For 12 years strong, US running “counterinsurgency air force” for allies
September 6, 2013
While the world’s focus is centered on the G-20 Summit and Obama attempting to make his case to justify a war with Syria, the US military is still covertly fighting a 12-year old war in the Middle East and now parts of Africa.
According to the BBC, an estimated six more militants were killed overnight in Pakistan after two missiles were fired at a house in North Waziristan, near Afghanistan. While the strike managed to take out a senior commander of the Taliban-linked Haqqani militant network, reports also confirm an undisclosed number of civilian casualties.
The strike is the second this week in Pakistan, adding to the list of 322 drone strikes authorized by Obama. Statistics from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal an estimated 2,513-3,595 were killed, including 407-926 civilians and 168-200 children from 2004-13.
Since the war began, following the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the US has been utilizing the covert drone program in eight different countries.
These countries include:
Syria may be added to the list next.
From 2002-13, nearly 60 drone strikes have been confirmed, killing an estimated 268-393 people, including 21-58 civilians and five children. Remember, these are the number of confirmed strikes and deaths, the death toll is projected to be much higher.
In Somalia, approximately ten drone strikes have been confirmed, killing an estimated 30 people. Covert operations have killed an estimated 7-14 people, including 7-42 civilians and 1-3 children.
Reviewing these numbers illustrates the US’s attitude towards murder and assassination. It highlights the absolute hypocrisy of the US wanting to initiate another war in another country on the basis of avenging the deaths of a few hundred Syrians killed via a chemical weapons attack.
Reports have continually pointed towards the Syrian rebels as the culprits for the chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug. 21, but even if Assad had done this to his own people, how can the US justify punishing a leader who murders civilians when the US is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Middle Eastern men, women and children?
The US covert drone program has managed to stay incredibly secretive, and only recently has the Obama administration come under criticism for the program, with the public and US officials calling for more transparency and oversight.
Experts argue the reason the program has been kept secret is because it would be in violation of an executive order signed in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford which banned “American intelligence forces from engaging in assassination,” reported the New Yorker.
Critics say the program has progressed beyond it’s original intention. The use of the unmanned drone program was initially intended to target an individual based on a specific set of intelligence based on his or her identity, and who posed an imminent threat to the US. Now suspects are targeted based on suspicious behavior or a series of actions that might be suspicious. Sometimes the identify of that individual is unknown.
While the drone program came to prominence under Bush, Obama has drastically expanded it. A US military attack on Syria would earn Obama the title of “war president,” according to a senior Russian lawmaker. It would make him a “second George W. Bush,” said a member of the Russian Parliament.
Obama’s drone program shows no evidence of slowing down, with strikes expanding into parts of Africa to reportedly target the al-Qaeda affiliated group al Shabaab. According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, US operations in Somalia remain “largely a mystery” with only two confirmed strikes in 2012.
“In Yemen and Somalia, there is debate about whether the militants targeted by the U.S. are in fact plotting against the U.S. or instead fighting against their own country,” reported ProPublica. Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the US is running “a counterinsurgency air force” for allied countries.
The US government is responsible for a massive death toll post 9/11, and instead of decelerating the wars, the Obama administrations intends to exacerbate more money and more military aid in an attempt to send Syrian leader al-Assad a message. An act that could push the planet into WW3.