In the recent web-exclusive of the Bill Moyers Journal, Glenn Greenwald describes how the U.S. can be defined as a warrior nation, a country that has been at perpetual war for decades now. Presidents, and Obama is now no exception to the rule, become almost obliged to continue the tradition of invasion.
Putting our “There Will Be Blood” war-lust into perspective, Greenwald says,
I think the central problem is a lack of empathy. And my biggest wish is that if Americans– that every American in sort of a national collective exercise would spend just ten minutes thinking about the following question, which is:
Suppose there was a Muslim country that invaded the United States with 150,000 troops, and proceeded to occupy our country for the next eight years: dropped bombs on wedding parties, slaughtered men, women, and children who were innocent. Created prisons in our country, where they arrested American citizens and put us for years without charges. Created an overseas island prison where they shipped some of us to without any recourse whatsoever. And at the same time, were threatening to do that to several other Western countries. How much rage and anger and a desire for vengeance and violence would we feel towards that country that was doing that to us?
I mean, just look at what the singular one-day attack of 9/11, the kind of anger and rage it unleashed. And I think if Americans were to think about how we would react towards other countries, and what we would want to do to them, if they were doing to us what we are now doing to them, I think a lot of light would be shined on what it is that we’re really achieving in terms of our national security.
In a different interview, this one on Fresh Air, Jane Mayer discusses her recent article in the New Yorker on the use of unmanned drones to fight our wars, and points out one of the obvious moral problems with fighting high tech wars far away from home:
You know, right now, I think Congress is really infatuated with this technology. And you can see why, I mean it is a marvel. But the place where people are asking questions are in the human rights community, the international lawyers, the U.N.,. There are a number of sort of political philosophers asking questions, such as, you know, if there’s no – if we can’t feel the impact of the people that we’re killing and we can’t see them, and none of our own people at risk, does this somehow make it easier to just be in a perpetual state of war because there’s no seeming cost to us? These are the kinds of questions that people are asking.
Not to mention, as Mayer writes in her New Yorker piece that
The U.S. government runs two drone programs. The military’s version, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare. The C.I.A.’s program is aimed at terror suspects around the world, including in countries where U.S. troops are not based. It was initiated by the Bush Administration and, according to Juan Zarate, a counterterrorism adviser in the Bush White House, Obama has left in place virtually all the key personnel. The program is classified as covert, and the intelligence agency declines to provide any information to the public about where it operates, how it selects targets, who is in charge, or how many people have been killed.
The CIA program is not only secret (and arguably committing illegal extrajudicial assassinations) but it is being outsourced to private military contractors and some of the attacks are on targets requested by the Pakistani government. In any event, I definitely recommend Mayer’s article as it attempts to present all of the facts without passing judgment.