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Nick Turse: Killing People, Breaking Things, and America's Winless Wars
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It’s the timing that should amaze us (were anyone to think about it for 30 seconds). Let’s start with the conflict in Afghanistan, now regularly described as the longest war in American history. It began on October 7, 2001, and will soon reach its 15th “anniversary.” Think of it as the stepchild of America’s first Afghan War (against the Soviets), a largely CIA affair which lasted from 1979 to 1989. Considered a major victory, leading as it did to the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, it also devastated Afghanistan and created close to the full cast of characters for America’s second Afghan War. In reality, you could say that Washington has conducted a quarter-century-plus of warfare there (with a decade off). And in the Pentagon, they’re already talking about that war’s possible extension well into the 2020s.

And then, of course, there’s Iraq. Where even to begin to count? You could start perhaps with the military aid and assistance that Washington gave Saddam Hussein in the eight-year war that followed his invasion of Iran in 1980, including crucial information that the Iraqis could use to target Iranian troops with their chemical weapons. Or you could start with that victory of all victories, the first Gulf War of 1991, in which the U.S. military crushed Saddam’s troops in Kuwait, showed off the snazzy techno-abilities of the mightiest force on the planet… and er, um… somehow didn’t unseat the Iraqi ruler, leading to years of no-fly-zone air war until that second, ultimate victory, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which led to… er, um… a disastrous occupation, various insurgencies, and finally the withdrawal of American forces in 2011 before… er, um… the Islamic State emerged triumphantly to smash the American-trained Iraqi army, taking over major cities, and establishing its “caliphate.” That, of course, led to America’s third Iraq War (or is it the fourth?), still ongoing. In other words, at least a quarter-century of conflict and possibly more with no end in sight.


And don’t get me started on Somalia. Who, after all, doesn’t recall the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu (known here as the “Black Hawk down” incident)? Twenty-three years later, the U.S. is still bombing, missiling, and raiding that country which is, by now, a terror disaster zone. Or Yemen, where the U.S. began its drone strikes back in 2002 and has never stopped as that country went over a cliff into civil war followed by a disastrous Saudi-led invasion that the U.S. has backed in a major way, including supplying cluster bombs and white phosphorous to its forces. And Libya? From the moment in 1986 when the Reagan administration sent in the U.S. air power to take out “terrorist training” sites in Tripoli and Benghazi, as well as the residence of the country’s autocratic ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, on and off hostilities continued until the NATO/U.S. air intervention of 2011. That, in turn, brought on not just the end of Gaddafi’s rule, but a failed state filled with actual terrorists.

Syria is, of course, a Johnny-come-lately to American war, since Washington has been bombing there for a mere two years , and Special Forces operatives only entered the country relatively recently. And Pakistan barely counts: just 424 drone strikes over 12 years. A mere nothing when it comes to American warfare in this era. And as if to make the point about all this, just a few weekends ago, the U.S. launched bombing or missile strikes in six of those seven countries (skipping only Pakistan), all six now being either failed states or close to that. It’s quite a record of unending warfare, largely against — with the exception of Saddam Hussein’s military — lightly armed insurgents and terror groups of various sorts in countries that are generally now verging on collapse or nonexistent.

If you’ve ever wondered how those inside the planet’s self-proclaimed mightiest military force assess their handiwork over these last 15 (or for that matter 50) years, it’s fortunately no longer necessary to guess. Thanks to TomDispatch’s Nick Turse, we now have a document from within that military which will answer your every question on war, American-style, even if those answers beg questions all their own.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
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  1. Rehmat says:

    On March 7, 2016, using drones and jets to drop bombs and missile on Somali citizens Barack Obama killed at least 150 of them. As usual, Obama administration and the Jewish-controlled media claimed that the Somalis killed were members of al-Shabaab – a US and Israel terrorist proxy to destabilize Muslim-majority nations considered to be anti-Israel – just like ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria. As usual, Washington has provided no valid proof to support its lie.

    The Pentagon and the Jewish media like NYT, WP, WSJ, CNN, Fox News, etc. have called 150 dead as “terrorists” and “militants” – because they’re Muslims. Can you imagine had they been Jewish killed by Hamas or Hizbullah, they would be called by similar designation even though the Zionist entity was established by European Jew terrorists and militants in 1948, and it still remains a terrorist state.

    “This particular mass killing is unlikely to get much attention in the U.S. due to (1) the election-season obsession with horse-race analysis and pressing matters such as the size of Donald Trump’s hands; (2) widespread Democratic indifference to the killing of foreigners where there’s no partisan advantage to be had against the GOP from pretending to care; (3) the invisibility of places like Somalia and the implicit devaluing of lives there; and (4) the complete normalization of the model whereby the U.S. president kills whomever he wants, wherever he wants, without regard for any semblance of law, process, accountability, or evidence,” Jewish journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote on March 8, 2016.

    In November 2015, 32 people were killed and at least 80 injured when a bomb blast ripped through crowded park in Yola, capital of Adamawa state in Nigeria. No group took credit for the blast, and Nigerian government of Shari’ah General didn’t accuse Al-Qaeda or ISIS or any other phony “Islamic terrorist” groups so far.

    American investigative journalist Wayne MADSEN says that US, Israel, Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab are a big happy family.

    On November 15, 2015, pro-Israel Sen. Charles Ellis (Chuck) Schumer admitted unintentionally that War on terror is Israel’s proxy war.

    Somalia has great strategic importance for both Israel and the US. Somalia lies at the tip of the Horn of Africa and north to the Gulf of Aden, a crucial part of the Suez Canal shipping route. Approximately, 21,000 ships pass through the Gulf each year, carrying 11% of world’s petroleum. The World Bank and United Nations ranks Somalia as the second most important country for unexploited oil reserves in North-East Africa.

  2. Pull out. Stop spending. Quickly, quickly, there will be a strongman emerge that will pull into line those he does not have to kill. Another Saddam, like. He’ll pull the oil situation back together and open for business. He’ll kill a lot of peeps, but isn’t that what’s happening anyway?

    WE do not need oil anymore. It’s Asia’s oil now, let CHINA defend it. They can pass the new Silk Road right through Baghdad one day. WE need to walk away. Win lose or draw, Iraq WILL settle their situation if we’d just get out of the way. Ugly? Yep! But it’s uglier with us there. Let China have it. What, we owe China the favor?

    We now know we need strongmen to manage those animals, they are incapable of any other system. Go with it. Just leave.

  3. OutWest says:

    Actually Libya was a bit of a success among the rubble of failure. That is until our secretary of state decided to take out bad-actor but housebroken Kodafi just to see him die. The concept of a linchpin ruler vs anarchy eluded her.

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