Skip to Content

Welcome to the Apocalypse

BDSM, #MeToo, Torture and the Drumbeat For War

As it turns out, Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badrywas was none other than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of what became ISIS and the Islamic State. Our forces had “tuned him up” at Abu Ghraib enough to inspire him on as the future leader of ISIS. Once the US war had reached the absurdity of having its clueless president on live TV landing on an aircraft carrier in a crotch-grabbing flight suit and declaring victory under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished,” it was too late to get out of the quagmire he'd sent our forces into. But wait; let me be clearer: It wasn’t "too late" for Cassandras like me. It reminds me of the senator who was asked how the nation could possibly get out Vietnam and who responded: “Ships and planes.”

At this point, General Stanley McChrystal enters the scene. He began his Iraq career as a one-star PR officer managing the five-o’clock-follies during the invasion. Now, he was wearing three more stars, thanks to somebody's recognition that this man was a batshit-ascetic military genius. He entered Anbar under cover of the "surge" and whipped what was an intel debacle into shape. Captured laptops and cell phones were no longer left piled up in a corner; they were immediately analyzed, leading to five or six additional raids before insurgent leaders and other go-to fighters (or "innocent" citizens caught in a vice) woke up the next morning. Those who could be bought off, were bought off. Compared to the early years, US forces began to go through Anbar Province like shit through a goose. This new efficiency involved killing and torture and for a while was known as “the Salvadoran option,” a death squad metaphor. This success so infuriated the insurgency that it ended up reforming itself as a truly psychopathic force with Abu Ghraib alum al-Baghdadi as its spiritual leader. When people are brought so low the only way they can get back at their sophisticated tormentors is to release videotapes of killers barbarically hacking off people's heads, it's clear you’ve now got a new, even worse problem. Iraq was approaching first-world status in many ways before US invasions destroyed that progress. Now, following more killing and more folly and more confusion, we’re being pushed by John Bolton and ass-kissed by Israel and Saudi Arabia to invade Iran. It doesn't seem to end. One can't help thinking of the officer in Vietnam who famously said, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Which brings us to page 356 of the great Andrew Basevich’s 2016 military history titled America’s War For the Greater Middle East, which details our blundering, destructive military involvement beginning with Jimmy Carter’s 1980 Operation Eagle Claw that ended disastrously at a place dubbed Desert One. Looking back 37 years and on the cusp of the Trump presidency, Bacevich saw it this way:

“By almost any measure, the region was in greater disarray than it had been in 1980. Not only were American purposes unfulfilled, they were becoming increasingly difficult to define with any sort of specificity.”

The tragedy is, it could have been different.



story | by Dr. Radut