U.S. to use Predator drones in Libya . . . President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed Predator drones in Libya, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. Gates suggested that the unmanned Predator missions may have already begun. – CNN
Dominant Social Theme: Whatever it takes to free Libya from this tyrant, Barack Obama is prepared to do.
Free-Market Analysis: We have written a good deal about America's foreign wars, which just seem to keep expanding. We're not sure what the rationale is or whether America can support these recent conflicts, but the Pentagon seems confident that it can keep adding to its burdens without reducing combat effectiveness or "breaking the bank."
The addition of a shoot-to-kill drone-program in Libya is one more example of the unlimited budget that seems to accompany these sorts of episodes. Cost is not an object anymore; open-ended military episodes are popping up with disturbing regulatory. The debate over whether the US (in support of NATO) is the "bad boy" policeman of the Western seems over. The answer, despite America's mounting deficits, seems to be the affirmative.
It's becoming a sub-dominant social theme of sorts, that the West must support nascent democracies wherever they bloom, especially if the rebellions are taking place in a country where a despotic tyrant has ruled for decades. What is left unsaid, among other things, is that the West itself and particularly the Anglo-American power elite has backed most of these dictators with loans, military technology and, most importantly, the credibility that comes from being perceived as a valuable ally.
The latest CNN story shows us how the modern US arsenal has grown in terms of the options it gives both Pentagon brass and the US President, the commander-in-chief. It didn't actually take very long for the US to turn to the drone solution, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually indicated that the flights had already begun. "The president has said that where we have some unique capabilities, he is willing to use those. And I think that today may in fact have been their first mission."
For Gates, Predator drones offer a "modest contribution" that will help NATO support rebel troops that are confronting Moammar Gaddafi, though Gates hastened to point out that Gaddafi himself is not being targeted. CNN quotes Gates as saying that unmanned aerial vehicles offer more precise targeting, because their low-flying capability allows for better visibility, "particularly on targets now that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions." Here's some more from the article:
[Gates] said the drones are needed for humanitarian reasons, and they have capabilities that larger aircraft such as A-10s and C-130s cannot provide. Vice Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. James Cartwright said the added precision is necessary because forces loyal to Gadhafi "nestle up in crowded areas" to maximize civilian casualties. "It's very difficult to identify friend from foe," Cartwright said, noting that the drones facilitate identification of individuals on the ground. Remote Predator operators are now permitted to strike Gadhafi's defense missions, including air defense, missile and radar sites. Predator strikes are also authorized for civilian protection and can hit Gadhafi's troops, military installations and equipment in the field.
What strikes us about the article is the matter-of-factness with which it treats the deployment of drones over Libya – not as surveillance vehicles but as shoot-to-kill weapons of the sort that have been used for so long in Afghanistan. Drone missions apparently cost millions but the US military seems willing to shoulder the cost and the CNN article makes no mention of the expense. Nor does the CNN article delve into whether or not the drones shall be effective; it seems to take Gates' word for it.
Generally, US media reporting on American and NATO wars seems ever less aggressive. It took the New York Times months to acknowledge what the alternative 'Net press had reported almost immediately: that the current spate of color revolutions were at least in part fomented by the US State Dept and the CIA, with the preparation taking place over a period of years. The spontaneous Libyan color revolution was apparently some three years in the making. We did find one article in The Atlantic that expressed some reservations about the drone program, which cited an article in the Washington Post by David Ignatius, as follows:
Drone attacks have become an addictive tool of U.S. national security policy…My quick reaction, as a journalist who has chronicled the growing use of drones, is that this extension to the Libyan theater is a mistake … It projects American power in the most negative possible way…. [T]he problem with the Predators is that they provide too easy an answer to political and military problems … And now the United States will use them to beef up a stalemated NATO campaign in Libya, on behalf of a rebel army that very well may include Islamic radicals who, under other circumstances, might themselves have been targets of Predator attack.
