Repressed, shunned, and marginalized, Asiris became international jihadis -- fighting the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Chechnya in the 1990s. The United Sates, as the patron of the occupying Saudis, was a natural enemy for Asiris like Osama bin Laden, especially after the 1991 Gulf War, when the Saudis allowed American troops to be based on the sacred Arabian Peninsula.
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." -- Mark Twain
The American war of assassination by drone has attacked mostly tribal areas -- in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and presumably elsewhere. Ruthven writes that "Ahmed argues, convincingly enough, that the acts of terror or violence directed at the US or its allies are set off as much by revenge based on values of tribal honor as by extremist ideologies" that the values of honor and revenge inherent in the tribal systems contribute to jihadist extremism, and that by ignoring this all-important factor the US has been courting disaster. "
To paraphrase the man who chooses the victims, assassination by drone is "fueled by a common ideology," that violence against [tribal] targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause" Arguably, assassination by drone is a war crime, a crime against humanity, and an impeachable offense. And assassination by drone seems likely to assure that another generation or two of tribal survivors will seek revenge, taken wherever and whenever the opportunity appears.
Ahmed's own assessment is bleaker still:
"It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the United States has been fighting the wrong war, with the wrong tactics, against the wrong enemy, and therefore the results can be nothing but wrong". It is like a Greek tragedy being played out: the audience knows that ruin awaits the protagonists, and it fears for their fate; but it also knows that nothing can alter the denouement."
For Americans, this assessment may be particularly difficult to accept. After all, the United States exists in great part because of its genocidal success in dealing with tribal societies. Why should it be different this time?
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