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L'Ordre

L'Ordre

Obama loses three wars and trillions of dollars by opposing Putin

posted by Harry J. Bentham

L’on peut me réduire à vivre sans bonheur,
Mais non pas me résoudre à vivre sans honneur.

I can be forced to live without happiness,
But I will never consent to live without honor.

Pierre Corneille


At this moment, the armed wing of the US government is on a march of hypocrisy. The Pentagon brags about training rebel forces in Syria as if this were a great service to the world, while describing the same behavior by the Russians in Ukraine as an unprecedented and heinous crime.

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If the rebels in Ukraine are solely the result of Russian training and arms, why are there 40,000 of them after just one year compared to only 60 US-backed rebels after three years of  Congress-approved US training in Syria?

Even more astonishing is the fact that the Russians are obviously better at this than the Americans. The Americans have started a war with Russia on terms that will lead to American defeat. The US performance in the current proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine against Russia is pathetic, and is possibly a thousand times weaker than what the Russians are doing in turn.

One need only look at the statistics. By its own admission, during the course of three years of constant warfare in Syria, the United States has managed to train only sixty men. America’s plan for victory over the Russian-Iranian-blessed Assad government consists of sending thirty men to remove him from power, while the other thirty are pinned down in fighting with the Islamic State – a group that appears to have gained 100,000 elite troops without the Americans training a single one of them.

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The United States clings to feeble and ousted groups like the “Free Syrian Army” in Syria while claiming that the far larger and more legitimate Russian-backed rebellion taking place in Ukraine is only surviving through Russian support. It can mean two possible things. Either the Pentagon is simply one thousand times inferior to the Russians when it comes to training insurgents around the world, or the Pentagon is supporting feeble and ousted groups and causes throughout the world while Russia is firmly on the side of stronger factions that have a more legitimate grasp on power.

Either answer leads one to the conclusion that the US cannot win in either of these protracted conflicts, and the reason is either inept US training or inept US planning in the face of a superior and determined adversary. Having only faced the most flimsy of opponents for the last twenty-five years, the return to a Cold War-like confrontation with Russia may have caught the United States by surprise. Suddenly, the so-called superpower is no longer able to channel all its resources into defeating a small Third World country but must instead fight against a comparable power with possibly more resources and even greater competence. All the tools that had made the US able to finger-wag against other countries, as the “only superpower”, have become worthless overnight because of the US’s idiotic plan to confront Russia.

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As in the Cold War, strategic bombers and nuclear weapons provide no military edge to the US anymore because the Russians have the same capability. Cruise missiles can no longer be used to threaten Bashar al-Assad because Putin has long since given Assad the very same weapons. Overwhelming air power can no longer be used to threaten to decimate Third World armies because Putin can simply give these crude armies access to his latest air defenses, potentially forcing the United States to rely on ground warfare in future conflicts and sustaining mass casualties again as it did in the first Cold War.

The US is losing in Syria, Ukraine and in other conflict zones now because it is still arrogantly applying the paradigm of fighting an inferior enemy in a fight against a superior enemy rather than reverting to its old Cold War military doctrines. The result is that US planners and trainers will find themselves immediately outnumbered, outgunned, and outclassed in every conflict zone now by Russian planners and trainers because the Americans picked the worst possible moment to make an enemy out of Russia.

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Obama’s reckless decision to confront Putin when the US military is so overstretched and exposed around the world and applying the wrong military doctrine will be extremely costly. This is assuming that the Russians can be expected to be sabotaging every American effort in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and possibly even Yemen and redeploying their own trainers and planners around the world to counter the Americans. Unlike the Americans, Russian doctrine has not changed since the Cold War and Russia can be expected hit American interests as hard now as it did in the Cold War.

Sadly for the American people, this is no exaggeration. The desire to oppose Putin today has rendered valueless almost all American strategic actions achieved in cooperation with Russia since the 9/11 attacks. It means all the thousands of lives lost by the United States Army in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last fifteen years were for utterly nothing and everything they won has been undone, gallons of American blood splashed across the sand for nothing but several political outcomes now rendered void in this “new Cold War”.

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To clarify on this point, it is clear that US grand plans in Iraq and Afghanistan – which it spent trillions of taxpayer dollars upon – have been wrecked by Russia and Iran as the Iraqi and Afghan governments ultimately plan to be aligned with Russia and Iran and distance themselves from the murderous American occupiers who invaded their homelands, following the final US exit from the region. For the US leadership, there is no consolation. The conflict with Putin guarantees three or four wars lost, thousands of soldiers’ deaths rendered meaningless, and trillions of dollars wasted, even assuming the US manages to force a satisfactory partition of Ukraine that gives it the opportunity to install its new missile bases close to Moscow.

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The US knows its Syrian rebel training program is a failure and has been pushed into supporting the anti-NATO Kurdish PYD and PKK militias – and even the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (in Iraq at least) as the only viable non-Assad forces against ISIS. The problem with this foolish strategy to save face is that the PYD, PKK and Iran don’t actually share US goals anymore than ISIS does, so the move serves little purpose other than propaganda to hide the expensive failure of the US leadership to topple Assad after three years of continuing violence and failed predictions coming from Washington.

By supporting his own enemies, the Kurds and the Iranians, as he searches for an exit strategy from his disasters in Iraq and Syria, Obama hopes to dupe the American public into believing that three years of American defeat, dishonor, failure, lies, squander and humiliation in Syria were actually some kind of costly successes. New Cold War or not, Russia has the advantage and a whole host of US-led wars have been thrown into jeopardy by the decision to oppose Putin in Ukraine. Whether or not harming Russian interests in Ukraine was worth the US losing three or more other wars and undermining its security all over the world will be left to historians to decide.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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The toll of tolerance?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Tout le genre humain n’est qu’une famille dispersée sur la face de toute la terre. Tous les peuples sont frères, et doivent s’aimer comme tels.

All human kind is but one family, dispersed over the face of the whole earth; all men are brothers, and ought to love each other as such.

François Fénelon


Tolerance, religious and racial. Will it lead us to paradise, or perhaps only to one other?

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Extremist terrorist attacks, and perhaps worse, can be blamed on our tolerance but an intolerant civilization would be far more unconscionable

In a previous post, I mentioned that I would write a post on the apparent paradox of racial and religious tolerance, namely the view that this very worldview invites the destruction of the “west” as a civilization (I reduce it to a lower case not by mistake but because I believe the “West” is a lie and barely deserves mention).

I always supported the quest for equality and social justice, and I have never been concerned with the question of whether human rights and the search for equality are intelligent or correct in any sense. Neither do I know of any sociologist, and I also never spoke to a single academic who argued thus. The only thing that matters at this stage in our civilization’s evolution is that we collectively chose this liberal democratic ideology and used it to augment society at a fundamental level, so that society now no longer has any meaning except by reference to this same liberal democratic ideology.

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People who today contest racial and religious integration of society, our tolerance for diversity of belief by welcoming Muslims and other migrant communities to the west, are not ultimately wrong for the content of their arguments but for context of their arguments. The same can even be said of someone so obviously stupid as Donald Trump, who is little more than a cartoon character as far as any serious political analyst is concerned. We already opened the liberal democratic societies’ doors to Islam, we allowed Islam to take up residence in the so-called west. Perhaps it was all a reaction to Hitlerism, whereby people were so shocked by the idea of unconscionable exclusion and genocide of races and religions that they decide to lower all barriers to foreign races and religious systems. It no longer matters. We invited Islam in Europe, much as white Americans invited their fellow Black citizens to their neighborhoods and knocked down the barriers of segregation. Therefore, it is too late to burden our brains with the questions, “what if?” or speak as if it were possible to rewind history and live instead a prior conservative era, and rather one must ask instead, “what now?” What now of the future of the liberal democratic societies?

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The conservative mindset is wrong because it reacts, because rather than issuing a plan to change the world on a course of constant improvement in understanding and evolution towards a cohesive human whole, it speaks only of reversing the changes that the youth already know to be inexorable. The best counsel one can offer, from all political and philosophical theory, is to examine the present world order and plot our course according to wills of the mighty forces already shaping our history, rather than building flimsy tidal barriers against change.

There are social changes that will come on this earth that even the most flamboyantly radical progressives alive in the world today would find unconscionable to obscene, were it not for the fact that these progressives will have since decayed into conservatives and from there into the grave prior to such changes.

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Now let us call to account the specific threat that stalks the majority of people in liberal democratic societies, the threat of “Islam”, “the Muslims”, in the most naked confession by which we avoid euphemisms such as “Islamists”, “extremists” et cetera. We are told that this threat is the most perilous and contrary to our lifestyles as citizens of liberal democratic states. The issue is a tricky one, a hot potato, everywhere on the political spectrum. Everyone claims to have the answer to this “Muslim Problem”, but then avoids talking about it. To some liberals, Muslims are the antithesis of modernity and the antithesis in particular to gay rights, whereas to others Muslims are simply a persecuted minority that should be more welcome and given a greater political say in the liberal democratic politics. For people on the right, it is simply a question of whether they are Muslim themselves or call themselves Christian, and the dispute simply becomes then a sectarian one characterized by demagoguery and an arms race between opposing mobs rather than the more challenging disagreement witnessed among liberals.

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We must consider the view advanced by some (particularly the gay opponents of Islam) that Islamic custom and sensibility threaten to overcome liberal democratic societies and that this is somehow a threat to professed “values” (other than tolerance, we may assume) and constitutions of this grey, perishing culture we now vacuously call the west. To this claim, I say the predictions may be true. Our desire to liquidate discrimination in all forms may eventually lead us to liquidate ourselves and that is a risk I am willing to take. Islam may be the instrument of some kind of liberal mass suicide, if indeed it enables an ideology cited by people who ultimately use it to overthrow the state and try to slaughter us all. That self-destruction (something British rightist politician Enoch Powell called his “rivers of blood”) may be the ultimate result of migration and plurality in liberal democratic societies. I simply don’t care, or if anything I welcome it. If such “rivers of blood” resulting from a failed pluralistic democracy are the result of the sacred choice we made as a society to include Muslims and other migrant communities in our societies more than fifty years ago, then trying to stop this result now would be ludicrous. Enoch Powell’s civil war, if it is the inevitable future of the liberal democratic society, simply becomes another throe in the development of this society.

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However, such an outcome need not worry us. There is little evidence that it will happen at all. By now it is no secret that the average European far-right group has more infighting in its own group than the whole of the liberal democratic society where it is campaigning for its fringe of support. Those Enoch Powells who predicted civil war appear to be the only ones at each other’s throats at this time. While there is indeed statistical support for the growth of Islam on a global scale including in liberal democratic states, there is also statistical support for the acceptance of diversity. The growth of Islam is simply misrepresented by some demagogues as a growth of extremism. But while most Muslims do have different sensibilities and rather different households to other people in the liberal democratic societies, it is also a fact that more of them are tolerant of the “west” than the “west” is tolerant of them. While Muslims were doing nothing to protest gay pride events, popular political parties in these liberal democratic societies were campaigning to ban Islamic attire.

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The message being given to Muslims in liberal democratic states at the moment is that tolerance should flow in only one direction, and that is from the Muslims to the cherished “west”. While the offense felt by Muslims to their religion being mocked and their sensibilities insulted is portrayed as Muslim intolerance, every step taken by the state towards the Muslim community is offensive in the extreme, compelling them to integrate. The message is that we take offense to Muslim attempts to convert us, but that we also take offense to Muslims resisting our attempts to convert them. It is the “west” that constantly cries of being offended by the way Muslims merely dress, and certainly also by the way that Muslims merely think.

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There is also the fact that simply migrating to the liberal democratic countries or being raised in them is evidence in itself of the tolerance of a Muslim, and the fact that of those who do join extremist groups,  the reasons are almost always political and not motivated by a hatred of gay rights and other pro-human rights movements. It is at all times not the Muslims who bear the greater burden of needing to ensure that they are tolerant in the liberal democratic society. The burden rests with the preachers of tolerance themselves, who invited the Muslims to their society and who promised us all that a pluralistic democracy would be successful. If the tolls of tolerance prove too heavy for the people who adopted tolerance as their ideology, we need not worry about paying the toll by ourselves, because all society made the choice to adopt this ideology and must pay the toll with us.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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Anti-Muslim crusaders aren’t friends of free speech

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Les meilleures lois ne peuvent faire marcher une constitution en dépit des mœurs

The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals

Alexis de Tocqueville


The dedicated student of politics and religion knows it is comedy to say the conservatives who attack Islam as a “terrorist religion” are somehow defending our civil liberties.

