MEDIA ROOTS — Welcome to the future of combat: robot wars. Take official numbers of troop withdrawal with a grain of salt, because their work is now being done by unmanned predator drones and private mercenary armies (which make up at least half of the US military presence abroad).
Although the use of predator drones is not a new war tactic by any means, Obama has set a new Executive precedent by extensively relying on the use of unmanned drones to find people and clandestinely kill them around the world. During the last three years, his administration has built a widespread apparatus of control that spreads across at least six countries for the purpose of surveilling adversaries and facilitating secret assassinations.
Regarding Obama’s drone killings, CIA and JSOC kill lists, and U.S. imperialism, the Washington Post reports: “Remotely piloted aircraft were used during the Clinton and Bush administrations, but only in recent years have they become advanced and abundant enough to be deployed on such a large scale.”
“In Pakistan, the CIA has carried out 239 strikes since Obama was sworn in, and the agency continues to have wide latitude to launch attacks.”
“In Yemen, there have been about 15 [drone] strikes since Obama took office, although it is not clear how many were carried out by drones because the U.S. military has also used conventional aircraft and cruise missiles.”
“CIA and military strikes this fall killed three U.S. citizens…” No trial, due process or human rights for the victims of the Obama administration’s secret drone programme. The US continues to set the military stage. As Obama ushers the proliferation of predator drone technology, arms race tensions will force other nations to keep up with war technology, all which enriches war profiteers at the expense of the proletariat.
WASHINGTON POST — The Obama administration’s counterterrorism accomplishments are most apparent in what it has been able to dismantle, including CIA prisons and entire tiers of al-Qaeda’s leadership. But what the administration has assembled, hidden from public view, may be equally consequential.
In the space of three years, the administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents.
Other commanders in chief have presided over wars with far higher casualty counts. But no president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals.
The rapid expansion of the drone program has blurred long-standing boundaries between the CIA and the military. Lethal operations are increasingly assembled a la carte, piecing together personnel and equipment in ways that allow the White House to toggle between separate legal authorities that govern the use of lethal force.
Read more about Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing.
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Photo (above) by Flickr user US Army, Photo (feature) by Flickr user Jim N Texas