As we pointed out yesterday, the scope of Western aggression is astonishing at this point and encompasses numerous African and Middle Eastern countries in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems to us as if the West and America in particular has embarked on a kind furtive ever-expanding global war in which escalations of every kind are reported on but never analyzed and the larger trend is seemingly overlooked. The issues are serious, as alluded to in this Washington Post article, but hardly ever discussed.
What we didn't do yesterday was rehearse the kind of push-back that the West is generating with its increasing aggressions. Of course, we don't think the hostilities themselves are any coincidence. The West and American intelligence in particular are behind many of these color revolutions, as has been reported in numerous places. The goal is ever-closer global governance, the implementation of a one-world order run by the Anglo-American power elite.
This is of course anathema to the mainstream media crowd. And even within the alternative 'Net press, there is much confusion about the current stance of America and European countries as regards the reason for the rising hostilities. The most common reason cited for the additional entanglements is oil. The West is supposedly embarked on a big push to control as many energy-producing countries as possible. But how then does one explain the military tensions or outright rebellions in Tunisia, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, Yemen and any number of other countries now in the process of destabilization.
Throughout the 20th century and now the 21st, one can chart military efforts that have advanced the overall homogenization of global power politics. Even China and Russia are far less inimical today to Western interests than they were in 20th century. But the 21st century seems to be picking up the pace, and while we have no definitive answer for the rapidity, we do know that so much military activity is bound to generate a considerable backlash.
Even if, as we have speculated, the idea, in part, is to create an Islamic crescent of countries that can serve as a controlled opposition to Western powers-that-be, we wonder if such a plan is going to be ultimately controllable. We've noticed that in both Tunisia and Egypt the unrest has continued, contrary to constant predictions in the Western media that "calm was being restored."
We have our doubts that the Ivory Coast is going to calm down any time soon after its recent presidential convulsions, and we would tend to believe in fact that destabilization may spread. The International Criminal Court in the Hague has targeted Africa for a number of years to set precedents that can be used elsewhere in the world; now it looks to us like African countries may have had enough of this "special treatment." Top power-brokers in Kenya, with six senior officials now on trial at the Hague, have indicated that country may cease its support of the international criminal court, along with a number of other countries.
In South America, we are well aware there is a good deal of antipathy to expanding Anglo-American global governance; of late the European Union looks fairly shaky. Afghanistan is as yet unpacified and the violence has actually picked up. Iraq's restive Shia population is dissatisfied with the current pace of recovery in that war-torn country and non-violent (or eventually violent) protests may break out there in the near future. We've reported on much of this.
The pushback hasn't mattered so far. Anglo-American elites continue their march toward closer global governance. Apparently the idea is to force a new world order through hard power rather than by using the soft power of fear-based promotions that worked so well in the 20th century. Of course one reason elite propaganda works less well in the 21st century than the 20th has to do with the Internet, which has exposed elite manipulations to millions. Substituting force for persuasion may be a response, but it is not clear whether it will be a successful one.
No doubt, the Libya campaign was supposed to go more smoothly than it has. Now the powers-that-be are expanding their footprint as a result. Soon the West and especially America may find itself in the midst of another ground-based shooting war as mission-creep overwhelms initial UN Resolutions. The expanding US drone program is likely already testimony to that. Nonetheless, in our view, European and American populations (as opposed the elites) want less war, not more – and more accountability from those who are expanding the conflict.
We try to cover all sides of elite manipulations in this publication and we've paid more attention to the military of late because more and more the powers-that-be seem to be emphasizing hard power over soft. We have a good deal of doubt that one can build an effective one-world government in this sort of fashion, anymore than, say, one can build a European Union while denying people the right to vote on its progress and evolution.
Large political structures that are built without the buy-ins of their populations tend to be fairly fragile entities with short lifespans. Western elites were doing much better in the 20th century than the 21st in terms of this buy-in. More and more, the escalating use of force looks to us more like a weakness than a strength, an admission that as Mao famously said, "power springs from the barrel of a gun." Of course Mao's China lasted precisely as long as he was alive, about 40-50 years. Can world governance built without the enthusiastic consent of the governed last any longer?