January 6, 2010
Democracy Now!

'Obama Has Kept the Machine Set on Kill'

by Alan Nairn

Obama seems to have killed more civilians during his first year than Bush did in his first year, and maybe even than Bush killed in his final year, because not only has Obama kept the machine set on kill, but he had his special project, which is Pakistan and Afghanistan.

. . . the issue is not the safety of Americans. The issue is the safety of people. All people. You have to count not just the American deaths and potential American deaths, but the deaths everywhere . . . And the best solution is the one that protects the maximum number of people. And if you happen to be the party that is committing the largest number of killings in the world, as the US is now, then the solution is easy: stop committing the killings.

In this case, in the present moment in history, that would have the added side benefit of most likely making Americans safer, as well, because you would take away the main provocation. Tom Brokaw, on TV this weekend, made a very interesting comment. He described what the US was engaged in as the "war against Islamic rage." That's actually the most telling definition I've seen. I mean, think about it. In Afghanistan, Karzai, the US/UN-installed president, basically the man thought of as a US puppet, the man previously lionized by the US press before he started speaking out against the US aerial killings of civilians, Karzai started to get enraged after a series of bombings of wedding parties by the US and NATO forces. Think about it. Somebody bombs your wedding, a foreign air force bombs your wedding. How are you supposed to react? Are you supposed to be delighted? Rage is the normal human response. If you stop that, you lower the rage, and you probably get fewer attacks on Americans.

You know, there's a man named Kilcullen, who's Australian by origin, who's now one of the main intellects behind the US counterinsurgency policy. He advises Secretary Gates, who of course was Bush's Defense Secretary, as well. He said that if he were a Muslim today in a Middle Eastern country, he would probably be a jihadist. Robert Pape, the leading academic specialist on suicide bombings who studied the entire database of all the suicide bombers in recent years, said it's a consequence primarily of occupation. So, you stop committing mass murder overseas, and you immediately, immediately, just by that action, achieve the main goal, which is minimizing the overall deaths of people, and you most likely get the side benefit of also minimizing the deaths of Americans . . .

we mentioned before some of the places where the US is bombing and attacking. Less known, these are some examples of the machine being set on kill, repressive - what in RAND's words - RAND Corporation's words, repressive regimes being backed by the US: Algeria, where they annulled an election, they stole an election, they do systematic torture; Ethiopia, where there's mass hunger among the population, but where the US is building up the Ethiopian army and using them against Somalia; Saudi Arabia, the most religious extremist, anti-woman dictatorship in the world; Jordan, a torture center - the Jordanian intelligence outfit was, in the words of George Tenet, owned by the CIA, and both the CIA and Israel use it for torture; Rwanda, whose army and paramilitaries have been pillaging and raping and massively killing in the eastern Congo; Congo itself, Secretary of State Clinton went there and made a good denunciation of rape by the Congolese army, and as that was happening, the US was delivering weapons and training to that same Congolese army; Indonesia, where the army now de facto occupies and terrorizes Papua and has recently resumed assassinations in Aceh, the other end of the archipelago; Colombia, where army and army-backed militaries are the world's number-one killer of labor activists; Uzbekistan, massive torture backed simultaneously by the US and Russia; Thailand, where officers who - US officers who I spoke to use their US training in what they call "target selection" to assassinate and disappear Muslim rebels in the south; Nepal, where US Green Berets for years created old Guatemala-style civil patrols that carried out lynchings against pro-Maoist forces and civilians in the countryside; India, where the police do daily torture and where their own officers talk about using terror against villages in the Naxalite rebel areas; Egypt, one of the world's leading torture states and Israel's accomplice in the blockade and hungering of Gaza; Honduras, where the army recently staged a coup when the oligarchy's president, Zelaya, turned against his fellow oligarchs; Israel, which committed aggression against Gaza using US white phosphorus and cluster bombs as the US was - the US was shipping in new materiel as this, you know, attack was underway; and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, where, as the British Guardian just reported, the security forces are doing systematic torture of Hamas people and other dissidents under CIA sponsorship. And that's only a partial list. We'd need another twenty-minute segment to complete the list.

But in not one of these cases has Obama decided to comply with US law, comply with international law, and cut off the killer forces. . . .


