Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

The Wind-Farm Solution to ISIS – Counterpunch

with 8 comments

Counterpunch’s Solution to ISIS Genociders.

Crazy guys, crazy politics, Counterpunch, America’s best-loved satirical magazine has a solution to ISIS!

Yes: absolutely!

Just published:  Bombing is Not the Only Alternative What to Do About ISIS by DAVID SWANSON 

Swanson states,

“Start by recognizing where ISIS came from.”

 We’ll skip this portentous, ponderous, phrases that follow and go straight to the good bits.

This is the programme of Swanson, or What is to Be Done.

1. Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in Abu Ghraib and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation.

Indeed, this is certainly the Number One priority.

2. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there.

I am beginning to wonder who is doing this apologising but I let this go for the moment.

3. Begin making restitution by delivering aid (not “military aid” but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nation of Iraq.

4. Apologize for role in war in Syria.

5. Begin making restitution by delivering actual aid to Syria.

Boring bits.

Though again, one asks, who is apologising for war in Syria? Other names, such as Assad might possibly spring to mind.

6. Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation anywhere on earth and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!)

Abolish weapons! Or, as the author’s book title goes, “War No More”. 

But the best follows.

7. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments.

8. Begin providing Iran with free wind and solar technologies — at much lower cost of course than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.

Now this is some original blue-skies thinking!

9. End economic sanctions.

10. Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms.

11. Send journalists, aid workers, peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.

12. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.

I think ISIS are already pretty good at Internet access and Cameras!

13. Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis.

14. Work through the United Nations on all of this.

15. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.


One might ask if ISIS genociders might also be hauled before this court.

But  Counterpunch seems determined to pursue other paths.

As another author, Deb Reich,  in this vintage edition, says,

Once upon a time, as a few inventive minds labored, most folks said humans cannot fly and are not meant to fly. Then came the airplane. Once upon a time, most folks said the Earth was flat. Then came better instrumentation and braver exploration and, lo and behold, the earth wasn’t flat anymore.


Will we ordinary people, in large enough numbers, awaken in time? Enter, via the GPS of our imagination, the portal to the post-enemies era? Drag with us, kicking and screaming, our makers of policy and our shapers of opinion, our legislators and our law enforcement agencies, over the threshold into the grand new landscape unfolding before us? Stay tuned.

Stay tuned indeed!


Written by Andrew Coates

August 29, 2014 at 10:19 am

8 Responses

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  1. “11. Send journalists, aid workers, peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.”

    I volunteer David Swanson as the first ‘human shield’ to go and negotiate with those poor misunderstood fellows from ISIS.


    August 29, 2014 at 12:35 pm

  2. To be honest one shouldn’t make fun of the poor chap who clearly has “issues” with reality in general.

    Compared to Franklin Lamb (Counterpunch, ISIS, Iraq: Towards the “Liberation” of Palestine. analysed here: https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/franklin-lamb-counterpunch-isis-iraq-towards-the-liberation-of-palestine/) he is a…..lamb.

    Andrew Coates

    August 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

  3. David Swanson’s piece is the first proposed response to ISIS I have read which almost certainly wouldn’t make the situation any worse. I’ve yet to read anything from any of the self-appointed experts on the region containing any credible proposals for making things better.


    August 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm

  4. Though I walk in the shadow of the Valley of Death, I shall fear no evil. Yeah right, I can just see the journalist, aid workers and do-gooders lining up to volunteer for decapitation.

    Sue R

    August 30, 2014 at 9:26 am

  5. Francis, Thursday in US, “President Obama admitted today that his administration does not yet have a strategy to combat the militant Islamic group ISIS that has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria.

    When the president was asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, he responded, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.”

    “Some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are,” he added.”

    Andrew Coates

    August 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm

  6. Well, that’s fair enough. If he claimed he had a strategy, I wouldn’t believe him. There probably isn’t any way to “combat” ISIS in the short term, and those who want to bomb this or that, imagining that they would thereby be “combating” ISIS are deluding themselves.
    The basic problem is this: when state power breaks down, when there is no political order, the vacuum will be filled by men with guns. ISIS, the Taliban, all the groups running round terrorising Libya – they’re all products of the breakdown of order. If the men with guns are just criminals without any ideology or other source of cohesion, you just get banditry – small groups of armed robbers. Where they have some identity and ideology they can organise around – like e.g. Sunni Islam and jihadism – the men with guns can become something like ISIS. They cannot be defeated by chucking bombs about from a great height, because that is precisely what created the conditions which gave rise to them in the first place The only thing that will stop them is political stabilisation on the ground – viable states, political order. And that takes time. It is much easier and quicker to destroy a political order than it is to construct a new one.
    That’s why I can’t be too hard on David Swanson and his somewhat implausible article. At least his proposals don’t involve creating and perpetuating the conditions which spawned ISIS – unlike those who continue to advocate armed intervention with massive firepower. So far, their efforts have brought us the success stories that are Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya…


    August 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

  7. I could not agree more Francis (see you at Burston?).

    The problem to add to this, if you have the time to wade through the Stop the War Coalition material around the NATO summit) is that some of the British left seem to think that “It’s all Nato’s fault” from the start.

    That we should oppose bombing and the rest goes without saying – but that does not mean that besides NATO and the West’s faults there are plenty of others.

    Andrew Coates

    August 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

  8. Burston? Yes, I’ll be there – see you then. And yes (since we’re all being agreeable) I’d agree that the position “some of it is NATO’s fault” is probably nearest to the truth. This particularly applies to the whole Ukraine business on your other thread, where a little local disagreement as to who should or should not be the government, which should have been resolvable within the country, looks set to escalate into an international crisis. Nobody – neither NATO, nor Russia, nor the Kiev forces and their supporters, nor the Donetsk Cossacks and their supporters – seems to be looking for a deal to resolve it to the satisfaction of the greatest number of Ukrainians, who are the main victims in all of this.


    August 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

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