Obama Needs to Shut Up About ISIS

ted-rall-aaron-la-timesimagesSkewed News — The killing of innocent people, based on a twisted ideology.” That’s what President Obama called Friday’s simultaneous attacks on a rock concert, soccer match, cafes and bars in Paris.

He’s right. And it’s not the first time: ISIS is directly or responsible for at least 9000 deaths during the first eight months of 2014 aloe, according to the UN.

ISIS is horrible and horrifying and must be stopped. No doubt about it.

But I can’t listen to Obama’s sanctimonious preachifying without considering what an utter and complete hypocrite he is, and how ridiculous he makes us look to the rest of the world.

In illegal “covert” drone strikes alone — all of them extrajudicial political assassinations and thus completely illegal under U.S. and international law — Obama has murdered thousands of people. Studies show that the vast majority of the victims are completely innocent — and the rest posed no threat to the American people.

During his campaign Obama promised to end the Iraq War. In 2010 he promised to end the Afghan War. He broke both promises. As a result, thousands of Iraqis and Afghans lose their lives in wars that are supposed to be over.

More than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war, which would never have heated up had the United States under Obama not poured money and weapons into the country to fund radical Muslim extremists, some of whom are now members of ISIS.

Another 100,000-plus have been killed in Libya, which is now a failed state. That would not have happened had Obama not armed and funded the Benghazi-based Islamist rebels, many of whom are now — you guessed it — members of ISIS.

In six weeks during the summer of 2014, Israel killed over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza — with strong U.S. military and political support.

An ISIS video depicting the live burning of a captured Jordanian pilot got attention. I watched it. It was disgusting and disturbing. But what’s the difference between that immolation and those committed by American drones and bombs? There’s no one around to film them.

ISIS has carried out numerous atrocities, including mass rape, destruction of archeological monuments and beheadings of ethnic minorities. In the aggregate, however, the United States — with its constant wars, Guantánamo torture camp, Orwellian surveillance state, rigged elections, daily assassinations and drone murders — is in no position whatsoever to be lecturing anyone else, even the terrorists of ISIS, about what’s right, wrong, or the result of a “twisted ideology.”

For Skewed News, I’m Ted Rall.


  1. Flag on the play.

    “Israel killed Palestinians in Gaza” because Palestinians in Gaza were indiscriminately firing rockets on civilian centers all over Israel. Without Iron Dome, it would have been deliberate, wholesale, unprovoked massacre. Where I come from, that’s called self-defense.

    With you on the rest of it, after all, Iraqis and Afghans never actually tried to attack the US. But really, leave Israel out of it or you sound like a tool.

    • The rockets sent into Israel are tinkertoys compared to sophisticated missiles that the IDF targeted civilians with in Gaza. There is no comparison. Those unguided rockets, not much larger than model rockets built and launched by hobbyists and carrying a small explosive charge could never have caused serious loss of life within Israel. As it was, during the conflict, the Israelis launched over twice as many missiles into Gaza than were launched into their own territory.

      Was it right for the Gazans to be launching buzz bombs into populated civilian areas? Of course not. However, the people in Gaza and the West Bank have had to withstand both a brutal occupation and regular full fledged military attacks by the IDF for 60 years. This conflict needs to be resolved peacefully and the leaders of Israel have shown zero interest in any policy short of the expulsion of all non-Israeli citizens from all of the occupied territories.

      • If the Algonquin Indians were firing Katushyas over greater Manhattan, I’m sure that you wouldn’t be calling them tinkertoys. Having watched them outside my window, over my neighborhood last year, I can tell you without Iron Dome, I wouldn’t be here to have this pleasant talk with you today.

        Which is neither here nor there. My point is that, Iraq and Afganistan and Syria and Libya haven’t attacked the US with as much as a sharpened stick, let alone a Tinkertoy (or a Katushya). Israel has been attacked, viciously, and frequently by the people we were fighting. It’s really not the same thing at all.

  2. Thanks Ted. You are right on! Keep up the good work. PTS

  3. Exactly! Cannot bear the look of or sound of Obama’s voice as he spews hypocrisy and lies. He’s a mass murderer, assassin in chief, war criminal.

  4. Lecturing isn’t what should be done anyway. What should be done is a serious armed intervention. You are absolutely right that droning is both morally reckless and inefficient, used by politicians who are too afraid to put boots on the ground without which ISIS could not be destroyed, which you say is necessary. Unless you mean that they should be beaten by the West backing down and ignoring them, waiting for the Middle East to settle itself? The Trump Plan so to speak. It’s not necessarily a bad one but I really don’t know if it is what you mean or not.

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