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Sun Feb 19, 2012, 06:13 PM


Uncle Sam, Global Gangster


With the United States now well into the second decade of what the Pentagon has styled an “era of persistent conflict,” the war formerly known as the global war on terrorism (unofficial acronym WFKATGWOT) appears increasingly fragmented and diffuse. Without achieving victory, yet unwilling to acknowledge failure, the United States military has withdrawn from Iraq. It is trying to leave Afghanistan, where events seem equally unlikely to yield a happy outcome.

Elsewhere -- in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, for example -- U.S. forces are busily opening up new fronts. Published reports that the United States is establishing “a constellation of secret drone bases” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-building-secret-drone-bases-in-africa-arabian-peninsula-officials-say/2011/09/20/gIQAJ8rOjK_story.html?hpid=z1 in or near the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula suggest that the scope of operations will only widen further. In a front-page story, the New York Times described plans for “thickening” the global presence of U.S. special operations forces. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/us/admiral-pushes-for-freer-hand-in-special-forces.html Rushed Navy plans to convert an aging amphibious landing ship into an “afloat forward staging base” -- a mobile launch platform for either commando raids http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/navy_planning_floating_base_for_ixxu7SpkNrL2kcHAGSVWpK or minesweeping operations in the Persian Gulf http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-31/uss-ponce-isn-t-persian-gulf-seal-mothership-admiral-says.html -- only reinforces the point. Yet as some fronts close down and others open up, the war’s narrative has become increasingly difficult to discern. How much farther until we reach the WFKATGWOT’s equivalent of Berlin? What exactly is the WFKATGWOT’s equivalent of Berlin? In fact, is there a storyline here at all?


The United States is finished with the business of sending large land armies to invade and occupy countries on the Eurasian mainland. Robert Gates, when still Secretary of Defense, made the definitive statement on that subject. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/world/26gates.html The United States is now in the business of using missile-armed drones http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175454/nick_turse_america%27s_secret_empire_of_bases and special operations forces http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175426/tom_engelhardt_a_secret_war_in_120_countries to eliminate anyone (not excluding U.S. citizens) the president of the United States decides has become an intolerable annoyance. Under President Obama, such attacks have proliferated. This is America’s new MO. Paraphrasing a warning issued by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Washington Post dispatch succinctly summarized http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/as-us-pakistani-relations-sink-nations-try-to-figure-out-a-new-normal/2012/01/13/gIQAklfw3P_story.html what it implied: “The United States reserved the right to attack anyone who it determined posed a direct threat to U.S. national security, anywhere in the world.”

Furthermore, acting on behalf of the United States, the president exercises this supposed right without warning, without regard to claims of national sovereignty, http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175498/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_kicking_down_the_world%27s_door/ without Congressional authorization, and without consulting anyone other than Michael Vickers and a few other members of the national security apparatus. The role allotted to the American people is to applaud, if and when notified that a successful assassination has occurred. And applaud we do, http://www.mywesttexas.com/special_report/article_b91c75f0-7477-11e0-9c2c-001cc4c002e0.html for example, when a daring raid by members in SEAL Team Six secretly enter Pakistan to dispatch Osama bin Laden with two neatly placed kill shots. Vengeance long deferred making it unnecessary to consider what second-order political complications might ensue.

much more at top link

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