BuzzFeed produced an excellent, graphically pleasing look at Ramadan at places around the world. I wish they had posted a picture of American Muslims celebrating Ramadan, but nevertheless here’s their piece
America’s never-ending war on terrorism is almost always depicted in the mainstream media as a military and intelligence agency fight on a global battlefield. But it is also a propaganda war where the public is fed inaccuracies from Washington, especially when it comes to overseas killings by U.S. military drones.
Here are five myths perpetuated by the military and its weapons makers that seek to make Americans feel good about drones and the White House’s policy of targeted assassinations.
Myth No. 1: They Target High-Level Terrorists
Only 2 percent of drone strikes have killed “high value targets,” former counter-terror adviser to David Petraeus, David Kilcullen, notoriously remarked in a New York Timescolumn early in the Obama presidency, where he said that 50 civilians were killed for every “high-value target” assassinated. That means that 98 percent of drone-caused deaths have been a mix of low-level militants, civilians, or another dubious Pentagon classification called “unknown militants.”
The Pentagon rhetoric touting “pinpoint” and “laser” accuracy of drones is baseless. Dr. Larry Lewis, a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, a research group with close ties to the U.S. military, studied the record in Afghanistan and found thatdrone strikes were no more accurate than traditional air power. So, after all this talk about the ability to discern enemies through surveillance, they are no more accurate than traditional flybys. This rhetoric has allowed us to kill innocent children.
Notably, this study was done in Afghanistan, where there is ample ground and human intelligence for selecting and assessing targets, as well as people who investigate the aftermath of the strikes. But that is not the case in Pakistan and Yemen, which means that the strikes have been more deadly for civilians. The implications from this reality are cynical and cavalier: Either the information on the ground is faulty, or drone operators are OK with certain levels of civilian casualties. Regardless, drones fall far short of the hyped rhetoric coming from the Obama administration.
Myth No. 3: Drone Targets Imminently Threaten America
The mainstream media have played into the CIA/administration’s selective leaks about drones, especially the concept of a “kill list.” This military branding conjures up a process of carefully selected enemies who pose imminent threats to the U.S. However, the reality of “signature strikes” undercuts this P.R. construction.
Furthermore, reporting has recently revealed that the original authorization for drone strikes in Pakistan came from now deposed President Musharraf. The only way he would approve of the strikes was if the CIA killed his enemies. These “side-payments” became a characteristic of the CIA program. Instead of focusing on enemies of the U.S., the CIA played along with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, and its military to hit targets who posed no threat to the U.S.
Myth No. 4 Drones Are Cheap
Setting aside the moral, legal and efficacy arguments about drones, the mantra from the administration, lobbyists and their lackeys in Congress has been drones’ low per-unit cost of $4 million to $5 million. According to Winslow Wheeler of the Project on Government Oversight, “This is quite incorrect.” He states, “The actual cost for a Reaper unit is $120.8 million in 2012 dollars.” This is far above the $27.2 million F-16C or the $18.8 million A-10. Seemingly, this “aura of inevitability” about investing in this new revolutionizing weapon is the military-industrial-complex at its self-serving worst.
Myth No. 5: Drones Are Making Americans Safer
They are not, in fact. Not only are drones effectively destabilizing a nuclear power, Pakistan, in one of the most conflict-ridden regions of the world, they are inciting waves of suicide bombers to attack Pakistan. They are also directly threatening the U.S.
In a global age of connectivity there is a new phenomenon of self-radicalization. People who identify with the Muslim Diaspora are seeing their kinsmen being murdered by America in a most brutal way. The Boston Marathon bombers are only the latest example of this phenomenon. The most notorious self-radicalized terrorist was Faisal Shahzad, who, in 2010, tried to blow up New York’s Times Square. When asked about his motive, hedirectly cited drones.
These rebels with a cause will sadly become the norm as we push and provoke more of the world’s 1.3 billion to 1.4 billion Muslims into the political fringes where American violence begets more violence.
