Archives For: Keepers

Is The HIV Divide Now Over?

Sep 30 2014 @ 12:20pm

What are your options today as a gay man with a sex life in America? You live in a community where a deadly virus has killed hundreds of thousands and is still resilient in the gay male world as a whole. It has no external or visible symptoms most of the time. Many people have no idea they have it. But the virus can be permanently suppressed to a point where it cannot be measured in your bloodstream and to a point where an HIV-positive man cannot transmit the virus to another person. And someone who is HIV-negative can also have access to a daily pill that, if taken conscientiously, all but wipes out the chance of getting infected.

Here are your options: the blue pill or the red pill. Take the one-pill-a-day Truvada (below right) and never get HIV; take the often one-pill anti-retroviral pill (like atripla, below left), and truvadayou will never give someone HIV. To make doubly sure, you can always use a condom. Except almost every man who ever had sex hates condoms – and, unlike a pill you take every day, wearing a condom means making a decision in the middle of sexual desire and passion when your rational self is at its weakest.

For me, this seems obvious – partly because I have been through the HIV mill for my entire adult life. I was dumped by an HIV-positive man when I was HIV-negative; I was dumped by countless HIV-negative men because I was positive; I have had an undetectable viral load for nearly two decades; and I am open about my HIV status – even to the point of risking deportation; I’ve been publicly shamed by HIV-negative gay men for seeking sex only with other HIV-positive men. I have navigated relationships with men on both sides of the divide – and yet the divide remained. These trials-by-fire are mercifully not always the norm any more – but that means that the young generation has fewer psychological resources or experiences with HIV to grapple with the whole issue of getting infected, or avoiding infection, or navigating sex with the issue of HIV menacingly in the way. Which may be partly why the younger generation remains the one most at risk. The trauma of the distant past still echoes in the collective psyche; this is still a disease people feel ashamed of; it is still a disease which other gay men will stigmatize and ostracize you for; it is still a disease that your friends and family regard as terrifying – even though it is no more rationally terrifying at this point than diabetes. It still compels you into denial; or fear; or blame; or ostracism.

imagesAnd so our psyches are lagging behind the science – and behind the epidemic. And one of the most powerful aspects of that traumatized psyche is the division between HIV-positive men and HIV-negative ones. It’s been there from the very beginning – this segregation of fear. But surely, at this point, there is no reason to continue the segregation. What matters is not whether you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative. What matters is whether you know your status and are on one medication or the other. Once that is true, sex can cross the bridge once more. The pills can erase the stigma and the divide – if we really want them to.

There’s a terrific new piece in Poz magazine that explores much of this territory. It weighs some of the risks of the Truvada revolution, but it also illuminates the liberation of it as well, the amazing promise that the viral Jim Crow can be dismantled at last:

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Is John Oliver A Journalist?

Sep 29 2014 @ 12:57pm

I have to agree with Asawin Suebsaeng: of course he is.

On some critical public issues – take the scourge of “native advertising” – he has done more to bring the question to light than any other media source (I try but the Dish doesn’t have the mega-reach of a “comedy” show on HBO). That story was almost quintessentially journalism: it took on established interests – the whoring media industry – and called them out on it. It shamed the New York Times for their “re-purposed bovine waste”. That it did so with humor and wit and jokes is neither here nor there. Great journalism should be entertaining. It doesn’t all have to be vegetables. Was Mark Twain merely a humorist? Is Michael Lewis not our finest contemporary non-fiction writer?

Jon Stewart comes close – but the one frustrating aspect of his show is his meek interviewing. It’s as if once he has to enter a more conventional interactive piece of journalism, he panics and turns it into light comedic banter. Or he recoils when he needs to put the boot in – and apologizes for being too mean. Colbert pulls it all off through irony – he plays a fake journalist, but nonetheless exposes real truths and real phonies. But Oliver has taken all this a step further. His extra eight minutes give him a chance for relatively long-form investigative journalism – such as the wonderful bit on the Miss America pageant and its bullshit claim that it grants fellowships to far more women than it does. Yes, it’s funny; yes, it ended with a live comedy skit with Oliver as a losing pageant contestant. But its methods – tracking down massive amounts of documents to prove that Miss America is full of it – were classically journalistic.

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Why Are We Suddenly At War Again?

Sep 26 2014 @ 12:40pm

US-POLITICS-CLINTON

Maybe it’s worth tackling one more time. Dougherty, channeling my own thoughts, thinks it’s basically on an emotion-driven whim:

Barack Obama’s exit from Iraq was as popular as his re-entry. America is against war in Iraq and then for it with the same non-committal “Um, okay.” The nation was founded by a people who made vows, who would “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Now its wars are are on and off like a proposed take-out order: “Chinese or pizza? I mean, whatever you want.”

The pundits who say that President Obama has failed to demonstrate leadership have never considered whether the public is capable of following him, or even their own train of thought. The American public is not even capable of not following him in any recognizable way. We might have been dropping bombs in Syria against Assad to the benefit of ISIS a year ago had it not been for the hearty “No” vote in the British Parliament that denied Obama the fig leaf of multilateralism. A democratic people should be bewildered that their president was urging them to join one side of a civil war a year ago, and now joins them to another. But the American people are as responsive to this stimulus as a cattle herd is to the conclusion of a Dostoyevsky novel.

My own view is that any circumspection about this – indeed any sign of a working collective memory at all – can be suddenly driven from the American mind by the obvious fact of seriously foul actors doing horrifying things to Westerners. 200,000 Syrians died in a brutal civil war and there was no groundswell for intervention. And yet a handful of beheadings of white dudes in the desert (even by another Westerner!) provokes an immediate, Jacksonian rush to war.

But I don’t want to be reductionist here, and I’ve absorbed many good points from your emails. Other factors are clearly at work. Americans do not want to be the policeman of the world, but they like and are reassured by America’s untrammeled military might. And in the last couple of years, as the US has retrenched (only slightly) from its post-9/11 posture of offensive defense, there was a sense that other powers were filling the vacuum – especially Russia. This has spooked Americans, and they are conflicted about it. The resumed disintegration of Iraq – begun in 2003 – provoked further anxiety. Was this not becoming a classic Jihadist enclave from which terrorists could launch attacks on the US?

On the right, there was also a desire to pummel the president for anything and everything. So when he is not being a lawless tyrant, he is a total wuss and loser in foreign policy. And so the re-emergence of the decade-old Sunni insurgency in Iraq was too-perfect a bludgeon for them to resist. They got to trash Obama for “weakness”, cast the Iraq war as some kind of “victory” that Obama managed to turn into “defeat”, and generally use bad news from Mesopotamia as another brick to throw at the man’s head. Total American amnesia about the horrors and futility of the Iraq war helped matters – even as Obama refused to force the GOP to confront head-on the question of ground troops yet again in Iraq.

Then there is the utterly understandable revulsion at the moral abyss that ISIS represents. Fighting against evil has always stirred American hearts – even if we have come to learn that fighting it with brute force can sometimes make it stronger. And the cumulative effect of so many depressing developments – from Crimea to Donetsk to Erbil and Mosul – led to an impression of American drift and disengagement. So a call to action against evil was the natural response to the summer of our discontent.

And one also senses that the administration began to believe this summer that ISIS could actually take down the Baghdad government. They haven’t said this much in public, because it would be damaging. But John Kerry recently gaffed to Christiane Amanpour that “Baghdad could well have fallen.” Others have bruited that the situation in Iraq had approached a potential tipping point in the summer, as the uselessness of the Iraqi army in Sunni neighborhoods became clearer. For Obama, watching Baghdad fall – or be convulsed by serious sectarian urban warfare – was intolerable. So he has done what he often does: fashioned a reasonable, needle-threading strategy to prevent the worst from happening, forestall as much mission creep as possible, and attempt to rally the regional actors into action.

He has not done something obviously stupid. And I may simply be under-estimating the pressures on a president facing mid-terms when such a huge public consensus emerges that Something Must Be Done.

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War Without End

Sep 25 2014 @ 1:17pm

That’s what Jack Shafer fears Obama has launched:

A war with a conclusion that its participants can’t see or can’t imagine is a war without end. None of the dig-in parties in Syria and Iraq look like pushovers, but neither do any of them look like sure bets. Without American intervention, the current war will likely rage on. With regard to American intervention, not even the Pentagon dares to predict an end.

For Americans, at least so far, this war is rumbling on like background noise. The usual markers of military victory—body-counts tabulated, territories seized and banked, no-fly zones established, governments-in-waiting imposed, and elections supervised—don’t apply to the Syria war. The borders, combatants, allegiances, and military objectives in the Syrian war are too fluid to conform to our usual expectations. Nor do the usual markers of peace seem to exist. There are no peace talks taking shape, no shuttle diplomacy, no evidence of a dominant power about to exert its might to create a lasting peace by flattening everybody.

One way of looking at this is to ask: what should we call this war? Is it, as the Obama administration ludicrously argues, merely an extension of the war against al Qaeda, begin in 2001? Is it a new war on Syria – a sovereign state we have now bombed with no UN authorization? Is it a continuation of the 2003 Iraq War? Or was the 2003 war effectively a continuation of the Gulf War in 1991? I cannot decide. When you have so many over-lapping wars, most without any understanding of “victory”, and when the CIA launches covert wars all over the world all the time anyway, and when a conservative Republican president and his liberal Democratic successor both agree on the necessity of an endless war that creates the terrorism that justifies more war, it’s bewildering. One is reduced to quoting the Onion:

Declaring that the terrorist organization’s actions can no longer be ignored, President Obama vowed Wednesday that the United States would use precision airstrikes for as long as needed to ensure that ISIS is divided into dozens of extremist splinter groups. “ISIS poses a significant threat to U.S. interests both overseas and at home, and that is why we are committed to a limited military engagement that will fracture the terrorist network’s leadership and consequently create a myriad of smaller cells, each with its own violent, radical agenda,” said Obama during a primetime address to the nation.

Gitmo remains open; we are still at war in Afghanistan; we are still at war in Iraq; and all this is true despite a president elected explicitly and clearly to end the failed wars he inherited. This comes perilously close to proving that our democracy doesn’t really have much of a say in whether this perpetual war should continue or not. The public just wants “something to be done” in response to videos of beheadings, and seems to have little interest in carefully processing the pros and cons or unintended consequences – even after the catastrophe of the Iraq War under Bush! And here’s what happened when the Senate “debated” the authorization for military force against ISIS … and it’s not from the Onion:

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Is Obama Pulling A Bush?

Sep 24 2014 @ 2:35pm

United Nations Hosts World Leaders For Annual General Assembly

Tomasky insists no:

The first and most important difference, plainly and simply: Obama didn’t lie us into this war. It’s worth emphasizing this point, I think, during this week when Obama is at the United Nations trying to redouble international support to fight ISIS, and as we think back on Colin Powell’s infamous February 2003 snow job to Security Council. Obama didn’t tell us any nightmarish fairy tales about weapons of mass destruction that had already been destroyed or never existed. He didn’t trot his loyalists out there to tell fantastical stories about smoking guns and mushroom clouds.

The evidence for the nature of the threat posed by the Islamic State is, in contrast, as non-fabricated as evidence can be and was handed right to us by ISIS itself: the beheading videos, and spokesmen’s own statements from recruitment videos about the group’s goal being the establishment of a reactionary fundamentalist state over Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. That’s all quite real.

The in-tray has been full of similar sentiments. My response is: sure, so far as it goes. But Tomasky’s argument doesn’t go very far. And the way in which Obama supporters have lamely acquiesced to this reckless war fomented by a dangerous executive power-grab is more than a little depressing. It strikes me as uncomfortably close to pure partisanship. I can’t imagine them downplaying the folly of this if a Republican president were in charge.

Sure, we are indeed not being grotesquely misled this time about non-existent WMDs. But we are going to war despite the fact that ISIS is no more a direct threat to the United States than Saddam was – arguably much less, in fact. We have no answer this time to the unanswered question last time: what if our intervention actually galvanizes Islamist extremism rather than calming it? And the Arab coalition that Tomasky cites as evidence that this war is a far less American-centric one than 2003 has some issues when you confront reality. Here’s the latest:

Jordan said that “a number of Royal Jordanian Air Force fighters destroyed” several targets but did not specify where; the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the air force “launched its first strikes against ISIL targets” on Monday evening, using another acronym for the Islamic State. American officials said that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also took active part in the strikes, and that Qatar played a “supporting” role.

This may be important window-dressing, but window dressing it still is. It sure isn’t close to the coalition George H W Bush assembled in 1990 – and it’s much smaller than George W Bush’s coalition in 2003. More to the point, the key element of any successful strategy will be the position of the Sunni Arab tribes – and they are still sitting on the sidelines. Turkey is AWOL so far. And the fact that the Arab states do not want their contributions to be broadcast more widely reveals the depth of the problem. Obama has Americanized the problem. Once you do that, the regional actors get even more skittish, because the only common thing for so many of the populations represented by these autocrats is loathing of the United States. This is the Arab world. The US will never get anything but hatred and cynicism and contempt from it.

Then there’s the question of authorization.

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A Lesbian Genius To Watch Out For

Sep 18 2014 @ 3:02pm

After the travesty of Jo Becker’s alleged history of the marriage equality movement, and after Chad Griffin’s PR attempt to portray himself as Rosa Parks, and after Ted Olson and David Boies’ grandiloquent credit-hogging in their recent book, it comes as something of a massive relief to see one of the true architects of marriage equality finally getting her due. Mary Bonauto was fighting for gay marriage rights as a lawyer and organizer when very few others were. She started at the state level – because that’s where civil marriage is rooted in American politics and law. And she critically understood that it was vital to get a foothold somewhere, to prove we were not just fringe weirdos, and she saw Massachusetts and New England as the most favorable terrain.

And they were. One aspect of marriage equality in America that is sometimes missed is the role New England played. The gay and lesbian community in Boston in the 1980s and 1990s was remarkably advanced and organized. It was a community I was immensely lucky to grow up in. The self-confidence and self-esteem that this community helped spawn in its members broke through the fear and doubt and squabbling that cursed us elsewhere. It was a gay community big enough to make a splash, but small enough not to splinter. And Mary was a central component of that with her remarkably successful group, Gay And Lesbian Advocates And Defenders.

Let’s be clear: there would be no national surge in support of marriage equality without ten years of civil marriage equality in one state, and then several others. There would be none without Mary Bonauto.

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Back To The Bush Years … ?

Sep 18 2014 @ 1:03pm

Bush Asks Congress For $74.7 Billion In War Aid

My own dismay (even bewilderment) at the current mood in America may well be because I was largely off-grid in August. But it’s still a truly remarkable shift. In a month, the entire political landscape has reverted to Bush-Cheneyism again. I honestly thought that would never happen, that the grisly experience of two failed, endless wars had shifted Americans’ understanding of what is possible in the world, that the panic and terror that flooded our frontal cortexes from 9/12 onward would not be able to come back with such a vengeance. I was clearly wrong. Terrorism does not seem to have lost any of its capacity to promote total panic among Americans. The trauma bin Laden inflicted is still overwhelming rationality. It would be harder to imagine a more stunning success for such a foul mass murder.

The party that was primarily responsible for the years of grinding, bankrupting war, a descent into torture, and an evisceration of many core liberties is now regarded as superior to the man originally tasked with trying to recover from that experience. The political winds unleashed by a few disgusting videos and a blitzkrieg in the desert have swept all before them. And we now hear rhetoric from Democratic party leaders that sounds close to indistinguishable from Bush or Cheney.

Is it merely panic? I doubt it. I think what’s also coursing through the collective psyche is the thought that Obama told us we were finally out of Iraq – and events have shown that assurance to be shaky at best. A core part of his legacy has had the bottom fall out of it. I don’t think most people – outside the Tea Party – really believe that all would be well if we’d just kept more troops in country the last couple of years. But the resurgence of the Sunni insurgency – now tinged with the most fanatical of theocratic barbarisms – is nonetheless blamed on Obama. Maybe it could have been contained without the beheadings. But they touched so many visceral chords that the Jacksonian temperament, always twitching beneath the surface of American life, simply bulldozed away every conceivable objection and doubt.

