US empire as masterfully described by Andrew Bacevich
US Marines shown in Nasariyah in Iraq March 24, 2003. the Marines are back this week fighting to retake control of the city
General Joseph Votel, current commander of CENTCOM decribes his command area or AOR as:
consisting of 20 nations, among them Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As the CENTCOM website puts it, without batting a digital eyelash, that AOR “spans more than 4 million square miles and is populated by more than 550 million people from 22 ethnic groups, speaking 18 languages with hundreds of dialects and confessing multiple religions which transect national borders.”
Bacevich helps us interpret this “imperial speak”:
One imagines that there must be another “Department of Defense Dictionary,” kept under lock-and-key in the Pentagon, that dispenses with the bland language and penchant for deceptive euphemisms. That dictionary would define an AOR as “a vast expanse within which the United States seeks to impose order without exercising sovereignty.” An AOR combines aspects of colony, protectorate and contested imperial frontier. In that sense, the term represents the latest incarnation of the informal empire that American elites have pursued in various forms ever since U.S. forces “liberated” Cuba in 1898.
He goes on to imagine the Vietnam conflict in VOR speak:
(Give the Vietnam War the CENTCOM treatment and you would end up with something like this: “Responding to unprovoked North Vietnamese attacks and acting at the behest of the international community, a U.S.-led coalition arrived to provide security to the freely-elected South Vietnamese government, conducting counterinsurgency operations and assisting host nation security forces to provide for their own defense.”
The idea that the US might Build a pipeline through Arlington or use a drone strike in Central Park brings home to the colonial nature of these devices.
The retirement of the antiquated Predator drone MQ-1, which is to be withdrawn from service in July and replaced by the more capable MQ-9 Reaper, is giving military analysts an opportunity to review the mixed history of a weapon that has long been associated with low-cost war, a sense of disembodiment from conflict, and for inflicting a high number of civilian casualties.
Source: US retires Predator drones after 15 years that changed the ‘war on terror’ | World news | The Guardian
“After 15 years, the only winners in the War on Terror have been the contractors.” Scott Camil
An article from Information Clearing House remembering how our government and their allies reacted to 9/11 and the cost we are still paying today for those choices.
“All of this foreshadows a war that could stretch 10, 20, or 50 more years. As the U.S. shifts its strategy towards bombing and away from ground troops, media engagement with the wars diminishes, and it is all too easy to forget about our permanent state of war. But the victims of U.S. violence are unlikely to forget, creating a potentially endless supply of new enemies.”
Source: Fifteen Years After 9/11, Neverending War: Information Clearing House – ICH read more here
CITIZENFOUR is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute, giving audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).
via About | CITIZENFOUR.
Farmers are on their way to tend their crops when a missile slams into their midst, thrusting shrapnel in all directions.
A CIA drone, flying so high that the farmers can’t see it, has killed most of them. None of them were militants.
It’s a common scenario, a United Nations human rights researcher said Friday in a statement on drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan.
via Drones killing innocent Pakistanis, U.N. official says – CNN.com.
The sixteen-page Justice Department “white paper” was provided to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees in June on the condition that it be kept confidential, but someone provided a copy to NBC News .pdf available here. Reporter Michael Isikoff notes that Brennan, who was the first official to publicly discuss drone strikes, has said they’re “consistent with the inherent right of self-defense” and Attorney General Eric Holder claimed the attacks are justified if the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.”
via Rule for Drone Strikes on U.S. Citizens Is Vague — Daily Intelligencer.
The Culture War of National Security
Drone assassinations? Guantanamo? Why civil libertarians can’t win in the fight against an expanded security state. And why we can blame Caesar.
via The Culture War of National Security –.
Being aware of the politics of National Security and how we communicate and make decisions is an important part of effective opposition to the policies of our present day empire. Can we learn from Caesar’s mistake?