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ISIS wants us to come in and bomb Arabs (Rouhani and Matthews agree)

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Last week the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said at the U.N. that ISIS wants the U.S. back in Iraq:

They also have a single goal: the destruction of civilization, giving rise to Islamophobia and creating a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region.

Last night Chris Matthews said the same thing:

Is it possible that ISIS wants us bombing it, knowing that the more we bomb, the more we maim and kill, the more the world sees what we’re doing, the more the Islamic world will choose sides against us?

Matthews also questioned how many of ISIS’s supposed 30,000 troops we have to kill. “Do we have to kill them all? Is that how we’re going to defeat them?”– pointed out that there would be lots of collateral damage, and many of those survivors will want ISIS to win, said that we are now being seen, once again, “bombing and killing Arabs.”

It was a great editorial. But when the beheadings began a few weeks ago, Matthews said that Obama had to do something and we’re at war with ISIS. He demagogued the hell out of it, and when others came on his show and temporized, he cut them off. Now he’s temporizing, wisely.

Matthews is also pointing out the Israel connection. Last night Republican Senator Ron Johnson was on and cited Charles Krauthammer’s column saying that we’ll be fighting in the Middle East for decades. Matthews jumped on this. He said it was a “Likud” strategy of “mowing the lawn” — that horrible phrase for Israel massacring Palestinians every few years. Matthews said that Netanyahu can get away with it because of his political coalition not wanting to make a deal, but why should the U.S. be caught up in this dismal vision of the future? Exactly. This is how Israelis think– managed conflict. From the Iron Wall on, they have believed that they have to keep committing violence against their neighbors till their neighbors accept them. And that woeful strategy is rationalized by settler-colonialist Islamophobic arguments like Krauthammer’s. Here is an excerpt of his Do it like the Israelis do column:

[T]his kind of long-term combination of rollback and containment is what has carried the Israelis successfully through seven decades of terrorism arising at different times from different places, proclaiming different ideologies. There is no one final stroke that ends it all. The Israelis engage, enjoy a respite, then re-engage.

With a bitter irony born of ceaseless attacks, the Israelis call it “mowing the lawn.” They know a finality may come, but, alas, not in their time. They accept it, and go on living.

Obama was right and candid to say this war he’s renewed will take years. This struggle is generational. This is not Sudan 1898. There is no Omdurman that defeats jihadism for much of a century.

Today, jihadism is global, its religious and financial institutions ubiquitous and its roots deeply sunk in a world religion of more than a billion people. We are on a path – long, difficult, sober, undoubtedly painful – of long-term, low-intensity rollback and containment.

Containment-plus. It’s the best of our available strategies. Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through.

Successfully, Krauthammer says of the Israelis. Really, you call that success? And he says jihad is rooted deeply in Islam. That is an essentialist argument about Muslims seeking violent global reach. Imagine if someone said that wealth and media power and political influence are deeply rooted in Judaism, would that person keep his job?


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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27 Responses

  1. Kay24 on September 30, 2014, 10:33 am

    Is Chris Matthews changing his tune? He was mum when Israel mowed the lawn, once again, a short time ago, and hardly covered the brutality and slaughter. He also may have taken one or two of those junket trips, which our shameless congress keep doing. So these little digs at Israel is not only welcome, but ideally should be how all our journalists operate, instead of being afraid of their big bosses. When will our media do what is best for our country, and not do the bidding of an alien one. We should be able to criticize our friends and foe, when it is appropriate to do so.

    • Kathleen on September 30, 2014, 11:57 am

      Yes he has taken junket trips. He kisses the I lobbies ass a great deal

      • Krauss on September 30, 2014, 12:21 pm

        Krauthammer takes money but he does not have to.

        He’s like Schumer: a true believer.

      • Kay24 on September 30, 2014, 2:34 pm

        It is a coincidence, but his wife’s name is Kathleen too.

        If only that Kathleen would think along your lines, and convince Chris to to the right thing. :))

  2. Kathleen on September 30, 2014, 11:56 am

    Glad you caught this was going to bring up. Matthews and Chris Hayes the only ones bringing this question up on MSNBC. Ed having Colonel Wilkerson on questioning the wisdom of these air strikes, Rachel has had Colonel Andrew Bacevich on who also shares different views being pushed by many. MSNBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin of course helping the public open up their scopes of understanding Other than that MSNBC seems to be constantly putting up their safe and sound “MSNBC contributors” who almost always provide the public with a narrow scope. Matthews etc continue to refuse to have the Leveretts, others on who really have the expertise to widen American’s etc understanding of the issues. CNN, Fox recycling Iraq warmongers

    Watched a Cspan Air force half hour report on air strikes in Syria so far. Only one reporter asked about the deaths of innocent Syrians. Air Force commander said 0 have been killed. We know this has to be bullshit. Yep our media will show American images of the journalist beheaded or about to beheaded (so tragic) but not the images of those the US tortured, killed in Abu Gharib, Gitmo, black sites, murdered with drones, or those killed in Syria via US led air strikes. Talk about manipulation of the public. Leveretts recommended three years ago making the power sharing deal that Assad was pushing…hundreds of thousands of Syrians would more than likely be alive if Obama and team had gone that way. 50% of Syrians support Assad…a reality.

    Phil etc did anyone watch part of the Global Citizen concert? Is the Caterpillar Foundation that was sponsoring part of that concert and initiative the same Caterpillar being used to bulldoze Palestinans homes, buildings and land? The three legs of that movement are education for girls, sanitation and access to clean water. Wonder if Dylan Farrow of MSNBC will be focusing on Israel’s decades long systematic abuse of water rights to Palestinians. Illegal control over Syria’s Golan Heights and water rights

    • a blah chick on September 30, 2014, 3:15 pm

      “Only one reporter asked about the deaths of innocent Syrians. Air Force commander said 0 have been killed.”

      I read something a year or two ago where some government official claimed that out of the 1500 people that had been killed by drone attacks, up to that time, the number of innocent civilians was in the “single digits.” They really think we’re stupid.

  3. seafoid on September 30, 2014, 11:58 am

    “And he says jihad is rooted deeply in Islam”

    Maybe if Jihad been rooted in Judaism in the 30s certain tragedies wouldn’t have happened .
    Muslims know how to defend themselves against capitalism.

  4. seafoid on September 30, 2014, 12:04 pm

    ISIS play the US like a violin

    “The turning point was the beheadings last month of two US journalists by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Isis. Once videos of their killings were posted on the internet by Isis, their deaths amounted to virtual public executions.
    Bill McInturff, a Republican-aligned pollster who along with a Democratic colleague conducts the closely watched Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, said the change in public opinion had been “sudden”. That poll showed 61 per cent of respondents thought military action against Isis was in America’s national interest.”

    Chelsea Manning has it right
    As a strategy to disrupt the growth of Isis, I suggest focusing on four arenas:
    • Counter the narrative in online Isis recruitment videos – including professionally made videos and amateur battle selfies – to avoid, as best as possible, the deliberate propaganda targeting of desperate and disaffected youth. This would rapidly prevent the recruitment of regional and western members.
    • Set clear, temporary borders in the region, publicly. This would discourage Isis from taking certain territory where humanitarian crises might be created, or humanitarian efforts impeded.
    • Establish an international moratorium on the payment of ransom for hostages, and work in the region to prevent Isis from stealing and taxing historical artifacts and valuable treasures as sources of income, and especially from taking over the oil reserves and refineries in Bayji, Iraq. This would disrupt and prevent Isis from maintaining stable and reliable sources of income.
    • Let Isis succeed in setting up a failed “state” – in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern. This might begin to discredit the leadership and ideology of Isis for good.
    Eventually, if they are properly contained, I believe that Isis will not be able to sustain itself on rapid growth alone, and will begin to fracture internally. The organization will begin to disintegrate into several smaller, uncoordinated entities – ultimately failing in their objective of creating a strong state.
    But the world just needs to be disciplined enough to let the Isis fire die out on its own, intervening carefully and avoiding the cyclic trap of “mission creep”. This is certainly a lot to ask for. But Isis is wielding a sharp, heavy and very deadly double-edged sword. Now just wait for them to fall on it.

  5. Krauss on September 30, 2014, 12:24 pm

    I listened to an interesting interview with Bob Gates recently. He basically said the same thing as Krauthammer, although he was (of course) more nuanced, being the realist he is.

    He said that what we’re seeing now is going to go on for decades, but that the U.S. should be careful not to get involved. He revealed he advised against intervention in Libya precisely because he feared that what would happen… is what has happened.

    Really, the U.S. has an excellent strategic position. But when more and more of Asia is pushing the U.S. out, it’s easier and more convenient to intervene in the Middle East, where the U.S. has no real counter-weight. In 10-15 years, as both China and India start to get flex their muscles, we will see the U.S. capacity to intervene being severely curtailed.

