FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Droning as Foreign Policy

American Presidents seem willfully ignorant of historical precedents – especially when violence and lies become primary instruments of policy. In the Spring of 1914, European powers jockeyed for advantages amidst hints of war. In June, Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The bullet didn’t help Serbian nationalism, but it provoked the onset of World War I. Tens of millions died. President Wilson dragged the United States into that war in 1917.

In late 2002, another zany incident mushroomed into a pretext for war and on-going assassinations. An Iraqi “scientist” defected to Germany and told its intelligence officials a hair-raising tale about Saddam Hussein’s secret possession of weapons of mass destruction. The Germans delivered this account to the CIA, but dubbed the Iraqi “Curve Ball to show their skepticism.” The eager-for-war Bushies, however, ignored German doubts. This story – true or false — answered their bellicose prayers: they could sell this crap to media hacks – like Judith Miller of the NY Times — to help convince the incredulous public.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan now admits proudly he invented the tales of Saddam’s supposed WMD. He laughed triumphantly when Colin Powell dramatically recounted his fabrications in his February 2003 UN Security Council speech before the world’s TV audience. “Curveball” became the hawks’ key source to justify the US invasion of Iraq.

Tyler Drumheller was a CIA official who observed how the Bushies used Curve Ball as an ideal pretext.

“If they had not had Curveball they would have probably found something else,” he told Bob Simon on “60 Minutes.” “Because there was a great determination to do it. But going to war in Iraq, under the circumstances we did, Curveball was the absolutely essential case.” (Nov. 4, 2007)

Bush’s costly invasion and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq taught lessons. Although Obama has not withdrawn from those countries and increased the number of US troops in Afghanistan he has not invaded Iran as some hawks demand.

It’s unlikely that a Serbian assassin or Iraqi liar will catalyze the next horror show, however, since the Obama Administration has transferred previously human catalytic powers to technology: selective assassination has become the alternative to invading nations teeming with extremist enemies of the United States and Israel.

This tactic relies on the very US intelligence agencies that goofed so badly on assessing WMD in Iraq and failed to predict the recent uprisings throughout the Arab world. The national security mavens now swear to Congress and carefully chosen “reporters” that US spooks collect absolutely accurate information on our most virulent enemies.

The foreign sources paid by the CIA – do the insiders name them “Screwballs?”—supply US agents with names and locations of bad guys abroad. Since we’re a government of law and not men, the agencies “check” the accuracy of the data. God forbid we should make the same mistake we did with Curveball!

Unknown “checkers” then “verify” the information and send it to the executioners: young techies programming remote control, missile-laden drones to hit the “target’s” house, car, motor bike or tent. A real-life video game!

Hey, it’s better than sending US troops to invade yet another country and killing tens of thousands in the process! Washington now murders much smaller groups. No cumbersome processes — indictment, trial, hearing. After all, “solid, secret reports” affirm the targets were terrorists.

The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) last year offered a “glimpse of the drone strikes based on actual interviews with civilian victims of the strikes.”

One North Waziristan civilian victim “recounted how his home had been visited by Taliban fighters asking for lunch. He said he had agreed out of fear of refusing them. The very next day, he recalled, the house was destroyed by a missile from a drone, killing his only son.” (Gareth Porter Al Jazeera Nov 3, 2010)

Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation estimated between 1,109 and 1,734 people had died from drone hits in Pakistan from early 2008 to November 2010.

The dead supposedly included “66 leading officials in al-Qaeda or other anti-US groups.” The US military identified other bodies as those of “militants.” (Porter)

UN rules forbid one state using force against another state or non-state group without consent of the other state; or without Security Council authorization; or in self-defense, but Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal maven, claimed drone attacks are self-defense, and killings as part of armed conflict. So what that Pakistan has not agreed! Or war rules ban attacks on civilians or civilian objects!

Under Koh’s legal logic, however, Taliban commanders at war with the United States could order Pakistanis in the US with aeronautical engineering degrees to design drones against US targets. Assume these engineers had drone victims in their family and could improve on battery-operated planes kids fly at playgrounds.

Remember: In 1993 Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani, killed two and wounded three people outside of CIA headquarters. Does no one in the vast secret world of Homeland Anxiety suggest a blowback scenario – not from a Serb nationalist or Iraqi liar – but from drones?

The lawyers invent elastic “legal rules.” Death drones on.

For Landau’s film WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP go to CINEMALIBRESTUDIO.COM. Counterpunch published his BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD.

 

More articles by:

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail