FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Command Rules

by CHRISTIAN SORENSEN

We, the people of the United States of America, are obsessed with our military; our Executive and Legislative branches always opt for the military answer, no matter the international dilemma, while we sputter Support Our Troops slogans and idolize 4-star failures (ret.) like Petraeus. To remedy this collective disaster, a solution lies in the most unlikely of places: U.S. Special Operations Command. USSOCOM’s five tenets provide concerned U.S. citizens with lessons through which to restrain our elected officials.

Humans are more important than hardware. From this tenet, we learn that drones shouldn’t be glorified. We learn that we shouldn’t kill innocent Pakistani, Yemeni, or Somali civilians with lionized hardware. We shouldn’t kill children with hundreds of AGM-114 (even if each Hellfire purchase feeds Lockheed Martin’s coffers). We learn that we shouldn’t loosen the criteria by which Langley assassinates suspected bad guys from 25,000 ft. We learn that we shouldn’t send U.S. service-members on three, four, five, or six tours of duty in support of imperial misadventures. After all, humans are more important than hardware, and we have no right to deploy either in foreign lands. Finally, we learn that we should respect Palestinian humanity instead of allocating $3.1 billion in military hardware and cash-money to the Israeli military each year.

Quality is better than Quantity. Instead of pursuing numerous wars of aggression, we should pursue zero. We should use our military to protect the quality of our country, not engage in strategically debilitating alliances with numerous despotic regimes for the sake of petroleum or Israeli hegemony. After learning this lesson, we can rehabilitate the quality of our forces, not disperse them throughout the world in a flagrant display of empire. AFRICOM? Really? Then it’s acceptable for Khama to deploy the Botswana Defence Force to Providence, RI under the auspices of AMERICOM (est. 1 October 2007). We Americans would have no choice but to react positively. Quality over quantity also applies to NSA’s domestic spying operations. Instead of violating the civil liberties of every American, NSA could return to its original mission statement: “to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies.” Finally, quality over quantity applies to funding priorities. A taut Pentagon on a tight leash with a $200 billion budget beats a sloppy, unbridled Pentagon with a $700 billion budget any day of the week.

Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced. Neither can military victories. Operation Unified Protector? Not a victory, despite the U.S. corporate media declaring otherwise. Operation Enduring Freedom? Risible. Operation Iraqi Freedom? Only the Obama White House claims victory on that one (for domestic, political purposes). Need we go back further in time? Operation Desert Shield/Storm ’91, you say? Too many civilian casualties; mass pollution from depleted uranium munitions still ravages the Iraqi landscape causing birth defects galore; and the Kuwaiti monarchy (the alleged victim of Saddam’s wrath) continues to oppress its population. But we don’t know any of this, because the U.S. corporate media doesn’t mention it. Ever. Instead, we applaud crisp, clean wars presented by the Pentagon-media alliance. Panama ’89? Hardly a Just Cause, since Noriega was “our boy” only a few moons prior to invasion. Grenada ’83? Vietnam ‘75? Wouldn’t it have been nice if we desisted after pen hit paper in Potsdam and on the USS Missouri in 1945? (A thought that chills the hearts of beltway academics).

Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur. Likewise, claims of “progress” cannot be manufactured or sustained after Taliban and Haqqani (the most effective tag-team since Chief Jay Strongbow and Billy White Wolf) whoop up on Kabul. Many thanks to modern technology and courageous journalists for ensuring that these events are covered thoroughly. Kabul isn’t Gaza, and the U.S. cannot close Afghanistan to foreign media like the Israeli government did during the Gaza Massacre of ’08-’09. After a string of Taliban/Haqqani successes, “progress” is arrogated, but none exists.

Likewise, plausible pretexts cannot be created after emergencies occur. “Spreading democracy” and chasing al-Qaeda apparitions cannot obscure D.C.’s real reasons for picking fights: profit and unity. Our corporations profit from extended warfare and our politicians get to funnel billions in Pentagon contracts to their home districts.

Meanwhile, we unite against a stereotypical enemy and avoid any critical analysis of the political and economic motivators for global war. Without the glue of war, we might just scrutinize how vacuous our society has become or question the political corruption festering in D.C. But we don’t. During the Cold War, we let the Pentagon inflate the “communist” threat to justify military operations across the globe. Since 2001, we’ve let the Pentagon inflate the “terrorist” threat to justify military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran (covertly), Syria (covertly), Yemen, Somalia, Kenya, the Philippines, Central African Republic, Uganda, Colombia, and elsewhere. Pliable labels of “communist” and “terrorist” allow our policymakers to justify any foreign policy, any incursion into sovereign lands, and any domestic crackdown. Fortunately, through grassroots knowledge-sharing that Occupy has embraced, these pretexts for war are slowly eroding.

Most Special Operations require non-SOF assistance. Twist this tenet slightly and we learn that most conflicts require non-military approaches. War on Drugs? The Pentagon has been tackling that one for more than 40 years, and all it cost us was thousands of indigenous lives abroad, mass incarceration at home, a new Jim Crow system through which to corral minorities, an untenable overload of government bureaucracy, and $1 trillion in U.S. taxpayer dollars. A non-military approach that favors legalization, taxation, treatment, and rehabilitation instead of war and incarceration is preferable. War on Terror? The Pentagon has been tackling (read: manufacturing) that one for more than 10 years. Should we give it another 30? Or perhaps it’s time to accept that terrorism ends when political grievances are addressed in a diplomatic fashion.

If we, the people, care to take a break from our strict regimen of “reality television” and military adulation, USSOCOM’s lessons provide a kick-start to tackle the collective irresponsibility of our Executive and Legislative branches.

Christian Sorensen is an Arabic-English translator and an American military veteran.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail