Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#344 / War World

I am reading Jeremy Scahill's book, Dirty Wars. I am looking forward to the movie. On page 172 of the book, I found the following statement by Scott Horton, a human rights lawyer: 

Now ... it's not unusual for the military to have commandos who, in a theater of war, will seek out enemy command and control, with the purpose of identifying them and then killing them. ... And that would be traditional, authorized warfare. ... What's different here, is that suddenly the theater of war has become the entire globe - it's become everywhere. And they're looking at the possibility of assassinating people in Hamburg, Germany, in Norway, in Italy, as well as in Morocco, Jordan, Senegal, Turkey, Yemen, the Philippines and places in the African Horn. And I'd say, in terms of law - it's pretty plainly illegal once you're outside of the normal theater of war.

Scahill goes on to quote Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of "Defense" under President George W. Bush: "the entire world is the 'battlespace.'"

Scahill subtitles his book "The world is a battlefield."

Whether it is drones that put us there, or the techniques of American-applied torture promoted by Rumsfeld, and documented by Scahill, I am not comforted. 

If the world is a battlefield, I am a target.

You, too!

Image Credit: 


  1. "Whether it is drones that put us there,"
    Talking about drones, again? Where exactly do the put us?

    "If the world is a battlefield, I am a target."
    Not unless you're a member of Al Qaeda.

    "You, too!"
    No, because I'm not a member of Al Qaeda.

    You conveniently omitted the part where Horton says that JSOC "parallels something that the OSS did during the Second World War, and what the CIA did subsequently. Now, to a certain extent, the function is not unusual..."

    You can easily convince me that ignoring the theater of war is overreach, even illegal, which is Horton's point.

    But pretending we are all threatened with being targets in some big evil battle field ignores the fact that there is an enemy: Al Qaeda.

    Not grandma, or you, or me. Al Qaeda.

  2. Dear @PhysicsPolice: we make your assumptions until they come knocking at our door... I am reading "The Enemy Among Us: A Story of Witch-hunting in the McCarthy Era," by Frank A. Rowe (1980 Cougar Books), an art instructor at SFSU who refused to sign the Levering Act in 1950. The vengeance with which the US government stalked and terrorized Rowe and his family for decades for taking a stand against an unconstitutional act has me wondering if these activities and thinking continue to plague this country.

  3. That's a false analogy. The Joint Special Operations Command is not the McCarthy witch-hunt.

    You don't have to wait for someone to come knocking at the door to judge its likelihood in the future.

    I wish you would stop trying to change the subject.

    My argument is that, contrary to your claim in this post, given that the whole world is a battlefield to the JSOC, it doesn't logically follow that we are all targets.

    Al Qaeda is the target.


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