Tag Archives: terrorism

Obama will never end the War on Terror

Obama will never end the War on Terror

“What began as one horrific attack 13 years ago and a simple, 60-word Authorization for the Use of Military Force three days later has morphed all but unnoticed into a war with no name or parameters—against an enemy that the government will no longer even officially identify, on battlefields that didn’t exist when the measure hurriedly passed Congress.

And as the Yemen strike suggests, the war hardly appears to be winding down. Nor do U.S. forces seem to be getting much better at avoiding “collateral damage.” The grave but very real danger is that this strangest of wars will never end, certainly not before the expiration of Obama’s second term. And his successors may be left with nearly the entire unresolved mess: an open-ended war authorization and inchoate rules for drone and special operations, the promised-but-never-carried-through closing of Guantánamo Bay, and a National Security Agency that’s still not sure whom or what it can spy on.”

 
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The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program

The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program

“In one tactic, the NSA ‘geolocates’ the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have ‘absolutely’ been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.”

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The destructive foreign policy myth that America just won’t quit

The destructive foreign policy myth that America just won’t quit

“Silence about U.S.-Israel relations is, to a large degree, hardwired into Beltway culture. As George Perkovich, director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told the Washington Post, ‘It’s like all things having to do with Israel and the United States. If you want to get ahead, you don’t talk about it; you don’t criticize Israel, you protect Israel.’

This is regrettable, as Washington’s politically invisible military aid to Israel is not just an impediment to lasting peace, but also a strategic and security liability. As General David Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2010, the failure to reach a lasting resolution to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians makes Washington’s other foreign policy objectives in the region more difficult to achieve. It also, he pointed out, foments anti-American hatred and fuels al-Qaeda and other violent groups.”

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To salvage what we can from Afghanistan, our leaders must admit that the war has failed

To salvage what we can from Afghanistan, our leaders must admit that the war has failed

“As America ploughs through its 13th year of war in Afghanistan and negotiates with Kabul to keeps troops there for another ten years, we must take a sober look at the military and diplomatic actions that have thus far characterized our involvement. We must ask what we have accomplished after more than a decade of fighting, whether our goals have been met and our mission has been a success. It is time to remove the taboo against telling the hard truth and concede what a dispassionate analysis demands: the war in Afghanistan has been lost.”

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I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

“What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: ‘The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?’ I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.”

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Dirty wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s new film exposes hidden truths of covert U.S. warfare

Dirty wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s new film exposes hidden truths of covert U.S. warfare

“If you look at the use of the state secrets privilege; if you look at the way the Obama administration has expanded the drone wars; has empowered special operations forces, including from JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, to operate in countries where the United States is not at war; if you look at the way in which the Obama administration has essentially boxed Congress out of any effective oversight role of the covert aspects of U.S. foreign policy, what we really have is a president who has normalized, for many, many liberals in the United States, the policies that they once opposed under the Bush administration. And, you know, this really has been a war presidency.”

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New recruiting tools for militants?

New recruiting tools for militants?

“Civilian governments also know that the US has historically not been shy of supporting military regimes in Pakistan as long as they serve its interests. This was evident in the US’ support for General Zia ul-Haq’s regime during the cold-war period, and for Musharraf’s regime in the post September 11 period.

Additionally, US aid historically goes up when Pakistan is under military rule rather than a democratic government. Keeping the US on its side is thus seen to be critical by the government to ensure their survival against a potential military coup. Thus, the two mainstream political parties, namely Pakistan Muslim League (PML, also known as Nawaz group) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), may raise a hue and cry about US policies, but they don’t push too far because of their domestic vulnerability. They know that an ever eager military is always waiting in the wings, for external encouragement, to get back into power.”

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How does the global war on terror ever end?

How does the global war on terror ever end?

“Obama’s counterterrorism team had developed what was referred to as the ‘Disposition Matrix,’ a database full of information on suspected terrorists and militants that would provide options for killing or capturing targets. Senior administration officials predicted that the targeted killing program would persist for ‘at least another decade.’ During his first term in office, the Washington Post concluded, “’Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.’”

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