But will this last? I have my doubts. The Republicans are actually ambivalent about this war – largely because Obama is the president. For a while, they’ll bash him for not being “tough” enough – as if toughness has been shown to be the critical virtue in the fight against Jihadist terrorism. But when and if it actually comes to ground troops, my guess is that they’ll get cold feet. Apart from the unhinged McCain and Butters, few of them are so delusional to think we should re-occupy the place indefinitely. Maybe ISIS can do the neocons a favor and engage in some domestic terrorism to ratchet up the global stakes once again – in which case, we will very much be back where we started, our collective memory erased like those lab rats we covered earlier today.

My point is this: when they actually have to choose to go back to Bush-Cheneyism, and an endless, global civilizational war, Americans will not be as gung-ho as they now appear to be, in the wake of ISIS’ propaganda coups and the Beltway’s hysteria.

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The Great “Unraveling”?

Sep 17 2014 @ 8:42pm

[Re-posted from earlier today.]

I’m a huge admirer of Roger Cohen’s writing – and can appreciate many of the thoughts percolating in his latest column on what he sees as a disintegration of the world order. He manages to cite Scottish independence, the rise of ISIS, and the devolved powers to Eastern Ukraine – and even Ebola! – as part of a trend toward dissolution and anarchy.

But when I look at all the developments he is citing, I don’t really see anything that new. Take Iraq – please. What we are witnessing is the second major Sunni revolt since they were summarily deposed from power by the United States in 2003. How is this new? The Sunnis have long since believed in their bones that Iraq is theirs by right to govern. They despise the Shiites now running the show. The entire construct Syria_and_Iraq_2014-onward_War_mapof Iraq in the first place was designed on the premise of permanent Sunni rule over the majority. That rule necessarily had to be despotic – as all attempts to permanently deny rights to a majority in the country must be.

So we removed the despot – as we did in Libya – and we have an ongoing power-struggle that is a continuation of the same power struggle Iraq has been hosting since time immemorial. I mean look at that map on the right, from Wiki on the current division of power and land in Iraq. Does it look familiar? It looks like every map of Iraq’s sectarian divide since time immemorial. And we think we will change that by air-strikes?

My fear is that the catastrophic error of 2003 will never lead to a stable state, because the Sunnis will never tolerate or trust majority Shiite rule. Yes, we bribed them enough to switch sides temporarily in the “surge”. But they knew we’d leave; and they knew what they had to do when we did. The only conceivable way to avoid such a scenario would be to stay in Iraq indefinitely – but that too is untenable, for both the Iraqis and for us.

The Beltway nonetheless decided – against all the evidence – that the surge had worked, that sectarian passions had subsided, and that a multi-sectarian government would be able to overcome the profound rifts in Iraqi society that have always been embedded in its DNA. We were sold a bill of goods – by Petraeus and McCain and the other benign imperialists. They have spun a narrative that Iraq was “solved” in 2009 – and that the absence of US troops led to subsequent failure. But they flatter themselves. We never had any real reason to believe these sectarian divides had been overcome – and after a decade of brutal and traumatizing mutual slaughter, why on earth would they be?

Iraq was unraveled in 2003; in my view, it has thereby become the battle-ground for the simmering, wider Sunni-Shiite civil conflict that has also been a long-running strain in the region. Our own solipsistic focus on ISIS as another al Qaeda against us – again the narrative of the utterly unreconstructed neocon right and the pious interventionist left – misses this simple fact. We cannot see the forest for our own narcissistic tree.

When you look at Russia and Ukraine from the same historical perspective, the unraveling meme also seems unpersuasive. Russia is a proud and ornery and mysterious country. It has gone from global super-power to regional neo-fascist state in a matter of decades. Its sphere of influence has retreated from the edge of Berlin to the boundaries of Ukraine, which it simply controlled for an extremely long time.

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The Offense Industry On The Offense

Sep 16 2014 @ 11:16am

In a really terrific post during my vacation, Freddie DeBoer nailed something to the cross:

It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing. I now mostly associate that public face with danger, with an endless list of things that you can’t do or say or think, and with the constant threat of being called an existentially bad person if you say the wrong thing, or if someone decides to misrepresent what you said as saying the wrong thing. There are so many ways to step on a landmine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them.

