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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Drone War Delusions

We are constantly told that US drones are surgically precise. But any weapon – especially a remote-controlled one – is only as accurate as the intelligence behind it. At least 38 people died before a CIA strike finally killed this man [al-Qaeda #2, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, in Yemen]. Who were the rest? How many lives did we take in the effort to assassinate al-Wuhayshi? How many have we driven into the arms of militants with the 38 others we killed? The secret drone war conceals a mountain of hidden costs, and the idea we can bomb our way out of the problem of terrorism is short-sighted and, ultimately, false.
--Cori Crider of Reprieve, quoted in The Guardian


Don Bacon said...

"The secret drone war conceals a mountain of hidden costs, and the idea we can bomb our way out of the problem of terrorism is short-sighted and, ultimately, false."

Think of that as a good thing, as some do. What is a cost to some is an opportunity for others. Al-Qaeda has expanded over the years from a couple hundred in Afghanistan-Pakistan to tens of thousands, thanks to US recruiting efforts. The CIA even funds Al-Qaeda. And it pays off for some.

Pratt & Whitney president Paul Adams, recently:
"Frankly, I think one of the motivating factors is we live in a dangerous world, and the more dangerous the world that we live in, the more opportunities there are for sales."

So the Pentagon/CIA/corporate complex becomes a self-licking ice cream cone, and we're invited to watch.

Sheldon Richman said...

"The CIA even funds Al-Qaeda."


Don Bacon said...

The US initially formed al-Qaeda and has supported it ever since along with its close allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and more recently fellow NATO ally Turkey. That includes financial support approaching a billion dollars annually, along with arms being flown out of Al Udeid airbase, which has a huge US contingent just down the road from Doha, the spiritual and financial home of al-Qaeda in Qatar. This support has promoted the exponential growth of al-Qaeda, which is great news for corporate/congressional profit growth.

Sep 5, 2012
Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted on CNN that the U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s to fight the Soviets.

Mar 24, 2013
On a string of nights from April 26 through May 4, a Qatari Air Force C-17 "a huge American-made cargo plane" made six landings in Turkey, at Esenboga Airport. By Aug. 8 the Qataris had made 14 more cargo flights. All came from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a hub for American military logistics in the Middle East. The Qatari flights aligned with the tide-turning military campaign by rebel forces in the northern province of Idlib, as their campaign of ambushes, roadside bombs and attacks on isolated outposts began driving Mr. Assad?s military and supporting militias from parts of the countryside.

These multiple logistics streams throughout the winter formed what one former American official who was briefed on the program called "a cataract" . .. . . Two other commanders, Hassan Aboud of Soquor al-Sham and Abu Ayman of Ahrar al-Sham, another Islamist group, said that whoever was vetting which groups receive the weapons was doing an inadequate job.

"There are fake Free Syrian Army brigades claiming to be revolutionaries, and when they get the weapons they sell them in trade," Mr. Aboud said.The former American official noted that the size of the shipments and the degree of distributions are voluminous. "People hear the amounts flowing in, and it is huge," he said. "But they burn through a million rounds of ammo in two weeks."

Oct 30, 2013
Al-Qaeda recruits entering Syria from Turkey safehouses
These foreign jihadists have now largely eclipsed the “moderate” wing of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is supported by the West. Al-Qaeda’s ability to use Turkish territory will raise questions about the role the Nato member is playing in Syria’s civil war.

Jan 21, 2014
Al-Qaeda -- the new "moderate rebels"
--from the Telegraph
The Syrian Revolutionary Front, whose main commander, Jamal Maarouf, is allied to Saudi Arabia, and the Army of Islam, a new coalition of the moderate rebels sponsored by Qatar, have continued to liaise with the CIA and Saudi and Qatari intelligence, others close to meetings said. These groups received a boost in arms supplies. According to a source who facilitates governments' lethal and non-lethal aid to Western-friendly groups: "Qatar sent arms first. Saudi Arabia didn't want to be out done, so one week before the attack on ISIS, they gave 80 tons of weaponry, including heavy machine guns".

Mar 14, 2015
C.I.A. Cash Ended Up in Coffers of Al Qaeda

Jun 12, 2015
Key lawmakers have moved to slash funding of a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria, . .with a budget approaching $1 billion a year. . . a move that U.S. officials said reflects rising skepticism of the effectiveness of the agency program

Sheldon Richman said...

Only the Brzezinski item refers to the creation of al-Qaeda. The others have no relevance to that matter. Let's see the Brzezinski quote. The US worked certainly with Afghan mujaheddin during the Soviet occupation, but the claim that it worked with "Afghan Arabs" like bin Laden is not established. Where is the proof?

I'm not disputing that the US has indirectly helped the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria and that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have done so directly.

Don Bacon said...

Qatar just bought four more C-17's from Boeing which they will load with munitions at Al Udeid Air Base, which is the US air center of operations now in the Middle East, in al-Qaeda's home base, and deliver them to the forces opposed to US enemies Iran and Syria (and also now Iraq). These forces allied to the US in purpose include many Islamic factions of al_Qaeda, including ISIS.

This is nothing new for the US, this working with AQ. They did it in Afghanistan and also more recently in Libya. The general goal is to extend instability especially concerning US enemies, while promoting US political and financial objectives, primarily the latter which has always been the case since the US was founded. Money for the people who really run things.

The specific goals right now are regime change in Syria, and the division of Iraq to cut Iran off from Lebanon (Hezbollah). If and when President Assad is ever overthrown in Syria, nobody is going to say: "OMG, you used al-Qaeda, that's not nice."

This is one reason why there so much resistance to sending US troops against ISIS and AQ. That would be too obvious. The US has been sending troops against the AQ-allied Taliban in Afghanistan for years now, but the fact that the US is allied with and financially supporting Pakistan, which runs the Taliban, wasn't quite so obvious.

The bottom line is the bottom line -- to make a lot of money off this instability they cause, and drones are good at that too. They recruit many new AQ fighters and keep the pot boiling.