by Dave Brown
by Stephen Lendman
Obama’s January 5 Pentagon news conference reeked of duplicity like all his pronouncements. Surrounded by Joint Chiefs of Staff, hawkishness took center stage.
Stressing a leaner, more agile/flexible military, he said counterterrorism, intelligence and cyberwarfare will be emphasized without sacrificing America’s superiority against global enemies.
So will subversion, destabilization, drone killings, other targeted assassinations, global state terrorism, and permanent war.
In other words, new and old tactics are featured. Strategies are unchanged. So are imperial aims. Permanent war remains policy. Merciless high-tech killing and destruction will be featured. Ravaging the world one country at a time is planned.
So is expanding the Bush Doctrine. Preemptive global wars define it. Addressing West Point cadets in June 2003, Dick Cheney said:
“If there is anyone in the world today who doubts the seriousness of the Bush Doctrine, I would urge that person to consider the fate of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.”
Bush was more succinct, saying “You’re either with us or against us.” Neutrality’s not an option. Neither are equity, justice, rule of law principles, democratic values and peace.
Supporters thought Obama was different. In fact, he exceeds the worst of Bush at home and abroad. He arrogated to America the right to confront independent regimes belligerently, replace them with client ones, and target homeland dissenters relentlessly.
In 2006, Bush’s National Security Strategy reaffirmed America’s preemptive right to counter alleged threats. Initially unveiled in September 2002, it asserted his “preemptive war” doctrine.
At the time, it justified war on Iraq. It said America doesn’t “rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack.”
“To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense.”
Unaddressed was inviolable international and US law. They require clear evidence of impending or planned attacks. Short of either, waring preemptively or otherwise against nonbelligerent states is illegal.
Bush attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama’s waging global wars overtly and covertly, including at home.
Abroad, Syria and Iran are prime targets. Bush’s 2006 National Security Strategy highlighted Iran, saying:
Its “regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel, seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom.”
“The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of US policy.”
In fact, at issue is regime change, controlling Iranian oil and gas, redrawing the Middle East, and pursuing regional hegemony to China and Russia’s borders. Bush addressed “wars of the 21st century.”
They continue under Obama. Tactics include creating an arc of instability, chaos and violence throughout the region to justify US intervention.
Addressing the 18th Direct Democracy conference in Feldkirch, Austria, Law Professor Francis Boyle warned against attacking Iran, especially with nuclear weapons.
America already committed “acts of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, (and Libya) and has authorized armed, equipped, and supplied Israel (with destructive weapons and munitions) to commit outright genocide against Lebanon and Palestine.”
Preemptive war is illegal. So is preventive war. Bush Doctrine policies featured them. They’ve “yet to be officially repealed by Obama….”
Nazi lawyers claimed these prerogatives at Nuremberg. They were rejected. Article 2 of the UN Charter requires settling international disputes peacefully, saying:
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Only legitimate self-defense is permitted. America’s wars don’t qualify. According to Boyle, they constitute “international criminal activity (for) planning, prepar(ing), solicit(ing), and conspiracy to commit Nuremberg crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.”
In addition, “the design, research, testing, production, manufacture, fabrication, transportation, deployment, installation, storing, stockpil(ing), sale, and purchase and the threat to use nuclear weapons are criminal under well-recognized principles of international law.”
Boyle stressed the urgent actions, saying:
Otherwise, “Obama and his people could very well set off a Third World War over Iran that has been already threatened publicly by Bush Jr.”
He also accused NATO states “go(ing) along with US policies” of complicity with US crimes.
The New York Times: Cheerleading US Belligerence
On January 5, a New York Times editorial headlined, “A Leaner Pentagon,” saying:
Obama’s new defense strategy reflects “a generally pragmatic vision of how this country will organize and deploy its military in the 21st century. (It features) smarter and more restrained….use of force.”
It means fewer ground troops, but “doesn’t minimize the fact that the world is a very dangerous place and says the country must still be ready to fight a major land war….”
“It argues, persuasively (for greater use of) air power, intelligence, special operations or innovative technologies like drones.”
Rule of law issues weren’t mentioned. Nor was America’s responsibility for heightening world dangers. Obama’s “pragmatic vision” is Timesspeak for illegal mass high-tech killing and destruction.
Obama wants more emphasis on “contain(ing) an increasingly assertive Iran, and in Asia, to moderate and counterbalance China’s ambitions.”
Unlike America, Iran hasn’t attacked another country in over 200 years and threatens none now. Neither does China. International law affirms the principle of sovereignty and self-determination.
All nations may freely choose their political systems. Others are prohibited from interfering in their internal affairs, whether democratic, authoritarian, or anything in between. America deems it a prerogative. Times editors are supportive.
“We understand the importance of sending a clear message that this country is not ceding anything to” Iran, China or any nation.
In other words, Times editors endorse strategically targeting any nation challenging US hegemony, including by preemptive war. Cheerleading all US wars, they ignore justification, rule of law, and other right and wrong issues.
A Final Comment
In November, Haaretz said Washington and Israel will hold their “largest” and “most significant” ever joint military exercise. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro for Political-Military Affairs confirmed it.
Over 5,000 US and Israeli forces will be involved. Exercises will include “simulat(ing) Israel’s ballistic missile defense.” They’ll also feature “urban warfare and counterterrorism.”
Moreover, Israel will be granted expedited Congressional Notification to facilitate “faster trade of smaller, routine sales and purchases of arms….” In fact, whatever Israel wants, it gets.
In addition, Washington’s multi-billion dollar annual commitment to Israel will continue, despite “challenging budgetary times.”
US forces are being deployed to Israel for an indefinite period. Israeli military personnel will be assigned to EUCOM, America’s Stuttgart, Germany-based European command.
The Jerusalem Post said sophisticated US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased Aegis ballistic missile defense systems are involved.
They’ll work together with Israel’s Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome. They’ll also further heighten tensions already too high. Targeting Iran is involved. Confrontation ahead seems likely, no matter the potentially catastrophic risks.
In addition, Syria is threatened. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman’s in Cairo to pressure Arab League officials to report back what Washington wants to hear.
At issue is observer mission head General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi. Instead of reporting regime violence, he said conditions are reassuring as Assad’s government is cooperating.
Washington wants a far different assessment to justify greater intervention. White House spokesman Jay Carney said “as sniper fire, torture, and murder in Syria continue, it is clear that the requirements of the Arab League protocol have not been met.”
He wants the Security Council to act, but Russia and China will block outside intervention.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi rightfully accused Washington of “gross interference in the work of the Arab League,” as well as attempting “unjustified internationalization of the situation in Syria.”
Iranian and Syrian regime change plans are longstanding. So far, only timing issues weren’t resolved. Perhaps 2012 will prove decisive.
Since last winter, externally generated insurgents ravaged and destabilized Syria violently. So-called Free Syria Army (FSA) extremists and other militants are Western proxy paramilitaries. Expect them to be involved in stepped up ground attacks ahead.
According to FSA commander Colonel Riad al-Assad, “We are preparing for big operations and have no faith in Arab League monitors or their useless mission.”
In contrast, moderate opposition figures oppose outside intervention. They want Syria’s sovereignty respected.
Washington, Israel, key NATO allies, and anti-Assad regional states have other ideas, and that’s the key problem.