Freddie’s concern was with online hazing of the politically incorrect. Writers are not just condemned any more for being wrong or dumb or rigid. They are condemned as sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, blah blah blah – almost as a reflex in trying to discredit their work. That’s particularly true when it comes to fascinating issues like race or gender or sexual orientation, where liberalism today seems to insist that there are absolutely no aggregate differences between genders, races, ethnicities, or sexual orientations, except those created by oppression and discrimination and bigotry. Anyone even daring to bring up these topics is subjected to intense pressure, profound disapproval and ostracism. This illiberal liberalism is not new, of course. But it’s still depressingly common.

Sam Harris is one of its latest victims. There sure is plenty to disagree with Sam about – and we have had several such arguments and debates. But the idea that he is a sexist – and now forced to defend himself at length from the charge after a book-signing discussion – is really pathetic. His account of the episode is well worth-reading for the insight it gives into the Puritanical wing of the left. Michelle Boornstein decided to play the sexist card after a contentious interview, and then tweet it out thus:

Here’s what she was referring to (in her words):

I also asked Harris at the event why the vast majority of atheists—and many of those who buy his books—are male, a topic which has prompted some to raise questions of sexism in the atheist community. Harris’ answer was both silly and then provocative. It can only be attributed to my “overwhelming lack of sex appeal,” he said to huge laughter.

“I think it may have to do with my person[al] slant as an author, being very critical of bad ideas. This can sound very angry to people… People just don’t like to have their ideas criticized. There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree intrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women,” he said. “The atheist variable just has this—it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.”

This is impermissibly sexist because it assumes that there are some essential biological and psychological differences between men and women, and for a certain kind of leftist, this is an intolerable heresy. If that truth cannot be suppressed or rebutted in a free society, its adherents must be stigmatized as bigots. It’s a lazy form of non-argument – and may have been payback from Boorstein after Harris and she differed quite strongly on the power of fundamentalism in American culture.

But Boorstein’s premise – that because many more men than women seem to buy and read his books, there must be some sexism at work – is preposterous.

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President Obama Addresses The Nation To Outline Strategy On ISIS

As you are by all accounts aware, the US now faces its deadliest foe, its most terrifying enemy – the likes of which we have never seen – in the deserts of Iraq. If we do not send ground troops into that country again, we will all die at home, says Butters. 90 percent of the country think we are directly threatened by the new Caliphate. And far from calming the hysteria, our leaders have fanned it.

Very few people in political leadership have laid out what this group is actually capable of, what the limits of its potential are, or examined the contingent reasons behind its recent sudden advance. It has been framed as an abstract but vital fight against “pure evil” – a rubric the originator of the phrase “axis of evil” knows more about than most. Here’s a must-read on reality:

Despite its territorial gains and mastery of propaganda, the Islamic State’s fundamentals are weak, and it does not have a sustainable endgame. In short, we’re giving it too much credit.

Consider the fall of Mosul, which catapulted the impression that the group is a formidable force able to engage on multiple fronts simultaneously and overpower a U.S.-trained army that dwarfs its size. In reality, it was able to gain such vast territory because it faced an impotent opponent and had the help of the broader Sunni insurgency. The Iraqi army, lacking professionalism and insufficiently motivated to fight and die for Sunni-dominated Mosul, self-destructed and deserted. The militants can be credited with fearlessness and offensive mobility, but they can hardly be said to have defeated the Iraqi army in combat. At the time, Islamic State militants represented less than 10 percent of the overall Sunni insurgency. Many other Sunni groups helped to hold territory and fight off Iraq’s Shiite government and Iranian-backed militia forces …

The Islamic State’s capture of Sinjar in the northern province of Nineveh further added to perceptions of its dominance and helped precipitate Washington’s decision to carry out airstrikes in Iraq. But that episode was also misinterpreted. Kurdish forces were not only taken by surprise, but since they had only recently filled the vacuum in Sinjar left by Iraq’s fleeing army, they were stretched too thin and poorly equipped to sustain a battle outside their home territory. Lacking ammunition and other supplies, they conceded the territorial outpost and retreated within their borders in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Read the whole thing. IS is already over-stretched, and the regional powers who are actually threatened by it, have been slowly mobilizing against it. All of that was happening before Obama decided to Americanize the conflict. Immediately, there is less incentive for the regional actors to do the work themselves, and IS now has a global legitimacy – the US president is now its chief enemy! – it can leverage for further recruits.

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