometimes misidentified as a fuel-air bomb or ‘daisy cutter’ but is much more powerful than the latter). It was retired in 2008 in favor of something even more destructive.
In the 2003 invasion, The Guardian reported,
“The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force crossed the Tigris at the town of Kut, reporting only occasional fire from the Baghdad infantry division of the Republican Guard, which had suffered days of intense bombardment, including two massive 15,000lb “daisy-cutter” fuel-air bombs. Gen Brooks said the Baghdad division, which originally had up to 12,000 troops, had been “destroyed”.
I think a lot of the ‘destroyed’ troops were burned up alive.
The purpose of the bombing was to terrify Iraqis into submitting. That is, it was a form of state terrorism. Iraq had not attacked the US. There was no casus belli or legitimate legal grounds for war. The UN Security Council, despite wooing and arm-twisting by Bush officials, declined to authorize the use of force. It was an illegal act of unadulterated aggression with no obvious provocation that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the wounding of millions, and rendered four million of the 25 million Iraqis homeless over time (many of these remain displaced to this day; some have thrown in with Daesh as a result).
The US shock and awe campaign failed to shock or awe. The Iraqi military turned guerrilla and harried US troops for 8 1/2 years, then many of the ex-Baath officers and trained soldiers deserted secular nationalism, turned to al-Qaeda-type ideologies, formed Daesh and took over western and northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
The ex-Baath officers learned from seeing their colleagues and troops burned up by the Bush fireworks. According to that doctrine, you want to shock the enemy with your brutality and destructiveness, and awe him into submission by your crazed irrationality. But the Daesh commanders also took the lesson that dropping 15,000 pound bombs in the dead of the night away from cameras isn’t very effective, since the populace is insulated from the horror. Burning up even one captured enemy pilot alive on video, in contrast, would be broadcast by the internet and by Rupert Murdoch to the whole world, and a few thousand thugs could arrange for themselves to take on global importance and appear truly menacing to Jordan and even to the city of Rome (so they claim). All this publicity and fear accomplished not with billions in military spending but a smartphone camera, a single captive, and a few psychopaths with matches.
Now that is Shock and Awe. Shocking in its fierce savagery, awing in its wanton inhumanity. But we shouldn’t forget that that was also what Bush was going for in 2003 when he inadvertently started the process of creating Daesh as a backlash to his own monumental ruthlessness.
* Iraq Body Count gives 24,865 civilian casualties during the first two years of the Iraq War, attributing 37% of these to the US and estimating that 30% of civilian deaths occurred from the beginning of the war until May 1, 2003. Iraq Body Count statistics were gathered passively from Western newspaper reports and personally I think that they are underestimates.
Related video:


  1. I remember clearly when I said that ISIS was created by ex-Iraqi baathists in REACTION to the Iranian/Syrian excessive slaughter of Sunnis...

    and how I was pillared here....


  2. To date, Syria's Assad with direct help from Hezbollah and Iran (and Russia) have butchered almost 300,000 civilians, starved whole cities and made over 11 MILLION real refugees. These are the conditions that have created the civil war in Syria of today.

    During the Baathist Iraq/Shiite Iran war over 1.5 MILLION died. Iran used kids to be human mine sweepers. Iraq used poison gas.

  3. The weapons of war are horrific. That's why the incredibly low numbers of civilian casualties in the Iraq Air Campaign are so notable.

    1. Actually there are hundreds, if not thousands, just not reported by the main stream media. Complete apartment buildings, with occupants, bombed with no warnings, no phone calls, no leaflets, no knock knock on the roof bombs, just BOOM.

      And of course no real press coverage.

      Where is NBC? CNN? CBS?

      In Gaza they had FLOORS and FLOORS of flats….

      No if you don't see it, it doesn't count..

    2. How about a little documentation for that claim.

      You're as full of shit as a Christmas Turkey.

    3. Rufus, how about you be honest with yourself and do a little googling?

      You cannot list, day after day, bombing runs and preach how no civilians are killed. You know nothing.

      I dont blame America for doing what it is doing, however your hypocrisy is daunting.

    4. YOU do the googling you America-hating motherfucker.

  4. What a sorry war mongering apologist you are!!!

    1. Sez the racist asshole that wanted to send in the "First Airborne."

      After the "Carpet Bombing."

