Waging Endless War From Vietnam to Syria – Greg Grandin and Tom Engelhardt

 

As October ended, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced that the U.S. would be sending “less than 50” boots-on-the-ground Special Operations forces into northern Syria in an “advise-and-assist” program for Kurdish rebels and their (essentially nonexistent) Arab allies. Only days before, in yet another example of twenty-first-century mission creep, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter had told Congress that the intensity of U.S. air attacks in Syria would rise “with additional U.S. and coalition aircraft and heavier airstrikes.” For this, A-10 and F-15 aircraft were to be deployed to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

It was the sort of military promise from Washington – more of the same – that has grown increasingly familiar in these years and could be summed up by adapting that old DuPont ad line, “better living through chemistry”: a better world through bombing. Unfortunately for such plans, the verdict has long been in: air power as a decisive factor in American war in this century has proven a dismal failure. Even in skies that, with the rarest of exceptions, offer no dangers whatsoever (other than mechanical failure) to fighter jets, bombers, and drones, even in situations in which munitions can be delivered to any chosen spot with alacrity and without opposition by aircraft freely patrolling the skies overhead, air power has proven a weapon from hell in every sense of the world. Complete “air superiority” has been a significant factor, as in Libya, in the creation of a string of failed states (and so breeding grounds for terror outfits) across the Greater Middle East. In its post-modern “manhunting” form, grimly named Predator and Reaper drones have managed to kill thousands of leaders, lieutenants, sub-lieutenants, and rank-and-file militants in various terrorist organizations, as well as significant numbers of civilians, including children. Recently leaked documents on Washington’s drone assassination campaigns indicate that, in at least one period in Afghanistan, only 10% of those killed were actually targeted for death. And yet the president’s drone assassination campaign in several countries (based in part on a White House “kill list” and “terror Tuesday” meetings to decide whom to target) seems only to have helped foster the exponential growth of terror outfits across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

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Source: Waging Endless War From Vietnam to Syria – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

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