U.S. Threatens Peace and Democracy
Right while President Obama was giving his speech in Egypt, June 4, Israel was conducting what it calls its “largest ever” military exercises involving the entire country in war preparations. Israel says it is preparing for war in the north and south, meaning against Lebanon and Gaza. Earlier this year it conducted war exercises designed to practice bombing raids against Iran. Its media are conducting polls inside the country promoting such a bombing. All this while elections are being organized in Iran (June 15) and Lebanon (June 7) and the U.S. and Israel are demanding that the “right” people and parties are elected.
The U.S. is so concerned about Lebanon and a likely victory by the resistance forces there, running in a Hezbollah-led coalition, that it dispatched Vice-President Joe Biden to the country. This is the highest-level U.S. visit in 25 years. Biden emphasized that the U.S. will decide whether to provide aid to Lebanon depending on the outcome of the elections and the composition of the government formed. This is an open attempt to bribe voters in Lebanon to elect the politicians and parties the U.S. favors, similar to attempts to bribe and now starve the Palestinians. The U.S. and Israel also have threatened not to recognize the new government if Hezbollah leads it. All such actions are directly contrary to democracy and international law against interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
Obama, by timing his speech to coincide with elections in Iran and Lebanon and the show of force of the Israeli war exercises, conveyed a message even before he spoke: submit to U.S.-Israeli dictate or else. It is the U.S. and Israel that are conducting wars and aggression against the peoples of the Middle East and organizing for yet worse crimes.
This path of war is further evident in Obama’s recent appointment of General Stanley McChrystal to head the war against Afghanistan and Pakistan. McChrystal is the very embodiment of assassination politics and total disregard for rule of law. As head of Special Forces in Iraq, he is responsible for torture, hundreds of assassinations and massacres of civilians. He has acted on the basis of a decision by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that granted Special Operations "the authority to carry out actions unilaterally anywhere on the globe." McChrystal has promoted secret incursions into Iran and bombings of Pakistan and now, with his promotion by Obama, been given the green light to conduct them openly.
Stay Out of Iran
As the U.S. steps up its war of aggression in Afghanistan and extends it into Pakistan, Iran is again being made a target. Iran was emphasized during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit with President Barack Obama at the White House May 18. Obama said an area they discussed was “deepening concern around the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran.” Obama added that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would be “profoundly destabilizing in the international community,” and “extraordinarily dangerous.” In this way, Obama is promoting the lie that it is Iran that is dangerous and poses a threat to peace — while the U.S. and Israel, both nuclear powers, both right now engaged in -aggression and occupations, supposedly pose no threat.
It is a fact that both the U.S. and Israel, “stalwart allies” as Obama put it, have nuclear weapons and have said they would use them. The U.S. has a policy of first-strike use and has dropped nuclear bombs. Israel is openly doing propaganda to bomb Iran, using Iran’s “potential pursuit” of nuclear weapons as the excuse. The U.S. does not call this a threat, has not denounced it as a crime — just as it does not denounce the Israeli occupation of Palestine as a crime.
At the very least it is a double standard to put forward that Iran’s “potential pursuit” of nuclear weapons is what is “profoundly destabilizing,” while Israel, which has the weapons is not considered a destabilizing force. Further, it is Iran that supports the proposal to make the Middle East nuclear free, while Israel rejects it. Iran is a country with no foreign troops abroad and has not been an aggressor in the region. It is being targeted not because it threatens the peoples, but because it has stood up against U.S. imperialism and defends the rights of the Palestinians and Lebanese, including their right to resist U.S. and Israeli aggression. Iran is a threat to the aims of the U.S. to dominate the region and that is why it is a target.
Racism of Defending Israel as “Jewish” State
Israel’s occupation of Palestine, its continued siege of Gaza, its massive war games being conducted right while elections are underway in both Iran and Lebanon, are all backed and funded by the U.S. for the same reason — it serves U.S. aims of empire building for world domination. Obama applauded Israel as the “only true democracy of the Middle East.” He emphasized U.S. support of Israel saying, “When it comes to my policies towards Israel and the Middle East, Israel’s security is paramount. It is in U.S. national security interests to assure that Israel’s security as an independent Jewish state is maintained.”
It is significant to consider just what it means to assure “Israel’s security as an independent Jewish state.” If Obama were to say that it is his policy to assure the security of the U.S. as a white state, the racist and fascist nature of the statement would be obvious. But how is proclaiming Israel a “Jewish” state any different? Israel is the state of Israel, made up of all its people, with about 20 percent of its population Arab, mostly non-Jews. To proclaim its right to exist as a “Jewish state” is to proclaim its “right” to be racist and “pure,” much as Hitler did and much as Zionists have long done. Obama finds himself defending such racism because Israel serves as the U.S. arm of aggression in the region. He cannot escape the reality that he is president of a country striving to defend an unsustainable imperialist system and on the path of fascism and war to do so.
It is also the case that Israel, “the only true democracy of the Middle East,” implements the anti-democratic policies of the U.S. The U.S. and Israel refuse to recognize the legitimate elections of the Palestinians, continue to directly interfere and attempt to dictate the internal political life and political organizations in Palestine and are interfering in Lebanon’s elections and threatening to again invade Lebanon and Gaza.
It is U.S.-Israeli aggression that threatens the Middle East. They are the threat to peace, they are the promoters of racism, fascism and war. It is the resistance of the peoples — in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon — that contribute to peace. All out to support the resistance!
Reject War Hysteria Using Threat of Nuclear Weapons
Targeting Korea and Iran, the U.S. is whipping up war hysteria using the threat of nuclear weapons. Repeated media headlines and stories paint the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as ready to blow up the U.S., or perhaps south Korea, simply for conducting a nuclear test. Iran too, which has no nuclear weapons, a fact verified by the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), also is said to be “extraordinarily dangerous” because it might be pursuing nuclear weapons. As President Barack Obama put it, “Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole. All this is then followed by what Obama calls the “gravest threat” which is the possibility that “terrorists” might get their hands on a nuclear weapon.
Why the hysteria, when it is known that hysteria does not assist in solving problems? Hysteria is unmanageable fear — who does that serve? If one is to accept that conditions are dangerous, what is needed is calm and reasoned discussion of the facts, identification of the source of the problems and a plan to together solve them, including such vital questions as who to unite with and who or what to target as the source of the danger. Hysteria, like bribery, is designed to convince people, in this case the American public, to do what they otherwise would not do. It is to so color the situation with fear and the fog of disinformation that Americans will be convinced that countries like the DPRK and Iran, that have invaded no one, do not pose a threat and are in fact contributing to peace worldwide, should be wiped out, or as Hillary Clinton put it, “obliterated.”
Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are indeed problems of grave concern to the world. But the government does not want calm and thoughtful discussion on these problems and their place in world developments. It does not want analysis of the source of problems and solutions for them. It especially wants to hide the fact that when it comes to nuclear weapons, the U.S. has the largest arsenal, is the only country worldwide with a policy of first strike nuclear attack, and has the history of actually using them, again the only country to do so. It is the U.S. that has been the main source for the spread of nuclear technology and weapons, making sure that Israel and South Africa became nuclear powers. It is the U.S. unleashing chaos in Pakistan, forcing thousands to flee and bombing civilians. Pakistan too has nuclear weapons but these U.S. efforts to destabilize the country are not to be considered a “grave threat” to peace. This U.S. terrorism and crimes are to be ignored, while Iran, bombing no one, with no troops on foreign soil, is to be targeted.
In the Middle East, Israel already is a nuclear power. Its entire history is one of aggression, invasions and efforts to exterminate the Palestinians. It is Israel that is openly doing propaganda for war against Iran and conducting massive war games targeting Iran, Palestine and Lebanon — all a crime against the peace according to international law. Israel permits no inspection of its weapons and has a long history of aggression and refusing to abide by international law. Iran and Korea have permitted inspections by the IAEC, have no history of aggression and are acting to defend international law by defending their sovereignty and their right to determine their own affairs.
Iran and the DPRK have both agreed to designating their regions as nuclear-free zones and disarming. It is the U.S. and Israel that reject this solution, it is they who systematically refuse to disarm and eliminate their own nuclear weapons. And certainly given the facts on the ground today in Iraq and Afghanistan — and U.S. history of aggressive wars for empire using massive carpet bombing and chemical weapons like napalm and still being defeated in Vietnam and Korea — it does not take much to see that threats to “obliterate” another country are threats to use nuclear weapons against them. It is this aim that the hysteria serves — to justify such action in the future. Indeed, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, speaking about U.S. readiness to go to war against the DPRK, said that such a war “might not be the old-style land war” that the U.S. and its 28,500 troops still occupying south Korea, envisioned.
Serious discussion about the DPRK, Iran and nuclear weapons and energy more broadly, would necessarily reject aggressive war and use of nuclear weapons. As the repeated and broad mass actions by people here and worldwide shows, the world’s peoples reject the dictum of “Might Makes Right.” They take as their starting point an unequivocal demand to rid the world of nuclear arms. Americans have the responsibility to be in the forefront of the struggle to demand that the U.S. renounce its first-strike policy and act immediately to eliminate its massive arsenal. It is the U.S. that continues to threaten the world’s people with nuclear annihilation in order to suppress their right to be and to crush resistance to U.S. imperialist domination. To contribute to peace, the U.S. must disarm its nuclear arsenal and bring All Troops Home Now!
Vice President Biden Visits Lebanon
President Barack Obama sent Vice-President Joe Biden to Lebanon recently. Elections for parliament will be held in Lebanon June 7. This is the highest-level visit by an American official in 25 years. It follows a very brief stop by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April.
Speaking in Lebanon May 22, Biden said that future U.S. aid to Lebanon depends on the outcome of the June elections. Biden said, “I do not come here to back any particular party or any particular person. I come here to back certain principles.” After meeting with President Michael Suleiman, Biden said, “The election of leaders committed to the rule of law and economic reform opens the door to lasting growth and prosperity as it will here in Lebanon.” He added that the U.S. “will evaluate the shape of our assistance programs based on the composition of the new government and the policies it advocates.” Biden also met officially with Fouad Siniora, the Prime Minister and leader of the coalition favored and backed by the U.S., and Nabih Berri, the parliament speaker. He then met privately with other members of the coalition headed by Siniora.
Biden specifically cautioned Lebanese voters, urging “Those who think about standing with the spoilers of peace not to miss this opportunity to walk away from the spoilers.” The remarks were widely recognized in Lebanon and elsewhere as being directed at Hezbollah and its allies. Hezbollah leads the slate of candidates opposing Suleiman, and the coalition is currently expected to win.
Hezbollah also leads the resistance to U.S.-Israeli aggression in Lebanon, including successfully leading the fight to force Israel out in 2000 and emerging victorious from the U.S.-Israeli effort in 2006 to eliminate all resistance in Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah. The U.S. considers Hezbollah a “terrorist” organization, as it does Hamas in Palestine.
Hezbollah said of Biden’s visit, “The high American interest in Lebanon raises strong suspicion as to the real reason behind it, especially since it has become a clear and detailed intervention in Lebanese affairs.”
Biden’s comments about U.S. aid being based on who wins the election echoes those made earlier during Clinton’s April visit. Clinton also said the elections should be held without outside interference. A senior state department official traveling with her then explained, “If Hezbollah wins, we will have to look at the composition of the government, and particularly at the program, to evaluate…what we are going to do in Lebanon.”
A high-level U.S. official told the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on June 5 that the U.S. will “assess its policy and aid to Lebanon,” depending on the outcome of the election. He also made clear the outcome the U.S. is demanding. He claimed Lebanon's parliamentary elections would either put Lebanon on the path of "completing independence and sovereignty" or the path of "the forces of violence and extremism to reach political objectives." He indicated that he was speaking for President Obama, saying that the Obama administration is hoping that the Lebanese would make progress and protect "the principles of independence, sovereignty and freedom that they fought for."
The remarks are widely recognized as targeting the Hezbollah-led collation expected to win the elections against the U.S.-backed coalition of current Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the wealthy Harari family. The official made clear that if the outcome is considered unfavorable to the U.S. it may not recognize the government and may end aid. He said, however that Washington "will continue to provide support” to those choosing “independence and sovereignty” over extremism.
Israel Air Force squadrons took part in a large scale drill simulating war on all fronts for four days in mid-May. Fighter jets, cargo planes and missile defense systems of the corps took part in the drill where defense from a simultaneous attack against Israel from the south and the north was simulated.
Unlike previous drills, the air force did not train on long-range sorties, such as those that would be carried out during an offensive targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities; the drill this past week focused on defending the country.
During the exercise, the scenario included war against Hamas in the South and war against both Hezbollah and Syria in the North. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who received a briefing on the results of the exercise, was positively impressed and said, “we have a strong air force and this gives us a sense of security.”
In early June, the Israeli home front will be practiced in the most far-reaching rehearsal for an emergency rocket attack ever carried out. All Israelis will be instructed to enter secure spaces and sirens will sound out throughout the country. [It is reported to be the largest exercise ever in Israeli history, taking place from May 31-June 5, during President Barack Obama’s visit to Egypt June 4 and ending on the eve of Lebanon’s election June 6. In earlier reports, Colonel Hilik Sofer, who is in charge of Israel’s Department for Population at the Home Front Command said the aim of the nationwide drill, “is to transform the population from a passive to an active one. We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning.” It will involve the entire population, [including schools and hospitals in war preparations.]
Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on May 18 said the resistance would “adopt precautionary measures to face any security attack that might target Lebanon.” During a speech broadcast on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar station, Nasrallah added, “we will also be ready and cautious; and we tell the Israelis that any surprise attack will fail.” The Hezbollah leader also called on the Lebanese people to be ready for “the Israeli enemy’s largest maneuvers since 1961.”
Nasrallah said the Israeli maneuvers, which will be held between May 31 and June 4, would involve the entire Occupied Territories, including the army, police, government, people, hospitals and schools. “I hope the Lebanese people won’t be frightened; and I hope the Lebanese security forces and army will bear responsibility because it’s an issue of national security,” he added.
The Hezbollah leader said there were four probabilities behind Israel’s maneuvers. The first probability, according to Nasrallah, was that these maneuvers “are meant to restore trust and morals: the trust of the army in itself, the trust between its generals and soldiers, and the trust of the people in their government and army.”
The second probability, he added, was that these maneuvers were carried out because the Israeli government was “worried about its existence or at least worried over its national security.”
The third probability, he said, was that Israel wanted to send a message to the region and the world to say the Israeli entity was neither weak nor divided.
The fourth possible reason for the maneuvers, according to Nasrallah, was that Israel might be preparing for a new surprise war. He added that Israel might launch an attack that would lead to unexpected reactions that require the Israeli government, army and people to be ready.
“We don’t have information on this issue, but this probability should be taken into consideration,” Nasrallah said. However, the Hezbollah leader added that based on the group’s personal analysis, “we don’t think that Israel will launch a war against Lebanon ... but we should be cautious and ready.”
He added that Hezbollah’s capabilities had grown “in quantity and quality.”
Nasrallah said that during a dialogue session held last April, MP Mohammad Raad had put this issue on the table to ask for a national policy to prepare for such maneuvers. However, Nasrallah said the issue had fallen on deaf ears. “The [existing] political authority, whose responsibility it is to protect the country, didn’t take any measures,” he said, adding that Lebanese politicians were busy with the upcoming parliamentary elections. “Did this state decide in any way to protect the security, water, and dignity of Lebanon?” he asked.
He added that “the Israeli enemy says it is performing the largest maneuvers in 61 years, but the Lebanese Cabinet has not figured out how to face this issue diplomatically, militarily, civilly or politically.”
The Hezbollah leader also called for holding an extraordinary dialogue session or a Cabinet session dedicated to this issue to agree on a strategy to face any possible threats that might result from these maneuvers.
Hezbollah’s secretary general calls the recent accusatory article in the German daily, Der Spiegel a cover-up for Israeli assassinations in Lebanon. The resistance leader made the comments after the magazine referred to an unnamed source as claiming that the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was “planned and executed by Hezbollah.”
“I consider the report in Der Spiegel an Israeli accusation,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in the Lebanese capital, Beirut on May 25 calling the move “a plot” of “far-reaching aims.”
“The Israelis are acting preemptively before it is discovered that their spying networks were involved in the assassinations in Lebanon,” he added.
Nasrallah’s comments also referred to Hezbollah and Lebanese intelligence counterespionage forays that have led to the apprehension of about 30 suspected Israeli-commissioned spies. One suspect, Ziad Homsi, has admitted to being tasked to organize the assassination of Nasrallah, the Hezbollah secretary general.
