Obama Kills 140 Civilians For Every Alleged Al Qaeda Target

Bush killed 49 per target, comes to something when that becomes the good old days…

PESHAWAR: Of the 44 predator strikes carried out by US drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan over the past 12 months, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of over 700 innocent civilians.

Over 700 killed in 44 drone strikes in 2009

According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009.

For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die.

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Same Shit, Different War

The Wall Street Journal reports on the return of the body count- Army Deploys Old Tactic in PR War– of course it’s the WSJ so it is from the perspective of what is best for US imperialism.

The practice has revealed deep divides in military circles over the value of keeping such a score in a war being waged not over turf, but over the allegiance of the Afghan people. Does it buck up the troops and the home front to let them know the enemy is suffering, too? Or does the focus on killing distract from the goals of generating legitimacy and economic development?

Old school imperialists are more reserved-

“Recording an ongoing body count is hardly going to endear us to the people of Afghanistan,” says British Royal Navy Capt. Mark Durkin, spokesman for the 42-nation, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, or ISAF.

But at least the WSJ is open about this being a tactic of the media war-

The Army began a rethink when the 101st Airborne Division took over Afghan media operations in April 2008. Commanders worried the U.S.-led coalition appeared to be losing ground. The U.S. military routinely releases information about Americans killed in action. Since Sept. 11, 2001, 618 Americans have died in and around Afghanistan, 456 killed in combat. Remaining silent about enemy deaths gave the false impression that the U.S. was losing, says Lt. Col. Nielson-Green, spokeswoman for the 101st and a proponent of the new approach.

But it repeats mythical versions of history which ensure the only lessons learned are- America, Fuck Yeah!

That changed when the U.S. found itself mired in a guerrilla war in Vietnam, where front lines were blurred and villages taken or lost didn’t indicate who was winning, says Dale Andrade, senior historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History. “Vietnam was the first war in which the body count became the one and only statistic on which victory was measured,” he says.

Some battlefield commanders inflated body counts to appear more successful than they were. The American public “kept hearing these stories about how two of our soldiers were killed and 100 Viet Cong were killed,” says Mr. Andrade. He says that eventually Americans wondered: “If we’re killing so many people, why aren’t we winning?”

As well as fraud it led to the slaughter of civilians who were counted as combatants (a fungible fudge the WSJ also resurrects preferring US establishment sources on Afghanistan, so to correct the record here’s the list of victims of the Azizabad massacre from RAWA) and many dissenting Americans didn’t ask ‘why aren’t we winning?’ they instead exclaimed, we must stop massacring the Vietnamese. Oddly the anti war movement has no place in the WSJ article, imagine, corporate media acting as a propaganda arm for US foreign policy, good job they learned their lessons after Iraq. Although the modern opposition is fractured, some having been co-opted by the Obama campaign, some not questioning the [manifest destiny of exceptionalism]-ism so much as just preferring soft and smart power although, you do learn some history repeating facts though-

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL (yes she’s in caps!)- Holbrooke faced very few tough questions–not even on drone strikes. Rep. Lynn Woolsey did press Holbrooke on the fact that 90 percent of the administration’s war supplemental goes towards military expenses, while the counterinsurgency strategy calls for a ratio of 80 percent political and 20 percent military.

Then there is also this to ponder, why might so many people still live in the bubble of the imperial myth, hmmmm?

A Tiny Revolution

About 60,000 Americans died in Vietnam. No one knows exactly how many Vietnamese civilians died, but there is good reason to believe the number exceeds 3 million. And that would not count the destruction in Cambodia and Laos or the half-million children born with deformities caused by defoliants. Robert McNamara believes 3.4 million Vietnamese were slaughtered. Even an ardent supporter of the war like Michael Lind concedes that the number is in excess of 2 million — or, to go by a familiar metric, one third of the Holocaust.

