Tag Archives: ISIS

The company you keep, the atrocities you ignore.

President Obama meets with Saudi King AbdullahFew in the civilized world would ever see the beheading of a human being as anything less than abject evil.  A state that executes scores of people every day, many on charges of apostasy or sorcery, routinely imprisons and tortures people with different ethnicities or religious beliefs, and has been implicated in supporting various terrorist factions throughout the Middle-east is deserving of the most scathing reproach. The state that I am referring to in this instance is not IS (Islamic State).  It is one of the United States biggest allies;  the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Beheading Source Reuters

There is a veritable mountain of evidence documenting the ongoing, systemic brutality of the House of Saud and the medieval theocracy it imposes.  The Kingdom stones women to death for witchcraft or for being unaccompanied.  It amputates the limbs of men accused of stealing.  It crucifies anyone displaying a religious symbol that is not Wahhabist (ultra-fundamentalist Islam).  Immigrant workers, too, are not spared from the savagery.  Treated as slaves with no rights, they are routinely raped, beaten and murdered with impunity.

Bush with Saudi Prince Source Getty Images

It would be accurate to designate the IS as fiendishly barbaric.  Yet when it comes to denunciation of the tyrannical House of Saud for routinely carrying out the same atrocities, and doing so for far longer, the United States is curiously quiet.  There may be paltry criticisms here and there, but nothing tantamount to the priggish blustering we see recently emanating from Washington regarding IS.  This is for an important reason.

Within the halls of empire such hypocritical rants are essential to advancing its interests, which are unequivocally tied to its wealth and power.  The American empire is an expert at the art of spinning atrocities to align with its foreign policy objectives which line the pockets of the weapons and fossil fuel industry.  And with a corporate media in tow, the job is anything but difficult.

Once again we are witness to the ratcheting up of war rhetoric and the endless war machine working itself into a self-righteous frenzy.  Once again the corporate media dutifully serves its masters in regurgitating state narratives as absolute truth. Once again we are doused with collective amnesia as they court the doom of war.  And once again we are chided for daring to remember the last time they lied to us, and the tremendous cost it exacted.

Kenn Orphan  2014

Protest in Saudi Arabia barely reported on in Western media. Source Press TV

Protests in Saudi Arabia Source Times Live

Shattered Lives and Gravestones

mothersOne can only guess what is going through the minds of these two mothers from the city of Mosul in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of residents have had to flee the city as the al-Qaeda group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has taken hold of it. This comes after over a decade of misery and destruction predicated on a blatant lie.

As in every other military intervention around the world, from Libya to Afghanistan, the US is washing its hands of it all and the mainstream media is playing it’s usual amnesia card in the hopes that the American public will somehow magically forget what got us here in the first place: the invasion and occupation of a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and had no weapons of mass destruction to speak of. In the process of this farce, the infrastructure of Iraq was decimated, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, scores tortured and maimed, many more forced to leave their homes due to the violence, and thousands of US soldiers killed or mutilated from the reality that is war.

Today there have been calls for airstrikes and even more “boots on the ground.” Some in the media have actually had the gall to condemn the people of Iraq for their inability to implement the “democracy” that the US brought them. Of course most of the world understands what US democracy looks like, and apart from the meaningless, jingoistic catch phrases that include words like “freedom” and “liberty”, it almost always is accompanied by brutality and plunder.

As thousands flee their homes today we should be reminded of the true costs of US imperialism. It is not tallied in dollars and cents, it is measured in shattered lives and gravestones.

Kenn Orphan  2014

(photo courtesy of Reuters)