Cruise Missile Diplomacy

photo, before my tweaks, by Jim Young / Reuters

photo, before my tweaks, by Jim Young / Reuters

The Big Snub in Paris | Common Dreams.

An excerpt from the above linked to article by Eric Margolis follows:

Taliban offered to turn [over] inconvenient guest Osama bin Laden to another Muslim nation for trial once the US presented a proper extradition request. Washington never did, preferring war. The men who attacked New York and Washington were mostly Saudis. The plot was hatched in Hamburg and Madrid. We still don’t know really how much bin Laden was involved.

We have developed the pernicious habit of branding anyone who tried to oppose our world domination as a “terrorist.” This has boxed us into a propaganda corner: by so demonizing our enemies we deny ourselves the ability to negotiate with them. The “we’ll never deal with terrorists” uproar among some of the lower IQ members of the US Congress and their media allies is a doleful example of such illogical behavior.

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

I find lots missing in Eric’s report. Also, I just now read another CD entry, “Hillary Clinton And The Weaponization Of The State Department.” That was quite interesting. If you can’t be useful, it seems, then be very destructive. The different components of the American state, like a cancer-ridden, dying body, are giving up and dying. It snowballs. Chris Hedges gave a talk in Canada, mentioning the [tuberculosis] he caught from people in Sudan. He was healthy and his body could fight off the disease. The Sudanese were not and died. He carries the scars in his lungs, but he’s otherwise fine, unlike his country.

No more does the State Department act to deter the Pentagon. Both are morally and intellectually – spritually – dead. It kind of parallels, coincidentally, the very death of the liberal class of which Hedges speaks in his book of the same title.

Eric says that adults talk to adults. I’m sure that it’s supposed to be the case when it comes to statecraft. But my experience is different and I have a hard time relating to the idea. I am not one of those who thinks the Taliban should be talked to. I don’t care about people who don’t care. I don’t care about people whose culture includes throwing acid into the face of young female students or husbands who murder their wives so they can then marry some other woman. The only thing I want to say to them is: die. That we are often led, by elites and their political tools and media allies, to believe that some are monsters who are not and vice versa is another subject. Of course we pay attention.

I thought that perhaps Eric’s comment about adults talking to adults was simplistic. I also think, as I said, that he’s mainly looking at statecraft, which I can read about but don’t fully grasp since it’s not a reality I live. The following paragraph from J.P. Sottile’s CD entry, though, has me wondering whether Eric has it completely right:

The Pass Key

The cover of diplomacy has traditionally been an effective way to slip covert operators into countries and the State Department’s vast network of embassies and consulates still offers an unparalleled “pass-key” into sovereign nations, emerging hot spots and potential targets for regime change. In 2001, the Annual Report to the President and Congress foresaw the need for more access: “Given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full-spectrum dominance.”

“Hillary Clinton and the Weaponization of the State Department” by J.P. Sottile.

I did think Eric made some powerful points nicely mind you.

When I started this post at work, I was thinking of a section in Noam Chomsky’s book, “The New Military Humanism,” which is taken up with looking at ways to respond to humanitarian crises. Obviously, How you respond depends on who you are. It depends upon your values and your motives. I will deviate a bit and then give you Noam’s words from pages 48-51 from his book.

If the reader of my post finds a discordant note about it, in that I do not think all actors should be engaged in dialog, that would be because I created it. I am aware that it is there. Still, My thinking and values are the polar opposite of Bill and Hillary Clinton. They are the polar opposite of Barack Obama’s and Stephen Harper’s thinking and values. For one thing. Also, I am not a statesman. I am a citizen who doesn’t even vote. But I do care about what goes on the world. I take Chomsky’s point (mostly) about advocacy versus proposal. I therefore don’t pretend to be anything other than an armchair critic or fan. I can, however, from that standpoint, freely offer my opinions and express my sentiments, which is what I do. When I read about honor killings and Taliban atrocities, I only want those people to pay for their crimes (my sentiment), the same way I would like the more powerful and privileged segments of humankind to pay for crimes they’ve committed. I don’t want to talk ‘with’ them, which is another sentiment, but it doesn’t mean that, under the right circumstances, I wouldn’t talk to terrorists. But neither I, nor powerful western ‘leaders’ who I detest, are all powerful. What we feel and how we express that doesn’t change our limitations, great in my case and not so great but different in character in the case of the imperialists running the world. And one’s duties may require one to act toward others in a way we would not like to. (I have to smile and talk nice to bosses who I’d be happy to watch get hit by buses, as long as their deaths were quick and painless.)

Interestingly, the pretense of democracy and concern for human rights is fading from view frighteningly fast in the case of those trouble-making leaders. Obama pretty much came out and said it recently at West Point. ‘If you get in our way as we are doing what we want, Look out!’ Period. If I was a powerful western leader, Would I opt to talk to the Taliban, or any terrorist, instead of ignoring and/or blowing them away? I don’t know what I’d do. But whatever I did, it would not fall into the category of vicious dog eating vicious dogs. It would not fall into the category of a lawless leader displaying power in order to establish ‘credibility’. That’s not me. But I would like to disappear all tyrants and if I had the power and God’s approval for it, I’d do it in a heartbeat. And God wouldn’t make a mistake about who has requested to opt out of existence, which he won’t force anyone to enjoy, and who hasn’t.

Some of Obama’s ra, ra for his imperial storm troopers:

From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivalled in the history of nations. America continues to attract striving immigrants. The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe. And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine – it is America that the world looks to for help. The United States is the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed, and will likely be true for the century to come…

The question we face – the question you will face – is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also to extend peace and prosperity around the globe.

This question isn’t new. At least since George Washington served as Commander-in-Chief, there have been those who warned against foreign entanglements that do not touch directly on our security or economic well-being. Today, according to self-described realists, conflicts in Syria or Ukraine or the Central African Republic are not ours to solve. Not surprisingly, after costly wars and continuing challenges at home, that view is shared by many Americans.

A different view, from interventionists on the left and right, says we ignore these conflicts at our own peril; that America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos, and America’s failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations not only violates our conscience, but invites escalating aggression in the future.

Each side can point to history to support its claims.

You can find his full West Point Academy speech here: “Obama: ‘I Believe in American Exceptionalism with Every Fiber of My Being'” by John Queally

Indeed. Looking back, which Obama would urge us not to do, is not to be discouraged. We need to or else we who care can look forward to more American terrorism. Obama specifically mentions thugs in masks occupying buildings in Ukraine. Did he notice those occupations where his Nazi allies burned the buildings to the ground with everyone inside and made jokes about it afterward? From Robert Parry’s sobering report, the following:

“In Ukraine, a grisly new strategy – bringing in neo-Nazi paramilitary forces to set fire to occupied buildings in the country’s rebellious southeast – appears to be emerging as a favored tactic as the coup-installed regime in Kiev seeks to put down resistance from ethnic Russians and other opponents.

“The technique first emerged on May 2 in the port city of Odessa when pro-regime militants chased dissidents into the Trade Unions Building and then set it on fire. As some 40 or more ethnic Russians were burned alive or died of smoke inhalation, the crowd outside mocked them as red-and-black Colorado potato beetles, with the chant of “Burn, Colorado, burn.” Afterwards, reporters spotted graffiti on the building’s walls containing Swastika-like symbols and honoring the “Galician SS,” the Ukrainian adjunct to the German SS in World War II.

“This tactic of torching an occupied building occurred again on May 9 in Mariupol, another port city, as neo-Nazi paramilitaries – organized now as the regime’s “National Guard” – were dispatched to a police station that had been seized by dissidents, possibly including police officers who rejected a new Kiev-appointed chief. Again, the deployment of the “National Guard” was followed by burning the building and killing a significant but still-undetermined number of people inside. (Early estimates of the dead range from seven to 20.)” – from “Burning Ukraine’s Protesters Alive”

Yes, my dear reader, Obama is aware of that atrocity. But, as so many others have noted, The terrorism done by the US and it’s allies is okay. As Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman note, in “Manufacturing Consent”: “A propaganda system will consistently portray people abused in enemy states as worthy victims, whereas those treated with equal or greater severity by its own government or clients will be unworthy.” -page 37. Note the ‘attitude’. One of the meanings of the word is: You do something bad that you know others know is bad. And you know that they know you know. And rather than acknowledge it in a responsible, considerate way, you instead rub it in in words and/or deeds. You demonstrate, proudly, your lack of remorse. Also note Obama’s use of the term ‘lead’ in relation to the task he feels his special nation must carry out. That’s his job. He’s the public face of the corporatocracy-police state he represents. But when you listen to and read what other officials say about the task that they say they and their country must carry out, the language is less benign. In a word, American corporatists are solidly behind the imperial task of ‘dominance’. And it will be serious, genuine, “full spectrum dominance.”

Noam Chomsky also penned, in “The New Military Humanism,” this:

“Before proceeding, we might take note of a simple point of logic. When a humanitarian crisis develops, outsiders have three choices: (I) act to escalate the catastrophe (II) do nothing (III) try to mitigate the catastrophe. Kosovo falls under category (I), East Timor in 1999 under (II) – a particularly ugly example given the very recent history that is off the record under the doctrine of “change of course.” Let us consider some other current examples.

One instructive case is Colombia, through the 1990s the scene of the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western hemisphere – not so much because the crisis became sharply worse, but because U.S.-run slaughters and terror in Central America in the preceeding years had largely achieved their goals, and other means became available to maintain order as a result of the economic catastrophe of the 1980s and opportunities afforded by the changed international economy.

Recall that in Kosovo Western sources estimated 2000 killed on both sides in the year prior to the bombing, and perhaps 2-300,000 internal refugees. As the the bombing began, the State Department released its report for Colombia during the same year. The figures are eerily similar: 2-300,000 new refugees, about 80% of massacres (where there is credible evidence) attributed to para-militaries and the military, who, for years, have used the paras approximately as ABRI [Indonesian death squads/ military] does in East Timor and the Serb military did in Kosovo.

No two historical examples are quite parallel, of course. There are differences between Colombia and Kosovo, two of them particularly significant.

First, in Colombia these atrocities are not new (as in Kosovo from early 1998, according to NATO and the scholarly literature). Rather, they are added to an annual toll that has been much the same. The State Department gave similar estimates in its report for 1997, as have human rights monitors for many years. In 1998, according to the State Department, the refugee flow even surpassed that of earlier years. The refugee total is estimated by Church and other human rights groups at well over a million, mostly women and children, one of the worst refugee crises in the world. In 1998 the situation deteriorated to such an extent that one of Colombia’s most prominent and courageous human rights activists, Father Javier Giraldo, who heads the Church-based Peace and Justice Center, had to flee the country under death threats, joining many others. A year earlier, Amnesty International had selected Colombia as the first site for a global campaign for protection of human rights monitors, a natural choice in the light of the record.

Like AI, Human Rights Watch, Church-based groups, and other organizations concerned with human rights, the State Department concludes that “credible allegations of cooperation [of the armed forces] with paramilitary groups, including instances of both silent support and direct collaboration by members of the armed forces, in particular the army, continued” through 1998: “There were tacit arrangements between local military commanders and paramilitary groups in some regions, and paramilitary groups operated freely in some areas that were under military control.” Other reports are far more detailed, but with the same essential conclusion about the paramilitaries: many of their killings are “carried out with the tolerance or active participation of the security forces,” Human Rights Watch reports once again in October 1998.

The second difference is that in this case the blood is on Washington’s hands. The state terror operations follow guidelines provided by the Kennedy Administration, which advised the Colombian military to “select civilian and military personnel… [to]… as necessary execute paramilitary, sabotage and/or terrorist activities backed by the United States.” Citing these doctrines, Human Rights Watch points out that “known Communist proponents” include “government critics, trade unionists, community organizers, opposition politicians, civic leaders, and human rights activists,” as social protest was official labelled “the unarmed branch of subversion.” The sole independent political party was virtually eliminated by assassination of thousands of its elected officials, candidates, and activists. The primary victims have been peasants, particularly those who dared to raise their heads in a regime of brutal repression and enormous poverty in the midst of highly-praised economic success (for domestic and foreign investors).

Colombia became the leading Western Hemisphere recipient of U.S. arms and training as violence increased through the 90s. The Clinton administration was particularly enthusiastic in its praise for President Gavíra, whose tenure in office was responsible for “appalling levels of violence,” according to the major human rights organizations, even surpassing his predecessors as “violence reached unprecedented levels.” Atrocities run the gamut. Currently U.S. military aid continues to be “used in indiscriminate bombing” and other atrocities, and is slated to increase sharply for 1999, probably taking first place internationally (apart from Israel and Egypt, which belong to a separate category). The aid is provided under a “drug war” pretext that is dismissed by almost all serious observers.

The example provides a current illustration of option (I): act to escalate the atrocities, as in Kosovo – as systematically in the past in a long series of cases that are barred from inspection by the doctrine of “change of course.”

The humanitarian crisis in Kosovo, of course, passed far beyond the level of Colombia after the NATO bombing began: “the result” that was “entirely predictable,” or at least plausibly anticipated, according to high-level U.S. sources….”

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