Michael Hudson, "The Obama Letdown,", November 26, 2008

Craig Whitlock, "European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials Over Prisoner Treatment," Washington Post, April 22, 2009

Eric Margolis, "CIA Claims of Cancelled Assassination Campaign are Hogwash," Toronto Sun, July 19, 2009

Gordon Prather, "The U.S. Is Violating the NPT -- Not Iran,", September 26, 2009

Ray McGovern, "Answering Helen Thomas on Why They Want to Harm Us,", January 9, 2010

[The American colossus continues to stumble ever deeper into the Muslim world's violent, tangled affairs at a time when Washington is bankrupt and only runs on Chinese loans. In 2009, the U.S. deficit was $1.4 trillion US.

American soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. special forces, air units and CIA mercenaries are involved in combat operations in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, West Africa, North Africa and the Philippines. A new U.S. base at Djibouti is launching raids into Yemen, Somalia and northern Kenya. U.S. forces aided the failed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. New U.S. bases are planned in oil-producing West Africa.

The Red Sea littoral is America's next major headache. Somalia's anti-western Shebab movement controls much of that nation's south and centre. Yemen is a hotbed of jihadist activity that increasingly threatens neighbouring Saudi Arabia, a vital American ally. Somali pirates could turn from plundering to striking at western interests.--Eric Margolis, "How bin Laden lured U.S. into costly, bloody war," Toronto Sun, January 10, 2010]

[It was Osama bin Laden himself, in his declaration of war in 1998, published in London, who gave al-Qaeda's reasons for war:

First, the U.S. military presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia. Second, U.S. sanctions causing terrible suffering among the Iraqi people. Third, U.S. support for Israel's dispossession of the Palestinians. "All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his Messenger, and Muslims," said Osama. . . .

America lost 4,000 soldiers in six years in Iraq, with 30,000 wounded. Yet not one American of the 125,000 soldiers in Iraq was killed in December. Why not? Because we no longer conduct raids, patrol streets, kick down doors, and pat down suspects. We have ended our combat operations, withdrawn to desert bases, and seem anxious to go home. When we stopped fighting and killing them, they stopped fighting and killing us. . . .

Why are the Taliban killing our soldiers? Because we threw them out of power, took over their country, and imposed the Hamid Karzai regime, and our troops, some 100,000 by fall, are the force preventing them from recapturing their country. . . .

Hamas has used terrorism, but not against us. Hezbollah has used terrorism, but not against us since the bombing of the Marine barracks, a quarter-century ago. And our Marines were attacked in Lebanon because we were in Lebanon, intervening in their civil-sectarian war.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Why Are They at War With Us?,", January 12, 2010]

[As intelligence agencies rush to connect more dots on a page so crowded with dots that they already almost touch, Americans need to focus on the real problem, our foreign policies. We have made ourselves the enemy of over a billion people, nearly a quarter of the world's population. . . .

As many Muslims see it, Washington kills innocent civilians all the time. American hypocrisy enrages them almost more than our bombs, no matter how much we claim that we only aim at bad guys.--Jon Basil Utley, "Too Many Dots, Too Many Enemies,", January 12, 2010]

[The United States plans to unveil later this decade a new conventional "Prompt Global Strike" (C-PGS) system. It will enable the US to instantly carry out a massive conventional attack anywhere in the world in an hour or less.--Peter J Brown, "US's strike threat catches China off guard,", February 4, 2010]

[The Senate is trying to force Obama's hand, box him in, restrict his freedom of action, by making him impose sanctions that would cut off the negotiating track and put us on a track to war - a war to deny Iran weapons that the U.S. Intelligence community said in December 2007 Iran gave up trying to acquire in 2003.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Will Obama Play the War Card?,", February 5, 2010]

[Judges in Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland and Lithuania are preparing to hear allegations that their governments helped the CIA run secret prisons on their soil or cooperated in illegal U.S. treatment of terrorism suspects. Spanish prosecutors also have filed criminal charges against six senior Bush administration officials who approved the harsh interrogation methods that detainees say were employed at U.S. military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and other sites.--Shashank Bengali, "Other countries probing Bush-era torture - Why aren't we?," McClatchy Newspapers, August 18, 2010]

Paul Craig Roberts, "The Stench of American Hypocrisy,", November 18, 2010

[Friday's filing provides Judge Velasco with the legal framework for the prosecution of government lawyers - a prosecution that last took place during the Nuremberg trials--Michael Ratner, "Bringing the 'Bush Six' to Justice: If those responsible for the Bush administration's torture policy will not face charges in the US, then in Spain it must be," Guardian, January 7, 2011]

[This is how one of the darkest chapters in U.S. counterterrorism ends: with practically every instance of suspected CIA torture dodging criminal scrutiny.--Spencer Ackerman, "CIA Exhales: 99 Out of 101 Torture Cases Dropped,", June 30, 2011]

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