- "The Deltas are psychos. You have to be a certified
- join the Delta Force", a US Army colonel from Fort
Bragg once told me back in the 1980's. Now President Obama has elevated
the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head
the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan. McChrystal's rise to leadership
is marked by his central role in directing special operations teams engaged
in extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian
communities and search and destroy missions. He is the very embodiment
of the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building.
Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagon's
Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates special teams in
- The point of the 'Special Operations' teams (SOT) is
that they do not distinguish between civilian and military oppositions,
between activists and their sympathizers and the armed resistance. The
SOT specialize in establishing death squads and recruiting and training
paramilitary forces to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social
movements opposing US client regimes. The SOT's 'counter-terrorism' is
terrorism in reverse, focusing on socio-political groups between US proxies
and the armed resistance. McChrystal's SOT targeted local and national
insurgent leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids
and air strikes. During the last 5 years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld period
the SOT were deeply implicated in the torture of political prisoners and
suspects. McChrystal was a special favorite of Rumsfeld and Cheney because
he was in charge of the 'direct action' forces of the 'Special Missions
Units. 'Direct Action' operative are the death-squads and torturers and
their only engagement with the local population is to terrorize, and not
to propagandize. They engage in 'propaganda of the dead', assassinating
local leaders to 'teach' the locals to obey and submit to the occupation.
Obama's appointment of McChrystal as head reflects a grave new military
escalation of his Afghanistan war in the face of the advance of the resistance
throughout the country.
- The deteriorating position of the US is manifest in the
tightening circle around all the roads leading in and out of Afghanistan's
capital, Kabul as well as the expansion of Taliban control and influence
throughout the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Obama's inability to recruit
new NATO reinforcements means that the White House's only chance to advance
its military driven empire is to escalate the number of US troops and to
increase the kill ratio among any and all suspected civilians in territories
controlled by the Afghan armed resistance.
- The White House and the Pentagon claim that the appointment
of McChrystal was due to the 'complexities' of the situation on the ground
and the need for a 'change in strategy'. 'Complexity' is a euphemism for
the increased mass opposition to the US, complicating traditional carpet
'bombing and military sweep' operations. The new strategy practiced by
McChrystal involves large scale, long term 'special operations' to devastate
and kill the local social networks and community leaders, which provide
the support system for the armed resistance.
- Obama's decision to prevent the release of scores of
photographs documenting the torture of prisoners by US troops and 'interrogators'
(especially under command of the 'Special Forces'), is directly related
to his appointment of McChrystal whose 'SOT' forces were highly implicated
in widespread torture in Iraq. Equally important, under McChrystal's command
the DELTA, SEAL and Special Operations Teams will have a bigger role in
the new 'counter-insurgency strategy'. Obama's claim that the publication
of these photographs will adversely affect the 'troops' has a particular
meaning: The graphic exposure of McChrystal's modus operendi for the past
5 years under President Bush will undermine his effectiveness in carrying
out the same operations under Obama.
- Obama's decision to re-start the secret 'military tribunals'
of foreign political prisoners, held at the Guantanamo prison camp, is
not merely a replay of the Bush-Cheney policies, which Obama had condemned
and vowed to eliminate during his presidential campaign, but part of his
larger policy of militarization and coincides with his approval of the
major secret police surveillance operations conducted against US citizens.
- Putting McChrystal in charge of the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan
military operations means putting a notorious practitioner of military
terrorism the torture and assassination of opponents to US policy
at the center of US foreign policy. Obama's quantitative and qualitative
expansion of the US war in South Asia means massive numbers of refugees
fleeing the destruction of their farms, homes and villages; tens of thousands
of civilian deaths, and eradication of entire communities. All of this
will be committed by the Obama Administraton in the quest to 'empty the
lake (displace entire populations) to catch the fish (armed insurgents
- Obama's restoration of all of the most notorious Bush
Era policies and the appointment of Bush's most brutal commander is based
on his total embrace of the ideology of military-driven empire building.
Once one believes (as Obama does) that US power and expansion are based
on military conquests and counter-insurgency, all other ideological, diplomatic,
moral and economic considerations will be subordinated to militarism. By
focusing all resources on successful military conquest, scant attention
is paid to the costs borne by the people targeted for conquest or to the
US treasury and domestic American economy. This has been clear from the
start: In the midst of a major recession/depression with millions of Americans
losing their employment and homes, President Obama increased the military
budget by 4% - taking it beyond $800 billion dollars.
- Obama's embrace of militarism is obvious from his decision
to expand the Afghan war despite NATO's refusal to commit any more combat
troops. It is obvious in his appointment of the most hard-line and notorious
Special Forces General from the Bush-Cheney era to head the military command
in subduing Afghanistan and the frontier areas of Pakistan.
- It is just as George Orwell described in Animal Farm:
The Democratic Pigs are now pursuing the same brutal, military policies
of their predecessors, the Republican Porkers, only now it is in the name
of the people and peace. Orwell might paraphrase the policy of President
Barack Obama, as 'Bigger and bloodier wars equal peace and justice'.