Forget it; the Global War on Terror (GWOT) is not becoming more “democratic” – or even transparent.
US President Barack Obama now pledges to transfer the responsibility of the shadow ‘Drone Wars’from the CIA to the Pentagon – so the US Congress is able to monitor it.
Until virtually yesterday the Obama administration did not even recognize in public the existence of the shadow ‘Drone Wars’.
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at the Pentagon – which would then be in charge of the‘Drone Wars’ – is bound to remain secret.
And the Pentagon is not exactly yearning to retouch its definition of a “militant”, a prime candidate to be ‘target-assassinated’; “any military-aged male in a strike zone”. “Muslim” male, it goes without saying.
Obama’s rhetoric is one thing. His administration’s ‘Drone Wars’ are another thing entirely.
The President now insists GWOT is no longer a “boundless global war”.
That’s rhetoric. For the Pentagon, the “entire globe is a battlefield”.
That is the operative concept since the beginning of GWOT, and inbuilt in the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine.
And if the entire globe is a battlefield, all its causes and consequences are interconnected.
The rules of the game
What’s the difference between a British soldier (the UK is attached to GWOT via the “special relationship”), stationed at an army barracks, gruesomely hacked to death with a meat cleaver in a London street and a Syrian soldier beheaded/disemboweled/cannibalized in “rebel”-held territory by a mercenary Sunni jihadi?
The difference is that the Nigerian-British killer in London is a terrorist, and the jihadi in Syria is a freedom fighter.
What’s the difference between an alleged – never conclusively – proven Chechen-American principally responsible for the Boston bombing and a little Pashtun girl killed by a US drone in Waziristan?
The difference is that the Chechen-American is a terrorist, and the Pashtun girl is not even acknowledged by the Pentagon (and even if she was, she’d go down as “collateral damage”.)
And what if the “collateral damage” is a US citizen, as in Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old son of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, ‘target-assassinated‘ by a US drone in Yemen in October 2011?
It will take 19 months for the administration to admit he was “terminated” – but still with no justification attached.
GWOT’s rules of the game won’t change – no matter how soaring Obama’s rhetoric.
When the US – or “the West” – kills or ‘target-assassinates’ Muslim civilians, that’s never terrorism.
When Muslims supported by “the West” kill other Muslim civilians – as in Syria – they are not terrorists; they are Reaganesque “freedom fighters”.
When Muslims kill Western soldiers – as in London – they’re terrorists.
When Muslims happen to come from regime-changeable Iran and Syria’s government, not to mention Hezbollah, they are by definition terrorists.
And when Muslims are lingering in Guantanamo just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time when the US invaded a Muslim country, they remain terrorists – the umpteenth Obama promise to close Guantanamo notwithstanding.
Pick your favorite blowback
Take a look at the trailer of Dirty Warsfeaturing Jeremy Scahill’s investigation of Washington’s shadow war. Pay attention to what a Pashtun peasant says: “If the Americans do this again, we are ready to shed our blood fighting them”.
That’s blowback. And not only Pashtuns are ready – but pan-Arabs and Muslims born and bred in “the West”.
The new “lone wolf” catchphrase/hysteria barely identifies the future proliferation of Muslim individuals whose anger finally explodes.
They may not be affiliated with any al-Qaeda-style franchise or copycat. What they do embody is the notion that if “the West” can get away with killing Muslim civilians, there will be a price to pay.
That’s 1, 2, 3, one thousand blowbacks.
And reasons for a thousand blowbacks are piling up.
The Bush administration’s ‘Shock and Awe’ over Baghdad 10 years ago was Western terrorism inflicted on Iraq’s civilian population.
The ‘Drone Wars’ are Western terrorism inflicted on civilian populations from Yemen to Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The sanctions packages imposed for years on Iraq and later on Iran are slow-motion Western terrorism inflicted on civilian populations to “prepare” them for regime change.
Meanwhile “the West” simply won’t quit its ability to fabricate more blowbacks.
NATO’s war “liberated” Libya and turned it into a failed state. The result is Sahelistan; northern and western Africa on fire.
Suicide bombers in Niger have just attacked a military camp and a uranium mine operated by French company Areva.
Responsibility was claimed by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a former leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who late last year formed the splinter group Signatories in Blood, then led the attack on a natural gas plant in Ain Amenas in Algeria last January, and later may – or rather may not – have been killed.
The bottom line is that the entire globe will remain a battlefield – a self-fulfilling Pentagon prophecy.
So many Belmokhtars to fight, so many Syrian jihadis to support, so many “al-Qaeda” to target-assassinate, so many Muslim lone wolves to track.
Obama’s rhetoric is just a show. GWOT is bound to remain a serpent biting its own tail, eagerly feeding itself till the end of time.