March 25, 2010
The New Statesman

Obama And The Age Of Permanent War

by John Pilger

America has emerged from the era of outright aggression on the rest of the world and into the age of nuanced terror.

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, "bunker-buster" bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of "defence", Robert Gates, complains that "the general [European] public and the political class" are so opposed to war, they are an "impediment" to peace. Remember, this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a "war of perception". Thus, the recent "liberation of the city of Marjah" from the Taliban's "command-and-control structure" was pure Hollywood. Marjah is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, the poorest of the poor. . . .


Smedley Butler, "'War Is a Racket'," The Wisdom Fund, September 11, 2001

John Pilger, "The New World War - The Silence Is A Lie,", September 24, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts, "Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It,", March 24, 2010

[But as the offensive unfolded, reported Taliban casualties were few, and Marjah turned out not to exist. Faithfully reported by global news media, it was in fact invented by US military officials. "This is all a war of perceptions," McChrystal said. As The Washington Post reported, the decision to launch the offensive was intended to influence US public opinion on the effectiveness of military action in Afghanistan by showing it could win a "large and loud victory". In reality, Marjah is a vaguely-defined area of villages, markets and family compounds. If there are tens of thousands of people, they are spread across 125 sq miles. Marjah was invented because a military operation has to have a clear-cut goal to be deemed a victory. President Obama had doubled the total US troop deployment, but public support was waning. The generals needed a victory, so they created Marjah and planned Operation Moshtarak to capture it.--Neil Faulkner, "Guerrilla of Arabia: How one of Britain's most brilliant military tacticians created the Taliban's battle strategy," Independent, September 17, 2010]

[Diego Garcia is crucial to America's and Britain's war on democracy.--John Pilger, "The World War on Democracy,", January 19, 2012]

[The US coordinates most of its military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan from the sub-equatorial atoll. It also uses Diego Garcia to monitor strategically important sea lanes between Asia, Africa and Europe. . . .

The ICJ said in late February that the UK's expulsion of people on the then Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia, contravened international law and recommended that the UK “end its administration of the [archipelago] as rapidly as possible.”--Bertil Lintner, "Legal storm clouds gather over Diego Garcia,", March 8, 2019]

[Between 1968 and 1973, up to 2,000 residents of the Chagos archipelago were forced to move to Mauritius, the Seychelles and UK in order to establish a military base on the main island, Diego Garcia. In the meantime, the UK has leased it to the US until 2036. Chagos served as a military base for both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.--"Chagos islands: The fight over Africa's last British colony,", November 22, 2019]

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