Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Many Covert Bloodbaths Are Taking Place In Our Name?


Yesterday, another U.S. drone strike on Pakistan pushed up the overall death toll to around 475 and the total number of predator attacks to fifty-five since January of this year.

In a New York Times op-ed on Sunday, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama's former director of national intelligence, declared that America's drone campaign "is eroding our influence and damaging our ability to work with Pakistan to achieve other important security objectives like eliminating Taliban sanctuaries, encouraging Indian-Pakistani dialogue, and making Pakistan's nuclear arsenal more secure." He also said, "Those higher numbers are widely believed [in Pakistan] and, our reliance on high-tech strikes that pose no risk to our soldiers is bitterly resented.”

Two very different versions of the civilian casualty rate due to drone strikes conflict. The White House claims not one civilian death from drone strikes, while the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims at least 45 civilian deaths in the last year alone.

Parallel military under a cloak of secrecy.

Then, consider the giant increase in Special Operations Forces (SOF) that have nearly doubled in the past two decades, from just short of 37,000 to almost 60,000. Not only that, major increases are planned in the future. The budget has more than quadrupled, jumping from $2.3 billion to $9.8 billion over the last 10 years. One can just imagine the thousands of covert missions that are taking place under the cover of darkness, and no one will ever know.

Drone strikes are not discriminating. They kill and injure children and civilians. They allow us to go to war with "no skin in the game", so to speak. On this side of the pond, it's all fun and games, while, the other side is literally torn to shreds. And they are on the increase. And because our government is using our money, and our resources, these covert wars are taking place with our complete support, so, unless we want to end up like the Germans, drenched in the blood of its nation's victims, it is incumbent upon us to stop the bloodshed.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953
Links:

Six Wars and Counting

Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict

17 Intelligence Agencies

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