“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."

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Displaced Victims of Israel, US and NATO

Austrian Truck Tragedy echoes Palestinian Story, reminding us of 7 mn still stateless

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –
The gruesome discovery of an abandoned truck in eastern Austria with 71 dead refugees in it, 4 of them children, has horrified the world. But few will realize that the plot of this story was laid out in the 1960s by Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, in his 1962 novel, Men in the Sun 
Of the 1.2 million Palestinians living in the British Mandate of Palestine, Zionist settlers allowed in by the British attacked and expelled over half of them in 1948, about 720,000, from their homes. To this day, of the 11 million Palestinians, 7.1 million are still refugees or displaced. Many of them are stateless, lacking the basic rights bestowed by citizenship in a state.
Kanafani’s novel treats 3 Palestinian workers who cannot work in Lebanon, who decided to try to get to Kuwait, being smuggled in the back of a tanker truck. When the driver finally makes it to Kuwait, he looks inside the empty tank, only to find them dead.
Kanafani was murdered by a covert Israeli hit squad in 1972.
The dead in the real truck in Austria appear to have been mainly Syrian. Of today’s 22 million Syrians, 11 million are displaced or refugees (including many internally displaced).
But often the great refugee crises, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, end by the refugees returning home when peace descends.
The Palestinians don’t have that prospect. Their home has been stolen from them by the Israelis and they were unceremoniously dumped on the neighbors or in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. They are stateless. They are the original truck people.
Related video:


  1. Police in Austria say the bodies of 71 people, believed to be migrants, were discovered in an abandoned lorry found near the Hungarian border on Thursday.
    The victims included 59 men, eight women and four children who are thought to have been dead for about two days.
    Police said the group appeared to be migrants from Syria and probably died after suffocating in the vehicle.
    Three people, thought to be Bulgarian, have been arrested in Hungary. They are said to be the owner and drivers.
    Police sent to investigate the dumped lorry on the A4 motorway towards Vienna discovered the decomposing bodies on Thursday morning.
    The vehicle was towed to a customs building with refrigeration facilities where forensic teams worked through the night to examine the bodies

  2. One in three refugees world wide is Palestinian. There are about 6.5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. More than 3.8 million Palestinian refugees and their descendents displaced in 1948 are registered for humanitarian assistance with the United Nations.

    1. Once again you distort reality for your pals the Fakistians

      One in three refugees world wide is Palestinian. There are about 6.5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. More than 3.8 million Palestinian refugees and their descendents displaced in 1948 are registered for humanitarian assistance with the United Nations.

      There were only 500,000 original refugees of the Palestinian issue.

      If you do your funny math, counting descendant?

      More Jews are refugees...

      You are like the boy who cried wolf

  3. Before its civil war, Syria was home to a large community of Palestinian refugees. Now, as they flee their adopted home, many Arab countries are forcibly deporting them back into hell.

    Ahmad is invisible. He uses a fake name, rarely ventures outside, and moves his family between apartments in Jordan’s capital of Amman frequently, sometimes at a moment’s notice if he thinks his cover has been blown.

    Ahmad is a refugee twice over. His family fled land that now belongs to Israel for refuge in Syria, where he grew up. Now, he’s hiding from his foster country’s civil war in Jordan. Meanwhile, residents of his former neighborhood in Damascus who couldn’t escape survive by eating grass.

    Ahmad is one of the estimated 70,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria living undercover in Syria’s neighboring countries, all but one of which explicitly turn away Palestinians at the border. In Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, hundreds of people like Ahmad have been caught and deported back into Syria.

    1. Israel settled it's refugees that were expelled forcibly by the arabs...

      Maybe the Palestinians should go to Ramallah and build a life.

      Of course you have to make a choice. No more bullshit about storming Israel. Go and build Palestine.

      The current President of the Palestinians, in his 10th year of a 4 year term says it's better to die than to give up on the right of return...

      Now he can say that having amassed a fortune of a 100 million (about 1/2 of what hillary and bill have amassed) and living in a 3 million dollar palace....


  4. Oh, Harry, you didn't fuck up all that often, but when you did, it was a doozy.

    George Marshall warned you.

  5. Highlights

    There's no hurry for a rate hike based on the July personal income and outlays report where inflation readings are very quiet. Core PCE prices rose only 0.1 percent in the month with the year-on-year rate moving backwards, not forwards, to a very quiet plus 1.2 percent. Total prices are also quiet, also at plus 0.1 percent for the monthly rate and at only plus 0.3 percent the yearly rate.

    On the consumer, the data are very solid led by a 0.4 percent rise in income that includes a 0.5 percent rise in wages & salaries which is the largest since November last year. Other income details, led by transfer receipts, also gained in the month. Spending rose 0.3 percent led by a 1.1 gain in durables that's tied to vehicle sales. The savings rate is also healthy, up 2 tenths to 4.9 percent.

    The growth side of this report is very favorable and marks a good beginning for the third quarter. This at the same time that inflation pressures remain stubbornly dormant. And remember this report next month will reflect the August downturn in fuel prices. With the core PCE index out of the way, next week's August employment report looks to be the last big question mark going into the September 17 FOMC.

  6. Interesting math and redefining words..

    "Of the 1.2 million Palestinians living in the British Mandate of Palestine, Zionist settlers allowed in by the British attacked and expelled over half of them in 1948, about 720,000, from their homes. To this day, of the 11 million Palestinians, 7.1 million are still refugees or displaced. Many of them are stateless, lacking the basic rights bestowed by citizenship in a state."

    In 1948 the UN declared a solution to the Mandate of Palestine. It cut 40% of the lands promised to the Jews in the League of Nations solution, still a legally binding agreement, for a state and carved an Arab state out of the same lands.

    More Jews were expelled from their historic homes than the arabs living in the lands that constituted the new Jewish State. Arabs fled, left and such encouraged by their leaders. To say: " Zionist settlers allowed in by the British attacked and expelled over half of them in 1948, about 720,000, from their homes." Is a lie.

    1st the Jews of the lands many had lived there from thousands of years.

    Some were displaced Jews from Hebron for the 1920 when the arabs drove them out, killing, raping and burning them...

    2nd: The Jews did not "expel" them. In fact Israel broadcasted for them to stay, and because MANY arabs DID in fact stay, there are over 1.2 MILLION arabs living in Israel as citizens today..... 20% of Israel is in fact Arab.

    Now for the fun fact of the day....

    " To this day, of the 11 million Palestinians, 7.1 million are still refugees or displaced."

    If you only had 750,000 original refugees?


    Will I will tell you....

    You redefine the term "refugee" for Palestinians ONLY.

    No other people in the world count grandkids as refugees.

    By this logic there are 11 million Jewish refugees too!

    But of course you cannot accept that the larger numbers of Jews expelled by the arab are refugees, let alone their offspring in perpetude.

    Sorry but the statement is just dishonest.

    There is not 11.5 million palestinian "refugees" created by the creation of Israel.

    1. Now as for the misleading and completely bullshit title of this thread???

      Friday, August 28, 2015
      The Displaced Victims of Israel, US and NATO

      Let's be clear and honest.

      Syria, with Iran's backing and Hezbollah's fighters have killed over 360,000 civilians and created 11 million plus refugees.

      But I dont expect you to be honest.

    2. In fact I EXPECT you to distort and lie for the Iranians, Syrians and Fakistinans.

      The arabs of the region that call themselves "Palestinian" are infact an artificial construct. Of course they DO exist today, just as the Crips and Bloods exist. But that doesnt make the a "real" people or nation....

      Now of course the world will spend and spend to prove otherwise.

      Now look at this 13 million dollar palace that Abbas is building in Ramallah!!!

      Fit for a king!!!

      One MUST be honest to admit that the fakistinians have succeeded on the world stage to create a NEW people, the Palestinians.

      One cannot deny that they do exist!

      And since they exist on a plot of land (maybe not as large as they wish) then those that CLAIM to be Palestinians can and should settle there...

      They are not "stateless" or refugees.

      Of course there is no place in Israel for them, just as the arab world has proven by action there is no place for Jews in the arab occupied lands of the middle east.

  7. Carper has declared, himself.

    The Israeli dream of an Iran/U.S. War is growing dimmer, and dimmer.

