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Drone Warfare in Yemen

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Washington is "doubling down on its use of air power and drones, which are swiftly becoming the primary focus of Washington's counterterrorism operations."

"For years, the elite Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA had teams deployed inside Yemen that supported Yemeni forces and conducted unilateral operations, consisting mostly of cruise missile and drone attacks."

Lots of civilians are killed. At anti-regime rallies, "prominent conservative imams deliver stinging sermons denouncing the United States and Israel."

US policy enrages tribal leaders. Resistance grows stronger against it. Washington's belligerence "backfire(d) by killing civilians" and for violating Yemeni sovereignty. Angry people strike back. In a heavily armed country, America's alleged threat is stronger. 

Yemen's a gun culture. On average, people own three, including automatic weapons like AK-47s and heavier arms. Moreover, they're prone to direct action. Threaten them and they strike back. They're mostly ordinary Yemenis against imperial America's intervention. In self-defense, they react belligerently. 

Perhaps Obama officials want it that way in more combat theaters than Yemen to justify waging permanent wars. America needs enemies. Peace and calm defeats its imperial agenda. Killing civilians may work as planned.

On April 25, 2012, the Washington Post headlined "White House approves broader Yemen drone campaign," saying:

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Al Qaeda suspects are targeted. Obama's authorization lets Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and CIA personnel "fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known, US officials said."

In June 2011, counterinsurgency advisor David Kilcullen told Congress that drone strikes kill militants 2% of the time. Others are noncombatant civilians. He explained that these operations "lose the population (and) the war." He also raised issues of legality.

UAVs were first used in Vietnam as reconnaissance platforms. In the 1980s, Harpy air defense suppression system radar killer drones were employed. In the Gulf War, unmanned combat air systems (UCAS) and X-45 air vehicles were used.

Others were deployed in Bosnia in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. America's new weapon of choice is now commonplace in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, elsewhere abroad, and domestically for law enforcement and surveillance. Escalated domestic and foreign use is planned.

Along with satellites and other technologies, Big Brother plans a global presence to spy and kill. International law isn't considered. Neither are constitutional and US statute laws. Rogue states do what they please. They answer to no one and don't say they're sorry.

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CIA Director General David Petraeus urged easing the rules of engagement. Anything goes is policy. It always was, but now it's more official. Princeton University Yemen specialist Gregory Johnsen worries about "a dangerous drift." He said policymakers "don't appear to realize they are heading into rough waters without a map."

The greater the number of drone kills, he explained, the more recruits Al Qaeda gains. What does Washington plan in response, he asked? Is another war coming, he wonders?

On April 20, Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman headlined his Washington Post op-ed "President Obama: Don't go there." 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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