[Marxism] Obama and McChrystal

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 18 08:24:08 MDT 2009

Obama’s Animal Farm: Bigger, Bloodier Wars Equal Peace and Justice
By James Petras. Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 2009

“The Deltas are psychos…You have to be a certified psychopath to 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 
overseas assassinations.

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 and activists)’.

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’.

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