America and the Islamic State both hope to change the world with rivers of blood

Summary: We have learned something from our wars; in weeks the case for war has been debunked to a degree that took years after 9/11. Many have questioned the logic of our strategy and its odds of success. But few have asked about our methods, and their similarity to those of ISIS. We have a large lead in the body count since 9/11; time will tell if adding to it brings us victory.

River of Blood


“Wars are measured in body counts. The news carries a running tally. You change the world with rivers of blood.”

— Terrorist leader Saleem Ulman, from the NCIS-LA episode “Truth or Consequences”


ISIS (aka ISIL and IS) and America have something in common: a belief in the efficacy of kidnapping and killing foes (and nearby civilians). Not just killing, but high-profile killing. The kind that sears memories into the minds of one’s foes. the kind both they and us believe will shape a new world. Making rivers of blood.

Perhaps we — America and ISIS — are correct, and all that matters is who wins. No how. Or perhaps we’re both wrong, and we — both of us — are the problem.

“Secretary Kerry will now travel to the region to continue building the broad-based coalition that will enable us to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. … You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them.

Obama revealing his plans for ISIS, 5 September 2014. Obama has forgotten that we successfully contained the Soviet Union until it collapsed.

We send special operations troops to snatch men from their homes, or kill them. We send drones assassins to kill from the sky. We use artillery for collective punishment of entire villages. We kill, then double-tap (kill) the rescuers.


Mute witnesses to our methods

Our high motives — so different from those of ISIS — might not be visible to those living on the receiving end of our high-tech weapons. As US intelligence agencies have warned so often for so long, we’re acting as recruiters for our foes (most recently, FBI Director Corney) — as our actions show ourselves as violent foreign infidel occupiers.

We have tried fighting insurgencies by killing. It didn’t end well. Since Mao brought 4GW to maturity, many nations have tried fighting foreign insurgents by killing. It seldom ended well for them, either.

At an early intergovernmental meeting {1962} on the importance of psychological warfare, one of {General} Harkins’ key staffmen, Brigadier General Gerald Kelleher, quickly dismissed that theory. His job, he said, was to kill Vietcong.  But the French, responded a political officer named Donald Pike, had killed a lot of Vietcong and they had not won. “Didn’t kill enough Vietcong,” answered Kelleher.

— From The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam (1972)

Hope and Change

For More Information

A few of the many good articles about our latest war:

  1. White House Has No International Legal Justification for Hitting ISIS in Syria“, Josh Rogin, The Daily Beast, 15 September 2014
  2. Why the United States Will Never Defeat ISIS“, Micah Zenko, Council on Foreign Relations, 18 September 2014
  3. Prelude to War“, Norman Pollack, CounterPunch, 18 September 2014

About our new crusade:

  1. Before we start a new war with ISIS, let’s remember how we stumbled into the last two, 21 August 2014
  2. America plays the hegemon while ruled by fear and machismo. FAIL., 2 September 2014
  3. The solution to jihad: kill and contain our foes. Give war another chance!, 8 September 2014
  4. One day in America shows our eagerness for war. We’ll get what we want., 10 September 2014
  5. Law professors justify Obama’s illegal wars; more fuel for the Constitution’s pyre, 13 September 2014
  6. Why are we so fearful? Have we become cowards?, 16 September 2014

About bloodlust:

  1. Bloodlust – a natural by-product of a long war?, 11 August 2009
  2. No longer a danger, but a reality: bloodlust in our minds, an inevitable side-effect of a long war., 25 October 2011
  3. Bleak news, but vital for us to understand: American Morlocks: Another Civilian Massacre and the Savagery of Our Soldiers, 17 March 2012



15 thoughts on “America and the Islamic State both hope to change the world with rivers of blood”

  1. “Father, let the snow of their land run red with the blood of their children’s feet. We humbly beseech thee”. Or something to that effect from the War Poem by Mark Twain.

  2. The long term damage was because US sided with land owners. In a way this mirrors how British created land lords in India, who have ruined economy as they basically are elites who impoverish others. They dominate politics in Pakistan and in India large land owners own most of the land, rest of people are landless or tiny land owners, who because of this also work on land of larger land owners. In an occupation occupiers ally with elite (or as in British create a new elite) in some form or another.
    The end result is impoverishment of the people.
    The Difficulties of Land Ownership in the Philippines

    By the way, check out this website:

  3. The CIA first aligned itself with extremist Islam during the Cold War era. Back then, America saw the world in rather simple terms: on one side, the Soviet Union and Third World nationalism, which America regarded as a Soviet tool; on the other side, Western nations and militant political Islam, which America considered an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union.
    The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom recently remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”
    During the 1970′s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also openly supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. Last but certainly not least, there is Al Qaeda.

    Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan.
    America’s relationship with Al Qaeda has always been a love-hate affair. Depending on whether a particular Al Qaeda terrorist group in a given region furthers American interests or not, the U.S. State Department either funds or aggressively targets that terrorist group. Even as American foreign policy makers claim to oppose Muslim extremism, they knowingly foment it as a weapon of foreign policy.
    America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group

  4. “This paper aims to show that poverty in the Philippines has its historical roots in its
    colonial past, particularly in the feudal w ork practices and influences that characterized the
    mode of governance by the Spanish colonial administration for more than 300 years, and
    sustained as well in other forms by American rule for almost 50 years. While the United States
    may have ‘granted independence’ to its Philippine colony in 1946, its legacy of feudalis m
    remains a factor in the country’s industrial relations system, resulting in widespread poverty for
    the Filipino people up to the present”
    Bonifacio S.Macaranas
    University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations
    UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippine

  5. 4GW can be defeated. Look at Angola and Sri Lanka. But Jihadis supported by deep pockets.
    Also, In Sri Lanka at least, I do not know about Angola, they were not psychos. Saudi’s who support Jihadis and Jihadis are psychos. Scientists have found psychos brains are different as revealed in brain scans. There is a percentage of normal population who are psychos. Most are not violent. In a culture where there is intermarriage, I assume incidence is much higher. And Saudi Royal even more intermarried then Saudi population. Saudi’s also know intermarriage is bad as defects are showing up.

    I also think cleric who Saudi’s follow is product of desperately poor area-i.e. suffering from educational defects. Even in US it is known poor students suffer from vocabulary gap and here there is public ed funding. There was none in “desperately poor’ area that became Saudi Arabia.


    Inside the Mind of a Psychopath – Empathic, But Not Always
    Brain imaging shows psychopaths can empathize but do not empathize spontaneously
    Scans Show Psychopaths Have Brain Abnormalities

    Scientist Related to Killers Learns He Has a Psychopath’s Brain
    20 Signs That You Are A Psychopath

  7. You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents… The goal has to be to dismantle them. — Barack Obama

    I’m confused. Is Obama talking about ISIS, or the Pentagon?

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