    2. America and it's friends are bombing everything in site.

      Not that I disagree with that tactic, it's not the 1st time America leveled the enemies cities, nor the last.

    3. That wasn't me. I just got up.

      Might be rat on the imitation again.

      I won't be here today.

      Leaving in about one half hour.

  5. U.S. Won’t Admit to Killing a Single Civilian in the ISIS War
    Civilian deaths, a keystone metric of the last war in Iraq, has now become the statistic no one wants to talk about.
    Five months and 1,800-plus strikes into the U.S. air campaign against ISIS, and not a single civilian has been killed, officially. But Pentagon officials concede that they really have no way of telling for sure who has died in their attacks‚—and admit that no one will ever know how many have been slain.

    “It’s impossible for us to know definitively if civilians are killed in a strike. We do everything we can to investigate. We don’t do strikes if we think civilians could be there. But we can’t have a perfect picture on what’s going on,” one Pentagon official explained to The Daily Beast.

    Stuart Jones, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told al Arabiya that U.S. and coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria have killed 6,000 ISIS fighters. That no civilians could be among that figure strikes observers and even military officials as all but impossible.

  6. Reports of Civilian Deaths Prompt Inquiry Into Strikes Against ISIS

    WASHINGTON — The United States military is investigating reports of civilian casualties that may have occurred as part of the American-led fight against the Sunni militancy known as the Islamic State, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.

    Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters during a news conference that investigators with the United States Central Command had begun looking into whether coalition airstrikes, which have targeted Islamic State fighters, equipment and oil depots, may have inadvertently hit civilians. Admiral Kirby said he had no additional information. It was the first time that the Pentagon had acknowledged that the air campaign against the Islamic State may have caused civilian deaths.

    Continue reading the main story

    Remnants of the previous United States military presence in Iraq, mostly untouched, have greeted troops now that American forces are returning to the country.Camp Taji Journal: U.S. Forces, Returning to Iraq, Encounter the Things Their Comrades CarriedJAN. 6, 2015
    A Desert War on ISIS, Fought From a Floating CityDEC. 15, 2014
    “I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” President Obama said Thursday night.Obama Allows Limited Airstrikes on ISISAUG. 7, 2014
    video ISIS’ Goals and Tactics WorldwideSEPT. 10, 2014
    Times Topic: Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
    Sgt. First Class Sheryl Lawry, a spokeswoman for Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said in an email that Centcom was investigating two instances, one in Iraq and one in Syria, that may have resulted in civilian casualties. The investigations are a result of Centcom’s internal review process. Another three reports of civilian casualties are pending an internal assessment before determining whether they need to be investigated, she said.

    1. You're trying to find equivalency between our Iraq Campaign and the execrable IDF/Gaza Massacre. You're looking foolish.

    2. Yes, America is destroying who know how many civilians without any warning, attacking a terrorist group 9000 miles away from our shores.

      Israel attacked a terrorist group that launched 10,000 rockets at it's population, tunneled under it's border, kidnapped it's citizens and dismembered them.

      NO EQUIVALENCY at all

    3. Hamas, a fully funded terror organization, with tens of thousands of trained troops under control, train and supplied by Iran attacks Israel, that sits NEXT to it.

      America, 9000 miles away, bombs Iraqis, terrorists and any civilians that get caught up it in …

      Israel warned the population of the specific apartment building to get out…

      America? Bomb bomb bmob bomb, no warning… just attack and slaughter…

    4. Not on OUR shores, motherfucker. There's not a chance on God's Green Earth that you are an American.

    5. So when you don't like my typing AGAIN, you try to discredit me as not an american.

      Now that's quite Joe McCarthy of you

      Now you are a fucking, inbred, drunk of a coward.

      You might be an american, but you are the trash that give us a bad name.

    6. and I wrote, you drunk savage:

      Yes, America is destroying who know how many civilians without any warning, attacking a terrorist group 9000 miles away from our shores.

      yes OUR shores.

      fucking moron

  7. Witnesses: US-Led Strike on ISIS Jail Killed More Than 50 Civilians
    McClatchy report sheds light on alleged mass bombing of non-combatants by US-allied forces

    A bombing by U.S.-led forces of a detention facility inside Syria that took place last month may have killed 50 or more civilians held inside, new reporting reveals. If the testimony of witnesses is accurate, the incident would represent the most deadly allied attack on non-combatants since the coalition began launching airstrikes against targets inside Syria last year.

