Empire Watch: CENTCOM’s AOR

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.”

Sound familiar?