  6. Kathleen on September 30, 2014, 12:24 pm

    We can push Chris Matthews etc at their fb pages etc encouraging them to widen the American publics scope on these critical issues on their news outlets . Have been doing this for years now. Links etc, encouraging them to have a guest on with much more serious expertise and views.

    Phil you are so right about Chris screaming about the beheadings but then refuses to even consider or show the American people the crimes that US forces have committed in Iraq, black sites etc. He has brought up the dead, injured and displaced in Iraq but does not question the lack of solid numbers for these deaths etc. Lancet reported 650,000 dead in Iraq in 2006, then that was swept under rug by Bush administration and the news. Iraq body count comes up with other numbers, Pentagon even less. So how is it when US drones, satellites etc can report about how much destruction has been done by US lead air strikes in Syria, Iraq or if they want to see a fly on the back of a camels ass they are unable to report accurately about how many Iraqi people have been killed as a result of our invasion or how many innocent Syrians have now been killed because of our 240 air strikes. Chris and other MSNBC host do not dig down into this issue at all

    Before the invasion of Iraq Chris had Bill Kristol, Frum, Gaffney, and other neocons and put them on the hot seats about their WMD calculations and push for an invasion but never ever had Ritter, Dr. Zbig, former CIA analyst Jason Vest at the nation who were questioning the validity of the Bush administrations false intelligence coming out of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. He did not cover the hundreds of thousands (millions nation wide and world wide) of us out on the streets protesting and lobbying in the halls of congress against the invasion. He would not go that far.

    Now he still refuses to have guest on like experts Hillary and Flynt Leverett (both middle east analyst) who advised three years ago that the Obama administration and the world should make a deal with Assad of power sharing. Lives would be saved, the vortex for ISIS and other off shoots of Al Qeada would not have flourished in Syria etc. When will these host of shows really assist the American public in widening their understandings?

    When will Chris have legitimate guest on like Phil, Max and others in the Jewish community who have really taken serious stands and risk about the I/P conflict. The wind has shifted in the US about this issue and Chris continues to hold up the wall of silence about those changes. Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris Perry have stepped out of the safe zone on these issues. Too bad Matthews does not really have the balls to do so

  7. Kathleen on September 30, 2014, 12:28 pm

    Rouhani also said “Certain states have helped to create it, and are now failing to withstand it. Currently our peoples are paying the price,” he said. “Certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hand of the madmen, who now spare no one.”

    Our main stream outlets refuse to encourage Americans to connect the dots between the actions of our own military in those parts of the world and reactions to those brutal actions. Abu Gharib, Gitmo, black sites, dead, injured, displaced in Iraq.

    Still no coverage about how many in ISIS, Khorazon etc are former members of Saddams Baathist army that Paul Bremmer disbanded soon after the invasion. No Al Qeada in Iraq before the invasion.

    • Horizontal on September 30, 2014, 1:05 pm

      Kathleen ~

      Good points. Seems our MSM outlets exist for the sole purpose of NOT connecting the dots.

      From the recent University of Maryland Public Opinion Poll:

      “Forty-six percent thought Iraq gave al Qaeda substantial support (31%) or thought it was
      directly involved in 9/11 (15%).”

      That’s a frightening amount of misinformation, especially considering all the information available nowadays. Of course, many Americans don’t delve any deeper with the news than flipping on FOX, NBC or CNN for a half hour or so and uncritically digesting it, forgetting that these corporations and many of their sponsors are directly benefiting from maintaining the status quo.

      Plus, knowing and remembering history & geography makes all their heads get all hurty. Keeping up with all the intrigue takes a will to do so and then go about finding the means. Millions of Americans have neither and are thus easily lead.

      • Kathleen on October 2, 2014, 10:13 am

        AlJazeera America my new favorite almost as good as Democracy Now…almost

      • piotr on May 24, 2015, 9:33 pm

        As we know, many people in Muslim countries think that 9/11 was an Israeli plot. In actuality, rich and poor, educated and uneducated etc. think very similarly. There was really no heavy propaganda that Saddam (or Mossad) were involved, but many people crave harmony, clarity and simplicity. Thus the need for the same explanation for large classes of events. A terrorist attack? Explanation A. Earthquake? Explanation B. Shark attacks? Also explanation B!! (skimpy female attire, just check sermons and horror movies on the respective topics).

