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Making Enemies by Droning On and On

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know all that much about Yemen, or about the Houthi rebels who have taken control of Sana’a, the ancient Arab country’s capital, leading to the hasty evacuation of all US military forces (some 250 Special Forces personnel and the staff of the US embassy) from that country located at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

But I do know that what is being portrayed as a “disaster” for for the US global “counter-terrorism” effort is not being reported honestly to us by this country’s complacent and compliant corporate media.

Nowhere can I find any article in the corporate news media asking what role the US’s massively unpopular campaign of bombings and drone-fired missile attacks on alleged terrorists — attacks that have killed countless civilians, and that have also included wholly erroneous massacres of innocents such as wedding caravans — has played in the creation of a situation that is likely to become a bloody civil war. This in a country that already endured one such catastrophe lasting from roughly 1964 – 1994. We’re talking about a generation’s worth of bloodletting, both between tribes, and between a north dominated by the US-puppet Saudi monarchy, and a south supported by the Soviet Union and, for many years, its alley, Egypt. The idea that the US would casually take actions that could re-ignite such a horror in a place that had to be seen as a tinderbox is simply appalling.

If the goal of President Obama’s global drone wars was to combat and degrade global terrorism, it has been an embarrassing and tragic failure not just in Yemen, but in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia too.

n Yemen, besides failing abysmally to wipe out the terrorists who have been ensconced in that country for years, drone attacks have contributed to the unrest that has led to the collapse of the government in Yemen and to the spawning of a new civil war, this time between Shi’ite and Sunni people. In Pakistan, drone attacks and other CIA subversion has led to the near collapse of that huge country’s central government. In Afghanistan, drone attacks have certainly contributed to the resurgence and even popularity of the Taliban, causing President Obama to reverse his announced decision to scale down the size of the US occupation army, and to leave troops in that country indefinitely, for fear that the Taliban would just take over the country the moment the last US troops were gone. In Somalia, meanwhile, US drone attacks have only pushed Islamist fighters out into places like neighboring Kenya. Nice job, America.

You might think that this latest disaster in Yemen would get a good airing in the US media, and that the whole Obama idea of undeclared boundryless drone warfare would be questioned. On its face it has been an unmitigated failure, mostly killing just innocents including women and children.

But no. There is really no mention of drones in connection with the collapse of the government in Yemen, and the threat of civil war there. In fact, in today’s NY Times report on Yemen, readers are assured that the US will continue with its drone attacks in Yemen, despite not even having the fig leaf of governmental permission any longer to hide behind.

Anyone looking at this whole situation objectively would have to say that the US is acting as a terrorist agency wreaking massive destruction on helpless populations in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

There is, in fact, no comparing the sporadic attacks on the US by terrorists — usually terrorists whose plans were known in advance and were aided and abetted by US-paid informants and provocateurs, I should add — and the almost constant attacks on the people of those countries launched by the US terrorists in Washington, who are using drones and piloted aircraft.

It’s no longer surprising to see our corporate media ignoring this ugly reality. But it is amazing how easily the US public has bought into the false narrative that we are the victims, or the potential victims, of crazed terrorists in the Middle East who want to kill us because they “hate our freedom,” when the reality, so obviously, is that it is our government that is killing them, both by raining death down from the sky and by fomenting and reigniting ancient hatreds within their societies.

Native American activist Ward Churchill was unfairly hounded out of his tenured job as a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado simply because he had the temerity to write, shortly after 9-11, that those attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were a case of America’s “chickens coming home to roost.” He was dead right of course, and should never have been fired for correctly pointing out that America’s decades of imperialist interventions and economic piracy across the globe had created the kind of desire for vengeance that can drive some people to make even suicidal efforts to exact revenge.

Washington’s warmongers are now warning grimly that the chaos in Yemen and the evacuation of US troops from there could make that country a haven for terrorists who could “threaten Americans.” A more honest way to phrase that though, is to say that we Americans should not be surprised if Obama’s cowardly and secretive (from us!) war from the air upon desperately poor people like those of Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan ends up hatching more of the same kinds of roosting chickens we’ve already had some experience with.

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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