Obama’s Partner in War Crimes

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.

More articles by:

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What to Do at the End of the World? Interview with Climate Crisis Activist, Kevin Hester
Kevin Proescholdt
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Attacks America’s Wilderness
Franklin Lamb
Syrian War Crimes Tribunals Around the Corner
Beth Porter
Clean Energy is Calling. Will Your Phone Company Answer?
George Ochenski
Zinke on the Hot Seat Again and Again
Lance Olsen
Somebody’s Going to Extremes
Robert Koehler
Breaking the Ice
Pepe Escobar
The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China
Graham Peebles
Time for Political Change and Unity in Ethiopia
Terry Simons
10 American Myths “Refutiated”*
Thomas Knapp
Some Questions from the Edge of Immortality
Louis Proyect
The 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival
David Yearsley
Keaton’s “The General” and the Pernicious Myths of the Heroic South