    1. The Israeli dream?

      Go fuck yourself.


      But the Iran "deal" will cause war that is certain.

      Since the deal will allow in time Iran to buy and sell advanced conventional arms, ICBMs and in time allow Iran to keep their centrifuges? War will happen, but it will be against an Iran far more up armed...

      The only dream I have is to see a regime change in Iran.

      Your appeasement of Iran will go down in history as the blunder of a lifetime.

    2. In such a few short days, galopn2 has proven himself to be a prejudiced thoughtless idiot.


      We need some new blood.

  8. I've come to the settled opinion, based on long observation, going back to Martha Gellhorn's day, that "Palestinians" are, basically, turds, and don't deserve a "State"

    They can't handle a state. And, let us recall, they have been kicked out of every Arab country they have ever tried squat it.

    Just one mand opinion formed over decades and through much reading.

    They take the view the only good Jew is a dead Jew, first, and, then later, you too, dear reader.

    1. My Niece, by the way, agrees with me, as does my wife, and my old girl friend.

      All these Ladies are quite nice and very rational, come from entirely different backgrounds, each one, yet they have all arrived, each in their own way to thinking of the "Palestinians" as human assholes.

      Just some 'food for thought'.

    2. My Niece, actually, knows a hell of a lot about the subject, her people having been slaughtered to the tune of at least eighty millions over the centuries by the muzz.

      She is a highly civilized woman. Her opinion counts. She has ZERO quarrel with the Jews.

  9. Quirk, are you still thinking of remaining in the "Hillary Camp"?

    Just wondering.

    I recall once upon a latter day you said you might actually vote for her.

    This is a very bad advertisement for yourself, but a great one for Hillary, who is, let us admit it, wonderful at rounding up the all important "nitwit vote".

  10. Oh, and by the way, I sincerely hope Rufus is doing OK.

    With oil blasting through the "$40 dollar per barrel barrier" it seems Ruf's "Peak Oil Predictions" should be a topic of conversation....

    Now is the time 'alternative energy' makes it's long awaited move.

  11. .

    1st the Jews of the lands many had lived there from thousands of years.

    And I thought that long-lived Methuselah stuff was just a fairy tale.


    1. Quirk, jews only lived thousands of year back in the day.

      Today we die in normal lifespans of average other humans unless exposed to nazis or palestinians, then they die at a much earlier age

    2. .

      Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

      He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.


    3. From the same book…

      For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet, Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, And her salvation like a torch that is burning. The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.…

      And I am a ZIONIST..

    4. Quirk has definitely has a quart this morning, and so early.

      The tipoff is when incoherence flips over to out right meaninglessness, disconnected, contextless, gibberish written by his betters..... as here:

      "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

      He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not."

    5. Try to at least keep your Driver's License in effect, Quirk.

  12. On August 12, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated the deal with John Kerry, met in Beirut with Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the Iran-funded terror group Hezbollah. Zarif told Nasrallah the deal “created a historic opportunity to .  .  . face threats posed by the Zionist entity.” Hezbollah has killed Israelis and Jews. It has killed Muslims and Christians. It has also killed Americans. The group took gleeful credit for the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, which killed 241 Americans who were in Lebanon to serve as peacekeepers at the request of Arab nations and for that matter the U.N. Security Council.

    Quirk,Rufus and Deuce stand with Obama and Iran for the deal

  13. The majority of the U.S. Congress stands against the deal. And so does Army Staff Sergeant (ret.) Robert Bartlett, who was grievously wounded on May 3, 2005, in Baghdad by an improvised explosive device made far more devastating by sophisticated Iranian expertise dedicated to the task of killing and maiming as many American soldiers as possible.

    The destruction of Sergeant Bartlett’s Humvee was a feather in the cap of the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Suleimani. A retired American general officer who served in Iraq commented recently that special forces and drone operatives had Suleimani in their sights several times during those years. They were told by their civilian superiors to refrain from killing him. The general deeply regrets that he and his colleagues were constrained by those orders. Now the Iran deal removes international sanctions from Suleimani personally and from his Revolutionary Guard.

    In an ad aired by the group Veterans Against the Deal, Sergeant Bartlett has spoken out. You can watch the ad at

    Quirk,Rufus and Deuce stand with Obama and Iran for the deal

    Whose "side" are they on?

  14. Our Squirt declines to answer whether or not he is still supporting Hillary.

    Will a criminal indictment move the 'Q Needle' ?

    Only an indictment will tell......

  15. Here are the cross-tabs of the CNN/ORC Poll

    Scroll down to pg. 59 for the meat of the head-to-head matchups against Bush and Trump.

    The only glimmer of hope for the Republicans is the "enthusiasm gap."

    The Only hope I see for the Republicans is if 4 things happen, coincidentally:

    1) Bush is the nominee

    2) He can, somehow, get up into the 47 to 50 zone with Latinos.

    3) Hillary can't close the enthusiasm gap


    4) Hillary gives a blow job to a Hip-hopper, on stage, while getting boinked by a donkey.

    And, make no mistake, #4 is crucial to the outcome.


  16. .

    I guess the mentally ill are screwed in most societies but here is another example of how they occasionally get fatally screwed here.

    Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell

    Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, had been held in Virginia jail without bail for nearly four months, accused of stealing a Mountain Dew, Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake

    A mentally ill guy is accused of stealing $5 worth of candy, is ruled incompetent to stand trial, and he is held in jail for months without bail (no reason given) or treatment (lack of a bed?) while he apparently starves himself to death.

    It's a shit world.


  17. It certainly can seem so at times, and is too. One should keep a short list of some good outcome stories in one's wallet to counterbalance.

    They are out there too, but often don't get the attention.

    An old friend of mine in town has cancer, colon cancer that spread....he is doing heavy chemo, and is really tired.

    I put together a large printing of this -


    All Hands For John

    and his sister is circulating it around town for signatures. From a large Catholic family they are mainstays in town, and he's on the City Council right now too. Lost by a few votes when he ran for Mayor, the race I used to think of as between the Corner Club Folk and the One World Cafe Folk.

    The best way to try and fight the blues is get out of the house and try to help someone or some situation someway.....

  18. Shit! The same old boobie droppings need be navigated around yet again. Pure nonsense.

  19. This isn't your grandfather's electorate.

    If you scroll down to page 5 in the Marist Poll, you will find that the "landline" users prefer Bush, 47 to 46,

    but the "cell phone users" opt for Hillary by 16 (54 to 38.)

    Marist Poll

  20. .

    I prefer not to re-post entire articles here, however, I make an exception with this article from McCleans because it does a good job illustration reason #28 on why the US shouldn't be engaged militarily in the ME.

    The foggy war: Where is Canada in the fight against Islamic State?

    In a battleground of shifting and strained alliances, Canada’s modest air war against Islamic State is becoming hard to justify

    The article starts out questioning Canada's paper-tiger participation in the war but then quickly launches into the complexities of the fight there.

    By Adnan R. Khan
    There was a look of surprise on Sam Bari’s face when he first heard that Canadian warplanes had dropped bombs in Syria. The 28-year-old media liaison officer working with the local Kurdish administration in Amude, a small town in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled areas bordering Turkey, had just finished explaining to Maclean’s how important the bombing raids were for militia fighters battling Islamic State. “Why doesn’t Canada join the coalition?” he had asked, oblivious to the fact that Canada had been a part of the air campaign in Syria since early April. “It would help us more to fight Da’ish,” he added, using the Arabic term for Islamic State.
    His ignorance was excusable. Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in late March that Canada would be expanding its contribution to the fight against Islamic State, to Syria, Canadian CF-18 fighter jets had carried out less than a dozen sorties and even fewer actual strikes, as of last month. The Kurds, meanwhile, had been involved in an aggressive offensive, backed up by U.S. air support, pushing Islamic State back from the Turkish border and marching toward its self-proclaimed capital in Ar-Raqqah.
    During his speech to Parliament, Harper had projected an image of steely resolve, emphasizing that “ISIL must be resisted, and resisted by force,” (ISIL being the acronym for Islamic State favoured by the U.S. administration). He speci´Čücally referred to Ar-Raqqah, stating that his “government recognizes that ISIL’s power base, indeed the so-called caliphate’s capital, is in Syria.” And yet, when the Kurds marched on that same capital, Canadian fighter jets were nowhere to be seen. According to Department of National Defence figures, Canadian air assets have participated in less than three per cent of all coalition missions in Iraq and Syria.
    The lack of meaningful participation has raised the obvious question: Should Canada be involved in the air campaign at all? “There’s a lot of debate in security circles over why Canada hasn’t done more,” says Stephen Saideman, the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University. “Canada does bring some useful hardware into the war theatre. The two Aurora surveillance aircraft are a key contribution, for instance.”
    The problem, he adds, is the complexity of the situation on the ground. Air campaigns are notoriously difficult to coordinate, but in Syria and Iraq, the battlefield features a shifting array of allies and enemies. Using aerial surveillance alone to assess targets has proven inadequate. Instead, the coalition has had to rely on intelligence provided by boots on the ground. In central Iraq, that targeting has been spotty: The only viable local forces are Shia militias aligned with Iran, and co-operating with them is a geopolitical minefield...


    1. .


      In the north of Iraq, where the U.S. and Canada both enjoy close relations with the Kurds, the strategic landscape has changed in recent months. According to members of the Kurdish militia, the peshmerga, who spoke to Maclean’s by telephone, the Kurds have largely finished carrying out offensives against Islamic State: They’ve pushed the militants out of their territory and are restricting themselves to “protecting their borders,” as one fighter put it. The Kurds have shown no interest in deploying their forces farther south into Al Anbar province, where the fight against Islamic State in Iraq will likely play out.
      In northern Syria, the Kurdish militia, known as the Peoples’ Protection Units, or YPG, would welcome more support, but their recent successes have proven that the current level of engagement, led by the U.S., is proving sufficient. Shifting Canada’s contribution there would be redundant. “And now that Turkey has joined the fight, the skies over Syria and Iraq are getting crowded,” Saideman says.
      Related: How an army of Kurds are beating Islamic State
      Turkey’s involvement opens up a Pandora’s box. Since announcing it would join the fight on July 23, the Turkish air force has carried out hundreds of air strikes, the vast majority of which have actually focused on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a designated terror group that has been fighting a civil war with Turkey for the past 30 years.
      U.S. authorities have publicly welcomed Turkey’s participation, but privately, some commanders worry the Turks are using the Islamic State threat as a cover to push their own agenda. The success of the YPG, the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, has had an unsettling effect in Turkey, particularly in the wake of Kurdish advances into areas of Syria historically belonging to Arabs and Turkmens.
      Turkish officials interpret the moves as a land grab for a future independent Kurdish state, and have been attempting to undermine the YPG for months. In Tel Abyad, a predominantly Arab town near the Turkish border that was “liberated” from Islamic State control in June, Kurdish officials tell Maclean’s they have been encouraging Kurds to move into the area. “We’re telling them it’s safe now,” says Adnan Ibrahim, head of a newly established Kurdish social welfare department in the city. “There are plenty of empty homes here they can move into.”
      The problem is, many of those homes previously belonged to Arabs, many of whom fled the coalition air strikes that helped the YPG push Islamic State out. Those Arabs remain in refugee camps in Turkey and blame the international coalition for helping the Kurds drive them out of their homes...


    2. .