When I saw this the first thing that came to mind was the poor, ignorant people responsible for this “display” probably were including traffic tickets received by the Muslims who live in their area. I wasn’t too far off
Factually, the number of “*19,250 Islamic attacks (*and counting)” is a purposeful fabrication….this so-called “Islamic Terrorism ticker” that gives us the oddly precise round number of 19,250 is taken from the anti-Muslim website “The Religion of Peace” (TROP)
Many of the attacks listed by TROP relate to nationalist insurgencies, such as the conflict involving Baluchi nationalists seeking independence from Pakistan. Some of the attacks listed by TROP are in fact crimes committed by Muslims or people with Muslim sounding names that have nothing to do with Islam or terrorism, such as honor killings, the killing of local policemen, petty assault, etc.
In other words, the people who come up with these figures have managed to include everything that was ever done by someone with a Muslim sounding name as terror related and I may not be too far off in wondering if traffic tickets have been included in the mix. I’m a bit conflicted however, to read that the people who are obliged to post such displays acknowledge they are offensive but run them because of free speech requirements in place in society. They have come up with an answer to assuage their conscious by saying they will donate profits from the ad to education campaigns against discrimination. May I suggest they give such proceeds to CAIR or any other Muslim organization in their area who in turn will produce and organize the education campaigns. With such a stipulation attached to the airing of such displays there’s no doubt in my mind they will cease to appear on the American landscape. Does anyone have the courage to propose such a thing to the voices of hatred and bigotry?
We’ve seen his picture blasted across TV screens and computer monitors the world over for the last ten years; we’ve heard his speeches speak of the doom our civilizations would suffer at the hands of his followers and the humiliation we would face at their victory and our defeat, and we watched as two presidents decided their political fate based on his words, but never mind. Seems Usama bin Laden wasn’t the real deal after all if this article is to be believed.
Osama bin Laden was out of touch with the younger generation of al Qaida commanders, and they often didn’t follow his advice during the years he was in hiding in northern Pakistan, U.S. and Pakistani officials now say…..bin Laden clearly wasn’t in control of al Qaida, though he was trying to remain involved or at least influential.
“He was like the cranky old uncle that people weren’t listening to,” said a U.S. official, who’d been briefed on the evidence collected from the Abbottabad compound and who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “The younger guys had never worked directly with him. They did not take everything he said as right.”
What does it mean for the greatest power in the world to spend all of the manpower and money it did over the last 10 years to bring to justice a man who it turns out was not really the leader of the most despised movement known to man after all? Opps, my bad. Does that also mean we’ll have to spend another decade hunting down the REAL leader of al-Qaeda?
The Obama Administration has just slapped the Republican Party two times in less than a week and relegated that party to the dust bin of history because Republicans wallow in mud instead of substance in their political postures. Any true Republican should hide his/her face in shame at the way their party has been manhandled by the Obama machine. In effect it, the Republican Party, got what it deserved. It gave into the crazies of the lunatic fringe within the party with its notions of dubious citizenship and questionable loyalties on the part of Obama and went up in flames when the President adroitly handled both to the point that everyone in the Republican Party was reduced to mumbling and looking quite frankly stupid.
First the release of the much ballyhooed long form birth certificate that party loyalists said was necessary to prove citizenship, when they thought that such a certificate could not be produced, was humiliating for them. Even the buffoon Donald Trump who so vociferously called for “proof” Obama was a citizen had to double back and say that he was proud of himself for getting Obama to release what should have never been and has never been requested from any other president in modern times to display. It didn’t help Trump’s cause for him to go on and begin to doubt Obama’s college transcripts/records in an attempt to say he got where he is undeservedly so. You gotta’ wonder whether Obama is sitting on highest honor diplomas from all the colleges and universities he ever attended, waiting to release them at the most propitious time during a presidential campaign season to further humiliate his opponents. It doesn’t look too good for Trump with the main stream media finally getting tired of his dog and pony show to the extent that even some of them are calling his snipping at Obama’s heels racism in the extreme. Trump is pathetically embarrassing.
The kicker however is the news released just today, Monday 2 May that bin laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan. You remember Osama bin Laden don’t you? The ONE everyone said was responsible for the most heinous terrorist attack on US soil ever in the history of America; the ONE who it was said made it necessary for Americans to invade two countries destroying both theirs and ours in unnecessary wars. It’s significant to point out that the operation carried out by US special forces was done with far less US firepower than it took to invade Afghanistan and Iraq practically nullifying the stupefying loss of life that occurred on all sides in what has turned out to be BEFORE bin laden’s death morally senseless, bankrupt wars of occupation. It took Obama two years to do what Bush couldn’t accomplish in two terms, despite the “mission accomplished” claims to the contrary; had this been the course of action of Bush a lot less “blowback” would have ensued for the world community and a lot more good will could have been generated that could have translated into the dollars and cents the invasions were really meant to accomplish.
