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REINVENTION OF WAR May 30, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights, US Politics.
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Odd to reflect that the parliament of “the exceptional nation” genuflects to a leader of a country of seven and a half million people, as it engages in a new form of war denying the prerogatives of other nation states.

Pakistan might be thought of as one abused nation state, and so might Afghanistan and Pakistan. How can this contradiction be resolved?

Conn Hallinan at Common Dreams writes of the new form of war:

The assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden did more than knock off U.S. Public Enemy Number One. It formalized a new kind of warfare, where sovereignty is irrelevant, armies tangential, and decisions are secret. It is, in the words of counterinsurgency expert John Nagl, “an astounding change in the nature of warfare.”

This type of war requires a vast intelligence apparatus, which now constitutes almost a fourth arm of government that most Americans are almost completely unaware of.. According to The Washington Post, this murky world includes 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies in more than 10,000 locations across the country, with a budget last year of at least $80.1 billion.

“At the heart of this new warfare,” notes The Financial Times,” is high-tech cooperation between intelligence agencies and the military” that blurs the traditional borders between civilians and the armed forces. This fits with the U.S. penchant for waging war with robots and covert Special Forces.

But, by definition, the secrecy at the core of the “new warfare” removes decisions about war and peace from the public realm and relegates them to secure rooms in the White House or clandestine bases in the Hindu Kush. When the Blackhawk helicopters slipped through Pakistani airspace en route to bin Laden’s compound, they did more than execute one of the greatest U.S. bugbears — they essentially said another country’s sovereignty was no longer relevant and consigned Congress to the role of spectator.

So what are the implication for the American polity:

In the past the division between military and civilian intelligence agencies allowed for a range of opinions. Although the U.S. military continues to put a rosy spin on the Afghan War, civilian intelligence agencies have been much more somber about the success of the current surge. That division is likely to vanish under the new regime, where intelligence becomes less about analysis and more about targeting.

The new warfare opens up a Pandora’s Box, the implications of which are only beginning to be considered. What would be the reaction if Cuban armed forces had landed in Florida and assassinated Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch, two anti-Castro militants who were credibly charged with setting bombs in Havana and downing a Cuban airliner? Washington would treat it as an act of war. The problem with a foreign policy based on claw and fang is that, if one country claims the right to act independently of international law and the UN Charter, all countries can so claim.

In the end, however, the biggest victims of this “new” warfare will probably be the American people. Once an enormous intelligence bureaucracy is created — there are some 854,000 people with top-secrecy security clearance — it will be damned hard to dismantle it. The very nature of the endeavor removes it from public oversight, making it a formula for massive and uncontrolled expansion of the national security state.

I am wondering how new all this, or whether it is an innovation or a regression? It seems to me that the US and its client state Israel has been acting outside of international law for some time.There is a quote from the Bible to the effect that justice has to be established before peace can be. Despite being awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama has remarkable faith in the utility of violence as the quick fix, albeit that as expected it has worked exceptionally well for his political fortune, while having apparently very little regard for the process of justice.

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