Inviting the Big Payback


The attacks and attempted attacks this week on Israeli embassy personnel in Georgia, India and Thailand should serve as a serious warning to the people of both Israel and the US that there will be an increasingly heavy price to pay for the kind of government-sponsored terror that both countries have long practiced, and that too many Americans and Israelis have mindlessly cheered on.

The technology of terror has become so wide-spread, and the materials needed to construct magnetically-attached  car bombs, cell-phone detonators, armor-piercing IEDs, diesel/fertilizer bombs and the like, and the materials so accessable at consumer shops, hardware stores and local junkyards, that any government, and even any relatively savvy non-government group, can assemble and employ them.

What this means is that when a country like Israel decides to mount a covert campaign of assassination of scientists in a country like Iran, either by using its own agents, or by buying the help of an in-country terror organization like the MEK, it has to expect that the target country will turn around and do the same kind of thing back. There’s no stopping such a tit-for-tat campaign of slaughter, and in fact, it’s more likely that such covert actions will escalate than that they will subside.

The US had better quickly realize that the same thing applies here.  There is an attitude currently in Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and the US intelligence services, that the US can act with impunity when it engages in “secret” wars and even that such secret wars in support of its imperial agenda are a cheap alternative to the massive wars like those against Iraq and Afghanistan (which have not gone well for the US, truth be told).

After all, this argument goes, the US has the world’s most advanced high-tech killing machines in the form of aerial drones that can fire high-explosive-tipped Hellfire rockets that kill at a distance. It has deadly Special Forces operatives who, with the help of “stealth” aircraft, can conduct assassinations that, when all goes as planned, can eliminate perceived enemies without leaving a trace, or that can kidnap and “render” to secret prisons persons whom the government wants to “disappear” or torture for information.

But it’s only a matter of time before those tactics start to get used against US targets by America’s increasingly long and growing list of enemies.

Drone technology is widely available. Indeed simple remotely operated drone aircraft capable of delivering deadly explosives already exist today at very affordable prices in many toy stores and hobby shops and can be ordered on the internet. More sophisticated vehicles with onboard guidance systems are already being developed by many nations, including Russia, China, Japan and others.  It’s only a matter of time, and probably not a very long time, before these deadly machines are just another commodity, traded on the international arms bazaar the same way AKs, Uzis, M4s, grenades, bazookas and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles are already traded.

It can be safely predicted that the US, and especially American people and properties abroad, will become the targets of these kinds of weapons in the not distant future. And the more the US resorts to the kind of special ops warfare that is being advocated by the power-crazed Admiral William H. McRaven, head of the US Special Forces Command, the more likely that this is going to start happening.

The answer is not to have the world become a free-for-all for black ops drones and sponsored terror, but to demand a return to sanity, respect for international law, and peace.

As the prime sponsor of terror in the world, it is the US that must take the first step, by renouncing illegal wars and deadly violations of national sovereignty. If Washington declared that it would henceforth respect international borders and would no longer conduct secret military operations or fly armed drone aircraft inside the borders of other nations, a huge threat to the American “homeland” would be lifted.

Of course, the only way this could happen would be if the American people themselves would wake from their TV-induced stupor, and recognize that we have all been lulled into a false believe that America is all-powerful, that it has the right to interfere, and to kill, anywhere in the world, and that it is immune to retaliation. Once people realize the absurdity of this position (even if not its fundamental immorality), they will, hopefully, demand a return to sanity.

Back in the days of the Cold War, it became clear early on to the American people that using America’s nuclear weapons in a conflict, as some loopy militarists like Gen. Curtis LeMay, were advocating in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, would be a kind of national act of suicide. It’s time for us to recognize that with special operations and drones, it is the same thing.

Israelis are going to have to come to the same realization that they can no longer murder abroad with impunity.

As Randy Quaid’s long-suffering Vietnam veteran, piloting his bomb-laden fighter jet into the open bomb bay of an alien spacecraft in a perfect example of a low-tech counterattack against a technologically vastly superior enemy, said in his last words in the movie Independence Day, “Ain’t payback a bitch?”

Dave Lindorff is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. He lives in Philadelphia. 


Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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