Massive bombing campaigns are not all they’re cracked up to be, and they usually don’t win wars. From William J. Astore at tomdispatch.com:
From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing — and yet more bombing. Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. “boots on the ground” and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington’s many conflicts. Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). Its reality for various foreign peoples: a steady diet of “Made in USA” bombs and missiles bursting here, there, and everywhere.
Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America’s wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What’s driving this process?
For many of America’s decision-makers, air power has clearly become something of an abstraction. After all, except for the 9/11 attacks by those four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans haven’t been the target of such strikes since World War II. On Washington’s battlefields across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, air power is always almost literally a one-way affair. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force (and allied air forces), which means that we’re no longer talking about “war” in the normal sense. No wonder Washington policymakers and military officials see it as our strong suit, our asymmetrical advantage, our way of settling scores with evildoers, real and imagined.
Bombing is not a particularly intelligent way to conduct foreign policy. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:
Wikipedia tells us that “The Times Square Ball is a… prominent part of a New Year’s Eve celebration commonly referred to as the ball drop, where the ball descends 43 metres in 60 seconds… to signal the start of the new year.” It’s one of these silly things that is quite appealing in the spirit of the Christmas-New Year season, and most of us have a chuckle and consider ourselves slightly foolish for enjoying it.
But there was another and less amusing ball-drop on New Year’s Day, involving a tweet from US Strategic Forces Command or Stratcom, which declares it “deters strategic attack and employs forces, as directed, to guarantee the security of our nation and our allies” In the gobbledegook language of the military it, amongst other things “deters catastrophic actions from adversaries and poses an immediate threat to any actor who questions US resolve by demonstrating our capabilities.”
According to Stars and Stripes, the Stratcom tweet read “Times Square tradition rings in the New Year by dropping the big ball… if ever needed, we are ready to drop something much, much bigger.” As greetings go, you couldn’t get much more crass, confrontational and puerile than that.
The Washington Post noted that an embedded video “showed footage of a B-2 stealth bomber. As the words STEALTH, READY and LETHAL flashed across the screen, the aircraft released bombs. They fall to the ground and crash with a fiery explosion.” Just another video game, really.
The tweet was withdrawn with the apology that it “was in poor taste & does not reflect our values” but it is obvious that the original message is the one that Stratcom, the US Air Force and Washington as a whole want to send : their “values” include being “ready to drop something much, much bigger” on targets all round the world, and they’ve been blitzing with depressing frequency for many years. A month before the big ball bomb tweet Reuters reported that “At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed in US air strikes in the Afghan province of Helmand, officials and residents of the area said on Wednesday [November 28], the latest casualties from a surge in air operations aimed at driving the Taliban into talks.”
We kill their kids but they hate us for our freedoms. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Just two weeks after a US-Saudi coalition airstrike on a school bus in Yemen killed some 40 children in an event which finally caught international media attention, there’s a new report that coalition jets have struck a camp for internally displaced people in the flashpoint region of Hodeidah.
Pro-Houthi rebel outlets were the first to report the massacre, which was quickly picked up in international media. According to reports, at least 22 children and four women were killed.
“[The victims were] dead children and women. [It was a] disgusting crime,” the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network reported Thursday. Refugees were reportedly fleeing fighting in the area area when the airstrike occurred.
The BBC reports the following based on a United Nation official in the region: “The victims were fleeing fighting in the al-Durayhimi district, south of the port city of Hudaydah, when their vehicle was hit on Thursday. A separate air strike the same day killed four children, according to the UN’s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock.”
The UN quickly weighing in on the attack is significant, given both Saudi and United States recent statements indicating they do not deliberately target civilians or civilian infrastructure.
Screengrab from Al Jazeera coverage showing the strike aftermath on Thursday.
After the August 9th attack on a school bus in the north of the country, which killed scores of mostly children, the Saudi coalition spokesman defended its actions as “legitimate”.
The BBC continues of the heightened scrutiny regarding US-Saudi coalition war crimes in Yemen:
Mr Lowcock’s statement on Friday confirmed that the victims had been fleeing violence around the rebel-held port city Hudaydah.
He renewed calls for an impartial and independent investigation into air strikes. A report by Human Rights Watch the same day accused the Saudi-led coalition of failing to hold “credible” investigations into such incidents.
The reported attack was condemned by Unicef, Save the Children and other international organisations.
To continue reading: Yet Another US-Saudi Massacre In Yemen: UN Condemns Airstrike Killing 22 Children
Sometimes you get a glimpse into just deeply the Deep State has its claws in America’s legislators. From Andrea Germanos at theantimedia.com:
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Wednesday denounced as “mind blowing” the decision to “continue to willingly participate in the slaughter of Yemeni kids” after Republicans objected to his amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill that would have put key restrictions on U.S. financial and other support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign.
The amendment “would cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certified that the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and U.S. policy related to the protection of civilians,” a press statemnt from Murphy’s office states.