      The tensions in Tel Abyad reflect the broader sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq and Syria that make international intervention extremely risky. The Kurds are suspicious of Arabs and have refused to let them back into Tel Abyad, sealing the border and accusing the Turks of protecting Islamic State militants hiding among the refugees.
      Not far away to the west, in Kobani, the situation is reversed. The predominantly Kurdish town, which famously resisted an Islamic State onslaught in late 2014, remains in ruins, largely because the Turks refuse to open their border to let in the supplies and manpower needed to rebuild. They fear leftist Kurds from Turkey will flood in and radicalize under YPG tutelage.
      The volatility of the Kurdish question should be a worrying development for Canadian planners. In addition to its CF-18s, Canada has sent 69 special-forces advisers to train and assist peshmerga forces in northern Iraq. Those trainers have largely been working with peshmerga loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Massoud Barzani, the current president of Iraqi Kurdistan. The KDP is not sympathetic to the PKK-YPG cause, but there is another faction of Iraqi Kurds, the PUK, that is.
      These regional complexities are a ticking time bomb, say Kurdish government officials, requesting anonymity. “Every attempt to merge the peshmerga from the KDP and PUK into a single fighting force has failed,” says one official working with the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital. “What to do with the PKK is one major sticking point. There is some concern now that Turkish actions could spark another conflict between the KDP and PUK.”
      Meanwhile, Turkey’s demand to set up an Islamic State-free zone along its border in northern Syria, protected by coalition air support, has irked the YPG. The Turks envision a patch of land inside Syria occupied by forces friendly to its interests, either Turkmen militias or Islamist groups such as the Ahrar al-Sham, both of which view the YPG as a threat. As a last resort, security analysts in Turkey say, the Turkish military could deploy its own boots on the ground, bringing the Turks and the YPG precipitously close to open conflict. “Now you have the very real possibility of our best ally in Syria being attacked by our regional ally,” says Saideman. “I can’t think of another example in recent history where this has been the case.”
      It’s hard to imagine a messier situation than this, and it suggests that Canada’s contribution to the fight against Islamic State will likely remain ineffective. The leaders of Canada’s major parties have spelled out their positions in broad brush strokes, covering the full spectrum of what Canada could do, but without considering the fine web of alliances and interests that serve as a backdrop.
      For the Tories, the issue is messaging, Saideman says. Taking a hard line on Islamic State resonates with Canadians. But that decisive stance requires a visible contribution to match, “which things like training and diplomacy don’t provide. Joining the air campaign is a way to offer a tangible contribution,” he adds. But will that be enough? And, more important, is it worth the cost?
      As much as Canadians want to be part of the action against Islamic State, the reality is that Canada is wading into a complex, fractured and unpredictable landscape. There is no satisfying endgame in sight.


  21. .

    ISIS and the Curse of the Iraq War

    Despite more than a year of air strikes by the United States and its allies, and despite some important battlefield successes by the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces during that time, ISIS appears to be as strong as ever. Or, at least, that is what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, according to a report published a month ago by the Associated Press. And, this week, the Times revealed that the Pentagon is now investigating whether intelligence officials “skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress.”

    Obama Administration officials continue to claim that the policy of air strikes, combined with the deployment of several thousand U.S. soldiers to train Iraq’s army and the supplying of arms to the so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria, will eventually bear fruit. “I’m confident that we will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we have the right strategy,” Ashton Carter, the Defense Secretary, said last week. But Carter also conceded that “it’s going take some time.” Assuming so, that means the task of confronting ISIS, and deciding whether to escalate the level of U.S. involvement, will almost certainly fall on the next President.

    And what will he or she do? Absent a horrific ISIS-inspired attack on U.S. soil, the likely answer is not much more than Obama is doing. Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, has publicly backed Obama’s strategy of seeking to “degrade” ISIS’s military capabilities over time. The Republican candidates for President are forever criticizing Obama for not doing enough to tackle ISIS, but when you examine the policy statements of the leading contenders you find few concrete proposals, and a marked reluctance to commit U.S. troops.

    Jeb Bush, in a typically bold move, has said that he would defer to the advice of U.S. military commanders. Donald Trump, seemingly oblivious to the fact that most of Iraq’s oil fields are controlled by the government or the Kurds, has said that he would order U.S. forces to bomb them. Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, in speeches they delivered on Friday, both called for more aggressive actions against ISIS, but stopped well short of promising to deploy additional U.S. ground troops in Iran and Syria. Of the seventeen G.O.P. candidates, only two no-hopers—Lindsey Graham and George Pataki—have grasped that particular nettle. And, as you might have guessed, it didn’t help their poll ratings.

    What explains the reluctance among politicians to consider confronting, head-on, a movement that has been intent on eradicating ideals that the United States and its allies hold dear? The Iraq War, of course. By destroying the Iraqi state and setting off reverberations across the region that, ultimately, led to a civil war in Syria, the 2003 invasion created the conditions in which a movement like ISIS could thrive. And, by turning public opinion in the United States and other Western countries against anything that even suggests a prolonged military involvement in the Middle East, the war effectively precluded the possibility of a large-scale multinational effort to smash the self-styled caliphate...