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Andrew Bacevich: Words Not to Die for
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U.S. Marines are, for the first time, deploying to Syria (with more to come). There’s talk of an “enduring” U.S. military presence in Iraq, while additional U.S. troops are being dispatched to neighboring Kuwait with an eye to the wars in both Iraq and Syria. Yemen has been battered by a veritable blitz of drone strikes and other air attacks. Afghanistan seems to be in line for an increase in American forces. The new president has just restored to the CIA the power to use drones to strike more or less anywhere on the “world battlefield,” recently a Pentagon prerogative, and is evidently easing restrictions on the Pentagon’s use of drones as well. U.S. military commanders are slated to get more leeway to make decisions locally and the very definition of what qualifies as a “battlefield” looks like it’s about to change (which will mean even less attention to “collateral damage” or civilian casualties). President Trump may soon designate various areas outside more or less official American war zones — since the U.S. Congress no longer declares war, they can’t truly be official — as “temporary areas of active hostility.” That will grant U.S. commanders greater leeway in launching attacks on terror groups in places like Somalia. In fact, this already seems to have happened in Yemen, according to the New York Times, opening the way for a disastrous Special Operations Forces raid there that caused the death of a Navy SEAL and possibly nine Yemeni children (the youngest three months old), while evidently accomplishing next to nothing.

In other words, in the early months of the Trump era, U.S. wars and conflicts across the Greater Middle East are being expanded and escalated. This isn’t exactly a new process, and isn’t yet at the level of either the failed Iraqi Surge of 2007 or the failed Afghan one of 2010. Still, you might think that the almost instant failure of that Yemen raid would have rung a few familiar warning bells in Washington when it comes to escalating America’s wars in the region. If so, you would evidently be oh-so-wrong. The history of the last 15 years tells us that in Washington such setbacks couldn’t matter less. At the moment, the generals who have headed down these very paths before are evidently recommending to an eager new president that it’s the height of wisdom to head down them again.

As TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East, points out today, this is now business as usual in militarized Washington in the twenty-first century. It’s so much the law of the land that the Pentagon has developed the perfect language for masking, perhaps to itself as much as others, just how dismally familiar this process actually is.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    What a superbly written piece.

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  2. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    This war by ISIS has been going on for years now. To conduct a war truckloads and truckloads of ammo have to be moved in as well as replacement weapons. Since it appears that ISIS does not own any ammo or weapons factories then obviously other entities are supplying them and only a state has the resources to do that. There’s the question of how all this is being paid for since it can’t be cheap. There also has to be a system of recruitment and transport for the new cannon fodder to replace those who have found martyrdom. Who are the states implicated in all this? The US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar. If the US has turned on ISIS then fine if it’s legitimate and not just another deception. The US can’t really turn on the Saudis since there’s no one else to replace them with that would be as friendly and cooperative with us like they are. So we have to put out fires but leave the arsonist to go free to continue creating blazes. We’re also involved in this grand coalition to stymie the rise of Iran, a project that is probably doomed to eventual failure.

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    • Replies: @Taras77
    Agree!

    My sense, unfortunately, is the ultimate target of all of this is Iran. If that is the case, this obsessive focus on Iran by the neo cons, Israel, and the Trump admin will result in complete failure and will render that part of the world almost beyond hope.
  3. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history.

    Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam / A Time to Break Silence Speech, 4 April 1967

    http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_beyond_vietnam/

    Evidently it was the last time as well. Half a century and it’s only degenerated further. Sick stuff.

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  4. Taras77 says:
    @anonymous
    This war by ISIS has been going on for years now. To conduct a war truckloads and truckloads of ammo have to be moved in as well as replacement weapons. Since it appears that ISIS does not own any ammo or weapons factories then obviously other entities are supplying them and only a state has the resources to do that. There's the question of how all this is being paid for since it can't be cheap. There also has to be a system of recruitment and transport for the new cannon fodder to replace those who have found martyrdom. Who are the states implicated in all this? The US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar. If the US has turned on ISIS then fine if it's legitimate and not just another deception. The US can't really turn on the Saudis since there's no one else to replace them with that would be as friendly and cooperative with us like they are. So we have to put out fires but leave the arsonist to go free to continue creating blazes. We're also involved in this grand coalition to stymie the rise of Iran, a project that is probably doomed to eventual failure.

    Agree!

    My sense, unfortunately, is the ultimate target of all of this is Iran. If that is the case, this obsessive focus on Iran by the neo cons, Israel, and the Trump admin will result in complete failure and will render that part of the world almost beyond hope.

    Read More
  5. iffen says:

    That will grant U.S. commanders greater leeway in launching attacks on terror groups in places like Somalia. In fact, this already seems to have happened in Yemen

    This is the direct result of Trump letting McMaster apply what he learned from studying the war in Viet Nam.

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  6. Perhaps it is my own view that things are getting out of control and headed for a climax (many years out, yet), but I cannot believe that these men think they can control the world, only that they are sure it will explode if they do not try to keep the pressure on.

    We should enjoy what peace we have while we have it. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

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  7. For a quick look at how Isis and the other groups manage to wage war so effectively take a look at the American largesse in providing a ride to war.

    http://noabominoidshere.blogspot.com/2012/04/test-of-true-conservative.html

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