Win Without War had called the amendment “our big chance to slam on the brakes and stop our role in enabling the suffering in Yemen.” Yet Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, objected to Murphy’s amendment, despite saying that “what’s going on in Yemen is atrocious.”
Speaking on the Senate floor next to a photo of a Yemeni community center bombed when a funeral was underway, Murphy gave a damning assessment of the catastrophe the U.S. has helped fuel. “The United States is a key player in this bombing campaign,” he noted.
In his floor speech, Murphy said that “the targeting of civilians inside Yemen is getting worse, not better,” and referenced an event he said should underscore the urgency of his amendment—the coalition‘s bombing earlier this month of a school bus in Yemen that killed 40 children.
“The Saudis’ initial reaction was that it was a legitimate military target,” Murphy said. “There’s no way a school bus is a legitimate military target. That school bus was carrying dozens of children—dozens of children that are now dead because of a 500-pound bomb made in the United States and sold to the coalition.”
The amendment doesn’t even put a full stop on U.S. support but merely requires “the administration to certify that civilians aren’t intentionally getting targeted in contravention of U.S. law before we continue to support this funding,” Murphy said.
To continue reading: US Senate Rejects Call to Defund the ‘Slaughter of Yemeni Kids’
The US has been the most warlike nation since World War II. From Antonius Acquinas at antoniusacquinas.com:
Two recent articles* have again demonstrated that the greatest “terrorist” entity on earth is not the bogymen – Russia, China, Iran, North Korea – so often portrayed by Western presstitudes and the American government, but the United States itself! Ever since World War II, the US has been the most militaristic, far surpassing all of the Communist and dictatorial regimes combined.
Some startling and rarely reported facts:
- Currently, the US drops on someone or something a deadly explosive once every12 minutes
- W. Bush’s military dropped 70,000 bombs on five different nations during his murderous regime
- Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Barrack Obomber, launched 100,000 bombs on seven countries
- Funding this mass murder is a reportedly $21 trillion (!) that is unaccounted for in the Pentagon’s coffers
Despite all of the “America First” bluster at the start of the Trump Administration, little has changed but, in fact, things have escalated. While G.W. Bush in his wicked eight years dropped over 24 bombs per day and his successor upped that total to 34 bombs per day, the current Bomber-in-Chief has, in his first year in office, averaged 121 bombs per day! For the initial year of his Presidency, 44,000 bombs were dropped on people and lands despite the fact that the US is not officially at war with a single country!
Despite these grisly statistics, which are hardly ever reported by the mainstream press, the military industrial complex and the controlled Western media outlets have propagated the lie of “precision bombing.” Precision bombing has been trumpeted to minimize the effect of US aggression to the public that only true belligerents are targeted and not innocents.
When US bombing is reported by the press, the actual casualties and property damage are never accurately given. The most notorious example of this mendacity was the coverage of Bush II’s Iraq war. “The US and its allies ruthlessly carpet-bombed Iraq,” a UN report acknowledged, “reducing it from ‘a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society’ to a ‘pre-industrial age nation.’”
Later accounts of what actually happened showed that “only seven percent of the 88,500 tons of bombs and missiles devastating Iraq were ‘precision weapons.’”
To continue reading: The United States of Terror!
If it feels good and righteous, bombs away. From Brendan O’Neill at spiked-online.com:
It is the casualness, the thoughtlessness, with which Western leaders promised to bomb Syria that has been most horrifying.
War, you might think, is a serious endeavour. One that requires thought, discussion, a weighing-up of consequences. There has been none of that in Theresa May’s media-trumpeted promise to avenge the victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, or Donald Trump’s Twitter-blasts against ‘the animal Assad’ and his hints that he will punish Russia and Iran for supporting him, or in commentators’ demands that we bomb Syria because it is our ‘moral imperative’. On the contrary, these Twitter bombardiers, these iPad imperialists, openly eschew thought. Thought is for cowards. We must simply act and act now to show that we are good, they cry. They have no idea of the horrors that even their escalation of the tensions over Syria, regardless of whether or not they drop bombs, could unleash.
The behaviour of Western leaders has been alarming. They are like infants, bereft of the capacity for cool analysis, utterly lacking in diplomatic discretion. We mock teenagers and celebrities for Instagramming the minutiae of their lives, but such emotional incontinence pales into insignificance in comparison with the way the leaders of the free world have blurted through their iPhones their intention to punish some of the most powerful nations on Earth.
First Trump responded to Assad’s alleged chemical assault by tweeting that Assad would pay a ‘big price’, as would Russia. When the Russians said they would shoot down American missiles, Trump tweeted: ‘Get ready Russia, because [missiles] will be coming.’ Then Theresa May’s insiders, clearly with her say-so, told the media she wants ‘military action against Assad’. This is how war is prepared for now: with a leaked comment; with an eye on retweets, rather than on whether Britain threatening to enter into a war that will essentially be with Russia is a good idea.
To continue reading: Syria: the Bloody Price of Western Narcissism