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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Using Predators is terrorism

For the second time in two weeks, apparently, the super-creepy pilotless aircraft known quite appropriately as Predators have caused massive death to rain down on civilians. On January 2, cameras on a Predator in Iraq supposedly saw three guys planting a roadside bomb in Bayji, Iraq. Shortly thereafter, Navy F-14's dropped bombs on a nearby house where the supposed insurgents had gone. Ten or so civilians, including children, were killed.

On Friday, according to media reports, a CIA Predator fired missiles which destroyed three houses in Pakistan, killing 18 or more people. The alleged target, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who allegedly was one of the dozen or so alleged "masterminds" behind the alleged al Qaeda attacks on 9/11/01, was allegedly supposed to have been in one of the three houses, which apparently he wasn't.

If we temporarily grant that the CIA had somewhat honorable motives in this attack (which I don't)--that they believe that Zawahiri actually was behind 9/11 and is actually still alive today and that there might have been some reason to believe that he was in one of the houses destroyed--the attack was still outrageously reckless and illegal. Chances are very high that once again the awesome power of the US military has been used to settle tribal scores. Some Pakistani, Afghan or Iraqi tells US intelligence that there are terrorists in that building--and fifteen minutes later he has revenge on the family of the man who dishonored his daughter or stole his goat or took him snipe hunting or whatever. (Well, maybe the revenge will fall on the family next door--Bush happens, you know.) The most dramatic example of this, of course, is the Iraq war itself. The Chalabi clan informed gullible American "intelligence" agents like George Tenet and Judy Miller that the Saddam Hussein clan was stockpiling all sorts of nasty weapons. Since this was just what our corrupt leaders--Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Kerry, etc.--wanted to hear, Chalabi had little trouble getting his message heard.

The awesome might of the US military has been used three times in the past five years to change the governments of three countries--in itself one of the textbook definitions of terrorism ("use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments"). On top of this, that military might has been put at the disposal of some very bad people looking to settle scores (and I don't mean just Bush and Cheney). Harry Belafonte was exactly right when he called George Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world." (And I nearly puked when Jon Stewart mocked the idea as ridiculous on the Daily Show. Go Cheney yourself, Jon.)

Being the world's greatest terrorist is actually the stated goal of the Pentagon, although they call it Full-spectrum dominance:
Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.
NSA spying, Predator aircraft, satellite surveillance, and stealth bombers are already part of the arsenal, with space-based weapons to follow (under the guise of a "missile defense shield"). The goal seems to be to be able to destroy any location anywhere in the world on a moment's notice at any time. It destroys any notion of investigative police work, or justice for that matter. "Full-spectrum dominance" is terrorism on a scale far beyond anything the world has ever seen.