In real terms, Obama has out Bush(ed) Bush and in the process made irrelevant the Republican Party which has increasingly separated itself from common political consensus andbeen overtaken instead by fanatical racist zealots who talk in terms of fear and divisiveness, at the expense of the American people. In response to them, Obama has slapped them silly, humiliated them; that might not have been his intention, and pushed them further into a corner of isolation and disarray. It’s sad to see. I hope the GOP for the good of the nation, stops its genuflections at the altar of American fear and xenophobia and returns to the mainstream. The way Obama has acted lately, it would serve them good to do so, or else, he may have to slap them silly again.
While faux pas French feminist criticize the candidacy of one of their own because of an article of clothing, America’s other allies, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have figured out how to make the best use of all of their human resources, men and women, those who wear a scarf and those who don’t but still want to serve their country. Why a country would want to deny participation of one half of its citizens because of a scarf or a religious belief, even while the very same people want to serve, participate, protect is a study in racism and a mindset that takes people backwards in time we decided was counterproductive or worse. No forward thinking country should countenance such a philosophy neither should a country support one that does. A new America would do well to cast its lot with the likes of Pakistan and the UAE and shun the homophobia that is overtaking Europe, and countries like France and Denmark and clearly and emphatically make a statement that the religious rights of a citizen of a country and that’s citizen’s desire to serve his or her country are the basis of solid, long lasting relationships America will honor. Anything less than that is contributing more to the problem than to the solution.
The Global Peace Index offers some interesting insight into what is considered a peaceful country and what isn’t. The top ten peaceful countries are in order, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland, Slovenia. Denmark and Norway have been the scene of some pretty violent opposition to Muslim immigration to their countries, but evidently the citizens have managed to coexist peacefully with one another. The Netherlands another country that has seen stiff opposition to immigrants is the 22nd most peaceful country and France is ranked number 30. America is ranked 83 which surprised me considering we invaded three countries and are the only country at war with other countries, or forces in other countries. The ten most violent countries in the world are Zimbabwe, Russia, Pakistan, Chad, The Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Israel, Somalia, Afghanistan and finally Iraq, the most violent country of the 144 countries considered. With the exception of Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, all of the other worst offenders are fighting their own populations and not foreigners invading their territory. (Guess who that invader is in two of the cases.) Only one of the 10 worst countries is an ally of America, while the others have cold to almost no relations with the United States and face some sort of condemnation from America as a result of their human rights violations against their own. Israel meanwhile continues to enjoy copious amounts of US aid, materiel and support for its apartheid like policies towards its Arab citizens and neighbors. Noteworthy too is the fact that Israel has been in the bottom 5 consistently for the last three years. It is definitely time for CHANGE.
I’m going to have to get a patent on a Super Muslim logo after seeing this headline. It rivals the OBL news that he is able to produce state of the art recordings and get them to media outlets from caves somewhere along the Pakistan/Afghan border, yet we can’t find him.
There is growing evidence that battle-hardened extremists are filtering out of safe havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and into East Africa, bringing sophisticated terrorist tactics that include suicide attacks. ……So far, officials say the number of foreign fighters who have moved from southwest Asia and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region to the Horn of Africa is small, perhaps two to three dozen.
There it is, the caveat to beat all caveats. Twenty four maybe to thirty -six people are enough to get the largest government in the world to change policy and start another war in another area of the world?!?! I’m wondering how do they get from the mountainous regions crawling with US drone aircraft and others supposedly looking for Osama, via the Indian Ocean teaming with US naval forces to East Africa? Perhaps it was the battle hardened mules that took them the distance? You simply can’t make this stuff up. I thought we were told change was coming? This is the same script used during the last Democratic administration that bombed a chemical weapons factory that turned out to be an aspirin plant. Next, we’ll be told these guys are a threat to the interests of the US.