While “we are witnessing the uncovering of Israeli espionage networks,” the Israelis thought, “let’s implement this plot against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said. He said the report deliberately coincided with the June 7 Lebanese elections — where both the U.S. and Israel feared an overwhelming triumph by the resistance — the Israeli military maneuvers that begin on May 31 and the growing international expectation for Tel Aviv to submit to a two-state solution and uphold the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
“Der Spiegel is ready for this mission” which he said was, on a broader scale, aimed at “creating an Arab-Iranian conflict.” Within hours of the appearance of the Der Spiegel article, the Israeli media headlined the story and Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, called for the International Tribunal [investigating Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination in 2005] to issue an arrest warrant against Nasrallah.
“The Israelis made the accusations. They made the judgment. And they want to call for punishment.”
Addressing thousands of his supporters on the occasion of the Resistance and Liberation Day, which marks Hezbollah’s liberation of southern Lebanon in the year 2000 from 22 years of Israeli occupation, the Hezbollah chief concluded with an appeal to the international community to “punish Israel” before Tel Aviv could bring its conspiracy to fruition.
Speaking at a press conference together with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyaho, President Barack Obama gave the following remarks:
“Well, listen, I first of all want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for making this visit. I think we had an extraordinarily productive series of conversations, not only between the two of us but also at the staff and agency levels.
“Obviously this reflects the extraordinary relationship, the special relationship between the United States and Israel. It is a stalwart ally of the United States. We have historical ties, emotional ties. As the only true democracy of the Middle East it is a source of admiration and inspiration for the American people.
“I have said from the outset that when it comes to my policies towards Israel and the Middle East that Israel’s security is paramount, and I repeated that to Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is in U.S. national security interests to assure that Israel’s security as an independent Jewish state is maintained.
“One of the areas that we discussed is the deepening concern around the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran. It’s something the Prime Minister has been very vocal in his concerns about, but is a concern that is shared by his countrymen and women across the political spectrum.
“I indicated to him the view of our administration, that Iran is a country of extraordinary history and extraordinary potential, that we want them to be a full-fledged member of the international community and be in a position to provide opportunities and prosperity for their people, but that the way to achieve those goals is not through the pursuit of a nuclear weapon. And I indicated to Prime Minister Netanyahu in private what I have said publicly, which is that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole and could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that would be extraordinarily dangerous for all concerned, including for Iran.
“We are engaged in a process to reach out to Iran and persuade them that it is not in their interest to pursue a nuclear weapon and that they should change course. But I assured the Prime Minister that we are not foreclosing a range of steps, including much stronger international sanctions, in assuring that Iran understands that we are serious. And obviously the Prime Minister emphasized his seriousness around this issue as well — I’ll allow him to speak for himself on that subject.
“We also had an extensive discussion about the possibilities of restarting serious negotiations on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians. I have said before and I will repeat again that it is I believe in the interest not only of the Palestinians, but also the Israelis and the United States and the international community to achieve a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security.
“We have seen progress stalled on this front, and I suggested to the Prime Minister that he has an historic opportunity to get a serious movement on this issue during his tenure. That means that all the parties involved have to take seriously obligations that they’ve previously agreed to. Those obligations were outlined in the road map; they were discussed extensively in Annapolis. And I think that we can — there is no reason why we should not seize this opportunity and this moment for all the parties concerned to take seriously those obligations and to move forward in a way that assures Israel’s security, that stops the terrorist attacks that have been such a source of pain and hardship, that we can stop rocket attacks on Israel; but that also allow Palestinians to govern themselves as an independent state, that allows economic development to take place, that allows them to make serious progress in meeting the aspirations of their people.
“And I am confident that in the days, weeks and months to come we are going to be able to make progress on that issue.
“So let me just summarize by saying that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu has the benefit of having served as Prime Minister previously. He has both youth and wisdom.”
Obama’s Appointment of McChrystal Shows Embrace of Military Conquests and Empire Building
“The Deltas are psychos…You have to be a certified psychopath to join the Delta Force,” a U.S. Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980’s. Now President Barack Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the U.S. and NATO military command in Afghanistan.
McChrystal’s rise to leadership is marked by his central role in directing special operations teams engaged in extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian communities and search and destroy missions. He is the very embodiment of the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building. Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates special teams in overseas assassinations.
