FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Pax Obama

Could it be that when Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama leaves office that the defining image of his presidency will have been his use of unmanned drone aircraft and military death squads to achieve the will of the Empire?

Hardly a week goes by in which we do not learn of the deaths of innocent civilians in Afghanistan or Pakistan resulting from attacks by U.S. drones.  Attack drones have also been deployed in Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.  This form of pilotless aircraft can be used to inflict death and destruction anywhere in the world.  Drones are controlled by well-trained, high-tech, gutless assassins seated in air conditioned comfort in front of sophisticated instrument panels thousands of miles away from their intended targets.  The beauty of desktop, drone warfare is that it is neat, clean, precise, risk-free, sanitized, and bloodless and can be waged by those who have never set foot on a battlefield or smelled the stench of death.  It’s almost like playing a video game.

The Pentagon recently ordered 55 Global Hawk drones for a cool $23 billion.  There is even talk of converting the Burlington International Airport in Vermont into a drone base.

Drones represent the perfect instruments of war for a risk averse president who shies away from hand-to-hand political combat.  With drones are associated feelings of power and control.  We are in charge.  There is no face-to-face conflict whatsoever.

Drones also offer endless possibilities as surveillance aircraft for high-tech spying, a practice with which the Obama administration seems to feel quite comfortable.

Under the leadership of former CIA Director Leon Panetta, the Pentagon will have U.S. Special Operations forces deployed in no less than 120 countries around the world by year-end.  These instant strike forces include Navy Seals, Army Delta Forces, Rangers, and Green Berets.  Special Operations forces have been used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Navy Seals garnered international attention recently with their successful assassination attack on Osama bin Laden.  Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi surely would be next!

One can imagine a scenario in the not too distant future in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez receive phone calls from the White House saying, “Cease and desist, or be prepared to die.”  With high-tech, American death squads spread around the world, such a threat becomes increasingly credible.  Will this soon become the preferred way to deal with any nation which has the audacity to challenge the American way?  China and Russia might still be viewed as exceptions to the rule by the Pentagon.

By far, the most prescient line in President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech was, “There will be times when nations will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”  Is it possible that what Obama really had in mind with his “hope and change” mantra was replacing old fashioned, conventional warfare with a more sophisticated, high-tech, stealthy, cowardly form of warfare involving drones and kinetic strike death squads?

“Meaningless!  Meaningless!” said the Teacher in the book of Ecclesiastes.  “Everything is meaningless!”

Thomas H. Naylor is Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of AffluenzaDownsizing the U.S.A., and The Search for Meaning.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
REZA FIYOUZAT
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber
Sarah Anderson
Shrink Wall Street to Guarantee Good Jobs
Graham Peebles
Prison: Therapeutic Centers Or Academies of Crime?
Zhivko Illeieff
Can We Escape Our Addiction to Social Media?
Clark T. Scott
The Democrat’s Normal Keeps Their (Supposed) Enemies Closer and Closer
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
In 2020 Elections: Will Real-Life “Fighting Dems” Prove Irresistible?
Dave Lindorff
Mommy, Where Do Peace Activists Come From?
Christopher Brauchli
Trump the Orator
Gary Leupp
Columbus and the Beginning of the American Way of Life: A Message to Indoctrinate Our Children
John Stanton
Donald J. Trump, Stone Cold Racist
Nicky Reid
The Stonewall Blues (Still Dreaming of a Queer Nation)
Stephen Cooper
A Kingston Reasoning with Legendary Guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith (The Interview: Part 2)
Hugh Iglarsh
COVID-19’s Coming to Town
July 09, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail