Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Time Magazine for Grown-ups? Meanwhile, U.S. "War on Terror" Looks More Like Imperial Expansion

TIME Announces New Version Of Magazine Aimed At Adults

Glenn Greenwald gets the hat-tip for this very funny piece from The Onion News Network. Imagine, an American weekly newsmagazine written for adults: "Advanced Time".

But Greenwald also has some very serious things to report about the ever-expanding "war on terror," which has most lately picked up steam in Yemen. All the quotes are taken verbatim for the Greenwald article.
Amnesty International, June 7, 2010:
Amnesty International has released images of a US-manufactured cruise missile that carried cluster munitions, apparently taken following an attack on an alleged al-Qa’ida training camp in Yemen that killed 41 local residents, including 14 women and 21 children.

The 17 December 2009 attack on the community of al-Ma'jalah in the Abyan area in the south of Yemen killed 55 people including 14 alleged members of al-Qa’ida.
VOA News, July 30, 2010:
The Convention on Cluster Munitions goes into force Sunday, August 1, with 107 signatories agreeing to ban the use of cluster munitions . . . . Cluster bombs are damaging because they contain hundreds of smaller explosives, or submunitions, that detonate across a wide area. The submunitions that fail to explode on impact can then act as landmines, posing a threat to civilian populations long after a conflict is over.

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a law banning the export of cluster munitions that do not meet a certain standard. But the United States has not signed the cluster bomb ban. China, Israel, India and Pakistan are among other countries that have not agreed to the treaty. Neither Georgia nor Russia has signed the treaty.
The Washington Post, today:
For the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, CIA analysts see one of al-Qaeda's offshoots -- rather than the core group now based in Pakistan -- as the most urgent threat to U.S. security, officials said.

The sober new assessment of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has helped prompt senior Obama administration officials to call for an escalation of U.S. operations there -- including a proposal to add armed CIA drones to a clandestine campaign of U.S. military strikes, the officials said.
"We are looking to draw on all of the capabilities at our disposal," said a senior Obama administration official, who described plans for "a ramp-up over a period of months" . . . .
The CIA has roughly 10 times more people and resources in Pakistan than it does in Yemen. There is no plan to scale back in Pakistan, but officials said the gap is expected to shrink.
Wall St. Journal, today:
U.S. officials believe al Qaeda in Yemen is now collaborating more closely with allies in Pakistan and Somalia to plot attacks against the U.S., spurring the prospect that the administration will mount a more intense targeted killing program in Yemen.

Such a move would give the Central Intelligence Agency a far larger role in what has until now been mainly a secret U.S. military campaign against militant targets in Yemen and across the Horn of Africa. It would likely be modeled after the CIA's covert drone campaign in Pakistan. . . .

Authorizing covert CIA operations would further consolidate control of future strikes in the hands of the White House, which has enthusiastically embraced the agency's covert drone program in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Reuters, yesterday:
Missiles fired from a U.S. pilotless drone aircraft killed 13 militants [sic] and 7 civilians in Pakistan's North Waziristan on Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials said. . . . Four women and three children were among the dead, said the officials.
Al Jazeera, today:
Yemen's government has sacrificed human rights to preserve security in its battle against Shia rebels in the north and al-Qaeda fighters in the south, a new report by Amnesty International has alleged.

Yemen's catalogue of human-rights abuses over the past two years includes unlawful killings, arbitrary arrest, torture, unfair trials and enforced disappearances, Amnesty said.

The report, "Yemen: Cracking Down Under Pressure," says that Yemeni authorities have bowed to pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia to deal harshly with the twin threats of Yemen's local al-Qaeda branch - al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - and the Houthi rebels in the north.
What's going on here seems fairly obvious.  The absurdity of escalating a war in Afghanistan by pointing to The Scary Al Qaeda Menace -- when there is virtually no Al Qaeda presence in that country -- is becoming increasingly apparent.  Just yesterday, a Washington Post article documented -- using the WikiLeaks war documents (which, remember, told us absolutely nothing worth knowing) -- that Al Qaeda is virtually non-existent in the war in Afghanistan.  So now, administration officials -- hiding behind the anonymity which these media outlets naturally provided -- fanned out to announce a new, Growing, Scary Al Qaeda Threat in Yemen, which, they boast, now needs its own escalated bombing attacks and CIA operations.  The goal is that the War never ends; the only variable is where it happens to increase on any given day.
While Greenwald notes that with all the racist and prejudicial agitation against the proposed Park51 community center, misnamed by much of the press the "Mosque at Ground Zero," and the actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan, drone bombings in Pakistan, and covert actions in a number of Muslim countries, your average Middle Eastern citizen could be excused for believing the U.S. is actually waging a war against Islam, statements by President Obama aside.

But this is no war against Islam (though there are some in the military and intelligence circles who may perceive it that way), but an expansion of imperial power in a part of the world that carries great oil and gas reserves, and where nationalist forces, often with an Islamic ideology, are resisting American rule. It is not different in kind from the expansion of the American military presence in Columbia, in the Balkan countries, and saber-rattling on the Korean peninsula, which is aimed at China, ultimately.

The U.S. is failing as a country to stand-up to its overly militaristic and imperialist-minded leadership in both political parties. We must oppose this war drive, carried on under Obama as it was under Bush.

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