 So let’s check the chapter on the Vietnam War in one of the leading textbooks used in US colleges, “American Foreign Policy,” authored by Bruce Jentleson, a Duke University professor of political science and former Al Gore advisor:

 American casualties in Vietnam numbered more than two hundred thousand, including almost sixty thousand deaths. Vietnamese casualties numbered in the hundreds of thousands as well.

That’s it for the whole book. It’s not that Jentleson is math-averse. The book gives you the precise body count for the Holocaust, Darfur, etc. The author only wants every American college student to know that the Vietnamese suffered almost as much as the Americans. Maybe some even died. There’s no way to know. But this is only the 3rd edition of the textbook, so perhaps new research will inform future editions about this matter.

Update: Privatisation

Jeremy Scahill

According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan…

Overall, contractors (armed and unarmed) now make up approximately 50% of the “total force in Centcom AOR [Area of Responsibility].” This means there are a whopping 242,657 contractors working on these two US wars.

The Iran-Pakistan Pipeline

Pepe Escobar writes@ Asia Times Online about the new deal between Pakistan and Iran, the Great Game thickens, excerpt-

The earth has been shaking for a few days now all across Pipelineistan – with massive repercussions for all the big players in the New Great Game in Eurasia. United States President Barack Obama’s AfPak strategists didn’t even see it coming. 

A silent, reptilian war had been going on for years between the US-favored Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and its rival, the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, also known as the “peace pipeline”. This past weekend, a winner emerged. And it’s none of the above: instead, it’s the 2,100-kilometer, US$7.5 billion IP (the Iran-Pakistan pipeline), with no India attached. 

Now, IP reveals Islamabad’s own interests seemed to have prevailed against Washington’s (unlike the virtually US-imposed Pakistan army offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley). The Barack Obama administration has been mum about IP so far. But it will be very enlightening to hear what former Bush pet Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad – who’s been infiltrating himself as the next CEO of Afghanistan – has to say about it. 

Sanaullah Baloch roundly denounces the “civil-military elites” of Pakistan as implicated in the systematic repression going on in Balochistan; “Without their consent, no political regime can undo their policy of continued suppression.” 

And his analysis of why Islamabad has made a deal with the Taliban in Swat but won’t do a deal with Balochis could not be more enlightening: “The establishment in Pakistan has always felt comfortable with religious groups as they do not challenge the centralized authority of the civil-military establishment. The demands of these groups are not political. They don’t demand economic parity. They demand centralized religious rule which is philosophically closer to the establishment’s version of totalitarianism. Islamabad’s elite are stubborn against genuine Baloch demands: governing Balochistan, having ownership of resources, and control over provincial security.” 

So Islamabad still has all it takes to royally mess up what it has accomplished by approving IP. For the moment, Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia win. The SCO wins. Washington and NATO lose, not to mention Afghanistan (no transit fees). But will Balochistan also win? If not, all hell will break loose, from desperate Balochis sabotaging IP to “foreign interference” manipulating them into creating an even greater, regional, ball of fire. 

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Castle Keep For Islamabad

Via Jeremy Scahill– 

The White House has asked Congress for — and seems likely to receive — $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital. The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.

The U.S. government also plans to revamp its consular buildings in the eastern city of Lahore and in Peshawar, the regional capital of the militancy plagued North West Frontier Province. The consulate in the southern megacity of Karachi has just been relocated into a new purpose-built accommodation. A senior State Department official confirmed that the U.S. plan for the consulate in Peshawar involves the purchase of the luxury Pearl Continental hotel. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The Pearl Contintental is the city’s only five-star hotel, set in its own expansive grounds, with a swimming pool. It’s owned by Pakistani tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani.

Also see Pulse on the amazing civic efforts to look after refugees that are being overwhelmed by the sheer scale -2.4 million refugees- and also the perception this is a war against Pukhtuns.

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It Could Be Worse, We Could Have Made a Loss

UK to Sri Lanka ArmsUK to Pakistan ArmsUK to Afghanistan ArmsUK to Israel Arms

Follow The Money

The cost of fighting the war in Afghanistan will overtake that of the Iraq conflict for the first time in 2010, Pentagon budget documents showed Thursday. On top of the basic defense budget of 533.7 billion dollars, the White House is requesting a further 130 billion dollars for overseas missions, including 65 billion for Afghanistan and 61 billion for Iraq. “This request is where you’re going to first see the swing of not only dollars or resources, but combat capability, from the Iraqi theater into the Afghan theater,”

I think the Pentagon is enjoying its increased budgetary importance (now over the halfway mark, so war now rules the nation) and will not let it drop back to the nominal (yet still huge) levels pre 911, so the terrifying nuclear Taliban are the latest brand to be rolled out to maintain their market share. Chris Floyd makes a great point, it must never be forgotten imperialism is fuelled in part on racism-

One of the largest empires the world has ever known – complete with second-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, capable of wiping out the planet several times over – disintegrated completely in the early 1990s, breaking into a myriad of different nations, and chaotic polities, some of which went to war with each other while others had internal wars that raged for years. Corruption was rampant, society collapsed, death rates climbed, birth rates plunged – all of this, again, with a vast nuclear arsenal looming over it all. Yet I don’t recall anyone recommending any U.S. military intervention to “preemptively mitigate the risks that might ensue from political chaos” in the break-up of the Soviet Union, to which I was eye-witness for a time. The only difference I can see in regard to Pakistan is that the scale of the risk and its possible global ramifications are actually much, much

Oh, I suppose there is one other difference, of course. The Pakistanis are Other – dark-skinned, Asian, Muslim, etc. – whereas most people perceived the Soviets to be like Us – white, European, etc. (Even though, in reality, many of the peoples of the Soviet Union were in fact dark-skinned, Asian and Muslim.) And thus, as Other, we must assume that a) they are so primitive, childish and incapable that they need real people like Us to step and save them from themselves and sort out their affairs; and b) they are so wild and crazed that they will seize the first possible opportunity to grab those nukes and blow up half the world. This is precisely the level of witless prejudice that underlies — or indeed, defines — any argument for “intervention” in Pakistan, of whatever degree. No matter how the argument is tricked out with think-tank speak and the savvy tropes of realpolitik, it actually goes no further than that.

PS. The Justin Raimondo piece going around about Jon Stewart, well duh, he’s ultimately a nice corporate liberal with vestiges of passion, a gift for comedy and a patriotic sentimentalist. He wouldn’t have gotten the gig if he was -stubbornly- radically dangerous and the US atomic attacks are still verboten in mainstream narrative of the ‘Good’ war. But the part about torture and US liberals focusing on that while letting Obama’s wars slide is only partially true (it’s mostly true of Dem partisan liberals) both can and should be done, oppose war and torture vocally. His attitude to the torture ‘debate’ I can understand in-so-much as I don’t have a badge saying ‘this blog is anti torture’, opposition to torture is normal, only abnormal cretins support torture (it is an aberrant phenomenon like paedophilia, think about that ’24’ fans). But it is still necessary to talk about it, because it is spread far and wide and the media now won’t even call torture torture and a key part of any apparatus of torture is intimidation of others. By speaking out we stem that intimidation. But then I suppose I am not in the ‘debate’ there is none, torture is wrong. Still his antiwar credibility is fine, just take his right wing libertarian roots under advisement (and yeah the Chavez bit was crap too).

Drone Attacks Kill 49 Civilians For Every 1 Al Qaeda Killed In Pakistan

And that’s the figures for Pakistan, apparently the Afghan Ambassador to the US commenting on drone attacks in his country thinks-

“This is a price that we have to pay if we want security and stability in Afghanistan, the region and the world, ” he said in Washington on Friday.

I would submit that any force/administration that is killing 49 civilians for every 1 enemy target is practising a very basic and obvious terrorism and is undeserving of support. There are no good possible ends from these means. (ht2 Chris Floyd)

Full report on the Pakistan deaths-

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