Biden in Rags


“You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal”

– Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone”

It’s always encouraging when a country’s military commander-in-chief – President Biden, in this case – announces in advance that he knows how he is going to respond militarily to the killing of three American soldiers at a base that supports an illegal and immoral U.S. “covert” war against Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, and all those who oppose the US/Israel slaughter of Palestinians.  Such anxiety to show antecedently that he’s not sitting on his hands is touching.  It’s the kind of announcement that all great military leaders make.  It is the kind of arrogant stupidity that has long been the norm for U.S. presidents who love war but lose them all while masquerading as conquerors.  So it goes, and so it will go.

To add to that, Biden says he doesn’t want a wider war as he creates one, since you can always take him at the opposite of his words. Yet he really has no secrets since his transparent corruption is almost palpable: He supports the Israeli/U.S. genocide in Gaza, the Ukrainian war against Russia, has expanded the war in the Middle East over the past few weeks, and will soon widen it further while the mass media report that he and his cast of fools are trying to “manage” their violent responses to prevent a wider war.  The narrative has it that he is trying to outfox Netanyahu, who has often bragged how he has the U.S.A. in his back pocket.

It is hard not to laugh derisively.  Now Biden issues an executive order to sanction some Israelis on the West Bank, as if this blatant political move to help his election chances with Muslim Americans is an act of moral statesmanship, while the blood of over 27,000 Palestinians drips from his shaky hands and increases daily.

My guess is that he will, as CIA veteran Larry Johnson suggests, execute his militarily meaningless bombing late today, Groundhog Day, not so much because he has to endlessly repeat similar macho acts of a Napolean in rags (which he does), but because the South Carolina primary is tomorrow and acts of war are appealing to the state’s military connected voters.  Additionally, to timely “avenge” the lives of the three black soldiers killed in Jordan might help Biden with the crucial black vote in this primary that will positively launch his reelection campaign or set him back on his heels.

Acts of war have long been the magic rabbit American presidents have relied on to bail them out of political jeopardy and to show their macho toughness.  In this case, as in others, such as Trump’s 2017 attack on Syria with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles for the false accusation of Syrian chemical weapons use (a continuation of Obama’s war against Syria), the actual damage inflicted is often minor while the headline grabbing showmanship is major.  That these presidents legally justify these acts of war based on the war authorization Congress passed following September 11, 2001 is telling.  The so-called war on terror and a supine Congress is the gift that keeps giving the warfare state carte blanche to attack and kill whomever it damn well pleases.

In Biden’s case today, these are the actions of a desperado, a war-loving bumbling puppet who is over or under or out of his head as he feigns outrage at the killing of three soldiers who were placed in a spot where their lives were at risk because they were cogs in an imperial war machine.  Pawns in the game.  A very dangerous game in which the Zionists leaders of Israel are as desperate as Biden and whose secret operatives are no doubt plotting a desperate scheme to try to expand the war.  Who is jerking whose chain may be questionable, but the dogs of war are barking.

“When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”

As Finian Cunningham has just written, “Biden has led U.S. imperialism out of the quagmire of Afghanistan into an even bigger quagmire in the Middle East. With the goading by his equally brainless political rivals, the Americans are plowing further into disaster.”

No rival politician to Biden dares challenge his allegiance to the Israel Lobby and what the inestimable CIA veteran Ray McGovern calls the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex, (MICIMATT), for they too are captives of it.  A small demurral on this or that minor point they may make, but they essentially support the imperial hubris of the warfare state and its symbiotic relationship with Netanyahu and his ilk.

We are talking about very stupid leaders who have never learned from their losses and are risking a major war.

Cunningham writes, “With over 50 military bases strung across the Middle East in 10 countries and with over 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in the region, the Americans are sitting ducks for the resistance. The advent of drones and newer missile technology is a new realm of warfare the Americans have not adapted to with their land garrisons in remote deserts and gaudy warships. . . . They have no idea what is coming to them given the long history of U.S. aggression, provocation, and illegal occupation in the region.”

There are even many usually astute critics of U.S. foreign policy who have recently claimed that the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) recent ruling was a win for the Palestinians, which it was not, as the ICJ appointed Netanyahu to “prevent and punish” those responsible for “genocidal acts.”  Should one laugh?  (See this and this.) The savage Israeli attacks on Gaza continue apace with 124 Palestinians killed in the past 24 hours and well over a thousand killed since the ruling.  Spinning the ruling to accord with one’s hopes and well-intentioned wishes will not help the victims of the genocide but will only intimate that international law is somehow still operative when it is not.

So the emperor has no clothes or is dressed in rags and we all await Punxsutawney Joe to tell us which way the wind blows.

“He’s not selling any alibis/ As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes/And say, ‘Do you want to make a deal?”

Edward Curtin is an independent writer whose work has appeared widely over many years.  His website is and his new book is Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies 

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