There isn’t much difference between religious extremists in the US and in Syria

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Free speech, a constitutional right in the US and some EU states, is what the extreme right is most desperately trying to abolish.

The entire point of the anti-Islamic canard in Europe and North America is to eliminate civil liberties, including freedom of conscience and expression. In the United States, it is literally the same law that protects freedom of speech and freedom of worship and one cannot ban Islam without banning freedom of speech along with it.

Hence, people who want Muslims to be treated as terrorists or a fifth column are attempting to abolish the First Amendment. From a constitutional perspective, everything that anti-Muslim campaigners like Pamela Geller represent is a threat to Americans’ civil liberties. In trying to get the government to invade the private realm of faith and conscience and treat a group of people as criminals and subhumans on the basis of their religion, Geller campaigns to destroy the freedom of speech and expression of all Americans.

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And there’s a reason freedom of speech and freedom of religion are both protected together. When the United States was founded, the founders specifically wished to protect religious minorities from persecution. States have often felt under threat from religious minorities, which they feared served as poles of dissent and resistance to their rule. Under such pretexts, they would try to only recognize a specific state religion and discourage or outright ban other religious persuasions.

Attempts to ban Islam now are no less than an attack on faith freedom and freedom of speech, attempting to exclude a legitimate religious group from constitutional protection. As soon as the US government starts deciding who is or isn’t a legitimate religious group, it has basically violated the Constitution. One cannot follow the Constitution and show favor or disfavor towards a particular group.

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Anti-Islam campaigners try to argue that Islam threatens freedom of speech but in doing so they misunderstand what freedom of speech is. Freedom of speech doesn’t refer to a right granted by gunmen, soldiers and terrorists to the public, but to a right granted by the state to the public.

Claiming that terrorists threaten our freedom of speech is bogus even if they kill cartoonists and people who mock Mohammed, because freedom of speech was never contingent on what terrorists do or don’t do anyway. Terrorists were always able to kill people for what they expressed in public, as were any other members of the public. Everyone is at risk of being killed for what they say at all times and freedom of speech has never been about providing any protection from that threat, but only from such threats that originate from the ruling power of the state.

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So the irony is that ISIS isn’t actually attacking freedom of speech in the West, because it isn’t lobbying the government in France or the US to ban freedom of speech, but Pamela Geller is. ISIS never pretended to be upstanding citizens of France or the United States or have any recognition of the Constitution, so they aren’t bound by such principles even if they hope to one day overthrow these principles in favor of Shariah Law. In contrast, Pamela Geller and her sort are trying to influence the government to ban freedom of speech and even freedom of belief in these countries on the grounds that Muslims shouldn’t have such freedom. Hence, the only enemy within is Pamela Geller herself. She’s the one trying to destroy the Constitution, destroy Americans’ civil liberties.

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If someone throws a stone at you for something you said, they have not interfered in your freedom of speech. It is only if the Police throw a stone at you or the Army drag you away for what you said, that your freedom of speech has been threatened.

There is also the contradiction that I should perhaps write a future post on, that by actually guaranteeing freedom of speech and belief, you necessarily tolerate people who want to overthrow freedom of speech and belief. Such enemies of freedom of speech vary from Pamela Geller to ISIS, between whom there is very little difference because both want to ban certain forms of expression and force their own vision of society on the West.


By Harry J. Bentham

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Return of the “Assad gassed his people” lie?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Qui ne sent point assez ferme de memoire, ne se doit pas mêler d’être menteur.

Who is not sure of his memory should not attempt lying.

Michel de Montaigne


The hole in this latest conspiracy theory is that Bashar al-Assad doesn’t have chemical weapons.

The Syrian “opposition” (more like the American-invasion fetishists) isn’t interested in peace because peace would leave Assad in power

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Some people view the only solution to the intractable Syrian conflict as the elimination of Assad. An obsession that started the war in the first place, and if anything is the sole reason it is intractable.

Assad has de facto won the Syrian civil war. The only reason the pathetic “rebel” groups hold any ground is because the lunatic fringe governing US foreign policy is still obsessed with continuing the war. Like Hitler, they simply refuse to accept that the war is lost and that the “rebels” are surrounded, hopeless, clinging to the idea of miracles descending from the sky.

Assad has got everything he needs to win the war and the rebels are fixated on foreign support, obsessed with the idea of the US Air Force coming to save them. To their dismay, the US Air Force is actually too busy bombing them, as it has been conducting airstrikes endlessly for months not against Assad’s armies but against the Islamist militants seeking to remove Assad. The US military, unlike the delusional US political elite, has got no interest in saving Syrian rebels and wants to see them all dead.

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As for the Assad chemical weapons crisis, that occurred in 2013. Roughly at the start of that year, Assad’s military was accused by the grand judges, juries and executioners of America that he had tried to gas his people in the East Ghouta pocket – a dwindling pocket of rebel forces near Damascus that is completely surrounded and in a state of absolute hopelessness and despair. You can see it on maps of the present conflict, usually shrinking each month.

It is odd enough that the one place Assad was seen to be “desperate” enough to use chemical weapons was a place where he was winning anyway.

The claim that Assad gassed his own people in 2013 was a lie, a mere proclamation from the US State Department to justify war, exactly like the mere proclamation that Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction in 2003. It was no secret that the US State Department believes the American people are so stupid that they will fall for the same lie every ten years after forgetting the previous one. It was not known that they believed the American people to have the memory of a fish.

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Lying is painful and damaging in the extreme because it entices one to continue to lie in order to save face. US politicians and foreign policy commentators were dragged along by their lies and mistakes in 2013 on Syria, so they kept repeating a lie. They repeat it now, hoping that they will be vindicated by successfully starting a new war.

There is a term for this called the maxim of the Big Lie: the technique used by Hitler and Goebbels, the dictate that if a lie is big enough and is repeated often enough, it is impossible to defy it. People will continue to repeat it, even though they know it is a lie.

Unfortunately for Obama and company, people didn’t buy the lie about Assad gassing his people – and that was back in 2013 when Assad actually was sitting on a tremendous quantity of chemical weapons. The most terrible error in repeating the chemical weapon lie now is that the US personally destroyed Assad’s chemical weapons. Obama made promises that Assad’s chemical weapons would be dealt with. Will he now ruin one of very few promises he ever kept in his entire political career? Will he ruin himself by succumbing to foreign policy hawks who have nothing but contempt for him, and become a puppet of those who in the first place consider him inept?

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Indeed, for the US to go back to repeating the lie that Assad is gassing his people now, which the government has wisely not chosen to do yet, would ironically humiliate Obama and serve to reassure no-one about his wisdom. He was the one who promised to have eliminated Syria’s chemical weapons. Were the State Department now to revert back to 2013 talking points and the old case for war against Syria despite the elimination of the chemical threat, once again based on hearsay and rumor, it would be bumbling, idiotic and hypocritical of them.

For the dull media and certain Twitter users to dig up a worthless turd of a news story from 2013 that was never widely believed in the first place and run with it like some kind of magical talisman that will win the war for them in 2015, should have made them a laughing stock.

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Those who assert Assad gassed his own people every day – every single day since the lie first appeared in 2013 despite it falling on deaf ears – expose their mentality. They are each depraved liars and sore losers who will invent any pretext to end the war in Syria on those terms. The end they have in mind is what happened in Libya – a gungho US-led war based on sketchy evidence that eventually leads to Western leaders posing in the war-torn country with terrorists, dirt-bags and dictators while claiming that democracy has been served, before promptly evacuating their staff from the country and leaving it to drown in its own blood as the civil war continues.

The goal to get rid of Assad has nothing to do with ending the war and simply cannot produce that result. It is an attempt to prevent the war from ending with a rebel defeat – something that can and should happen. Insisting that Assad must go simply ensures that Syria will be doomed to an endless cycle of war. War, war, war. That’s all the Syrian so-called rebels talk about and all that they understand, and it is why they have blocked every attempt at a negotiated settlement to the war on the constant threat that they won’t stop the bloodshed unless they come to power. They will continue to hold the country hostage, beg for Americans to bomb their country for them, and get everyone killed until their appetite for power has been satisfied.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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