The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike
Opponents of drone strikes say they violate international law and have caused unacknowledged civilian deaths. Proponents insist they actually save the lives of both U.S. soldiers, who would otherwise be deployed in dangerous ground operations, and of civilians, because of the drone’s capacity to survey and strike more precisely than combat. If the alternative is a prolonged and messy ground operation, the advantage of drone strikes in terms of casualties is indisputable, and it is not my intention to dispute it here.
But the terms of this debate give a one-sided view of both the larger financial and political costs of drones, as well as the less than lethal but nonetheless chronic and intense harm continuous strikes wage on communities. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 19, 2013 -
Secrecy defines Obama’s drone war.
"Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory. The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified." [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Dec 21, 2011 -
It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.
There is Much More to Say
by Noam Chomsky.
posted by klue
on May 24, 2011 -
is an open letter written by Noman Benotman, a former commander in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and a former associate of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. In al Qaeda strategy meetings in Kandahar in 2000, Benotman warned the al-Qaeda leadership of ‘total failure' to realise their aims and called on bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to abandon violence. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, he distanced himself from al-Qaeda and later resigned from his own jihadist organisation. He has more recently been instrumental in negotiations with Libya's government to free former LIFG leaders, and in persuading these leaders to formally renounce terrorism. He also recently joined the London-based Quilliam Foundation as a Senior Analyst.
posted by bardophile
on Sep 13, 2010 -
Suicide bombers from Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya have two things in common: they are Muslim and they live under occupation.
University of Chicago Professor Dr. Robert A. Pape, who has assembled a comprehensive database of every (or nearly every) suicide bombing since 1980, has been the most prominent proponent of the view that it is occupation, not religion, that is the single most important motivating factor for suicide bombers... more than 95% of suicide bombers come from countries under occupation...
Pape and his colleagues at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, ask What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?
-Via The Washington Note
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey
on Apr 1, 2010 -
What is the logical consequence of noting the fact that the terrorist groups that make a difference on planet Earth—such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the PLO, Colombia's FARC—are extensions of, respectively, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and Venezuela? It is the negation of the U.S. government's favorite axiom. It means that when George W. Bush spoke, and when Barack Obama speaks, of America being "at war" against "extremism" or "extremists" they are either being stupid or acting stupid to avoid dealing with the nasty fact that many governments wage indirect warfare.
International relations professor Angelo M. Codevilla argues that Osama bin Laden is not quite influential, not quite relevant, and probably dead
. (multipage version)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Mar 27, 2009 -
Pakistan in Peril.
"The relative calm in Iraq in recent months, combined with the drama of the US elections, has managed to distract attention from the catastrophe that is rapidly overwhelming Western interests in the part of the world that always should have been the focus of America's response to September 11: the al-Qaeda and Taliban heartlands on either side of the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Jan 21, 2009 -
The Archipelago of Fear.
"International surveys show that the more people trust their neighbours, strangers, and their government, the more likely they are to help strangers, to vote, and to volunteer. If better streets, sidewalks, walls, and buildings all improve the ways people engage with one another, then the reverse should also be true: antagonistic architecture can corrode trust and fuel hostility. Kabul just might be a laboratory of toxic urbanity."
posted by homunculus
on Dec 5, 2008 -
Right at the Edge.
"The Taliban and Al Qaeda have established a haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border. This is where the war on terror wil be fought – and possibly lost."
posted by homunculus
on Sep 5, 2008 -
Pakistan’s Phantom Border.
"Pakistan is often called the most dangerous country on earth. Increasingly, its people would agree. Despite nearly $6 billion in U.S. military aid for the border region since 9/11, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and homegrown terrorist groups have eroded the border with Afghanistan, inflicting a steady toll of suicide bombings. Going where few Westerners dare—from Taliban strongholds to undercover-police headquarters—the author sees what’s tearing the country apart."
posted by homunculus
on Jun 22, 2008 -
The age of horrorism. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Martin Amis analyses - and abhors - the rise of extreme Islamism. In a penetrating and wide-ranging essay he offers a trenchant critique of the grotesque creed and questions the West's faltering response to this eruption of evil.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese
on Sep 19, 2006 -
Imperial Grunts: With the Army Special Forces in the Philippines and Afghanistan—laboratories of counterinsurgency. Robert Kaplan's
has been excerpted over the last while in the Atlantic Monthly, and it's an amazingly relevant and enthralling book. It draws several parallels that are perhaps underrepresented in the media, such as the the similarities between the Iraqi and Afghani insurgency and the the Philippine-American War
. It's also an incredible look at the logistics and tactics involved in fighting wars, both at the forward-operating Special Forces level and within the macro "Big Army" bureaucracy. The focus of the book is the status and abilities of American "empire", its use of power and its goals.
posted by loquax
on Dec 7, 2005 -
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers
, which detail Torture's Paper Trail
, and, then there's Hungry for Air
: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
posted by y2karl
on Mar 14, 2005 -
Mike Hawash pleads guilty
to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban and will testify against his friends that attempted to travel to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. After the previous MeFi threads about Mike here
, this ought to be quite a suprise for some. No update yet on the Free Mike Hawash
posted by schlyer
on Aug 6, 2003 -
Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan.
"A man who was severely beaten by Ismail Khan's forces described to Human Rights Watch the effect of the repression: 'At any time I feel that I am in danger. When I leave my house, I do not know if I will return. I do not know whether something will happen to me, if there will be some car crash, or that I will be hit in the back of the head.' Another witness talked about how his community's hopes after the hated Taliban regime was ended have been deflated: 'What has changed in Afghanistan? All our hopes are crushed. We are completely disappointed. Look-all the same warlords are in power as before. Fundamentalism has come into power, and every day they strengthen their power.'
The light of liberation and liberty descends upon Afghanistan.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Nov 6, 2002 -
An excellent piece of media analysis
by Michael Wolff in New York Magazine looking at the current summer-movie-plot version of Al Qaeda being artfully constructed by the NY Times ...
Then, perhaps most disconcertingly, the overall narrative itself is patently a dumbed-down rehash. It's Cold War stuff. There is the ubiquitous and yet unknown and unknowable enemy. There's the international jihad, which, with only minor adjustments, replaces the international communist conspiracy. There's the sudden purported hegemony of the Muslim world -- a new Soviet-bloc-style ideological monolith. There is the otherworldly dedication of operatives bent on overthrowing the West. There are the cells. There is the myth of superhuman discipline. There is now, even, the developing Kremlinology of the next tier of men who replace Osama. And at the center of the story, of course, is the bomb. Whether in massive retaliatory form or as a dirty-bomb package, it serves the same effect.
(link cribbed from Altercation
posted by mantid
on Jul 1, 2002 -
Dead Men Walking
Thomas Lipscome urges us to think about 4th generation warfare, the nature of the battle, and the potential dangers well beyond the idea of nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq. From the article: "Terrorists become extraordinarily resourceful playing weak hands against the strong and rich. So do revolutionaries. And it is time to realize bin Laden is both"
This article is short yet wide-ranging, neatly bringing together the Balkans, Clinton, the Media, and 4G warfare.
via follow me here
posted by cell divide
on Nov 28, 2001 -
A story that seems to be good news
no matter what side of the 'war' you're on. The dragnet around Bin Laden is reported to be closing quickly, and currently stands, says the Sunday Times, at about 30 squares mile. So, what happens next? (via Plastic.com)
posted by Hildago
on Nov 18, 2001 -