Endless Robotic War

On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a new “sanitized war” is reshaping America’s Military Industrial Complex’s future.

The drone war, or the new robotic war, is operated by a galaxy of military bases stretching from Creech Air Force Base in the desert of Nevada, traversing through the CIA headquarter in Langley, Virginia, before landing on new desert airstrips in the Middle East.

The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) main mission is tracking and target killing alleged terrorists.

Earlier this month, a drone using the newly introduced, more accurate, Small Smart Weapon or Scorpion missile delivered a direct hit, by mistake, killing 13 family members near the town of Rada, Yemen.

Following the raid, Yemeni activist Nasr Abdulla said, “I would not be surprised if a hundred tribesmen joined the lines of al Qaeda … This part of Yemen takes revenge very seriously.”

Last May, a Yemeni government official told the Washington Post, “There is a psychological acceptance of al Qaida because of US strikes.”

In modern history, no military power was able to unequivocally win a guerilla war. The hardest fought battle is for the hearts and minds of the average person; America is squarely losing this war. The drones’ killing of innocent bystanders, by mistake or utter recklessness, breeds resentments and new al Qaida recruits.

The latest was not an isolated incident. A 2009 study by Daniel Byman at the Brookings Institute concluded that drone strikes have killed “10 or so civilian” for “every mid and high ranking (terrorist) leader.”

US officials continue downplaying the loss of civilians while publicly asserting their best efforts to avoid “collateral damage.” A claim disputed by Micah Zenko of the Council of Foreign Relations who recently wrote “The claim that the 3,000+ people killed in roughly 375 non-battlefield targeted killings were all engaged in actual operational plots against the U.S. defies any understanding of the scope of what America has been doing for the past ten years.”

Another major blunder was the November 2011 killing of more than 24 Pakistani soldiers in what became known as the Salata incident, prompting the Government of Pakistan to close the border for NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

Last June, 18 civilians were killed at a wedding in the village of Logar, forcing the Afghani President to demand halting drone strikes.

Eleven years after 9/11, every branch of the US military, including the CIA, has its own robotic drones operating throughout the world. US Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Georgetown University professor Gary Solis warned that allowing CIA civilian agents to engage in armed conflict would directly contravene US laws.

The drone franchise business has branched into a new extension of the Military Industrial Complex with its parallel lobbying arm backing the new permanent war economy manifested by more than 60 new special cross-functional military bases around the globe.

In late 2011, Salon online magazine referred to a Congressional Budget Office reporting that the “Department of Defense plans to purchase 730 new medium-sized and large unmanned aircraft systems” in the next decade.

Like the intercontinental missiles in the sixties, and star wars technology in the 1980s, the robotic drone warfare is reinventing the 21st century Military Industrial Complex.

The only victor in this longest US foreign war is a coalition of single issue think tanks, political leaders, and business hucksters driven by mutual interest fostered by a culture of killing, vengeance and profit.

 

Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab issues and is the author of Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com. He can be contacted at jkanj@yahoo.com. 

One Response to "Endless Robotic War"

  1. Free Bird  September 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Jamal, you have illuminated the problem but perhaps not focused on the core.

    The “War on Terror” like the “War on Drugs” is forever unwinable. That is precisely why it was initiated. This is a long term make work project, a dream come true for all of the arms manufacturers. Increased resistance and resentment towards America is good for business. The policy was designed to fit the needs of the war profiteers. That is what happens in a country where government serves the highest bidder .

    While many Americans find these wars moraly repugnant there are others who will only be convinced when they discover that the money trail starts at their own pocket.

    Oh, and make that false vengeance.

    Good article!

    Reply

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