Jeffrey So Smart

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Another terrorist attack; another doltish, hackneyed response.

Noted Zionist Jeffrey Goldberg weighed in on ISIS’s horrific attacks in Paris with his usual deeply analytical wit in his latest Atlantic column, “‘Crimes’ Jihadists Will Sentence You to Death For.” The “crimes” punishable by what he describes as the “accelerating” “war on all of us” waged by “militant Islamism” include vacationing in Egypt, going to work in New York, being Jewish, drawing cartoons, watching the Boston Marathon, practicing journalism, and “liking music, eating, and drinking.”

So essentially, the oldest, tritest explanation for terrorism in the book: The Terrorists™ kill civilians because they hate freedom and democracy.

Because Goldberg doesn’t see anything wrong with US policy in the Middle East, he resorts to blame-shifting tactics to find an explanation for ISIS’s terror. What the Jeffrey Goldbergs of the establishment media class fail to acknowledge is their own government’s culpability (and that of allied states) in the rise of ISIS.

In a now-famous interview/spin operation with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a partial apology for the Iraq War and admitted that there are “elements of truth” to the notion that the 2003 invasion of Iraq created fertile ground for the emergence of ISIS.

As several journalists have pointed out, including the Washington Post’s Liz Sly and The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, most of the ISIS’s leaders are former Saddam Hussein-era Baathist military officers – 250,000 of whom were fired by Paul Bremer when he was put in charge of the occupation by George Bush. Then US-installed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defined his eight-year term in office by ruling along strong Shia sectarian lines, contributing to the Sunni uprising that fueled ISIS’s fire.

There’s also a mountain of evidence that ISIS has been inadvertently armed and funded by the US and its allies, most notably displayed by the London-based Conflict Armament Research report in October 2014, which found that a significant portion of ammunition used by ISIS militants was made in the United States. Saudi Arabia, one of the strongest US allies in the region, has been one of the largest financial and human-resource funders of ISIS, as Patrick Cockburn has repeatedly reported in The Independent. And as Laila Lalami wrote today in The Nation, “We must call to account the Saudi kings – Salman, Abdullah, and Fahd – whose funding of Wahhabi doctrine gave rise to the scourge of Islamic extremism.”

By shifting the blame to ISIS’s lack of democracy and freedom (and its opposition to those principles), Goldberg completely frees his own government and its allies of any responsibility for ISIS. To Jeffrey Goldberg and others, the West can do no wrong. It is inherently moral and superior. It’s the same blame-shifting and responsibility-freeing tactic that pundits are using to blame Edward Snowden for the attacks in Paris, a notion that Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald handily dismissed.