No, ISIS Is Not a Threat to the US

Tom Engelhardt / http://www.thenation.comISIS

Mitilant Islamic fighters in Syria. (Reuters/Stringer)

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It happened so fast that, at first, I didn’t even take it in.

Two Saturdays ago, a friend and I were heading into the Phillips Museum in Washington, DC, to catch a show of neo-Impressionist art when we ran into someone he knew, heading out. I was introduced and the usual chitchat ensued. At some point, she asked me, “Do you live here?”

“No,” I replied, “I’m from New York.”

Kids Behind Bars: Israel’s Arbitrary Arrests of Palestinian Minors – Last year, approximately 1000 Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli forces, often for no reason. Advocates point to systemic abuse, including beatings and forced confessions, but the Israeli military remains steadfast

By Julia Amalia Heyer / at his home in Ya'abad.

Last year, approximately one thousand Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli forces, often for no reason. Advocates point to systemic abuse, including beatings and forced confessions, but the Israeli military remains steadfast.

When the soldiers came to get him, Mahmood says, he wasn’t afraid. He crumples a handkerchief in his hand while shaking his head. Maybe a little bit afraid, he mumbles, when the six soldiers pointed their assault weapons at him. Or when they bound his wrists with zip ties, covered his eyes and shoved him on the floor of their four-by-four.

On that warm summer night in early June, Mahmood recalls, he was walking down the village road with his friend Hussein. The two of them were discussing whether it would be possible to smoke rolled-up tobacco leaves like cigarettes. They saw the two military vehicles from far away, but they’re not an unusual sight in Ya’abad; the Jewish settlement of Mevo Dotan is located on an opposite hillside and the Israeli army patrols through the surrounding Palestinian villages in order to protect the settlers. But then the vehicle suddenly stopped next to them.

Free Speech Victory in NYC For Veterans

In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Tarak Kauff an organizer of Veterans For Peace, who organizes a demonstration every year at the Vietnam memorial in NYC. The goal of the demonstration is to fight the closer of the memorial at night and every year but this one dozens of veterans are arrested for standing their ground.


Syria-to-Ukraine Wars Send U.S. Defense Stocks to Records

By Richard Clough /

Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.

Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. President Barack Obama approved open-ended airstrikes this month while ruling out ground combat.

“As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Boeing Co. (BA) shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment — that could present an opportunity.”

6 Ways Obama Contradicts Himself in Waging War on ISIS

A year ago, before public and congressional opposition changed his mind, President Obama planned to attack the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator whom he said had to go. This week Obama switched sides in Syria’s civil war by attackingthe Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Assad’s most formidable enemy among the rebels fighting to overthrow his regime.

Confused? You should be. Obama certainly is. Let us count the ways:

1. Obama has repeatedly promised that his war against ISIS will not involve U.S. ground troops in Iraq or Syria, but Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says they may be necessary. The White House argues that armed military “advisers” who call in air strikes, serve on the front lines, and could easily become involved in combat do not count as ground troops.

Q: If we spend $1,000,000,000 to kill 1,000 terrorists–how much does it cost to kill each terrorist? A: $1,000,000


During Friday’s Pentagon press briefing, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the 2015 defense budget no longer reflects the military’s needs. “[We] said it could accomplish the nation’s security needs with certain assumptions. One of them was that the number of commitments would either level off or come down,” he said.

That assumption was wrong. In its escalating war against the Islamic State (IS), the U.S. now has military personnel training Iraqi, Kurdish, and Syrian forces and has bombed nearly 200 enemy targets in the past month. Due to the vaguely defined scope of the conflictPresident Barack Obama has vowed not to deploy U.S. combat troopsit has been hard to put a dollar amount on the operation. But a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) report released Monday estimates that the U.S. has already spent between $780-$930 million in Iraq and Syria. In just the past month, the cost was $250-$400 million, or $9-$14 million per day.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who spoke alongside Dempsey at Friday’s briefing, gave an estimated daily cost of $7-$10 million dollars, significantly lower than the CSBA numbers. “We’re going to require additional funding from Congress as we go forward,” said Hagel. Currently, the military is relying on money from the budget for Overseas Contingency Operations, often referred to as war funding. The proposed FY 2015 defense budget allocates $58.6 billion for war fundingbut 91 percent of that is set aside for residual operations in Afghanistan. 

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