British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again
America’s Drone War…Replay of the Terror Bombing Strategy of World War Two
Bruce G. Richardson
Edmund Burke remonstrated ‘It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free, their passions forge their fetters’.
The controversy surrounding the U.S. drone war has military historians and international law experts and students searching for the origins, root-cause and or concept of this extra-legal, indiscriminate strategy hailed as ‘target killing’ of suspected militants. Initial reports filed by journalists have suggested that the concept of an unmanned ‘terror-weapon’ was born and developed by the Nazi military strategists, engineers and scientists during the waning days of World War II. Designated as the ‘Buzz Bomb’ or ‘Doodlebug’ due to its unique sound when passing overhead, the V-1 flying bomb (Vergeltungswaffen) was designed for terror bombing London. First launched in 1944, at its peak more than 100 V-1s were fired at South East London or 9,521 in total resulting in 22,982 casualties and 1,150,000 homes destroyed. The V-1 so terrorized London that American, British and Russian were covertly dispatched in an effort to locate and terminate Nazi engineers and scientists responsible for the design and manufacture of this horrific weapon. (1)
Those captured Nazi scientists responsible for the development of the V-1 who escaped the allied commando/kill-teams, and did not ultimately serve American weapons producers in their quest for high-technological terror weapons, were tried as war criminals following the conclusion of World War II. The war crimes trials were facilitated by the general public’s dramatic indignation and anger over the Nazi’s use of these terror weapons. Though the killing-technology has improved immeasurably since the guns fell silent in World War II, today’s ‘drone’ weapon was to a small degree reverse-engineered from German World War II technology. (2)
Today, it appears that yet another unmanned terror weapon stalks and kills citizens from around the world, (déjà vu) based on a weekly strategy meeting between President Barack Obama and his National Security Adviser John Brennan, the result of which results in a presidential finding or ‘death warrant’ directive which determines and assigns as to whom the United States alleges is a terrorist and therefore who is to die. Thus, completely lacking any semblance of due process, President Barack Obama, Constitutional scholar, lecturer and self-professed ‘champion of human rights’ has at one become judge, jury and executioner. Following the June 6th drone killing of 18 Afghans to include women and children in Logar, Afghanistan, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pilay called for an investigation of civilian casualties in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, stating that ‘serious questions about international law abound.’
Officially, the CIA insists its drone war is a state secret, yet we’re now seeing a concerted public relations effort to sanitize its dubious legality. A story in last week’s New York Times painted a remarkably detailed picture of U.S. Government’s so-called ‘targeted killing’ campaign that involves the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to kill suspected terrorists. Public awareness and outrage has increased significantly in the wake of the New York Times article.
Robert Grenier, former CIA Station Chief in Pakistan and head of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism-Center from 2004-2006 says the U.S. drone strike program is targeted too broadly according to an article published in the U.K.-based Guardian. Grenier said the use of drones was a valuable tool in tracking terrorism but only when used against specific targets that have been tracked and monitored to a place where a strike is feasible and does not endanger civilians. ‘We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan.’ CIA drones are reportedly reviving the use of highly-controversial tactics that targets rescuers and funeral-goers. On Monday last, (8/4) U.S. drones attacked rescuers in Waziristan in Western Pakistan minutes after the initial strike killing 16 people gathered for funeral prayers of victims killed in an earlier attack. (3, 4, 5)
The indiscriminate nature of this campaign of horror is morbidly manifest between rhetorical targets as espoused by the Obama Administration and real targets. Both NATO and U.S. spokespersons deny the high number of civilian deaths connected with this campaign of horror in their respective press-releases, stating those killed as ‘terrorists, suspected terrorists, militants and or suspected militants.’ That an ineffective device is employed by the U.S. in their so-called ‘war on terror’ can be understood when it is realized that targets are often-times chosen as the result of intelligence received from traditional enemies of those selected to be inscribed on the ‘President’s Kill List.’ Elements of the Northern Alliance, for example, have religiously provided hopelessly compromised and fabricated intelligence to the Americans as a strategy to attack and kill their traditional (Pashtun) enemies. This has shown to be the case by any number of internationally acclaimed investigative-journalists. (3, 4)
We Americans pose under a body of law. We claim to be ‘a nation of law.’ We strive to bring ‘democracy’ to those whose inalienable rights have been jeopardized or compromised by a dictatorial, repressive government. And yet, the leader of this great society issues death warrants for those whose only crime is to gather for a rescue mission, wedding or a funeral, or the unfortunate owner of a pick-up truck being neighborly and offering his neighbors a ride to town for supplies and or food or those young boys who carry staffs as they herd their flocks of sheep and somehow convey an image of a terrorist and or militant to those sitting at their computer monitors of death! It has been said that ‘those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.’ For America, this is not ‘the way to win hearts and minds.’ (5)
The Flying Bomb War, Peter Haining, 2002
The Evolution of the Cruise Missile, Kenneth P. Werrell, 1985
The American Raj, Liberation of Domination, Resolving the Conflict between the West and the Muslim World, Eric S. Margolis, 2008
‘UN Special Rapporteur Lashes Obama’s Drone war’, Jason Ditz, anti-war.com, August 19, 2012: UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Ben Emerson sharply criticized the Obama Administration’s untenable and unlawful prosecution of war in Afghanistan: ‘Emerson lashed the Obama Administration for the position that it will neither confirm nor deny the existence of the drone programs, whilst allowing senior officials to give public justifications of its supposed legality in personal lectures and interviews’. Pakistan in particular has objected to the hundreds of drone strikes launched against its territory by the US arguing that it ‘violates their sovereignty’ as well as undermining support for their own war against militancy. The US, over worldwide objections, has ruled out ending the strikes.
Pakistan Summons US Envoy to Protest Drone Strikes. Weekend Strikes Target Tribesman preparing for Eid Celebration, by Jason Ditz, Anti-War.com, 8/23/12: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister has summoned a senior US diplomat to lodge a formal protest at the repeated use of CIA drones against North Waziristan Agency, saying they are a violation of national sovereignty.