FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Out of Control

Islamabad.

The United Nations Charter states, among other wise and widely forgotten strictures, that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The meaning is clear, in that the signatories to the Charter agreed that territorial integrity was and is fundamental to sovereignty and national dignity. It is essential that a country be permitted to conduct its affairs without the fear of attack by powerful states having policies and intentions detrimental to humanitarian values and civilized conduct.

But civilized conduct is not a phrase or policy platform readily associated with the Bush administration. Following the example of Israel, which carried out a bombing raid against Syria last year, helicopter borne US special forces landed 5 miles inside Syria on October 26 and killed several people. According to Reuters, “Suleiman Ghadban, head of the hospital in the nearby town of Bou Kamal, said: “The hospital received seven bodies aged between 16 and 50 and three wounded, including the mother of the [deceased] family.”

It was disquieting but not surprising that “US forces based in western Iraq denied that they were involved in the incident, suggesting that it may have been carried out by a special unit outside the regular US command structure.” This is far from unusual, because special forces are a law unto themselves. They do not take orders, in either Iraq or Afghanistan, from the US commander on the ground. They answer only to the head of Special Forces Command, who tasks them irrespective of international sensitivities, the effects on US forces in the theatre, or – and of most importance – any consideration of humanity or decency. His orders come directly from the cabal of repulsive fanatics in the Bush administration.

The BBC reported October 30 that “Souad Khousaim lay very still on her hospital bed and in a quiet voice wracked with pain told me she was one of the innocent victims of Sunday’s raid by US special forces. ‘I went outside to get my son and the Americans shot me,’ she says. ‘They were very close, five meters away. I was screaming, terrified.’ Her husband was among the seven Syrian men who died, but hospital officials have not told her this yet.” Oh, these big brave special forces soldiers, how wonderful you are.

“Five of those killed were from the same family, a man and four adult sons. His widow met me surrounded by 20 or so grandchildren, who were all now fatherless.” Well done, special forces: will you sleep well at night? Yes, you probably will, because you are devoid of feeling, deficient in humanity and lacking in soul. You are muscle-bound killer robots whose horrible skills are wielded in the manner approved by your demented president whose scorn for non-American humankind (and lots of Americans, too, of course) is verging on the paranoid.

In addition to the death toll and the terrified woman shot and widowed by the intrepid knuckle-draggers, there is the matter of international relations. On the very day of the attack the Syrian foreign minister was travelling to meet his British counterpart in London and the Danish foreign minister was holding talks with President Assad in Damascus. Only a short time before the slaughter the President of France (and at the moment of the European Union) had invited the Syrian president to visit Paris. The Europeans can’t fail to resent the fact that the message from Bush is again one of contemptuous derision : Europeans don’t matter ; their attempts at engaging Syria in dialogue are irrelevant to the purposes of the United States and Israel ; and their usefulness is measured solely by their willingness to subordinate all their policies to those of the Bush administration.

The usual “US official” who is always ready to give anonymous unattributable background to reporters following this sort of cowboy brutality said that “We are taking matters into our hands,” because there was supposedly a “foreign facilitator” who was engaged in arranging for foreign fighters to enter Iraq to attack US forces. But was he there? Where is the proof? The special forces had overwhelming firepower and lots of people who should have been capable of taking captive the object of their operation. In none of the illegal US forays into the territory of sovereign nations has there been one iota of evidence that the so-called “high value” individual was in fact the person against whom the attack was launched.

Much use of special forces around the world is disastrous. They have no rules of engagement; they kill at will; and are not answerable to anyone who does not automatically support their depraved activities. They are shielded by the all-embracing mantra that “We do not discuss special forces matters,” which means, quite bluntly, that whatever they do, no matter how illegal, repulsive and barbaric, is deemed to be proper and totally acceptable by their governments.

The operation by special forces in Syria has increased the danger to their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan. It caused alarm and despair in Europe and vastly increased hatred of America in the Middle East. It ripped up the United Nations Charter and was entirely counter-productive. These people are out of control. But now that the genie of gung-ho cowboy killer arrogance is out of the bottle, can they ever be reined in?

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail