Obama II has a brand new type of war in store; welcome the ‘Permanent War Doctrine’. The new ‘permanent war on terror’ has four weapons of choice: the signature weapon is the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the drone aircraft.
Second is direct action undertaken by Special Forces. Third is the transformation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into a paramilitary, tracking and targeting assassination squad and, fourth, is cyber warfare (under the ‘Permanent War Doctrine’ all or most of America’s conventional forces head back home from theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan).
Currently, there are “800 bigger drones” and “thousands of mini-drones” already under use. The US Army is already operating 40 Grey Eagles and has purchased an additional 107.The US Air Force is already operating 175 attack Predators, 40 attack Reapers and has purchased an additional 480 Reapers.
The ‘Permanent War Doctrine’ plans to spend a wholesome $40 billion, expanding its fleet of attack drones plus building new launch pads. At least 64 drone bases have already been identified on American soil.
Apparently, America has lost access to bases in Iraq and Pakistan but nine other bases that stand revealed include Turkey (coordinates: latitude 37, longitude 35.26), Jalalabad (34.40, 70.50), Khost (33.33, 69.95), Kandahar (31.50, 65.85), Shindand (33.39, 62.26), Qatar (25.12, 51.32), Philippines (6.92, 122.06), UAE (24.25, 54.55), Yemen (13.18, 44.76), Ethiopia (6.04, 37.59), Djibouti (11.54, 43.15) and Seychelles (4.6700823, 55.5146885).
Yes, drone attacks are illegal but that doesn’t mean that the Americans are about to stop bombing – and killing. In effect, the world has little choice but to live under the fear of drones for the foreseeable future – not until the technology diffuses laterally. Yes, international law has always been about power – not morality.
As conventional ‘boots on ground’ head back to their home bases, the US Navy Seals, the US Army Special Forces, the Air Force Special Operations Command and the Marine Special Operations Regiment take their places equipped and ready for ‘direct action’ (US Department of Defence defines ‘direct action’ as: “Short duration strikes and other…. offensive actions….in hostile, denied or politically sensitive environments….to seize, destroy, capture….or damage designated targets.”)
The third leg of the ‘permanent war on terror’ is the militarisation of the CIA. Traditionally, the CIA’s primary mission has been to “collect, analyse, evaluate and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist the president and senior US government policymakers….”
It was President Bush (2001-2009) who empowered the CIA to “hunt down, kidnap and assassinate suspected Al-Qaeda operatives, and the CIA’s traditional specialties of spy craft and intelligence analysis took a distinct backseat to Special Activities Division operations, as its agents set up a global gulag of ghost prisons, conducted interrogations by torture, and then added those missile-armed drone and assassination programmes.”
President Bush had actually begun the ‘militarisation of the CIA’ – and then Obama completed the cycle by bringing in a retired four-star US army general as director of the CIA. The Washington Post recently revealed the existence of Obama’s ‘disposition matrix’ as the “next generation capture/kill list” in Obama’s ‘endless war’. Does that mean that the CIA is no longer under civilian control?
The fourth leg of the ‘permanent war on terror’ is a whole host of dedicated offensive cyber warfare programmes. The US Department of Defence is all for ‘leveraging the Internet for military purposes’ and calls cyber warfare as the “art and science of fighting without fighting; of defeating an opponent without spilling their blood.” Imagine: ten thousand eight hundred and five miles from Langley, we are bent upon crippling the fighting capacity of our armed forces.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: farrukh15@ hotmail.com