December 21, 2015

CNN's Sunday Newsroom with Fredericka Whitfield is borrowing some of their guests from the wingnut lineup over at Fox 'News,' namely, Retired Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer. He is a huge proponent of anti-Obama and now anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, so it's no surprise Retired Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer is all sorts of nuts: we just 'watched Benghazi go down' and did nothing, torture is an awesome means of interrogation, and perfectly legal, Alex Jones seems to like the guy's ideas, and now today, he said that ISIS was caused not by the de-Ba'athification of the Iraqi Army, it was then President Hillary Clinton's Libyan policy.

That's right, here's how it went down. Hillary de-stabilized Libya, the weapons went to Turkey and then she somehow directed them to fight the Assad regime and thereby created ISIS. Iraq had nothing to do with the formation of ISIS, because it's not as if they ever had a massive presence there, right Tony? How can he forget about the completely destabilized Iraq, thanks to the Bush/Cheney crime family, that created the conditions for fomenting terror (and he even admits that later in the interview)?

By 2010, "Iraq finally had relatively good security, a generous state budget, and positive relations among the country’s various ethnic and religious communities." ...But it was squandered. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stripped political opponents of power, appointed his cronies to run the army, and killed peaceful protesters. (lest anyone forget GWB installed al-Maliki)

Most importantly, he reconstructed the Iraqi state on sectarian lines, privileging the Shia majority over the Sunni minority. This exacerbated Iraq's existing sectarian tensions: Sunni Iraqis falsely believed themselves to be Iraqi's majority (owing to Saddam-era propaganda) and saw Maliki as depriving them of their rightful control of the state. He only deepened their belief that the Iraqi state was fundamentally illegitimate.

By this time, al-Qaeda in Iraq had a new leader: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi who had a background in serious religious scholarship. Under his leadership, AQI began allying with former officers from Saddam Hussein's army and recruited disaffected Sunnis. Iraq's own government, unintentionally, gave them exactly the opening they needed to regain strength.

The other guest on the segment, Retired Lt. General Mark Hertling disagrees with Shaffer about the culpability of then-Secretary Clinton on the rise of the terrorist group ISIS. Hertling acknowledges the myriad factors that contributed to the complex rise of 'Daesh.' He blames regime change, as do many of the more sensible critics of this century's military exploits in the volatile region.

By the end of the segment, a little bit of Hertling's sensibilities rubbed off on Shaffer and he acknowledged the complexity of regime change and the inevitable power vacuum that needs to be rectified. Shaffer still stands by his demonizing of Hillary Clinton for Libya, even though she wasn't exactly calling all of the shots for President Obama, while he stood idly by and gave her free reign.

I'm sure his enthusiasm for the Benghazi conspiracy will be heightened by the 13 Hours movie debut in January, where right-wing director Michael Bay portrays the events in question from a vehemently anti-Obama/Democratic perspective. As Salon describes this movie:

'Michael Bay’s “apolitical” Benghazi movie: Every kind of American delusion and stupidity in one package!

Sounds like a dream come true for Tony Shaffer and his Alex Jones pals.

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