    The strike in question took place on December 28, 2014, hitting a makeshift jail controlled by ISIS militants in the town of Al Bab, McClatchy reported Sunday. The building was completely destroyed in the bombing, and it took "days" before the civil defense workers could retrieve the bodies, according to journalists Roy Gutman and Mousab Alhamadee.

    "McClatchy located two sources who confirmed a high civilian death toll from the strike," states the article. "One witness, an activist in Al Bab, gave the death toll as 61 civilian prisoners and 13 Islamic State guards. The Syrian Network for Human Rights estimated the death toll at 80, and said 25 of those were Islamic State Guards and another 55 were either civilians or imprisoned fighters from non-Islamic State rebel groups."

    According to witnesses, people killed included civilians accused of violating ISIS's brutal interpretation of Sharia law, as well as people accused of opposing ISIS.

  8. So I guess America doesn't go as far as Israel in preventing civilian deaths. No cell phone calls, no leaflets, no warning shots….


    Yeah, my tunnel vision is spewing again.

    1. Or, maybe it was "Syrian" planes.

      Or, maybe it never happened.

      Or, maybe the numbers were greatly exaggerated.

      But, we Know what happened in Gaza. We watched it.

      Obama is not Bibi.

      And, the U.S. Air Force is NOT the IDF.

    2. Correct the IDF never nuked a city of civilians

    3. They would, but they'd lose their $3 Billion Welfare Check.

    4. Rufus, got an answer for everything?

      You really are talking above your pay grade as usual.

      Israel doesn't NUKE gaza because the lack the lack of morality to do so.

    5. As for your comment about 3 billion in "welfare"?

      Just shows how you hold Israel to one standard and none to anyone else.

      How much do we spend on protecting the oil shipping lanes for china?

      How much do we spend on Egypt, the Palestnians, Jordan?

      How much did we spend on rebuilding Iraq? Afghanistan?

      3 billion in military aid, to an economy of $102 billon.

      That's "welfare"?

      That aint even a decent TIP %

  9. America is not occupying another country bringing in settlers from other countries of one specific chosen religion causing a predictable rebellion. Quit trying to make a moral comparison with Israel. There is none.

    1. America is an occupying colonial project that brought MILLIONS of folks from all over the world.

      Just ask a indian

    2. Israel doesn't occupy another country, get with the world. The League of nations, the UN all support the creation of the Jewish State of Israel, just as it has recognized dozens of others.

      It's you that can't see reality.

      Just because some inbred savages don't LIKE the fact that Israel EXISTS because their MOON God ALLAH tells them so?

      Too bad

    3. Deuce: "Quit trying to make a moral comparison with Israel. There is none."

      welllllll, Israel is doing as you say and the USA is doing it for the OIL.

    4. Ash, but America doesn't have too.

      Israel is trying to survive in a sea of your friends. You know the types, long knives and suicide vests?

    5. shades of grey down to black - nary a lily white star in the bunch!

  10. The only reason Israel gets away with it is because they flash the anti-semite card to the objectors, but that is worn thin.

  11. ...that and the religious Christian fanatics which are in a steady and steep decline.

    1. yep, and Europe is proof, and the islamic savages are taking over with predictable results.

  12. America is not occupying another country bringing in settlers from other countries of one specific chosen religion causing a predictable rebellion.

    Obama seeks to import 300,000 syrian refugees…


    1. I would take 300,000 Syrian refugees. They are the cream of the crop.

    2. I hope they all move to South Philadelphia.

      You deserve them

  13. The common thread is “religious” all emanating from the same psychopath.

    1. I agree that is the common thread but contend that it was the writers of the New Testament that showed me the Truth, that set me free of the "Wages of Sin."
      That doesn't make me want to be religious, only curious as to what happened to me and why.

    2. What a stupid comment, Deuce, in so many ways.

  14. You can’t hide your tribal affinity to Israel. So be it.

    1. I don't try to hide my tribal affinity to Israel.

      But you don't try to hide your hatred of Israel, Zionism and Jews..

