An Exciting New Muslim Country To Drone Attack
What's going on here seems fairly obvious. The absurdity of escalating a war in Afghanistan by pointing to The Scary Al Qaeda Menace -- when there is virtually no Al Qaeda presence in that country -- is becoming increasingly apparent. Just yesterday, a Washington Post article documented -- using the WikiLeaks war documents (which, remember, told us absolutely nothing worth knowing) -- that Al Qaeda is virtually non-existent in the war in Afghanistan. So now, administration officials -- hiding behind the anonymity which these media outlets naturally provided -- fanned out to announce a new, Growing, Scary Al Qaeda Threat in Yemen, which, they boast, now needs its own escalated bombing attacks and CIA operations. The goal is that the War never ends; the only variable is where it happens to increase on any given day.
The illogic and propaganda driving this is so familiar because it's what has been driving the American National Security State for the last decade. There is anti-Americanism and radicalism in Yemen; therefore, to solve that problem, we're going to bomb them more with flying killer robots, because nothing helps reduce anti-American sentiments like slaughtering civilians and dropping cluster bombs from the sky. Who could have watched the last decade and have doubts about that brilliant strategic insight? As Yemen expert Gregory Johnson told The Christian Science Monitor in June, after reports of the use of American cluster bombs:
Just imagine how helpful a new, escalated drone campaign in Yemen will be -- on top of the U.S.-backed abuses from their own government -- for helping extremists in that country make the argument that Yemen is a new front in the American crusade against Muslims, similar to what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of course none of this is new. A Rumsfeld-commissioned report from all the way back in 2004 identified the "underlying sources of threats to America's national security" and emphasized among the leading threats the "negative attitudes" towards the U.S. in the Muslim world and "the conditions that create them." That report specifically explained:
Personally, I wouldn't call that a "paradox": nothing is easier to understand than why American bombings in the Muslim world increase anti-American hatred and thus fuel anti-American Terrorism and swell the ranks of extremists. It'd be a "paradox" if that didn't happen. And it's therefore unsurprising that the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate is rapidly becoming as disliked in the Muslim world as the prior U.S. President: what looks to five Norwegians sitting in Oslo to be a Man of Peace looks much different in the region where his bombs are falling, his hit squads deploying, his war commitments expanding, and his sky robots multiplying.
There's a particularly bitter irony here. The campaign against the Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan is being condemned, rightfully so, because it is driven by a desire to stigmatize all Muslims and even institute a generalized war against Islam as American policy. But far from Ground Zero, having nothing whatsoever to do with the warped right-wing fanatics driving that campaign, we're increasingly engaging in actions perceived -- understandably so -- to be exactly the War against Muslims which, with our pretty presidential words, we renounce. Escalation in Afghanistan, a sustained bombing campaign in Pakistan, all sorts of increased covert actions in multiple Muslim countries, the ongoing imprisonment with no charges of Muslims around the world, bellicose threats to Iran, and now a proposed expansion of our drone campaign into Yemen: we can insist all we want that we are not waging a War Against Muslims, but it's going to look to a huge number of people as though we're doing exactly that.
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Also, be sure to remember: WikiLeaks has blood on its hands.
UPDATE: When I wrote the prior post this morning -- featuring the Onion's mockery of Time Magazine's child-level commentary -- I had intended it to be a stand-alone, amusing item to be read as I finished this Yemen piece. But I now realize it directly relates to the points raised here: the reason the Obama administration can so easily expand our War to yet another Muslim nation, and escalate in Afghanistan with an indefinite commitment notwithstanding our ever-worsening economic crisis, is because the discussion never really advances beyond this: there are Bad Guys there, and we have to get them!! That, of course, is the same thought which dominates the mindset of six-year-olds as they watch adventure films or cartoons, and the fact that our discourse never advances beyond that -- courtesy of outlets such as Time -- is the reason these blatantly counterproductive policies can be pursued with so little trouble, despite how illogical and obviously contradictory is the offered rationale.
UPDATE II: Chris Floyd notes that, as reported by The Los Angeles Times, Fred Kagan -- supreme neocon war cheerleader and architect of the Bush Surge in Iraq -- has now been hired to work with Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan. That's a powerful reflection of how much has changed.