The point of the “Special Operations” teams (SOT) is that they do not distinguish between civilian and military oppositions, between activists and their sympathizers and the armed resistance. The SOT specialize in establishing death squads and recruiting and training paramilitary forces to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social movements opposing U.S. client regimes. The SOT’s “counter-terrorism” is terrorism in reverse, focusing on socio-political groups. McChrystal’s SOT targeted local and national insurgent leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids and air strikes. During the last 5 years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld period the SOT were deeply implicated in the torture of political prisoners and suspects.
McChrystal was a special favorite of Rumsfeld and Cheney because he was in charge of the “direct action” forces of the “Special Missions Units.” “Direct Action” operatives are the death-squads and torturers and their only engagement with the local population is to terrorize, and not to propagandize. They engage in “propaganda of the dead,” assassinating local leaders to “teach” the locals to obey and submit to the occupation. Obama’s appointment of McChrystal as head reflects a grave new military escalation of his Afghanistan war in the face of the advance of the resistance throughout the country.
The deteriorating position of the U.S. is manifest in the tightening circle around all the roads leading in and out of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul as well as the expansion of Taliban control and influence throughout the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Obama’s inability to recruit new NATO reinforcements means that the White House’s only chance to advance its military driven empire is to escalate the number of U.S. troops and to increase the kill ratio among any and all suspected civilians in territories controlled by the Afghan armed resistance.
The White House and the Pentagon claim that the appointment of McChrystal was due to the “complexities” of the situation on the ground and the need for a “change in strategy.” “Complexity” is a euphemism for the increased mass opposition to the U.S., complicating traditional carpet “bombing and military sweep” operations. The new strategy practiced by McChrystal involves large scale, long term “special operations” to devastate and kill the local social networks and community leaders, which provide the support system for the armed resistance.
Obama’s decision to prevent the release of scores of photographs documenting the torture of prisoners by U.S. troops and “interrogators” (especially those under the command of the “Special Forces”), is directly related to his appointment of McChrystal whose SOT forces were highly implicated in widespread torture in Iraq. Equally important, under McChrystal’s command the DELTA, SEAL and Special Operations Teams will have a bigger role in the new “counter-insurgency strategy.” Obama’s claim that the publication of these photographs will adversely affect the “troops” has a particular meaning: The graphic exposure of McChrystal’s modus operendi for the past 5 years under President Bush will undermine his effectiveness in carrying out the same operations under Obama.
Obama’s decision to re-start the secret “military tribunals” of foreign political prisoners, held at the Guantánamo prison camp, is not merely a replay of the Bush-Cheney policies, which Obama had condemned and vowed to eliminate during his presidential campaign, but part of his larger policy of militarization and coincides with his approval of the major secret police surveillance operations conducted against U.S. citizens.
Putting McChrystal in charge of the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan military operations means putting a notorious practitioner of military terrorism – the torture and assassination of opponents to U.S. policy – at the center of U.S. foreign policy. Obama’s quantitative and qualitative expansion of the U.S. war in South Asia means massive numbers of refugees fleeing the destruction of their farms, homes and villages; tens of thousands of civilian deaths, and eradication of entire communities. All of this will be committed by the Obama Administration in the quest to “empty the lake (displace entire populations) to catch the fish (armed insurgents and activists).”
Obama’s restoration of the most notorious Bush Era policies and the appointment of Bush’s most brutal commander is based on his total embrace of the ideology of military-driven empire building. Once one believes (as Obama does) that U.S. power and expansion are based on military conquests and counter-insurgency, all other ideological, diplomatic, moral and economic considerations will be subordinated to militarism. By focusing all resources on successful military conquest, scant attention is paid to the costs borne by the people targeted for conquest or to the U.S. treasury and domestic American economy. This has been clear from the start: In the midst of a major recession/depression with millions of Americans losing their employment and homes, President Obama increased the military budget by 4 percent — taking it beyond $800 billion dollars.
Obama’s embrace of militarism is obvious from his decision to expand the Afghan war despite NATO’s refusal to commit any more combat troops. It is obvious in his appointment of the most hard-line and notorious Special Forces General from the Bush-Cheney era to head the military command in subduing Afghanistan and the frontier areas of Pakistan.