  8. amigo on September 30, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Today,s reports (AJ English) say ISIS is being pushed by Iraqi forces towards Syria due to fuel shortages caused by American bombing of ISIS temporary fuel depots.They cant go to Iran and wont be allowed through Turkey and there is no going back .So if and when they are trapped in Syria , will they take the road to Beirut or do a left turn into Israel.Lots of nice built up neighbourhood s with the most up to date shelters and plenty of human shields to protect their weapons with.

    Interesting times ahead in ziosville,s future.Short as that future is.

  9. Horizontal on September 30, 2014, 12:41 pm

    “. . . Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through . . .”

    I’m constantly disgusted how easy it is for well-paid men & women in suits — miles from any battleground — to speak of steel.

  10. surewin on September 30, 2014, 12:51 pm

    “This is how Israelis think – managed conflict. From the Iron Wall on, they have believed that they have to keep committing violence against their neighbors till their neighbors accept them.”

    What are the Israelis going to do when the Arabs accept them? Set up two states? I doubt it.

    The Israelis know that committing chronic violence against Arabs will strengthen the Arabs’ determination to avenge the violence, no matter how many decades or centuries it takes. It won’t end with the Arabs’ acceptance of Israel. At least there will be a hard core of Arabs who will never give up on the dream of revenge. This is not to stereotype Arabs; revenge is a universal temptation. Some individuals forgive and move on, some do not.

    Given that the Israelis know this, we are left with one of the most important questions about the whole situation: what exactly is the strategy of the current Israeli establishment? The burden of proof is on those who deny that it is gradually to eliminate the Arabs. Krauthammer is correct to say that there is no final stroke, as in no Final Solution. Can’t do that. It has to be gradual.

  11. Kay24 on September 30, 2014, 2:51 pm

    After that “vintage” (called so by CNN) speech by Netanyahu, making baseless accusations at all who stand up to zionist crimes, including Iran, it seems the Beebs will be visiting our President tomorrow, with more demands, expect subtle or not so subtle hints, and disrespect, Bibi style.
    He has spoken down at, and rebuked Obama, many times.

    “Netanyahu to tell Obama: Don’t reward Iran for role in Islamic State fight
    Prime Minister’s meeting with U.S. president on Wednesday to be shorter than previous talks, with both men expected to be on best behavior.

    NEW YORK – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday at 6 P.M. Israel time. Senior officials in Netanyahu’s entourage said he will use the White House meeting to tell Obama that the international war against Islamic State must not result in concessions to Iran in the ongoing negotiations over its nuclear program”…

    Which reminds me of a very telling statement made years ago:



    • Horizontal on September 30, 2014, 9:10 pm

      @ Kay24 ~

      Isn’t that statement anti-Semitic? Which Jew-hating bastard made it?

      • Kay24 on October 1, 2014, 8:03 am

        Hint: Two words: Sabra and Shatila.

      • piotr on May 24, 2015, 9:51 pm

        Dear Horizontal,

        I am sorry that “New Anti-Semitism — the guide to the perplexed” by Piotr is not yet in print. However, the above statement was NOT ANTI-SEMITIC. More precisely, believing or voicing so-called “anti-Semitic stereotypes” is not per se anti-Semitic, BEGRUDGING is a necessary component of the crime. Thus, “Luckily, Israel controls America” is OK, but “Lamentably, Israel controls America” is anti-Semitic.

    • jon s on October 7, 2014, 5:29 am

      Kay 24, who supposedly made that statement? It’s baloney.

  12. bilal a on October 1, 2014, 11:20 am

    Is an Israeli running for the Democratic Presidential party nomination ?

    Bernie Sanders who studied at James Madison Brooklyn [ Chuck Schumer ], Brooklyn College [Dershowitz]; After graduating from the University of Chicago, Sanders spent time on an Israeli kibbutz around 1963 – notably before the 1967 Six-Day War, when it was not common for American youngsters to spend time in Israel.

    Townhall : ‘Excuse Me! Shut Up!’: Bernie Sanders Defends Israel

    Sanders Mentor Prof. Sugarman:
    An unapologetic Zionist, Sugarman is left of center on every issue “except Israel.”

  13. seafoid on October 6, 2014, 6:36 pm

    Frum is a funny name for a warmonger. It comes from the German word for “pious” .

    • piotr on May 24, 2015, 9:56 pm

      Seafoid, the pius may engage in the advocacy of a Holy War. Before, during and after the last “lawn mowing” there was a plenty of supporting statement by clerics of various Jewish denominations, pacifists were so much in minority that they are basically heretics (i.e. “outside the mainstream”), even semi-pacifists are prohibited from claiming to be a Major Jewish Organization (TM).

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