Most sentient beings have long recognized that murdering civilians in foreign countries -- especially through the cowardly methods of "secret war" -- is entirely counterproductive ... if your actual aim is to enhance America's national security by reducing violent extremism and hatred for the United States, that is. However, if your aim is to perpetuate and expand a militarist empire and the bloated, brutal, corrupt, war-profiteering system that supports it, why then, secret war and civilian slaughter are perfectly logical and remarkably effective methods.
And that is why our highly intelligent and cool, pragmatic president is now vastly expanding the use of secret war, subversion, sabotage and murder into even more countries around the world, and giving America's secret, unaccountable death squads and covert operators even more power to carry out their lawless operations. As one Pentagon mandarin gushed, Obama is allowing "things that the previous administration did not."
That quote comes from a remarkably candid story in the Washington Post on Obama's "surge" in America's secret war on the world, which now encompasses no fewer than 75 countries.
(By the way, the Post is often a very good source of information about the operations and machinations of the militarist empire -- not because its editors are seeking to expose the empire's crimes and atrocities, but because they approve of them. And thus they will often write about them, in detail, in the most straightforward manner: "Hey, look at the cool stuff our boys are doing now!")
As the story notes:
The Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups, according to senior military and administration officials.
Special Operations forces have grown both in number and budget, and are deployed in 75 countries, compared with about 60 at the beginning of last year. ... Plans exist for pre-emptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world ...
What's more, Obama has brought the covert operators and death squad leaders into the inner circle at the White House:
Special Operations commanders have also become a far more regular presence at the White House than they were under George W. Bush's administration, when most briefings on potential future operations were run through the Pentagon chain of command and were conducted by the defense secretary or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"We have a lot more access," a second military official said. "They are talking publicly much less but they are acting more. They are willing to get aggressive much more quickly."
The White House, he said, is "asking for ideas and plans . . . calling us in and saying, 'Tell me what you can do. Tell me how you do these things.' "
... Obama has made such forces a far more integrated part of his global security strategy [than Bush]. He has asked for a 5.7 percent increase in the Special Operations budget for fiscal 2011, for a total of $6.3 billion, plus an additional $3.5 billion in 2010 contingency funding.
The story notes that the bureaucratic turf wars between the Pentagon and State Department that had hindered some covert operations under the cantankerous Donald Rumsfeld have now disappeared with the smooth comity between Obama's team of Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, the long-time Bush Family factotum who now mentors the eager young Democratic president in the ancient ways of oligarchy and militarist empire. And of course, Obama hand-picked Stanley McChrystal -- master of America's darkest arts in the war of aggression in Iraq -- to lead his "surge" in Afghanistan.
Indeed, Obama has been so lavish and relaxed in his use of death squads and secret war that the only complaint voiced these days by our Special Oppers -- who, the Post notes, "consider themselves a breed apart" -- is that they have to spend too much time in current war zones, and not enough plying their wares in new territory:
Although pleased with their expanded numbers and funding, Special Operations commanders would like to devote more of their force to global missions outside war zones. Of about 13,000 Special Operations forces deployed overseas, about 9,000 are evenly divided between Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yes, it's a lot more fun to skulk around in unsuspecting foreign nations, "taking out" a suspect here, "renditioning" another to some secret hellhole there, arming and funding local terrorist groups to kill, maim and destroy, or paying off sleazy local informants who happily sell their business rivals or personal enemies into captivity. It is indeed a noble calling, requiring "a breed apart" from the common herd.
But oddly enough, some of the Pentagon's compadres in covert war are discovering that the practice is not achieving its publicly stated objectives. As Gareth Porter at Antiwar.com reports, even the push-button killers of the CIA are waking up to the fact that their remote-control slaughter of Pakistanis with drone-fired missiles is creating more hatred and more enemies for the United States:
Some CIA officers involved in the agency’s drone strikes program in Pakistan and elsewhere are privately expressing their opposition to the program within the agency, because it is helping al-Qaeda and its allies recruit, according to a retired military officer in contact with them.
"Some of the CIA operators are concerned that, because of its blowback effect, it is doing more harm than good," said Jeffrey Addicott, former legal adviser to U.S. Special Forces and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, in an interview with IPS.
Addicott said the CIA operatives he knows have told him the drone strikes are being used effectively by al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders to recruit more militants. ...
Because the drone strikes kill innocent civilians and bystanders along with leaders from far away, they "infuriate the Muslim male," said Addicott, thus making them more willing to join the movement. The men in Pakistan’s tribal region "view Americans as cowards and weasels," he added.
Weasels? Well, that is a "breed apart," I guess, so perhaps the covert warriors should be proud of the sobriquet. (And of course it is not just the Muslim male who is infuriated by the civilian slaughter and turning to violent reaction, as evidenced by the growing number of female suicide bombers.)
But these inklings of CIA sentiency -- and perhaps the first stirrings of awareness that the stated objectives are not the real aim of the program -- have not prevented our stalwarts from continuing to push their murderous buttons (or is it click their murderous mouses?):
CIA officers "are very upset" with the drone strike policy, Addicott said. "They’ll do what the boss says, but they view it as a harmful exercise." ... Addicott said the drone program has been driven by President Barack Obama, rather than by the CIA. "Obama’s trying to show people that we’re winning," he added.
Addicott then makes this telling observation:
They have informed high-level CIA officials about their concerns that the program is backfiring, Addicott told IPS.
"The people at the top are not believers," said Addicott, referring to the CIA. "They know that the objective is not going to be achieved."
And there you have it. The "people at the top" are indeed well aware that the stated objectives of the ever-expanding drone program -- and the ever-expanding Terror War -- are not going to be achieved. They are not meant to be achieved. They are meant only to give the illusion "that we're winning," to keep the great game going, to keep the money and the power rolling in.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on June 5, 2010.