Obama’s Partner in War Crimes

by NORMAN POLLACK

When Senate Democrats such as Harry Reid praise Brennan to the heavens, as America’s savior, and Diane Feinstein settles for OLC legal memos confined to the killing of Americans, but not the basis for the entire armed drone program for targeted assassination, it is fair to say Obama has the party as his accomplice in the violation of international law.  If Democrats had the slightest moral conscience, they would a) censure Obama for assassination, this as a starter for a geopolitical strategy vastly enlarging the military’s role in foreign policy; b) vote against Brennan’s confirmation; and c) oppose everything Obama does, countering with specific proposals across the board, from steep progressive taxation to deep cuts in the military budget to stringent banking regulation and to ditto on climate change—again as a starter, given his gross betrayal of the bottom half of the American people.

Brennan’s presence in government actually and symbolically drives a spike through the heart of US claims to being a democratic society.  Not that democracy hasn’t been tattered to shreds long before, but at least now the moonshine dispensed from the White House, because of its pretentiousness, makes still more evident the rapid slide away from basic freedoms.  I wish Madame Tussaud’s in London would re-create the Terror Tuesday’s off the Situation Room—the ugliness of which would hardly be believed.  Brennan in his element: hit lists, vaporizing the baddies, the triumph of just-war ideology.  And now, at CIA, designed to his liking, a full-throttle engine of expansive paramilitary operations, so that through a take-no-prisoners approach it won’t be necessary to have waterboarding—no one to waterboard.  CIA operatives can now enjoy the fun of their JSOC partners, proving their manhood over what is left of the bodies of children, now blood spats.

And we have Obama to thank for providing cover for atrocities by his staunch defense of SECRECY, so that US global military expansion can proceed unhampered.  Africa is ripe for pickings, but why stop there?  Why stop anywhere, for that matter?  This is the classic imperialism paradigm, adjusted for the 21st century.  By “classic,” I mean, not simply expansion, markets, materials, the extraction of global wealth and resources into our vaults and coffers, but also, turning sadistic energies inward in shaping a docile underclass, an adoring middle class, and, at the upper reaches, a small, immensely wealthy ruling class.  It can’t happen here?  I think it has already, or is well along as a societal process, with Obama’s own distinctive contribution: monopoly capitalism on panzer treads.

Yes, Senate Intelligence has just confirmed 12-3 as I write.  This is, of course, not unexpected.  Everyone knows Brennan is the architect of the drone program, a program of state-sponsored murder that has killed more civilians by far, than those presumably validated as terrorists, and that has gone after first responders and those attending the funerals of the victims. How base and nihilistic can we get—and yet this is to be America’s point-man on the Obama-supported doctrine of permanent war.  Drones have a special resonance with Obama, Brennan, and the national security team.  High tech gadgetry is no doubt appealing, as is the total separation of order and execution, a sanitization of murder done from 8,000 miles away.  But more, its locations, air strips, ground crews, accompanying personnel, all provide the means for implementing imperialism itself.  Djibouti and Niger are windows into, if not the African soul, then at least its riches.  Wherever drones are placed, the US has vantage ground-outpost-battle station rolled in one.  One almost senses that for Obama, NATO is obsolete, although bearable as an “ally” in further interventions—but obsolete and even a possible restraining force when it comes to the big boy: confrontation with China.

The connection between drone warfare and the Pacific-first strategy still remains unclear, as though the former is intended to nibble away at the periphery, as well as challenge China’s influence in Africa.  But ambitions for the drone as the prime agency for assassination remain high; its presence, given Obama’s already clear planning to institutionalize the whole practice, thus binding future administrations, has been reported by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, such a proud legacy that, unfortunately, cannot also be found on banking regulation, progressive taxation, climate change, and a thousand and one other sell-outs.  Here Brennan so perfectly epitomizes America, the way Eichmann did Germany, except that Brennan is more hands-on, and cannot plead deniability (although he has tried that in his first confirmation battle, his name subsequently withdrawn) as a bloodless administrator.

As with so much else, the American people sleep the sleep of innocence, purposefully unaware of war crimes abroad, serious deprivations—affecting many of them—at home.  Blissful, a Norman Rockwell world of Dick and Jane.  Jump, Fido, jump, citizen, roll over, play nice…as our political-economic-military elite smile down from above.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”