Sen. John McCain needs to learn the meaning of ‘blowback’


angry john mccainOnce again, Arizona’s angry old man, Sen. John McCain, will not accept culpability for his role in the Iraq War, and casts blame for the rise of ISIS — or ISIL, or IS, or “Daesh” — on President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, because we are in an election. McCain: Obama’s failed leadership led to rise of ISIS.

Sen. McCain really needs to learn the meaning of Blowback:  /blō’bāk’/ (noun): Negative repercussions affecting a country whose government has undertaken a usually clandestine intelligence operation in another country.

“Blowback” is a CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government’s international activities that have been kept secret from the American people.

John McCain was a patron of the recently deceased Ahmad Chalabi (may he rot in hell for eternity), the exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress (and a fugitive from justice in Europe) whom Neoconservatives like McCain supported and thereby lent his credibility.

Chalabi and his protégé “Curveball” provided U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense with falsified information that the Neoconservatives relied upon to justify their invasion of Iraq. McCain is responsible as anyone for the “intelligence failures” that plunged the U.S. into the Iraq War. The Cover-ups of John McCain – WMD Intelligence Failures.

The unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq destabilized that country through the disastrous post-invasion policy of de-Ba’athification of the secular government and the dissolution of the Iraqi Army. Did George W. Bush Create ISIS?

In 2003, the U.S. military, on orders of President Bush, invaded Iraq, and nineteen days later threw out Saddam’s government. A few days after that, President Bush or someone in his Administration decreed the dissolution of the Iraqi Army  . . . Overnight, at least two hundred and fifty thousand Iraqi men—armed, angry, and with military training—were suddenly humiliated and out of work.

This was probably the single most catastrophic decision of the American venture in Iraq. In a stroke, the Administration helped enable the creation of the Iraqi insurgency.

* * *

Many of those suddenly unemployed Iraqi soldiers took up arms against the United States. We’ll never know for sure how many Iraqis would have stayed in the Iraqi Army—and stayed peaceful—had it remained intact. But the evidence is overwhelming that former Iraqi soldiers formed the foundation of the insurgency.

McCain-BaghdadBobThis is where Senator “Surge” McCain once again stepped in to try to “fix” what was an obvious failure in judgment with his so-called “Surge.”

The “Surge” was built upon the premise of: (1) a large U.S. occupying force with  no intention of leaving, and (2) essentially paying bribe money to local Sunni leaders in the so-called “Sunni Awakening” to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of ISIS, and to not kill U.S. troops. As long as the U.S. occupied Iraq and that sweet bribe money kept flowing to local Sunni leaders, the situation improved. (The American people opposed continuing this expensive policy indefinitely).

Al Qaeda in Iraq was, in fact, pushed into the Western provinces of Iraq and into Sunni-dominate Syria. “[B]y the time the last American soldiers had departed, in 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq, as it was then calling itself, was in a state of near-total defeat.” Did George W. Bush Create ISIS?

But, as the last Americans left Iraq, there came the great uprising in Syria that pitted the country’s vast Sunni majority against the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad. Syria quickly dissolved into anarchy. Desperate and seeing an opportunity, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, dispatched a handful of soldiers to Syria, where, in a matter of months, they had gathered an army of followers and had begun attacking the Assad regime. Suddenly, Baghdadi’s group—which had been staggering toward the grave only months before—was regaining strength. In 2013, the I.S.I. became the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria. ISIS was born.

“Blowback”: Negative repercussions affecting a country whose government has undertaken a usually clandestine intelligence operation in another country. Iran Didn’t Create ISIS; We Did:

The U.S., Western Europe, and their regional allies in fact bear most of the responsibility for the rise of extremist groups like ISIS. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Britain notably supported, was a strategic disaster. Contrary to speculation at the time, Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’athist regime prevented Al Qaeda from operating out of Iraq. Iraq had also been supported by the West before the 1991 Gulf War as a counterbalance against the revolutionary Islamic Republic during the Iran-Iraq War. The U.S.-led invasion changed all of that.

The Iraq War toppled Saddam, destabilized the country, and led to a wave of sectarian bloodshed. It also made Iraq a safe haven and recruiting ground for Al Qaeda affiliates. Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s forerunner, was founded in April 2004. AQI conducted brutal attacks on Shia civilians and mosques in hopes of sparking a broader sectarian conflict. Iran naturally supported Shia militias, who fought extremists like AQI, both to expand its influence in Iraq and protect its Shia comrades. Iran cultivated ties with the Maliki government as well. Over the long term, Iran tried to seize the opportunity to turn Iraq from a strategic counterweight into a strategic ally. The U.S. didn’t do much to stop it.

When the U.S. helped to establish Iraq’s government, it consistently supported Maliki, even going so far as to assist in Maliki’s persecution of dissidents and civil society activists. The U.S. was probably more instrumental than Iran in cementing Maliki’s power in Iraq. Maliki alienated Sunnis in Iraq by cracking down on his opponents and pursuing discriminatory policies in government and the armed forces. When Maliki’s troops stormed Sunni protest camps in 2013, they were armed with U.S.-made weapons. By the time the U.S. and Western Europe finally decided Maliki was enough of a liability to push out of government, fertile ground already existed for an ISIS-led Sunni insurgency in Western Iraq.

The Syrian story is even more important. In 2011 the Assad regime violently suppressed peaceful pro-democracy protests. This civil society movement rapidly transformed into an armed uprising against the Syrian government. Why? In the early stages of the war, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey began funneling arms to opposition forces, seeing an opportunity to destabilize a key ally of Iran and Hezbollah, their geopolitical foes. As the civil war deepened, extremist groups joined the fight against what they saw as an odious secular regime. They also became the beneficiaries of large amounts of arms and funding from America’s regional allies.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey knowingly funded extremist groups including Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra quickly became one of the most effective and influential rebel groups fighting against the Syrian government. ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra have been fighting over doctrinal and practical matters for months, but some al-Nusra elements have also merged into ISIS. The extent of Saudi support for ISIS is uncertain and hotly debated, but many analysts agree that there has been a substantial bleed of funding and weapons between rebel groups.

The U.S.’s own involvement in the Syrian conflict is telling. Early in the civil war, the Obama administration expressed its conviction that Bashar al-Assad’s regime had to go. Given U.S. antagonism toward Iran and its allies, this statement did not come as a surprise. The U.S. offered nonlethal aid to the Syrian rebels and eventually covertly armed them, going so far as to operate a training camp for rebels in northern Jordan.

McCainSyria2But the U.S. didn’t appear to expand its direct support for the Syrian rebels beyond this point, and for good reason. When the Obama administration asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip “moderate rebels,” the Pentagon testified that it anticipated difficulties finding moderate fighters to train and arm. In plain English, this means that they don’t really exist. [Despite what Senator “Surge” McCain claimed about his “moderate rebel” friends in Syria.] With ISIS’s victories in Iraq, the U.S. strategy of fueling the fire in Syria without allowing either side to win is finally revealing its inherent contradictions.

No one is innocent in the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars, but Iran is not primarily responsible for the current state of affairs. The U.S. and its allies destabilized Iraq and Syria in turn, creating safe havens for extremists that previously did not exist. U.S. allies provided the material support that allowed ISIS and groups like it to become threats to the entire region, despite lacking any substantial popular base in Syria and Iraq. It is not unreasonable for Iran and Hezbollah to fight against these groups, which murder and enslave Shia and other religious minorities. Their actions conceivably fall under one of the West’s favorite principles of international law: the duty to protect.

 With the Russians directly intervening on behalf of their long-time ally, Bashar al-Assad, what had been a proxy war could quickly escalate into a regional war between nuclear super powers.

Of course, John McCain wanted to instigate a war with Russia over Georgia in his 2008 campaign, Randy Scheunemann’s Manchurian Candidate, and sought a conflict with Russia over Crimea and Ukraine. “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has appointed John McCain, a hawkish US senator who has pressed Washington to send lethal weapons to war-torn Ukraine, as his advisor.” Ukraine appoints US senator McCain presidential aide:

The Advisory International Council of Reforms is to be headed by Mikheil Saakashvili, the fiercely pro-Western former president of Georgia, and will also include Elmar Brok, a member of the European Parliament, and economist Anders Aslund.

The US senator said he would be honoured to take up the post, adding however that he first had to be cleared by the Senate.

“Deeply honored to be asked to advise the gov’t of #Ukraine. Must ensure compliance w/ Senate rules, but I’ll always stand w/ free #Ukraine,” McCain said on Twitter.

No one should be listening to this Neoconservative war monger. McCain is among the most reckless and irresponsible politicians of our lifetime. Too many Americans have already lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries. McCain has made the world a more dangerous place with the “blowback” resulting from his Neoconservative wars of conquest for a Pax Americana empire. He has never been held accountable for his sins. It is long past time that the voters of Arizona hold him accountable, and turn him out of office in 2016.


  1. 24 countries and counting that the senile one has advocated invading or bombing with many “nugs”. The only problem with this fool, is what fantasy outcome do you expect out of all this? Hey Kelli, which of these do you agree with and which do you not agree with? You are always bashing McCain in your campaign emails. What do you propose instead?

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