      ANd that is the REASON Israel is.

      And it pisses you off that Jews refuse to take your crap anymore..


    2. America stands with Israel.

      I do as well.

      You stand with Hamas and Iran.

      Who is the loyal American?


    3. A servant can’t serve two masters. I am an American by choice. I have no allegiance to another country or a religion. America does not stand with Israel. US politicians, bought and paid for place Israeli interests over US interests. That is waining as political support for Israel from un-bifurcated Americans is waining. The Christian right, smirked at by US Jews, is on the decline.

      Israel created Hamas, not me. Israel created the colonies in Arab lands, not me. When a discussion is attempted at the Israeli slaughter of US serviceman on The USS Liberty, the veil comes off your claim of standing in two places simultaneously.

      Israel is a crown of thorns for the US. Given a choice for a hegemon in the ME, Israel and Saudi Arabia would not be on my short list. I trust neither. That does not mean I hate Arabs or Jews.

      I believe in Hubble and science, everything else is historic excrement.

    4. I am not a servant to any state. I am a FREE MAN.

      I am an American by birth, And by that right, I am free to hold dear my faith.

      America does and has stood by Israel's right to BE.

      It doesn't mean America agrees with everything Isarel does. BUT it does support it as an ALLY and support's it's right to be a NATION.

      Regardless of who smirks at whom. Regardless of your perverse rewriting of history. Israel is not responsible for Hamas's savage behavior, nor did it create the Islamic / Arab hostility to the west.

      When you try, and fail, to slander Israel on an hourly basis it shows your anti-Semitic POV, you say it's a card worn thin. Well if you are Jew hating, Israel bashing, zionist trashing broken record?

      You play it yourself, don't be angry at me for pointing out the obvious.

      Your constant accusations of Israel and the Jews stealing the land of Israel from the Arabs?

      gross nonsense.

  15. Somebody was imitating ol' Bob again, above.

    I know it's the highest form of flattery.....

    I am not going to be around most of the day so from here on out if it's Bob it's not me.

    Cheers !

  16. Meanwhile, in OUR country:

    A program that provides contraceptives to low-income women contributed to a 40-percent drop in Colorado's teen birth rate between 2009 and 2013, according to state officials.

    The program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at 68 family planning clinics in Colorado.

    The teen abortion rate dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in counties served by the program, according to the state's estimates.

    Young women served by the family planning clinics also accounted for about three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado's teen birth rate. And the infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a nutrition program for low-income women and their babies, fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.

    "This initiative has saved Colorado millions of dollars," Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a July statement. "But more importantly, it has helped thousands of young Colorado women continue their education, pursue their professional goals and postpone pregnancy until they are ready to start a family."

    The program is not without controversy. Since teens don't need to be accompanied by an adult to obtain contraceptives at the facilities, critics say the initiative undermines parental rights. Some critics reject the states' numbers altogether.

    Colorado's experience is part of a nationwide decline in the teen birth rate. The decline can be attributed to teenage boys having less sex, but it also correlates with an increase in long-lasting, reversible contraceptive use among teens.

    Still, Colorado's teen birth rate seems to be declining much more quickly than . . . . . . . .

    Common Sense

  17. Beirut (AFP) - Syrian Kurdish forces made fresh advances Wednesday near the flashpoint town of Kobane, bringing the number of villages they have recaptured from the Islamic State group to 50, a monitor said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), backed by rebel fighters, "are continuing to advance in the countryside of Kobane, facing no resistance from the IS".

    Speaking to AFP, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the YPG's advance over the past week has been "speedy".

    "As soon as the YPG enters into a village, the IS withdraws its fighters."

    After nearly five months of fighting for Kobane, which is strategically located on the Turkish border, the YPG recaptured the town on January 26.

    Battles then broke out for 350 villages surrounding the town.

    So far, the Kurds have reclaimed 50 of those villages, according to the Observatory.

    "The number of villages reclaimed by the YPG... has risen to 50," the . . . . . . .

    Dead Men Gone

  18. I see that the "Draft Doffer" still does not know how to man up and be somebody

    Funny shit, that